Photo Op

My family has had the most wonderful Christmas ever:  All the kids and me and my ex and a few other extended family together, clean, and all getting along.  I’m so amazed and thankful!

I have a few photos that I would love to post.  And I’ve appreciated seeing photos that some of you have added to your blogs of your families. But I can’t bring myself to post pics of my kids. I know that many of the friends of my boys ended up as addicts as well, and I don’t want to expose my boys’ identities on the off chance that someone out there would recognize them and then read all the stories I’ve told about them.

I know the chance of this is low, but I guess I’ll stick with it for now.  So instead, just imagine it in your own mind: me the mom, my ex-husband, my two boys, my daughter, one girlfriend, my grandmother, aunt and cousin, all smiling and being silly for the camera in front of the Christmas tree.

It’s a pretty picture. I promise.  Smiles and love to all.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas – One Mom style, with many thanks

On the twelfth day of Christmas my children gave to me…
Twelve prayers answered,
Eleven years of therapy,
Ten gifts bought with their own money,
Nine brand new friends,
Eight college credits,
Seven hugs for Mama,
Six job applications,
Five straight good nights’ sleep!
Four of us in church,
Three siblings laughing,
Two new family members,
And the blessing of their sobriety!

I cannot believe that I get to spend this Christmas with all of my children! My boys are doing so well, my son’s girlfriend is also doing great and taking care of herself and my grand-baby-to-be… I have so much to be thankful for.  So to you all – those who share a season of blessings and those who are in the midst of the darkness that addiction can bring – I send you my prayers and my love.  Keep on living.  You are not alone.  We’re in this together.  God bless!

In Gratitude

The man I was dating before my move was a retired army officer. Before I knew him, I really did not understand — at all — what life was like for the people who serve our country in the military.  I did not understand — at all — the sacrifices they and their families made.  Now, it brings tears to my eyes. Please take a moment to pray for veterans today, and their families.  They pay the price for our freedom.

Just call me …

GRANDMA!  Yes, it’s true.  My 19 y.o. son who is living with his 19 y.o. girlfriend, both of them in recovery (and doing very well), just announced they are having a baby.  So in 2012, I will be a grandmother for the first time.

Since this news, I have seen a change in Al.  He seems more focused, more calm, and more upbeat than he’s been in awhile. It’s not as if the demands of his life have been removed. Far from it! But … I think he has, perhaps, a new sense of purpose.

Thankfully, my ex-husband and I, and Al’s girlfriends parents (who are also divorced) are all on board and ready to walk alongside them as they bring our newest family member into the world.  I pray that this child is born healthy, and that these new parents find the strength and support they need to walk their own healthy path.

Life goes on.  It sure does!  God bless!

Letting Go

I received this in an email from the Harmony Foundation – the first residential program my oldest boy attended a couple of years back, located in Estes Park, Colorado.  I hope you like it!



To “LET GO” does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To “LET GO” is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization I can’t control another.
To “LET GO” is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To “LET GO” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To “LET GO” is not to try to change or blame another, it’s to make the most of myself.
To “LET GO” is not to care for, but to care about.
To “LET GO” is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To “LET GO” is not to judge, but allow another to be a human being.
To “LET GO” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
To “LET GO” is not to be protective, it’s to permit another to face reality.
To “LET GO” is not to deny, but to accept.
To “LET GO” is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To “LET GO” is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.
To “LET GO” is not to criticize and regulate anybody, but to try and become what I can be.
To “LET GO” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
To “LET GO” is to fear less and love more!!
— Anonymous

Letting It All Out

I only have a few minutes, but I did want to write about this: I had a knock-down, drag-’em-out, screamfest with my daughter two nights ago.  I mean a cussing, yelling, door slamming, and crying kind of thing.

Finally, she opened up a bit. It hurt, but it was healthy. She told me, point blank, how I dropped the parenting-ball during the years when my boys were starting to party.  She said that me and her dad both turned a blind eye to what was happening in our own homes – and in doing so, we failed her as parents. And we failed the boys too.  She said that she raised herself during the years when it was worse.  And then she said, “So check it out, Mom — this is me leaving the nest!!”

In the end though – like the story of grief I posted a couple of days ago – when it was all said and heard and understood – things were a little better.  She gave me a real hug for the first time in a year. And we both agreed that if this type of interaction is necessary now and then for us to communicate honestly with each other about hard things, then it is. And we’ll get through it.

I’m sad for her, and for me, and for us.  We’ve all lost a lot.  And the truth is, she is right about what she’s saying.  But she also has things to learn … about forgiveness, and the choice of love, and how families can heal.  So we keep on walking.

One Mom Talking – signing off for today. Make it a good one!

Jump for Joy!

Gosh. I realize that I left everyone with that picture of grief. But my real message is … grieving is not the end! Grieving is something we should value because when we’re done, we are able to fully experience JOY! 

Do you know JOY? I’m not talking about that everyday happy feeling we get when we bite into a good slice of pizza or shop for a new pair of shoes.  I’m talking about the JOY that we have, always, in the core of us:  the joy that comes when you really know your Higher Power is walking with you.  We don’t always feel it, but it’s always there – waiting for us to decide that, despite our circumstances, we want that JOY to shine.

Am I a woman who walks with a constant glow of JOY?  I wish!  No, I’m human and we all have times when we look more like Ms. Grief.  But the more I focus on JOY … the more I define JOY and practice JOY … the more I know that there’s a light in every darkness.

Life is colorful!  Let’s enJOY it whenever we can.  Thanks for being here!

The Value of Grieving

This is a tough picture, huh?


I chose it because, to me, this is a picture of grieving.  All the others I found were so … quiet. Calm. Thoughtful. A single teardrop falling from dark eyelashes. Two hands entwined in shared loss.  A solitary person sitting on a mountain or beside a gravestone.

Sure, these all count. They are all responses to grief. But this picture — I think this picture is the real, raw, taking-back-my-freedom kind of grieving that we, in our feel-good culture have ignored for far too long.  I believe our obsession with looking young and looking beautiful … our obsession with owning more and more and more … and our efforts to legislate ourselves into a safe little box – well, I believe they all stem from our inability to truly grieve loss.

We have lost the value of grieving. We are trying to live without it. Pretending we don’t need it. Or that the loss that triggers this grief can be controlled.  The Bible talks about people wailing and tearing at their clothes in grief.  That’s this picture.

I think perhaps our struggle with forgiveness is also connected to our incomprehension of grief.   Sometimes hanging onto an injustice is actually all we know how to do — or it’s easier, maybe, than accepting the loss of something we thought we deserved.

I have allowed myself to grieve like this picture over the loss of my family, the loss of my dreams for how my children would grow up and what they would do, my helplessness to change the tragedies that have befallen us.  And those times of grieving have been both painful and healing.  All that energy would still be stored somewhere inside me if I didn’t let it out.  All that energy would be stored inside me if I feared looking like this woman … letting happen on the outside what lied within.

No. Hiding and avoiding grief is not the answer. Letting it out is the answer.Because then it has no hold on us. Grief is a process and the outward act of grieving is the release of the energy of grief.

The result is a new peace, healing, and rest. Maybe I’m a little crazy. But maybe a little crazy grieving can go a long way.  God bless!


Here I am, living a good life.  Troubles here and there – sure.  But no crises at the moment.  Daily beach walks.  New friends.  A (generally) peaceful household.  A part-time job in my field of expertise.  Friends and family visiting now and then.  A good life!

This morning, I realized one thing that I seem to have misplaced:  Silliness!!  Where are all the silly people?  Where’s the silly girl in me?  Ha – I’m not complaining.  Just smiling and thinking that it’s time to work some goofy fun into my life again.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve done lately?








Addiction as Disease

Most of us know this — but new people show up every now and then.  And I still like to read more research confirming that addiction is not some moral or emotional flaw in our children (or in our parenting for that matter):