Category Archives: GRATITUDE

T.B.T. #10

THROW.BACK.THURSDAY. #10

2 years’n a week ago I made my first post on this blog. As I’ve read and re-read it this week, I continue to be amazed at what God can do.

One of the treasures I find in this writer thingy I’ve been doing is the ability it gives me to remember. (The older I get, the more important it… but I digress…)

It’s been almost 7 years since my “Heart Attack.” It wasn’t a 911 occasion, but it changed me. U can read about that here.

The process continues. Usually in spite of me, although the path has fewer twists, turns, ups and downs.

For that I am grateful.

Here’s that first post:

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2013/07/22/it-really-is-just-that-simple/

WEDNESDAY MORNING MENTATIONS

  Today’s FB post: Blog Version

     Been up since 5:45. Why? I have absolutely no idea. When I was working, I’d wake up’n get up “with barely enough time to get there.” Now that I could sleep till noon…, here I am, bright-eyed’n rarin’ to go! …well, I’m up!!

It’s a thoughtful morning. Quiet. The twin stormz are still asleep! There’s a cool breeze blowing through the open window onto my (bald) head. Hopefully, the breeze is blowing away the heat for the day. I’m wrapped in a blanket sitting in my morning chair. I’m listening to Kenny G. play the sax. The birds are chirping (’cause the feeders are empty) Life is good. (except for the birds) God Loves me, my wife likes me, and I’m content to be me.  

It hasn’t always been like this:

Somehow, for most of my life, “I” was not OK. With me. 

      But – I’ve stopped trying to figure out how/why that happened. I’ve stopped blaming the people I thought had a part in making me that way. I’ve stopped trying to be who and what I thought others wanted me to be. I’ve stopped comparing (as much) my faults with the strengths I see in others. (D’ya know U always lose?) I’ve stopped trying to get God to love me – more! (He already does) and… His Son’n I are BFFs

     It’s been a journey, into some deep valleys, in which I found myself standing at the edge of a cliff, and to majestic mountain tops. (Why can’t I stay here all the time?) But I’m finally walking a level(er) path. (most days)

For Today, Just For Today, I’m content to be who and where I am!

But! I’m still on my journey! And will be – for the rest of my life. There will still be ups’n downs. ‘n That’s OK! That’s life! 

  4YEARS

July 5, 2011 – 4 years ago today was my first day without a drink “in a while.” Boy, THATs a l.o.n.g story cut short! 4 years ago tomorrow was my first ever AA mtg.

Stayed dry 90+ days. Went to 80+ meetings. Then, my wife’n I went on a 3 day anniversary trip. The resort left us a bottle of wine. Yep, I did! ’cause, ya’see, I came to AA to learn how to stop drinking… SO MUCH! So – it was easy to say – “I think I’ve learned how…”

4 months later, when I came back to AA, I KNEW I was/am powerless over alcohol. In my relapse, I learned my lesson. That was 1,227 days ago – 40.32 months for those of us who might be numbers challenged!

I now know – I’m not totally powerless…  I have the power to make the choice to NOT.TAKE.THAT.FIRST.ONE!!

After the first one, I PROBABLY won’t have a choice. At least, that’s been my pattern. THAT makes me powerless. I must know and stay within the limits of my power

I’ve already made the decision – SO I DON’T!! Take that first one! ’cause the next one (no matter how much later) is the second, and the next is the third. And then, I’ll lose count… Again. And then, I’ll lose… things, people, respect, Love… That price is too high! The real price of alcohol (for me) is MUCH more than the price on the shelf.

That’s what I learned in relapse. Am I a Real alcoholic? I don’t know! I always thought a “Real Alcoholic” lived in the gutter. That certainly was never me. (yet) BUT I do know I am powerless over my addiction. And that’s all I need to know.

And for that, I am GRATEFUL!

THE L.O.N.G VIEW

 What if today’s difficulty is the one U look back upon
in 6months, 2years, 5years and recognize it as

THE M.O.M.E.N.T

that changed Ur life for the better?
The one God used to make U
Just a little bit more like Him?

We don’t get better(or worse) in one giant leap.
It’s baby step by baby step, repeated daily.

 When we recognize God using our past for His Glory,
it changes forever how we see our PAST
it changes forever how we see our FUTURE
it changes how we see OTHERS
BUT – most of all, it changes FOREVER how we see GOD

This post was originally shared on January 14, 2014. (revised)

I shared this thought with “my Teen Challenge ‘Boys'” on Tuesday. Then I asked them about a “moment” in their lives that God is using to change them. 

I won’t share details, but there were tears, laughter, gratitude, heartbreak, regret, resolve, prayer, even joy. 

Most of the moments that change me are not earth-shattering. THE Moment was, and U can read about that here.

God is now able to use softer, gentler nudges to alter my path. (most days) He’s taught me, I’m discovering – He REALLY DOES care about me. and You!!… 

In the words of Steve  Brown, “God ain’t mad at me! (‘nU)”

#TeenChallengeTuesday@N.L.C.  –  My favorite day of the week!

  

SOBRIETY – Event? or Process?

One of the Greatest Bondages you will ever be in is that of pretending to be something or somebody that you are not

I spent 50 years like that

Freedom from that bondage is a Journey, a Process of discovering who you really are and learning to live that person’s life

I took my last drink 40 months ago today. But the Process of Sobriety will continue for as long as I have feet on this planet

SATURDAY GRATITUDES #4

IT HAPPENED AGAIN!

I’ve been up – in my morning chair since 4 AM. “Really Lord can’t we do this at another time instead of this ungodly hour?” Oh, wait…

Some six years ago in the first year of this journey God has been taking me on, my Bible developed the habit of falling open at Jeremiah 18:4.

“…but the pot he was shaping was marred in his hand. So the potter
formed it into another pot, shaping it as seems best to him
.

potter at work1

THIS MORNING IT HAPPENED AGAIN! it’s now about 6:15. I’ve had coffee, checked FB, sent a ThkQ to Jon for his help yesterday, snuggled with Logan, and wrote a blog post. (for another day) Then I dozed for a few minutes!

Logan stole my iPhone and took it to his bedroom so I pulled my Bible out of its slot and it opened to…. Sure’nough, Jeremiah 18:4

6 years ago, this verse was a promise of what God was doing in and for me. Today I see it as a fulfillment of that process. For the past 6 1/2 years, He’s been shaping me into a vessel suitable for His purpose.

Lest I come across as arrogant, let me assure you that for most of this journey, I’ve been dragged by Him, kicking and screaming all the way. AA has a phrase that applies here – “looking for a softer more gentle way.” I don’t want the rough road. I prefer the peaceful path through the meadow. I don’t like the 2×4 whops to the ego. I like the gentle nudges, the velvet covered slaps to the back of my head.

But HE knows what works best in me. He has been RELENTLESSLY FAITHFUL to do for me that which HE knows is for my ultimate best and for His purpose.

AND FOR THAT, ON THIS EARLY SATURDAY MORNING,
I AM GRATEFUL

What about you? RU in process? Do you long to lay down beside the quiet stream and rest for a while? RU instead feeling the knife of the Master Physician cutting deep? RU in recovery from past wounds? Have U begun to recognize the shape of the vessel He has been forming in U? Yesterday? Last week? Last months? RU getting a glimpse of his purpose in you? Please share with us.

My dream and vision for this blog is for it to be a “digital-small-group” recovery meeting room. THAT can only happen if U share.

WE ARE HERE TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER – NOT FIX EACH OTHER
(Celebrate Recovery small group guideline#3)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future
Jerimiah 29:11(NIV)

planforU2

SATURDAY GRATITUDEs 3

U can read part 1 HERE
U can read part 2 HERE

DID I GET GRATEFUL BECAUSE THINGS (PEOPLE) CHANGED OR
DID THINGS (PEOPLE) CHANGE BECAUSE I GOT GRATEFUL?

Hi! My name is JIM. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus. I am finding victories
over codependency and compulsive people-pleasing
.”

THAT is how I usually introduce myself at our Monday night Celebrate Recovery meetings. I sometimes change it to “…a life-long believer who came to Celebrate Recovery and learned to be grateful.”

Probably one of the first truly important lessons I learned in CR was that I could, AND NEEDED, to say “NO!” I had found myself saying “YES” when I really wanted to say “NO”, and failing to follow through on most of my “YES”s. I found myself overwhelmed with people, activities, promises and commitments.

GRATEFUL??? I was angry, weary, and lonely. GOD was just another One who I felt kept demanding me to be something other than what I could be.

My journey from that place of darkness into the light(ness) of GRATITUDE began because I finally had to stop trying to be everybody’s hero. I was asked to lead a CR group. I said NO.(nicely) I was asked to teach a lesson. I said NO.(nicer) I said NO and the world continued to spin!! But something important was happening inside of me.

I began to find out what “I” wanted to be and do , instead of what everybody else expected of me. I became more content with me. I began to find “ME”  I became more GRATEFUL. I began to discover who GOD had made me to be.

The GRATITUDE I live with more and more with each passing day has been an inner work. That PEACE I have with ME has changed the relationship I have with people, places and things. And with GOD.

As I learned to say “NO“, I discovered that when I DID say “YES“, I was able to do so with more enthusiasm and intention to follow through.

OK, I guess I said all that to say this… People changed because I changed. Things in my life changed because I changed. I changed because GOD kicked me broken into a deep dark pit and then reached in and rescued me. For that I will be eternally grateful!

*PROCESS*
Never Perfection
But Always
*PROGRESS*

#18/21 day challenge

AMMESTY / GRACE

I WAS DOING IT!!!
It was going so well.
Until yesterday
Then I blew it
[:<{
#NowWhat?

Let’s see – What are my choices?

1) “Oh Well, I didn’t really think I’d make it to the end, anyway”
2) “OhNo! I blew it. I feel so stupid!! Why did I even try!”
3) “Boy, I’m glad I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. Now I can just go on like nothing happened. I hope nobody finds out. Oh, wait – my wife knows, so I can’t just cover it up – but she loves me, so it doesn’t really matter”
4) “Well, I guess I learned something, I’ll just have to try harder next time”
5) “My brother’n his wife came to town and we had lunch with them so I ran out of time. No wonder I didn’t get a chance to make a post!!
6) “Awh, it’s not that big-a-deal, who cares”
7) “I should have committed myself to just 7 days. Or 14. Hey, I did make it to 14, I’ll just tell everybody that was the plan all along”

OKI!! OK!! I HEAR YOU… WHAT DID I DO THAT WAS SO BAD???!?

If U’ve been reading my last few posts, U might have noticed the “#15/21 day challenge” at the bottom of the page. Some 3 weeks ago, pastor Doug of New Life Church in Alamo, Ca challenged us to a fast. It was our choice to do a 7 day, 14 day, or 21 day challenge. We could also choose what to fast – either a meal per day, a certain type of food, or a digital fast of some sort. iPhone, iPad, Facebook, Twitter. After about a week of thought I decided to challenge myself to post on my blog for 21 days in a row.

I was doing great! UNTIL YESTERDAY!! I MISSED THE DAY!! yeah, yeah –  I hear you – you’re saying:

Oh is that all?”

 SONOW WHAT??? Excuses?? Blaming?? Lower the expectations?? Try again? Harder?? Just give up?? Start over again – from the beginning?? I think there’s something deeper, more important, crucial even, that I need to see in this.

It was discovered recently that some of the students in a classroom were doing things that they shouldn’t be. It was discovered when one of them was caught.

His response was “But what about the others?” And he began to name names.

So the announcement was made to the class. “If you confess you will be offered AMNESTY.” Some came forward – some did not. Those who did received GRACE. Those who did not were or will be disciplined.

So Now – the important Q! The main point of this post –

WHAT DOES MY CONFESSION HAVE TO DO WITH GOD’S GRACE??

 
1) GRACE is a gift. It cannot be earned, but it must be accepted, each time
2) CONFESSION of my faults is primarily for MY benefit, not God’s
3) CONSEQUENCES for my actions are intended to discipline me, not to punish me
4) CONFESSION changes the consequences into a lesson
5) CONFESSION clears the record and allows the training to move forward to the next step
6) (RIGOROUS) HONESTY really IS the best policy!!
7) If I had not missed a day, I would not know this part of GRACE

OK, I missed a day. I confess. No excuses, no explanations, no blaming. I’ll just start again – from where I failed, not from the beginning. I won’t try harder, I’ll just take the next step.

When I post this, I will place “#16/21 day challenge” at the bottom of the page
AND BE THANKFUL FOR HIS GRACE.
IT REALLY IS AMAZING

#16/21 day challenge

God’nSmallThings

We can see God continually working in our lives if we don’t focus on just the big things

I learned the most about the Relentless Faithfulness of God not only by finding Him in the dark times, but also when I took the little things to Him. The things about which I would say:

“This is too minor to bother God with, I’ll just handle it without him.”

But I’ve learned – and continue to learn – to trust Him with the seemingly insignificant things I encounter. Then when the BIG things come, andtheyALWAYSdo, He’n I already have a track record.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
(‭1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭7‬ NLT)

#17/21 day challenge