Saturday, September 27, 2014

Musings from Murk: Turning My Will Over to Him 1

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 -3 of The Steps to Serenity:

How does the third step allow me to build on the surrender I've developed in steps one and two? By taking practical action on a daily basis of turning it over to God, not using, and taking suggestions.

In what ways have I demonstrated willingness in my recovery so far? Not picking up first, going to meetings on a regular basis, taking suggestions, honestly looking at suggestions I don't take and praying about them, fulfilling commitments of service, building a recovery network in all aspects of my life - work, homelife, church, & play - and using this network.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Musings from Murk: A Higher Power 6

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 -3 of The Steps to Serenity:

Have there been times when I have been unable to let go and trust God to care for the outcome of a particular situation? Yes. Nearly every time that I became angry or very stressed before I started honestly seeking to turn it over to Him.

How do I take action to turn it over? Now I just look up and say, "Take this! I can't. It's in your hands." And then let it go.

Are there any words I say regularly? "God, your will and the power to carry it out. Guide me in my life and recovery."

What am I doing to reinforce my decision to allow my higher power to care for my will and my life? I look each day for the hope I find when I know He's doing for me what I couldn't have done for myself. It's a wonderful feeling to know it's His hand in the situation I face each day.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Musings from Murk: A Higher Power 5

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 -3 of The Steps to Serenity:

How might my life be changed if I make the decision to turn it over to my Higher Power's care? I then have the opportunity to experience happiness and serenity and joy in the blessings He has created for me that I've always missed by being in charge myself with no idea what I really need or what truly would bring me peace and happiness.

How do I allow my Higher Power to work in my life? Through honesty, open mindedness, and willingness in my surrender. With these I get the faith I need for Him to guide my actions and thoughts.

How does my Higher Power care for my will and life? He allows me to instinctively do the things that used to baffle me. Situations that I used to fear or that used to cause much stress in my life, I turn to Him, and He smooths them out and I react differently to these situations.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Musings from Murk: A Higher Power 4

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 -3 of The Steps to Serenity:

What does "to the care of" mean to me? It means I don't have to be in charge of the whole world, and that I accept that a power greater than me will do a better job of caring for my thinking and actions than I have. It means I surrender and allow something to care for me.

What does it mean for me to turn my will and my life over to the care of the God of my understanding? It means each day I have to take action by asking God to grant me His will for that day and the power to carry His will out to guide me in my recovery and show me how He wants me to live. I must do this to the best of my ability using the spiritual principles I have from Steps 1 & 2 - honesty and hope. Honestly as I can with the hope and knowledge that He will.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Musings from Murk: A Higher Power 3

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 -3 of The Steps to Serenity:

What feelings do I have about my Higher Power? I feel that I am not alone anymore for the first time since I was very young. I feel protected. I feel at peace. I feel forgiven. I feel happiness in a way I've never experienced. I feel life has meaning finally. I feel a part of something. I feel that something is in control that has the power and that it's not all left up to me and my self will anymore. I feel that whatever I've been and done, it's ok somehow, and all is as it should be and has been. And all of this I feel because of my higher power.

Am I struggling with changing beliefs about the nature of my Higher Power? Describe. No. I've surrendered to the fact that my higher power is what it is no matter what I believe. When I'm wrong, it doesn't change it. When I'm right, it doesn't change it. As I grow, my relationship changes and that's ok!

Is my concept of a Higher Power still working? Yes. How does it need to change? My level of surrender.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Musings from Murk: A Higher Power 2

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 -3 of The Steps to Serenity:

How do I communicate with my Higher Power? I pray upon waking for His will and the power to carry it out and ask for nothing more, because I don't even have the power to know what would make me happy or what I need. Then I talk to Him in my thoughts all the day through because I know He knows everything past, present, and future, so I can be more honest with Him than anyone else I know. When I talk with Him, I have to look at everyone the same, including me and want the same blessings for everyone that I want for myself.

How does my Higher Power communicate with me? Sometimes with words in a voice that is unmistakable, but very seldom. Usually in ways that are unmistakably His and leave no room for doubt. Sometimes I ask Him something and He shows me. Sometimes I ask Him to take some problem, some frustration, some situation that is causing me to know there is nothing I can do about it, that I'm powerless, and I just let go and watch Him take care of it in ways I could never thought of or figured out. He lets me know He's available any time I need Him.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Musings from Murk: A Higher Power 1

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 -3 of The Steps to Serenity:

Does the word "God" or even the concept itself make me uncomfortable? No

Have I ever believed that God caused horrible things to happen to me or was punishing me? What were those things? Yes, sometimes when everything went totally wrong, like when I broke up with my wife, went to prison (more the getting caught than the prison part), when in a very depressed state for a a long period with seemingly no way out. Sometimes when I tried hard and long to get something I wanted and didn't get it.

What is my understanding of a power greater than myself today? The power that created the world and universe as we see and know it. The power that holds it together and controls it. The power that made me and all others before and after me and controls everything that is and will be. The power that can and will make sense out of my life and death if I seek and surrender it. The power that can be all that is and ever will be to everyone and everything and that is All. And all these powers are one and the same and need no name for no matter what we choose to call this power or not call it, it makes no difference. It is what it is and isn't changed by us our names for it. Usually I choose to call it God.

How is my Higher Power working in my life today? In ways I can see and am aware of and in ways I don't see and could never understand anyway. Most importantly to me, in a way that fills a spot deep within me that, no matter what I've had or done in my adult life, was empty or aching. My Higher Power has given me honesty, hope, and now the beginning of a faith that satisfies a longing and a need I've always felt but could do nothing about without the awareness of this power and surrender to it.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Musings from Murk: Self Will 2

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 -3 of The Steps to Serenity:

Describe the times when my will hasn't been enough. When I come face to face with my reservations, and I'm alone each time this has happened. I've been made aware of the only way I didn't act out as I would have in the past was by God's grace and His presence in my life through surrender.

What is the difference between my will and God's will? Night and day. My will is darkness. His will is light.

Have there been times in my recovery when I've found myself subtly taking back my will and my life? Yes.

What alerted my? A gut feeling. Fear, pain, confusion.

What have I done to recommit myself to the third step? Every day ask for His will and the power to carry that out. Keep myself aware that I can't do God's will, but must stay in an attitude of surrender in order to receive the power from Him I need to make the decision on the level I need.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Musings from Murk: Pursuing My Goals

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 & 2 of The Steps to Serenity:

Will pursuing my goals harm anyone? and how? No. If I pray for God's will and the power to carry it out and align my will with His, my thinking and actions will change, and through His power all will be well for me and the ones he puts me in contact with.

In the pursuit of what I want, is it likely that I will end up doing something that will adversely affect myself and others? Explain. No. Same answer as above, but only if my decision to turn my will and life over to Him is from deep within myself and not just a surface decision that isn't total.

Will I have to compromise any of my principles to achieve this goal? Not in reality. It may seem so on the surface, but God's will, if I surrender and stay in the right attitude to receive it, is always good and just.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Musings from Murk: Self Will 1

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 & 2 of The Steps to Serenity:

How have I acted on self will? In nearly every way conceivable in every area of my life. I've always, since about 11 years old, gotten or tried to get my way no matter what the cost to me or anyone else.

What were my motives? selfishness, false pride, fear

How has acting on self will affected my life? It has caused me to miss all the blessings in my life that God and a conscious contact with Him could have brought. It has also caused me to lose my family, wife, child, grandchildren, friends, and the joy of living and growing spiritually with them in my life. It has only brought me pain and suffering where I could have had joy.

How has my self will affected others? It has driven away all the good people in my life or changed negatively the ones not driven away.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Musings from Murk: Taking Action 2

Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 & 2 of The Steps to Serenity:

What action have I taken to follow through on my decision? Ask God each day when I get up to show me His will and give me the power to carry it out and then have faith that whatever happens that day is His will for me at that time.

What areas of of my life are difficult for me to turn over? Sex life, relationships, work.

Why is it important that I turn them over anyway? Until I turn them over, they will continue to cause me pain and stress. I won't be able to realize the blessing and joy that are now mine at work by turning it over than if I keep holding on to fake control of these other areas. Also, if I don't turn over my sex life, I won't be able to know the blessings in that area God has in store.

Musings from Murk: Taking Action 1


Taken from Murk's AA/NA journal writing regarding steps  1 & 2 of The Steps to Serenity:

Why is making a decision central to working this step? Because we need to put action, or into action, the honesty and hope acquired from the 1st & 2nd step or it will fade away. Making a decision and taking action is something new to us at this point.

Can I make this decision just for today? Yes, in actuality, it must be made each new day.

Do I have any fears or reservations about it? Yes.

What are they? Mostly an unfounded sense of losing control on a deep level.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Hippie (Mama)

Note: This was first published in the May 7, 2014 edition of The Blackshear Times.


Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned from a Hippie (Mama)

Sometimes it takes a while to appreciate what you have. Years maybe. When I was a little girl growing up in Blackshear, it wasn’t cool to have a hippie mama. Well, it wasn’t cool to me. Ask Angela Manders or Richard Proctor and they would say she was the coolest mom ever. But being highly introverted tends to make a young child want to just blend in and not be noticed. In those days, blending in could only be accomplished with a two parent home in a ranch style house and church on Sunday.  Parent #2 left prior to the move to Blackshear, however. And of the five homes where I resided during those years, the only ranch style was when I moved in with the grandparents. Church on Sunday with Mama was typically on holidays.

Now, one year older than she was when she left this earth, I am proud of my hippie mama. Proud that she and my daddy drove to Woodstock in a VW bug.
Proud to have experienced a compost garden. Proud to say my mama owned a pair of patch pants. Proud to have known the value of vitamins and healthy eating decades before Dr. Oz was ever discovered. But most of all, proud of what she instilled in me.

My hippie mama taught me that God could be found outside of the church walls. She taught me about Him when we stopped by the county dumpsters to feed the stray cats on the way home from the grocery store. She showed me His majesty in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the ocean that she so loved. She revealed His love when she sang “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.”

My hippie mama taught me that obstacles are meant to be overcome. Being a
toddler with polio made for quite a determined female. She rode bikes she was never supposed to be able to pedal. She reinvented herself professionally over and over again, despite bouts with the demons of alcoholism.

My hippie mama taught me that music releases emotion. Although the only musical gene I inherited was the Rolling Stones one, the years listening to her play piano and guitar, sing under the stars, and continuously spin vinyl gave me a necessary understanding of the passion so deeply rooted in my boys.

My hippie mama taught me to question everything. Life seems much simpler for those who just accept the ways of the world. But she challenged my thinking. In doing so, she prepared me to understand the children I would raise and to be able to encourage my boys to follow their passions rather than society’s narrow expectations.

My hippie mama taught me to accept people for who they are. She could have a deep conversation with the homeless; eat lunch in a segregated small town with her black friend; and rub elbows with the prestigious at their Sea Island events. She valued all people. She didn’t participate in the silent injustices of humanity.

Although I’m still not ready to burn my bras, I realize everything I needed to know, I learned from my hippie mama.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

3 Things Not to Do As a Gun Owner



  1. Become the Police. George Zimmerman appointed himself neighborhood security officer. He exited his car when he had no reason to do so.
  2. Fail to Retreat. Just because Florida law allows you to stand your ground, common sense should tell you to remove yourself from a potential threat when possible. I understand Michael Dunn's anger at being yelled and cussed at after making a request about loud music. I don't understand why he didn't simply pull forward if he thought a threat was made to his life. In the time it took to remove the gun from the glove compartment and the holster, he could have been moving forward, even simultaneously. 
  3. Leave the Scene. If you need to protect yourself, don't leave the scene. At least not miles away. Cities away. No one will believe your story the next day. Even kindergartners know how to dial 9-1-1.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

An Open Letter to Sea World

Dear Corporate Greed Office:

The movie Blackfish was released in July 2013. You were asked to be a part of that revealing documentary. You declined. Now, six months after release, you have issued an Open Letter to give us the "truth."

 You say, "Sea World does not capture killer whales in the wild. Due to the groundbreaking success of our research in marine mammal reproduction, we haven’t collected a killer whale from the wild in 35 years."
 
I ask, "By 'groundbreaking success of our research' do you mean the ejaculation of Tilikum that was shown in Blackfish and attested to by former employers?" You are sick. All in the name of billion dollar profits.

You say, " We do not separate killer whale moms and calves."
 
I ask, "Can you then explain why it was caught on tape at least twice? Why former "trainers" are haunted by the mourning sounds made by the mothers? How exactly did you kidnap your first whales?" You tricked a pod into separating mothers and children from their fathers and you stole two-year-old Tilikum along with two other calves.

 You say, "Sea World invests millions of dollars in the care of our killer whales."

 I ask, "Doesn't a billion dollar business demand such an investment? Should we now see you as animal activists?"

 You say, "Our habitats are among the largest in the world today."

 I ask, "As large as the ocean? How can an animal designed to swim up to 100 miles per day do so in your cage?"

 You say, "Sea World’s killer whales’ life spans are equivalent with those in the wild."

 I ask, "How about the quality of that life? Unable to swim or hunt for food. Being made to perform in order to eat. How is that equivalent to those in the wild?"

 You say, "The killer whales in our care benefit those in the wild."

 I ask, "Will you stop passing yourselves off as good Samaritans?" You are a corporation with profits as your only goal. The animals in the wild were designed to live independently of humans and their research.
 
You say, "Sea World is a world leader in animal rescue. The millions of people who visit our parks each year make possible Sea World’s world-renowned work in rescue, rehabilitation and release "

 I ask, "How many orcas have been released?"

 You say, "Naturalist Baba Dioum put it best when he said, 'In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught.'”

 I ask, "Didn't the zookeeper in Mr. Popper's Penguins say it best in regard to animals in captivity? 'They only care about the one who's holding the fish.'? Didn't Tilikum kill three people because he does not, in fact, like to perform? Because he does not, in fact, have a relationship with his trainers? Don't those three deaths prove that we can't really understand what we have 'conserved' through kidnapping Tilikum from his family?"
 
What you didn't say is that you had no response to Blackfish during its making or after its release until at least eight musical performers cancelled shows at your parks. What you didn't say is, "It's all about the almighty dollar."

On behalf of Tilikum,
Melanie Clough (cluff)