Taking a Break, Sort Of

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As you may know, I’m taking a break next week to go to a writer’s conference. My first one! But I’m taking an even bigger break from work since I’m cutting back to one day a week at the job.

But I’m not really taking a break from work. It looks like the conference will be busy. Breakfast starts at 7:15. I’m not a morning person. I tend to stay up late, getting on the computer after the laundry is on it’s last load and I’ve taken care of other business. I really should break the habit I have of staying up late on the computer. Sometimes I’m up until 2am. But usually that’s my limit. I try to stop earlier than that, like 1am. When I have to get up early the next day, I try to get to sleep by midnight. I’m curious about how many night owls there are on WP, or among bloggers in general.

My schedule will be very different from what I’m used to when I get back from the conference. It will be an interesting experience. I predict I will love it – creating my own schedule.

I’ll have two days for writing, including working on my book and blogging, though I tend to work on blog posts whenever an idea hits. I’ll have one day for ART projects, initially at the Rescue Mission where my husband works. I’ll post pictures as those unfold. And one day will be for home improvements followed by going to the beach in the afternoon.

I also have a goal to go the gym at least two days per week, probably on my writing days. I hope to go swimming at least one day per week, too.

There! I’ve put it in writing. Hopefully that will get me to take those breaks to go to the gym and the beach. Beach breaks are the best in the summertime!

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I think these waves are called breakers.

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt was “brake/break.”

If you’d like to join in the fun, visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2016/05/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-2116/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

Kicking the Self-Doubt Gremlin’s Butt

Poor little self-doubt gremlins. So small and insignificant. Maybe they will shrivel into gnats I will simply shoo away.

Here’s my winning poem which is dear to my heart: https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/dreams-of-wild-communion/

Loving Me, Too

gremlin from pixabay A little monster from Pixabay

Last night, I went to the local awards ceremony for Silver Arts which is part of Senior Games. I didn’t even know Senior Games includes not only an art category, but also a literary category, until a couple months ago when the Silver Arts coordinator stood at the door of another art show handing out applications for Silver Arts.

At the show last night, there were so many beautiful paintings without ribbons, it wasn’t hard to accept that my two paintings did not get any ribbons. Then I went to the literary arts table and discovered that two of my three entries had blue ribbons next to them. What a nice surprise!

Dreams of Wild CommunionProblem Step Dog

I heard later that there were not many entries for the literary arts categories. And though   I saw that there were other entries for my categories of poetry and life experience, because there…

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Thirty Years is Enough…Almost

bird coming out from pixabay

I was planning to write my mid-week post about the synchronicity of my first writer’s conference coming the week before my leap of faith into semi-retirement and how that reinforces my goal to spend more time in creative work.

But then I read this  NPR article about the hope and controversy of medication assisted treatment for opiate addiction, and I decided to share my experience on this topic. After working as a substance abuse counselor for roughly 30 years, about 20 of those years working with clients on Methadone or Suboxone, I’ve learned a few things.

The most important thing I want to pass on about Methadone and medication assisted treatment, is that the medication is only one piece of the recovery pie. I’ve seen clients who did not change their lifestyles and thinking, did not learn new coping skills, and were not successful on the program.

I’ve also seen clients who followed recommendations and worked hard on their recovery, mentally, emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually. For those people, the medication combined with counseling and lifestyle changes, has worked amazingly well, and often better than other treatment modalities they had tried. These are the clients who have kept me working in he field for thirty years, along with the ones who I didn’t think were going to make it, but they surprised me and turned things around. God gets a lot of the credit, too. I couldn’t have hung in there this long without my H.P.

Now, it’s time for me to step back. Because I’m tired. Not so much tired of working with people who suffer from addiction. I can understand and accept that some people are not going to do the work, and that hurting people hurt people, including themselves. That’s part of the misery of addiction.  It’s the @#*!… paperwork that I can’t keep up with anymore if I want to have a healthy life. I’ve watched the amount of paperwork (now it’s computer work, but we still have to print a lot of it out and put it in a chart) grow and grow year after year. There have been times when I’ve felt emotionally buried by the paperwork.

I believe I’ve done my share. But I still don’t want to let go completely. Next week, I go to the writer’s conference, and the week after that, I’m cutting back to just one day a week at the job that paid my bills for 30 years. The other days will be for me – for writing, art, my home and my relationships. I think I’ve earned this time. I’m so grateful to have this chance, thanks to my partner who you can read about on my about page.

Perfect Timing strikes again!

(Thanks to Pixabay for the photo.)

The Vast Green Waste

Happy Love a Tree Day! So happy I didn’t miss it! And I found a new blog on sustainability!

GlassRoots

     How fitting for a self-admitted treehugger to begin a blog about environmental sustainability in the home  on National Love A Tree Day! Usually, I would begin with some sort of inspirational quote about a tree or something equally cliché, but this is important to me and I want to get right to it. Jessie and I are beginning this blog as a way to chronicle and share our experiences as we transition to a more sustainable life at home and in our professional and passionate endeavours. After much reflection and months of research we realized a way in which we could affect the most direct, positive change on our community. By educating and demonstrating sustainable living at home and through our business concept, GlassRoots. Our inspiration for this idea came from a seemingly unlikely place, our lawn. What exactly is a lawn and why do we put so…

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Big Plans and a Big Skink

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In just over one week, I’ll be traveling to my first writer’s conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains. My friends in my Word Weavers group have encouraged me to go. We will be driving up on Sunday and coming back Thursday. Then, I’ll come back for Memorial Day weekend and work on Tuesday. By work, I mean the job I’ve had for about thirty years. Because something big is happening in my life. I’ve mentioned it a few times, or at least hinted at it – the big transition, my leap of faith into becoming who I am meant to be. I’m planning to write more about this transition in a few days.

I just stopped writing to put a snail outside. It was climbing on the inside of my bedroom window. Maybe it has something to do with the weather. Maybe it came in to get out of the rain. I tried to take a picture of it, but I couldn’t focus the camera with one hand while holding the snail in the other hand. That reminds me, I do have a picture I can share of a skink that was in the bush in my front yard earlier this week. I had no idea what it was, because I’d never seen anything like it. My husband looked it up and found it was an adult blue tailed skink. I’ve seen plenty of young blue tailed skinks on my back deck, but didn’t know they looked like this as an adult. It was about as big as my hand not counting the tail. It kinda makes me feel good about having such as lush, aka overgrown, jungly yard, because wildlife likes it around here. I’d prefer they stayed outside though.

I just looked up skinks. I don’t think this guy I saw in my bushes, or gal, it might have been  female, was a blue tailed skink. I think it was more likely a broad headed skink. 

It seemed like the whole body was orange and not just the head.

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Well, maybe the whole body wasn’t orange…..but it was big!

Our prompt today for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was to start with a two letter word. I thought about trying to start every sentence with a two letter word, but that got old  quick and interfered with the stream of consciousness flow. We get bonus points if we end with a two letter word. But that’s not happening. It almost happened with the word be at the end of my first paragraph. But then the SOC flowed on.

(Hey, did you see that. I did end with a two letter word! Didn’t plan it either.)

If you’d like to go with the Stream of Consciousness flow, visit Linda’s blog at the link below:

https://lindaghill.com/2016/05/13/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-1416/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

Do We Choose Our Challenges?

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“I believe that life is basically a process of growth- that we go through many lives, choosing those situations and problems that we will learn through.”                              Jim Henson

I found this quote from Jim Henson in It’s Not Easy Being Green.  I had no idea until I picked up this little treasure for my grand kids just how wise the Muppet Man was. The book turns out to be full of inspiration for adults. The quote above struck me right between the eyes and down into my heart. I have often felt like I’ve gone through many lives since I as born. My life now seems so different from my childhood and so different from other times in my adulthood – the young adult exploratory phase, the early parenting years, the divorce and rebound wreckage, the years of finding myself again and now….well, now there is this whole new second chance at love with exciting possibilities to return to the things I loved in my youth.

Did I have to go through all those learning experiences to get here? Probably… Yes. All those choices and experiences brought me to this point and help me appreciate the gifts of the present.

Do we really choose (consciously or otherwise) the situations and problems we will learn from?

Certainly there are situations we learn from that we don’t choose. When some one dies, we learn how to cope and work through grief, but we don’t choose to be separated from a loved one by death. We can however, in the long run, choose how we cope. Are there problems that we choose in order to learn what we need to learn? That might explain why I chose after my divorce to enter into a relationship with someone dangerously different from my previous partner. I stayed in that first unhealthy rebound for about a year. In hindsight, I’ve thought it was a year too long. Did I stay long enough to learn what I needed to learn? To learn what I don’t want? That I deserved better?

Do we stay in jobs until we learn what we need to be able to move on? After a few years as a substance abuse counselor, I never thought I’d stay in the addiction field for 30 years. But something kept me at this job. Was it security? Were there things I needed to learn? It certainly taught me to be assertive. And this job played a big part in bringing me back to a loving Power greater than myself that could restore me to sanity.

This job I’ve had for 30 years brought me to God. The divorce and dangerous rebound brought me ever closer the one who would never leave me. God and the universe (God through the universe) can choose to put people or situations in our path to help us. Or test us. (Oh, great, another test!) Or to open our eyes to a new path. Or maybe God assigns us to a post because the work needs to be done, and we are the best person for the job. Maybe it’s all of the above.

I believe, like Wayne Dyer said, that God and the universe conspire with us to help us learn what we need to learn. It might take one year or it might take 30 years. But we always have a choice to jump in and test the waters or walk away because maybe we’re not ready to learn that one yet.

Or maybe walking away is what we needed to learn.

I went to a strip club

I personally known a woman- a dancer, a loving mother, a recovering addict, a student, a human being – who was helped by a ministry like this. This gentle, humble ministry is what Jesus was all about.

just a jesus follower

strip clubA while back I was asked by a group of pastor’s wives to go with them to strip clubs.

That sentence alone sounds strange. But hang with me.

At first I was a little hesitant. And not for reasons you might think.

I love people. Especially ones who are broken; it’s part of my calling. But, given what I’ve walked through, I know how fragile broken people can be.

And I know how insensitive the church can be.

And I was uneasy.

But, these weren’t just any pastors wives.

They had a vision.

One that longed to love on women that society had thrown aside.

It reminded me a lot of Jesus.

So, I jumped on it.

Their plan was to visit these clubs once a month to deliver a meal and gift baskets. I joined them the first night and I’ll be honest, I had NO IDEA what to expect.

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