When Time Stands Still

We like to approach life in moments of time.  A floral scent in the air immediately takes us back to a childhood memory. A song can transport us to our first romantic encounter with someone we loved.  Often times we reconnect all these feelings to someone we've loved and lost but, really, it could be a connection to any life event.  A family vacation, a pajama party with girlfriends where we laughed all night or the loss of a beloved family member we thought would never leave us can all be snippets of time we often linger over to replay or re-script with a different result. 

When did you last experience time standing still for you?  In the world of chaos stemming from addiction or substance abuse time stands still in moments of fear. Holding our breath in hopes that the one we love will resurface intact of any harmful effects is a constant place we stand still. We usually struggle with finding something joyful that makes us catch our breath.  In the spirit of a new year ahead, however,  I have a post of another type. 

Recently we welcomed a new member to our family ~ she blew in with the winter winds of the new year to the shock and amazement of our family.  Certainly, to the wonder of my eldest brother who found out at the age of 67 that he is a father! 

With the dawn of Ancestry.Com and 23andMe along with social media the world as we know it, is getting smaller. My "new niece", JK, had thoughts and questions all her life about her background stemming from feelings of not belonging, not connecting, with the men she had in her life as father figures. JK wanted to do the Ancestry DNA kit offered by Ancestry.com and longed to see what was running through her veins, longing to put some rest to the gnawing feelings to "hunt for who I am".  

JK had spoken so much about her desire to search and seek information about her background she received a DNA test kit as a Christmas gift and promptly sent in her saliva collection the very next day. While the test results can take up to 8 weeks to be processed, it seems JK received the results back in record time. She was excited to confirm that she has 22% German/Swiss/Netherlands DNA which she knew, but was shocked to learn that she had a high percentage of Scot/Irish and Welsh DNA. Along with the results of her DNA she also received a listing of surnames, many being all from the same family. There were several names of immediate family members called out which made her even more certain she had stumbled onto something big.  JK spoke with her mother, asking about the predominant names on the list to find out that her mom dated someone in the early 80's whose name matched exactly to one of the names on the list. Suddenly, it all made sense. 

With piqued curiosity, JK did some digging around on Facebook and soon zeroed in on the man she thought could be her father. She decided to reach out to him and see what kind of response she would receive. 

"I think we need to talk"

JK messaged the man she thought she belonged to, (who also has JK as part of his name) but he didn't see her message or respond at first. Whenever someone says I think we need to talk, it usually makes us sit up and take notice whether good news or bad news is coming. Finally after a few attempts to make contact an agreed connection to at least talk was made. A conversation followed and JKM confirmed that he remembered her mom and that they had briefly dated. Comparing notes and checking dates JKM responded. "Yes," he said, "there's a good chance I am your father."  I imagine that time stood still during that conversation. Shortly after a few more encounters, JKM announced to our family that he had a daughter and 2 grandchildren! 

A flurry of phone calls went on between father and daughter and JK became more euphoric with each passing exchange. Through Facebook, pictures were pored over and questions were being answered about looks, height and interests. JK's redheaded daughter was delighted to find another redhead in the family. Me, too!! 

Rapidly, plans were put in place for JKM to fly from WA to NV and meet his family which consisted of his daughter, JK, and 2 grandchildren - one 12 year old girl and one 6 year old boy.  We were all waiting on the sidelines with bated breath for this meeting to take place and were overjoyed to see the pictures of such a glad meeting, face to face. It was very emotional from my seat on the observation deck; I can't imagine the emotions that were flying in the physical realm of this interaction except that perhaps it was another moment when time stood still.  JK posted many, many pictures throughout the weekend and their smiles couldn't have been any bigger. Pure joy sprung to life off each photograph that was shared. 

JK wrote a beautiful post following the weekend of instantaneous love and connection -  "What a weekend, words can not describe the happiness I have in my heart for this visit" 

JKM and I texted back and forth when he got home and he said "You may quote me - I get all fluttery inside when I think about this past weekend."  

What a way to begin 2018!  To our surprise and delight, JK is a wonderful woman who is excited and thankful that the missing piece has been found. We are all "over the moon"! 

Over The Moon

Counting Your Blessings?

White Christmas is one of my favorite movies for so many reasons! Do you recall Bing Crosby singing Count Your Blessings?  Here's a little snippet of it...


When is the last time you counted your blessings with your loved ones or with the ones you love that aren't living exactly as you hoped? 

The other day, Cliff and I were discussing how time seems to be moving so quickly when suddenly he looked at the calendar and said that he was about to celebrate 10 years clean.  Ten years! Now that's something to be thankful for from his perspective and mine! 

After spending 15 years on the pathway to destruction Cliff had his moment with God who heard his heartfelt plea and removed him from the cavernous call of addiction into a life of freedom. The walk of freedom hasn't been without struggles, sometimes really hard struggles, but the call back to heroin has not been in his timeline since that day. In the same way the chaos has begun to become a thing of the past for me. Changes for me have also not come easily as one who was enmeshed in codependency and enabling. I thought I was being a good and loving mom. Ugh. 

As Cliff and I chatted he couldn't help but acknowledge just how much God had intervened and spared his life in moments of danger, provided food in moments of deep hunger and kindness from strangers when he was cold or alone. The conversation was one of gratitude and thanksgiving for Cliff. It soothed my soul as well as I thought of just how much God answered prayers in all kinds of ways for all types of situations. 

Sometimes when we're caught up in the molasses of someones addiction we struggle to find one thing to be thankful for. We can't see past our pain to the promise or hope for the future especially for the ones we love. But God says to give thanks in all circumstances! 

What?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that! Can't you see what I'm dealing with here? 

We speak to ourselves in negative and heavy ways and moment by moment we struggle to even get our eyes up off the ground.  We shake our fists at God in frustration and anger. We are so stinkin' tired of the battle that we lose sight of the hope and promise God is offering to us. 

But He says:  Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 
(Col 4:2)

You argue in your heart and mind with this thinking. But as simple as it sounds, if we practice counting our blessings one by one, as we ask God to protect the ones we love and call them into healthy living, our own mindset and outlook on life gets changed. Do you have a roof over your head, food on the table and something warm to wear when you are cold? Be thankful! You've worked hard for it, for sure, but are you thankful for your job even if the circumstances are less than ideal? Do you own a car? Do you have  pet who loves you even if you're grumpy, sad or tired? 

Honestly, you can't do anything about another persons life choices. Nothing. What should be our response? Giving it all over to God in prayer and asking Him for help in our own situations that our attitudes and behaviors would be honorable. As a parent, child or spouse of one who is still caught up in a deadly life style, you have to let them go and take care of yourself. Don't waste the years on what you cannot change. Only God has that kind of life-changing ability! 

"If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings"

(picture googled)

The First Step

Well, how'd you do yesterday? It was a beautiful weather day here and my day was busy like most with blessings throughout. I went to church in the morning and am always so thankful to be in the house of the Lord but also to be among what I call my faith family. These are the people that walk along side me and encourage me to be the very best that God planned all along. They urge me on and lift me up when I stumble. And believe me, I stumble.

How so? 

When I stumble, I start my day without a thought of God, my Higher Power. I wake up and charge into the starting gate ready to rock the world. Or I hide deeper under the covers and I just don't want to start anything. Anything.  Over the years of recovery, which led me to a much deeper walk with my Savior, I've learned to allow myself the time to wake up and thank up first. Thank up? Yes, sending my thanks up to God who is giving me another breath of life and a new day to begin again. Do you know how much God has promised us in His Word? Do you know how often He offers us forgiveness, help and a hand up? 

Look at what He says here. 'Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.' (Isaiah 41:10) 

Who couldn't use this kind of help? I sure need Him to hold me up often! 

I stumble through the day when I don't respond to people correctly. Sometimes we say that's just the way we are but if you strive to be better than the day before, it requires looking at yourself and the way you interact with people. I came from a very large family and often the atmosphere was a survival of the fittest which could mean a lot of different things to different people. In our home it might have been the quickest wit, whether funny and lighthearted or sharp and painful, wins. It wasn't necessarily about which way it was delivered but you had to get it in first. This could create a myriad of heartache if you were a nano-second behind. If you came in second, you lost the moment. Strength in words can either build people up or tear people down. Now, everything ever said in our home was not negative and unkind. At all. Telling others to toughen up might not always be the answer although in our culture we could use a little bit of that thinking for sure. It surely is a fine line, isn't it? Truth in love should be spoken but truth in hurtful pokes and barbs is never correct. 

I also stumble through the day when I let electronics keep me from doing a task that requires my full attention. I've been decluttering for months. Months, I say!  Some days I respond to the task well at hand and other days it appears overwhelming. The reward in decluttering however can come in delightful surprises. I'm finding as I go through clothes that didn't fit me just right a year ago (but I didn't pass on) are now fitting me just right. Bonus! 

All this to say that starting my day with God is simply so much better than when I stumble into the day with a face plant. When I sit down with my Bible and recovery reading, without realizing it, I start out with a deep, relaxing sigh. I've noticed that every time. It puts me in a place of surrendering all that I was carrying to our meeting spot. When I start the day with saying 'Thank you for a new day' it sets my mind on God walking me through today instead of me running ahead and asking God to hurry up!

I hope you have found your place with God and people to support you through whatever obstacles face you today. His Word is a great place to find all that He has promised to those who believe. I can testify that it's true!!  Do you know that God says He has loved us with an everlasting love?? If we don't know that, we can't fill up with His strength and confidence. 

The First Step of Recovery which says: We admitted we were powerless over ____ (fill in your own struggle) and that our lives had become unmanageable. We are recognizing and saying that we have no defense over our situation, substance or people. What a great way to start the day. Acknowledge that you are powerless and ask your Higher Power, (God for me, the maker and creator of all things), to lead you in the way that you should go.  I don't need to stumble into the day at all! 

And don't forget, all the strength you need to get through the day is found in His Word. In case you don't own a Bible, you can go to Bible Gateway (https://www.biblegateway.com/and find His love letter to you there! 

Check it out!  Need some suggestions? Send me a note! 

Pic googled