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.


























Thursday, September 15, 2016

Living Loved



Chapter 3 of Lysa TerKeurst's book Uninvited was written for me, y'all.

I'm not even playin'

I had a situation at work yesterday that rocked me. 
I left work feeling rejected and even described myself as the stepchild.  
By the time I got in my car, I had imagined all kinds of scenarios where the entire campus was conspiring against me. 
As if.

I cried in my car and sent a long text to my husband...who didn't reply right away because...well...he never does. 
So at least I don't take that personally.
Sometimes.

My question to him at the end of that text was something to the effect of "How do I know what God wants me to do?" 
When he responded, his response was simple, strong, sure, and comforting.
Not long, drawn out, overanalyzing every nook and cranny, every facet of the situation...
just simple...
and true.
Just like him. 
God sent him to me, you know. 

As tiredness seeped in, those feelings of rejection returned.
Why me.
I've been trying so hard.
I've been killing myself trying hard.
Why don't they like me?
Why am I being punished?

Guess what? 
Not only am I probably imagining all the conspiracy against me and "feelings" about me, but could it be that I'm not being punished?
Could it be that God putting on the breaks FOR me is His way of pulling me back to Him even more. 
Could it be Him nudging me toward something else?

Is it possible that things we perceive as "bad" aren't really that bad after all?  
Could "bad" things possibly be used for our good?  If only we look at them through God's eyes?

Step back, Patti.  This change.  
This change is in the world.
He wants me more with Him than with the world.  
This change gives me more opportunity with Him instead of the world.  

How does He always know what we need?
And why do I always fight Him when I know He knows what I need?

It took me 2 hours in quiet time this morning to come to that resolution...that I already knew.  

The Lord your God is in your midst, 
a mighty one who will save; 
he will rejoice over you with gladness; 
he will quiet you by his love; 
he will exult over you with loud singing
Zephaniah 3:17

He will quiet me by His love, y'all.
Me. 
Quiet.

"It's settling in my soul, I was created by God, who formed me because He so much loved the very thought of me.  When I was nothing, He saw something and declared it good.  Very good. And very loved."
Lysa TerKeurst (40)






Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Managing

God and I are managing this monster pretty well together so far. 
Actually He's managing; I'm just hanging on for the journey. 
And I mean that in the most positive way. 
Why is it so hard for us to just let go?

He's the King of the World, for goodness sake.


I love this song...love it. 
It helps me renew each day why I follow Jesus. 
I've tried it on my own. 
It doesn't work. 
I can't be good enough.
I can't follow the rules enough.
I can't earn Grace.
It doesn't work that way. 
Grace.
Not earned.
Given.
Freely.

We are called to return that Grace.
We are to love as we have been loved and to extend Grace even to those who do not deserve it. 
To the most aggravating, spiteful, mean spirited, folks in the world...you know, the ones who just plain get on our nerves just by their existence. 

We don't have to be best friends with them.
But, we have been instructed to love them. 
Just as we have been loved. 

It's not our way.  It's His.

I'm not afraid. 
I'm grateful.
My life is saved.
Jesus never gives up on us. 
And we are to extend that same Grace in return. 

I like to use a capital G for Grace.  
Because it's a capital kind of word.

Lord knows I've needed it time and time again.
And will still need it. 
But God and me...
We got this.

With Him in the lead.




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Toxicity

I know toxic people.

Do you?

I allowed one of these toxic people to affect just about the entire last month.  

I had just returned from a beach trip with my mom where we sat on the deck reading our Bibles and devotional books and enjoying God's creation around us.

My first day back, with a full spirit, I attended a meeting with this person. 

Only to be verbally attacked.  
In front of a group of my peers whose respect I covet.

I had the breath knocked out of me, y'all.



I saw stars, my breathing increased, my heart was racing, and at one point of the "conversation," I pushed my chair back to get up and walk out of the room.

And, then I stopped.  

I put my head down and gave in.  
Whatever.
I'm not going to fight you.
You win.
I lose.
You're right.
I'm wrong.

But, then, something else unexpected happened.
The rest of the group agreed with me.  
They realized the toxicity of this person as well.
And that her points were not intended for the good of our cause.  

I still didn't win.
I still wasn't right. 
because
My brain was scrambled.
For a month.

How ridiculous is that?
Do you think the meeting even crossed her mind again?
Probably not. 

But, I allowed this incident, with this woman, get in the way of my happiness 
For. A. Month.

I'm reading Lysa Terkeurst's book Unglued.



There's so much truth there.

So much truth.

I am the epitome of someone who comes unglued.

The fact that I'm still thinking and writing about this confrontation over a month later is proof positive of my unglued status.

Terkeurst reminds me that God doesn't expect me to be perfect (thank goodness).

He expects me to trust Him and strive each day to be an example of the love, grace, and mercy that he bestows upon me.

That's hard to do sometimes.

Especially for someone like me.

I'm fully able to accept His grace, so I should give that same energy back to others in my life who may or may not deserve it.

I don't deserve it.

But, He gives it freely to me anyway.

Amen.



Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:6-9








Monday, August 8, 2016

Dark Thirty

I'm up at dark thirty trying to figure out what our morning routine will be this fall.

I'm still in my pjs and robe if that gives you any indication of how this contemplation is going so far.  

Oy.

I do this every August by the way...and January...but mostly in August. 

I'm missing a lot of time in my day though...and that loss has been nudging me.  

I'm better in the mornings anyway.

After work and especially evenings, I'm exhausted and can't wait to get into bed.

We've gotten way off routine during the summer as do most folks, but the staying up late, on phones till all hours, and then sleeping in ends today.  

I always get a week or 2 to just be Mom before my fall begins, so here I am again, contemplating how to make this machine of our lives run a little smoother.

I am not a morning person by nature, but I experimented with mornings for a while last year to attend a 5:15 a.m. Spin class. 

Loved it.

Then the place closed.

Yep.  

So, I went back to sleeping as long as possible in the am and jumping out of bed at the last minute, rushing around, throwing things in bags, wet hair or pulled back into a ponytail most of the time.  

There's got to be a better way.

Therefore.....that's where dark thirty comes in.  

My middle daughter and I were planning to run, yet even at an hour past dark thirty, it is still dark outside...and that's only going to get worse.

We're on Plan B already.  Day 1.

My life.

Dark thirty may be a good time to write. 

Could be.

I can sit in my darkened bedroom and type on my laptop and not bother or be bothered by anyone or anything else.

I'm learning this as I type.  

Isn't that cool??  





Monday, August 1, 2016

Cha Cha Changes

I've been contemplating some changes.

I've been a little hesitant to post about all of those changes, the details, and the specifics.

The whys, the wheres, and the whereforeartthous.

I'm not sure why.

But, here goes nothing.

On May 19, I knew something had to give.



Something had to change.

Something had to stop.

I was dying inside.

I could feel it everyday when I opened my eyes.

Am I still here?

What will today be like?

Good day, bad day, in-between day?

If it's a good day, how long will the good last?

Depression and anxiety are no joke.

Baptise that with alcohol and you've got a mess.

A serious one.

I knew in college that I could not be a drinker.

I learned that lesson the hard way.

For many many years, I happily abstained.

Until 10 years ago, when I convinced myself, amidst life's pressures, that a drink or two every now and again would be fine.

10 years.

For 10 years, the alcohol numbed the anxiety.

Numb.

That's what I wanted, and that's what I got.

But, alcohol is a depressant.

I essentially just fueled the fire.

Until I couldn't breathe anymore.

At all.

I'm breathing now.

And still contemplating where to go from here.

Contemplation is good :)


"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock."  Matthew 7:24-25



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Imperfect Progress

I'm slowly learning to put my trust where it belongs.
In the quiet.
Not the chaos.
Reading.
Writing.
Contemplation.
They are me.

I am me. 
Imperfect.
But me.
God made me.
God loves me. 
Just as I am.

I am learning.
To Feel.
To See.
To Experience.
My eyes are wide open.

Because of Grace.
Grace that never fails.
Never runs out.
Is unconditional.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7





Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando

Mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15


"Church - do not be paralyzed or silent. This is what we do."
Jennie Allen


I don't understand hate.  
At all.

I can't hate even the people I dislike the most.

And, I would never wish evil upon them.

Under any circumstances.

I don't know what the answers are. 

What I do know is that love wins.

It does.

It will.  

I believe that with every fiber of my being.

Even clawing my way back from the fog, I know love wins.

Amen.






Thursday, June 9, 2016

Social Media

A lady on Facebook aggravated me this morning.

In the middle of my quiet time.

I spent at least 30 minutes of my precious morning trying to be respectful and diplomatic when I really wanted to scream.

The lady posted publicly to the shelter's FB page, so I had to respond.

Didn't I?

I did.

It's a part of my job.

Letting her invade my private space and time alone is not a part of my job.

I didn't get to run either bc I wasted so much time responding to dumb lady.

And, now I'm giving her blog time as well.

I'm still not fixed.

But, at least I didn't scream at her.

That's good, right?

I'm trying, Lord, I'm really trying.


"Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue."
Proverbs 17:28