Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What it's like to be me.

If there is one thing that bothers me about people, it's that no one likes to be REAL. As in, show weakness, or inferiority, or failure, or struggles, or SIN.  I don't know anyone who enjoys broadcasting their failures, but everyone has them.  Everyone screws up, or has problems and struggles. The danger is when we try to hide them from others, put on a happy face, and act fine. That's what it is. Acting. And I am Public Enemy #1 for this. It's human nature, I think, to hide weaknesses and play up strengths. But it's just not REAL.

Our family has gone through a time of transition this year. Lots of minor changes that have made a huge impact on our lives. We've grown as a family, as parents, as a couple, and as ambassadors for Christ. Lots of good, heart-wrenching, difficult, but positive stuff.  We've really sought God's will and direction and He has answered faithfully. (He always does!) It's been an incredible year.

This morning, a sweet friend of mine met with me, and we shared our struggles, and we prayed together.  (Side note: I highly encourage every Christian woman to seek out at least one good, honest, loving friend to share your life with, keep you accountable, tell you when you are way the heck out in craycray-land, and PRAY with each other {Another side note: I said pray WITH each other. Not pray FOR each other. Although if you do the first, you can also do the second. But do it. Don't just say you will.} Lucky for me, I have more than one of those friends in my life).  In the course of our short catch-up conversation, she told me that when she looks at me, she sees a dream-come-true kind of life.  My family, my house, my job, my great haircut, etc...  and when she said that, there was no hint of jealousy, just love and admiration.  But her comment made me think.  Is that how people see me? Do people look at me and see the pretty, put-together, overall package of perfection? I have no idea, really, but I sure hope not. Because, I have ISSUES just like everyone else. I struggle with life. I struggle with my family, my marriage, my job, my attention span, my health.  And I want everyone to know.

This is what it's like to be me today. The inside of my body, from my ribs to my hips, is a hot mess. Like a battlefield. Like a nuclear war zone. Every.Single.Time.I.Eat.Food. I'm in a lot of pain. I'm frustrated. I'm literally at my wit's end. I have no answers. I've seen a specialist. We've done blood, we've done scans. I have scopes scheduled for next month. I expect no answers from those. Until then, I have medicine to "get me through." I have to make a choice at every single meal whether I want to deal with horrible stomach and intestinal pain and extreme discomfort for the next 5-6 hours, or take a pill that helps me digest food but makes me feel drunk.  Either way, something ain't right in there.

So what's it like to be me right now? It frickin' sucks. In a society that revolves around food and mealtimes, when food is your enemy, it's not much fun to be alive. When your stomach hurts all the time, it's hard to be pleasant. It's hard to tell someone that no, you can't eat the delicious-looking food they made for you because it makes you feel miserable.  It's hard to cook dinner for your family knowing you won't be eating it. It's hard to care much about anything or anyone else's problems. It's hard to focus on anything but the pain and after-effects of eating.  It's hard to live life.

I haven't always been this way. I've known about my dairy intolerance for years. I've always been able to control that by limiting or eliminating major dairy culprits from my diet. In the last three months, I've started experiencing more and worse symptoms, so I went super-strict and eliminated ALL dairy from my diet.  That includes almost all processed food, baked goods, and many seasonings.  But it didn't take away my symptoms this time. There is some other food that is tearing my insides to shreds. I tried for a few weeks to tough it out and just deal, and then my sweet, protective, worried husband put his foot down and made me call a doctor.

That's where I am right now. Waiting a month for my next round of tests. Until then, if you see me, I'll either be grumpy and in pain, or I'll be walking a little bit crooked. Or passed out on the ground because I couldn't decide which evil to choose so I just stopped eating altogether...

p.s. I'm not looking for advice or ideas or "it worked for so-and-so" or diets, so no need to leave comments to that effect. I won't publish them. Do feel free to leave encouraging bible verses and prayers! That is the REAL stuff I'm looking for!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Good Self / Bad Self / Crazy Self

So I’ve been running. Jogging, really, but it’s the thought that counts. Tonight at the beginning of our run, I commented to my running partner, “When we get right here, every single time, my legs start screaming at me to ‘STOP!!!!!’” “Me too!” she said, to which I admitted, “I actually have a running (pun totally intended) dialogue in my head the entire time I’m running.” “Me too!” She said.  So, I wrote it down so that you can share in my pain.

Start of typical 4-mile run
Good self: “Yay, I get to go run today/tonight! Nature! Birds Singing! Lake view! Yay!
Bad Self: “AGAIN?!?! I hate you. This sucks already. “

2/10 of a mile down the road (AKA Not-very-far)
Bad Self: “Legs hurt from knees to ankles. Quit now and you won’t even break a sweat. Then you won’t have to wash your hair before work tomorrow.”
Good Self: “It’s gonna be great. Set your pace and get your breathing under control and GO! Let’s do this!”

Bottom of first hill
Good self: “That was fun! Wind! Speed! Woohoo!”
Bad Self:” Uhhhh, how bout that hill you have to climb now!”

Top of first hill
Good self: “Woohoo! That was great! Broke a sweat, right on schedule!”
Bad self: “I’m still alive and I didn’t die. Yet.”

Mile 1
Good self: “Feeling good, getting my pace set”
Bad Self: “One mile is good.  Stop now.”

Mile 2
Good Self: “Yeehaw! I saw a deer and family of cute little foxes! And a weenie dog! And a bunny! I shall turn left and take the longer scenic route.”
Bad Self: “You can try, but you know you won’t last..”

Mile 2.5
Good Self: “Push through! Breathe deep! Keep going!”
Bad Self: “Seeeeeeeeee, I told you….”

Mile 3
Good: “Okay! One mile to go! You can do this! Keep going!
Bad: “Just stop already. It hurts. Legs. Stomach. Feet. The sweat!!!! Is dripping down your face!!!!! So Gross!!!!!

Mile 3.5
Good: “Almost there. Half a mile left. Push! Breathe!
Bad: “HALF A MILE LEFT?! Chest -- tightening….. breath -- gone….. gag reflex--standing by…….

Mile 3.75
Good: “I can see the end point! I can do this! In fact, I think I’ll sprint to the end! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!”
Bad: “Oh no you don’t.  I WILL make you puke. Don’t think I won’t do it!”

Mile 4
Good: “I DID IT!!!! I LOVE RUNNING!!!!!”
Bad: “Yeah, you did it. Big stinky deal. I still hate this and it still sucks. And now you smell.

All this happens with music playing in the earbuds.  It's a complicated place, the inside of my brain.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

This story is [fantastically] awesome.

Let me tell you a story.  

There once was a [young, vibrant] mom who watched with joy as her two [healthy, happy] children grew up.  She survived the baby years, with their bottles, baby food, wacky sleep schedules, diaper bags, and vehicles loaded to the roof with gear for one dadgum overnight trip.  Along the way, she prayed for precious sleep, minimal ear infections, and an eventual return to a normal way of life.

She trudged through the toddler years, filled with [particularly painful] potty-training wars, playdates, and afternoon naps that dictated her life schedule.  She prayed for patience, patience, and more patience. And she longed for the day she could go more than a week without a trip to the zoo.

She entered the preschool years, filled with more playdates, less napping, and an obscene amount of hot dog- and grape-slicing.  She prayed for relief from food-cutting, and for the sustainment of naps.  She learned to appreciate the personalities of her unique, funny, and sometimes infuriating offspring.

She’s logged more pediatrician visits than she can count, paid for more chicken nuggets and fruit snacks than she cares to admit, and doesn’t even want to think about the number of diapers she contributed to the downfall of planet Earth.  She loaded that dang stroller into the car no less than 356 thousand times. She’s battled against strong wills, she’s asserted her authority, she’s cried with debilitating frustration, she’s laughed until she cried.  And she’s spanked butts that deserved it. [She still does.]

She survived the first dreaded Kindergarten entrance.  She shed more than a few tears over it, but watched with elation as child number one blossomed and grew in that scary and foreign environment.  She enjoyed the extra time with child number two as she adjusted to being in two stages at once.  Kindergarten passed quickly for child number one, and first grade loomed large.  As she realized child number two would enter Kindergarten in exactly one year, she saw her hourglass of time becoming bottom-heavy, as her children were growing up in front of her eyes.  And she started praying fresh prayers for direction. 

She thanked God for the blessings of the previous seven years of her life.  She marveled that she survived at times.  She remembered all the times she failed.  She laughed at the fun times behind, and her eyes shined brightly at the many ideas for the future.  She poured out her heart to God, revealing her desires to the only One who could possibly understand, surrendered her future, and left it all at the feet of her Father.  She threw out a few “I know this sounds crazy, but I really want to do this,” for good measure.  

And then she stood by and watched her God do exceedingly, abundantly more than she ever asked.  Even the crazy stuff.  She took a back seat and waited as the prep work, the timing, the specifics fell into place around her.  She watched as the exact plan God had for her was laid out before her like a series of precious gifts.  She rejoiced in her Father, who proved [again and again] the He hears her prayers, and desires to bless her if she will follow Him.  She felt [amazing, overwhelming] peace at her future.  She looked forward with excitement and anticipation. The temptation to look behind and feel sadness or regret faded with every forward step. 

She knows Who holds tomorrow.

And she is overflowing with Joy!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Learn something new every day

Before Christmas I ordered a little book from a clearance site, called "Songs from Heaven," thinking it would be a cute little devotional book about music to give as a gift.  When I flipped through it, trying to decide whose gifts needed padding (you know you do that too) I discovered the book is, in fact, a how-to on songwriting.  I claimed it as my own at that point and took it to my night stand where it has been gathering dust.

This morning I picked it up and started reading it.  An hour later I had written my first song on my ukelele.  Then I sat down at the piano and put a melody to a second set of lyrics I had jotted down.  Seriously. I'm not saying I'm any good at this, but it was a fun way to pour out some personalized praise to the Lord.

So, today I learned how to write songs.

What did you learn today?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dangerous Discontent

I was reminded the other day about how easy it is to fall into discontentment.  It all started with my self-centered reflections of the things I wished I had done in my life.  You know the kind.  It's starts innocently enough.  "I wish I knew how to...", which then turns into "Why didn't I learn when..." which can be a very destructive downward spiral of "what ifs" and "I wish this was different.."

We all do it.  Here's where my mind wandered that day:

"I wish I had taken voice lessons in college. I also wish I would have taken a music-writing class.  Well dang, I should have just majored in music.  Then I would have more in common with more people and I could sing and write music and be famous and, and, and..."

It just kept going on from there.  But then, I stopped myself. And I took an inventory of what I DID do, back when I COULD have been majoring in music.  I majored in business finance instead. I got married to guy who probably wouldn't have wanted to hang out with a music major ;) If I hadn't married that guy, we wouldn't have the two awesome kids we have.  And I would not know anything about the supporting role I've assumed in running a business for that guy.  Because music majors don't learn accounting, taxes, banking, or budgeting.

And THAT is why I didn't major in music.  Took me about 11 years to realize it. Wait, no. I knew it all along. I just forgot while I was wallowing in discontent.

It's great when God stops you in your tracks of self-delusion and shows WHY you are where you are. And I am where I am because it's the right place to be, and the steps that led me here were the right steps to take.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Read less, read more, write more

I've decided. Although my decisions rarely stick long term, I still like to pretend. So I've decided to refocus my media time.

Less reading (on Facebook). Also less participating in other Facebook activities. Just less TIME in general on Facebook. As much as I enjoy the feedback (attention) I get from being funny, silly, or generally idiotic, it's such a big time-waster for me. I can receive that same validation in other areas. So, for a while, I'll back away. It never lasts long, I'll admit that. I'll delete the app from my phone until I "need" to check on something, someone, etc. Then I'm back. But I'm trying.

More reading (real books). I've started using the iBooks app and downloading a plethora of free classic titles. Last summer I read about 10 classic novels including "The Count of Monte Cristo," the entire "Anne of Green Gables" series, and several Jane Austen books. I also started a Chronological Bible-reading plan 107 days ago that I am enjoying immensely. Try reading the Bible chronologically someday in a "readers version" like New Living Translation. It flows so much like a story and really keeps you interested. Maybe even more if you are a history nerd like me!

More writing: I'm hoping to write here on my blog more. I love it so much when a blog post comes out the way I imagine. I enjoy hearing from readers that I impact with my posts. I have never particularly loved to write, but always got decent grades on papers and such. And sometimes I just have things to say. So this time, I replaced my Facebook app with the blogger app (with iBooks and YouVersion Bible right next to it) and will try to record my daily life anecdotes and such right here. Really it's for me. I love to go back a year or two and read stuff I wrote. Sometimes I don't even recognize it! Thing that seemed important when I wrote them are already forgotten. I'm thankful for a platform like this where I can record life and then go back and review it.

So that's what's UP.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A message for the Class of 2024

It's all been said already.  I've read a lot of it. Seems like everyone has a blog and opinion on the events that happened in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday.  As always, the tragedy has been politicized, causing emotionally-charged arguments over gun control and mental health issues.  I don't want to talk about that.

What I want to talk about is the future.  In eleven years, the Class of 2024 will graduate from high school.  My first born will be a member of that group of kids.  They will look at the future with stars in their eyes as they prepare for adulthood, whether it means college, traveling abroad, working to buy that dream car, whatever.  But may this class of newly christened adults never forget that there are 20 less of them in this world to reach for those dreams.  Let them imagine that day when they were in first grade and it was a normal Friday when they did their spelling test "for real" and completed their timed addition test and maybe got to hop up to the next level.  Let them imagine eating cheese pizza in the cafeteria, or PBJ from home.  Let them imagine saying the Pledge of Allegiance and listening to the birthdays on the intercom.  Let them remember practicing Reader's Theater for the upcoming class Christmas party.  Let them imagine PE. Recess. Their classmates. Their precious teachers and administrators.

Then let them remember the day when their parents chose to tell them about what happened to those 20 kids and 7 teachers that day in December 2012.  It may be several years down the road when they first hear about it.  But let them hear about it.  May their hearts feel something when they hear. Let them know they are safe, and protected. And loved.  And when they walk the graduation stage, let them remember. There should be 20 more of them in this world. Let them draw inspiration from the lives that were lost.  Let them live more intentionally in honor of those 20.  Let them be thankful for the love and courage of the 7.

Let us all remember.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

My Elfing Opinion

I'm going to be honest.  I'm not a fan of the Elf on the Shelf.  At all. I thought it was just because I'm somewhat of a Scrooge when it comes to silly holiday traditions.  I do see the fun in it, the magical Christmasy magical-ness to it all. I can even see why some people depend on that little Elf to keep their kids in line when it comes down to Naughty-list crunch time.  But, after having expressed my opinion to a small group of friends, have discovered I'm not alone in my general disdain for the whole idea.  I don't judge or think less of those families who are into it. In fact, my Facebook newsfeed is full of some really creative ideas, and we all know I applaud creativity! :)  But it is just not for us.  Here's why:

1. My children are "older" -- ages 4 and 6 -- and my oldest is on the verge of disbelief.  He's still pretty adamant that Santa is real, but the vigor with which he is holding on to his belief tells me he is trying VERY hard to believe. There is some doubt in there that he's trying to stamp out by his loud proclamations of belief.  Prolonging the charade about Santa by adding an Elf seems cruel to me when in just a few short years I'm going to have to tell him the truth about Saint Nicholas.  

2. The Truth about Saint Nicholas -- has nothing to do with elves or the North Pole, but with giving, and mercy, and love.  While Santa WAS a real person, I want to set up the things we tell them now about Santa that will translate easier to the REAL story about the REAL guy.  The fewer lies I have to talk my way out of, the better.

3.  Jesus-focused Alternatives -- I have recently found out about an alternative to the Elf that does tie Santa in with Jesus/Christianity.  It is called "My Secret Angel and Me." Instead of an elf, you get an angel, and she tells the Biblical Christmas story, reports back to Heaven, and doesn't disappear after Christmas is over. I'm not sold on that either, but it is an alternative choice.  I have also heard of "The Three Traveling Wise Men" but a google search came up short. Both of these focus less on Santa and more on Jesus. 

My family is doing a 24-day children's devotional called "A Meaningful Christmas."  This is a daily 2-3 minute verse, story, and discussion that walks us through Creation to the birth of Jesus and touches briefly on His sacrifice and why it is so important that Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior. (The physical earth-coming of Jesus began the process and prophecy of redemption for every human's soul. Therefore, we rejoice and remember and celebrate the circumstances by which God showed how much He loves us!!) There is an ornament for each day, and the kids love to touch, look at, and hang the ornament on our special small tree.  

Don't call me a total Scrooge (I do occasionally call myself one, so I guess you can too without hurting my feelings), because we DO Santa, we just also DO Jesus even more in our house. I don't intend to start any controversy, and I love all my Elf-Shelf-ing friends dearly.  But I don't intend to sacrifice any of my precious marshmellows in the Elf's fishing hole, or toss powdered sugar around to make a "snow storm" that I get to clean up later!  OR have kids waking up at o'dark thirty to find out what Mr. Elf has done THIS time. 

But y'all have fun with that!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Something to work on

When a parent overhears this from a 4-year-old daughter:

"I really need to work on my throwing up,"

a parent's mind can go to very interesting places.  That statement can also halt the conversation in a room and cause all the adults present to slowly turn to see the child who uttered those words tossing a small stuffed ladybug straight up in the air, and trying unsuccessfully to catch said ladybug.



commence laughter and bulimia comments....

Yes, baby girl, we can work on throwing up anytime you want!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I know I've blogged before about my lack of ability to follow cooking instructions.  I really wanted to link that post here, but alas, I can't find it.  Which just speaks to my alleged organization skills.  Let me just give you a recap:

I stink at cooking.

That's pretty much the gist of it.

I CAN bake, however.  And occasionally I even get compliments on my baked goods.

So it's no big deal to throw some muffin mix in the mini muffin pan real quick-like for a teacher breakfast in the morning.  Right?  But no.

When the recipe calls for ONE TABLESPOON of butter for the streusel topping, it's no big deal to glob one large scoop of margarine spread with a medium soup spoon.. Right?  But no.

It's no big deal to cram 3/4 of the batter into 24 muffin spots when the recipe very clearly (in 8 pt. font) says it makes 48. Right? But no.

(In my defense I didn't see that last instruction until it was too late. WAY TOO LATE.)


My brand new oven has crispy streusel carbon snakes on the bottom. Boo. And the teachers didn't get any muffins from me this morning.  Wah. And my hubby just called from the store for help finding the ammonia because nothing else has worked. Ick!!

I won't even mention the smoke detector going off because of my baking skillz.  After the kids were in bed.  But let's not talk about that.