From “Fuck You” to “Thank You Cancer”

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Six months sober, and divorced… A few days after my final goodbye to my four year old son, I hit my knees.

the second cocktail of chemo drugs caused a reaction and hair loss

 No, I wasn’t praying.. I was in so much pain that my body collapsed into a ball without much thought.  One minute I was texting “sweet dreams” and by the time she responded I wrote back “I think I’m going to the hospital”.  I felt like I was going to DIE; like a gremlin and the monster from the Alien were doing the monster mash right there in my gut.  I panicked, not only because of the pain but because I lived alone.  What if I got worse before I could alert help? One of my fears of being alone coming to life.  I called my friend asking her if she could please take me to the hospital.  She asked what’s wrong and I told her “please just come quickly.” I debated calling an ambulance but I didn’t want the attention of the street.. My self consciousness still winning, even in an emergency.

  By the time she arrived I had slithered down the 18 stairs from my raised house and was sitting balled up on the bottom step counting the hour long milliseconds that it took for her to arrive.  Once at the hospital, it took 45 minutes to be seen, and another 30 to get any kind of pain relief.  They wanted to do testing first.  I can’t say I blame them, I’d hit every emergency room in the area in pain at one point or another, seeking pain medicine to get high. In the moment tho, I hated every last one of them.  Restraining myself from punching holes in the wall felt impossible.  Laying waiting in our little cubical of the ER, I felt the mess starting to kick in.  The edge of the cliff began to get distant, and the doctor came and asked my friend to step outside.  She returned in tears, the doctor behind her looking somewhat apprehensive.  They told me they had found a tumor… A 19cm tumor wrapped around my left ovary and Fallopian tube.  It was the size of a 5 month pregnancy.  I remember the doctor looking at me like I was crazy.  “You didn’t have any symptoms before now?” He asked.  I thought about it and told him that I did have an increase in pain but I assumed it was because I was sober, and I could actually feel pain now, or maybe because I had started walking and my body was adjusting.

Pictures from the initial surgery

A symptom of PTSD is unmanaged dissociation.  Everyone does it on some level whether it’s entering auto pilot while driving,  and you end up wherever you are going but you don’t remember getting there.  That’s the mild side of the unmanaged dissociation spectrum.  Extreme sides of the spectrum are cases are dissociative identity disorder or DID (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) where the psyche completely splits into separate identities to perform various roles to the host.  There are many stops along the way of that spectrum, and I fall in at about the 60-70 range.  If you want to know more on this feel free to ask!  The point is,  my ability to separate from the feeling of physical pain was so fine tuned that the magnitude of the symptoms weren’t registering.  There was a disconnect.

  So, back to my story.. It’ll be a miracle if this blog actually tells the story I opened it to tell!
  From there I was rushed into surgery, the tumor was removed, along with my ovary and Fallopian tube.  A week later I found out that it was indeed cancerous.  Another fear.. Both my gran and my mother were killed by cancer on my mothers side, and my dads mother was also killed by that monster, and now it had me.  I won’t go into all the specifics.. Maybe another blog piece, but that was where my faith really began.

It wasn’t in a foxhole prayer, “God, please save me… ” it was real faith.. It was where I stopped bartering with the “if there’s a God” and started accepting the current moment exactly as it was.  I had been working on my third step in AA, “we made a decision to turn our will and our life, over to the care of God as we understood him” and I was almost all in.. The only reservation I had about staying sober was “if I lose my son I’m getting fucked up” and then I’d lost my son, and stayed sober.

Truth be told, I was secretly in love with another recovering alcoholic and I wanted to prove how committed I was to sobriety.  She had so many years sober, and I had only months.  I thought if I could tackle these monsters of reasons to drink, without drinking, we could bypass the “sober for a year rule”.

  I fought, every day, well almost every day.  There were some days when I couldn’t fight, and I had to lay in bed and just rest.  I remember feeling so much anxiety and panic when I would try to lay down and rest.  This video pretty much depicts that part of the fight (i record and document everything because my memory isn’t too great, and i lose time a lot… a big part of my recovery has been trying to piece together and accept that these things will happen, but looking for ways that i can take care of myself to make them less intrusive)

I was so scared that while I was resting, the cancer was taking over. No imagined it to be like a black cloud that I’d dispersed with my light of my sun, but crept back over when I wasn’t looking.  If I stopped, my body would get weak and I’d lose the fight.. And that just wasn’t an option.  Most breakdowns actually served their purpose in bouncing me back for the next round…

I spent many manic nights awake.  I began painting.  I didn’t want to watch tv, and so I started painting and found that I could paint! I had no idea.  I was pretty amazing at it too!!

Painted from a photo of Chicago that I found online
My secret love challenged me to try spray painting after seeing a video of the NYC spray paint artist..


Time lapse Video of 48 hours of learning to spray paint… not bad!

I gladly accepted the challenge, and within 24 hours I was spray painting my way to a masterpiece. 🙂 I remember selling some of those to my friends on Facebook, helping to generate some money towards the mounting costs of prescriptions and co pays.  I delivered pizza part time for Papa Johns in the evenings, and worked the back drive thru window of McDonalds with my AA sponsor and good friend in the mornings.
Having fun on the job 😉
  I bounced between photography and painting when I didn’t have the energy to walk.  In finding the gift of artwork, I saw a reason for being sick.  I would’ve never known I could paint if I hadn’t slowed down.  I remember how I felt the first time I realized that.  I’m crying again now just remembering how intense that feeling of trust in the universe was.  I remember telling the universe that it could’ve been a little more subtle than the big C, but then I thought about all of the times that I could’ve slowed down, and should’ve slowed down, and I didn’t.  Always running running running because I didn’t want to feel, and if I slowed down or stopped then the feelings would come flooding thru me at an overwhelming rate and I didn’t know how to adjust the faucet.  It was stuck wide open and I couldn’t handle all of that so I ran, staying busy.  It’s why I got fucked up to begin with. Thank you cancer.
a dresser from my sons room that became a painting project
  Four surgeries, and five chemos into the fight I began researching what could I do to improve my chances.  I asked questions on Facebook, and you guys responded with juice recipes, plant based diets.. And so I tried it.  I remember I couldn’t eat much at the time, but I kept telling myself “if I’m going to force myself to eat something, it’s going to be something that will help kick this bitchs’ ass! And I’d add a spoonful of peanut butter to a very green leafy disgusting  cocktail, blend it up and drink up.  I remember making music videos and joining the happy days fb group where my newsfeed filled up with all of these reasons people were happy that day.  That’s where I met a lot of you guys!  There was something about knowing people were watching, or at least feeling like they were, that grounded me.  I didn’t want you to see the real me.  I didn’t want you to see the crazy me, so I attempted to hide it, failing miserably with those I got close to, but it served its purpose.  I kept striving to improve, to be a better person, to show all of you how amazing I really am.. Because I didn’t feel it.. And you guys would tell me I am, and for a moment I would feel it… And as a true addict, it felt good so I wanted more.

 I began a bucket list which I named the “remember when list” because it was a list of things I would one day sit on my front porch telling stories of “remember when” to what I’d hope to be, my love.. Sitting next to me, saying “yes dear” 🙂 – that fantasy pushed me.  It set a tone inside of me and I wrote that list of things I wanted to do in my lifetime!! As that list grew, I realized that I didn’t have time to have a job.. Not in the traditional sense.  I started thinking of ways I could make money without actually going to work, and reading nomad blogs, learning how to travel as cheap as possible.  Again the faith came in, as I thought about everything I had already survived, and I saw how each individual storm in my life created a piece of evidence that I would be okay, no matter what.  Dealing with mental illness, never actually killing myself despite many years of feeling that was my only safe place to live mentally… Katrina.. Being homeless.. Heartbreaks.. I had survived  many storms, it’s what I do! In that I found strength and courage.  I saved links, and took notes, learning and forming the vague outline of how I could actually start working on some of these bucket list ideas.  Sure.. I couldn’t go backpacking Europe that day, laying in bed feeling sick as a dog, hurting, and generally wanting to die on some level.. But I could start studying.. Figure out what id need to do.. What equipment would I need? I’d only been camping twice.  I started looking on craigslist, and reading more and more.

What could I sell to generate money? I started painting sand dollars, and furniture, and whatever else came my way.  I sat out on Saturdays at the farmers market, hoping to sell a piece.  I went to galleries and talked to the managers, showing my portfolio.. I read blogs on how photographers make money with their pictures.. And the majority of the money is in portrait photography.. It wasn’t something I felt I was good enough for, having seen others work.  I didn’t have the money for the equipment I really needed, but I took my Panasonic LUMIX camera and did the best I could.. Watching YouTube videos on how to edit portrait pictures.  Touch ups etc.  I had the eye, I just didn’t have the knowledge, but I learned!

Adorable little girl and her mother that responded to a FB ad

I posted questions in fb photography groups, and they came back with all the answers to help me improve.  It provided the money to travel some more, but I didn’t care for it enough to pursue it further.

I took on a couple of website gigs, rehashing skills from my earlier years, and hustled flipping a broke down car.

Changing out the brake calipers – gotta trust the Universe to learn this on YouTube!

There’s never an easy answer to “how do you afford to travel” I just do whatever the moment presents itself with, and I am always provided for.  The Universe takes care of me as long as I allow it to.  I never thought I’d be a paid blogger.. $5-$12 a day, but it’s something! Every little something adds up and creates opportunity for more experience, and with more experience comes more opportunity.  It’s an amazing circle of life.

  Now my hope is to use my blog to not only record doing all this with mental illness.. (Which I really want to write about the transition from traveling to home.. I definitely need a better plan for reentry.  The last few days have been rough and I feel very spacey, ungrounded), but not only that and frugal traveling, but I’ve been writing the story of the travels from a first hand perspective as if the reader is the one traveling.  Once the story is written I want to record it and put pictures and videos to it so that the viewer or reader feels as if they are really traveling the world.

Then I want to donate it to everyone fighting a terminal illness, so that they can dissociate into the story and maybe get a little relief from the reality of the pain and treatment that they are going thru.  I hope it inspires them to fight, to really see the world, or whatever their bucket list things are, and if that’s no longer an option, I hope I get to help fulfill at least one of them by having this experience to share.

  Having said that..
I’d like you help me out by clicking on all the ads you see on this page, clicking back to the blog between each one.  I get paid per reader and per ad click.. And that helps fund this adventure.
I’d also like you to shared story if you believe in me and want to be a part of it!
And lastly, there is a box to subscribe to the blog, if you want notifications of new posts to the blog.
With that.. I hope you enjoyed my story.. It’s what got me to where I am today.. This year I have seen 22 states in the USA.. Fallen in love with traveling, seen my nephew for the first time, seen my first concert, mastered camping, backpacked four cities, opened an Airbnb of my own, become a paid blogger, met sooo many amazing new people, and next month I am leaving to backpack Europe! It’s wild!  If this is a dream, I never want to wake up.  Thank you Cancer!
“It’s a perfect day for a perfect day!”

$65 flight USA to Ireland 

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Must act fast .. scroll thru all months to find the $65 flight .. bring one carryon and taxes are included! 

Click here .. no joke 

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Minimizing – Everything must go! 

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Today’s scripture was “with God all things are possible” but I wanted to read the full chapter so I could see the context of what this snippet was written about.  I’ve noticed that it’s easy to pull half a sentence from the Bible and put it on cards and bracelets and other material items to sell to Christians who want to shine bright that we love Jesus.  I’m a frugal person but I’ve sure bought 2 or 3 cross necklaces already… so I find it interesting that the context was referring to selling every material possession and giving to the poor.. houses and everything and then follow Jesus.  That’s pretty much how I was living before I started attending church.. I just called my higher power the universe at that time.  

​Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  

Yesterday’s scripture was this… 

And I kid you not… knowing there would be homeless people in New Orleans, rushing to get dressed because I was late meeting a friend, something spoke to me and said… clean your closet .. you have a closet of clothes that just sit there.. sweaters that could keep people warm.. give them out while you’re out and about.  So I grabbed 3 sweaters.. that still fit.. that aren’t old… that I spent good money on and that I even liked.. because I don’t wear them.. it doesn’t get cold here to wear them often enough to have that many sweaters and I have a way to stay warm. I have a home. I have a van with heat.  Even though we have nice weather.. the temp drops at night and even at 50 degrees.. while staying still sleeping on a bench .. it’s cold.  I didn’t want it to be the focus of our day out.. but if the occasion came up I’d like to have them with me to hand out.. so I packed my day pack and set out.  

But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions. 

One of my sweaters was a really thick warm wool gypsy sweater.  I bought it thinking I’d back pack Europe in it.  It was too thick to take up that much room.  I’ve never worn it but I love it and it cost way more than I usually spend on clothing for myself.  I kept it because I didn’t want to admit I’d wasted my money on that impulse buy.  

Jesus said to his disciples, “Most certainly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.”   

This may become my favorite scripture.  I know from experience that when I stopped chasing money and material things.. I gained so much happiness and love for life.  I started seeing beauty in the smallest things and having so much more time to just be in the moment of that beauty.  I see people chasing more money, more stuff, more more more… and I wonder what it’s all for… they really seem to advance.. I’ve never met a single person that chased all that and became a millionaire that didn’t have to work… if anything they work harder to maintain the level they grow accustomed to… and still come out stressing money.  It’s a very vicious cycle that spends all of our precious life… causing it to fly by.

Wednesdays scripture talked about what we bind on earth shall be waiting for us in heaven. If we spend all our time chasing money.. we will never feel like we have any to just give away.. or time to sew seeds of love… spending time with people. We don’t even have time to spend with people that we do know and love.  Quite crazy really.

When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”  Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 

And there we have it.. Jesus was referring to the fact that with God.. we can give away our possessions.. we can reduce ourselves to nothing but time to follow Him.. we strip ourselves of all these other worries because He will take care of us.  If you read my frugal blogs.. you’ll see plenty of testimony supporting this.  Where I traveled 10 countries and 24 states on a wing and a prayer… just knowing that no matter what.. I would be okay.. shedding the fears that imprisoned me in the symptoms of my ptsd… and here I am .. still surviving.. still clothed… still well fed… too well fed… loved by many and now giving glory to Jesus Christ.  I still stress paying my bills to keep my house… if I became a complete nomad I wouldn’t worry about the house.. I’d be completely at the mercy of Him… and carefree.  It seems like the disciples did just that… became nomads and followed Jesus…

  Then Peter answered, “Behold, we have left everything, and followed you. What then will we have?”  Jesus said to them, “Most certainly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  Everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive one hundred times, and will inherit eternal life.  But many will be last who are first; and first who are last.

The Bible tells us that this is the will of God.  Mother Theresa dedicated her life and everything she had to serving Him thru her movement within time help others.  To love complete strangers.  

As we were driving down canal st to go home.. we stopped at a light where a man in a wheelchair held a sign.  We handed him Amber’s last beignet and I frantically pulled the sweaters out the backpack while sitting in the driver’s seat before the light turned green.  I handed him the thick wool hoodie and wished him well… I watched as the faces above him sitting in the street car looked down and smiled… and I prayed that they were moved to touch one person before the day was over.  That’s all it takes to be the change I want to see in the world.  One act at a time.  

Jesus.. help me see the way in which I can be a blessing to others today.  Lord continue to direct me.  Give me the courage to live with the action that supports what I believe your will for me is here on this earth.  Thank you for the treasures that I received from giving yesterday.. the fullness in my heart and the desire to do more.  Thank you for the confirmation that you moved thru me to do your work. I had no idea it would be 30 degrees this morning. God please be with all those that are homeless thru this winter.  Change the hearts of those who pass them and feel resentment because they had to feel guilty for not stopping and helping. Those that shun and look down on them.. or form their assumptions about what led them to be where they are in order to justify why they don’t offer a hand or an ear.  For all we know.. they could be homeless because they already shed all of their worldly possessions in order to follow you… God.. thank you for this 21 day plan of reading scripture that is teaching me to love like you.  Thank you thank you thank you… for I am finding the real message… not just parts of scripture that sound good or feel good.. but your whole message and desire for me.  I love you.  Amen. 

Matthew 19:21‭-‬30 WEB

http://bible.com/206/mat.19.21-30.WEB

Reading the Bible on a 100 level

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Okay.. so as many of you know, in July I was baptized in the name of Jesus and church has become a bug piece of my lifestyle.  I’m currently following a plan called “Love like Jesus” which shares scriptures every day for 21 days which pertain to learning to love like Jesus more and more.  I have a confession.. I am really struggling to read the Bible without challenging what I read.  Some of it is truly inspiring.. and other passages I completely repel and then feel conflicted about whether Christianity is really in alignment with what I believe because the belief about the Bible is all or nothing.  Of course sharing this out loud feels terrifying.  Think of all the judgement that could come by my fellow church members.. and then I think… well maybe they struggle with it too? 

My most valuable asset is my word.. my truth.. honesty.  Any time I am hiding from being 100% honest.. it cripples my recovery and my mental stability.  Over the last couple of years, honesty isn’t just about not intentionally lying.. it’s about being 100 at all times.  No sugar coating.. no people pleasing..  no avoiding those uncomfortable c0nversations… and it really has changed my life.  Lately tho, I don’t feel in alignment with that.  I know that the Bible says;

1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God

and I am 90% gay on the spectrum.  This isn’t something that is going to change.  I don’t feel conflicted about it.  I believe God is love and His love flows thru me and touches more lives than I can probably imagine.  I don’t give love in this world to buy myself a seat in Heaven.  That would be selfish and I believe that to love like Jesus, it should be unconditional and selfless.  I don’t feel the need to someday have my moment with Jesus when this life comes to an end.  He is with me in every moment that I am here on earth.  The awakening and fullness that I feel in my heart for each and every living creature.. for in each and every one of us, is Him.  Imagine if every Christian could love each and every person like they were Jesus! 

Anyway I got off track.  My point is this.. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the abomination that surrounds how my heart is pulled to love.  I choose not to share them in this particular blog because it was today’s scripture that really caused me to open a blog and begin typing. Here it is.. and I’ll break it down at the points I feel conflicted about it.  If anyone would like to enlighten me.. it’s very welcomed.  Maybe I’m misinterpreting it? 

Matthew 18:1‭-‬4‭, ‬6‭-‬35

​In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the middle of them, and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him that a huge millstone should be hung around his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea.   

Okay.. so I am all for remaining humble and open minded like a child.  I have a really hard time with threatening manner of causing someone to stumble.  I think back on how many times, as an atheist, I have challenged and debated with people who I felt were using the bible against me.  How many times I’ve listened to someone quote a story and I’ve thought about how incredibly unlikely it was that it was a true story.. and debated my reasons for thinking that way.  Would God really give us the freedom to think and learn for ourselves to then want to chain an entire factory around our neck and let us sink to the bottom of an ocean.. for using our own voice to express those thoughts and feelings?  I mean debate causes stimulation of our minds and whirls up emotions in our hearts.  We are all His children.. I have a hard time believing He would wish such a wrath of punishment because of a stumble.  

 “Woe to the world because of occasions of stumbling! For it must be that the occasions come, but woe to that person through whom the occasion comes!  If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire. 

Ok.. again.. time out! I’m a literal person.. and in envisioning this.. if I stumbled over my foot and cut it off to prevent that stumble again.. I guarantee you I will fall a lot more with one foot left to walk on.  I understand the scripture is using dramatic effect (which causes me to wonder how feminine Matthew might have been) but I think cutting off my hands because I’m writing this blog would be a shame.  What about all the good that come from these same hands?  Again .. the all or nothing factor comes up here for me.  In psychology this behavior has a diagnosis… borderline personality disorder.. and it’s a VERY destructive disorder.   Let’s continue… 

 If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna  of fire. 

Again … a little dramatic in my opinion. 

 See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.  For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.    “What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray?  

Is this a trick question?  It would depend on several factors.  Would the 99 sheep be at risk by leaving them to find the missing one?  

If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.  Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. 

So bottom line is don’t stray to begin with.  Ironically a good lesson for me right now because obviously if I am questioning if Christianity is right for me.. that would be a step in possibly straying.  In order not to stray, for me, I need to let these questions out and play it out on paper to really digest it.. and be at peace with it.  I guess that line is a conformation for me to continue blogging.  He is so amazing. Thank you Jesus for always providing the direction. 🙂 OK moving on … 

   “If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone.

ALONE! just wanted to highlight this.  All too often I see posts on Facebook or other outlets that broadcast a person’s disagreement.  Cut the drama guys and girls.  Don’t be and villain… address it like a leader .. like Jesus .. with love. 

 If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother.  But if he doesn’t listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 

Having third parties can help… referees make a living of it 😉 

  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector. 

Can someone explain what that means?

 Most certainly I tell you, whatever things you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever things you release on earth will have been released in heaven.

This is so powerful for me.  What I hear it telling me is that if I live a life of selfless love here on earth … that life is what is waiting for me in Heaven.  This speaks volumes!! I witness Christians waiting for this life to be over so they can join Him in the Kingdom of Heaven all the time.  Knowing that it’s going to be a extension of what we are creating here on earth just completely motivates me to continue living this life to the absolute fullest.. where love is my main currency. Thank you Jesus! 

  Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the middle of them.”   Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.  

Forgiveness … it’s the key to setting ourselves free of the bandage that resentment holds on our hearts.  I highly recommend it every time.. but heed the wisdom that comes also.

Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants.  When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  But because he couldn’t pay, his Lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  The servant therefore fell down and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!’  The Lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.    “But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii,   and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’    “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you!’  He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due.  So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their Lord all that was done.  Then his Lord called him in, and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me.  Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?’

A great story for “do unto others…”

  His Lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him.  So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don’t each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds.”

A little contradictarary.  So the Lord will forgive us countless times.. except the time that we don’t forgive someone.. then He will punish us? 

This is where I have a hard time with the Bible.  Quite obviously from the beginning of the story “the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to reconcile with his servants” this is Matthew’s analogy of how he interpreted the lesson of forgiveness.  This isn’t God’s Word… this is Matthew’s account from his perspective.  It’s very valid and a great analogy.. but like any one person’s account of something.. it isn’t the best all and end all.. and in that lies a great example for my having a hard time with all or nothing when it comes to the Bible.  Anyone who has been in a lecture at school can tell you that tho there is one teacher… the lessons learned by each student would vary if they were to recant what they had learned.  

The floor is open … I look forward to the insight that will come as I sincerely want to learn and grow in my faith while reading the scriptures. 

Matthew 18:1‭-‬4‭, ‬6‭-‬35 WEB

http://bible.com/206/mat.18.1-35.WEB

Celebrating Sobriety

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I wrote this in 2014… 

There are a lot of reasons I permitted myself to drink. Excuses. Sadness. Relationship problems. Work problems. Financial problems. Family problems. Your problems. My problems. Life problems. Death problems. Problems period…

Reasons for which i just knew i should drink. Excuses.

Joy! Relationship success. Work success.  Financial success. Family success. Your success my success life success success period!!!! Bottoms up!!

Then there were those days when neither problems nor success came my way… And I failed at trying to create either for an excuse to drink, so I drank. 

Truth is I drank because I liked the effect that alcohol had on my body, on my mind, and on my heart. That liquid courage that permitted me to start… Start that conversation with a beautiful lady.. At least thru beer bottle glasses she was beautiful..

The super powers it gave me to numb my emotions, the perfect potion, why wouldn’t I give it absolute devotion? Why aren’t you? Have you tried this shit? And they say I’m the one with the problem…

The permission it gave me to just not care, no need to be aware of others and their shit of course unless they had something to give, or share, then I was there. 

My favorite was its ability to allow me to avoid… I don’t have to elaborate… Wait what? Avoid what? Why life of course. 

So today I am proud to say that I can celebrate that while those excuses have still blessed my life, loss of love, child, and good friends wife, a medical emergency, a surgery, and possibly being fatally sick, i didn’t drink not a lick… I stand sober and dry with my new clear minds eye which affords me the ability to see who I want to be. A productive member of society… A worthwhile employee… A friend – a very best friend, selfless honest loyal and true who knows its not about me but what can I do for you… A daughter to a father whose spent years concerned, a lover to another that I won’t crash and burn.  An example a supplier of a glimmer of hope to the next who can’t vision their life without dope. 

All the excuses in the world could never convince me that they’re reason enough to give up living in sobriety.

“She’s Gifted” October 25 2015

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“She’s Gifted”

This was originally inspired by a comment “you’re gifted” on one of my painting posts, and how those words have evolved over the years, and being gifted is something i treasure now vs feeling like a freak when i was younger.  Tho I was never in special needs classes, I was pushed forward.. given college math to solve at the age of 11.. spent time after school with teachers that saw the potential within me, and nurtured it to excel.  I knew I was different, being only 1 of 3 kids in the school to be offered this opportunity.  I remember being selected to learn violin, based on a test administered for the best candidates.. there were many signs growing up that I wasn’t your average bear.  Unfortunately, all i wanted to be was “your average bear” so that i’d feel accepted, and normal.

Pictured is Tessa at her 9th birthday party.  I remember shopping for her birthday.. I wanted to send her on a shopping spree to the Disney Store, an ice cream stop, and Toys R Us.  I wanted to then do a photo shoot of her, dressed as her favorite princess… I wanted her to feel like the Princess that she is.  At the birthday party I witnessed Tessa being the princess that she is.  Her authentic self shined bright at all times.  If she wanted to dance, she danced! If she was upset, she was upset.  If she wanted to sit next to her best friend when she was “supposed” to be doing something else.. she sat next to her friend.  Tessa taught me a huge lesson about being authentic that day… Thank you! ❤

After years of trying to be normal, fighting the natural, beautifully flawed person that I have been blessed to be in this lifetime.. Extraordinary is a word that fits … and it’s okay that sometimes that means I will have a freak out moment… sometimes I won’t be able to handle any noise.. or if i can.. it can’t have words, just music.  It’s okay to let my friends see me when I am out there.. and to ask them to give me some time to let my brain run wild, which means i won’t be able to focus on a conversation in that moment.  It’s okay.. because it is in those moments that my mind reaches a place where it clicks.. and something beautiful is produced… today it is this poem… enjoy…  and as always.. feel free to share if it resonates.

“She’s Gifted”
She sorts her toys by color…
And eats her food in groups
Seems socially awkward…
Maybe even mute.
Perceived as rather quiet
Rarely makes a sound
But inside her mind and soul
Everything is so loud
“She’s retarded” they used to call her
“She’s mental” they would say
“She’s special… ”
“Yea, special needs…” They’d tell each other
“She’s gifted, in her own way”
Surrounded by authorities
Trying to fit her in their box
Seeking treatment to make her normal…
Gifted didn’t shine a lot.
focused just long enough to get dressed
Take her meds
And eat some food…
Taking time away
 from all she had to say
and remember
When back in her own world
Constantly trying to keep up
Sticky notes posted in the furthest universes’ of her mind
Isolation became her greatest friend
The key to play freely and let her gifts shine.
Free to be herself,
Just as she is,
Her gifts multiplied and became fine tuned.
Picasso paintings
Pretty pictures
Expression expressed in magnitude.
“She’s gifted” they began to say
This time with a new air,
For no one was around to see the “mental”
State of mind
She needed to be within
To allow herself to be there …
There…
Where she could be gifted.

2015: Welcome to ENGLAND! Week 1 – London and the Coast

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Monday, November 30, 2015

  Wow, it has been a while since I have written a blog.  It’s been pretty non stop since the traveling started.  November 11th I boarded a plane in NY to Gatwick airport in London, England.  Pretty scary really, given that I only had a one way, one time passport that was taken from me at the UK Border.  A lot of people think that this trip should be easy for me, but the truth of the matter is, when I left England I was 16.  The only time that I have flown international, and come back to England has been when my mother arranged and paid for it.  My dad, or partner at the time, brought me to the airport, and family was waiting on the other side for my arrival.  I had never counted on myself, solely, to navigate my way using public transportation.  I’d never had to trust myself to make sure that I was okay, and would arrive where I needed to arrive, and needless to say, I was pretty nervous.  All of this is really outside of my comfort zone.

Luckily for me, I do have family in this country, and my first initial destination was to my Aunt’s house.  In some ways, there was comfort in knowing that, and in others there was a different kind of fear.  The last time I had seen my aunt was when I was 15.  We’d had very limited contact even when we were in touch, and next to none for the last 20 years.  My cousins are grown adults, and I knew almost nothing about my Uncle Paul.  Being invited to stay with them in Christchurch was financially supportive of my traveling frugal blog, but emotionally, it was a risk that I really didn’t talk much about.

Hattan Hostel has been pretty successful so far, and I’m extremely grateful for all of Jackie’s hard work on site.  The bookings in Mississippi have slowed down, I assume because it is winter time, but I did expect some traffic for snowbird season.  The weather there is in the 70s.. maybe people aren’t sick of the cold yet.  The price point is as low as it could possibly be, so at this point its time to turn it over to my higher power, and know that there is a reason for it to be vacant.

So far England has been amazing.  Better than I anticipated.  Spending a day in London was something I have done with my dad as a small child, but I don’t remember anything about it.  This trip was with my cousin, and her first time sight seeing the city also.  We woke up around 5am to catch a bus into Bournemouth from Christchurch.  From Bournemouth we took a coach for 2 hours into the City of London, and began our rainy but fun day seeing the sights.  I’ll write a specific guide to seeing London on a Dime once I have finished writing this overall update.

Altogether I stayed in the south of England for a week.  I got to spend quality time with family, see London, spend a day at Durdle Door .. a BEAUTIFUL landscape of cliffs at the Southern end of England, and become acclimated to the British way of life.

The total out of pocket from NYC to the end of my first week in England, flight cost included is:

Flight – $286
Snacks for traveling – $7.25
England socket converter to charge my electronics – $10
Bus from London to Bournemouth – $22
Wok and Roll lunch – $6
Train fare from Bournemouth to Christchurch – $5
Breakfast before London – $4
Lodging with family was free
Food for the most part was free – we brought lunch and dinner with us to London and to Durdle Door
Return trip to London via coach – $35
Sight seeing hop on hop off bus tour of London – $45 (something I usually wouldn’t pay for, but given the rain, it was well worth the free bus rides to each attraction, and the free River Thames cruise that allowed me to get some amazing photos while having shelter to duck under.. not to mention the dry comedy of the boat guide)
Teatime – $4
Shopping for a scarf and hat – $12
Postcards and stamps – $20

Week 1 – $456 ($170 without the flight)

#MatthewNC #HurricaneMatthew

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Dear North Carolina,

We want to help but we have zero connections in NC and thought maybe you could help us.  We are the Cajun Army .. a group of volunteers that came together during our flood in August and sent our personal boats out to do flood rescue (Cajun Navy). When the water resided we dispatched in groups to lighten the burden and love thy neighbor… which quickly grew into a movement that is still ongoing.

Cajun Army FB Page – 10k members and going strong

We now have experience strength and hope that can help flood victims move forward at a time when they don’t know where to turn.. or what to do first.

  • We understand FEMA (for the most part)
  • We have the tools to gut houses before black mold kicks in
  • We know the difference in the assistance offered.. Shelter At Home, FEMA, Transitional Shelter Assistance, DSNAP food stamps etc
  • We have learned how to collect resources and supplies, and distribute
  • We’ve learned how to come together as a village because it takes a village.. those who still have cars to become taxis for those without

The immediate help that is probably currently pitched under tents in church parking lots will quickly dry up as volunteers need to return to their own lives.  FEMA will move on as the media stops reporting… I would be willing to bet you had no idea we lost 144,000 homes in Louisiana in August.. that we have many tent cities, and almost 10,000 people stranded in motels across 9 states.. American refugees forgotten.  Help us help them, please.  We know this battle down to the last detail.

north-carolina

Sincerely,
Storme

www.thecajunarmy.com

#cajunarmy #matthewnc #hurricanematthew