Life's Sweet Journey

Sunday, May 5, 2013

She had me at Harry

Jenni's topic for day 5 is going to be about, well, her!! She is my go to gal (and no this is not just in thanks for this awesome challenge and the fact that because of it I have found many new great people to enjoy). Today we are suppose to publicly profess our love for one of our blogger friends and I couldn't be happier to get the chance to talk about how great I think she is.

I still for the life of my can't remember how or when I stumbled across her lovely space (maybe through Sarah at Fairy Tales are True, who also rocks my socks) but I was smitten from the start.  She truly did have me at Harry (yes, Harry Potter, could there be another one?!).  She talked about her love affair with those books the same way I have always talked about mine.  Most people don't seem to get it, but she did.  I think it started with a simple post about what her hubs had gotten her as a surprise and then spanned into me proceeding to read all her Harry linked posts. I also figured that since her about me post included a statement that if I didn't like Harry Potter we couldn't be friends, I took it upon myself to assume that because I love him we automatically could.  Harry was hook number one.

Hook number 2 was her gorgeous photos. Seriously stunning!  I have never seen food or a restaurant look so good through a computer screen.  Someday I will find my way to Austin with the soul (yes, soul not sole) purpose of eating my way through it (and meeting her wouldn't be half bad either, total understatement)!  Then after I had been following (unofficially) for a bit I found the greatness of one of her photography posts and it all made sense.  If I lived in Austin I would totally be hiring her to take any pictures I may need in my lifetime. Jenni, if you ever find your way to Orlando again then hit me up girl 'cause I want photos!  

Hook number 3 was this post right here.  I love the term marital blish (yes, blish), she coins some good words huh?! The open honesty in her post was so endearing and reached me at a time when I needed to hear read words like that.  Her writing is beautiful and the outlook was very similar to the way I view relationships in general.  And the words read at her wedding?! I love them.  Maybe if I had known of them before, my reading selection for our wedding may have changed.  I couldn't find the words that seemed fitting and wrote my own.  Those would have been amazing! 

I had followed Jenni for probably about a year before I actually had an official blog to follow her with.  It was quite an exciting day to be able to post a comment un-anonymously. I think at some point through facebook I told her I felt we were "certainly simpatico" (I love that term! If you haven't seen The Trouble with Angels, with Haley Mills, you probably should. Love it!).  I still believe it to be true. I love her insight and her stories and what seems to be a genuine open-hearted kindness for others and the things/people she loves. The girl gives some great advice and life tidbits and really knows how to help a sister out! So Jenni, thanks for your great words and lovely photos.  Your writing truly makes you feel like a dear friend to me and I am excited to get to follow your journey. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Albus Dumbledore, Oprah and the Dalai Lama

I knew that Jenni's topic from day 4, your favorite quote and what you love about it, was going to be a tough one for me when it came to making a decision.  So... I decided not to.  Rebel, I know!  I have two books full of quotes and while there are some I love more than others it could take me hours upon hours to figure out which ones I really wanted to share. I am excited to read others posts and add great finds to my books.  

While these aren't necessarily my favorite quotes I thought an easy place to start would be with one from my favorite books first (or book series anyways).

Albus Dumbledore is one smart man!
I love the above quote but I think I love this one more, 
"The truth.  It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution." -Albus Dumbledore, via J.K. Rowling
This one speaks to me on so many levels.  I am a firm believer in what I don't know can't hurt me.  If the truth is something that won't do anything (change the situation, help the situation, or change my viewpoint) but bring hurt in the moment, then I would prefer to just be left in the dark.  The truth can be freeing but it can also be damaging and destructive.  It should never be treated with anything but caution.  The truth is words and words have power; be careful with them.

In skimming my books for more Harry Potter wisdom (which I couldn't decide between and thus decided to save for a later date), I stumbled across this one that jumped out at me.  It is fitting for my current state of mind.  

"Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck." - Dalai Lama
At this time in my life I have been trying not to focus on the what-ifs.  I am where I am in my life and there is a reason for it.  When I think back on some of the things I had wanted, or even the things I still want but had wanted at the wrong time, I can't help but be in awe at how blessed I am that I didn't get them.  My entire life would be completely different.

Here are some more snippets of wisdom from others that I found while scrolling my time away on Pinterest (which I enjoy, wholeheartedly).  I have also gone ahead and attached my Pinterest account.  It is still a pretty unorganized mess of all my mind comes across (most things are just liked not pinned) but I am working on making it a little more spiffy~ Enjoy!

And I just had to share this because it is oh so perfectly me... 

Friday, May 3, 2013

No, I can't! Sorry

Day 3 of Jenni's Challenge was things that make us uncomfortable and I think I will start my list of things that make me uncomfortable with this post right here.  I don't like discussing things that make me uncomfortable because, well, they make me uncomfortable (I don't like being uncomfortable).  Starting this blog actually made me a little uncomfortable because I do not like the fear of rejection and I won't lie, I do 'sometimes' care about acceptance and what others think.  My first few blog posts took me ages to actually publish because I literally ennie-meenied over them and if they were "ready".  I have since embraced the publish button and am quite content, even if I am my only follower.  I started this blog as a way to write and share my thoughts and even if it is simply an online journal I will be content in that because it is making me happy and helping me clear my head.

The following are other things that make me cringe:
- Saying no: I suck at saying no, even to things I really don't want to do.  It can make me feel guilty and anxious and I talk in circle trying to explain why I can't do something, be somewhere, help someone.  I think it's the whole fear of rejection thing.  Most of the time I just end up saying, yeah why not?! For reals, it's kind of an issue; along with making a decision.  That goes hand in hand with the discomfort I feel when saying no.  Be an adult, lady! Make a decision. Say no! No, no, no, no, no! See? I can do it.  Ok, now my palms are sweating. 

- Large crowds: Which is a somewhat ironic and new discovery but I have realized large crowds give me the willies.  I LOVE people, I enjoy parties and the occasional night out but get me into an unknown situation with large crowds of people and I have a slight freak out.  For example, don't catch me in a parade in the middle of NYC when I didn't even know there was going to be a parade.  This was when I discovered my discomfort with large crowds.  My reaction? Call my person (who was not in NYC with me) to bombard her with frantic "I'm freaking" nonsense and leave the rest of my group behind (Babe included) as I walked as quickly as I could through said parade trying to get to our destination which, by the way, was closed due to the parade! Oh man, the memories.  Who, in their rational mind, would leave their group behind in that situation? Oh, this girl! It wasn't one of those rationally minded moments.  

- International travel:  I don't know why but this has made me uncomfortable for a long time.  I am trying not to let it stop me from seeing the wonders of this world. 
       *Side-story: On a recent mission trip to Costa Rica, the three girls I was traveling with and myself, were to meet my friends brother at the airport (he heads a mission building wells in CR).  He would be waiting for us outside.  She informs that there would be a LARGE CROWD of people outside this INTERNATIONAL airport and we may not see him right away.  She said to just stick by her and it would be ok and not to freak if we got jostled, pushed etc.  I was in a little bit of a panic mode.  Well, we walked out of the airport and some of their security measures had been changed and the crowd was not as bad as her previous trip and we saw her brother right away.  I don't think I had ever been so glad to see her brother (or maybe anyone for that matter) in my life.  She laughed because I literally said an, "Oh, thank God, there's Blake" prayer as we walked out the doors.  

- Change: Blah, change!! It is a hard thing to feel uncomfortable about because it is unavoidable and happens often.  

- The unexpected: I think the majority of the above can be linked to this one major area that creates discomfort for me.  I think some people call it a fear.  I like to know what to expect!

And just for your enjoyment, if you would like instant cringe worthiness from me check this list
- The sound wet sand makes when you drag your fingers, toes, etc. through it
- Squirrels!! Those buggers FREAK me out.  I have been chased by one, stalked for food by two, and caught in the middle of a squirrel brawl at Sonny's, in which I knew it was only a matter of time before one jumped on my head in crazed attack mode.  That didn't happen, but tears did (the laughing/ freaking kind)
- Birds! Yes, birds.  These are almost as bad as Squirrels but not that bad.  Squirrels are freakin' tree ninjas!
Yes, feel free to think I am completely cray; sometimes I feel that way.  Good day! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Some of Life's Words aren't so Sweet

I never planned to write about this so early on.  However, I am finding as I really explore this "new world" that there is a certain freedom in blogging.  Freedom for myself.  Freedom for my thoughts. Freedom for my feelings.  Writing has always been a source of expressing myself but the feeling of it seems a little different when I know someone else may potentially read what I put down on "paper".   Jenni's prompt for today really had my mind in a battle over what approach to take.  What is something I know a lot about? Or am "good" at? My plan for something I know a lot about had originally been to take a funny approach to being a "successful" housewife.  With recent events in my life changing (oh I love that word) yet again, the topic of addiction has been heavy on my mind.  Unfortunately, this is a topic I know a lot about.  Not my own personal struggle but the struggle of caring for someone who suffers under the weight of it.

This is a weight that doesn't only fall on him.  It is a weight that can also consume and devour those who love him.  My brother has suffered with addiction for what seems like as long as I can remember (and he is younger than me).  His dealing with his demons is his story.  This is mine.

 I am the sister of an addict.  I don't think is something you can be good at but being a good sister is something I am working on being good at all the time.

Caring for someone who suffers from addiction takes on many faces.
- Anger; there is was a lot of that
- Enabling; I have played my part
- Judgement; I still struggle to not throw stones
This list could go on...

However, there is also...
- Hope; even in the smallest of doses
- Redemption; because sometimes even each week could mean turning a new page
- Grace; there has to be or the battle would have been lost long ago
This list is sometimes harder to find and harder to add to than the other but this list grows too. 

Right now those faces change sometimes moment to moment.  His most recent relapse began yet a new season in this journey but I think it was the most important lesson I have learned so far.  For years I would step back from it, live my life and pretend that this was not something that defined me. While I still don't see it as a definition for my life it is something that has shaped me and defined who I have become.  Addiction, even when it is not your own, changes you. I didn't use to fear change, until things changed with the speed of an oncoming train and kept changing with each passing car.  I used to be a little more carefree, until I saw how riding that line can push you so far past it you can't find your way back.

Now though I am finding a new way to understand "knowing a lot" about addiction. Addiction is a disease, which is something I still have a hard time wrapping my head around.  I have always called it selfish, but it is not something I struggle with and therefore can't truly understand.  I have come to learn though that no matter how hard I may try it is not something I can fix.  Sometimes there is nothing I can do but pray.  He has to want to change.  I can support him, when he is sober.  I can be there to help, when he is willing to be active in recovery, but I can no longer intervene.  It doesn't help and it doesn't do him, me or anyone any good.  Trying to take it all on leads to damage, destruction and heartache.

As a hurt teen I was quick to anger, quick to hate addiction, quick to want to hate him.  It's a strange feeling to have so much hatred for someone you also love so much.  That anger comes up from time to time.  That is the fear, that is the human reaction.  Shooting jabs and lashing out on him for the pain it has caused me just precipitates more anger in the moment and leads to guilt later on. It's in those moments when I try to play the game at his level, "throwing punches" to save my own pride, that I really see the destructive pattern of it all.  In order to help someone who sometimes can't even help themselves we can't crawl in at their level and hope to rescue them.  We have to keep our hearts strong and offer the hand down because otherwise there would be no one to pull them up.  In the same respect I am trying to learn that the greatest lesson of all is that the most I can be is a helping hand.  I can not be his savior.   So for now, I will continue to offer a hand when he is willing to take it.  I won't pull him up with my own strength but with the strength that comes from knowing that there is a reason he is here, that there is more to his story (to the whole story) than just the seasons that he spends in the pit. God is not done yet. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

This is the Story of a Girl

Girl is born on December 18th, 1986.

Girl has a pretty idyllic childhood.  Runs wild and free, has her meals cooked, her clothes washed, her life pretty much taken care of.

Girl grows up a little quickly and tones down the rambunctious child when her family life takes a spin down a road called 'dealing with addiction'.  Girl tries not to wonder how her life would be different had her brother not dealt with those issues.

Girl meets boy! Girl thanks God for boy because boy has taught her so much.  Girl can't help but wonder how her life would be without boy; the picture doesn't look very pretty.  Boy has taught girl how to grow up and why, though at times it seems hard, it is important. Boy helped girl realize the need for self-control.  Girl has also learned quite a bit about the grace of God through boy.

Girl continues to grow-up.  Girl finishes first high-school, then college.  Girl nannies, teaches, goes back to nannying.  Girl is slowly becoming a woman.  Girl learns to pursue her passions.  Girl takes her hobby for photography to a new level.

Somewhere in the mix boy and girl get married, become husband and wife, buy a house, and work on building a life together.

Girl knows that everything along the way, the little moments and the big, make her who she is.  Girl is loving life as a young woman.  Girl is loving being content!

And this right here makes word 250!


Ok, so I am usually not very precise when it comes to keeping to a word count and I didn't plan to be.  I knew if I was going to try to make the story of my life short I would have a take a different spin.  I didn't realize how close I would get.  When I finished with the "girl is loving being content" I was at 243 words (to my surprise).  I then figured lets get fun and make it exactly 250! Hence, that last sentence there.  I can usually be pretty long-winded, but thought I would spare you the nitty-gritty details.