Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!
My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.
Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.
It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!
This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.
This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!
Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”
The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.
Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.
(For it is fed by the melting wax,
which the mother bee brought forth
to make this precious candle.)
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!
May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
It is a bitterly cold night. We are sitting at (-15c) at this hour.
Last night we rang in the year with the Ball Falling in New York City. Old habits die hard. It just wouldn’t be New Years Eve without the ball. Hubby bought a bottle on non-alcohol bubbly that we drank at midnight. The one night of the year where we break out the crystal flutes that we bought for our wedding night.
Today was a sleep in day. And I guess the day began with the usual routine and the prep to get out to the church. I opted to a later call time since it was a holiday and I arrived at the church about a quarter to five. I was still cranking out chairs when our chair arrived, then others followed.
We had a successful business meeting with new members participating in the decision process of the group. And we will be adding a couple of new books to the reading rotation. We’ve only been using the Big Book, 12 and 12 and Living Sober. But for the next three months we have added As Bill Sees It and Coming to Believe.
We sat a FULL compliment of folks. The room was packed with many friends and fellows, very grateful for the meeting. Some of my friends came that don’t usually come to our meeting regularly. So that was good.
We served up lots of goodies along with the regular fare of coffee and cookies. And that went over very well. The chair read from Living Sober and the topic of Live and Let Live.
“An ancient sage said that none of us should criticize another until we have walked a mile in the other person’s boots. This wise advice can give us greater compassion for our fellow human beings. And putting it into practice makes us feel much better than being hung over.”
When I wrote my 2012 reflection I realized that I had not practiced Live and Let Live very well on certain occasions, with certain people. Like another friend of mine from our meeting says that “she has a problem with hitting the publishing button prematurely before considering what she is saying!”
That has happened in the past. And that jumped off the page to me in stark reality when I wrote about it. I lost certain relationships because of this issue and on the other hand, I ended certain relationships because I had to walk away and live and let live. I also heard to night that some folks forget the “Live” portion of the slogan. That we are so consumed with people pleasing or seeking approval that we forget to live in real time.
One real issue that has dogged me forever and a day is that I am still trying to gain approval or really any word from certain people in my life, and I sent a particular Christmas card out knowing how long a reply would take, and no reply came, again another year has gone by with no response. I did not practice live and let live. I acted on a thought – in good faith – that gave no return on the investment. Sad !!!
The good thing tonight was all of my good friends came to the meeting. A good night was had by all. Lots of first sober New Years in the room, and first holiday seasons for some also. And over the last week or two, we served the community and helped keep numbers sober. Lots of gratitude for simple gestures of kindness.
All in all it was a successful holiday season. No real problems and lots of kindness and fellowship with good friends.
That’s about all I have for you right now.
More to come, stay tuned …
It was a great Christmas Day. I hope you all had a great day as well. We are sitting at a balmy (-9c) at this hour.
We were up around 11 this morning and I put the turkey in the oven to bake around noon, for a 3 p.m. dinner time. This was the first year that we shared our table with guests. I had invited a good friend over for dinner today. We had good food, great conversation. Hubby talked his ear off … He spoke more words today than he usually does in a weeks time … I kid.
We had a simple gift exchange this morning. Since we really did not specify what we wanted exactly, I bought a couple of items for hubby, and he bought me a couple of beautiful shirts. I can always use shirts.
I did the dishes while hubby entertained our guest, and he and I set off for the church around 4:45 for a 5 p.m. arrival. It was a cold night so we traversed Westmount Square. It was odd walking through the tunnel and the Metro Station and having it basically deserted because of the holiday.
On the way through the mall we stopped to see just how Target is going to extend the store outwards from the original front of the space. And it seems that they are expanding out some 30 feet into the mall, and more than 100 feet to the side all the way to the “Yellow” store. That’s about all the space they can have seeing there is a diner directly in front of the appropriated space unless they push them out and they take that space as well. They really can’t extend out any farther because there are retail shops to the opposite side of the store front.
Set up was quick because there were two of us working. Which gave us some time to sit and chat before folks began trickling in. And I was surprised that we sat 23 folks, a good turn out for Christmas. We read from Living Sober and “Being wary of Drinking Occasions.”
Living Sober is a great “first book to read” when you just come in to the rooms. Even before you set eyes on the Big Book or the Twelve and Twelve. Because it deal with REAL life situations. And addresses all those things you might ask about with real advice and guidance. Several members spoke to that point tonight. It was apropos to read this passage, somewhat a longer reading than most of them, but important nonetheless.
It spoke about being wary of drinking occasions. And it gives advice at how to navigate the sticky topic of the fact that we don’t drink, and it gives prudent, honest advice as to how to navigate this topic with friends, family and coworkers. Since it is the holiday season, we get a reminder of just how we can navigate the holiday party, family gathering or night outings with friends.
We went around the room once – everybody got in. And we finished up around 8:15. Several folks brought food, candy, cookies and nachos. And in the end we packed up all the goodies because everybody was stuffed from Christmas dinner. So we will have goodies galore next week on New Years Night.
It was a beautiful bright sunny day. We have a little snow on the ground. And if the forecasters are correct, we will get a 20 cm dump on Thursday. We are hopeful for a good dusting or more.
A good day was had by all. For many at our meeting, this was their First Sober Christmas. And they chose to spend part of their night with us. We are blessed. Many of my friends came to the meeting after serving meals to the community all afternoon. We all believe in random acts of kindness, and many of us did service in some shape or form today. Which made the day rich and hopeful.
In the end, a little kindness went a long way.
I hope you had a good day and we will see you tomorrow.
More to come, stay tuned.
The plows have been working over time to get what little snow is left on the margins of the streets, Off the streets, because tonight we are in for a real DUMP!!!
All in all we may see upwards of 20cm of snow over the next two days and nights. We are now guaranteed a White Christmas. Our fridge is full of food to cook, the cabinets are stocked with the assorted fixings for Christmas dinner. Hubby leaves for Ottawa tomorrow for a few days to see his family and get the booty we usually haul in for Christmas from all the in-laws and such.
I haven’t ventured to the mall at all. There is only one gift under the tree for hubby, seeing he hasn’t really asked for anything in particular. He forbid me from buying him clothes which leaves little to purchase since we have everything we need. We don’t go out and spend oodles of money any more. it is far easier to cook a good meal – we live a very simple lifestyle.
I was up early today farting around and my usual morning routine. We had some lunch and then took a power nap about an hour or so before I had to be up to get ready to go out this evening.
I left promptly at 6:30 and arrived at my stop and a bus arrived shortly thereafter. Another member was on the bus and we walked up from the stop to the church. We set up the room in short order and sat and chatted.
It is a bitch getting old. But people in the rooms try to approach aging with dignity and courage. We are not immune to cancer and other assorted concerns. But some of my friends are finding it a challenge to do daily things. And I hear their voices speak the words … “I am finding it hard to …” And “I wish I could do …” And “my body is not what it was just a couple of months ago.”
What do you say … We all know the routine. See the doctor, get some labs done and wait to see what they say. It’s the waiting in between that is the challenge. We always want to be supportive and like a mother hen to her chicks… “It will be ok.” The word cancer is spoken with reverence because I have friends who have been down this road recently.
But we press on. Boldly and Courageously.
Our speaker came from the city. A few years sober. Got stuck in the door of dishonesty and using. The quintessential question, “Is alcohol a gateway drug to pot and cocaine?”
You start with one and it leads to another, which leads to a life of dishonesty and I heard it again tonight, our woman drank for effect, for the blackout. Because that is how it always ended for her. We scoff at people who saunter up to the bar and “just have one…” How can you just have one? I can’t have “just one!”
They talk about it in the book. Honesty, Open mindedness and Willingness.
For some of us this comes in short order when we get sober, and for others, it takes a little longer. We recognize the dually addicted here and I know the story because I was one of them too. When I regrouped after my slip, the ability to procure pot was non-existent, so I stopped toking. Cold, Clean and For Good.
But it was 2001 and we know what happened in 2001. I remained to drink for a few more months. Just because you quit drinking once, but you are still on the marijuana maintenance program, you aren’t very sober.
So it goes.
We return to the notion of honesty. however hard or bitter a pill to swallow in the face of certain situations, we eventually come to the point where the lies and dishonesty have to stop. I heard the words Selfish and self centeredness.
We’ve all been there.
Our woman finally came to at a meeting and came clean about her lies and dishonesty. She got into the book. And she got “Booked!!!” And now she is sober. Her claim to fame is that of a recovered alcoholic. “Recovered” from a hopeless state of mind and body. We never recover, it is an ongoing process every day and every month and every year. I would never utter the word “recovered” myself.
She says that we coddle the newcomer. Ah well, go to meetings, read the book and do your steps when you feel like it… NO. I was sober some months before I started my steps. But once I got to work, I did them in due course.
But she tells us that we need to get down to work. As soon as possible. Not in the throw a Big Book at you on your first meeting, but, merely suggesting that maybe you really need to get into the book sooner than later.
I know of several young people at this moment who are amid their steps since a week ago Thursday, and I haven’t seen them at any of my meetings, as I usually do. Now this could just be “I missed a meeting,” or “they are out there…”
There really isn’t an easier softer way, however hard we want that path. And people do not like being told what to do in any case. So how do you tell someone “this is how we are going to do this” and not get a fuck you in reply???
Honesty, Open Mindedness and Willingness.
You either want it or you need it. It’s your choice. You might not agree with me or our woman on this point, but if you do what you are told, life will change and things will get better. The best gift of the program comes when you get to BOOK someone and the spiritual experience happens for them and you get to witness those changes. What a blessing.
Our woman came to, got honest, she got Booked, and now she is sober. And she has had her quintessential Spiritual Experience. Don’t you want one too ???
It’s the holidays. And it is the hardest time to get or stay sober. The city will be bustling with meetings on Christmas Day and New Years Day. The West Island will be hosting at Serendipity a whole days events on Christmas. There is no excuse for not getting to a meeting. Because you don’t have to be alone.
I have it on god authority that our girls will all be there on Christmas Day as one of our women celebrates ten years on Christmas and she will be at our meeting. It will be a good day for a meeting. We will cook early here and I will open the room at 5 o’clock. And our meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Having worked in bars during my life I know the biggest days in gay bar business is on Halloween night, Thanksgiving Night, Christmas Night and New Years Eve, bar none. By 5 o’clock folks really need a drink. So the bars will be packed to the rafters.
And as alcoholics … there is only one choice. We don’t get to drink, but we also don’t have to be alone on the holiday.
And for YOU my READER, over this holiday season, please be mindful of your friends and family. Make sure you call them and spread the holiday cheer.
Take a moment out of your festivities and do something for someone less fortunate or alone.
Random Acts of Kindness count double over Christmas.
There is a God, and I am not He.
For us, we are sober by the grace of God and the program. We have a daily reprieve based on our spiritual condition. You are not alone.
Tomorrow I will be posting my Ode to Armageddon.
They say that the world is coming to an end.
But scientists tell us that’s really not the case. I just want to send an email to a certain radio host tomorrow night saying …
You big fuck up, all these past months you have only incited fear and hoarding.
FUCK YOU … The world did not come to an end as they predicted !!!
Mu ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!!
It will be a festive next few days. So Stay tuned for that.
We are days away from Thanksgiving in the United States. Since Canada is a few months ahead on the schedule, holiday decorations are up and holiday music is playing in the malls. The weather is crisp but no snow as of yet.
Here in Canada, I’ve read stories of people sharing random acts of kindness with their fellow man at several Tim Horton’s by the by. And this informs this post I am writing now.
There is always a chance to act kindly towards friends, fellows and those who might need a little cheer. It doesn’t take much.
A friend, the other day wrote a post about Cancer Warriors on his blog, and I know that as soon as I post this entry, it will appear on his blog.
I have a friend who is a member of my home group, and has been a friend for all the years I have lived in Montreal. Over the past year, life has changed for him as he is in his 70′s now and he has been struck with cancer.
This is the second friend I have walked through cancer with over the past decade or so. And I see him several times a week at meetings and the other night I invited him along to watch the Bill W. movie with my sponsor.
I spoke to him today and he was so happy that we took him along and that he was able to attend the film with friends, and not by himself.
It was nothing really. I just thought that he might enjoy the outing and so he did.
It’s the little things that mean so much to people.
So as we approach Thanksgiving in the U.S. how will you employ the fine act of kindness to your fellow man and woman? A meal is the greatest place to share kindness with fellows. Breaking Bread is the most important act of sharing in community.
As the holiday’s approach I remind you that there are millions of people in need and they are right there under our noses. The homeless and the disadvantaged, the poor and the lost.
There are thousands of homeless kids all over America and here in Canada.
So if you are moved this holiday season to find a kiosk that helps people, spend a buck or two and help another, just because you can. You never know how you will be able to lend a hand.
Look around your community and see what needs are there. Especially those in the North East and New York and New Jersey. So many people are hurting and may not get the chance to celebrate at home a real thanksgiving.
While parades march down the mall in New York City next week, right up the street are people who won’t be celebrating but trying to figure out where they are going to go, where to find their next meal and find fuel and new places to call home.
Buy someone a coffee in line behind or in front of you. Buy a meal for someone on the street. Take some time to give to your local food pantry. Share your goodness with your fellows at church. There are so many places to give…
What will you do for your community and how will you do it?
This is not about us, but about them.
A random act of kindness needs no reward. And should come with none. Do it because you want to not because you have to.
Tis the season for kindness to our fellow man. And it begins with us.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Make the season joyous and bright.
They say it’s gonna rain … The Weather channel is focusing on Isaac and its possible landfall in the coming days. I am glad I am not living in the south any more.
I was up early today with not much to do, so I headed out early for the church. There were only a couple of people there when I got there so I helped to do set up. One of my friends came in and noticed that the tables we use were missing from the room, so I called the super to find out where they were because I need them on Tuesday, I was hoping that nobody was using them, in any case he told me that the tables would be returned tomorrow. So it’s all good.
It is the last Sunday of the month. And traditionally, we read from the Twelve and Twelve. And since it is the eighth month, we read Tradition Eight. “AA should remain forever non-professional but our service centers may employ special workers.”
The discussion went around the room about professionalism and the fact that if money became involved in carrying the message, that things would quickly devolve into a mess. Back in the day, there weren’t many people doing the work that had to be done, and Bill used to delegate responses and 12 step work to members in far flung places and to get the message out and to help suffering alcoholics. There is a reason that GSO is there. And in its wisdom the program works, and for the most part alcoholics do the majority of the work. But there are non-alcoholic trustees that work at the New York Level to maintain integrity of the program and to help keep the program on its feet. Suffice to say … we should always maintain a non-professional attitude towards the program. We don’t get paid to carry the message, or earn a princely wage to give it away.
It was supermarket safari on the way home to pick up a few items for dinner and munchies for later on. It has been in the teens at night for the most part, but the last couple of days, it has been hotter than usual. We are on the doorstep of September and Fall is coming quickly, and hopefully soon …
That’s about it for excitement this weekend.
I’m sure I’ll have something more substantial coming up, so stay tuned…
“But didn’t get for Christmas is on sale now at Sears !!!”
Do you remember that little after Christmas jingle commercial from Sears from long ago? I only get to use it once a year so there it is …
Snow is falling on the city at this hour. It is (-11c) outside and we got the snow they promised us. Today will be a long day with food, meetings and festive Christmas party fun later on tonight.
I was up at 10. Got the turkey in the oven and we opened presents. It was a very small occasion. There weren’t loads of presents but just a few. We have everything that we need so why waste the money on needless things …
I got the final installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II. And hubby also got me a nice Christmas shirt that I can wear later today to the meeting and the party afterwards. I got hubby some new bake ware and storage containers because we needed them badly. So it was a simple Christmas…
The Wizard of Oz is on tv – who knew they played it on Christmas Day. It was always an Easter event from my memory. “There’s no place like home, There’s no place like home …”
I will have much more for you later today.
Stay tuned …
It came quietly and without fanfare. The first snowflakes of the 2011 Winter season has begun to fall upon our fair city. And I was on the balcony to welcome the maiden of the silence. I bade her welcome and blessed her arrival as I do every year on this night.
This is the front of our building. If I were to go down and photograph it – the picture would be the same. So the batteries are in their charger and tomorrow we shall venture out into the snow and bring you more shots of what came down over night.
The other night on Discovery Science they showed a “show” about Sneakers and the BIG business they generate world wide. From how they are designed and made and why sneakers are a special commodity. It isn’t just a simple “I think we’ll make some sneakers. Let’s do this …
No, lots of design and thought go into the shoes we wear by men and women who go to great pain and art to design the perfect shoe for every foot. It even gets scientific. Scientists study feet, on high end test machines to determine what kind of shoes you really need because of how your feet are formed and what kind of shoe you need.
I am of the mind that one can never have too many shoes. Some of them I wear, and some of them I collect. Some of them come and go on Ebay because I am a keen collector of the best shoes on the market.
They had a segment on the “Bodega.” An underground, word of mouth, secret store, they are far and few between located in certain cities around the world. They deal in HIGH END sneakers and only invite those who know about it to partake in the mega business of shoe buying and selling. It was fantabulous.
I am always on the lookout for the next big score. Social media plays an integral part in getting the word out about this business. Shoe companies produce specialty shoes only sent to those “specialty stores” and not for the open market.
One off’s or Two off’s. And you would never know where that shoe came from or how many are out there and it is a buyers market for all things shoes. This is a multi-million dollar enterprise.
There are even graffiti artists and music jammers and artists by trade that make and influence how shoes are made, styled and sold. There are special underground shoe events held in key cities around the globe to show off these new creations. Shoes that are not available for mass consumption. And IF by chance you get to one of these events, you too could score a really great pair of shoes that the general public will never get to buy. And have never seen before.
Tumblr is a great vehicle for product placement. People share images of fashion, shoes, art, and jewelry, tattoos, and piercings. They run the gamut. I might see something come across the wire and then I go on a hunt for a certain product. Which leads to an “Alice in Wonderland” hunt down the rabbit hole to find a purveyor of whatever I am looking for.
Like the Nike high Dunks. I saw them in an image that is on the blog. I wanted a pair and I started with a Google search for a photo. Which lead to a website, which led to a store that sells high end sneakers. Those One Off’s you might never see anywhere else. Usually if they are on a website, for sale, there is a good chance that they will appear on Ebay. I’ve had huge success with cross referencing website sold merchandise over to Ebay site sales.
And usually the prices on Ebay are at least 10 percent cheaper than website sales and shipping is usually cheaper as well. So you get a deal.
A few weeks ago I was walking through Westmount Square and I was in the tunnel going to a meeting and I always look to see what kind of kicks people are wearing because you never know when you are going to see something you like. And this guy was wearing the same Nike High Dunks, which leads me to believe that high end sneakers are available here in Montreal.
There are numerous shoe stores in the city, in the malls and in these small hole in the wall shops that sell “one off” shoes amid souvenirs and hockey jerseys. It would take forever to find a specialty shop in the city without a Google reference.
Google is a great tool when you want to find something particular IF there is an image of it in the data base. Because usually an image will lead you to a source. But not necessarily in the city you live in. I’ve never tracked a product to this city in particular.
Which leads me all the way back around to another purchase. I am a huge fan of the Adidas Response wrestling shoes. I wear them at the gym, they are stylish and comfortable. I own 4 pair in varying colors and styles. The ones pictured above are on my radar because I once owned a pair of these at one time, but for some stupid reason I decided to sell them on Ebay a couple of years ago.
Now you know, that certain shoes are only made for a certain season. Wrestling shoes come out every fall. And every year the haul differs by maker, style, colorway and price. Adidas had their hey day over the last few wrestling seasons and the response line that I collect has since been retired. They aren’t making these style of shoes any more. And they are very hard to come by unless you find a source and pay a hefty price for them. The shops I buy from don’t carry the response line that I like and only carry a handful of colorways on clearance prices. The new responses are very different than these.
I had, over the last year, seen this same exact pair go up on the Ebay Market for $250.00 a pair.
Now, the only wrestling shoe that I know of that commands that kind of price are any of the Sydney E.Q.T 2000 wrestling shoes in several colorways. The grey and blue, the Olympic Gold white and blue and the Olympic Silver and Blue colorways. A few years ago I scored a pair of Sydney Golds. When I turned them around and put them on the market for sale I got $250.00 for them. Athletes pay top dollar for high performance shoes for their tournaments.
The other day I was hunting. And I came across a steal. These same Adidas Response Blue/White colorway were for sale for a nominal price. A price that I paid retail for a few years back for the same shoe. They are a one off bid. And only one pair available in several different sizes and they carry a couple of different colorways that aren’t made any longer.
Like I said, the line was retired.
So tomorrow when the bids close, I will have scored a brand new pair of responses for $55.00 U.S. plus shipping. Which is a hefty deal since these shoes can now run, for collectors, in the hundreds of dollars each.
One must be wiley when it comes to Ebay. You might get a hit one week, and not see another hit for months or even a year’s time. You start looking around the end of September and the beginning of October for wrestling shoes from the odd seller here or there, because they sometimes put on offer, shoes you can’t find anywhere else. And you can usually get your hands on a great pair of shoes for a deal.
I don’t shop retail locally for the most part. Most of my shoe collection came by way of Ebay or the odd store I shop from online. From work boots, to combat boots, to sneakers, to winter boots. The last time I made a shoe purchase here in the city I paid upwards of $150.00 for a pair of 20 hole Dock Martens in a specialty shop here in the city. And I rarely wear them except in the winter when it snows.
Wrestling season is upon us and the new styles and colorways are out on the market. The new styles are sleek, colorful and come in a varying style of shoe both on the Adidas and Asics market. If you are looking for a deal then this is the time to go looking for them.
Specialty stores have colorways that can’t be found anyplace else so be on the lookout for that special shoe you want. And they are usually a One Off sale.
So that is my missive on High End shoes…
Good day peeps! It is a cool 13c out and drizzle is falling from the skies. Thankfully the rain stayed away. The day was gray and miserable out. Several of my friends remarked that it was getting dark at 5 o’clock and the weary cloudy conditions did nothing but keep the sun away for another day.
I guess that’s how October is making its way into our lives here in Montreal in gray dreary days. Leaves are falling from the trees. Some of the trees in the neighborhood have turned a bright yellow – no reds to be seen anywhere locally. And many of the trees on Clarke over by the church have yet to even begin to change. Looks like it may be a late October event this year.
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This weeks theme is about helping others. When you can, do.
I got to the church a little earlier than usual tonight, I was running ahead of schedule all afternoon. I get to sleep in some afternoons, and today i was up earlier than usual, so I got set and out the door before 5.
The keeper of the parish came down to meet me when I arrived at the church to run me through how the new locks in the church work. The doors are BIG heavy doors that take two hands to open and close. they had to drill huge locks into the doors in order to make them work, therefore a little finesse is necessary to get the locks to lock properly.
We have been asked to keep all the doors locked at all times while in the church, which means that we have to unload our cabinet and re-lock the inner doors to the passageways during the hours we are there, so that even if strangers came into the room, they would not be able to get into the areas of the church they are not supposed to be in.
We hosted 30 people for the meeting tonight. The topic on the table was the Tenth Step. “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
Before the meeting we were talking about this step, because a few of our women are working this step presently. And they asked me why they would need to do a 10th step if they had a good day? Why do we need to do a tenth step every day?
Well, my answer to this question is this: I begin my day with my Daily Reflections. That gives me a thought to work with every day. It sets the tone for the day and focuses me on a good thought.
I remarked tonight that my marriage keeps me on my toes, I am ever mindful of how I react to situations and people, places and things. I am somewhat hyper-aware of my life in regards to hubby during the day because we spend so much time together during the day.
I do my journal here during the week. Along with the myriad of social media programs that I use, sober friends on Face book do write little steps and thoughts during the day and I have noticed lately that one of my sober friends does a spot check at the end of every day. And that’s what I do as well.
My day usually concludes with some writing. A little prayer to make the world go around. When I stop to do my tenth step at the end of the day it leads me one of two places.
One – If I have had a good day I write my gratitude list. (Something I should do daily, but if I am honest, I don’t always think about that list usually.)
Two – If I have had a bad day/or a trying day, I get to write down what troubled me or what I had a problem with and with whom as well. I get to figure out what role I played in the bad happening.
There is no justified anger nor justified resentments. EVER !!!
I get a daily reprieve based on my spiritual condition every day. If I forget that I need to maintain my spiritual connection with my higher power, I get to reconnect, at any point during my day, so that I get back on track.
So my tenth step let’s me clean my slate at the end of the day. So that I don’t take things to bed with me from during my day.
This ability did not come over night. Let me tell you that right off. It has taken me years of study, prayer and meditation to be able to use my spiritual program to its optimum performance. I’ve been practicing these things for a long time.
Some days I get it all wrong. And that’s ok. Because then I get to see what needs to be checked out and changed. One of my friends was sitting next to me at the table, reading from my Twelve and Twelve, and when we got to the last page, I had notes written all over the pages and up and down the margins.
My 12 and 12 book and as well, my Big Book are covered in highlighter ink, pen notes and comments written in the margins here and there from hearing things at meetings over the years. Let’s just say my b0oks have running commentary that has spanned the last 10 years of being sober.
A good night was had by all.
Tomorrow is my day off midweek.
Last night in Sociology we had a group assignment during class time. We had to go to Zeller’s and observe and document the toy department. Looking at boys/girls toys. Colors used in packaging, how the packaging was advertised, and what the ratio between boys/girls toys there were, what age groups were represented on the toys and we had to sketch the entire department on our group work sheet. It was an interesting assignment.
The topic of the night was gender studies. We have next Monday off for Thanksgiving, which means we have two week to write our next reflection in our journals. We have to write on Cultural Capitol.
So that was the day in brief.
More to come, stay tuned …
Friday has come and almost gone. Satellites are falling from the sky. Look up, you might miss it.
It’s a comfy 20c and it has been spitting rain for the last couple of hours. I guess mother nature doesn’t know whether to make it rain or not. I packed an umbrella anyways when I left for my nightly trek into NDG.
Tonight’s theme, “always have a back up!” Sometimes it is hard to find people to speak at meetings, and some people do not try hard enough. But it seems more lately that people are actually saying NO!
When you can’t find a speaker for a meeting, you usually resort to the list of members of a home group who haven’t spoken in a while. It usually follows that you can always rely on the backup list. So tonight’s speaker came from our home group pool.
I think it is nice to listen to fellow members share, because you learn a little about them during their speaking. I don’t know many people at the group very well as I have only been a member for about a month. My first service commitment comes next week and the week following.
Friday West End is a BIG group, with a good number of members, with lots of long term sobriety. I was talking to a friend tonight and he asked me how much time I had and I said almost ten years and he said that that was a big chunk of time. I had to agree.
Sometimes the message is simple. This is what it was like, and what happened and what it is like now. Well that’s the normal formula for any speaker, but as of late I’ve been hearing a lot of warning coming from old timers. The seasons are changing and with the onset of Fall and then Winter, times get hard.
People start to isolate because of the weather, they don’t get to meetings as often because who wants to travel in the snow … Hopefully we won’t get slammed early this year, we will have to see.
Old timers are looking out for the welfare of the masses it seems. Too many people are dropping off the radar and ending up in the bottle or dead, like I said last night.
I guess it’s better to heed the warnings and remain constantly vigilant.
The weekend is upon us. We’ll see what the weekend has in store.
More to come later, stay tuned …
Courtesy: Flickr Julianbialowas
Sunday has come and gone. Sitting comfortably at 13c at this hour. This short cold snap is over for now as temp will rise back into the teens this week. But it was a nice visit. I broke out my toques and my winter sweat shirts this weekend.
I began to clean out our closets and toss stuff we don’t need and get ready to make a hefty donation to Dans la Rue. Every year we clean out what we don’t need or outgrown or just don’t use any longer and we donate them to the homeless ministry here in the city. Winter duds are expensive and if you can afford a humble donation of jackets, sox, toques, and gloves they go very far to help Father’s kids here in the city.
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Tonight we gathered at St. Leon’s for Sunday Nighter’s. We read from Experience, Strength and Hope. Tonight’s story – The Car Crasher …
In the end it all came back to the simple principles … Did you pray today? Are you taking time in the morning to connect? At the end of the day do you stop and say “Thank You?” It is so simple, yet we tend to complicate things too much.
I can’t – He can – I think I will Let Him…
There was a lot of sharing. People at different stages in life, looking for answers. There is a bevy of literature to read at this particular meeting. They carry a huge stock of books and pamphlets. One of my friends has been sober more than twenty years and she is having a hard time. So I shared with her the book called “Voices of Long Term Sobriety.” A small book of thoughts and stories of people who have been sober in multiples of 10, 20, and 30 years or more of sobriety.
I just finished reading the book last week, and now it is in someone else’s hands. Hopefully it will make the same impact.
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I got home from the meeting and set down to watch Good Will Hunting, with matt Damon and Ben Affleck. It is an Oscar winner film. We had to watch it and read an article for Sociology tomorrow night. While hubby was watching the Emmy’s I was over here watching the movie.
We had a nice dinner and everyone is getting ready for bed at this hour. A new week is upon us. Lots to do…
That’s all for tonight…
Tonight we hit a new marker in the seasons, the first single digit night this season. It usually follows that the first cold snap of arctic air will begin the transformation of the leaves on the trees.
The Fall Equinox does not happen until the 23rd of September at 9:04 am.
Classes are finished for another week. I have to do some serious reading for Sociology and watch Good Will Hunting for next Monday night and then study for an exam next Thursday night.
Tomorrow is Friday West End. And then the weekend.
Maybe more later… That’s all for now.
Stay tuned …
It rained today, cats dogs and little fishes.
I watched the sky roil overnight, there is something to the weather in this city. The clouds dip low in the sky and last night before I went to bed I stood on my balcony looking up at the sky, and it was dark and foreboding. The clouds were lit up from beneath by lights on the ground and from on top of buildings.
When the clouds dip over the city the orange light of the streetlights reflect upwards and around the mountain from the opposite side of it, the white light shines on the clouds hanging overhead. It is quite lovely.
This afternoon I was up and around early, and the skies finally opened up and it rained down over the city. But it did not last long. Showers never last more than 30 minutes when it is pouring cats, dogs and little fishes. So it had cleared up well before I left for set up.
Since it was the last Tuesday of the month, we had a business meeting at 6:15 which meant that I needed to get finished early. Which I did. I was out front to greet by 6 when people began to show up.
We had 36 people show up. Many of them came late. It seems that across social media sites online and in older meeting books, the time has not been updated. People are still using the old meeting lists which list the old (two meeting format and old times). And there is an online listing of the old meeting time which was brought to my attention. I need to get that fixed.
We sat the entire table early. And people kept showing up either they were late or they were coming for 8 o’clock – the room was packed. We talked about acceptance from a story from the back of the book. We went the entire period. And then some.
As usually happens, if I don’t make decaf, people want it. And we haven’t been making decaf to save on supply monies. And I have been making less coffee in the big pot because we throw away too much coffee at the end of the meeting.
So for the last few weeks I have been making less coffee. Tonight, I made too little coffee and the pot ran dry before the end of the meeting. So next week I have to go back to making a full pot of coffee. Hoping that the numbers are on their way up for the long haul. Vacations are coming to an end. In the next month classes will begin at Dawson and the local universities. So that should bump up the numbers.
The kitty was full. And we are stocked for a few months with coffee and other supplies. A good night was had by all.
Acceptance is the key to all my problems. And I have to remember that I am powerless over people, places and things.
That’s all for tonight.
More to come, stay tuned…
It is 2:30 a.m. and it is a humid 28c. The humidex is 38c.
Holy Fucking Shit !!!
It was sweltering last night and I did not get very much sleep because It was just way too hot. We don’t have AC in this apartment. None of the apartments have ac in this building. Unless you hang one yourself. It isn’t supposed to be this hot in Canada.
But the globe is warming… don’t you agree?
The heat dome they tell us is parked over central Canada and over most of the United States.
I planned to get out of the house this past evening to go to St. Matthias. There is water main work on Sherbrooke street so the busses are detouring off the main down from Sherbrooke, so getting to any point inside the detour area means that you have to walk in.
It being almost 30c in the sunlight posed certain problems like staying cool. It was swelteringly hot all day into the night.
I got up around 6 and took a cold shower and got ready to go. Hubby had filled several bottles in the fridge last night so we had plenty of cold bottled water to carry with us, and he packed my bag with a couple of bottles.
I set my route to the church through all the underground city in Westmount Square and the Forum. I walked from Greene to Cote St. Antoine down Sherbrooke. I was a sweaty mess when I got to the church.
My friend Cliff was standing outside the church greeting people as they walked up, we were watching the sky, it was 7:30 p.m. and the clouds were beginning to bunch up in the sky over the city. A storm was brewing above us, I figured it wouldn’t rain for a few hours at least.
One of my friends showed up at the meeting, fresh out of rehab 3 days ago and he didn’t look very good, he stunk of beer. He sat down and we spoke to him about why he chose to drink? It is an insidious disease, this alcoholism.
He tried the “just one” experiment, which led to ten more.
Good for one, good for ten … he said…
He was drunk. Yet here he was back again trying to get sober once more. Sad this member can’t seem to stay on the wagon. He is stuck in the revolving door and it seems to be spinning faster than he can keep up with it.
It was a good meeting. I hate when people mumble … Trying to pay attention to what the speaker was saying was a problem tonight.
Mumble Mumble Mumble …
I gave our drunk friend my phone number, since I know his sponsor, is out of town for 2 weeks in Cottage Country. We’ll see what he does with it. I pointed him to the next meeting at 7:30 tomorrow morning – well, this morning. And he may hit a meeting tomorrow night.
I am going to Friday West End Friday night.
I left the meeting and walked halfway home, when I got to the edge of the detour I waited for a 24 bus to come and take me the rest of the way home, which was good because it was lightening pretty fiercely overhead. The storm was still building.
I got home a little while later and thunder started pealing across the sky. The heavens opened up and it poured down rain for half an hour. That’s the problem with these night time rain events. They flare up out of nothing, they build up to a raging storm and it drops a little rain, that doesn’t make a bit temperature difference over the city. The pavement is still steaming from an all day assault from the sun, and yes it rained but it is still 28c outside.
When it rains it only rains for a brief amount of time. The storms piss themselves out too quickly to make a dent in the days heating. It doesn’t rain long enough to impact the days heating.
Then the clouds blow away out of the city as fast as they came in. The sky is cloudless at this hour.
The seasons need to start changing already. August is only a couple of weeks away. Hopefully by the weekend we will get some relief. They are calling for the teens later on in the weekend at night, so we’ll see how that pans out.
I wish it would snow already …
Let us just say that it is HOT !!! At this hour it is 25c/humidex 30c. And they say that it may rain… I say bring on the rain, at least it would cool things off.
It was a beautiful day. Hot, breezy and humid. It was kind of sticky last night going to bed and throughout the day today it just got stickier.
I was out and about a little earlier today … it was blessedly cool down in the basement of the church today. I got everything done before 6 when people started showing up. We all hung out on the lawn outside it was nice.
This is the bell tower at the church. You can see the trees on the right of this photo that cover the doorway to the church basement. Nice and shady.
We had nominal numbers tonight and we read from the book “The Doctors Opinion.” It was a good meeting. We went the entire period. Many of our following are on holiday till the end of the month so numbers a little down.
Later on this week we need to get tickets to Harry Potter, Hopefully on Friday we will get to the theatre for the final installment of the Deathly Hallows extravaganza.
That’s about all for tonight.
More to come, stay tuned…
I went to bed last night as the sun was coming up and the birdies were singing before I could get to sleep. And it seemed as well, that the Seville construction site started up soon thereafter.
The Seville Project is the new condo expansion program just around the corner from here on Ste. Catherine’s Street, just a block up from our street. They are still in the foundation forming process which means they are driving piles into the ground from sun up till sun down. There is a huge crane on site that spins with precision accuracy over the site and the pile driver was in full swing today, all day.
I did not get a lot of sleep. It being the beginning of the month tomorrow, financial aide comes on the last day of the month, today. And since I was up with the birdies I decided to get as much done as I could this morning.
As soon as the grocery store opened I was off for a little supermarket safari. I like shopping in an empty store either in the morning or late at night, there isn’t usually a big crowd at either end of the day.
We’ve been eating very slim meals for the last five days, being the end of the month, money is still tight – we can’t seem to figure out how many bills to pay in order to keep prudent reserve in the bank for the end of the month. I no longer fear financial insecurity. I just roll with it nowadays. I got a few sundry items and came back home.
Then I decided that I should go take care of my Ram Q card renewal, since that came in the mail a couple of weeks ago. Our health care cards here run for two years and they province sends us renewal forms in the mail prior to the card running out. Which meant I had to get photos taken and stamped. Everything is very official.
I headed down to Pharmaprix on Guy, because that’s where I got my photos taken the last time. I walked into the store and realized that when they revitalized the store they did away with the photo department. I wandered around a bit before I asked a clerk where the photo stop was now. The Post office (Canada Post) has branches in certain stores. That’s where the photo stop was. Official photos cost me $9.00 for two photos. I hate getting my picture taken. But it was ok.
Then I walked the photos and my renewal form to the CLSC Metro over at the Guy Metro that was painless. They said that my new card would come in 4 to 6 weeks. I have to drop labs in the next month and see the doc at the end of July around my birthday. I should have my card by my next doctors visit.
I came home and changed out. Have I mentioned that the weather has gotten progressively warmer over the last few days. The end of rain in the city has brought us warmer temps (it is 26c) at this hour. We don’t have AC in this apartment so trying to nap during the day is a task when it is balmy outside.
Not to mention how noisy it is during the day with a construction site next door to the building, a hotel delivery stop next door and the highway access just up the street. I attempted to nap for most of the afternoon but in the end I just listened to the BANG, BANG, BANG of the pile driver all afternoon.
I got out to the church a little earlier tonight because I needed to stop by another Pharmaprix to pick up my monthly meds haul on the way out. Since today was our business meeting, I needed to finish set up earlier than usual. it was a painless meeting with our new members which was nice to see.
We had a packed house for the meeting, we finished the chapter “to Wives” and had a lively discussion that went the entire period. We had 25 guests tonight which was good. We filled the kitty which was needed. We need to maintain prudent reserve in the bank for rent.
We have our topics selected for the next couple of weeks and one of our new members is going to make photo copies for the group for next week. The readings are still coming from the Big Book so it’s all good.
A very busy day was had by all. Hubby was in and out all day today running errands and taking care of his RA work with his prof at school. It’s good that he will have work over the summer to do, it will keep him busy.
Registration for summer classes isn’t until the 6th. I called today to inquire the specifics about registration because the academic office gave us post it notes that say my appointment is at 1:45 on the 6th, but doesn’t say where I am supposed to go, so in speaking to the registrars office they said there would be people at the school on that day to direct us where we are supposed to go. Summer registration is in person at the school, with immediate payment to be made at the time of registration.
For Fall and Winter, we can register online through the Dawson Portal from home and pay that way as well. I guess since there are few classes offered during the summer – they make you register in person to make sure you get your spot for term. I am only taking one class over the summer, a Mon/Wed Humanities class.
A good day was had by all.
Now some dinner and tv.
More to come, stay tuned…
This post has been in my mind for the past couple of days. I should have written it at the first point that I put it together, but I didn’t feel like writing late at night, but late at night is when I do my best work. I do homework in the night, and it serves me well, because my mind is fully engaged with the material.
I told you some time ago that I had been revisiting some old stories from the past, namely those dealing with life and AIDS. And every time I do this action it always ends up in me becoming melancholy. Though this time it did not consume me like it usually does.
How many story tellers are there that have survived the scourge of AIDS. Those of us who lived through it and are still breathing today? I only know a few of those men personally. But I am sure there are a good number today.
Let me preface this writing by saying that every time I go to the doctor it is very mechanical. The same ritual every three months. I go drop labs and I wait the perfunctory three weeks and go see my doctor. I get triaged and they take my particular information and stats. The doc comes in, does his ritual poke and prod and says the numbers are great, he says, as usual, I need to loose some weight and such and so forth and that is that.
He doesn’t look backwards and we never talk about survival. That is just implicit as long as the numbers are nominal, there is no discussion about dying.
So I read two books in the last few weeks that were written by the late Paul Monette, a seminal writer of AIDS literature, right from the middle of the battle zone. He wrote as it happened, raw and in your face. He tells a sordid story of pain, hell and misery. Back when there were no solutions, only stabs in the dark with treatments that might work but were not proven.
Every time I wade into the past I come away with a different result. I wrote a few days ago that I was feeling a little out of sorts, trying to find my groove still waiting for that excitement to come in sobriety.
Several topics have been shared over several platforms that I engage in. One of my friends just turned 40, another friend asked the question “Do you think that you grew up too fast?” There are many different discussions going on in the gay You Tube World.
Today is Friday – the National Day of Silence. To bring attention to LGBTQ bullying in the world.
So let me talk about growing up.
I had adult size issues on my plate before I left junior high school. Coming from an alcoholic home we grew up, (my brother and I) quickly. We learned house hold chores, yard work and we learned how to care for our vehicles.
Mom and dad worked around the clock for many years, taking turns in shifts raising their kids. And who could complain? We had everything we needed and the family grew up as it did. They say you should never live with regrets. And i don’t.
When illness hit our family early on, I was thrust into the mix by my father hoping against hope that I would serve him well, which did not happen, and to this day it is my thought that he never forgave me for not saving his mother from the suffering of the stroke that took her life many years later.
I knew very early on what was happening. I was a good listener. I feasted on words that came out of every mouth in my young life. I learned a great many things in my young life. By the time I moved out of the house I had enough knowledge in my head to get me through any situation. What I lacked though, the one kicker was responsibility. Paying bills, taking care of adult issues surrounding money and all of that. I failed miserably at that point.
I had an addiction, that took me to the gates of hell, and I had no idea, it is only in retrospect that I can safely say that someone up there likes me because I survived that, although not unscathed.
Illness, I know a lot about illness and death. Illness forces you to grow up immediately even if you don’t know what the hell you are doing, you grow up anyways. I think I hit my 40′s when I was just in my twenties.
Living through the scourge of AIDS taught me a great many things about men, life and survival. Not to mention death …
I always say that when they invent a viable time machine that I know exactly where I would go and why. I would go back to when it all started. All of my friends would be alive – and life would be there for me to revisit. I often revisit that time in my life in my memories often. Every time I read the old stories they take me right back to the fight for our lives.
If I did not have the men and women in my life that I did then, I would surely have died. What did I learn? To live as if I were dying, because that’s what we were doing for so many years. But the funny thing was I survived. Was it because of me or in spite of myself? How did I escape the horrors that took so many of my friends to their graves? I have no idea.
They gave me all that I could take. Hoping against hope that I would walk away from this scourge with my dignity in tact. Every year that I live I tack another year onto my life record. Couple that with sobriety and you have a pretty strong combination. Surviving AIDS in sobriety is pretty sweet.
I wonder what is still on the table at times? I wonder about where I am in my life, and what I am supposed to be doing. I need a job, I need a life, not that I want out of the one I am in. But I need some tangible way to spend the mental cash I have in the bank. At 43 I have nothing to show for my time except two diplomas that are still in their envelopes from the day they were given to me.
What is my destiny? Who am I supposed to become, and I am becoming him?
All I have are stories.
I have written most of them already. All I can do now is write about today and what life is showing me right now. I am living in the moment. When I am mindful of the moment, I can write like this. Crank up the tunes and just sit and type until my brain is empty.
Sometimes I get a twang of survivors guilt. It doesn’t last long because I don’t have a death wish. I don’t sit and ponder my utter demise. As long as I am breathing then there is no need to think about death. And that bothers me to a degree. People are living with AIDS much longer, thank god I have great medical care. I could be stuck in other places scraping the pavement trying to pay my way and pay for drugs. Been there done that.
I am starting to fade, which means I should bring this to a close before I start rambling all over the place. Too many thoughts. I miss my friends.
That’s all for right now.
More to come, stay tuned …
What’s your idea for a perfect Sunday? How would it differ from a typical Sunday? If it’s Sunday where you are, what kind of day is it so far?
On a perfect Sunday … That will come in the Spring. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. The grass is green, one of those special days, as the first days of Spring arrive post snow.
We take the train to Mount Royal Metro on the Plateau and follow the crowds from the station to Park Mount Royal and the Obelisk. We window shop on the way across town and stop in the IGA for some drinks and munchies.
The crowds are gathered at the park, like every Sunday from this point on. They call it The Tams … Lots of people, drums, cymbals, percussion, dancers and a lot of dance. The beat starts with one drum, the rest follow along and the park erupts in a cacophony of beats.
The chant of the drums, it echoes all over, as far as you can hear it. Up the mountain around the park from one end to another. We spend a few hours joining the dance.
This is a usual event for visitors to our house to take them to the Tams.
After a few hours we are satiated with the music and we decide to climb the mountain. Yes, there is a mountain here in Montreal. There is a dedicated trail you can walk up or ride up on bicycles.
If you are like me, my first visit to this particular park was at night, early in my sobriety, with my then sponsor. We were close, very close. I was single and we spent a great deal of time together.
One night we went to the mountain and we climbed the mountain from the park to the cross at the peak of the mountain. It was dark, pitch dark, but we climbed anyway.
Now, today, I take people up the mountain by the same path. It’s a little dirty and a lot of work. There are trails all over that side of the mountain. Fenced in walkways around the mountain from one side to another. It’s a very circular path from the park to the lookout chalet.
This is the view from the Chalet House on the Mountain.
You climb the mountain, you get to the chalet, you wash up and get some drinks and munchies and you enjoy the view. This is an afternoon event. You spend the day at the mountain.
You walk around the trail to the Cross on top of the Mountain. At night, this is what the cross looks like. During the interregnum, the period of time between the death of one Pope and the election of a new Pope, after the death of John Paul II, the cross was purple.
We actually climbed the mountain at night so we could get photos of the cross in history setting purple. There is a time capsule at the foot of the cross. There are time capsules all over the city.
There are pick nick tables at the summit where you can have meals, it is also where they stable the horses that the police use in the city. There is a lake and large green spaces that one can enjoy all season long.
The end of Winter won’t come soon enough. But a perfect Sunday would be spent on the Mountain. With an evening meeting Sunday Nighter’s.
That is a perfect Sunday here in Montreal.
Courtesy: Louislanderdeacon Flickr
The Golden Globes are on. Let’s see how many stupid things Ricky Gervais can say in a telecast.
There is snow on the ground, last night it snowed, a few inches but tonight it is bitterly cold out. It is (-14c), but I am told that it is supposed to get even worse as the night progresses.
I got an email addressing Christianity and my use of certain photos on the blog. Obviously, my writer did not read the ‘about me’ down below. I happen to like the photos that are up on the blog. They are a little profane, a little nude, a little suggestive. You may call it porn, but I call it photography. And if you don’t like it, then don’t come back.
I have lived a full life, and all of the photos on the blog relate in some way to parts of my life. Being a Christian is one thing, being gay is another. I reconcile my Christianity very simply. There is a God, one of my understanding. The God of my understanding is one found out in the field. I don’t wear religion on my sleeve like I used to. There are things about my life that I find sacred. My attention to ministers and servants of God, that is part of my own belief system. I didn’t think I needed to explain, but it has been said, in the past, and not in so many words, that it is a little perverted, I disagree.
You can’t have the sacred without the profane. There is no danger in living a straight laced life. I did not live a straight laced life, and if you need more explanation of that life, then take some time to read some of the pages down below.
Christianity, it is something I profess, and that is it. Nothing more.
I don’t make excuses about the way I live my life. I have enough years behind me to be able to make a statement and know what that statement means.
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I got out of the house tonight and attended Sunday Nighter’s literature discussion meeting. We read from Jack Alexander’s article from March 1st 1941, Saturday Evening Post, on our organization, Alcoholics Anonymous.We only got partway through the opening pages of the article. The room was full so there were a lot of people to share for the hour.
Reading about the hopeless alcoholic, I have witnessed that kind of hopelessness in my life. I watched my grandfather drink with great intensity, he was the hopeless, I can’t put it down, drinker. It was a problem that took him down in the end. I imagine that he suffered greatly due to his drinking. After suffering a stroke in my young life he ended up in an institution, but by then the damage was done.
If I look at the insidious disease of alcoholism, my grandfather was a bottomless alcoholic. My father, in his wisdom, was an alcoholic as well, but they differed in the way they drank. Alcoholism as a generational disease is progressive. As the third generation alcoholic, I did not repeat what I saw in my life. I drank available alcohol. I never drank at home. I even drank your alcohol if you had some. I needed the social aspect of the drink.
I never drank alone, but you could say that when I drank, to the extent that I drank, I became alone. I could drink in a packed nightclub, trying to fit it, and at the end of the night, it was only me being poured into a taxi cab to go home, alone.
On the last night I drank, not being able to remember how I got home that night, I knew I was finished. Not being able to remember, was a problem. Someone was watching out for me in the end, that is my belief.
I could not go on like that any more. And the only solution I had was to come back to the rooms of alcoholics anonymous.
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People are struggling in sobriety these days. The winter is not kind here, and we have seen a ton of people going back out after amassing decades of sober time. People are struggling with the fact that alcoholism is a disease of the body and mind. It doesn’t matter how much time you have, we all struggle one way or another.
People are slacking off their meetings, and are finding themselves in odd places emotionally. And it being bitterly cold as it is doesn’t help the fact that we need to get to meetings at any cost, because for many of us, we needed to drink at any cost. It is just important to keep coming back. To never forget why we came here and why it is so important to make meetings whenever possible.
Because it only takes a brief slip of the mind and some distance from meetings and one can find themselves in a pickle. The more meetings I go to every day, the more I find that I need these meetings just like anybody else. You never know what will pop up in the mind in life. That is truly apparent today. Listening to what people are sharing, people with over decades of sobriety are having a hard time as of late. None of us are immune to this happening.
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We are just days from the start of the winter session at Dawson. I don’t know if I am excited to start classes again. I am neither here nor there on the subject. All I know is that I am ready for something exciting to happen in my life. I wonder what this year is going to bring me in sobriety. They say that things change at ten years sobriety. And I am well on my way today.
I have a long term goal on the table. I want to go to Rome for the Beatification of John Paul II in May. I haven’t brought this up with hubby yet. A return to Rome in sobriety will be a life goal. My first visit to Europe was not pretty, I was young and a little bit more stupid. But I made a sober visit to the Vatican, back in the day.
I am rambling now, and that means I should stop typing, because I am not saying anything useful at this point.
More to come, stay tuned …
Lifted from: Randall’s blog.
In one week we will be celebrating our third Christmas here in the Field. Three Christmases. Two years. In one respect the time has flown by. I thought that the other day as I was lifting up a child that wasn’t even born when we moved here, and now he’s running around on his two little legs like he’s been doing it forever.
And in another respect, the single moments tick by at a slow pace. Life is slower. Less gets done because it takes more to get it done. But life is fuller. You are doing more, it just doesn’t look like it from the outside. That’s one of those field-isms that I’m working hard to make peace with. It just is.
We enjoy the quiet, the field people are great, and life, when we can just relax, is good. It is good and I could see us choosing to live in a context just like this, for a while anyway, in our own space and time. We like it here.
But I find myself loving so tentatively, so hesitantly. Somewhere inside maybe I don’t want to love it here too much because I know that one day down the road, we will have to move away from here. I don’t know these things for sure, but the truth is that I am here for the work, living in somebody else’s home and you just know that chances are that one day, five or ten or twenty years down the road you’re gonna have to pack up and move. And so some part of the mind says to love lightly because then it will hurt less when it’s time to go. The rational part steps in at that point and tries to grab the emotion by the scruff of the neck and drags it along as we go on our way, choosing to love people in spite of how we feel.
I was such a simple man so many years ago this very day when the church saw gifts and calling in me that they wanted to recognize and call forth and so the way they knew how to do that was to Ordain me to the ministry. And I more formally set aside my choices and a few dreams to obey the One who made me and shaped me and called me forward. Laying down stuff like choices where to live and what kind of work I would do. Finding greater value in following after and obeying the One in whom I found fulfillment, the One in whom I found eternity and the One who alone spoke the words of life.
I remember the internal struggle back at the beginning. The desire to do something worthwhile with my life, something that might count for something in the end. Even if it didn’t look like anything and even if there weren’t titles or recognition at the end of it all, if I could just know that my life had meant something in terms of someone changing their opinion of ministry or God or even just their neighbour, that would be enough. If I could be a part of redirecting people from moving away from God, to at least moving towards Him, then that would be a life lived well. That’s what I thought, and that’s what I still think my life is to be about.
But still this struggle to obey. It does get easier in some very real respects, but as I age the more I realize the cost of it. When I was young I told myself that obedience in this ministry-ward direction was probably only temporary and that I could give my best, my strongest, my most zealous years to ministry while I was young. As I age I see more clearly the cost and the value to me of giving up my agenda for this work that I do
Maybe all I’m trying to say is that even after all these years in ministry, I’m still surprised at how hard it can be sometimes to lay down my will. Yeah, that’s it. Sometimes I don’t want to do what God wants me to do and like a child I want to do what I want to do. I can be quite selfish sometimes.
So God calls me to a Field to love the Field People, and I’m scared because it could hurt and I don’t want it to hurt. Funny how even after years and years of ministry the basic struggles are still the same.
The comforting thing is that now I can admit that to myself.
The view out of our 17th story windows…
This is my yearly Ode to the Silence Post… as seen earlier on the blog.
The weather has changed as of late. It got warmer over the last few days and so for now the first order of business is to take down the plastic on the windows and for the first time in six months, open those windows and let some much needed fresh air into the house. This is the view from our living room out to the West. There is a slight breeze blowing and the sky is clear.
My Ode to the Silence comes every year as we celebrate the opening to the world once again after a long and hard winter. So for a few moments we reflect on the silence that has wrapped us in her embrace for the last six months. If I look back at the date this was originally written, it was April 20th 2007. Today’s “Opening” came on April the 2nd 2010.
Silence, she is warm and inviting, she is womb like and soft. She brings with her soft breezes and the quiet that accompanies the first falling snow. There is wisdom on learns about when one welcomes the silence into ones life. I find that if one does not find their place within the silence one is truly lost to the elements and noise of the world around them.
This yearly “Ode” that is written to bless the silence and thank it for months of kindness and warmth, and bid it farewell for now until we meet again. This does not mean that one will not be able to seek the silence amid the business of the day or the noisiness of night. One must understand what worth lies amid the silence and how that silence can become ones mentor instead of ones enemy.
She teaches me that it is within the silence that one finds the breath. And when one finds the breath, one finds the heartbeat. For if you do not take time to honor the beating heart, then you have no life to be grateful for. Hence the need to always seek and respect the silence. In the business of the day we forget that silence is important to the management of ones life.
So we bid the silence adieu for now until we meet again in months to come. For now we must find a place within that we can reunite with the silence that has left us, and we can remember her warmth and care over the last six months of winter.
Farewell mother of the womb, until that day you greet us again…
Well, the verdict is in. And it isn’t good. I wrote two papers and a book review and both my professors have asked me to resubmit that work again – rewritten of course to up my grades. I did not fail outright, but a C grade for a graduate student is the kiss of death, and an automatic dismissal from the graduate program. Instead of dismissing me – they have told me that I can resubmit my work over the next 60 days. It seems my writing skills need a severe upgrade.
I am unsure of my abilities to perform up to code. I am unsure of my future success as a grad student should I proceed into next semester. I need a serious tune up if I am going to maintain my membership in the grad student program.
I have pondered dropping out of the grad program all together and shift to the nominal Theology program degree, but I haven’t made that decision yet. But it is in my back pocket. I need to sit with my advisers over the break and talk this through before I make any future commitments or rash decisions. I am not going to change my stays as of yet, I am registered for the winter term so that stays as is for now.
It is a cold (-30c) day outside. Quite bitter if you ask me.
We got the rest of the gifts for the family wrapped today and we have to get them into the mail in the next 24 hours. All of the home Christmas shopping and wrapping is done, the turkey is in the freezer and the cupboards are stocked with fixings. Hubby is off to Ottawa next week to see family and I will be home alone for a few days. We will spend Christmas together at home again this year.
I talked to my sponsor today and to Rick about my home group. Since I am now free on Tuesday’s I can restart set up in the month of January since our newbie that is there will be traveling out west for school. I might be chairing the month of January which will be good for me. Better to give me something to do other than ruminating over my failure as a grad student. I am not happy at the moment, not one bit. But I knew I was in for a challenge, I just didn’t think it would be this challenging. My self esteem is shot to hell. And I don’t like it one bit.
That’s all for now.
More to come, stay tuned…