Tag Archives: Faith

10 Minutes From My Heart

10 minutes to write about anything……

When I started this blog a couple months ago, I was trying to figure some stuff out. Was trying to figure out what direction that I needed to go, and to figure out why I do the things I do. Well it seems to me that all I have been doing on here is responding to the daily prompt, and even though I really enjoy writing, that just doesn’t seem to be enough for me.

I love writing, I never knew how much until I started writing and sharing on a daily basis. I would love to make a living writing but have not figured that part out just yet. I know that I want to keep writing, but I also have responsibilities to take care of. I do have Faith that everything is going to work out, but it won’t unless I keep moving forward.

Not real sure where I am going with this, but I figured that I would just write what was in my heart at the time. I have started a new venture and it is scary, and frustrating but I feel in my heart that it is the path that I need to take. Life doesn’t wait around for us, it keeps happening no matter what. I lay awake some nights in bed doubting myself, doubting my ability to make this work. But I have to remind myself that God has always helped me through everything, even when I did my best to screw things up. I just have to let Him, and that is what I am working on.

I am not ashamed to say that I believe in God, He is my higher power and I rely on his Grace to get me through most days. I don’t have issues with people of other beliefs, but I am not going to hide mine just because I am afraid it is going to offend someone. When I ask for help, good things happen. Yet I keep trying to do things on my own, keep thinking I can do this myself.

I Can’t

He Can

Let HIM!

I am going to keep plugging away at things, going to keep doing the little things that helped to get me to this point. Just want to take care of my family and to help other people that are going through the same issues that I went through, that is what I want out of life. Everything else is just fluff as far as I am concerned.

My ten minutes are almost up, if you haven’t checked out my new website, it is http://startsat50.com/

Gotta start somewhere, and the time is NOW

Thanks for reading


Home Improvement

Home improvment logo.jpg

The daily prompt asked us if we could replace the cast of any TV show with my own family, which one would it be?

First thing I did was to send a note to my wife asking her opinion because I really don’t watch that much TV, and the shows I do watch really didn’t strike me as appropriate. Big Bang Theory?…Nah. Falling Skies….would be fun, but not really what we are about. Great show though. Deadliest Catch?….never caught a crab in my life and I am REALLY sure that my wife would not be caught out on a boat in the middle of the ocean in the middle of winter……

So I got up, got my daughter off to school and went to a meeting that I attend every morning. It is a bunch of guys, and sometimes gals, that get together just to get our day off on the right note. We have a topic that we read about and then talk about for an hour or so and then go on about our day. It really is a great, and necessary way for me to start my day.

Still not sure of how to relate a TV show to my family, or my family to a TV show, I looked at the topic for today and it was “Reconstruction”. OK, that topic is very relevant to what me and my family are in the middle of doing. Over the last six months our lives have drastically changed, more than I ever thought that they could or would. I am not going to go into details of what happened, but just suffice it to say that if I was looking at what happened from the outside in, I would think that it would have been the worst 6 months of my life. Well guess what, it has been by far the best 6 months of my life.

I know that my wife is going to read this, and I am not going to tell her story, but we both have found something over the past few months that we did not even know was missing. Actually, He wasn’t missing, we had just kept Him out of our lives together. By the Grace of God, in a few weeks we are going to be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. 6 months ago I would have probably told you that we probably were not going to make it, but we did and I can say that I am as much in love with her now, as I have ever been. I don’t deserve the forgiveness that she has graciously given me, but I am going to damn sure take it and treasure it and thank God for it everyday. And I hope that she is not upset that I put this on here, but I want the world to know, at least my little part of it.

As for the show, the only one that came to me is the show Home Improvement, because that is exactly what we are doing everyday with the help of our Higher Power which we choose to call God. We don’t have 3 boys and a neighbor that passes wisdom to us over a fence, but we will be OK.

At the end of the reading we did this morning, it said “He grants me a daily reprieve and will provide the power I need for reconstruction”, and it is such a great feeling to know that it is true.

Peace and love to all



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The Great Debate

Evil Mark:  Hey, did you see? You have a chance to be 12 again, but know all that you know now

Good Mark:  Wait, what?

Mark:  Huh?

EM: That is what it says, you can be transformed into a 12 year old body and live life the way that you always wanted

M:  Really? That’s, umm…

GM: Don’t do it!

EM:  Why the hell not? He could do all the things that he should have done, erase all the mistakes that he made and make something of himself

GM: But he is something now

M:  Yeah, wait…um…thanks?

EM:  You know what I mean. He would know how to handle all the crap that came along

GM: You mean life?

EM: What?

GM: All that crap that came along defines who we are today.

EM:  Whatever, he could be someone totally different. He could be even better than he could have ever dreamed of

GM: You really think so?

EM:  Sure, why not. And along the way he can get even with all the people that hurt him, that made his life as screwed up as it became.

GM: There it is

EM: There what is?! I’m just saying that this is his chance for redemption

GM: You mean revenge?

EM: Whatever. It would be good for him

M: Guys, I’m right here

EM: We’ll get to you in a minute. All those coulda-woulda-shoulda moments, could be handled differently

GM: Why?

EM: What do you mean why? So that he could do better

GM: I like him the way he is

M:  Umm….thanks

EM: Yeah, yeah. He’s a nice guy and all, but you have to admit, he made a lot of mistakes in his life

GM: Who hasn’t?

EM: You’re missing the point.

GM: No, actually you are missing the point. We are all defined by our thoughts and actions. He had to go through all the mistakes, all the heartache, all the hurt, all the loneliness, all the irresponsibility, all the self-righteous….


GM: immature behavior, all the self-centered, center of the world thinking, all the…

M: I think he gets it

GM: self imposed inadequate thinking

M: STOP already…..!!

GM: To be the person that he is today. Doing it over is not just going to change him, it will change all of the people around him that love him and care about him. In fact some of them might not even exist if he does this

M: Huh?

GM: Everything that you have done, good or bad, has shaped who you are now. There is a plan for you

EM: Oh here we go

GM: There IS a plan for you, and it is not YOUR plan. You have meaning in all that you are, all that you think, all that you feel. Do you really think that going back and trying to do it all over again is a good thing?

EM:  YES!!

M:  Well, I have thought about it in the past, what I would do differently if I had the chance.

GM: Did you think it through to what you would lose if you did?

M: Not really I guess

GM: Do you like where you are now? Do you feel good about the direction that you are headed?

M:  Yes, been a long time since I felt like I had a purpose, a direction

EM: You can find another purpose and an even better direction.

GM: It’s your call Mark.

EM: Don’t blow it man, this is a golden opportunity….

M:  Opportunity for what? To try to change the way I think? Or Feel? What if I make even worse mistakes? I would still be me

EM: But you would be You and still have all this knowledge of the last 37 years.

M: But all that knowledge got me where I am today, and I like where I am so why would I go back and change it?

EM: Umm..

GM:  Hah, evil Mark is speechless

EM: Shut up!

M: I’m gonna pass on becoming a 12 year old again, but thanks anyway for the offer


My Personal Cause

The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

This was the question for the day. For me, there is really only one cause that I am passionate about. . . .Recovery. I am not ashamed that I am in recovery from an addiction. It was bound to happen. Either recover or die is how I look at it. I am not going to go into horror stories of my addiction or preach that there is only one way to recover, all I can really tell you is that I am very passionate about recovery and willing to go to any lengths to recover and to help others to recover.

To me, the only reason that addiction is a touchy subject is that most people do not understand, or even want to understand about it. That used to bother me, but there really is nothing I can do about those people, except pray for them. Pray for them that they get everything out of life that I want out of life. After all, don’t we ALL want the same thing? To find happiness in our lives? To wake up every day knowing that we serve a purpose? Knowing that there are people out there that do understand us and are willing to help us, with the only caveat being that we be willing to help those that come after us. “Passing it on” is what they call it I believe.

As I write, a lot of my thoughts are directed by what I have learned, and what I am learning every day in recovery and hope to learn the rest of my life. I am not any different than you or anyone else, am no longer terminally unique in thinking that no one else understands. Give them a chance to understand, eventually you will find people that do and that will love you with no strings attached. They ARE out there, just have to be willing to let them help. Sounds easy, harder than hell!

That’s all I got today.

See Ya


The Serenity Tunnel

He was fuming when he got home.

“Don’t talk to me!” he yelled at his wife as he brushed past her in the kitchen.

“Rough day?” she smiled, knowing what was about to happen. “I unlocked the tunnel for you” she said as she turned back to go check on the kids. This was a regular occurrence at night after work, Tom would come home from work and either something happened on the job, or someone in traffic pissed him off, or he was back to being the leader of his self-proclaimed “Itty-Bitty-Shitty Committee” and needed to unload. It had gotten better, at least now he knew that he needed to find his tunnel and go wherever it is that he went. She never went in the tunnel, he had asked her not to and as long as it was working, she respected his wishes.

He would go in the tunnel, mad at the world and would come out relieved and relaxed and ready to be part of the family again, a wonderful part of it. She had asked about where the tunnel had led to several times, but he just told her that it was personal and he wasn’t ready to share it with her, but that some day he would. Maybe today was the day. She would wait for him and ask.

Sure enough, 30 minutes later he came out and was a different man, the one that she fell in love with and loved with all her heart. He came out, apologized to her as usual, hugged and kissed her and asked how her day was. He always wanted to know about her day before he would tell her about his, something he said that he had to do.

“Did you learn that in the tunnel?” she said, somewhat sarcastically.

“Learn what?”

“That you always need to hear about my day before you talk about yours”

“Yup” he said grinning


“Yup. I think it is time.”

“For what?”

“For you to know about my tunnel.”

“You don’t have to do that, I know it is a personal thing that, for whatever reason, helps you.”

“Come on” he said, taking her hand in his and leading her to the door

For some reason she felt nervous, apprehensive, wondering what she was going to see in this tunnel of his. He led her into the door, into complete and total darkness. It was the kind of darkness that one does not know whether their eyes are open or closed. She walked along, holding on tightly to his arm.

“When am I going to be able to see. . .umm. . . .it?”

“You won’t”

“Won’t what?”

“See it”


“You’ll feel it. Come on, hold on to my arm, just a little bit further. Don’t be so nervous, you will love it”

“But Tom, how can I love it if I can’t see. . . . “

At that moment, a feeling came over her like none she had ever felt. A warmth growing from her belly, spreading throughout her entire body, arms and feet tingling, mind no longer worrying or caring about. . . .well, anything. She closed her eyes purposefully and a bright light filled her mind, as if no other thoughts could exist inside her. She realized that she had let go of Tom’s hand and now felt like she was floating in liquid, warm and inviting. She could stay here forever she thought.

What seemed like hours passed, suddenly she realized that she was standing in a dark room

“Tom!!” she yelled

“I’m right here. You OK? Ready to go back?”

“What just happened? That was. . . unreal!” she exclaimed.

“I know, it is what I need to get through most days.” he responded.

“Well, why didn’t you tell me about this before?” she said, feeling a bit of anger and resentment building up against her husband for keeping this to himself.

“He told me that it was not time.” Tom replied.

“He? Who the hell is he?” She demanded.

Suddenly the feeling came back over her, putting her mind at ease and allowing her to float again, or so it seemed. She smiled as she came back to Tom, “I’m sorry, I just don’t understand.”

“I know you don’t, neither did I. I needed to come here every day for a long time to understand that I will never fully understand how this room works. All I know is that it works, and now I can share it with you.”

“Thank you” was all that she could think to say.

As they walked back the way that they came, she put her head on his shoulder and felt more loved than she had ever felt. Felt like no matter what happened the rest of the day, everything would be OK.



“How did you find that place?”

“I don’t know to be honest, something just told me to go through the door and I did. Guess I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired, all the anger in the world, the rat race, not feeling like I was being a good husband to you or a good father to the kids, and something told me to go there and that it would be OK.”

“Who is he?”


“You said that he told you that I wasn’t ready.”

“I never said that you weren’t ready, just that it wasn’t time. Wasn’t time for me to be able to share this with someone else, no matter who they were. That I had been so self-centered and ego driven for so long, that I had to work on me before I could even contemplate helping someone else.”

“Oh. I don’t know what to say. Thank you I guess for picking me” she said.

“There is no one else that I would want to share it with first.” he said and kissed her on the cheek.

“Aww” she started to tear up. “So, are you going to tell me who he is?”

Tom smiled and opened the door so that they could exit the tunnel.

“Sure. . . .He is God.”

My Thoughts

I have been reading a lot and hearing many comments about Robin Williams over the past few days. It has put me through a range of emotions from sadness to anger, pity to condemnation, confusion to understanding.

I enjoyed watching Robin Williams perform, always have. Going back to when his character Mork from Ork showed up on Happy Days (remember?). He made me laugh, he made me cry, he made me think. My anger and condemnation is not directed at him, it is at the people making comments based on ignorance of depression and addiction. It is at people that at this time of sadness and grief for his family and true friends, who are making ignorant comments and, in my opinion, are verbally harassing his family. How could people be that cold and unfeeling?

Now everyone wants to know whether he had drugs in his system, it doesn’t matter. It really does not matter. He just couldn’t take it anymore. We put people on such pedestals that when they fall, because after all they are ONLY human, that we all feel like they let us down. Well, maybe we all let him down. Maybe if people stopped  the mentality of “Just get over it” or “Just deal with it” and made an effort to understand that he had a debilitating disease, two of them. Depression and Addiction, and the sole desire of these diseases is to want the person that has them dead. That is the sole objective of the disease.

Yes, I am taking this personally. I fight my own battle, millions of us do, but we have to do it anonymously because it is not “the norm”. But there is a solution if someone wants it bad enough. But these diseases trick us into thinking that we don’t want it bad enough, and I know most of you will never understand that and believe me, I am happy for you. But please do not condemn those that do have to struggle with these feelings.

I just read this paragraph on a blog called Between Fear and Love that, again in my opinion, really touches on how people with suicidal tendencies feel, I hope she will not be upset that I used it

My favorite priest once gave us an analogy. He said to us that someone once told him that people who are depressed with suicidal tendencies feel like they are standing in a burning building with flames all around and the flames are growing bigger and bigger, closer and closer. They can’t run through the fire, the flames will engulf them. They stand on the edge, waiting for the moment the flames die down, but sometimes the flames move so close that they cannot escape them any longer and the only way out is to jump. The jump isn’t designed to hurt anyone else or even themselves. The jump is designed to escape the fire that is all consuming. People jump from burning buildings. We instinctively search for an escape from the pain that we know has the potential to destroy our lives. Sometimes the pain is physical. Sometimes it’s mental. Sometimes it’s both.

Below are lyrics to a part of a song called “Illumination Theory” by Dream Theater that have always helped me to remember what I need to do to keep moving in the right direction.

To really feel the joy in life
You must suffer through the pain
When you surrender to the light 
You can face the darkest days

If you open up your eyes
And you put your trust in love
On those cold and endless nights 
You will never be alone

Passion glows within your heart
Like a furnace burning bright 
Until you struggle through the dark
You’ll never know that you’re alive

Joatmon’s Opus

This is Opus.

I bought a stuffed animal of Opus over 30 years ago and still have him, and do not plan on letting him go.

You see, Me and Opus have been through a lot together. Opus was there in my darkest hours and never left. He’d listen for as long as I needed to talk and still will. Now that is an amazing friend, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, he originally is from the comic strip “Bloom County”, but I found him in one of those thrift shops connected to one of those old time gas stations somewhere in Central Illinois along I-57. Not sure what made me buy him, just saw him on the shelf looking at me and figured that I had to have him.

After I bought him I went back to my car, having just revisited some people at college that I knew from the previous year. See, I had to drop out of college for personal reasons, which at the time I did not understand at all. Was not feeling too good about myself at the time and I guess I needed someone or something, and Opus was there for me.

We went out behind the gas station and watched the sun set over a farmer’s fields, no noises other than birds chirping or squawking or whatever they were doing, just a golden field that stretched out forever it seemed, sun sinking into the horizon leaving such magnificent shades of yellow and orange below a darkening blue sky, I just sat. And sat.

Little did I know that the peaceful feeling that I was feeling at the time was known as Serenity, and just how hard that feeling would be to find again for a long time. I have had glimpses of it over the past 30 years, on my wedding day, the days that my children were born, but it never lasted, through no fault of Opus or anyone else might I add.

I know now that serenity is not “out there”, it is in here (I am pointing at my chest). And it is achievable. I know that now, as long as I keep my way of thinking pointed in the right direction, as long as I am doing the next right indicated thing, as long as I am relying on My Higher Power who I choose to call God, it is achievable.

And I think Opus knew that and was there on the shelf just waiting for me to pick him up.

Progress, not perfection

Progress, not perfection

Learning to live one day at a time, with gratitude not contempt

Progress, not perfection

Realizing that I am not responsible for what others think of me, that all I can do is the best I can do for today

Progress, not perfection

Remaining teachable and learning, practicing humility in all that I try to do

Progress, not perfection

Becoming the person that He wants me to be, not the one that I want to be

Progress, not perfection

Asking for forgiveness and having Faith that I will receive it. Looking at life as a journey. Being willing to help others as I have been helped.

Progress, not perfection

Forgiving others, for they know not how their words and actions can be so hurtful and hateful. Praying that they are given the same that I seek. Finding peace within themselves.

Progress, not perfection

Not taking for granted the amazing world that we live in, in spite of all the hate that the media spews at us constantly. The beauty of a lake at sunset, bumblebees defying physics and buzzing around a field of beautiful flowers, the smile of a child and her eyes showing a blank canvas that is just longing to be filled with wonderful memories

Progress, not perfection


It is all about today.

I can’t worry about tomorrow or the day after, I have to live in the day.

I have to understand that not doing so can be so destructive to me and my thought process.

Worrying about tomorrow will leave me with a terrible memory of yesterday, but living in the day keeps me sane, sometimes even focused.

Faith is a wonderful thing or so I hear. Mine is getting stronger I think. At least I am aware today how important it is.

Having faith in others is much easier than having faith in myself.

Today there can be hope.

Today, I have a chance.

Today…it’s all I got