Taking time out of our busy lives to REALLY live!


Spent the past few days chewing over the whole concept of time as I worked on the September schedule of fitness classes. I try to visualize everyone who comes in, what their schedules and even their lives look like! In my profession, I get the rare opportunity of helping people slow down and take a break for themselves. I hear tales of busyness, stress, and how much they long to slow down! I remark quite often myself on how busy I am, and am forever claiming to be “working on” slowing things down! I come from a long line of do-ers and have even shared the lovely trait of MORE (the pursuit of more also called Fear Of Missing Out or FOMO!) with at least one of my children. In light of all of this busyness, my question is this: What would happen if we would start taking time out of our busy lives to REALLY live??! What would it look like? And what drives that nagging urge to keep moving?

What does “Really living” mean to you? What would you do with your time? Would it be what you’re doing right now??

Believe it or not, I don’t get a kickback from the AA people for mentioning them every time I write a post! I do so because their program has had such a huge impact on not only on my life, but also the lives of my husband & children (as well as other people’s lives we are a part of). Their Twelve Step program went above & beyond helping me to quit drinking. It helped me learn how to live my life more effectively. Their program is rich with insight into our behaviors as well as how to understand & correct (by this I mean Accept, Forgive and Be Willing to start to move away from those behaviors) and move away from ways that are no longer serving us. And finding ways that do! ( Ways that do NEVER includes being so busy we can’t take care of ourselves. It also never includes skipping over the work we need to do to get to the core of our behaviors.)

Whatever it is you know you need to do more of….ask yourself why you don’t do it? Take some time to get quiet and really LISTEN. Without judgement.

My recurring struggle at this season of my life is poor eating choices. (Abyssmal is more the proper adjective here. Hey, being honest!) Okay, so WHY do I make poor eating choices?? It’s not for lack of knowledge or understanding that I’m making these choices! I “get” that these choices are NOT helping me meet my goals of better health!

So what gives??

Well, I eat poorly because I’m a poor planner. So why am I a poor planner?
Because I don’t have enough time.

Why don’t I have enough time?
Because I have too much to do. I’m over-booked in some way. (By the way, this adds stress to our lives. And when we have stress in our lives, we tend to look for ways to escape. Enter drinking too much, spending money frivolously, etc…there are countless ways to check-out.).

Well…..why?? Why am I making these choices??
The answers are many, and they’re quite telling.

I’m a people-pleaser from WAY back. Which really means this: I have to DO things to make people like me; I’m not enough on my own. I have to EARN acceptance.

I don’t want to slow down and have to sit with my thoughts. I prefer to just keep running and rushing. This helps me not to have to feel. Feeling hurts. Steer clear of feeling. Keep piling more things on my to-do list and I never have time to feel.

Somewhere along the line, I fell for the lie that busier is better. Our culture pushes the glorification of busyness. The more we DO, the better we feel about ourselves. Our identity is tied up in WHAT WE DO!

Friends, these are some deep questions to ask ourselves and they always lead back to the heart. We don’t do anything “just for the heck of it”! There’s always a reason that we do the things we do. It leads back to what we BELIEVE in our hearts. About who we are and where our self-worth comes from.

That can be a scary place for some of us to go. I know it always was for me. I still often do not like what I find there, but I KNOW that I am a work in progress and I am committed to keeping up the work! I know I’m here to love people and help them love themselves. We’ve all been through some junk. Not one of us makes it through life unscathed, and in fact, MANY of us have been victims of some type of trauma in our lives and are busy just trying to get by as painlessly as possible at this point. We drag our baggage along with us, collapsing under the load at times.

What better way to lighten the load of a fellow traveler on this journey then by letting them know they are not alone? A truly priceless gift!

My challenge to you today is to think about what you’re busy doing. Then ask yourself… why?? Think it all the way through to the end. Who benefits? What is the payoff? What is the lie, if any, we are believing? Am I avoiding something or someone (or even myself??) by my constant busyness? Who needs me? What do I need to do for MYSELF that I’m not doing because I’m too busy??

On a side note:
This post went a totally different direction than planned. (Ain’t that life for ya anyways? Thinking you’re starting HERE and ending up over THERE, but sometimes that’s a really good thing!) It started out as a post about finding/making more time for exercise, but ended up going a bit deeper! I decided to go with what was on my heart this morning…..Hopefully it gave you something to think about, if nothing else!

Really hoping that you know & understand that we all have a purpose in our short lives and it goes way beyond just getting stuff done. It’s not really about stuff at all! Its about people and love and human connection. Things that we have to fight for in our busy world. But these are all the things that, in the end, add up to a truly FULL & healthy life.

Wishing you a weekend of very little labor on this Labor Day holiday!

With love,
Lisa

Gratitude Sandwiches

Bondage!
If you drink with any amount of seriousness & commitment (aka- you’re an alcoholic) then chances are you’re no stranger to waking up feeling like your head is in a vice. Not a particularly pleasant way to start the day, but it’s something you’re willing to work thru and endure in order to keep up your drinking habits. Hangovers tend to get worse with time & age and I can say with absolute certainty that every morning I wake up sober is a great day! Gratitude comes to me in some form every day and today it came to me in the form of a sandwich. Life is funny like that and I am learning to appreciate the little things and the small moments that remind me how precious my life is these days.

I remember waking up on a few occasions, not sure why my neck and head hurt so badly. Came to find out later in the day that I had been involved in minor car accidents that I didn’t remember. Once I was a passenger in the backseat. WE slid on black ice and hit a guard rail, having to get a ride down the mountain with a Weis truck driver. No memory of it whatsoever. In another instance, I mysteriously ended up driving in a field. I started remembering bits and pieces throughout the day.

Now, if you’re not an alcoholic you’re probably wondering how in the heck you brush such things off as unimportant?! It’s really quite simple….you brush it off because if you let the full gravity of how you’re living, what’s happening in your life, hit you…..you would have to STOP THE CRAZINESS!! Ain’t nobody (who’s an alcoholic!) got time for that! We need that craziness to live!

Which brings me to the ciabatta.

This goes back several years. I had volunteered to help out at my older son’s yearly book fair. That morning I woke up with a horrible hangover. This one seemed particularly bad. (The mental part of the hangovers became horrendous for the last few years that I drank. I could muddle through the physical part, but I have never forgotten the mental & emotional anguish I went through in the last 5 years of my addiction. It was the absolute worst.)

I did my best to make myself presentable and I’m sure no one suspected a thing as I showed up there that morning. A little extra lipstick to try the brighten up the gray complexion and a heavy squirt of perfume to hide the cigarette stench that was still clinging to me since I probably hadn’t had the motivation to actually shower.

I didn’t know any of the other mom’s very well so, thankfully, I was able to keep to myself for the most part. But there I was at my son’s elementary school when the mental abuse kicked me right in the gut.

The gravity of how I was living just descended upon me like an elephant on my rib cage. I could barely keep it together. I kept looking around at all these other mom’s, trying to imagine if any of them had been drinking themselves into oblivion the night before, as I was. I seriously doubted that there had ever been a bigger TURD than I was that morning. Tears filled my eyes. My stomach rolled. I felt like the biggest phony because I probably looked completely normal- but inside I felt like I was losing my mind. I knew I could not go on like this. But I did. For 3 or 4 more years.

My heart just shattered into a million pieces for my kids that day. I will never forget it.

The big lie (ONE of the big lies, I should say!) that addict’s tell themselves is that we’re only hurting ourselves, but that is so far from the truth. We affect so many people with the way we live, the lies we tell, and our self-centeredness.

So…What about the ciabatta, you ask??

At the end of the longest 4 hours of my life, it was lunchtime and we ordered sandwiches from a coffee shop in town. I got the Caprese on a recommendation from one of the other mom’s and it was delicious. That was the only bearable part of an awful day.

So today, I ordered that same sandwich from the same coffee shop. And as I ate it, I reflected on all the pain, disgust and chaos that I used to live in. I can’t even imagine how I did it for so long. But I guess I did what I needed to do and there was certainly a time (back when I started drinking)that I needed an escape, so that was how I survived.

That simple sandwich brought me the greatest pleasure today!! I smiled to myself as I ate that deliciousness and said a BIG prayer of thanks that I no longer live like that. A sober life is an amazing life and I am thankful to be able to share my journey in sobriety with anyone who cares to hear/read it!!

With Much Gratitude,

Lisa

Married life – 14 crazy/beautiful years later

Our wedding day. Aug 9, 2003. Weikert, PA
We had big plans to hike on the Mid-State Trail and camp at Poe Paddy State Park to celebrate our 14th anniversary this weekend. Life got in the way of those plans, as it often does, and while Aaron spent the day working, I spent the day shopping! Next thought was maybe we would go out for a date tonight, but as also often happens, I am becoming more content with just being a homebody! I don’t really feel the need to celebrate on a overpriced meal (just for the sake of going somewhere/doing something!). The actual celebration has occurred in my mind all week as well as in our conversation with one another. Married life really has been crazy & beautiful as I looked back on the past 14 years.

Before Marriage:
At the time when we said our “I do’s”, marriage held little value to me. (This was a direct reflection of my views on life itself. Nothing was really sacred.) I wasn’t really sure how I felt about, “Till death do us part.” I was more of a fair-weather spouse! (I wanted to magazine-marriage. You know, the one with the clean & stylish house, cute and well-behaved children, etc., etc…) Although at the time I was naïve enough to think that we had enough love & attraction for one another that the pesky reasons people divorced would never even touch us. Cute, right???

Looking at this picture of us cutting our little cake on our wedding day, I can’t help but remember where I WAS as a person at that time in my life. I remember the sense of disbelief that Aaron was marrying the likes of me. Shame was my constant companion. I was divorced and Aaron had never been married. I had a 9-year old daughter I was bringing into the union. Our life had been short on stability in those nine years and I had a ton of guilt that I drank to drown it out every night. ( Moving in with Aaron meant that Mifflinburg would be her 3rd school.) In fact, I knew I was an alcoholic.

Things had come to a head in the past year or so, and I knew that my life was out of control. I just had no clue or actual desire to stop it. I lived for the “excitement”, the intensity of my chaotic life. Most people probably thought I was just having a REALLY good time. I was the life of the party! Nothing worried me. I had the ultimate elixir in an ever-present bottle. Plus, I possessed enough social skills to navigate through life without creating any suspicions. I looked & seemed so NORMAL!

The effects of childhood abuse were threatening that I needed to deal with them NOW!! My life choices were landing me in increasingly dangerous situations and I knew that I had to be careful. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about self-love or self-respect, so I was out of luck on where & how to start taking care of myself. Waking up in your own urine or vomit leaves you with a feeling of fear & shame that you can’t wash off. The only choice was to start drinking again every afternoon.

Early Marriage:
Yet here I was, marrying this wonderful man a couple of months before my 30th birthday! The future held so much promise! We got pregnant with Jonah right away and I managed the 9-months of pregnancy as a full-time student with flying colors! Then Jonah was born and life just seemed so perfect! We had this charming old house and a beautiful, healthy baby boy. I could’ve pinched myself at my good fortune! I still felt like the real me had not been found out.

Before long, life started to creep back in (as life always does!). I started drinking again and hiding the exact amount from my husband so as not to worry him. My daughter started having problems in school, drinking, smoking, etc…eventually getting kicked out of our house for smoking pot. We disagreed about a lot of BIG things. Money. How to spend out free time. What was important in life; what direction we wanted to go in our future as a family. My drinking was always the biggest argument and the thing that I protected the most. You did NOT mess with my drinking. I would defend it to the bitter end.

14 years Later:
Fast-forward to today, 27 months of sobriety under my belt and 14 years of marriage! Marriage is TOUGH!! Life is tough- period!!! I think all we can do everyday is try to improve ourselves. Look long & hard at our beliefs, our habits, our attitudes. I started investigating a relationship with God around the same time that I was toying with getting sober. This was such a long and sloppy process. I’m quite sure it looked like I coming unglued. Probably still does! But the fact is…..I found a glimmer of hope somewhere along the way that let in a tiny crack of light in my dark world and I was just desperate enough to grab hold of it. Not sure if I would have accepted the life preserver if I was not drowning in despair and my life out of control. Often times we can’t see things for what they truly are until they’ve passed.

The more time I get under my belt in sobriety, the more clarity I seem to have about the past. I do not depend on my own skewed version of life to help me process this, but instead look to God’s word. Never much of a bible reader, I’ve found that the desire to read and understand His word does grow with consistency. Nothing challenges and refreshes my outlook like the wisdom I find in the bible.

God’s word has so much to teach us about everything from the way we live our lives and interact with people to giving a clear picture of a healthy and fulfilling marriage! While far from being a quick-fix, the work I have done on this journey of faith/sobriety/personal holiness has given me peace like nothing else and I know that the foundation we are building in our marriage is the sort that cannot be shaken by the storms of life!

When you relationship with food is out of balance

This was going to be the summer when I would finally have it all together. The muffin-top would be gone (again) and I would have my eating & my whole life in order AT LAST!! This had been a lifelong struggle and I was tired of it. Tired of being never enough. Tired of always missing the mark but failing. Running in circles, chasing the wind but always falling short. So I would get up in the morning and I would try again. I knew I could do hard things. I could workout HARD. Lift a lot of weight, do a lot of reps, but the food…..The food I couldn’t control. (And why did I need to control it anyways??) Never could. All my life it was the damn food. Only it was never the food. Just like it was never the alcohol. They were only the substances I abused to produce an effect or a feeling in me that I didn’t have access to on my own.

I was hungry all the time. Literally, I would get low blood sugar and feel shaky if I didn’t eat every few hours for the majority of my life. In my 30’s I realized that this didn’t happen if I ate enough protein and high-quality food (clean eating-not processed, REAL food). But that meant planning. Planning meant time management. Ughhhhh. Neither of those two qualities were exactly synonymous with who I was. I was spontaneous (impulsive)! I wasn’t a “planner” (my life was unmanageable)!

My two “plans” when I failed to plan were as follows:
Plan A: Wait until I was too famished to make wise choices so I would hop in my car and grab a burger or a hoagie, devour it and then feel awful.
Plan B: Try and control the hunger with pills, powders, patches, & potions.

Occassionally I would get on track and pack my lunches but it took extreme measures for me. Things like slowing down, reducing the chaos, having healthy foods on hand. Grocery shopping. You know, hard things!!

Like I said, this had been a lifelong battle for me. I was never overweight, but I was also never happy with myself. When you’re an insecure teenager you just want to blend in. My height made it impossible for me to blend in as I towered over everyone from a young age. Amazon-woman was a common term. Other girls told me I was so skinny I made them sick! I always felt like my body was just wrong!

Food was the original issue for me (I’m talking about binge-eating. I never purged, but I often binged. Not bulimic, but disordered eating.) but as I got older it quickly transitioned into drugs & alcohol. Moderation was not my strong-suit and I knew I was an alcoholic before I graduated high school. My high school years were full of getting wasted every night, promiscuity, theft. I knew my life was out of control, but I didn’t know how to stop it or particularly want to. Because I got something out of that lifestyle that I needed.

I got love. I got intensity, which (I have learned through counseling)can be a close second for someone who is seeking love. Around the end of the second decade of this lifestyle I started to get glimpses of truth about the source of all of my issues. And it wasn’t what I suspected.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough willpower or wasn’t hustling enough. It wasn’t that I didn’t know the scientific research behind what my lifestyle was doing to me. It went down to the deepest core of my being. I felt an emptiness I could never put my finger on. I could slap a Band-Aid on it with some booze, stuff it full of some rich food, chase a new relationship…..but that nagging emptiness always came back. So I’d try again. The stakes would get higher. My behavior would get crazier. I had to keep upping the ante to feel like I was getting anywhere.

Food had become this THING in my life that I needed to control or manage. I no longer knew how to instinctively just eat! It was about so much more! Comfort, enjoyment, control. If I ate good that day, I felt good. If I felt like I ate too much or “bad” foods then I would berate myself and wonder why I was such a failure all the time! It was affecting my whole life.

This amazing thing was happening around the time that I was starting to think about getting sober; I had re-discovered God. He had played only a small role in my life up until then, other than the obligatory Sunday morning mass service. I thought that was the pinnacle of faith. I had never seen or experienced anyone TRULY walking out a relationship with God. I’ve written about this journey in a several past blogs so I will keep it short here by saying that the timing was perfect and the door of my heart started to crack open a tiny bit. A tiny sliver of light started shining into the darkness of my heart (I had heard since childhood and really believed and lived like the bad person I was told I was. I never knew why I was bad, I just WAS. And since I believed it, I started to live it. We really do turn towards what we believe in our hearts to be true, so I lived like and did things that “bad people” did.) And I heard the calling of my heart for the first time. I heard truth.

I started to understand the reason behind the way I was living. There were a TON of revelations and a lot of ups and downs that went on for me to stand before you now as a changed person. NOT holy, NOT perfect, NOT better than anyone else on this planet. But understanding that I am broken. My heart is broken and is going to constantly be on the search for something to glue it back together, if only for a night. Some kind of relief for the pain of never being enough. I started to understand that there was ONE answer, and ONE answer only and His name is Jesus Christ. Nothing else will ever do!!!Revelation Wellness

So while I do not live this out perfectly by any stretch (being aware of it is half the battle!) and I still find myself slipping back into old, comfortable patterns, I find that I can quickly get myself back on track not by pulling up my big-girl pants but by submitting it all to the Lord. Only there do I find the grace and the freedom to let this “thing” go and let Him show me how to eat. I believe His plans also include how I care for & steward this one body that He has gifted me with and I plan on doing it well.

It is not going to happen on my time (which is always RIGHT NOW!), but it WILL happen and it will happen in such a way that I will have learned exactly what I needed Him to show me and not a moment before. His timing is always perfect!

Getting sober is BIG! Letting go of your old stories is just as BIG.

Enoying an orange Fanta on the beach in Punta Cana last week!
I knew getting sober would be BIG. I heard that it was worth it. But still I doubted it could be THAT GOOD. I KNEW the good life. It always involved beer, wine, and spirits! I had spent most of my life carefully and lovingly crafting a life and a way of thinking that fully supported my addiction. I guess that’s how these things live so long & flourish and are nearly impossible to kill.

It’s the struggle to take back your life that leads you to take out all of your old beliefs and comfortable ways and start to dissect them one by one. Only then can you really see your life from 30,000 feet. When you start to pursue recovery, all of this is absolutely crucial. I guess I could have “simply” quit drinking, but I didn’t want to just lose a bad habit. No, I wanted the fullness of life that is possible with Recovery.

Being sober was the absolute LAST place I expected to find the beauty & enjoyment that I was forever chasing. Experiencing this helps me to remember that things are not always as they seem! In fact sometimes we couldn’t be more mistaken about life. If I had been wrong about the one central theme of my life, that alcohol had to be present for my life to be GOOD and that alcohol = FUN, what other false beliefs had I built my life around?

Every day presents fresh challenges for sure, but along with the challenges come fresh gifts to be in awe of if we should be so inclined.

So it was that I found myself on a 7-day, all-inclusive tropical vacation last week.
Now in the past, all-inclusive meant one thing and one thing only to me… FREE BOOZE!! Lots & LOTS of free BOOZE!!! I was going to be damn sure I drank at least the cost of the vacation in free booze, yes indeed I was.

The poolside bar at Club Med where I ordered up my virgin Pina Coladas every afternoon!

But now that I’m sober I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have any twinges of regret thinking about all of the free booze I was not partaking in….
I felt pretty certain that it would not be an issue, but if I’ve lied to myself about anything (and believe me, I have!) it would be alcohol and the effect it has on me. This was new (sober) territory for me.

There was a time not so long ago when I had to avoid looking at neon beer signs because the allure was just too strong. It would trigger an intense reaction way down deep in my innards. I think every receptor in my body was keyed up & ready for the booze to hit my blood stream and my insides would light up like a pinball machine. The thought of life without even the possibility of alcohol seemed so incredibly bleak and I hate to admit it, but barely worth living. That may sound harsh or extreme but to the addict/alcoholic that is the God’s honest truth. Otherwise we would not go to such lengths to keep trying to use, long after we know that it is just NOT working for us. But of course I was always willing to give it one last try, I mean, this time it would be DIFFERENT!!

Hard to explain how one look at a beer sign could trigger such an intense response. If I’m honest and I really chew it over (which I am & I do) then I know that this need for the alcohol was coming from a source so deep and so central to who I was. It lurked behind all my thoughts & plans. It’s hard to forget when something like that lives in you. And then to get free and out from under it!!! What a GIFT!! And one that I surely don’t deserve. I have to take a second to lift up thanks once again to those who have walked this road to recovery before me and shared all that they learned so that I, too, could enjoy a changed life. Addiction runs deep and there is no one better to hear it from than one who has gone down the same road as we have.

Even if for years we screw up, lie, withdraw, and generally do not believe that it is possible. Change is HARD, whatever it is.

So back to the neon signs! One glimpse and I knew exactly what it would feel like to be at the bar, sipping a cocktail. I could feel the A/C and smell the air. (It felt like home in the deepest sense. Nothing fulfilled me like that. Scary, I know. ) I would try not to notice (even as I wanted to stare) the waitresses delivering the glasses of wine to nearby tables. I had to breathe through it and really be on steady spiritual ground to not get too freaked out. What a miserable time. I hated every minute of early sobriety and I also doubted that it would ever “work”.
(FYI~ I am completely in love with AA’s concept of One Day at a Time. So incredibly important to break sobriety down into bite-sized pieces when you’re new to it. Any thoughts of staying sober for anything beyond each 24 hour increment was just too overwhelming in the beginning.)

So for me to be on this 7 day trip with non-stop access to alcohol was a biggie. New territory for sure.

What I found was just glorious. A one-time lush like myself was able to get away to this breathtaking location and enjoy it for what it was. SOBER!! I always wondered what in the world was wrong with people who didn’t drink on vacation and what exactly did they do???

They relax. Spend time with family. Lay in the sun, read under a palm tree, walk in the surf.

I knew without a doubt that if I would have still been drinking, then the drinking would have taken over my mind & my vacation. I imagined waking up hung over, like so many vacations in the past. And then trying to teach yoga.

One day as I lounged poolside, I watched a dad bring his two pre-teen daughters virgin Pina Colada’s and even thought I might enjoy one! So that afternoon and several thereafter I did the unthinkable. I ordered a virgin Pina Colada and sat on the beach enjoying the sweet coco-nutty flavor and reflecting on all of the peace & freedom I now enjoy. No buzz needed. The buzz I had from being fully present & sober was more than enough. There were no bells & whistles. No wild nights of insanity and mornings after trying to piece together the actions of the night before. I’m learning to love the simplicity and stability of this sober life and to let go of that attraction to unpredictability & chaos.

As always, there is LOTS more work to be done. But I am taking life as it comes, accepting it as it is, learning and growing. That is what it’s all about. Thankful for another day & another milestone in recovery!

Friday afternoon siesta!

Just rolled out of bed after a little afternoon siesta. Cannot believe I have turned into a napper……Naps still make a part of me cringe. But the part of me that is just too damn tired to care, doesn’t care!

Hence, I nap!

I think part of the aversion to naps is that I never wanted to lay there quietly and have to hear my own thoughts. These days I can handle a room of silence and my own mind. It feels good to have peace and a clear conscience.

This year has certainly been a tiring one. The work has been good and I have learned lots of life lessons. Some of them serve as major wake-up calls that I have a TON of work to do in life! Life on life’s terms they call that in AA. I still don’t have to like it a lot of the time, but it’s invaluable to know that it is simply OKAY to feel like shit sometimes. It’s normal. My expectations of life being a walk in the park have blown town and a sort of resignation to just bear down and keep going have set in.

When you hit a shitty patch and you’re still drinking, relief is just the next bottle shop away. When you’re in recovery, that option is no longer on the table so what can you do? You keep on keepin on. You go to bed when you’re tired and talk about it when you’re upset. You go to work. You show up. Regardless.

It’s never been so glaringly obvious that although I am no longer drinking, I am still an alcoholic! Even though the booze is gone, the behaviors are still alive & well. The chaos. The overcommitting myself. Unmanageability.

I’ve shifted my alcohol addiction back over to food. I hate when I do it, but it’s still a hell of a lot safer than booze! I have never done anything irrational or unforgivable after consuming a super-sized Big Mac meal.

Hey, I’m just keepin’ it real! Sometimes that’s the best I can do.

My family has went through a lot of changes in the past year or so and we’re still adjusting. My husband made a job change so he could be home more but we are feeling the squeeze financially. I realize how much I depended on money for happiness. I’m mourning the loss of the brief escapes I found in a simple TJ Maxx shopping spree. We’re talking bare-bones living right now which we never experienced before.

Amidst all this harmony and goodness, I opened a business and put a lot of time & energy into getting it going. And I really didn’t have a plan (huge surprise there!). Ok, I had NO plan and was completely winging it! I have realized that having a business takes serious work. It looks so easy on Instagram. Some days I’m drained. It’s also physically demanding and I’m not used to being tired & a napper!

Aaron and I have come so incredibly far since we first laid eyes on each other as we staggered out of a bar to have a smoke 14 years ago. I was thinking about that while sitting outside on my porch earlier. Same house, life looks pretty much the same, but yet everything has changed.

We made a decision to turn our will & our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him, aka became Christians, and that has set our lives on an entirely different trajectory. Many people may not understand it, but the call to make a change and live for a higher purpose than ourselves was undeniable. The path has been a lot like climbing a washed-out goat path up a treacherous mountainside. And sometimes I want to jump back onto the easy path of least resistance. But never for very long. I know that this way, the hard way, is the way I am called to go. And it’s worth all of the challenge because it’s a GOOD way. Along with the hard climb comes the really good stuff. The peace, joy, and contentment that come from moving beyond your flesh to walk with God.

We have 3 children living in this crazy household. We are a blended family who has been through some pretty rough patches, but we have come out of it stronger and more committed to making this work and loving each other through the messiness and all of it!

As I sit outside on my porch and look around at the mess and the unkempt landscaping, matchbox cars strewn about and I just feel…..yuck. Too tired to care. I want to care! But I can’t. In the scheme of things, it’s just too much right now. Maybe someday I will have perfectly mulched and manicured yard, but that time seems a long way off right now.

With Chris Cornell’s passing this week, I spent a lot of time thinking about addiction, depression, suicide. Trying to grasp how someone who supposedly “has it all” (including a wife & 3 kids) could be so profoundly unhappy to take his own life.

I wonder….how many people that we pass in a day are just going through the motions and suffering in silence? How much of the suffering is due to mistaken beliefs about life and about themselves? How much pressure do we put on ourselves to make it all look good, to have it “all together”?

How many people are looking at their neighbors houses and cars and mistakenly believing that they “have it all together” because everything looks good on the outside? I know I was guilty of that for most of my life. And I can now honestly say I am content to sit out on my falling apart plastic yard furniture on my own little piece of paradise where I live with the people I love and enjoy my health. I laugh at my good fortune!

Is it all neat & easy???? Get real!!! But I’m going to keep showing up anyways. When my teenager’s room looks like a garbage truck dumped in there, in our half-finished kitchen, driving our 17 year old vehicles, I will continue to look up and say, “Thank you!” Everyday. Through the hard and the ugly, the scraping of money, the graying of hair, the mismatched furniture. Thank you!

I was never guaranteed anything more and I could’ve gotten a lot less.

Going to lounge on my old furniture until it’s time to return to my bed and do it all over again tomorrow! I hope you are keeping things in perspective, my friends. No guarantees of anything but right now, so embrace it! Even if it’s not perfect, especially if it’s not perfect because it’s never gonna be!! CHOOSE LOVE ANYWAYS.

Peace,

Lisa

Finding peace, joy, & contentment in recovery from alcoholism!