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Aahhh.  Sitting by the fire and relaxing.  It’s another day when I feel as if I really haven’t accomplished much today.

I guess that’s another thing I should look at while doing Celebrate Recovery.  Why it’s so important to “accomplish” stuff every day, and why only certain activities fall in the list of accomplishments.  I really haven’t been lazy today.

The day started off at physical therapy.  I actually really like going.  I still dread doctors, but my physical therapist isn’t someone to be dreaded.  First, they play worship music in the office.  The music with the prints from Shane Lamb studios leads to a relaxing atmosphere.  (Shane Lamb is a painter who paints Alaskan landscapes, and I adore his work, by the way.)  Then my therapist is helping me to work toward getting me into shape with no condemnation.  Like, I know my posture is out of wack, but honestly, I’ve never know what to do about it.  While all my life people have told me “shoulders back,” no one has pointed out what muscles to use and how to properly make them stronger so that putting my “shoulders back” didn’t hurt and wear me out.  My therapist never said a word about poor posture, she just looked me over and said, “Now let’s do this exercise,” and then, “Use this muscle instead of that one.”  I get it now.  And my back adores her.  She’s teaching me a lot.  Since starting therapy a couple of weeks ago, I’ve managed to hurt my back a few more times, but it has never lasted overnight.  Plus, I’m feeling stronger.  I felt a bit indulgent going to physical therapy for back pain I could deal with, but I’m so thankful I’ve been going.

While I was gone, Chase had the day off work.  However, being Chase, he was working hard.  My garage is being turned into a home gym.  He’s been re-organizing our boxes out there and getting rid of stuff to make room for our gym.  He’s cleared space for a treadmill to go with my elliptical, and we bought mats today for the floor to make space for workout videos, yoga, and free weight training.  He even brought our extra tv out so that I can play videos to workout to or play DVD’s while I’m on the elliptical.  We just need another DVD player (actually a 3D BluRay player is on the list of stuff to buy, and the old DVD player will go out to the garage.  The kids are all excited about having a space to work out, and Xavier even put in 60 minutes on the elliptical today.

Well, I couldn’t be out done by Xavier, I decided that while in workout clothes from physical therapy I should do my daily workout as well.  I should really consider that an accomplishment.  Taking care of myself is important.  The energy and mood benefits from working out make it something I should do often.

After lunch, I recalled that tomorrow is November 6th.  A day that requires some preparation.  So I decided to prepare.

November 6th is a day I have been dreading.  I’m taking all three kids to the dentist.  I hate taking my kids to the dentist and the doctor.  It comes from my need to be perfect.  Because I’m not.  I feel as if I should be able to make sure my kids have perfectly sparkling teeth, and if they don’t have perfectly sparkling teeth I have failed as a mother.  Instead of seeing the dentist as someone who will help me in the goal to have children with perfect sparkling teeth by teaching me tools and tricks, I see the dentist as someone judging me as lacking and deficient as a parent because my kids do not have perfect sparkling teeth.  I’m working on changing how I perceive things, but it’s easier to be in denial than to deal, so I put the appointments out of my mind.  However, today, I had to remember.  With all three kids going in at once, the receptionist recommended that I print the forms and have them filled out ahead of time.  So I needed to get that done.  And I needed to find the insurance cards.  I got that done in record time, but I’ll admit that the doing of it added stress to my day.  Mostly because I still just honestly dread the dentist.

November 6th, also happens to be Tuesday, November 6th.  And if anyone out there doesn’t know, that means it’s election day.  In elections past, I’ve been registered in areas I’m just passing through, so I’ve voted for President, Senate, and House, but left most of my ballot blank.  What did proposition 12 (a hypothetical issue, I don’t even know what else was on the ballots elsewhere) have to do with me when I knew I was moving before it would take affect?  I didn’t feel as if I had much right deciding issues when I had no horse in the race.  However, I’ve been determined to be an Alaskan since before I moved here.  And have loved it here since I arrived.  We may leave, but this time knowing I’ll be back.  I care now.  Being that this is my town, my state, I want my say in all the issues.  But I knew nothing about the issues.  Tomorrow I get to vote on the fate of 19 Alaska judges, 18 of whom I’d never heard of before today.  I needed to study up on the issues.  That took hours.  I feel as if I’ve been cramming for a test.  But I am prepared to go out and vote.  I’m kind of excited, even if this is the fourth time I’ve exercised my right to vote this year.

So I did all that, but my laundry still isn’t folded.  My sheets are over-due for a washing.  The list of stuff I need to “accomplish” seems unending.  I need to learn to be okay with that.  I did what needed to be done today, and laundry can always be done tomorrow.

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So, first I must brag, I love when I’m getting my netbook out and my husband asks if I’m writing and then says “cool.”  It’s so good to know that he supports me in this.  I would not do this without that support, and I honestly have fun writing.

Today was a great day.  Yesterday, not so much, which made today even better.  Yesterday, I woke up feeling cruddy, and after a visit to the doctor’s office in the morning, I basically slept the rest of the day away.  Ending with going to bed feeling worse than when the day began.  Today, I woke up feeling still a little off, but a big day was planned and there was no time for being sick.  So I just went with the day.  Still not feeling 100%, but oh, so much better than yesterday.

The first activity of the day was a Hispanic Heritage event on the Air Force side of the base.  Julie was going and I decided that we would attend that instead of doing our usual Friday workout.  My original plan was to head to her house and the caravan over.  I still get super-duper lost on post (remember the air show) so I knew I would need help finding my way to Hangar 1.  So when Julie called at 5 till 1 saying her husband had to be there an hour early, I did the math.  The event started at 2, so they were leaving right then.  My plan to follow someone was toast.  Plan B, in our old van, I knew exactly where the JBER map was, the hangar had to be on the map.  Don’t know if it was or wasn’t, the map was one of the things I still have moved into our new van, along with a trash receptacle and a box of Kleenex.  So I headed out.  I knew where the air field was, and used common sense to deduce the hanger would be near the air field.  I’m still in shock that worked.  I found the hangers right away.  Then I had to determine which hanger was which.  I’m eternally grateful to the man who invented cell phones, they come in very handy.  I called Julie who stood outside the correct building, and I got there.

Okay, so I went for the food, and cause Julie went.  I figured there would be a speaker.  I also figured the speaker would follow in the tradition of most speakers I’ve ever had to listen to and be long-winded and boring.  The dude that spoke was awesome. He talked about growing up in Mexico, then coming to the United States and hearing about how we are “45% Irish, 30% German, with a little of the Netherlands thrown in” (so not an exact quote, but you get the jist, right?).  That got him thinking about Hispanic culture, and how even as Mexican, there was a lot thrown in there.  You have the Aztecs, and the Spanish, but then with the Spanish you get a lot of Muslim influence because Spain was controlled by Muslims for a long time.  He taught us that Spanish words that start with “al” are from the Muslim influence.  Then he talked about coming here.  How after like a week or two or so (I’m so bad with details, I should have taken notes) he had a job.  A job that was supposed to be temporary and has lasted him the past 11 years.  Then he talked about wanting to give his kids, and our kids, his grandchildren and our grandchildren the same opportunity.  And then all of a sudden he was done.  I so wanted more.  I could have listened to him talk culture and community for a while longer.  But after that was the Mexican food, so I stopped complaining and stuffed my mouth.

Chase was supposed to meet us there, but he still hadn’t come.  I was bummed that he was missing out on the food.  Then I remembered all those times he’s brought back a plate for me.  I did something then, I rarely do.  I got a plate of food to take to him.  And then he came, so it wasn’t needed.  But I’m still a little proud of myself for thinking of my husband, and trying to do something nice for him.

After that we went to CR as a family.  I’m so glad my husband went with me.  Even if he doesn’t keep going, that he would try out something so off the wall as CR, just because it means something to me.  I have the best husband.

When CR was over people were saying the Northern Lights were out.  We all ran outside to look.   My children, being my children, went saw, and immediately ran in to the snacks.  Chase and I were so excited we decided to drive up Mt. Baldy (along with half the local population).  They were so amazing tonight.  I have seen them once before, and that time they faded and changed.  Tonight they danced with movement and changing intensity.  It was amazing.  I was so glad to have my husband home.  With him home there was no question, do we drive up Mt. Baldy in the dark, with bunches of cars and other people all around, we just did it. Plus, even with all the other people around, it was awfully romantic holding hands in the dark.

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  First there was the two weeks of Olympics where I did very little other than plop in front of the television and watch sports.  I figured there was only so much worthwhile blogging about that.  Then there was the week after the Olympics.

There comes a point in deployment where things just get ugly, at least there does for me.  Last week (not to be confused with this past week) was that point for me.  I get tired of life that’s just me and the kids.  I get tired of cleaning up after the kids.  The mess only ever seems to grow and continue, and does it really matter if it’s just me and the kids living in it?  Chase isn’t around to be bothered, and we never have adult company over here.  I get tired of being the mom.  Tired of telling the kids to clean up, do their homework, not fight, tired of being referee, nurse, and entertainment director.  I don’t want to be stuck at home, in a messy house, with my kids.  I want to go out.  However, being me, heaven forbid I let someone know I just need to get out and away.  While that would be a good solution, it would require asking for help.  Instead, I come up with my own solution.  Shopping.  It didn’t take long for me to buy all the items I had money for.  Fortunately, this deployment, I am on a budget, so I knew when I needed to stop. There was nothing left that needed to be bought, and I knew that I didn’t need to keep on shopping for stuff we didn’t need.  I knew how much I had to spend.  But then my solution for the problem of mid-deployment ickiness was gone.  However, there was a light at the end of my bad week tunnel.  Friday night Celebrate Recovery.  A weekly event where I get to hang with adults, and other people watch my children.  Just that was a break enough in itself.  But that’s not all, it’s also a place where I get to look closer at my hurts, habits, and hang-ups.  I can look at what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

Fast-forwarding to Monday.  Monday morning felt like a why do I bother kind of morning.  I had chosen Monday morning to make a few phone calls about stuff I would like to take care off.  None was satisfactory.  Two phone calls went unanswered, one of those messages has been unreturned.  The one phone call I did get through just left me wondering.  I spent a long time on the phone, and didn’t feel like I did much good.  I still have no idea when the sound system will be able to be fixed in my van (it’s not broken, it just doesn’t work as we’d like it to).  I fully intended to start school on September 3, it may be Labor Day, but it’s also the first week day of September, and with Chase deployed it’s not like we’ll be spending time with him.  However, I have no idea when my school books will arrive.  The worst part was feeling like there was nothing I could do to accomplish these things I really want to accomplish.  Then words spoken often at Celebrate Recovery popped into my head.  “I can’t, God can, I guess I’ll let Him.”  I couldn’t fix those problems, but God could.  I could worry and continue to not fix anything, or I could let God handle it and do something I could control the outcome of.  So I picked another project I would like to see completed before Chase comes home and began to tackle it.  My kids may not have the official schoolwork, but as we’ve been working on school through the summer, we would just continue what we’ve been doing until we do get the official stuff.  And while I was being their parent again, I made them clean their rooms.  Monday went from a day that I wondered why I bothered doing anything, to the end of the day looking around and feeling good about all I had done.  So for the rest of the week, I stopped focusing on things out of my control, and I started controlling the things I could.

While the sound system and school books are still up in the air, I did get to see something get taken care of this week.  One of the things I could control was putting the license plates on the van, or so I thought.  I went to go take care of it, and realized that I could not remove the rear plate holder.  I could have gone into stress over-drive.  I didn’t know what to do, and, well, as until this week, I had let them sit on the counter, the temporary was close to expiring.  I couldn’t do it, and didn’t know where I could go to pay someone to do it.  I can’t think of a place that advertises a specialty in license plate installation.  However, instead of worrying and hitting the gummy bears like that would install the plate and ensure world peace if I just ate enough of them, I took a deep breath.  I thought of what would actually be helpful.  I put a general SOS on Facebook.  I called a friend who might know what to do.  She offered her assistance.  When, after bringing my van to her house, she was as clueless as I was, I still didn’t stress.  I knew there had to be a solution somewhere.  Then at Celebrate Recovery, I saw a neighbor of mine, who I’ve seen rebuilding an engine in his driveway.  So I asked him for assistance.  And lo and behold, he was happy to look at my plate holder, and say we just had to get to it from the inside and offered to come by and fix it the next day.  And now my van is up-to date plate-wise.  No stress needed.

I must say I love Celebrate Recovery.  I love it.  I’m so glad that my natural inclination to go to every event the church offers brought me there.  I honestly can’t say that I would have gone for any other reason that it was there, therefore I was supposed to go.

I certainly didn’t think I needed to go.  It was for people “recovering” from something.  What did I have to recover from (except myself)?  It was for people with big problems, mine were to small (not that I seem to be able to manage my “small” problems).  I can fix anything that needs fixing by myself (insert snort of repressed laughter here knowing that as much as I believed that it was a complete lie).  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I heard the talk about how it was for everyone.  Yes, I heard our pastor say it was for dealing with “hurts, habits, and hang-ups”  that everyone has.  But in my all-knowing wisdom I read that as code for “we don’t want to exclude anyone with real problems.”  Really for everyone, though?  I couldn’t believe that.  Certainly not for me.

I just knew it was all going to be way too hokey for me.  “Hi, I’m Lori and here are all my problems.”  “Hi Lori.”  And catchy little phrases like “Keep coming back, it works if you work it.”  And the coins, I’m so beyond needing little trinkets.  I just knew I would feel like I was back in 6th grade or something.

The plan was to go the first week because I felt obligated, and if it was as bad I just knew it would be, my Friday nights would be freed up for all my awesome plans.

We’ll start off with I so need it.  It’s not like I don’t have an online diary in which the world can see I have issues.  You know like the one about being so prideful that I can do it all myself I cried when I had to ask for help.  Nope not a hang up at all.  And then there’sthe days I didn’t write because all I could think about was how much I messed up, and how I didn’t feel like admitting how low I’d got.  Ooh, that would fall under habits.  As for hurts, I’ve got my share of those too.  Before I went I knew I was a mess, but I was sure I could fix it.  I had a plan, if only I could do X, Y, and Z and juggle A, B, and C I could get myself out of the mess.  But I’ve had a plan my whole life.  You’d think after thirty-odd years I’d get that my plans don’t work.  Sometimes they even lead to more hurts, habits, and hang-ups.  So while it may have been corny, there was freedom admitting I can’t do this.  I can’t fix myself.

And yes, it does sometimes feel very much sixth grade.  The youth group singing goofy songs around the campfire and everyone feeling like they belong sixth grade.  The having a club with silly rituals that make you feel like you really belong kind of sixth grade.  And the coins.  I’ll admit, I never got one.  I over-analyzed it at first.  Wasn’t sure if I was even in recovery yet, or had been for a while, or what.  After the first night, I didn’t feel like making a big deal over getting the first-timers coin on a time that wasn’t my first time.  And after several months, it’s not about the coin.  I could take them or leave them.  But what I really missed out on was the hug.  Taking the coin would have been worth that.  That physical acknowledgement that we are now both on the same path toward getting better, toward getting closer to God and toward becoming more the people He made us to be.  The hokieness has turned to coziness.  A sense that I really belong with these people.

As far as the people go, we all belong together.  No one is better, no one is less.  No one’s problems are less deserving of help than the rest.  And we are all there to get better.  To become better.

The totally cool Friday night plans I might be missing if I didn’t go never really existed.  And now I get to hang with a bunch of people who really care about me.  Who want to see me succeed.  And knowing I’ll be going, I make better decisions during the week, knowing that we’ll be talking about our stuff, wanting to give a good report and not wanting to admit defeat.  I now get excited that Friday is coming, I get to go to CR.

 

So today I prayed 60 seconds for my Nineveh.  I set the timer.  When I did it, I thought I really didn’t need it, I’d probably go over.  While shy, once I start talking it’s hard to get me to stop.  And sixty seconds is nothing.  Yeah, that’s what I thought, until I prayed all the praying for (as opposed to praying about) I could think of, checked the timer out of the corner of my eye, and saw I still had thirty seconds left.  I’ll admit it was hard today.  Especially since in the spirit of the challenge I was trying to be good.  Trying to just pray for them, and pray for God to do His will in their lives, instead of telling God all the things that I felt could fix some of their issues.  Can’t seem to fix my own life, but when it comes to everyone else, I seem to have all the answers.  So one day down, six more to go.

Today was a tough day to get through.  I don’t know exactly why, although I have some suspicions that my eating and sleeping habits of the previous week may have been contributing factors.  But I managed to slog through somehow.  I did some laundry, not enough, but we all have clean clothes to wear tomorrow.  The kids did their schoolwork.  Xavier with no complaints.  I’m still in shock over that one.  Clara with much exuberance and little direction following.  And getting her to follow directions is all I’m after for the next couple months.  Learning will happen much easier if we can get her to follow directions.  Sigh.  Austin did very well.  I made dinner.  That one needs to be celebrated a bit.  It was every so very tempting to head down to A&W and get some super yummy fast food.  But we needed to eat something more nutritious.  Plus, I want to save up our money for some other things right now.  Eating out was not a good option, and I know it wouldn’t really have made me feel more like getting through the evening.  I must say it was really, very tempting tonight though.  Right before I started dinner, Xavier got the mail, and I received a letter saying that I needed to resubmit my paperwork to the state showing I had insurance from the accident in November.  It’s really not a big deal, I did have insurance, I just need to refile some paperwork, this time making copies and sending it requiring signature upon receipt.  Which, honestly, I should have done in the first place.  Lesson learned.  I have plenty of time to get the paperwork in, and like I said, not so much a big deal.  But at the time it felt like a big, huge deal.  And I was sure cheese curds, root beer, and a turtle sundae would make me feel better.  I couldn’t very well go though, not after last Friday’s Celebrate Recovery, where we discussed how leaning on our own understanding lead to problems, and we need to rely on God.  So I prayed, and cooked dinner at home.  I was rewarded later on, by something that always makes me feel better.  Chase called.  He made me laugh, I got to hear him talk with the kids, and everything was better.  In all, today really was a success.  I didn’t get everything done, but I took care of what was really important.  Made better decisions.  And tomorrow is a fresh new day.  Here’s to tomorrow.