Hope

Written January 18, 2017

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” ~Anne Lamott.

Some time ago while I was working on rebuilding myself, I was given a list of vocabulary words related to rebuilding myself. I knew the meanings of these words well, so I thought. It wasn’t until I looked these words up in more detail that I began to understand them more. Hope happened to be one of those words.

Hope is something that you want to happen, or the feeling that good things will come. Hope can also be a verb that means “strive for or wish”. To hope is to want something to happen. It is emotional. In fact, some scholars believe it’s linked in meaning to hop, in that someone who hopes “leaps in expectation.” Matter of fact, most of the definitions I’ve seen have the word “expectation” in it. Expectation – belief about (or mental picture of) the future. It is the feeling that something is about to happen. It’s also anticipating with confidence of fulfillment. So in essence hope can be a double edged sword.

Many years ago I’d lost hope because so many bad things had happened in my life. And then I hit what one might call rock bottom in the hope department. My world felt dark and that it was closing in on me. I wasn’t suicidal but I did pray before bed that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. Every morning I woke I was mad at my Higher Power. I thought He’d abandoned me too.

While I was this dark place, the hand of a friend I’d met on social media reached out for me. He loved me until I could love myself. The words he had posted taught me. He made me think about myself and the world around me. Sure I had other friends who could help me but their words didn’t impact me like this friend. One day I’d looked for his words of experience  strength and hope but I found none. A few days went by and he still hadn’t posted. When I went to his personal page I found he’d passed away. I was devastated and my heart broke.

After some phone calls, email and social media exchanges and I’m sure a few tears on both ends, I was graciously given a copy of his writings so that I could repost them – on one condition. I had to write my own thoughts and inspiration with his words until I felt comfortable doing my own freestyle writing. Since that day, this shy little girl turned into a more confident, but not cocky, woman who feels more comfortable in her own skin. This endeavor has helped me get thru many dark hours when I didn’t think I could do it.

What’s ironic is that I always hated writing in school nor was I even really that good. I am still amazed today that stuff I’ve written has been read all over the world thanks to social media. And to think, this never would’ve been possible had I stayed in my dark place and not taken the risk to honor my friend the way that I do.

Today my hope is that maybe someday this entry will be put with my other entries that I’ve written in a book of daily inspiration. Or that other things I write will be published. This much is for certain, whatever happens, I will never forget the man and his family for starting me on this journey. Nor will I forget each person who has “liked”, shared and commented on my posts. They fueled the flames of hope and gave me the confidence to continue.

Thought for the day: Miracles do happen every day. They may not come with angelic singing and trumpets playing but they do happen. Don’t leave before that miracle happens.

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Change

Written April 18, 2017

“All good things come an end, all bad things come to an end. What’s the point? There is no point. That’s the point.” ~ Unknown

Change is everywhere, yet at that same time, we also fear change. The reasons for our fear are numerous, however, there is one common denominator. Our fear of the unknown. We ask ourselves “What if this happens or what if that happens?” Many times we’re comfortable where we’re at whether it’s our job, our relationship with our partner, our friends, our homes or anything in between. Because this fear we stay in our comfort zone unwilling to take the leap of faith that we need to do in order to advance in life.

The vocabulary(dot)com site defines change as to become different in some particular way, without permanently losing one’s or its former characteristics or essence. It also says that change is the balance of money received when the amount you tender is greater than the amount due.

Think about this for a moment. You go to the store to buy a loaf of bread. When you get to the register the cashier tells you that your total is say $1.98. You hand the cashier a $5 bill and she gives you some money back. Change is good, right?

I recently found the following social media post the other day and thought I’d share it:

Change is the best decision anyone can ever gift to themselves. Don’t be afraid to take those first steps even though your feet aren’t firmly planted on the ground.

If you’re surrounded with constant negativity, remove yourself and you will feel the layers fall away the further your distance increases. Most times you harbour bad feelings from others and can’t decipher which ones actually belong to you because it’s so constant.

Make that much needed change. Leave that shitty job. Remove people who hurt you from your life. Cut off others who leech and thrive from your goodness and kind spirit. Leave behind the one who cannot reciprocate your love.

The choice lies within YOU to make everything around you a better, more enjoyable and deserved world. 💖

Thought for the day: A couple of acronyms regarding change. “Forget” Everything And Run or Face Everything And Recover. Also False Evidence Appearing to be Real.

“We Didn’t Start the Fire”

Written April 10, 2017

Tho I am writing this from an American perspective, I’m sure we are not the only country who has some of these same internal conflicts as we do. There are others too. Tho our internal conflicts may differ, perhaps some of you can relate to what I’m writing about today. I also refer to my disclaimer I wrote a little while back.

There was a song written by a very famous singer/songwriter that was popular in 1989. It didn’t highlight this musicians musical talents or had a melody that you hum along to, but it had interesting and odd lyrics. If you listen to the lyrics you can get a glimpse of people and events from 1949 to 1989. Tho the song only mentions the names and events, but one can research more on each of the people or events listed in the song to gain a better perspective. The song is “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and it was written in 1989 by Billy Joel

From an article on a site called AV Club regarding the song, “…its underlying feelings of uncertainty and insignificance are timeless. The song represented a man facing his mortality as he examines the last 40 years of his life, someone who feels wary about what the future might bring – especially because he realizes how short life really is, and how powerless people are to change things.”

You may be wondering why the heck I’m writing about this song. I bring it up because as I listen to or read about all the “stuff” going on in America, I can’t help but scratch my head and think to myself,  “What the hell are you people thinking?! Look what we’re doing to each other while real tragedies are taking place around the world!” I’m referring to the protesting about who won the democratically held election along with the constant bickering and worrying over macro or micro aggressions, political correctness, illegal immigration, sanctuary cities and even the political obstruction that we are currently seeing in Washington DC.

Long story short, we’ve become a culture of victims where no one is at fault but everyone else is to blame. While we are busy fighting each other over trivial “stuff”, we have real dangerous people and situations happening around us. Examples of this are…

Tensions rising from countries like North Korea, China, Russia, Iran and various other Middle Eastern countries where terrorists live. Yet it seems no one cares.

There are innocent people in one country being gassed by their own leader, another country is building islands in international waters, and another country testing bombs with the intent to wipe us, America, off the map. Yet I don’t think anyone sees this.

Names like Putin, Omar the Chechen, Bashar Al Assad and Kim Jong Un are but a couple of names that strike fear in the hearts of many leaders and people in the free world. Yet sadly, I worry that no one grasps the gravity of the powder keg we are sitting on right now as I write this.

Before you go thinking I’m some doomsday type of person, I remind anyone reading this that I’m far from it. I am not an optimist nor a pessimist, but a realistic. I hope for the best but expect the worst. I see people and situations for who and what they really are. And while various media outlets and others spew out hatred for President Trump, there are very real and very serious events going on this very minute that could affect anyone, if not all of us, at any time.

I recently saw a segment on the news where a college aged reporter visited other college campuses and interviewed some of the students. At one such campus this young man visited, he asked students, “Who do you think is more dangerous to America – President Trump or ISIS?” Not to surprisingly, many if not all of the students said President Trump is.

Now, I’ll admit, change is scary when it comes to changing political leaders. Especially after a most contentious 2016 presidential election. I will also admit that President Trump has said some things that has given us reason to pause and have some fear. However, he is not our most immediate threat.

Looking at the big picture, ISIS and other groups who are the same or similar in thought, pose a much bigger threat to Americans and others around the world. How you may wonder? It is because of their ideology that anyone who opposes them is an infidel and should die. If you think that these people who killed their own citizens – men, women and children – indiscriminately would stop within their own borders, you’re wrong. Their belief is that sharia law, or even communism, is the only law. Right now, one leader in particular would be happy if one of his missiles armed with a hydrogen or nuclear bomb would reach America. I will let you research more about their ideologies on the Wikipedia site.

I do not write this to scare anyone reading it. I write this to give you some perspective, perhaps to try to wake people up. Our petty differences are just that – petty. We live in a society of blind multi culturalism and don’t see militant islamism. Liberal professors and liberal media indoctrinate our youth to see things one way only and if anyone disagrees then that person should be shouted down, bullied, called names or protest. If none of that works then they retreat to their safe space where their is no controversy and they are challenged by no one.

Is it really that important to argue over some of this trivial political “stuff”? Does it really make that much difference how or what we call someone? How important will all this petty fighting be a year, 5yrs, or 20yrs from now?

“We Didn’t Start the Fire” 1989

Billy Joel

“We Didn’t Start The Fire”

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye
Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

Chorus
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc
Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock
Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland
Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez

Chorus

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai
Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, Homicide, Children of Thalidomide…

Buddy Holly, Ben-Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia
Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go
U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo

Chorus

Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion
Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician Sex
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say?

Chorus

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan
Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and Roller Cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on and on and on and on
And on and on and on and on…

Chorus X’s 3

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Journey of a “Peep”

Written April 16, 2017

I recently posted some pictures of the tasty treat has become synonymous with easter, Peeps(Ok, it’s not the only candy that is associated with Easter, but it is on the list).

I was asked, “Gotta history question or two for you… since I’m not a candy eater, especially not marshmallows, which I understand is the basic part of a “peep” by asking someone else what the heck is a “peep” is… When did these “peeps” first appear on the scene? and when/why/how the heck did “peeps” become the slang for one’s special people?”

After responding with a link to a Wikipedia reference, the following was left for a comment, “Aw… but I wanted your history, not Wiki’s history…”. So here is my account of the history of Peeps…

Once upon a time, in a land far away(one always starts a story this way), a candy maker wanted to pack more sugary goodness into the candy he was making for Easter. Sure, chocolate is tasty and there are other types of delectable treats but he wanted to make something new and special for the day.

As he was going thru his confectionery cookbook for ideas, he noticed a bag of marshmallows and a bag of sugar sitting near him. Just then it came to him. “I know! If I take marshmallows and combine them with sugar I can make a really sweet confection!”

First he tried rolling a marshmallow in the sugar. But alas, the sugar didn’t not stick. Then he thought if he roasted the marshmallow over the fire hoping it would soften its exterior.  Again, this did not work because as soon as it came out of the fire, the exterior hardened up and the sugar still did not stick.

Next, as he was eating a marshmallow, it came to him. He stuck the gooey inside of it into a cup of sugar that was sitting near him. Eureka! It stuck! What he did next was a stroke of genius. The candy maker mashed the marshmallows up enough to expose the gooey inside, then took that and rolled it in sugar and, viola! His new treat was made! Then, since these were being made for Easter, the candy maker shaped them into little chicks(because they’re a part of Easter too) and colored the sugar to make them look more fun.

Finally, since they needed a name. After much thought, he realized that little chick’s make a “peep” sound. He also realized that there would be more than one in a package and of course the plural for “peep” would be “peeps”, a new sugary confection was hatched, um, er, made.

Now, to answer the other part of the question, “when/why/how the heck ‘peeps’ became the slang for one’s special people.” After some extensive research, I came upon this site…

What the Heck are “Peeps”?( http://www.dailywritingtips.com/what-the-heck-are-peeps/ )

“Every rose has a thorn”

Written April 16, 2014(edited 2017)

” ‘Every rose has a thorn.’ I prefer to think that every thorn has a Rose…or a Blackberry…or a Raspberry….Some plants bring their Gifts without thorns. Thorny plants tho, however they may hurt, have a Gift to bring…from every trial, from every “thorn” in Life, come Gifts. If we stay with it, and look, we will always find the “Gift”. Is one Gift/lesson sweeter than the other?…no, one is just harder learned. Look past the “thorn” to the “Gift”.” ~Domething to consider…

I remember a number of years ago, in what seems like a lifetime ago, my best friend and I used to go berry picking. Oh, I dreaded it at times! I mean, geeze, by the time mid summer came, I had SO MANY scratches on my legs!! They ranged from the annoying, tiny, very superficial to deep gauges. We had our “secret” spots that had their own set of dangers besides the thorns.

One time one of us accidentally stepped in a woodchuck hole and twisted an ankle pretty bad. On another trip she was picking berries and felt something like a sting followed by another and another until suddenly she’s yelping like crazy while taking her clothes off and running away with her arms flailing in the air. Come to find out, she had been standing right on top of a fire ant hill and they weren’t to pleased. Thankfully we were on a private path where no one beside myself saw this hysterical spectacle!

After all was said and done, the berries washed, and our wounds washed and bandaged, we ended up with wonderful jelly, sweet treats, tasty snacks, and even a little wine(our first batch ended up more like moonshine). Every time I moaned and groaned I forgot about the rewards that went along with my battle scars.

In order to enjoy good, homemade blackberry or raspberry pie, jam, tarts, and so on, you need to go out and pick the berries. Anybody who’s been berry picking either as a kid or even as an adult knows that to get that sweet fruit you need to watch out for the thorns. Of course no matter how careful we are we can still get snagged by the branch we don’t see, step into the covered woodchuck hole or, Heaven forbid, stand on the unnoticed fire ant hill. The same is true in life.

Sometimes in life, to reach our goal we gotta go thru some rough, even thorny patches. We may get a little bit up, step in some “stuff” or get a little dirty to make it to our sweet treat, our tasty snack, or our goal. The important thing to keep in mind is to keep going. If the worst thing that happens is that we snag our clothing, get a couple scratches or sprain an ankle, well that’s ok. We can always bandage or patch that stuff up. Dirt washes away, wounds do heal, and we still survive. At the end of the day we can put our feet up, slice up a piece of pie(maybe a little whipped cream too), lick our wounds and unwind knowing that all of our hard work wasn’t in vain. This exact philosophy can be applied to life experiences. Perhaps we can even look back on the times we got scratched up, bit up, or stepped in “stuff” and have a little chuckle at our own expense.

As I reflect back on my life I can recall numerous occasions when I was learning lessons for growth or getting a “gift” I went thru a couple of thorny patches. Matter of fact I’m going thru a thorny patch today as I write this. I know I’ll get thru it and when I do, I’ll get some gift or reward. Right now I’m reminded of a phrase or slogan that I frequently hear. “More Will Be Revealed”. What this means is that as long as I keep putting my right(correct) foot in front of the other, do the next right thing for the right reason and keep in touch with my Higher Power I’ll be alright. I know that He doesn’t give me more than I can handle. Some days, tho, He must think I’m a badass or something. Ha, ha!!

Dreaming A New World

April 15, 2014(edited 2017)

“The Old Ones taught that this World is a Dream, and that We can Dream a new world into being. What kind of World do You want to Live in? What kind of World do you want to leave your children and grandchildren? What kind of person do You want to be? Your answers are Your Vision, what You wish to Create. When Your Vision is clear, and You can See it, it is Time to act, and Create that future, and to Walk into it. Together, let’s step into a Future where We feed each Other, rather than fight each Other!” ~ Doug

Something to ponder…

If you remember your history lessons in school, you might remember that humans first lived in the African and Middle Eastern countries. So why would our ancestors, the Old Ones, risk their lives and leave their homes?

I realized the answer while watching tv the other night. The show I’ve been watching is about how our ancestors migrated out of Africa. In the show it shows the trials and tribulations our ancestors probably went thru as they traveled out of Africa and into other places including North America via the land bridge. Times were very harsh for humans to live during that time. There was no grocery store to for them to go to to get their meat and produce from. They had to go out and kill or grow their food and pray that something bigger than them didn’t come along and steal their food or worse – eat them!

Our first ancestors did everything in the elements. Rain, sleet, sunshine, freezing cold or sweltering heat made no difference. So why is it that our ancestors did all this and more? It was not only for their very survival but also to make life better for themselves. Once they were able to see past their own survival, they could look to the future so they could make things better their children. As time past it our Ancestors began to use their brains more to create new things and see new places.

Then there came a time when they started traveling and they believed, at one point in time, that the world was flat. This was the belief until they set sail on the seas and did some exploration of the world. We continued to risk life and limb doing this kind of stuff not just to make our lives just a little bit easier but also to make a little better for our future generations.

Think back to a time when you were younger and adults around you asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? Or maybe you role played with your friends and perhaps you played the part of a nurse, teacher, fire or police man? How about the dream of meeting and marrying your prince/princess?

For many of us our dreams may have come to life before our very eyes. We finished high school and went off to college, a trade school, the military, or wherever we had to go so we could accomplish our dreams we had. Now that we are settled in whatever our life is that we have created we think, “Is this all there is? Is there no more to life?” The answer is no, of course not! We can still continue to dream no matter how old we may be. We can still dream of many things whether it’s to go back to school for a higher degree, to be a part of saving the planet, or even dream of making your community a better place to live in.

Our ancestors, the Old Ones, want to see us continue to make the world a better place for our children to grow up in but we can’t do it alone. We need people to dream of what to do and make. It makes no difference if your dream is big or small, if you’re young or old as long as you continue to dream. Dream of a better life for you, me and all future generations that come after us. What is your dream that you have in your heart today? What do you dream of that would make life better? What will you do to make that dream come true?

Bella’s Thoughts on Feelings


Written November 25, 2016

“Feelings are not fact” ~Anonymous.

I thought I’d write about feelings today. Especially since I see so many people I know just wandering around town. These people I see are fellow addicts. They have either not found recovery or they were in a recovery program and have relapsed maybe once, maybe twice, maybe even more. I saw one addict who lost their son, one who lost their spouse because of their addiction, another addict who was a victim of domestic violence , and yet another who was abused/molested as a child.

As a recovering addict myself I know all too well about feelings and how they can sometimes suck. That was one of my main reasons for using. I didn’t want to feel the feelings that I had. Feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, guilt, shame, or remorse. Towards the end of my using, I didn’t even want to feel joy and happiness. Truth be told, I didn’t remember how to feel the good feelings. I also didn’t want to deal with conflict or reality. Bottom line I used when it rained, snowed, even if it was sunny or(as I say) someone pissed in my Cheerios.

Now, what I’m about to say is not to boast or brag. It is simply to let another addict that even when feelings suck you can get through those crappy feelings too. In the few 24 hours that I have clean I’ve been through divorce, financial loss, the inability to find gainful employment, health issues that are pretty serious, and a failed relationship with another “recovering” addict. I say “recovering” because even though this person has a few more 24 hours clean than me, this person was far from working any type of recovery program period, at least as far as I could see. The program I work calls this abstinent. This is a debate for another blog post.

The holidays are tough on addicts because they bring up all kinds of memories and the emotions that are attached to those memories. The other day I was going thru a bunch of pictures in my basement and all kinds of memories of my past came flooding back with each box of pictures I went thru. Memories from my childhood, my young adulthood, my marriage, my parents, my grandparents, Christmas traditions gone, my friends throughout the years, my first car and the last relationship I was in. When I was done I felt like crap. My heart had fallen out of my chest and sat like a lump on that cold basement floor. I didn’t like it.

So why did I choose to not find the closest drug dealer or go to an old hangout with an old playmate? I thought about the people I’d hurt yet again if I went back out. I also thought of what is called my “YET’s” – You’re Eligible Too. I didn’t use these are kinds of drugs, I hadn’t used them in this way or get them this by these means of getting them. At some point I’d figured I’d be to ashamed to come back to recovery, yet again. I’d probably end up killing myself by overdosing. This is also called playing the tape all the way thru to the end.

The bottom line is that if you’re reading this and you’re an addict who hasn’t found recovery or even tried recovery because of those feelings that millions of people like me who’ve learned to work thru them without using. If we can do it, you can do it too. Don’t deny yourself those feelings. Just know that you don’t have to use over them – Just for Today.

Thought for the day: “Things change. People change. Feelings change. It’s a good thing that memories never do. Cherish the memories you’ve made…and never pass up the chance to make new ones.” ~(gail)~