I am trying to sort out my experiences and thoughts to better understand how to move forward and not stay stuck in the past.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Well, we had been sober here for 10 days.  Starting over, again, trying harder this time.  Each time this happens, though, there does seem to be some new 'break through' with her thinking.  Something as minor as she's decided not to drink diet pop anymore.  I have never been comfortable with the chemicals and sugar content, and have asked her to try something healthier (so has her brother), but until recently she has continued drinking it, until 10 days, ago.  So, it was going well here.  We're joining a gym, and making plans.  And then her dad decides to send her a text that jabbed her heart and soul, and yes, she bought alcohol.  I don't know why she allows him to have so much power over her.  She has been to therapy, counseling, rehab facilities, and has talked about this issue, but for some reason, she allows this to happen.  I talked to her about it last night.  She claims to hate her dad.  I know she loves him, at least wants to love him, but is disappointed that he can be so mean and selfish (a big reason he's not hear anymore, especially the mean part).  Anyway, I told her it was okay to love him, even if he is not a good person; that doesn't make her a bad person.  I told her to pick out the bits of good, love that, and walk away from the chunks of bad.  I told her it is okay to sift through someone's personality and actions. It's necessary to set those boundaries.  Love is not an all or nothing contract that forfeits you for another.  She started to cry.

My son came over yesterday afternoon.  We talked.  He has come a long way.  When I first got a divorce, a good friend described it like a horrible car wreck, where three of the passengers were bloody, broken and trying to help each other up, while the fourth passenger walked away with a few bruises.  It really was like that.  My son was so angry at one time, and he treated my daughter and I so disrespectfully (those learned behaviors, that I too, take responsibility for, for allowing myself to be treated like that), that I kicked him out.  He was in high school, but I couldn't take it anymore. It was the hardest decision I have ever made.  It lasted two days, he apologized and we went to counseling.  I am proud of the man he has turned into.  He is patient, more confident and gentle with his words.  He checks in on his sister, and while this summer was the summer from hell, he as become more understanding and less quick to judge.  He buys her video games, that have women as the heroes.  Every once in a while he will buy her a video game that may take her back to a place where she was happy, with good memories, and maybe build on that.  He told me that last night.  It choked me up, to see him trying to help in his way.   He is still mending, but there is healing.  Because he is finally healing and his pain is subsiding,  he can understand others' pain, now.  He is more open to another's experience.  I am proud of him, to see how far he has come.  So, I know my daughter can do the same. She has that same foundation. I remember when she was out going and funny, and electric. I know she still has that, but just needs to find a spot, and start mending.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Power of the Mind

I remember sitting across from my grandmother at her dinning room table many years, ago.  We were just talking and the subject of her and her home came up.  She still lived alone and took the bus when she had some place to go (if we weren't available due to school/work to take her).  Climbed a ladder to wash her walls every spring (a ritual I've never been inclined to continue).  She was totally independent.  Anyway, she made the comment, "Some day I'll be too old to take care of myself and this house.  When the happens, I'll worry about finding another place to live, but until then I'm okay."  I remember taking that statement causally like, 'Okay, gram, whatever you want."  When I went home, I was rehashing the evening in my head, and it dawned on me, my grandmother was 93 years old.  She was making a statement about not being old enough yet to not be able to take care of things, at 93!  What was more inspiring was that as we were talking and as you interacted with her, that fact went totally unnoticed.  She did not look or act like what one supposes a 93 year old should look/act like.  Amazing!  I wanted her attitude.  Then, at 95, she broke her hip, and after trying to go back and live on her own, she eventually consented to going to a nursing home, and it was down hill from there.  Though physically, she was fine (not on any medications) mentally she refused to accept the change.  Her home was her life source so to speak and leaving that, was like pulling a plug.  At 99, she passed after her sister came to see her. My grandmother simply willed herself away.

I was reminded of that with Joe Paterno's passing.  I went to Penn State.  He was like a monarch, there.  I think football and all that came with it was all he was.  When he was fired because of the investigation I think he simply could not go on.  I know there was a diagnosis of cancer, but I think it went deeper than that.  The power of the mind. 

I am trying to improve my mind.  I am trying not to be so negative and fearful.  I am trying not to retread the steps from the past and the horrible memories that tag along with them.  I am trying very hard to push forward, with more hopeful and positive thoughts.  I want to drag those long with me instead of the bad.  But why is it so hard?  I am exhausted most of the time, and I do think it's partly because of trying to force the negatives away. (Sometimes, forcing something away, causes it to be even more present). It's like when I'm flying.  I am not big on flying in planes, but I also don't have panic attacks.  I will admit, though, that as the plane is flying, I am mentally helping to keep it in the air.  I try to visualize great hands cradling the plane, keeping it flying.  It's exhausting!  (is there a difference between visualizing and trying to control?)  Well, that is what I'm trying to do, drive toward the positive as the negative eats my dust.  But, every once in a while, I see a hitchhiker, that looks a lot like the negatives I've left behind.  The power of the mind is amazing.  Learning how to steer it in the right direction, I'm finding out, is where the real power comes from. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Too Much Information

I was teaching a lesson on ecosystems. One of the questions from the book was: How do you interact with other organisms in your ecosystem?  This is a word for word response from one of my students.
     "The way I interact with other organisms is different everyday.  One day I'm a very nice person.       Another day I'm very selfish and mad. You never know how I'll feel.  This is called mood swings."

I have to admit, when I first read it I laughed. This is a sixth grade boy who can be challenging, but is interesting to know. Something about his answer, though, made me uncomfortable (for lack of a better description). His answer sounded like something taken from a psychology book. He's eleven years old.  He had a very bad experience with his biological mother at two years of age. An experience that he may have been able to forget or move past with, but because his family doesn't allow him to forget, he uses those 'memories' as motivation for his actions. He goes to counseling. He tells me he has ADHD, "which is why he gets mad and can't concentrate."  I have had other students tell me their diagnoses. They have autism, oppositional defiant disorder.  They are bipolar.  These are elementary school children.  Do they really need to know this information?  Are we telling children too much information without the necessary emotional skills and maturity level that they need to process and understand the information? What seeds are we planting?

That reminded me of something my daughter told me when she was in her eating disorder. She said that they had seen a video in health class in high school on eating disorders (they show a similar video the the sixth graders, now).  At the time, this was something she had never thought of.  Did planting that seed offer a more dangerous solution to her problem that ushered in her eating disorder before more healthy solutions could have been offered?  I remember we used to have a program called DARE in our schools.  A local police officer would come in and instruct the children on the dangers of drugs, in elementary school.  The officer had a brief case that when it was opened, an assortment of colorful pills were attached inside to show what the different drugs looked like.  They looked like candy.  In addition to the visuals, the children were told how the various paraphernalia was to be used. Of all of the information that could have been taught during that time period, to those children, was that the best subject choice?   Did we give our young children too much information?

Last night, I was listening to the radio, some talk show, trying to fall asleep.  There was a featured author of a book (can't remember the name right now) but the subject was about how detrimental always working in groups is.  The author said that creative thinking is best when you're alone and in quiet.  Brain storming sessions, with other people, according to him, have the least creative results.  He said that people who work in offices with open floors, where people don't have individual offices but are all in the same space, show higher levels of anxiety and stress.  We are becoming too used to 'group think' and losing the value and power of individual, personal think.  It made me think of Facebook and Twitter.  Cell phones that now seem to be attached to people's ears.  It seems as though non one is allowed to be alone, anymore.  There is always noise, or the need to tell everyone what you're doing.  The need for 'friends.'   I hear stories about people being friended on Facebook (I don't have a Facebook page).  Who really has 300 friends?  Do they really know what a friend is? 

Anyway, I am always trying to figure out how so many people have become enslaved by addiction.  It isolates them. Is that what they're craving, some 'alone time' but conflicted because of a need to feel like part of a group?  Did we expose our young, immature children to too much information too soon without giving them the emotional tools and wisdom to hand that information?  I'm not sure, but it is something I'm thinking about.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Enabling Onion

I am trying to peel away the layers of the enabling onion.  I am reading other blogs and here is what I'm thinking: The fear of enabling clogs communication and can prevent connection.

Let me first say that boundaries are key.  Boundaries help to mold everything. Without boundaries and communication, intention and all of life, gets fuzzy; like a blob spreading out and covering everything with a dark, gooey film.  Clear boundaries are necessary for clear thinking. 

As a parent, we have experience, memories, knowledge, and wisdom (just to name a few acquired gifts) on our side.  As parents, I believe it is our job to pass on that experience, knowledge and wisdom to our children. Who hasn't told a toddler  to hold your hand crossing a street because as a parent you knew the dangers. Who, as a parent, hasn't out of fear and knowledge of the possible outcome, grabbed a child off of a chair precariously positioned in a dangerous spot, or grabbed a hand away from fire?  We do this motivated by love and because 'we've been there.'  Growing up, I didn't have to get my hand sawed off to know that laying my arm on a spinning saw blade may cause serious injury.  My dad warned me, and seeing what the saw blade did to a piece of word, I got the message.  Not all lessons have to be learned first hand.   In fact, you don't have to be a parent. Any adult would try to save a child from injury if the circumstances called for it.  (Can I add here, that I don't believe that parental advice stops at 18.  I still take advice from my dad, and even my friend's parents, because they have more life experience than I do).

God works through all of us, parents, too.  I think that we hesitate doing a kindness for our children, due to a fear of letting down the boundary barriers. So we opt to keep a distance, so to speak, rather than to risk a possible venture into that swamp, again.  A fear that a kindness or loving action may be misinterpreted as weakness or that the enabling behaviors are starting back up, prevents us from doing our job as parents. (We're not as critical if a stranger does the same kind act, but for some reason, we shift the options from side to side, weight and worrying if it is the right thing to do). I think the addiction of the child to drugs/alcohol permeates the interaction and communication between parent and child robbing that relationship of a very important connection in a family--the parent and child. 

I think it takes a lot of soul searching and retraining your brain to move from being that fearful parent who runs toward all opportunities of connection with blind eyes and a bursting heart  (I admit, I've done that).  I think, though, that with the boundaries in place and wisdom as a the key to your voice, and patience as the lock, you can do those acts of kindness and love without disturbing the fragile balance of enabling and parenting.  (We really do know in our heart of hearts when we should talk and when we shouldn't).

When our babies were learning to walk, and pulling themselves up, and suddenly plopping down, we didn't run screaming and crying over to them and decide to carry them from that point on to side step injury. No, we watched, held back when necessary, and only moved to avoid a tumble down the stairs or some other mistake that would cause a similar tragedy.  So, we really do know how to 'step back' we've just lost touch with that because our helpless babies have shifted to independent adults. 

I read once that chronologically (whatever the age that the person started their addiction) is emotionally where they are 'stuck.'  So, even when they are sober, emotionally, they are still viewing life at that point in time when the addiction began.  We get frustrated because we see an adult, but emotionally we may be dealing with a teenager.  (How we acted with our teenagers is different than how we act with our adult children).  As sobriety continues, the emotions do get caught up, and eventually the whole person is 'reconnected.'  I believe this.  I've experienced this. 

I have read that it takes more than love.  I agree.  I also think that love has been been interchanged with fear and as a result has been used in the wrong way. Love isn't blind. Love is the source of how we should act.  What is blind and causes us to get enmeshed in the addiction is fear.  It is fear that is blind.  Fear of what might happen. Fear of the future. Fear of losing someone.  Fear blinds us. Love guides us. 

Peeling this onion causes a lot of tears. Tears of sadness and frustration, for me.  Peeling this onion is forcing me to retrain my thinking, and that can be painful at times.  Peeling this onion, though, is helping me with more than I realized. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Story

I am going to tell a story that is true.   Nothing earth shattering, but it was kind of destiny changing for me because it changed my thinking and the way I focus my intentions--more like it changed the direction from which I see my beginning and wait for the arriving destination.

I was not in a happy marriage. The man I married was amazing on the outside, but behind closed doors he was mean. I used to try and figure out how I could change him. When that didn't work, I tried to change me to the point that I became so pretzeled-up I found it difficult to function. I was trying everything I could because I had (1) made a commitment, and I take those very seriously--my word is important; (2) I had children and no job and was young; (3) God hates divorce. 

Those were the three reasons I juggled daily to continue in the marriage. But, after days and years of bad things, the commitment ball I juggled, dropped.  Then, not having a job with children dropped. It was that last ball I kept tossing around that made it the hardest to leave; God hates divorce.

I have to say I've been richly blessed with a group of core good and godly friends.  I began to open up that inner life that I was embarrassed about to them. They listened.  Gave suggestions.  Never judged. I still struggled with, "God hates divorce."  So, I started reading and researching. And one day it hit me.  Yes, God hates divorce, but not the person.  God hates the act but not the actor.  And I realized, I hate divorce, too. And, didn't it say, "Let no man put asunder?  Well, what about God, can He put it asunder?" Those were my thoughts.  I just couldn't imagine that I would be held accountable for this decision for the rest of my life, especially when I was deceived by the person I married:  The person he presented to me while dating, was the Dr. Jekyll to the Mr. Hyde I saw after the wedding.  It was subtle, like a daily pinch of poison, but pretty soon, it took it's toll. 

During one of my discussions with a friend, and now the subject of should I get a divorce was popping up, she told me to write a letter to God.  Mostly to get things off of my chest, but also to sort out my thoughts and get clarity.  Consider it a long prayer, she said.   So, I did.  I sat in the living room, quiet and alone and wrote. I told God what I was feeling, how unhappy I was, how afraid I was.  I wrote that, and a lot of other things, but ended with, "I'll stay if You want me to. If so, please help me work it out, but if it is okay, let me know if I can end this marriage. I am coming to You to release me from this marriage."  I reread the letter, and then placed it in the fireplace and watched the flames embrace my prayer and the smoke swirl up the chimney.

I have to say here, that although I have always believed in God, I have never had those mystical experiences like hearing Him or seeing anything.  I had seen, in hindsight, how God had had His hand in things, but nothing up close and personal in the way of 'direct contact' (so to speak).

Life continued to be stressful.  About a week after I wrote my letter, it was evening.  He hadn't come home from work, yet.  My children were occupied, and I was doing dishes at the sink.  I remember being bent over, thinking of nothing in general, when out of nowhere, I felt as if something had been pulled off of my back.  I physically, inhaled and straightened up, and looked around the room.  What was that?  Literally, it felt as though someone had stood behind me, reached in and pulled something out of me.  No pain, just an incredible feeling of being released or lightened to the point where I spontaneously had to draw in a breath and straighten up.  I don't know how else to describe it.  After a few seconds, the thought hit me.  I had been released from the spiritual bond of marriage.  He came home shortly after that, and when he walked into the kitchen, the feeling was different.  I didn't have that connection with him, anymore.  I saw him differently. We were separate.  We were the two individuals, again, not "joined as one."   I spent the rest of the night reviewing in my mind what had happened.  I even tried to 'feel' the same way (crazy since that was what I was trying to get away from) but still, this experience had been so subtle yet so powerful, I wanted to make sure I wasn't mistaken in what had just happened.

A few days later (I still needed to mull things over in my mind) I told my friend what had happened without telling her my thoughts.  She also saw it as a release.  I told two other friends, and they also came to the same conclusion. So, three godly women, with the same conclusion--confirmation.  I wasn't 'seeing' things.  It was real.

That was twelve years ago, but that memory and feeling feel as fresh as if it happened an hour ago.  Because of that experience, I am always cautious of decision making and who I rely on.  It is easy to get caught up in advice from friends, or books, or groups, and to lean on them, because they are close and real and comforting.  But since that experience, even though I get frustrated and argue and ask, "Why?"  I am more intent and more purposefully turned to God for direction.  And once I find confirmation in that, I can move to the 'earthly' supports.  It has forced me to be more patient.  I have developed a small library on biblical books.  I wait a lot longer.   So, I am still waiting for an answer to help me understand what is happening with my daughter.  What I should do. I can't understand it, still.  The same feelings are there.  Different emotions blink differently depending on the day. Some times anger is bright while hope is dim, and then hope blazes and sadness blinks.  I try to figure out the right words to pray to get a clear response.  So far, I'm on hold.  But since I know the answers arrive at some point, I'll keep waiting.  In the meantime, my prayers have extended to this vast world of unseen parents, completely unknown to me until my unwarranted initiation.  I am praying that you, too, find what it is you need and desire.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Four Days

Life has been good here.  My daughter had been sober for a month + and then the Monday before Christmas, when I came home from work,  I was met with the old demon who refuses to leave my daughter, alone.  Funny thing, I remember that day, during the course of the day, my stomach began knotting up and those old choking feelings began seeping into my mind.  I shook it off, though, because it was the holidays and she had been so sober.  Anyway, I went home and found her asleep in her room. When I woke her up, I could tell by the trail of her thoughts and speech, she had been drinking.  So, up went the boundaries, I walked out suppressing all of the hurt and sadness that came flooding back and closed the door.  Thursday, when I came home, I went up stairs to put on my sweats, and decided to check in on her.  I opened the door, but she wasn't there.  I called her name.  I knew she wasn't out of the house, so I walked around the bed, and there she was on the floor. 

I shook her.  Nothing. My heart clicked to a pound.  I shook her, again.  Nothing.  I called her name. Felt her chest, still breathing.  To make a very long moment short, she was alive, but out, and more than just passed out.  This was something different.  When she is passed out, I can arouse her to at least a mumble.  Nothing was happening here.  It was a struggle, but I got her back onto the bed.  That's when I noticed what I thought to be a seizure.  In working with children with special needs, I have had a lot of experience with this.  Though she wasn't convulsing, she did have all of the other signs.  I made her comfortable, and waited it out.  She came around, but was incredibly thirsty and tired, so I let her sleep.  Later that night, I heard her stirring. I got up and went into her room, sat on her bed, and at two in the morning, explained to her what had happened.  She has always been afraid of having a seizure.  We talked, and she decided that it was time to stop.  So, she took care of herself, and sobered up, and Christmas was blessed. 

We continued to talk about it, and she would say over and over, "Well, I have a legitimate excuse to not drink, now.  I have a medical condition."   I don't know why she would need to have an excuse, but hey, if that is what it took and she was going to use that has her courage to change, then I was relieved. 

Eighteen days later.  I came home last night, and the suspicion goblins were buzzing in my head.  Turns out, she bought alcohol!  Ahhhhhh! 

Boundaries up.  Hope on hold.  Resignation on full tilt.  And my day has started with a cloudy vision of not knowing what else to ask for, pray for or hope for.  I am in limbo.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Seven Things

Thank you, Annette!  What an honor it is to have someone want to know more about you. :)  But, before I start, I would like to pass this on to Dee, Barbara and Sydney.  I'm looking forward to reading more about them, too. 

Okay, my seven things:

1.  I used to row in a corporate crew team. I don't row anymore because I hurt my knee, and trying to crawl out of the boat with a bad knee is not only embarrassing, but very difficult.   Crew is a sport you either love or hate, and I love it.  I fell in love with it going to my daughter's meets. A friend of mine found a team, and we joined. The best thing; after our first summer of rowing, our boat raced in The Head of the Ohio. It's held in Pittsburgh, and starts on the Allegheny river and goes to the point, where the three rivers meet and the head of the Ohio river starts.  It is grueling! We were one of two eights in our heat with only women (trust me, if you have a man rowing with you, it is so much easier).  As it happened we raced against the only other 8 with all women--not planned, it just happened that way. It really was a neck in neck race, but we won! Better yet, we came third over all and got a bronze medal! That was like winning the gold.

2.  I coached a girls softball team for 9 years. It was a huge learning experience for me about a lot of things. The guy who coached with me was hysterical. I love surrounding myself with funny people, and he was one if the funniest. I laughed for 9 years straight.

3.  I love watching movies, especially the ones made during the 1940's. I loved the way the women dressed. I love that there was an honor and dignity about everything.

 4. My dream is to have a cottage by the beach, or a stream. One that looks like the cottages in Ireland. Simple with a huge fire place in the kitchen. I would love to move to Salem, MA or Port Townsend, WA. Both of those places felt like home to me, and my cottage would fit right in there.

5. My favorite food is pickled herring. Next, is sauerkraut and dumplings. Buttermilk would be my beverage of choice.  I blame that all on my Germanic and Swedish ancestors.

 6. I could talk about God, and the spiritual and mystical all day long-literally. I never tire of that subject. I believe in the supernatural, miracles, and that the world as we know it is far more interesting and magical than we give it credit.

7.  I love pottery. Not the refined kind, though I like that, too. I love the rustic looking, hand thrown pottery. I look for it at yard sales, craft shows, and I've made some of my own. At one point, my house was starting to look like an archaeological dig, I was collecting so much. I think it goes back the the biblical idea that God is the potter and we are the clay. I am also drawn to angels and ladybugs. The angels, well, because they're interesting and close to God. The ladybugs because of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. In one part one of the characters talks about searching for ladybugs as a child and never finding them, until she fell asleep in a field and woke up and they were crawling all over her, so--relax, don't worry and life will come to you.

The End.  Thanks for letting me share. :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The End of the World

Now that it's 2012, more of the kids at school come up to me asking if the world really is going to end this year (I cannot stand people who make a living out of peddling fear). I tell them, "No. No one really knows when the world will end. Today's a new day. Every thing's going to be okay."  You can see a fresh infusion of hope creep into their faces.  Some of them really do sigh and smile and make comments like, "Oh, good. I didn't really think it would."  It amazes me that they have that kind of faith in me to ask such an important question. I feel like a sage. But, having been someone who's been through the end of the world, and come back to tell about it, I guess I am experienced in this field. 

When this whole thing about the Mayan calendar started, the end of the world as I knew it was already happening. The addiction meteor had already crashed into the surface of my surroundings. I have had to find mental shelter, emotional housing, and food rations of crow for a while, now.  I've survived the end of the world, and am starting to pick through the rubble of  postponed dreams.  Daily, I'm sweeping and rebuilding.  I come out each morning, cautiously watching the skies for any stray meteors or bombs that may be falling; so far, they have appeared to have stopped. Though the air is at times thick with smoke and fumes, I'm breathing and functioning. The sun is shimmering though the hazy skies. There is hope.  So, when I hear or watch the endless documentaries on 2012, on the History channel or Discovery, I can lean back, put my feet up, smile and say, "The end of the world?  Been there. Done that."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I'm stuck. Even though things have been good here (except for four days, but I'll write about that later), things have been great.  In the past, I have been able to swing my thinking right back to happy and free when my daughter was not drinking.  I was so anxious to have a life without addiction as a part of it, I threw my whole heart into the first good feeling emotion I could, and I stayed there until that addiction anchor dragged my daughter back down, and me along with her.  I hasn't been like that for a while, now, yet I can't find that relieved, smile-sighing happiness.  It's more like my heart is tethered to some unseen peg that won't allow it to beat fully --it beats in anticipation of dread rather than delight.

I haven't been to an Al-Anon meeting in a while, either.  The people were kind and unassuming. It helped to have someone to listen to me, who understood. It helped to listen to how other people maneuvered their way through this minefield. And then it got to be too much.  I remember a friend of mine whose son (he's been sober for over two years) went through an addiction to Oxycontin. She said she left a meeting of Al-A, and sat on the church steps crying. She told me that she couldn't bear to listen to those despairing stories every week, so she never went back.  I can understand how she felt.

I am trying to figure out how to explain how I feel.  I am always cloaked in hope, I would freeze to death if I didn't have hope. Part of me is still resentful and sad-very angry at times.  Part of me is very clear headed. I'm resolved to the fact that my daughter will have to want sobriety. That she'll have to find her own way to unravel the sick thinking into more healthy thinking. Some people need other people to do this. Some can self help with books. Some can cocoon themselves away, do that internal juggling and sorting out, and come away a new person. She is dabbling in all of it now, and I'm waiting to see what she resolves, before I can make my move.  That is how I feel.  And then there is a part of my brain that is in fog, like the part that was on high alert and ready to try my hardest--that resilient, 'refresh button' in my brain--feels like the battery is dead. It's not that I've reached an 'I don't care' attitude. It's more of a 'Oh, well' attitude.  I don't like it. It makes my daily thinking more strained and less motivated. 

Those are some of the ways my thinking is, now; like my tires got stuck in mud, I've been spinning them, and now, even though the rain has stopped, and the sun is coming out, rather than try spinning the tires, again, I'm sitting at the wheel, engine running, staring into the distance.  I have AAA on my phone, but I just don't have the motivation to pick up and call the number, and I don't know why.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lessons Learned

Today is the first new day, of a new year.  So much potential and hope sits waiting at the starting line.  I don't really do resolutions at the New Year, because I pretty much am resolving situations and thoughts all year long.  The New Year for me is more of a review of what I've learned so that I can continue to apply it to this next 365 days of the continuation of refining who I am.  So, who am I now?

I am someone who has learned that you can't change people, you can only change yourself. 

I am someone who continues to see that the amazing biblical applications applied to my life and the lives of people I observe, really do work.  For instance, I completely understand the not worrying about tomorrow advice.  Today is enough in itself and though 24 hours may not seem long, a life time can be lived and lost in that period, so cherish every moment, even the bad, because without that the good would not be as sweet. 

I am someone who has learned that it's okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.  That 'failure' depends on your definition; A failure can be a success depending on your attitude.

I am someone who has learned that I can judge tastes and right from wrong, but I can't judge someones response to life's situations.  Doing that diminishes who that person is and the experiences that have been refining them, as well as sealing me off from becoming the complete human being I was intended to be. 

I am someone who has learned that you can say and do whatever you want, but if your motives and intentions are self-centered, nothing good will be accomplished, in fact, you will cause more injury and hurt.

I am someone who has learned to calm down, and that calming down comes from being humbled. I have been humbled this year, especially this summer. I have seen God working and weaving His golden threads in the worn cloth of this quilt of many experiences that is my life. If I hadn't been broken and humbled, those threads would not glisten as brightly--I am grateful.

I am someone who now understands that you can be an enabler in a lot more than just addictions, including personal enabling.
I am someone who is learning to be more patient with others as well as myself.

I am someone who understands the value of boundaries in all situations. Vagueness and 'uni-vision' takes away the uniqueness of people.  We are supposed to be individuals, unique and special. I think society has slowly dissolved that special quality we have as individuals with uni-sex mentality, and everyone having to look the same, dress the same, act the same--like a film over our eyes.  Boundaries help to strip away that film, and allow us to see more clearly who we are, who someone else is, and how to work with individual differences more effectively.

I could go on.  I have learned so much.  I hope I never stop.  I'll close with the biggest lesson (though I knew this all along, but like seeing that video in Driver's Ed. where the car is wrapped around the pole, you can know something but actually seeing it or experiencing it changes your whole perception). That lesson is (and it's another biblical truth) you can say and do whatever you want, but if Love is not at the foundation, you have nothing.  So, a New Year's blessing to everyone is, "May you be guided by and lifted by Love. May you have the courage to love others. May the love of God be showered on you and yours like a cleansing rain."