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And the Winner is…

Sometimes it’s the little things that are monumental. My friend Janet just finished her first 5K yesterday. Many we’s and she couldn’t be prouder. She had quit smoking recently and replaced it with other less healthy, but healthier lifestyle choices. Like eating, so running became a replacement for the cigarettes, through eating, because of weight gain. But, I don’t know why she swallowed the fly… Besides, it takes what it takes, as they say.

Honestly, I figured this will be a short term obsession. It hasn’t been though. Even if inadvertently, Janet has taken her past addiction for smoking and channeled it into a new activity. Something always suggested, but seldom done in the recovery process.

Her commitment to and follow through has been nothing less than impressive and inspirational. She entered this race knowing that she wouldn’t win or even finish well. But she knew she would finish. And that’s makes her a winner. Congratulations my dear friend. Take a look at that gorgeous face! I can see and feel her inner pride and joy.

My friend.

We are all running our own races. It’s about choosing the ones you need to finish. And, though for many making a bed, doing daily chores, being present for your children, or just waiting that moment until, “this too passes” may not seem like a win. For a lot of us it is.

We’ve been selling ourselves short as addicts all our lives. And at some point we have to start with the little wins. Take them all, add them up, and hopefully one day turn them into those big victories.

I am reminded simply by watching her triumphant cross of the finish line (a video I couldn’t upload) that it is the little things that matter. I matter. How I feel about myself matters. Every marathon begins with a small race. And ends with one, too. All that running (and walking in some cases) no matter how out of breath, in between, is just a part of the big race.

Most often in life, it’s when we don’t even try that we feel like losers.

Big or small just knowing you’ve accomplished something difficult for yourself is that moment you cross the finish line. And that’s when inside you can hear yourself say, “I did it”. This is what makes us winners.

As always thanks for popping by. God bless ya, Duane

Sometimes I Hate White People.

Are we addicted to hate?

Although, racism (the intolerance and hatred for another group) isn’t considered a disease of the mind with genetic predispositions, it is like our modern concept of addiction, as some studies suggest perhaps a learned form of addiction. An addiction likely to have future generations and historians remembering our America differently than most of us I think see it.

Injustice and inequality were all in place, from the very beginning; Slavery (human trafficking) was in full swing, the continued suppression of women was still being practiced, there was regular pillaging and raping of indigenous peoples, and of course the complete death and destruction of anyone opposed to our founding a nation built on the premise of freedom.

Ah, what next? Oh right, time to pick a theme song.

Land of the Free and Home of the Oppressed” a quote from Francis Scott “Key” who wasn’t asked to write our national anthem at all. In actuality, a piece of poetry The Star Spangled Banner hadn’t yet waved until written specifically for the War of 1812. And “We the people” didn’t adopt it as an anthem until 1931. Along with the land of the free and the home of the brave, we also stole the The Anacreon Song . It’s an Olde’ English drinking ditty and the melody for our national anthem (hmm… sounds about right beer, apple pie and hatred).

Ya gotta love America (and I do), but wonder how paying taxes and religious suppression were the issues of the day? And nearing 250 years later, I am wondering why they still are?

How forgetful we are… As far as I know and understand there is really no such thing as an American. That is unless we are speaking of the indigenous peoples of North America, correct? Not one single face or race is able to truly lay claim to this great land without acknowledging, it was stolen or how. It’s people along with countless others were horribly mistreated, manipulated and deceived for this land. Millions butchered, beaten, tortured, raped and tried for what we now call America, and its promise of freedom.

We wouldn’t and don’t stand for this anymore, or anywhere else in the world. History has taught us that hate is a slippery slope. Yet, somehow it feels as if we aren’t learning its lessons. That we are in fact sliding down that slope again.

A complete side note, reparations for the North American Indian in the form of casinos works for everyone, why? But, reparations for the families of enslaved blacks who help build the country and lay foundations of farming and industry, while continuing to be suppressed, impoverished and under-educated is somehow offensive, why? Wouldn’t that simply be leveling the uneven playing field as well. Privileged classes have been able to pass family wealth down for over 200 yrs, aren’t our minorities just getting started? It isn’t their fault your family hasn’t passed anything down, that it was lost or you squandered it. Isn’t it ours though that they haven’t been able to do the same in a free America? Just asking.

Collectively Americans are a proud people, but where once we were an escape from persecution and tyranny, our modern day American is beginning to feel a little too much like our tragic past. Have we forgotten why our founders left home and what they were fighting for? Oh, right taxes and religious freedom, I covered that. We only developed a conscience along the way. And unfortunately that lack humanity or any sense of equality cost our new nation its single greatest American death toll of any war. The Civil War accounts for almost half of all American causalities in our war history. I find it disturbing and frightening that so many were (and I am not sure aren’t) willing to give their lives to oppress minorities in America. Especially when from our very beginnings, we were a ragtag mix of all nationalities. For immigrants from around the globe we became a destination, a shining example for the world, a beacon of what could be… The American Dream.

As long as you weren’t Native American, black, female or Chinese.

For many, though, right now with all the hate mongering, I imagine a glimpse of that past is exactly what they feel and see, rather than that American dream. A disturbingly sad peek at our present and a reminder for all of us, of what truly lies in the hearts and minds of men.

Isn’t there enough to share?

Watching the slow erosion of our American dream is nothing less than painful. And that dream means different things to different people. For some it’s just about the job, house, two and half kids, etc. For others it’s about dignity, respect, equality and justice.

Sadly watching is what’s so painful, those with so little, unknowingly, and yet willingly helping those with so much, bring us back to a tragic time in history. A time of class divisions by wealth and place in our society. Both making decisions for our future generations fates based off an irrational hatred and fear. It doesn’t matter what form hate takes? As an American it’s all offensive to me. Your hatred for another’s: race, color, creed, sexual orientations, wealth, poverty or beliefs is equally offensive. And your fear of how that somehow affects your world is slowly destroying ours. There were unfortunate practices during the birth of our nation, but they are not what we hope to be or what were intended to be when the founding fathers wrote our Constitution ensuring equality for all men (and women).

 Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” 

How strange for children, if instead of learning in school how we closed a chapter on some of the darkest days in America, they learn of how hatred is a book that keeps writing itself. That bigotry and prejudice are alive and well in the good ole’ U.S.A. Being stoked by a new regime, now with access to spread their fears, lies and messages of hate in seconds.

What bothers me most, these are usually the first people to argue, “That’s un-American, you can’t tell me what to do, believe, say or think. I’m a god damn American, damn it!” Right before adding another brick to the wall. Judging other Americans, the brown skinned ones. Africans, Latinos, Asians and Muslims that we born in America. And who are also American.

All the while forgetting we came to be a part of this great nation in disgrace. So, instead walls are being built to keep out the undesirables. They prepare for a revolution they hope comes. Hoarding guns and avoiding taxes or simply lending a helping hand to fellow Americans. Pointing fingers and shouting terrorist, illegal or worse in there eyes, sympathizer. When at the end of the day none of us really belong here. We are the undesirables, all of us.

Addiction and other issues have always made me feel a little less than. But it was never anyone else holding me back, it’s always been me making life more difficult for myself. I made myself feel like I had to work a little harder at proving my value and worth to others. It’s a shit way to live. But it wasn’t because of the color of my skin.

We now have an opioid epidemic for our wealthy, a continuing heroin issue for the middle class, and of course that pesky “crack” created especially for poor black folks. And everyone gets to deal with booze. Still legal, but damned if there was ever one thing we as Americans agreed upon it was, YOU AIN’T TOUCHING THE HOOCH!

The tyranny of addiction has no boundaries. It has seeped into every space and place in America. And long before modern ideas of what addiction meant, seemingly hidden in the form of bigotry all this time in America. There are many differences between addictions of substance and those hate. But, also numerous comparisons, they are equally as destructive and now with history appearing to repeat itself, plainly obvious, equally as difficult to eradicate.

I am lucky there is treatment and therapy for the struggle of my addiction. And though exhausting, altering the personal concept of my “American Dream” it doesn’t come with intent to, nor does it prevent anyone else from finding their’s. Only irrational fear, hatred and racism do that, which this American finds UN-AMERICAN.

As always thanks for popping by. God bless us, Duane

Oh No, I looked in it’s Mouth

I’d like to start with a thank you, and by saying, “I am grateful”.

Because I am.


I think it’s safe to assume that most people are familiar with the phrase, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”? Well, I have many times before. They gallop or trot slowly into our lives in many different shapes and sizes. This of course makes them all the more difficult to recognize, as gifts. Current circumstances and some hard lessons learned, I am hoping their many forms will no longer go unnoticed or unappreciated by me. Hindsight has me left with a card catalog of examples, but today…

This dusty trail tale begins with my mild case of OCD, which has turned out to be both a blessing and a curse (neigh, neigh). When dealing with confusing and frustrating governmental website navigation, (neigh, neigh) I try to be especially thorough and honest. As thorough and honest as our president. I kid, I tease, I’m far more honest, in fact…

I must say, Michigan’s current unemployment system is an old nag.

By all accounts (including a few horror stories from perfect strangers) and my own personal experience, Michigan’s unemployment processes could use some updating. It is an exhausting, involved and rather complicated process. But also a gift horse of sorts (neigh). And in desperate need of a helping hand(out), this morning I sat through and received an education of sorts from the State of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (MIUIA).

Much like homeowners and car insurance there are premiums to be paid. Only these are taxes collected for the privilege of business ownership in America. It’s called “unemployment insurance”, because that’s really what is. Rather than a gift or handout. it’s an employees company sponsored insurance policy for emergency employment situations.

In theory, if you’re receiving these benefits it’s likely, because you worked hard and have suffered a job elimination of sorts. Maybe a temporary layoff or like me your place of employment closed unexpectedly. Of course as with many broken people, things and systems there are those who will take advantage of a situation. Don’t believe me? Just ask an addict. But seeing as I am both unemployed and an addict, let’s move on.

According to Marion (an employee of the MIUIA) and until our discussion this morning, I was listed as a full time employee at a part time job, I still maintain. And even though I worked only twenty five hours for the first two weeks of certification, it was made clear, very clear that the computer system does not distinguish the number of hours considered to be full time employment (regardless of a mistakenly checked box). Which is apparently what I had done (maybe). I needed to be listed as underemployed and working only part time. God bless technology and Marion.

My tendencies towards OCD and the idea of owing restitution to the state had me explaining (well, at least trying to) my rather complicated situation. But in Marion’s estimation (neigh, neigh) this was a tangent we didn’t want to get into (maybe neigh, neigh).

And, so after a diet of oats for a short four and a half weeks, the posse’ has rounded up some much needed funds. (neigh, neigh).

Marion to the rescue, my hero. Clad in white, full gallop, with a cloud of dust trailing behind her, she rolled into town with a gift horse. “The key words here are underemployed and part time” buckaroo, she said. And while us town folk are grateful. There is some concern for Sheriff Marion’s rush to our aid, (neigh, neigh) a healthy and rational fear of retribution.

The time I may spend in a hoosegow notwithstanding. There is some good news though. Oh, not for me, but for Marion.

She will never be unemployed!

After being on hold for thirty minutes, what is clear, those folks will always have jobs! That’s for sure. The process is so complicated and the terms so ambiguous that there are huge margins for errors, just like mine. I might still not be receiving any compensation, if not for being locked out of my MIUIA account on-line and being told to call 1-800- please hold.

Honestly, if I weren’t so repulsed by their sloth, I would applaud anyone abusing the system. The level of commitment and “work” needed to avoid physical labor or an honest days work of any kind is so intense and involved that while completely dishonorable… it simply can’t be ignored. The hoops I’ve jumped through to receive unemployment compensation are more work, than work itself.

In fact, the assistance will arrive after I have become employed again full time (neigh, neigh). But, That is the lesson, right? When you’re on the dusty trail, better a slow old nag… than no nag at all. (neigh, neigh)

Of course, I was required by law to report my last check. But just like my missing no-slip shoes, I’m sure that check will never arrive. Considered part of the “tangent” information, Marion says I’ll receive a payment with adjusted deductions based off this non-existent last paycheck (Oh, also less child support, garnishments and taxes… lingmao) this Thursday.

Often draped in adversity, frustration or failure many gift horse’s arrive as old nags. Upon their arrival these horse’s are more difficult to recognize and may require a second look. But they still have gifts to offer. And now finding any reward (lessons, opportunity for growth, etc.,) in these packages I accept them with grace and a thank you. Even life’s smaller poorly wrapped brown bagged gift-pack-mules are deserving of thanks. And those seem to be arriving daily.

And I am grateful. Truly.

As always thanks for popping in. Bless us, Duane

“Creeping Charlie” and the “King”

Beautiful, yet destructive.

I met a “little green man” named Jeffery years ago. He enjoyed walking to work, saved everything for a rainy day, and even recycled. But his tending to plants, flowers and gardening were his real “green” gifts. And though, he considered himself an amateur, most everyone else thought his talents rivaled any professional horticulturalist. He possessed an extensive knowledge on the subject and an amazing green thumb. I mean, this guy actually won blue ribbons at county and state fairs. “Green” is good in many areas, but in others it’s a detriment. And so it would seem that having the God given talent of a green thumb to tend to your garden is a blessing.

My ex (“lover” tee-hee) began weeding his garden and never stopped. Jeffery is using all the right herbicides and equipment. With what appears to be expertise and ease, his garden is beautiful and full of blooms. Pulling his weeds seems to be a natural act. Knowing which ones if planted or left unattended, yet beautiful will be potentially dangerous and destructive is a useful skill set. For a time, my weeds were left unattended and grew in both our gardens. I wasn’t interested removing weeds from my garden or hiring a gardener. My active addiction, not withstanding, we shared a multitude of other interests. I miss his enthusiasm and passion, sometimes. I wonder..? My phone just rang, hmm? Oh, destiny.

Anyway, he would often rage on about “Creeping Charlie” and the dangers of threesomes (I’m slaying myself today). I think he called it “cat’s paw”. I knew it only as ground ivy. Jeffery put a great deal of energy and time into these things and also, me. And while many varieties do sprout beautiful lavender buds, even they are destroyer of lawns, flower beds, garden’s and also relationships. I think anyone can understand being frustrated, angry and sometimes even enraged about watching the destruction of something or someone they love.

“Creeping Charlie” takes a strangle hold of the soil much like an active addict mind takes one on life. The descriptions given for this potentially life threatening weed, the damage it causes and how to get rid of it are in fact so similar you could substitute a few words and phrases to simply reprint an article on addiction.

Quintessential movie watching, 101.

At times my best foot forward and the next right things just aren’t producing the results fast enough (for us). Or the results we may want! Gardens are much like the addicts mind. They need a lot of work. It takes time to cultivate and grow them properly. For a garden consistent pruning, lawn care, weeding and water are needed. For my addict mind it is a different set of maintenance, but the same principles, amount of care and attention. These things neglected and what’s left is something full of pests, weeds and well much like an addict… an overall unattractive mess, rather than something or someone beautiful. Sheesh Duane, take it easy! I think I resent, although, resemble that remark.

The neglected addict.

And so I did. Maybe even still do a little, at least right now. I am alright with this. Decades of cultivating my soil for addiction, now means working harder than ever to clear the space for a healthy and beautiful mind to be sown and eventually reaped. A couple of the heartier and more common specimens have resurfaced already, dignity, self respect and responsibility. I’ve even begun to see signs of common sense growing (woohoo), along with love and great big patch of appreciation for others. I am still planting more of the good stuff: Faith, hope, joy, happiness, meditation, motivation, inspiration, spirituality and even more love (of self). It’s the best variety of love.

Where as a garden thrives in manure, as addicts we just get mired in “shit”. The age old adage, “a little goes a long way” is perhaps lost on addicts. Our thinking, actions and behaviors require the removal of the old ways, not additional CRAP! As long as we been shoveling the “shit” on our gardens as excuses to keep on using, well, it’s gonna to take a minute or so to remove it. Lucky addicts like Jeffery are born with natural green thumbs. Most like me, though, probably needed to learn different techniques for gardening. And a recent conversation with Jeffery revealed that, although, he was born with a green thumb, even he still tends to his garden daily. Having a green thumb just means its easier for him to remove and replace the “Crap” with fertilizers that don’t stink.

My affliction called, “king baby” in AA, NA and treatment. The King (my minds ex-gardener) makes connects with “Creeping Charlie” his grounds keeper and together they begin planting the weed seeds (that’s funny and was unintentional). He’s the one who starts internal temper tantrums. He tells me things like because I am so “special” the rules don’t apply to me. That everyone is treating me unfairly. I deserve better and more than others because I do more and try harder. That my effort, energy and intent should’ve been good enough. But when they aren’t (for me) I should just get “high”. It was unfair of anyone to expect that much from me. No-one could’ve accomplished what was being asked. But I was probably the only one asking. Enter “Creeping Charlie”.

King Baby Syndrome – An Explanation For Our Addictive Personalities

Now that our “King baby” has provided all the ground work for “Charlie” he’ll sit back and watch the devastation. Our hearts and minds have now produced false expectations and impossible goals. Along with them unrealistic time frames and outcomes… we are set up to fail, all by ourselves.

We’ve put our best efforts and energy into something. Yet, end up feeling as if things are never going to get any better. All attempts at self betterment appear fruitless. We feel defeated. Failure enters the mind. The seeds of self doubt are now planted.

What’s the point? Why even try? Everyone is against me, etc.“FUCK IT” The addicts favorite relapse phrase and the ending of any beginnings. And once these thoughts have taken root, just like ole’ “Creeping Charlie” loosening their grip on our thinking becomes extremely difficult. Not so long ago I let some seeds hit my soil. And still the damage was exponential. I got lucky, but worked hard as hell too, finding my tools to begin gardening again.

I can’t describe the panic and fear that went into starting this blog and sometimes still does. And this isn’t a tool I would suggest for everyone. Although, what I would suggest is starting a personal journal. Many entries are born out of frustration, anger or just plain old addict thinking and behaviors. I only use them as a jumping off point. Until I put pen to paper I am often unable to recognize the “king baby” in me. But when I do, boy do I hate him.

Ignoring healthier alternatives when having unpleasant information about yourself seems insane. Insanely, though, I’ve known about “king baby” for years. In my defense, I am just now understanding how he really works. Thanks for joining us in the fight Duane, welcome to your addiction… Yuck!

Much like Anna, “The King and I” (see what I did there) had to reach an understanding. He is allowed to think and feel anything he chooses, as long as it doesn’t interfere with my life or my sobriety anymore. To be honest, I not entirely sure I have any control over his background chatter. After all he is the “king” (and its kinda a psychological disorder), one that can be cared for and maintained, but unlikely to be miraculously cured.

King Baby Syndrome – An Explanation For Our Addictive Personalities

It isn’t an if, but a when “King Baby” will try to take control of the kingdom again, so I must work hard at not letting him run amok in my garden. He’s a tricky bastard though and tempts me at times with those beautiful lavender buds. Having been fooled many times in the past now I know it’s a set-up. Just ole’ “Creeping Charlie” ready to take root.

I am prepared now to remove them as quickly as possible and by whatever means necessary. I have tools in the shed and healthier crop choices now: hobbies, cooking, seeking counsel from a friend, family, meditation, using my journal and many, many more. I’ll try anything before they take root. I am finding that vigilance over the garden is far easier than emergency tilling and cultivation. But in such an event I am even prepared to attend a meeting if necessary(although unlikely). And so far mine seems to be flourishing again.

As always thanks for popping in. Bless us, Duane

How does your garden grow?

Happy Father’s to Day to You and Me

Almost first thing this morning, my Abigail sent a much needed Happy Father’s Day message. Her name in Hebrew, “the father’s joy”. She is in fact a joy! A kind and generous soul. Funny, sweet, creative and beautiful to boot. I say much needed because like so many other Father’s Days I woke up a little off kilter, overly reflective and as usual incredibly judgmental of myself. First thought… daughter #2. I have lost something or rather I am lacking someone from my life. My dear little Lydia. Her name is Greek in origin and roughly translates into “beautiful or noble one”. Both of which she is and much more. Relationships suffer and are lost for many different reasons. Hurt and some neglect have caused our estrangement. A momentary thought put things in perspective with a quickness. She is alive and well, and for this I am beyond grateful.

For fathers (parents really) who have lost children for any reason, you have my deepest sympathies and prayers, especially today. This train of thoughts brought me back into the right head space. It is also why I am plucking away at the keyboard this morning. Truthfully, I had been working on a completely different piece all week. I am amazed how the addict mind works. This is a quickie, but a necessary piece for me.

Today is of course meant to be a celebration of our fathers and/or being a father. For me though focusing secretly on my short comings is how I usually end up spending my Father’s Days. This year being no exception again it started out very much the same. Yet, somehow for a change I was strangely aware of the misleading and damaging messages that had begun filling my spongy space. Even before fully awake the addiction demons had already pushed play on my self-abasing loop tape. They had begun the process and were taking this opportunity to once again steal the keys, start the motor and rev up the addiction engine. I found myself behind the proverbial and ironic “eight ball”. Though unbeknownst to me, but through a good deal of effort and hard work on my part along with the help a few others, steps had been taken by installing some anti-theft devices.

Firstly, let me say I have two wonderful daughters. Abby and temporarily estranged Lydia. Hope is just one of the many powerful tools that came with my new anti theft kit.

I feel lucky and blessed to be a part of their lives in any way. What will be, will be. What makes today great is knowing that I am, have been, maybe just was or will at any time again be part of both of these two human beings lives. I am so proud of them. Love them each equally and uniquely!

My “kit” is simply positive feedback and re-enforcement. I own a new tape. When the ugly bastards (my demons) rear their ideas and negative thoughts about me or anything else for that matter now, I shut them down. When I sat to begin my day OUTLOUD I said, “BE GONE DEMON, HAUNT THIS MAN NO MORE!”, no I’m kidding that’s ridiculous. What I said was, “Nope, this isn’t how I’m going to start my day or spend my Father’s Day this year.” Instead I told myself the truth. I am a good person and have some great qualities. I am clean and even sober (an un-expected byproduct). I have been sometimes a good, even a great father. Other times not so much, falling short only makes me human and just another father.

To be honest everyday should be Father’s, Mother’s… People’s Day! You don’t have to embrace, but an appreciation of; the contributions made, conflicting ideas, differences in beliefs, even good or bad examples of behavior maybe just an acknowledgement of how much goes into creating an individuals life and personality would make the world a better place. Our treatment of one another with respect to human dignity and the boundaries of humanity would foster and grow with such practices. All of us as human beings are deserving of equal treatment and the same rights.

Well I guess that’s my PSA for Father’s Day. BTW, I love you dad!

As always thanks for popping by. Bless us all, Duane

I’ve got a golden ticket

I’m not very good about using it (yet), but I do keep a notepad on my nightstand. It used to be drugs that would keep me up at night. Now it’s just plain ole’ crazy. You know, just like yours, racing thoughts, most of them random, but some are genuinely stressful. Those nights when I do manage to write them down, my anxiety and stress levels are usually put at ease.

Exhausted one night though, I was wanting to ignore the continual loop playing in my mind. The sandman and I were wrestling for his magic dust, when suddenly I sat up. What I wasn’t writing down was pretty significant. I would forget by morning, lest I wrote it down. And I did, write it down, but only one sentence…

A scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was repeating again and again in my head. Charlie Bucket was having his golden ticket meltdown. Whining to his mother, “In case you were wondering it won’t be me. In case you’re wondering… I won’t be one of the lucky ones.”

Charlie was wrong. And I was too. I had been for decades.

I never thought my life could be anything, but catastrophe.
But I’ve got a golden ticket!

Everyone that wants a golden ticket, gets one!

We are all entitled to an exclusive backstage pass and the rights to happiness that come along with it. You can do what I had done, just take the tour, only buy chocolate off an assembly line. But, I think we’re all golden ticket holders.

Unfortunately, the little boy who found my golden ticket has been an angry, bitter and resentful for a very long time. Justified or not he only wanted the tour. And Wonka didn’t give his factory to any of those brats for good reason. It turns out angry, bitter, resentful children make lousy factory owners! And as adults they tend to drink too much.

Ever add alcohol to chocolate… it seizes up.

Wonka was dead on, a child’s imagination is a wonderful thing. And I am very much a child at heart, an attribute that has contributed to many situations in my life. But couple that with a hurt child, one hindered by shattered trust development and suddenly, not necessarily, an adult you want making your decisions.

Call it what you will, another late life miracle, an epiphany or just call me stupid. Stupid, because it’s taken me so long to understand what so many have known for so long. Maybe, stupid is as stupid does, but it’s much easier to say, “get over it”, than actually getting over “it”.

I do wish I had “gotten over it” early in life. I posted this today partly because, it’s my anniversary. I was adopted by great people on this great day. And if it were that easy to get over I would have. Most assuredly with their help and there was plenty of that, there still is. I love you, mom and dad. Happy Anniversary to us.

Better for me, though, to know at my life’s halfway benchmark that chocolate needs to be whisked, than to keep on scorching it.

I needed to ask my little ticket holder for a huge favor or my chocolate was going to continue to seize and leave bitter tastes in my mouth.

I would never to be able to chose the ingredients, write my own recipes or run the factory unless he could forgive, let go of his pain and move on.

It has become clear to me, that forgiveness, is a miracle unto itself. I keep finding that it isn’t for those I forgive, it’s for me. Setting me free from anger, bitterness and resentment. Making me a happier, better version of myself.

It was honestly that easy. I just sat up reached for the notepad, and wrote,

I’ve got a golden ticket!

With little effort, some compassion for myself and others, mixed alongside some self clarity, but most importantly forgiveness, I am finding I like running my own factory.

Interestingly enough, although, Life is like a box of chocolates… I am enjoying every single piece now. Even the colored nougat ones.

As always thanks for popping by. God bless us, Duane