Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Group hug

Miss Mona sez:

Had the first meeting of the new women's faith-based peer support group I am facilitating this morning. Bad night last night after a VERY active day on Monday so I was in major pain, did NOT want to get out of bed, thank you very much!

Managed to get up with a little help from my honey, Mr Bill, showered, meds downed and tea-in-hand, I limped my way next door to the church. Nobody there yet, into the Family Room to turn on the "fireplace" a blessed soul donated so the room would warm up above the economical but chilly 50 degrees the thermostat sits at during the week. A little praise music on the cd player and my battered body on the couch (another wonderful donation) to spend a little time in prayer...

What is a peer support group, you ask?

Peer support is when people who are experiencing similar challenges get together to provide mutual support as they continue the process they are in. There can be any number of types of groups- young mothers, home schoolers, people with chronic illness, seniors, substance abusers, organic gardeners...Sharing ideas, information, cups of tea, a little humor- we stand together and our lives are richer because of it. Life is messy and often hard, doing it all alone is a great way to flounder and end up failing. In peer support you find you are not the only one struggling, the only one confused or frustrated when things do not go according to plan.

My group is for those of us dealing with chronic something-or-other with an eye toward prayer, the Bible and restoration. 20plus years of fibromyalgia, chronic depression, a husband in chronic pain and the struggle to make sense of the process are my particular focal points in this group. Others will come with their own particular burdens they could use a little help with. Two ladies came today, one is new to the peer support concept and the other has been in it for a few years. Total confidentiality is a key concept in the process, no gossipy "sharing" with someone outside the group, not even your very bestest friend forever!
My own stuff is mine to spread around as I see fit but by no means do I share the lives and struggles of my fellow members.


It can be hard to be a Christian and have a chronic struggle with disease or depression. Helpful people advise me to pray more or repent of the hidden sin in my life."Think positive", they'll say, or "Just trust God!"
When I first came back from my personal pigpen (see the Prodigal story in Luke 15:11), there was very little teaching in churches about how to get the messes cleaned up that my behaviors had made. I was a drunk, a druggie, addicted to what my eldest calls "frivolous sex', and prone to taking off down the highway when things got complicated. Fear, depression, anxiety. A toddler daughter and a screwed-up marriage. Mostly I was treated like I was all better now and things would be fine since I was back in the sheepfold. That was not really how things went, though, surprise, surprise. I needed a whole lot of help and all that was available was a lot of smiley, well-meaning but clueless folks and a sense of somehow being a failure because I did not feel as happy as they all seemed to be. Rural Alaska was a little scarce in the resource department when it came to my collection of garbage.

Tomorrow I will talk a bit about the process God took me through from there to here, more than thirty years in the process.

May the God who spoke to the wind and the waves also bring to you the peace and stillness He brought to them!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Do you really want to know?

Miss Mona sez:

Blogging is such an interesting thing. Thousands and thousands of people sharing all manner of information and insights on an international medium. No holds barred, no topic too obscure, a veritable paradise for the information junkie and the inquisitive (read: nosy).

What motivates and drives the humans who post? Why do the readers read and then comment? Does anyone really care?

It has been many months since I have ventured into this digital smorgasbord to share what I think. Mr Bill has gone back to the Moose Pass Journal, his personal newsletter to family and friends- not enough were bothering to do the extra couple of mouse clicks necessary to be stunned and amazed by his humor and wisdom. So, they get it delivered into their electronic laps to read or ignore and he feels a little bit better.

Do they really want to know?

Do you?

There is so much information and opinion available on the internet that it is overwhelming at times. Political and social commentary, recipes, advice, sarcasm and sorrow. Starving children, abused animals, domestic and international confusion and violence side-by-side with cute little kittens, snarky comments and awe-inspiring beauty in art and nature. Political debates rage and paranoid postings of governmental/financial manipulation and conspiracy. Never before has humanity been so intimately vulnerable and yet so isolated!

I am a Christian.

I am not politically correct or denominationally strict. I still have unpopular habits and a tendency to challenge the comfortably secure in their cocoon of certainty. I smoke, I sometimes swear, I do not dress fashionably or drive a "green" vehicle. I advocate for the disenfranchised, eat meat that is not organic and snicker at people's foolishness. I have hugged my share of trees and I have cut a few down to keep my family warm, served my country in the Air Force, my community as an EMT, my family as a stay-at-home mom. I vote nonpartisan because I think the party system is archaic and divisive, drink a bit and believe we should legalize cannabis though I really don't care to use it. Think drunk drivers should be shot and child molesters are suitable for compost. Love dogs, cats and all kinds of growing things.

I have an opinion. I think, I feel, I speak, I listen, I try to sort out the truth from the lies from the opinions from the facts from the theories from the questions. I am a puzzle-solver, a yarn-untangler, a book-finisher until 3 a.m.

Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am exhausted by the process.

But I really, really, really want to KNOW.

What about you?