Manic Monday: Making Courageous Choices

“I’m not a control freak, I just want everyone to be happy. Oh, and like me. Yes, I definitely want people to like me.  Why? Because that’s the only way I can like myself.” — me

Oh yah, no control issues here. Eye rolling is allowed.

I may “waller in defeat” from time to time, as my friend Tonya would say, but I don’t stay there.

Nobody, I don’t care who they are, or how famous and together we might think they are, leads a charmed life.

Everyone has problems.

Everyone has choices.

That’s why I like the Full Circle link so much. Here’s a guy, who hit rock bottom 19 years ago doing a benefit ride for the very place he got sober. I think that’s cool. I think that takes courage.

What does courage look like to you?

  • Is it public speaking?
  • Skydiving?
  • Saying no when you really need to even if it means disappointing someone?
  • Or is it risking feeling selfish and realizing that the greatest gift we can give this world is to be the best us we can be?

One of my favorite devotional pages says :

March 26 in The Little Blue Book ONE DAY at a TIME in AL-ANON:

Why is it so hard to admit we are powerless over alcohol, as the First Step suggests we do? All of us have heard and shared in discussions at Al-Anon meetings as to whether this should be interpreted as “alcohol” or the “alcoholic.” We have no power over either one. No one can control the insidious effect of alcohol or its power to destroy the graces and decencies of life. No one can control the alcoholic’s compulsion to drink. But we do have a power, derived from God, and that is the power to change our own lives. Acceptance does not mean submission to a degrading situation. It means accepting the fact of a situation and then deciding what we will do about it.

TODAY’S REMINDER

Progress begins when we stop trying to control the uncontrollable and when we go on to correct what we have the right to change. If we accept a situation full of misery and uncertainty, it is no one’s fault but our own. We can do something about it!

“Fighting futility is just a waste of energy, Samantha. Either do something or quit fretting.” – Celebra Tueli

While this particular page refers to alcoholism and alcoholics it can be about so much more. It hurts watching people we love destroy their lives. What causes even greater pain is putting our lives on hold while we wait for everyone else to get it together.

It has taken me a long time to really believe that I am powerless over people, places, and things, meaning I cannot control people or make their choices for them. I cannot control how people see me, or whether or not they like me. Nor can I control the weather, or disease/disabilities. Shoot, I struggle with controlling myself, thinking I can control others is pure ego.

All I have is the power to make the best choices for me.

That’s really where courage begins. Finding the power to make the best choices for ourselves regardless of the choices our loved ones make. This includes our spouses, siblings, friends, and dare I say it adult children.

I’m a firm believer that the power to change can only come from believing in a God that’s bigger than me. For some of us, finding that God takes courage.

My wish today for you and for myself is that we stop right where we are at and know beyond knowing that we can make better choices today than the ones we made yesterday — and then go do it. 

Maybe for some of us, that choice is simply the acceptance of knowing the we are loved beyond measure  no matter what and acting on that belief.

What choices are you making today?

Full Circle…

People ride bikes for different reasons. Some like the fellowship. Some like being outdoors. Me? I want to live. It really is that simple.

Tiffany’s death last fall scared me. We’d grown up together back in Michigan. One day she was Facebooking about the most recent cuteness of her 5-year-old son and the next day she was gone. pulmonary Embolism. That’s not fair.

My mother is 71 and is dying from COPD. She has suffered from severe depression on and off for most of my life and hasn’t had a drink since Aug 12, 1977. I would do anything for her, we even offered to buy her a house so she could live near us and she turned me down. Her depression keeps her from truly seeing and receiving love and some days it’s hard. She has convinced herself she would be miserable here and that she would die within six months if she moved. I have no choice but to let her live her end of life as she sees best.

While I spent roughly 30 years in Alanon, Mom doesn’t have a recovery program and I wish she did. Maybe that’s why I like Anne Lammot so much. She and my mother are a lot alike, only Anne chose a different path. I get jealous sometimes when I read her books. I still read them because I hope they can help me find my path and stop trying to live everyone else’s.

Don’t even ask about my Dad. I feel responsible for him as well.

I started having chest pains last summer and was sent to a cardiologist. When the tests came back perfect (except for a slight murmur) we assessed that perhaps my issues were more on the emotional bend rather than physical. I finally fessed up to some of the stress I was feeling and told her what was on my plate. Her response was a very simple statement. “I’d smoke too.”

Not the answer I was looking for, but she was right Codependency can kill.

I’m one of those people who puts off dealing with things until I can get away from people for a few days and have a private melt down. Then I pull up my bootstraps and carry on as the song goes. I didn’t get to do that last summer. August was full of commitments and I kept telling myself that this would have to wait. I could cope for a while, I’ll deal with it later. As if later will somehow take the sting away.

I should have known I was in trouble when I went in for my annual check up. If my doctor had been any nicer I would have burst into tears on the spot. It’s hard to handle kindness when we aren’t being very kind to ourselves. I had a very difficult time hearing his kindness over the voices in my head and my own woundedness screaming “What do you want from me!”

A middle of the night trip to the ER with stomach pain that made childbirth feel like a paper cut and chest pains that made me throw up scared me enough to change.

I can’t fix the people I love. I can’t make their choices for them, nor do I need to make myself responsible for their choices. The serenity prayer tells me to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and find the wisdom to know the difference.

Instead of buying a house for my Mom, I bought a bike for myself. That’s a good step in the right direction.

Instead of reading blogs on fixing other people, I read blogs written by people who are after the same things I am; Healthy living. Emotionally, Spiritually, and Physically. The link below is one such writer. He’s a recovering alcoholic and is open about it. He rides to live, just like I do. I hope it inspires you as much as it does me. Click on the link to read his story.  Full Circle….

If nothing changes, nothing changes. Let it begin with me.

Ride.

Live.

My First Tulsa Tour de Cure

Please Support Me in Tour de Cure!

Life is moving forward. If you guys remember, when I decided to buy a real street bike I also decided to participate in tours and fundraisers. I am happy to report that I’ve signed up for my very first tour. I am participating in the American Diabetes Association’s annual Tour de Cure event this year.

I am asking you to join me in the effort to Stop Diabetes by making a contribution to support my ride.

The dollars we raise for the American Diabetes Association fund research, provide services, and give voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. I believe in the work they do, and I invite you to join me in this effort. More than 25 million Americans live with diabetes, and your support can and will make a difference in their lives.

Please help by making a donation – large or small – to support the work of the American Diabetes Association. Or, why not join me on the day of the event? Become a participant and side by side, as teammates, we can work together to Stop Diabetes!

Whatever you can give will help! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Thank you for making a generous contribution to this cause that is so important to me!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Thanks so much. I appreciate all of your support and help.

Always,

Deana

Banned from the Bobbin

Life after kids is an interesting journey. Not that I’ve stopped being a Mom. I’ll always be mom, even after they are married and have children of their own.

We are in the homestretch for graduation for my youngest. I cried for months when my oldest left for college and while I’ll definitely miss not having my youngest home every day, I need to learn new things that don’t involve mothering my husband. Really I do, he’s requested that I stop cutting his meat for him.

Having children changes you for the better in a lot of ways. I thought college prepped me well for sleepless nights, popcorn beggy prayers (as Anne Lamott calls them), and delusional hopefulness but it is motherhood that truly brings those gifts into fruition.

That and sewing.

A friend recently asked me what it is with Oklahoma women, is there nothing I won’t try? Most assuredly there is. For one, I won’t try tequila with a worm still in the bottle or snails. I definitely won’t try snails even with butter and garlic. Everything else however is fair game.

Much like motherhood, learning how to sew brings out all of my best gifts.

Gift 1. Delusional Hopefulness — Even though I haven’t touched a sewing machine – except to dust mine – in over 30 years, I’m going to make a quilt.

Gift 2. Popcorn Beggy Prayers — Oh God, I know my blocks are trapezoidal in some respects and not truly square, but PLEASE make them align correctly.

Gift 3. Sleepless nights spent seam-ripping, pinning, and re-sewing my fabric trapezoids in hopes of making them fit together.

Even though our instructor has officially banned me from the bobbin due to my creative squirrels nests, and the fact that she found “left over parts” sitting on the table after I exorcised replaced my bobbin for the umpteenth time, I think things are coming along rather well.

Here are some photos of the journey so far.

Do not be deceived by the title, we've been working on this quilt since January.
We need three colors to do a Double Irish Chain. I happen to like purple and found these for 40% off at Jo Ann Fabric.
This is one of the blocks we created. I actually made three different blocks, but do not have photos of those like I thought. I think they are square, but it turns out they are really square-ish and need adjusting.
Now we pin the rows together to form the quilt. This is where I discovered that the rows are supposed to be the same length. Mine are not quite there yet. Back to ripping, pinning, and resewing.

And there you have it. Once I convince the rows to get along with each other, I get to add a border and take my lovely new quilt top to a local gal where she will “finish” it for me by adding the batting, back, and machine quilting. I’d do that myself, but my instructor believes that “baby steps” is the way to go here.

Our soccer team made it to the state finals and I’m going to Bartelsville to see them play this weekend. I can’t wait.

Enjoy the weekend everyone.

By Popular Request: I’d Rather Have a Root Canal

I have given up all hope of convincing people I really am sane.

I have two stories requested the most, Fisher’s Of Men, and this one.

And I wonder why people think I’m neurotic.

I would rather have a root canal than go to the gynecologist:

  1. I get to keep my clothes on.
  2. I can watch TV
  3. The dentist has better drugs.

Not that I don’t like my doctors I do. I just don’t like being there. I am a social bug, yes. A social bug who likes to stay fully dressed. I’d rather host one huge barbecue in my back yard, have them all come over, serve beer and brats and call it good until next year.

I realize I should put on my big girl panties and deal with it, and I would if they let me keep them on, but they don’t. Let’s face it, we will burn our bras in public, let our bra straps show in the summer, even throw our panties on stage at a rock concert, but the minute we undress in the doctor’s office we hide our underwear. Why? Because we want to keep that Victoria a secret, that’s why.

I do not know a living soul who wakes up and says “oh boy I get to go for my Pap Smear (or colonoscopy or mammogram) today. Hurray!” No one in their right mind thinks that. To make matters worse, I am a redhead and I blush when people say hello, add naked to the equation and I look like I fell asleep in a tanning bed. Even if the doctor are brilliant, the office is clean and efficient and the staff is super nice, we’d still rather be elsewhere.  This is the one place where wham-bam-thank you ma’am could be deemed acceptable. Unless of course something is wrong and we wish to dialog. Then we want them to listen and take their time.

Some doctors like  to converse during exams.  It’s their way of gauging our emotional state as well as trying to put us at ease; only it doesn’t work does it? Whilst I am normally fond of warm, intelligent conversation, their conversational style can seriously mess with my dis-associative groove. I’d rather close my eyes and run my to do list through my brain than make eye contact while pretending I can follow our conversation.

And yet, we talk. Or rather they talk. I ramble incessantly about God knows what. My neurosis factor increases exponentially with the realization that well… I am at my gynecologists office. My brain is so deep in denial that when they ask which doctor I am seeing, I can never remember his name.

To call me an introvert would be a kindness.

To be expected to carry on a full conversation with a doctor, complete with eye contact, while sitting naked on a table, holding my gown closed with my hands, needs more Valium than their office is willing to provide. Personally, I am all for sedation gynecology.  Knock me out and wake me when it’s over.  It’s not like it’s a new thing my dentist offers sedation dentistry, it could happen.

Left without the comfort of clothing, or drugs, I grab the only shield I can reach – my gift of sarcasm.

  • You want to screen me for colon cancer? – That’s gonna cost you a roofie.
  • When was my last breast exam? Last year. I always fail those even though I cram all year for them.
  • Every day I gather up the twins and cram them into a wonder bra.
  • Raising teenagers feels like I’m walking a high wire, I need all the support I can get.
  • Do you know why they call them wonder bras? Because without it we spend our day wondering where our breasts went.
  • I know where mine went, they are hiding in my arm pits, they don’t want to be here either.

They’ve added a new trick to their trade by the way — a two for one deal really, you can now get checked for cervical cancer and colon cancer all in one visit. REALLY? Now I know why my dogs hate going to the vet.

Not only are the new tests rude, some doctors talk  more during our exams than our husbands do during sex. Why can’t they all be Woody Allen?

Some days going to the doctor is more than a girl can handle. Granted after dealing with me, I’m pretty sure it’s my doctors who need Valium.

Have a great week everyone and remember you are amazing! Nobody can take that away from you.

The Avengers Are Coming!

While at the movies yesterday we saw the poster for The Avengers.

I told my husband I really want to see that movie.

He looked at the poster, and then asked why I wanted to see it.

I said “The story line of course. “

He smiled and said

“That’s like a man saying he reads playboy just for the articles. Just sayin.”

In Honor of 420

Man I learn something new every day. Apparently 4/20 is national pot day. I did not know that. In honor of today, I thought I’d post some photos of my favorite pots. Enjoy.

One of my artist friends made this guy. He lives in her garden. Isn't he cute?

My other favorite pots include but are not limited to:

And let us not forget the most coveted pot of all:

Cycling Update: April 19, 2011

My new 18 speed Giant. My very first true road bike purchased just last fall.

A few people have been asking so I thought I better fess up. I have not been on a bike of any kind in almost two months. I’ve also gained back the 10 pounds I lost while riding.

I know, I know. I do plan on returning in a week after my oldest comes home from college. Not that it is any excuse, but I have been fully immersed in my youngest son’s soccer season. He’s a senior and this is his last year to play varsity. I’m having a blast. I LOVE SOCCER!

The soccer season ends next weekend, my oldest will be home as well, and I will be back out on the trails with my new toys after May 6.  I will post on cycling again once that happens.