September 30, 2011

My heart's prayer

"A Matter of Heart" - by Beth Moore

I've arrived at a conclusion,
maybe on of life's rare finds
that there's not a lot worth salvaging
within this heart of mine.

It's ever ready to destruct
and lie above all things....
It tends to laugh when it should cry
and mourn when it should sing.

I've wasted countless hours begging,
"Fix this heart, Lord please!"
while it stomps its feet, demands its way
and floods with sin's disease.

At last, you're able to get through
and lay it on the line:
"You must give up that heart of yours
and trade it in for mine."

So I cry out with the psalmist,
create within me, Lord
A new heart crystal clear
that only Calvary could afford.

A heart which pounds the rhythm
of heaven's metronome
and issues forth a boundless love
and beats for You alone.

I want to love that which You love,
despising what you hate
and see myself as least of these
oh Lord, retaliate.

The efforts of the evil one
who seeks to make my plea
that of his own, "I'll make no move
til I've considered me."

Peel away my fingers,
finally make me understand
the power to love and please You
can't be found within a man.

So, my Lord, I bring this offering;
a stubborn heart of stone
And ask You, in its absence,
please exchange it for Your own.

I read this today in a Bible study that I'm going through on my own (Living Beyond Yourself - Exploring the Fruits of the Spirit by Beth Moore).

It hit me like a ton of bricks and I'm left pondering agape. I'm left looking at the places where evil's held me by the throat and I've allowed it to. And I'm also left with hope. That knowing Jesus and who He is, can enable me to respond and love others well - and at the end of the day, it is my hope in Him that transforms my heart and my life.

Peel my fingers away Lord. Exchange my heart for yours....

September 29, 2011

Seeking stillness

This entire week I've felt myself almost in survival mode just hoping that me and my body could make it until Friday. Quality sleep and real rest have yet to find me this week and I feel like I've been running on steam and coffee. I'm at the point where my hormones are so crazy that I'm starting to cry at things like country songs and sappy Facebook status updates. (Thank you PMS!)

Todd leaves tomorrow after work and will be gone for the weekend. He'll be hunting/helping on a ranch with his hunting buddy, and I'll be left to my own devices. I'm looking forward to some quiet time all for me.

I plan on doing important things like:

Making a wreath using felt rosettes a la Pinterest! (something like this)
Taking a bubble bath
Catching up on my Bible study
Take a walk at the hill
A nap or three
A trip to the playground with Tommy
Baking some pumpkin bread
Staying in my pajamas as long as I feel like it
(And laundry, and things on my organizing list, and cleaning up the guest room - but only if I've had a bubble bath and a nap first. Because I have priorities!)

Saturday I will hug my friend B and say goodbye and cry some more tears before she flies away to her new home in Michigan. Oh I hate goodbyes - even if you know you'll see the other person again. I still hate them.

But even with the goodbye, I'm looking forward to some much needed ME time. I need quiet and space. I need some room to breathe, room to grieve some loss, and room to create. I'm looking forward to some stillness and counting down the hours before the rest I've been longing for, finally finds me.

September 28, 2011

Anticipating Autumn

The only problem with it being autumn right now is that it doesn't feel like autumn. It still feels like summer here. I've found myself sipping pumpkin latte's while day dreaming about the beauty I've created on my Beautiful Autumn board on Pinterest. I wish autumn could look like that here! Fall has my most favorite color palate of all I think. Gold, copper, turquoise, plum, olive, scarlet, chocolate brown....

There is plenty to look forward to this season though even if our weather doesn't always reflect the change to this season. I love this time of year. Activities and plans seem to ramp up and I love the flurry of fun things to do.

This fall, I'm looking forward to:

Todd's birthday. (Next Friday!)

Hunting season - which opens this weekend. And well, Todd's excited about that. I just share in his excitement with him.

Doing some shopping in Fredricksburg.

My sister's play at school.

Todd will be gone for an entire week in October. I'm not necessarily looking forward to his absence, but I am excited about where he's going and being able to look forward to all of it with great anticipation.

Our annual family trip to the pumpkin patch in Boerne. I just hope it's still there and they actually have pumpkins considering the awful drought this year.

A visit from Tiffany. Or "Tippy" as Tommy calls her.

All things pumpkin: Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin spice coffee creamer. Pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkins around my house.

Shopping for some new fall clothes. Hopefully I can snag a few scarves and fun tops. And khaki pants. I NEED khaki pants.

Throwing our second annual pumpkin carving party this year. Hopefully we have a good turn out and make bunches of pretty pumpkins!

Halloween costumes - but I need to find a costume event in order for there to even be a point in dressing up. I have a fun idea for Todd and I, but I'm still deciding what to do for Tommy.

Open windows to let cool air in the house.

Needing a sweater.

November sunrises. They seem to be the prettiest.


What are you looking forward to most about autumn?

September 27, 2011

Put the shovel down

From time to time, I've written about my weight struggles here. It's been part of my life and who I am. It's been my choice to write what I have about it here and I have been careful about what I have shared as this isn't the safest of venues to write about such a thing.

But if I were to be completely honest with myself, I would say that 9 times out of 10, writing about it here is in efforts to save face. I have grasped for my dignity here so that others, family, friends, complete strangers, YOU - would all know that I am aware of my weight issue and I'm desperately trying to do something about it. I thought that maybe if I didn't write about it, people would think I had given up, deem me a failure and write me off.

I have been spinning in this world where I am constantly worrying about what others perceptions of me are. It influences how much I eat in front of you, what I wear, and even if I decide not to attend some kind of social gathering because it's been a bad day and it's easier to hide than show up feeling like a whale. The voices I hear in my head that are critical and judgemental have faces. And there are many, many faces of people who have wounded me here over the years.

For almost five years I have been trying to get to the bottom of why I am the way that I am with food. I've been desperate for healing and have cried out to God to just cure me of what feels like a disease. I've tried diets and counseling and programs and I've kind of exhausted myself to overcome the struggle I have with food and my weight. I would even dare to say that it's been a central focus because I've felt like it's needed to be. Even on the days where I've felt defeated and lived that way, my body and my figure and food are just at the forefront of my mind.

Five years later, it is absolutely evident that this runs incredibly deep for me. I have discovered, that my journey with food and my weight and addiction just looks different than I ever even thought that it would. There is a reason that the things I've tried haven't "worked" so-to-speak.

Along the way, I've experienced much healing and change within myself. But because it has never manifested in the weight loss I've hoped for, I've felt like a failure and that I need to work harder at it. And I've taken on the belief that everyone - EVERYONE - around me thinks that I'm also a failure and that they too think I should work harder.

I've not only been enslaved to food, but I've been enslaved to trying to heal myself from it somehow. I would dare say that I've even made it an idol of sorts. Because I am constantly thinking and dwelling on it. ALL. THE. TIME.

I can't tell you how often I have begged and pleaded with God to help me with this. To show up, to heal me, to give me self-control or discipline. Sunday morning was another one of those times where I came boldly to the throne of grace telling Him that He's left me stuck here and maybe it's because I'm just not spiritual enough that He's stricken me with this awful thing that I just can't be rid of. I haven't known where to put Him or His apparent "sufficient grace."

The words "put the shovel down" came from a very dear friend who knows my heart well. She recognized where I have been digging and furiously working here and asked me what it might look like to put the shovel down and rest.

Initially, the thought of resting here sounds like giving up and throwing in the towel. And I first went to the place of "Well, what will everyone think if I don't keep digging here like I have been? What will they say or do or think?"

But the same day that I had another yell-fest at God, was also a day where He spoke to my heart in some tender ways and left me dumbfounded because I had kind of missed something that I had never really seen before.

All this time I've been working and digging and trying to find healing for myself, my eyes have been on me, my body and what I am doing in all of this. And I've felt left by Him here, not because He hasn't been here, but because I haven't even tried to see Him. And it wasn't that I wasn't spiritual enough, but I had put all of this - the work, the therapy, the processing, the worrying about how others see me - all of it has been above Him or His thoughts about me.

Writing all of that out sounds kind of churchy, and I don't want to sound that way at all. It almost even feels elementary. I can almost hear the condemnation of churchy people who I know in their desire to want to try to say something and help, have even left comments here before of what they thought I needed to do or what books I needed to read - or just give it to God and focus on Him!


So, I realize that what I've written about placing what I'm doing and how others see me above God sounds a little bit like what others have told me to do all along and wa-lah! - there's my cure. And it is that, and it's more than that. It's this relationship I have with God where we've been in this life-long tug of war with one another. And the closer I have allowed myself to get to Him, the less I want to pull back and I want to just run to Him instead. Those feelings however, are new and very recent. I can't say I've ever desired God in the ways I have found myself longing for Him until now.

1 Samuel 16:7b - For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

God sees my heart in this while others only see my outward body. And it is no longer true that my body is an outward reflection of all of these undealt with pains that need healing and processing. I will always need healing and need to process through hard things, yes. But the condition of my body doesn't necessarily mean that my heart is the same way anymore. I think it used to, but it doesn't now. I think that is what has made all of this so frustrating. I feel so different and new on the inside of me and the outside is the same because breaking habits and really changing with food itself is HARD and taking more time than I ever thought it would. And in all of this, I've completely disregarded what it is that God says about my heart because I'm more concerned with how others SEE me.

I guess what I am trying to say in all of this, is that I'm done trying to heal myself. I am done trying to find all of the answers and figure it all out, because I can't. I am done having my body and food as the focus of my every day. I am done trying to keep up with the thoughts running through my head about what others think of me. I am done exhausting myself because I'm worried I'll be a failure if I don't quit working. I am done digging.

It's time to put the shovel down and rest.

I'm not exactly sure what all that entails yet, but I do know, that for now, or for a while, or maybe even forever, I won't be writing about it here. There is more to me and my life and my heart than the weight I am or I'm not. I do know that I'm probably going to turn things down a notch in therapy department. I have plenty of things to sit with and I think I need to breathe for a little while. I have plenty of tools in my belt to know what I need to do. I'm more aware than ever of every bite of food I put in my mouth and why I do it. I am equipped for success. I've put in the work.

Now, it's time to rest a bit.

And maybe just spend time with the One who I thought had left me to figure this out by myself.

September 24, 2011


Last night, I spent several hours at B's house helping her pack things up for the big move. Several of us gals were there to help, but I found it hard to engage with anyone. It felt weird - to pack up someone else's dishes, someone else's home - and not just someone else. A very important and a very loved someone else that it just hurts really, really bad to say goodbye to.

I cried when I put bubble wrap over a picture of her and her husband because that felt hardest of all. And even though it felt painful, I wouldn't have wanted to be in any other place doing any other thing last night. Even though it was hard, it was good to be there too. All of it feels messy, but I wanted to be in this messy place with her. Maybe when you really love someone, messy places feel less messy just because you have someone to share in it with you.

I worked until my body felt sore and then I was grateful to feel the physical pain, because it almost felt like relief for my heart to feel something else, even for a moment.

The night went late but much was accomplished. It felt sad to walk out of her home - a place where we've shared slices of pizza and cups of coffee and tears and screaming boys while trying to have real conversations. The walls are now bare and where toys took up space, there are boxes and packing paper. Cupboards are empty and the garage is full of all of our labor ready for a moving truck to haul to a whole new state.

As painful as it's been, I've fought to let myself feel here. To feel the pain of her going and what it means. It's hard, and yet it's felt good and beautiful to share such closeness before she goes too. It's been worth the fight to remain alive so that I could feel everything my heart needs to feel. I guess I've experienced a lot of loss in my life and I didn't want this loss to be one that I numbed out to. It feels too important and I love her too much to not feel it all. And maybe, just maybe, I'm learning what it actually looks like to push into loss and the feelings that come with it. She also happens to be the kind of friend that lets me have my tears and doesn't shut them down. Even if they are about bubble wrapping framed pictures of her smiling face.

I didn't take any pictures last night. Partly because it just didn't feel right and partly because I didn't feel like I would need a picture to remember where my heart was either. Sometimes, the most memorable memories don't ever need to be captured with a camera.

Even though last night was laced with pain, it was also graced with beauty, friendship and sincere love. And I will remember all of it for always.

September 23, 2011

Friday Ramblings

I got up early this morning just to have a little bit of time to myself. I used that time taking a shower, drinking coffee and I may have played a few games of Wheel of Fortune on Facebook. I suppose if that's my guilty pleasure these days, I'm not doing so bad. I'm almost up to $8,000,000 wheel bucks. Just so you know.

Tommy has been half-sick for the past few days so I decided to keep him from going to daycare yesterday. I worked a half-day yesterday and spent the rest of the day at home, where Tommy and I took important pictures like this:I have yet to capture an awesome self-portrait of the two of us. Mostly because my camera has this like five second delay when taking pictures and you know, two year olds don't stay still for five seconds at a time, so this poses a problem.

I've told two people in the last two days that I need a vacation from my story. I've had a rough couple of weeks and I'm starting to just feel defeated all over again. I kind of hate being here.

I'm seriously gathering up some things I might be able to sell on Craigslist just so I can get some new clothes for fall.

Oh and today is the first day of autumn! Woot! Nevermind that it will be 90-something today. At least it won't be 100-something.

And speaking of autumn, a new blog-friend of mine is having a fun give-away today for a fabulous scarf. You should check it out!

In about an hour, I'm heading over to my friend Sarah's house to take her some of my unused fall decorations so we can spruce up her home for the season and have a fun girly visit. I will also get to hold her new baby so between the decorating and the baby holding, it will be a very good time.

Tonight I'm helping my friend pack up some of her house. And I hope I don't cry the whole time because I might.

A few days ago I wrote about an organizing challenge. And how am I doing you ask?

Well, here's a before shot of the junk drawer:
And an after shot: I discovered we have lots of batteries. Mostly for toys that annoy the crap out of me.
Yesterday I tackled the desk area. This picture is almost embarrassing to post, but whatever. Oh heavens it was messy:
And after: (And bonus! Even got Todd to install the new lamp we purchased eons ago for this space.)
I also feel like I should say that our master bedroom is really the only space in the house left to decorate and make over. And my cute desk shelves look nothing like I really want them to. The whole bedroom is a hodge-podge of many things and I told Todd that we really need to get on fixing it up because it may or may not improve "the mood."

My little boy is waking up. I can hear him on the monitor singing "How sweet da sound." Aka - Amazing Grace.

Happy Friday, Happy first day of Autumn!

September 22, 2011

It's okay

(I saw this on someone else's blog today and loved the idea. There are some places I just need to remember that it really is okay....)

It's cry at the drop of a hat because one of your best friend's is moving away and the littlest things remind you of her.

It's okay....that our garage is a mess. Because it's just a garage.

It's have angry feelings and to feel them.

It's plan a day trip on Saturday without my son or my husband, because sometimes mama just needs some girl time.

It's okay....that I'm already listening to Christmas music.

It's hang on to the "skinny clothes" I still have.

It's struggle.

It's okay....that I miss my mom even though she's been gone for almost twelve years.

It's not be over it.

It's okay....that we're always scraping by. Because we always have everything we need.

It's okay....that I'm still in therapy and that I still need it.

It's google "how to do the shuffle" at 10:45 at night, and then try and practice it in your pajamas. Everybody's shufflin'....

It's press the snooze button too many times in the morning.

It's okay....that I'm still not yet the size that I want to be.

It's enjoy being a working mom even if things get a little hectic.

It's not feel "okay" all the time.

September 21, 2011

I'm ready for fall ya'll

The first day of autumn is officially this Friday. Though it's been fall in my house for the last two weeks. I put the finishing touches on the decorating this weekend. Though I had gadzooks of ideas this year, I did not have much of a decorating budget. So I used some things I had and just added some extra fall foliage.

The shelf in the kitchen: The same as before. Just added a $1 gourd, turned the pot around to show the pumpkins on it, and used a candle holder ring I already had for a pop of color.
A few new leaf branches to make a new arrangement for the table. These branches make me wish I had a fireplace mantle, because if I did, this arrangement would most definitely grace the fireplace instead of the table. *sigh*
I love the golden color of these leaves!
I moved the vase that was in the table into the living room. You can barely see my "S" on the table, but I love how it looks here!
The other new things I got via my spoiling mother-in-law - fun new wall sconces. I loved the orange of these leaves and I'm excited to change them out for the various seasons.
The living room.
One of my only purchases this season were two orange pillows to use for fall - $10 a piece which I didn't think was too shabby! Todd laughed at this, considering I just redecorated and I put the other pillows up and replaced them with the orange ones! However, when I redecorated I purposely chose a color palate that could easily translate from every day, to fall and then to Christmas.
A little vignette on the table.
The area on the entertainment center.
The table by the window.
The other bookshelf. My mother-in-law made me that new black pumpkin this year with painted leaves and I love how it turned out. I also added a simple bucket of pinecones there as well.
My favoritest pumpkin of all - made by none other than my mother-in-law! She painted our last name on it for me last year and I adore it!
The other bookshelf in the living room.
I have one project to do -paint these pumpkins a creamy color. I'll get to that eventually....
And there are a couple of fall things in the kitchen as well, but this is what life currently looks like. Bills, a coffee can full of change, Tommy's "diaper" bag, some flowers Todd brought home that are still hanging on and not quite ready to toss yet, and a left over tin from having taken a meal to a friend. This is the catch all counter. Behind all of it is a very cute vase with some fun branches and a darling leaf bowl. I promise.

I have plans to bake the first pumpkin pie of the season this weekend too.

I'm ready for fall. Are you?

September 20, 2011

Organized Chaos

I have to admit, I'm not a very organized person. In all honesty, my home is really just organized chaos. Even when it's clean, if you were to really start opening drawers and cabinets and looking at things up close, you would find that things are just kind of messy. And I guess it's felt like I never have the time to tackle everything that needs to be done.

There is this picture I took recently after I completed my redecorating and I love how clean and tidy and organized my kitchen looks. Seriously, just looking at this picture makes me feel calm inside because it looks so neat. Sadly, I'm pretty the sure the last time my kitchen looked exactly like this was the time I took this picture. *sigh*
Thanks to Pinterest, I came across an awesome blog today that issued a 21-day organizing challenge. I made a few tweaks to the list so that it could apply to my home and for what I need to get more organized.

1) Junk Drawer
2) Computer Desk/Mail situation
3) Tupperware cabinet(s)
4) Linen closet/cabinets
5) Under the kitchen sink
6) Dresser drawers
7) The pantry
8) Coat/Guest room closet
9) Toy storage/Tommy's room
10) Laundry room
11) Freezer
12) Spice cabinet
13) Medicine cabinet
14) Under bathroom sinks
15) Dining room (buffet drawers)
16) Refrigerator
17) Kitchen pots, pans & utensil drawer
18) Keepsakes
19) Master bedroom closet
20) Photos
21) Your choice - Scrapbooking area

I've decided to embrace this challenge and tackle some of the disorganization in my house. I've also decided to give myself a bit of grace and if I can't make the deadline in exactly 21 days, it won't be the end of the world. I just want to finish it and hopefully be more organized at the end of it all!

The deeper side to all of this.....I think lately I've felt overwhelmed by some of the things in my heart that need continued unpacking or healing or examining. I've wondered if I'll be in therapy forever - not that it would be a bad thing, but just because there is so much there that still needs talking about and crying over. It gets wearing after awhile and it's been hard to not believe that maybe I'm just screwed up and hopeless. And I know those things aren't true, yet some days, it's felt hard to believe anything else.

The last couple of weeks I have just felt discouraged in how big some things just feel and I've wondered if I will ever be able to live out my life the way I really want to.

One of the things a friend suggested that I do, is to just do the things that I can. Which sounds simple, but I've found it to be easier said than done. My friend suggested though, that instead of stressing out about how much there is around me that needs to get done whether in my home or my life or my heart, to just get done what I can. To visualize things in boxes and get to one box at a time. And any box that feels too big to go through on my own, go through it with someone else. And to even put that box back on a shelf until a later time. It sounds like good advice, but I wonder if it's really do-able I guess.

I guess when I came across this organizing challenge today that I was filled with some hope. Not just that my home will look and feel better if I can tackle a little project day by day, but that maybe that there is still hope for all of the "projects" that I still feel are undone inside of myself. Maybe in all of the organizing and cleaning things up around my home, I'll be able to do a bit of this for my heart as well.

I'm starting tomorrow - junk drawer day. I wonder what "junk" I'm holding on to?

September 18, 2011

Feeling the Rain

I was just getting back home from shopping with my mother-in-law when the sky was starting to look like this. We had some rain over the weekend, but we hadn't seen anything like these dark storm clouds.
Something about the thick black that was moving in felt strangely comforting. I was filled with peace and it made me relax. For those of you who don't know, where I live, we've been in a terrible drought. Wildfires break out daily and we even had one in the field next to our neighborhood. The thick clouds have been a welcome and missed sight. Our neighbors were all outside observing the skies with us. I was struck how something like rain could bring us all out of our homes all at once. I feel especially grateful. God is so good to send rain.
Friday night, Todd and I had an actual date. Like we went to a real restaurant and I had an adult beverage and everything. It was the first alone time we had that didn't include grocery shopping or cleaning my office together - in I can't even remember how long it's been. And our date was great, except for the fact that I sat there and cried the entire time. There was a lot I was holding in and wave after wave of tears came as I unpacked things that I didn't even know I was storing inside of me. After dinner, Todd was a good sport and saw a "chick flick" with me that summed up a lot of how I feel about being a working mom. And it tugged at the mommy pieces of my heart and I cried throughout the movie too.
I put the finishing touches on the house for fall thanks to my mom-in-law who likes to spoil me. Of course there will be more on this later. But I love how my home feels when it's spruced up with fall leaves and everything smells like spices and Thanksgiving laughter.
Todd and I rejoiced over something really big this weekend. Something we've been hoping for and something I've really longed to see him do for a long time - it's all officially in the works. He's headed off to Michigan in October to attend The Journey where I've been twice now. I am overjoyed that he's going, that it's time and that he will be there. Both of us feel overwhelmed at how it all came together and the enormity of support he's had from our community of friends. It seems as though when we are finally willing, God shows up and brings things together in unimaginable ways.

Tonight I am enjoying candlelight and the sound of rain pattering down on my roof. I can hear thunder rumbling in the distance and I feel like I'm drinking it all up just like our thirsty land is. Like I can feel it penetrating the most hungry and thirst parts inside of me. I guess I'm just one of those people that can really feel the rain.
I've missed the rain. I've missed the thick black clouds and claps of thunder. I've missed how alive it makes me feel. And I'm feeling alive tonight.

In all of the decorating for fall and crying on date night and watching the glow of my candles, and rejoicing over what is happening for Todd - I'm just feeling alive. Hope feels like a tangible thing that I could almost reach out and touch. Maybe it's just seeing God working in big show-offy ways lately. Maybe it's the rain. Maybe it's all of it and how He has just created my heart not to miss the glory of it all.

September 16, 2011

Time for myself?

I awoke this morning to the sound of thunder. I only heard a few rumbles in the distance, but the mere sound was enough to make me feel safe and calm. Even if it hasn't rained at my house, it's somewhere in town. And just maybe, there will be at least one day where our firefighters can rest and we can all have a moment of relief where we don't have to worry about brush fires near our neighborhoods. Because for at least a day, the ground will be wet.

As much as I would like to sleep all morning on my days off from work and stay in bed until I absolutely have to get to, it's actually easier to get up. It's some of the only time that I have all to myself and I've realized that I need it. I wish I could have two hours in the morning all to myself every day that didn't include getting ready for work or driving in traffic to work. Something about being able to stay in my pajamas and slowly sip my coffee and just sit with my thoughts and feelings and whatever book or Bible studies I happen to be doing, give me a sense of readiness to take on the day.

I suppose every day should start like that, but they don't. So for Fridays at least, I try to make the most of my mornings. I get up early and enjoy the still and the quiet.

So here I am taking time for myself.


I wrote that earlier this morning. And then Tommy woke up and the day began. I tried to write what it was I set down to write and became frustrated because he wanted to "hold you" (what he says when he wants me to hold him) and climb up on my lap and scribble all over my bills that were laying out on the desk. And he wanted me to draw a happy face on his paper and come sit with him while he jumped on my bed. And I got frustrated because I still so desperately needed some time for myself. I haven't had any time to myself all week! I thought.

After I tried selfishly shooing him away and occupying him with Sesame Street or breakfast and he still just wanted me to be with him, he started to cry, and had hurt in his eyes. Whatever it was about his face and those particular tears, made me cry too.

"I just want you to spend time with me mom." That's what I read on his face. It was more than guilt that I felt inside. It was as if I was looking into a mirror and could both see myself and my husband's face as I saw his tears and sadness. Something about his face reminded me of my little girl and Todd's little boy and the places we had been missed.

I scooped that boy up and kissed his face and told him I was sorry.

While taking time for myself is important and what I need to refuel and refresh my heart, I still have to remain present for my son. I've come to realize that sometimes we can be really, really young when we start learning and believing the messages that we don't matter, or we're not important, or we're not worthy of someone's time. Those messages can go back to our earliest years of being demanding toddlers and still play out in our adult lives and show up with how we relate in our marriages and with our co-workers or friends. I'm talking from experience here.

I'm not going to do this mom thing perfectly I realize. I'm sure there will be hundreds of times over the years that I will just miss my son and he will be hurt by something I've done or not done. But this morning wasn't one of those times.

I guess the prayer of my heart is that I can be aware of myself and my son enough to minimize the negative messages that my son will learn from me. That I can own up to the places I gave him whatever messages he ends up believing. And that he will learn to battle them with the truth because it's what he has seen his mom and dad do.

It's time to get back to covering Teddy bears with smiley face stickers now.

September 14, 2011

"Will I ever be over it?"

I have a story. We all have a story.

No matter what age we are, no matter what our childhood has looked like, no matter how much we have forgotten or chosen to forget about the past - we all have a story.

Last night I sat in a room with a handful of women. Ages ranging from early 20's to early 70's. We are there to tell our stories. We are there to talk about what life has looked like for us. Where we were wounded, where we have wounded others, and where we have or haven't experienced God in those place.

"Will we ever get over it? I mean, will I ever 'get over' the things that happened to me?" One woman asked. Tears filled my eyes at her question.

Her question poked at my heart and immediately took me to a piece in my story. A conversation that happened with someone I am close to just last year. "If you're talking about what happened fifteen years ago - I'm over it! I am OVER IT!"

There was anger in their tone and anger in their eyes and I felt it spill all over me. It felt like a slap in the face and I didn't know what to say or what to do because their words hurt me to the core and I didn't really know why or how to tell them that their words hurt. Later I was curious. That if this person was so over something, then where was their anger coming from? Because if we are in fact over something, would there be that kind of intense emotion? And I also felt great shame, because if they were over it, wasn't I supposed to be too?

It's interesting how one question, one face, or one sweet person who is but a stranger, can take you back to a memory or scene.

I looked at this woman last night whose eyes begged me to give her some kind of hope with my answer. I was curious about the places she was wanting to be "over," because hurting in those places is hard, especially when they feel like "old" memories. Hurting is hard when we've hurt for so long and we just want to stop hurting already. I've been there and I'm still there and sometimes I wonder how I can still have some of the same tears over the same things when they've happened so long ago. Her question sounds like my question. Her question reminded me why I feel so called to be a part of this ministry.

"I don't think so. I don't think we will ever be "over it." And in all sincere honesty, I hope to never be "over it". Because if I ever feel like I'm over something - especially with what has happened in my own story - then I will probably stop needing Jesus in that place. And I desperately need to need Him in that place. I'm anxious to hear about the places you are wanting to be over. And I want you to know, that we will walk with you in those places here."

Perhaps it wasn't the answer she was hoping to hear, but I could tell by the tear that fell down her cheek and her softening posture that she knew it was okay to feel whatever it was that she was feeling inside. "Thank you," she said.

I have a story. We all have a story.

I am grateful for the safe places I have found to unpack my story, for the ears that have listened, for the eyes that stayed on me even when I spoke of shame and sinful places, and the faces that have pointed me to the only real hope I've ever found. Jesus.

September 13, 2011

Sigh of relief

She means an extra-something special to me because I don't have my mom anymore. Gramma means more to me than I could even begin to try to express with words. Her life, our relationship, who she is and the things that we share together - all of it is an extraordinary gift from God.

Her laugh, her strong faith in God, her ability to extend grace and forgiveness to others, her spaghetti, her playfulness....just a few things that I dearly love about her.

My word for her is JOLLY. She exudes all that is JOLLY. Jolly goes beyond happy or joyous. It's purposeful and contagious and comes from the deepest parts of her heart. Doesn't this look like a picture of a JOLLY woman?
She came out of surgery just fine this morning. I've breathed a sigh of relief as the "scariest" part is over. The doctors have said that with two new stints in her heart, she is going to feel like a new woman and have the kind of energy she hasn't had in a very long time. It makes me smile to think of how improved her quality of life will be at this stage of life.

As I prayed about all of this, a lot of me felt selfish with my requests to God. I caught myself even telling Him not to take her from me anytime soon. I guess when any person over the age of 75 goes in for surgery, there is always that fear that they won't make it out. If all of our days are numbered and He knows the very second that we will take our last breath, I pleaded with Him that she would still have many, many more breaths to breathe in before it was her last.

We're not done making memories or molasses cookies at Christmas yet. I'm not done getting to know her and her story and more things about my mom - oh do I soak in those stories. Perhaps the thought of losing her suddenly like I did with my mom, was what scared me more than anything.

However God chose to answer my demands about keeping my Gramma around, I am grateful that she made it through the surgery. I am grateful that she will feel much better after she's recovered. I am grateful that there are still memories to be made and life to be lived.

I am grateful that she's my Gramma and that God has gifted my life with her own.

September 12, 2011

Little Bits

I'm afraid all I have to share today are some short blurbs. I'm busy and preoccupied and tired and well, it's also Monday.

We've been promised only one more week in the 100's and we should be "done" with summer and those temperatures. Holla!

We need rain.

I'm feeling very thankful for our hardworking fire-fighters in and around San Antonio who are fighting wildfires like crazy all around us to keep us and our homes safe.

We had to cancel plans with friends on Saturday night because or little guy was under the weather. He has a little cold I think and a sore throat. I asked him this morning how he was feeling and if he was still sick, to which he replied, "Oh, it's so sad!" That kid cracks me up.
I have the best boss ever. Seriously. She is awesome.

I've got a very busy and full week ahead. My first Red Tent Dinner is tonight. And the first Grace Group of the season kicks off tomorrow night. Tommy and I are going to hang out with Bethany and Wyatt on Wednesday. Thursday, I'm taking a meal to some friends who just had a precious little girl. Friday is shopping for new clothes for Tommy and I have HIGH hopes for a date night that doesn't include errand running or grocery shopping. And Saturday we are going down to my Grandparent's house so Todd can help my Poppy uninstall the microwave over their stove and install a hood. Yes - a full week ahead!

A bit of advice for today: If you don't like someone's baby name that they've picked out for their future baby - just pretend that you do. It's not very nice to say that it's ugly or you don't like it. It's not your decision or your child. That is all.

I've totally been listening to Christmas music already.

Speaking of Christmas, I went to Hobby Lobby with my mother-in-law last week and I finally found the perfect Christmas stockings. She bought them for me full-price because I am so very spoiled like that. And we got four of them. Just in case we have another baby and I won't be in another stocking crisis later on down the road. I promised her that was not my way of trying to tell her I was pregnant.

I'm also doing my annual update-everyone's-address-and-get-my-Christmas-card-list-ready thing. I've already discovered we have more people to send cards out to than last year. How did this happen?

All this baby talk - seriously, I'm not pregnant. I'm just kind of wanting to be.

I have a scratchy throat today. Not sure if it's allergies or something trying to make me sick or all of the fire crap in the air getting to me. Could be a combination of all three I suppose.

My Gramma is having surgery tomorrow. I feel less anxious after seeing her yesterday. I love my Gramma.

I've been doing a new Bible study on my own by Beth Moore on the fruits of the Spirit, called Living Beyond Yourself. Thanks to Amy over at Chapters, I was totally inspired to go through it for myself and so far it is pretty awesome. Sometimes I forget how much I really love digging in the Word and learning new things.

Contemplating costumes for Halloween should we do something costumey this year. I have a few ideas up my sleeve.

I have a new baby-boy shower to plan as my step-sister found out they are expecting a boy. So very exciting!

Conflict + Resolution = Intimacy. ALWAYS!!!!!

Struck by the words to a hymn we sang yesterday in church. Our refuge is in the cross of Christ. A place of pain and suffering and sacrifice - that place is our refuge and safe place. I'm wanting to sit some more with that.
I love this guy. I really, really love him.

Happy Monday ya'll!

September 9, 2011

Puff-paint sweatshirt memories

Memories have a mind of their own. Especially when they return to you. For me, random scenes from life occasionally comes to mind, often triggered by a smell or a touch or a feeling.

Sunday was a beautiful breezy day. The morning felt cool and I could just taste autumn in the air. Every day this week, the mornings have been cool and pleasant. There is even talk of an actual "cold front" coming in by next weekend. Cold fronts don't ever come in September here.

Anytime the weather makes the shift from summer to autumn, my heart begins to ache. I start thinking of her and remembering things. Mom. Things like what her laugh sounded like. Her laugh was a melody in and of itself. It was like a song that was so beautiful you wanted to make her keep laughing so you could listen to it for always.

Last Sunday I had the memory of her creating these silly sweatshirts. The kind where she ironed on fall leaves cut out from fabric and outlined them with puff-paint. Of course I would never wear them, because I was thirteen and much "too cool" for such things. Those kinds of sweatshirts are a sure sign of the '90's, and well then, that was just my mom too. She was crafty and creative and artsy and she loved to create and make things. I know well the satisfaction of creating something by hand and admiring my work. I got it from her.

It's funny how thinking about an ugly puff-painted sweatshirt can draw so many tears. I have stopped thinking my tears are foolish about such things. But it always amazes me how something like that can reach so far into me and make me miss her so.

It seems as always with the changing of seasons, the wind blows in new memories of her and new places to grieve. Perhaps I remember her the best and think of her the most this time of year because this was when she would just shine the most. The holidays, the cooler weather, her birthday - she felt so full of life this time of year. Maybe we even felt closer then and maybe that's just me wishing that we were closer. Wishing that I had more memories of us together rather than just memories of who she was and how I observed her. And regardless of the lack of memories I have of us sharing these special mom and daughter moments that really just don't exist, I can still taste her vibrancy and just how she could light up a room.

I wrote the other day about how this was one of the places I've been avoiding feeling. I am so resistant to grief. As much as I do cry, I am so resistant to shed tears. So much of me avoids wanting to hurt and feel pain and I sometimes hate that I still have so much pain over a mother I never really had, and a had mother who has been dead for nearly twelve years. So much of me feels desperate to have others understand my heart here, and yet for some reason, God has let this piece of my heart be a sacred place where He has allowed a select few to walk there with me bravely. Those women know who they are.

Recently, God brought a new woman in to my life to walk these places with me. A woman that used to know her and call her friend. This new relationship still blows my mind. And her husband, who also knew both of my parents, has been pursuing my husband. Only God could orchestrate something that amazingly awesome. It has literally put me in my knees in awe and thanks at God's goodness and just how into the details of our lives that He is.

This morning I was gifted with the opportunity to cry. I sat across from this woman today who knew her and remembered her. She let me cry and she cried with me. She held my hand and let me remember. She sat with me in my tears and cried the messy ones with me - like how it still hurts like hell to not have her here to know my son. To hold him and read him books and just be his Grandma. She called me things like darling and precious and special and just motherly words that my daughter-heart needs to hear sometimes.

Honestly, I don't know if I feel any "better." But I'm feeling. I'm feeling her absence and my missing her and my pain over not having my mom. It's a hard and good place to be.
This is my most favorite picture of my mom. This is the mom I will always remember. This is the creator of puff-paint sweatshirts and the laugher of melodic laughs. This is the mom I miss and cry over on quiet September Fridays.

September 7, 2011

Impossible Things

I find it harder to write when I'm not feeling. It's harder to write when I'm going through the motions and the only descriptor word I have for how I'm doing is "blah." And I've been trying to numb out lately and avoid feeling. I've struggled with returning to old habits because it's how I've coped. For. My. Entire. Life.

Oh food, how I loathe thee sometimes.

So not coping that way is going to come and go for awhile until I've got it down and coping the way that I should with life . It's going to take some time. A lot of time actually.

A quote I read this morning said, "Hard things take time, impossible things, a little longer." It felt very true about this issue -my weight, the food thing, the battle constantly raging for me to choose to live differently and not the way that I always have. It has felt impossible. And it's taking much longer than I want it to.

And so I've found myself in the familiar place of avoiding feeling and trying to numb out. There is much that I've avoided letting myself feel.....

Darin & Bethany's leaving. And how Darin already left and I couldn't say goodbye to him because it was too hard. I feel like a jerk and I feel really sad and I was embarrassed at all of the tears that I had just for him.

My Gramma is having surgery next week. And she's not scared, but I'm scared for her. I can't imagine losing her, and that thought is in the back of my mind as she heads into surgery where they will put a stint in her heart.

I've been beating myself up for how I show up sometimes to my family. I feel like I have to change or be someone else in order to be around them. It's hard not to sit in self-contempt when I wonder if I'll ever be in a place where I can just be me - the real me, with them - no matter what.

Anger. Lots and lots of anger and I don't know how to sort through it. My therapist wants me to just write everything down and we can sort through it together. But to even write it all out, the mere thought of doing it feels exhausting. And maybe I'm just too scared to write it all out and have to look at it on paper.

It feels like fall. And anytime the weather makes the first big change of the season I find myself missing my mom.

Recently I became more alive to my longing of wanting another baby. Ever since we took down the crib and put the big-boy bed in Tommy's room, I've been aching for another child. And it hurts to want a baby because I don't know if it could even happen again. I want a baby just as badly as I did the first time, and I guess I never thought I would ache about any of this, exactly like I did the first time.

And there are other things. Places I've just felt betrayed and hurt. Places that I'm waiting. Places I'm feeling lonely.

How do other people do it? How do other people live, and be really alive, and feel the crap that life throws at them, and grieve what needs to be grieved when there is grief? And without turning to some kind of addiction?

I envy the people most that don't struggle with addiction and the way they avoid feeling just looks good outwardly. Like they are able to exhibit more control. And they clean their house or work-out or do yard work or something that just feels productive and reaps some kind of benefit. Because when I'm feeling lousy, I want a giant bag of Peanut M&M's. I don't want to scrub my damn baseboards. I guess I feel angry because I wish my "thing" were different.

Basically, I just admitted that I wished I could just look good on the outside even if I'm a mess on the inside. As if that were better.

"Hard things take a little time, impossible things, a little longer." - Andre Jackson. I guess this whole thing - the not avoiding feelings, relearning how to cope with life in healthy ways, food just being's going to take a little bit longer.

September 5, 2011


It's September 5th and I have my windows open. (This is a very big deal if you live in my part of Texas this time of year). I am enjoying the breeze blowing through the house and smelling fresh air.
It was in the 80's yesterday morning. It's funny how those temperatures can feel like "fall" when the summers have been in in the 110's. I spruced up the house with some fall things yesterday because it just felt right. And now, I'm already craving the first pumpkin pie of the season.
Hunter came home on Saturday. Another long story. But he's home to stay. And both Todd and Hunter are very, very happy.
I've been doddling around this morning. Sipping my coffee slowly. Reading a book. Making a grocery list. Pretending it's a lazy Saturday even though it's Monday and we're all off for Labor Day.

Tonight we're going to a friend's house to break in their new deck and eat some brisket.

For now, I have laundry to fold and a dirty bathroom to scrub.The kind of work I don't really mind doing on a day off.

Besides, the windows are open and the house is full of air promising that autumn really is coming.

September 1, 2011

Another Loss

Yesterday was a very sad day in our house. Our sweet dog Hunter left us and went to be with a new family. The reasons behind why we made the decision to find a new home for Hunter are ours and are personal. Simply put, we did what was best for our dog and what was hardest for us.

After doing some extensive calling around and searching, we found him a very loving and the most ideal of homes. A family who just had their old lab put down two weeks ago were grieving the loss of their old dog and when they got the call about Hunter, they knew they needed and wanted him to be a part of their family. They also have another dog so Hunter will have a playmate. They are an active family with two teenagers and have a huge yard for him to run around in. He will be very happy and very loved. And since they are here in town we may be able to even stop in on occasion and say hello.

And what was their gain and happiness is for sure our loss. As we sat there tearful and sad last night, my mind couldn't help but wandering to their family. Where they were celebrating and rejoicing and laughing and enjoying who was once ours.

After the man drove away with our beautiful brown lab yesterday evening, Todd and I hugged each other and cried like babies. Our dining room already feels emptier without his dog kennel by the door. It already feels weird to not hear his barking in the backyard or howling at airplanes flying over head. Todd was restless through the night and he said this morning it will take some time adjusting to not needing to wake up early so he can let Hunter out and feed him first thing.

This loss hits my husband much harder than me. Hunter was mostly his. His dream to have his own hunting dog, his companion and his friend. Giving Hunter away is a loss of many losses for Todd. Over the last year I have watched my husband give up or sell or sacrifice just about everything that he has held dear to him for a long time. And much of that has been for the sake of Tommy and me. I have felt helpless as I've watched thing after thing be sold or given up. While I don't know what all this is for or what God is doing in the heart of my husband, the only thing I do know is that He is at work doing something. He is moving in his heart in new ways, though it's painful to sit with him in it.

Todd's hands have been emptied of dreams and possessions that has almost defined him for years. I'm anxious to see and watch God fill them with something new. And I'm also grieved at having to sit where I am, watching, and unable to do anything but comfort and love on this man that God gave me. I hate feeling helpless and like I can't fix something for him or make him feel better. But perhaps this part of my husband's heart is only for God to come in and fill with something great.

We will miss our sweet Hunter.
We are comforted knowing that he will be well loved and attended to. And we are sad he had to go.
And I am hopeful for my husband.
I am hopeful for where God will show up in new dreams and new things and new places.