Archives for posts with tag: gratitude

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I have the mid-winter blahs. Big time. Can’t blame it on the sun not shining or on ice or snow. I have once again started eating healthy—-which for me means no flour, sugar,  or carbs that are high-glycemic and weighing and measuring what I am going to eat before I eat it. In a couple of days I should be feeling a lot better. However,  these first couple of days of detoxing  from the way I was eating has made me depressed and irritable ——plus I have had to spend too much time in bathrooms.

What’s really gotten to me is taking care of my dogs. Boo had a growth removed from in front of his left ear about a week ago. That first night after surgery he spent crying and throwing up. I could not console him. He was and still is having to wear a cone to keep him from scratching his surgical site while it is healing.  In addition, one of my other dogs, Gus,  is a “licker”——he likes to lick and groom  or  “parent” other dogs almost non-stop.  Therefore, I had to put a cone on Gus to keep him from licking Boo’s surgical site.

Thankfully, Boo adjusted quite well to his cone, and he has learned to eat, drink, sleep, and climb stairs in spite of wearing it. I thought Gus had adjusted to his, but for the past couple of days he stopped eating and seemed listless. Last night I finally got him to eat by hand feeding him a little at a time by letting him lick  a few bites off of my hands. He seemed better today, but when I had a friend come over,  I took off the cone to see if that was what was depressing him. I waited to my friend was here  because it originally took the two of us to get the cone  on Gus in the first place.

A few minutes after removing Gus’ cone I noticed his whiskers under his lower jaw were pinkish red—-as if he had been eating something bloody. Then I looked at his mouth. To my dismay I found sores—-places rubbed raw—on both sides of his lower jaw. He must have rubbed himself over and over again on the inside seam of his cone without me knowing it. I will not put the cone back on him, and now I have to watch them closely or keep him and Boo separate for another almost entire week.

My friend and I put warm salt water on Gus’s raw spots to help them heal, but I know that too hurt him. I am feeling so guilty! Gus has already forgiven me, but it will be a while before I can accept hurting a dog in my care to this extent.  Of course, I’ve checked Boo’s mouth closely, and he has not rubbed any raw spots on himself.

I know I live one day at a time—-even days like today. One could say I’ve had a “semi-bad” day today—-but I am warm and dry, I have a roof over my head, my bills are paid, I have good friends, and I am healthy, at least for today. I am sober and clean. I am abstinent from foods that are unhealthy for me. My dogs love me in spite of their present condition. They have repeatedly shown me the meaning of the term “unconditional love.”

I realize I just made a list of things for which I am grateful. It worked. I no longer feel like moaning and groaning with self-pity. Now I am grateful for the gift of living today. I this moment and all of my moments are a gift from God. I also know I cannot live one day at a time without God’s love and support. I don’t keep myself clean and sober or abstinent—–God does when I am willing to let him. I am grateful for the gift of willingness that makes today’s moments possible. God bless and keep you.

 

 

 

 

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Photo courtesy of K. Farwell

 

I’m doing it again. Crying. I read somewhere this week that grief is like a spiral—-you think it has gotten better, and then it suddenly and unexpectedly  washes  over  you again. It hits your soul like an arrow. I want something to make the pain go away. I know it can’t be alcohol, food, drugs, gambling, buying, sex—–no one thing can make it go away. I am stuck with it. I know God is with me in my suffering, but I still get angry from time to time at him/her for letting it happen. And, yes, I am grateful for all the happy moments, all the hugs, all the “I love you” messages exchanged, and all the shared prayers that God gifted me with when he gave me my relationship with my father. I am grateful for what my father taught me and what my father has given me.  Of course I know the stages of grief and that all I am going though is “normal”—–but that doesn’t make it any less painful. There is this big hole, this big void, in my life. My father is no longer there. I cannot pick up the phone and call him. I cannot get in my car, drive seven hours, and walk into the house I grew up in and be engulfed in his loving, welcoming embrace.

My program tells me to focus on creating an attitude of gratitude when I am feeling down. So, today, I will share with you what I am grateful for. Doing so seems appropriate on the eve of Thanksgiving. I am grateful for my faith and for my spiritual journey. I am grateful for my dogs who constantly share their love with me. I am grateful for all of the wonderful friends I have who accept me as I am and are always there to give a helping hand, to offer their support, and to share their thoughts, observations, and beliefs. I am grateful I have a warm home to live in with food in the refrigerator. I am grateful that I have an adequate retirement income. I am grateful that I have appliances in my home that make my life easier and more enjoyable.  I am grateful I found a program of recovery because without it I would not be here.

When you weigh the pain of grief against all the things I have to be grateful for, it becomes apparent there is much more in my life to be grateful for than there is to be sad about. But  this grief is not a matter of  quantity or even quality. This grief is not comparable to things, and what I find most effective in dealing with the waves of grief I experience is not tangible. It is not measurable;  it cannot be named, described, or defined. It is grounded in the realm of spirit and truth. When all else in my life is gone; it will be with me wherever I am and in whatever form I exist. I cannot tell you what this mysterious “it” is. Perhaps naming it is not important; what matters is the absolute truth and strength of its existence now and through eternity.

 

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Image courtesy of  dan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve hit a writer’s block these last couple of days. I don’t know why. I am “pretty sure,” as we say in the Arkansas Ozarks where I grew up, that I cannot blame my block on the icy cold weather we’re having. I filled my car up yesterday and by the time I finished and paid for my fuel the end of my thumb   on my right hand was so cold it was numb and I couldn’t feel it. I am sure you folks who live up north are used to that sort of thing, but it was a personal revelation to me of how only  brief exposure to temperatures like we have been having can be dangerous. Then, tonight, I just heard on the news that they tried to put a house fire out in a nearby town and had to go to about four or fire hydrants before they could find one that was not frozen. I must admit I’ve never thought about how difficult it must be to fight fires when everything water-related is frozen.

I am insulated from the “cold reality” here in my little 60 year old house–my pipes haven’t frozen, and I keep things at a constant chilly 63 degrees. The dogs all wear sweaters or jackets, and I wear sweats or leggings—and layer with layers of socks, sweaters, and vests. I don’t see how the homeless can survive when temperatures get this low. I am grateful we have what we need to stay warm, dry, and inside.

I don’t exactly know where this is going in terms of a “spiritual theme”—-but where it seems to be taking me is to a sense of deep gratitude that I was born into the life I have had. I am grateful that though I don’t have a lot, I have enough. I may not get all my “wants, ” but God has made sure my needs are met. And in meeting those needs, God has taught me I can trust him; and I am extremely grateful for the gift of “growing trust.”

We were talking at a meeting the other night about how one needs to be able to trust to work AA’s 12 steps, and our conversation went from there to how do you learn to trust. Sadly, I think it is easier for me to describe all the incidents in my life that make it hard for me to trust. It is much harder to describe how I have learned trust. What I said in the meeting, and what I still believe, is that I think I’ve learned just a little bit more trust every time I turn my will and my life over to the care of my Higher Power—-because when I do so, in spite of my fears of letting go of control, I always get “good things” and “good experiences” in return.  I have learned to trust God, too, because he has been there with me to see me safely through the various crises I’ve experienced. You can’t be “hauled back in from the brink of death” as many times as I have without knowing that God can be trusted.

The trust I’ve developed over the years is for God and not necessarily for other humans.  However, I am noticing that the more I trust God, the more I trust the God I believe is within all of us. In the past I have had a tendency to trust the wrong people—usually for wrong reasons. Now, when I find myself trusting people it is more for the right reasons—–reasons that are spiritually based rather than coming from a needy co-dependent place that needs validation from others . Now that I am involved in an active, ongoing relationship with God, I am no longer needy, and I am definitely less co-dependent. I have not yet learned to totally trust my  judgment of others, but I am beginning to believe that if I allow God to lead me instead of my self-will, I will know when it is safe to trust someone and when I need to back off.

Well, looks like today’s blog meandered its way around to the topics of gratitude and trust. A couple of traits I am glad I have been cultivating these past few decades. I am a slow learner! May God bless and keep you.