Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

7:21 p.m.

Around 11:30 last night I realized I didn't write yesterday.
I was in the bed and very comfy.
Needless to say,  I didn't get up and write.

We are still at my mom's and will leave first thing in the morning to head home.
One of the things I like best about being at my mom's is the abundance of running choices. 

I can run on the Jemison Trail.
I can run in her old neighborhood.
I can run on the trails behind her current neighborhood.
Or I can run on 3 other trails that connect at the park where the trail from her neighborhood connects.

I've always loved running on trails.
I don't really know how to explain it.
I've long suspected it has something to do with the trees, flowers, softer running surface, scurrying animals, etc...I still suspect that.  But there's something more that I just recently discovered.

The day of the St. Jude's Marathon, I was a little panicky.  
I still like to run pretty much alone.  I don't care if someone else is with me technically, but I don't want to have to pace with someone else or worry about someone else.  I know that sounds selfish, but honestly, I'm doing good to keep my own self calm, much less having to worry with anyone else.  If anything, I'm sure I would slow someone else down.  I'm competing with myself if anyone...I don't want that to change.
For the St. Jude's Marathon, I had my oldest daughter and a friend with me. 
I was very worried that we would all get separated and by the time the races were over, no one would have phone power to contact each other.
I chose not to run with music the first 13 miles.  
I told myself that I would turn my music on and get lost in my head the 2nd 13 miles if I made it that far.

Running without my headphones ended up not being as big of a deal as I thought it would be.  
I was constantly surrounded by groups of people to see, scenery to keep my interest, and crowds along the way to communicate with.
I wouldn't have missed this for the world and will make sure I don't use my music during the first part of any future races.
Of course, I didn't make it the 2nd 13 miles so my phone was fine.
That's a story for another day...

After taking a week off from running to "lick my wounds," I ventured out to run a slow steady 3 miles.  
I looked everywhere in our house for headphones.
We have headphones in every drawer, in every vehicle, in every bedroom, attached to every phone...etc.
But I couldn't find one pair.
After threatening my youngest daughter, she finally produced a pair from the car that were the earphones with the flat heads that fall right back out of my ears.
The found earphones also were about as tangled as a "rat's nest."

I just said, "nevermind," and tossed them to the side.
I ran 3 miles that afternoon with no earphones.  
No music.
No distraction.
Just me and my thoughts.
And it wasn't that bad.
I did make a mental note to pick up more earphones since I didn't figure the gentleness of the night's run could be a norm.

The next night as I was getting ready to run I realized I still didn't have earphones.
Poop.
My dog Layla reminded me that she hadn't been for a walk in a while so I figured I'd take her since I obviously wasn't going to get in a very good run since I still didn't have earphones.
I fully expected to have a frustrating run where I had to focus on keeping Layla in line more than actually focusing on the run itself.
The run that night was probably the best run Layla and I have ever had.

The next night Layla went with me again.
After a couple of miles, I brought Layla home and swapped out for my daughter's dog Zeke and took him for the last mile.
He was a pest, but we still had a good time.

For short runs, I don't even look for earphones anymore.
Not really any need.
So, when we left for my mom's I didn't worry about whether or not I had earphones.

I pulled up to Jemison Trail that first morning and thought...well, no distractions...didn't think about that.
But, I just went.
Again, spectacular run...I even PRd the first mile.
WHAT?

The air felt so good, the sun was peeking through the trees, the water was high in the brook and running over the rocks...I could hear the water.  I could hear the wind in the trees and the sounds around me.  Some of the sounds were other people and many with their dogs.
I liked it.
I ran in the neighborhood without earphones.
I ran on the back trails without earphones.
I think I might be a no earphone runner.

I can see where I might want my earphones for longer runs, and I will definitely make sure I have them for the next half marathon and marathon.
But, for everyday, I kindof like just being in my own skin, being distracted by nature, and not trying to block everything out.

If you had told me 7 months ago, I would be at a place in my life where I didn't need to block everything out, I would have snorted sarcastically and probably even rolled my eyes.
7 months ago, I might have even cried because I knew my life had to change...but I wasn't sure how that was going to happen.

5 months of 2016 I drank.
7 months of 2016 I did not drink.

The 7 months have been much happier than any months I've had in a long time.
It hasn't been easy.
And the holidays have certainly been difficult.
But this decision probably saved my life.
It probably saved many relationships that are important to me as well.
There have been times where I would like to have a drink...times that most people say, "I need a drink."
But, I choose not to drink.
I wake up every day and choose not to drink.

I have a lot more trails to run.
See ya, 2016.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Choices

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016
8:28 p.m.

I'm pretty brain dead tonight.  We stayed up way too late last night, slept in until about 8:30 a.m, went running on the Jemison Trail around 10:00 a.m., hair cut and colored at 1:30, and lots of eating in between.
Birmingham has some fabulous eateries...all around the area, and we partake freely when we are here.
My mother has lived here as long as I've been married so we've built a list of favorites that would take a month to cover if we were determined to eat everywhere every trip.

This Christmas trip is in shifts...our days of having everyone in the same place at the same time for Christmas are probably over.
That's actually ok with me because I think we are better together when we don't try to force things.

Ed's family's time is Thanksgiving...and that's at our house...pure chaos but no gifts and plenty of room to move around.  Kids can play outside and act like maniacs if they want.

My time with my brother and his family is usually summer vacation. We haven't tried to force Christmas in a long time.

Ed's mom finally realized this year that the giant Christmas with everyone hiding in the corners of the den with paper flying and kids tripped and screaming and everyone getting gifts just to get gifts is really just a waste...and that we could probably all enjoy Christmas with her a little more if we could spend a quiet afternoon or meal with her without the pressure of gifts for people we don't know.

My mom seems to have realized it too...although her Christmas has never been about chaos.
But my older daughters are young adults. I can't force them to be anywhere anymore.
I was lucky to have them at my house for 24 hours for Christmas.  
And one day, I may have to let go of that.

Time passes and people change.
We move into new seasons and remember the past fondly or not so fondly.
I'm not sorry to see some traditions go...others, I remember with melancholy, but I truly don't wish them back.

One of my most favorite Christmas memories was when Whitney was a baby.  She was born in August, so she was only 4 months old. She had woken up at 5 for a feeding and was asleep in my arms in front of the twinkling Christmas tree lights before anyone else woke up. 
We just sat there together...her, warm and snuggly and content
me, warm and snuggly and content too.

I've always tried to find peace.
Quiet and contemplation.
Peace of mind.
Peace of environment.
Peace in my thoughts.
Peace in my actions.
World peace.
Peace.

Wherever I go, I want it.
Peace is elusive.
Or is it.
Could it be there the whole time...until we look hard enough for it.

Lara Casey says in the chapter I'm reading today that Jesus never said, "Follow your dreams" or "Follow your heart."

He simply said
Follow. Me.

Are we trying to force peace?
It's probably time for us to realize that's not going to happen.
Peace isn't forced.
It can't be. 
Peace has to be a choice.
We make a choice even when we choose not to.
(My mother said this tonight in the car on the way back from dinner...I was full of pasta at the time and my brain felt mushy...but she's right.)
We all make choices.

I'm not in AA, but one of the steps of AA is to make amends to all those you've wronged.
I haven't wronged anyone per se...but I have not forgiven those who from my perspective have wronged me. 

The high school soccer coach who belittled my daughter in public bc she didn't understand what a panic attack was...and who now goes to my church.
The English teacher who assumed I knew choices were being made and called me out on it...even though I naively but truly had no idea what was going on.
The boss who overlooked my husband in favor of his best friend.
The friends who were friends but are now not.
The girls who were not good friends to my girls growing up.
(I'm beginning to realize as I get older that my girls could very well be these girls for others as well).
The young men in my daughters' lives who've not treated them well.

I'm sure we all have these lists.
I've spent a lot of time disliking these people, maybe even hating them.
A lot of energy has been wasted on people from the past.
I look for peace, but in these circumstances I have chosen not to find it.

8:51

Going forward, I'm choosing Peace.
I can't do that by myself.
I have to choose Him.
That in itself will be choosing Peace.



8:58

Discussions - the Mother Daughter Kind

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016
9:32 p.m.

I'm at my mom's tonight...with my oldest daughter. 
Our family is a happy one...with its quirks of course as are most families.
As my two oldest daughters 24 and 22 venture into adulthood, we are playing with roles to see where we are now almost daily.
Both have graduated from college and moved away
And then moved back again.
One moved away again.

While our adult children moving back in with us was certainly not our first choice, I've been making the best of it.  
As much as I can anyway.
It's hard to go home.
And I remember that just as much as anyone.  I moved back in at home for a few months before I got married.

We're dealing with our own stuff
aging
aching
wrinkles that weren't there yesterday...even though we swear they don't bother us
coming to the realization that at almost 50, we're thinking very seriously about retirement.

They're dealing with stuff we already dealt with.
starting life
what is life?
who will they start it with?
Will they ever find that someone?
They have college degrees...now what??
They didn't realize everything cost so damn much.

And then, there's the 12 year old, who's just happy to be here...
playing soccer
talking with friends
planning stuff
listening to music
leaving stuff all over the house
setting the table

Somehow, somewhere we meet.
It's difficult.
Some more than others.

9:40 p.m. (8)
Mom just walked in to comment on my pajama pants.

"What are you writing?" she asks.

11:55 p.m.

Mom just went back downstairs.
:)  

She spent a good bit of time up here with me going through old sweaters in her closet.  
Mom has been a self-sufficient woman for quite some time now and has always enjoyed a little shopping.
When she finds things she likes, she goes ahead and buys them in a couple of colors. 
That habit has created a surplus of certain items  as you can imagine.
Tonight we went through sweaters and discussed boots that she may or may not have given me a year or so ago.

She can describe the boots to a T and even describe the day she gave them to me, other items she gave me that day and the boxes the boots were in and where those boxes were placed.

I have no idea what she is talking about.

My oldest just called out to us from her bedroom at Mom's house to ask us if we knew that Debbie Reynolds died today.

I didn't know, but Mom did.

Mom said, "She was just a mom."



12:03 (16)

I was reading a book tonight by Lara Casey where she talks about truly loving unconditionally.
Just loving.
Giving, giving, giving, and giving some more.
No matter how it's received or whether or not you're ever thanked.
And even if you are not thanked, knowing that you really are.

I can't think of a better analogy for a mother daughter relationship.
Giving.
Giving.
Loving in ways authentic to the person doing the loving.
That love being accepted by the others...
Possibly not even really understanding.
But, not really caring whether or not you do understand.

To lose a mother
Or a daughter.
We have to someday...we know that.

12:09 (22)

That doesn't mean we have to like it.
Or that we're ever prepared for it...or even should be.



I think we'll take a picture like this tomorrow...
Don't you know that each of the mothers and the daughters cherished this photo?

12:14 (27)

Life is hard.
Some days are harder than others.
I'm pretty sure this is the way life is supposed to be.  
I hope so anyway.

12:17 (30)



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Princess is Dead

4:35 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016

"Shame is not something I aspire to."

Carrie Fisher said this in Sept. 2016.  
Carrie Fisher said a lot of things.
She was not a bullshitter
And it freed her.

As I was scrolling through my online friends' posts last night, I came across a post from someone who posted about her sobriety anonymously.  
Someone she knew had found her social media account and started following it...and she was freaking out. 
I get that.
I really do.
She was trying to decide whether to shut down her account completely, keep posting and being honest, or what?  

4:39
"post from someone who posted..." oh brother.

Sorry, English teacher disease wants me to go back and edit but I shall forge ahead through my 30 minute commitment to myself.

Oy

I don't share everything with everybody.
And this is exactly what I told her.
Each person has to decide what she is comfortable sharing and when. 
I don't think that's a decision anyone can or should make for someone else.

This journey...mental health...addiction...is a personal one.  So far I don't believe that there is a textbook version of the illness or recovery.  
Some people say we should share everything to help others.  And I see that point.  I do.
Which is why most of us in this galaxy far away choose to post somewhat publicly to begin with.
But the structure of that is shaped differently by the person on that journey...and should be.
Our sobriety is the most important thing.
Whatever it takes to protect that is what we have to do...
So, while we strive to help others...we can't do that if we don't take care of ourselves. 

I'm still learning.
I was scared to comment to others at first in fear that I would say something "wrong."
But, what if there isn't something wrong.
What if everything we have to say touches someone?
Not everybody.
But someone.
Doesn't that someone need to be reached as well?

Could it be possible that mental illness and addiction are so prevalent today because we try to apply rules...a script...imagine how it would feel to not follow the rules of mental illness...to not fit the characteristics of an addict even though you know you are one.
So now, you're not just messed up...you're really messed up.
You don't even fit the profile of a messed up messed up.
Yeesh.

4:48

So who do we tell?
Whoever we feel led to tell...whoever we want to tell, however we want to tell it, whenever we want to tell it.
And, then we don't tell it if we don't want to.
Period.

It's how I feel anyway.

4:50

When it comes down to it, the person is the one who has to come to terms.
The person lives it

5:02

Me.
My life





5:05


Monday, December 26, 2016

Tending


11:15 a.m. Monday, Dec. 26, 2016

I'm writing.
For 30 minutes.
Every day.
Y'all ready?

As much as I have loved Christmas, the peaceful, lighted, family at home, giving gifts, focusing on Jesus, I've had a hard couple of days as well.  
Two nights I've struggled to sleep.
Never in my entire life have I really struggled to sleep.  
I'm one of those people who can nap during the day (and I mean an hour at least) and then go to sleep at a normal time in the evening and sleep some more.

Normally a shot or two of tequila would take care of that just fine if and when it ever happened.
But, that's not an option anymore.
I choose for it not to be.

One thing that helps tremendously is the online communities I've not exactly joined...but am keeping an eye on just the same. 
At 3 a.m. this morning, as I scrolled through IG, I found several others who were struggling...not necessarily at the same time as me but posting about their struggles, the whys, the wherefores, and then other members of the community posted back in encouragement. 

My quiet husband, one incredible friend, and the online community that expects nothing from me in return have been my saving grace on many occasions. 

I have lots of goals for 2017, but I'm not going to stress myself out by trying to list them and check them off the list.  I will work through the goals as I can handle them. 

Today looks better.  I'm kindof off schedule just because I slept late since I didn't go to sleep till later, but that's ok too.

11:31 a.m. 
This is harder than I thought...:)  I have plenty to say...


11:41 a.m. 
Found picture of cat typing on the web...
See what I did there?  

The title of this post is tending bc one thing I'm going to try and do is "tend" to some things on a daily basis. 
I think that "tending" or having a live list of active things I can do will help me channel my energy to positive things rather than get bogged down in my brain and slip deeper and deeper into negative thoughts, anxious thoughts, and even the depression that has been finding me lately.

I truly believe one of the reasons I've been "feeling" so profoundly lately is because I no longer use a numbing medicine.
I feel it all.

In a weird way, alcohol is not necessarily my problem.
The depression and anxiety are.  The alcohol just exacerbated the problem.  
Just.
Alcohol so just exacerbated the problem that it also became a problem.  
So a domino effect I guess.

I have no idea.
I'm just typing.

11:48 a.m.

The alcohol made the feelings stop.
For a while.
But, truly, as packaged as it sounds, when the high of the alcohol wore off, those problems were still there...and it became apparent very quickly...that I was cultivating another problem on top of the already existing problem. 
Two very serious problems. 

Honestly, it's a wonder I'm still in one piece...and that I didn't lose a lot in the process.

Honestly.

I've read about so many women who've lost so much...are truly at a rock bottom that I cannot even fathom.
My own rock bottom was difficult enough...and still is. 
The guilt associated with how my drinking on an off for the last 10 years may have affected my daughters' lives is something I've got to come to terms with still.
Still.

Those relationships are still intact, but I wondered last night in all my late night pondering if it's time for me to let go a little more with the two oldest. 
They are young adults with their own dreams and plans...I need to let them live those dreams and plans a little more.
I have dreams and plans of my own, you see. 
And I need to quit worrying about how the past has affected them. 
 I can't do anything about that. 


Serenity.

12:00



Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mary, did you know? A Mother's Heart

I've had Mary on my mind all week.


I don't really know why...I guess it's normal to think about the mother of our Savior whose birth we are about to celebrate.  

But, my thoughts have been emotional.  As if Mary was someone I knew.

I know that some of my emotion stems from the first St. Jude Marathon I participated in last weekend.  That experience was so emotional that I haven't even been able to really write out my thoughts. 

My Advent devotion this morning focused on Mary.
Mary was a "nobody."
Truly, she was.
There was nothing special about her. 
If she had put in her resume to become the mother of the Savior of the world, she would not have been "qualified."

But, God chose her.
Above all women.
God chose Mary.

Could it be because He knew of her inner strength?
Could it be because He knew she would be obedient?
Could it be because He knew she was faithful?
Could it be because He knew she would be willing?

Could it be because all that was inside Mary was more important than any accolades, awards, publications, medals, certificates, and even experience?

Mary wasn't perfect.
None of us are.
Mothers give ourselves a hard time a lot of the time.
Can you even imagine the pressure Mary must have felt?
Can you?

She carried the Savior of the world in her body.
She gave birth to Him in a manger.
She took care of Him as a child and as a young boy, realizing perhaps the day she and Joseph found Him talking with religious leaders in the temple as a pre-teen, that He truly was meant for more than to be her son.

I believe Mary's strength shone through more at that moment than any other.
Why?
Because at that moment she realized that she would truly, without a doubt, be giving her child back to God.
In order for the world to be saved, she had to give Him back.
Give. Him. Back.

As I was thinking about Mary and today's Advent devotion, I then shifted over to Instagram and read the story of Steve and Savanna Tate and their son Hayes.

Steve and Savanna had to give Tate back to the Lord just yesterday.
Tate was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer before his first birthday.  
He endured treatments, documented by his hopeful family in the hopes of bringing awareness to childhood cancers.
 His family hoped that he would be cured.
They hoped that Hayes fate would not be what they knew in their hearts.

Sadly, he was not.
Hayes lived a brief 20 months and is survived by his triplet brother and sister, and older brother and sister as well as his mom and dad.  

I cannot even begin to imagine their pain.
All I can think of is a raw wound, pulsing inside of my body...an inability to breathe, and numbness.

How do you give your child back?

How did Mary do it?

When He was 12, the fact that the Bible indicates that she was confused to find Jesus in the temple, leads me to believe that she very probably had forgotten or chose to forgot that her son was meant for more than an earthly existence.

She then had 20+ years to ponder that...to know that His death was coming. 
She was human, so I know she felt the pain.  
I know she wished His death to not be real.  
I know she felt numb and raw.
She wanted to keep her child as any mother would want to do.
She had to ask, "Is there no other way, Lord?"

Savanna Tate posted this photo:


The Tates knew when Hayes cancer returned shortly after his treatment ended, that they were bringing their son home to die.
"Is there no other way, Lord?"

Mary knew she was giving birth to her son to die.
She was reminded of that fact when Jesus was 12 in the temple.
Once His public ministry began when He was 30, what she had more than likely hoped would not have to come to fruition, was indeed inevitable. 
And once Jesus was arrested and abused, her mother's heart must have suffered so right along with her son.


Jesus loved Mary too.
His final concern on the cross was for her welfare.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son."  Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
John 19:26-27

"John, take care of my mom."
"Mom, John is going to take care of you. Don't worry."

I'm praying fervently this morning for Savanna Tate.  
She has lost a child and has a husband and five other children who are also mourning Hayes.
Hayes was not the Savior of the world, but his mother's heart reminds me of Mary.

Savanna will go on...just as Mary did.
Holding strong to their mothers' hearts and their faith.

Through Mary, God chose us, all these generations later.  Out of her obedience and willingness, the miracle we long for has already come to us. 
Kris Camealy, Come, Lord Jesus

Oh, Mary.
Did you know?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving is Christmas Maybe.




I spend the day after Thanksgiving in my pjs.
And yesterday was no different.

As evident in the picture above, Layla and Zeke spent the day after Thanksgiving recovering from their Thanksgiving panic attack at having so many strangers (to them) in our house.

I'm not a Black Friday shopper at all, and I host Thanksgiving, so I take the day after just for me. 
I went to bed around 8:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving and slept until 10:00 a.m. on Black Friday and then just piddled around all day in the house. 

Piddling is my favorite, y'all...and I can easily get caught up in it.  My ability to do nothing and enjoy it may come from the fact that I was an only child for 11 years and learned to entertain myself.  
I'm not afraid of being by myself; I actually need it sometimes. 

When I got up yesterday, I took the dogs out and just laughed at my backyard.
The number of kids at our house on Thanksgiving increases each year, and they may have outnumbered the adults this year.
It certainly looked that way in my backyard.
But, here's the thing. 
I laughed.
I really did.

The irony that my backyard looked like we hosted a fraternity party did not escape me...but I laughed.

I have a peace.
A peace that I'm on the right track.
A peace that at this moment, today, I'm doing what God wants me to do.
Now, that doesn't mean that peace won't fluctuate...don't get me wrong...but for right now, there is peace.

My brother-in-law said Thanksgiving should be our Christmas.  When we all come together to enjoy each other and our families without the gifts and the pressure and the noise and the chaos surrounding a holiday that has become anything but what it was intended, that is our Christmas.

So Thanksgiving is Christmas?

Maybe.

So what does that mean?

I have no idea.

But, I'm going to be thinking about it for quite some time.








Monday, November 21, 2016

I launched y'all!!

I did it. 
I launched!!
I've decided that I am going to follow where I feel the Lord is leading me in this season of my life. 

Wide Awake Wellness is my new ministry.  
Instagram is my main launching point right now, and if you want to find me there, I'm at @wideawakewellness

My blog isn't going to change...it's still going to be the deeper parts of me.  
I feel safer here than anywhere probably.  
Right now the only people who are here are strangers pretty much.  I'm not quite ready to go blaring my soul everywhere all the time...yet.  

My life changed in May this year.
6 months ago, I stopped drinking and recommitted my life to Christ.  I didn't make any big announcements because that's just not me.  I do have a co-worker who is a recovering alcoholic who has been pivotal in my decision to stop drinking and to deal with my anxiety and depression wide awake...hence the name of my ministry. 

I was so afraid for so long to talk about it...I think over the last 5 years of this blog I have very definitely alluded to the problems. 
I was so scared to just say it.  
When I launched this weekend, I can't tell you how freeing it was.
To just say I'm a recovering alcoholic.

That's the scariest sentence I've every typed, y'all.
But, I typed it.

Sure did.
Now that all my secrets are the light, I'll be here more often.  
No promises about how often, type of content, organization, etc...it's taken me 6 months to get to here...to actually call It what It is.
The stopping drinking, however, was the easy part (in comparison).

Dealing with the causes of my drinking...anxiety and depression...are not easy at all...please notice I used a present tense verb there.
Drinking was simply a way to push back the real issues...to numb them...to put them off...to NOT deal with them.

But, I am dealing now.
Everyday.

I don't always do it well...
But, I am dealing.

Thank you, Lord for you unending, unconditional mercy and grace.
Not sure where I would be without it.

I'm ok.
I really am.

So very much to be thankful for this holiday season!!



Friday, October 7, 2016

Still Haven't Jumped

I don't feel like writing this morning...I feel like sleeping.
I'm truly already looking forward to the nap I'm planning to take after work.

Today should be a fairly easy day. 
We will actually have office time today due to a math competition that is taking over our building.
My plan is to close my office door and work in peace and quiet.
I need to do lots of organizing, grading, and check things off my checklist.

We'll see how that goes.

I had a pretty intense conversation with Kendal yesterday. 
In a Runner's World interview that I listened to yesterday, Kristen Armstrong brought up a quote..."You are only as happy as your unhappiest kid."  Yikes.
Both my older girls are struggling some.  
This blog serves as my story and not theirs so I won't go into details here.  But, suffice to say, they have both graduated from college and are a little stalled in the adult world. 
"Am I an adult?"
"Am I a kid?"
"Look at those silly college freshmen!"
"Look at those old people."
"Where am I?"
"I want to be like the groups of young adults on Friends or How I Met Your Mother, or The Big Bang Theory."

By their age, I was married.
I had a college degree, full time job, and was an adult female, teacher, wife in pretty much all sense of the words.
But they are somewhere in between...and I'm struggling to help them take the next steps.
Whatever those steps may be.  

I see them spinning their wheels.
They are so hesitant to forge on. 
Neither is in a situation she wants to be in, yet neither can even imagine taking the first step to making change.

And, then it hit me.
Wonder where they get this hesitancy from?
Oh boy.

I still haven't jumped.
I want my decision to be a perfect one.
I want a guarantee.
I want to be able to change my mind and come back to this comfortable spot if things don't work out better.
I like my comfortable spot.
But I really don't.
It's just safe.
Somewhat.
But, not really.

Why am I still waiting?
Why are they still waiting?

Stepping out is scary.
Very scary.

I'm gonna need another cup of coffee.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me...Selfie Style


I posted this selfie on Instagram last night as a part of an online wellness accountability group I'm loving!

Before I posted, y'all don't know how I anguished over this photo...which photo to use...from the video I shot during the last 5 minutes of my yoga session.
Do I look fat?
Do I look old?
Will I embarrass my daughters?
What will people think?
Will people think I've gone kooky?
Will people try to figure out what's wrong with me all of a sudden?

Seriously.
I spent more time contemplating this one post than I did with the actual post. 

After I posted, guess what I did. 
I came back several times to see who liked it.
"Several times" is an understatement. 

In this Truth Telling and Posting season I'm in, I'm not supposed to care about who "likes" my posts.

Why is it easier to write anonymously than for all the world to see...
well, not all the world...but you know...

I couldn't share this post on FB.  I just couldn't.  
Instagram is public...but not as public as FB...yikes.

I contemplated sharing it on FB this morning...but I couldn't.  
I'm going to think about this all day.  
Analyzing the analysis of the analysis...that's me.
While it is what it is and I surely need some work...the constant analysis is a part of me.
Who I am.
I'm not going to apologize for it anymore.

Happy 48th Birthday to me!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Transformation, Truth, Post

I'm transforming, y'all.

I can feel it.

I'm coming out of a 7-10 day funk which pulls me down each month...or so.  

I say each month or so bc I'm 48...or will be tomorrow. 

While I've struggled my whole life with anxiety and depression (I didn't want to use the D word, but I'm owning it today since I'm telling the Truth), 5-7 days every few months it hits me hard...when I say hard, I mean like concrete blocks tied to my feet and sinking into the water hard.

See what I did there?
Scared ya a little, didn't I?
I scare myself sometimes too.

This depression is obviously related to hormones...obviously, right?
So, why didn't I talk to my ob-gyn about it on my last visit?

Notice how I didn't cap the letters on ob-gyn...that's on purpose.
My ob-gyn was all excited about me when he got to do surgery.
But, now I'm just an old woman, going through life changes that don't necessarily bring in any income for him. 
I'm not exciting.
I'm not pregnant...Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow.
I don't have anything that needs to be taken out via surgery.
I'm not willing to go the route of a hysterectomy.
I'm just boring me.
You should see how quickly he dismisses me.

In his defense, he's a man.
He has no clue.
I also have no idea about the stressors in his own life...because you know, doctors are people too, right?

It's past time to switch doctors.
It's time to have that conversation.
Are my current meds working?
How do I ride out this very normal season of my life without digging a hole and climbing in?

One way I've fought for the last few months is through discipline and obedience.
I'm making time for quiet time in the mornings. Period. First thing.  Before anything else.
I'm drinking a delicious superfood smoothie everyday.  
I'm taking my vitamins...natural iron supplements so I can keep my eyes open all day long (except when I'm napping) and digestive health bc the iron sometimes upsets my tummy.
I'm exercising...I've cut my runs to 3 times per week after a hamstring scare.
I have to run the St. Jude's Marathon on Dec. 3...I don't have time for a hamstring mess up.
On non-run days, I do something else...I have a collection of 30 minute workouts that I choose from.  
I trick myself into doing these workouts by telling myself I'm helping my kid.  
Cool trick, right?  Because we moms will help everybody else before we help ourselves, right?

I'm leaving my office everyday asap.
My job is such that I don't have to sit in my office all day...I realize how lucky this is.
My job is toxic for me.  At best.  That isn't so lucky.  But, I do realize that I'm not the only one in the world who feels this way.
I've started my resume.
Yes, started.
Heavy sigh here.
This is the "jump" I referred to here.
It's almost as if I'm scared to put the finishing touches on it because then I have to send it somewhere.
Yikes.

I'm not spending everyday at the animal shelter.  That environment and some of the people involved had also become toxic for me...notice I said PEOPLE and not the ANIMALS.
That's a whole other post.

I'm spending more purposeful time with my family.
Whitney and I are trying to move some every day...in a variety of ways. 
She's a little like her mama and needs to be entertained, so I'm doing my best here.
I'm enjoying the commute time with Reagan.  We talk, sing, carry on, act silly, "discuss" new cell phones...yeah...this kid, y'all, she needs to be a lawyer bc she can argue until you're just so exhausted with the conversation that you beg her to stop.
I'm making time to see Kendal each week...usually for snacks...or gas...or groceries...or whatever...
The husband still probably isn't getting the time he deserves...and I'm really just kindof realizing that as I type.  
This telling the truth stuff is really something.

I'm structuring my days more.  
I'm not using my planner and planning as playtime anymore...I'm using it purposefully...what MUST be done today, goals, time schedule...etc.
Calendaring is a work in progress for me.  I NEED structure...but I don't always like it.  

I still need a nap most days, but yesterday, I really felt as if I could take one or not. 
I took one.
Ahem.

We're eating cleaner...and limiting fast food.  
This is fun...and I find myself not wanting some of the mess we used to eat.  Just the other day I was on my way to Hattiesburg and needed something to eat...poor planning that day...I wheeled in and out of several places because I could not even FORCE what was served at a variety of establishments sound good to me...even though I was really really hungry. 

I usually keep peanut butter, bananas, and bread in my office for such occasions. 
Don't judge.

I'm blogging again.
Intermittently.
But, that's ok because this space is mine.
All mine.
I'm even ok that my old followers have dropped off.
This isn't a book blog anymore.
Indeed.

I have 8 more minutes to type.  I've looked at the clock several times.
I'm just typing away.
What else is there to say?

I have enjoyed slowly adding back a few of the bloggers I felt I really got to know in the daily blogging season.  Many of them have shifted their blogs as well...if not left them quiet for a while.  
I don't know if they're coming back.

I'll tell you one person who makes me laugh almost every single day...and that's Jenny Larson. 
I read one of her books while waiting on Mom at the cancer clinic last summer...and I snorted out loud...surrounded by cancer patients.
I got a few not so nice glances during that phase...even from my mom at a certain point.
Can't you read something depressing while we're in this depressing place??
Can't we just be sad and depressed all the time?
Is that too much to ask?
For Larson, it is.
Larson's blog will go quiet sometimes, and it's usually when she's struggling.  
I get that.
It happens.
Even to those with bestselling books.
But, she always re-surfaces.
And makes me snort.
Don't go there if you are easily offended by language bc she's a doozy in that category...but she's just being honest.  She's just sharing Truth.  
Her Truth.
Don't we all have our own Truth?
And, aren't we entitled to own that Truth?

I am.
I know I am.











Monday, October 3, 2016

Tell the Truth...and hit POST.



I listened to a podcast interview with Glennon Doyle Melton last night on my way home from Birmingham. 

Elizabeth Gilbert was the interviewer.

The interview, in Gilbert's own words, was a "Benediction" for the closing of her 2nd season of "Big Magic."

These two are BFFs so to say it was an interview that was soul reaching would put it mildly at best. 

Back in ye old book reviewing days, Gilbert's book was one that really hit home with me and I vowed to read more like it.

I've always liked reading.  Always.
But, I like writing too.

I teach writing.
So why is it so hard to write.

Sometimes the words just flow.
When I'm typing with something heavy on my mind and not in the least bit worried about what anyone else will think.

But, when I was book blogging, writing became almost a chore...reading too.
What was I going to read next?
Which book review would I accept next?
Which TBR would I conquer next?
Who would I try to make happy next?
Even though my Book Review policy said that my opinions were my own, I was frightened sometimes to write what I really felt.
Who really cared about what I felt?

But, sometimes the words don't flow.
A lot of times that flow ceases because I'm trying to force the words.
Because I feel like my writing is playing.
I should be doing laundry or grading essays.
Not twiddling away my precious time with writing.

Melton told Gilbert that when she first started writing, she got up at 4:30 every morning and wrote...in a closet.
I immediately wanted my own writing closet.
Can you even imagine?

I Googled pictures of writing closets, but I couldn't find one that looked like mine would.
My writing closet would be big enough that the clothes hanging would not touch me.
Yet, not so big that there is so much air around me to feel a draft.
I would want my clothes to sortof envelope me.
Not that I worship my clothes or anything, but it's kindof like the big fluffy robe I wear no matter what temp it is outside.
Sometimes I have to jack down the AC so I can wear my robe...but hey, it works.

I saw many pics of writing closets with the writer's back exposed.
I don't want that either.
I would need to face the opening.
No idea why on this one.

Obviously the idea of a writing closet is to pull the writer away from any and all possible distraction.
I need that.

The other Melton tidbit that stuck with me is that she wrote for a certain amount of time and then clicked
POST.

'Scuse me, what?

Melton says, the response isn't part of the writer's job.
The creativity, the writing...that's where the writer's job ends.
What others think of it?
How others respond?
Not the writer's problem.
I took a blogging break for a while...as I started dealing with some pretty serious issues in my life.  I'm still dealing with those...day by day...
I disabled all comments and even blocked out readers for a while...and it was very freeing to write, knowing that the space was only mine again.
I'm ready to venture back out.
Maybe.
Slowly.
We'll see.
No promises.

I saved Melton and Gilbert's podcast.
I'll be debriefing this one for a while I think.

I'm hitting post, y'all.
This should be interesting.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Analyzing the Analysis...better known as Overthinking...Hesitancy to Jump.

"I have lived entirely too much of my life hesitant.  I'm a ponderer, an analyzer, a girl who rearranges thoughts and things to be more orderly.  I'd like for all life's events to line up with quite a bit of predictability so that I can sense my people and I are headed in the general direction of joy and peace.
I crave for life to make sense. 
I cringe when it doesn't." (53)


I have an issue right now.
Surprise Surprise.

It's something I've been thinking about for a while but just in the last month have gotten very serious about.  
I've taken some initial steps towards resolving this issue...

but I just don't seem to be able to JUMP.

Of all the hesitant people in the world, I bet I would win a prize.  
I have a lot of trouble jumping. 

Wait a minute, you say.
Weren't you the lady who posted about Trust previously?

Yep, that's me. 
I trust. 
But I can't jump.  

I know, I know...sounds like a trust issue.

Yeesh.

I exhaust myself. 

The what ifs get me every time.

What if changing directions affects my youngest daughter?
What if changing directions affects my middle daughter?
What if changing directions affects my oldest daughter?
What if changing directions affects my husband?

Here's what hard for me to get...or maybe I get it...I just can't act upon it:

Changing directions or not changing directions is going to affect us all.
Yes, I've prayed about this.
And, guess what?
I believe God is nudging me towards changing directions.

So why can't I jump?

My brain says, "What if you are making yourself think God is nudging you?"
"What if you are just making this look the way it does?"
"What if you jump...and you're wrong?"
"What if jumping is really the worst thing you could do?"

Trust.
It's hard y'all.

Which is why I think maybe I'm not supposed to TRY to trust.
I'm supposed to just TRUST.
And JUMP.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; 
he leads me beside still waters; 
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name's sake.
Psalm 23:1-3

TRUST and JUMP






Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Banging the Gavel...with no winner...Seeking Him First

When I opened TerKeurst's Uninvited this morning, the title of the chapter slapped me..."Friendship Breakups."



Ok, God, I'm listening...squirming while listening...but listening.

Remember the other day when I wrote about "toxic" people?

Me too.

I once considered this person as a friend.  In our current circumstances, I cannot delete her as a contact yet...but I have plans to do so.  
As a matter of fact, I have said more than once that once our current mutual circumstances are complete, I hope to never hear her name again or for our paths to cross.  

My head is bowed in shame now. 

I have spoken quite cruelly of her...and not just to one or two other people...
but I don't think I've ever prayed for her.  
I could check my prayer journal, but that might just be me trying to build my case a bit more...I'm right and she's wrong.

Yikes.
This chapter really hit home.

She is not my enemy.
And I am not hers.

TerKeurst suggests making a list of 3 things this person does well...so here goes: 

1.  loves dogs
2.  can find money when our organization needs it
3.  jumps into a committed project with vehemence
4.  focused

LOOK!! I NAMED FOUR!!! 

When I was reading this section of the chapter, I thought...there is no way I can come up with 3 positive things about this person who I have many times wished to delete.  
Who has made me FEEL so freaked out (more than a few times) that I wanted to back away from an organization so dear to my heart just so I wouldn't have to be around her anymore.

Before I start listing out things she's done to me, I'll stop right here and remember that this isn't supposed to be easy.  
And that this is one friendship that there is probably not enough balm in Gilead to salvage this relationship.

Even though I realize this is an area of my life that needs healing, that doesn't mean reading and trying to apply this chapter is going to mend this relationship.
That's the reality.

But if, and I feel sure when, we end our friendship and shift to acquaintances...and I feel very strongly that is where we will shift to...my own soul needs to get here.  
I'm not in charge.
God is.  
I have to be obedient to Him and let Him handle the rest. 

I'm not the authority on what's wrong with this person nor what she needs to do to fix her life. 
And she's not the authority on what's wrong with me nor what I need to do to fix my life.

God is.

My job is to be obedient.  
Period.

"Living loved" and "bringing the fullness of God" into any situation is the only way to get to the place where we can have peace in a situation that doesn't have a storybook ending." TerKeurst (72)

My job is to seek Him.
First.
The rest is His.



Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Eating 3 More Slices of Bread

"I sit back as an observer and end my attempts at connecting by eating three more slices of bread."
TerKeurst, Uninvited (44).



The situation yesterday resolved itself...sortof...

One of the most difficult things I do every single day of my life is let go and let stuff resolve itself.  And "resolved itself" is probably the wrong choice of words
Nothing in life "resolves itself."
Amen.

I have known the power of living in the Lord Jesus Christ since I was 15 years old.  
I'm 47.
Letting go is still the hardest thing I do every minute of every day. 
Maybe the phrase "I do" is key here.
When I try to let go, it doesn't work.  
I want it, I need it, here's why I should have it, It's the right thing, here's why it's the right thing, Don't you see, God?  Here's why this thing I want should be what you want for me.  Ok, let's do this together.  

There's no logic.
My brain is not logical. 
My brain is a big ole scatterbox that much of the time is hanging on by a thread. 
There are literally times of the day that I am truly "hanging."

That's anxiety.

Anxiety tries to block God.
But God's not going to be blocked by anxiety or anything else for that matter.
Now, God has created some excellent doctors and excellent meds to help keep my physical brain in check...and I take them.
Lord knows I take them.
But, I still have to do the work.

Another thing about being Wide Awake is the realization that I've wasted a lot of time.
Life isn't easy, and there are no practice runs in life.
I'm not wasting any more time.

Toby Mac running through my brain right now...




See how my brain did that?

Happens all the time.

I cried about the situation at work.  I prayed.  I talked about it.  I contemplated my next steps.  I napped about it. (Another very important strategy.)  I also ate about it...tailgate food at church...and a big old piece of Mississippi Mud cake.  Did I mention this yesterday? 

I ate about it.

While I am not considered overweight...and am somewhat a healthy person who tries to make healthy decisions most of the time, I can get sidetracked in a hurry by stress and grab the nearest bowl (or two) of Froot Loops to help ease the pain.

Sugar and Carbs, yes indeed.

I read TerKeurst's book Made to Crave and was blown away by the similarities of weight problems with addiction and anxiety.



I can't drink. 

I think I've already said that.
And I'm sure I'll say it again.
(It actually helps to see those words in print by the way.)

As I read Made to Crave, I couldn't get over my subconscious propension to substitute the word "alcohol" in for every sentence, every paragraph where TerKeurst talks about food's effects on her life.  

Part of my anxiety right now with this issue at work is that I'm living life "wide awake"...for the first time in about 10 years...on and off.
So every anxious thought feels even worse than it is...which is what anxiety does under normal circumstances.
  But now, I'm actually feeling it instead of numbing it.  

I spent two hours with Jesus yesterday morning.
Because that's what it took to be able to trust and go.
While wide awake.

"Letting go of every single dream...
I lay each one down at your feet..."

Lauren Daigle in the house...


Squirrel ;)

"When You don't move the mountains
I'm needing You to move.
When You don't part the waters
I wish I could walk through. 
When You don't give the answers
As I cry out to you, 
I will Trust
I will Trust
I will Trust in You"

The words of the song are easy to type...easy to say...easy to believe...but not so easy when the world comes crashing in...as it will every single day.

There is no magic formula.
And just because I live a life with Jesus, doesn't mean I won't have problems and I won't get rocked by the world...again almost every single day.

But if I'm rooted in Jesus, when the world rocks, I will sway, I can cling, I might lose some leaves...or even branches...but I will stand.  
I will hold on.  
Not of my own strength...but of His.
Wide awake.

Thank you, Lord...for hanging on with me. I don't have to live in fear of rejection.
I can step forward in life, knowing you are always with me.


Galatians 5:22-25
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.