Tuesday, August 29, 2017


On Sunday, I sat in one of THE best Sunday Schools lessons I've ever been in.  The teacher was a question-asker, a truth-seeker.  He spoke my language. 
The lesson was on hard work, and there were a few insights that I can't stop thinking about.  One is this -a quote mentioned by the teacher:

The thought has come back over and over and over.

I recently set some firm boundaries for my own health.  I have crossed some lines lately.  And by "lines" I mean "streets" and by that I simply mean that I'd left my side of the street and planted myself on my husband's sidewalk.  I didn't even truly realize it until my soul resembled the Black Knight from Monty Python, and then I went, "Oh, yeah... this is my battle ground.  His side of the street is littered with land mines and grenades and so so much tear gas."

I'm back on my side, but I'm hurt and I'm scared and I'm trying to just create safety and a solid space for healing.  But also?  I'm all bruised and bleeding -in short: I'M not healthy right now.  I didn't realize just how unhealthy I was until I called my sponsor to surrender a few things -because when I've just come out of my war zone, I'm WAY more sensitive and prone to triggers -and she called me out on what was going on.
Jealousy, pride, judgement.
It felt like someone applying rubbing alcohol to my wounds.

It felt uncomfortable.

But it didn't feel untrue.  My gut knew it, and my sponsor was brave enough to say it.

So I'm taking some time to just rest, and in a few days I'll revisit all the stuff out of my control.  I'm so tired, honestly.  I'm physically tired from travelling (more travel this weekend), and I'm mentally tired from some work stuff.  I'm emotionally tired from my marriage stuff.  And my spiritual canteen feels bone. dry.

So I'm off.  To grow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


My mom once fell off a horse and then fell into a coma for a few weeks.  As she woke up, she only wanted to listen to a few select albums including The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas album.  As I grew up, I found that Mom's penchant for listening to the same albums over and over and over was just... how she was.
How she is, brain damage or not.
There's still certain albums I won't touch with a ten-foot pole because it reminds me of that day in Elementary School where I took a bite of what was probably my 5,000th peanut butter and peach jam sandwich and had to run to the trash can because I almost puked.
So. literally. sick. of. them.

One of her favorites was the LDS Church Primary Songs -not the musical tracks, but the tracks with little kids singing.  There wasn't a single one I didn't come to have that sort of PB/Peach Reaction to.
But I gotta say.
Those lyrics, they do stick like peanut butter.
This morning, I keep thinking about this one: Where Love Is, There God is Also.

I've been thinking about how you could easily switch it up a bit to, "Where Chaos Is, There Addiction is Also."
I look at old family videos (from 2009) of my two oldest crawling around our floor in diapers and there is just stuff everywhere: old pizza boxes, piles of paper, clothes.
Some of that is because, yes, I had TWO KIDS IN DIAPERS.  But there's so much more to those videos.
We talk a lot about the chaos and disconnect that occurs with addiction, but there's also a sort of lethal form of SCARCITY that no one really openly talks about.
Our furniture was used and torn, but we were dead sure we couldn't afford anything else. Money was too scarce.
We would talk about how we needed new clothes but couldn't afford them, yet our house was strewn with clothing we only kind of liked but couldn't seem to part with.
We talked about how we didn't have enough time or money or or or...

In truth, at our cores, we believed that WE WERE NOT ENOUGH.  By the natural flow of the laws of the universe, because we believed in scarcity, scarcity showed up for us -ever constant, ever depressing.

I was so steeped in scarcity that I never EVER paid full price for anything, so I always ended up with 5 shirts on clearance that I wasn't ever sure I liked but thought I needed because my other shirts were getting too old or too small.
Scarcity brought on chaos the same way I push my babies in a stroller... they are beholden to one another.  And is it just me, or are they both wrapped up in a frigid layer of fear?

Rooting out scarcity and chaos hasn't been a quick fix.  No Condo Method or Fly Lady could have fixed my issues.
This has been a Jesus Fix, through and through.

Sometimes it got much worse before it got a smidge better.  For months at a time, I had to QUIT CLEANING altogether because of shame.  I found every time I did dishes, I was tense and stressed.  I had to finish them and be perfect about it.  I wanted to make my husband happy.  I HAD TO BE ENOUGH -clean enough!
It turns out, I never once did the dishes because I was grateful or felt true love for the offerings of food on my table.
I only did dishes because I was afraid of being messy, because I wanted others to be happy.

It was the same with laundry and vacuuming, with sweeping and dusting.  I was a homemaker, trapped in a hellish prison of workhouse shame.
Cleaning was -I thought -MY MAIN JOB and I was rendered paralyzed by shame.

I quit.

I quit until I could wash with gratitude and love.  I quit exercising for the same reasons.

Those were hard days where I knew I was doing hard work but was frustrated because it wasn't the kind you could SEE.  My house was dirtier than ever and my body?  Sick and getting heavier each day.

It was like working Step 1 every durn day, "My life -my shame -has become unmanageable."

But gradually -GRADUALLY -good things came around.  Just as when I believed in scarcity and it showed up... as I believed in LOVE, it showed up!

Pizza boxes started getting thrown away in a timely fashion.  Clothes started getting donated, and I found that I was worth paying full-price for clothing items that I genuinely loved.  I can actually have my laundry DONE sometimes for a few seconds... whereas even just last summer, I could do laundry all week and still be walking on clothes instead of my laundry room floor.
I began healthy, healing practices for my physical health.  I began walking without tension in my muscles, "How much weight am I losing?" slowly began to be replaced with a happy sort of presence where I just appreciated the place I was in -the fresh air and clouds, the birds and sunshine.
I began enjoying my time at the sink as I found appreciation for my dishes.  I recently rearranged my cupboards in a way that has substantially decreased the chaos.  I cleaned out my closet, and it's stayed clean because chaos and scarcity are starting to visit less and less and less and less.
I now keep freshly cut flowers and greens on my piano, and my house sports beautiful things from beautiful people: stained glass from a dear recovery sister hangs in the window over my sink, beautiful crystals from my brother are scattered here and there throughout my living room.  There's LOVE in my home and GRATITUDE and JOY.

Last year for Father's Day, I spent the day before cleaning my buns off.  I got armpits deep in the kind of sweat that they never talk about in Vogue, and mucked, mucked, mucked.
Then I went to the store.
I bought a bedspread, something I'd never done for the King-sized bed we'd bought YEARS earlier (because, as I said, I believed money was scarce).  I bought a new shower curtain (hadn't done that since we moved in -we'd just been living with the liner our landlord had put in).  I bought a matching bathmat and a few bathroom decorations.
I set everything up and then wrote a note to my husband, "Because you're worth it" and left it on the dusted, newly decorated headboard.

He still keeps that note where he can see it every morning, and a few months later, he returned the favor -cleaning our room and leaving me an answer "because you are too."

A few weeks ago, I noticed a thread-bare spot on our sheets, so I threw them out and bought new ones within the week.  In the last year, I've bought mascara TWICE instead of making one tube last for two or three years.

I realize these kinds of things come naturally for some -they certainly came more naturally for me before addiction and trauma took up cellular residency -but these things are now substantial miracles, folks.  Downright.

Anyway, last week I did The Awful Sweat thing again and mucked out my house.  Spring Cleaning is stupid, right?  It's a stupid farce.  It's like cleaning on Saturday.  Everyone talks about it like it's the NORMAL thing to do but everyone also knows that Sunday is the Great and Terrible Day where everyone trashes all the houses, so WHY?!  WHY do we clean on Saturday?!
I'll tell you what: I don't.  I hike on Saturdays now.  Or shop or play or whatever because CLEANING is for MONDAYS NOW.
And Spring Cleaning is now POST-SUMMER cleaning because who cleans at all during the summer time?  I don't really because there's swimming and hiking and sunshine and monsoons and mud and reunions, so why clean?
And let's start talking about how hiring cleaning help is one of the most beautiful ideas in the history of ideas.  I'm terrible at cleaning, and I appreciate that there's folks who aren't who I can pay to come work their mystical cleaning magic in my home.

Yesterday was Monday (cleaning day), and I made my bed.  I wore clean underwear and clean clothes, and I washed rugs and the 4 thick towels we bought to replace the 13 thin towels we'd been hoarding for ten years.  A few months ago, Danny and I bought a repo'd Kirby at a discount, and because our house is cozy (read: small), I can plug that thing in a central outlet and clean the whole house.  I run over all the carpets and then I switch out attachments and dust everything.  I go over our hard-surface flooring with the special hard-floor attachment.  Our ceiling fan gets a once-over... and I apologize to the spiders before demolishing and swiping their homes.

As I worked, I kept hitting on this idea of foundations.
My buddy Taura is a yoga instructor who now lives in the South and sometimes visits with her children who are so cute I almost forget that mine are cuter.  A few years ago, I was doing yoga in her backyard during the time in my life where I wasn't doing dishes and I was trying to figure out how to do yoga without hating my body.
Everyone around me was flowing and glowing, and I was weary and wobbling.
I'm all legs.  Did you know that about me?  Percentage wise, I'm 70% legs, 20% torso and 10% head n' hair.
It is never more apparent than when I'm trying to Zumba and can't make my legs move like the shorter folks move theirs -OR when I'm trying to make downward dog work like the girls next to me.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy.
"If you're falling, check your foundation."
That's What Taura Said.  Someday I'll write a book and call it What Taura Said and fill it full of quotes Taura probably had no idea she said.
I've never been able to forget that one.

If anything feels like falling, scarcity and chaos and fear feel that way.
So what, then, are my foundations?
Christ. Yes.
I'm realizing it goes a bit more shallow than that.
It's my undies, really.  And my made bed.  It's my dishes.  It's my Basic Human Foundations: the first thing I put on that send a message one way or the other.
Clean, crisp underwear let me know I'm worthy of a clean foundation.
Clean, orderly clothes let me know I'm worth the time and the money.
A nice, lovely bed makes for better sleep -sleep is a huge part of the foundation of my mental, spiritual and physical health.  So much healing happens in that sacred rest -even God shuts off the light in order for sleep to move in.
Pretty, clean plates are the welcoming mat for good, solid food.  I'm not just talking about green and clean -I'm talking about cream and oats, butter and bread, meat and potatoes!

Yes, Christ is THE FOUNDATION.
But where LOVE is, There God is.  And LOVE, my dear sweet healing sisters, can be found in a made bed.
Which thing I never before had supposed.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I am Free

I feel compelled to write.  I feel compelled to record everything -I take pictures of everything, cry about moments passed, happy or otherwise.  My family teases me about this, hates the way I point cameras in their faces.
No pictures.
Don't blog this.

Is it because they feel unworthy of being recorded in some way?

I guess the whys don't really matter.  The only thing that really matters is what I think of me and what I know about me and that is simply: I feel compelled to record everything which means God wants me to.

It's hard to let go of those other voices, though.  Sometimes it's easier than others, but lately it's been a hard battle.  So loud, those voices.  Lots of them coming at me -some coming at me from within me.
Stop writing.
Stop recording.
Stop talking.
You're superfluous.
You're insignificant.
You're insufficient.
Someone else could do it better.
Someone else has done it better.
Someone else is cleaner.
Someone else is quieter.

These voices used to rule my life, my decisions.  I didn't even know they weren't truth.

So there's progress there.  Now I can see them for what they are.  Lately, they've been so present and loud.  I just keep thinking... God is up to something.  Great inspiration and enlightenment seem JUST on the other side of heated battles like these.

Today my mind is spinning circles.  I just returned from a trip that just sanded me down.  I'm sure there was some polishing and refining going on, but I don't look or feel it on the outside.  All I want is sleep!
I spent a lot of time with people I dearly love who don't work the healing path I'm on.
My house and health are a mess, my friends.
But my soul is as rest, my soul has access to peace and calm!

During my time away, I had two separate experiences where people asked me about my grandchildren.
My grandchildren?!
I'm THIRTY ONE.  I'm not done having my own kids yet!

These comments came during the thick of my facing some old trauma that was raked up by situations I was facing, and I wanted to run to the store for some anti-aging cream.  Maybe run and get a haircut real quick?  Start coming up with an exercise plan to lose weight and look younger?
But no.
No, no, no.

The REAL answer is acceptance.  Love.  Love myself as I am.  The comments hurt less when my own self-worth has been buoyed up and fostered.

My prayers during my trip were just so honest.  I told God I was sad.  I was facing some grief and loss.  Shame was on my back, and on top of it all, I'm VAIN.  I'm VAIN and 31 and people called me GRANDMA.
I felt so childlike crying up to God, "Am I even loved at all?"
His answer was accompanied by a loving, lifting sensation -the kind He's sent me since I was a child, "You are free."

I am free.
That's what He said.

And as the week unfolded, I saw more and more what He meant.  I am not as bound as I once was by fear.  Though my pride is still loud and proud (ha!), it doesn't bind me nearly so much as when I didn't EVEN SEE IT AT ALL.

I am free.
Free to take pictures and free to record.  Free to talk and write.  Free to do that which I'm compelled to.
God is calling, and I must answer though the rewards feel *just* on the other side of mind battles fought in fields of fog as thick as molasses.

Today I am resting up, writing up and laughing at my 4 year old who keeps sneaking kittens in the house.  I need laughter daily, just as I need God daily.
I lamented to my mother about the "grandma" comments, "I've always looked older than I am," I said, trying to sort of comfort myself.
"It's because you're confident," she surprised me with her response.

Healing HAS given me access to a place where I don't care what people think of me AS MUCH (still an issue though).  I am moving forward without worrying what others will think... willing to sacrifice my marriage if it means getting better both physically and mentally and spiritually.  And that is confidence.
THAT is free.

I am free.
When I yoke myself to God, I am free.

He's always pulling funny ironies like that: last shall be first, small shall be great, yoked shall be free.

I love Him for it.  I truly do.