a weekend away…

Just what my spirit needed, a weekend away celebrating my daring daughter’s birthday. A weekend away with my favorite people, in one of my favorite places. A weekend away shopping, dining, viewing art, talking with artists, sitting on the balcony of our hotel watching people, thrifting, antiquing, farmers marketing…I know I made up that terminology, but it fits! A weekend away was a breath of fresh air!

letting myself off the hook; again…

I can’t do it, and I can’t handle the emotions I’ll feel when I fail! Sounds pathetic, but it is what it is. As I realize my own limitations, I began to accept my humanity and extend grace to myself. I am all worried about being able to walk up Mt. Scott tomorrow morning with a group of friends who all workout with the same trainer. Yes, I know it is meant to be fun, but it has caused me great angst.

It is a 3 mile hike up the road with an 8% grade in places. My trainer RAN up it on Sunday in less than 40 minutes. (she is amazing) She had a great idea that we could all walk up it tomorrow instead of our normal Friday workout. Great idea for everyone except for me… let’s see… anyone else spent their entire life fat? No. Anyone else in the group failed to walk 3 miles even just on flat ground? No. Anyone in the group ever run a 5K or a marathon? Yes, everyone except me. So, instead of feeling all the negative energy of failure, I choose to extend grace and stay home. I am just not ready to be put in that position again. I have spent the greater part of my life as someone who participates from the “outside”. Oh, I’m there at all the events; but I’m off to the side watching everyone else as they achieve, participate, enjoy… So tomorrow when they are all up on top of the mountain celebrating and taking their pictures to post on facebook, I’ll be here at home; cleaning my house, caring for my family, exercising with my husband, and processing through my emotions. Instead of gasping for breath, I’ll be breathing in grace and exhaling peace.

ADDENDUM: My husband and I went out to the refuge around 10am and walked halfway up the mountain. 1 and 1/2 miles and then walked back down. I can no longer say that I haven’t ever walked 3 miles! I have a plan to add to my hike, we mapped out 2 miles for next time. I am so thankful for friends who understand, a husband who loves me for who I am, and a God who gives just enough grace for each moment! 6 months ago I wouldn’t have ever been able to do what I did today. Thanks Mandy for training me, encouraging me and believing in me. Who knows what I’ll be able to do 6 months from now!

New Years Eve… Messy Canvas Style

I had an awesome New Years Eve. We hosted a party filled with inspiration and vision sharing for the new year. We started the evening off right with some Starbucks to help us stay awake! We shared our idea about making collages of words and pictures that could serve as a source of inspiration for us in the new year. We will be hanging these collages in the Worship Arts Department at our church. It was so cool to see people gathered around stacks of magazines laughing and talking as they created their work of art.

I was inspired to create collages by one of my favorite bloggers Mandy Stewart. Her blog Messy Canvas has been a God send to me this past year. I took her idea of making collages in her journal and turned it into a party idea for dreaming about the new year. Check out her blog, you will be INSPIRED!

Messy Canvas

Misery loves company…

My family and I spent the day in OKC with some great friends. We went there to take pictures for our church Christmas card. It was an amazing day. After the photos were taken at our favorite coffee shop, we headed down to Iguana Cafe for yummy gourmet Mexican food. The food was fresh and I made wise choices from the menu. This is awesome I thought, I can go out with friends and eat at fantastic restaurants and still be true to my healthy eating. Ok, let’s go home. Not so quick, next door there is a charming little shop full of delectable delights… Sara Sara Cupcakes. Lots of people think Sara Sara’s is a good idea, including my folks who joined us at lunch. So, off we go, all 11 of us, into the pink and white house of temptation and sin; Ok maybe that’s a little harsh! As we open the door the smell of sugar and spice and everything nice greets us.

We look at the display case, our kids eyes glaze over… and yet, I don’t want one. I mean, of course I WANT one, but I clearly understand how I would feel if I were to partake. I think of the phrase coined by a popular weight loss franchise, “nothing taste as good, as being thin feels” I am a long way from thin, but I have gotten a glimpse of the feeling of success: climbing stairs without being winded, dancing with my husband, swimming with my kids, playing BB with my husband, shopping for clothes in the “regular’ section… is a cupcake worth it? No, not for me. Now I fully understand that one cupcake wouldn’t do me in or even be a bad thing. It was just that today, I truly didn’t want one, and neither did my husband. So the title of this blog is completely misleading; I was far from miserable. I was completely content. Friends, family, beautiful weather, cool atmosphere, fun conversation, and best of all; a new sense of fulfillment. I have a long way to go, but I celebrate these small victories as a way to keep me focused and motivated.

Taking into account the stories that have shaped me…

High School is cruel. People vying for their place in the hierarchy of students. I attended a large suburban high school. I had my place. I walked this tight rope of balance between the “in” crowd and the “arts” crowd. Theater and music provided me a secure place to shine. It “bought” me a group of friends. Once I walked into the choir room or the little theater I could relax and realize my talent found me a place. A place with whomever else might be finding sanctuary there. There were cheerleaders, football players, singers, painters, druggies… but inside those walls we were all part of the same group; we were artists. The strange line I walked included having many close friends who were, as the “Wicked” song touts; POPULAR! It was really strange to know where I was accepted and where I wasn’t. I was talented and funny, so people liked me. I was voted Choir Queen and most talented of my Senior Class. However, I was fat and so my acceptance could only go so far. Once I left the choir room or the stage, I no longer “fit”. (pun intended)

One particular moment solidified this painful truth for me. I was walking past a group of “jocks” on my way to class. The current cool thing to do was to call out “SHOMP!” as a fat girl walked by. This onomatopoeia was used to replicate the sound of a harpoon slicing into the blubber of a whale, (guess they deserve some points for creativity).
So, as I walked past I saw a few of my “friends” in the group. I thought I might be spared the humiliating sound. There was one guy in particular that I was especially close to. We hung out after school, talked on the phone, and he even borrowed my car to drive to lunch ( don’t tell my folks). This day he was not my friend, this day he gave in to the pressure to fit in. As the guys called out “SHOMP” I was the whale, and their words and laughter were the harpoon that sliced into my heart. But, it was his voice I heard the loudest. I can still feel the pain as my eyes locked with his. It was one of those moments where everything goes blurry and my own heartbeat pounded in my head.
Their laughter is a sound I will never forget. A sound I choose not to forget, but to embrace. That sound helps me to see others more clearly. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I try to put myself in their situation and understand that I don’t have a clue how I might act if I had lived their life.

This embracing of these painful moments is part of my healing. My fat to fit journey isn’t just about changing my outer shell. My inner person is learning to accept my life stories for what they are and learning to be OK. I am learning to daily walk into situations relying on grace for that moment. I have been working out and “dieting” for over a year now. The scale is nowhere near where I expected it to be: thyroid issues, hormones, knee injury, knee surgery, etc. have all left their mark on this journey. But I feel the real gift is the journey itself. I’m learning to live in the “now”. I don’t need strength for tomorrow; only today, only for now. Today, with God’s grace, I am OK.

creatives need time to stop and smell the flowers…

I really noticed this the other day when registering for two different conferences. The first conference is a marriage conference for pastors, the second is a conference for “the creative class”. The “pastor” style conference runs from 3-9pm one day and 9-3 the next. I don’t know about you, but after a few hours I need time to process and to unwind. There is only so much I can take in no matter how great it is. When I go out after a conference and dialogue with others or sit quietly taking in a beautiful scene, I begin to think through and apply what I’ve learned. I think other creatives must feel the same. The “creative class” conference in Chicago is over at 5pm. The planners know that their audience will be anxious to get out and take in the town. It is just as important to me to be inspired by my surroundings and those I am with; as by the conference itself.

While I am really looking forward to both experiences, I am more excited about what will follow the actual events. Dallas, Chicago, great friends, and my love…now that sounds like times of true enrichment to me!

life isn’t fair…

I am a little overwhelmed with the things my friends are going through. I am so blessed and I really don’t appreciate the people and the blessings the way I should. I keep a list of the things I am thankful for in the note section of my phone. Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself or feel like life isn’t fair (and it isn’t) I simply open up that file and read my list…it certainly puts my struggles in perspective.

If you are a praying person I ask that you lift these situations up in prayer. No names are necessary, God knows!

a friend in ICU fighting for her life

a friend with a struggling marriage

a friend in a battle with DHS, problems with a child they adopted and were falsely accused of abuse. all children, including their 3 were removed from the home. Court is moving way too slow, almost 4 months now. One child was returned to the home today, but the other 4 are still in DHS custody, breaks my heart!

a friend undergoing her 2nd surgery in 2 weeks for kidney issues

a friend’s husband lost his job just as they are preparing to send their 2nd child off to college out of state…now they have to decide if he can afford to go this year

a friend in the hospital delivering their first child at only 17 weeks, as she put it; they will deliver their baby and their little one will meet Jesus today

too much to take in…only God. So hug your loved one close, extend grace, and say a prayer of thanksgiving for all we have!