Guest post

“It won’t happen to me”

or

Party animal

I live on a steel bunk in a warehouse. Everything I own in this world is in the footlocker beneath me. It ain’t much; a photo album, a stack of letters, a few books. I’ve been in prison 10 years this time. My release date is 2032. A few hazy, drug-soaked months of strip bars, casinos, and fast living cost me most of my adult life.

I run across old friends and associates from that era on the yard sometimes. They look bad — rotten teeth, track marks, gnawed nails on shaky hands. They give me news of other old friends who weren’t as lucky: overdoses, shootings, suicides. Occasionally I’ll recognize the names of women in the arrest report of my hometown newspaper. Those wide-eyed college girls who were just beginning to experiment with coke and ecstasy in 2003 are now haggard streetwalkers, hardened repeat-offender prostitutes.

This is the natural evolution of drug abuse. Cause and effect. I know you’re thinking it won’t happen to you. I thought I was an exception too. Believe me, no one plans on destroying their life and coming to prison. No little kid daydreams about growing up to rob gas stations for dope money, or getting doused with pepper spray and beaten half to death by abusive guards in a confinement cell, or dying alone in a motel room with a needle in his arm… We call getting high “partying” and like any party, there’s always a mess when the party is over. In fact, the bigger the party, the bigger the mess.

The irony is that the kids we label squares and lames and dorks because they refuse to party grow up to be the doctors who resuscitate us when we overdose, the psychologists who attempt to help us put our broken lives back together, the lawyers who represent us in court when we’re arrested, the judges who sentence us to prison, and the men who step into our families and become the fathers and husbands we failed at being.

So if you’re 15 (or 17 or 24) and you’re popping bars, snorting Roxys or dabbling in meth or molly or whatever, this is what middle-aged drug life looks like. Guaranteed. And if you think it won’t happen to you, we can talk more about it when you move into my dorm. The bunk behind mine is open right now. We’ll leave a light on for you. The one from the gun tower.

From a brother of a brother @ malcolmivey.com

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Just keep swimming.

“Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again.

Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.

There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t.

When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher.

Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too.

Don’t stress over things you can’t change.

Live simply.

Love generously.

Speak truthfully.

Work diligently.

And even if you fall short, keep going.

Keep growing.”

This is Your Time!

Hey! It’s almost June!!

What are your plans for the summer?
Here are some thoughts…please SHARE if it speaks to you.

Don’t just exist…LIVE!!

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Own it (so it doesn’t own you),

Design it (so it’s not by default)
and
then LIVE IT (nothing worse than regret)-
this thing called life!

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If you find yourself holding yourself back because of what other people think, it’s time to STOP that shit! Somebody smarter than me said that “What other folks think of me is NONE of my business!

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TODAY – like right NOW – Start thinking about if you were told you only had three months to live –
AND
What would you want to do?
Where would you want to see?
and most importantly
who would you want to spend your time with?

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Then…. Review this every three months

The harsh reality is – it’s only a matter of time and you’ll be right!
Nothing worse than regret!

YOU got this thing called life if you want it! You just have to decide!

If you feel like you are really stuck or not sure where to start, reach out! I’d love to help! I can recommend some of the books that have helped me climb out (of so many deep pits), or share links where I’ve found resources that help me to “get my head in the game”.

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You HAVE to do what makes YOUR spirit fly!
Do the best you can in the moment and be ok and proud of that! Celebrate the tiniest of victories, and build on them!

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Make today the START of the best of your life – WHAT ever that FEELS and LOOKS like to you, not what you think everyone or society thinks it should look like! 🌟

Also in case NO one has told you today…

The world NEEDS you, and what you’ve got. Not you trying to be someone else or something else you may feel you need to be or do.

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Be authentic -the YOU God made you to be, and do what makes you HAPPY! The world needs you! Confident, kind and uniquely YOU, your lessons, your scars, your compassion, your experience, your understanding, your SMILE (this is one of the most important), your courage, your strengths and your vulnerabilities…more than EVER! You are unique to ANYONE else and the world needs YOU, all of YOU!

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Mothers Day Minus One

Since last November, I’ve been living in the Year of Firsts, without my boy.

Benjamin was the reason that I had a lot of “1sts”, not only the 1st Mothers Day. He was also the “WHY” for my realising that I HAD to get clean and sober.

Because God allowed me to become a Mom, I got to experience my baby’s first…poopy diaper (tiny but legitimately icky)…the first time our eyes met…the times after that when we would share a smile, a snuggle, a laugh…

As a single parent for about half of his life, I was concerned with SURVIVING for much more of the time than I’d like to admit. It’s nearly impossible to “stay in the moment” and live all of the Hallmark card images that flood the social media streams when you don’t know how your MOST BASIC needs are going to be met. We never got to go on vacations or to amusement parks. Instead, we mostly went to the Children’s Hospital to see whether his heart was working as it should. I learned later that he had to live with his own kind of PTSD as a result. I just know that by the grace of God, I did my best. We had a lot of laughs together.

PLEASE don’t feel sorry for me/us.

I’m not sharing that for your pity. It’s my life, and the reality hasn’t been pretty a lot of the time. So, nobody (except social media) ever said it had to be. Or even that it SHOULD be. It’s just truth.

My boy taught me so many things. For example: when I thought I had taken as much pain as I could stand, he inspired me to endure a bit more. He gave me reason to dig deeper for the answers when there didn’t seem to be any. His smile and tender “I love you more, Mommy” gave me the courage to find a way out of dangerous situations and to leave relationships which were destined to leave lasting scars on both of us.

My 1st baby was the instrument used by God to teach me what unconditional love looked like, walked out.

My boy grew up into a kind, gentle, insightful and funny man. I will always be more than grateful that he was a man who chose to forgive me for sometimes reacting out of fear… and things I learned from my own less-than-perfect, yet perfectly human parents.

I hadn’t planned to write anything for this Mother’s Day. In this year of 1sts, I’d just as soon skip over it.

I am still a Mother. I have another boy, or rather, young man. He delights me, more than I have the ability to express. And, I have Ben to thank for him, as well.

When he was about 6, Benjamin began to say things about how he would like to have a brother. So we prayed together, if it was ok with God, could we have a baby brother for Ben? And God listened.

I have been blessed, doubly. My son’s both grew up to exceed my hopes and dreams for them. I can’t wait to see what my younger son will become. He’s already more than I imagined he would be.

Only God knows what the future holds for any of us. But I know this much:

The Creator is good, He loves us, and He delights in our seeking to know Him. I look for the day when I see my Dad and my boy again. Trusting God to guide the rest of us Home.

Monday Musings

Four Lessons on Life

1. Never take down a fence until you know why it was put up.

2. If you get too far ahead of the army, your soldiers may mistake you for the enemy.

3. Don’t complain about the bottom rungs of the ladder they helped to get you higher.

4. If you want to enjoy the rainbow, be prepared to endure the storm.

(-Warren Wiersbe)

Got some Monday nuggets of wisdom to share? Please set them down right in the comments!

Are you hungry?

I find myself ever increasing, in being aware of an emptiness in my soul. My spirit has been touched by God, of course. I am a Christ-follower.

But, still, there is such a longing for more. More of Him. More of His Spirit. MORE. The Word says that we can have as much of the Holy Spirit as we WANT.

How much do you want?

This world has beauty, and it has joyous celebrations, and peaceful moments. The Bible talks about how we think we are healthy and happy, and have all that we need. In fact, we, without Jesus, are quite the opposite. We are lower than the beggars on the street, that we try not to see.

But…I know that there is more. I have personally experienced it. Then, I was led away, back to the familiar. Sure, it was my choice, but I went.

If you are a seeker of Truth, if this world does not fulfill the deepest desires of your heart…you know, when you’re lying in bed and you wonder “is this all there is?”, then I hope you will listen to this.

Ask Him to speak to your heart, a little louder. And then respond when you hear Him.

I plan to.

Toes in the grass

Today I will be mindful.

I will sit with my toes in the grass and let the sun and earth feed my soul. I will remember to eat foods that are HEALING to my mind and body, and I will adjust my thinking when it drifts off to harmful places.

My Creator has given me the ability to choose what I let into MY world. Thank God for the tools to build/rebuild a safe and healthy place for myself and those He sends to me.

…and on those days when the sun hides behind the clouds, when I feel like I’ll never feel that warmth again, I will remember.

I will choose to recall the countless times that the sun has returned. I will listen to the birds as they continue to sing; they know that the sun will return. They sing their songs in full confidence that their needs won’t go unmet.

I will let their songs remind me, that my Father has never left me.

It’s my choice: to hold onto what I know to be true, and not let my current perspective take away tomorrow’s hope.

So, in the sun-filled days, I will let my heart feel the Son’s touch. And in the rainy, gray, chilly days, when my mind wants to crawl back into bed…I will look inward, to the Spirit in me. And I will sing of His unending love.