April 29, 2011

I'm leavin' on a jet plane....

But I do know when I'll be back again. Hopefully Saturday May 7th, when my flight is scheduled to arrive back home.

I'll be in Michigan for an entire week for The Journey, which is put on by Open Hearts Ministry. I attended this conference in 2007, and I'm going back to go through the second book - for myself and to receive additional training so that I can help lead and facilitate these groups at home.

The week is intense and very full, but I am looking forward to all of it!

My only anxieties are the usual flying-by-myself worries and leaving Tommy for an entire week. It will be the longest I've ever been away from him and my mama heart is aching a little bit at the thought of not seeing his precious little face every day - I'm worried he will think I've left him forever and he will be confused as to where I went. I've been told these worries are "normal" at least, but it's offered little consolation. I will miss him terribly regardless. *sigh*

I leave dark and early on Sunday morning and should be in Michigan by the afternoon. So me and my little blog will be MIA until the following week.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to figure out how to fit my entire closet in to one very small looking suitcase.

April 28, 2011

Bullet points

- Lists are everywhere right now. I've been thriving off of lists the last few days. It's been a long while since I've been on a trip, especially by myself, for this period of time. There have been things-to-get lists, things-to-do lists, things-to-remember-for-Tommy lists, honey-do lists, grocery lists, packing lists, things-to-get-done-at-work lists....I guess I've been a little list happy. But it's been necessary for me to keep myself sane with all there is to do before I go.

- I had a terrible nightmare and it woke me up this morning shaking and sweating. I even started crying when Todd got up to use the bathroom and left me alone in bed. It was a horrible, horrible dream and I haven't woken up feeling that scared or fearful in a very long time.

- Because I woke up so early and never went back to sleep, I'm a little more clumsy than usual. So much so, that I spilled half of my coffee all over myself this morning at work. I am walking around covered in splattered stains today. Classy. Though I smell very mochaey.

- I finished cleaning and organizing our second bedroom and it's all ready for Tiffany to come and stay. It was quite an undertaking, but our guest bedroom actually looks like a guest could stay in it and feel comfortable. Aside from the ram's head that stares at you while you sleep.

- I successfully made banana bread and mini-banana bread muffins yesterday. I over-baked my first batch a couple of months ago and redeemed myself this go around. It's moist and delicious and very perfect.

- Tommy went swimming yesterday at a friend's apartment, and he smelled like sunscreen the rest of the day. I LOVE that smell.

- The world's best boss is leaving The Office tonight. I've cried at the last few new episodes and I'm sure tonight won't be any exception. Michael Scott will be greatly missed! I tried to have a marathon of the show all by myself and only got through the second disc of Season Two. The episode where he burns his foot on his Foreman grill is still one of my all time favorites.

- I've been thinking about boundaries quite a bit. It kind of feels exhausting to always keep putting them in place and I guess I wish they weren't necessary. But they kind of are when we make it a point to take care of ourselves and our hearts. I guess I just wish relationships in general were easier to navigate through.

- We found a place for Tommy to attend a home daycare as I will start working full-time again when I get back from Michigan. The lady is from England and she has a precious little girl and her daycare is in my neighborhood. I immediately felt comfortable and at ease and I think Tommy is going to be very happy there a couple of days a week!

- Tomorrow is going to feel like a crazy day. Visiting a friend from Alaska in the morning, work in the afternoon to finish everything up, laundry, trip to the grocery store, getting Tiffany settled in...and here I go with the lists again!

April 27, 2011


I am leaving town on Sunday for a whole week. And preparing for being gone that length of time seems to be requiring much planning.

I have to get things in order at work for both jobs - which is proving to be quite an undertaking. I have to make sure that there is food in the house and I need to plan meals for my husband and son so that they don't live on Chickfila or peanut butter sandwiches the entire time I'm gone. I have to pre-make my Mother's Day gifts that I had planned so that they're ready for the Sunday I am back in town, and I have yet to get started! And then there's the task of picking out a week's worth of clothes and packing them into a suitcase that hopefully won't cost an arm and a leg to check. And a friend of mine is in town visiting from Alaska....and the list goes on!

In addition to all of that, I am cleaning out and preparing our second bedroom as we'll have a houseguest staying with us for the next two weeks.

So who is staying with us?

Tommy's Aunt Tiffy. (He ADORES her. Can you tell?)
My favorite sister-in-law in the entire world is moving to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area on May 14th and she needed a place to stay after he lease was up so she could tie up loose ends here in San Antonio. Any moments that I've given to think about her leaving have resulted in tears.

Tiffany is one of my best friends. We have been close ever since we met and even before I was officially part of her family. I'm slightly disappointed that I won't be here for the first week of her stay, but I am a bit relieved that there will be a woman in the house while I'm away to make sure my favorite guys are well cared for in my absence.

We have a night out planned for the two of us before she heads off. I'm excited about it and I'm also sad because it means she is leaving.
In the meantime there are new sheets to buy, and a room to finish organizing before she moves in for the next two weeks. And trying to figure out how to explain to my little boy why Aunt Tiffy won't be coming over anymore. We are going to miss her....

April 26, 2011


I was given an assignment last week. To find 10 - TEN - things that I love about my body. As it is right now.


I told my friend that she was crazy and that no woman of any size or any shape could come up with TEN things. Then she told me her list of TEN things and that apparently, some women indeed can come up with TEN things. Much resistance has come with this as I've thought about it. I can think of TEN things I don't like about my body as it is right now, but TEN things that I do?

For someone who has struggled with self-contempt and self-loathing most of her life, I've realized why this is such a challenge for me. Coming to a point where I love who I am as a person - my traits, my laugh, my interests and likes, and all of the things that make me who I am - that has felt like a big enough hurdle to get over. And I know that I still struggle there. But I have found that I no longer have hatred for myself at the core of who I am and who I was created to be.

It's much easier to hate my shell and the body that I am in instead. That is not kind either and no one should sit and hate on their bodies even if they are need of improvement - myself included. To appreciate myself physically is hard when there is so much that is flawed from an eating disorder that has been with me for the majority of my life.

Of course my husband was easily able to point out more than TEN things he loved about my body. In doing this, I learned he had a thing for my calves and I found that somewhat amusing. He thinks they are muscular and sexy and I don't think I would have ever labeled them as such.

I braved a mirror and took a long look at my body. I looked at the places where my eating disorder has done it's damage, at the places that seem to be untouched, and at the places that look in progress as I continue to live in healthier ways. And to my own amazement, I found ten things that I actually love about my body right now.

And here they are in no particular order:

(And no worries. This is all totally G-rated).

1) I LOVE my nose. Always have. I think it's shaped pretty and I would never want it to change.

2) I LOVE my feet. Other than the 9 months that I was pregnant, my feet have never betrayed me. They stay slim and pretty and they look nice in all kinds of shoes. I have a toe ring on the second toe of each foot and my nails are almost always painted red.

3) I LOVE my smile. My teeth are straight, I have great lips - my smile makes other people smile. I look friendly and personable and my smile reminds me of my mom.

4) I LOVE the mole under my left eye. When I was a very little girl I remember being in the bathroom with my mom getting ready to go somewhere. She told me that the mole under my left eye was a "beauty mark." She compared it to Cindy Crawford. And even though I was maybe six or seven years old at the time, that never left me. I remember feeling as if I had been marked with beauty and because of the beautiful way she described it to me, the mole under my left eye has always made me smile. It's my beauty mark!

5) I LOVE my eyes. They change colors. They remind me of people in my family who's eyes that I share. I get complimented on my eyes a lot, but I love them because they sparkle and glow. And when I cry they become fiercely green.

6) I LOVE the new tattoo on my neck. Maybe it's not an actual body part, but it's ON my body so I've decided this counts. I love what it means to me, I love its reminder and I love that it's a part of my physical appearance now.

7) I LOVE my hips. They've seemed to remain just the right size.

8) I LOVE my wrists. They feel small and dainty and when I put a bracelet on them, they look even prettier.

9) I LOVE my hair. Even though I'm starting to pop up with a few gray hairs here and there, it's shiny and brown and healthy. I've come to love my natural color and how it almost always does what I want it to.

10) I LOVE the muscles in my biceps. Since I've started exercising more regularly, I have some awesome muscles in my upper arms that look toned. It makes me feel buff and healthy or something.

I keep taking continued steps to not only believing my true identity in Christ, but loving who that person is. And not just on the inside, but the outside as well. It feels good to recognize progress and change where there once only existed hatred and shame.

I have a long way to go. I would love to one day be able to love other things about my body. But I also recognize that finding TEN things that I currently love feels like a big deal and is worth celebrating.

Can you name what things you love about your body - as it is, right now, today? Please share!

April 25, 2011

The Easter that ended in a water fight

How can any Easter not be a good Easter when you've found these incredible sandals to wear? Steve Madden kind of made my entire weekend when I found these. I was kind of sure I couldn't go on living if I didn't have them.
I put together an Easter basket for Tommy. I never got a basket growing up and I've decided that one of the perks to being a parent is getting to relive childhood again through having your own kids. Even though it was his basket, I had fun picking out toys and treats I thought he might enjoy.
Though come Easter morning, he had a look of confusion on his face. "What is this stuff mama?"
And this photo was my favorite. They were just Matchbox cars, but you would think I'd given him the weirdest looking present ever based on his facial expression.
Then he finally gets it and understands how FUN his Easter basket is. And all is well in the world.
Church was great. Our Pastor talked about redemption and invited a few people to share some pieces of their story where they experienced redemption and new life in Christ. It was lovely and rich and very fitting for Easter. We took communion also and that has become a favorite thing of mine. Todd and I do part of it in silence and the other part together. That time was sweet - we both had tears and felt soft at where God has each of us individually and together. We left feeling tender and alive.

After church, I tried to take a picture of my handsome boy in his Easter suit. The tie never made it on and he was NOT going to give me a smile.
Um yeah. It was time to get the suit off and take a nap. Maybe next year I'll get the perfect picture of him that I was hoping for. *sigh* My poor baby.
After Tommy's nap time, we headed over to my in-laws for an Easter barbecue. Tommy got a hold of an egg shaped rice krispy treat and kept saying, "Mmmmm cookie!"
And then.....Oma's "Easter trunks" for the grand-kids outdid my little basket. Because who needs a measly old basket when you can have a trunk full of Easter goodies?!
It was full of books, candy, snacks, Elmo things, an outfit and colored bubbles.
Tommy loves his Oma. He knows she spoils him I think.
After dinner we had an Easter egg hunt for the kiddoes. Tommy actually caught on pretty fast and found a few eggs for his basket. He wasn't going to be outrun by his older cousins!
Then the silly began. Oh what fun you can have with those cheap, plastic Easter eggs. (This is Todd's brother, Brian).
Our Easter family photo this year.
One thing our kids will learn from us....not only HOW to be silly, but that being silly is not just for kids. Grown ups can be shamelessly silly too.
This is just plain scary. But, this picture reminds me of just how made for each other we are.
I love this man....
Over the weekend we planted two new trees in our yard since the others had died. We had to give them plenty of water and before you knew it.....
A water war commenced. Tommy had a BLAST.
He loves the water and had great fun.
Me? I totally lost. I instigated things by trying to turn the hose on Todd. And well. It didn't turn out like I had planned.The water fight was probably my most favorite part of the day. We were lost in laughter and playtime and enjoyment - all three of us. It felt like real life, maybe even life abundant that Christ tells us we can have. It felt like new life, like redemption, and like celebrating where we are together. It was the perfect way to end our Easter Sunday.

April 22, 2011

Easter Egg Cookies

To be honest, I think my idea for this originally came from my disgruntled-ness at the fact that I really wanted to go crazy and buy Spring/Easter decor for my house this year. And then I realized I couldn't, because in order to satisfy any kind of decorating itch, I would have needed to spend hundreds of dollars all at once to make things look festive like I do for fall and Christmas.

I know myself ya'll - and buying one or two things was simply not going to do. Plus my house is so not Easter colored and decorating would require a major overhaul of many items - and because I'm quite matchy, matchy, I can't do it any other way! And well, we simply don't have the funds for me going hog-wild with Easter decorations. Maybe at some point, I will start buying things on clearance and start decorating when I have enough things to put out so it can look cohesive. Someday. *sigh*

So. Because I couldn't scratch my decorator's itch, I decided to bake something fun instead! Baking is the next best thing if I don't have something to decorate!

I thought it would be fun to make some Easter egg sugar cookies for the upcoming holiday to give away to friends and co-workers this year.
I usually do all kinds of shapes for Christmastime. So only doing one shape, an egg, seemed a bit monotonous, but I had all kinds of ideas for different kinds of colors and designs I could do for egg cookies. I made pink, blue, green, yellow, lavender and white icing for the cookies and found some fun springy sprinkles.
Todd actually helped decorate a few with me - it was fun to come up with different ideas to make them look fun and Eastery!
The finished products!
I found some cute bags to put them in to give away - aren't they darling?
Maybe this will be a new Easter tradition every year. Or maybe just until I can afford to go on an Easter decoration shopping spree that is....

What are you doing this year to celebrate and make Easter fun?

April 21, 2011

My Journey Continues

Last night marked the ending of another semester of Grace Groups. This time though, I sat in the participant's chair rather than that of a leader. And it was good for me - I was thrilled to be able to participate in the second book.

The last night of group is known for a time for celebration.

Over the twelve weeks of the study we've had our stories up on the walls - quite literally actually. Our body outline is drawn and our stories are written out in visible, tangible words that leave you unable to forget what you bring into that room week to week. This was hard for me initially, and as the weeks went on, I began to soften and find more kindness for the outline of my body that I had to look at week to week.

To celebrate, I not only gave myself a face, but I wrote over my story in huge, all capital letters words of my true identity in Christ - like blameless, holy, washed, cleansed, pure, adopted by God, chosen, LOVED, and royalty as heir to the Kingdom of God. You could still see the other words - they are there. They are part of me and my story, but the words of truth of who I really am were large and clear and visible.

It was good.

One of the things I love most about the very last night of group is where we all clothe each other with words. Everyone has selected a word (or two or three) about each person in group - how we have experienced them, what we have seen, or maybe even a vision for them. Last night I was given words that felt new. And it filled me with hope to be given some "new" words that I hadn't received before in group.

Lighthouse, courageous beauty, passionate wrestler, venturesome, passion and alive. They all made me tear up and smile.

I head off to Michigan the week after next to participate in the second book again. Though we will go through it in a week's time. I am full of anticipation and excitement and some anxiety as well for what awaits me there.

A few weeks ago we sat in our group, and instead of listening to one of the leaders teach, we listened to a lesson taught up at SALTS in Michigan from last fall on a CD. The voice of the woman was familiar and hearing her tender tone as she began to speak about Kindness made me cry. My life has been changed because of this woman's impact on my heart, her invitation to Grace Group, and this ministry. My heart remembers her well as I reflect back on how I got here.

This ministry and these groups have been life-changing and life-giving for me. Below are just a few of the women from our group who have made a forever mark on my heart.
Thank you Lord for giving me life and bringing me back to it when I thought it was lost....

April 20, 2011

The God-Wound

I think that everyone heals differently. And I don't mean physically, though I suppose that could be true also. But when some awful, unexpected arrow hits our hearts, it rocks our world, and it changes forever how we perceive not only ourselves, but the world around us and ultimately - GOD. And each and every one of us heals from those things differently.

For me, there has been one place that has taken longer to heal than others. For years, I felt great shame about the fact that I wasn't able to get over or move on from the tragedy in a more timely manner. My grief has kind of left me on my own, and for a long while, I thought something was wrong with me.

I guess I know better now. I know that what happened was unique for me and no one, but God, will ever really understand. And I know now, that it's okay.

I've been sitting with the Lord in a familiar and uncomfortable place. The place that I have long labeled as my "God-Wound." It was the season of my parent's separation and divorce.

It was more than the events that happened that just led up to the divorce though. My pain is not just where I felt betrayed by my parents. It goes much deeper than that. It's where I felt betrayed by God.

This time of my life was where I felt most deeply wounded and disappointed by God. It's been this heavy ache that I've carried around for more than half of my life. I have described it as a death and a forever loss. Because I not only grieve what happened, but I grieved every memory I would never get to have because those memories were robbed from me. It has left a gaping wound, that on some days, I still wake up with and hurt over.

It felt like God had done something to me - like he struck me with an awful curse. I often wondered if He hated me. Because of what happened and where I felt like He let me down, I have spent a lifetime of doubting Him, being angry with Him and questioning who He really is. My faith has almost always been shifty, though I have deeply longed and wanted more. And anytime something bad happens to me, it pokes at my God-wound. I to go the place where I have been convinced that He's done something else to me, because He has allowed me to be hurt again.

Any hurt, hurts the biggest hurt I have.

It's taken some wisdom and maturity and many years, to look back on what happened and be faced with the truth that God didn't DO something to me there. I know it was evil. I know it was the enemy. I know my parents couldn't and didn't fight like they should have. Regardless, God allowed it, and His allowing it, felt like betrayal. It sent the message to me that He wasn't good and couldn't be trusted. Though I have current evidence to prove otherwise, all it takes is for one negative circumstance to blow in for me to be swayed back to the belief that God is not good and He allows bad things to happen to me. This is ground where the enemy has ensnared me. This belief has affected almost area of my life. And because of that, I have lived my woundedness out in damaging ways.

However....I am finally taking some ground back.

I have done some painful writing about what it was I needed during that time. I needed things from my parents, from God, from others, and I needed to know truth about what I was feeling. There was much that I needed during that time that went unmet for me - and fifteen years later I am finally looking at what those things were. I have done that privately and in conversation with others and I don't feel the need to write that out here.

But I still have questions. Why God - if you could see what I needed, didn't you provide those things for me? Why didn't you intervene in a better way?

I have a thousand whys for God and He seems to leave them unanswered. And I don't think I'll ever know them as they are part of some great mystery that He will reveal someday. It's feeling easier to trust Him with my why questions though.

Fifteen years later, I am letting God back in to a piece of my heart that was closed off. And I love that He's given me time to be ready to go in there with Him. He hasn't pressured me. He has waited, He has wooed me, and He has drawn me to Him with His gentle-loving kindness throughout the years. I love that He hasn't been in a hurry for me to "deal" with this.

So we've been going there together slowly. This place has felt like a dark room that was locked up for years. It's dusty and it smells moldy and it's full of cobwebs. It's a MESS. And we have our sleeves rolled up as we sit and sift through everything that is there. I still feel guarded about letting Him back into this place of pain for me since I felt like HE gave this pain to me to begin with. But I am also hopeful. Because the room is open again. It's not shut or off limits. It's open. I'm open.

I have been participating in Grace Group this semester as a participant in the second book. Over the last twelve weeks, I have gained this heightened awareness of my surroundings - the enemy and his tactics against me, my responses, how I am showing up to others and God's presence in my life. I have felt more alive - through good or bad - just more ALIVE. It feels good. And it feels scary too.

But through this process I am beginning to see that my greatest pain, my greatest shame and my greatest wounds have led me to a point of finding real life. If things had gone picture perfectly the way that I thought it should have gone, I would not experience life or God to the depths that I have and that I am.

I would be missing out.

God has loved me too much to give me that small of a story. And it feels both beautiful and uncomfortable to be loved that way.

God loved me too much too much to give me a lesser story where everything I had ever hoped would happen or work out or go my way. He wrote into my story, tragedy, desperation, death, heartbreak, and sorrow. When I think about the book I read by Dan Allender called "To Be Told" about co-authoring with God, I can see where I wrote the parts of violence, addiction and sin - because that's where I went with it all. And maybe that's just what happens when we "co-author" with someone like GOD. Either way, my story is changing. I'm on to what He's been writing and my parts are looking less violent, more kind and lovely, and very vibrant and life-giving.

Where I have only found anger and hurt, I am finding thankfulness towards God. Even in the places that I felt like He hurt me.

One of my favorite songs ever is called "Let it all out," by Reliant K. The lyrics to the chorus say, "You said I know that this will hurt. But if I don't break your heart, things will just get worse. If the burden seems too much to bear, remember, the end will justify the pain it took to get us there."

God did break my heart. God did devastate me. And where there was once resentment and anger towards Him for that, there is now thankfulness.

God broke my heart so that only He could piece it back together again. He broke my heart so that I would see Him and need Him and want Him in places that I might never have if the divorce hadn't have happened. He broke my heart so that my life would look like His best for me and not what I had planned out or thought was best. He broke my heart so that I could find Todd - the man He knew I needed. He broke my heart so that we could have a marriage where we fight, not just to stay together, but for our marriage to be GOOD. He broke my heart so that I could have deep, meaningful friendships with others because that's how relationships ought to be. He broke my heart, because He needed to.

And it makes no sense. He makes no sense. And I've stopped trying to make sense of why any of it happened, because there is no explaining some things that God does and why He does them. I think maybe how people have tried to explain my "God-wound" to me in the past, has aided in keeping me hard to God. Maybe others have to find a way to explain things in order to get through them. Because....doesn't everyone heal differently?

Sunday is Easter. It feels fitting to be sitting here as the day of celebrating not just His resurrection, but His power, His might, and His love is upon us. I feel like maybe He brought something in me back to life again too. And now - it's time to celebrate!

April 19, 2011

Time to Dance

I have always wished I could dance. And I never really have. I've stood on the sidelines watching others. I've watched dances on stage from the seat of a theater or stadium. I've watched other people dance at weddings. I love dancing scenes in my favorite musicals. But me....I don't dance.

In 2007 I went to Michigan for SALTS. A huge celebration is held the last night of the week. After a lavish dinner, there was a time for dancing. There was much that week that I could have celebrated and danced over.

There was a huge floor where people got into a giant circle and took turns doing various things across the dance floor. All night long, people celebrated. They danced and spun and shook and shimmied and glided. That year I think I joined in on a group version of the "Hokey-Pokey" - but only because everyone was doing it and I didn't want to stand out.

For the most part, I stood on the sidelines and watched. I watched both old and young people making complete fools out of themselves on the dance floor - completely shameless. Just enjoying, dancing and celebrating. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to dance. I wished that I could have allowed myself to.

I think one of the things that has held me back from dancing is my weight. I carry most of my shame around on my body and it feels awkward. I wonder what other people would think about me if I were to dance as freely as others were. I convince myself that I belong on the sidelines or that I don't really deserve to dance. And if I dance, I will only invite myself to be ridiculed if I do so.

But, I don't want that to be my reason for not dancing anymore. It feels like it doesn't match my personality and who I am now - even with the extra weight. I've decided that I'm not going to let evil keep me from dancing anymore. I'm pretty sure I'm a dancer. I'm pretty sure I was born to dance.

I'll be going back to SALTS again the first week of May. There will be the same celebration dance that Friday night. While I don't know what that week will hold for me, I do know that I have much to celebrate. I have much to dance over. And I am hopeful that I will find the courage to step out of some of my old, familiar ways of thinking and be the dancing fool that's dying to get out.

What has kept you from dancing?

April 18, 2011

Pure Enjoyment

Maybe it's his age. Maybe it's because he is almost two. Maybe it's because he wakes up saying half a dozen new words every day like "Oh cool man!" Maybe it's because his laugh is so contagious. Maybe it's because he loves to kiss everything once he realizes that it's fun or safe. Maybe it's because he still likes to cuddle in my lap for a few seconds after he wakes up from his nap.

Or maybe it's just something in me that's made some conscious effort to really enjoy where I am at right now.

Whatever it is....I have found myself enjoying Tommy and enjoying motherhood to the fullest lately. So much so, that I've risked looking like a fool in public because we PLAY everywhere we go.

Todd was out of town until Sunday, so we were left to our own devices. And we played a LOT. I lost track of how much time we spent in the swing at the park. He didn't want to get down.
He went down his first slide. I loved watching the look of thrill and unsure excitement as he barrelled down a slide made for a little boy just his size. I loved that he wanted to do it again and again. And I felt my heart surge with pride when he went down for the first time on his own without holding on to my hand.
I love the look on his face when he runs - especially when someone is coming after him.
I love that he loves to be outdoors. It's good for me for so many reasons.
But I guess most of all...I just love that I get to be his mama.
Oh Tommyboy, I love you so.....

April 14, 2011

Blessings come through raindrops....

I heard a new song this morning. It was no coincidence that I stumbled across it twice. It was as if God said, "Have a listen daughter. You need to hear this."

I have felt broken, humbled and weepy at the words of this song, especially where I've been lately as I've been looking at my neediness. I have been sitting in some hard and uncomfortable places with God as I've been looking at the place where I feel like He himself dealt me a devastating blow years ago. I've finally invited God back into my heart into a place where it has been closed and off limits to Him for years.

The song I heard this morning felt like a gift of His gracious and beautiful care for my heart. He knows what I need. He knows how music speaks to me. He knows how using music and beautifully written lyrics softens my heart to Him. It's as if I can hear Him more clearly and am left aching to be filled with Him and wish more than anything I could feel His real and tangible nail scarred hands wrapped around me....

The song been on repeat since this morning. I'm wanting to sit here for a while and just be still and quiet.

More thoughts to come later....

LISTEN HERE if you like.

April 12, 2011

One day at a time

I read something in my devotional today that was interesting:

"I understand human frailty, and I know that you can bear the weight of only one day at a time." - God.

This devotional is cool. It's like God says something to me every single day and I love the snippets of things it has given me to think about. And actually, this was yesterday's reading, but that's not the point.

God understands our frailty. He decided that a 24 hour day was enough for us to handle at once. We can only bear the weight of what God has for us today - whether that weight is burdensome or glorious. There is a reason we don't know what tomorrow holds for us. We are just supposed to take on today. Not tomorrow, not next week, and not next month.

I was flipping through my calendar this afternoon and looking at the events to come in the next several months.

Grace Group tomorrow night.

Tommy's much needed haircut Friday morning.

Red Tent dinner on Friday evening.

Gramma is coming over to my house this Saturday.

Todd is out of town this weekend working on a hunting lease.

The last night of Grace Group for the semester.

My monthly morning visit with Sarah.

Getting ready for Easter - baking decorated Easter egg sugar cookies and getting Tommy's basket together.

Easter and family festivities that day.

Rheumatoid Arthritis appointment the day after Easter.

Heather's birthday.

SALTS - the whole first week of May.

Mother's Day.

A more full-time work schedule beginning in May.

Shelley's lingerie shower.

Sing on worship team at church.

Another Red Tent Dinner.

Our 5 year Wedding Anniversary.

My best friend Sarah's 30th birthday.

A sales tax workshop I get to attend for an entire day. *yawn*

Driving to Houston for fun pre-wedding activities and a fun, long weekend.

Shelley's wedding.

And that's just up to June 18th.

I'm a "planner." I get some strange amount of adrenaline from being able to write events in my calendar of fun places to go or things to do. I think maybe it gives me a sense of purpose or importance and I'm sure I could find a fair measure of depravity in my need for seeing a full social calendar every month. Yet, I am also aware of where I say "no" to things and when I feel like life is feeling full too.

But I digress.

As much as I tend to "plan" for the days, weeks and months ahead, there is no telling what tomorrow holds. There is no telling what circumstances could change that would have a ripple effect on all of the plans I have made for the future. And I often catch my focus or my thoughts on the days to come rather than enjoying the very day I am in or accomplishing what needs to be done in this day.

He knows that I can only bear the weight of one day at a time. I'm feeling curious today about what I'm missing out on by trying to bear the weight of my tomorrows. I'm curious what He might have for me on this very day. Just a regular, ordinary Tuesday.

"There is abundant Life in My Presence today." - God. (The last line of the same devotional for the day).

Though I may be worried about my tomorrows or even if I'm even excited about them, there is abundant life to be had today.

There is life abundant in the rest of my workday, in the drive home, in the preparing of dinner, in the playing with, reading to, and bathtime with Tommy, in my work-out, in my time spent with Todd when he gets off of work, in our reading together before we go to sleep....those things aren't on my "calendar." There is much life there in a very unplanned or seemingly uneventful day.

I wonder where and how I might experience more of Him when I stop worrying about or planning for all of my tomorrows....

April 11, 2011

Weekend Finds

On Friday morning I went to a book fair. Apparently, this fair comes every year to sell gadzooks of used books. All hardback books sell for $1 and all paperback books sell for $.50 cents each. And since my son is quite the bookworm, I decided it would be "fun" to go to the fair and find some new books for him. I'm not sure who is more over the books he currently has - me or him. Either way, it was time for some new reads.

I don't think anything could have prepared me for the little book fair that we went to though. I just remember walking in the doors thinking I was going to have a relaxing morning, perusing through books, visiting with my friend who I had met there and entertaining Tommy with the books we were looking at. Haha.

The book fair was being held at a local athletic center where several school districts play all of their games. After walking in and looking down onto the gym floor from the stairs, it looked like a million ants crawling over a cookie that someone had left out. If my mother-in-law hadn't have been with me, I would have needed to leave as there was no way I could have kept up with Tommy and found books at the same time.

I found the children's section of the chaos and quickly learned that others treated this sale like a Black Friday situation. There was pushing and shoving and grabbing and I wanted to tell several people, "Um, I'm pretty sure there's enough books to go around!" Seriously, there were thousands upon thousands, maybe even over a million books in this place. It was INSANITY.

Thankfully. I managed to find my way through the vicious moms pushing their screaming children in strollers. I almost got knocked over by a lady in a wagon, but I found a ton of new books for Tommy. Once my box was full I got in line to check out - I could only take so much!

I got Tommy 24 new books!
And I managed to find a few old copies of "The Babysitter's Club" books. I had those when I was growing up and I have always regretted throwing them away. So anytime I find one anywhere, I snatch it up and add it to my collection.
All 24 books for Tommy and 13 BSC books for my inner child was only $26. (Pretty sure they miscounted and I was undercharged - I realized this after getting home). Either way, I was all about the deals. Even with the insane crowds and the pushing and shoving, it was kind of worth it. And I will probably go back next year because you can't beat paying .50 cents or $1 for any book!

Because look at my little guy! We were in new book heaven all weekend!
Both of us were busy all afternoon reading all of his new books - oh it's so nice to have something new to read!
I also found Tommy's Easter suit this weekend. Todd's mom bought it for us. He's going to be so handsome!
Todd was off on Saturday, so we attempted to venture out......
We drove up to Cabela's. I took Tommy to the toy section of the store where he found a truck that he couldn't live without.
And we lasted all of 20 minutes before we had a severe meltdown and it was time to go and get our nap on.
I was one of those moms carrying my kicking, screaming and hitting child out of the store while everyone was looking at me with wide eyes and I couldn't help but wonder what they were thinking of me. Because I remember pre-Tommy, feeling sorry for anyone I ever saw like that or wondering if they were kidnapping a child, because what child could act like that towards their parent? Um yeah....

Books, Easter outfits and trucks aside, we had a nice weekend all together even though each part didn't look exactly like I had hoped it would. Things rarely go as you plan and I'm trying to learn to just roll with the punches and find enjoyment in the places that I can.

Did you find anything good this weekend?

April 7, 2011


*This quite possibly could be the most real and personal thing I have ever shared on my blog before. And though it feels kind of big to put out into the blogosphere, I feel as though I may explode if I don't. I am coming alive and experiencing healing and freedom in my story that is life-changing. I guess I felt the need to express that to the readers that I don't see or know in my every day life....Thank you.*

Neediness. I am needy.

I have hated that I need God to live and survive.
I have hated that I need others to come through for me in order to live and survive.
I have hated that I need food to live and survive.
I have hated myself for ever being in need of anything.

The theme of hating my neediness is all over my story.

When I have had an actual need that has gone unmet for me, I go somewhere violent or damaging with it.

At some point as a child I made an agreement with evil that it was a bad thing to be in need. It was bad to need something from someone else. It was bad for me to need my mother's love. It was bad for me to need new clothes because I was growing. It was bad for me to need my parent's to stay together and not divorce. It was bad for me to need to see God come in and do something big to know that He was real and that He loved me.

To need something meant that something was wrong with me, that I was an inconvenience, that I was too much or I was expensive. And when I had legitimate needs, I rarely, if ever, voiced them. I tried to figure it out on my own and fulfill my own needs. I poured contempt over myself for what I needed because it hadn't been filled for me.

The self-loathing and self-hatred that I have carried around for years has had this tough exterior layer that has been hard for me to break through. I know - I've been at this for years. Last night, I finally broke through it and found the messy, muddy, slime of my shame that was underneath it.

I feel like a great mystery has been solved. A light bulb has gone off and I can suddenly see what has been underneath my self-hating all of these years. The places I went to have my needs met are tragic, violent and ugly. I have carried immense shame over what I have done to get what I needed. I can't say those things here - there is too much to share and it wouldn't feel kind to go into detail here. But those places are tragically sad and they exist. And in this place is where I have camped out in various addictions over the years - the main one of course being with food. And under all of this shame was me. The real me who was just a human being in need of something.

I was created to need.
I was created with a hole that needed to be filled.
I was created with a stomach that needs to be nourished so my body can thrive and do what is needed of me.
I was created to need food!
I was created with an empty heart that only God could fill up with his unbroken and lasting love.
I was created with a soul that needs relationship, affection, fellowship and friendship with others.
I was created with a need for consistency and stability - but only the kind that God can provide.
I was created with a need for a warm, safe and loving home.
I was created to need these things.
They are good, God-given, normal, natural needs.

I was a needy little girl. I was a needy teenager. I was a needy young adult. I am a needy woman. A desperately, gloriously needy woman.

I don't want to agree with evil anymore that it's bad to be in need. I don't want to agree with evil anymore that I have to fulfill my own needs and seek out violent or damaging ways of doing so. I am needy - and it's a glorious, wonderful thing to be so!

Since about 9:00pm last night I have felt the icier parts of my heart that I have felt towards God start to melt. I am feeling warm and soft and tender and alive there. I don't hate that I need Him anymore. I was created to need Him. It's good to need Him. I am at rest knowing of my beautiful and desperate need for Him....

April 6, 2011

The Faces on my Couch

I have a couch. It's leather and dark cherry brown and it's comfortable too I suppose.

But my couch is special. It's special because of the faces that come and sit with me there. The couch holds the faces of people dear to my heart. The couch is special because of the stories shared, the struggles fought for, and the laughs or tears had on it with various women in my life.

I guess since I became a mom, more often than not, my social life happens at my house, on my couch. Rather than out a restaurant over a margarita or a cup of Starbucks. My couch has become kind of this sacred place where not only do I have my quiet time and journal before Tommy wakes up or I head off to work, but it's become a place where precious women come to sit and share their hearts and life with me.

Sometimes it's Anna. My cousin and friend. We talk about our obsession with Bravo and the Real Housewives. We talk about our family. We talk about our longings and dreams and struggles. We talk about how we have seen one another transform throughout the years. We offer each other life and encouragement and truth.

Sometimes it's Sarah. We try to meet up once a month and share breakfast and coffee on my day off of work and before she has to go in to work. We talk about life and where we are struggling, where we are wanting more and needing more. Our visits leave us both feeling rejuvenated and grateful for deep friendship.

Sometimes it's Mal. We talk about married life quite often -where we struggle, where we have fun, where it's hard, and where it's good. We swap cooking and baking advice and she enjoys my little boy. I love watching them interact and being near her always makes me feel more youthful and vibrant.

Sometimes it's Tiffany. Since we are sisters-in-law, we talk about family and relationships and work and all the needed gossip and drama we have to get out or otherwise explode. We are so alike that it's uncanny and being in relationship with her has always come natural and easy. We have fun together, laugh together and understand each other. And soon her face won't be appearing much on my couch anymore as she's moving away. And both me and my couch will miss her like crazy and I'm still trying to not think about it because I will cry everywhere for days when she's gone.

Sometimes it's Andrea. She comes over most every Wednesday and I've enjoyed knowing her and being known by her. I am aware of what a gift it is for her to trust me and talk to me. She reminds me where I have impact and I have enjoyed our friendship and fellowship since we started meeting on a more regular basis.

Every once in a while it's Heather and I wish she were there more. I love how she always makes herself comfortable and curls up on one end of the couch and then talks to me knowing that she belongs there and that she is safe and she can unwind and be herself and it's okay to do that there.

On a more rare occasion these days, it's sometimes Shelley. She makes herself comfortable and puts on her pj's when she comes to stay the night at our house. And we will stay up late to talk about our stories and our lives and soak each other in as our time together isn't as frequent as we'd like.

Sometimes it's Bethany or Sarah and they bring their little boys so that Tommy has someone to play with while we try to visit and talk about grown up things on the couch. We talk about motherhood and marriage and life and it always feels sad to see either of them go because they are two of my very best friends and I wish there could be more time for grown up conversation.

Lori used to come sit on my couch until she moved away. On colder nights we ate grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato basil soup and drank coffee. And sometimes when she comes to town to visit, my couch awaits her visit and I love to listen to all of her very exciting stories about her very exciting life.

And of course there is Todd. He has seen the best and worst of me on that couch. Tear stained, sick, angry, lazy.....rested, happy, playful, seductive. We cuddle there, we cry there, we fight there, we plan there, we offer life and truth to one another there.

Interesting to think how so many friendships and conversations and REALationship happens on one couch. I hope it continues to invite more of the same over the years.

This post is dedicated to my cousin Anna who often texts me to tell me that she misses being there to sit on my couch. You inspired this post today. There's always a spot for you girl...and grape koolaid waiting for you in the fridge.

April 5, 2011

Me vs. The All-Powerful Rice Krispy Treat

Rice krispy treats could very well be my kryptonite. They feel like one of those foods that gets me every time and I feel powerless in their presence. Perhaps they are easy to consume in mass quantities because they aren't incredibly filling and they are oh so tasty.

I don't make them very often anymore. Because I know myself, I know my triggers and until I am in a place where habits I am still forming are my actual ways of living, I really don't think I can have them in my house.

Much to my dismay, a pan of rice krispy treats made their way into my house over the weekend. Todd's mom brought a small pan over on Sunday evening when she came to stay with Tommy so we could go out. And there they sat on my counter. Waiting to be consumed by me.

This feels really embarrassing to admit. And if this story didn't have a happy ending, I probably wouldn't be telling it here today. But last night I had a smallish piece after I ate dinner. I was good, full, content and done eating. And then I went back for another small piece. And that's when the full on battle began.

After that point, I think I went in and out of the living room to the kitchen half a dozen times. I would look at those damn rice krispy treats and put the foil back on and walk away.

Over and over again.

It felt silly and stupid and pathetic and I believe that's what I was telling myself the entire time. My usual habit and belief is that it would be far easier to just consume all of them so that whatever it is that is tempting me is just gone and the battle for them will be over. And I'll be defeated but at least they will be gone and the intensity that I am feeling inside will pass.

I used to smoke years ago. And what I experienced with those treats last night could equivocate to what a nicotine fit feels like - when you need a cigarette and you can't have one. I felt panicky and hot and cold at the same time. I had to concentrate on my breathing and did everything I could do to distract myself. I've been using some new techniques to battle urges like this and to my surprise, they actually worked. But more than that, I realized and experienced the strength inside of me to overcome it.

As gross as it feels to admit that I am talking about rice krispy treats here, this is kind of a big deal. Because it's not just the rice krispy treats. It's not just this one instance. This is my life. This is my addiction. This is battleground for my heart and I am fighting like hell here.

And last night. I won. I didn't just defeat rice krispy treats or the urge to consume the rest of the pan. I gave my eating disorder a huge blow. I kicked it in the ass and told it that I'm strong and that I can change.

And I am changing. Day by day, moment by moment. I am changing.

April 4, 2011


Todd worked quite a bit over the weekend. His shift on Saturday was so awful that he was ready to walk out and just never go back. And I can't blame him. It's thankless and grueling work. It's physically demanding and it goes late into the night when he would rather be home.

Even so, we truly made the most of our time together this weekend. We stayed up late talking. We watched a couple of movies. We prayed and read together. And you know, some other things too.

The weekend felt like we were able to reconnect again. We experienced a taste of what is to come on a more regular basis after this pizza delivering season finally comes to an end. It reminded me of what we had together before this started and what we still have together. And that even though our time feels few and far between right now, we still love each other and we're going to make it through this time in our life where it has often felt like we had started to unravel in certain places. Over the weekend, I felt us rethreading what had come undone these last several months. And this morning, my heart is still singing.

About an hour before Tommy's bedtime last night, we headed out together for kind of an impromptu date night. We didn't do anything particularly exciting. We ran a couple of errands, walked around Walmart and found Tommy a blow-up swimming pool and more Matchbox cars that he kind of doesn't need. We shared a cup of icecream and ate it outside where awesome oldies were playing. And we went to the grocery store together. And maybe it sounds silly, but I've always loved grocery shopping with my husband. Something that feels like a mundane chore is always more fun when we're together. He slaps my butt when we walk down the aisle or we stop for a kiss next to the cereal. And sorry if this is TMI - but I'm still feeling the warm fuzzies and I'm still wanting to relish in them.
We (hopefully) only have a couple more months of him being gone more than he's home. And I'm sure there are still some rough or lonely or long weekends ahead spent without him. But I think we're gonna be okay.

In fact, I'm sure of it.