Monthly Archives: April 2016

Give a Girl a Chance!

18 months ago, after about 6 months of limping through small business woes, serving juice in Styrofoam cups (with ice…ugh), dragging Ronnie & Haigon around to farmer’s markets, writing a business plan from scratch with the help of Google & my dear friend Stella & working my butt off to make this little engine go, I presented my business plan to a group of people who love & support me.

I was asking for a $5000 small business loan! my goal was to buy some new equipment, fancy bottles & a rental space to amp up Luna Juice Bar! I also wanted to start paying Aprille, who was limping along with me. We prayed so hard for that loan to come through. She was helping me build this dream…for free!

After a lot of work & much deliberation, I was granted that loan! It was the start of something big & I was so grateful because on paper I was not bankable. I had a huge gap in employment, I had a history of drug abuse with only a little over a year sober (at that time) & bad credit. But these people, they believed in me. They saw hope in my story.  They weren’t going to give up, so….they handed over a $5000 check to an ex-crackhead!!!!!

Today, I paid that loan off. I was only late once, this month, because I just forgot to pay….my last payment & I forgot! Yeesh!

The feeling of pride I had when I put that check in the mail was indescribable.  I did it. I followed through with this commitment.  I finished something I started. I worked hard & I accomplished this goal! Wow! Tears come to my eyes as I think of all the amazing people who helped me do this thing! My heart is bubbling over! I am in awe of God’s Grace, power & deep love.

I can’t believe it! Here we are…just the beginning! I’m just so dang grateful!

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These Servant Hands

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The picture you see here is not of dirty hands.  As a matter of fact, I wash my hands over 50 times a day, most recently with textured soap, the same kind that mechanics use.  Look closely.  Can you see the cracks?  See the stains? See the toil and strain?

I recently became more aware of the way my hands looked.  I went into a nail salon 2 weeks ago in preparation for a huge event that, not only was I attending, but was also sharing my testimony at. When the beautiful young girl picked up my hand to paint my nails she wrinkled her nose & made a comment about how badly I needed a manicure, but that there wasn’t much she could do at that point.

My hands are not dirty, they are stained from processing beets and other colorful fruits at my juice bar.  I try and I try to get them clean and uncracked, but nothing seems to work.  I think I’d have to take 2 weeks off to heal them completely. They are ugly, and gross (looking) and I have become increasingly aware of these facts.

This morning as I got ready for church I noticed them again. UGH…I was a greeter this morning.  It’s something that I take great pride in because I can’t offer much to my church body in the way of money or time, but by golly, I can wish them a helluva fine “Good morning!” But this morning as I got ready, all I could think about was how disgusting my hands looked.

I went into the bathroom, again, to give them one more good scrubbing, to no avail, then headed off to church, where I was sure that everyone who took a bulletin from me would notice.

Greeting went as it always does.  Lots of chit chatting with my greeting partner for the day, hugs and smiles from other church members, comments on hair and dresses and bow ties. Standing in the sunlight of the Spirit both figuratively and literally. Seeing my peeps.  My church family.  Serving them in the best way I know how, with a warm greeting!

As I snuck into church after the opening prayer and took my place next to my dad and my husband, I looked down.  There they were, those old tattered hands.  I had only just then thought of them again!  I had been sure that morning that I would have a hard time focusing on what I was doing because of the state my awful hands were in, but no, I hadn’t thought of them at all.

What a concept!  My service to others; people I love, people I hardly know, my friends, my family, total strangers, had completely taken all the fear, self loathing, embarrassment and inner voices away.  I had been healed, if even briefly by that simple act of selfless service to my fellows.

For the rest of the day I wore these battle scars with pride.  I work hard for these deep cracks and stains.  I love my life, dirty hands and all.  Most importantly, when I was feeling low, it wasn’t self-care that helped, it was helping others that healed.

Saint Ronnie – The Haiku

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Saint Ronnie in Spring

Deals in the Heaven’s card table

Royal flush of hearts

 

My husband is the most amazing human I’ve ever known.  He is my hero, my saint, my very best friend.  I am starting a series called The Saint Ronnie Series.  This entry is the first of many poems, Haiku’s, short (usually super funny) stories and Ronnie-ism’s.  BOLO for more!  These will be great because they are about my favorite muse!

Daddy/Daughter Date

It’s that time of year!  All the super sweet pictures of little girls dressed to the nines, being whisked away by their prince charming; Dad! To a lavish ball, filled with other dad’s and their daughters.  It’s magical and memorable.

I didn’t grow up in an environment that fostered a daddy/daughter relationship.  My biological father was abusive towards my mother and I feared him.  I loved him, but I feared him.  We didn’t go on dates, he didn’t teach me how a man is supposed to treat a woman, we weren’t buddies.  He was dad and what he said was rule.

He and my mother divorced when I was 9-ish and my mom met my step-father.  He was kind, loving towards my mother and genuine, something I had never experienced before.  He was so different and I did everything I could to run him off.  I have no clue, other than Divine intervention, how he stayed through my teenage years, but he did.  His dedication and love are the temperature by which I gauge most of my relationships today.

So when I see these adorable posts of fathers treating their little girls like princesses, my heart tugs and I think back to the last “date” I had with my real dad; my step-father!

As you probably already know, I am a recovered addict and alcoholic.  To say that I dragged my parents through the fire, would be an understatement.  I was nothing short of the death of them. On my last bender my mom started making funeral arrangements. Of course, I was convinced, and would have convinced you, that I was only hurting myself and that the pain and suffering my parents were feeling was sidebar.  It was not.  It was more real, confusing and conflicting to them than almost anyone.  They were definitely in the top 5 victims of my addiction.

I called my step-dad up one afternoon and asked him out on a date.

“Well…ok.  What will we be doing?” He asked.

“I was thinking that we could go for coffee and then to an AA meeting.”

He chuckled and agreed.

The next day I put on my all blue Chucks, a pair of blue jeans and a faded concert “t” and we were off! To a meeting. To a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was glorious!

He listened with intent, soaking up all that he could gather, hanging on the next words of each person in the room, hoping, maybe, for an answer to my affliction. One of his former bosses and close friends was an alcoholic in recovery and my step-father was privy to this lingo, but still captured by it all.

When we left, I thanked him.  I felt so loved and honored that this daddy/daughter date went so well.

Our relationship has changed over the last few years.  I have gone from being the phone call they dreaded to the receive to the daughter they can now relate to.  We don’t always see eye-to-eye…after all, he hates these tattoos, but we can find common ground in the relationship that we’ve built over the years.

I didn’t wear a ballgown or fix my hair.  He didn’t ring my doorbell or bring flowers.  But the best daddy/daughter date was had, our style, our speed, our God orchestrated.

 

Awkward Silence

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Silence is golden…or so they say.  It can be a coveted luxury for a new mom, the sacred place for a worshiping soul, the blank canvas for a studious learner.  It can also be death for an abused lover, pain for a suffering addict, the dark and lonely place of a mind that feels alone.

Almost 3 years ago I embarked on this sober journey…again.  I was known as a chronic relapser.  Someone who comes in and out of the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, staying sober until life looks good, then tearing the whole thing down, only to scratch and claw their way back into AA, repeating the cycle. It is embarrassingly awkward, filled with judgment of people who don’t understand and lonely because clearly, you just can’t “get it.”

I ALWAYS wanted to be sober.  I longed for it to come easy to me.  I saw people, knew people, who had come in, dragged up from the depths of hell, much like myself, and they “got it.” Whatever “it” was, they got it.  I wanted that illusive “IT!”

Lack of desire was not the issue.  If you knew me when I was using, you know that I am not even a shadow of the person I was created to be.  God made me in His image to be loving towards people who are hard to love, kind & generous, creative.  When I am using, it’s as if the candle is blown out.  I can think of nothing more than of myself, justifying my poor behavior as acceptable, greedy & dried up in a desert of shame & pity.

When I washed ashore in September of 2013, in my own version of Nineveh, Victoria, TX, I felt the call to be creative.  I come from a family that fosters creation on one side and encourages hard work on the other, with little time for creativity.  I fell somewhere in between, loving both hard work and writing.  I needed and outlet for the time because I was given the chore of sitting still, being quiet and listening to God.  Not the easiest thing for a girl like me, but I knew my will had been broken, I was going to do whatever I was told to do, so I did.

I began this blog.  You can look back over those posts and see that my journey had just begun, but there was still a powerful story of redemption beginning to surface.  I was awakening, slowly but surely.  I received a phone call on afternoon, from someone I greatly admired who told me that I should put the brakes on this writing thing, that being so “out there” with my early recovery could be detrimental to my case in point.  I heard & listened & shut it down. I also got a comment from a person from my dark past, who did not have my best interest in mind.  These two incidents drove me to this 2 year awkward silence.

Recently, listening to God and not my fear of being “found out,” I started sharing my story.  I was given the green light from my husband to be candid, open, honest…even when it is ugly, about what I went through.  You see, this story is not just mine, it is his too.  He suffered on the other side of my addiction for 2 years, mostly silent, dying in his own way.  So to get his blessing to move forward was all the push I needed.

Here I am.  Back. With an incredible story of redemption, light, love that defied all obstacles, hope.  This isn’t just my story.  It is the story of many women, who sit in silence, wishing they too had an outlet.

Stay tuned.  This is just the first of many posts.  I can’t wait to tell you of all that has happened.  A love story that only God could’ve written. A business that was built in His hands.  A family stitched together with the Almighty thread of peace.  A life you would hardly recognize as the one violently tossed from the belly of the whale.

This story is ours.  Join me. Break the silence.