Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve. Today there is a lump in my throat. I've been thinking back on where I was last Christmas, and how far I've come since then.

Last year I sat in a Christmas Eve service and wept while a pastor asked everyone to hug their spouses. I sat there abandoned and alone. This year there is someone my heart loves. Someone who loves my heart back.

Last year I had nothing to give my children. Some incredible saints from Riverside provided a nice Christmas for them. This year, though it wasn't much, I was able to play Santa myself.

Last year I was in a state of shock, reeling, and wondering what to do next. This year, I'm full of possibilities and new horizons, wondering what will happen next.

I'm reminded that I, all of us for that matter, are mere seconds, a devastating conversation, just one unwelcome revelation away from shattering grief. Last Christmas I was experiencing a shatter. This Christmas, I'm admiring the pieces that are coming back together.

But one thing remains the same. Last Christmas, even in my blinding grief, I celebrated the birth of the One who gives me hope. And this year is no different. I may be more whole, I may feel less pain, but I need Him no less, and cherish His coming just as intensely as ever.

Jesus is born! He was born for crazy, worthless, undeserving me. He never changes and that makes all the difference.

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Still Me

I'm sitting alone in my home, in utter silence. Kids are at their dad's for the weekend, and I'm alone. Moving to Florida has bought me this alone time. I knew it would, and was afraid of it, too. But it's not so bad, actually. It's kind of wonderful.

Good news, I wrote today. Well, I'm writing now, obviously. But earlier today I wrote creatively out of something my heart is passionate over. It was a poem. A poem of love, actually, if you must know. I find the fact that I wrote extremely comforting.

So many things in my life are being redefined right now. I've stepped away from traditional church. I've stepped out of all extra curricular responsibilities. I've moved home, to a place of slow, quiet, easy life. (Slow, quiet, and easy are not my normal cup of tea in case you haven't noticed.) I've fallen in love with someone nobody expected me to love. I didn't expect it either, for the record, but it's so there. (dreamy sigh) I'm making choices and carving out a new life. I'm sorting out right and wrong and yes and no and I will and I won't. Taking some, leaving others. And in the midst of all that, I guess I'm just glad to feel the familiar old spark of something in my heart... a spark that gets hotter until it becomes a phrase, then a sentence, then a succession of ideas until it spills out through my tears into a completed work.

Hopefully the benefactor of this work will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed bringing it forth.

What only I will be able to enjoy, however, is the comfort of the fact that though I'm being me in different ways than I ever expected, and my life is taking on different characteristics than I planned, I'm still me. And Still me. (as in me being still) I'm still in here loving God, loving life, and there is still hope and joy and emotion stirring deep in me.

And enjoy it, I will. Right now, I believe. Along with a beverage of my choice.

Cheers!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Random Stuff

Here are some things I've found quite enjoyable:

I ordered a box of calendars as Christmas giveaways for work. My calendars came in, and on the outside of the box the words were printed: DATED MATERIAL INSIDE. HA HA HA!! Get it? It gave me a chuckle!!

Late last night my phone rang. It was a Certain Someone on the other end. He said "Just wanted to tell you I love you." That's all. I love phone calls like that.

Today I ate lunch at my kids' school. For now, and I know this time is SO fleeting, but for now I'm cool to my kids. They were proud to have me with them. I loved it.

Happy things abound in my life. Plus it's Christmas. So here are some more things I am CHOOSING to enjoy:

Christmas without the busy. This year, there are no musicals, no special events to play in, no parties, no craziness. Just me, the ones I love, and the absolute minimum of activity.

Bliss.... Bliss indeed.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Gettin' Tough

Listen to me and listen good...

Here's what you need to do. Get a punching bag and some boxing gloves. Get a 300 pound strong-man brother and a kicking pad. Get some weights and some foamy floor pads on which to do push-ups. Then let the 300 pound brother ruthlessly push you to your limit and beyond. (No he doesn't go easy on the baby sister.)

People. It is amazing! I now know endorphins are real, but beyond that, I'm pretty darn proud of myself. To tell you the amount of weight I can lift would detract too much from my femininity. So let's talk punching. It's AWESOME! And kicking!! Tonight I learned front kicks and roundhouse. Basically, if you try to attack me, you are totally GOIN' DOWN!!

I swear a couple of times I thought I might puke, but I worked hard and it felt great. Plus, it's amazing what I can do when someone is in my face saying "Come on! 5 more!" or "You're halfway there. Let's go!" Part encouragement, part kick in the butt.

I think life's that way. And God, of course, is the personal trainer. The most personal of all. I can picture Jesus in my face going "Come on! You can do this!" I think sometimes, some seasons of life, He does that kind of one-on-one personal training.

Anyway, leave it to me to get all philosophical about exercise. I just HAD to tell you how much I'm enjoying this. Here's the bottom line: Punching and kicking things is fun. Try it sometime. 'At'll cure what ails ya', Baby!

And if you're in the Lakeland area, by the way, the aforementioned brother will take you also to happy-training-and-becoming-so-freakin-tough land. I'll put you in touch.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Writin about some stuff

Whew! Had another whirlwind trip to New Orleans. A Certain Someone needed a date for a Christmas party and who was I not to save the day? Kids were with their dad for the weekend so off I went. FUN!

Fun ends there. Now fasten your seatbelt. I'm gonna write about some stuff.

I've spent my whole life in church. I was married to a minister, and considered that something really fancy that I did for God. (are you laughing yet?)I had an answer for everything. Then, my minister left me. Not before my marriage went through a few years of hell first, but he left. And I got a quick and effective introduction to real life. I went from nice little ministry wife with nice little life mapped out for her to being a single mom with a life of her very own. And though that status was thrust upon me, I can't say I'm sorry. I kinda like it. I'm enjoying the challenge and adventure of finding the answers... HONEST answers to life's questions. Even of getting to ask some questions I've never had the freedom to ask before.

Here's some stuff I'm figuring out:

- Lots of people don't like it when people get lives of their own. Especially when they choose to do unexpected stuff, to step outside the box they were supposed to be in. Hmmm...

- Lots of people jump to conclusions. I do too. It creates real problems in relationships.

- The most godly things I've ever done have had absolutely nothing to do with church OR with the prescribed rules and regs imposed by my churchy image. That's painfully honest, but it's true. I don't yet know what that means for my life or for who I am becoming. It's just a truth.


This is a wild journey, people. I hope you're up for the ride, cause I'm pretty sure I'm gonna make some mistakes. I'll probably take some chances. I'll definitely try my wings and I might do some stuff you don't like. But along the way I'll be embracing life and love and enjoying every amazing minute. I'll be keeping my heart open to God, open to people. I'll be keeping my brain willing to learn, and my days full of laughter. It's been crazy so far and it could get crazier. And ya know what???

I LOVE IT!!! Let's go!!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hair Infidelity

I did it. I cheated on my hair guy. My hair and I have been faithful to the same hair guy, our beloved Jimmy, for 5 years now. Moving to Florida wasn't even going to stop me from using Jimmy to keep my hair lookin good. Only while I was in New Orleans for Thanksgiving, the days were accomplished that I should have a haircut. Except Jimmy decided he wasn't going to be in town for Thanksgiving. AAAAAHHH!

My hair doesn't go 5 weeks without a cut. It just doesn't. Not if I want to maintain its attitude. And so I did it.

I went to Salon Salvatore. This place came highly recommended by friends from work. You can imagine my guilt as I walked in this place.


It


Was


AWESOME!


I walked in the door and as they checked me in, I was offered a drink. I took the Bud Light, of course. The shampoo was a MASSAGE. It took forever!!! The conversation was great. Not Jimmy, but still great. There were beautiful people and beautiful surroundings. I was pampered and relaxed and got a freakin' awesome haircut.


Sigh...


It was truly incredible. But still as I left the salon right after I made an appointment for my next indiscretion, I couldn't help feeling my heart break a little.

I missed Jimmy, and getting my haircut in my own kitchen since Katrina destroyed his shop. I missed big pots of chili, and my framily digging in while we take turns getting haircuts in the kitchen chair. I missed sweeping up 5 different colors of hair after we were all done.

Sigh...


Anyway, it was incredibly cool at Salon Salvatore. Yet another bittersweet moment in this transition. Life's give and take.

So... does this make me a... a hair whore?? I know, I know... time to get some rest before I digress any more.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Punchin Bag Profundity

I love life.

I love my life.

There is a big difference in those two statements. Both are profound. Obviously, it is important to love life. But it's another thing entirely to ask myself if I love MY life. And my answer to myself is YES.

I love the adventures I get to have. I love the people I get to love. I love the moments that come my way. Even the sad ones. Life isn't easy. Matter of fact, it is often downright miserable. Relationships are hard. Painful things happen. It's funny but no matter how nasty things get, something in me always bobs up to the surface of the mire, ready for more of life. I just can't quit.

This week my life is crazy. I had a great trip to New Orleans for Thanksgiving, and I spent the holiday with someone I love. I embraced a happy moment for all it was worth. I laughed with my kids. I punched a punching bag... HARD. My crazy life is precious, and it's mine.

Something wonderful happened to me this week. Perhaps more to come about that event later. For now, unfortunately, I feel some dust should settle first. Perhaps some feathers be allowed to unruffle themselves. If for no other reason than to avoid cheapening a blissful moment in my life by exposing it to the further scrutiny of public opinion.

So instead I'll tell ya this...

Though not the pinnacle of the last week of my life, the punching bag thing was TOTALLY awesome!! I'll be making a habit of that. I'll also be adding it to the list of remedies for the blues. Probably moving it up there toward the top of the list! Plus I look awesome in boxing gloves.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pictures of Life

I've finally gotten around to downloading some pictures of life here in Florida. Here are Levi and my mom in my kitchen makin' orange juice!




And who knew watermelon was in season at Thanksgiving?? The kids have been watching a lonely little watermelon vine that sprung up last year after someone tossed some seeds behind the shed. It was growing one lonely little watermelon, and since the latest cold weather kind of did away with the vine, mom cut the melon and whadya know? It was yummy!!



After-school snacks are pick-your-own!!





My boy is learning how to pick greens!







We are trying to settle into life, though I must admit it's a challenge. The back and forth of every-other-weekend visits are something we haven't had to tackle up until this point. It's an adjustment for me and the kids, but we are surrounded by love and of course, by God. So we are making our new home. Hope you enjoy the view!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Disoriented

OK, so I'm back home. Had an awesome time at the ABWA in Thibodaux. Loved it! As a matter of fact, I've joined my local ABWA here in downtown Lakeland. Pretty cool, huh?

I still miss New Orleans. And I'm still glad I'm here. It's such a strange disconnect. I sort of feel like I'm outside myself, watching and hoping things will turn out ok. It's such a bizarre feeling to be surrounded by the familiar and yet my life is so unfamiliar. Or at least myself is unfamiliar. I mean, I know what to do, and I see myself going through the motions, but I'm not sure my heart has caught up. I'm not sure where my heart is or who it is anymore. I think the term for this would be disoriented.

I've been going to sleep at like 8:30 at night. I don't know what to do with all this rest. I just got my tv and internet hooked up last night, so perhaps my early bedtimes have been due to boredom. But mostly, I'm really sleepy at that time. I put my kids to bed and then I go to bed, too, and still find myself wishing for an afternoon nap.

I'm hungry a lot too. Which sucks because I have 25 pounds to keep off. I've probably eaten more in the last 2 weeks than I did in the last month I lived in New Orleans.

Yup. I can read what I just wrote and recognize it. That damned old depression again. Not to fear, though. I knew this was coming and I am ready for it. I'm gonna buckle down with my old standby remedies, cuddle up with hope and wait for this to pass. And pass, it will.... eventually.

Remedy number one: Count the blessings. And so here are some blisses:

Kisses from my son
My daughter's gorgeous face, all pink from the cold
Orange juice I squeezed myself
Fun meetings at work
TV: Finally!! WITH DVR all to myself!!!!
Chili when it's cold
This weekend to myself
My nephew's celebratory phone call to tell me he shot his first deer!! Yeah, baby!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Checkin in

Just a quick post from God's other country, NEW ORLEANS! I'm back here doing a speaking engagement for the American Business Women's Association in Thibodeaux, LA.

Having an incredibly fun time also. How can a person's heart be in two places at once? It hurts, I'll tell ya that.

Signing off for now...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed

I'm HERE! I'm stumped about what to write. Where do I start? Mostly I'm still reeling from culture shock and the enormity of this adjustment. I wasn't prepared.

I've started work already, and it's going to be an adventure! I'm back in the office at Smith & Thomas Insurance with some of the best people there are. My actual duties are quite a change from what I've been up to at St. Francis Villa, so I'm getting used to that. I've already concluded that the insurance business could use some extra crazy, a little extra spice. New Orleans spoiled me, I guess. So I'm workin on that.

The family farm is coming right along. I'm adding my own personal touches. It's different living in my Granny's home, but now I'm the grown-up. I'm hoping it's the best of her and the best of me. You can see here how my Florida church family has already poured on the grace, and I'll post some pics of the finished product soon.

Ah, church. That's a whole new ball game too. For the first time in my life, I'm not a pianist, staff wife, Bible teacher, or leader of any kind in a church. Talk about culture shock. I hardly know what to do with myself. I'm not going to get all emotional and philosophical about it in this blog. That could very well cause me to need some type of hospitalization. This type of thing will have to unravel slowly.

Not to worry, though. All in all, I'm more than ok. As my friend Monica reminded me, God reigns in Florida too. And reign, He does, as always. What a comfort.

For now, I'll sign off with some Florida blisses and New Orleans misses:

Florida Blisses:
BABIES IN MY ARMS AGAIN.
GREENS for dinner, picked from my daddy's garden THAT DAY.
Yelling hello to my son while he is on mom's porch and I am on mine.
Lunch with my mom.
Dinner with my dad at his hunting camp. Yummy!
Church on a couch.
Loud rock music and painting while behaving in an unseemly manner, which is allowed since it was just me and Christy.
Oranges, of course.
Clean, no make that PRISTINE streets in downtown.

New Orleans misses:
A Certain Someone In Particular
MY FRAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *tears*
Yelling hello to Alice while she is in her driveway and I am in mine.
Lunch made by Certain Someone.
Dinner at someplace awesome with my framily.
Church on the front pew.
Loud worship music played with the band while only slightly misbehaving during rehearsal.
Beignets, of course.
Dirty, no make that DISGUSTING streets in downtown. (I still love 'em.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Here Goes...

I'll be signing off for a few days as I change geographical locations.

This is the most bittersweet thing I've ever done in my life.

But there is packing to do and there are errands to run. I have to make myself do this.

By next Wednesday or so, I should be a Floridian again. At least for a while. But I'll still be a Louisianian as well, so that would, I suppose make me a Flori-Louisianian.

Anyway, I must stop wasting time and get to this terrible business.

But first, a few blisses:

A wild night out with the girls from work. (my first ever, maybe not that wild, but certainly mildly embarrassing.)
A framily that accepts me for who I am. No matter what. (thanks, Finches)
A fried green tomato and shrimp remoulade po-boy. With a Blue Moon. HEAVEN!!
Cooler weather
Pixie Stix
Lots of Hugs
Butterflies in my tummy...and my heart.

My life might be broken right now, but I'm still going to live it. AND love it.

See you in the Sunshine State.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bring it On

OK, I've wallowed enough. I mean, really. What kind of enjoyment is there in allowing oneself to stay focused on the misery? None, that's what.

So for some reason this morning, I've decided to endure the slicing in half of my heart while standing up, eyes open. I have no choice but to go through this. So bring it on.

Last night was my last band rehearsal, and Sunday will be my last services at Riverside. I nearly can't bear to type that. It looks dreadful on the screen, and feels even more terrible inside me. But what overwhelms me truly at this moment is gratitude to have experienced, FINALLY, the kind of family that a church should really be. At Riverside, my life has been changed, for the better, in a hundred ways. I will never be the same because of that church. And so, even though I'll be physically separated from my framily, they are coming with me in the difference they've made in me as a person and in my children. Most people do not enjoy the privilege of experiencing what I have experienced here. I've been loved and accepted in spite of embarrassing suffering. I've been taught and I've taught people. I've been helped and I've helped people. I've had my place in a group of believers, a real, live, active, working, living body of Christ. I've been needed and I needed them. Even though leaving here is nearly killing me, I'd go through this pain a hundred times to get to experience the love, the laughter, and the authentic Christ-following I've experienced here. That, my friends, WILL be carried to Florida with me and dumped all over whomever dares to hang around me. So even though it hurts, even though my heart is in pieces, I've experienced authentic love here, and it's well, well, well worth it.

I deeply, desperately hope that you get to experience the kind of love that hurts this bad. It's what life is about. The pain is merely evidence of love's authenticity. My framily matters to me, and I to them. Everything that happened in me here matters. Real love, real life-change, real learning and growing and interacting with God happened here. May none of you ever go through life without knowing that kind of treasure.


Wow, it's hard to pull out blissful things these days. But, here are a few blisses of the last few days of my life:
the most amazing steak I've ever eaten, ever.
black coffee with cinnamon scones
a trip to the zoo
LOTS of hugs
and good sleep.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not Today

I'm still livin'. Truth be told, I'm just bogged down in... well, everything. I'm grieving this move like you wouldn't believe. Trying to pack and get it all done, and trying to cram in as much living as possible in the middle of it all.

Too many goodbyes to say, too many things to remember, too many feelings to process. There is absolutely no way I can do this. Good thing I'm not alone.

Sorry, but that's about all I've got this morning. Perhaps something wonderful and profound will emerge eventually. Just not today.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Giving Up

Today I tried. I tried to look for a higher purpose in all the stuff I'm going through. I tried to believe it'll all be worth it someday. I tried to tell myself that God will get glory through my situation, whatever THAT means. (Right now it just seems like a dumb churchy phrase that we say when we don't know any answers.)

I tried to help myself not feel so bad about leaving this city. I tried to help myself not feel so bad about still being here when my kids are already in Florida.

I tried to make myself believe that I will somehow get through all this. I tried to make myself believe that I'm still going to do something of value in this life.

I tried. But it didn't work.

Because right now I can't. I can't believe any of that, and even if I could... it's not enough. It doesn't stop the hurting.

I'll tell you what I know. I know that there may be NO reason I'm going through all this crap. I could very well be screwing up my life. I know I never anticipated this kind of pain in my heart, and I never anticipated wanting to give up on God.

BUT I also know this... I know He's with me. I know He's in me. I know He isn't scared of my unbelief, and He's plenty enough to make up for my weakness. I know He's never going to leave me, and that He loves me completely, and that He picked me for His own.

Beyond that, I got nothin.

Nothin but Jesus.

So He and I went shoe shopping. We also found some Calvin Klein jeans on sale. And a cute sweater. And we bought Irresistable Apple shower gel and lotion at Bath & Body Works to get us through until we get to Lakeland and Christy makes us something yummy-smelling to bathe in.

We had fun. We put down the pain for a while and it was just us. And I didn't have to understand, I didn't have to say anything at all. Just us. Giving up isn't so bad, I guess.

Now we're gonna go hang with some friends. See ya'll later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Every doggie dies famous...

Funny story:

Tonight after church I decided to go for a walk. I know walking alone in the dark isn't all that safe, but the delicious breeze was too much of a comfort to pass up. So I'm walking around my neighborhood and I hear this insane yelling. A man's voice, an angry man's voice is screaming out into the night. My heart starts pounding faster thinking "I knew I shouldn't be out here. Someone's about to get killed and I'll be a witness."

I pressed on anyway, and rounded the corner. I kept looking as I got closer to the screaming to see if it was 2 guys in a fight or a domestic situation or what. As I walked toward the ruckus, I began to be able to understand what the angry man was yelling.

"PRECIOUS! PREEEEEEEEEEEEEE CIOUS!!! PRECIOUS!!! PRECIOUS!"

Oh yes, you know it. I soon walked up on a grown man outside in his shorts and nothing else trying to catch the biggest, goofiest dog ever. Named Precious.


HAAAAA HA HA HA HAHA!!

Precious lumbered over to him slowly and he didn't let up. He let her have it all the way in the house. "Precious! You git back here! You got me out here makin' all kind of noise. Got me out here yellin'! You better git in here now!"

I went on with my walk, pretending I never saw or heard dog man yelling. But it was a great performance.

This leads me to two conclusions:

1) Rednecks are everywhere.
2) When one purchases a dog, one must accept the inevitability of standing outside in your underwear at night yelling for the dog. Name it something you wouldn't be embarrassed to scream at the top of your lungs. Mr. Wiggles probably wouldn't be a great choice. Neither would Armageddon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where did my day go?

Wow, Monday! You got away from me! My favorite day of the week was so busy I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I usually do. I kicked off a new week today after an especially busy weekend, which probably added to the whirlwind.

Had an AWESOME time in DeFuniak Springs with the Women of Hope conference at Glendale Presbyterian Church. I love that place. I wish I could take it with me. There are some major things being done right at that place. I love it!!

Had a fun Sunday morning with my Riverside fam, and then a fun Sunday afternoon at St. Francis Villa's Ice Cream party, and then an even funner Sunday evening with my framily. (FUNNER IS THE ONLY WORD FOR IT) I love my framily.

Tonight I'm settling in and going to bed early. There are a million things I should be getting done, but tonight....

I ain't.

(Finch, the ain't was fer yew, m' friend.)

G'night.

Oh, wait! I have to celebrate some of today's beautiful things. Leftover giggles from last night, a haircut, dinner rolls with butter, phone calls, and passion tea from Starbucks.

Ok, now g'night.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Takin' it Home

It's been quiet on the blogfront lately. The last days have been a little complicated, and a lot dramatic.

A decision has been made. It's one I've been wrestling with for a while and after many discussion, many tears, and some loud sobbing, I've come to a conclusion. In a few weeks I'll be moving to my hometown of Lakeland, FL. The kids and I will be living in my Grandmother's home, and they will be enjoying one of the most beautiful places in the world for kids to be raised.

There are layers and layers of complex feelings about this choice for me. I'm absolutely broken in two to be leaving my beloved Riverside Church. My Framily. The greatest pastor that ever was. In fact I'm fairly sure I am being torn apart since a large piece of my heart will always be here. Truthfully, a huge reason I've resisted this choice is that I wasn't sure my heart could stand another wound like this. I wasn't sure I could absorb another break right now. I still have no idea how I'll stand it.

I'm also ready. I think God's about to take it up a notch between Him and me. Seems funny, since I'll be stepping away from nearly all the stuff I do for Him. But that in itself, that stripping away of all the "stuff" all the activity that I engage in on His behalf, all the roles that define who I am in His kingdom... that will be a new level of intensity in my relationship with God. I won't be able to hide behind the stuff I do and the roles I play, and rely on those things to reassure me of who I am before God. I will have to discover who I am, really, without any roles whatsoever in the church. IS ANYONE ELSE FREAKING OUT ABOUT THAT???? WHAT DO GOOD CHRISTIAN GIRLS LOOK LIKE WITHOUT CHURCH JOBS??? DO I EVEN EXIST WITHOUT MINISTRY WORK????

Know what that means? That means me and God, acres of land, a front porch with rocking chairs, and hours to spend talking about.... hmmm... well, if we aren't talking about what songs are being played Sunday and what needs are in my small group, and what ministry event is coming up next, what rehearsal, what group meeting... then WHAT WILL WE SAY???? Does this mean that God might want to just sit with me a while? Does it mean He might rock me in one of those rocking chairs and just let me be? Does it mean He might make me wrestle some monsters? Does it mean I might have to let Him just love me for me... poor, crazy, unworthy me? Of course, I know He does love me for me, I think I believe that anyway. But it's easier said than lived out, especially when I've always had plenty of good "stuff" goin' on for God. You know, just in case He ever needed a reason to want me as His girl, I've always been busy making sure there were plenty of reasons. I know that in reality those reasons are filthy rags. But they still make me feel better. And now, with no more reasons, I'll have to fall completely on the grace of God and find out what it's like to be loved extravagantly, undeservedly, unreservedly, and I'll be utterly without ability to give anything in return. Which is where, in reality, I already am. However, right now I've got lots of nice distractions to help me avoid the conscious awareness of where I really stand.

I told you there were complex layers of feeling.

This is going to be an adventure.

If you're ready, I'm ready. Stay with me. We're about to take it home. We're about to look Grace in the face. I'm about to take some of the valuable things I've learned over the last few years and test them in a major way.

Feels like I'm at the top of a roller coaster ride and about to plummet down the steep incline. Oh well... my arms are in the air, I may be screamin my head off, but I'm ready to take this ride. Let's Go...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Train Track Philosophy

In the middle of my life's chaos, I've decided to get a little philosophical. Call it twelve hours alone in a car with plenty of time to think, but I've been doing some wondering about the way I've chosen to live my life. It's true that my life is radically different than it was this time last year. And some of those differences cause me to question decisions I've made and ideas I've always taken for granted. One thing in particular is the "fishbowl" type lifestyle I've always had because of "who I was" in the church.

Someone very smart told me a little diddy that got my thoughts stirring even more. I'm telling it to you the way it was told to me:


"I'm not allowed to blow the whistle
Not allowed to drive the train
But let the bitch fall off the track
And watch who gets the blame."
(Advice courtesy of Very Smart Individual, original author unknown)

Hmmm... I realize this little quip probably came out of someone's frustration with some corporate heirarchy, or some type of situation like those we all find ourselves in, where we have little control and a lot of responsibility. But for me, it has some interesting implications.

Since I was very young, I've aspired to live not just a good life, but a great one. I still do. But somewhere along the way, I got the idea that "greatness" looked a certain way. I also bought the idea that greatness looked a whole lot like what church people interpret as greatness. In other words, I let the assumed rules and regs of the religion I was raised in begin directing my life's choices. For me as a ministry wife and a person who wants to do big stuff for God, too, those rules and regs are pretty intense.

A discussion with Very Smart Individual helped me see it a different way. Through the eyes of someone who has never put stock in the rules of my religion. It has a way of making me question what life choices I've made as a result of my true heart, my true passion, and what is really going on between God and me. It's left me wondering what choices I've made more out of others' expectations, or even my own expectations adopted for no other reason than to make myself look good to the people I wanted to or felt I had to impress.

Seems to me, especially now that most of my "status" or my identity within the church is very different, it's time to evaluate some things. Perhaps it's time to let go of pleasing people or progressing within a denomination. Perhaps it's time I didn't care as much about what other people think as I do about what God thinks. (He's been known to do some out-of-the-box things, ya know.) Perhaps it's time to reconsider who and what is driving my train, maybe even the track it's on.

These are slightly scary thoughts, but mostly I'm feeling total relief at the idea that I can make life choices based on a much simpler philosophy than ever before. Namely: Do what God puts in me to do, what He's built into me (some of that I may not have even considered yet because I've let other people tell me what it should be)... and that's it. No worrying about who gets the blame... it's always been me anyway. Might as well be driving this train for the right reasons.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Blisses

OK, so I spent today driving from Lakeland to New Orleans. Unfortunately, minus my babies. They are remaining in Lakeland for a couple of weeks since electricity and some sewer situations are sketchy here. However, it's back to work for me.

So since there is no electricity at my home, I'm sleeping at work. Never a dull moment in my life. But, as always, there are many blisses. Here are a few:

*76 degree weather for at least half of my drive. Which I thoroughly enjoyed with the windows down, singing Reba McIntyre's "Fancy" at the top of my lungs. I know ALL the words. All the 4x4 truck drivers were impressed.
*The precious saint who cleaned the food out of my refrigerator. Absolutely NO stink in my house when I arrived. Thank you, whoever you are!!! Your heavenly crown is practically gaudy by now.
*The smell of pine. Real pine. Coming from the trees.
*Rock Star coffee drinks. Only 50 calories.
*Two, count 'em, TWO girls nights with my Christy!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gustav Schmustav

Just a quick post letting you know I just got an image on my cell phone of my house, which looks to be in excellent shape. So there, Gustav!!

The kids and I are in Lakeland, Florida. Having a jolly old time visiting family and hanging out. We will be headed home sometime soon. Not exactly sure of our ETA.

For now, it's time to celebrate. Because frankly, my first trip to Lakeland since the dark days of last November and December, plus another potential storm disruption to my life, had me pretty much at the end of my mental and emotional rope. Still there.

But one small victory... my home is still in good shape. My framily is safe. So YAY! I can go on that for a while.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pick-Me-Up

Just a few more pick-me-ups in case you also are looking for a mood lifter...

Big crock pots full of chili
A haircut
Laughs. Lots of them.
Framily (that's my new name for the amazing friends I have that I might as well share blood with)
Homemade icing
More laughs
Repaired laundry closet doors
Fresh limes in my water
Sunflower seeds
A new hair color
Possible trips to my homeland
More laughs
A long conversation with Christy... completely uncensored
Black coffee on my desk by 8:45am
Long walks


Not by any means an exhaustive list, but this is what's workin for me right now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fay Day

Fay came over to play today. Tropical Storm Fay. Or I guess she is a Depression now. Which is fitting because depression seems to be the state in which I find myself. Just lonely and very sad and (can I say this?) a little frustrated with God. And so today, Fay made a nice companion.

I know God's totally able to handle how I feel, even when I feel angry with Him. He totally is. But I'm not. He's my Rock. My Everything. And I hate feeling so mad with Him and questioning Him and feeling so disconnected. Of course, I know that the key word here is feeling. And feelings lie. Yeah yeah, I know all that. I know that this will pass and I will work it through and God will make me into something I never dreamed.

Yeah.

My pastor was reminding me this morning about how much God loves me. That He loves me the same all the time, when I feel connected to Him and when I don't. When I'm happy and when I'm sad. When I have success and when I have failure. I know all this is true. I just don't feel like it right now. So I cried. Then I came home and REALLY cried. Curled up in a ball on my floor cried. Then I made my kids some lunch, put them down for a nap, and went outside to watch the rain. Watching rain is excellent therapy, and by the time the kids were up from their rest, it was time to set down the sadness for a while and play.

And so we played. We ran and raced and got soaking wet in the rain. We jumped and splashed and played in puddles. The kids and I had a great time.

I don't know if it was the October-ish breezes that came with the storm, or the crazy fun of running around in the rain, or the laughter, but some of the heaviness is gone. Here's me all wet and able to smile. Who knew? A Depression helps depression. HA!


Monday, August 18, 2008

New Mercies

So Monday has worked its magic on me. I love a fresh start. Oh, none of that other stuff is gone, but somehow a new day gives a new perspective. God calls 'em new mercies, and I sure needed the ones I got today.

One of those mercies happened to be a counseling appointment. I love my counselor. Plus, there's something about words coming from an outsider that actually makes me feel like I have permission. For example, regarding the big thing weighing on my mind, she said "You don't have to decide that today, or even next week. Stop worrying about it. Let yourself be present and enjoy each day, and God will show you the answer eventually."

I knew that. I really did. There's just something about hearing her say it that gives me permission to believe it. Permission to tell the voices inside my head (the ones that say I have to solve everything NOW) to shut up.

Another new mercy was a conversation with my daughter. She's been a bit secretive about her feelings regarding our situation and at times it's just more than my heart can take, feeling like I can't reach my child and can't help her. But tonight, after counseling I couldn't even drive for a while. We sat in the car and I cried. Although I don't hide my sadness from my children, I also do my best to stay in control enough to communicate to them that I am still the adult and I can still take care of them. Tonight, I just cried. I think trusting my kids with my emotions sort of gave my girl permission to share her own. So just before she went to sleep, we had a really good talk. And you know what? I think she's ok. She's really going to be ok. THAT does this mommy's heart untold good.

Only thing missing was that cup of coffee at your house, Finch. Not to worry, though. I'll find my way around there in the very near future.

Deep breath.

I can do this.


Tomorrow, my son starts kindergarten. Milestones like this can be tough for me. They tend to bring on the loneliness. So I'm about to crash for the night, get some sleep, and trust that tomorrow will bring plenty of mercies to get me through.

I'm back to a truth. The very one that keeps me spilling out stuff onto a blog that should probably be left un-spilled. That truth is that people who follow Jesus don't have lives without pain. Jesus ain't afraid of pain, or of my mess, or of my real feelings. And contrary to popular belief, brand new mercies get doled out to girls who haven't put on their Sunday best in a real long time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tears and Tissues

Well... it's been a while. Been busy here lately. Plus, I got a cold that set me back a little. I'm on the mend, though.

Kids are starting school. And it's nice to get into the routine again, though I'm sad to say goodbye to a laid-back summer.

Blah blah blah...


Here's the truth:

I'm exhausted. And lonely. There is a huge matter on my mind and it's driving me crazy. I have no idea what to do, and I'm tired of thinking about it. I feel like everything's changing around me and everything in my life is up for grabs, and darnit, NOBODY is asking me what I want. (I wouldn't know what I wanted if they asked, but still...) Sometimes I'm sick of doing the right thing. Sometimes I'm sick of sucking it up and being the responsible one.

I'm sick of brokenness, sick of loose ends, sick of questions. I'm sick of grieving, sick of keeping it together, sick of discovering new layers of loss.

I'm sick of change, sick of trying, sick of dreaming dreams I'm afraid I have to let go of. I'm sick of trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be while wondering if that's really who I am at all. Maybe I was mistaken.

Know what else? I'm sick of tears that won't dry up, sick of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and sick of feeling guilty. And now....

I'm sick of telling you what I'm sick of. And I'm sure you're sick of reading all this sickness...

Here we are on the verge of another Monday (my favorite weekday) and I'm Miss Doom-and-Gloom. Anyone smarter than me might choose to keep this to herself. However, this is the edge, and this is real. And for me, and all the other women out there who get up every day and keep going even when they can't, this is just what it's like sometimes. Might as well be honest about it.

Tonight it's tears and tissues for me. And there's no two ways about it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Big girls, janitors and old guys

I live with two of the most amazing people. Two profoundly different but equally delightful little creations, both slam full of brilliance and joy and fun.

My Mackenzie TOTALLY ROCKED her part in the children's musical Sunday. I was videotaping through tears as she was singing like an absolute pro, but more importantly she was singing lyrics that were incredibly applicable to her little life right now. Words like: "God will take care of me." and "Even through fiery trials, and even when I don't understand, God is taking care of me." I had a moment. You know the kind. A moment of stark realization. It hit me that my little girl is growing and blossoming, and though she faces things that are out of my control, God can and is speaking to her. My heart screamed out to God, asking Him to PLEASE let her soak in those words and TRUST that they are true.

I sent her off to camp this morning. She'll be spending three nights at camp with our church group. I held her tight when I said goodbye and my heart screamed again. I begged God to speak to her, show her stuff, and mend her heart in ways that I can't. So if you pray, send one up for my girl. Ask God to capture her heart this week, and ask Him to form a friendship with her that will see her through the pain we are in right now, and every pain she'll ever face.


And then there's my boy. He deals with things in his own way, too. For one thing, I never know what question is coming next. Here's the latest conversation of interest:

We are all three in the living room, watching Princess Diaries. Suddenly, a question springs forth...

Levi: "Mom, are you going to marry a different man now that daddy passed away?" (I have no idea where this came from.)
Me: "Uh... first of all your dad didn't pass away. When people say someone passed away, they mean that person died. And as you know, daddy isn't dead, he just moved away. And second, the answer is yes, after daddy and I are divorced, maybe one day I might marry another man. But I promise I'll talk to you about it first, and it won't be very soon."

Levi: "Oh... ok."

Silence for a while....

Levi: "Mommy?"

Me: "Yes?"

Levi: "Don't marry a janitor, OK?"

Me: "Ok... what's wrong with janitors?"

Levi: "Well, if you marry a janitor, we might have to go over and clean the church all the time." (In context of what my kids' dad's job has always been, this is perfectly logical. When your dad's a minister of music, you always go to church and you sing a lot, and your mom plays the piano and stuff. So if your mom married a janitor, well... that could be disastrous.)
Me: (trying unsuccessfully to stifle the giggles) "OK... I see. No janitors."

Silence for a while....

Levi: "Mommy?"

Me: "yes?"

Levi: "Also, don't marry an old guy, ok?"

My eyebrows shoot up.

Me: "Ok... well what's an old guy? Do you mean like Santa?"

Levi and Mackenzie: "You could marry Santa. Then we would have lots of toys, and move to the North Pole."

Levi: "But not other old guys."



And so, we have standards. No janitors and no old guys, with the exception made, of course, in case Santa ever became eligible again.


Of course, I had the serious heart to heart with them, about even if I ever married another man, they only have one daddy. And their dad will still be their dad no matter what, and no one else would make their dad unimportant.

But I'm still stifling the giggles over my five-year-old's dating rules. It's one of those single mom moments that you either laugh or cry. I had to laugh.

And now, I'm ready to sign off. It's just Levi and me tonight and I'm being treated to his rousing rendition of "Trading My Sorrows" sung by an action figure whose hands are perfectly poised for the motions. I'm afraid I gotta see this.

"Yes, yes, Lord, Amen."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Better

So I kept the caffeine to a minimum today, and I'm feeling lots better. I've actually welcomed the bone weariness that comes after a sleepless night, and I'm trusting it to bring me a full night of sleep this night. Sometimes its just delicious to snuggle down into my sheets and head off into my dreams.

Thankfully, my 24 hours of caffeine induced edginess did not result in a meltdown on anyone or anything like that. Excellent. That could have been ugly.

It's funny what God can say to a girl in the middle of the night, though, and we had quite a discussion this evening in LIVEChat about the "making guacamole" concept. We talked over how, when our plans or dreams are thwarted, do we learn to make guacamole with what we've been handed. How do we manage to appreciate the unexpected things that aren't what we had in mind? How do we leave room for God to send along the occasional smashed avocado so that He can treat us to some unplanned guacamole deliciousness?

It was good stuff.

Time to give in to the tired. G'night!

Caffeine and Smashed Avocadoes

Can't sleep.

Note to self: You cannot handle caffeine like you used to.

I'm still on a caffeine high from this morning, actually yesterday morning now. I've been taking in significantly fewer calories these days, and in a small attempt to take care of myself, I've taken to a cup of hot tea in the morning when I settle in at work. Nice and peaceful. But yesterday was dreary, and yesterday morning was definitely a coffee morning. So I trooped to the kitchen at work and got myself a big cup of deliciousness, strong and black. Drank it down and went back for another.

By lunchtime I was flying high. Shaking and running my mouth like an idiot. Singing along with every goofy song that came on the soft rock office radio. I'm sure Sheri, the poor soul who shares an office with me, was about ready to call the authorities by the time I actually got food in my stomach to soak up some of the hyper.

Only it didn't really work. I only felt shaky and hyper and nauseated.

Here it is 3:30 in the morning and I'm still feeling slightly nervous, definitely sleepless.

And so I write.

Here's a little single mom story for you:

Monday, after work I scooped up the kids from day camp and headed to Winn Dixie. Not my favorite place to be at 5:20pm. However, the absence of bread or milk or eggs or pretty much anything worth consumption at my house necessitated the trip. My friend's birthday was Monday, and was to be celebrated at a showing of Mamma Mia (FABULOUS movie, GO SEE IT!) at the movies, so I was on a mission to get some food, get the kids fed, and settle them in before I left them with a sitter.

I happened to pass by something wonderful in the produce section. An avocado sale!! Ten for ten dollars!!!! Heaven come down to earth, baby. And so I grabbed two of them. (I'm only one woman, and so while ten avocados was tempting, realistically two is as many as I could down in the next few days.) I then proceed to the limes. While I'm picking out a few limes, my son proudly shows me what he's able to do to my new avocado by either sitting or stomping on it. (Perhaps a combination move since he was riding in the cart and his official grocery store mission is to complete as much of the trip STANDING in the cart as possible, but that mission remains in a constant state of frustration due to my repeated commands to "Sit down!") I felt guilty putting back the smashed avocado, so I just grabbed another once I gave my son a good talking to about respecting the produce, and figured I'd take the hit and chunk the smashed one when we got home.

So we completed our grocery trip, with no more smashing incidents, and headed home where I put away groceries and made dinner for the kids. My own dinner plan was to treat myself to junk food at the movies, like a coke or a daquiri or something. However, I ran across the smashed avocado. Poor thing. I didn't have the heart to throw it out. And there happened to be a bag of tortilla chips on my countertop. So, in a moment of frugal inspiration, I sliced and scooped the injured avocado, grabbed the lime juice, salt, pressed a little clove of fresh garlic, diced a few grape tomatoes, shook in a few dashes of cumin, and VOILA'! GUACAMOLE, baby!!

By this time, my children had already downed their supper and were peacefully playing in their rooms. And so, in a rare moment of absolute bliss, I grabbed some tortilla chips, a Mich Ultra with Pomegranate and Raspberry (oh, yummy) and sat down with my redeemed avocado. I opened an issue of Glamour magazine (women's ministry research, of course) and spoiled myself for a few minutes. Yessss!

I forfeited the treat at the movies, since I'm pretty sure nothing could top that dinner. But the laughter with my girlfriends was treat enough and it was in abundance for all of us.

And so, what could have been a grumpity, exhausted evening after a harried trip to the grocery store with an overly zealous fruit-smashing five year old turned into one of the most pleasant evenings I've ever experienced. I hold out hope, you know, that God is somehow turning the smashed avocado that is my life into the most incredible guacamole. What can I say? He always gets through to me somehow, and if He has to use some avocado violence, so be it.

Ok, God. It's 4:30 am, and my heart is restless. Turn me into some guacamole, would Ya?

I still have two avocadoes left. And five Ultras. Add a crowd of people and we could have a regular miracle on our hands...

OK, OK, I know. Go to bed.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Iron Sharpens Iron

OK, so I've been thinking about what Greg said. (read his comments on my last post) See, as my neighbor, and one of my pastors and the awesome drummer who plays next to me for two rehearsals and two services every week, he has a bird's eye view of what I'm walking in, has walked through every bit of it with me, and therefore is the kind of brother that has every right to call me out when I'm losing sight of what it's all about. He's right. Just because my life is out of MY control, doesn't mean it's out of control. My life, even with all its craziness, all the pain, all the panic, all the different hats I wear, is absolutely, positively under the control of the God I trust. THAT is the very truth that enables a woman on the edge to embrace the edge, learn to live in it, and even flourish there.

That's what I love about God. Following Him means I experience all kinds of stuff that's WAY bigger than I can handle. Trusting Him means I open my life up to things that take HIS kind of power (the almighty kind). Is this easy? NO WAY. It's wild and crazy and messy, BUT... even with the pain... I wouldn't, couldn't live any other way.

I've been in some interesting conversations this week over my "religion." A Baptist is often outnumbered in this town. And I must admit, much has been done to tarnish the reputation of Christians. I often find myself embarrassed by the behavior of those who call themselves Christians. But in contrast with all the offenses, all the hurts, and all the horrible behavior I have witnessed among believers during my life, I'm pondering this evening the value of sharing the walk with other followers. When done right, relationships with other believers can be such a catalyst for living the redeemed life well. I'm living it right now.

There was a time when God called me, dared me to go out to the edge with Him. Remember it, Christy? Shaking inside, but giddy as a teenager, I went. Of course she remembers, because she witnessed it, even ushered it in. It was momentous, and she needed to be there. It wouldn't have happened without her. And here again, in front of all of bloggerdom, God used the words of a believer to apply a push back toward the edge. I needed Greg for that. He's earned every ounce of the respect I have for him, and I probably couldn't have heard those words from anyone else.

Which leads me to the thought that one of the riskiest, most potentially painful, and also most potentially beneficial parts of life is the way God has chosen to intertwine our already tangled lives with the lives of other imperfect human beings. Sounds like a potential explosion to me. And yet God has a way of making it supernatural. He also has a way of sending those amazing moments, just when I'm considering bagging the whole relating-to-other-people thing, to remind me why I do it and why I love it.

It's enough to make a girl happy, even when she just saw Vince Gill on a Fruit of the Loom commercial. Lord, have mercy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Patient

Ever feel like God's being quiet? I'm there right now. I know He's SO involved with my life. I know He's in me, around me, everywhere. It's just one of those times, and all followers have them, when He chooses to let me wait in silence.

For the most part it's a comfortable silence. A companionable quiet between me and Him. It still requires patience. Our encounters consist of me asking a lot of questions and Him just listening. His silence tells me perhaps I'm not ready for the answers.

Sigh.


So while I'm waiting, I'm going ahead with something He put in my mind to do several weeks ago. Memorize Romans 8. Here are the first few verses. On my honor I'm typing them from memory. (NIV)

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For through Christ Jesus, the law of the spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son, in the likeness of sinful man, to be a sin offering. So He condemned sin in sinful man, so that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit."

It's a comfort. Better than any security blanket I know. My world and my head are spinning out of control. God is choosing to give my waiting ability a workout. But His words are there, they are ever true, they are His love for me in black and white. This is why I had to stop with one tattoo. I'd cover myself with His words if I ever really got started. I'd be one of those people on some TV show...

Anyway. Time to start the day. If you see a crazy woman going around mumbling phrases from Romans under her breath... that's just me trying to be patient.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Battle of the sexes?

Fasten your seat belt. This one's a doozie!


Where are the good men? (I'm not talking necessarily about dating material here. Go with me...) I mean the warriors, the renegades. The REALLY great men. I only know a few of them. Like maybe three. And two of those wear Crocs, which is a serious problem in itself, but one for another blog another day. The other is my own father. Oh yeah, and my brother. That makes four.

I cannot BEGIN to explain to you how WEARY I am of guys who can't make a choice for themselves, can't determine their position and defend that position confidently. And then there are the others. You know the ones. The power hungry ones that think their boy-parts entitle them to some type of authority. They make decisions alright, but then feel it is their right to run over everyone else in the process.

Now, before you accuse me of man-hating, I'll have you know I adore men. I think they are fascinating, wonderful, incredible creatures. While I am egalitarian to the core, meaning I firmly believe in the equality of men and women before God and in every other way, I'm not stupid enough to think that because the sexes are equal, they are the same. They are very beautifully, wonderfully different. Thanks be to God.

As I'm moving from married to single, I'm sort of having to re-learn how to relate to men. It's frustrating. Some days I think if I have to spend one more minute of my life covering for a guy who has no idea what he is doing, I might simply explode. The egalitarian in me HATES that. I mean, if you're gonna do something, THEN DO IT for God's sake. Don't just stand there, waiting to make sure you will come out smelling like a rose. What kind of renegade is that?? None, that's what. And how is it possible for a female to embrace femininity if the fellas in the room are already cornering the market? GOOD GRIEF!!

I realize and will readily admit that my personality is ummm.... like 90 proof. It's strong. It can be intimidating to some. It's the best and the worst part of me. But it's me, and I don't apologize for that. As strong-willed as I am, I'm still a woman. And the woman in me hopes, wishes that the guys around me would get over being intimidated by a strong female or any female and just BE A MAN.

Man enough to respect a woman as his equal. Man enough to take care of a woman if she needs it, or to let a woman take care of him. Man enough to enjoy being a man. And man enough to let a woman be a woman.

See, what I think most guys don't realize is that women, even ones like me that have more assertive personalities, can't HELP but respond to a man who is confident in his own manhood. It's part of those wonderful differences. Because as strong as I am, (and if you'll forgive my saying so,) I know I'm strong. I'm parenting my children alone, supporting them and myself. I have three jobs. I have realized some of my dreams, had lots of them crushed, and I'm still dreaming. I've been humiliated and rejected more than once and I'm still living. My worst fears have come true and I'm still taking risks. I'm strong. But as strong as I am, I'm not a man.

I think there is womanly strong and manly strong. And I suppose what I find sorely lacking in my life at this moment is manly strong. My Daddy has it, so I know it's possible. But he's 1,000 miles away. I don't want or need a husband right now. I'm not talking about that. Just somehow it's more fun to be womanly strong when there is manly strong somewhere in the vicinity. There's room enough for both.

Oooo, I think I just let out a secret. I think I just told the world that the most incredible thing a man can do for a woman is be a man. Is that so difficult?

Evidently it is. So, why? Have we as women nagged and barked and whined until the men around us don't feel like they CAN be men? Have we expected men to be so much like us that we've lost the ability to let them be men? Have we, in the pursuit of making our equality a reality, lost confidence in the gift of womanhood, so much that we can't let men celebrate manhood?

Is it the church? I ask this because a lot of the men I know are church men. Have we somehow made it look like loving God isn't manly? I know that's not true, because my brother, one of the manliest men on earth, ever, loves God like crazy. But still maybe most guys feel they have to check their manhood at the church door. I wish they didn't. Especially for the sake of my son, I wish they didn't.

Is it society? Has the spirit of competition, the drive to get ahead in our society driven out our ability to celebrate the differences between men and women because we are too busy crushing anything that doesn't propagate our own agendas?

Is it me? I suppose experiencing the ultimate rejection has a way of causing me to question everything about who I am as a woman, and as I'm answering those questions, I'm also asking a lot of questions about men and what I hope for in a man.

Hmmmm... I know I can count on my girls to chime in on this one. Guys, consider this an invitation to contribute if you like.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trying to Rest

Week one with kids at home is nearly complete. They are doing so well, it almost scares me. We only have a few weeks of summer left, and I intend to take advantage of that time and put in as much fun as I can. I'm on assignment from my counselor to rest and reduce my stress as much as possible, and I'm trying to do it.

Next week is VBS and (collective gasp) I'm doing nothing. If you don't know what VBS is, think a few hundred kids running around a church for a week and less than half that many exhausted adults making crafts with them, snacks for them, playing games with them, and teaching them stuff they need to know. Every good minister's wife does SOMETHING at VBS. Except I'm not a minister's wife anymore. I don't even know if my kids will go. (ANOTHER LOUD COLLECTIVE GASP) We will see. They spend all day away from me at church and already spend at least two of their normal weekday evenings there. We just might sit this one out.

Resting is harder than it seems. Sometimes it's just easier to do something than to explain a thousand times why you aren't doing it for a while. Resting your body when your mind and emotions are still ranting is nigh unto impossible. Dang, resting is work!! But it's necessary for me right now. And hopefully I'll get enough rest to be able to clearly evaluate some things in my life and my career.

Speaking of work, it's Friday. Now quickly becoming, like all the other working drones, my favorite day of the week. Ah well... better be on my restful way.

Monday, July 14, 2008

We're Home!

Hear that happy sigh? That's me with my lap and my arms full of kids again. I have never been so happy to see two pairs of blue eyes in my whole life. We spent some time with my mom and dad, then after they left for home, we stayed in the swimming pool and just had fun with each other. We meandered back home, of course completing the obligatory stop at Cracker Barrel on the way. We drove down our street with delighted squeals coming from the backseat. They were so glad to be home. And their mom was glad to have them home.

We piled in my bed and I slept better than I have in weeks. I feel like I've had a vacation. I suppose in a lot of ways, I have. But there's nothing like 2 days in Florida, hugs and encouragement from my mom and dad, a swimming pool, and holding my kids again to put the icing right on the cake. I'm back, I'm sunkissed (have to bring back as much of Florida as I can with me), and I'm ready for Monday. Ready for life.

Friday, July 11, 2008

YAY!

My kids are coming HOME!!!!! YESSSSS!

And so ends my odyssey of aloneness. I had absolutely no idea how much time, brain, and emotional space that children occupy in the life of a single parent. And a month of life without them has been wild indeed.

I've fought a lot of monsters this month. I've gone places emotionally I'm SO GLAD they weren't here to see me go. There have been points I would have been truly unable to handle them as I've sorted through some junk. Plus, seven months of single parenting and adjusting to full time work had me utterly exhausted. And so I've needed the rest. But I emerge several pounds lighter (it's amazing what panic attacks and time to take care of yourself will do for you. Panic attacks mean you can't eat, and taking care of yourself means you exercise and shave your legs and stuff), much more rested, and VERY READY to have my babies back with me where they belong.

I also emerge with a pocketful of delicious secrets. Somewhere along the way this month, even as I've suffered a lot inside, I've started to get the hang of letting go and having fun. I've tried a TON of things I had never tried before... and REALLY liked most of them. I'm becoming more... well... more ME. To hell with what everyone else thinks I should be, or even what I'VE always thought I should be. A clean slate and an open mind are in my possession and as Gloria Gaynor would put it,

I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation
Its my world
That I want to have a little pride in
My world
And its not a place I have to hide in
Lifes not worth a damn
Till you can say
I am what I am

I am what I am
I dont want praise I dont want pity
I bang my own drum
Some think its noise I think its pretty
And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle
Why not try to see things from a different angle
Your life is a sham
Till you can shout out
I am what I am

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the aces sometimes the deuces
Its one life and theres no return and no deposit
One life so its time to open up your closet
Lifes not worth a damn till you can shout out
I am what I am

I am what I am

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck sometimes the aces sometimes the deuces
Its one life and theres no return and no deposit
One life so its time to open up your closet
Lifes not worth a damn till you can shout out
I am what I am

Oh I am
Oh I am
I am, I am, I am good
I am, I am, I am strong
I am, I am, I am worthy
I am, I am, I belong



I totally love that song. It plays in my Saturn a lot.

Anyway... I'm off to my second job. (Did you know I have three jobs? Not including motherhood and head of household? I realized that with a start the other day. Then I smacked myself in the head for wondering why I can't keep it all together.) So I'm signing off for now, and the next time you hear from me, I'll most likely be in the throes of transitioning my kids back home.

Here we go!!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Nothing Broken

Last night I took myself for a walk. Normally, I'm not that into exercise, but the truth is, it's a great outlet for pent up energy and emotion. So I walked up on the levee and along the river for a while.

God totally treated His girl to a gorgeous sunset. I found an awesome spot, and since the river is so high right now, the water is coming up under the trees. Looks like you could just put in a boat, push off and float a while. Of course, you can't because on the other side of the trees there is plenty of industrial shipping going on. But at that one spot I could imagine the river wasn't totally taken over by progress. So I sat there and let the darkness fall. Just me, God, and the changing of the light.

I walked home in the dark, and was surprised that I wasn't afraid at all, and had mostly stopped balking at the idea of going on that walk alone. I have never had this much time alone with myself. Ever. It's hard! I'm my own worst critic, and often not very nice to myself. Me and myself are having to learn to get along. But good news, I think we're getting there. We have a lot in common :) It's hard to get rejected and not feel like there's something inherently screwed up about yourself. It's hard not to take the "what's wrong with me?" train of thought. But I think I'm ready to give that ticket away.

I was reading and came across the words "Nothing missing. Nothing broken." They were written in reference to who we are because of God's grace and mercy. If I look past all the missing and broken pieces of my life, I can see that my reality as a child of God is that nothing is missing, nothing broken. He has it all. Therefore, it is ok to give a genuine smile to the mirror and learn to have a good time with myself.

And so I begin a fresh, new day. With nothing missing.


Nothing broken.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

OK, here it is. Right here in black and white... and pink.

I'm scared.


I am scared out of my ever-lovin' mind.


What is going to happen to me? How can I raise these kids by myself? What about my writing? What about speaking? What about me? What if I can't do this? What if I lose my mind? What if I make wrong choices? This is too big for me! I can't handle being alone. I can't keep running wounded. I can't, I can't, I can't, I can't do this!!!!


Just a little glimpse into what my insides scream at me while

I

AM

DOING

THIS....


Yup. Scared outta my mind. And doing this thing anyway.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

One Giant Leap

Guess what I did today?

Drum roll, please.....





I mowed my own yard. For the first time. Ever. In my whole life. (Quit laughing)

My mom and dad are old school, which meant yard work was for boys and kitchen work was for girls. This rendered me, I'm sure, WAY more helpless in the outdoors than my father intended. He did his best at the hunting camp, but with my nose in a book, I'm afraid I didn't even learn to shoot.

But today. Today, I put on my lucky camouflage baseball cap that says "dixie darlin's" on it. The benevolent group of saints I hang around with has been taking care of my yard for eight months now. It was time for me to get going and learn to do this for myself. The one next door with the especially large halo gave me a lesson on how to start the mower, and then left me to it. And I did it.

Note to self: Don't do that again on an empty stomach. And don't let three weeks go by before I do that again.

All in all, a success. I mowed my way to a little more wholeness. World domination can't be far away now.

P.S. THANK YOU, whoever sprayed Roundup along my fence and the sides of the house. An ANGEL, you are.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Unmarked

Hmmm... I haven't forgotten you, blogger world. I've just... Well, I've just been feeling too crappy to really muster up anything good.

Had some fun, made some secrets. Started having some anxiety attacks. Which, of course, makes me angry to no end, because my body should be coping with this better than it is. My mind should be coping better. Then again, maybe this IS coping.

Dragged myself up to church Wednesday night and choked through LIVEChat. Nothing like a few understanding girlfriends to bring out the emotion in ya. So I came home and had a good cry. A REALLY good one. Loud. And the attacks have subsided quite a bit.

Good news, I've lost 4 pounds this week!

And I've made a decision. It's time. Time to own it. Me, all by myself, can be fun and feminine and fabulous. Time to see what that's like. Time to laugh and enjoy being me. Time to make some more discoveries along this road. Discoveries that perhaps, without heartache, I would never have made.

My counselor told me something. She said I'm doing great, progressing along very well. Only thing is, this is just plain going to be really painful. It's going to take a while and it's going to be bad. That's it. Time to accept it, buckle down, and trudge on through. It's going to be a long way. But I've decided if I'm stuck making an ominous journey, well... I'm leaving my fairy dust all over the place. I'm going to find sparkle and fun if I have to create it from nothing, and there will be colorful graffiti all along this dark path. I won't leave it unmarked. The next poor soul that journeys along this way will look around at the colors I left behind and read:

Rebecca Jeffries WUZ HERE!

Now where was that spray paint can?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Answer

I have only achieved answer to one of my questions.

It's yes. Absolutely, unequivocally, lock stock and barrel, YES I am going crazy.

See ya'll when you get there.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Questions

It's late again. Or early. But blogging is fun, and it helps me relax. So as much for my benefit as your own, here are some questions I've been pondering. Perhaps every female ponders more than she should, but I've always got a regular cyclone of questions swirling in my brain.

Am I going crazy?
What's my next move?
Perhaps I should contemplate staying still for a while?
Am I really doing this? Am I really?
Why is it hard for people to accept that God would choose suffering for them?
Am I going crazy?
Will affection starvation produce emotional malnutrition?
Why are relationships and disappointment next door neighbors?
Why haven't I appreciated solitude for the bliss that it is?
Why havent' I appreciated companionship for the bliss that it is?
Why is the right way usually the hardest way?
Am I going crazy?
Where is the line between single-and-don't-you-wish-you-could-be-me and single-and-overdoing-it-to-try-to-convince-myself-I'm-still-lovable?
Can I be fulfilled and still keenly feel what's missing?
Can anyone be more blessed than me? Is it possible?
Am I going crazy?

I'm pretty sure I AM going crazy. But I don't mind. And as for the other questions, I suppose God'll tell me when I'm ready to know. Though, if He happens to tell you, please forward the information immediately via comment.

G'night!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Today's Blessings

Savoring these moments:

Girl talk. Uncensored.
Blueberry wine
Laughing til it hurt
Fresh mozzarella
Lunch with a friend
Creole Grape Tomatoes
Neighbors who are family
Holding a tiny baby
Tiny baby sleeping smiles
My son's voice on the phone
Making an old lady giggle
Listening to someone's pain
Telling someone a secret
Laughing some more til it hurt
Happy voices in my house
Flowers
Flirting
Cookie dough. Raw.

All these blessings poured upon me in one day. What more could a girl want?

Midnight Musings

Can't sleep. It's really late, or early I guess. It's just me and the Brady Bunch up at this hour.

Lemme get this straight... The girls are hers, the boys are his, but the girls call him dad and the boys call her mom, and everyone's last name is Brady. Maybe I'm mistaken, but my research tells me step families aren't quite that simple. Though I suppose I should have immediately realized the fantastic nature of the show when Alice served all the kids plain oatmeal for breakfast and they all ate it, no questions asked, no sugar added. Not even any fruit.

Greg Brady hasn't changed a bit. Isn't he on some reality show? Or maybe that's Peter.

I have news. I got a pedicure. The best pedicure, ever, to be specific. It was awesome. I had a friend on either side of me, we laughed and had a fabulous time and behaved like regular queens of the world. There was coffee involved, hot towels and this tingly stuff. Amazing.

Mike Brady is a chauvinist. Get a life, Carol.

Oooo, Jay Leno is up too. He shouldn't have men with big hair and skinny jeans on his show. Or any show, for that matter. I thought he was retiring or something.

Oh, I learned something today. Or yesterday. Epoch:a significant event, time, or moment which is chosen as a new origin for time measurements. Epic is just the poem. Please consider this a retraction of past improper uses of the word epic where epoch clearly should have been.

Epoch. That's happening to me right now. A moment chosen as a new origin for time measurements. A new day, I suppose. That would mean that I've just completed an epoch battle with my grief. I won.

Alarm'll be going off soon. Perhaps I should attempt some shut-eye.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Road Out

Smell the smoke? I've made it out alive. I was carried most of the way, I have to admit.

The road out was beautiful. There was a majestic storm. The sky cracked open a few times and God yelled right along with me about my pain. Then he used a preacher to tell me some pretty amazing stuff. (Check out Romans 8) I cried and cried and cried. I tried to be quiet but it didn't work too good. I suppose when God of the Universe is making collossal adjustments inside you there should be some sound.

Then there were friends. Family, really. And the storm gave way to sun and breeze and food and laughter. Deep, shuddering breath. A corner has been rounded.

There will be aftershocks, I'm sure. But I've taken an honest look at the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I've listed every subsequent "ripple effect" that I now cope with. It's all out there. My counselor will be proud.

Healing is hard. The hike to hell was exhausting. But the scenery on the way back was unforgettable. I'm still here. And I'm still me. Only a little stronger, a little smarter, and a little closer to whole.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hell

This is hell. Pure and unadulterated (pun intended). I'm here alone. I wouldn't ask anyone to go here with me. Only One accompanies me here.

An exercise of counseling homework and several pages of journaling, plus one maddening phone call got me here. It was time anyway, I suppose. Pain must be faced and felt before it can be forgiven and freed. So I hope in the knowledge that this is the last time I will feel such things at this person's hand, and that every disgusting step through this mire is a step closer to healing.

I'm weary of fighting and have plopped down in the midst of sorrow I've been to busy surviving to pay much attention to. I know life goes on. I want it to, especially for you. And eventually for me. But not tonight.

Psalm 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quacky

Saturday, I spent a peaceful afternoon in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Once my mom and dad got on the road with the kids, I met two dear friends for lunch. Keith and Vicki Andrews. I wish I could tell you, or could have expressed to them, how much it helped to be with them a while. They're just... well... wonderful. And when I left them I felt peaceful and in my heart felt ready to tackle these two weeks alone. Their company and conversation just set an easy pace for my "vacation at home." Plus, while I was with them I enjoyed a fried green tomato sandwich. Why would anyone live anywhere but the south when we have such inexplicable pleasures as fried green tomato sandwiches?

Then I sat out over the springs for a while, in the gazebo. Taking deep breaths of fresh air and listening for God. As I was listening, I saw a duck. Not just any duck. A single mother. I suppose all ducks are single moms. I mean, I've never seen a daddy duck with a trail of little fuzzy peepers behind him. Then again, I'm no scientist, nor am I an animal lover, so what do I know? Still, I'm choosing to think she was single. She had five ducklings. I named her Daria.

Daria (don't you LOVE that name? It's not at all frumpy or overworked single mother sounding.) was working like nothing I've ever seen! Spring water, in case you haven't had the pleasure of seeing, is very clear and wonderful. So I could see with no problem Daria's webbed feet going nearly as fast as any boat propeller would, as she swam this way and that, trying to corral her brood. She worked and huffed (well, there wasn't actually audible huffing, but trust me...) her way out to the middle, and I must say she had an unruly bunch of ducklings. Finally, in exasperation, she put her beak in the air and swam away. As if to say "Fine, then." And what had once been a loosey-goosey (pardon the pun) group of kids was at once right behind her. Not in a little duckling line, but in a clump almost directly underneath her tail, almost as if they were an extension of her. Clearly, these kids knew they better swim to it, or else.

Poor Daria. No rest for the weary. As I watched her speedy little webbed feet swimming like nobody's business, and then her little ducklings clumped all up in her space, I felt her pain. Of course, I was listening this whole time for God. And He pointed out how much I was like my friend, Daria Duck. He pointed out all the paddling I'm doing, paddling double time it seems just to get through ordinary days. He pointed out the heavy weight of navigating life's pond for me and two ducklings all on our own, and how sometimes being needed so much feels like my ducklings are superglued to me. And He raised a question: "What do you think that duck would be doing if she had no ducklings to corral?" I tried to picture her kicking back, relaxing, hanging out at the water's edge trying to pick up a guy duck. I imagined she might preen her feathers or wander around on the land for a while. But in the end, I had to admit that I've no idea at all what mother ducks do when they aren't laying eggs and mothering baby ducks. I couldn't imagine her going from all that frenzied activity to some kind of laid back ducky schedule, with nothing to do but sit around and soak her webby feet in the warm end of the pond. She's just not supposed to do that.

I felt as unnatural as Daria would have felt, had she suddenly been offered a duck-sitter or something. I suppose God wanted to get me thinking about how the next days will be strange and unfamiliar territory. I suppose He wanted me to admit that I'd have to let Him show me a thing or two about being a mother duck on hiatus.

Kinda quacky, huh? I know. So far I'm not doing that great. At letting Him show me, I mean. I've had some fun. Had a wonderful afternoon Sunday acting like a regular Queen of Sheba with nowhere to be, just whiling away hours in conversation with a friend who wasn't willing to let me wallow. Monday after work, I went shopping, which yielded some super-cute stuff and I APPRECIATED the quiet way I strolled around the store unnoticed and uninterrupted by squabbling, or trips to the potty. I didn't hurry. And on the way home I rented some movies. Something I almost never do for myself alone. I walked in Blockbuster and picked up stuff I wanted, with no care for whether it was appropriate for little ears and eyes. But truth be told, inside I've been slipping.

It's like I'm in the movie Twister. I don't really remember much about that movie, except the way the freakish tornadoes would just pick up everything. I feel like I'm holding on for dear life, trying not to get swept away into the swirling blackness. Blackness that I fear might be depression. I'm not sure whether to keep holding on, or to let go and give in to the storm and see where it carries me. I'm fighting the urge to retreat from the world. I find myself sitting at my desk at work wishing I could crawl under. I guess I'm scared that if I let a person know what it feels like inside me, they might get sucked into the storm too. Or worse, they might think what a baby I am and wonder why I can't just move on. I wonder that myself lots of times.

So, I'm here. I'm struggling. God's with me. That's the most wonderful, wonderful thing. He hasn't left for a single second. He isn't scared of my pain. He isn't the least bit squeamish. And He isn't freaked out. He told me that by sending Daria Duck. Sure, I might feel like my life right now is all wrong, totally against what nature intended for me. I might not have the slightest clue what I am without all my mother duck duties. I might be terrified of a million things.

But He hasn't even flinched yet. And He isn't embarrassed to be seen with a needy, unsure, duck-out-of-water like me, even if He has to speak duck to get through to me.

So now, where does one go to get webbed feet pedicures? I was thinking Daria might want to come along.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

So... My babies went to Florida this past weekend. No easy thing at all. They are having a blast, which is a profound comfort to me. Their absence also makes my situation much more real and tangible. So I'll be spending two weeks facing some giants on my own. It's Tuesday and I'm still not sure I've made it out of the exhaustion fog. But here are a couple of my first steps toward rested and relaxed.


I spent a couple of hours on this gazebo, out over Defuniak Springs.



Are we relaxed yet? Gettin' there...


And of course I went wadin' a little. What else is a girl to do when she has no one to be responsible for but herself?

Oh yeah. She gets one of her favorite books on cd and listens to that book as she meanders home WITHOUT getting on an interstate. She shuts off her phone. She cries and laughs out loud. At the same time.

And slowly, she works up the courage to face God about her worst pain. Still workin on that one.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Poem

Ok, so I know I just posted, but I got carried away with the idea of God's secrets. I started reflecting on the secret moments I've had with Him and well... a poem came out. This is strange, and I thought it post-worthy because I haven't written a poem in a long time. A really long time. So, in keeping with what I've already told you about my commitment to transparency, here's the most transparent thing I can show you about what goes on between me and God. Beyond this.... well...
It's a secret. :)


Secrets

God, You place secrets in me.
And there they remain, though I am ablaze with the fire they fuel in my bones.
They are holy mysteries.
Silent, searing truths.
Though I ache to express them, they are locked away.
The volume of loudest shout or eloquence of most historical oration cannot free them.
I abandon my attempts, and know...
These secrets are mine alone.

They are the cords that entwine my heart with Yours.
They are the one and only place in all time and space that You and I converge,
Making moments that have never been before and will never be again.
They are pieces of Your Infinite Self stored inside me.
These secrets will be kept because they cannot be told.

Shine, wordless secrets!
Glisten and gleam and cause me to run again and again
To your Teller.



Colossians 1:27b "...And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Got Secrets?

"A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets." -a quote by Old Rose in the movie Titanic.

I'm a difficult person to embarrass. My trademark is being transparent and real and unafraid to acknowledge the truth about how I feel. I've pretty much always thought anything worth knowing is worth announcing to whomever would listen to me. Which works fine since my entire adult life has been spent in ministry where ever'body is in my bidness. Just the way I like it. So secrets aren't something I've thought a lot about. Until now.

I was raised to be "clean-livin'." And clean livin' just don't go well with secrets, honey. The word secret brings to mind sordid, embarrassing, or passionate moments that happen in the dark. Until now.

They say that major crises have a way of forcing us to reevaluate everything in our lives. Such is true for me. A major piece of my life's bedrock has been removed and so everything else's place is changing and rearranging. My priorities, my values, my reality... everything is shifting. And so, as my new life's picture is coming into focus, I'm getting to take a second look at lots of things I thought I had already formed an opinion about. Secrets happen to be included on the list of those things. How true that a woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets. Even mine, miss blab-it-all-out-to-the-world. Even my heart holds layer after deep layer of soft, whispering secrets. Secrets even I hadn't known. Until now.

I once thought secrets synonymous with skeletons in the closet. And in a way, they are. Only a small way, though. The real stuff of secrets are the deep, precious, holy, sacred moments of life. Moments too valuable to be described in words. Truths too priceless to be cheapened by language. Experiences I love too much to share with someone who might not appreciate or grasp their profundity.

I didn't know it, but God has been sharing secrets with me for a long time. As I look back, He and I have built quite a history of inexpressible secrets. Moments of profound life-change or truth-revealing are tucked away inside my heart. They are secrets He has told me. Then there are the secrets I've created. Some of them written on pages I've burned, some of them lived out on beaches at night, some of them whispered in tearful or breathless moments. They are the things that turn up the corners of my mouth in a Mona Lisa smile when I think of them. And then there are those skeleton secrets. Those things that make me shake my head or want to smack myself. And yet, even in the secrets of the dark, scary, mistake variety, I find truths that are precious, lessons that are invaluable, and a depth of relationship with the God who knows ALL the secrets and is still crazy about me.

Perhaps I've been too busy, perhaps I've been afraid, or perhaps the idea that there are secrets inside me that no one may want to share is too painful. Whatever the reason, I've ignored quite a treasure of precious, holy secrets that exist in the deep ocean of my own heart. Until now.

I'm beginning to realize that a foundational part of a woman's mystique, my mystique, is secrets. Joyous, hopeful, deep, passionate, dark, intimate, profound, inexpressible secrets swirl inside me, inside every woman. They are the glimmer you catch, the sparkle that passes so quickly you wonder if you really saw it. They are the quiet smile, the peaceful knowing, the motivational reason. And they've had too little a place in my life. Until now.

I can see your own Mona Lisa smile. You're thinking of your secrets, aren't you? I hope so. For me, and maybe for you, too, now is the time. Time to treasure, appreciate, reflect, and enjoy the gifts that need not be shared with anyone. The moments that are yours alone to cherish, or yours to reveal.

The secret, my friend, is SECRETS! I had it all along and didn't know.

Until now.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Start

Alright, so I've come to a conclusion. I am experiencing emotional gridlock. A traffic jam of cosmic proportions. Not only have the past few weeks been ridiculously busy, they've been full of one major emotional event after another. At this point my heart looks like one of those traffic problems you hear about on the radio traffic report when they advise you to "just take another route."

So I'm pretty sure it'll take a few weeks to process it all. But, a girl's gotta start somewhere. So here are a few things I'm learning:

-My five year old son is a great wedding date.

-My ten year old daughter is one of the wisest people I know.

-Single parents should get extra vacation time, extra sick days, and designated parking spaces. I'm very sure I had no idea what a single parent goes through until now that I AM one.

-Right now I hurt. I wish it would stop. However, as a very smart friend reminds me, "microwave food isn't that good." This pain won't be wasted, and it won't be forever, and it will make me into more than microwave food.

-Sometimes grief sneaks up on you. Sometimes when you are at someone's wedding you want to scream and cry out your pain. And sometimes you tell the grief to come back later. You tell it "Not today. Today I will celebrate with people I love." And then you let your tears just be happy ones.

-I must learn how to let go of perfection. It doesn't exist. In the words of my ten year old daughter, "You're still a good mom. You don't have to be perfect."

-I used to want to be everyone's friend. I'm working on that. Not everyone merits the time and emotional effort it takes to have a deep friendship. Not everyone has to love me, or even like me. It's time the completeness with which God loves me is enough. Enough for me to be ok with who He made me, with or without anyone's approval.

-Witnessing the beginning of a life is... well, that's life! Everyone should attend a birth at least once in his or her lifetime.

So that's a start... Now if only emotional traffic jams came with cute traffic cops to sort them out. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sleep on it

OK, well.... We made it.

Think I'm still a little high on adrenaline. Ah well, I suppose it'll take a few days to get in a good routine. But we'll get there.

I thought of attempting a recap of the last seven days, but the words escape me right now. There must be some deep and wonderful things I've learned over the past week. There must.

Hmmmm....


Maybe if I sleep on it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Almost There

Wedding done, kids in bed, just have tomorrow morning's services to go and week from hell is over. After I return Levi's tux, mandatory nap day will begin. I will, along with my children, have a delicious, luxurious Sunday afternoon nap.

So with no small amount of tears, no small amount of laughter, and no small amount of effort.

I'm...


Almost...


THERE!