My WHY

My kids

My hubby

My extended family

My health (mental, emotional, physical)

My students

To remember going to bed and what I said

To be productive at work

To wake up clear headed and energized

To sleep well

To pursue my hobbies and create new ones

To be able to exercise and push myself harder

To finish that book

To finish reading all of those wonderful books

Bed parties

Belly laughs

To shred the shame

To be my best

For happiness and peace

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yesterday was gross, like all of it, just ick.

It wasn’t what happened, so much, it was more how I felt and dealing with those feelings.

Not long ago, you see, those same exact feelings would have me reaching for external comfort– food, liquor, wine, pot… any of it would do.

So.. when what started as a positive and promising day turned south, it was only natural to want to high tail it to the party store. I don’t really, after all, have a problem, I mean I’ve had some good longer sober stretches so WHO cares if I drink like once a week?

Hook, line and sinker… and then Betsy does her triumphant dance.

NOT yesterday.

NOT this time.

What did I do?

I wrote letters that I’ve been putting off for weeks (there is something oddly satisfying to handwriting heartfelt notes). I took the pup for a walk in the balmy cold. I sauteed a healthy dinner of veggies and eggs. I sat in my cozy chair and just thought for a bit. I still felt a tad down and sad after it was all said and done, but not that panicked “I have to consume something toxic” feeling that often overcomes me when I feel sad and lonely.

But I was still scared. I didn’t know how today would be and if these feelings would carry over and if I would be tempted and give into temptation.

But I woke up feeling Betsy’s triumph (MAN it was WONDERFUL). It’s still very early and I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I am feeling optimistic. One day and one moment at a time ❤

Drinking today is borrowing tomorrow’s happiness” — not sure who originally said it, but it’s a brilliant quote with so much truth.

White Feathers, Signs, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and Suicide

February 27, 2019– Day 2 and feeling optimistic.  A lot of things are going on right now that are making me feel really weird– but not in a bad way.

I can’t remember when the teeny white feathers started, but I am finding them on or near me all of the time.  I was excited at first, seeing it as a sign from my mom.  BUT.. after finding several of them, I thought they were coming from the inside of my winter coat.  I think it was after the 4th time or so I found one on my coat.  BUT.. then I kept finding them, even when my coat was nowhere around.  Tonight while cleaning up dinner, there was one on my stove.

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Come to think of it, why did I even think my coat was stuffed with feathers?  I knew that it can be a sign, but I haven’t looked it up recently, so, right now, as I’m writing this I decided to look it up.  The very first thing that popped up and was highlighted was exactly what I was looking for.  And the date it was posted happened to be on my mom’s death day.

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The good news is that everything that I read about brought me tremendous warmth and comfort.  An angel is near and watching over me and my loved ones are safe in heaven.  Additionally, it may be a sign that I am on the right path or could be a clue to an answer I’ve been looking for.  Hmmmm.. I’ll take it!

Other strange things have been happening this week.  Learning of an attempted suicide of a parent at my school (and one of my previous parents so an associate of mine– and one that I had much admiration and respect for) left me feeling shocked and sad. Turns out he blogged about it and so of course I had to find and read it.

I don’t understand suicide but it has hit me personally.  The same year my mom died, my hubby’s 22 year old cousin killed himself– totally out of the blue.  A physically fit college athlete with good looks and from a typical family– it was a shock to everyone.  About a year later a parent at my school hung himself.  Great family whose wife was our PTA president.  Another tragic shock.  There have been others as well.  A longtime friend of my mom’s, this one happening many years ago when she had young kids and I was a teenager.  I just learned today that my dad’s cousin is currently in the hospital because of an attempted suicide.  Everyone is impacted at one time or another by suicide.

I don’t get it, at all.  I know that it’s because of a mental illness and that they truly truly believe that the world and their family will be better off without them.  I understand that.  But how can you leave your kids behind?  Maybe I’m sensitive having lost my mother.  I’ve felt pretty low at times these past few years, but I could never leave my kids motherless- especially knowing how awful it is to lose a parent.

So, I’m reading this blog and this guy (my previous parent who recently attempted suicide) got up one morning, showered, got ready for work, dropped his son off at school and instead of going to work, and on a complete impulse, he drove home and took all of his sleeping pills.  His wife found him a few hours later and he was in a coma for days.  I could immediately relate to that mental switch and impulsivity.  It’s like on those few occasions that I was going strong in my sobriety and happily trucking along giving others motivation and advice and then I’m driving somewhere and my brain flips a switch.  All of a sudden I’m hell bent on picking up wine and nobody can stop me, I am determined to drink.  Sometimes I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Although, I will say that throughout my sobriety journey I feel like I’ve gotten better at controlling that impulsing and shooting down fleeting ideas as they popped up.  It is still such a scary connection for me.  Could my brain flip a switch and convince myself to end my life?  I suppose it’s good to be fearful of this and aware that I am not immune.

Other things have appeared to be connected all week— like super weird coincidences and topics that keep popping up.

I’m going to work really hard at trying to listen to the signs and my soul, I truly think I am being led somewhere.  Or maybe it’s just the Universe, or God or my Angel(s) leading me out of this rut I’ve been stuck in.

I’m not sure, but I’m really excited to see what this life has in store for me.  I have been feeling positive and energized all day, and it’s been a long one 😉

One last saying to leave you with.  “No mud, no lotus”  Maybe this journey is helping me perfect the art of suffering.

I feel full of hope and happiness ❤

Update: an hour later I found another, larger white feather on the living room floor 🤷🏼‍♀️ 


 

One Cold February

Today is the last day of mid winter break and I found myself awake before 5:00 am.  I am thoroughly enjoying the peaceful house this morning.

It’s been a nice, low key break.

And the skunk smell is finally gone from our home.

Yesterday was particularly nice and productive, yet enjoyable.  I got up, washed all my bedding and the dog’s bed cover also.  While laundry was going I ran to Meijer to look at RBX (I like this brand and just found out that Meijer carries it) shirts and get groceries.  I was good at the store and didn’t buy any junk food, except for ingredients for strawberry shortcake.

Came home and made homemade pizza dough.  While it was rising, I cleaned up my bedroom and then repainted the frame of a cute picture I got from the Salvation Army last week.

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Hubby was pretty excited to have a good dinner and dessert and a clean house (the boys helped clean while I was shopping).  I felt pretty accomplished by the end of the day.

Today I think I will take the boys up to Lenscrafters.  Will needs his glasses tightened and I want to get some new frames.  Hopefully they can make them in an hour and we’ll have lunch while we wait.

This is probably the most boring post ever.  Oh well.  At least I’ll always know what was happening on February 19, 2019!

Peace and love to you all ❤

A Very Stinky Week

What was supposed to be a fabulous weekend is turning miserable.  It started on Wednesday.

Wednesday was my late mom’s birthday.  I woke up for work and as I got out of bed I looked out into the backyard.  I do this every morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of a deer or coyote.  I immediately saw an animal scurrying across the back of the yard.  It was too small to be a coyote or fox–so I guessed it was a possum or skunk.

Not even thinking twice, I went into the kitchen and let Jules out.  He was back in record time rubbing his face in the snow and then I immediately smelled it.  He got sprayed!

I quickly made a batch of homemade skunk off and wiped down his face.  I didn’t have time to do anything else, however, and just thought I’d deal with it when I got home.  A little later in the morning, I started getting messages from my family (who were all sleeping when this went down).

By this time, I was CRACKING up!  Like, seriously, it’s a little skunk smell– get over it.  I had an early morning meeting with colleagues and after we all sat down I asked them if they smelled skunk.  A few of them said yes.  I told them it was me and what happened.  The ones who had dogs that had been skunked offered me some advice and it was all ok.  My boys, on the other hand, were falling apart.   I thought it was my mom, making me laugh on her birthday and playing a joke.  But now, it’s escalated and I’m not so sure.

I did some major cleaning and bathing of the dog when I got home on Wednesday.  I thought by Wednesday night, it was barely noticeable.

Hubby complained ALL night Wednesday.

And he complained ALL night Thursday.

By Friday it was making him nuts.  He took 1/2 day off work and had Stanley Steamer come out and clean the carpet.  While home he washed all of the coats (they seemed to be the most stinky, not sure why) and the curtains.  He refused to let the dog sleep with us and I let him in the bed in the middle of the night so now hubby has been sleeping downstairs since 4am.  I’ll also add, that he was so incredibly crabby last night about the smell, he is absolutely ruining my weekend so far.  He’s usually not crabby, so I have a hard time dealing with it when he is.

Now it’s 7am and I feel pretty sad.  I hope today isn’t another crabby day.  If it is, then I might as well pack up and go to my BFFs for the weekend.  I promised her I would come up soon and last week was her birthday.  And, sadly enough, I’m smelling skunk more this morning than I did the past 2 days.  I think from the carpet being wet– I told him we should wait a bit before getting it cleaned.

Hoping for a fun Saturday with happy people ❤

 

 

Sunday Runday Funday Wonderful Munday

Ahhhhhh… sweet sunny Sunday morning 🙂  We had a bit of a snowstorm yesterday– the first of the year.  We got about 5 inches or so, so everything outside is covered, and white and peaceful.  The sun is shining brightly and it is a very brisk 1 degree at the moment.

It’s been a pretty great week/weekend.  We are leaving for Florida on Wednesday and I spent the first part of the week totally stressed out.  My kids were sick and both stayed home on Monday and my oldest also stayed home on Tuesday.  This was extremely stressful since the oldest has finals this week and I was already stressing about him missing 3 days for our trip.  Plus, I had a lot of things to wrap up for work including 3 IEPs last week, assessments and report cards, and sub plans for 3 days.  I didn’t even want to think about Florida– anytime anyone talked about it, it put me in a sour mood and I vowed never to plan a trip again unless it coincided with one of the breaks.  By Friday I was feeling a ton better.  My IEPs were done and filed, testing was all done, most of my report cards were done and my sub plans were complete.  I only have one more day of work until we leave and if something unforeseen happens like a snow day– everything is all ready for the sub.

The only disappointment this weekend is that I missed an intro to Buddhism, Zen and Meditation class at the Dharma temple.  Going there is on my bucket list and I thought that this class would be a good opportunity.  It’s like 30 miles away though, and there was just way too much snow.  It would have taken me around 2 hours to get there.  So I skipped it.  They offer the class every couple of months though, so I do want to go to the next one.  In the meantime, I’d like to go to the Sunday service there.  I didn’t go today, because my youngest had a sleepover last night and next Sunday I will be in Florida.  Maybe the next Sunday.

The sleepover last night was fun.  The boys played the board game LIFE, and Minecraft and just acted like lunatics.  One of the boys had to leave around 8am for church and Sunday school.  It was a little bit of a bummer to have to set my alarm, but I was so grateful for my sobriety and being able to get up bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Hubs got up with me and we made waffles for the boys.

It made me think of a time years ago that I’m not so proud of.  My oldest had a friend over and my best friend came down from up north for the night.  We were drinking (she’s not a huge drinker–but this wasn’t long after my mom died and I was annihilated).  My son’s friend felt sick around midnight and wanted to go home.  I’m not sure if he called his mom or if I did, but I can’t imagine what I looked and sounded like when she picked him up.  I’m not sure that he’s ever been back.  I have always felt very guilty about this.  He was a friend from the town we used to live in, so my son doesn’t see him at school or have much opportunity to talk to him–which might be partially why he hasn’t been back. But I’m guessing my behavior has something to do with it as well.  I made a mental note to add his mother to my amends list.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King day and we have the day off of school.   I’m planning on getting a good workout in, getting my nails done and doing a few other preparations for our trip (we leave Wednesday morning).  Tomorrow night my sisters and niece have tickets to dinner with a psychic.  She is a popular local psychic.  My only hope is that my mom shows up to dinner and this psychic can put our mind at ease.  My hubby thinks that psychic are utterly ridiculous and a total sham. I don’t know how we can have such different thoughts on this topic.  Other than this we pretty much share the same values and beliefs.  Maybe if it was his mama in heaven he would feel different.  I kind of think not though.

Today is going to be a nice day.  I’m going to put on about 6 layers and take my dog on a walk. It probably will be pretty short because I don’t think any of the sidewalks are cleared and it’s probably going to take a lot more energy to trudge through the snow.  That’s ok– I did a little more than 3 miles on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so I need less than a mile to complete my goal of 10 miles this week.  I’ve been smashing this goal!  I have 11 more days of January and already have almost 30 miles logged.  My monthly goal is 40, I got this!  Other than that you can find me hanging out with hubs and doing some good relaxing today 🙂  We had our fireplaces converted to gas in the fall and we are fully taking advantage of them this weekend!  I think I’m actually going to miss winter, come spring.  Cozy drinks and games by the fire have been so nice!

I’m feeling a little sad about dropping my dog off at the kennel before work on Tuesday morning.  He goes there for daycare once a week and is always excited to go, but they have cameras that you can use to check in on your pet. Towards the end of the day he usually seems like he’s ready to go and often waits by the exit gate.  He is not going to like spending 6 nights there 😦   I’ve felt so bonded with him lately, with our frequent run/walks, which we both enjoy so much.  I wish I had a friend who could stay at the house and watch him.  Oh well, at least he’ll have lots of dog friends to play with.

Well…  I think that’s it for my update.  I have been pretty happy and optimistic this month.  I think a big part of it is that self-care piece.  I’m working out, meditating (for awhile I was doing it daily– I’ve let that slip a bit- but still try to do it at least every day or 2), and making a conscious effort to meet my goals.  I’ve thought about buying wine a few times, and there just isn’t any benefit that I can see at that moment– so it really isn’t even an internal argument.  It’s just like, “um, no thank you, no need or want for that!”  So that has been a blessing.  Staying sober in Florida should be ok.  My sister said she’s not planning on drinking at all.  Even if she deviates from that plan, the last sober vacation at her house I stayed sober even though she occasionally drank wine so I think I’ll be ok.  I have too many miles to cover in Florida to be drunk or hungover 🙂

Happy Sunday Everybody ❤

More Good Stuff

Sunday here– and fabulous one at that!  What a great weekend it’s been!

If one pic sums up the weekend, this would be it:

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Ok– it wasn’t all lazy, but it was filled with comfort and joy 🙂

Friday night I skipped out on an after school work retirement get together.  This caused me a lot of inner turmoil but in the end I gave in to my self needs and care so I just didn’t go.  I had to drive by on the way home and literally wasn’t sure if I would stop or not until I was done past it.  Didn’t feel too bad.  I was eager to pick up my dog from daycare and get a workout in.  I did a treadmill workout when I got home, it was slow and tedious but at least I got it done.  The rest of the night was spent catching up on laundry and laying in my bed while my furbabies flocked to me.

I was in bed by 11:00 and got 10 glorious hours of sleep (had some catching up to do from the week).  I was a little disappointed that while I was sipping my coffee it was already 10:00 am, I felt like the day was getting away from me.  BUT.. not long hubby and I went to Sam’s Club (always a great weekend “adult” thing to do). I stocked up on pantry items and got some delicious fresh fruit (and some freezer junk food to put in the air fryer for Saturday night game night).

Saturday night was a little boring, but hubby and I did get in a nice game of Cribbage. I was in bed by 11:00.

I was up before 6:00 am today (Sunday).   I got a few things accomplished and then went on a great walk/run for over 3 miles at my fastest pace yet.  And now my puppy is wore out– always a great thing.

Now it isn’t even 11:00 am and I am already feeling super productive.  I ordered groceries earlier and they should be here in a little bit. My BFF is coming for a visit and we will probably do some shopping and she will probably bring her dog to play with my dog.

The last thing that I really want to get done today is a little work on some IEP’s (for school) that I have this week.   If I don’t it’s ok– it’ll just make the week a little busier–but I’m not going to stress about it.

I only have 6 days of work left and then am taking a few days off for an impromptu trip to Florida with the family.  I can make it 🙂

Perfect, low key, awesomely refreshing weekend living my best life ❤

 

The Game of Life is Hard to Play

Gonna lose it anyway?

Well, eventually, but hopefully not for awhile anyway.  (Lyrics from Suicide is Painless)

Back to work, vacation is over.  All good.

Sunday evening was a little rough.  I felt myself get crabby and edgy.  I thought of the Sundays of my past where I would be diligent about getting all of my chores done so that I could start drinking, the earlier the better.  Best if I was passed out before 10:00pm.  But no matter what time I went to bed, the Monday wake up was always brutal.  I fantasized for a moment about drinking my anxiety away, but didn’t.

I was so amped up Sunday night that I didn’t fall asleep till around midnight.  I was so grateful to wake up sober Monday morning.  Even with not enough sleep I felt so much better than a night of drinking.

Getting back to work was good.  I was in a pleasant mood and the kids seemed fairly happy to be back into the routine and were more relaxed than I expected.  The morning went great until I got a text message from hubby.

He found out that his sister had been taken to the hospital the night before with a super high blood sugar (she is diabetic).  He wasn’t sure how she was but his mom said that her organs had started shutting down, but since getting treated she seemed to be improving.  At this point he had very little info, but his parents contacted him to see if he could pick up her kids (who they have temporary custody of) from school.   After talking to him, I got through my afternoon groups but couldn’t focus or get any extra work done.

When I got home, the house was full with hubby and all of the kids (my SIL’s 3 plus our 2).  Everyone was playing and happy.  I made a good dinner (thank you instant pot!) and the kids ate well.  My in-laws picked them up shortly after getting dinner all cleaned up. By then, all of my chores were done for the next day.  I can’t imagine dealing with the stress of a family member in ICU and caring for her small children on top of regular chores with being hungover.  Thank God I was 100% functional!

My youngest has wanted to play the bored game (see what I did there?) LIFE since Sunday night and I promised him we’d play last night, so we made some time for it after the kids left.  We made the mistake of setting it up on the floor, and our dog destroyed it midway through.  It was partially my fault for throwing his ball down the hallway– I thought we was a little more agile and could jump over the game board, but he kind of destroyed it– a few times 😉  So we put it away and had ice cream sundaes instead… perfect ending to a kind of stressful and long Monday.

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Today, Tuesday, has been great so far.  I got up at 4:30 and got in a nice 3 mile walk/run before getting ready for work.  I felt happy, grateful and energized driving in today.  It’s helpful that we are having an unseasonably warm winter (it was like 40 degrees this morning, I got hot).  It’s a great feeling to be getting into the shower at 6:00am and already having over 7,000 steps on my Garmin.

Woo hoo!! THIS is my best life ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Extraordinary

The first day of the new year always seems to feel fresh and exciting.  SO many promises and hopes, dreams, etc.  A new chapter, the beginning of something novel.

I’ve been up since around 5am and it’s been so peaceful and serene around here. I’ve had lots of time to think and reflect.

2018: A Year in Review

Overall, 2018 was a good year.  Here are some fun memories:

  • Buying kayaks for our 17th anniversary, taking them out and having them sink in Lake Huron.  Having to be rescued by aunt Sandy and taking our wet kayaks right back to the freakin’ Walmart.  We bought the more expensive boats too– thinking that they would be nice.  Nothing nice comes from Walmart.
  • Making hubby go to a Refuge Recovery meeting at the Catfe.  The group meditation was wonderful until a cat peed in the money basket and on someone’s shoes.  The meeting only got darker after the meditation and I haven’t been back since.
  • Meeting my goal of riding my bike 150 miles in the month of June.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it for a minute.  Smashing that goal felt SOOOOOO good mentally and makes me realize that I need more weekly/monthly goals in 2019.
  • Finding Dr. Tent.  He has improved my health journey immensely.  I was like a lost soul trying to navigate natural wellness in the dark without a flashlight.  He’s lit the path for me and I am continuing to improve physically and mentally.
  • Discovering meditation.  I have found myself recommending mediation to practically everyone for every ailment.  You’re anxious but highly against taking medication?  Meditate!  You’re depressed?  Meditate!  You can’t focus to save your life?  Meditate!  You’re in pain? Meditate!  I can’t say it enough and the benefits are countless.  I even integrated it into my curriculum at school and created “Mindful Mondays”  where we start off our week by practicing mindful thinking for 5 minutes and writing a reflection in our journal.  This has been so successful that one of my parapros suggested we do it everyday the last week before break because the kids were so amped up and needed it.
  • Reading “The Four Agreements”  This book has become my bible.  I will blog about it sometime soon.  I have also found myself recommending this book to everyone for every which reason.  Understanding the principles of this book has provided me with inner peace and self love and respect that I was missing before.
  • Braces!  I. Still. Can’t. Believe. I. Did. It.  13 months ago my teeth were SO neglected.  I was terrified of the dentist and it had been over 5 years since I had a dental cleaning.  One broken tooth and a new dental office that I love changed everything.  Over the course of a year I was able to get all my problems fixed and my teeth cleaned (twice!).  Then the braces.  I’ve had them for almost 2 months and my upper teeth already look much more aligned.  It definitely has been a self-esteem boost.

Whew–  I am grateful for all of this!  I think that 2019 is going to be a great year.  I want to do more of the things that make my soul happy.

One area that I really want to rev up is my fitness.  I’ve been a workout slacker who is good about getting out there, but doesn’t push myself like I should. I’m going to be paying more attention to my pace and setting goals for myself.  I also want to incorporate strength training into my routine, even if it’s just twice a week (I HATE it– I just want to put on my shoes, go out and move without having to think about it).

I want to read more, write more (hello book, maybe?), meditate regularly, work on the steps, spend more time with family and friends, and I think I’m ready to take the vegan plunge.

Hello January 1st, Hello 2019– I am going to make you extraordinary ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Little Lost Soul

I have a soft spot for lost cats.

When I was around 5 years old, we took a trip up north to my grandparent’s cottage and brought our white cat, Bozo, with us.  When it comes to pets & animal care, my young parents were not the brightest.  Bozo was antsy by the time we got to the cabin almost 3 hours away.  They thought he might have to go potty, so they let him out of the car as soon as we arrived (not attached to a leash or anything) and he quickly disappeared into the woods.  I spent the rest of my childhood asking my grandparents if they found Bozo at the cottage yet.  We never saw him again.

Fast forward 35 years.  It was 2014 and we had just moved to our home in Novi.  We have indoor/outdoor cats but were cautious with letting them venture outside.  We slowly let them explore the outdoors and all was well.  

A couple weeks after moving in, our cat Milo disappeared.  We posted online, hung up flyers all over the neighborhood and prayed.  It was already an awful year, we had suddenly lost my mom a few months before and lost my grandma around the same time that Milo disappeared.  

This fortune gave me much needed hope in my search for Milo

Milo would be on the lam for about 4 months.  During that time we would also lose a young cousin and my grandpa, it was an awful year. Shortly after leaving my grandpa’s funeral up north in early January 2015, we got the call that someone found Milo, halallulah!  Surely this was a sign that despite the tough year, everything was going to be ok.

Milo was a more cuddly and loving cat after being lost for 4 months

Fast forward to Christmas this week.  While at my in-laws, the porch camera was activated on my phone.  I checked it and saw a strange white cat on the porch, but he quickly went away.  I saw him again the next day.  By this time I was concerned and tried to get him to come to me, but he ran. Two days later my youngest came downstairs to tell me there’s a white cat on the porch.  Long story short, I’ve been seeing him about once a day since then.  I posted him online, worried that he was lost. We have new neighbors next door and I’m hoping it’s theirs or maybe someone else got a new kitty (there are a couple outdoor cats in my hood – but not an unfamiliar one like this one).  Deep in my heart I’m worried that he is lost in the Michigan winter – like Bozo & Milo.  

The white kitty is coming closer to the house day by day

I hope this kitty is able to find his way home and is not cold and hungry.  I am keeping my eye out and trying to sweet talk him in case he is lost. 

After all, aren’t we all little lost souls in some way or another?