Friday, December 12, 2014

PREPARE instead of Procrastinate

Five Minute Friday is one of my favorite blog post events I participate in. I start here to get my word prompt and write for five minutes without editing like the crazy word nerd that I am.

Today's Prompt: PREPARE

GO:

I saw a t-shirt this week posted on Facebook. It said "I put the PRO in Procrastinate". It made me laugh. Sort of. I procrastinate less and less now that I know it is one of the obvious signs I'm heading towards depression.

Now, I try to put the PRO in PROACTIVE.

This requires that I PREPARE for a whole lot of things better than I used to.

PREPARE my heart for hearing from God throughout the day by acknowledging Him first thing and thanking Him in advance for all that comes my way.
PREPARE my mind for the needs and activities that I know will happen and preventing ahead of time the "stinkin' thinkin'" that robs me of the ability to move forward at the pace my life requires.
PREPARE my body for learning to ski this winter -- NEED more TIME at the GYM!
PREPARE my family for the events of the day, planning to be a blessing to all they encounter and walk in grace and compassion for others.
PREPARE my home for life to happen without the chaos that comes when things are disheveled and disorganized.

I have been working on these things for several weeks, some for many years. I don't necessarily do them well all the time but each day, week, month and year that goes by, I improve because I'm finally focused on them instead of just responding to the crisis that occurs when I don't PREPARE.

STOP.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Processing Peace...



These past weeks I've encountered a whole new challenge (well, several, but I'm going to be specific on just this one for now).

I've found myself processing what peace looks like in any given moment. So many times I feel like my life is a three ring circus (one ring for each boy) and I am the Ringmaster, the props manager and backstage director all at the same time. My Love, when out of town, is watching from a distant screen longing to join in the fun/chaos. When he is here, he and I trade hats, juggling each position as each of us can. I really miss him when he travels!

The rhythm of OUR chaos isn't out of control. Control is an illusion anyway, right? The rhythm of our world isn't supposed to match anyone else's life. I often find myself thinking I am doing something "wrong" or should be doing something "better". I do make mistakes and there is always room for improvement but should I ever feel apologetic for what our life looks like to anyone else?

NO!

We are US.

Our family chemistry is OURS. The synergy of US all together in a jam or in pure joy, it is OUR moment, OUR memories made.

If I have to pop on a Top Hat and crack the whip to get all my "clowns" in the car to get to school on time, I do. As long as I am not spinning my head and barking like the yak woman (sometimes it happens), I figure it is all a part of our world. Some days are prettier than others but overall, its US.

If I have to rearrange the props for a more effective production - then I do. Each son puts away his own laundry. Since amnesia tends to strike when it's time to take them from the one place I put them all in neat piles, I put each fella's pile on his bed. No questions about what is who's there... Thankfully they all know where they sleep. That's what we do - its US.

If I have to set timers, remove toys, or alter activities in order to notify each guy when his act needs to change and provide more clear and unmistakable direction then I do. Its OUR way.

I write all this not to be defensive because I've felt judged (and I have) but because regardless of who's opinion is out there - our family is wonderful. So is yours.

I have found a way to process this peace that may seem like chaos from the outside. ENJOYMENT. I'm not going with the flow or striving hard to do something better or more, but taking in the moments that are hard and the ones that are fun and being in that moment - seeing the process of peace, becoming, growing, learning, to enjoy US at a whole new level.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Black Hole - Part 3

If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 those links will take you there.

I am neck deep in living Part 3! I have a new hairstyle, a new wardrobe style (I call it quirky casual to make it seem creative when I just want to wear something I love regardless of how well it "goes" with whatever else I've got on and a joy-filled outlook.
My necklace was a gift from my Love for losing 75lbs. Blue Piranha is full of gorgeous wearable art!

The challenges are daily, the victories are frequent, the defeats don't feel eternal, the joy inside is my constant companion, finally.

I see beauty everywhere. I was at a women's retreat this weekend - the first one in a long time. The setting was beautiful, but the women - spectacular!

For once I wasn't focused on how I measure myself against or alongside them. I was content to be me and enjoy them. No comparisons, no wondering what it would be like to have that body, that face, that money, that _____. I used to get stuck in weighing myself against the competition - was I really the fattest woman in the room or could I find someone heavier than me? This time it didn't even cross my mind. Not once.

That alone is a giant victory from where I once lived. But to learn from a great speaker, enjoy the presence of beloved friends, and soak up the beauty of nature without once focusing on my lack of anything compared to anyone - that is a REAL MIRACLE!

I didn't even realize it until I started writing how amazing that was. Wow!

On to the daily stuff - the daily lists, Mt. Laundry, stinky crock pots from the night before, and the watch I dropped behind the bed that I only remember is there when the alarm goes off...

Life is still very daily.

I get up, wander out to let the dog outside, type blogs from my bed, roll my eyes at my "bed head", get boys up and ready for school, get ready for work, run errands, clean things, wash things, decide if Mt. Laundry can wait another day or if a load or two would be helpful...

I've made mistakes at work that when corrected, didn't devastate me. I've made mistakes at home that require repentance (usually to my kids) and didn't spend hours or days contemplating how horrible they would turn out because I am their mom, and I still have things that stare at me daily reminding me I am a work in progress, but I don't feel defeated, only thankful that God isn't finished with me yet. 

This Black Hole series has been a good reminder to me - when I was in it - all I saw was the Hole - self-obsessed survival, desperate of mind and body. I stared into the darkness looking for any shred of Hope. I found it, barely, but the darkness didn't go away. Now, over a year later, I know the benefit of walking through it all. 

I almost gave up. I am so glad I didn't. It was worth every bit of painful self-exploration, purposeful spiritual growth, and stormy emotional waves to get to the other side of it. 

If you are in the Hole. Hang on. Don't give up. There is Light at the end of this tunnel. Get the help you need. You won't regret it. And, I'm praying for you!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Black Hole - Part 2

I didn't stay where I left off in My Black Hole (Part 1) but I need to add in some components of that time...
There are several things that spoke to me in this season that helped me feel validated in my agony and despair. One of the first, the broken butterfly cookie. Made by my favorite bakery, damaged while putting it on the shelf, I could see myself in it. I felt "damaged while on the shelf" in so many ways. I bought it and ate it almost like some kind of communion with my broken self. 

Each night I'd go to bed begging God to release me from this, cranking at Him for making me live in this pain, wanting to take a sleeping pill to force my self-hatred to the far recesses of my mind, or flooded with anxiety about what the next day would hold. 

One morning I woke up thinking about rip currents. I grew up close to the beach in Southern California and we were there at least once a week. I learned to body surf and boogie board by trial and error and had been caught in many of them over the years. As a teen, I got to the point where I wasn't worried if I ended up in one because I knew how to get out. But now, in 2013, I didn't remember that. So I looked it up.


So many handy tips about depression in there. 
I found nothing about fighting it, resenting being stuck in it, freaking out about it, or forcing yourself to go beyond what you are capable of! Only solid wisdom about how I should respond to this "rip current" of depression...

Finally I felt like I had permission "If in doubt, don't go out." So I stayed in. Only seeing the psychiatrist to work on finding the best medication to manage my brain chemistry, the counselor to work through the pain and change thought patterns, and my small group. Most of the time I went to church. I cried a lot there, but it was a safe place. 

When I look at the pictures of this season - this one taken of a fresh hair cut and color, I can't help but see the sadness in my eyes.
  
This picture popped up on a friend's Facebook page one day. Again, I felt the need to decide. Am I going to DO life, or DO NOT. Trying wasn't going to get me anywhere. So, I decided to DO.

I had a peaceful sleep filled respite with my aunt in New Mexico. She gifted me with so much in those few days. My favorite though, was this small ceramic circle. I saw it on her wall, loved it, so she gave it to me. Another artifact of this season of pain that turned, slowly, into a blessing.
I left there with a long way to go, but knowing that somehow I'd make it.

One of the major changes I made was having weight loss surgery. I have spent over 20 years at least 100lbs overweight. It was time to do something about it. I had been praying about surgery for over five years. So, six months after the beginning of the "Jennifer Recovery Plan" (JRP) my Love and I decided it was time. 

My medication was balancing out my brain, my thought life, while still challenging, was improving, and my food addiction was still a huge battle that needed focused attention. I knew my family and many of my friends would be there to support me, but without my small group, I would have never had the courage to go through with it. You can see the difference it made in me, physically and emotionally. There were still many times I cried, longing to feel full without getting sick, wanting to order an actual plate of food not just share with my Love, and desperately wanting to stuff down the pain with food as I had in the past. It still happens, just not as often. 
June 2014
I was starting to find courage to live again. Jennifer was not some elusive woman I glimpsed in the mirror for a fleeting second, but one who I began to see regularly. I could start to see beyond the butt size, the lack of makeup, the messiness of life to the woman God designed. I have always been told Jesus loves me. But in this season, I've started to really get a deep heart level sense that He LIKES me.

(By the way, He LIKES you too. He sees the struggle and He definitely loves you, but, He really likes you too. I'm not just saying that. I hear His heart for others sometimes and I felt like He wants you to know that - today - right now - He likes you.)

A few weeks ago I got out of town with a few girlfriends. I felt myself, for the first time in a very long while, resting in the moment. Not trying to imagine what might come next, to try to stay one step ahead driven by the fear of the unknown, but to dream... Imagine the possibilities... Speaking aloud things planted in my heart about who I desire to become... 

These are pictures taken that weekend. Yes, one is a "selfie". I've taken several over the last year, many I deleted, to try to see "me" in the clouds of fog, moments of agony, and on my way out of the Hole. This one, I loved. The real "Me" coming out of the Hole, looking forward to the future...  

 

Speaking of future... I'm about to go back to writing the blog I started years ago about my pursuit of physical fitness. Stories of all four triathlons I completed are in there. Early on in my triathlon dreams I began considering doing an Ironman race. 

Watching friends do them over the years and vacillating between being sure I could never do it and dreaming of crossing that finish line, this year I took it a step further. August 3, 2014 I stood along the run course cheering on all the exhausted racers jogging or walking by cheering like I knew them. I would think in one moment, I could never do this, and then - I'm not kidding you - a "Jennifer" would jog or walk by. It happened at least five or six times. At one point I looked up to the sky and laughed and asked Him if He was trying to tell me something! Then, later at the finish line, I saw them again. "Jennifer" after "Jennifer" finishing the race. Maybe it was a "sign" maybe it wasn't depending on how skeptical I am at any given moment. 

The next evening, the volunteer thank you dinner was fun. I had never been to one and didn't know what to expect. The best part for me was meeting the 1st place finisher in the women's division. When she spoke I could see my dream of Ironman again as a real possibility. When she said she'd be sticking around after the dinner to sign posters afterwards, I decided to meet her. I shared my story briefly with her. She wrote a note of encouragement and was happy to take a picture with me. 



There will be a Part 3 in another week or two... sharing the current challenges in my healing process and life journey, but for now, I am thankful to say I am super close to being out of the Hole and I am so thankful I lived to share about it. Many thanks to all who have prayed me through this, sent notes & texts of encouragement and phone calls checking in. God has used you in a powerful way. I am blessed to have you in my life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Black Hole - Part 1

When I look back at my life just over a year ago it couldn't be more different than it is today.

This time last year I was submerged in a black hole so deep I honestly didn't care if I ever came out. I had lost the desire to fight for the light. The trigger for this hole is different for everyone so the "reason" is irrelevant... the experience of the pain is real!

It terrified me and comforted me at the same time.

I found solace in the idea of death. After all, everyone would be better without me right? My kids wouldn't have their defective mother and my husband wouldn't have to deal with a wife who couldn't manage to meet the perceived (and real) expectations no matter what or how I tried. The more I considered the idea, the more reasonable it sounded. My friends and family would recover and go on with their lives and I would be out of the head/heart pain I was in. Win/Win right?

Until the psychiatrist said to me: "If a mother kills herself, at least one of her children will want to be with her. Please don't do this to them. Your anger and heart ache is real and needs healing. Please don't give up. Get the help you need, if only for them."

So I did.

Psychiatrist for medication to deal with the physiological misfires in my brain, a counselor for my thought patterns that need changed, and a small group to be instrumental in speaking life, challenging lies I believed and a workbook that we would work through together finding freedom in God's unfailing love for us.

Early on, I had a friend come and pick me up and take me to a meeting where one of my favorite speakers was sharing. I felt like the guy in the Bible who was taken by stretcher to where Jesus was and dropped through the roof to find healing. I walked in the door, but there is no way I would have left the house without her coming to get me, talking to me all the way there, and not minding the fact that I hadn't showered in days.

Later on, I continued to battle multiple panic attacks every day but they were less than five instead of over ten. I rarely left the house, tried to engage with my kids more, let go of aspirations of joining the PTA, and settled in for the JRP (Jennifer Recovery Plan). I attended hardly any school events because I couldn't stop the panic attacks, I tried to keep tabs on my kids behavior at school only by emails with the teachers, and continued to choke down the fact that I was not going to ever be the same again.

More months go by and I am getting better but still not wanting to be seen. I felt like all my flaws, mistakes and malfunctions were hanging off me like warning flags. I was gaining weight, barely sleeping, and while the darkness of the hole was brightening, I still wasn't able to see out.

I had more days that felt better, more days I could "show up" for life, more days that the end of the tunnel was getting closer and even, occasionally, I could see the end of it...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Transformer! Yes! That's ME!

I am laughing at myself today. A lot. Here is a photo of me and the other Transformer I love, Optimus Prime.


I have had HUGE major life transitions in the past 18 months and there are more on the horizon.


I find it quite helpful to not take myself too seriously. I have a lot of areas of my life in transition and flux but I depend on my sense of humor and faith to keep from getting sucked into a vortex of fear.

Today I committed to a month long "Boot Camp" class after almost blacking out in my first one. Yes, still chuckling over that...

You see, my body is in SUCH a crazy state of transformation that I was caught completely unaware of the new consistent needs it would have for a HIGH intensity workout.

I am almost four months post op from gastric sleeve surgery and I feel great, until I don't hydrate and fuel my body well enough for the crazy workout plan I have! So, lesson learned. Hydrate VERY well before, during and after (normal for everyone but with only small drinks for a smaller stomach, I must concentrate much more on constantly drinking fluids) and fueling before a workout. When I was overweight before surgery I could count on my fat stores for fueling a workout if I got in a time crunch. However, almost 70lbs down in a few months, my body isn't really sure what is going on and insists it get the fuel it needs before I push it to the limits of exhaustion.

I am also looking for a job. When I quit to have our first son ten years ago, I swore I'd never re-enter the workforce. I hated it and would never go back. But why did I hate it? I wanted to be a stay at home mom forever and after waiting over nine years to get pregnant I knew I'd never want to be or do anything else.

Until now.

I love raising our sons. They are my most favorite people in the world second only to my Love. They challenge me, test me and give me belly laughs like no one ever has. They stretch me in ways I never thought was possible, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I have enjoyed ALMOST every minute. Any parent out there knows that there are some minutes you just don't enjoy...

They need me differently now. I have really begun to come to terms with the change in my role in encouraging and supporting them to stretch, grow and be challenged by life knowing their Dad and I will be right beside them all the way. Even if I have a full-time job.

My brain longs to stretch for an education in all sorts of directions. I look forward to working with adults, handling challenges that stretch my intellect and learning new facets of the business world I'd never had the courage to dive into before. I am applying for all kinds of jobs in all kinds of industries. My work ethic, administrative talents and gifts are going to be an asset to any organization, I am very confident of that!

So, before you want to send me any network marketing information, I am not interested. At. All.

I want to rejoin the workforce in an office that is not my home, Go beyond the borders I have savored for these past ten years and reach for the great unknown... for myself and for my family.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Changing

It feels a bit strange being smaller.
Waking up in my own skin and having it match
More closely the picture in my mind.

I've never visualized myself FAT. This has greatly contributed to my denial that has faded in and out for the past 20+ years. I would go try on clothes or bathing suits and be confused and angry as to why I was so huge. Moving was getting harder, my workouts pretty much ended because my previously injured Achilles wouldn't tolerate it, and I was tired all the time.

Snuggling on the couch was most of the time I'd have with my fellas. 

Me at 325lbs. Still smiling. Still choosing life... mostly.
I have over two decades of journals FULL of my struggles with my weight, self-image, and dreams of being fit and healthy. Food Addiction had me full in it's grasp and I wanted OUT!

I had surgery March 18th.  It was a little scary and pretty uncomfortable making the much needed adjustments - it still is sometimes. But it's getting better. The grip of Food Addiction is looser, but not gone, and though I'm not near my goal weight, I am closer than I have been in a VERY long time. And getting closer every day.

Me at 262lbs... feeling lighter!
I am now down over 60lbs. It feels good. I am tired but my doctor did a full blood workup for me last week and EVERYTHING is in normal ranges. So, my being tired is due to either my sleep apnea (that has changed since I lost weight & my machine requires adjusting) or the fact that I have three wonderful and challenging sons, a puppy, and a home to manage and run.

I have started swimming again now and I will be setting some fitness goals this week to attain throughout the summer that will include training for a triathlon and weight lifting.

The best picture I've seen so far that describes how I feel is this:

I am a little (VERY) afraid of the changes that I am making. I have been overweight for 22years. I honestly can't imagine what I will look like or how I will feel. Then there is the nervousness about gaining the weight back - not doing the heart-work I need to do to keep the healthy habits for a lifetime. I keep moving forward, as brave as I can be and trusting God for the rest of what I need to make it all the way to the finish line of my weight and health goals and then MAINTAIN them!



Saturday, April 12, 2014

Process...

I know I need to write something. I don't even care so much if it's brilliant, I just need to do it.

After having weigh loss surgery almost a month ago and very close to 40lbs lighter, than my highest weight 3 weeks before surgery
I find myself feeling like I'm coming back to life.

I have LOTS to do in my day-to-day world - things I could barely bring myself to tackle before. But I'm still not 100%. It is such a strange feeling knowing I'm capable of MORE than I have been in a long time but not physically able to perform all of what I think I want to do.

My body is adjusting to my new gastric sleeve and I'm still on mushy foods (baby food consistency) and liquid protein shakes for my main nutrition. I'm increasing my walking slowly but consistently (which feels ridiculous considering all I've done before - like busting out a 5K like it was nothing) looking forward to my 6 weeks post op & can increase my exercise options beyond walking. I can feel/see my body shrinking sometimes. Literally. I know it sounds a little nuts but I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror then before bed, I realize I'm smaller... so very strange after 20 years of losing and gaining over and over again.

There is something about losing 40lbs that is NOT impressive to me. It is the number of pounds I have lost over and over again. No matter what diet or fitness level I've attempted, 40 is my maximum pounds lost.

When I get to 50lbs and keep going lower, then I will begin to really experience the reason I chose this permanent MAJOR life altering tool to get the weight off. I am killing the food addiction tendencies to the best of my ability. I am praying through, leaning into pain, and longing for the new habits I'm establishing to become the way I live forever.

I have no pie in the sky ideal that I will never battle food addiction once I establish new habits, but I am very confident that the strength I have gained in these past weeks in my heart and mind will carry me through - as long as I never forget where I've come from and why I've made these changes.

This is why I write. This is why I share. So I remember and so those close to me lovingly remind me, when I forget, how hard I worked to get to where I'm going.

This butterfly is flapping her wings and getting ready to take off!
Blessings & Love!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Rainbow Poo and Another Discovery I Made This Winter

No pictures to include with this post! I bet you are relieved!

Once the majority of the snow melts, there is a lot left to be seen under the surface.

Apparently our puppy has come across more crayons and other coloring items than I was aware of based on my "patrol" of the backyard this morning. Mental note: Keep better track of my budding artist and his tools!

Another thing exposed in the thaw was a giant vat of unforgiveness I had buried rather deep.

I pray "I choose to forgive" prayers regularly. I thought I kept short accounts until God exposed something more disturbing than the backyard rainbow...

"I choose to forgive" is powerful and very hard to say/live but I discovered there can be a deeper cesspool created if that is all I do. I never really asked God to reveal the depth of the wounding of the offenses I was forgiving. Some had left imprints in my being that festered and grew.

I needed to do something BIG, bigger than anything I'd ever tried before:

Trust God to descend into that stinky cesspool and remove the tragic waste of my pain.

I have lived with what I would call "chronic heart pain" for a large chunk of my life - a naturally designed "feeler" I feel everything with intensity. Joy, sorrow, peace, heartbreak, etc. Life events or things people have said to me were locked down, distorting my ability to become all of who I was originally designed to be. Finally diagnosed with Severe Clinical Depression in August of 2013, I realized it had really taken over my life and no amount of "spiritual thinking" could contain it. (That is a WHOLE different blog!)

As I sought help spiritually (inner healing prayer - literally "seeing" Jesus walk with me through places of tremendous pain and bring healing in the midst of unchangeable past events), mentally (behavior modification), emotionally (counseling), and physically (healthier eating and exercise) the long buried wounds are bubbling up.

I wrestle within the muck sensing God's presence in it. It is a process I am not finished with, but, like the frozen rainbow nuggets, the stench is faded and I know there will be fresh green places soon!


Friday, January 31, 2014

Mental Health Moments

This has been a hard week on many levels and I started this morning choking down more than one panic attack, breaking up boy-cranky-ness, and serving fruit snacks for breakfast (yup, I'm passing on the parenting gold star for today).

However, today there is LOTS of snow and sunshine so I HAD to take some time to go for a drive in "Awesome Black" (my youngest named our car) and snap a few pictures after my lil fella went to school.








Music poured into my head and heart. I saw beauty. I re-centered in the grateful places.

I am not ungrateful very often, distracted by my circumstances lately.

The pain in my heart hasn't gone away, the boot on my foot from a wrecked ankle this week is still here (as well as the ache of grumpy ligaments and tendons), my giant booty isn't shrinking at the rate I'd like it to (slower now with a bum leg), and several other things I won't mention continue to challenge me.



                    "Snowmometer".



HOWEVER, at the end of this mental health moment I must say:

I found JOY!

The bubble up from the bottom of the deep well of my life, JOY is there. Smiling in the sunshine, soaking up the beauty of the day, and soon to be hobbling around my kitchen making and decorating cupcakes for my Snowmometer making boy who happily settled for a small simple party after our crazy week. 



There is blessing, peace and JOY to be found in every day. 
I'm getting even better at finding ALL to be had! 
May your weekend be filled with JOY! (No matter who wins the Super Bowl!)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Trying to Look Up Under the Tidal Wave

In my blog earlier this week I talked about waves of pain, anger, sorrow, joy and peace.

Today the wave of pain crashed over me and I feel helpless to rise to the surface. I know I will, time has taught me that, but while I'm down here I thought I'd share a few thoughts...



I look up at the metaphorical glassy surface of water flooded over me I can see ripples of my future. Submerged, holding my breath, pain pinching my lungs, I catch a glimmer of hope.

Acknowledging wrongs done, willing to walk barefoot over sharp rocks on the road to healing, pressing in to Father for comfort, clinging to Truth for oxygen, I try to breathe under the water. I can. Because of Him.

The pinch in my chest remains, not for lack of oxygen, but because agony must find its outlet. My thoughts wander to ones I've been charged to bring up in this world where heartbreak happens.



Our firstborn. The child promised and longed for. Nine and a half years of infertility and heart pleas for this one. His quirky sense of humor, energy and unquenchable creativity draw me in to ways of understanding only he and I share.

 
Our second born. A brilliant surprise VERY soon after our first gift. The glow of his smile and infectious laughter are unparalleled by anything else God created. Intellect and charm ooze from this guy and he is the sunshine of my every day. 



Our third born. Powerful in word and deed. Like a jolt of lightning this one struck with such delight and tenacity our whole family remains upended in a wonderful way. He is my personal assistant, giggle sparker, and fiercely loyal prince.


From the depths I see them, choose them all over again and pray for God's grace over them as I remain submerged in this season. I will continue to hold them, pray for them, laugh with them, cry with them and do life with them, even in dark waters, I can always reach up to them...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Down and Dirty...

So many things have happened in the past week.

I can't imagine how to begin to describe the waves of pain, anger, sorrow, joy and peace.

Just when I think it's going to get better something else is exposed and I feel undone again. And again. And again.

And... again.

Fighting the panic attacks has begun again. Juggling emotions and words like a clown on crack, wondering if I ever get to climb off the Blindfold Express hurtling into painful events and circumstances with such speed and turbulence that would shake Mother Teresa herself (she is one of my heroes).

Since I am not a nun nor a woman of her caliber I am left to lean on the only One I know who promises to never leave or forsake me. God. Don't think I'm not a bit cranky with Him about all this too - keeping it real - He at least listens and really hears my anger and heartbreak and moves forward into my pain with me.

What about the joy and peace in the midst of all this?

Joy comes when I stop staring manically at my circumstances and remind myself that good old Romans 8:28 is still Truth.

Peace comes when I quit trying to figure it out too far ahead on my own instead of trusting God with whatever is next.

Meanwhile...  I remain in a place desperate for God's intervention, looking for His insight, leaning on my support system and trying not to crack up. I wish I could tell you it was easy or I'm doing fantastic at it. I'm not.

I continue to grow in this place that circumstances and hurts are choking my every breath. I won't let this pass without learning what I need to move forward.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Being Angry and Still Living in Joy

It sounds crazy doesn't it? I think so.

BUT, I find myself there.

Neck deep in the ashes of some major life events that have left me ANGRY and sad, I find joy.

Joy like I talked about last week in this blog - for real.

The biggest nugget of joy has been being honest with God, myself and others about the massive tangible anger I feel about these circumstances. Turns out God isn't shocked, my friends and family still love me and the circumstances are still there.

One thing that has changed is me. I am building up courage to walk through pain and anger instead of trying to escape it. I have let anger get me a big butt, zits, lose sleep, sinus headaches from bawling, and separate me from the one(s) who have hurt me.

I've now personally experienced how anger is such an enormous dividing wall between me and the one I am angry with. I've been angry before but not to this degree that plunges to the depths and then threatens to erupt unchecked like Mt. St Helens leaving disaster behind.

This time I am venting. To God mostly. He's the one that can handle the really nasty stuff, even when it's Him I'm angry with. He is not mad at me for being angry and He built me with emotions to experience them not stuff and hide. I don't like to spew poison into the air when I speak. I try to stay away from it as much as possible. I've texted with a few friends & family but ultimately He's the one who will restore my soul's devastation.

I KNOW He will restore, heal and can handle my brutal honesty in my current situation. That brings me back to JOY.

Joy in the midst of the swirling blackness of anger is a shimmer of bright truth. A pure gold thread woven tightly into a blanket, a moment of silence in my thoughts when they settle and finding rest in His presence. Experiencing joy is the clicks on my keyboard sharing my process knowing someone will feel less alone in their pain because I shared.

This time I am walking through my anger, knowing His Presence contains the fullness of Joy and He is with me as I am with Him.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

If I Could Do or Be Anything I Wanted...

That question has plagued me for weeks.

I have been pondering this upcoming year, praying for vision, revelation or even a clue as to what my focus should be. If you've read any of my past blogs here or on my other blog 3boymomma you know I'm battling food addiction and clinical depression.

Which makes this all the sweeter to announce officially - I want to be/live/breathe JOY.

Boundless, outrageous, undeniable, unquenchable, extravagant, effervescent, shiny, breath-of-fresh-air, rocky-mountain-high, fresh-out-of-the-cocoon-stretching-wings-and-flying JOY.

It doesn't matter where I live, what church, school, organizations I belong to, how I make (or don't) money. What kind of car, haircut, clothes, I have is irrelevant (as long as they are clean-most of the time).

I'm not talking about in-your-face, wisecrack while you weep, insensitive pushy happiness.

I'm talking about ray-of-sun-shining-through-deep-fog, come-alongside-and-savor-moments of pain bathed-in-peace-with-holy-tenderness JOY.

The JOY that is always in season and never fails to produce good fruit.

That is who I want to be and what I want to do.

Stay tuned on how I manage to become this...