What’s Your Motivation?

Linking up with my favorite Friday people today, Five Minute Friday.

The theme?

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Back when I was young and vastly much more energetic, I used to teach high school theater.

Those days were pretty nutty, and involved a lot of plays that took on a bit of a wonky Little Rascals, “Let’s put on a show!” kinda vibe, but you know. I remember once, (and only once) asking a sixteen year old while we were working on a scene, “What’s your motivation here?” He stared at me blankly.  And then I think he answered, “Well, I’m not doing basketball and my parents made me do something extracurricular.” I let it go. Plus, it was for Bye Bye Birdie, so, you know, I bet his true motivation was to break into song and dance at random points without his voice cracking like a sheet of ice.

So, the basic lesson here: Never ask a teenager about motivation. They never really know.

Also: It’s totally fine to ask a Momsie what her motivation is. But sometimes… I too, never really know.

There’s the quick answer to the above: Love God, and love others.

But also, there’s my recovery, marriage, my kids, my service, my writing, my book, my church, my fire baton routine… (Ok, just kidding about the baton part. I can dare to dream, however.)

I think moms have this ever-cycling wheel of What’s Most Important circling in our souls – our children… our husbands… our careers…. our ability to bake the best casseroles for church suppers… And repeat.

It’s an endless cycle of Where Do I Put All My Energy? Energy doesn’t do so well when it’s slathered all over the place, like thin margarine on toast.

Here’s what I would like: when I wake up, I would like a plane flying overhead, with one of those banners behind it, saying something like: DANA. FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS.

Or…

DANA. DON’T WORRY ABOUT BALANCE. BALANCE IS FOR GYMNASTS. GOD HAS YOUR BACK.

Or…

DANA, YOUR CASSEROLES WILL NEVER WIN ANY PRIZES. LET THAT GO. GOD LOVE YOU ANYWAY.

Or, simply:

LET GO, LET GOD.

My motivations can get tangled. Thus, the airplane banner thing would be helpful. I need visual, and large, airborn reminders, I guess. But, it would be kinda weird. The rest of the neighborhood might need a heads up.

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You had me at special snowflake.

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In today’s post I would like to channel my Inner Jim. That’s my dad.

And I would also like to talk about alcoholism.

So, YAY, this post is going to be INTENSE!

Why, you ask?

1. My dad is kinda intense. He likes to grip you by the elbow, in that way that makes the entire side of your body go kinda limp and numb, and he looks you in the eye and says things like, “How are you, REALLY?” and if you lie at all you feel like God might smite you, because God and Jim are *crosses fingers* like THIS.

2. Alcoholism. Nobody attempts that subject without a bit of intensity. I mean, we don’t just say things like, “Hmmmm, I think I might be coming down with a bit of alcoholism today. But, it’s just a tickle at the back of my throat. I’ll just get some rest and I’ll be fine!”

3. I’m in a really weird mood so there’s that.

I am also linking up with my favorite end of the week people: Five Minute Friday! and today’s theme??

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Ok, here’s what I know:

  1. My dad would tell me (as would all the other addicts in recovery) that I am not a special snowflake. I’m no different than anyone else. I have no special backstory that makes my sad issues any more special or sad.
  2. This kinda is a bummer because ever since I was knee-high to a very special grasshopper I KNEW I WAS SO VERY DIFFERENT FROM EVERYONE. This explains so much.
  3. And, I am. But also, I’m not. So you know, not confusing at all.
  4. This does not have to be figured out. Really, the only answer to all this is understanding who Jesus is and trucking with him.
  5. Different is good. It means I can wear socks that don’t match and I tend to always (nearly always) break into dance whenever I visit my kids’ school and they stop me at the door with the camera thing. Because the office administrators really need to see me doing the Running Man.
  6. Different, in terms of alcoholism? Not good. I am not different. My addiction and recovery trucks along fine with the men and women, young, old, black, white, green, pink, tall, short, big, small, cat lover, cat hater, educated, street smart, rich, poor, faith-filled, faith-poor, lost, found, tattooed, pierced, pristine, married, single, somewhere in between, person who walks in the doors with the coffee pot on the door.
  7. Everyone should be so lucky as to have an Inner Jim. Just FYI.

I am reminded of this every time I attend a meeting, and I remember the words of one of my favorite old-timers there, “Mo.” He would say, “I’m no better than anyone else. And I’m no worse.”

He was right. And here is the thing – doesn’t this also apply to our faith? Doesn’t it also sound a little bit like how Jesus wants us to live?

I mean, we are all in recovery from something. Or we should be. Right?

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Hello Silence My Old Friend

Linking up with my people today at Five Minute Friday.

The theme?

 

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Guys? Do you know why silence is an OLD friend? Because it had children. And they proceeded to beat ever-lovin treble out of it. And now it’s really tired.

The other day, my husband and I were in the car, with the kids in the back seat, as they usually are.

The radio was blaring static because hubs was searching for his football game and, as we all know, we must first listen to a lot of static before we alight upon it. It’s just the rule. Also, once the golden ticket is achieved and we actually CAN hear a football game then we must make sure to turn it UP really LOUD because it is SO important. As football games always are.

And, in the back seat, the boys were discussing something.

Oh, scratch that. They were just yelling at each other.

Meanwhile, back in the front passenger seat, I was slinking slooooowly down, wondering if there were some of those headphones available… the ones that those dudes that help planes land wear? What are those things called? I dunno. I CAN’T REMEMBER BECAUSE THE NOISE IS KILLING MY SYNAPSES.

Also, there was a possibility I had a sinus headache because allergies have it out for me. And everything is awful.

And… I was a little hungry. And tired. So, you know, I was HALT except I am NEVER LONELY I WONDER WHY.

(For those of you who wonder: “HALT” is an acronym that I learned in my recovery circles. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, and basically? If you are over two of these at a time? It’s apocolyptic at a def con level 500. Maybe 600. You get what I mean.)

So, I think I might have yelled.

I ADDED to the noise. Yep. Because that’s logical.

And then, we played the Quiet Game, which is just the BEST game in the whole world.

And I stared out at the fields and the trees and breathed in deep. I used to live in silence all the time. My house was … just for me. I had a dog, but he didn’t talk much. I had a cat, but you know, they’re ninjas with fur.

I used to sit and read, in a bed by a window with a huge tree outside… and sometimes a sweet little birdie would come and alight there and sing to me, sweetly, as I read for hours.

And then, I would go up and get a snack and I WOULDN’T HAVE TO SHARE IT WITH ANYBODY.

And, as I stared out the window, at the clouds skudding across the skyline and the sun that hit the leaves and set them aglow, all pretty and fall and glorious, I heard snickering from the back seat.

And then… someone farted.

And lo, the Quiet Game was all over. And with it? The sweet perfume of my past.

But, I just didn’t mind. I belong right here, wedged in a car with all the windows down and now is REALLY loud because massive jets of wind, but you know. I belong here. My hair is now a tangled mess and both kids are basically yapping in the back seats like puppies on crack.

And it’s the best. It is so freaking loud, but it is just crazy good.

 

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Story time.

Linking up with my favorite Friday people today. The theme?

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I just got off the phone with my sister. We slipped into our easy conversations about food and planning for Thanksgiving and who will bring the potatoes. It’s what we do.

And my other sister, well I had to leave her a message. This did not deter me as I left a long, rambling message that involved me singing Stevie Wonder. Nothing too abnormal here.

My sisters and I don’t spend too much time with story-telling. We chatter on about what’s going on right now, bits and pieces of information. Mostly, we tell each other our to-do lists so the other one can commiserate and offer to bring the potatoes.

We don’t tell each other stories, because we know each other so well. Who wants to listen to a story when you can finish the other person’s sentence? Where’s the suspense in that? It’s like when I check out a book at the library, only to find I’ve read it once before. As I travel the pages I start to feel that weird deja vu, and then, it hits me: Scandalous Love is a page-turner, yes, but I already know the ending. He runs off with her and they are fabulous. And in love.tumblr_n2i1d5NmqY1r37w3co8_500.jpgOk. Granted, I didn’t really read Fabulous Love. Like, ever. Not really my genre.

ANYWAY.

Sometimes I wonder… don’t we need to ask, every once in a while…

“Hey. What’s your story?”

Even my sisters, who lived part of my story with me, don’t know it all. And I don’t know theirs.

A story can shift and change and it doesn’t end until we do. Do we really ever bother to ask? Is that just too hard or uncomfortable? Or weird, perhaps. Might be a bit weird. And I do love my chatter with my sisters. It’s comfortable, and we laugh a lot, and it’s easy. Story-telling isn’t so easy. It takes a comfy chair and a good sit down and time. It takes time.

But, I wonder. What if we asked for stories more?

What is your story? We all have one. And they’re all important.

 

 

 

Depend on it.

Linking up with my favorite writing community – Five Minute Friday!

The theme?

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I have to admit. The first thing that came to my mind were undergarments. We’re going to skip that one, ok?

In fact, I would like to forego any attempt at something spiritually encouraging. Instead, I would like to talk to you about my cat, Steve.

Some of you know Steve. He has his following. Steve is a large white cat who came into our family a few years ago. He adopted both boys as his own, and his large girth has been a well loved pillow, blanket, toy, attraction, distraction, and mascot, ever since. And then, he became quite sick.

Very sick.

I know. He’s just a pet. Just a furry white behemoth that lounges about and kind of reminds me of a slow-moving, furry barge. But there was this moment, when I was carrying him across the room to the bath, he looked up at me with such patient love. The poor dear was in pain, and tired, and covered in filth, and I had bathed him, without incident, a few times already. He never complained. He never fought. He allowed me to lower him into the water and wash his soiled fur, and then gently wipe him dry. He allowed me to administer pills at numerous times during the day. He watched me through all of it with a sigh and shrug, like, “All right, get on with it then.”

So, as Steve and I were working on getting him well again, I was reminded how much this small(ish) creature depends on me, for his food, for a warm place to sleep, for water in which I put ice cubes every morning, because God forbid my sweet babies not have nice, chilled libations for them.

He depends on me, and I am so very grateful for that. We call him Biggie Meows. Or, Sir Meows A Lot. And he depends on us.

This is a good thing.

Steve is all well now, and seems to have gravitated to my side more so than normal. He comes to me whenever I am seated at my computer, and sits next to me, waiting for me to pat his wide head. I swear I see a smile on his face when I do so.

I just love that cat. And that’s all. I have no moral of the story, or bible verse to tie in, or a Jesus moment for you. I just have this:

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Poor dear. He’s tired. And too big for the couch.

And that’s more than enough.

 

 

Acceptance is Key.

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Linking up with my buddies over at Five Minute Friday today.

The theme?

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I know this post is really late. I like to get the words out to the masses by 1 ish. Or maybe, if I’m really frazzled, 2. But, you know.

Acceptance.

I accept that today has been like I released a bunch of monkeys into my house and into my brain and both places are now totally destroyed. I also accept that all the while I just sort of walk from room to room (literally and figuratively, mind you) picking up monkey garments and such and saying, “Now, whose is this? Monkey #45? Is this yours? Would you like me to wash it for you?”

Or something like that.

I would also like to add that no feces was flung in this analogy. Not that kinda blog.

On Fridays, I usually do well until around four pm. Then, I collapse into a nap that also morphs into a coma and I wake up wondering who I am and if Reagan is still president. It’s ok. The hubs brings home pizza and we all watch American Ninja Master Olympics or some such.

But today… TODAY I DIDN’T GET THE NAP. And you know, I accept that.

I accept also that my weekend looks like a sports calendar walked up to it and barfed every type of outdoor activity it could all over it. I would rather stay at home and read, but you know, my spawn like to play sports.

I accept it.

I also accept that said spawn are currently bickering over who has the most hair on his legs.

Y’all. Acceptance is key.

In fact, I have it on good authority that acceptance is the key to ALL things. It is magical.

No, no that’s not right. Acceptance isn’t some sort of sparkly fairy dust you sprinkle over the monkeys that are hell bent on messing with you. Acceptance takes some work and a little bit of grit and also, a whole lot of prayer. Monkeys could care less about fairy dust, but they do listen to prayer.

And, yes I totally accept that. Because the payoff is a miracle. That’s where the magic happens. That I am a walking, talking, monkeys-in-my-house but I’m gonna be ok, straight up, no chaser, MIRACLE.

IT’S A LOT TO ACCEPT, THIS DAILY, ONE DAY AT A TIME, MIRACLE THING.

And it’s awesome.

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

“Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

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Learn Your Place.

 

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I don’t remember when I learned this phrase. “Learn your place.” It isn’t the most pleasant. It doesn’t sound all that kind. It smushes down, instead of raises up.

It says, “Figure out where you fit and then sit there. And don’t raise a fuss.”

My dad is a fuss-maker. He never learned his place. He is a farmer’s kid, raised in Missouri, worked hard his whole life. Attended night school. Ended up in a job that was way beyond what he ever expected simply because… well I think he was replacing a guy that left and he was the only one around and so, boom, he’s doing a job he doesn’t really know how to do.

And he never once blinked an eye. I think that’s because he never learned his place.

Also, now he makes more money than some small countries. And he lives in the same house and still wears clothes that were made in the 1970’s. I am not kidding. Look for him mowing the lawn and there’s some shorts there that might have celebrated the bicentennial.

He doesn’t like a fuss about him. But he is a fuss-maker.

I wish I could be more like him in this regard. If there is an injustice or a problem or someone who needs some truth directed his way? My dad is the man for the occasion.

Yet, also, he is so soft hearted. But you would never know it under all the John Wayne.

I have been thinking how Dad never really gives in. This world says so many different things – “Adjust. Do enough to get by. Just give in. Don’t shake it up. Don’t ripple those waters. Give up on your idealogy – it’s useless. While you’re at it, give up in general – all is lost.”

And so on.

I think Dad hears this a lot and each and every time he says, “No.” Sometimes that is paired with other specific and very zingy words, but we’ll spare those here.

You see, he never learned his place. God said instead, “You’re with me, son. That’s your place.”

My dad has courage.

And so does my mom, for being married to him all these years. But, don’t even get me started there.

Wow, this post was going to be about something else, but look where it ended?

With my dad. Whom I love. He is my hero.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today. And yes, the theme?

 

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