Friday, December 26, 2014


A few weeks ago, I was struggling emotionally -I don't remember exactly why -and I asked Danny for a blessing. 
In it he said that this Christmas would be the best Christmas yet, that there great blessings coming, and that as I continued to simplify my life, I would find more peace.

Hearing that great blessings were coming helped me get through that day.  As I climbed through the passenger side door of our broken Jeep to sit myself in the driver's seat, I remembered... great blessings are coming.  It probably would have helped to chant, "If thou endure it well..." but I didn't.

This Christmas season, and yes -even Christmas day! -have turned out to easily be the BEST I've ever experienced.  There's so many reasons why, but I wanted to stop in today and write about one particular reason.
Yesterday, I experienced a great deal of hope for my marriage and circumstances -more than I have had in two years' time!

Danny has been off work, and while I was concerned about that -how and where he would spend his time, I took things day by day.  Each day he has slept not only in the house with me but next to me in bed.  Each day I gave myself permission to ask him to leave, and each day I made the decision that he could stay.  We went on a date, shopping in the city, and I couldn't believe the peace we felt.
Was it perfect?  Eff no.  I had a meltdown in the middle of Target over spending so much on needed clothes for the kids.
We had agreed to simplify Christmas this year, use no credit cards (though we were fully broke because we'd used all of our fun money to take the family to Disneyland for our 10th anniversary in order to avoid that pain and triggers at home.  Healthy?  I don't know.  Successful?  You betcha.) and stay focused on what really matters.
Anytime I felt myself getting worked up or overwhelmed, I'd re-center and ask God, "Okay, what now?  I'm trying to control today, so forgive me and tell me... what's next?"
It was usually a nap.

The first holiday meltdown was had in the middle of the Target aisles, and this is remarkable for one good and solid reason: I usually don't allow myself to be honest and melt down -especially not publicly.  I was Queen Shove-It-Down!  and I was so proud, so very proud to be so very composed at all times.
But I'm not now.  I'm honest and real and more true to what I'm feeling, even if it's a meltdown over panties and socks.

A few days ago, I was triggered and I melted down again.  Danny gave me space to take a hot bath and then asked, "Did I upset you?"
The answer was yes, and I said it.  I said the word that I KNEW would bring confrontation.
I realize this isn't big for other people, but for ME -it was huge to be honest.
It was beautiful to feel that there was no other agenda for Danny other than LISTENING.
He wasn't formulating a plan to argue back, he wasn't becoming defensive.  He was simply listening to me.
You might call it an absence of the drama triangle, but I like to call it, "seeing Danny get outside of himself and connecting."

As we drove home from the city, I felt that hope and happiness that came from being on his arm, to visiting with him, talking about everything and laughing about nothing.
And then I said something I haven't said in 18 months, "I think I'm ready to wear a ring now.  At least, today I am."
In October, I picked a ring out in an etsy store -it was very dainty, very simple.
I fell deeply in love with the tiny pearl and thought of Anne of Green Gables -how she'd looked forward to seeing a diamond her entire life and when she finally was able to, was disappointed.  It wasn't all it was cracked up to be.  She had a pearl ring instead.
I love that it wasn't trying to impress or prove -it was happy simply BEING.  It seemed to embrace the spirit of simplicity, something I'm finding at my center.  I'm a simple being.
The ring sold soon after I'd found it, and I was grateful I'd screen-shot it on my phone.
"If you'll text me that picture," Danny said, "I can get a hold of the lady who made it."
On the 24th, I woke up and hugged him.  I said, "Too bad I didn't come to the realization earlier that I'd be ready on Christmas day to wear a wedding ring."
"That's what I was thinking," Danny shrugged and we both laughed because life is funny.

Thursday morning, we all gathered around and opened up simple gifts.  I gave Danny an iTunes gift card, some wireless headphones, homemade hair pomade (for his stubborn cow lick) and a personalized sign I designed that made him happy cry.
His gifts from me were wonderful: a porcelain shoe to add to my collection, a moon necklace with sentimental meaning ("what do you want, do you want the moon, Mary?" ~George Bailey).
The last gift under the tree was for me -it was a small box, and inside that small box was a ring box and inside that ring box was THE ring... the beautifully simply ring with a beautifully simple pearl!  I couldn't believe it!

As it turns out, the DAY after I'd found the ring back in October, Danny BOUGHT IT.  He has had the ring for two months, and the timing just happened to be perfect.

I wept, wept, wept and then I beamed the rest of the day.  I had the moon AND the world.

Snow fell last night, and as it sent us all off to sleep, I expressed my feelings to Danny the best way I knew how: wordy, wordy, worderson.
I told him how wonderful it was to see a transformation taking place inside of myself, inside of him, and inside of our marriage, how we were OKAY even when we weren't okay!
I feel at home with Danny -a sense of wonderful safety that I created within myself that somehow birthed this wonderful gift of CONNECTION.
Last night, we picked up a million tiny rubber bandaloom bands and put the 2 year old back in bed 50 million times and I couldn't help but give voice to what I think the Lord might be trying to show me:

I never would have thought that I'd find so much peace and pure joy in living in a broken mess -a broken messy home, marriage, and body.  It seems that all around me is swirling in broken, messiness... and last night I felt so peaceful and grateful.
Would I trade that peace for a newer car?  No.
Would I trade that peace for a bigger home that I actually own?  No.
And would I trade this pearl for a diamond?  Hell no.

I think of Anne and her tribute to her own pearls:

“But pearls are for tears, the old legend says," Gilbert had objected.
"I'm not afraid of that. And tears can be happy as well as sad. My very happiest moments have been when I had tears in my eyes—when Marilla told me I might stay at Green Gables—when Matthew gave me the first pretty dress I ever had—when I heard that you were going to recover from the fever. So give me pearls for our troth ring, Gilbert, and I'll willingly accept the sorrow of life with its joy." -Anne”

Our life is one of accepted failures and joyous victories, of tears of joy and tears of sorrow!  Our life together will be built from mutual respect, no other agenda but to individually ask God what He would have us do.
Will we do it perfectly?  Of course not, that's the most beautiful element to our tapestry.

My life has become about the present -leaving the future to God, I can honestly say that today I'm proud to wear a ring symbolizing my loyalty to Danny.  Today, I feel peace.  Today, I feel joy.  Today I feel fear.  Today, I feel human.  Today, I feel -I FEEL HOPE and JOY -and I will not let the future rob me of my present.
Tomorrow I might, but today I will not.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Sea of Tender Mercies

I read my Step 4 to my sponsor today.

I expected and anticipated a gigantic vulnerability hangover, and what I got instead was... a big, gigantic bear hug from God in the form of a tender mercy.

My counselor likes the apostle, Peter, and I do too.  I really relate to Peter -He loved God so much but was still mortal and still messed up even though he hated screwing up more than he hated Satan (which was a lot.  Is a lot?  I don't know how this all work, tense-wise).

My counselor showed me a picture of Peter in the water he so infamously fell into (I wonder if Peter ever gets fed up with having his screw ups published in the Bible FOREVER and ALL TIME) and he said, "When we have the courage to step out of the boat, God has tender mercies waiting for us."
That's a brave statement.
Because what if I let go of fear and then FALL FLAT?  What if God forgets about me and I drown?  It's completely possible.

But hearing Jed say it... I don't know, something MOVED inside of me and I thought maybe I could give it a try.  You know, LATER.  I took it slow, but as I put my pen to paper and began writing out my Step 4 for the second time in my little life, I found that my Step 4 was already done.  I'd been thinking about it, God had pointed things out to me without me really realizing it in the moment, and my Step 4 poured out of me.  It's kind of gross writing out weaknesses because then I NOTICE them all of the time.
Oh, look, I'm being selfish again.
Oh, look!  I let fear be the boss again.
Dang it... there I go, feeling like a victim and strategically planning manipulation tactics...

But I showed up and I DID IT.  It took an hour and a half of phone time, and a lot of multi-tasking because of a little toddler repeating, "I NEED YOU!" and "HONEY, HONEY, HONEY!" over and over (seriously irresistible, okay?).

After it was done, I went right into teaching a piano lesson and then I read a book to my daughter.  We played with stickers.  I helped my son.  I relaxed a little before attending Enrichment, and you know what?  I didn't THINK EVEN ONCE about my inventory or what my sponsor thought of me, and that's a huge miracle in my life.
Enrichment ended up being surprising sacred tonight.

I had a sacred experience that taught me and reminded me about Christ's love for me.  Please listen as I report:

My husband was my God.  I LOVE other people, and it is SO EASY for me to make them my center.  I, Alicia, needed someone to RIP that trust to shreds, to sabotage it so fully that I didn't turn to any other mortal.  I needed to turn to God, and since I would not do it voluntarily (I thought I had been and in so doing had allowed my pride to blind me to reality.  A sort of, "I'm all good and OTHER PEOPLE need God now" attitude), I had to be compelled.

I know now that Christ's love is beyond words.  I wonder if there are emotions in heaven that mortals simply aren't capable of -and I feel as if Christ's love holds secret emotions that have no mortal word to do them justice.
Christ's love for Alicia is patient... endlessly patient.  His hunger and passion for me will wait for as long as it takes -a lifetime and more.  He DESIRES me.  He SEES me. He sees me in my entirety: my potential and my weaknesses, my character and my temptations, my worries and my joys, my likes and hates.  He takes it all in and accepts it ALL, loves it ALL, embraces me WHERE I'M AT. He is gentle with me because He knows me intimately.  He knows I'm sensitive.  And He guards me FIERCELY.  His love is protective.  Is it possible to be loved like this?  To be loved by a warrior for peace?
Am I worthy?

I'm logging on tonight (this morning?) to simply report that


Because I AM.

Someday I'll look into Christ's eyes and I will match His passion for me with my passion for Him and stand mystified that a love so remarkably deep can be void of sexual inclinations.

In S-anon we read that in our faulty beliefs, we felt sex was the most important sign of love.  And in my faulty belief system, I still fight that old pattern.  It's infuriating and confusing to have my heart at war with my head, but it is necessary for change to occur, and I need change almost more than I need air.

I stand all amazed for me.
I stand all amazed for you.
I stand all amazed that there can be such a love as Christ's.

May this Christmas season bring about a taste of that love in your life is my prayer this very early morning.