May 31, 2011


My heart feels full today. It's full of a rainbow of emotions, conversations, longings, hopes, disappointments, dreams, things I miss, rage, sorrow, excitement,'s full. And as I sat down to write today I only had fragments of each thing I'm holding to express.

One more month of pizza delivering crap. One more month. We can do this.

I read in a book over the weekend that a person who typically binges on crunchy or salty types of foods may have a lot of undealt with anger and frustration that they need to feel and get out. Which explained a lot for me and some of my past habits with food.

I ordered Tommy's birthday party invitations yesterday. And I have a small stash of things as plans go underway for the fun party I'm putting together for him in July. I've been looking at why it's so important for me to "celebrate" him in the ways that I do.

Someone I love said these words to me this weekend: "I want my life back. I don't want to waste any more years." And my heart is so full with that, I can barely contain myself.

Took a new step at church on Sunday. I put myself on a list to be available to mentor/pray for/befriend a young woman just graduating high school and entering college (or something other than college). I'm wondering what this will look like and curious who the Lord will pair me up with.

I've been missing my mom a lot lately. So much that it hurts. And it feels out of the ordinary somewhat for me to ache for her this time of the year as my grief has had familiar cycles when it comes to missing her. Something about where I am in life right now is making my heart ache so. I just long for her to be here with me and she's not and can't be.

Memorial Day felt lonely and ordinary. I did laundry and washed dishes and played with Tommy. I missed the event we have gone to the last several years and knew I could have gone even though Todd had to work. Yesterday just felt sad and empty and I felt the absence of what once was.

"God's scandalous and disruptive response to our hatred transforms fury into gratitude and deadness into life." A quote from the book Bold Love by Dan Allender. I've been thinking where I have experienced God lately there and where I currently hold "fury" and wonder how on earth it could EVER be transformed into gratitude.

Discovered a new addiction over the weekend. An addiction where I go to escape rather than have to feel and experience complete loss - still sitting with that. Though I know I'm not powerless here, I have found it very difficult to do what I need to do to put a stop to it. It comes with a cost and great risk.

Been dreaming about having another baby. And it feels terrifying to let myself dream here....

May 30, 2011

Trolleys, Airplanes and Cows - oh my!

On Saturday, I ventured out with a couple of friends to the San Antonio Children's Museum. I've never been there before, but the tickets were free and I thought it would be fun to do something out of the ordinary with Tommy.

There were trolleys to steer.
And phone calls to make.

We took a ride on a real airplane.
I made a new friend. (o:
And so did Tommy.
We did some shopping. (And I loved this store because an entire cart of food only cost us $178,000 of imaginary money - according to the checkout girl).
And then we did some cooking. Broccoli, sausage and corn - quite a combo.
Sadly, our experience was a bit tainted by all of the bigger kids running around. Tommy was pushed and shoved (right in front of me) and things were grabbed and taken away from him (also right in front of me!). My inner mama-bear came out and I couldn't understand how older children can be so blatantly mean to kids who are obviously smaller than them. My poor baby couldn't understand why he couldn't play or why things were being taken away from him. I was in tears by the time we left because I couldn't explain why he couldn't do what he wanted.

I think we will try to go back on a weekday morning maybe when it's quieter and less crowded. We did have some moments of fun there though - super fun place to play.

What do you do when you're in a public place with bigger kids who don't play nice?

May 27, 2011

I've Learned

I've learned that I have needs. And in my neediness is where I have discovered my beautiful desperation for God. I've learned that to be in need is glorious and how I've been created.

I've learned that when you piss evil off, evil comes back at you relentlessly. And sometimes it's laughable and sometimes it nearly takes you out.

I've learned that when you quit believing lies that you always believed about yourself, that when hurts come and you no longer are turning to those lies, there is nothing left to do but just hurt. And that is a whole new level of sucking.

I've learned what it feels like not to hate myself anymore and it feels good.

I've learned what the invitation looks like and sounds like to hate myself again, except I'm no longer accepting that invitation.

I've learned how to choose to feel something rather than to numb out. And I cry more, but I'm not doing damage. And that feels like victory.

I've learned what it's like to feed my body three times a day when it's hungry and stop when it's full.

I've learned that my weight loss is slow, but it's coming. And that is OKAY.

I've learned how to stop and ask myself what's going on when I'm wanting to snack or munch or binge. And when I've stopped to look at what's going on, I've found a lot of anger inside of me and for some reason I've been surprised by that.

I've learned that exercise feels good and what it feels like to be "in shape" and not breathless after a work-out.

I've learned that I love to dance and I'm good at it.

I've learned that I am not just a fighter for me and my story, but all of this is equipping me to help others fight, and fight for others who aren't able to. And exploring what that might look like for me feels overwhelming and good at the same time.

I've learned that I have choices. Lots of choices.

I've learned that struggling is good. Because it doesn't matter how much I struggle, it just matters HOW I struggle. And I struggle well!

I've learned that when I am brave enough to reach out, there is someone there to grasp my hand.

May 25, 2011

This IS Real

Please take a few minutes today to go read my friend Libby's post. It will be worth every minute of your time it takes to read it. Please don't turn your head the other way - I've realized how I can do that a lot with things that feel this enormously tragic.

Seriously: This is Real

I am joining her in raising awareness about this issue and am prayerfully considering what I can do to do help. There are simple and tangible ways to come alongside others who are helping here.

Thank you.

May 24, 2011

The giant-scary-scorpion-monster

When Todd and I got engaged I told him that there were a few things he needed to know about me if he was going to marry me and commit to the forever thing. One of those things was that I absolutely hated doing dishes and he might have to do them on occasion (or all the time). And another thing was that I absolutely, positively hated bugs. And that he was going to have to take care of any and all bug situations that would invade our married life. (And yes, there were other things of more deeper and transparent nature, but those things are kind of none of your business.)

So that being said.....

It was an ordinary Monday night. Todd was still out delivering pizzas and I was home alone as usual. I decided to do my work-out and then watch the re-aired episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey. (So addicted to that drama).

I was minding my own business and had just gotten out of the shower when I saw this in our big garden tub.
Pretty sure I screamed out loud all by myself.

I ran to get my phone and called Todd to let him know there was an emergency at home and he needed to leave immediately and rescue from the giant-scary-scorpion-monster. He was close to being off, but he assured me that there was no way the scorpion could climb up the tub and it probably had climbed in through the drain in the tub.

Those words weren't exactly comforting and I'm officially never taking a bath in there again lest some scary thing come crawling out of the drain to kill me.

While on the phone with him I decided to spray it with something. I found our wasp and hornet spray and figured if it could kill a wasp, an extra serving of it might take care of a scorpion. After I sprayed, I screamed again, this time in Todd's ear who is on the other end of the phone. And I just pissed it off and it started running around acting like it was drunk. Sadly, wasp and hornet spray will not take care of a scorpion if you wanted to know.

I wasn't convinced that it couldn't climb out of a bathtub so I grabbed what I needed out of the bathroom and made sure that sucker was going to stay in there.
Yes, that is a towel covering the opening of the door. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

When Todd got home he did his heroic thing and killed the giant-scary-scorpion-monster and proceeded to tell me that he's seen them bigger and this was nothing. (Well, I've seen them smaller and this one was GIANT in my book of scary bugs!)

I'm grateful that he's living up to his bug-killing commitment. Otherwise, we'd have some serious problems - like not being able to get into our bathroom.

May 23, 2011

My Waterboy

Tommy has been a water baby since he had his first bath. Now, he is a water boy. He LOVES the water.
And fortunately, his birthday falls smack dab in the middle of summer. Perfect for lots of water related activities. His favorite thing these days is manning the water hose and getting himself soaked in the process.
And mama is officially in party-planning mode. My lists are made. My ideas are carefully planned out. I've thoughtfully selected my invitations and plans for everything are underway. Last year's theme was the wild, wild west. And this year....I'm thinking wet n' wild.
(Maybe my newest, most favorite picture EVER).

May 21, 2011

The Buzzcut

So here's the thing.

Tommy's hair grows really fast. We got his first hair-cut when he was nine months old, and since then, we've had to go get it cut almost every other month to maintain the massive amounts of hair this kid can grow.

But. Do you know how pricey kid hair-cutting places can be? After all is said and done, including tip, it's $20 every time I go. And I'm pretty sure we spent more money on his hair cuts last year than on my one trip the salon. *sigh*

And here's another thing.

I choose to go to the pricey kid-hair-cutting places because Tommy hates getting his hair cut. He acts like someone is trying to kill him, and the whole process is a horribly torturous experience for him. We have yet to be able to get through to him that no one is hurting him. And even though I could take him to some cheapie place and pay under half the price for what I pay, I figure that at the kid-hair-cutting places, they are used to screaming toddlers and fewer people will look at me weird.

So yeah. It's kind of all about me and being self-conscious about what others are thinking about my screaming-bloody-murder child.

All this being said, Tommy was in need of another hair cut. And $20 to spare - have, we did not.

(Why I felt the need to say that last sentence like Yoda, I have NO clue.)

SO. We decided it would be a grand idea to give it a go ourselves. We've been parents for almost two years. We've got this, we thought. Todd manned the clippers and I held my 35 (all muscle) pound child on my lap.

And oh heavens.

To start, we used the wrong size clipper extension. And it was too short. And sadly, once you start, you can't stop. Doing it ourselves was way worse, because now we were the bad guys and not the ones rescuing him from the mean hair-cutting people. Now we ARE the mean hair-cutting people. AND I was covered from head to toe in his hair by the end of it. *sigh*

So yes. Mildly disastrous and I'm not so sure we'll brave this again. At least until he's over his fear of hair cuts and clippers.
He is practically bald. Though we did save $20 and only at the expense of our sanity.
I am however, very grateful that his hair grows super fast. In two weeks time he will look like a normal boy again and not like he's about to enlist in the army.
And if you'll excuse me, I've got to go find a hat or two for my son. (He will actually wear them and keep them on). My budget for those hats you ask?

Yup. $20 bucks.

May 20, 2011

A good day

It's been a good day.

I slept in until almost 8:00.

Tommy and I shared toddler conversation along with eggs and toast this morning.

We watched Sesame Street.

I did a load of laundry and started the dishwasher.

I paid some bills.

I drove up to New Braunfels and spent the later morning and into the afternoon with Paula and Ellen.

I delighted in the company of these two women.

I was seen. I was heard. I was loved on.

I saw them. I heard them. And I loved on them too.

I entertained and played with my son while having adult conversation.

I listened to Tommy's laugh and laughed with him.

I changed a dirty diaper and wiped a snotty nose.

I shared a story and listened to stories.

I ate tomato basil soup and Cesar salad for lunch.

I laughed and I cried.

I am now enjoying the quiet of the afternoon.

I've decided to leave the laundry and the dishes and ironing and just read and rest before I head out again tonight.

It's been a simple yet extraordinary day.

Yes. It's been a good day.

May 19, 2011


Nothing makes me want to eat more than when I am feeling worrisome - especially over money troubles. In the past it has been a pattern of mine to camp out in front of some television show and just eat everything I could get my hands on until my stomach hurt. It's gross to admit that publicly, but it's true.

Last night I made dinner. I also made a small pan of brownies because I was craving chocolate and wanted something sweet. So, I ate my meal. I shared a brownie with Tommy. I did my work-out and even added five minutes on to it. I didn't check out. I didn't over eat. I didn't eat an entire pan of brownies - which is something I could have done in the past. I nourished my body. I enjoyed a treat. I was kind to my body. I took care of myself even in my disappointment and worry.

And after Tommy was in bed and I had done my exercise and taken a shower, I let myself do some things.

I let myself cry.

I let myself feel alone.

I let myself listen to the silence and the quiet and the absence of my husband who I am missing.

I let myself feel the pain of knowing that it's going to still feel like this on at least a month's more worth of weeknights and weekends.

I let myself feel my disappointment.

I let myself question God.

I asked Him if He was punishing me or punishing us for foolish decisions. My heart knew the answer was "no," and I let the truth of that sink in.

I asked Him if He still had us, and if He still had me in this. To which He immediately replied, "Yes. I've got you. I AM."

I know God doesn't speak out loud to us, but He spoke it to my heart and I received it. And maybe that sounds weird, but I know when God is speaking to my heart.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, Todd and I were talking about the day ahead. We were having the bit of conversation that is allotted for a Thursday.

I told him how lousy I felt for powering up and trying to control the situation and what I felt guilty over. I told him how I wish I could see my body change more for all of the work I am putting in. And he gave me words of encouragement. He told me how he has seen me change. He told me that he experienced me responding differently to a very familiar situation for us. And he beamed with love for me as he told me he was proud of me. It felt good to be seen by him where I have made progress and haven't recognized it for myself. It felt glorious to know that he was witnessing a change in me. Changes that I can only get a tiny glimpse of in the mirror every day, in a smaller bra or in slightly looser pants. He sees something more.

And I guess I feel the need to document his words because they feel more tangible or true when they're written out.

I am feeling myself relax a bit.

Maybe because I'm starting to let go of some things. Maybe because trusting God is coming a little bit more naturally and with less of a fight than it used to. Maybe because I am finally letting myself feel my emotions rather than numbing them with addiction. Maybe because it feels comforting that even if no one else sees, Todd sees me and I am putting less and less value on others' opinions of my body or my life.

I'm sure it's a bit of all of those things that is enabling me to relax a bit. Either way, I'm breathing again. I made it through worry mode with minimal damage to myself and others and I'm still alive and fighting. That in itself feels like a giant, huge victory.

His words remain with me. "Yes. I've got you. I AM."

May 18, 2011

Managing heartache through control

One thing I took home from The Journey was seeing how I manage my heartache through control. That realization made me physically nauseous because it shows up in so many areas of my life. In all of the places I am seeking to control, what I am actually doing is pushing down feelings that I simply don't want to feel - my heartache or pain.

Control sounds like a good thing, but I'm not so sure it is. Control is often associated with independence, power, and toughness. Yet I see where I was created for dependence on God. I was created to need. I need to depend on others and more importantly God, for love, provision, and peace. Powering-up damages others I am in relationship with. And there is a definite difference between having strength and being tough. Strength is manifested through God at work in me. Toughness is manufactured of my own energy and is cold, unfeeling and abrasive.

I guess control is never really a good thing. It distances me from others because controlling tells others that I don't need anything you have to offer me. It distances me from God because I tell him that I can handle things on my own. It's bad for my body and mind because I can't rest. I can make myself sick and then I take out how I am feeling inside on other people.

Control only pushes. Control is gross.

Today I am feeling the devastation of disappointment. I am feeling the the boiling over anger of frustration. And because of it, I am trying to regain control in my out-of-control world. I am powering-up. I am telling God and others that I'm tough. I can take this, I can handle it, just leave me alone. It's a very lonely place to be. And control creates plenty of room for loneliness.

In short, we're not sure if Todd is going to be able to quit the part-time job after all come June. We might have to wait a little bit longer. And while it's not definite, I am finding myself spinning again, creating chaos and pushing others I love away (mostly my husband), in the midst of my disappointments.

That's what managing my heartache is looking like.

The only thing left to do is sit in my disappointments and be present in them. And cry out to God for what I need in the midst of how I am feeling.

I refuse to numb out. I refuse to turn back to ways that provide a false sense of comfort and in turn hurt my heart and my body. I refuse to let my joy be robbed of me today. I know that in my heartache, I can remain full of joy. And it doesn't fix our situation and it doesn't make me feel better, but it's where I am supposed to be. Alive, feeling, and present.

May 17, 2011

The New Schedule

It feels weird to be here again. Working more I mean.

Last week was the first week of my new schedule as I've taken on more hours at my job. I still have Fridays off, but I work Monday through Thursday in the office now. It felt weird to not leave at 3:00 on Monday. And it felt even weirder to wake up on Wednesday and realize that I better get ready and head out the door.

My body is adjusting to this again. I was used to having some significant rest during the week and I don't have that anymore. And I forgot how long it's been since I worked this much. It's been well over a year.

I suppose I feel mostly ambivalent about this change. I love my job and my boss. I am so blessed and thankful for being here. I love that working more means that Todd can quit his part-time job and we can have our normal life back again.


I already miss the rest and time I had to get things done and accomplished at home. I miss the ability to see friends mid-week. I miss the occasional nap I took during the day if I wanted to have one. Working part-time was quite ideal. Yet it also came with a great cost, and it's one that we felt like we couldn't afford anymore.

Todd is quitting the pizza place after the first weekend in June. We are ready. We are ready to have our weeknights together again so that we can eat dinner as a family or take a walk - or just BE together. We are ready to have Friday or Saturday nights free so that we can go on a real live date together on a more frequent occasion. We are ready to have our weekends free and open so that we can do things together and take Tommy on fun outings. We are ready to get plugged in to a small group in our church because we will finally have the time to allow for it. Nine months into this whole thing, we are so ready to be done. Even if it does mean me working more. And while I'm ready and excited about all of this change and what it means for our life together, I am also feeling a bit bummed out that it means more time away from Tommy.

I never cease to be amazed at how many conflicting emotions can exist inside of me at the same time.

My boss checked in with me the other day, asking me how I was doing with the new schedule and working more. And I told her that I had some mixed emotions about it. I told her that I missed Tommy but I was glad that I can take on more hours too. I told her how on Wednesday I got a little choked up because it was time for Sesame Street and I kind of missed being home with Tommy to watch it with him. The words she spoke to me then were a wonderful gift.

"If you ever need a morning home with him to do that, you do it! Just come in late - it's all good! I think if we can take care of ourselves and extend ourselves a little bit of grace, we can be more productive at work. When our soul is fed and at rest, that is definitely going to carry over into how we work. So seriously, if you need a morning with Tommy and want to come in later, I'm totally fine with that. Or even if you want to head out early sometime or take a day off. Just let me know."

Does anyone else in the world have a boss like this? Yeah, I've never had one until now. She is so easy-going and understanding of my situation as a mother to a young child. This is just one of the reasons I love working for this woman.

So, I may be ambivalent. I may be working more hours. But I have been gifted with a lot of flexibility and a boss who I can go to and ask for what I need when I'm feeling overwhelmed or just missing my little guy.

As I think about last February and being scared out of my mind when the Lord led me to quit my full-time job and asked me to trust Him there, I thought He was insane. I thought I was insane. "I've got you," He said. And He did. And He led me here to a job that has provided exactly what I needed. And not just for our pocketbook....but more importantly, my heart.

May 16, 2011

Goodbye Tiffany

Some friendships come naturally. They're just easy. Something inside of two people just click and your heart just knows you've found something special.

It's been that way from the beginning with Tiffany. I met her shortly after I met Todd, and she and I instantly clicked. And I knew when I married into her family, that being sisters-in-law was only going to make us closer.

We could be ourselves.
Our sassy,

sometimes weird,
and always very silly, selves.
Friday night we went out on the town one last time before her departure for Dallas on Sunday. We did some of our most of our favorite things. Like taking random pictures in Hobby Lobby and sharing margaritas at Chilis. The night was awesome and couldn't have been more fun.

And then Sunday came and we had to say goodbye.

We hugged and cried. And then hugged and cried again.

And maybe Dallas is only fourish hours away. But it is too far to call her up on a random Wednesday night to see if she's in the mood for some Chickfila and a chick-flick. It's too far away for me to see her almost every Sunday for lunch. It's too far away for a trip to Target where we just walk around and find absolutely nothing but have the best conversation. It's too far away to share a margarita on a Saturday night and gab and gossip and laugh.

It's just too far.
She's one of the best friends I've ever had. And though she's "family," and though she'll be back in town to visit now and then, she's not here anymore. And I miss her like crazy already.

May 10, 2011

Quiet Mother's Day

Mother's Day came and went quietly this year. Since it happened to fall on the day after I got back from Michigan, I knew I was going to want to spend the majority of the day resting and just being with my boys. I ended up sleeping until noon. I felt like I was a teenager again or something - I didn't even know my 30 year old body could do that anymore.

Family was scattered about on Sunday. My step-mom was sick, my Grandparent's stayed in their town an hour away where my Aunt and Uncle went for lunch. We decided to post-pone mom day celebrations with Todd's mom until another weekend. I guess the day didn't come with as much pressures or disappointments as it usually does. And I feel somewhat guilty for saying that it felt kind of nice to not have to feel "on" or present for the various mothers in my life while feeling the ever present absence of my own.

Mother's Day is hard. I suppose it might always be.

During a free afternoon in Michigan, I went into a small town called Grand Haven with some girlfriends. After a very long walk, we did some shopping. I found a children's book called "My Mom Loves Me." As I flipped through the pages, I stood there and wept.

My mom plays with me. My mom swings with me. My mom swims with me. My mom carries me. My mom hangs out with me. My mom takes me places. My mom bathes me. My mom kisses me. My mom comforts me.

It was precious.

My tears came from a huge place of ambivalence. I couldn't draw many memories of where my own mother's love looked like that. Our relationship was distant and stale and almost non-existent. I don't remember many times where she had done any of those things with me as I grew up. My tears also came from a place where as I looked through each page, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I did each and every one of those things with Tommy.

I bought the book. Full price and everything. And while I bought it for Tommy, I kind of bought it for myself too. It felt fitting to have for Mother's Day.

Mother's Day felt like a regular ordinary Sunday. It felt kind of nice for it to just kind of come and go with ease. When it came time for Tommy to go to bed for the night, he uncharacteristically pitched a fit and sat in his crib screaming. This isn't usual behavior - he's always been a good sleeper and goes to bed easily. So I got him back up and sat him on my lap. He cuddled against me as I rocked him.

And then he whispered quietly...."I lubbs you."

And I whispered back, "I love you too buddy."

I couldn't help but realizing in that very moment that I knew he felt loved by me in that moment. And it's evident that he can understand what love feels like. They aren't just words anymore; I think he understands what being loved and loving someone feels like.

I thought my heart was going to burst. Mother's Day may have been quiet and "ordinary," but that small moment I shared with Tommy made the entire day unforgettable and extraordinary.

The Journey 2011

It's hard to capture the right words for the week I experienced up in Michigan at The Journey. Much of what happened in my heart there feels sacred and I just want to keep it for me and those closest to me.

However, I wanted to share a few highlights here. As I look at each photo that I've selected to share here, my heart is feeling an outpouring of emotion as there could be many paragraphs written about each one.

There were unexpected familiar faces - a special couple who is dear to my heart. A friendship has been renewed to me and I am in awe of God's way of weaving people in and out, and back in to our lives.
An unexpected brother-sister relationship formed between myself and a man in my group.
Valerie. What a joy to know and be known by this woman.
"Mufasa." Though his real name is Ted.
The "cool" girls. A forever friend made. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever encountered.
Roommates. And friends. I'm glad we live in the same city!
On Friday night I shared this snippet of a testimony of what the week had been like for me...."A few years ago I sat at a table across from a woman with tears streaming down her face, begging me to fight for my life. And this afternoon my group gave me words like 'warrior princess' and 'dragon slayer!'" This is that woman. And this time her tears for me were a different kind.
Words. An abundance of words that felt almost too glorious to receive.
The dancing. Oh there was dancing! I have told some that I danced for three hours on the carcass of the dragon that I slayed. (o:
And a new part of "The Journey" begins.
My heart is full, stirred, awakened, disrupted, grieved, overjoyed, broken, full of longing, and beaming and bursting open with HOPE.

May 9, 2011

A Dancer

Before I left for Michigan, I wrote THIS POST about dancing.

And I guess there is much I could share about my week there, but for now, all I have to share are a few blurry pictures of me.

And they are blurry because I am dancing.
And dancing.
And dancing.
And dancing.
One of the best nights ever. Because it was the first night I have ever really danced in my entire life.

I had much to celebrate that night. And I was free to dance. And so I did.