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Each day offers 1,440 minutes of choices; every minute of this day requires a decision to choose peace over chaos, joy over despair and love over all other negative emotions. You don't have to decide alone! Join the B Here Today community--learn with us and share your experience, strength and hope about being present to ALL your moments. Enter your email address below to receive weekly articles, free resources and TONS of inspiration!

A Father’s Gift

Adapted from a poem I wrote for my dad in 1998 in honor of his 60th birthday; Here’s to celebrating fathers past and present . . .

Either the years grow kinder or my heart becomes softer

As the light in the eyes that watch you fades from child-like wonder into the gentler gaze of a woman.

For the differences—and indeed, the distances—between us don’t seem as vast.

The man I watch today is far removed from the man I remember.

No longer taskmaster, disciplinarian, timekeeper or conservative banker,

No, those are long gone, replaced by a sometimes crusty and colorful, yet lovable gent

Whose greatest pleasure is derived from seeing his family solid, safe, secure.

I pay tribute to that man, the man you’ve always been, the man I’m just now seeing, though I’ve watched for decades.

For the tough times, the disappointing times, the times you haven’t understood . . .

I’m truly sorry for the part I played.

For your ageless wisdom, the values you hold dear, and the ways you teach me to live and love life . . .

Thank you.

I celebrate you. I respect you. I am blessed because of you.

Most of all, for now and for always,

I love you, Dad, with all my heart.

Childhood Dreams

As a little girl, Mom and Dad promised I could be anything I wanted—police officer, teacher, journalist—and that no matter what, my life would be a good one if I followed my heart. Hard work, dedication, honest effort and the Golden Rule were required, but according to my folks, were a small price to pay for happiness.

Their words, spoken in earnest belief to their oldest child, fell across my ears and under my radar as the years passed. Conceptually, I referenced the ideas from time to time, but my world was much too complex to be reduced to old-world, Horatio Alger charm.

I did work hard. I did get the coveted college degree from the prestigious undergrad program. I did score the first job in my field two weeks before the commencement ceremony. I did return to my home town in triumphant victory as the first of my mother’s kin to brandish the sheep skin of higher education.

I landed back in Independence, MO, anything but free, as a 23-year- old, full-blown alcoholic with a lot to show for my school career but little recollection of how I got it.

Mom and Dad never said anything about becoming a drunk.

They didn’t say, “Honey, you’ve met your prerequisites and will breeze through Alcoholism 101 with flying colors.”

Or, “Sweetheart, don’t worry about following your dreams, they’ll be waiting for you at the bottom of the toilet bowl.”

And they damn sure didn’t tell me that big girls DO cry little-girl wails when, on each morning after, I swore to any and all gods that I would not drink like that again. I would make sure I ate something that would coat my stomach, something besides beer nuts and pretzels. I would be more aware of my surroundings. If I left a party with anyone, I would make sure I could pick them out of a lineup. I would leave a trail of breadcrumbs so I could locate my car.

Each day found me desperately trying to fit in while setting myself apart from the crowd. I thought myself intellectually superior to the people with whom I interacted, yet I seldom felt worthy of anyone’s attention. I fancied myself a big shot traveling the country on an expense account, but continually placed myself in potentially dangerous situations.

I covered my intense loneliness with a party-girl persona. I felt a vague sense of irritation, sort of like when walking on the beach and a small pebble gets lodged in your shoe. You try to continue walking but ultimately you end up with a big blister and a hurting foot.

Life was good. I had arrived. What then was gnawing at me? Instinctively, I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know until a God-moment on a spring day in 1991. On a whim, I made a phone call to an old friend; ended up seeing that friend after no contact for several years, and as we caught up, listened to her describe her son’s battle with drug and alcohol addiction.

Her son had just been released from a treatment center. I knew him well and wasn’t at all surprised to hear that he was messed up with drugs and alcohol. I figured he would eventually end up with a problem, because I had partied with him. I had seen him in really bad shape.

My friend planted two seeds with me on that day. Something rang familiar with her description of her son’s behavior and resulting consequences. That was the mustard seed. The bigger seed, one more like that inside a peach, was that she spoke about his spiritual awakening, about how he came to understand that he was powerless over his addiction and that by admitting powerlessness, he was able to embrace a new way of life that included an awareness that God was guiding him to become a better person.

He admitted he couldn’t control his life and with that admission, gained a new way of living.

I’ll be forever grateful that my old partying buddy connected with a higher power because his connection led me to mine.

And my spiritual connection—what I call being “plugged in”—is my lifeline in this day-to-day crazy world. I’m learning at a turtle’s pace that there is very little in my existence that I can control, including the people who grace my life, the circumstances in which I find myself and the places where I appear (or don’t).

There is one thing, however, that moves me to feel a little bit of heaven in each day. It’s the God current that flows freely and readily through me whenever I seek the outlet and become willing to connect.

That connection has made all the difference to me.

Spinning Wheels and Slinging Mud

Recently, I watched a group of teenage boys attempt to push a pickup truck out of a boggy ditch along the side of the highway. A car was pulled off on the other side of the road and a distance behind. Two young girls hung out of the car’s windows, cell phones pointed in the direction of the truck, no doubt snapping pictures to share on the web. As I passed, I watched the truck’s wheels spin and no amount of youthful testosterone would push it free, at least not as I drove by.

I had to smile as I realized I was witnessing yet another metaphor for my life. Like that truck, I may think my all-terrain wheels can take me anywhere and I can maneuver through any landscape. I’m learning that barreling through soft spots isn’t always the wisest plan, however. There are times I need to put the vehicle in park and idle for a bit until conditions change.

Usually, though, I don’t realize I’m in the mud until I’m stuck and can’t get out on my own. Even then my reinforcements aren’t always able to help. As I spin my wheels, attracting an audience in my single-minded attempts to get free, at some point I must simply stop, rest, and cool my engine.

Finally, when I’m THIS close to throwing myself out of the cab, and stalk away in frustration, the tires catch on to something solid—thanks to a mighty effort behind me—and I’m out. Unstuck and once again flying down the highway.

A little more aware, a whole lot more grateful and relieved to once more be headed in the right direction.

What’s the Deal With the Blog Name?

I’ve been asked to explain how I named this blog; why B Here Today?

I am so glad you asked!  Thank you for the opportunity to write about one of my favorite topics:  Me!

Okay, in all seriousness, I would like to explain.  (Those who know me well, along with those who may not know me so well but they sit in meetings with me regularly, understand that I love to joke and have fun but I am deadly serious about the disease of addiction.).

When I moved from Missouri to Texas, I had a tough time going through the process of changing my residency.  I had no experience, having been born and raised in the Show-Me state.  Like so many bureaucratic endeavors, there seemed to be an endless array of steps to inspect my car, buy four new tires (before the inspection could be certified, and what is $600 additional bucks at that point?), register my car, obtain a driver’s license, obtain a license plate, pay all the fees, register to vote, and on and on.

The project was daunting and was made more so by my mile-wide stubborn streak, not to mention the way it punched all my trigger buttons of patience, relying on others, doing things in order, (the list goes on).

I did not want to let loose of my Missouri driver license or my personalized vehicle plate.  In fact, I waited more than six months to apply for my Texas driver license until I realized I was two weeks from my birthday and my Missouri license would expire.  Yikes!

I was visiting my folks in Missouri around that time and having a bemoaning conversation about all the steps it takes to move to a new state.  Dad said, “While you’re here, why don’t you just go renew your Missouri license?  Then when your license plate is due in July, you can come back here and renew it as well.  You wouldn’t have to lose your SURNDR plate.”   (I really loved that plate).

What a great and simple idea!  I loved my dad for giving me such an easy answer. 

But was it the right answer?  I took that thought to bed with me and let my subconscious mull it over during the night.  Bright and early the next morning, I awoke to this God whisper:  “Be here.” 

I was confused at first since I was waking up in my folks’ house.  Then I realized that God was whispering across the miles from Texas.  I couldn’t go on living my life in two places.  It was time to chose.
Thus, my Texas plate was born:  B Here.  I declined all the traditional background options like the Star of Texas, the Alamo, or God forbid, the Longhorn.  Instead, I chose a a field of bluebonnets.  To me, it symbolized being willing to bloom where I’d been planted.
photo courtesy of bombay2austin

So, I am Beth Here, B for short.  The name of this blog seemed like the next logical step from my vehicle plate.  And if you understand that line of thinking, I have a seat reserved for you . . .

In Missouri, I joked that I needed to have a license plate that read SURNDR so I would be reminded every time I approached my car that I needed to give everything to God.  In Texas, it’s a similar motive, both with my car and my blog.  First, I want to simply Be, an ongoing and often arduous task.  Second, I want to Be Here, reside in my present place and space in time.  Third, I want to Be Here Today, focused on this 24-hour period because as those of us with a recovery leaning know, we do best when we stay in one day at a time.
And finally, I shortened the Be to B to give the whole thing a double meaning.  I am, afterall, B, here.
All that’s left to tell about this story is that I cried in the driver license office when they kept my Missouri license.  I guess the tears helped water my new planting.

Bug lesson

I do not like bugs.  If it flies, crawls, buzzes or is pest-like in any way, I accept it’s right to live as a bug of God.  I’m a child of God, so fair is fair.

My general rule of thumb is if it does it’s bug thing outside and is not in my space or my food, then it can bug on.  If it’s inside my abode–wherever I may be aboding–and I can safely get it outside without causing myself or someone I love to suffer heart failure, then it gets to bug on.

If the above conditions cannot be met, then, well, you’ve got your dead bug.  Unless . . .

Earlier this week, you were a rather large cricket in the ladies room at the pedicure place I occasionally frequent (Ogre-the-Top Blue in honor of the new Shrek movie, in case you’re curious.)  I actually felt sorry for the ugly, long-legged thing.

She (remember, I was in the ladies room) was literally trying to climb the walls to get out of the corner and it was obviously a losing battle.

Boy, could I relate.

I have jammed myself into many corners without realizing that my escape route is behind me.  How often have predicaments loomed around me like slick walls meeting at 45-degree angles?

As I watched the cricket, I pondered how easy it would have been for her to simply turn around.  Or back away.  Instead, she kept pushing into the corner, occasionally and futilely stretching one leg up the wall. 

In my mind, I imagined her thinking that maybe this time it would be different.  Maybe she would find a small pit in the smooth surface on which to rise up.  Or maybe by some miracle, a small hole or crack would open for her to slip through.

I thought of the definition of insanity:  doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results.

I felt grateful for the gentle reminder, sent via an insect in a ladies room of a nail salon.

Then I turned around and left the way I’d gone in.