- Identify what happened to cause the change
- Why did it happen
- How can I use this for my personal growth
- What changes can I make to improve in the future
- Where can I find help or who can help
This past week I celebrated two anniversaries both filled with emotions and the struggle to remember. Two milestones in my life which changed me forever.
On Friday, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We have been together 18+ years BUT only married 10. If you know our story, you get it. 🙂
I generally blog about our story BUT this year, I want to share the gratitude I have for this man. Our road has been a rocky one – from his commuting for 5 years, to living together to marriage. It all seems so basic, right? But add to it – recovery on the road to relapse, a perceived loss of independence, his congestive heart failure, my diagnosis of MS and now his retirement. Life on life’s terms which is something I’m not really good at. It has been a true test for both of us of our wedding vows. He has been my rock on my most difficult days. I have tested his patience and he has learned how to communicate just a little bit better. We have grown together in so many ways…
As we sat at dinner the other night, the subject drifted to the one question to be sure about a relationship. I had never heard this and honestly, I was scared. But he continued saying it is “do you bring out the best of each person?”….. Of course I had to know what he thought about us because honestly my memory is awful and fear was creeping in. My immediate reaction was to feel less than. Not worthy of his unconditional love. Instead of blurting things out, I prayed to be quiet while he finished. He said “our life has been a balance – sometimes we have brought out the best in each other while there are times, we have brought out the worst. He said it is life but the true test is how you get through it. We have made it. WOW! I didn’t get defensive. I didn’t try to over analyze. I just was grateful I kept my mouth SHUT and for how far we have both come. I may have already forgotten much of the night, I pray his words about our life together stay with me forever.
Jump ahead to Saturday and another celebration…. WE HAVE 3 YEARS! I look back on where I was three years ago… a hot mess on the verge of losing my hubby, a mound of credit card debt, a victim mentality while I isolated feeling less than everyone else, broken emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Appearing confident (often cocky) on the outside while a scared child on the inside. I had walked this road before and relapse became part of my story. I had let down my family, my friends but most of all I had let myself down. The strong confident person was gone. What was left was a broken, shell of my former self. Sadly, I didn’t notice it – I thought I hid it well. I blamed everyone else for what was wrong in my life when the only one who was to blame was me.
As I sit here writing, unable to feel anything but sadness (MS seems to play with my emotions as well as taken my memories) I struggle to remember how bad it was. Not just this time but the first time (my first clean date was 10/26/91). Hubby often says, God took the memories because it was too unbearable for me to remember. God gives me glimpses at times but when it becomes overwhelming for me, they fade and only segments remain. So instead of struggling to remember, I try each day to be a better person than I was yesterday. Does it always work? NOPE! I know with God’s help, it will. I continue to go to meetings – I need to hear the struggles, I need to share my blind faith, I need to be surrounded by people who have been where I have been and I need to remember “never” should not be part of my vocabulary.
Today, the credit card debt is paid off. Today, I am trying to connect with local women in recovery. Today, I accept I am an introvert but it does not mean I need to isolate. Today, I know my ride & die gals who have been with me since the first night 3 years ago are just a phone call away. Just for today, I like myself. Today, I don’t beat myself up over the weight or how I think “I should look”. My life is blessed in so many ways. Yes, MS kicks my butt BUT it is not an excuse to go back to those old destructive behaviors. Living life on life’s terms is not always easy but WE do recovery together.
Thank you to everyone who has walked these many roads with us. We are grateful for the part you have played and continued to play in our lives.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!
Happy 2020! A new decade, a new year, a new month and a new day! A clean slate all around….
It seems weird writing a blog post today since it has been about a month or so since my last one. For my regular readers, I am sorry I did not give you a heads up. I needed a break after 6+ years of writing, I was empty. I didn’t think I had anything more to say. I’m still not sure I do but we will see what 2020 brings….
Last night I saw all of the posts talking about the last decade and it got me to thinking. At first, I stressed over what I couldn’t remember then I asked for guidance and some memories came back. So here goes my decade in review….
In 2010, I saw my daughter graduate from college with honors. I was working full-time at a job I loved and commuting crazy hours to get work.
2011 was a roller coaster year. I started my direct sales career with Thirty One. We planned our wedding and after a 9 year engagement walked down the aisle. Edythe, one of the rocks in my life passed away. I retired from my job as COO at Bethel Development. We ended the year with a cruise for our honeymoon with family.
2012 is kind of a blur. Hubby had congestive heart failure and spent 13 days in the hospital. I promoted to Director with Thirty One and walked across the stage to celebrate with my daughter. I spent lots of time trying to figure out what I really wanted to do.
2013 – 2016 were a definitely blur. There was lots of testing to determine what was going on with me. I was losing my memory (even more), leg spasms, depressed, and more I can’t remember. I spend time working part-time jobs at WaWa and Wall Storage. Relapse was a strong part of these years. We planned Belinda’s wedding and celebrated their beautiful day in the mountains of NC. Shopping, spending money, and drinking was my way of filling a void in my life. I got the “unofficial diagnosis of MS” – grateful to finally have answers
2017 started rough as my Dad spent much of his time in the hospital and then passed in April. I started Angels by Hope as an official business. Still looking for ways to fill the void. My MS diagnosis became official and I started on medications (3 times a week injections).
2018 brought the smack in the face I needed to face the unmanageability of my life. Credit card debt was high, income from my business was dropping and I was an emotional mess. I walked back into the rooms of NA in May looking for the joy I once I had.
2019 brought a change in diagnosis to “progressive MS” and with it a cane and a brace for my left ankle. Recovery has been a blessing as I am slowing rebuilding relationships with family. I am blessed to still have both my Thirty One business and Angels by Hope going strong.
So, this is just a glimpse at the last 10 years. I am grateful for Facebook memories and this blog (since March 2013) to help me remember when I can’t.
I have been searching and for a word for 2020. Last year’s was Courage and it definitely fit the year I had. Courage in so many areas of my life to step out on faith, out of my comfort zone. This year’s word didn’t come so easily. I prayed. I took those “word tests”.
My word for 2020 is GRATITUDE! Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.“. I know when I practice gratitude, everything else in my life will be okay. Not just gratitude for the good things but also for the challenges. Through the challenges, I will learn and grow.
Best wishes for a safe healthy and happy New Year.
Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful”…..or I think this one better “an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has”.
I will admit this has been a struggle for me. There have been moments when I have appreciated what I have, not comparing myself to others or wishing for something better or different. For many years, I never lived in the moment – I was always planning the future or regretting something in the past. Over the last 18 months, life has become very different. Recovery is teaching me (again) how to live in the moment and be grateful for what I have. Do I slip into those moments of comparing myself to others? ABSOLUTELY!!!
Every night as I relax and reflect on the day, I have been thanking God for the blessings he has given me. Even on my worst days, there is a blessing to be had or a lesson to be learned. Taking a gratitude walk through my day has helped me to appreciate where I am instead of regretting the past or wishing for the future. It helps me to not miss out on the special moments of the day. Have you ever taken a gratitude walk?
November is the kickoff to a season full of gratitude. Some feel they have nothing to be thankful for. Others are too busy trying to fit into a role others have set for them to appreciate what they have. Some are dreading the holidays as this will be their first holiday with out their special someone. Some are just thankful they have lived to see another day. What ever your frame of mind is, I am hoping this video clip from Kid President will make you smile – I know it always brings a smile to my face.
How many of these have you forgotten to say sometimes? As we approach the holiday season and begin to consider our blessings, maybe it is also time to add some of these “words” back into our everyday conversations. It is amazing what a simple “thank you” can do to change a person’s perspective on a day. What was your favorite one?
Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:
She works with eager hands (Proverbs 31:13, NIV).
I have had many jobs over the years. I started babysitting when I was twelve years old. In high school, I worked in a clothing store, as an aid for my choral director, and as a recruiter for an employment agency. In college, I was a secretary for the president of our social science honors program and often gave tours to visiting dignitaries. Some jobs I liked more than others but working in an insurance office when my husband attended seminary was one of my least favorite jobs. I soon discovered that I was not alone in my lack of enthusiasm as I read the following note posted on the office bulletin board:
“If you don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, you ought to be here five minutes before quitting time!”
Our attitude about our work will determine the success of our work. Scripture tells us that the Proverbs 31 woman literally “pounced upon” her work with “chosen delight.” Notice the word “chosen.” No job is perfect, and no workplace is always wonderful, but we can learn to choose our inner attitude about our work regardless of the outer circumstances of our workplace. Like this woman, we can learn to train our heart and choose our attitude about our work.
The author of Ecclesiastes writes, “My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor” (Ecclesiastes 2:10). In other words, joy in work can be found when we look for it. The Proverbs 31 woman chose an attitude that guaranteed success in her work. The right attitude in any workplace is to view our work as an act of worship to God. This woman’s workplace was an altar upon which she laid her best efforts as an offering of praise.
The story is told of three men who were working on a large building project. “What are you doing?” one of the men was asked. “I am mixing mortar,” he responded. The second man said, “I am helping put up this great stone wall.” When the third man was asked, he replied, “I’m building a cathedral to the glory of God.” We need to understand that what gives work eternal value and makes it successful is not the product or service we offer; it is doing the job faithfully to the glory of God. It doesn’t matter if you close a million-dollar deal or do a million loads of laundry. If you do it unto God as part of your life worship of Him, you are a success.
The apostle Paul was a very successful man whose work ethic is made clear in Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Every customer you serve or every child you hug, every toilet you clean or every deal you close can be an act of worship when it is done for the glory of God.
A survey by the Families and Work Institute found that 70 percent of people in the United States often dream about doing something different for a living. Books, consultants, and employment agencies offer to help us land our dream job. However, is finding a different occupation always the solution to job satisfaction, or could the key to successful work be discovering a new approach to the work we already do? Twice in Colossians 3, Paul used the phrase “whatever you do” as a call for wholehearted service to the Lord.
A wholehearted effort is difficult when working for a critical, ungrateful boss. Minimum effort then becomes a response that certainly seems justified under the circumstances. However, when our work is done for Christ and we view Him as our supervisor, we will strive to do our best all of the time. The boss may sign the paycheck, but the Savior issues our reward. Obviously, it’s not wrong to seek work that fits our skills and interests, but it is pointless to move from one job to another without first settling the issue of who it is that we truly are serving in the workplace. Daily work takes on eternal significance when it is done for God.