Archives for : June2015

Addiction Recovery – Confidence

Hope for the journey
Addiction Recovery

I believe you would agree with me; our biggest problem in addiction recovery was the inability to stop using compulsively. Sadly the problem is never solved permanently, but it is overcome on a day-to-day basis. As the days of sobriety stack up, we grow in confidence. Confidence is the knowledge that however tough life gets, we have tools and resources for dealing with it. Confidence is believing in ourselves as children of God and people of value. Confidence is the willingness to give what we have, with the faith that our gifts are needed and acceptable.
When we have confidence in God and in ourselves, we are willing to try even though we may fail. If we fail, we are willing to try again. Since our will and our lives are turned over to God, we have confidence that everything eventually works out for our good.


~ Food for Thought, Hazelden

An Excerpt From “An Upside-Down Heart”, a Memoir by Mary Zigan

udbcoverSince we’ve been writing about June celebrations, Mary Zigan has chosen to talk, not about her wedding, but about her marriage.  Here is an excerpt from her memoir, An Upside-Down Heart, to be released next month.

Dating Don was exhilarating. With a jaunty spring in his step and a surprise behind his back, he often whistled a love tune as he walked past my apartment window to announce his arrival. Being romanced by him had meant long walks, long talks, and leisurely dinners by the fire.

Unfortunately, Don and I brought unresolved emotional issues and upheaval from our previous marriages into our new life together. Added to that mix, each of us brought to the marriage teens who were confused about boundaries.  This meant that our household would need extra maintenance and cooperation if our family was going to make it.

I became overwhelmed with the many adjustments because whether it was child-rearing or religion, our perspectives were often opposed. Many mornings before work, I would sit on the foot stool in the living room after the kids had gone to school and Don to work, and think, “God, I don’t even know if you are real. With all the conflict we are experiencing, how can you be real? Show me if you are!”

I wasn’t in the habit of reading my Bible, but one day I reached for my King James Version and randomly opened it to the Psalms. My eyes landed on Psalm 32:8. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, so I searched the bookcase for the Living Bible. “I will instruct you (says the Lord), and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress.”

I couldn’t believe this promise was actually in the Bible, but this was good news to me! When Don returned home from work, I could hardly wait to share these hopeful words of assurance with him. Excitedly, I showed Don the passage in the Psalms. He turned quickly, looked me straight in the eye and said, “So now you’re a Bible thumper!” I felt devastated and desperately alone. Here I was beginning this exciting new journey spiritually, but I knew then that I would be traveling it all alone.

I began to embrace the truth of this scripture; “that God was interested in me” and slowly it was beginning to change my life. I was growing in my faith and God was beginning to break through the wall I had built around my heart, but would it break Don’s heart?

From the memoir, An Upside-Down Heart, by Mary Zigan

©Copyright, Mary Zigan, June 2015

Weddings – Is There Something to be Said for Waiting?

Is there something to be said for WAITING . . . until the time is right?

According to, the average length for engagements is 13.8 months.

Recently, after an engagement of 8 years, my nephew and his fiancé tied the knot last month.  Literally.

The ceremony was small, intimate, and meaningful, and the knot-tying component was based on the Old Testament marriage of Moses and Zipporah.

It was strictly a family affair.  My brother, a retired minister, officiated.  My son gave the bride away, and I was matron of honor.  My 20-year-old grandson, an accomplished chef, prepared the wedding dinner.  Counting the bride and groom, there were ten of us in attendance.  But after the wedding the bride said, “The love that was in that room was amazing!”





And Speaking of Waiting…

And speaking of WAITING . . .

During the past couple of years that THE COUSINS have been writing this blog together, we have also been up to something else.  After long years of meditating on the idea, The City Cousin, Mary Zigan, has written her memoir!  And I (aka Country Cousin and ex-English teacher) have had the fun of tagging along and correcting the punctuation.

Mary’s long-awaited book is called The Upside-Down Heart, and it is due to be released next month!

Here is what a couple of professionals who read the manuscript said about it:

Mary Zigan’s memoir gives a moving, honest account of a woman’s long road from hardscrabble Minnesota to “Down Under” Australia.  It also depicts the more important journey from low self-esteem to a strong confidence in herself as a beloved child of God.  Mary’s teaching and leadership have been a great blessing to her congregation, as I am certain her story will prove to be for many readers.    Morris Wee, Senior Pastor,  Advent Lutheran Church, Maple Grove, MN

Mary Zigan’s personal life journey is a compelling, honest, and true reflection of faith, hope, and redemption.  You will discover without Mary’s incredible strength and belief in God she would have never survived so many difficult and dark days.  Mary has always been such an inspiration in my life.  May her personal journey bring you a message of hope, love, and spiritual devotion, and may all the amazing gifts that God offers strengthen and comfort us no matter what challenges or circumstances we may be facing.

Julie DeMuth, Interior Designer, Brooklyn Park, MN

STAY TUNED!  Next week you will get a sneak preview—an excerpt from the memoir, right here in our blog.  We think you’ll be surprised.

What Is so Rare as a Day in June

What is so rare as a day in June?” asked 19th Century New England poet James Russell Lowell.  “Whether we look, or whether we listen, we hear life murmur, or see it glisten.”

June brings some of the most eagerly-awaited celebrations of the year.  Graduations abound, dads are honored, and June is still the most popular month of the year for weddings.


Last evening Kimberly, daughter of my niece Kathy and her husband, Gary Aspen, graduated from high school.  The event was particularly sweet because of the long period of anticipation.  A couple of decades ago Kathy had struggled through the devastating disappointments of infertility.   Finally, the couple’s decision to pursue a foreign adoption brought hope, but also more months of forms, red tape, complicated arrangements, and frustrating minutia. -127808823936BC68E5


Then one memorable day my husband and I joined the excited family group waiting for Kathy to emerge from the Jetway, bearing a precious bundle she had carried half way around the world.

“I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that Kim is 18 and graduated,” Kathy says. “This was always something far in the future.  Then I blinked my eyes and that day arrived last night!”

Along with their Korean baby came a new culture, new traditions, and eventually a new Korean brother.

“We feel so blessed!” Kathy says.  “My infertility was all part of God’s plan to bring two bundles of joy from Korea to join our family.”

Some things are worth the wait.

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“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”   Romans 8:28   NLT