Sunday, February 24, 2008


Driving 900 miles round trip in two days is one definition of insanity.
Which is what we spent the last two days doing.
As a result I'm too tired to write anything coherent so next Sunday will have to do.
Being offline has been good for me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


All week I could hardly wait.
Well, except when I didn't.
I was like a kid
counting how many sleeps
were left.

The last few days I've been
listening to Joe and Charlie give
these talks.
Over 9 hours worth of sharing.
Pure sweet gift.

Dearest one came home Friday
and interrupted my listening time.
Disgruntled that I had to stop
to make supper
I made excuses as to my mood.
As I stood at the stove and stirred
the Spirit stirred within me.
In a flash I saw my selfishness
for what it was
and stopped making excuses.
Seeing how bugged I was that
real life was interrupting my
desire to be more
of who God wants me to be
made me laugh at myself.
Pure sweet gift.

Yesterday morning I prayed
the 3rd step prayer
with a renewed hunger.
What before was simply words
became words from the gut
intermingled with wrenching sobs.
Spirit descends,
heart responds.
Pure sweet gift.

Later I went to my AA meeting.
Eventually the chairperson
asked me to read the promises
Out of nowhere,
or perhaps from my gut,
came more tears.
Breathe, gulp, read.
Someone passed me the kleenex.
When the Spirit moves
among us at a meeting it's
as if time stands still.
It's gets so quiet.
The reality that we're being
nourished by
the Spirit
instead of nursing
a hangover
is lost on none of us.
To be loved in brokenness
Pure sweet gift.

When it was my turn to share
I felt overwhelmed with gratitude
that God would work in my life
and bring about such change.

Through tears I shared.
In return
Nods of agreement.
Looks of recognition.
Sweet, sweet grace.

Afterwards my sponsor
and I met for lunch.
"What's up,"
she asked.

So we talked.
Me first then
she shared her journey with me
and in her sharing
I see myself.
I cry some more
and in a public place
I let the tears become sobs.
She looks at me and
tells me I'm fortunate
to be able to feel those tears.
And I recognize them as the
pure sweet gift they are.

In 2000
the Year of the Jubilee
Sister Doreen told me
as I sat crying
that tears were a form of prayer.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Really Really

I feel like I'm tiptoeing in here trying not to get caught. Did you know typing could feel like that? The resident Energizer Bunny is resting her head in the crook of my arm. I have to keep typing hold the pose or else I'll be in withdrawal her head will fall down and we'll have to start over.

I am such an addict.

As soon as I typed that sentence my internet connection failed. When I reconnected the page froze. When I tried to reboot the whole thing the computer refused to even turn on. I think God has more important things to do than try and micromanage my life when I'm in the midst of breaking my Lenten fast, don't you?

Yesterday I came online to print out something I wanted to take to my counseling session tomorrow. It took less than five minutes tops. Really. It did occur to me that dearest one could print it out for me at work but I quickly dismissed that idea. Too much work. Ha. It didn't stop me asking him to download a zip file which took an hour.

Today I turned on the computer to write some more on a radio proposal. As I did I thought about posting because it's our 26th wedding anniversary and I wanted to note that here. Not that I couldn't pick up the phone and say Happy Anniversary to dearest one again if I wanted. That would be too easy.

First I tell myself I need to go online so the daily anti virus can update. The very anti virus that I go days at a time without updating when it's not Lent. Then I decide I need to do some research. Something official. So I'm merrily researching some info for the proposal. Research names of Sharon Butala's books. Check. Found the library has the copies I need. Try to find lyrics to a song about the prairies and immigrants. Not so lucky.

Oh, let's just look around while I'm here I tell myself. I hop, skip and jump my way through email, bloglines and facebook. 27 minutes later I find myself logging into blogger to post this. We only have dial up - does that count? That's when the connection failed. The page froze. The computer would not turn on.

I'll tip toe my way back out of here now.
Saint Isidore of Seville pray for me.
He took some research to find.
I'm just saying.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Energizer Bunny is trying to lick the keyboard. Maybe she's thanking it for not taking over my life the last 4 days. There's really not room for her to relax in any comfy way between me and the computer. Eventually she'll rest her head between my hands as I type, her nose in position to blow the dust away. Gotta love a pug.

It's been good being away from the computer.

The best part of my week was going to my AA meeting and having a newcomer there. A young man who dissolved into tears as he read the promises aloud. Sobbed. We were few in numbers; it was a privilege to share with him my experience, strength and hope. It was a privilege to see hope and relief in his eyes as we all shared with him and listened as he shared in return. One old timer kicked his butt good. I'm often scared when that happens, worried that it will turn the newcomer off. This guy though was really telling him the truth. The young man left with several phone numbers of memers to call and was urged to phone before he took the first drink.

The weather's been too cold to go out much. We were back down to -57C with windchill sometime yesterday but today the high is -18C and tomorrow is supposed to be +2C. Thank God for chinooks.

My friend who reccomended the yoga video told me that sometimes people cry when they do yoga. I've done the yoga video once and the final pose felt so peaceful. Tears welled up. They kept flowing over and I let them. It felt weird yet good.

I'm choosing to celebrate every little step forward I make when it comes to self care. Yesterday was better than it has been. Today is off to a good start as well. That's progress.
I'll take it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Catch Ya Later

Well, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday so this will be my last post until Sunday.
I think my house will be a whole lot cleaner by the time Easter comes along.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

All Shall Be Well

It's been draining weekend. I think this is the last night of a week straight of overnight lows mostly in the -30's and 40's. Then there was the day when it was -55C when they factored in the windchill. Tomorrow they are forecasting reaching a high of -19C and that's more than welcome. bobbie said to me last week, "Tell me again why you live there?"

Dearest one and I went to town yesterday to buy groceries. We were sadly overdue to restock our cupboards. It was a blessing to be able to do it so freely. It's been three and a half years since we were on welfare and using the foodbank and I still marvel at the privilege of going and buying groceries without having to pick between toilet paper and milk. I hope I never take it for granted.

At our little church in the boonies we arrived today to find the furnace has been going out on and off all week. Most likely the propane has been gelling in the cold. Did you know propane gelled when it got too cold? Everyone took it in stride when I did the first and second readings with scarf and mitts still on. I took my mitts off during communion and then put them right back on. There are frozen pipes in the basement and a pressure pump that will need replacing. Such is life in the frozen north.

Just a few days until Lent begins. I've decided to forego blogging except on Sundays during Lent. I'm actually going to be giving up all internet use except on Sundays for the duration. That is probably the hardest thing for me to fast from. I spend several hours a day on the computer. Lent is a time for deepening conversion with attention to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Our priest is from India and he shared today several of the traditions he grew up with. One was how during Lent, before the daily rice was put in the pot, the youngest member of the family would take a handful of rice and set it aside. For the full 40 days this would be done and then on Good Friday every family brought their rice to the church and had the priest bless it. Then the poor of the community would receive this rice. He also shared that every family had a clay pot with a slit in it for money to be put in but no hole on the bottom for it to come out. Throughout Lent they would sacrificially put money in the pot and then after Easter Vigil all the pots would be collected and broken open. He said the parish had 5 to 6 thousand families in it and the money would be counted and then sent to a charity that distributed help to the poor. He emphasised that it wasn't the amount of money or rice but the intent of the heart.

I had a difficult conversation with my older sister yesterday. We are both going to only daughter's final project and she offered that I could catch a ride home with her and my dad for a visit. We live 8 hours north of only daughter and they live 5 hours east. I told her I didn't know if now would be a good time in light of homework I recently completed for my counseling surrounding the sexual abuse I experienced as a child. My parents still live in my childhood home and this would be the first time I'd go home without my brick walls of numbed feelings in place. I'm learning to speak my truth and in doing so I'm pushing up against ingrained patterns which is difficult for my sister. At one point she said to me, "why can't you come home and pretend like we've always done - that our family is normal? I told her I was past that. This was after she suggested that I get my counselor to give me homework to do while I was at home. I told her I wouldn't do that, couldn't chance it when I would be without my support group around me. It was a painful conversation. The worst was when she suggested I phone my older brother and suggest he meet us there as well. That it would be an opportunity for him to support only daughter, too. I couldn't tell her that only daughter's final project was a play based on the warped messages I gave her about sexuality while she was growing up. A play where only daughter works through those messages and finds some peace while the mother relives the memory of a rape. My sister distances herself when I talk about my pain of being molested. By the brother she thinks would be a great addition to the family reunion. I couldn't comprehend being in the same room as him while watching this play. I couldn't tell my sister why I couldn't phone him about it because I didn't want to take the chance of her minimizing my story. I hung up the phone and cried. I told dearest one that I was fighting the lie that I was a bad person for taking the lid off of family secrets, off the stuff we were never supposed to talk about. I fought against feeling like I was a bitch for speaking my truth. For not smoothing things over so she would feel more comfortable.

As luck would have it there is a great seat sale on right now so that it's affordable for me to travel back with them by car and then fly home later. I'm glad I don't have to make the decision today.

I woke up this morning spoonless. Not surprising, but still disappointing. Doing good self care feels like it requires the energy needed for mountain climbing. I've heard it said many times at meetings: What I'm doing isn't working so something needs to change. For me that means molding my day around doing basic self care. Dressed and showered. Eat 3 healthy meals. Drink enough water. Journal. Exercise. Prayer and meditation. I've gotten sloppy with all of it. Anything I accomplish above and beyond self care will be a bonus.

Lent will be a welcome opportunity to reflect, to pay attention to the littlest of disciplines that help my days be more peace filled. Often I get derailed as I walk past the computer on my way to eat breakfast. One brief "oh, I'll just check my email" ends up with me realizing hours later that it's midmorning or lunch time and I'm still in my pjs. Two new disciplines I'd hoped to begin this year were yoga and centering prayer. The resources to learn them came in the mail on Friday so they will be part of my Lenten routine. Both disciplines have been calling to me for a while and I'm willing to take the time to soak them both in and hopefully incorporate them into my self care routine.

I thought this weekend about my next counseling session. I envisioned walking in and asking my counselor if she wanted the good stuff or the bad first. Then I realized however challenging, however painful this past while has been, in reality, it's all good stuff. All necessary for deepening conversion. Every time I receive the Eucharist I ask Christ to transform me. Fr. Charlie keeps encouraging me that when we speak our truth the ripple effect of it is that our families experience transformation, too.

Dearest one questioned the healthiness of putting myself in harm's way. For speaking my truth and dealing with the consequences when I could've just kept my mouth shut and avoided the pain. I told him I was convinced that speaking my truth will only get easier as I practice doing it. That one day I will be able to have the same conversation with my sister and not end up in tears over it. That wounds can be healed. That transformation can happen. That, in the end, as Julian of Norwich says:
"...All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."
Even the weather.