Sunday, November 16, 2008


Today in church our Celebrate Recovery band is performing a song and the leader of the ministry is explaining a bit about what we are. The band has rock and roll delusions a bit, as all men over thirty do, but we have fun and we're not half bad. We only perform on Friday nights so the church really doesn't see what goes on. I'm a little nervous-we're supposedly introducing ourselves as we do at CR just like any 12 step meeting. But we figure sometimes the most polished church member is the one who really needs some help and doesn't know where to look or how to ask.

Brandon is officially out of the hole, thank goodness. That's another blessing of today-he called his dad yesterday and wants to talk to me, so he's calling again today. I can't wait! We haven't heard from him in several weeks. He still has his job but is on probation for two months and won't be working.

And I need to really begin asking myself some questions about an issue I'm working a fourth step on now. I've always used food to cope, and I have to look at what is healthy living in that regard, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I don't know how to live with this well-I never have. The twenty pounds I lost is now back on plus some weight, and I'm not sure what the answer is-after forty years of struggling, there must be something. This morning brings it front and center-if I introduce myself as someone finding victory over codependency and food issues, that needs to be the truth.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

workin' 9-5

As I think about where I'm headed these days and what I do with my time, I'm really ready for my life to be more structured and to be able to look back on my day's time and feel that it has been more significant. I've been so fortunate, sincerely, to have had lots of opportunities and "explore" time in my life. I have to see that as the gift that it was. I did not have to, or did not choose to, go off to a 9-5 job. I opted to stay home with my kids, to go back to school to develop my art skills and to be "on call" more or less for my husband and volunteer my time.

I had a day last week where it seemed from morning until the evening, I was where I needed to be, it all seemed important to me and I closed me eyes simply feeling like this was the pattern for the way I should be living now. Certainly not every day is going to be that, and I realize that was only one-going to a job could get old, I don't always want to be running from morning until evening and every part of life has its seasons. I have wonderful ministry opportunities now-no lack of "stuff" that is important to fill a day. I'm just tired of my schedule being controlled by other family members. It is no longer necessary. Our boarder, Eric, is coming into the home stretch of his time with us, and that is another thing that has told me I'm really done sitting around or racing home because he needs the car, or something, due to his schedule. I'm ready to focus on the home here and fill the role I've waited years to be able to. I have contributed one way to the home, and now I'm ready to contribute in a more independent way. I look so forward to it. I have the freedom to develop a career and assist my husband financially.

Another thing that caused me to take stock of my life was the fact that I'm going to visit my sisters over Thanksgiving. I'm very excited to go, very anxious to spend time with them. I got an e-mail from the youngest suggesting we all think about volunteering to serve turkey dinners on the day as an antidote to the "stuff yourself silly and be totally lazy" routine. It's a great idea, but only a luxury for someone who is totally focused on their own life most of the time. Volunteering and serving others is so built into my whole existence I don't need any more opportunities. I sincerely want the other part of life, that which every feel good tv movie seems to condemn if it morphs into workaholism. I don't think that is a danger here. What they don't mention is that it is not pleasant to be constantly scratching for cash and always be giving to others when we have needs. There needs to be a balance. We won't be serving turkey dinners this year. Maybe next.

Yesterday I spent three hours watching TV Land (old reruns of Third Rock) with my cat. It was good. Like a person used to overeating, I want to have an appetite for a weekend and fun stuff. Right now I don't. I think a daily routine will be the remedy.

Friday, November 07, 2008

"loft"y ambitions

There is still enough of the artist left in me, or bohemian, whichever the case may be, that would love to live in one of these beautiful domiciles. I like the idea of open, undivided space, plenty of wall area to display art, two stories if I want, roller skating optional if I ever feel like it, or the grandkids feel like it (chuckle)-and of course, mammoth northlight capturing windows.'s a day to dream.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


"Golden Isolation"
Ben Davies-Jenkins

We received two hand-written letters from Brandon this weekend. That is significant because he has a little typing and printing device he uses to do his letters. So I knew something was up as soon as I opened them. Bran was asked to give up his bunk for another inmate. Of course, this being prison, you're not told why nor really requested to do anything. You're simply told. If you do not comply, there are consequences. Bran understood this and still said "no". He figured if he got isolation, maybe a week. He got 20 days. Here's his version:

"Went to see the hearing examiner this morning, around 8:5o it says on the sheet. They gave me 20 days! On consideration! That's crazy. This, my first offense ever, a non-violent on at that, got me 20 days in the bucket. I guess...the only good part is I get to keep my job. What I might do is appeal the punishment. Try for 10 days in the hole, 10 on cell-restriction. Some such ratio. I can't go back to work in blues, but I can get myself situated on the block. It says in the rule book "Refusing an Order" is eligible for informal decision/punishment and doesn't require hole time. Much less 3 weeks. These guys are off their collective rockers. I shouldn't have put in a guilty plea. In the appeal I'll plead for leniency over my workplace being short-handed (which is true, and the hiring list is wrapped in light years of red tape which doesn't help), or the fact that they guy was Muslim and I wasn't trying for any black marks by pressing religious/racial/cultural issues. Ahh, man, this is turning out to be one hot mess. It's all time, I suppose. They can't take the days away from me. They can take all else, but they can't take my time." (Thank God)

I know I should be used to these things by now. You never get used to them. I try not to cry, try not to let it get in my way-I know my son and he'll be fine. But it just begins to seep and bleed into a soul. It's weird that in my step groups Friday night through Saturday at the jail we talked a lot about isolation. There are many kinds, and the one kind that isn't good is self-imposed. I cannot let Bran's isolation put me there as well.

In these things, God shows His face and is good. And so I try to watch for Him but sometimes it sneaks up! Yesterday, I knew I had to get to the grocery before going to the jail for group. I was trying hard to clear up the tears and get on with it, and as I was leaving the store, a stranger walked up to me with a plastic bag of grapes. He wasn't exactly Mr. Clean Cut citizen-greasy hair in an old cap, bad teeth and a grizzled beard, but he said, "I think you must have dropped these and I know they aren't mine. I also know you would have been missing them once you got home!" I don't know-sometimes the simplest acts of kindness are the most profoundly moving. I know he probably could have appreciated those grapes more than me.

Of course, logging onto the computer always produces surprises, and I got a lovely one in a long, beautiful e-mail from a friend (our Mel). She's the best writer-I always imagine I can hear her talking when she writes her style is so unique. Thanks again, my friend! That made my day. And the blog read I always check-Pixie's great stories, Shaun's funny posts and pictures, my friend Lisa and her constant e-mails. They are so appreciated.

And then in the prison-I already have two special gals, and one told me she watches to be sure my car pulls in. That amazes me. It means so much to them for me to be there. Well, it was just these two yesterday, and we had such a special session. They really needed to be able to vent, cry and just know someone cares. I feel enormously privileged to be able to bring some comfort and encouragement there. And then our local's as if God handpicked the women to come, and we are already a tight group working through issues and our lives together. I'm so grateful to them for committing themselves (we should be committed, LOL!).

Love is all around, even amidst the isolation the world tries to impose. I know cell walls will not keep love away. (p.s. Another gift-the lovely painting I used for the blog...title of the painting is a hyperlink to the artist's website-his work is amazing)