I suck at Wordless Wednesday

Hello bloggy friends, today I am writing about what I’m grateful for. This is not only because I have a titch of writers block but because it was supposed to rain here and it’s been a lovely, sunny spring day.
I’ve seen other blogs where they participate in “Wordless Wednesdays” but come on, as if I could be wordless! So mine will be something more like Julie’s trying to use as few words as possible Wednesdays!
Woooohoooo.
Today I was determined to spend time outside enjoying the weather, so out to my backyard oasis I went. Click Here for a bit of background if you’d like catch up on our little slice of Heaven.
Today I was thankful that we had purchased a new patio set last year so I could sit comfortably listening to the damned black crows chasing away a lovely Blue Jay while my freaking dog was attacking the neighbor’s dog through the fence.
I’d like to divert your eye from the unopened pool, the snow blower and the toboggan which are both waiting to be stored for the summer; draw your eye to the lovely apple green of the cushions and umbrella, notice the sunlight flooding my oasis. 
Now you’re getting an idea of how I roll.
This next picture tells a thousand words for me. As you may have deduced I have significant short term memory issues, I write about it though out my blog, Click Here for a taste.
Today for whatever reason my alarm on my phone hadn’t gone off to remind me to eat and by 1pm I was feeling weak and shaky. When I’m like this it’s hard to figure out what to eat, I’m grateful that I can always remember how to make a cheese sandwich with Granny Smith Apples!
Yup it’s fatty-bum white bread my friends, yum.
Diet Pepsi = yum.
Without my wicked awesome prescription sunglasses this girl would be lost, I’m blind as a bat and wouldn’t be able to sit here ignoring my dog’s horrific antics at the fence while reading a great book.
It’s Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyers, fantastic.
Within the picture below you can see the bane of my existence right now.
HAY.
I took the advice of the oh-so-knowledgeable Garden Center Lady in the fall and spread my Halloween hay over my gardens.
Dumbest move I’ve ever made!
The freaking hay is everywhere, the fact that we have river rock gardens helps the pain-in-the-ass factor rise dramatically.
But there’s also green there, see it?
I’m focusing upon that. My tiger lilies are coming, spring has arrived.
I’m grateful for the cycle of life.
I’m grateful I have a hubby with a strong back and 2 little ladies whose little hands will be removing each bit of hay from our backyard oasis.
They’ll thank me when they’re older.
I find tagging this with Motherhood amusing.

Most used Wedding Verse: Love is patient, love is kind.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
 Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Familiar?
This verse is probably the most popular verse used in weddings, printed on coffee cups, cards and bumper stickers.
When Hubby and I became engaged 13 years ago we agreed to get married in my childhood church, I had always known that I wanted a church wedding. 
Is that bizarre for a girl reluctantly attended church for Weddings, Funerals and Christenings?
Not in Younger Julie’s World.
So off we went to meet with the Reverend and plan the service.
Wait we have to have marriage counselling?
Grrrrrr, this wasn’t in my plan but if we must.
OK so we did that, drove for an hour each way to meet with the Reverend (can you tell that my priority was this meeting?) and hear about God’s role in our marriage.
At the time frankly I wasn’t thinking God so much as how I was going to feel being the girl in White Dress if you know what I mean.
Marriage counselling finished we began planning the service, balancing what I knew others would want together with what we wanted was stressful to say the least.
When it came time to choose from the list of verses we saw this verse at the top of the list and grabbed on.
It was perfect, not too much God or religion and based upon Love.
We had a wonderful Wedding, it was everything I’d dreamed of and more.
But a funny thing has happened over time.
My husband and I have changed, grown.
My marriage has experienced peaks and valleys, some of these valleys were much lower than I would have ever imagined.
We have been challenged in ways we couldn’t have prepared for…health, finances, faith….but we had one thing which kept us going.
Something unique to us.
We had each other.
There is nobody in the world who knows me as well as Hubby does, He often will know what’s in my heart and on my mind before I even realize what it is.
During times when I was weak He was my support, He showed me my strength.
I cannot say that we have always been 100% connected.
During the valleys of our marriage we’ve become very disconnected.

At times it was so dark that I became the epitome of selfish, lost in my own ego and desires.

One specific valley almost caused me to lose my marriage.
To lose the one person in the world who knew me, all of me and still loved me.
My self-hatred almost cost me the most important person in my life.
I thank God each day that I didn’t.
I thank God that both Hubby and I have found Jesus Christ and dedicated our lives to God.
I thank God that I have a chance to live life with a clear mind and clear heart.
I thank God that I got a second chance to nurture my marriage and honor my Hubby.
This morning when I read the AA Daily Reflections these thoughts were brought to the forefront of my mind.
This is what I read:
A WIDE ARC OF GRATITUDE April 7, 2011

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Am I capable of such generous tribute and gratitude to my wife, parents and friends, without whose support I might never have survived to reach A.A.’s doors? I will work on this and try to see the plan my Higher Power is showing me which links our lives together.
Wow huh?
These daily readings which I do over a cup of coffee in the morning certainly take me time to ponder.
Today I can answer YES to these questions but only because I’m doing this journey of life with effort.
I’m no longer floating, reacting or avoiding.
Without my Hubby I wouldn’t have gotten sober, nor would I still be sober.

I wouldn’t be able to see God’s work in my life or be willing to face exactly who I am.

I wouldn’t have learned to love myself.
These days I’m amazed at how God linked me together with this man I’m married to, that God knew we could make an amazing journey TOGETHER.
My aim is to spend my life attempting to fulfill the verse spoken at my wedding as follows:
 Julie is patient, Julie is kind. Julie does not envy, Julie does not boast, Julie is not proud. Julie does not dishonor others, Julie is not self-seeking, Julie is not easily angered, Julie keeps no record of wrongs. Julie does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Julie always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Now I just know some of my peeps are beginning to smile, reclining a little with a raised brow…yeah right Julie, have you met yourself?
OK I admit it, I’m aiming high but I seek progress rather than perfection and anything is possible through God.
It is certainly worth the effort.
They are worth the effort.

Do your foundations have cracks?

A strong foundation is essential.

This is true of basically any aspect of life.

The fact that you can build a strong foundation without being aware of it had escaped me.

I am currently working on my testimony for my Baptism on March 27th – WHOOOOO, how great is God huh? – First draft looked good so I gave it to my friend Chris to review for me and he complimented me on my structure or writing. Basically he was saying I draw through out my testimony, giving examples and summing them up at the end with meaning. Now Chris is our Worship Pastor so this is high praise to me.

Take a minute, let that sink in……I’m a good writer….basking for a second, I do tend to do that.

Today I was at an amazing event at our Church for kiddies, there were over 200 parents and kids enjoying the day playing, jumping in castles, bowling, watching movies and generally having a BLAST.

While there I had the chance to connect with a number of wonderful people and one of them was my friend Marc who mentioned he’s reading my blog and enjoyed my writing style, the way I make a statement and follow it up with examples in my life and draw conclusions.

Again basking.

In grade 8 I had a teacher whose favorite subject to teach was English and she was a very effective teacher. In her class I learned about making a Thesis, developing the supporting content and concluding in a manner which hopefully would sway the reader.

Until these conversations I hadn’t thought of this lesson, the foundation to my writing style had been laid without my being aware.

Thank God the foundation of my marriage was well laid!
This is me as a blond 😉
Hubby and I have weathered some storms in the past, not least of which is my alcoholism but this year of sobriety and fall out of my accident injuries have really been our largest challenge to date.
At times I’m a shell of who I was and in a marriage it must be frightening for your usually strong, capable, type A partner to be missing. 
The load my Hubby has carried would have broken many a marriage.

Today we are connected in our spiritual path, serving God together. We are best friends, motivating one another, able to laugh together, to bicker, to get angry with each other, to comfort each other.
Our foundation hasn’t buckled.
There have been cracks, but they’re the normal cracks which can be repaired with effort and the commitment we have for one another.

As we like to say we’re Lifers.


I don’t blog deeply here about hubby, well I haven’t yet….I don’t know why but perhaps it’s because my gratitude is so raw, fresh when it comes to him. I love my Hubby more than life itself. He is my foundation, the one person who has always understood me ….annoyingly He often gets me before I do.


That’s seriously irritating.
My marriage is thing I work hardest at, the one foundation I spackle away at regularly.
When the kitchen is a mess, His socks are lying about or some other offence has taken pla
ce I am inclined to take all of my frustrations out on Hubby.

Instead I TRY to remember who this person is…..the GREATEST gift God gave me.


How much time as a society do we put into strengthening our foundation of marriage?
Are our lives too busy?

Hebrews 10:24-25
 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching

A morning's silence

This morning my husband gave me a gift, he took the girls out to an event at his work and gave me a morning alone!!
Whoohooooo!!!
So many opportunities began running through my mind, shopping, getting a pedicure, going to my AA meeting with no time constraints….but all of those would mean that I would have to get up and become presentable which felt like an effort this morning…
Of course they all ran late getting out the house, bickering and stressing while getting ready to go.
But go they did.
I stayed in my PJ’s, got a cup of coffee, my laptop and plonked my bum into the Sleekcliner and began reading blogs. I had time to catch up on blogs I’ve missed which I enjoyed.
Our dog went upstairs to the front living room window and sat watch, she didn’t move…..she just whimpered every now and again as if to say “Where are they”.
So after a bit of blog reading I was feeling tired and decided to nap, this is a strange feeling for me as I lay there. The house was TOO quiet. I nap or relax often these days, due to pain or exhaustion but never with silence. I soon realized I wasn’t going to nap so what next?
I picked up Rumi’s poetry and enjoyed some time lost in it, then did some other short daily reading…totally relaxing….Easy Does It was in full effect.
Lately I have been contemplating Spiritual healing, not like let’s find your past lives or give me your bank account information and I’ll cure you over the phone.
I’m thinking of how many of us lose our true selves because we get in our own way.
Last night I had a group of ladies over to our home to introduce them to Heaven Scent Natural Products which is a line a friend of mine has created. We enjoyed great conversation, coffee, tea and YUMMY sweets from a local bakery. I snapped a pic of the Cheesecake thingies which I adored!!
I really enjoyed this gathering of women and it spurred me to reflect on how lost I had been in the past, there wouldn’t have been less than 10 bottles of wine purchased for a gathering such as this and the focus of the evening wouldn’t have been the same.
Somehow the “things” in life would come into conversations more, trips, upgrades we were wanting etc. Last night just didn’t feel like that. We learned about these amazing products, purchased some but also I felt like there were connections we were making with other women.
Sober get togethers ROCK.
 This past year my physical side has been recovering slowly as well as my mental side but the Spiritual side of my recovery has been accelerated. I’ll blog more on this topic another time once I’ve had more time with it.
My main point here is that this topic keeps reappearing for me over the last year now. In ways I cannot ignore it just pops up. I began exploring it about a month ago but haven’t really put much of my time or effort into it.
But as I lay there in my bed, in the silence while my dog kept watch on the house I felt God with me, assuring me that I was on the right path. I was questioning in my mind if I was going in the right direction, where God wanted me to focus my path and His answer came to me as a certainty, YES I am.
Because I don’t have much energy these days it’s important for me to give the time I can in the right direction. Everything takes me alot of time and I often have to repeat my efforts.
So I began developing this Project of mine in my mind. Let’s call it my Brain Child because I’ve always wanted to have a Brain Child….it makes a person sound brilliant somehow.
And then I spent some time with God in prayer.
The hubby and the children arrived home. They had a great day too, filled with clowns, balloons, lots of giggles and CANDY which means it wasn’t going to be a quiet afternoon.

Blessed

Well the Christmas celebrations are almost done and we’ve survived! Full of love, laughter and tears it was amazing for our little family. While at times I missed the glow which a wonderful glass of red wine brings I didn’t miss the sluggish, painful Christmas morning wake up, the shame or the bruises from falling down or bumping into who knows what.
This year we had 2 sick girls and we were up for 4 nights tending to them. This was tiring but also gave the opportunity for time with them in my arms to reflect on their wonderful little lives. How much they’ve experienced, the love they’ve felt and prayer for many more such times for them.
Christmas Eve I was sitting with Sydney (eldest) listening to Christmas Shoes on the radio which always makes me cry and she began SOBBING! She said “I’m so glad you didn’t die in your car accident” WOW
This little 6 year old has been giving hints at being constantly worried about me but man this hit hard. We cried together and then chatted about the fact that I’m alive by the Grace of God and that we must be thankful for all the time he allows us here before we go Home.
Did I mention that hubby thought this was a great time for a photo?
Christmas morning was hilarious, hubby in one daughter’s bed and me with the other (romance was dead to say the least). 7am and hubby and I were waking them….that was a trip! Then we loaded the breakfast in the oven, got a cup of coffee and expected them to dive into the presents. NOPE. The littlest just stood with huge eyes staring at the gifts and the oldest just layed on the couch. hmmmm where’s the lively girls we know??
So we helped it along and soon enough they got it!

My youngest Chelsea sporting her “oh my gosh it’s the Tangled “Bapunzle” baby!!”

Here is our eldest Sydney performing what we are now referring to as the “recline” pose of unwrapping gifts.
We then went on to Christmas Brunch at my sister and brother-in-law’s house with my folks and it was a BLAST! We had fantastic food and even played Taboo, have you played this game? If not go get it, serious fun and even a buzzer to annoy the other team with….as my brother in law found.
I took the chance to snap this sweet shot of Chelsea while we were there.
In closing this blog I’ll say that I may have physical limitations, memory and processing issues, be an alcoholic but as my daughter told me:
God made me AMAZING, just like I am.
Blessed indeed.

Easy Does It

Only 6 days until Jesus’ Birthday!!!!

Each year our 2 precious little girls go to their Grandmother’s for the weekend at this time to celebrate their birthdays. They are both born in December….great planning I know 😉 What this meant each year is that hubby and I would run to the liquor store and beer store, call up friends and have great food, drinks and friends with lots of sleeping it off for the weekend. We were always wrecked when they returned.

What were we going to do this year? There were no plans, no invitations….I had avoided thinking about it. Then on a whim I posted on Facebook that hubby and I would be going locally for appetizers on Saturday night if anyone would like to join us.

So Saturday morning while hubby drove the girls to Grammie’s I had the joy of going to the cell phone store for 2 hours while they worked out some “issues”….the upside is the girls didn’t have to endure it. Then I went shopping….People are just bloody RUDE…I digress.

So I did the last of the shopping, got home where hubby met me. We put on the lights, turned on, Christmas music and set up the wrapping station. Imagine that if you preplan wrapping is easier??? I wish I’d taken pics of it, I was in Martha mode….had my scissors and tape in designates spots and Heaven help hubby if he tried to use my tags. So with hubby doing the bending and lifting of boxes we/I wrapped away.

Then I began to get irritable….really BAD. I was snapping and being a total Bitch in my head. WHY? I realized it and took a break, grabbed a coffee and prayed on it. I knew I was tired (from shopping) and in pain (car accident)….I had a huge realization…..every single year since I was 19 I’d had wine while wrapping. I’d never realized I’d done this. How did I not know this?

I was a person who made an event out of a glass of wine….choose the perfect wine at the store, put it on the counter where I can see it and look forward to it, finally get the pretty wine glass of choice (big as a baby’s head) and enjoy!

It was totally a part of Christmas prepping for me. So far the get togethers haven’t bothered me, it has only ever been my personal use of booze that I have missed! In private times.

Soooo I went back to my wrapping station and said in a bit of a scared voice to my hubby “I want a wine REALLY badly right now”.

We have talked about this many times in the past and how we would handle it. He said “you need a drink”…he went and got out my dusty wine bowl, washed it, filled with crushed ice and made me a “drink”. I sipped and felt joy….not so much because of the drink but because I have such an amazing husband. The drink was redbull and sprite by the way :) Dig it but have it so rarely because I want it to be a “special” drink.

The wrapping continued and was good, enjoyable even, amazing to me that we can make new memories to replace old habits 😉 Then we met up with friends for appetizers and had a BLAST laughing and chatting.

By the end of the evening I was exhausted and fulfilled with the Christmas season feeling of friends and family.

I’m glad today that I didn’t fly off the handle and start fights with hubby, I didn’t drink and I remembered to Pray for guidance. The TOOLS I’ve been given have really helped.

Oh and for the realization that I want nice glasses forever 😉 Cappuccinos and Mocktails are going to be important for me hahaha.

The Grace of God

I’m thinking to begin posting about my early sobriety before I forget the experience. My intent for this blog is to jot down my thoughts because these days they fall away from my memory. I love the blogs with humor about sobriety because it’s not all been misery, in fact, spiritually it’s been an amazingly loving, wonderful journey so far.

SO a bit about my history would be an appropriate place to begin. I was born a super cute lil thing to a British Mum and Dad who lived here in Canada, I have one sister who is AMAZING, you know the type of sisters where one follows the other around constantly annoying the other trying to be like her? That was us errr okay it was me. Great childhood, involved with sports, school, community and church.
As I said in my earlier post I felt “less than” within my own self and unless I was able to appear to be accomplished at something I rarely participated in it. I did well in school easily, same with sports and friends generally.
I cannot remember my first drink, my folks enjoyed beer and wine so it was commonly around our home, not like I was drunk on a Saturday night at 5 or anything but I’m certain I’d tasted beer at home young because I knew it tasted like funk before I recall drinking it. I also remember despising doing communion at our church because the wine tasted horrific (budding palate?)

In grade 7 a bunch of us kids were at my friends house and decided to steal a drink out of her Mom’s Texas Mickey of hooch. Seriously this was a HUGE (like to my waist) bottle with a pump top that her Mom refilled with something she made (I specifically remember her using panty hose to strain something which she boiled on the stove). So we get the cup and took turns. It burned like a MOFO!! I hated it ….and yet I had more than one because everyone else was.

Fast forward to years later and I was drinking with my Sister and her friends (she totally didn’t want me to cuz I was only 16)  it was Singapore Sling out of a tupperware juice container and we were playing Molsons poker. Do you see where this is going? Yup drunk, blottoed…gross and puking in the bathroom an hour later. So again wanting to “fit in” I had an aversion to booze.

I must say at this point I do have a tenacious streak which has served me well in business and other challenges and ultimately in my dumbass quest to become an accomplished connoisseur.

Off we go to my late teens – didn’t bother drinking much, I was usually the DD.

I’m not sure why but in my early 20’s I began to drink regularly. LIKE A SAILOR. I took pride in the fact that I could drink with the “big boys” and leave ’em in the dust. Thursday – Saturday nights were drunkfests, when most people were making memories I was blacking out. I had a great job, great family and all were well on these fronts…in my mind at the time it was normal for the youth to party like this.

I went to college again at 23 and didn’t really do the drinking thing because I commuted but Saturday nights are all a blur. Actually to be fair I was working 3 jobs and school so didn’t have much time but when I did…yup no holds barred. I think I had created a habit for myself of living my lives in different boxes, student, employee, sister, friend, daughter, party girl and never shall the two meet.

During my early to mid twenties I dated alot, made poor choices outside of work/school and led a really fast lifestyle. Clubs, parties….anything that was offered I spontaneously did. By my late 20’s I met who was to be my future husband. I got my first “real” career job and life was good. I remember feeling loved by someone other than family for the first time and my joy was huge because I loved him too. (let’s save that story of this wicked awesome guy for another blog)

Fast forward again to recent years…I was a Mom who worked, commuted and was often overwhelmed with the feeling that I wasn’t your typical June Cleaver which I strived to be. I compared myself to those other women who did it with seeming ease.

You know the ladies, the ones who are totally comfortable at the Early Years Centers, those who remember to bring snacks, clean clothes, are fully made up in their Lululemon yoga suits with their already tight abs and chatting over a coffee?? I was the Mum who ran out 20 minutes late with the diaper bag that I forgot to restock, not showered in a few days, frazzled, dying for a coffee or perhaps something to eat for the first time in DAYS ….but I made it to the bloody Early Years Center so my 6 month old daughter could “play” and “socialize” with other babies??????

Why didn’t someone slap me?

So this caught up with me….a glass of Shiraz on a Friday night bled over time into a bottle. My husband loved the gregarious wife who had come back to him on Friday nights, I was carefree again for a few hours, witty, fun, SEXY!! Then on Saturday evenings we always had plans with friends which meant wine for me, beer for the men (hubby has always been a 1 or 2 beers guy) and of course for a GREAT night it was shots of Patrone! Oh and I am a total snot with alcohol, it was so important to me that it be “quality” booze until later when boxed wine and buck a bottle beer worked too, heck I even drank sweet white wine my parents friends gave them for Christmas when I was in a pinch.

So Sunday to Thursday I waited (without realizing) for feeling like myself again on Friday and Saturday. I loved my daughters and enjoyed them totally but ultimately felt like I wasn’t the best Mum God could have chosen for them. I beat myself constantly with my internal thoughts as we women are apt to do. I got fit, jogging 4K/day with a wonderful friend of mine and felt great about surface things.

This drinking had begun to take a turn, I could be fun tipsy Julie and suddenly for no apparent reason to those around me become Mean Nasty Drunk Julie. It was totally unpredictable by the number of drinks or type. Frankly I didn’t remember most of it. Black outs were common for me.

I refuse to do a drunkalog so let’s say that this continued for a while, sometimes it was a lucky night with Awesome Party Girl Julie and sometimes Drunk Julie came out. I got sick of feeling the shame of waking. There is nothing like being afraid to open your eyes and look to see the mood of the ones you loved the most to know what you did.

The time came after just another Drunk Julie night when I’d had enough. I told hubby (not for the first time) that I was done with drinking. That I had to admit I needed help and that I needed GOD. I had known for a long time that I had an issue, that I abused alcohol and didn’t know why. I also knew that the day I quit I would be changing my entire life, way of thinking and truly giving it all up….all of my wants/desires and dedicating my life to God and His will.

FRIGHTENING doesn’t cover it. I was terrified to face a LIFEtime surrounded by alcohol and not being able to imbibe. I would be excluding myself FOREVER.

So this was it, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. There was no more space within me to stuff down the emotions. I got on my knees totally devastated and prayed to God. I gave him my life, confessed my sins of which I could face/remember and begged that he fill me with His Holy Spirit. That he take my life and guide me. That’s it. I had no more words but God knew what was in my heart.

From that moment, broken as I was, God has used me. He led me to a meeting, gave me the strength to walk in the doors and I’ve been relieved of the need to drink.

I am SoberJulie and today I’m Grateful by the Grace of Godhe is using me for His purpose and I feel at home.