Archives for category: willingness
This week I was asked where my blog inspiration comes from… response came easily, I didn’t think about it before I Tweeted: “I draw inspiration from the world around me, so many interesting things!”

Take a moment there folks, drink in my wisdom….ha.

This was then retweeted and I felt awesome, when I re-read it I felt it to be an accurate statement which I was kinda proud of!
Then this morning I retweeted something without carefully reading it, it was funny to me. This is what I thought it said: “There is a fine line between social networking and wasting your life.”
I think it’s true and worthy of a RT. (don’t lines like that bring back memories of Elaine on Seinfeld deeming things Spongeworthy?)
In reality the tweet I sent included a profanity, said profanity used to be my favorite….I’ve worked hard to drop and I was totally unaware I’d used it. Listen, it’s not like I’d killed someone but I had such a colorful vocabulary that I take some pride in my achievement cleaning it up.
How did I find out you ask?
I received a Direct Message that said:
“hey Julie-I love your blog &tweets but found the retweet w/ the “f” word offensive I know we have freedom in Christ but we also need respect”
My heart dropped instantly and I searched for the message I had sent.
And there it was…oh man that sucked.
I wondered if it happened because I hadn’t taken the time to read it properly…..or was it that I am just so accustomed to hearing the word that I don’t notice it?
I thanked my friend for the message and apologized for offending as that wasn’t my intent.
Some might have taken the stance that I hadn’t really done anything wrong, that all of us have different levels of “filters”. Some may have been offended at this person messaging me.
I wasn’t.
I appreciated the display of an honest person, she gave me the opportunity to see her boundary. I wasn’t tarred or feathered but she extended her heart to me and allowed me to come close.
That is pretty brave in my mind.
And so on this Friday I’ve been given a lesson in attentiveness, setting boundaries and love.
While I cannot promise I won’t make this error EVER again, I can promise that I will be more conscious.
I seek progress rather than perfection!
I’m glad of that and hope that if something a friend does offends me, I too would be courageous enough to talk to them about it, rather than just changing my opinion of them.
Would you say something?
I am up north in Muskoka, Ontario enjoying some time away. The girls and I are in cottage country, Hubby will join us next week. This is an opportunity to slow things down, and man it is an amazing blessing for me.
Before my car accident we didn’t take holidays in the summer.
Generally speaking we took a day here or there and we tended to extend long weekends.
With 4 day weekends we could visit lots of friends and do the home renos we loved.
If I had taken a full week, I probably would have gone nuts. Much of who I was at the time, was defined by my career. I took too much pride in my title and my performance. The only time I took a week off was to go to Jamaica with hubby for a week and even with the all-inclusive bar I was struggling. I would head to the lobby every morning, raising a fuss because high tides had knocked out the internet.
And yet here I sit, alone in Muskoka enjoying this peace and quiet.
I have no titles, I have no career to busy me and there is nobody to lose myself in.
Why am I so happy?
What changed for me?
Everything frankly.
By finding my sobriety, learning to value myself as I am and following my 12 Step Program my relationship with God had a chance to flourish. My perspective changed, instead of seeing work I should do on myself, I ask what has God got for me to do today?
It wasn’t until I hit the point of desperation that I was willing to admit defeat.
That my busy life wasn’t working.
And after that, my life slowed down, I became humble.
When it was quiet, I began to become closer to God.
In those quiet times I read God’s word, listened to speakers online, listened for His word in my life and prayed.
I have learned that I don’t have to wear a fancy church hat for God to value me.
I don’t have to drive a certain car.
I don’t have to hide my past.
God accepts me as I am RIGHT NOW.
God already knows all the things in my past I am ashamed of.
How amazing is that?
Today as I sit quietly reflecting, I’m awed by the fact that I have been given a gift I don’t deserve. I didn’t earn this.
And yet I am determined to receive it well, I am willing.
Today I’m coming out of the closet…..I have a sock basket.
There I said it, it’s out there finally!
When Hubby and I were together before kids there would come a time when we would notice a sock going missing. Because there was just the two of us, it was a very quick discovery. In those days I did laundry once a week, generally 3 loads and managed to sort, fold and put them away immediately.
With the birth of our first daughter came the increase in laundry. I would lovingly wash her little clothing and bedding every two days or less. In those days, being a first-time Mum I kept quickly rinsed out soiled items, sprayed them with stain remover immediately and wouldn’t allow her dirty items to sit more than a few hours.
Fast-forward to daughter #2 and an 18 month old. Suddenly the laundry wasn’t done immediately, believe it or not….quite often I would find a burp pad far under a pile of laundry. Said burp pad wouldn’t have been rinsed, no stain spray had been applied and a nasty black mold covered it. 
And so into the garbage it would go.
It happened more than once, I am not entirely proud of that.
As our girls have grown, their clothing has gotten larger and inexplicably seems to become soiled much quicker. Oh for the days when they couldn’t even roll around. Laundry is done almost daily nowadays….I just cannot face mold anymore.
We have developed a system, Hubby does the laundry (I can’t bed or lift well), he then presents me with a basket of clean clothes (somehow not as exciting as the surprise gifts I had imagined in my 20’s), and I sit and fold them. 
That’s our system right now….I’m still working on the put them away immediately portion, but for today it’s manageable.
What isn’t manageable is this.
Our sock basket.
It’s an amazing combination of different sizes, colors and textures which drives me nuts!
It began as a catcher for single-socks. Those socks whose mate was missing would be places into the receptacle to await the pairing process. Upon its initiation this basket was quite handy and the process was brisk, however the process has broken down horribly.
Hubby thought it a good idea to put ALL of the socks into the basket and pair them after folding and putting away the laundry.
 While it sounds like a great proposal for some families, within our home at this time it’s an utter failure.
With my brain injury, I cannot decipher pairs easily, if I’m tired at all it’s overwhelming. 
Therefore it became the children’s chore to match socks, another great idea.
This is a nightmare….they dump it out and begin the treasure hunt. This is amusing for them for a very short period, few pairs are found and folded together and then it’s all put back into the basket for “another day”.
And so we have the pretty pink sock basket. Each time we need socks, we dig in and find a pair. The basket moves from bedroom to bedroom and haunts me. It’s like I can hear it breathing some days…..I told Hubby that I’m considering throwing out all of the socks and starting over. Alas that would be a waste.
And so this afternoon, once the girls are home from Summer Camp we will not be making forts in the living room like yesterday.
Nor will we be swimming with friends.
We will be matching socks, throwing away the single socks and bidding adieu to the sock basket forever!!!
**Disclaimer – yes I know it’s a waste to throw out the single socks but one house can only have so many sock puppets**
Tuesday controversy…can I possibly come up with something worthwhile?
I was over at a friend’s blog today and she’d written a very funny post about circumcision. The point of the post was actually about a dialogue between her Mother-In-Law and herself wherein she was baiting said MIL.
There were 190 comments on her post. It began with people letting her know they thought her post was hilarious and quickly degenerated into people slamming her about having a pro-circumcision opinion.
OK I know you’re all dying to see it, but sharing it wouldn’t be supporting the point of my post.
In the past few weeks I’ve been concerned that my “voice” isn’t coming through here. That I’m becoming a middle of the road blogger, full of daily stuff and not giving my the edges of who I am.
 It’s not like I’m holding back here folks, it simply that I have felt there were more important things to “put out there” than my opinion on controversial issues. I’m certainly not as funny as many of the bloggers I read and frankly if I posted about circumcision it would probably come across as gross not sassy.
My life has moved away from focusing upon the trivial issues, I’m not fashionable (I have friends who help), I’m not a great cook (have a hubby who helps), I’m not as in your face as I used to be (thank God for that!), I’m trying to not share my blue humor here, and I’m not going to spout out here about my bedroom activities (well not often).
So where do I fit in the blogisphere?
I’m a Christian.
I am a Wife
I am a Mother
I’m an alcoholic
I’m a daughter, sister, friend.
Can you see where this is going?
I’m feelin’ it people, I’m hearing the song in my head….
I’m everyone woman….it’s all in me……..
I’m uncertain if I have yet established a “voice” but I do know that I love blogging and appreciate other bloggers. While I personally try to limit myself from posting about controversial issues, I hope my sassy self is coming through.
I truly hope my blog isn’t just vanilla, middle of the road to my readers.
Seriously if a recovering alcoholic, Christian Mother can’t find a way to be amusing we’re all in trouble here.
Perhaps this is a bad idea, but I’m going to roll with it.
Feedback promotes growth.
So have at it folks, let me know your thoughts on how I’m doing….have I been too bland lately?
Are you getting my point, that there is a balance to be found, mind, body and spirit?
Can you see that it truly is possible to live in the NOW yet be mindful of a greater purpose?
Believe it or not friends I have a lot to learn and could stand to grow….that there is the humble in me in case you didn’t notice.
Being a creature of habit, when I was commuting to work I knew exactly which route would have the least traffic and took it daily. My journey home took just under an hour and I valued the evenings with my family; rarely did I alter my course.
This was not the only route available but I had established this to be the quickest path with the least amount of frustration. Along the way I would come to a fork in the road and repeatedly choose the same road without thought. 
I can remember one evening in the month of May, as I approached the stop sign which was a marker of the half way point, I noticed a construction sign. The irritating orange sign told me that my usual left hand turn was not an option and I was forced to take the right hand turn.
Sighing with frustration at the interruption and certain lost time, I made the right turn and the quick left which followed. This country road was flanked by hundred year old trees which canopied over the hilly road; gorgeous green farm fields nestled beside the dirt shoulder relaxing me as they came into my field of vision.
Driving slowly I began to relax, my thoughts weren’t on the time as per usual.
The sunlight which stole through the trees onto the road brought a sense of calm to the space and as I began the ascent up a distinctly steep hill I was surprised to see goats standing over me on the rock wall which was placed just beside the road. Was that really a goat? How long had it been since I’d seen a goat?
At the top of the hill I felt compelled to pull the car over; I got out and walked over to the side of the meadow which greeted me. Standing there I could see over a valley, it was such an amazing view….I had no idea it existed. For a moment I was lost in this vista of spring, the fruit trees in bloom, the animals in the fields, it captured me entirely.
In that moment I breathed deeply and the feeling of deep gratitude for my life swept over me. Visions of my husband, my children and their smiles came into my mind. Tears stung my eyes as I thanked God, realizing how fortunate I was.
This moment seemed to consume me, I was there directly within it as the gentle breeze graced my face. At this point in my life I wasn’t actively seeking a relationship with God and yet I felt Him there and it was as if He filled me with a feeling of being loved, from my toes to the top of my head.
As is want to happen in times like these, a feeling within myself urged me to remember the time, I looked at my watch and saw I had to get moving to get to the baby sitter’s house. With one last sweeping glance I attempted to commit the view to my memory for future use and returned to my car.
The rest of the drive home was uneventful but the feeling of serenity remained.
It lasted for a while until the concerns of life pushed it out. When I noticed this happening I would often take that country drive home and try to find the peace within the quite a few moments can bring.
These days I don’t commute from work and yet I have practices which afford me the peaceful feeling I seek.
I try to pay attention and take different routes these days so that I don’t need a construction sign to point me in the right direction.
There are so many amazing experiences to be had if we open our minds and hearts and take the unknown course.
Are you missing an amazing experience?
Have you chosen the easiest route and closed your mind to other options?
Have you checked the motivation for your choices?
Are you seeking purely self-satisfaction, are you fearful, are you seeking to be in control rather than to grow?
I ran around life too long being fearful and ego driven.
Being aware and investigating is always worth the little effort involved, otherwise how can we grow?
Proverbs 16:9
 “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
Isaiah 58:11
“The Lord will guide you continually …And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail
AA – Twelve & Twelve Pg. 65
Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn’t strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose. When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due to us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.
If we as, God will certainly forgive our derelictions. But in no case does He render us white as snow and keep us that way without our cooperation. That is something we are supposed to be willing to work toward ourselves. He asks only that we try as best we know how to make progress in the building of character.
Today’s post is in response to a prompt on The Red Dress Club. The prompt was the following photo:

In February I wrote a post, I Quit, where I announced my commitment to quit smoking. In this post I shared that I knew I was powerless over alcohol and that I didn’t want to be addicted to any substance.
I meant every word.
Why am I still smoking then, why did the focus upon it fade?
Because I’m an addict and a part of me is pre-programed to overlook this behaviour, to self-sabotage and continue to harm myself over time with the momentary feeling of satisfaction which each drag brings.
This is not a cop out, it’s a fact.
Anyone who has smoked before knows the short term benefits, the physical satisfaction, the distraction it provides, the feeling of relaxation, the momentary commonality with other smokers. While actively living as a smoker we can cite numerous benefits and yet in our hearts we know we wish we didn’t have to.
We have felt the disparaging glances of non-smokers, the isolation of the addiction and felt the often scathing opinions cracking our facades of loving being a smoker. We have hated ourselves for needing the cigarette as much as we needed to breathe, resented the reliance upon the act which is so abhorred.
 In this day and age we all know the negative effects of smoking; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to list them, even my 7 year old can do a fine job.
Again I ask myself why I was unsuccessful in February.
The answer is simple.
My motivation for quitting smoking was wrong. I was feeling like outcast, judged, hated the smell of my clothing, smoking cost money which I would rather have spent elsewhere…all superficial reasons. I wanted to succeed to improve others opinions of myself and for financial gain.
These may seem like valid reasons for quitting smoking to some people, but for me, someone who is truly an addict, it needs to be a deeper reason. It needs to be on a spiritual level, a deep conviction for change will be the only thing which will allow me to overcome the physical, emotional and mental cravings for a smoke.
Smoking for me has become more than just lighting a cig and taking a drag, it’s become a part of who I am. I hadn’t fully realized that.
Cutting out the act of “going for a puff” is going to be like experiencing a death, losing a part of myself. Irrelevant of the positive motivation this behaviour has become ingrained with my being over the past 20 years.
So what now?
For me there are no late night TV infomercial fixes; I cannot rely upon anything to quit, no meds, no patches….just my faith and determination.
Now I have to seek that deeper motivation.
I will pray and ask for God to convict my soul.
I will ask God to remove my need to smoke, I will spend time in meditation reflecting on the effect smoking has on my soul.
I will ask God to strengthen me for this fight, to fill me with the determination to overcome each screaming instinct within me which will surely occur.
I will not set a quit date, nor will I tell anyone other than hubby my need for support on that day.
When the day comes I will use the tools I’ve learned in AA and through God’s strength I will learn to tread softly through the grief of this loss and determine my new self.
Until this day I will continue to attempt to cut down my smoking, to respect the feelings of non-smokers and not allow my addiction to define me or shame me.
Any man can fight the battles of just one day.
This Easter Sunday I was really moved by the service at our church.
I have gotten the link to a video which was shared with us and really want to share it here.
It’s a fantastic example of God’s Grace.
Praying used to be difficult for me. I couldn’t find the words.
Have you ever felt like you had to stand at attention while speaking to God?
Worried your words aren’t pretty enough?
In the past I would flounder around trying to use fancy words, attempting to demonstrate to God my dedication to him using words and sayings which weren’t natural to me.
Now I speak to God from my heart. The way I see it is that He knows me better than anyone ever has, if he can see into my mind he already knows my thoughts. Why pretty them up?
I’m not always on my knees while in prayer…it happens throughout my day often.
I love the dialogue in this skit.
Let me know your thoughts.