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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Posts Without Pictures...

For those readers who may not have been aware, yesterday...Saturday July 30, 2011 was "Post Without Pictures Day". I know, I know...it is hard to believe such an important and relevant day as this escaped notice by the rest of the world but in the course of earthy chaos and great events it somehow got overlooked. In tribute to that fact I am going to start today's series of posts (if there indeed might happen to actually be more then one post today!) with another "picture-less post"...

I realize it sounds all a tad goofy...well consider the source!? Of course it's goofy, off the wall and weird...those words accurately describe my mood this fine hot summer morning on the very LAST day of July.

In addition to posts without pictures I wonder if anyone has noticed that the entries themselves have gotten considerably shorter? That too is by design though I am a bit reluctant to take that too far. Heaven forbid I fall into the trap of being "wordy" (something I am susceptible to for sure!) but I do not want to go to far in the other direction and have the posts be so short, to the point and concise as to lose their depth and interest all-together.

Like much else in life as I know it...it is a razor thin edge to walk if one's intention is to maintain their balance.

Another busy day today...the main attraction being the Death Of Kim Hof at 3p this afternoon. Followed by her Baptism and rebirth into a whole new life with the Lord. Really cool stuff, this Baptism! I was of course baptised myself in the third week of March and it is still one of the most profound experiences of my life. That "Old Kim" is gone forever...

We have several other things happening and today so i have to run. perhaps we'll pop in with another post later today...perhaps Pictures?!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Full Disclosure....NOT!

It really has been a busy day and that contiues with a run over to church for a chat w/the pastor about some things relevant to baptism for K and our relationship. Then free until early morning tomorrow when I leave here at 5:30 a to start the day....

We went to a picnic this afternoon and while it was great seeing some old friends but honestly at 90 degrees and 60% humidity it was WAY to freakin' hot and uncomfortable to hang out for long...I enjoyed myself though. Another change from the "old Thom" who used to HATE social functions like get-togethers and picnics...it didn't matter who it was with...well sometimes I guess it was OK if we were drinking by the fire all night! But other then that I was NOT a very social creature...actually I wasn't one at all!

So now part B of our day and off to church...not sure if I will fully post on this stuff we'll be discussing tonight because there is something else going on here that I am NOT prepared to write about right now....later!

Off and Hopping...

This is a weekend that I have to admit I've been looking forward to. K-Sue is her from Holland for a few days sporting a new (to her) van and super short haircut...which much to my surprise I really like a lot (typically I've liked her hair a bit on the longer side).

Honestly it is kind of Kim's weekend really...tomorrow afternoon she takes the plunge (baptism) much like I did in late march. I'm really proud of here and since it was such a profound experience for me a few months ago, I'm hoping she will experience much the same type of feeling.

We have a picnic this afternoon that is a gathering of a whole bunch of folks I know in recovery. I usually skip those type of events because I have gotten a bit tired of going alone so the timing this time around is cool because Kim is here...should be fun (and HOT!)

Later on this evening we are meeting with our pastor to discuss Kim's baptism then talk a bit about our future and what it all might mean spiritually. I can't help but be amazed that i am the very same person who only a couple of years ago would have had NOTHING to do what so ever with Church or Pastor's or being a Christian. Now it is clearly a focus in my world and I will admit it: I'm quite happy, excited and pleased about the whole situation...it is a life I never considered I would lead but this morning I cannot really see myself changing back to what I was or not continuing to push forward in my life quest to FOLLOW Him.

So hey...we are off and hopping early so gotta run, until we ...write again!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Subtle Nudges...

Torrential rain with a thunderous soundtrack signals the beginnings of a new day here along the Indiana border in lower Michigan. It is appropriate I suppose for how I have been feeling as of late....

A few of those people who have known me for awhile have expressed a bit of surprise that I haven't blogged much about the passing of my cat, ZOE. I just can't...it seems the more time has passed the more reluctant I am to "go there". So I'm gonna respect that for now...

I know I've blogged about every other single thing in my life but there is something so deep here that I sense I need to just let it be for a little while. It's rather odd as well that all 3 of us here at home are feeling much the same way. We smile about her but so much just goes unsaid for now...

I find it quite interesting that even though this silence on my part is out of character, my friends and family seem to sense my need for respect and time to heal. Out of a couple dozen FaceBook messages, many more emails, face 2 face discussions and comments on the blog, only one person has even asked me about the details of her passing. I find that fact incredibly unusual because as I've stated, I typically share about such things without too much trouble...not this time.

If I have learned anything over the last several years of my life it is to trust those quiet, subtle nudges that seem to come when I am most in need of guidance and direction. So I shall...and I ask my F&F to honor this need for silence and space as well....Thank You.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

LOSE/ LOSE Scenario

There are times in my day to day life, sometimes it's a day other times it may be just a moment where I have a hard time just keeping myself from spinning off the planet. It is NO secret that I wear my emotions on my sleeve...they are ALWAYS there, just beneath the surface...lurking, just waiting for the opportunity to unleash themselves on the unsuspecting world. That is certainly a frightening prospect...no matter what the situation, scenario or location. I used to try an find appropriate places to "let it blow'....

These days I make a maximum effort to not let it blow at all but to work those emotions out more constructively instead of letting them just go off. It is a much more positive approach, let me assure you though I hardly have it under any kind of regular control...each experience is unique and an...adventure.

Keeping one's perspective in this fast moving, chaotic...sometimes not so fun world, can really contribute to how well my day to day life sometimes goes. I would say the most unpleasant and unsettling aspect of living for me is dealing with other people. I dislike it...they rarely do what I'd like them to...or act as I would prefer...etc., etc. I know in my mind that I can't control others but so often in life conflict arises anyway and it is hard to just walk away. Even though walking on would be the wiser of all possible choices. Oh but I am not often the wise one...

But I have a flaw that rarely let's me do that...I will fight a battle to the bitter end merely for the sake of principle. Rarely is there EVER even the remotest sliver of satisfaction from engaging in that type of mis-communication. It's a no-win situation or as I like to put it: A LOSE/LOSE Scenario...where no one ever wins and everyone always loses...even if their right!

I engaged in one of those situations today and I really regret it...what a terrible waste of time, passion and energy. And for WHAT?! To get the better of someone I do not even know, who literally means nothing to me in any real sense. But because I felt I was wronged, I proceeded...ACH. Again there was no satisfaction or closure at all really...Plus it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth anyway. I simply do not like conflict...it is especially unpleasant when the situation never warranted it in the first place. Occasionally there will be something truly worth fighting for...this was not one of those times! It's an absurd situation, one I should have let go but I felt wronged on principal and still do really so I pursued it against my better judgement...and got more unpleasantness back then I know what to do with. And the worst part is I knew better, history suggested so but somehow I think "well this time will be different, honesty and reason will prevail!

Well it didn't and the whole thing bugs the crap out of me because I do not like acting or feeling this way for any reason, ever. So it becomes another in a long history of lesson's to be learned, I suppose. I draw a meagre bit of comfort, I suspect from the fact that these type of situations happen to me with much LESS frequency then they used to. I suspect progress is being made but the perfectionist in me only sees the failure...what JOY!

Oh well, life itself goes on and tomorrow is another day. Perhaps we can muddle through it without sh*tting in our own mess kit, as my father loves to say! So long, READER until the NEW DAWN...

A Long, Hard Road to FOLLOW...

How else could I live? With all that has happened in my life, what else would I do, how else could I act...really...tell me, please just tell me? Sure I get envious when others seem to have it easier then I..Their life just seems to come in a smoother, less chaotic package at seemingly LESS emotional cost. Now I could be totally mis-reading that but it does seem a easier, less messy life. Now I'm not complaining...er,..uh...well yes, I suppose I sort of, hmm...OK, OK, I am complaining.

But why the inequity? Why do some folks seemingly "skate" through life almost effortlessly while others struggle? And even when times are good, like they are now I cannot just sit back and enjoy sobriety or my relationship with God. NO...I have to go out and help others, often witnessing terrible, heartbreaking struggles while others whiz into church on Sundays then go about their merry way...

Then as I contemplate the unfairness of it all I suddenly have to STOP. Just stop it...then a thought suddenly comes through me, like a wave washing over me, over my life...cleansing me to the CORE, to my very SOUL: It isn't for you to know WHY, just FOLLOW. Huh? FOLLOW...just Follow.

Then it occurs to me that the alternative to MY life today was a long suffering, drawn out DEATH at my own hand. That is what I get if I don't have the kind of life I have today. Who am I really, to question what I truly deserve, huh?! Because if I am truly honest what I deserve is permanent death, with no second chance, no REDEMPTION, no HOPE...NOTHING. That is honestly what I "earned" by my past behavior, by my past way of living. What I have today is a GIFT, given freely to me, because God is good. I have no other way to rationalize it, I cannot "spin" it into something it is not.

As far as the lives of others, it now occurs to me that perhaps what you see, is not what you get. I should know that of course, I lived a LIE for nearly 30 years of my life. I pretended all was well...when it was certainly NOT. Perhaps I am not "seeing' the whole truth in the matter...it is certainly possible, I know that I could be WAY OFF in my assesment.

So what to do? What can I do really? I know that today's way of living, though never easy is so many times better then my best day back in the day. Rewarding? You bet, life today has rewards I never knew existed. I never knew the JOY in a smile, before now. The absolute beauty and power of true friendship. The incredible satisfaction that comes with giving for no other reason then you can, so you do it....

Now I do NONE of these things well. I am still capable of making an intolerable MESS out of my life in a matter of minutes if I don't constantly keep my eyes on GOD. For only through HIM can I see the TRUE path that lays before me...yes, it can be full of difficulties and daily trials yet with that comes not only the conviction to persevere BUT the strength to do so if I only trust HIM.

So what do I do now? TRUST & FOLLOW...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Right In The Kisser!

There are a handful of typical moods of mind-sets I can get in these days...from riding an emotional high, to cheerful and generally positive to the F-It's to major Black Dog Days (BDD) and few other things in between. I've stated here before that regardless of my mood...whether it is happy or sad, etc. I will most certainly feel it with FULL intensity, that is assured. I am intense and I rarely do subtlety in this life of mine. I generally prefer getting up in the morning, early as possible and if possible/practical...PUNCH life right in the freakin' KISSER (FACE). That's me...

And after I have KO'd anything or anyone who happened to get between me and life first thing in the morning then my day begins...again with as much PoP as possible...I enjoy hitting the floor running as it were. Though starting off in such a way means I am often sporting an early morning SHINER from the days pre-mature PUNCH, right?! RIGHT!
I love Satellite Radio...I hate Satellite Radio but once you have it, even for a tiny bit well... there seems to be absolutely NO turning back. It is especially nice when you are in your automobile quite a lot as I can often be, it's the consistency in car bound entertainment that provides that comfort and serenity of sound that rocks my world. I must keep it...

I still kind of freak on anything to do with connecting to Outer-Space! I remember when i got my first Sat. Dish for TV. It was a mini-dish and it was connected to our raised deck that was attached to the old brick farm house outside of Holland, MI I have always referred to as the "House On The Hill"...

The very first night after it was installed and we had hundreds of TV programs at our disposal being beamed in from outer-space, I grabbed a beer and headed out onto the deck for a smoke. (Yea I smoked...what a BOZO, 24 years worth but I quit 12 years ago so I'm redeeming myself...anyway): As I stood on the deck, smoking and swilling my beer, I remember just staring for the longest time at that dish. Through the Family Room window, looking from the outside in I could see the TV flickering the various programs as one of the kids was obviously changing channels. It occurred to me that those programs were coming in from Space...I looked at the Moon and thought how as a kid I so desperately wanted to be an astronaut and how it was now never going to happen. But the next best thing though was I was getting my Television Entertainment from Outer-Space so my dream wasn't completely for naught!

In closing this somewhat bizarre post this afternoon, I am going to freely admit that what ever idea I originally had for this particular post went completely out the window probably after the first sentence or two...WHOOSH, just like that. I suppose it was time for a free for all post so hey, here it IS....


Hello There, New Day!



Hello there, new day! So glad to make your acquaintance...There would have been a time, not so long ago that I would not have the same way. Boy, that's the truth!

What new challenges do you have in store for me this fine new opportunity to change and grow called Wednesday July 27, 2011? Hmm, I wonder...

Wednesday's have become a favorite of mine because I spend some time with residents at a local nursing home. I really enjoy that, way more then I ever thought I would. It never ceases to amaze me in life when you do something that is on the surface for somebody else, yet it seems like the person who reaps the greatest benefit in the end is...ME. That is truly the case here...it is never a burden or a drain on my time, even on a super busy day like today when we have family friends coming to spend the majority of the day here with us. It always feels rather effortless heading over there for a few hours...

As mentioned, we have some old family friends of my parents coming today and though it is going to affect the early part of my routine this morning I'm looking forward to seeing them as well....

One thing is certain already this morning: The coffee is pretty darn good! I really appreciate good, strong coffee. Just I suppose like I appreciated a good, imported or speciality beer here from the States. Pretty strange for me to be thinking about beer at all these days and especially this time of day...er, actually there were many times in the past that I definately would have a still been going at it this time of day. That thought gives me pause....makes me stop and think for a second how literally miraculous it is that I don't have to drink today! Thank you God....

OK well I do know one think this morning...I have to get going..this morning is going to be crazy-busy. Before heading out to the nursing home I have a lot of chores to get done so i need to get focused and get going. Perhaps I'll see you on the back-side of lunch time and I'll let you know then, what's been going on.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On The Job Training: LIFE!


Tuesday evening, late July in the year 2011....Day to day life and living often feels unreal and surrealistic these days. Even with the very "real" things going on: Relationship w/K-Sue, Masonville House (Nursing Home) visiting and Brain Quest (Trivia Game I MC for residents, what a blast!), Church Stuff, losing my long time Kitty Kat Zoe, all regular life type things yet it all seems a dream sometimes.

I've noticed this one familiar feeling before in my life where even though things are going well, I feel like in an instant, I am just going to spin completely out of control...and nobody can stop it, not even ME. Why is that?! I haven't the foggiest notion really but I clearly recall feeling this very same thing though before.

There are certain attitudes and behavior's that accompany this feeling as well. Defiance, an F-it kind of "my way, Hi-Way type of philosophy dominates. Funny I used to be this way all the time now it seems so out of character, haha! But I think some of this is good for me though. I have allowed some of my own emotions, feelings and sensitivity to get in the way of doing what's really right. there have been some recent dealings with other people in my life where I would handle the situation differently if I could start over again.

I never used to let people in my life have their say, I would cut them off, tell 'em off and typically I wasn't a good listener either. Today I have tried to rectify that because there have been some recent situations where I have not drawn certain boundaries and in the process I have allowed myself to be subjected to situations that were not healthy. I felt an weird obligation to be there when in reality I'm not obligated to be anyone's freaking punching bag.

I honestly believe my heart was in the right place but I let myself get walked all over...it isn't likely to happen again and it was a lesson well learned. Sometimes in life you try your best and it just doesn't work very well no matter how good your intentions were or how hard you tried....all you can do then is file that experience somewhere and move on to the next thing. My pride was hurt, I was embarrassed, a bit humiliated because I felt foolish but in the end I was the better for it and it did indeed lead to better things. To follow up I was able to say what I needed to say then move on...it worked out for the best.

In life there isn't a class to learn how to live...it is the ultimate "On The Job Training": LIFE! You learn as you go, hopefully learn from your mistakes because they, in my opinion are the greatest learning opportunity life gives us. Unfortunately some people are borderline delusional...they are too arrogant, too full of FALSE pride and too freaking stubborn to admit they made a mistake, they are never wrong, therefore they miss the opportunity of a lifetime to grow....and change from their mistakes. I feel sad for them more then anything else...

I probably have my biggest struggle with this type of individual and they are everywhere in this world today. And yea, I was there too, to a certain degree though I would admit usually at least that I had made a mistake. That wasn't really my issue...My issue was I would downplay the result, especially the impact of my own behavior believing that it wasn't a big deal, that people around me were over-reacting and making a mountain out of a mole hill. Today I realize it was MY arrogance, my inability to credit another person with the right to their own feelings, thoughts and opinions.

What an ass-hole I was. So that type of individual (and I deal with similar people sometimes in my life today) tends to really bug the heck out of me. I suppose it reminds me of myself and what an idiot I was then and can still be if I am not careful. How uncaring, impatient, judgemental and critical I was almost always without justification. I didn't take the time to listen to others...nope, I knew it already, I didn't need someone else telling me what I already knew. It also is a good reminder, one that happens to shoot straight through my heart about how poorly I treated people, ALL people...including those who meant the most to me in the whole, wide world.

I sure hope that old me doesn't shine through too much these days...I'm human of course and certainly susceptible today to these same character defects as I was then. My hope is that I focus on being a different kind of person today. Some think I take this whole thing too far, I'm too serious, I tend to really focus on changing and not settling for the mediocrity of the past. Maybe they are right, they could be. But all I know is what happens when I go back to that old way of thinking...my selfish side takes over and it isn't a pretty sight! I think I'll take what I have today over that alternative...hey if I'm too serious about caring for others, not being a jerk myself and trying to change for the better, if that is my CRIME...well I can live with that, I most certainly can!

First Day In a Long While...


It is the first day in a long, long time that I have not had a pet of some kind. No cat or dog, goldfish or hamster...nothing. And it feels rather strange in deed. And I am going to continue to be "pet free" for some time in the future as well. Living here, as I do in a household with elderly parents and the ever constant spectre of falling, it is just not a good idea to bring "something under foot" potentially into the house.

So I'll have to get used to sleeping alone, haha! (Zoe quite often jumped into bed at night, especially in the cooler months of the year. It is strange but I seem to hear her still (she had a collar with a bell) around here last night and this morning but she obviously isn't. Funny how the mind plays tricks on people...

But so far it all seems somewhat natural to accept that she is gone, she was quite old and it obviously was her time. There isn't much you can do, really when they are that old and nature takes it's course. I can't really imagine having another pet right now...it just doesn't seem a good fit time wise.

Anyway, it still has been an adjustment. I could swear i heard her from my bedroom last night but no...it was just some memories of her, I suppose, floating around in my head.
ast

Monday, July 25, 2011

Goodbye ZOE, Goodbye...


I Lost my Kitty today. She has been with me since the early 1990's...1994 I believe is when my X found her in an old bath tub sitting in the basement of the old barn we had at "The House On The Hill" (An old brick farmhouse we restored outside of Holland, MI built in 1877). Our 3 German Shepherd's were on to her and X rescued her before they...did...ha, hum...yea.

I'm not clear on exactly what year but it had to be 1993 or 1994...could be '95 but I doubt it. I think it's 1994 so we will run with that. She was always "my cat" because my X had an old Kitty already so Zoe became "my kitty" as it were...

So she has been with me all this time. Particularly the bad times in my addiction. Often she was the only living being that would have anything to do with me. Those are tough times to remember but I smile now when i think of her then and how pathetic I was. She was always there...

So it's hard after 18 years or so to let go but I will. I miss her already and it's only been a short while. It's strange though, I used to feel such things so deeply but I have lot SO much in recent years that it seems that I am numb to it. It will hit me the most at night I think, we often were both awake all night...her because she was a Cat, me because I am an insomniac.

Perhaps I'll post more about her later...perhaps not. i'm Sad and I don't like it. I realize she was a pet yet it really seems like I just lost someone who was so much MORE then that.

Goodbye ZOE...

To Start The Day


Alrighty then, I will actually try and post something that makes sense, doesn't have any typos and for the most part is a complete piece of writing....

Yes, yesterday's fiasco still rankles a bit...er, a lot so I'm trying to remembered the lesson earned and learned through the embarrassment of posting a piece of junk here on the blog yesterday....OK Thom, let it go, let it go, let it go...and so I shall.

I actually was up at the usual time this morning (4am) and beginning my day: Feeding the cat, checking e-mails, doing the usual clean-up, etc when the notion came over me to go back to bed...so I did until 6:30am...Nice!

This morning my father and I are meeting a buddy of mine for a little CG (Crippled Golf- That's what dad and I play, Mark is a NORMAL golfer!!) at 8:30am. It should be nice thought it is already well into the mid/late 70's and there isn't much of a breeze. I used to feel really uncomfortable doing ANYTHING with a group of people and oddly, I don't feel that way any more. I don't play golf with other's very often mainly because I am not that great...short, short drives, a decent short game and fair course management. Iyopawa Island Golf Course is very short for even a 9 hole course...there isn't a Par 5 much over 400 yards so even folks like me can have a fair chance.

There are several troubling things on my mind and in my heart this morning. And nothing that I can really post here about but this kind of thing often will heavy weigh heavy with me until resolved. But it also is the kind of thing that no longer throws me totally for a loop these days. I do what's necessary and move on and often what is the most pressing necessity is to let go of it. It makes NO sense to let thoughts and feelings eat one up from the inside out.

So off we go, to start the day. And it is a busy one...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ach...What A Mess!

I just finished re-reading my post from this morning...frankly I am a bit embarrassed. It was a lousy piece of writing, desperately in need of some better proof-reading. That has now been completed and I feel a bit better about it but I never should have let that one go "public" as it was....

I have stated here several times that the premise of Shell Shock Serenade is to document the life of a recovering addict/alcoholic/human being in "real time". I purposely write then release each post to the public as quickly as possible. I have chosen to do this to capture the spontaneity and "realness" of each post. Plus if I took the time to refine each single to post MY satisfaction, well I'd never post anything! I'm much too fussy and I'd argue with myself endlessly about this or that and never really finish...

What is particularly upsetting is this post subject was in my opinion a very interesting one from my perspective. It carried a rather relevant message to how I see my spirituality today and I whiffed at expressing it well. I had an opportunity to say something I really believed in and made a big mess out of it. Some of the sentences didn't really make sense, there were several glaring typos, not mis-spellings but using the incorrect word all together...Ach! This kind of thing really frustrates me...

And it bothers me even more that it is obvious a fair number of people actually read it before I went back and edited the post into something readable (I hope). It is another lesson learned...I get in a hurry and it comes back to haunt me a bit.

I realize it may sound like I'm over-reacting but I take pride in the work here and what I present. I'm NOT striving for perfection, I really do want it to capture the spontaneity of real life, but this fell far short of what I believe is acceptable.

So my dear Reader (if I have any left after this) please accept this apology...I can't guarantee I won't ever screw up again...er, well I suppose I could guarantee that I know I actually WILL screw up again at some point because if it isn't brutally apparent by now...I am only human!

I can only close by saying that i hope I will learn from this and be a bit more aware of what I am posting and in the future I won't use the "real time" premise to post something that truly isn't complete...

St. Everywhere Cathedral

15 years or so ago, I worked with a guy who used to describe going to sit out in his tree-stand in the woods to Bow-Hunt as "going to church". I used to think that was quite clever...I saw some real common sense in that the description and I thought it a cool way of looking at things. His wife went to church, I suspect mainly as an obligation (This was ultra-conservative, Christian-Reformed orientated Zeeland, MI)and I don't believe that he attended church regularly. I KNOW he did not go on Sunday's during the hunting season!

But the notion of being in the woods, all alone, before sunrise...just you, nature and God...that concept still appeals. The woods, the very forest itself was the Cathedral, the Church he worshipped in. It's hard to say what he worshipped and what exactly he believed...yet there he was every day during hunting season.

The idea that the 'True" Church is indeed everywhere I go, really appeals to me. It doesn't have to be a defined place...because in all honesty, your beliefs and behavior, etc shouldn't change because of where you happen to be at the moment. The bottom line is...I do not believe we should need a special building, time or place to connect to God.
For me it is just a continued element of walking the walk...if I cannot do that then I am having issues and need to take a very close look at myself, my behavior, outlook and attitude. It would usually suggest that my spiritual condition is somehow out of whack and needs attention.

This may be a post subject I re-visit...it has already been on my mind for some time yet it is hard to concentrate when hunger is dictating my thoughts so we'll pick up on this a little later perhaps.

It is 10am EDT and I have been up and doing things now for a full 6.5 hours. I really need to have my head examined...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ship Of Life (FOOLS)

I suspect when I blog about recovery and such things I might come across has having a lot of things in my life figured out. Perhaps people might think "he has his sh*t together..." and the like. There is a certain amount of stability and confidence that comes with trusting God and having lived this life of recovery for so long. And that is OK, things are indeed much better, they are healthier, happier and pretty darn good all the way around. Yet if I am to be honest and I fully intend to be...the ship of life can still hit the rocks...or run around aground occasionally.

Tonight for example...there is no trouble, no visit from the Black Dog (Depression), no argument or people problem...Yet I am feeling unsettled by certain things in my life right now. And even though I am used to feeling out of sorts some tines I dislike feeling this way tonight immensely...

I feel physically strange at times I suspect because of the T-(testosterone) shots I get, plus the high, continuous heat has my skin feeling like it has something crawling all over it. I just feel uncomfortable physically and that has begun to effect me emotionally...then psychologically and ultimately, spiritually.

I made a decision a couple of weeks ago in regards to K and that was a really big deal for me. I think not being able to follow through on some of that commitment stuff at this time is becoming something akin to a festering sore emotionally...I am ready and she is ready. The collective WE are ready to move forward into the unknown knowing only that it's un-knowable and God has control. Yet circumstances are clearly not favorable in a traditional sense and I am at a rather serious crossroad with NO defined choice to follow. I am confused because I feel a very strong NUDGE pushing me to TRUST and move forward. But intellectually and all the general rules of thumb suggest caution, waiting until it's time when everything is ready. Honestly, is everything EVER really ready?
We are faced with a difficult decision,a couple of decision's really...they are life altering and though I have faith that all will turn out as it is supposed to, I get nervous whenever I am part of any decision making process. I have made so many mistakes in the past that it truly is my own judgement that I dread. Yet it is time to move on, to Follow the path laid out so clearly, that even I cannot mistake it for anything else!

These are unusual situations compared to what is considered "the Norm" that could be in store for Kim and I. I am sure that making those choices will open the two of us up to criticism, second guessing and doubt. There will be members of my own family that will be upset and not be OK....But I clearly feel a powerful sense inside to go forward, I must follow and K is right there as well. So do we? Will we? Seriously...I think my suggestion would be to stay tuned, if I were you! (A Big Freakin' WINK,WINK right here!!)

Boost Of Faith In the Human Race...



My "Good morning, how 'ya doing today!?" came in the form of an e-mail with the above photo attached. One of my longest "Blog Associates" Spock Girl who writes the blog Spockgirl Musings had sent this along over night to K-Sue and I with a wonderful little note. I certainly wasn't expecting that...yet, it didn't surprise me really because I get the sense that SG (as I always refer to her) is the kind of person who has that kind of heart and spirit.

Friends, acquaintances, associates, fellow bloggers, etc...whatever you want to call them are the subject of my thoughts this morning. Meeting people on the Internet has always been a rather shaky prospect as far as I'm concerned. I never really liked doing it...it left me feeling vulnerable and at risk.

For a short period of time after my divorce I subscribed to eHarmony, an online dating service. Ironically I never really met a "Soul Mate" as they promise but i made two very close friends that are still friends to this day even though that was 5-6 years ago...

I think that experience with all the safe guards, security checks and double checks allowed me to feel a bit more comfortable on the Net. I think it helped me realize I could share stuff like on a blog and it would be OK. I am very grateful it worked out that way because it (blogging here on Shell Shock Serenade) has been a real positive benefit to me in several important ways. If I had been too fearful of the Internet and out of ignorance had not trust for it I would have missed out on one of the most rewarding aspects of my life today...

I mention relationships often in my blog posts, especially lately because one of the most noticeable changes that has taken place in me to do my recovery has been that I am no longer an isolated entity, a lone wolf wallowing in pain and sorrow all the time. I've embraced relationships with others as one of the subtle delicacies of life and living. They mean so much more to me then I ever would have thought...

And getting to know people like SG via their blogs quite frankly is an art form because you are often gathering knowledge through artistic means: Photos, essay's, little smatterings of thought & feeling...yet if you are "in tune" with it, it is remarkable how much you learn about people just by what they post. This by no means is the same kind of friendship or relationship people build in person but it has a unique quality all it's own, one that I have come to embrace.

This does not mean there aren't dangers inherent in meeting people on the Net...I have never been in a chat room...I find the whole notion of them distasteful. Not sure why but I do. I have always been rather cautious when giving personal email or the like, phone #'s Etc. And so far that caution has been rewarded with a group of friends from the blog that have been really great.

So this is definately one area in life where I was wrong initially in my feelings and reaction though due diligence is still a must. But the very nature of my blog is as personal as one can be so if I am to continue writing it (and I have NO plans what so ever to stop any time soon) I have to feel compelled and comfortable enough to do so. And so far I do, primarily because of that handful of "regular" readers and commenter's who regularly read and respond. They motivate me to continue and I see no reason not to do so...
So I will end this morning's little ditty by reiterating my gratitude to Spock girl for her thoughtful email. What a wonderful way to start the day, with a boost of faith in the Human race...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Holy Roller Batman, It's Raining!

Rain....When the rains came and washed our tears away....or something like that. There was a 40% chance of rain this afternoon and honestly we had heard that before. But it actually rained...for like 5 minutes, enough to get everything wet, turn things steamy when the sun re-appears and basically get everyone"s hopes up for nothing. Still...it was rain.

We would need like 4" or so of rain over the next 3 days to even make a dent in how dry it is right now but it was encouraging to get even a little bit of moisture this afternoon...It's been thundering a lot but that hasn't meant much. it's like a politician, they talk a good game but when it comes down to getting results...well there aren't any! Same situation here with all this thunder and stuff...

I have not really even caught a glimpse of the Black Dog in the last few weeks or so...things have been going well. When there have been issues, well we seem to be able to work them out whether they are just isolated, solitary things involving me or issue w/K-sue or family or friends. I'm not naive enough to think that my Depression (Black Dog) won't ever rear it's ugly, black snout in my grill again but this time seemed....more tolerable with less lingering or permanent damage.

Weekends are rather surreal for me and I almost feel guilty saying anything about it. Because I am retired and disabled I don't work a steady job obviously and not having that weekly routing changes one's perspective on time and really alters the meaning of the "work week'. All 7 days are actually work week, there isn't a weekend per say...

Now I realize that statement might catch a few people off guard who expected me to say that there isn't any work week at all and my life is one big weekend...naw, that isn't my life. Perhaps some people operate that way. The biggest change for me is that I am independent in everything I do. I set the schedule which in the past wouldn't have been a good idea because I would have scheduled "drinking" in for most of the day and night...I know not funny but hey, it wasn't meant to be.

I have so many commitments right now that combined with my writing it feels like a full day. It still can feel odd to be so un-attached yet that is my life right now and I have done well to get used to it and remain quite productive.

There was a time, not so long ago where a good deal of my self-worth and self-esteem was wrapped up in my career. I feel NONE of that today...it was so unhealthy and unproductive to feel that way. it was just one of many examples of what NOT to do in life. But there really isn't any training for being independent in our society, for growing up, working and being responsible. I think I was doing my best but I was mis-guided and my priorities were totally outta whack!

Today it's not like I have it all figured out but i think with age and wisdom, perhaps comes a more relaxed and confident approach. I'm also not drinking. In the past i was always trying to take care of my responsibilities so I could be irresponsible and drink all the time...a lose/lose propisition in my opinion. And LOSE I did...

Well after writing all that i'm having a moment where I'm feeling kind of stretched...uncomfortable so perhaps I spoke too soon about the Black Dog...We'll see. Gonna jump in the shower and steam some of the pain away if possible. I've been pretty much in agony all day...until next time.

Dog Day Morning Report

Wow, that was a bit of a trippy post from late last night....This morning's post will be equally short because i have to get going.

I just wanted to document a change I've noticed in my morning routine. Typically I wake up very, very early. 3:30a is not unusual...and that is still happening. What is a bit strange is that i used to feel really good and lately I have felt a few less then pleasant symptoms such as nausea, excessive tiredness, a really sore lower back/neck.

I have had my moments before...I'm no stranger to discomfort or pain, but it is a noticeable change in the way I have been feeling so it's important. I suspect that the T-Shots (Testosterone) are the culprit as far as the nausea goes and the pain, well that happens all the time. So I just continue to monitor how I feel as the day goes on and see how I feel...

We are experiencing the same extreme heat that much of the country is...I think this will be the 7th straight day of temps in the 90's.They predict a little break Monday and Tuesday but even the "break' temps are in the mid to high 80's so no real relief. So no real relief in sight as the "dog days" of summer are now on us for real.

So off we go to begin another day's journey to see where it lead us...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Took A Stab At It!

Oh yea...a late night post. Lately when I have tried to post late I get so overly tired that I have difficulty finishing sentences. Well let's see what happens, shall we.....

I do NOT have anything pressing at the crack of "Pre-Dawn" tomorrow which probably means I'll be up at 3:30a like I was this morning. I am going out to play golf on the Island Course again tomorrow with my father. We did Monday as well...it had to be a pretty funny sight, two guys that can barely walk playing golf together. Of course we ride but that's only because neither one of us would be able to get past the first whole hole, haha.

I just realized that I am not in any shape to be posting. It's taken me like a half an hour to post this much...I'm just too tired. I am going to post it as is though. It just shows how stubborn I can be. I was determined to post, it almost felt like I HAD to do it...weird.

So I am signing off for the night....


Something's Happening...


So what is it about all this relationship stuff...why is it all coming up now? Really the only way I can answer that is by reiterating what I've said before...this who topic came out of the blue. We were content with the relationship and life was moving on. I never felt like there was unfinished business or that some thing was going to happen. Things were good, really good actually. I can only say this whole thought process, decision and making a choice seemed destined to happened. In my world that means it was a "God thing"...

It sure does feel "meant to be..." Sceptics can mock me, make fun of my choices and beliefs...I certainly did it to others. I just don't really care very much...er, actually I don't care at all. Go at it...i feel fortunate that i don't have so much negativity around me like I did when i was the sceptic...the challenger of everyone's beliefs...basically I was just a bitter, resentful A-Hole that was attempting to make myself feel better at someone else's expense...I usually failed..then felt worse.

I really never expected to write about this subject. though it certainly falls within the parameters of what i write about in the blog it seemed to personal and so unsettled that i wasn't ever really going to just throw this kind of thing out there on the Internet. again, the natural way this came together lent itself to sharing this part.

What I am certain of today is that I am committed to living for Him and everything I do is tied up into do just that. Including my relationships. Kim is certainly NO exception...frankly she is the rule. Our relationship has already been dedicated to following the Lord so the commitment we just made was quite frankly, not a shock but seemed very natural...even for me with all my baggage. It is simply astounding to me (and K-Sue) how this has all turned around in such a short period of time.

So what is next? Not going to go there right now...not here on the SHOCK anyway. But rest assured something will happen...and very, very soon.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Do You Think?!



This series of posts about relationships, commitment and marriage will now number three with the addition of this post. The first being: An Out-Dated Expectation? followed by the post from this afternoon: Why Bother?! Love Is PAIN! This will be a continuation of those two. The reason this post topic became three separate pieces (and possibly more) is because I couldn't just spit it all out in on continuous flow so I ended up posting what I had when I had it. I imagine it may even stretch into another post or so.

So back on topic...

Though I have made some great friendships in the last 5 years and have tried to be a been a loyal/trusting friend, I still had some very deep and dark hesitation when it came to a committed relationship for myself. As I have mentioned numerous times here on the SHOCK that Kim and I were very close friends and companions. It was the deepest, most committed relationship, in all honesty that I could offer her. Honestly, in hindsight it was the deepest committed relationship that I had EVER had and it is ironic that it did not include a a sexual component...we were "best friends and companions" She accepted that and said she was not going anywhere.

I can say this now but I really couldn't see myself ever going any farther then that. I was too mistrustful, still hurting and I did not think very highly of the notion of commitment...I wasn't going to be hurt again if I had anything to say about it.

As I sit back and read through what I've just written it occurs to me that this is not the first time in my life that something quite good and positive was right there in front of me, obvious for every one else to see...but ME. I completely missed it...

This long time friendship, in taking as much time as needed to build trust and continuing to grow in recovery and as a person lead me directly down the road to the relationship we have today. A great many people who know me have said and will say: "we knew it was a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship all along, it couldn't have been anything else.....Actually that could not be further from the truth. We simply were not romantic in any form or fashion: no sex of course but no kisses, hand holding or snuggling. That element wasn't there. We were just the tightest, closest, most trusting kind of friends one could ever have...

Friendship and trust building combined with patience were the components that have made our relationship different then anything that I have ever experienced before. Kim and I needed time to grow...I for one needed a LOT of time and that was key.

The other ingredient that was missing from our relationship was a shared passion and commitment to God. I know, I know...there is a whole bunch of eye rolling going on out their in Blog Reading Land because I have referenced "Him" again...sorry, can't help it. My faith and belief in God really has become a part of me and my story, I can no longer separate them and I cannot in good faith/honesty leave it out for fear of chasing anyone away. Just know that this is my story and I do not judge or suggest that anyone must do as I've done...no, this is what happened to me. God was a last resort...yet it was the thing that ultimately saved me...these are simply the facts of my life...facts are facts.

Anyway, K and I share the same commitment to FOLLOW the Lord. Bringing that faith into a relationship is something I had never even considered before...yet it has had a profound affect on me personally and our relationship. It is the one thing that tipped the scale, the balance in a positive way. Sharing God also allowed me, almost without hesitation to lay my fear, resentment, anger and poor attitude toward marriage and committed relationships aside. The end result being two weeks ago I made a commitment to Kim and I guess you can say we are now boyfriend/girlfriend...and much, much more.

Time, patience and growth are still important factors in our lives together today...but our lives are very different now. We share a life in a way and are ready for the next step...HUH?! Did I just say that? No...it couldn't be....ME!? Ahhhh....yep, I really did. That is the most amazing thing...I am focused now on a future together...all the negative thoughts and fears have been removed, virtually overnight. How in the world did THAT happen...

Was it a God Thing? What do you think.....