Looking Forward to taking my kids to Opening Night of this Movie

MovieStills_CoryBrand1My boys are aware of the effects alcoholism has on families. As middle schoolers they’re mature enough to understand the themes and relate to the recovery and redemption message of Home Run, which opens in theatres across America this weekend.

Supporters/sponsors of the film include Celebrate Recovery (a Christian-based excellent recovery program), Iron Sharpens Iron, Fathers.com, and the National Fatherhood Initiative.  Gotta love THAT.

I’m all about boys and baseball. And I’m all about responsible and modeling fatherhood.  And any Christian messages that are mixed in will be icing on the cake!  Can’t WAIT to see this.

Here is a teaser from the presser. I’ll review on Saturday, of course:

HOME RUN

Freedom is Possible

Baseball all-star Cory Brand knows what it takes to win in the big leagues. But off the field, with memories of his past haunting him, his life is spiraling out of control.

Hoping to save her client’s career and reputation after a DUI and a team suspension, Cory’s agent sends him back to the small town where he grew up. Forced to coach the local youth baseball team and spend eight weeks in the only recovery program in town, Cory can’t wait to return to his old life as quickly as possible.

As his young players help him experience the joy of the game, Cory discovers his need to find freedom from his past and hope for his future … and win back the love he left behind.  With this unexpected second chance, Cory finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.

Based on thousands of true stories, HOME RUN is a powerful reminder that with God, it’s never too late … because freedom is possible.

The Best Medicine

tumblr_mde4ncT1kk1qbzun1o1_500I have always been a big fan of modern medicine—maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing which implies the sciences are gifts to us from God’s grace, or maybe it’s just because I’m all about the quick fix to ease my aches and pains. I hold medical researchers, doctors and smart people in high regard.

If I’m completely truthful, I actually don’t hold the agnostic or atheistic researchers and doctors in high regard—those types think they are gods so I absolutely hope to steer clear of them. But the humble faith-filled smart doctor people have my complete affection and respect.

But today I experienced the most natural form of healing which involved no medicine, no research, no health studies, and no cardiovascular exercise: lunch with my mother.

I’m telling you, and I’ve said this before on my blog, that my mother is one of those people that lives her life the way the saints did: in self-sacrifice for the people God has entrusted to her and in complete obedience to Him and His will.

She would say, “Are you kidding me?”

And I would say, “No, I am not kidding, Mom. I want to be you…the same way I wish to be a saint but never will be.  You give me an ideal to strive for and you offer mercy and forgiveness before I even realize I miss the mark.”

I could write about how Mom goes to daily Mass, takes care of my father and mothered and continues to mother eleven children who never got hooked on drugs (ha ha ha why is that my standard, that none of us ever got hooked on drugs…ha ha ha).. and I could write about how when we were wealthy and then had hard times she went immediately to work to make ends meet; how she loves and forgives and loves and respects and loves and loves and loves her husband.  This is huge; because marriage is really hard.  Especially for me, lately.

I could tell you all that, but instead I’ll just talk about my lunch with my Mom today, which will give you an example of how to be a mother:

Me: Mom I’ve been in such a funk lately.

Mom: I know darling–you haven’t written any blog posts in almost two weeks and I miss them.

Me: I know. I’m a little worried after sending out all these resumes at the beach that some of my future employers might read my blog so I don’t know what to write anymore.  What if they read what I write and think I would make an awful employee?

Mom: Yes, maybe. But does it matter?

Me: No, it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t want to work for anyone long term who didn’t get it.  And Husband and I are like friends passing in the hallway.  After 15 years of marriage I don’t think he likes me.

Mom: Sure he does darling.

Me: And he does this and this and this.

Mom: Yes

Me: And this and this and THIS. And he did THIS!

Mom: Yes.

Me: And here I am 43 years old. And I have everything I ever wanted: marriage, children, family, house, blah blah.

Mom: Yes. (she holds my hand.)

Me: So how are the rest of the siblings?

And then my mom updates me on everyone… All of my ten siblings, what’s new and what every one is up to.

And then I take it back to me.

Me: So I don’t know. I’m just all crabby lately.

And she says, “We have to have lunch at least once a week.”

And I say yes, yes, we do.

And we will.

Because I need her. Because my mom doesn’t judge or try to control me. My mom doesn’t get focused on petty stupid things and she doesn’t engage in gossip. My mom doesn’t like to go shopping (I really hate to “go shopping,” like it’s some sort of special event) and she doesn’t use passive aggressive tactics to manipulate me.  She just LOVES ME.  And she loves her other ten children just as unconditionally.

Like God. None of us says she loves one more than the other. No favorites. Unconditional love available for eternity for all of us.  Just like God.  So that’s where I’ve learned my concept of God, from my mother.

And my mom is my medicine.

Money Isn’t Everything

newspaperThe family and I are heading to the beach today. It’s spring break and we are looking forward to getting in some fishing, strolling, seafood and hang-time.

Also, I have an interview down there!  An interview for Editor of a small town newspaper!  The pay is about of third of what I’m used to making in my sales jobs; and it’s so funny because I don’t even care. Money isn’t everything. And we’ve learned over these last two years how to live small.

There is so much freedom to living small.  We don’t have to be stressed to make ends meet in order to keep up with a big house and big life. We are more free to do the things we’re called to do, even if they barely pay enough to put gas in the car. ha ha.

I’m exaggerating (but just a little) because the pay isn’t that bad; but actually it is pretty bad ha ha ha!

We’ve been wanting to move to the beach for a long time and the boys are begging me to get the job so we can actually do it this time.  Why not? I tossed and turned all night with angst-filled dreams and I’m not going to read too much into them.  I prayed this morning for God to give me/us peace, His peace, if this is His will.

The job itself sounds fantastic!  Managing a very small news room and being the “face” of the town representing the paper.  Getting involved in the community and interacting with the residents, joining networking associations, etc…  I would love it. Also, cooperating with the Publisher to increase subscribers and achieve budgets.  I’ve always loved local news…obituaries, crime, traffic, church news, school stories, local business news.

I stalked the paper a little bit via Google and discovered they just hired an editor in February; so I’m not sure why they would be hiring for the same position again?

I hope they have good AA meetings down there.

Dear God, please give me your peace about all this. And if it is your will and my family and I can make a difference in the lives of others down there then so be it. If not, then not.

I’ve got to go pack!  Happy Easter Monday!

Home Runs, PMS and Career Transition in Sobriety

READER WARNING: this post makes no sense and is long and rambling–so you can probably skip it.

Yesterday was I guess what I would call a “bad” day. I put that into quotations because in all honesty it wasn’t that bad. But it was tinged with an emotional state which made it nearly impossible for me to appreciate the beautifulness of it all.

pms4Skip this post if you believe PMS is a crutch that women use to justify all kinds of behavior and emotions. A lot of people get uncomfortable when someone blames PMS for things. Not me. Because PMS is so real. I’m wicked in touch with my body/mind/soul connection and for the few days a month when my hormones are acting up there really is not much I can do other than turn the whole day over to God. When I am in the throws of hormonal imbalance, I am 100% aware of the fact I am not in control. And so I put it all into an imaginary box with a pink ribbon and hand my little day over to God saying, “Here you go.  I can’t makes things work today. You take it.”

Yesterday was this kind of day.  I was so weepy all day. I worked a few hours on site for a client–well, not really a client but a marketer who sub-contracts with me to do social media for her clients—who then took me out to lunch. Because of my herniated disc issue in my back, sitting for extended periods of time really starts to hurt. So, I was in physical discomfort. Plus, she was asking me questions about my goals for my business and career. Since I’m in a mid-life thing with that aspect of my life, I did what I always do to dodge serious things; and I just talk, talk, talk about everything and nothing until the time runs out and it’s time to go.

pms2So, after I left lunch, I sat in my car and cried.  I felt so unsettled and useless.  I don’t know what I want to do with my life. My whole career was in sales but that was an accident—I do not have the salesperson personality but I unfortunately am still pretty good at it.  So, I’d sell, win the awards, bust past my quota, and then go home and cry.

I’m in the process, over the last 12 months, of transitioning from sales to marketing. I love marketing—there is so much  writing involved in marketing. And a lot of the persuasiveness of marketing is through the written word: social media, blogging, twitter, press releases, special event planning, content development.  Love this stuff!  And right up my alley.

But I suffer the confidence factor—who would want to hire me?  My clients–who have come through referrals, connections with friends– over the last year have raved about my work. And I’ve been able to get prime media coverage for some pretty obscure local businesses, which I am excited about; but I still lack the confidence to go out and try to get more clients.

I stick to local entrepreneurs–those that normally wouldn’t do the “background” check on me. With rehab and a DUI on my record I usually don’t apply for corporate gigs. With bigger resources and departments, they will probably Google me, find out I’ve got all sorts of baggage. I’m not proud of my baggage.

pms3I think most people have baggage but not the public kind. Maybe they were in a bad relationship and overcame it. Maybe they had Cancer and recovered. Maybe they grew up in a broken home. That’s a different kind of baggage.  Mine is public record.  And then here I am adding more publicity to my baggage by blogging about it all!  What is up with that?

I guess I’m trying to face my fear and in the process of sharing my story, hopefully help others.  In doing so, I have to let the insecurity over my baggage go.  I have to wrap it up in a box and a bow and give it to God. He can do with my baggage what He thinks is most useful to His plan.

Back to PMS. After lunch with my client/contractor  I had a doctor appointment for my back–an evaluation which is the pre-appointment to getting the shot that will help ease the nerve pain. I drove up and down McGinnis Ferry Road looking for this Emory Johns Creek Hospital and couldn’t find it. I used GPS, which never helps me because I can’t determine which way is East and which way is South. So when it tells me, “Go East on blah blah blah and then turn Left, I usually guess– and guess wrong–and end up on the other side of town looking for a road out West that was actually East.

So, I cried.  Sobbed. I’m driving and cryin’ (which happens to be the name of one of my favorite bands from my college days in Athens, Georgia: Drivin and Cryin’). And, I called Husband, in tears,

“I can’t find it!”

In the middle of a hard deadline and client pressure at work, he doesn’t have time for this, but he can tell I’m upset, “What can’t you find?”

“The doctor’s office.” sob, sob

“Can you call them?”

“Yes. Ok, I will call them.” sob, sob

“Ok, baby.”

“Ok, bye (sobs).”  And I hang up.

So I pull over, Google the office number and call–apparently I had gone too far down McGinnis Ferry and had to backtrack. Finally I found it, parked and had to walk what in my emotional state felt like “100 miles” to the front entrance–I called my husband, still sobbing, “I found it. But it’s so far and my back is really killing me. And, and, and..”

And he again stops what he’s doing and tells me everything will be okay.  So, I say okay and good-bye again.

After waiting over (more sitting) an hour I finally got called in; and the doctor did all the doctor things–I said, “I’m sorry I’m just so weepy today…tears welling up in my eyes.”  And she told me it was okay. And we scheduled the appointment for the shot for next Friday.

The doctor seemed generally relieved I wasn’t there to ask for pain medicine—I don’t do narcotics, obviously. But I get the impression all these back pain doctors get a lot of folks shopping for opiates–she seemed genuinely surprised I didn’t need pain medicine. I just wanted the appointment to get the shot that would make this pain go away.

Sob, sob, sob…  purchase a pack of cigarettes–and I had quit for 2013 New Years resolutions— and they actually did help. That nicotine buzz helped, I’m embarrassed to say—yes more baggage-I smoke! Sob, sob. Good, well-adjusted people don’t smoke, sob, sob…

homerun benI got home, just in time to meet the kids from carpool, and called my sister. The one that always knows just the right Catholic, God thing to say. Sob, sob.

I took Ben to his baseball game and FINALLY I began to feel normal again. In this hormone thing, we/I can get so caught up inside myself. And the baseball game took me out of myself.  My brother-in-law  came  to watch Ben play, and I was so touched by this.  On a Friday night he came all the way out to Macedonia to watch my son play baseball for 2 hours.  Of my five brother-in-laws, he definitely gets the Brother-in-Law of the Month award.  And talking with him helped take me out of myself.

And then Ben hit is first home run!!!!! He was so proud, head held so high, that humble smile on his face, that lift in his step afterwards and all the high-fives from his teammates. He even got a skinned knee sliding into home which made it even more exciting! I was so thrilled for him. What a feeling to hit a home run for a 12-year-old boy!  And I was there to see it. And he got the game ball afterwards!

And I was sober and present and grateful to God that I didn’t have a thermos filled with beer in my hands. I was fully present and that enabled the joy. So yay!  And I was grateful that my PMS would soon pass, as it always does each month. It’s so annoying, but it does humble me. At least once a month I am able to see my powerlessness and turn it over to God. I am so powerless over PMS.

Anyways, sorry for my guy followers — you can send your prayers to Husband who has to bear with me every month.

Make it a great day!

Dear God

deargod insecureDear God,

Hi. Good morning. Just thinking about things, up before everyone else in the house. I love this time of the day,the early morning with my coffee and my runaway dog Gypsy.

I’m a little conflicted as you know, God, about this blogging thing. I told you in the beginning when you and I decided it was okay and time for me to go “public” with my alcoholism and this blog that it was a risk because of my scruples. After a couple of years of just writing for myself and you, I have since early January been writing for a third person now. I have the reader in mind. I edit what I write. I re-word things that might sound controversial or stupid.

I told you I was worried this would happen, that I would care too much how or even if I’m perceived by others. You know this is one of my faults. Sometimes I call it vanity. But still you encouraged me to do this.  Why?  I’ve lost my time with you in the mornings. I’ve lost the intimacy you and I shared. My mornings used to be 45 minutes of sitting in my prayer chair, reading, praying, listening to you.

Now the first thing I do in the morning—well, I do make myself say the Rosary before I get out of bed, but it’s rushed and I can’t wait to finish it in order to get up for coffee and to check my blog.  Did anybody read what I wrote yesterday? Comment? Do I have a new follower overnight? Where did my traffic come from? What search words do strangers use to find my blog? How interesting it all is to me!  And although this information shows me that you and I are on the right track with this, I don’t like how my focus has shifted from you to me.

I just wanted to talk about this blogging thing, this public alcoholism I’m engaged in. What about all the people in my life, my professional life and my Facebook/personal life—my Facebook life is filled with people I’ve met along the way all the way back to elementary school!  What will they think if they find out I’m an alcoholic?  My blog posts are showing up in SEO, in Google.

What about those girls from high school and college, you know the perfect ones?  What will they think of me?  What about my sister, the one who is more private than I am.

You know, that’s the thing that’s bothering me the most right now.  The sister who may not be comfortable with me being publicly alcoholic.  I try to summon up the courage to not worry about this but it does make me question myself and your plan for me.  Maybe I should just be a quiet, non-wave-maker, mother and wife. I have that scruples thing, not all the time and not with everybody but with some people. But the love is there. Definitely the love is there

Should I be sharing these personal things about my life?  Shouldn’t I be more careful about what I put “out there” on the internet?  Why am I even doing this blog? It’s not like I’m blogging about arts and crafts, cooking, motherhood, something respectable. I’m blogging about alcoholism and how it has affected me and my family.  Maybe I should be more private about things, especially these things?

Even though I’m INFP on the Myers Briggs personality thing, I do have a way about me that sort of barrels through life. I don’t take  precautions, and I usually just go for it, do things. I’ve always been this way. I’m always like, “Okay, sure. Let’s do it.”  I was a gymnast and a diver in my youth, and I’ve always had a lot of courage–or maybe some would call me a “risk-taker,” which is actually one of the qualities the experts say is evident in every alcoholic.  A risk-taker. My coach would show me a difficult thing in the gymnastics book and I would say sure, I’ll try it.  So I guess my point here is how does me doing this blog affect the people I love? Am I being selfish here, risking more than just my own reputation? By having this blog am I hurting the reputation of those I love, too? Will my children be embarrassed one day when they’re old enough to know the difference?

Anyways, I”m not making ANY sense. I sound like such a victim here which is not how I feel at all.  Just wanted you to know that part of my fear and reservation about going public with my alcoholism and this blog. All of this could be in my head.  All of this, I suppose unfortunately IS in my head. ugh.

Back to you.

Dear God, I’m just asking you this morning two things. Well, of course the normal things like bless and take care of Husband and the children, my parents, Husband’s parents and all of my siblings and their families. Of course that.  But the two things I’m asking for in addition to the regular things are:

1. Bring me back to you in my mornings. I am loving blogging and writing, but I think of Wormwood in the Screwtape Letters, how satan is a master manipulator and uses the things we love to separate us from you. So help me give my mornings back to you, in my prayer chair, with my journal and my Lectio Divina, my Magnificat subscription, My Daily Bread book…  I want to be with you in the mornings again.

2. Release me from my attachment to pleasing anyone but you. Help me not worry about what I think people think of me.  I’m not the kind of person anymore that worries about what everybody thinks—but I guess I do still worry too much about what “certain” people think.  So, can you release me from that?

3. oh and three. I know I said it was just two. But three, can you reveal what it is exactly you want me to do with this blog?  It’s all for you, you know?

Love, Regina

Discovering the Ten Evangelical Virtues of Mary

10 evangelica virtues of mary

According to Pope Benedict XVI, with God’s help, the evangelical virtues forge character. What are the evangelical virtues?

I first discovered the them when reading about one  of my favorite saints, Teresa of Avila. I googled the term “evangelical virtues,” and there was very little information out there. However, in a transcript on Vatican Radio,  Pope Benedict XVI mentions Teresa’s intense program of the contemplative life...which at its heart were the evangelical virtues and prayer.”

In this year of faith, efforts to increase in these virtues is a worthy exercise. We are called to evangelize in a variety of vocations, as a mother, a daughter, a sister, an employee, a wife. Modeling our behavior on the Blessed Virgin is an excellent way to bring others to Christ.  Who more than Mary has brought more of us to her son?  How does Mary evangelize?

 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…1Peter 3:15

These ten evangelical virtues are derived from a combination of the human, moral, cardinal and theological virtues, described to us in the Catechism. They are actually qualities of Mary, the Mother of God who by her example is the epitome of evangelization.

The Ten Evangelical Virtues of Mary is a wonderful synopsis of Mary’s character:

1. Chastity (Mt 1:18, 20, 23; Lk 1:24,34)
2. Prudence  (Lk 2:19; 51)
3. Humility (Lk 1 :48)
4. Faith ( Lk 1:45; Jn 2:5)
5. Devotion  (Lk 1:46-47; Acts 1:14)
6. Obedience (Lk 1:38; 2:21-22; 27)
7. Poverty (Lk 2:7)
8. Patience  (Jn 19:25)
9. Mercy (Lk 1:39, 56)
10. Sorrow (Lk 2:35)

We notice in this list, there is no mention of being obnoxious when we evangelize others.  Quite the contrary, evangelical Catholics are to remain humble, be patient, prudent. Evangelizing to others is as simple as happily proclaiming our love and support for the Faith and the church. This is sometimes tough for cradle Catholics who grew up thinking “evangelism” was a sales tactic, associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Fundamentalist Christians.

The Catechism tells us, “A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do good. It allows us not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of ourselves.”

As Catholic mothers, we’re called to instill these virtues first in our children.  We don’t keep our love of the Faith to ourselves. We bring it into everyday activities.  We direct our focus into our own homes, become evangelizers in the midst of our work, the laundry, the dishes, diaper changes, the cooking, carpool, the cleaning and paying bills, our marriage. By pro-actively instilling these virtues in ourselves and in our children, we develop the character of Mary, rather than the character of the world—isn’t that our objective?

“It is far from easy to sum up in a few words Saint Teresa’s profound and articulate spirituality. In the first place St Teresa proposes the evangelical virtues as the basis of all Christian and human life.” Pope Benedict XVI

On the ceiling of the 18th century Marian Church of Gozlin, Poland, there is a ten-pointed star symbolizing Mary’s evangelical virtues dear to the Marians. Mary’s virtues are like the rays of a star enlightening our path and inspiring our behavior.

One way to integrate these virtues into your life is by praying the Chaplet to the Ten Evangelical Virtues of Mary.  Let’s get started.