Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Unexpected Gift

The Christmas of 2010 was supposed to be just like every other Christmas that came before it. Same faces, same places, same routines, same...well, everything. Thankfully my expectations were nothing more than ideas based on superficial, mundane concepts.

A few days ago, Santa came and went, gifts were swooped down upon, played with and left behind in stacks next to torn and discarded wrapping paper.

The cookies were devoured, the movies watched, the stories read. Pretty much like every year except for one thing. Everything was different.

Our family was suffering through a personal loss that we weren't planning. We were suffering through the loss of one of our brightest stars; one of our dearest members.

She wasn't with us this year. She wasn't with her husband, her in-laws, her children. She was alone, preparing to fly out of town to a state she'd never been to before, to a place she never knew existed, until that morning.

Christmas evening, the rest of us stood around the kitchen without her, trying to talk about the usual things while watching the kids play and laugh, feeding our faces though the food never satisfied our hungry souls.

The silence of not having her with us was deafening. My brother, her husband, couldn't stick around for long; the void was too much.

I watched as tears welled up in my mother's eyes. Words of comfort could not pacify the fears. There was a feeling of helplessness that could not be shaken. What was to come of this? What was going to happen?

Who the hell knows what's going to happen when a family is falling apart.

And that's just it...no one knows. No one know just what kind of magic can happen when everyone "accepts defeat", gets out of the way and let's God get His hands on the situation. Magic amongst the sorrow.

Our family, though stunned and shaken, did anything but fall apart. We came together. Still disoriented by the morning's events, we rose above it, stood tall and held on, to each other.

My brother and I shared a moment of understanding and forgiveness. My past mistakes became attributes in his eyes. For only 1,000 days earlier, I found myself exactly where his wife was today. Years of his judgement dissolved instantly.

My mother's constricting bonds of trying to save those in need, those in pain, were cut away. Now she had to let go and in return, was set free. Sad but still free.

Her parents were surrounded by those that could explain and share with them what shey was going through and what she was feeling. To reassure them that she was right where she needed to be. Bittersweet comfort came over them. Hope was born. Thank you Jenniflower.

The children had each other and they had us. Their natural sweetness and strength carried them through the day.

The dog? Well she just was as oblivious as she always was.

Fast forward to today. Today we wait. We wait for her return next month with open arms, hearts and minds.

My sister-in-law is my inspiration to keep going, to keep the faith. She shows me that miracles can happen. She's my hero for reaching out and asking for help.

Through her brokeness will come a family that is closer and stronger than it ever was. She saved us by saving herself.

And I get to cherish this unexpexted gift.

Thank you Sis. I simply love and adore you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

There's Something You Should Know...

My Mom sent me this and it just brought a tears to my eyes and I knew right away I had to share it with you.


There were probably many, many times this year when I may have

Disturbed you,

Troubled you,

Pestered you,

Irritated you,

Bugged you,

Or got on your nerves....

Knowing me, I never took the time to say "I was wrong."

So today I just wanted to tell you...........

Suck it up Cupcake, because there are NO CHANGES planned for 2011!!!

Tears of laughter!! Thanks Mom

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Full Original Copy of the Serenity Prayer

by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas (it's not what you think)

I'm stealing this straight from a quote posted at my office. It moved me and each day this holiday season, I am trying to do at least one of these suggestions.

It's harder than I thought...

Christmas Gift Suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.

To an opponent, tolerance.

To a friend, your heart.

To a customer, service.

To all, charity.

To every child, a good example.

To yourself, respect.

~quote by Oren Arnold

Friday, December 10, 2010

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Really? Just what does that mean anyway? I've never been able to wrap my head around this phrase, this simple concept and this morning, it baffles me even further.

Recently I have played and enjoyed the Numbers Game on FB. Many good friends have said amazing things about me. It really helped me see what a valuable person I am in so many lives. It's easy to forget.

I'd like to share one particular post that brought all of that crashing down for me, at least temporarily. As you will read, this person has only the best in mind for me yet I was able to find the negative in it, and of course, I'm chewing on this like a dog on a bone.

"A few times in your life you get an opportunity to meet someone who amazes you in so many ways, and on so many levels. Someone who you immediately judge to be one way, but then find out there is immeasurable depth in intellect and emotion. Someone that you have incredible physical chemistry with, and that chemistry that emanates from somewhere beyond just the skin-deep view that most people have of them. Their life, their feelings, their pain, their joy is a wonder to behold. And you don't understand the connection, or even want to try to understand it. You just accept it, in spite of how you think others may judge how you feel about this person. You amaze me, intrigue me, and excite me, 121. I am so glad I've come to know you the way I have. I hope we will have the opportunity to know each other on many other levels in the coming days."

This person works in the same circles as I do. We share our time with the same persons, inside a very tightly-knit atmosphere. From my 3 years there, I have taken note of the many ways most of these people are connected to each other.

Since my early days, I've wanted nothing but to fit in. I've wanted to be a part of whatever it is that makes these people so close, so friendly with each other. I've never quite succeeded.

It's taken a lot of courage to suit up and show up to this establishment every week day and hold my head up. It's been a struggle not to allow the way these people "see" me to get me down, to define who I am.

There's a reason why most of the people I work with see me a certain way, why I'm judged the way I am. Let me try to explain without opening the self-bashing flood gates.


I can't do it. I have written and deleted so many lines about what I don't have, what I don't look like, how "stupid", "dumb" and "simple" I can be. All in an attempt to show you how I come off to most of the people I work with. Almost defending the same attitudes and misconceptions of what others "see" in me.

I won't do it. I won't listen to that negative voice inside my head that wants to ultimately destroy me. The one that taunts me into believing the image that so many others see. The voice that holds the same power as evil that can actually kill me spiritually, if I listen.

What leaves me sad about all of this is how my first reaction is pain, self-loathing, self-pity. The exact emotions that I need to stay away from. I just re-read the post and tried to see it from a healthy perspective. I want to thank the person who wrote it and privately sent it to me. They hold a very lucrative position in this Company and they took a risk creating it. There's something to be said for that.

What leaves me peeved about all of this is that a majority of people, not only in this particular office, but possibly world wide, are fucking wrong, dead wrong.

Too many people are too caught up in things that hold absolutely no value, What good is being good looking, wealthy, inconceivably smart, successful and desireable if you use it as a bar to judge others with? I don't see the value in being someone like that.

Maybe it's because I could never fit into those variables and I'm jealous. Maybe it leaves me hurt and exposed that others see the "real" me and reject it. Maybe it's because I work within the walls of what life really is all about and I just don't get it. Maybe I'll never know.

But what I do know is I don't want to be like these people anymore. I just want to be Me. The Me that makes this place just a little bit better than it was before. The Me that desires to make someone else's life just a little bit better than it once was. the Me that seeks to give back all that has been given to Me. I want to be the Me that makes a difference in this world. The Me that my daughter sees, that my true friends see.

I want to lose the desire for this group of people to accept me. I want to be done with thinking twice about how I look to these people. So I don't make the cut. So I don't quite measure up. So this one person has to tippy-toe around because if anyone there found out we have made a connection, it would possibly damage his relations with others. I don't want any part of that.

I just want to be Me. The Me that will never be successful by most other's standards. The Me that can smile when she helps those less fortunate, those without presents to open on Christmas Day, those that feel alone, those that are in pain, those that are struggling to find a way out of the exact places I've been in.

I want to be the Me that God made me to be, no matter if it's not good enough for someone else.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lennon's 'Lost' Las Vegas Weekends


His musical presence still quakes the Strip, from The Mirage production bearing his rock band's household name to the revolving fab faux's "woooh!"-ing smaller venues.

But John Lennon, slain 30 years ago today by a deranged fan, once had a physical presence in Las Vegas, too.

It's well-documented that the Beatles played the Las Vegas Convention Center on Aug. 20, 1964, and stayed that night at the Sahara, where they also rehearsed. But few fans realize that the bespectacled former Beatle returned twice more to Las Vegas, during his mid-'70s separation from wife Yoko Ono, to quench a thirst for Vegas culture.

"He was fascinated with the Rat Pack and the old world of Las Vegas," said May Pang, Lennon and Ono's former personal assistant, who accompanied Lennon to Las Vegas as his lover on both getaways and documented their 18 months together in a 2008 book called "Instamatic Karma."

"With the Beatles, he never saw anything except the inside of a room," Pang said. "This time, he went back as a civilian, going around to take it all in.

"He was very much into Americana and wanted to experience it."

Lennon, who would have turned 70 in October, strove to be just another tourist at Caesars Palace, where he and Pang shared a deluxe suite for four days in October 1973. Gambling was an immediate draw, says Elliot Mintz, a TV reporter friend who accompanied the couple from their base in Los Angeles and later became the publicist for Ono and many other celebrities, including Paris Hilton.

"(Gambling) seemed like a very childlike experience to him," Mintz said. "John was immediately enchanted."

Mintz remembers lending Lennon $200 for roulette. ("He rarely carried money," Mintz explained.) Then Lennon announced he had "a system."

"He said the key was to cover every number except one," Mintz said. "John kept dropping all the chips over all the numbers. He said to let the croupier turn the wheel and it's a virtual certainty that you're going to win."

Within minutes, the chips were gone and word had reached all nearby gamblers about the legend in their midst. Mintz remembers it as "minor bedlam."

"A crowd gathered around him, but not the kind of crowd that gathered around high rollers," he said. "Everyone had cocktail napkins in their hands for him to sign."

Mintz said the moment of childlike tranquility quickly morphed into "a Hunter S. Thompsonesque-like Fellini movie."

"I told him it's probably a good time for us to leave," he said.

According to Pang, that first trip included a largely unreported footnote in music history: the only meeting between Lennon and '50s rock pioneer Fats Domino, who was headlining the Flamingo lounge over Frankie Valli.

"Fats came to our table before the show and sat down," said Pang, who reports that Lennon gushed: "I love you! I can't believe you're doing the lounge!"

Domino's "Ain't That a Shame," which appeared two years later on Lennon's "Rock 'N' Roll" album, was the first song taught Lennon by his mother, Julia, who died when he was a teenager. (She taught it to him with banjo chords, which he transposed to guitar.)

"I can't recall if he mentioned that," Pang said. "But they seemed very happy to meet each other."

Elvis Presley was never in town when Lennon was. But they had already met at Presley's Beverly Hills, Calif., home in 1965. And Lennon opposed the idea of catching his Hilton show. Earlier in 1973, when Mintz disclosed he was attending, Lennon demanded a full report.

"I described it in as much detail as I could," said Mintz, who strongly encouraged Lennon to attend. "I told him the songs he played, the configuration of the room. And I did add that, of course, he didn't look the way he looked on the Sullivan show. But if you closed your eyes and pretended ..."

That's when Mintz remembers being cut off.

"I don't want to close my eyes and pretend," Lennon said.

Lennon's final Las Vegas sojourn, in March 1974, was spent mostly at the Riviera, where he and Pang stayed. But it included a tour of the newly opened MGM Grand (now Bally's). It was a more stressful four days, Pang remembers, because they were accompanied by troubled singer Harry Nilsson, for whom Lennon was about to start producing an album. (Days later, Lennon and Nilsson would be ejected from the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles for shouting insults at headliners the Smothers Brothers from the audience.)

"If John joined Harry in escapades, I had to be the one to watch out," Pang said. "John would drink, too, but he would stop. After a while, John would say, 'I've had enough, I don't want to be in the papers.' "

In June 1974, Lennon and Pang moved back to New York to share an apartment. By January 1975, Lennon had returned to Ono and their digs at the Dakota building. ("The separation didn't work out," he told reporters at the time.) The couple had a son, Sean, for whom Lennon ditched five years of his career to raise. Lennon was murdered in 1980, at age 40, while returning to the Dakota from a recording session.

"When December 8 happened, it was such a loss," Pang said. "It was devastating. I got a call from Ringo's executive assistant. She's going, 'Which hospital?' And I'm saying, 'You can forget it, he's gone.' "

Since the 2006 opening of "Love," the only show ever co-produced by the Beatles, Las Vegas has become Liverpool west for Fab Four tourists. Mintz recalls accompanying Ono to the Cirque du Soleil co-production's premiere as her spokesman.

"I kept asking myself about how John would have reacted to all this," Mintz said. "I think that if he saw the reaction of the people who go to the theater to see 'Love,' in my heart of hearts, I feel that he would have been very pleased.

"When you go into that hotel, it just feels like you could be entertaining that era once again."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Whale

My Mom sent me this email and it really moved me. I hope it does the same for you. Thank you Mom. I love you dearly...


If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.

I pass this on to you, my friends, in the same spirit.~

Friday, December 3, 2010


I'm sitting here at the end of a great day, in my cozy bed with my laptop and a dozen thoughts buzzing around in my pretty little head. Good things are happening; great feelings are bubbling up from that long forgotten place deep inside my conscience. And the one word that keeps coming up when I try to pigeon hole these emotions is "Purpose".

Purpose. Really? I mean that's the best you can do? Awwww come on Jen. How about something more dramatic like "Reason" or "Fate"? Oh, OH...I know!! What about "Destiny" or even "Divinity"?!

Nope, sorry. Just "Purpose". Now shut up head and let me finish.

I believe as human beings, we all seek a reason for why we're living, why we're here, on this planet, experiencing all the bittersweet moments that make up our lives. I know for me, I've wondered many times just what the hell I'm supposed to do with my life and does it even matter that I'm here. There was a time that I asked myself if anyone would miss me if I were to disappear. And around that same time, not many people would have. I am blessed that today, many, many people would miss me and that I have no desire whatsoever to disappear. But that's not where I was going with this.

Seeking that grand explanation into why we exist is a bit of a tall order. It became too much for me to deal with so I became an alcoholic instead. Now I didn't set out to break my parents hearts, smash their dreams for me or ruin any chances of living a decent, respectable life; I just chose the path of least resistance. And it lead me right to Las Vegas, a single mother, broke, pathetic, and addicted not only to alcohol but to hopelessness.

I don't have to live that way anymore. Those of you that read my blog know most of my story. I don't care to relive it in this post but I do care to share just what I am feeling this night in particular.

You see, there's this guy....

LOL, I just had to say that for some giggles. (I like to giggle.)

No really, I did have a guy that's a friend ask me earlier to write a little something when I'm feeling good, not just when I'm bitching about yuppie scum or not having enough sodas and chocolate at my disposal (God I crack myself up).

Tonight I have been given the pleasure of knowing 100% that I have a purpose here on this planet. Just for tonight, there is a purpose for me being exactly who I am, not some fake wanna-be person, but the real deal. The real Jenny Jen Jen. And let me tell ya, it feels great.

When you can listen to someone share things that open them up to vunerability and be thrilled that they did, that's gratifying. When you can be there for someone when they need a real friend? Absolutely the coolest. When you can share with someone how you feel about things that you really can't explain but they "get it"? Bitchin'. When you spend an hour conversing with another human being and making a connection that helps you feel less alone? That's a gift. And when you can get off the phone, elated, knowing that your friend is in a better mood, a little happier, in a better "place" because of what you gave to the conversation? That's Purpose.

And that's what makes this recovering alcoholic, this bat-crazy single mommy, this struggling receptionist with no idea of what she wants to do when she grows up, a happy camper.

I can honestly say that, that Something Within is glowing inside me tonight and really making it clear that life, coincidence, and even the concept of "God" all come down to this feeling. The feeling that we all belong, we all need each other, we are all connected, and that we are not alone.

Life's good.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What I Almost Missed

Today is my daughter's 6th Birthday. Only 6 short years ago, a doctor in Sylva, NC was removing a 22", 7 lb,11 oz human from my tummy. The anesthesia from the epideral left me paralyzed and not able to breathe on my own so I was a helpless lump on the operating table, as a nurse pumped oxygen into me with one of those bulbous bag thingies and my baby was taking her first breaths. It's funny how time can make you forget and almost minimize some of the most frightening yet strangest moments of your life.

Flash forward to December 1, 2010. I find myself in Las Vegas, NV working at the same job as a receptionist for almost 3 years, raising my lovely daughter on my own and actually smiling. It took a lot of sweat, tears, mistakes and regrets to get here and I couldn't be happier about it.

For about 10 days now, I have been in a funk. This blog post is going to snap me right out of it. Yep, you guessed it...it's GRATITUDE TIME! But before I begin, I have to digress just a wee bit...

Now, 6 years ago I brought into this world an amazing little person we call Riley. I didn't tell you that the reason WHY I was having Riley in the first place was because one night almost 9 months prior to that, I was too drunk and careless to give a damn, about anything, especially myself.

To spare you the boring details I'll get right to the point. I was an alcoholic dating a loser pothead and having the time of my life. I was living at my mom's (mind you I was 32 years old, not a teenager). I was pathetic, lazy, unaccountable and most of all, completely oblivious to anyone else's feelings. I was a drunk, just getting started on throwing away any chances of living a decent, self-respecting life.

Ok, so that sets the scene. My boyfriend and I did what two jackasses do when they are carefree and stupid and we created life. Ahhhh, yes...I really knew what it was to be a jerk.

Within 6 months, my once fun loving boyfriend had hit the road, my mother was at her wit's end dealing with a daughter that she could hardly stand to look at, and I was finding an end of my own. I couldn't run away from life anymore. Ironic how I wanted out of life when I had a life growing inside me.

My best friend in NC coaxed me into moving back out there and living with her while I finish trying to make this baby inside me and have some sense of stability. It was the answer to my prayers.

By August 2004, I found myself living in Whittier, NC with my best friend, her little poodle, my two cats and my growing belly. I was scared to death and took it out on Robin as often as I could. Because, after all, it was her fault that I was in this mess. (please, enjoy the sarcasm).

December 1, 2004 and I'm laying motionless on a gurney while the nurse bags me while trying to explain to my mother, who is in scrubs next to me, why I look lifeless and am not responding. One neat thing (again, sarcasm) about being temporarily paralyzed when the epidural pumps too much anesthesia into you is that you have no use of your body, you can't feel a thing, you can't open your eyes or move a finger but you can hear everything. It's a complete twilight zone, especially in the maternity O.R.

Little Riley was brought forth at 9:12 am. I couldn't lift my head to look at her but I could hear her first screams. Music to my numb ears. I could hear voices telling me she was beautiful and had all ten toes and ten fingers. I ached to see her myself.

The doctor then explained that she was going to sew me up now while they took Riley out to clean her up. By all means, go right ahead. I'll just lay here motionless and wish that someone hadn't f*cked up in the prep room so I can actually see and hold my own child after carrying her for 9 months. I never felt so lonely in all my life.

Finally, the anethesia began to wear off. It started with my being able to move my eyebrows, then I could blink and finally, smile. If I could scream "WTF was that?!?!" I would have. Instead, I just wanted to see my Riley. I turned my head to my left and someone held her at table level so I could glance at her.

All I saw was her bright pink nose and squished little face amongst all her blankets. My first words after getting my voice back were "Is she cute?" Seeing her little button nose was enough evidence for me. My biggest fear was that she would look like me with a cleft lip and palate. We were spared that heartbreak and given a great looking little monkey.

WHOOAAA can I digress...

I have to stop and get to the real reason why I started this post. I wanted to share with you what I
almost missed if I hadn't of messed up my life in NC with my active alcoholism and found my place to breathe and recover here in Las Vegas. And how I ended up in Vegas from NC is another long post for another day *wink*.

A good friend called Riley this morning to wish her a happy birthday. I haven't seen this lady in a while and we were catching up a bit after they talked. She congratulated me on some blessings in my life that I've recently acquired and it hit me...WOW. I AM BLESSED! And it's all because of recovery, no doubt about it.

If I hadn't reached my emotional bottom and made my way into the rooms of recovery, I wouldn't have anything like I have today. Who knows where I'd be or what I'd be doing. I do know that celebrating my Angel's 6th birthday and speaking to a wonderful friend would not be on the docket, that's for sure.

Today, I am proud to share with you just some of the blessings that I have been so grateful to receive and enjoy. Thank You GAAWD for being there for me always with your subtle whispers and gentle reminders that You love me and will never leave me. This one goes out to You.

> A healthy, happy, beautiful 6 year old daughter
> A rental house in the Lynwood Community
> A blackberry phone to keep in touch with my loved ones
> A Toyota Camry
> Nice clothes, shoes and makeup
> The same job for almost 3 years
> Being able to host a huge Birthday Party this weekend for my Riley
> Friends that love us and are coming to celebrate with us.
> Long-distance friends that would be here without-a-doubt if the miles didn't separate us
> My restored physical and mental health
> Having a good credit rating
> Finding a safe place to be able to breathe
> Money in the bank
> Paying the bills on time
> Being single and setting healthy boundaries in my relationships
> Having a solution for living this life as it comes, one-day-at-a-time
> Having compassion for others
> Being able to hear and respond to that Something Within, my gauge, that tells me when it's time to slow down, get back to basics and remember where I've come from...and how far I've gone.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Thanksgiving Week, time to roll out the gratitude.

It was about this time last year when I watched Sarah Palin do an interview while a turkey was being slaughtered in the background. Classy. But it did something for me.

As I watched, I decided right then and there to pass on the turkey at Thanksgiving and double up on mashed potatoes. So I did just that. It made me feel so good that I didn't have anything to do with an animal being slaughtered so I could fatten up over the holidays. So I kept going with the "not going to eat anything with a face" movement.

It's been almost a year since I have become a vegetarian. Oh, I still eat cheese and some fish but for the most part, I pass up on all animals, even the eggs. (You don't want to know the truth behind what really goes on at the egg farms).

This post was not intended to be a post on my personal diet preferences. Rather, I set out to jot down some things that I'm grateful for this year. Vegetarianism just happens to be one of the many blessings in my life.

My 2010 Gratitude List
1. 968 days of continuous sobriety (thank God emotional sobriety doesn't count).
2. My funny, wonderful, amazing, beautiful daughter.
3. A chance to have a renewed and loving relationship with my Mom.
4. Being a vegetarian.
5. All my friends, near and far.
6. Being a receptionist. (Our Controller was just fired today. I'm glad I don't have THAT kind of responsibility up here at the front desk).
7. The men who I tried to love who couldn't love me back, because each and every one of them left behind a lesson about loving MYSELF that I needed to learn.
8. The memories of my Dad.
9. Knowing I choose to spend this Thanksgiving weekend with friends AND family.
10. My crazy dog Roxi who goes beserk with happiness each night I come home even though I leave her alone every morning and don't walk her near as often as I should.
11. Having a God in my life that loves me inspite of myself. That knows what's best for me. That's got my back. That believes in me. A God that picked me up by the scruf one Monday morning over 2 1/2 years ago and said "You've had enough".
12. I am most grateful for the memory of what I used to be like, where I'm at now and the hope of where I could be if I take this life, one-day-at-a-time, not give up on myself and keep believing that the Something Within has something more in store for me.
13. Chocolate.

"Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value." ~ Albert Einstein

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pet Peeves - It's Rant Time

I try not to be negative. I try not to be a bitch. But you know, sometimes you just have to let it out and let it rip. The following is just a little diddy on some annoying things that piss me right off.

Stop here if you can't handle someone else's stupid need to rant.


1. People that call me Jenn and not Jen, especially after being told.
2. Letting stupid people like in #1 get to me so easily.
3. Tailgaters - I just want to slam on the brakes with a vengence most times.
4. Typos in my posts, no one else's, just mine because you know I like being perfect.
5. People that hang up after I've given my fake, cheery intro speal when I answer the phone at work.
6. Fake people. Redundant after #6, I know.
7. Let me be honest...most people in general.
8. Cigarette smoke.
9. Whistlers.
10. Flies.
11. Running late.
12. Adult acne.
13. Bras.
14. People that stare. You freaks know who you are.
15. People that pick their nose while driving. Or anywhere public for that matter.
16. People that don't say "Bless you" after you sneeze.
17. That Dexter will never know I exist.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fund Raising For Training ~ Please Help!!

Snipped from Team Eva's website at http://atteameva.blogspot.com/

Fund Raising For Training!!! Please Help!!

The Short Form:

Who: Livia and Eva

What: Livia is a Life Saving Service Dog for 2 year old Eva. Livia needs more expensive training. This is a fund raiser for that training.

Where: We live in WI, USA, but this can happen from anywhere.

When: Until we raise all the money needed which is $2,000.

Why: Eva has a rare form of apnea and Livia can save her.

How: Donations are accepted through www.paypal.com with this email address: servicedog4eva@gmail.com

Any little bit helps, even posting this on your blog, Twitter RT's, FB, etc.

If you have any questions, please ask. Thank you very much. God bless you!!

@Team Eva

Friday, October 29, 2010

She is the Miracle

I just found this in my pants pocket. It says "I Am A Miracle". It's a coin key ring that a friend of mine gave me back in March for my 2-year sobriety anniversary.

My daughter saw it this morning, hanging on my bathroom wall where I always keep it. It reminds me everyday what a blessing my sober life is.

She took it down and proceeded to look for a place on her jacket to attach it to so she could wear it today. I really wanted to tell her "No, put it back and stop messing with it!" but (1) I don't talk to my babe that way and (2) I subscribe to the No Big Deals campaign. Now, if it were my Mimi's pearls, it would be over before she could take her next breath.

Upon failing to find a good spot to hang it to, Ri decided to slip it in my pocket and told me "Mom, when you find this later today, remember how much I love you."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Las Vegas Family in Need

The following message was sent to me by my VP. She's asked for our help in doing what we can to step up. This is my way of doing something.

If you're local to Las Vegas, please consider helping out as well. It feels amazing to help someone that you will never meet. Pay it forward, if you will.

There is a gal, Renee Starling, who works for my husband’s company. Her son and his family were involved in a very bad rollover accident on their way here to Las Vegas from California on Friday, 10/22. Her son and their 3 kids have all been treated and released from the hospital. The little girl may have lost most of her ear. However, his wife (25 years old) remains in the hospital and may have to have her leg amputated.

They don’t come from much and lost most EVERYTHING in the accident. They can’t go home because they do not want to leave Mom. Car seats are already up for donation. I am not sure if it is proper to ask, but I was wondering if anyone has some gently used clothing, DVD’s, toy’s, etc..for the kids. Halloween costumes are also needed along with socks, jackets, blankets, whatever can be spared.

1-year old boy:
Shoe Size 7
Clothing 2T
Diaper Size 4

2-year old boy:
Shoe Size 9
Clothing 4T
Diaper Size 5

4-year old girl:
Shoe Size 1
Clothing Size 6

As I re-read this for editing, I realize that this family did not lose everything. They all survived. Let's help make their journey to recovery an easier one.

Thank you, in advance, for making me proud to have amazing friends like you.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Mundane Monday ~ Letting Go

I am sitting here at work. It's not very busy so I hopped on here to punch out a quickie on Letting Go.

Most of you know, I tend to hold on to things that are not very good for me a wee bit too long. Good news is that by doing so, and by being in recovery, I have the tools and willingness to be honest with myself as to why.

However, it is awesome to see that the negative things I allow in my life that don't serve my best interest can turn into the exact lessons that are needed for me to grow and eventually move on to better things. The trick is being honest and willing to see my part.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. And like it or not, this is God's world that we're living in; just take a look around.

When I'm in a process of change, growth or just plain self pity, I seek inspiration and guidance from many sources. Happy to say that alcohol is no longer one of them. My friends, my books, specific writers and my God give me the nudges of wisdom my stubborn heart needs to be able to grasp on to hope just a little bit tighter. I am blessed to have such a wealth of sources to turn to when I need it.

Below are some quotes I pulled from http://www.great-inspirational-quotes.com/letting-go-quotes.html that inspire me to consider moving on. (Notice that I don't commit to taking any action...yea, that's how I roll.) Trusting in myself takes more time than is necessary but it always comes, always.

My Mom loves to say that I always land on my feet *meow*


Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
-- Raymond Lindquist

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.
-- Author Unknown

Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.
-- Ann Landers

Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.
-- Gerald Jampolsky

Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?
-- Leo Buscaglia

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.
-- Anonymous

Loving someone is setting them free, letting them go.
-- Kate Winslet

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh

Some think it's holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it's letting go.
-- Sylvia Robinson

Think about any attachments that are depleting your emotional reserves. Consider letting them go.
-- Oprah Winfrey

Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration of another's personhood.
-- Karen Casey

There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.
-- Author Unknown

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.
-- Joseph Campbell

I cling to fear and won't let go because I am not trusting God to meet my needs. ~Jenny Defx

Thursday, October 7, 2010

He's Just Not That Into You

Ok, so I haven't had a boyfriend in over 3 years and the last boyfriend wasn't even a boyfriend; more the married guy back East that just wanted a little hussy on the side when he got bored at home. I gladly signed up for the job.

Well, I'm proud to say that's not me anymore. HOWEVER, I still flounder when it comes to relationships. I almost hesitated to use that word but it's the lesser of evils so throughout this post, I will refer to my experiences with men (again, this term is used loosely) as relationships.

Since moving to Las Vegas, it's a rare occurence when a man (ahem) looks my way. I like that think it's because of all the hot strippers walking around the suburban streets instead of my not-so-stunning good looks. Regardless, it's not easy being single in Sin City.

I've met some great guy friends that mean a great deal to me. One of my fav's might even be reading this (Hi Gregz!!) and he was as close as I got to a relationship. He and I kissed once and that about freaked me out so bad that it didn't take long for me to run him off. He's still a great friend (and a great kisser, ladies) and for that I am very grateful.

So, back to me...

Recently I've had the wonderful opportunity to realize just why I shouldn't be dating. And it's not because it's a bad example for my young and impressionable daughter. It's because he was 6'3", 240, tall, dark and handsome. Basically, way out of my league and he must have seen me coming from a mile away.

I will spare you good people any more details and just keep it short. It took less than 3 weeks to figure out this guy just was not that into me. Hey, that's a good thing. It usually takes me 3 months and once it took me well over 3 years to figure that out.

I got to experience all the craziness it took to simply try to communicate with this guy and how he and I were both so damaged from our past relationships, that we weren't capable of being what we needed to be for each other. We just couldn't find our way around the fear, defensiveness and vunerability it would take to relax and move forward in a healthy manner. It's all a lesson to be learned, sad but true.

Don't get me wrong, the kid was an asshole. No doubt about it. But name calling is just not that nice so here's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to dedicate the rest of this blog to one of my favorite books and call it a day.

Quotes from He's Just Not That Into You
by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo
snipped from http://www.holliesquotes.com

"Cut your losses and don't waste your time. Why stay in some weird dating limbo when you can move on to what will surely be better territory? Don't want to hear it? Fine. Here's the answer you're looking for, "Hang in there, baby. He's not the loser everybody's telling you he is. If you wait and keep your mouth shut and call at exactly the right time and anticipate his moods and have no expectations about communication or your own sexual needs, you can have him!" But please don't be surprised if he dumps you or continues to drag you through a completely unsatisfying relationship."

"He is a man made up entirely of your excuses. And the minute you stop making excuses for him, he will completely disappear from your life."

"Men, for the most part, like to pursue women. We (men) like not knowing if we can catch you. We feel rewarded when we do."

"Don't let the "honeys" and the "babys" fool you. His sweet nothings are exactly that. They are much easier to say than "I'm just not that into you." Remember, actions speak louder than, "There's no cell reception where I am right now."

"Calling when you say you're going to call is the very first brick in the house you are building of love and trust. If he can't lay this one stupid brick down, you ain't never gonna have a house, baby. And it's cold outside."

"He will always be able to play the "friend" card on you. He only has to be responsible for the expectations of a friend, rather than the the far greater expectations of a boyfriend. He's got the ultimate situation: a great friend with all the benefits of a girlfriend, whom he can see or not see whenever he wants to. He may be one of your closest friends, but I'm sorry to say ... as a boyfriend, he's just not that into you."

"Beware of the word "friend". It can often be used by men or the women that love them to excuse the most unfriendly behavior. Personally, when I'm picking friends, I like the ones who don't make me cry myself to sleep."

"I don't want to be "sort of dating" someone. I don't want to be "kinda hanging out" with someone. I don't want to spend a lot of energy suppressing my feelings so I appear uninvolved. I want to be involved. I want to be sleeping with someone I know I'll see again because they've already demonstarted to me that they're trustworthy and honorable -- and into me."

"You can't blame a guy for having feelings. You love someone, you break up, you still have feeling. Thank God for that really. But having feelings don't mean you have to have sex."

"Every man you have ever dated who has said he doesn't want to get married or doesn't believe in marriage, or has "issues" with marriage, will ... rest assured ... someday be married. It just will never be with you."

"Everyone wants to be loved and needed, particularly by the person who just broke up with us. I understand. What could be better than hearing from the man who just told you he didn't want you in his life anymore ... his sad, wistful, "I miss you so much" voice on the other end of the phone? It's validating. It's exciting. It's irresistible. But resist you must."

"A man who wants to make a relationship work will move mountains to keep the woman he loves. If he's not calling you to tell you he loves you and wants you back, it should only be because he's showing up at your new residence to do it in person ... if he's not doing any of that, he may love you, he may miss you, but ultimately he's just not that into you. Stop taking his calls and let him know what it's like to live without you."

"Don't be flattered that he misses you. He should miss you. You're deeply missable. However, he's still the same person who just broke up with you. Remember, the only reason he can miss you is because he's choosing, every day, not to be with you."

"It's very tempting when you really want to be with someone to settle for much, much less -- even a vague pathetic facsimile of less -- than you would have ever imagined. Remember always what you set out to get and please don't settle for less. These guys exist because there are a lot of women out there who allow them to."

"Hey girl. Put down the penis, put your clothes back on, and go directly to your best friend's house. Do not find an excuse to stay. Do not think that because of all the crazy hotness of it all, it now means that you're meant to be together. Yes, break up sex does seem like a good idea, because hey, it's nice to have sex with someone you have these dramatic feelings about. It makes it all, well, dramatic. But now you know. It confuses everything and makes you separate sex and emotions. So now you don't ever have to make that mistake again. Got it? He's into the very-bad-idea-that-masquerades-as-a-good-idea, breakup sex. Over and out."

"Don't underestimate the power of sex, even with someone you've been doing it with for a very long time. Especially with someone you've been doing it with for a very long time. Breaking up means not seeing them again, which also implies not seeing them naked again. It might be tempting to forget this pearl of wisdom, but just remember, it's still called breakup sex. No one has yet to rename it oh-my-god-the-sex-was-so-good-we-got-back-together-again-and-lived-happily-ever-after sex."

"He's sniffing for something better, and when he doesn't find it, he gets lonely and comes "home." It's not that he's so into you. It's that he's so not into being alone. Don't give him the chance to break up with you for the fourth time. (Even the idea of it sounds beneath you, doesn't it?) Reset your breakup maximum to one and move on."

"Deciding to get back together with someone is a complicated and difficult decision. Just remember that the person you are getting back together with is the same person who, not long before, looked you in your beautiful face, took full stock of you and all your qualities, and told you that he was no longer in need of your company."

"Don't confuse being classy with being a doormat. Classy is walking away with your head held high, graciously, and with all dignity. Being a doormat is offering to drive him to the dentist for his root canal."

"Breakups, I've heard, are supposed to be just that. Breaks. Hard, clean breaks. No talking, no seeing, no touching ... keep your hands to yourself. The relationship is over. Half the people I know move after a huge breakup, and frankly that makes perfect sense to me. You're not supposed to sleep with the guy who just broke your heart a week ago. Fine. Next time I'm in this situation I'll cry. Stay in bed and wail. Go to the gym if I can. Call all my friends and burden them with my misery. Sleep too much. Cry some more. See my therapist more often. Get a puppy. Do whatever I have to so eventually I can move on."

"Breakup sex still means you're broken up."

"Cut him off. Let him miss you."

"He doesn't need to be reminded that you're great."

"There's a guy out there who's going to be really happy that you didn't get back together with your crappy ex-boyfriend."

"The reason it's so painful when someone disappears is you have to face the fact that the person you loved had probably left you a long time before he grabbed his coat and scrammed. The hard part is realizing that he was lying to you, in some way, before the moment of vanishing."

"Don't give him the chance to reject you again."

"No matter how powerful and real your feelings may be for someone, if that person cannot fully and honestly return them and therefore actively love you back, these feelings mean nothing."

"Being lonely ... being alone ... for many people ... sucks. I get it, I get it, I get it. But still I have to say that yes, my belief is that being with somebody who makes you feel shitty or doesn't honor the person you are is worse."

"Life is hard enough as it is without choosing someone difficult to share it with."

"You deserve to be with someone who is nice to you all the time."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The End of Crush

I sold my beloved truck tonight. My friend's husband said I got a good deal. I know I couldn't have done any of it without his help. Thank you John.

When I turned to walk away from my Crush (aka, 1998 Toyota Tacoma), I started to cry. I went inside, straight to Jenniflower and let some tears go. Bittersweet tears. Tears that I actually had money in my purse from that old rust bucket. Tears that it was gone, forever, out of my life. Weird you say? Read on...

I purchased Crush back in March 2007. A triumphant year "in my dis-ease" of alcoholism. I was seeing a married man who owned the most fun Toyota 4x4 I had ever driven. I've always wanted a truck. I borrowed his constantly, when we weren't too busy sneaking around, hiding from his wife and kids. (I don't have to do that anymore).

So on a week long bender, I went out and test drove my very own. It wasn't the one I had my eye on but I couldn't afford THAT one. So I settled for a 10-year old beat up, dark green Tacoma. They only charged me $1,000 for every year since it was built. So generous of them!

I drove off the lot, proud of my accomplishment of turning in my perfectly safe 4-door Saturn, acquiring more debt than I could afford and of course, having a cool truck like my married boyfriend. I had visions of us four-wheeling together off into the sunset. (I don't have visions like that anymore).

My then 2 1/2 year old and I named my newly found treasure "Crush" after the cool Daddy turtle in Finding Nemo. Crush took me all over western North Carolina those first few months. I even brought home a border collie puppy to run around in the bed of the truck as we road around town. Roxi never did like being back there.

Crush took Riley, Roxi, my two kitties Cuervo and Blu and yours truly across the country in July of 2007. I had found a bright red camper shell to fit on top of the dark green bed, sold all my items on the side of the road for gas and high tailed it outta there. I had done enough damage in WNC and it was time for a fresh start.

Crush made it without a hitch. The animals made it without on accident. Riley made it even though her car seat was never installed properly in the back of the xtra cab. And, of course, I made it just fine though I had been drinking Diet Coke with my vodka all the way across this great nation. (Can I get arrested for admitting this now?)

Las Vegas, Nevada seemed like a great place to stop. I was done driving and ready to start my life anew. I sold the camper shell and settled down into what would be worst 8 months of my life.

Whenever I would "wake up" from my fog long enough to realize I was now a single mom raising a child IN VEGAS, I would just reach for another bottle to drown that reality, night after night.

I could go on but this is about Crush, not my insanity - though the two were tightly connected. One gave birth to the other.

I guess that's why selling Crush is so sad. It's showing me that I'm growing up. I've been sober for 2 years, 5 months now and it's starting to reflect in how well my life if going and the countless blessings I am given on a daily basis.

My Crush has been replaced with my mom's 2003 Toyota Camry. She splurged on a new car for herself (go Mom!) and handed me the keys to her "Sparky". Riley doesn't have to sit in the front seat anymore. Thank you Mom.

The tears I shed were few but they symbolized that I am getting well. I can drive and take care of my new "safe Mommy car" with gratitude. I still feel like a fish out of water driving Sparky but something's take longer to get over.

I will miss you Crush but your new owners are going to take great care of you.

Now it's time to travel down the road of happy destiny.

Until we meet again...


Friday, August 27, 2010

The Cold Hard, Cream Filled Truth....

Ok, so it's been a while since I've blogged. I've had a few friends say something about how much they miss reading my ramblings. I've tried to force myself to write about something and just couldn't. The inspiration had left me, until now.

Please read the heartbreaking truth about the Twinkie...

I was cruising through MSN's top news stories, hard at work trying to look busy, and what catches my eye? "What's in a Twinkie? 37 Ingredients" that's what. So the age-old mystery has been solved? Cool!

We can all guess the basics that reside in our beloved childhood snack cake - high fructose syrup, water, sugar, some ingredients that we can't pronounce, yada yada.

Now let me introduce you to "Ingredient #12": Animal Shortening.

WHAT?! Really??? Any ingredient that gives reference to anything "animal" in a snack CAKE has me doing a double take.

So upon further investigation, my fears where confirmed.

Snipped right from another horrified bloggers website (http://ourfriendben.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/animal-shortening-say-it-aint-so/),..."Animal shortening?!! Good God have mercy, what kind of euphemism will they think of next?!! Rushing to Google, I found that indeed, “animal shortening” was defined as lard, beef drippings, or rendered suet. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, the whole point of shortening was that it wasn’t lard. Either you used lard, or you used shortening (in our house, Crisco), which was made from vegetable oil."

I recall not to long ago I participated in a group orgy of deep fried Twinkies and Oreos at the Fremont Street Experience. (For a second there I had you thinking dirty, didn't I?!) hee hee Well so much for that fond memory.

As most of you know, I made the personal and oh so gratifying switch to vegetarianism last December. It's been a good streak so far in which I was very proud of myself for. But now, with this gut wrentching news at my disposal, my committment to "doing my part for animals" will be taking on a whole new level. Damn you MSN!

So bye-bye Twinkies. Bye-bye Ding Dongs (yep, just Google that too). Toodles cheesecake. Thank goodness there's no "animal shortening" in Coca Cola.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Kicking ASS this September!!

This post is dedicated to the memory of 14-year old Alex Smythe who died January 21st of this year.

Written January 21, 2010 approximately 6:00pm:

"I would like to start this, my last post, by thanking each and every single one of you for wishing me, and my mom well. Also for providing us not only with love and support but also for the food and goodies we enjoy.

As many of you know I was diagnosed with Leukemia AML type 2, and since November 15, 2009 I have been a resident of Summerlin Hospital, fighting this disease with your help love and support.

As I finished round one of chemo with some problems, because when I was admited, I was already sick. When it was over, I was allowed to spend my birthday holiday, and New Years at home, with my Mom. I look forward to going back for round 2 much stronger than before, and with a more positive attitude.

Round 2 started, and things were so good. I was eating everything under the sun, and more, even on the days of my chemo. I look forward to my second trip home, after I kicked the effects of the meds out of my body. On tuesday, things were kind of normal, but in the afternoon, when they were giving me calcium, I felt woozy, and weird, and that night it felt like the chemo effects were starting.

In the morning my mom called Aaron to keep me company, like we have in the past, but I was out of it because of the meds. I cannot recall the time that he got there. I started feeling this abdominal pain, and asked for some morphine, and even that didn't stop the pain. It was something that persisted through the day, and when my Mom got back, we asked the nurses for more medicine, but the pain was too much. Later that night, I tried to get up, but my legs couldnt support me, but I was in my mothers arms. When she called for help, there were nurses rushing in, calling for doctors who worked so hard, while crying, trying to save me.

At 2:07 AM, I took my last breath, with the help of these amazing nurses, and doctors, while holding my mom's hand, and I said my goodbyes, while sending all the love anyone could give to my mother.

I would like to thank you mom, first of all for giving me life, and believing in me through everything.

I love you mom, and I need you to believe in you Like you believed in me, and now I need you to be strong, and fight, like you fought for me.


PS: I know you guys want to help, and the best way is to reach Aaron with questions, concerns, or donations at: xlpinell@yahoo.com. I need you to understand that right now is a tough time for all of us. Thank you again."

Ok, I'll wait until you blow your nose and wipe your tears...Go ahead, take your time - I needed quite a few minutes myself....


Ok...now, ready to take some action? Read Heidi's message below welcoming EVERYONE to join Team Alex! Her goal is 200 members for the September 11th walk/run. Plenty of time to mark your calendars for a great time and a great cause!

"Two years ago, Alex and I ran the 5K for the Candlelighters and we had a blast! We were very impressed with the entire event. Alex loved the hot breakfast afterwards as well as all of the fun events (he came home with multi-colored spray painted hair and a huge smile).

I could have never imagined that this year I would be heading up a team in his memory. Alex always said I talked too much and now I am his voice and I will use it to get the word out to as many people as I can about this wonderful organization.

This event consists of a one mile walk, a 5K walk and a 5K race. Afterwards there will be a wonderful hot breakfast as well as activities for the entire family. Strollers and pets (on a leash) are welcome!

If you are unable to participate in the event, then please donate, in honor of Alex. Everyone who donates will receive a Team Alex bracelet. .
Those who come out and join us will also receive a Team Alex t-shirt.

We need your help in order to support the many programs and services that Candlelighters provides to hundreds of families on a day to day basis.

To join in the event, click the link below, click on Register here, click on Join a team, from the drop down box find Team Alex.

If you only wish to donate, still click on register here from the Candlelighters site but then click on Sponsor participant and put in my name, Heidi Smythe (aka Alex's mom).


Again, thank you to everyone for their continued support!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

The ABC's for the Spiritually Sick

A is for Acceptance
B is for Believe
C is for Consideration
D is for Dedication
E is for
F is for Forgive
G is for Gratitude
H is for Humility
I needs to be forgotten entirely
J is for Joyous
K is for Kindness
L is for Love
M is for Meditation
N is for Never say never
O is for Omnipresent
P is for Prayer
Q is for Quiet
R is for Remain teachable
S is for Service to others
T is for Tolerance
U is for Unity
V is for Vigilance
W is for Willingness
X is for
Y is for
Z is for

Monday, July 19, 2010

Looking Up Humility

I've been experiencing a genuine lack of Humility in my life, especially lately. I can feel the negative change in my daily activities, interactions with others and my irritability level. I know this will lead me back to drinking if I don't get a grip.

This morning I received an amazing email from a friend about Humility. The subject is one that I still cannot really wrap my head around. Upon reading the email, I thought to reach out and ask others what their take on Humility was and to ask for some feedback.

That launched me into a desire to go deeper. I look at google images on Humility, to read various blogs about Humility, wanted to blog about it, to study it, to submerge myself in it.

I don't want to lose what I have found in my sobriety but if I'm going to be honest with myself, I know it's just a matter of time before I do, if I continue this selfish, self-centered way of living.

This post will be the first of a series on Humility. My thoughts, ideas, concepts, and such are not based on knowing Humility, they will be based on seeking it. I need more of this in my life and this is my "out loud" study on the topic.

As I've been taught, any adventure I start should begin with a Prayer to help me stay out of me and stay right sized...

The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
That where there is hatred,
I may bring love.
That where there is wrong,
I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord,
I may bring harmony.
That where there is error,
I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt,
I may bring faith.
That where there is despair,
I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows,
I may bring light.
That where there is sadness,
I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort,
than to be comforted.
To understand,
than to be understood.
To love,
than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

For those of us in recovery, this Prayer is known as the 11th Step Prayer. It's amazing, as you can see. The few times I have read it, it speaks to me in specifics with ways I can better myself, thus gaining more of an understanding of Humility and what it is like to acutally live in it.

The following is a snipette from my friend's email on Humility. Some personal messages were deleted - my apologies if the flow is choppy.

"SO – to me – in short, Humility is to get yourself down to right size. Not to be better than or less than – but understanding that you are “equal” too all. Being Humble means to continuously take an inventory of yourself daily and acknowledge and accept your character defects when they arise so that you can remain teachable in asking God a saner and more desirable way for you to handle an unmanageable situation. You strive to be continuously teachable seeking God’s Will for you and not your own. ...we have to practice on a daily basis letting them go in order for us to have Humility and obtain serenity and peace. I like the saying - "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. "Ism" = Insecure, Selfish Me. "Ism" = I, Self, Me (The Ism is what holds us hostage...). In doing this – we allow ourselves to realize it is NOT all about us and we are able to practice, love, tolerance, patience, and Humility – when we react with our character defects (insecurity, self-centerdness, pride, etc.) we loose the ability to be teachable, acquire Humility and be of service to others. ...we have to get out of ourselves and our old way of thinking or it will kill us. I know that I LOVE to think about me, me, me – I annoy ME all the time – so I have to do this on a daily basis as well (at least try too to the best of my ability). When I am feeling unstable or in fear – I am obviously lacking any kind of faith in my higher power, so Humility is unreachable for me. ...pause when agitated or doubtful and ask God for the right decision or action (you know the drill, act – don’t react)."

I have been blessed in my 3 years in the city to have met some great people and to actually be even more blessed by some of their friendships. Recently, I had to opportunity to spend part of my day with a particular person that showed me exactly what it was like to be completely self-centered and a bit arrogant. Traits I am all too familiar with. It made me not want to be near this person much longer. You see, I already live with me 24/7 and cannot escape so being stuck around another just like me, no thank you. It only took 24 hours to see the lesson in my encounter with this person.

Within the same day, I came across an individual that was entirely "different". This person ooozed peace, calm, love, kindness, serenity, Humility. I found myself scooting over closer to her in the hopes of obtaining some of this by having a close proximity to her. Nope, not gonna happen that way.

This person spoke without of sense of entitlement, without a sense of "being smarter than" or "having being right". She spoke from the heart, out of genuine love, hope and concern for others. I knew right away that she possessed what I wanted. I was instantly thankful that I had a few moments with her, to SEE what Humility was like in action.

I'm going to stop here and get ready for my day. As I study more on Humility, I will share what that "Something Within" places in my path next.

Blessings to your day...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quit Your Whining

Every morning, I take my dog out to the football fields behind my apartment around 5:00AM so she can run, sniff and play while I read my daily inspirations. Today's hit like a brick and I had to share.

"If you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it." -Anthony J. D'Angelo

I don't know who this Anthony guy is but if I really wanted to, I'd look him up. I don't need to - I got what I needed from him with this one sentence.

My life has been awesome these last two years. Amazing what happens when you sober up. Lately, I've been reminded of a long lost dream of mine that I thought I had put away for good that last time I started pursuing it and failed miserably. It's not a coincidence that failing and being a drunk go together like fried bologna and mayo. Wow, it's hard to be a vegetarian sometimes. But I digress...

I've only told a few close friend about this but here it goes...I want to be a nurse. I want to go back to school, challenge myself again, get into Nursing school and make a difference in my life. I want to help another one of God's kids. Lord knows I've had enough surgeries and experience with hospitals to know a little bit about how it feels to interact with both great nurses and nurses that should not be allowed near sick people. It would be a great service to use that personal knowledge and use it for someone else's comfort.

God has better plans for me but I needed this job to teach me lessons about patience, personal growth, dealing with others, standing up for myself and most of all, believing in myself. When I leave this job, I will be taking so much more with me than when I came in.

So, the quote above told me that I could do one of two things with my future. Keep whining and being a victim about it or make a change and do something about it.

Stay tuned for what's in store. Things just got interesting...

Listen Up Kids!

The following post was written by my good friend Leslee back in June. It moved me so much as a mother that I asked if I could post it on my blog.

A friend has invited me to help her write an article for a local publication. The theme is nurturing your children’s spiritual life. We talked last night about choosing three points to make that would be most valuable in the lives of our kids. The first thing that popped into my head is the importance of intuition and listening to yourself.

I have a terrible, terrible memory so it may be that I just don’t remember BUT I don’t think I was ever told to listen to myself and the feelings that rise from within me. I knew to listen to my teachers, my parents, other adults in my life, and even my friends. It never occurred to me to listen to ME. In fact, I’d say I was often even afraid to listen to myself. When I knew the answers to questions in class I was terrified to raise my hand and respond for fear I’d be wrong and look stupid. I remember times when I went with the pack and joined in on not so nice behavior b/c following others was easier than not. I’m sure there was a little voice or a tug at my heart reminding me to do no harm, but I ignored that voice until the deed was done. Then I had to deal with the consequences of either getting in trouble, losing a friend, or feeling guilty.

I believe that teaching our children to stay connected and listen to the voice within is vital to their emotional health. I caught a few seconds of an Oprah episode yesterday. It was long enough to hear Oprah speak to this idea. The show topic must have been sexual abuse. She said that our kids need to pay attention to those “this doesn’t seem right” feelings and speak up when they have them. Too many kids stay silent when they are being hurt because somewhere along the line they’ve learned that they should listen to everyone else but themselves. We are wired with this protective instinct for a reason. We know when something isn’t right. Instead of listening to the outside pressure, whether from peers or “trusted” adults, our kids ought to be encouraged to listen to the quiet inner voice or feeling that is saying no, no, no.

So if I had any parenting advice for myself and others I would say to teach our children that they have an inner compass and how best to use it.

Leslee Horner's blog can be found here>> http://lesleehorner.wordpress.com/

Friday, July 9, 2010

For Bette

I originally posted this on 5/13/10 but I feel the need to share it again, for Bette.

This song has beautiful lyrics. Each time I hear it, I think of Bette, a lady I know that has suffered amazing pain, fear and uncertainty this year. I smile when I think of her because she has Faith and I know her rewards are going to be great. Her strength continue to amaze me and many, many others. Her God is Great.

JOSH WILSON ~ Before the Morning

Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you
If there’s a God who loves you where is He now

Maybe there are things you can’t see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending

Someday somehow you’ll see you’ll see

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

My friend you know how this all ends
You know where you’re going
You just don’t know how you’ll get there
So say a prayer

And hold on cause there’s good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time but you’ll see the bigger picture

Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory

It’s just the hurt before the healing
Oh the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning
(credits to onlylyrics.com)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

When "I'm Sorry" Is Not Enough

There are some wrongs that can never be made right. Some things from the past can never be made good again. No amount of “I’m sorry’s” or “Please forgive me’s” will make a bit of difference. They almost seem to make everything worse.

When the hateful words have been said, when the trust has been broken, there might not ever be a way of making it better. Some people just don’t care about you anymore. Some people write you out of their lives and gladly never look back. Some simply choose not to forgive, not wanting to let the person “off the hook”. And some just don’t have to capacity to let go of the pain.

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. People have the right to hold on to the hurt as long as they choose. Most of us have done some terrible things and forgiveness is just not an option for those we’ve hurt.

When we, as the “wrongdoers” are not granted restitution for our mistakes, we have to accept this. If we’ve been honest with our part in the errors we’ve made, asked humbly for forgiveness and offered to do whatever we can to make it better, we’ve done all we can do. If our loved one cannot or will not accept our request, we can go no further. We’re drunks, not Superheroes.

The pain of not being forgiven cuts deep, sometimes much deeper than the original reason such forgiveness is sought. Maybe that’s the motive for our loved ones not to forgive us. Maybe they want us to hurt for as long as possible. They want to dig in the spurs for the rest of our lives to get back at us for the mess we’ve put them through. Maybe the love and trust is gone forever and the relationship is damaged beyond repair. This continued pain for past wrongs hurts just as it is intended to. It's our turn to see how it feels.

In recovery, we grow hearts; we feel everything. We no longer run from the pain or numb our spirits from consequences. But we also grow backbones. We no longer crawl before anyone, even those we love dearly that we so desperately want to mend fences with but will not allow it.

When the wreckage from our past stares us in the face and no restitution is granted, it’s over. There’s absolutely nothing more we can do. Going back and re-writing the past is impossible.

Our responsibility now is to ourselves and our fellows. We put one foot in front of the other, hold our head high with the knowledge we would never do those things again, and be the best person to ourselves and to others that we can, for one day at a time.

Lack of forgiveness does not mean defeat. It is not an excuse to wallow in more self pity. It is a chance to humble ourselves to the fact that we have been hurtful beings and to own our part of that. Then all we can do is move forward, learn from it and let go.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Prescription from Dr. "What's Important, M.D." for "All of Us"

• Your health is up to you, as is the life you live. Creating better health creates a better life.
• Love your lover. Hug your children. Be a good friend. Care about others and let them care about you. Apologize. Laugh a lot. Have fun.
• Make soup for a sick friend. Don’t save your special things – use them every day.
• Forgive. Time heals. Make peace with your past.
• Regard your tone of voice. Choose your words wisely; you can never take them back.
• Stay in touch with people you care about.
• Treat others well.
• Give out at least one compliment every day.
• Simplify. Have a regular cleanup day.
• If you don’t like something, change it.
• Spend your money on experiences more than on things. The memories will last longer.
• Focus on what is working in your life and do more of it. You grow and thrive by what excites you – that is passion!
• Be compassionate.
• Quit complaining; it only makes you and everyone around you miserable.
• Don’t be afraid to learn new things. Be receptive to feedback; it will help you to grow.
• Leave 10 minutes early for everything, no matter where you are headed.
• Anger is impotent. Let it go.
• Confidence is rocket fuel for your life. Cultivate it by feeding your mind with positive thoughts and by ignoring the negative ones.
• What you think about yourself is more important that what others think. Say something good about yourself every day.
• Have humility.
• Embrace gratitude by giving thanks every day – no matter what happens. Lear from your bad experiences/
• Anticipate roadblocks. Life is full of doubts and fears.
• Dare to take risks. Everything happens for a reason, though you many never know what it is.
• Give more than you take.
• Listen more than you speak.
• Leave a legacy.
• When people tell you that you can’t, don’t listen. Anything is possible. Only YOU can do it.
• Repeat this daily. Live one-day-at-a-time.

Source: Las Vegas Business Press Volume 27, Issue 26 Column Writer Robin Jay, Business Coach