When the routine is all we have.

Linking up with my people at Five Minute Friday today.

The theme?

More-FMF-Square-Images-4.jpg

 

There are days when I get up, I get dressed, I swig some coffee, and I sashay on out to the world and say,

“World, greetings and salutations! I just had some coffee and my kids are dressed with 75% of their clothes facing the right way, and I’m PUMPED. Let’s DO this!”

Today friends, is not that day.

Today was a wake up, stare up at the ceiling, wish for more sleep, more coffee, more time when my brain didn’t seem to hurt so bad, kind of day.

I was not ready to face it, the day, or anything else for that matter.

I just wanted to pull my covers up over my head and hope for sleep and chocolate and perhaps a Corgi puppy. A puppy would help.

That would get all messy, though. And you know the puppy would also eat the chocolate which is bad and there would be stains on the bed and UGH WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO HARD EVEN PUPPIES.

And that’s when I start in on the whole exhausting mental checklist of Doom:

  1. It’s sunny, but I’m still sad.
  2. My children are healthy. Yep, still sad.
  3. Chocolate is in the house somewhere. SAD. SAD. SAD.
  4. We are fed, watered, have a roof… and still there is this horrible dreadful SADNESS. GO AWAY.

I have no reason for this sadness. And I really hate that. I want it to go away. I want to fight it. But the more I do, the more I get stuck in the sadness. Do you remember that verse in the bible about temptation? It says not to engage. Don’t make eye contact. Just RUN DA HECK AWAY? Well, that’s what I need to do, I think.

But I’m too tired to run.

I hate this sadness SO much that I have a tendency to hunker down and listen to a sour, angry voice inside my head that I like to call my “Inner Asshole” (sounds so inappropriate and kind of gross, but really? It’s just who he is). And he says things like:

“You’ll always feel this way. This day is gonna suck so hard it will just be impossible to even MOVE and your kids will hate you and everything is awful and why even try. Nothing matters except that you know that you are a failure for feeling things so hard that they make you immobile, so for the love of Pete, MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MOVE THEN. It’s super important when feeling immobile to KEEP ON BEING THAT WAY.”

But this morning, I did this:

“Hey, Inner Asshole, shut it. (Again, kinda gross.) I gotta go teach a bunch of college kids how to write good.”

And I got up, got dressed, even brushed and flossed (win for me AND the college kids) and got to work.

I didn’t want to.

I really just wanted to stay home.

I kinda hate parenthetical citations, really.

But sometimes? The routine is all we have. And we get up, and floss, mutter the serenity prayer six times, and talk about parenthetical citations, and we hold onto all that stuff as a tiny, bobbing life preserver.

Not a big pink floatie in the shape of a flamingo, folks. Just a tiny, yellow, beat-up life preserver. That’s it. That’s all you get.

The sharks are still out there, but by goodness, I am going to float the heck out of that preserver and paddle on. 

NOT TODAY, SHARK.

NOT TODAY.

 

 

Advertisements

You had me at special snowflake.

snowflakes23.jpg

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??

More-FMF-Square-Images-21.jpg

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?

Right. galatians-3-28.jpg

 

Banish Worry and Anxiety in Five Easy Steps!

Gotcha.

I hate to say it, but worry doesn’t go down that easy. It doesn’t do “steps.” Sometimes, it doesn’t even do logical.

And it doesn’t play fair. Does it?

Some of you know my whole story – the one that digs back behind the funny parenting posts and tells you that I am an alcoholic, in recovery. And here is the rub:

Worry was my THING.

And sometimes, it still is. The holidays are a time of festivity and lights and our Savior’s birth, but did you also know? For a lot of us, the holidays are fraught with fear, anxious thoughts, worry. Sadness. Depression. A whole cocktail of tangled thinking stirred with a cute little swizzle stick of “We SHOULD be totally happy right now! It’s Christmas! NO ONE can be sad at Christmas! It’s un-American!”

In some ways, worry is an addiction all its own. It can be picked up and put on, like one of those big puffy coats that make you look like the Michelin Man – it buffers you from all else. It wraps and constricts and, at the same time? It might just be what we think keeps us warm and safe. If we worry, that means we just might have a shot at fixing whatever worries us.

We think we can fix, with worry.

Instead? We only damage more.

Lately I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing this:

screenshot-2016-11-29-12-38-45

Here is a bit of wisdom (in the form of a list! You KNOW how I love lists!) from the author, D. C. Berkel, CPA:

Worrying has never:

  • Paid a bill
  • Turned around a failing relationship
  • Made a sick person well
  • Improved anyone’s physique
  • Changed anyone’s mood to one more positive
  • Made a job more fun or secure
  • Taken out the trash
  • Mowed the grass
  • Painted the house
  • Or kept the mother-in-law away

Now, not all mother in laws are worry-inducing. But, this list? It makes sense. We worry. We worry about all sorts of things. And Christmas? Sometimes, in all this joy and celebration, it crashes up against us and makes the worry hit back. This workbook? It has a lot of help to offer. It defines anxiety, and worry, and tells us why we sink under it. It gives us some very practical advice, in a written workbook format, step by step. It takes it slow.

And that’s how we deal. We need to take a breath, do some writing, some thinking about our past, some work. Maybe because we owe it to our future.

I still worry. But, I don’t let it control me. And I don’t suffer from it, like I used to. It doesn’t cloak me, and my life, like it once did.

Did you know? About six years ago, every time I got in a car with my family to go on a road trip, I would envision our little vehicle ending up in a terrible crash. I would see it, the metal on the road, the ambulances, the terror. I would breathe deep and clench my fists and pray like crazy, but that, my friends, is some palpable, evil anxiety to deal with. So, today? I do every thing I can to work on it. I gather my tools and I keep them close. God asks us pursue wisdom, and knowledge, and live right.

This book is one of those tools to live right. I highly recommend it.

If you are interested in getting a copy, click here.

b486cf4047c940999436fd96653a9c22

 

Happy, Joyous, Free.

51KrIRVVYOL._SX300_.jpg

Sometimes life walks right up to you and hands you a glass of lemonade. You don’t have to deal with the lemons at all, just straight up lemonade. Lotsa ice. Maybe even a sprig of mint.

In less than a month I will be flying off to Florida to speak at the Intervention Project for Nurses. There, I get to talk about my story, and be funny, and make people laugh, and share some tears, all stuff that is totally up my alley. My Floridian alley. Which also includes a beach.

Also, in the fall I am doing a reading at The Writers’ Place:

11kacsffsann01.JPG

website_mansion_right.jpg

 

I used to walk by this amazing house when I was in my twenties, wistfully thinking, “Maybe one day I’ll go to a reading there. Maybe.” Now, I’m read-ING there.

And then there is this big HUGE sprig of mint:

 

Screenshot 2016-04-26 13.47.43.png

2016 Higher Goals Awards

Presented during EPA’s 2016 convention, the 2016 Higher Goals awards honor the best work done in specific categories during the 2015 calendar year.

Devotional:

First Place: The Covenant Companion, “Broken” — Dana Bowman

First Person Article:

Fourth Place: The Covenant Companion, “Jesus, Take This Cup From Me” — Dana Bowman

Humorous:

Second Place: The Covenant Companion, “Confessions of a Not So Cheerful Giver” — Dana Bowman

Personality Article:

Fourth Place: The Covenant Companion Online, “Breaking Through the Sound of Silence” — Dana Bowman

To read more about the awards and articles, click here.

All of this is a huge honor. Just huge. Awards are always an opportunity to take a breath and allow yourself to feel right in place. The Evangelical Press Association had perused all Christian publications, from Christianity Today to In Touch magazine, and more. I think this all just makes me smile at how my relationship with Covenant Companion Magazine came to be: it was a short blurb in their magazine honoring my pastor, Jeff Waugh, and his wife Julie for their care taking and help when I battled post-partum depression. That two paragraph entry showed up in their magazine over six years ago.

Sometimes, life is all about lemons. Bitterness. Soured dreams. Sadness.

And other times?  Life reminds you that when you travel with God’s travel plan clutched tightly in your fist, sometimes everything is so very, very sweet.

 

“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word
serenity and we will know peace…
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us
-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
     Reprinted from the book Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc
First-Promise-1.jpg

My Time Was Running Wild

Hooking up with Kate Motaung today on Five Minute Friday. The theme is:

Screenshot 2016-01-15 14.04.17

 

I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
And every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test…

Time may change me
But I can’t trace time.

Changes – David Bowie

I have changed a lot. Time has changed me. God has changed me. I have allowed it to happen, and I have worked at it too. Some of the work has been relentless. Painful. My heart would break. I would sew up the rest of me and try again the next day, and time marches on.

When I finally turned to face me, the real me, the sober me, I also saw the faker. She had survived for a long time, and really, sometimes I miss her. The wild girl had a lot going for her. She always had to win, after all. And she did, a lot of the time. But her soul?

Oh, it always comes back to the soul. Isn’t that just the way?

I miss the sweet toast of champagne, sometimes, on a late Friday night, with my husband. A small celebration of a long week, parenting on, the mighty momma soldier keeping my house afloat, my children fed, the life rolling along. The champagne just kept me moving. But also, it put me to sleep. A long sleep. Like, for twenty years.

The taste of life is so much sharper now. The soul of this girl is intact, a little battered, and often times very, very tired.

But I am still standing. I can look at myself in the mirror. I know who she is now, that girl that stares back at me, battle worn, but alive.Very much alive.

No more dead-end streets.

Change is good. Scary as heck, but good. I cannot go back and trace the path I took, it is a tangled mess. But God got me here and I am forever grateful.

 

“Maybe we have to exist and live on the idea that we have one day at a time to live—and can we do that? Because if we could do that, we may be serving some really great thing.”[David Bowie interview with Guillaume Durand, 2002]

time1_0

Tiny Humans.

So, I don’t want to write today. I don’t. I have a living room that has decided its decor theme is “Random Piles and Despair” and I have a cold, and there’s that last episode of the Great British Bake Off that is just yearning to be cuddled up to. Oh, and these. I have a bag of these:

IMG_4740

if I’m going to watch a bunch of Brits make the most tantalizing desserts this side of Great Ben, I might as well pair it with nature’s candy. Corn syrup and red dye #40. What’s not to love?

So, in lieu of writing something fantastic and utterly life-changing for you, my dear readers, I will instead relate the latest from my children.

I like to call this:

Backseat Conversations with Two Small Children.
Or:

Driving Miss Crazy.

Blonde: We need to buckle up.

Red: Yes.

(Bear with me. It gets better.)

Red: I’m all buckled.

Blonde: Yes.

(Well. Sorry. I know. It’s been a slow week.)

Red: Fork is da strongest guy out there?

Blonde: What?

Red: Yep. Da strongest. He has his hammer, you know.

Blonde: Wat?

Red: And then WHAM! He just has to, you know, like HAMMER at the things! All the things! And they do it!

Blonde: What do it?

Red: The things! All of them! Except Spiderman. He has a web. Webs are stronger than hammers.

Blonde: THOR.

Red: No, Spiderman.

Momsie: I think he meant- (and then I stop myself. Because this is better entertainment than I have had in a while. And yes, I know, that statement right there pretty much sums up the level of funtastic at my house.)

Red: Webs are SUPER STRONG. And there is the flying!

Blonde: His web only can shoot out two feet. I know.

Red: Yes, he CAN. He can too fly. But you’re right. Only two feet.

Blonde: THOR. T-H-O-R. It’s THORRRRR.

Red: Four what? (Could also be “for” – we will never really know. But I am gonna hazard a guess that it truly DOES NOT MATTER.)

Blonde: THOR!

Red: I KNOW! And his hammer. He’s the best A- … Av-… What is he?

Blonde: He is a super hero. He’s with Captain Merica. A plunger.

Red: Captain Merica is just from here. He is not from a whole nother planet. If you come from another planet then you are way cooler.

Momsie: Thor. He an Avenger. And he is really cute.

Both: …

Red: He is not cute. He is not. HE HAS.  A HAMMER.

Blonde: CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!

(“Scuze me. Sorry. Let me just quickly interject to tell you we’re passing a store with an “Open” sign that is lit up. That’s all. Now you may go back to reading this post.)

Red: Yep. Der they are!

d76ea778cb7767085a41e87e4f939cc7654705653d98d4cbfa08465141e84ece

The end.

I know. It’s not an episode of Seinfeld, but it’s all I’ve got. So, let me also leave you with a picture of a Corgi dressed up like Thor. Because the internet:

funny-dog-dressed-up-costume-corgi-thorgi-picsBut wait! There’s more. I am gonna offer you this bit of knowledge:

Cars are the best way to really listen to your kids. They will ask you questions and talk to you about stuff in the car when they won’t elsewhere. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because there is no eye contact. Maybe because there is all that stuff going on outside the windows and it can make the stuff you’re talking about seem not quite so FULL of stuff.

Containment is key. They are strapped in. They cannot escape. We can end up talking about deep things – things like why we need to be nice to that one kid that keeps saying all the bad words at school and shoves a lot, and why mommy and daddy need to go out on a date tonight, and why mommy goes to meetings on Sunday nights.

And why the Royals are the most wonderful team ever in existence of the whole world forever and ever, amen.

But NOT IN THIS POST. No sirree!

No deep stuff today. Just Fork’s Hammer!

Gotcha.

IMG_4727 IMG_4729

Life Sentence.

long-road-007

Something lately has been really really really bugging me.

No. It’s not the coffee cup thing. Don’t leave the post.

Here is my issue: Lately I had a review of The Book (I wrote a book. Did you know?) in a local paper. The review was really nice and well written and we had a great interview prior. It was, all in all, great press and great information about the book.

But.

The final paragraph or so was about my brother. This was a fitting place to end because his story intertwined with mine is really important. He died from alcoholism. I didn’t.

Well, there’s a lot more to it than that – but that’s not the problem. The problem is the final line of the article. It says something like: “After what happened to my brother, I was cured forever.”

No. Just. No.

I don’t think I said it, but to give proper credit to the writer who did a good job (I am not trouncing him – interviews are tough and he did a great job of fact checking and making sure most was copacetic prior to print.)

But, no. I am not cured forever. Chris would certainly understand that.

I understand this: I am an alcoholic. After all this press and marketing and “Wow, I read your book” from my small town peeps, I still have a hard time saying that, ‘out loud’ here for you. After all this time. Still bugs me to say it. Still kinda bugs me to have people say, “Yea you! Good job! You’re awesome! You are in recovery! Woo hoo!” I know. That isn’t quite the way they say it, and I KNOW it’s not quite the way they mean it, but humility is really important in my program, and sometimes all the pats on the back can be a way to forget.

That I’m an alcoholic.

Forever. It is a life sentence. It can be a death sentence if I forget. And it’s a sentence that has given me more freedom than I ever thought possible.

So. Nope. Not cured.

But, forever grateful.

Thus is the essential paradox of my situation. If I think about it too long, I get a big wonky, so most of the time, I just mutter the Serenity Prayer and get a coffee and do the next right thing.

Thank you for listening, readers. Does it sound mushy to say I am grateful for you? Well. I am.

And now, I’m gonna go get a Starbucks and while I stand in line I’m going to lay hands on the barista and speak and pray to Jesus to save her soul.

This should go well.

736159_418169781592903_847474262_o