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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Honey do's!

This weekend has been a weekend of honey do's. Most husbands know what that is all about. We've been so busy since getting back from California that and it has just been so hot! For me, it started on Friday afternoon. I got done with a job at 1:00pm. My boss looked at me and said, take the truck back to the ranch, clean out the back and go home, have a good weekend. Boy was I excited! I got back to the ranch, did what I needed to and headed back to home. Home. Ginger had been working overtime all week, so she wouldn't be home till 5:30. And I had an idea. It started simple enough, cleaning the floors. I figured I'd do what I could so she didn't have to this weekend, give her a relaxing weekend. Well, I began doing the floors, cleaning rooms, finally got my studio in order, began doing laundry, rearranged the kitchen so I'd have more work space, and soon enough I'd not only cleaned the house and done the laundry, but had a list of things for me to do for the weekend. There were burned out lights that needed to be replaced, a lock that needed to be fixed on an inside door, a paper towel holder to put up, normal stuff. I'd been working on Saturday's, so this was my first Saturday off in a while. Don't get me wrong, I called another guy to see if he needed help this weekend, no answer or return call which I must confess I was happy. So Saturday, I went out and got the materials I needed for my honey do's, went to walmart and stocked up our frig, got some kitchen utensil's we needed, etc.
I should mention I got a big kiss Friday when Ginger got home! And I took her out to eat! Anyway, while I went and did my Saturday shopping, Ginger got to sleep in, then go and work out, she did clean the bathroom (that is her job, I'm not allowed to touch that job), and basically have a day to herself. She went and got a pedicure and then I cooked her new favorite, orange chicken and made fried rice for the first time. Needless to say, I was busy. I looked up some new recipes to try (I'm gonna make a homeade chicken pot pie) and got my drafting table ready to draw again. I have, for some reason, trouble drawing in the summer. But with a touch of fall having dropped upon us for a few days (the heat is back), it was time to knock the dust off the drawing pencils, stumps, and erasers, and get back to what I love doing. I feel the urge to draw, it comes like that. A restless feeling. As if my mind is back in that mode of thinking again. I look at pictures or at nature and I begin to see the lines, and tones, the shadow and light, and I know that it is time to start. That and I have my first commission in a long time to do. God knew when I'd be ready. I'm getting the music ready that I'll be listening to as I draw (Mom sent me bunches of Enya to listen to!) and everything is in it's proper order. The only thing left to get is my drawing lamp. I put mine on Ginger's make up table so she could see. I'd love to get some new shelves and there is a new table I've got my eye on, but that will come in time. I'm not complaining, I love my studio, a working man's studio. Each piece I can tell you where it came from and how God provided. From the overflowing shelf with all my fantasy books (Warhammer baby!) to the white shelf I resurrected from the dead with all my supplies on it. My table has been fixed a couple of times, and my dark pink chair is still the most comfortable chair in the world! My favorite part of the studio, my pictures of Ginger and our honeymoon all over. I can't wait for that first all day rain where I can open the shades up and feel the ambience some flooding into the room.

Which leads me to waking up this morning. I know I talk a lot about how we love our apartment. It is home. And I talk about it because we are so thankful. When we walked in from being gone a couple of days at California I noticed something. The smell. The smell of home. It shot me straight back to walking into my parent's house. It is a scent of love, of caring. I can't explain it, you just have to smell it, but I'll say that this is the first place beyond family's house that I've smelt that smell in a place I've stayed in. Ginger woke this morning to the smell of bacon in the apartment. She came in, sleepy eyed, said she loved the smell, and I looked at my lovely wife with thankfulness. If you come to the apartment you'll see picture's of happiness. Whether my drawings or pictures we've taken, you'll see that there is alot of love. I think the apartment senses it. She was neglected for years. I've seen the pictures! Flamingo pink walls and such, she was in an awful state till someone showed her some love. Now, she seems to voice her approval. As I did my honey do's I'm sure she was appreciative of the attention. The things you will do for the one's or the things you love. I did those things for Ginger because I was thankful for her. She is such a wonderful wife, a wonderful keeper of the house, she deserves weekends like this. And best of all, she was excited to watch the Cowboy's play! And just like my Mom, in the middle of the 3rd quarter, she fell asleep. Good times. I don't know if Mom still falls asleep during games, but I had to laugh at the memories of her being on the couch, she'd fall asleep and the game would get good!

So as I looked at the pictures and drawings this morning, as I looked around at the apartment, I realized what makes the difference between a place you live and home, it's love. This is our safe place, our sanctuary, and God willing, this will be our home for a very long time. Many memories are being made here and many more will be made. So if I have one thing to say to ya'll today it's look around today and see what you are thankful about, and thank God who provided it.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Defining myself

Are you part of a cookie cutter mold or do you stand out? Do you follow the norm or do you have an individualistic flair that defines you? Are you transparent or do you follow the crowd? Do you have an image that you project or are you real and sometimes vulnerable?

When I got sober I had to define who I was. For so long I was what everyone wanted me to be. I saught approval, from my parents, from ministry, from everyone that I looked up to. I had hard times making decisions on my own, not that counsel is wrong but I would ask for counsel to make the decision based upon what they wanted. I was a people pleaser, I couldn't say no, and I had a performance mentality, that was how I got my attention. For those that don't know, much of that is the classical symptoms of codependency. I was a chameleon. I was a shell and you could make me who you wanted me to be. Instead of letting God mold the clay, I let everyone else. Seether sings an edgy song called "Fake It". That was me.

So who am I? I am an artist with an eye for detail. I find solace in the process of drawing in pencil and making a blank piece of paper come alive. Every drawing I do I leave a piece of me with it. I'm an avid photographer which I got into to be able to take pictures to draw. I'm an introvert and I deal with self confidence issues. I have trouble not trying to seek reassurance, but I'm getting better. I am a child of God. I love God and my faith is a huge part of my life. I tend to let my life do the talking for me because, wrong or not, I've found words are alot of times cheap in the places I've been. The only words that I find absolutely true are the Word of God, which is infallible. I still love a good heavy metal song now and then and if Ginger is out with her friends you'll find me in my studio with my air guitar (or with my headphones right now listening to Seether's Remedy). Ginger will tell you I'm a wonderful counselor and that I need to pursue the profession. I'm a very hard worker and love working outdoors. Even though it get's to be 110, I find myself enjoying what I do. I have a beautiful, wonderful wife and she is my other half, my missing rib, and I thank God every day that I've got her for my wife. If you were to offer me a million dollars or her, I'd pick her everytime. She is worth much more than that. I am codependent in recovery, but it is a daily process for me. Every time I think I've made it past it, I find something else I need to work on related to it. I take solace in knowing that someone very dear to me who is also codependent struggles too (but she is getting better!). She knows who she is.... I love science fiction books, and I love Warhammer and Warhammer 40000 novels, especially about Witch Hunters, the Inquistior's, and vampires. My fascination with vampires has changed, I don't want to be one now, but that is another story. I can read about them now and not change, though I know my limit. And there is so much more. 8 years ago I had trouble making one sentence about who I was (I have my journal from then).

So why do I say these things? Because everyone that knows me, knows these things. I don't need to live with an image, like I did in my addiction and even in the ministry I was at before Celebrate Recovery. I am defined now by who God sees me, a child of God. I'm not perfect, I have imperfections, and I'm not afraid now to tell people those things in the hope that God is glorified by my life. It certainly isn't me. God made me this way. Believe me, I tried to change how God made me, I wanted to be something else, but thankfully He is the potter and I'm the clay. If He'd let me be the potter, well, I'd be a pretty ugly pot right now.

I like to think I stand out now. I'm me. Like it or not, this is who I am. Maybe I do things that other Christians don't, and that's okay, I'm not a cookie cutter Christian either. I've known too many of those. I tend not to judge now, I try to go beyond the behavior and learn the pain, the hurt, the habit, the hangup. We all struggle, even I, but thankfully God isn't done with me yet.

"Clip the wings that get you high,
Just leave them where they lie,
And tell yourself "you'll be the death of me."
"Remedy"-Seether (song about beating addiction)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Orange Chicken

I tried a new recipe this weekend, actually a recipe that I looked at and changed a bit. It was for orange chicken. Ginger and I had been getting Brookshire's orange chicken and I thought, you know I think I can do this. So I got online and looked at some recipe's, found one I relatively liked and tweaked it. So Sunday night I tried it for the first time and Ginger loved it. I got some feedback from her and last night tweaked some more and Wow! We ate it up, no leftovers.

Trying new things. The next thing will be fried rice. I love cooking and especially new things. I'm not always successful but you don't get good at something by always doing it expertly all the time. In failure we learn, sometimes more than success. My life is a testament to that. I've made plenty of mistakes in my life, skinned my knees a few times, but I find as I grow older I'm learning from the mistakes I've made. Don't get me wrong, I still make them. I'm not perfect by any stretch. But I find the closer I get to God the more receptive I am to Him as He reminds me when I miss the mark. It is never condemning, usually it is a touch in my heart that says, Hey, your thinking wrong here, or you shouldn't have said that, etc.

In cooking, if you make a mistake, you can throw it out and go get McDonald's. I use to beat myself up over mistakes, I thought I had to be perfect in everything and if I wasn't I wouldn't admit it, I tried to portray an image. It's like making a meal that absolutely stinks, you eat it and it tastes awful and your giving it to others expecting them to like it to. Look at me, I'm fine you say, and yet everyone can see your not. I have a friend who is going through this type of "image breaking" now. He use to be "the man". Now he isn't. As life has gotten hard suddenly the money isn't there and he isn't "the man". And his girlfriend reminds it of it constantly, a constant birage of verbal abuse. I've been there and I'm trying to walk beside him as he is having to let go of the image and for once, in a long time, be real with himself. Money doesn't make the man, nor does one's image. What you have on the outside doesn't define you, what is on the inside does. It has taken me years to realize this. I'll speak more on this later, I have to go to work. God is good!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Summit!

I'm back! California was amazing, or should I say the Celebrate Recovery Summit was amazing. The weather was divine (the high was 78) so I didn't have to be concerned with the heat. It was my second time to go and Ginger's first.

I went to get recharged, Ginger went to see the big picture. I came with questions, looking for answers, Ginger just came to experience. And we both found what we were seeking. Ginger was awed by the 3000+ people worshiping God. You have to understand the significance of this, 3000 people who were cast away as damaged goods, freaks like me, all with a past, all with some hurt, habit, or hang up who found they didn't have the answer but Jesus did, and now, in recovery they are helping others. Every single one of them, from the people in the audience to those teaching and leading worship. Many of us had at one time left a swath of destruction in our wake, more damaging than a F5 tornado, now having turned from our destructive ways we try to lead others to the Healer, who healed us, and can heal them, and turn their lives around.

Many of us on the ministry team get tired through the year so it is a time to recharge, ask questions, and get with other leaders and lean on their wisdom of experience. I didn't want to fall into a performance trap so I was going to learn from wiser leaders on the pitfalls to avoid. And God answered my prayer. Wonderfully. And I didn't have to ask one question to a person. I'd prayed to God before going, I asked Him my questions, and throughout the three days of the summit He answered my questions. It led me to make one change, I got back to coleading a group. Not running a group, helping the main leader of the group of codependency. It was a God thing. When I get to CR I'm running around helping set up, getting things organized, making sure everything is in place. What I was losing was the intimacy of the ministry, the sharing in the small group because usually I was out during the small groups with Marty the ministry leader helping with problems that arise. But he can handle that. I need that time I can go into a small group setting and share (especially about codependency). I still struggle with it, and I had to come to a point where I admitted that. It's hard. Your one of the main leaders, your suppose to have it all together you tell yourself. I mean I have a handle on addiction so I'm cured right? Wrong. It's like an onion, once you get past that layer, there are others that you have to peel back to get to the root of the issues that caused your addiction. Well, this is a marathon not a sprint. And sometimes even us leaders don't "have it all together". And what I found is that even the founder of CR and his team have times they don't "have it all together". I'm not alone. And with God, once you finally say, okay I need you, He meets you with open arms, wraps you in His arms, and whispers softly to you that He will indeed help you. God met me.

Ginger got to see the big picture and had a life changing experience. She got it as far as why she does what she does. And God brought us closer together. Tanna, thank you for your comments, glad we are good! And you'll all be happy to know that I took some of my artwork to CR because some of the team that I went to summit wanted to see my work. They didn't realize I could do portraits that good. And you know what...I got a commission out of it. I'll have the picture next Monday to begin the work. It was another prayer God answered.

One thing you can all do for me is pray for me. I've been working in an attic the past three days. You can imagine if it is 100+ outside how hot an attic is. Should be done today. I've drank lots of gatorade and water, Ginger makes sure of that!

Anyway, thought I'd share a little of my experience at Summit. Time to get ready for work but wanted to give everyone an update! check out the, these guys are hilarious! Good Christian fun....


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm Alive!

Just got back from California for the CR Summit on Saturday, took Sunday to competely rest and Monday and Tuesday have been a whirlwind! Stay tuned tonight for an update for the past 10 days....

Saturday, August 7, 2010


A Saturday with nothing to do....what is up with that? I don't have to work, I can lounge around till 5 when we have dinner with a good friend of mine. This is crazy....

So Ginger has gone off to work out and do her errands. Her resourceful husband decided to clean the house which she was going to do when she got home, and finish up my laundry, again, which she was going to do. She really wants me to just rest, relax, sit in front of the tv if I want and just relax. It didn't take me long, but I know when she gets home I'll get a big kiss.

Of course I have a friend whose girlfriend thinks that men who do housework, clean, etc. are sissies (Not the word she used, but I try to be family friendly). My friend irons, or cleans, etc. and here come the insults. Yes, I've tried to counsel my friend, but he is so afraid of being alone he'd rather put up with the verbal abuse. Anyway, I digress. I happen to have a different thought on the matter entirely. Ginger takes very good care of the house, the cooking, me in general, and it is my way of helping out. I do it because I love her, not because I think I can do better. Marriage is a partnership and sometimes you just do things out of love. I know she'll appreciate it, like the time she came home and I had dinner ready. Sure, I was tired from working in the heat, but you know what, it didn't matter. I wanted to help. I wanted her to be able to come home and know everything was done and SHE could just rest.

We have a wonderful little life. We don't smother each other, she has her hobbies and interests and I have mine. She goes out with her girlfriends (and they talk about their men) and I'll stay home listen to some rock music and do my thing. Last time she went out she came back to candles lighting the apartment.... We value the time we have together but we can be doing things in our house seperate and yet still be connected. We both work and yet at the end of the day we can't wait to be in each other's arms. I've learned, when I get off work not to disconnect but to stay engaged as she tells me about her day. She knows, however, when I'm really wiped out, and can wait if I need time to rest. Partnership.

And she loves, absolutely loves, when I've been with the Lord. For example, my car broke down this week and I had to pay for repairs. The Lord, graciously, provided the money for us and so I didn't have to get into our extra money to fix it. I came home before going to give the money to the mechanic and just felt the Lord tugging on my heart. I pulled out the money in my wallet, knelt in my studio, and told God, "This is your money. You provided it and use it as you see fit. I confess I stress and worry, and hold on tightly, please give me peace." And you know what, He did. It is something that I have to do daily at times, giving it to God, but when I relay to Ginger what I struggle with and how the Lord meets me, she gets a light in her eye, and a tear, and beams with joy.

I'll be the first to tell you I'm not perfect. I make mistakes, I forget things, I can be scatter brained at times. I made a scheduling mistake recently and had to tell someone my blunder. It wasn't easy. When I was younger I may have avoided it, or tried to fix it without saying anything. But the harder road is the road of humility. Admitting you were wrong and asking forgiveness. Sometimes it is received, sometimes not, but that isn't the point. I'd rather admit I was wrong and accept the consequences now than be deceitful and dig a bigger hole. Chalk that up to recovery and working the steps. It is a daily process.

So as you can see, I've been learning and God has been walking with me, or even carrying me. It is a partnership. I gave God my life and I have to be able to trust Him completely that He'll take care of it. And He does time and again. Maybe not in the time I want, but He is the shepherd and I am the sheep.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Heat Madness

I got an email from my mom just wondering, as Mom's do, how her son was doing haven't not seen a post in a while. So I thought I'd better get on here and give an update!

The heat has been brutal. With heat index values coming in at values between 110 and 115 degrees, you can imagine the effect that has on someone who works, for the most part, outside. It's the high humidity that is the killer. Every breath becomes a labor. I like to think I'm acclimated to the heat, being a Texan and all, but really you just learn to tolerate it.

Of course this past week I was helping put in a coil in an attic. Imagine this, you walk outside and it feels cooler. Of course planning is involved in such work. Never work alone in an attic in high heat. Work in the morning. Don't go in in the afternoon. Even in the morning, within 5 minutes your shirt is soaked and as you work on duct, or the handler, sweat glides off you in droplets like rain. Hydration is important, it is not unusual to go through 1 to 2 gallons of water, and plenty of gatorade.

By the time you are off work, I have a air conditioned 30 minute drive home, you are ready for a cold shower and to just relax. I'm usually lathergic and I've lost my appetite until the shower. Once I'm out and I've had dinner then the old, goofy Paul comes out. I take plenty of breaks and I haven't had any heat exhaustion this summer, which is very good. The important thing is to listen to your body and not push, as I know how to do, past the point you should.

Needless to say the blogging has suffered because of it. That and a friends father dying, another friend who has again found jail because of drugs, my mentor at Celebrate Recovery preparing me for more leadership (I ran my first leadership meeting last Sunday), and the craziness of work. And my car decided to die. It has left me slightly disorganized, so without Ginger's organizational skills I'd probably miss all sorts of things. Talk about a help mate.

She, of course, has been wonderful. She worries, as good wives do about their husbands. She sees the effect the heat has and every night brings me back from the heat induced madness. Yeah, it's madness. I have to be told sometimes to take breaks, usually by a well timed text from Ginger that says to hydrate!

I'm probably making my Mom worry more about me with this post! Not to worry Mom, I'm healthy and Ginger is taking good care of me. I learned last summer, after getting heat exhaustion, the value of gatorade, water, shade, and not pushing the limits. That and if it is too hot we call the day off early. Such is my life.

Anyway, I'm alive and well, and glad to know I have people around me that care about me.