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It is June 11th once more – today is my son’s 29th birthday. The following is a re-post of the day of his (fast) birth… And today, during this time of grieving for his grandfather, it is a joy for me to celebrate the man who my son has become.  After putting himself through night school for 2 years, my son received his MBA shortly after my father passed.  Not only do I celebrate my father’s life – I also celebrate my son’s huge achievement and my excitement for him and his brilliant future.  My son is my family. And what a blessed family I have…

Here’s the post I wrote 4 years ago, HAPPY DAY OF BIRTH, SON:

For many years on his birthday, I’ve called my son at 10:08AM – the time he was born.   I get a kick out of being that kind of mom.   25 years ago I was only in labor for 3 hours.   (Yes, I said three hours.)  When we arrived at  the hospital and got on the elevator, the contractions were so intense that I had to awkwardly squat down on my knees for fear I might fall from the pain.  Some how I spoke through my agony as the elevator started to move, “Oh my God, this baby is ready to be born”, I gasped to my then husband.  The people riding on the elevator with me did not say a word as the doors opened when we arrived on the maternity floor.   A couple of people helped me up and off I waddled – on my way to give birth!  My son was over due, ready, and starting to be born while I was still in the labor room (I’ll spare you the details) and by the time they finally wheeled me into the delivery room, Tyler was on his way!  I noticed my doctor had not even arrived yet.   “Where’s my doctor?!!”  Needless to say, things were getting a little exciting during my speedy “FedEx” type of delivery and apparently I thought that was as good of a time as any to start screaming my head off.   No, not like a woman in labor, but, perhaps like a woman who was witnessing a murder or something.   At that exact moment, my doctor literally burst through the doors of the delivery room.  He held his cloth face mask over his nose and mouth with his hand as the untied strings hung freely and  touched his plaid shirt.  As he was holding the face mask in place, I noticed he had on a beautiful, big artistic silver turquoise ring with a matching watch and band.  Incredibly masculine.   I felt relieved at the sight of my cool and hip doctor and stopped screaming as I got back to business and continued to push.  To my dismay, my cool doctor started to scold me for screaming at the top of my lungs – he had heard me from down the hall.  “Geeze.  Well, where have you been?”  I said to him.   And then he started to explain how first babies usually don’t arrive so quickly while one of the nurses started tieing his face  mask on for him while another helped him with his scrubs while I was pushing and pushing and . . .  then  . . . . silence  . . .  “It’s a boy!”   More of that silence.   (But he is lavender?  Are they all like that? Lavender?)  More silence followed by my son’s father crying and barely getting the words out, “I knew it was going to be a boy!”  He looked at me and said, “Can I hold him first?”  I nodded my head, “yes”.

The silence that was getting my attention was that my son was not crying, he didn’t even peep.  Not a sound.  It made me feel uneasy, I mean, after all, he was lavender too.  I did not remember receiving a memo on lavender babies.  “Is he ok?”

“Yes!”

“Why isn’t he crying?  Isn’t he supposed to cry?”

“You know what?  I don’t think your son feels like crying.  He is just fine.  A fine, healthy baby boy.”  I’ll never forget my doctor’s words.

Quiet new son Tyler was being held by his grateful sobbing new daddy.

And that is pretty much how my baby boy has been for most of  his 25 years, incredibly mellow, cool, calm and collected.  Totally together during any kind of confusion, chaos or stress that life can bring.   He just has that kind of demeanor, along with an occasional  joyous loud laugh that makes anyone want to laugh along with him.

Yep, amazing to think he was born 25 years ago.   My son was born in 1985.  I got divorced – as well as sober – in 1987.  The odds were completely against me to make it on my own, let alone be a good sober mom.   No child deserves a drunk parent.  A drunk parent can change even the most mellow of kids.   There is no reason or excuse to be drunk, especially when there is a solution and a joyful way of life to be found.   It is always possible to find a solution, eventually.

My last drink was on August 1st, 1987.  My 30th birthday.  I was ready.

My blessings are abundant.

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26th spiritual birthday coffee mug

26th spiritual birthday coffee mug


So far, I have been sober since 1987. 3 weeks ago, on August 2nd, it was my 26th spiritual birthday. I've made the mistake of believing that I am undeserving of a celebration this year. I admit that it took a while, but, thankfully I remember that the "celebration" of sobriety is in the sobriety itself. My sobriety is not a celebration of my many "accomplishments" this year, or any other year. Sobriety is not a celebration of the ego. And this year has been quite humbling.

I have found myself in survival mode. Some days taking it one hour at a time, not to stay sober, like I did long ago, but to endure this horrific pain that engulfs my body. Today was one of the many days where every hour I asked myself, "Can I live with this pain and debilitating fatigue one more hour?" Magically, the answer is always, "yes".

Because I have a foundation of sobriety – I get to learn that I am my spirit, not my body. I get to learn how blessed I am to have a roof over my head. Yes, it bothers me greatly that I have not received a paycheck for one year and 7 months – however – I am able to see past that and see the important blessings of good neighbors that help me and good friends that check in on me and visit, bring food, and surround me with unconditional love. I am not forgotten as I am held up in my quiet sanctuary. The blessing is that I get the opportunity to receive love that has no boundaries when I secretly feel that I have nothing to offer in return.

I am a willing student as I learn this very well could be one of my most important years for my spiritual growth. I am grateful to see that the celebration here, as quiet as it may be, is for God. The one that keeps me sober while I am finding my way. The one that is showing me that it is time to accept a deeper level of love. A simple life can still be a powerful life with purpose.

It is God that I quietly celebrate. For He has brought me to this 26th year of sobriety. I have faith that God, under any conditions, still has big and fulfilling plans for me.

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I am grateful to no end for the windows that I look out of as I once more collapse in a crash and burn on my couch.  I take a few pictures of what I can see from my horizontal captivity.  I push through the pain in my body like a bull pushes his head through a matador’s angry red cape.  As I blast through the red, I find myself landing in a different place in my tired mind.  Once more I am reflecting on forgiveness.  Which brings me to weigh the love to be found in all of this forgiveness. Matters of the heart can be quite complicated.  I understand that part – but I am not speedy with how I want to go about all this complex getting in touch with my feelings stuff.  Then it  has all these different levels of emotions.  I mean, being the recovering party girl and all, this does not come easily for me.   I am far from being the fast order cook of my emotions.  “How do you want your heart cooked lady?!  Scrambled?  Fried?  Over easy?”  Pause. “Poached?!”  Another pause.  “Lord have mercy if you are one of them picky organic grown and free range types!”

“Hey, don’t rush me man.”  Sheesh. Gimme a damn minute.  I’m not sure what type I am right now. Why don’t cha come back in a week?

Here’s what is on my mind again as I look out the window to the thick green trees. . .  I’ve been divorced from Tyler’s dad for 25 years now – so no need for us to talk any more now that my son is a grown man.  But a couple of months ago my ex-husband sent me an E mail apologizing for something quite hurtful that he said to me around 3 years ago. THREE YEARS AGO. What’s up with that?

But I digress.  It felt like being involved in a bad car accident because someone simply took their eyes off of the road.  I revisited the emotional intersection of the collision with my ex-husband once again:  While my son was going to the local college he wanted to live with his father.  He had been going back and forth, every other weekend to his father’s house his whole life.  So, seemingly, all was just fine.   I went to visit my son at the house – we were all visiting.  And while Tyler left his father and I in the living room for just one second – Yes – he took his eyes off of us for just one second . . .  CRASH!  BAM!

I didn’t see it coming at all.  I was caught quite off guard because his father – out of nowhere – offered information to me that I did not need to know.  Ouch!  Call the paramedics!  Too much information and my emotional air-bag did not deploy.  Ouch!  Offering such hurtful information is somewhere between a twisted confession or just completely standing there while waiting for someone’s face to smash through the windshield.  At first I was kinda numb, in shock.  I gathered myself enough to tell him there was no reason for him to suddenly offer this information to me.  It was unnecessary, hurtful and not ok.  The shocker was that I was calm, so calm, but the hurt so deep that my words came out in a whisper.

He seemed to have forgotten I was no longer the girl he met in a bar and married 8 months later.  I am a mom, a sober mom who made the decision to stay sober and put my son first in my life.  I rose to my feet.  I stood tall.  Slowly I picked up my purse and walked away towards my son’s room to say good bye to him.  What my ex-husband said after that is unimportant.  In my son’s room,  Tyler said that he had heard everything.  My son, who was now a grown man – in college plus working a job – walked up to me and gave me a big ol’ bear hug.  How did he get so dang tall?  So much taller than me now.  He told me I never had to put myself in such a position any more – because he was over 18 now. My son Tyler continued to say some wise, loving and supportive words to me as he walked me to my car.  He told me that I’ve been a great mom his whole life.  He was his usual cool, calm and collected self. He suggested we meet down the street at the coffee shop in 5 minutes.  And I left and that was that with my ex-husband.  Boom.

So here I am looking at this “3 years later” E mail from my ex.  He wrote to me that he wished he never said the words he said to me that day.  He asked “for my forgiveness”.  Oddly and to my surprise, I shed tears of compassion for him as I read it. If you ask me – relationships, marriage, matters of the heart – it can all be so sad sometimes if we are not careful.  Especially if we take our eyes off the road, or worse, if we take our eyes off of God.  And just speaking for myself, forgiveness has always been a tricky one.  However, something profound happened this time.  I felt compassion, but with out searching for it.  I felt it being delivered to me by love –  just like what I heard in church once as I kid when I went with my next door neighbors – God is love.  That information that was “offered” to me that day from my ex-husband had nothing to do with me as a person.  It was his old stuff, back to haunt him. He was the one that ran that emotional red light that day, and I just happened to be in the way.  And as a result of his own actions, once more he totalled his own heart.

Sure, of course it would not be my choice to be endlessly ill and weary and have this crazy painful Fibromyalgia thing – but through the years of not feeling 100% I have created a simple and uncomplicated life and only surround myself with kind, loving and supportive people.  Other wise, I can feel my energy decline and my health weaken in that moment.  Love fills me up.  Love keeps me motivated even on the days I must rest, stay at home, and look out my window to the world of nature.  Someone who is showing me their negative hurtful spirit is not a fight I hang around for.  I dodge that bullet.  All my energy, even if I only have a very limited supply of it, is spent for me to make the most of what I have and learn who I best can be at this stage of my life.  Using all of my energy to learn how to manage this chronic debilitating pain is energy well spent.

I had forgiven my son’s father long ago – long before he had sent this E mail.  I hope he can forgive himself too – after all it is a miracle he has been sober many years.  I am grateful that my precious son’s father is still sober.  My son deserves that, and more, in his fabulous life with his longtime girlfriend.  And forgiveness is powerful stuff.

Forgiveness is for-giving my freedom back to myself.

And once I am able to do this – the rest is put back in God’s hands – and I continue to focus on what is in front of me.  And life once more can move forward, as it should.

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1) I am grateful for taking 2 naps today.

2) I am grateful for the acupuncture I had today.

3) I am grateful that my definition of a true friend is even more clear in my soul today.

4) I am grateful for the people around me in my community.

5) I am grateful for caring neighbors in my condo complex.

6) I am grateful for every minute in every phone call from my son.

7) I am grateful  that I am learning how to manage living with Fibromyalgia.

8) I am grateful for many years of solid sobriety before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

9) I am grateful to be the grateful girl once more.

Wearing socks that match your cat is fun.

10) Wearing socks that match your cat is fun.

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dk cloud sunrise1) I’m grateful I started my day by taking a picture from my balcony while the sun was rising through dark rain clouds.

2) I’m grateful there were no leaks in my home during the heavy rain this week. (Some neighbors were not so lucky.)

3) I’m grateful for my dear friend when he calls to check in on me.  (and I’m grateful for the Starbucks Card he sent me!)

4) I am incredibly grateful for the phone conversation I had with my father today.

5) I am grateful for my long term sobriety during my journey and deep challenges with Fibromyalgia. (Does that makes me a “Fibromyalkie”?)

I am feeling much more grateful now, than before I started my grateful list.  Try it. It works.  What are you grateful for?  I’d love to know.

julie 🙂

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There I was in the parking lot of Wholefoods Market on Halloween night and who do I end up parking next too?  Clever, I must say:

What Halloween really means to me, is that it’s officially time to focus endlessly on what I am truly thankful for.  My “Thankful” count down to Thanksgiving will begin tomorrow.

My heart goes out to everyone 0n the east coast who has been effected by the horrific storm.  Sending endless prayers. . .

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I am grateful to no end for the windows that I look out of as I once more collapse in a crash and burn on my couch.  I take a few pictures of what I can see from my horizontal captivity.  I push through the pain in my body like a bull pushes his head through a matador’s angry red cape.  As I blast through the red, I find myself landing in a different place in my tired mind.  Once more I am reflecting on forgiveness.  Which brings me to weigh the love to be found in all of this forgiveness. Matters of the heart can be quite complicated.  I understand that part – but I am not speedy with how I want to go about all this complex getting in touch with my feelings stuff.  Then it  has all these different levels of emotions.  I mean, being the recovering party girl and all, this does not come easily for me.   I am far from being the fast order cook of my emotions.  “How do you want your heart cooked lady?!  Scrambled?  Fried?  Over easy?”  Pause. “Poached?!”  Another pause.  “Lord have mercy if you are one of them picky organic grown and free range types!”

“Hey, don’t rush me man.”  Sheesh. Gimme a damn minute.  I’m not sure what type I am right now. Why don’t cha come back in a week?

Here’s what is on my mind again as I look out the window to the thick green trees. . .  I’ve been divorced from Tyler’s dad for 25 years now – so no need for us to talk any more now that my son is a grown man.  But a couple of months ago my ex-husband sent me an E mail apologizing for something quite hurtful that he said to me around 3 years ago. THREE YEARS AGO. What’s up with that?

But I digress.  It felt like being involved in a bad car accident because someone simply took their eyes off of the road.  I revisited the emotional intersection of the collision with my ex-husband once again:  While my son was going to the local college he wanted to live with his father.  He had been going back and forth, every other weekend to his father’s house his whole life.  So, seemingly, all was just fine.   I went to visit my son at the house – we were all visiting.  And while Tyler left his father and I in the living room for just one second – Yes – he took his eyes off of us for just one second . . .  CRASH!  BAM!

I didn’t see it coming at all.  I was caught quite off guard because his father – out of nowhere – offered information to me that I did not need to know.  Ouch!  Call the paramedics!  Too much information and my emotional air-bag did not deploy.  Ouch!  Offering such hurtful information is somewhere between a twisted confession or just completely standing there while waiting for someone’s face to smash through the windshield.  At first I was kinda numb, in shock.  I gathered myself enough to tell him there was no reason for him to suddenly offer this information to me.  It was unnecessary, hurtful and not ok.  The shocker was that I was calm, so calm, but the hurt so deep that my words came out in a whisper.

He seemed to have forgotten I was no longer the girl he met in a bar and married 8 months later.  I am a mom, a sober mom who made the decision to stay sober and put my son first in my life.  I rose to my feet.  I stood tall.  Slowly I picked up my purse and walked away towards my son’s room to say good bye to him.  What my ex-husband said after that is unimportant.  In my son’s room,  Tyler said that he had heard everything.  My son, who was now a grown man – in college plus working a job – walked up to me and gave me a big ol’ bear hug.  How did he get so dang tall?  So much taller than me now.  He told me I never had to put myself in such a position any more – because he was over 18 now. My son Tyler continued to say some wise, loving and supportive words to me as he walked me to my car.  He told me that I’ve been a great mom his whole life.  He was his usual cool, calm and collected self. He suggested we meet down the street at the coffee shop in 5 minutes.  And I left and that was that with my ex-husband.  Boom.

So here I am looking at this “3 years later” E mail from my ex.  He wrote to me that he wished he never said the words he said to me that day.  He asked “for my forgiveness”.  Oddly and to my surprise, I shed tears of compassion for him as I read it. If you ask me – relationships, marriage, matters of the heart – it can all be so sad sometimes if we are not careful.  Especially if we take our eyes off the road, or worse, if we take our eyes off of God.  And just speaking for myself, forgiveness has always been a tricky one.  However, something profound happened this time.  I felt compassion, but with out searching for it.  I felt it being delivered to me by love –  just like what I heard in church once as I kid when I went with my next door neighbors – God is love.  That information that was “offered” to me that day from my ex-husband had nothing to do with me as a person.  It was his old stuff, back to haunt him. He was the one that ran that emotional red light that day, and I just happened to be in the way.  And as a result of his own actions, once more he totalled his own heart.

Sure, of course it would not be my choice to be endlessly ill and weary and have this crazy painful Fibromyalgia thing – but through the years of not feeling 100% I have created a simple and uncomplicated life and only surround myself with kind, loving and supportive people.  Other wise, I can feel my energy decline and my health weaken in that moment.  Love fills me up.  Love keeps me motivated even on the days I must rest, stay at home, and look out my window to the world of nature.  Someone who is showing me their negative hurtful spirit is not a fight I hang around for.  I dodge that bullet.  All my energy, even if I only have a very limited supply of it, is spent for me to make the most of what I have and learn who I best can be at this stage of my life.  Using all of my energy to learn how to manage this chronic debilitating pain is energy well spent.

I had forgiven my son’s father long ago – long before he had sent this E mail.  I hope he can forgive himself too – after all it is a miracle he has been sober many years.  I am grateful that my precious son’s father is still sober.  My son deserves that, and more, in his fabulous life with his longtime girlfriend.  And forgiveness is powerful stuff.

Forgiveness is for-giving my freedom back to myself.

And once I am able to do this – the rest is put back in God’s hands – and I continue to focus on what is in front of me.  And life once more can move forward, as it should.

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