Catching Up

family_chickensHey friends! Here we are at the end of 2017 and I’m already making ANOTHER new year resolution to write more here in 2018. Really, I’m going to try hard to make that happen.

I’m not sure where 2017 went, but it flew by! As I write this, I just took my first shower in two days, my face is breaking out (probably too much sugar) and I’m attempting to remain calm and collected in the midst of holiday chaos – easier said than done! However, with all that being said, I’m happy – really, truly happy. Not just, “I’m saying that because that’s what you want to hear.” No, I’m saying that because it’s the honest to goodness truth.

After being on our little farm for over two years now, I can say without a doubt that moving to the country was the best decision we’ve ever made. Not only was it good for our family, but it was good for my sobriety. I feel free here; free to be the person I was meant to be. When people ask me what I’ve gained through sobriety, I will often tell them I gained myself. I’ve discovered what I like and what I don’t like, and I suppose, most importantly, I’ve given myself permission to be honest about those likes and dislikes.

I’ve discovered that I don’t particularly like being in large groups of people or being forced into casual conversation. I don’t like spending time with negative people who leave me emotionally drained. This one’s hard because I really wanted to like it, but I’ve realized that I don’t like entertaining and hosting large groups of people at my home. My home is my sanctuary; it’s my safe place to escape from all the craziness of the world and having other people here often feels suffocating to me. I’ve accepted that I’m more of a one-on-one type of person. I want people in my life who will sit down and have real and honest conversations.

And, what do I like? I like routine. I like my morning coffee with my husband. I like working in my yard and garden while the kids play and laugh in the background. I like the thrill of chasing my chickens around the garden until I’m able to catch one (I know, weird!). I like binge watching historical dramas on Netflix. I like trying out new canning recipes, especially jams and jellies. I like the anticipation of planning my garden for the next spring. And, at the end of a long day, I like sitting around the table with my family, giving thanks and hearing them talk excitedly about their day.

For so many years, I feared living my life based on my real likes and dislikes because I was scared of disappointing or offending someone. These days I don’t feel the need to have everyone agree with me or even like me – they won’t and that’s okay. There is an incredible sense of freedom in letting go of the pretenses and being honest with yourself and others.

Comparatively, my life now might sound boring and uneventful, but I will be the first to lift up my arms and say, “Amen!” Boring? I’ll take it! Uneventful? Even better! Through hell and high water, I have learned that in boring and uneventful we often find the greatest peace and contentment.

Tomorrow, we celebrate my son’s ninth birthday. He was three when I got sober and with every passing birthday, I’m so incredibly grateful that he will never have any memories of me drinking. Sometimes, I try to imagine what my life would be like now if I had never stopped drinking and, honestly, it makes me physically sick to my stomach because I know that I wouldn’t have any of it – this beautiful, flawed, painful yet grace-filled life.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

 

A Lesson on Dirt and Fear

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It’s springtime on our little farm here in Oregon, which means everything is green and bursting with new life. I love this time of year, but it’s also bittersweet. On May 3rd, it will mark 10 years since my mom died. I’m overwhelmed with thoughts of her at this time and I continue to be amazed how I can feel such joy and happiness, while also feeling such sorrow.

Today was the day I decided to start the garden. My husband had tilled and it was ready. But, ready for what? All I saw when I looked at it was a big plot of land, looming back at me. Empty.

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I’ve been eyeing that dirt for the last few days. Intimidated by its vast size and blankness. Instead of seeing it’s potential, I saw and felt fear. Fear of the unknown; fear of failure; fear of all the “what ifs.” It was the same fear I felt after my mom died and when I made the decision to stop drinking. I was filled with fear of the unknown.

As I was making the bed this morning, I began crying as the fear poured out of me. Doubt started taking over. I couldn’t do this. What if I had gotten in over my head with this farm stuff? What if I wasn’t cut out to be a “real” gardener? What if everything I planted in that plot of dirt died? I needed my mom. She was the real gardener. She would know exactly how to turn that brown piece of dirt into a lush garden.

As tears rolled down my face, I walked into the bathroom where my husband was getting ready. One look and he pulled me into his arms. He reminded me that my mom’s here – she’s always here. She’s by my side, quietly watching and teaching me as I walk through this life. And, he reminded me that I can do hard things. I can walk through the fear because I’ve done it before. I did it when I gave birth to our daughter four months after my mom died, not knowing anything about being a mom myself. I did it when I walked into that first recovery meeting, not knowing a single person or what to expect. I continue to do it when I share my story with others, unaware of how they will perceive me or what they will say.

Fear is real and it paralyzes us if we allow it to. But, making a choice to walk through the fear, to push it aside and instead see the possibilities of the new and unknown – that is freedom.

I spent all day in the garden today. Plotting, staking, digging rows and planting seeds one by one, envisioning the new seedlings poking up through the barren land. Tired and sore, I was faithful that the vast emptiness would one day reap a great harvest.

By continuing to walk through these moments of fear, I experience peace, joy, faith in the unknown and the freedom to be my true self, which is a beautiful thing.

Walking Through Fear

 

Have You Ever Heard the Ground Talk?

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No, I’m not going crazy – oh wait, I was but I take Prozac for that crazy. There really is a story here….

Yesterday, was one of those days you look back on and go “huh?”

Just as we were waking up the power went off…well, crud. So, we got out the lanterns (battery operated that is) and managed to get the kids ready for school – sans coffee. Not good. Not good at all.

By the time I got to the coffee shop I had a raging headache and was practically pleading for an IV drip with caffeine. Apparently, this is what a coffee withdrawal feels like, which I had never experienced before – at least not to that degree. Like I told a friend, it was either coffee or a dark room and a tranquilizer. Fortunately, I got my coffee.

Later in the morning, the power went on, but not before my husband determined that in an emergency I would be a barrel of fun without coffee (or gasp – my Prozac!). He was very matter of fact that in such a case, he would just lock me up with some cleaning supplies and call it good (because by then my OCD would be so bad I would be perfectly content cleaning for hours on end). I’m afraid he’s not too far from the truth.

Being the optimistic person I am (I’m trying!), I had little hope that the rest of the day would be much better. As I’m writing this, I keep having that phrase “turn that frown upside down” run through my mind – any who….

A couple of hours later my husband walked through the door and declared he was taking advantage of the beautiful day to spread dirt. Well, okay. And, I thought “what the heck, I’ll spread some dirt.” Why not?

The sun was out, it wasn’t raining and as I raked the dirt back and forth over the wet ground, I felt the fresh air going in and out of my body. My arms were working hard and I could feel the muscles in my back burning. As I looked around, I realized THIS is where I belong. This is where I’m truly my happiest. Outside, working “our” land, which isn’t really “ours” but God’s. And, I’m but a caretaker, using my God-given body to look after this beautiful place we now call home.

As I walked across the area that will soon be our garden, I stopped suddenly and asked my husband, “do you hear that?” “What?” he said. “The ground; the ground is talking.” And, sure enough he could hear it as well. Bubbling, soaking in the moisture; as though it was quietly whispering to us and welcoming us home.

To simply be quiet and see and hear the beauty in a day that didn’t start out so beautiful…a gift.

 

 

New Year, New Look

My new look happened before the new year when I told my husband it was either “bangs or Botox” and reassured him that bangs were much cheaper. So, one night after a “DIY bangs” search on Pinterest, I took the “hair” scissors and with a little twist here and a snip there – ta da! The verdict was out for a few days, but after a couple of months everyone seems to be getting used to them and I don’t see those forehead wrinkles mocking me every time I look in the mirror. Oh sure, I could just embrace them, but for now I’m perfectly content hiding them!

You’ll also notice that my little blog here has a new look, which I’m pretty happy about. Like my hair, it was time for a change. I went back and forth whether to start a new blog altogether, but decided in the end that just as I continue to change and morph into the person I am today, this blog can as well.

Mostly, this blog has been focused on my recovery, with a few recipes and DIY projects mixed in along the way. And, while it served it’s purpose during my early stages of recovery, the reality is that I’m at a very different place now than I was then. There are different things I’d like to write about now, like our new adventures living on our little “farm” here in the Willamette Valley. But, when I debated whether or not to abandon this blog and start anew, I realized that my life now still continues to be based on the original reason I created this blog – to document my “life corked.”

I can’t deny or ignore that my entire life as it is now is a direct result of my stopping drinking. I’m totally confidant that without my sobriety, none of this (picture me spreading my arms open wide) would be possible. So, as I continue to write here, I will continue to write about my “life corked.”

I’m grateful for those of you who have stuck with me along the way, despite not being the most consistent writer! While not all of my posts will be recovery related, I hope I can continue to give people encouragement and inspire them to embrace a life of sobriety.

Let the journey continue!