Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I mentioned in the last post that I have become aware of a new reality in my life...one that I probably didn't represent fairly in the post but at the same time will present challenges to Kim and I as time passes.
Because I am a person now with some visibility not just in recovery circles but now church because of my involvement in the Bible Reading Ministry...that has brought a heightened sense of scrutiny from members of the church and others.
Naturally this is something wholly new to me and at first totally negative and unwanted.I didn't like the idea of people passing judgement on me or looking for reasons to criticize. I thought it uncalled for, hypocritical and in certain incidents it is uncalled for.
But the true reality of my life today set in and my reaction to this discovery that people were watching me surprised me...I welcomed it. I never EVER tried to use any restraint in my life before.
Never did I strive to achieve a higher moral standard and honestly I found that so refreshing after year of living a decadent life of dishonesty and sin. Funny but living a selfish, decadent, sinful life was hard...it was PAINFUL and I hated it...so did Kim.
I truly like this way better and frankly I shocked myself for thinking that way. There is a reward in self-sacrifice, in self-denial.
I can't explain it either folks but it's true. Still, I don't like to feel judged or have my character feel like it's being picked a apart. I truly burn with a passion to serve and I don't really care what others think about it....I'll let you all know how this continues.
It is 51 degrees outside here in S Michigan and I have just spent 20 minutes seriously contemplating dodging the few snow drifts out there so I can go out on the golf course and play a few holes. Most long time readers know that I play a weird form of what I call "Crippled Golf" because of my back injury, Neuropathy in my legs all leading to my disability. Basically what "crippled Golf" actually means is I don't hit it very far and i'm not very good. And you also know I live on an island in the middle of Coldwater Lake (it does now have a single road leading out to it) that has a very short 9 hole course in the middle of it.
We have our own golf cart so basically I just dress properly for the weather and jump in the cart and play. I'm a member but that hardly matters now, there is no one there. I just don't know if I am that motivated plus I need to conjure up some thing for dinner...Oh life's dilemma's!!
I am doing quite a bit of thinking about doing a post that I suspect may end up being one of the more difficult posts I do. Most readers know that I am a recovering addict/alcoholic, that I've been divorced. Folks also know that I have become a Christian and with that I have gotten quite excited and involved in various Bible Reading adventures that have turned into a Full-Fledged Ministry.
Well what I didn't initially realize was with this ministry and the fact that I am out in the open about my beliefs....I have become somewhat of a target. People looking for signs that I am not a good Christian, etc. So there is some scrutiny there. That will be the topic more then likely of my next post. But for now I need to do some stretching and get a hot shower....
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Sometime last week I mentioned the beauty of reading the Psalms and how privileged I felt to be reading them out loud. As a human being I could relate to the pain, anguish and the feeling of being forsaken that King David is writing about here. He is crying out for MERCY...he is SOUL SICK and he is throwing himself at the Mercy of his God.
I can relate. I've felt forsaken...I've felt persecuted, alone, hated and hunted by evil...mistrusting everything I have ever known or loved. I brought those feelings on myself. I cannot begin to describe how powerfully I am being impacted by reading the WORD of GOD out loud.
Tonight I was once again reading from the Book of Psalms and Psalm 38 was really the one that jumped right out at me...I couldn't help how connected I felt to the underlying feelings behind the words.
I have explained before in various earlier posts that I often try to steer away from directly quoting too much Scripture or Christian ideology for fear of coming across as desiring to shove it down some one''s throat. I do not but I am curious how others perceive this emotion plea, if anyone else has ever felt this way...
Do Not Forsake Me, O Lord
A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.
OK folks...I am going to show a little bit of my "techie ignorance" here...I'm not sure what you call it but I am posting today on that little box that pops up when you write a comment on a blog or web site and it requires you to decifer some completely UNREADABLE gibberish to protect the site from SPAM.
Now I totally understand that spam is a huge hassle for some sites but I'll be honest...I have ended up not leaving comments because the different choices offered after several attempts to read them are unreadable to me. There are blogs that I love, some of my very favorites that I won't even try to comment because of the difficulty of those pesky devices on their sites. It seems some are much more difficult to do then others so perhaps there are difficulty settings that can be adjusted...Now maybe this is a "ME" problem and I'm just incompetent...and perhaps that it is it but I'm sorry, I hate the things. I wish folks would get rid of them because they are ridiculously difficult and I'm not sure they are even really necessary.
What baffles me the most about the need for these things is this...I've had Shell Shock up for well over 2 years, 1235 posts and I have not received ONE bit of spam on my comments...not a one. So are people really getting bombarded with SPAM causing them to do something about it or is this just a preventive (perhaps totally unnecessary?!) measure and the author thinks they HAVE to have it? I wonder if folks aren't getting too cute and psyching themselves out about this, letting their imaginations carry them away?
Anyhow...I can't stand the bloody devices and now you all know my position on the matter though i suspect you'll hardly care, haha!
(Thanks to Mad Magazine for the Spy vs Spy Characters Pic)
Monday, February 27, 2012
This next subject can get a little tricky to explain to people who are familiar with recovery from addiction and though I'm a wee bit reluctant to bring it up I need to EMO-V it out so that is what I am going to do.
An active, practical and REAL spirit life has always been a critical factor to my recovery. There are some treatment Center's/Programs that promote spiritual principles...some don't. The path that I follow and have followed right from the beginning of my sobriety in mid-2006 was a spiritual path.
Other then I was terribly skeptical and mistrustful of organized religion, the fact that I was going to kill myself some day was motivation enough to give GOD a try.
The issue I am experiencing and yes, struggling with today is that my Christian beliefs at times vary a bit from the spiritual beliefs i began my recovery with. I told you this would be a bit difficult to explain. They conflict...
Also there are some people in the church envirement that I believe would rather have me renounce all my affiliation with the recovery programs I so strongly believe in and that SAVED MY LIFE. The reverse is true as well...some influential friends in recovery do not like the fact that I have become a Christian and would rather i go back to my old way of living where I am hanging out exclusively in an embitterment filled only with those in recovery.
Neither of those prospects is in the LEAST acceptable to me or even something I would consider...I CANNOT go back to my old way even if I wanted to...and I DO NOT! But I also will not forget where I came from and how I found recovery. I am as needed there today as ever before.
I strongly believe both beliefs, behaviors and philosophies can co-exist and not only that but thrive. It really disturbs me when political thinking intrudes into areas that it doesn't belonging....and this LIFE or DEATH question of recovery is an area where politics has NO freaking business what so ever!
So there ya go...I believe I just gave the WORLD at least the "blog world" my formal "Position" on the matter...so let's move on to living LIFE, shall we!?!!
Well, well...it is morning and for the first time in what seems like an eternity, I slept (sort of) like a normal person. I was up at 2:30a to get Kim up at 3a for work but then I did something drastically different from what I normally do: I fell back asleep until the pretty normal morning wake-up time of 6am. I have no explanation really other then I may have gotten a bit more exercise yesterday due to the fact that my Grand Plan for yesterday (read this) didn't pan out. Basically because it rained Cats & Dogs all day in Daytona Beach, FL. postponing the race until the next day for the first time in it's 50 plus year history.
That's right...The Daytona 500) is now on today, Monday afternoon at 1p. But judging by the way i feel, I just may end up sleeping the entire day...hey, I do have like 3.5 months of sleep to catch up on, i need to get started! Seriously...I don't have any major appointments or anything and I'm hoping that I can still continue to make some improvements in my overall health. I've mad a bit of progress but I am still have some very ill-regular and unpredictable SPIKES in Blood Pressure, some incredible difficulty and increased frequency relating to going to the bathroom and the usual fevers and general lethargy that have been regular symptoms throughout this 3 month long illness nightmare.
The thing that really bothers me the most is I cannot fulfill my volunteer obligation at the jail on Monday Nights as an assistant Chaplain because of the bathroom issues. I know this sounds strange but when we go back into the lock-down area of the jail to set up and then run the church service, there are NO facilities available for Non-Inmates to go the bathroom. It involves a process of going back through a series of locked doors that have to be buzzed open by central security and more then a 5 minute walk in which I have to be escorted by a jail staff member. Well I go to the bathroom on the average right now of every 10-15 minutes some times when things are not good so there is no way I can risk going into that envirement until I get back to a more normal schedule. Now even when I am healthy no one would mistake me for having a "Camel Bladder" like one female member of my family who shall go un-named, who seemingly can hold "it" all freaking day long but I can usually make it more then the hour or so required for making it through the church service in lock-down.
I went for the Christmas Service and it was not a good thing....I was
running a 101 degree fervor and had to do the Gospel Reading of the birth of Christ. That was a very special night but I cannot take staff away from their important duties every time I have to pee...or worse!
So That really bothers me about this whole thing, not being able to do the things that I enjoy and/or are really important to me. But I must accept that is my life right now. I felt very guilty at first but Chaplain Dave, the Chaplain of Branch County Jail and a member of my church (in addition to being a very good friend) re-assured me that they understood, that they can see my suffering and that feeling bad or guilty not only isn't necessary but it takes my focus off of serving GOD by helping others in ways that I still can.
He is absolutely right and I am so grateful to have friends like that in my life today. What a change from 6 years ago! So we will focus on getting well and perhaps today will take a turn and I'll feel up to going tonight though Im suspect that it's still a bit too soon...we'll see.
So now that you all have taken ANOTHER wonderful tour of my BLADDER Condition and other unpleasant little realities of my health life...I'm going to close this post and get on with my morning...
Here's wishing you all a HAPPY Monday Morning!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Well...after several days where I seemed to sleep OK, I am having "one of those nights" and in a big way: I haven't slept a legitimate wink tonight except for nodding off at the keyboard here on my desk. I've made an attempt when I cannot sleep like this to try and not over-react to it but less face it: a person feels pretty darn lousy when they do not sleep. There is no way around it and it totally affects your day.
Well, there...I got that of my chest! Now I will let it go and try to think about more enjoyable things...like NASCAR. Yep that's right...this 'ole red-neck at heart loves my stock car racing and today is the Grand Daddy of all stock car races: The Daytona 500 from Daytona Beach Florida.
NASCAR is quite unusual in the sports world because they have their biggest and most prestigious race at the very beginning of their season...I mean they actually launch their season with this race and several other "Speed Week" races and events all leading up to the 500, which is this afternoon.
So I am looking forward to the day primarily because of that.
My Purdue Boilermakers knocked off the Michigan Wolverines in Men's Basket Ball Saturday evening which was a huge win for the team and probably secured them a position in the NCAA Tournament. That's great news because they have had a bit of a down year (yea 19-10, 9-7 in the Big 10 with 2 games to go and going to the tournament, those are pretty high standards!)
So sleep or no...I'm gonna have a good day. If you'll excuse me now...I have a Sunday Morning Newspaper to read.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
There are times where it's been hard to come up with the energy or motivation to post something here on Shell Shock Serenade. It doesn't happen very often but today...right now even I just kind of have a heavy heart and I'm just not feeling it.
I would be less then honest if I didn't admit there was something behind this feeling tonight and there most certainly is. But unfortunately I cannot come clean and talk about it because it involves the confidentiality of someone else and I cannot violate that by sharing the details of what's going on. Let's just say someone I care a great deal about is going through a very difficult and unsettling time. It really is unfair but due to circumstance there really isn't much that can be done and I feel terrible about the situation.
There are sometimes instances that occur in life where I am completely powerless to do anything about something and this is one of those times...Why? Because there is too much at stake if what I say gets used against my friend. It involves the custody of their child and I would love nothing more then to post the truth about this screwed up situation but the risk is to great.
I can only pray that justice is served ....
I have been doing some thinking about blogging since I posted on the fact that I tend to read a lot of blogs written by women (see here) and (here). I've gotten a fair amount of feedback all of it really interesting and positive. Several of those woman have discovered each others blogs and I am happy that i could provide that bridge...they are very good writers and deserve all the readership they can get.
But what I've really been thinking about related to blogging and i really am just now starting to hash it out is that it (blogging) is one thing of several that is creating and nurturing a new kind of relationship in our society and our world. Yes it's an "online" relationship and they have been around but I have to admit something that once I really thought about it I was astounded.
I now have several people that I would truly call a friend, who I have NEVER met, never WILL meet, won't ever speak to them on the phone...no, my only connection will be through the portal of blogging. Granted it is a "new" kind of friendship but there is trust, intimacy, communication....we're friends. I feel completely connected.
Now I didn't always trust internet relationships and of course I'm wary about them...one MUST be. And I'm not trying to make these relationships into something they are but the fact is there are people whose blogs I read and they read mine that I would really miss hearing from them. In most of these situations we have used regular email to communicate as well but in all honesty, it hasn't really been that necessary. There are certain things that shouldn't be communicated openly on the NET and privacy is required.
I think Western Society and really the entire world is still just realizing the potential of these connections. And as I said, after some initial wariness and time spent working through familiarizing myself with"blog etiquette and getting comfortable with it, I really enjoy these exchanges.
Perhaps I am a little different because of my disability and the fact it keeps me a bit closer to home...I am no longer out in the working world and I do miss the interaction with people (though I certainly don't miss the political BS of the business world!) and this connection and form of relationship building fits nicely in my lifestyle. I spent large parts of my day writing or connected to the web whether I am home or out. This "connectedness" is not the "exception" anymore in our world...no, it's common and getting more so every single day.
I'm curious what others think about this subject. Again..it is something I really just now (and I mean NOW, like 2 hours ago while writing a fellow blogger a comment!) started to think about this being connected and the new relationships that are formed. I imagine I may have more on it at some later time but hey, let's hear what you think about it!
(Photo: Kathy Tomson)
Friday, February 24, 2012
I just saw this film tonight...it is a movie about US NAVY SEALS that uses real Active Duty US NAVY SEALS and actual live fire footage in the film. It is a dangerous world we live in and this film really hi-lights that fact.
It is an incredible movie, using a fictitious story but everything else about it is real. It is not gung-ho or blatantly over the top. I would say in is probably the most accurate war movie ever filmed.
I read Roger Ebert's review today which was positive overall but he claimed there really wasn't a plot...I couldn't disagree more. I thought it realistically followed a scenario much like the folks in real life would have to...in real time, bits and pieces. In real life you never get a a comprehensive view of how something looks, no stuff gets revealed as it happens and that is the way this film is shot.
I highly recommend seeing this to anyone...even if you consider yourself anti-war, seeing what these men have to deal with...knowing it's really going on in this world will at least put things in a realistic and proper perspective.
I knew that I would appreciate this film before I ever saw it based on the trailers but it was way better then I ever could have imagined...an awesome film!
Early Friday mornings usually find me on my way into town early to meet several men from my church for breakfast at 6:30a and book study/discussion.
I'm sorry but the domestic side of me today just makes me bust out laughing. Here I am getting ready to head into Coldwater, 20 minutes or so away to meet with a pastor and several church guys when just 6 years ago if someone even suggested I'd be doing such a thing I would think they'd lost their mind.
Sorry folks, I gotta run and yea, I wasted a blog post and a few minutes of your time this morning just to tell you how IRONIC...even CRAZY this new life of mine is.....oh yea, I left out amazing and WONDERFUL TOO!
God Bless You All and have a Happy FRIDAY!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I guess the most distressing part of the health and sleep stuff I have been going through of late is when I get in a mode where I can't stay awake, falling asleep at my computer keyboard or while eating a snack of cereal in the kitchen. And then on the other hand I cannot get a single wink of worthwhile sleep laying down or being propped up in bed. I'm totally useless and of course it gets worse the less sleep I get over time.
I think over all, the situation has improved some but at the same time it hasn't gone away. I have begun to consider other things I can do that may help. I really need to find a way to get some more exercise. Yet when K and I walked just a little bit this evening (around 10-15 minutes) around the small loop at the north end of the island...I was terribly winded and just didn't feel well.
It really could be a case where I have put on too much weight and it has just upset the physiology of my bodies makeup...that combined with the fact that I have awful eating habits has just set me too far back to fix it with out some major changes to my exercise routine and diet.
I'll admit that I have been in total denial that it could be my weight and diet. I have always been a skinny guy and could get away with eating what I wanted. The disability to my back and subsequent increasing immobility that can come with it has made it harder and harder for me to get any kin of regular exercise and it really shows.
So in addition to the increased weight gain, the lousy diet and such, I am getting into worse and worse habits all the way around with health. This has to change and it is not something I am good at, changing my routines. But I know I have to do it and I really need to find a way to get some of this weight off of me in a fairly quick turn around time.
I am really having issues with my swollen feet and I think losing the weight, eating healthy (possibly a change to vegetarian diet) might make a world of difference.
I know that is a lot easier said then done...especially for me who usually has a bowl of cereal and a bowl of ice cream before I settle in each night. Since I have had the stomach issues and surgery I do have some legitimate problems there and that is how I have gotten into the ice cream and cereal diet...because those two things sooth my stomach.
But I have to do something so we'll see. Kim and I talked about it earlier tonight and when we eat together we are going to try and really focus on healthier meals. I would like to get into juicing or blending and have a friend that does that but I cannot afford that kind of blender. It would be perfect for me and my stomach..perhaps there are some things I can do with a regular blender.
Anyway that is the big topic on my mind right now...eating healthier and getting much more exercise....stay tuned, it's gonna be interesting (if not interesting then certainly comical!!).
(Photo: Kathy Tomson)
I'm not exactly sure how I am going to go about approaching this next post. Earlier today I wrote a post called: "My Favorite Things" where I write about a few of the blogs that I read that really have impacted me in a powerful way. I mention 5 of them and after I finished writing the post it occurred to me that every single one of those blogs is authored by a woman.
Now I read quite a few blogs and there some good blogs written by guys but ultimately these are mostly my favorites (there are actually a couple of more: Spockgirl Musings and "Wife (Widow) Of A Wounded Marine"). Again woman are the authors I read the most.
At first I was baffled by this a bit then the answer really kind of hit me square in the face...Woman are much more open, honest and candid then men are. They have no problem telling it like it is...the good, the bad and the ugly.
I know some people might dispute this fact but for me and these blog authors that I regularly read it is most definitely the truth...hands down. It isn't even close.
That is the only real reason that I can come up with for being drawn to these blogs. They are also very hard hitting subjects...some are tragic and sad. Again...these are emotions and even though it is a stereo-type, allot of men avoid the emotional stuff. I know this for a fact with the men in my own life from my father and his father right on down the line.
Another thread that seems to run through most if not all of these blogs is that the author is in the process of overcoming tragedy or hardship or illness, etc. They are as much about perseverance and fighting for what's right then anything else. They are stories of LIFE and the inevitable search for TRUTH. Once again...all goals for Shell Shock Serenade....
I don't really intend for it to be a criticism of the guys either...it just is what it is. I read many posts by men, mostly sports related I'll admit. That seems to be a specialty among men bloggers... the subject they write about the most is sports which is just fine with me.
I think I prefer the female authors because I'm drawn by the more emotionally hard hitting posts probably 'cause they more closely resemble my own. I wonder if the reverse might be true because a majority of my regular followers are woman?
Anyway...I figured I'd post about the woman and give them their due...these are all professional quality authors...I'n not exaggerating and I would really miss them if they were gone.
We;;....until the next time!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I have been fortunate in my life to have known some incredibly gifted people...gifted in many different ways and aspects of life. Blogging has allowed me to daily interact with some incredibly interesting, smart and gifted people as well.
For those of you not really that familiar with blogging...the sky is the limit. A person can blog about anything and everything. They can be all written or nothing but photographs. They can be serious or silly, real or fake...again anything goes.
This blog that I write: Shell Shock Serenade is a daily account of a person who is living a life of recovery from alcohol and drugs. This person is also a rape survivor so that subject comes up frequently as do many other relevant topics in life like relationships, marriage, communication, honesty, etc.
As a result I tend to be drawn myself to other bloggers who write about their personal experience in an honest and open fashion. As I just mentioned I have come into contact with some pretty incredible folks since I have been blogging and as a result it got me thinking that perhaps some of you who don't read my blog list on the side of my blog not be aware of these people. And I think that is a shame.
As a result I want to share a few of these with you...
I am not going to go into great detail because I think the blog is worth taking the time to explore on your own. Plus I'm not sure each author would necessarily agree with my description, haha.
First off is Chris at CHAOS AND KAIROS. Chris writes about her life and relationships and I caution you...this is a brilliantly written and thought out blog and it is hard for me to even begin to describe all Chris is about. It's written anonymously (Chris is NOT her real name) and she is very candid (almost heart breakingly so) about the destruction of her 11 year marriage. Very intense...I never miss a post!
Another blog I've read from the beginning is Christine MacDonald which is also the name of the blog. She writes very honestly about her decade as a stripper beginning at age 19 in Hawaii where she was born and raised. It is a very candid blog about her life then and how it has affected her life today. She also speaks about a very terrible acne style skin condition which was very hard on her self-image and painful to treat and recover from. She long ago got out of the "business" and now lives in
Almost in a sad way, I will write about "Sunny" at Sunny Sings The Blues. This is an incredible blog about a young married woman who discovers her husband is having an affair and a week later, just as she is deciding to divorce him...he drops dead during a nightly jog.It ids a heartbreaking tale and incredibly well written. Unfortunately (and sadly) for us bloggers, Sunny (again not her real name) is writing a memoir about this event and is no longer active writing or contributing to this blog. I mean I'm thrilled she is writing the book and can't wait for it but I miss her blog! But it is well worth the read plus there are links to her other blogs that may interest some folks...
Next I'd like to mention The Crows Song a very interesting blog about human emotion and relationships. Basinah writes about her experience in relationships with men who have been in the active duty Canadian Military and the struggles with trust, love and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). A very honest and real look at one person's life and one heck of a special lady doing the writing....
Lastly...I want to mention Ashleigh Burrows at The Burrow. This was a blog that had been around quite awhile until fate intervened and really changed it.
Ashleighly (Not her name) was writing about her life as a retired person in Tucson, AZ, with her family and friends when she took a young neighbor girl to a local shopping mall to see her local congresswoman who was doing a meet and greet event. Her name was Gabrielle Giffords...
Yep, this was the event where a madman shot Congresswoman Giffords and killed and wounded a slew of other people. He wounded Ms. Burrows and killed her young neighbor friend Christina Green. All I am going to say here is that everyone on the planet should READ THIS BLOG. There is far too much to it for me to even try but you will be "touched" if you do...
And those are my suggestions for today...
(Photo: K. Tomson)