January 29, 2010

Washington, DC trip

In two weeks I will be in Washington, DC for "Lead Trainer's Training" with NAADAC. I feel very honored to have been asked and am excited about the upcoming training. It will prepare me to train others internationally. I will have the opportunity to travel to Thailand and Kenya. NAADAC is such an incredible association and they do so much for the addiction profession. I am so grateful to be part of it.

My NAADAC memories:

2007 at the Advocacy in Action conference....waiting at our hotel to go to the hill to make visits to our representatives!

2008 at the Train the Trainer on Co-Occurring Disorders training in NAADAC's new building!

Salt Lake City, Utah 2009 National NAADAC conference, visiting USA Olympic Village in Park City with Greg Lovelidge, Editor of Recovery Today.

January 24, 2010


Yesterday I sat at a stop light for longer than the light. A funeral procession was going through the intersection. Seeing anything that has to do with death right now has a different meaning than it did to me before. I thought of the pain the family must be going through. No matter the reason a person passes, I assume it is difficult to someone. In the time it took the procession to pass by I had a moment to turn off my radio, have thoughts run through my head and answer my son’s questions about the reason everyone stops as a funeral motorcade passes.

As quickly as that time passed, it was over. The fact that it was quick made such an impact on me. It affected me because I thought of that family. For the family and those very close to that person, it isn’t over. It has just begun. With tears streaming down my face, I drove down the road thinking of what life really means. Of how quickly life passes by and in wonderment of just how swiftly the world forgets that you were here.

It brought to my thoughts my mom, of course. I thought of what an influence she was on our family. She never spoke publicly. She wasn’t on television or radio. She didn’t impact everyone in the world. But she made such a difference to us. I called to mind a quote on a card I gave her once. She loved it and said she found it very true. The quote was, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world”.

So she was.

January 19, 2010


Today has been one of “those days”. And I can’t put my finger on the reason. That is frustrating to me. I like to know why things happen. The morning was rushed and I had difficulty with my son. He is usually a rule follower but this morning he decided to be sassy. I am not sure if I were more disappointed in the fact that he leaned toward being disobedient or that his facial expression and “huffing” noise in response to my direction took me back to a nine year old Paula.

When I returned home from taking him to school I wept. I didn’t even know the reason. Again, not knowing why it was happening got the best of me. Perhaps, there are a multitude of reasons. Perhaps, just something I cannot explain.

I have been ready for the day to be over since it started yet I sit here sleepless with less than an hour of it left. Good and bad. Right and wrong. Life. It has been amazing to me what I take in and notice when I am not in a hurry. When I slow down long enough to think and feel….it is overwhelming. But it is doable. I go back to what I said in this very blog a little more than two months ago….and retract it….”I need to get busy doing”.

What a blessing this time away from “doing” has been. I have learned a great deal in the not doing and the just being.

I am back to basics. And I like it.

January 17, 2010


Today is Sunday. I am sitting in the kitchen at my mom's house. This weekend we had my great niece's here for a sleepover with my sonshine for his 9th birthday. We didn't plan a party with his classmates this year because of the uncertainty that was happening during the time we usually do our party planning. We decided that we would have a party in Central Texas and invite "the girls" to spend the night. When mom was in the hospital we talked about maybe renting a hotel with an indoor pool to stay in but after she passed away having the party at her house seemed perfect. And it was.

Each time we are here there is a feeling that she is with us. I am not sure if that keeps me from moving forward or if it keeps moving forward less painful. But I think we all enjoyed it. My sister helped so much. She is always helpful with the kids. She thinks of creative and special ways to make events even more memorable. She is someone constant in my life. I can tell her when I am sad and she understands. She can also laugh with me when it is appropriate.

This weekend was a little bit of laughter and a little bit of tears. Knowing mom won't be with us as we celebrate any future birthdays is difficult. She had never missed one before. But sitting at her kitchen table last night laughing like we always have was perfect. Our oldest great niece was sitting with us. She played "cool" music for us on her IPOD and tried to teach us new dances. I laughed so hard my side ached! Looking at her sitting with the grown ups now instead of being in the other room playing with the kids reminded me that time moves forward. She is growing up, she is moving into a role I was once in and my sister and I are moving into new roles.

Even my aunt and uncle came to the party. It crossed my mind that it had been the first time they had been to mom's house since she passed away. My brother and sister in law came, too. My nephew sent his regrets that he couldn't come because he had some other obligations. Just hearing that he thought enough about coming to his 9 year old cousins birthday when he is a 20 year old college guy shows me his commitment to family. Having family around is something perpetual. Regardless of who those family members are, I know there will always be family.

Feeling grateful.

January 12, 2010

New Venture

I am excited about what 2010 has in store. While it took the loss of a job to push me in this direction, it is becoming clearer each day that I am to captain my own vessel.

While I always have always been available to conduct training in the past, I am gearing up for a bigger venture now. I have begun consulting and training with agencies and individuals again. My focus will be on site visits to treatment centers and practices where there is need of some guidance, compliance or simply direction. I will be auditing, training and developing curriculum. I will also continue writing policy and procedure.

Once I find the office space I am looking for I will also begin taking clients for assessment, referral and individual counseling. I will also continue being consulted in dealing with crisis events as they occur.

I will also put more time and energy into legislative advocacy and supporting my field through involvement with TAAP and NAADAC.

Very exciting!

January 11, 2010

9 Years Old

My sonshine is nine today. Is that a typo? NINE? Can he really be that old? He tells me it is true. Wow, time goes by so quickly. One day he will tire of the story I tell the day before his birthday every year. How I expected him before Christmas but after days in the hospital with doctors coaxing him out organically they sent me home. And it wasn't until the 10th of January that the doctor said, "we have good news and bad news". The good news was that he would be arriving on the eleventh. The bad news, he said, was that he would have to come by cesarean section. Since the boy weighed 10 1/2 pounds I should be grateful for that!

While this is a sad time in our lives, we will still have a great birthday. His grandmother will not be here for the first time on his birthday but we are having a party at her house so we can feel her presence. We will go somewhere for dinner tonight. And tomorrow we are going to the school's fund raising evening event together.

Happy Birthday, "baby boy"!

January 10, 2010

Two Months

Today is two months since mom died. I still think about calling her every day. There are things I want to ask her and things I want to tell her. The things that surprise me are the times that I become emotional. Friday it was in CVS. Yesterday it was at the bank. This morning it is just sitting here in front of the computer.

I miss her intensely. I don’t always know how to express these feelings. I feel so grateful that I had such a wonderful mother. I feel grateful that we had a close relationship. I am thankful she knew and had a relationship with my son.

The anger has passed. I am not angry that she died. I still experience some shock at times. The thought that she fought so hard against cancer and died because of a car wreck still causes astonishment. That part is hard to grasp. Regardless of the circumstance, she is still gone.

This has taken the wind out of me for a while. I know things will always be different and right now I am simply searching for the new normal.

People have told me to be strong. And I am. I do not feel weak when I express my sadness. It feels ordinary for me to express my feelings. If I were happy all the time I don’t think anyone would be concerned. But, I don’t know anyone honest with themselves who is always happy.

I have gotten out and among colleagues and friends more since coming back after the holidays. I am ready to begin again. I am just fully aware that it will be different.

In transition.

January 08, 2010

Friday Again

Just to update those who were interested....the detox did not happen. After three days of beginning it I didn't even have carrot juice today. I do plan to return to the detox when I have an appropriate juicer. I still like the concept and after only a few days have an affinity for carrot and beet juice!

Today was a productive day related to my career. While I am searching for the way I want to spend the rest of my life I decided that I don't have to stay completely out of my field. Instead, I am going to begin working on a few projects immediately. I will be developing some plans with trusted colleagues and outline that soon.

More will be revealed.

January 06, 2010

Big Day

Today was a big day because it was the busiest day I have had in a while.

The day started with making a quick shepherd costume for my son that he had to wear to the Epiphany mass at his school today. I knew before he went on Christmas break that he needed the costume today but I put it off until two hours before the big event. With a few adjustments to two white pillow cases...tada! Shepherd. He did a beautiful reading during the service. I was very proud of him.

I attended the monthly Dallas TAAP meeting. It was announced that we would not have our annual Nova conference. That is a big disappointment. I have enjoyed working on that conference for several years; but, it is a sign of the times, perhaps. Most people cannot afford to pay for a conference and those who can can't take the time off work to attend.

Following the meeting I had a great and productive phone conversation and I sat up a few meetings for the next week. I even sold my sofa today!

I went to the weekly DI meeting my son attends. The group did very well today. They worked together well and are developing a great team.

As far as my detox goes...the results were similar to yesterday. I did very well all day but when I came home I ate something on the "nope" list. I am not proud. But, I am honest. One day I will go a full 24 hours doing the "right thing". I promise to tell you when that happens.

Until then.....

January 05, 2010

Report of Day One

I would like to tell you that it went well. Really, I would. But, I cannot.

I started the day off with a faulty juicer. It was missing a piece. I didn't realize that until every surface of my kitchen was covered in carrot shavings. That was fun to clean. I appreciate my instincts, though, because decided it would not be a good idea to get out of my PJ's until after my juicing experience. Possibly, I have ESP, but I will investigate that on another day.

From the flawed juicer I was able to extract three ounces of carrot and beet juice. I removed six times as much from the walls of my kitchen. It was actually a tasty concoction. The extraction, not the contents off the wall.

Back to my story about my progress. I had my few ounces of vegetable juice this morning and then went off to an interview that began at 9:00 AM and wasn't even over when I had to leave at 2:00 PM. That reason makes me feel better about the results....I came home and ate my body weight in cocoa crispies.

I am sure I lost five pounds!

Day One

Today is the day. I begin my detox. I have been up since 4:00 AM. I am not sure if I am eager or just not sleepy. I take this as a good sign. Before I even begin the detox I have more energy! How is that for looking at the bright side?

My plan today is to use my juicer for carrots and beets. Yes, I said beets. The poor unwanted vegetable. Beets are actually very high in protein. And since the area where I live is expecting an "Arctic blast" I need to do anything I can to increase protein so my body will be warmer.

By tomorrow I may be calling that guy at Vitamin World for that miracle in a bottle detox but right now I am going to follow the plan.

What a trooper!

January 04, 2010

Detox update

My supplies are purchased. While in Vitamin World the man working there told me they sold a detox in a bottle. One drink and I would be good. I considered it. I like the easy way out.

I am wondering how many cookies I should eat before tomorrow? And if it would be wrong to eat them with ice cream. And milk. And maybe a vat of cake icing?

Just wondering.

Tomorrow is THE DAY

Well, tomorrow is the big day. The day I start my detox. What if I die?

Yesterday was a little crazy. Things didn't go as planned, as often happens in a drama filled life. Today I will go to get the fruits, veggies and supplements. Yesterday was too cold. Today is colder but that is the story I am sticking to.

I am very excited to reap the rewards this detox promises. If I become less grumpy I am sure everyone around me will be excited about it, too. If people start sending me carrots in the mail I am sure I will know it is working!

Today is the last day my sonshine is out of school for his Christmas break so we are going to the movies, too. Maybe I shall have a lingering encounter with butter...I meant popcorn.

Ciao for now!

January 03, 2010

Getting Supplies

My list is made. Today I am going to find my supplies. I call them supplies as if they are foreign items. For me, some of them are. While I know what parsley, organic coffee, basil and stevia are, I can't say I have ever bought them. This should be fun. Maybe educational. I like learning about things I don't know...so I will be open minded and view this as a learning experience.
I hope to go to the Sunflower Shoppe in Colleyville because it is close. But if it isn't open I assume I will drive over to my old neighborhood and go to Sprouts in Flower Mound.
One of the chores the book is instructing me to also do is de-clutter my pantry of processed foods. I wonder if they think it unhealthy for me to eat it all today to get rid of it? It has crossed my mind.
Would it be wrong to buy ice cream on my way home, too? Hmmm...this could be a real challenge.
Here's to health!

January 02, 2010

T Minus 2 (or 3) Days

It is Saturday and the "day" I refer to is Tuesday, however, I am not certain if that is two or three days when one makes this indication!
Anyway, Tuesday is the day that I begin the detox program I have been brushing up on for the last six or seven weeks. Many people detox their bodies when addicted to drugs or alcohol. That isn't my issue. My issue is that my body is tired. This detoxification promises to renew my body physically and mentally. We shall see.

I am typically most excited about such endeavors prior to actually beginning. It is mid-day on the first day that more often than not I question my sanity. Tonight I am making the list of the organic fruits and vegetables and minerals and vitamins I need to get when I go off to Sprouts tomorrow.

With highlighter (and cupcake) in hand I am noting all of the elements the author views as essential. There are some fundamentals that I am not excited about...but we shall see how it progresses. Should I become fantastically free with mental and emotional acuity I will sing its praises from roof tops!

Since I am not currently working I decided to devote space in my blog to something other than work-home balance. Isn't that paradoxical?

More updates later...if I don't wilt.