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Monday, January 16, 2017
What are my goals?   What would change if I spent an hour on that goal every day?  30 minutes on that goal every day?  10 minutes on that goal every day?  Time is going to pass anyways.  The worst that can happen is that nothing changes.  But, at LEAST, I'm working on that goal.

I know a goal.  A great one.

It's not a business goal or a financial goal or the type of operational goal, I usually like to choose.  But, perhaps it is the type of goal which will make any other more possible to achieve.

I want to feel the Holy Spirit.  

What a goal, right?  And do I have control over that goal?

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I can dnot change,
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

I think I can change whether I'm listening....  and I think I can change, whether I'm studying.   And whether I'm trying to open myself up to that level of willingness and vulnerability.




ok.  phew.  It was chaos in my house while I was trying to write that.  Chaos!  Lots and lots of screaming as L approaches a year and a half.

Another thing.  I want to work my darn steps.  I want to be someone who is done with her steps.  Now, that doesn't mean I need to rush through them.  But, I'd like to be working on them each day, even 5 minutes a day.

I think I've worked step 1 into the ground, but we are starting at the beginning again.

On an aside, I think we all need ear plugs while L is in this stage.  I'm concerned about hearing loss for J (since they share a bed) and was researching for her.  Meanwhile, my ears feel like they've just had trauma done to them, so I think I'll get some for me, too.  This girl has some amazing lungs!  The volume is really incredible.  Anyways.......



I don't want to get stuck on doing the passages........ for example, doing them instead of other stuff, but I still get great value from reading them.  So, here we go.

ODAT
How can I make myself aware that my weak-kneed acceptance of an unacceptable situation is a reflection on my own self-respect? Am I a milksop, a slave, to be pushed around at the will of a sick personality? Is my long-suffering attitude going to achieve any good results? Or will it only reinforce the alcoholic in his belief that he can manipulate the situation to get his own way? Am I being fair to him in allowing him to outmaneuver me at every turn? Will he look for sobriety if I give him no compelling reason to do so--not only for his sake, but for my own?
Today's Reminder
I am an individual with the right to a good life. I must not look to anyone else to make a good life for me; this I must do for myself. Have I deceived myself into thinking that it is my lot to accept anything life chooses to hand out to me, however humiliating or degrading?
"I pray to learn the way to see myself as a child of God, bearing in my heart and mind the dignity and grace He has conferred upon every one of His children. Let me learn to live up to this picture of perfection-a little at a time, but always going forward."

I love that last hilighted part.  "I Must not look to anyone else to make a good life for me; this I must do for myself."  Living up to perfection, oooooh, dangerous for me.  I think I will live up to perfection by being ok with not being perfect (if that makes sense).



CTC
There was a time when, if a thought entered my mind, it automatically came out of my mouth. Even if I wasn't sure that what I was saying was true, the words poured out of me. In Al-Anon I have learned to "Think" before I speak.
When I'm tempted to respond to angry accusations with accusations of my own, I stop and "Think". When I have an urge to betray a confidence, to gossip, or to tell something extremely personal to a total stranger, I stop and "Think". And when my opinion about another person's business has not been requested, I take the time to "Think" before I get involved. That way I make a conscious choice about how I will respond.
Perhaps I will decide to say nothing, or choose a more tactful way to proceed, or question whether I really mean what I have been thinking. I may decide that this is not an appropriate place to discuss what is on my mind. Or I may choose to go right ahead and speak up in a very direct manner. Regardless of which option I select, today I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions because I have taken the time to make a choice.
Today's Reminder
Today I will let my words serve my best interests. I will choose them with care.
"I don't let my mouth say nothin' my head can't stand." Louis Armstrong

I love this!  It helps greatly with my desire to only "tell my own story."  It's funny because when I read the first paragraph, I thought, "Oh, well, I don't need to work on that much."  Because, I've improved so dramatically when in anger.  Then, I read the second paragraph and just hilighted away.  Most certainly an area that needs improvement.  



HFT
During my early Al-Anon days, I had trouble understanding humility and how to develop it. I related to the concept of being teachable, however, and began to look at what I could change about myself to become more open and willing to learn.
When I begin to think that I know it all or that perhaps it’s all right to skip some meetings, I’m in dangerous territory. Being teachable means I go to meetings and really listen to everyone, newcomers and long-time members alike. It also means I listen when I talk with my sponsor or another program friend. Sometimes I’ll hear suggestions and think, “No, that doesn’t apply to me.” When this happens, I need to open my mind and remain receptive to what I hear. The Al-Anon program works to the extent that I am open, honest, and willing, each of which is an important component for a humble state of learning. Being teachable means I admit that I don’t know it all. Walking the path of self-improvement is a lifelong journey.
Thought for the Day
The more available I am to listen and learn, the more available I am to be healed by my Higher Power.
"Humility frees me from outside pressures and allows me to learn at any time from anyone or any experience.” Courage to Be Me, p. 137

Sunday, January 15, 2017
Today, I'm in a good place.

I'm feeling grateful....... that I've got to be in love.  I'm feeling grateful for all the adventures I've gotten to go on and things I've gotten to do.  I'm feeling grateful for my wonderful wedding and for my amazing kids and for continuing to get to go on adventures.

I'm less worried about what is right or wrong or my future and just. feeling. grateful.  I'm not sure what spurred this feeling, but............. you can probably guess........... I'm grateful for it.  

I have a lot of family pictures with all of us in the picture and a key hanger that says _____ family, established 2007 and our wedding photos, etc.  I'm grateful for all those things.  And I hope to always be grateful for our love story.  And I know I can pull it apart.  I've spent the last year or two doing that......   thinking, "I thought that was my story, but in reality, there was a back story I didn't know."  And that is true.  The back story exists.  But, even with that... with imperfection and infidelity, there was so so much that was good.  and I'm grateful.  

I hope I can stay with this mindset, because it is also a mindset which will benefit my kids and stop me from saying bad things about their dad and my hubby or ex hubby.  I had someone call today who was kind of asking for details.  And when you express your gratitude for the relationship, you avoid going down a path of............... well, being the type of person I don't want to be.

I told a little of his story, but I do think gratitude is what got me from saying even more.  authentic gratitude. 
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Whooo!  It was a good day.  We spent the morning at a local zoo, the afternoon picnicking with friends.
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And yet, my roller coaster continues.  Hubby contacted me this afternoon in between zoo and friends to tell me that the new places he may go to, at least the temporary ones, won't accept cats.  He has a friend who's talking to his friends at the humane society.  He's going to turn them in.  If they don't get adopted in three days, they will put them to sleep.

My jaw drops.

These are OUR cats.  OUR cats!  The ones we adopted 9 years ago.  The ones I researched before getting.  They know their names, they know tricks.  They are our family members and he is just willing to let them be put to sleep without even asking anyone else if they could take them in?  It's actually unbelievable.

He told me he "had no choice."  But he hasn't asked ANYONE, including me, if we can take them.

I immediately told him that I would take care of it.  Of course, I will.  I wish he had asked earlier.  My mom won't let me have them here, but I will do everything in my power to find a place for them, even if it means paying for boarding for a few months.

I just can't fathom how my romantic story turned into such a disaster.  And Hubby could be manic or hypomanic now or drinking (who knows), or just himself.

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\He sent me a message today that said, "Oh, I thought the world of you.  I thought nothing could go wrong.  But I was wrong.  I was wrong."

It is so true.  And I'm on a down again.  And I'm just so tired.  And I have so much to do and it doesn't seem like it's going to get done.

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First things first.

I'm going to sleep.

I'm going to do a tiny bit of work.  And then I'm going to sleep.

And I'm going to be grateful.  For the many many many many things I have to be grateful for.

Catharsis.

I needed to write it out.  I feel a little bit of weight released.

Good night, dear Journal!
Saturday, January 7, 2017
As I set out to rebuild a life, I need to focus on myself.  Hubbie has made it clear, at this point, that he thinks divorce may be a likely conclusion.  

And by refusing to acknowledge that this is a reality, I am holding myself in bondage.  I need to acknowledge this.  I reserved a lot of books at the library last night and downloaded free ones on my kindle unlimited.  I also found a fantastic resource called Divorce Care.  Once I am in a position to hire a babysitter on a regular basis, I hope to partake in their face to face support classes (which take place weekly at churches across the country and are both speaker and discussion).  In the  meantime, I've signed up for their emails.  This is only Day 2, but the value is incredible. 

This is an excerpt from the email.

The pain of divorce is much deeper and more soul wrenching than most people can imagine, unless they have been through it themselves. Divorce can mean the end of your hopes and dreams, the end of your life as you have known it, a loss of control, and feelings of rejection, loneliness, and blame. There is anger, depression, helplessness, bitterness, resentment, feelings of worthlessness, and guilt. The list goes on and on.


“I cry to you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’ Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me” (Psalm 142:5-6).
Lord and Savior, the intensity of my emotions is unbearable. Hold me in Your strong arms. Comfort me with the comfort that only comes from You, and guide me in taking one step forward each day. Amen.

I wanted to grow old together.  I set up my life with Hubbie and really thought we would.  I have to accept that divorce may be part of my story.  And that is ok.  That my kids may not grow up with their father and................. that is ok.  And the me who thought we would live happily ever after, didn't have the whole story, was very inexperienced and young and isn't me now.  The older wiser me knows that I am doing what I need to do in keeping acceptable standards, even if it's ripping me apart.








Another excerpt, this one from the Day 1 email of Divorce Care
You may wish you could get through the pain quicker, but healing is a process, a day-by-day, moment-by-moment process. In order to experience any level of recovery, you must see it through. There are no shortcuts. But take heart, in the coming days and weeks you will see it is possible to heal and to look to the future with hope.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Dear Lord, my life is ripped apart, and I can’t keep from focusing on the devastation and pain that seem to define my very being. Help me turn to You. No one else knows what I am going through. Amen.

Very grateful for this resource!  Love these quotes and then personal prayers.







ODAT
Someone said something unkind about me. Are my feelings hurt? Yes. Should they be? No. How do I overcome my hurt? By detaching myself, "turning it off," until I can figure out what lies behind it. If it was retaliation for an unkindness I did, let me correct my fault. If not, I have no responsibility in the matter. Should I ignore or challenge? No, I will let it go; least said, soonest mended. Nothing can hurt me unless I allow it to. When I am pained by anything that happens outside of myself, it is not that thing which hurts me, but the way I think and feel about it.

Today's Reminder
Let me not take to myself, and suffer over, the actions and reactions of other people. Other adult human beings are not my responsibility, no matter how closely their lives may be intertwined with mine. I will not allow myself to be troubled by anyone else; my one problem is to improve my own way of living and looking at life.
"God teach me to detach my mind from what others say and do, except to draw helpful lessons and guidance from them.

Friday, January 6, 2017
I went to my first al anon meeting since coming down here and it felt good.

Different, but good.




It was a speaker meeting and a few things jumped out at me.
-  "The problem is the person looking back at you in the mirror."
-  "I never try to talk badly about anyone if they aren't there to defend themselves."

The problem is me.  The problem is me.  The problem is me.



And not in a self deprecating way, but in a way that leads to healing.  I've spent time playing the victim down here.  Feeling the victim.  I think it's part of healing, I don't know if I've been playing it up intentionally, but I've been NOT happy with how this is working out, just trying to survive and I've kind of been in a bad place.

I kind of feel like the kids have lost both their parents, because I don't even know who I am anymore.  I guess that's an opportunity for growth, right???

Feeling pretty broken.  But, that could also be good, right?

Regardless................. uncharted territory.  Grateful that my mom watched the kids while I got to a meeting.  YAY!!  And hopefully I can find a home meeting soon.  






Wednesday, January 4, 2017
I am excited for today.  So so much to be grateful for today and we are going to the library (one of my favorite places every).  And it's a new one, so I get to be surprised about it.




Living in this home, is so interesting.  There are some moments where I feel like I should stay longer to save up money..........  Some moments, where I want to get out of here as fast as I possibly I can........ Some moments where I feel that I'm doing well............ some where I'm super hard on myself for not making more money already.


My mom's standards are different than mine.  This morning she really couldn't talk to me without criticizing me in some way.  I understand.... because I've had moments like that.  Where I find that it's hard for me to communicate with Hubby without doing one of the 4 M's.  MANY moments.  Being on the other side is so helpful.  I feel like my confidence is shrinking, though, despite knowing it is her issue.  I just can't do anything right.  Or, what I do right goes unnoticed, and all the things I did wrong are pointed out.  I just can't do everything right. And so, I get to listen to it and have those things pointed out to me.  What I am essentially being told is "YOU are not right.  YOU can't do things right. YOU are wrong."

Very powerful.  Anyways.............. I am in my mom's house.  So, there really is a right way and a wrong way for her.  And I need to respect that.  So, I feel entitled, as well.  I understand that I'm not paying rent and anyways, it's her property, etc.

This has definitely turned into a vent.  I tried to do some things "my" way yesterday to make it feel more like home and I think this is the back lash.

I wish I were a successful adult.  But............... alas.

Anyways...................


Passage.

CTC
When I first found Al-Anon I was desperate and lonely. I yearned for the serenity that others in the meeting so obviously possessed. When members shared about the tools that had worked for them, I paid close attention.
Here is what I heard: Go to meetings and share when you can; work all the Step, but not all at once--start with Step One; get a Sponsor; read some Al-Anon literature every day; use the phone to reach out between meetings. Gradually I took each of these suggestions and began to see real changes in my life. I began to believe my life could amount to more than a string of painful days to be survived. Now I had resources that help me to deal with even the most difficult situations. I came to see that with the help of my Higher Power, I could handle anything that came to pass and even grow as I did so. In time, the tools and principles of the program helped me gain the serenity I had long desired.
Today's Reminder
Al-Anon gives me the tools I can use to achieve many goals, including serenity, sanity, and detachment with love. And Al-Anon members who share their experience, strength, and hope show me how to put these tools to work in my life.
"Daily vigilance will turn out to be a small price to pay for my peace of mind." The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage

I really liked this one.  One step at a time.  One day at a time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
It is a dark morning, with a house without a view.  But, it is good.  It is wonderful, in fact.  I'm drinking hot water with lemon and writing on one passage instead of all three.

Here we go....

CTC
I am writing my life story with every single today. Am I moving in a positive direction? If not, perhaps I need to make some changes. I can do nothing to change the past except stop repeating it in the present. Going to AI-Anon meetings and practicing the principles of the program are some of the ways in which I am already breaking out of unhealthy and unsatisfying patterns of the past.
I believe that my life is built upon layers of little everyday accomplishments. When I think this way, setting goals and taking small risks becomes nothing more than a daily striving to make my life better. Taking some tiny action each day can be much more effective than weeks and months of inactivity followed by a frenzied attempt to make radical changes overnight. It certainly leaves me more serene. When I face a new challenge, I try to  take my beginning wherever it may be and start from there.
Today's Reminder
No one can make me change. No one can stop me from changing. No one really knows how I must change, not even I. Not until I start. I will remember that it only takes a slight shift in direction to begin to change my life.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."


What an appropriate passage for today!!  Great for the New Year when my mind is swarming with positive change.  This is such a great truth.  Big change is made by tiny little steps every day.  We don't have to do it ALL just a step.
And also the truth that, "No one really knows how I must change, not even I"  Sooooo true and powerful.  But, these discoveries will arise). 
ei
Monday, January 2, 2017
I thought I'd be able to write this post, but the computer screen may just be too bright.

Dimming.  A little better.




My sweet sweet L woke me up at 2am this morning.  Yes, this is inconvenient to me, but to her, her little heart was breaking.  Her cry was powerful.  In, I went.  I pick her up and instant and total relaxation.  She is safe.  She knows she is safe because I am there.  Her chubby arms and hands are draped over my back and her head is completely relaxed into my neck/chin.

When Mama is here, she is safe.  I tried to cozy her up back in her own bed, but was met with shrieks of horror.  I decided "just for tonight" she could come in bed with me.  As soon as we laid down, she turned her head and looked at me with glee.  She was so happy to be comfy and cozy with mama, secure and joyful.  And moments later, she was asleep.


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Earlier, today (or yesterday, actually), J was running away from me in an almost empty parking lot (just what she should have been doing.... right?).  But she was running fast and with joy.... leaping, laughing, so excited to be partaking in such mischief.

I watch her with baby L on my chest in the ergo, perplexed.  What do I do with this wild child?

Until...... splat.

Down she goes.

Huge cries...... and she is walking back to mama, seemingly hysterical.  She is holding her hand and her mouth is open wide with wailing.  Strangely enough, this sweet child stopped to pick a dandelion for me, while bawling her little eyes out.  She slowly and surely made her way back to me, barely able to make out the words "mama, mama, mama" through her tears, over and over and over again.  (Can I express how much I love that, even in a dark moment, she stopped to pick up a flower)... moving on....

A little blood in the mouth (her lips bleed easily with falls) and a skinned up hand.  Nothing mama hadn't done many many times as a kid.  But, this was her first time.  She's never had a skinned hand before.  It hurt.  And she had enough experience to know that the wipes in the first aid kit sometimes hurt, too.  She wants me to help, but she doesn't want me to help.

A constant tug-a-war.  "mama, help me, it hurts" "No, don't touch me, mama, I don't want to wash my hand, no, no, no"  The first aid kit wasn't happening.... in the car we go to Grandma's house.  Hysteria continued through the entire care ride,.... at this point in her little 3 year old life, this girl is not calm in an emergency.  Crying so hard, she can barely talk....

I validate her feelings and attempt to distract her through a made up rock musical.  I'm singing my heart out in the car, "It hurts. It hurts.  It really really hurts.  Ouch ouch ouch.  My hand shouldn't feel this way, I'm kiiiiinda, scared!!  My mom. she says. it's gonna be ok.  But, ouch ouch ouch, it really hurts."  It seemed to help.  She wasn't listening to my validations when I spoke them, but singing got them across.

If we were home, the songs would have continued inside.  Hubby knows, loves and accepts my musical life and love of acting in child like and nontraditional ways with my sweet kids.  Oddly enough, it doesn't have a place in the home I grew up in.

Ok.... in we go.... to judgement.  I'm about to do everything wrong (whether voiced or unvoiced).

J is still in hysterics.  I try to give her choices, let her do things herself.  She still requires me to hold her against her will while washing out her hand.  Then she's a little calmer.  Neosporin.... much calmer.  Band aid....... calm.  With splotches around the face and eyes, she looks up and says, "Thank you, Mama."

And to the park we go.  To feeding ducks, riding tricycles with passion and swinging on swings.

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Hubby is missing the kids.  He is thinking of moving down here, too.  These children breathe life into all around them.  Despite the fact that we've turned my mom's life upside down and cost her a LOT of money (which she's chosen to spend, but also felt required to spend), she said she will miss us when we go back to visit Hubby today.

Plans include parades and snow.  And I have a migraine like headache, possibly an actual migraine.

I tried to go back to sleep for awhile, but my head hurts so badly and I feel a lot of nausea.  The medicine has caffeine in it, but was necessary.

And I was planning on waking up at 4am anyways, to drive up to Hubs.  Medicine has kicked in a little, but I still feel so sick.  I'm not ready to drive yet.  Since I don't drink coffee and drink caffeinated tea, only infrequently, the caffeine really affects me - even to a point of feeling uncomfortable.  The positive is that I'll likely be very alert for the drive.

Tonight at 11pm, I have an interview for a tutoring company teaching English remotely to students in China.  It seems like a really fun opportunity.  The lessons are super high energy and for younger kids, so a lot of fun.  The person who told me about it says she works about 25 hours a week and makes around $20 an hour.  It can take awhile to build up a clientele, but I think it's worth it.  The best and worst part is that the hours are prime time after school hours in China, 2-6am in my local time.  It's the best part because I don't need child care.  YAY!  So, $20 an hour, actually makes the job worth it.  It's scary for me because sleep is so important.  My kids go to sleep at 6pm though, so if I go to sleep then, too, I can actually get some good sleep in before waking up to work.

I've got to give it a try.  I've also been doing mystery shopping again and have two students tutoring with me remotely.

So, this month, I'm hoping to pull in a little income (which goes much further when I'm not paying $2250 rent for the house and office).  And then, February will likely be much better financially.  I'll be paying rent to my mom, but the amount will be insanely low and I'll finally get to pay off some of the debt that has been weighing on me.  It is freeing.

I am going to miss having bedtimes with the baby girls, though.  My tutoring clients fall during our reading and goodnight hour.  So, I'll miss that 2x a week for now, and later probably 5x a week.  We will just have to have a reading hour in the  morning, too.

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Poor Hubby is back at home with all the rent, late bills, etc. weighing down on him.  He wants to keep the house so badly.  It's a lot for any one person to handle.  And he's had ideas for second jobs and renting a room, but he just can't seem to act.

I hate mental illness.  My mom mentioned to me that she feels bad for me if I have to date again because it's just so hard to trust men.  I told her that was very very far off (if ever) and that if I did it now, I'd probably try to find someone perfect again and then find out how imperfect we all are, all over again.

To this, my mom responded that if Hubby was still the same man he was when I married him, I'd probably marry him again.

1) this was validation in my decision making (my mom also doesn't know about the sexual issues)
2) this reminded me that there really was a mental health component.

Hubby had goals.  He always had plans and ideas for his future.  We had so much in common and had so many adventures together.  He supported me financially the whole time, while I was getting my Masters and paid his way through college, not taking on debt.  He ran marathons and was good, even winning his division in one.  When we were dating, we went to church together.

There were some red flags, but I wouldn't have known those back then, so can't be hard on myself.  But, another component is that we both lost that man to mental health.  I lost him, the kids lost him and Hubby, himself, lost him.  And he doesn't know how to get back.

Last night, he was telling me on the phone, saying he was always "better."

And it's true.  He lost his job once at a gym and had a new job secured, the very next day.  We donated plasma for extra money when first married, he did videos on youtube, surveys, etc.  Lots of random things to make money.  Now, he can't seem to act.

And I have biblical grounds to leave......and he's threatened scary things when drinking, that he can't take back.....but, I still feel bad because I feel so much of it is an, "in sickness and health" type issue.

Anyways, it's almost 4am now and the alarm on my phone will go off soon.

Almost an hour of stream of consciousness writing.... so so good for my soul.

No passages for now.  I'll read through them, but out of time to post.

A new year.... 365 days, 365 opportunities (plus, because you don't just get one opportunity a day).




Looking forward to 2017!