“The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words.” English Oxford Living Dictionary

Wow! Almost 200K words! That’s a lot! One would think that with all those words we would understand each other better, but we don’t. One might also think that words wouldn’t be able to hurt someone. I mean they are just words right? They’re not like guns, knives or swords. Those have bullets or sharp edges that pierce our skin or other organs and can make us bleed.

Words can’t exactly pierce someone’s skin. However, they can sneak into our heads, creating negative self talk that can be just as lethal. Some words can puncture a large, gaping hole in our hearts too. So how is it that words hurt us sometimes worse than other weapons that can pierce our skin and organs?

Imagine me saying any of the following to you. “You’re dumb, stupid, ugly and a loser. You’re a racist, a sexist, a misogynist, and a homophobe. You’re a Republican, a Democrat, a socialist, a liberal, a conservative, a communist, a nationalist, a nazi, a fascist, a right/left wing extremist. You talk/dress funny.” How do those words make you feel? Hurt? Angry? How could I say those things about you? I don’t even know you. Simple I don’t have to know you. You believe/say “this” about “that”. You do “that” because of “this”.

We throw words around like this all day, every day without thinking about how the other person feels. We do this at work, at home, in school, in the grocery store, and especially on social media. To make matters worse, we lash out at the person who said those things or we take it out on the next person we see whether it’s a stranger, a friend or a family member. All this does is keeps the cycle of anger and hatred going.

Ask yourself this question. Do you like being angry all the time? I don’t know about you, but I sure know I don’t.

When we throw these kind of words around we are also practicing something called identity politics. Identity politics is contemporary shorthand for a group’s assertion that it is a meaningful group; that it differs significantly from other groups and its members share a history of injustice and grievance. It’s a way of always reacting to some type of racism or inclusivity through division.

Now, imagine I say these words to you. “You’re smart, funny, beautiful, kind, and caring. You’re a darling, a sweetheart, an angel, a peach or a doll. I love the work you do, the things you say, and the beliefs you have” Those words make you feel pretty good don’t they? Why don’t we start using these words and others like this? Instead of tearing each other down, why don’t we begin to build others up for a change?

I have a challenge for everyone reading this, especially if you’re someone who throws around negative words all day. Starting today, I challenge you to say something nice to someone, or lots of someone’s. Watch that person’s reaction. See how it makes you feel. I bet it will make you feel as good as it would if someone said those things to you. Go ahead. Give it a try.

Thought for the day: Perhaps this quote says it best, “If you proposed to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?” ~Buddha

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No Matter What

I wanted to share a social media post that moved me. Many of these words kept me clean in some of my darkest hours. Thank you for the reminder April.❤

Here is a poem I wrote using some common recovery slogans/sayings….. Hope y’all like it! 😊❤️

No Matter What
By: April Grisham

6 years & 8 months ago
I went to get help
They all told me
“You can’t do it by yourself”

I was overwhelmed
Wanted to say, “Shove it!”
They told me to calm down
And remember, “Easy does it”

I was told to get a sponsor
And I was like, “Why?”
I thought, “What a joke!”
They said, “Work the Steps or die!”

At first I resisted
All because of fear
I said, “I got this”
They said, “Your best thinking got you here!”

I was pretty offended
But I listened anyway
Worried & scared to death
They said, “Just for today”

I began working the Steps
And started to be healed
They said this is forever
And “More will be revealed”

I began to feel emotions
I felt under attack
They said, “The best & worst thing about recovery”
“Is you get your feelings back”

There were times I wanted to give up
There were times I couldn’t see
I got angry when they told me,
You’re right where you’re supposed to be”

I stayed the course anyway
Recovery seemed so far
I wanted to run away
But they said, “Wherever you go, there you are”

I took all of their suggestions
At times I’d just smile & nod
Then, life showed up
They told me, “Let go and let God”

At 18 months clean
Everything happened so fast
I lost my job & almost lost my brother
They said, “This too shall pass”

I wanted to use so badly
I felt it in my gut
They held my hand & told me,
Don’t use no matter what”

I stayed clean through it all
But I’ve also made mistakes
But I have stayed willing
To do “Whatever it takes”

I have to take suggestions
To avoid being in a hearse
And remember that no matter what
My recovery MUST always come FIRST”

I still keep a gratitude list
I still continue to climb
Sometimes it’s really hard
But I take it “One day at a time”

Things still make me angry
At times I scream & swear
But I calm myself down
Saying “The Serenity Prayer”

I still hit my knees & pray
My brain still has a short circuit
But it’s true when they say,
It works if you work it”

I haven’t relapsed “YET”
I have a lot of haters
Sometimes it’s hard to deal with
But I know “It gets greater later”

Recovery has changed my life
Acceptance is the key”
I’ve learned so much
And gained serenity

I never thought it was possible
I never thought I’d find
A way to stay clean
And gain true “peace of mind”

So, if you think it’s impossible
And you feel under attack
Just know “We Do Recover”
And “Keep Coming Back!”

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Formula for Failure

I’m going to switch gears a little bit. I subscribe to a couple of daily or weekly inspirational readings. This particular one struck a chord in me because I’m struggling with correcting years of doing this to myself. This is one that many of you reading this can identify with. I corrected a couple of words so that anyone can catch the message of experience, strength and hope not just a certain group of people. Acknowledgement of the source is at the end for a reason, which you will understand when you read this in its entirety.

“Formula for failure: try to please everyone.”

I used to drive myself crazy trying to please everyone. In my insane home, I learned that if I didn’t make waves, and just agreed with everyone, then maybe for a little while there would be some peace. But it didn’t last long. Soon I would have to change, adapt, and give in again to placate the prevailing mood or attitudes of others. It was exhausting, and in the middle of it all I lost my sense of self.

I discovered something: I had a lot of resentments. I used to consider myself an easy going guy, but what I learned by doing a personal inventory was that by acquiescing(accept or agree to something, often unwillingly) to others by trying to please them, I was not only untrue to myself, but to others as well. By looking at my part, I realized that if I was to be happy and free, it was up to me to change.

Changing the way I interacted with others – especially with my family – was very uncomfortable for a long time. Suddenly I was no longer the pushover, and when I disagreed or refused to go along with their ideas, I suffered their wrath. But at least I didn’t hate myself or hold the familiar resentments anymore. After years of being true to myself, I’ve healed my relationship to myself and to others. Today, I have successful relationships because I am no longer trying to please everyone.

And because of this, I live a life that is happy, joyous, and free.”

For much of my life, this was me. Pleasing others, not wanting to make waves, agreeing with others to avoid conflict, etc. “Don’t make waves or else this person will be mad.” I was also the type of person who followed the crowd rather than being a leader. In doing all of this I lost the most important person in my life. Me. I’d forgotten who the real me was. Hell, I don’t think I ever knew the real me. I got to a point where I thought the world was out to get me. Eventually I got to a point of self imposed isolation because I didn’t want anyone to hurt me – again, as always.

It wasn’t until I was in such a pit of despair and headed towards that rabbit hole of depression that I was asked one simple question. A question that best sums up this reflection :

  • Who are you? Not your name, your title, or your job. Who are you as a person?

To answer that question I had to ask myself a couple more questions:

  • What are you passionate about? What drives you? What do you want out of life?

As I answered those questions over the following years, I began to get to know who I was, along with who and what I wanted in my life or not. I discovered new talents and things I was passionate about. For once in my adult life I began to enjoy life before it got to late.

So, who are you JQ Reader? What do you want out of life?

Each of us has a past and some of us have had it harder than others but we keep it to ourselves. Anyone of us could be dealing with “stuff” at anytime we talk to each other. Perhaps because of your hardships, instead of being a people pleaser or a peacemaker, you’ve hardened your heart and/or became bitter. Maybe you walk around with a chip on your shoulder and you lash out at anyone and everyone. Or maybe you even blame others for your misfortunes.

If this is you, I repeat the question above; Who are you JQ Reader? What do you want out of life? Do you want a life full of drama, chaos and hate? If so, I can promise you that finding any kind of happiness will be difficult and if you do, it won’t last long. Your anger and hate will overpower the happiness and you will be miserable again. Why not work on changing your mindset about your life and getting to know the real, authentic you? You just might be surprised by how much your life will change for the better.

Thought for the day: If you are unsatisfied with your life, why not try learning about yourself, your dreams, your desires and your passions? It could change your life in innumerable ways.

(The above inspirational I quote was from Wisdom of the Rooms Quote of the Week)

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React vs Respond

“When you react, you let other control you. When you respond, you are in control.” ~ Bohdi Sanders

Humans have the tendency to act impulsively when they are hurt or angered. Many, MANY times those impulsive acts wind up being demeaning, harsh, and just plain mean and spiteful. And many, MANY times we regret our actions in the heat of the moment.

I’ve always been somewhat impulsive. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve regretted my actions when another person has hurt me or made me angry. Before I do something out of spite or aggression I need to stop and think if I’ll regret the consequences later. If I punch someone in the face or break something that belongs to them, can I accept the consequences?

I call this playing the tape thru to the end. If I think about acting negatively, I ask myself, “Do I want to get arrested, or go to jail? Would I like it if that person said or did it to me? Do I want to burn a bridge with that person if I say or do something horrible?” Probably not. It’s much better if I walk away and return another time when cooler heads prevail, if at all. When I do this I’m not saying the other person is right or wrong. I’m saying that I choose not to jeopardize or ruin the relationship any more than it already may be. In some cases I’m saying that I’m more mature.

Thought for the day: Sometimes I have to wonder if perhaps if more people would think before reacting or responding there would be a little more peace in the world.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Freedom of the Past

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the “stuff” that weighs you down.” ~ Toni Morrison

Everyone has been hurt by someone in their lives. Perhaps someone has hurt us so bad that we harbor a resentment towards them. The only way to get past resentments is to forgive that person – not for their benefit, for yours – so you can move on to the future.

When my husband wanted a divorce, I was SO ANGRY at men I swore I was going to stay single until the day I died. My other best friend, a male, heard me saying this to someone and told me I would change my mind. Somewhere between me saying that and what happened was something I hadn’t expected. A man I’d been friends with for a few years started talking to me more often. Somehow between coffee dates he snuck into my heart when I wasn’t looking.

There was just one problem, my heart, angry as it was, still belonged to my ex husband. I realized I couldn’t go into another relationship with the weight I felt in my heart. I needed to forgive my ex husband for all of the hurt I felt. Forgive, not forget, for me, not for him.

When I began to forgive, I started to feel the weight fall from my shoulders and heart. I even spoke to him in a civil tone of voice. Do I miss the good times? Of course. Do I want to punch him in the nose? Hell yes! Do I miss him and want him back in my life? Definitely not. After a little while my heart healed and I was open for love again.

Thought for the day: We must learn from and forgive the past so we can live in the present and can look towards the future, whatever it may hold.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts


“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” ~ Japanese Proverb

Fear is one of those feelings that we don’t like, don’t want to talk about and be damned to admit we feel. It’s an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous and is likely to cause pain, or is a threat. We’ve all felt fear at some point in our lives whether it was fear of the dark, insects or reptiles, starting a new job, public speaking, change, losing a loved one even fear of the future. The list is endless.

It’s normal and healthy to feel fear in our lives. How we respond to and deal with our fears is what’s important. It can either paralyze us or catapult us into something better, especially if we face it head on. We also need to respect that fear. If we don’t respect it, we go about our lives thinking nothing and no one can hurt us. We tend to get cocky, reckless or careless. Next thing you know, there’ll be that one time that it’ll pop into our life to remind us of who’s the boss.

Fear can also be unhealthy and it’ll paralyze us and prevent us from doing some things like making important life altering changes. Maybe we need to leave an abusive relationship, make changes in our life when we need to, even start or change jobs.

Thought for the day: FEAR – “Forget Everything And Run” or “Face Everything And Rise(or Recover)”. Also “False Evidence Appearing to be Real”.

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“We don’t have to say or think what we don’t wish to. We have a choice in those things, and we have to realize that and practice using that choice”. ~ Rolling Thunder, Cherokee

We have so many words in the English dictionary, some of which are to foul and nasty to say, let alone print. Many times we don’t know the true definitions of these words. As a human species we’ve come to a point where we quite often throw words around without even thinking of their impact on others around us. Usually we do it out of anger.

There’s one thing I learned when confronting or debating with another person. Never swear or use foul language because it invalidates everything we say. Our words become useless and have no meaning. Besides, when we throw these words around we show our intellect, or lack thereof.

Today we gave a choice to say what we want and when we want to. We can do a couple of things with our choice of words. One thing is to learn the real definition of some of our words. We can easily do this by putting the word into the search engine of whatever device we’re using and can find numerous sources for the word.

When we know the meaning of our words, we can start using them to build others up instead of tearing them down. We can think before we speak. We can ask ourselves, “Are my words are kind or helpful. Are they supporting or destructive? Are they words of love or words of hate?”

Thought for the day: My mom was right when she quoted a line from the movie Bambi. “If you can’t say something nice meeting, don’t say anything at all.”

***Please be sure to read more of my posts