March 31, 2011

All over the place

Today....I'm wearing my black-rimmed vanity glasses and new zebra print flats.

Today....I'm feeling a bit sassy. Which may have something to do with my black-rimmed glasses and zebra print flats.

Today....The line at McDonald's was about 37 cars long so I am missing out on my nonfat caramel mocha that's a new favorite of mine.

Today.....I am thinking about some new places I am going with God thanks to my handy little devotional that I am actually eager to open up and read most every day. He keeps asking me to trust and rely and depend on Him. All of this is pricking at some of my deepest pain and I am finally feeling like I am ready to go places with God we haven't exactly gone before. I'm not sure if this is great news, or just a taste of how messy things will soon feel. I suppose either way, it's good.

Today....I feel like I am liking myself more. I've been recognizing things about myself that are good or lovely or fun and feeling more comfortable just being me. And this is a big deal considering I've spent the majority of my life in self-contempt mode. And because of this there are certain people that have been officially removed from my "acceptance committee."

Today....I am smiling because Grace Group is awesome. God continues to use it to change and transform and free me.

Today....I am remembering my morning visit with my friend Sarah yesterday. She usually comes over once a month and I so enjoy our time together. It feels good and deep and energizing and real.

Today....I will be ordering invitations for a lingerie shower I am throwing. And my head is spinning with ideas and details. And oh, I love to throw parties!

Today....I am more aware how little time there is left with my sister-in-law before she moves away. I've found myself trying not to think about what her not being her anymore is going to look like. Because when I do, I am overwhelmed with sadness because I don't want her to go. And neither does Tommy who officially calls her "Tisthie." At some point, I am going to have to "check in" and sorrow over the loss of no longer having her in my regular, every day life.

Today....I am thinking about my trip to Michigan the first week of May to go through Book Two at SALTS. And I'm starting to worry over my flights and finding my terminals and going through security and wondering if my luggage will get there and if I'll be remembered to be picked up the airport....all of that is beginning to enter in and invite me to worry and stress. As silly as it sounds, I often purpose to worry about things so that they won't happen. If I haven't worried about them, then they will probably come about. Sounds illogical, but this has been a tiring way of how I have lived for YEARS.

Today....I looked in my truth mirror and smiled. And I have officially decided that every woman on the planet needs to have one of these things.

Today....I feel like I am more armed and prepared for how to tackle my eating disorder. It feels good to have practical and useful tools to put in place and to access. Today - I am feeling hopeful and recognizing progress.

Today....I am aware, I am hopeful, I am mindful.

Today....I am on guard and energized and conscious.

Today....I am wearing black-rimmed glasses and zebra print flats. And feeling a bit sassy.

Where are you today?

March 30, 2011

The Importance of Playing

I have one single memory of my mother and I ever playing together. That's not to say that there couldn't be more I suppose. But I can only remember one time which means that it was a rarity for my mom to play with me. And that memory, is one of my most very favorite memories ever too.

In contrast to that, I have dozens upon dozens of memories of my father and I playing games together however. With my brother in the hospital for a good chunk of my childhood, it was he that would play games and read books with me.

There is something to be said for a parent, grandparent or another adult who takes the time to play with a child. I think it is in those moments that a child feels the most loved and enjoyed and delighted in - just for being who they are. It reminds a child that they are worthy of not just love, but of your time and energy. It tells them that their interests and likes are important to someone other than themselves.

When a child hasn't experienced what it is like for someone (mainly their parents) to play with them or know what it is like just to be a delight to someone, it can set them up for a life of believing lies that they are worthless, unlovable, and that they don't matter. That alters how they live their life, make decision, and relate to others. I have found this to be true not just for me because of my mother's absence, but many others whose story I know well.

When I was pregnant a woman gave me one piece of advice for motherhood. "Play. Play with that baby. Don't you wait until you have grand babies to make time to play. You leave those dishes in the sink, and forget about that laundry. Play, play, play with that boy of yours."

I haven't forgotten that piece of advice. And since then as I have recalled what playtime looked like in childhood, I have realized the importance of taking time out to play with Tommy. And not just reading books or watching Sesame Street together. But getting down on his level and playing with his toys. Sitting on the floor in front of the refrigerator and learning ABC's. Blowing bubbles. Chasing him through the house. Going for walks outside - he now looks for my hand and grabs on to it and leads me where we go. (Melts my mommy heart...)

And over the weekend, I made up a new game with his cars. I got out a random shelf that we don't use and set it up like a ramp. I showed Tommy how to roll the cars down the ramp and we watched car after car crash into one another at the bottom.
It was a fun game and it lasted almost a whole hour. He had a blast. And you know what? So did I.
Sometimes I feel like I'm incredibly clueless when it comes to raising a boy. Probably because I'm incredibly "girly." But if I watch closely and pay attention, Tommy usually invites me to something fun or adventurous. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing his laughs and giggles when we are playing one of our many games together.

His mouth is full of cereal. I can't stop him from stuffing his mouth FULL. He wants to hurry up and eat so he can get back to playing. *sigh*
I hope that as he grows I continue to take time out to just play. To turn the TV off, put my phone down, leave the chores and do what he is interested in with him. I hope he remembers how much he was loved, enjoyed and delighted in. Just for being Tommy.

March 29, 2011

Six months in....

Back in September, Todd put on a red shirt and some khaki pants and headed off to a new job in addition to the one he already had. After I quit working full time and fell into a comfortable part-time working groove, we quickly became aware that we were going to need additional income to continue making ends meet. We decided pizza delivering provided the most flexibility seeing as Todd was looking for something on evenings and Saturdays. Our hope was that after six months, we could have some of our bills paid off entirely and would no longer need his second income.

And then my car died in January leaving us with another car payment and prolonging our original 6 to 8 month plan of Todd having to work two jobs. And such is life sometimes.

Here we are, slightly over six months later. He is still wearing the same red shirt and khaki pants. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening after he has already put in a full day's work, he heads off to job #2 to work until they decide he can come home. Saturdays are the worst. He is sometimes scheduled all day long and I'm lucky if I see him before midnight. Todd is exhausted. And yet he presses on for us.

The last month or so has felt the hardest on us. His absence has taken a toll on our marriage to be sure. No good marriage can thrive on mere moments spent together in the evening and then one full day as a family. Quality time is essential for love to thrive and grow and flourish. It is evident that Tommy and I feel the weight of what Todd's sacrifices are costing us. All in all, I am over it. We are all desperate for it to end.

I'm not quite sure how women do it - the women who have husbands that serve in the military and are gone for months or longer at a time. I guess maybe God gives all of us a certain measure of strength we need for our own lives I suppose.

When he started this, we felt like we were in a really good place. We both felt strong and connected and we knew we could get through this. Six months in though, we have grown weary and frustrated. Not being able to connect or see each other as often as we used to has drained us of much joy and excitement.

I want my husband back. I am ready for the evenings where we would come home from work and grill a steak in the evenings and watch Tommy run in and out of the back door while dinner was being prepared. I want to be able to take evening walks together like we used to. I need more Saturdays that look like trips to the park and date night for us. I am so ready for Sunday to not be our only day together. And though Tommy can't express it the way I do, I know he wants his dad back too. He calls for him every morning. And when I say "Daddy is at work buddy, " he lets out a fussy whine because he knows what that means. My heart has broken countless times when we've had to wave bye-bye to daddy and I've had to hold my screaming boy in my arms because he is angry that dad is gone again and he doesn't understand why.

Last week we received a glimmer of new hope.

I will have been at my job a full year this coming June, and I know that some kind of pay raise is around the corner. But more than that, the company is growing rapidly and there will be a definite need for me to either take on more hours to cover the work load, or to hire another part-time person to assist me with my duties. We had discussed this when I interviewed last year - that my position was probably going to grow into a full-time one eventually. I talked with my employers in great detail about what this could look like in the coming months. They cast vision for what they see and desire me to do as the company grows.

In all that we talked about, they are continuing to gift me with flexibility. I can still set my own hours. I don't have to be in at exactly 8 or leave at exactly 5. I can take a day off when I need one. I can do work from home and don't have to do everything at the office. I don't have to work a full 40 hour work week. If I ever feel like I need to go back to fewer hours, I can do that and be involved in the hiring process of having someone to help me.

It almost feels too good to be true in a way. And yet, it's not. The people I work for appreciate and care about me and understand the importance a measure of flexibility for all of their employees. I was told the other day that they had the utmost respect for me - how I worked, how I lived out my faith, and how I presented myself and acted to others in the office. I sat there a little dumbfounded and feeling incredibly grateful to the Lord who had orchestrated all of this in the first place. If I hadn't have walked away from my last job and trusted God with our finances and future, I wouldn't be here.

God is way cool like that. He knows what He's doing even when I think He's crazy.

So I could be going back to work on a more full-time basis. But it feels like a choice this time - not something I'm forced into. And with it comes freedom and flexibility; things that don't often come with any full-time position.

And in all of this news with working more in the coming months is the thought in the back of my mind. That gnawing desire of my dream for another baby. We have no clue if it will happen or not and we continue to just remain open to the possibility until God and my Rheumatoid Arthritis says it's not anymore. I guess I am choosing to remain hopeful in my anticipation about that while continuing on with life and being where I am at too.

For now, it feels very exciting knowing that this crappy season of life will be coming to an end soon. Though we are months away yet, it has an end. It has an END!!!!

And to celebrate, we will probably be having a "burn the red pizza delivery shirt" party!

March 28, 2011

Family Time

Sometimes we skip church on Sundays. We don't do this all the time, but sometimes we feel the need to just be together as a family. With Todd working two jobs right now, family time feels like a special event, not the norm. So, yesterday was one of those kinds of Sundays. It felt like Todd wasn't even home the majority of the weekend (and it didn't just feel like it - that's how it was) and both Tommy and I needed some quality time together as a family.

We loaded up in the car and went in the opposition direction of our church. We made a quick stop at Krispy Kreme for a couple of fresh, warm, glazed doughnuts and headed out to a new park that we've heard about.

Tommy had a blast.
And so did his daddy, who is just a big kid.
Our moments together these days seem far and few between. And it's feeling harder. Yet, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel to this whole second job for Todd. We are hopeful that sometime this summer he can finally quit thanks to some new opportunities going on with my job. I'll expound on that later....

Last night, we redeemed some gift cards at Chilis that I had received for my birthday and had a long talk about where we were and how hard it felt and what we both needed to keep going. We are so ready for this season of pizza delivering and hardly ever seeing each other to come to an end.
Tommy is at such a fun age right now and he is learning new things at a rapid rate every day, and Todd is missing out on a lot of those things. The moments we get to spend with him together as a family unit feel rare, and we try to make them special and memorable. Not just for Tommy, but for us too. It was a lovely morning of fellowship, of fun, of playing and laughter.
After a couple of hours of fun at the park, Tommy got tuckered out and it was time to go. He even said "Night, night."
I so enjoy our precious family time. My husband and my son bring such joy and light into my life. Our little Sunday morning in the park was needed for all of us. We may not have been in church, but God was most definitely there.

March 25, 2011

We're Learning!

In the last few weeks, my son has started learning his ABC's. We have these foam letters that he plays with in the bathtub. They stick to the wall and I'm pretty sure he's had a ton of fun putting them on the sides of the tub and knocking them back down into the water. But somewhere in all of the playing, he has been learning them!

He can name almost every letter and point to most of them when you ask where they are. A few letters are still confusing to him - like N's and Z's. I'm a little surprised that he was interested in letters - I guess because it feels early to be learning them. But since he has shown such interest, I figured it was time. We have a couple of books and some magnet letters on the fridge that we use for learning ABC's. And of course Sesame Street has been great for teaching him letters as well. I know every mother thinks their own child is a genius, but I'm pretty sure that he is.

On Sunday when we were out to lunch, he randomly decided that it was officially time to eat with utensils. He ate all of his green beans that day with a fork. I was so proud! He has some scooping issues, but he likes to eat by himself with a fork and spoon now.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly he grows and can learn things. His mind is like a sponge and he picks up everything! He loves to be read to. He loves to go outside and play. He is a wonder to watch as he experiences new things all the time. I am loving listening to him learn to say new words every single day now. His newest words are cookie, hello, outside, shoes, nice blankie (sounds like bank though), truck, bubbies, (how he says bubbles!) - just to name a few.
My "Major Hunk" and his Major Hunk daddy. This picture is not relevant at all to anything I've had to say, but I had to post this because they are both so incredibly good looking.

Happy Friday everyone!

March 24, 2011


When I was a little girl, going to my Grammy's house was one of my most favorite things to do. I would pack up my little red suitcase with my "jammies" and my toothbrush and head off to her house where we would make chocolate chip cookies and read books together.

With my brother in and out of the hospital throughout my childhood, I spent a lot of nights at her house as days at the hospital were long and boring for a young girl who couldn't really fathom what was all going on at the time. Memories with my Grammy though during those years are special and I will treasure them always.

As I grew older some of the things we did together changed a bit. She would take me shopping for a new outfit or take me somewhere to swim or ride horses. And some things remained the same, as we always made cookies or pie or homemade pizza. But one thing that we did together as I grew was look at the old paperdolls she had in a special trunk of things that belonged to her own mother.

They were kept in an old book.
A book from 1926 actually. An old magazine. In the pages of this magazine were old and antique paperdolls that her mother had kept and collected.
I can still remember going through those pages for the first time. Grammy instructed me how to be gentle with the old pages and how to pick up each paper doll with carefulness.

This doll was my favorite. She had the prettiest hair and the cutest outfits to put her in.
Page after page were little treasures to unlock. I would sometimes make up stories about each doll and where they were going in each outfit. I would dream about having a pretty dresses like the dolls had and I would imagine about how much fun I could have in a grand party dress and wonder what it would be like to carry a parasol every where I went. Grammy would listen to my stories and play with me. Those were moments I felt delighted in and enjoyed and loved. Oh to be a little girl again with my Grammy....
For my 30th birthday my Grammy asked me if there was anything she had of hers that I would like to have. And immediately my mind ran to the paperdolls. Oh to have them for always - that would be such a treasure to me.
The night of my 30th birthday I opened up a bag from my Grammy. After getting through the tissue paper inside, I uncovered the old book with the beautiful paperdolls. I began to cry and before I said anything, I actually smelled the book and then smiled. It smelt like my childhood days spent at Grammy's house. It smelt like chocolate chip cookies and story books and dress up. It smelt like laughter and tears and shopping trips to buy a new dress. It smelt like the sweet memories we had made together so long ago.

They may be just paper, but they may as well be priceless gems or expensive china. And I have found myself dreaming about what it would be like to share them with my daughter someday.

My Grammy didn't just give me paperdolls. She gave me memories of a time when we were best friends and when it felt good and lovely to just be a little girl.

I love you my sweet Grammy. And you will always be my very first best friend.

March 22, 2011

Weighty Wonders

I wonder if food will ever just be food to me. Just the stuff I eat when I'm hungry and the fuel my body needs to get through the day.

I wonder if I will ever not crave Cheetos, or powdered doughnuts or chicken nuggets. Or 5,000 other things that are "bad" for me.

I wonder if I will ever love spinach salads or asparagus or whole wheat pasta. Or ground turkey meat instead of ground beef. Blech.

I wonder if I will ever not be the fat girl at the table picking at my food because I'm too embarrassed to eat in front of anyone.

I wonder if I will ever stop caring what others think about me and the struggle I so publicly wear around for others to observe, when I know that I am trying and I am surrounded by people that love me.

I wonder why I care so much what others think of me that don't know me or don't know me well.

I wonder if I will ever be in a clothing size again that isn't a 20-something.

I wonder if I will ever not desire to go to food when I'm feeling hurt or sad or blah inside on a consistent basis.

I wonder if I will feel anything inside but the feeling of what a failure I am when it comes to my weight.

I wonder if I will ever stop sabotaging myself when I'm feeling successful and doing well with my eating and exercising.

I wonder how many more times I will have to get back up and try again and again. Because this cycle is old.

I wonder if I will ever feel comfortable in public in a bathing suit.

I wonder if my issues with food and weight will ever be a thing of the past or if it will be present with me ever day regardless of my size or success.

I wonder if I will ever blog about how much weight I've lost instead of where I am still finding myself.

I wonder if the help I'm getting is helping.

I wonder if I am beyond help sometimes.

Just wondering today. It's been one of those days....

March 18, 2011

Her name was Kelly.

I think we met in choir at the end of seventh grade. I remember that she had somehow sat on a Twinkie at lunch and her black shorts were covered in some kind of Twinkie paste that no amount of water could get out. Our choir teacher humiliated her about it and she walked out of the choir room and left class. I don't know if she ever got in trouble for doing that, but I admired her bravery in not putting up with Mrs. Hunsucker's cruelness about the whole thing.

I think after that, we became friends who would talk about how much we hated our choir teacher and how awful it was that she had ever sat on a Twinkie. Because who does that happen to?

We were the best of friends in 8th and 9th grade and some into our 10th grade year as well. We watched movies together. We wrote notes to each other in special spiral notebooks that we would give back and forth to each other. We went to the mall on a regular basis. We talked about our crushes that we had on the boys in school. And she was the friend that was with me when my brother died. We tried to figure out death and God and things that were far deeper than our early teenage minds could even begin to comprehend.

Kelly and I got together several years ago right before I got married and reconnected again. I ran into her mom somewhere and she gave me her number and told me to get in touch with her. It felt just like old times and it was fun to see each other as adults - there was years worth of life to be caught up on. At that time, neither of us could remember why we had fallen out of touch in high school - we decided that somehow we had just drifted away perhaps.

Later, I dug into my journals that I saved from teenagehood and learned why we hadn't stayed friends. Somewhere around the time of my parent's separation I decided I didn't want to be friends with her anymore. I had felt like we had nothing in common and I just quit showing up to lunch with her or talking to her in class. I felt like such a brat. And I wondered why I did such a thing? It felt awful to find out that I was the one who was responsible for our friendship not lasting and I was curious as to why I had forgotten about what happened until I read my 16 year old's notes.

We met up yesterday for lunch - thanks to the wonders of Facebook and bringing old friends together again.

After catching up on another few years of life that we had missed, I told her about what I had read in my journals about sabotaging our friendship. And I apologized for being a brat though she never really thought that about me.

As I've had the chance to think about my actions as my 16 year old self and now that I have learned a great deal about who I am and why I do some of the things I do, I am pretty sure that I set out to sabotage something great. During those teenage years, I felt so miserable and I didn't know how to feel anything but sadness. I'm pretty sure I was clinically depressed during that time, thought it was never diagnosed and I never sought help for it. I remember making everything miserable around me so that sitting in my pain felt more comforting. I remember quitting good things - like competing for All-State Choir, and backing out of fun activities with friends because I wanted to stay home and just feel sorry for myself. Maybe to someone reading about such a thing it might sound stupid or it doesn't make sense. But it makes sense to me now as an adult.

I've spent years trying to kill good and happy and joyful things, along with good relationships, because feeling miserable has the comfort of being familiar and known to me. It's been a very depraved and small way of living. And now I recognize that pattern, and make a conscious effort to live differently. I feel saddened as I think about similar relationships that look like Kelly and me. It's a common thread over the years.

Kelly talked yesterday about wanting to take me wine tasting, especially since I don't like wine and I'm convinced I could never find a wine I liked. I've wanted to like wine, I just think it's bitter and I apparently have a lousy and very unsophisticated palate. She expressed a desire to hang out more and try to rekindle a lost friendship too. Which feels like a precious gift and a taste of redemption for me.

We both married men named Todd. Which I think is a very cute coincidence. We've come a long way from talking about boys and going to the mall. And as we talked about shoes and our favorite TV shows and some of the sillier more simple things in life, I remembered how we had become such good friends when we were just girls. It was a very sweet time and I hope for more of it.

I'm smiling today at the thought of that sweet friendship that has come back around to me again. And I'm smiling at myself as I recognize where new patterns in my life are more normal now than some of my older ways of relating. It feels like victory or maturity. Maybe both. But it feels good and makes me smile.

March 16, 2011

Our Shoe Store

What one and a half year old boy has nine pairs of shoes? Yes, I did say NINE pairs of shoes.

Well, my one and a half year old boy does. *sigh*
I wonder where he gets it from....

In all fairness, Todd's mom has bought five out of those nine pairs of shoes for Tommy, so I can't be held entirely responsible.

Me? I have no alibi.

March 15, 2011

The Zoo was a zoo

I've never been a big zoo fan. I remember going a few times when I was little and all I could remember of it was how stinky it was and feeling sad that I couldn't ride the elephants. So, having my own children, I decided I was probably going to have to get over my distaste for the zoo, especially since Tommy has a pretty big interest in animals. Or so I thought...

Last Friday, Todd had the day off of of work. So we decided to take our first family trip to the zoo. We had still yet to take Tommy to experience such a thing and it seemed like the perfect time to go. Friday was a beautiful day - cool in the morning and comfortably warm in the afternoon.

"What are we doing?!"
At first, he was very excited to see some of the animals - though most of them seemed to be sleeping or not wanting to make a public appearance.
Tommy had other ideas of fun for that day though. He just wanted to run free. And play in dirt.
He was pretty unimpressed with the fishies.
But water...everywhere there was water he was trying to climb or crawl over something to get to it. Poor baby was ready to go swimming. Todd played with him in a little waterfall that we found.
He tried to climb over walls and wanted to get through fences and bars - especially if water was behind them. He's too cute....
My boys look so serious.
They were looking at turtles. And I suppose they looked pretty serious too.
We snapped a quick cheek-to-cheek photo. It was kind of like a date. Just smellier.
Since I was doing all of the picture taking, I wanted to get at least one with Tommy, but he wouldn't have any of it. He wanted to run free!
Towards the end of our trip, we found a little area for smaller children. They had a little water feature and he was so excited about it that we just let him get as wet as he could. We know for next time to bring a change of clothes or have him wear something he can get wet in since he spent his entire visit trying to get to water.

I'm sure we'll try the zoo again at some point. He didn't seem too terribly interested in the animals and I found that surprising. Since we were outside most of the time I think he just wanted to play - especially with the water. I have a feeling I have a waterpark kid and not a zoo kid. And if there's one place I dislike more than the zoo, it would most definitely be a waterpark.

All in all, we had a fun time together. It was fun to go out as a little family and enjoy a gorgeous spring day. I love that Tommy enjoys the outdoors so much - it encourages me to get out more and be more active. I have a water-loving little boy to keep up with!

March 14, 2011

THIRTY - The Best Birthday EVER

Saturday felt like the longest day of my life. The day dragged on and the hours seemed to tick by slowly. I almost felt like a kid on Christmas Eve again - the day was long and it felt like the fun was never going to start! I spent the day doing laundry and counting down the hours until it was finally time to get ready and go to my big 30th birthday bash.

The party was held at the home of some good friends of ours. There were pictures of me as a little girl and grown up for everyone to see displayed on several tables. Even the embarrassing ones like me singing into a hairbrush when I was 14.
The cake lady of cake ladies made my birthday cake!
And my amazingly talented friend Mal made my favorite cupcakes in yellow and sunflowers - very me!

Oh! And I had my own napkins! I was most excited about this.
Two of my bestest friends in the entire world - Sarah and Bethany. They helped put this whole shin-dig together.
And I had to post this picture because it's fun and she is gorgeous. I saw that she had hijacked my camera and I posed in the background.
My cousin-friends Aimee and Anna. They also helped out with some of the details of the party and made the night very special for me. These two young ladies are so incredibly dear to my heart.
My Gramma and me!
My not-so-baby sister celebrating that I turn 30 way before she ever will.
My friend Sarah - her words that night blessed my heart immensely.
Me with my parents.
After eating, we started the night's events with praise and worship. My cousins Jonathan and Aimee led everyone in a few songs. I love that we sang.
After a time of singing, there was a time for words. Everyone at the party had a flower to give to me, to put in one large vase. Everyone came up to me and gave me a word that either reminds them of me, or how they have experienced me. It felt overwhelming to be given words by so many people that night.
It was one of those moments I wish I could rewind and do again. As it was happening I wanted to be able to receive all of the words given to me - gift, beautiful, fun, forthright, encouraging, sunshine. Word after word from person after person who has some unique role and relationship in my life. I was overwhelmed.
Todd was the last to give me a word. And he presented with me with the entire bouquet of flowers once everyone else had spoken. His word for me was MORE. I had called him to more in our life and marriage together and he wanted to share more with me. It was beautiful, the time was beautiful and again I was overwhelmed.
Each person there also lit a candle for me - there were 30. My Gramma lit a candle in my mom's honor and my dearest friends and family lit a candle after giving me a word.
All of the words given to me that night were written on a beautiful mirror that had been given to me. And looking at my reflection in this mirror I am covered with words like Bright, Energetic, Authentic, Worth It, and Passionate - just to name a few. Anyone who knows me well knows of my struggle in front of the mirror - that's where I want to believe lies about myself and who I am. This is a truth mirror. And there is no denying what is true about me when looking into it. I think I am still processing the enormity of this gift and what it meant to my heart to be given such a gift. I am humbled at the thoughtfulness that went into it. I am known and loved well by the people closest to me....
And as if that wasn't enough, I was given a beautiful book that contained even more words.Messages and greetings and memories written from dozens of people - even those who don't live here who wrote to me. I will cherish this forever.
We watched a slide show that my friend Sarah had put together - which seemed fitting for her to have done. She is the friend that has known me the longest - the video made me cry. I felt blessed and humbled at remembering the goodness and grace of God throughout the years my life. And in the faces that I shared so many beautiful memories with over the years.

I went home from the party that night and cried. As I sorted through cards and gifts and let out a big sigh after it was all said and done, I didn't know what else to do. The night was overwhelmed with beauty, thoughtfulness, care and love - for me! And it left me feeling overwhelmed with those things. My party was very me. Thought it felt weird to not have a thing to do with planning my own party (since I am somewhat of a party-planning extraordinaire), the night couldn't have been more wonderful. The only thing that felt missing to me were a few faces of dear friends that couldn't be there that night. I felt their importance and their absence. Even so, the night was lovely and it felt big to know that it had been for me - there was no denying that I was very, very loved.

My darling husband gave me the gift of gifts. A honeymoon. We are planning a trip to the Ozark Mountains in October - a few nights in a beautiful lodge. I caught myself asking him if we could extend the trip if we found a place to set up and camp for a night or two. I almost couldn't believe I suggested it, but I did. I am so looking forward to taking a trip just the two of us - FINALLY!!!! It felt too good to be true when I opened it up and found out what it was that he had gotten for me. I'm not even sure how he worked it out, but he did! Is it October yet?!

Attempting a family photo...Tommy is honking Todd's nose!
As I sit here today and reflect back on the best birthday I think I've ever had - I am still feeling overwhelmed and blessed. So much went into the night to make it special and unique for me and who I am. And it was evident right down to the yellow napkins and the sunflowers and the music and the faces of those who came to celebrate.

I'm not just THIRTY. I am loved, celebrated, and enjoyed!

March 11, 2011

I did learn a thing or two in my 20's....

As I've been reflecting back on my 20's, I've started to wonder if those are the years of life that are designated in adulthood for learning as we attempt to figure out who we really are. I began making this mental list of what some of those years have looked like for me. As I did that, I realized that I was making these "I learned" sentences in my head.

I learned that if you use a credit card, it's not free money and you have to pay it back. With interest.

I learned that you have to bust your butt, with little thanks sometimes, to make enough money to buy an entire car for yourself. Thank you Sonic for teaching me what hard work felt like...

I learned that with a car comes sweet, sweet freedom. And responsibility too of course.

I learned that you work hard and do your best at your job, regardless of whether or not your employer notices or says anything. Because it's what is right and you can take pride in your job well done knowing that you gave your best.

I learned that living on your own is hard. And expensive. And that I wasn't quite ready for it when I thought it was.

I learned that hangovers felt different and more horrible at 27 than they did at 21.

I learned that I have to be careful when I drink, because I can be excessive and even abusive with alcohol sometimes.

I learned that I could be taken advantage of in my longing to be wanted and loved by a man.

I learned that in my deep longing to be wanted and loved by a man, I was willing to settle for less. I also learned how to shut off emotion and deaden my heart so I could have what I thought I wanted.

I learned that real love from a real man, is rare. Very, very rare. And it's absolutely wonderful when you finally find it and experience it.

I learned what it was like to hope for a child with the odds stacked against me that I wasn't going to be able to conceive.

I learned what it was like to carry a child in my womb, to give birth, and to hold a precious life in my hands that I helped make.

I learned that no season of life lasts forever. Things are always changing.

I learned that I'm really smart, and that even though I never got a college degree, I can hold my own in the workplace.

I learned why I believed what I believe about God. And I learned that my faith is real and true even though I struggle there sometimes.

I learned that while I love to sing, I think I love to write even more.

I learned what it meant to be a really good friend, from making really good friends.

I learned how to speak truth in love. Even when it is terrifying and hard.

I learned that the church is broken and it's not always safe. And if it's going to change, I need to keep going because I am part of the church.

I learned how hard and how wonderful it is to be a mom.

I learned how hard and how wonderful it is to be a wife too.

I learned that I can't do everything on my own and it's okay to ask for help.

I learned what it was like to walk by faith and trust God with really big, scary and tangible things. And I learned how awesome it felt to experience Him showing up for me in big ways.

I learned that I don't have to have it all together and that it's okay to be week and needy.

I learned that I am a fighter! And that evil should be very, very afraid of me.

I learned that God loves me more than I can even imagine.

I could probably go on. Maybe those are some of the highlights of the things I've learned and will be carrying away with me from my 20's into my 30's.

For a long time I was afraid to turn 30. It used to sound "old," and it doesn't so much anymore. It sounds mature and grown-up. And I have found myself actually looking forward to it. Aside from finding a gray hair or two on occasion that is. But here I am. My twenties are officially over after today.

So if you'll excuse me, I have a big party to get ready for tomorrow. I'm turning 30 - not sure if you knew.....

March 10, 2011


I can already tell that my thoughts are going to be all over the place in my post today. I'm spinning again, but in a lovely and tender way. Kind of like I did as a little girl when I would wear a ruffly dress that would twirl perfectly when I would spin around and around.

Yesterday and today have been the kind of days where you can open every window in your house and it's the perfect temperature to keep you both cool and warm at the same time. And your whole house fills with that wonderful fresh, outside smell and there feels like an invitation to play or just enjoy something that is waiting right outside your door.

I also baked banana bread yesterday. I love the smell of things baking in the oven and it seemed like that with the fresh spring air filling my house, a moment that could go unnoticed turned into one of those moments in life that I wanted to freeze forever, because I could feel the beauty all around me and in me. I felt very aware of beauty - my own and what surrounded me.

Today I am feeling the weight of things glorious. Good and wonderful things where I have been seen and known, heard and understood, longings filled, and excitement waiting just on the horizon. I tend to fear feeling so many good things all at once because the part of me that has been deeply hurt before wants to remind myself that something "bad" is waiting just around the corner, so I shouldn't get too comfortable in my enjoyment. Yet, I find myself wanting to fight my usual tendency in these circumstances and just allow myself to feel free to enjoy the things surrounding me that are lovely.

Twice yesterday I was reminded by two women that my mother's beauty was glorious. And that her beauty of who she was and how she impacted others and interacted with others and how people experienced her has lived on through me. I have not gone untouched by my mother's beauty even though our relationship wasn't all that I longed for it to be. A dear, precious friend who knew my mother, wrote those words to me and I read them over and over and over again soaking in that truth. It has led me to weep tears of thankfulness and joy and hope. And it's made me feel like dancing or singing, or twirling in a pretty ruffly dress.

My heart feels like it could bust open today. I'm still reeling from big things that happened in Grace Group last night - hard things, but good things. Spring is feeling gorgeous. My 30th birthday is Saturday and I'm going to a party that's being thrown for me. I found out that I get to go on a trip in May that was unexpected and surprising and it's felt amazing how quickly it has all worked out for me to go.

And the sun is shining today. And I love the feel of it on me and how it makes me glow.

March 8, 2011

Am I Stupid?

Tears began to well up as my frustration mounted. I felt stupid. I couldn't answer her questions. She was spouting off form numbers I've never heard of before.

The IRS has a way of making you feel small and dumb.

I love my job, I really do. I enjoy the challenges of doing things that I've never done before and being with a company as it's growing. I've never worked at a job from the ground up. I'm getting great experience and learning so many new things. And this is in addition to having a flexible schedule, hours of my choosing, and a boss that cares about me and occasionally spoils me with Starbucks, lunch or gift cards to somewhere, just because.

But every once in a while, one of my challenges is more than challenging. And I'm left to my own devices to figure things out on my own. Which can sometimes result in frustration and tears. This time however, I simply can't figure things out on my own. And we will have to pay our CPA to solve this particular tax puzzle for us, because this is just beyond my capability and knowledge. Not to mention, beyond my pay grade.

I know that I'm not stupid. I'm brilliant actually. I'm self-taught and do this job without need for instructions or managing. My boss leaves me alone all day and I just do my work. So I know that I'm smart and intelligent and capable and responsible and sharp.

And I guess I just needed to remind myself of that today.

Feeling stupid and believing that I am, leads me down the path of self-contempt. And I'm tired of taking the familiar walk of self-hate because circumstances can convince me to believe a lie. It's there that I am violent and do damage and I'm sick of this cycle and how often it repeats itself in my life. It shows up everywhere.

Today I am refusing to believe that I am stupid. I refuse to believe things that aren't true about myself. I refuse to sit in self-hatred. I choose to believe the truth about who I am, regardless of what opposition, or evil or even the IRS says about me.

March 7, 2011


- I am officially in the last week ever of my 20's. And in the last week of my 20's I'll be doing laundry, ironing, putting together wooden puzzles with my little boy, cooking dinner, doing dishes and perhaps taking a nap at some point. I know how to live it up I tell you what.

- Over the weekend I went shopping for my birthday party outfit - I decided I needed to have one. And when I say outfit, I really just mean a new top. Sadly, I cannot seem to find green flats anywhere to go with the cute floral top I got. I'm not sure if they're super uncool or green is just a two-year ago color (as this year is apparently pink and coral if you wanted to know). But don't they know that green compliments pink and coral? Hello?! Anyway, it's been a disappointing search thus far for the shoes that apparently don't exist. I have found however, a darling pair of gray flats that I couldn't live without. But still. Green flats....anyone know where I could find a pair before Saturday?

- Yesterday after lunch we were driving home with the windows down. Tommy was in the backseat laughing and giggling so hard because he loved how the wind felt on his face. Todd and I were laughing right along with him. Those are the moments in life I wish I could pause and enjoy them a little longer. I love how his innocence invites us to play and remember the joys of simpler things.

- I went to the salon and got my hair cut on Friday. It's been too long. And it was divinity. Oh, and how does it look you ask?
Simple, shorter, but not too short - has some fun layers and body to it. It's a good 30 year old hair cut I think.

- Todd finished our taxes this weekend. It's always a relief when those are done and sent off. We are only getting a couple hundred dollars back, but I suppose it's better than owing, and for that I am thankful!

- The weather has been gorgeous. Cool, mild, sunny, and springlike. It's perfect for taking walks and going outside. Tommy is loving it and wants to be outside playing any second he can! I decided his enthusiasm to play and be outdoors is a good thing for me.

- And oh, I'm turning 30 on Saturday. Have I mentioned that yet?