Uncategorized

My Battle…out in the open

It all began with a mirror. 

I’ve been “heavy” my whole life.  Never have I known a time when I was thin or “normal.”  Normal… what is normal? I come from a family of 8 children and 6 were “normal” and two of us were “heavy.” 

While I’ve always been heavy, my self perception has been okay. In my mind I’ve felt that I was just like everyone else. Then when I’d see a picture or see myself in a dressing room mirror I’d seem shocked and dismayed. Regardless, I’ve always worked hard to love myself no matter what.  After all, God created me and He made me pretty darn awesome! 

In the 35 adult years of my 55, I’ve tried every diet known to man. I’ve purchased programs, books, vides and everything in between. I’ve also joined and cancelled gym membership after gym membership.

I can picture myself eating healthy and exercising. It excites me! I can get myself motivated and ready to make a change… tomorrow. I may or may not get started on a new venture to only self sabotage and fizzle out. All the while still feeling okay about myself and this “burden” that I’ve been chosen to carry. I read once that if weight were not my issue to keep me pressed into God, then it would be something else. 

This past week I traveled to Colorado for a conference. This is where my current story begins. I left feeling very aware of my current situation. Clothes were tighter and it was tough to choose what to take. I’m dealing with plantar fasciitis and carrying extra weight does not help at all.  Traveling in the cheap seats on the plane was tough. I was wedged in next to my thin friend for two long hours. Luckily we chatted and that made the time pass more quickly. Upon arriving I could hardly walk from sitting for so long. Add insult to injury, I have to turn a bit sideways to get through the narrow aisles as I walked to leave the plane. 

Everything about the trip there was physically uncomfortable and my self esteem was very fragile. We arrived at the beautiful resort and headed to our room. First things first, I had to use the little girls room! I sat (or plopped) down on the toilet that seemed to be nearly on the ground. I let out a huge sigh and looked in front of me. There, hanging from the top of the door to the floor was a giant mirror. I was sitting on the toilet staring at myself with my pants down around my ankles. Needless to say, I was horrified! I had truly never seen such a sight. I mentioned earlier that in my mind I feel normal. Well, this confirmed my suspicions… I’m not normal. 

It took my breath away. I was astonished and shocked and immediately very sad. It all came together… in that mirror. 

My goal over the past 5 years or so has been to just be healthy. I’m learning to love myself and treat me like I treat those I love. I’ve had success and failures. For the most part I’m healthy… except for my weight. I am good at doing the wellness things I need to do to avoid doctors and medications. But my being heavy has gone too far. I’ve always been able to do what everyone else could do despite my weight and now that has come to an end and that mirror was the final straw. 

I guess I’ve hit the proverbial “rock bottom.” My prayers for years have been for me to be able to “wake up” and make changes before a major medical issue forces me to. 

Now as I sit on the bottom and look up, I’m deathly afraid. I need to make a major life change and I’ve never been successful in the past. This time it’s a matter of life or death. If I don’t turn my life around now I will go down the path of my dear sister Kate whose life was cut short due to morbid obesity and inactivity. 

No more excuses. No more tomorrows. No more. 

As I sit here typing this, I have no idea what path I’m going to travel to get out of the darkness I’m sitting in. There are a million options and programs and things I can do. I know what I need to do. I know how to do it. Now to “just do it.” 

Today I’m going to get on my knees before my heavenly Father and lay it at His feet. That’s step one. I need to stop projecting out how I want things to go. I need to take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time. I’ve experienced some hard things in my life but this for me is the hardest. It’s my battle and I need to put on my armor and begin to fight. I’m hoping by making my battle public that you might lift me up in prayer if I cross your mind. Maybe you are facing the same battle as me and we can encourage one another. Maybe you have another cross to carry and your battle feels impossible like mine. I’m going to lean in towards heaven as I travel this path… join me and we can travel together with God leading the way. There is still work to do on this earth and I’m not ready to be done. 

Lord, open me up and let Your light in. Today is a new day full of your mercy and grace. I’m waking up and need You. Amen

IMG_4883

Uncategorized

Healing Emotions…

Emotions are powerful. 

I’ve lived in a sea of swirling emotions for the past 3 months or so. Significant birthdays… anniversary… graduation… wedding… grand baby. 

All of these emotions are wonderful… memories made! It’s been quite wonderful! 

I’ve learned that sometimes new emotions can uncover old ones. That is my quiet space this morning.  An old emotion that I’ve worked hard to process and bury over time. 

Not quite…

When I held our grandson for the first time I experienced an emotion I’ve never felt before.  Watching momma with her new son sparked an emotion around something I’ve never experienced. I’ve been struggling to even begin to describe the feelings I am having or why they are so strong. 

This morning I woke after a restless night and it hit me. 

I, as a grand parent, have experienced something that is quite miraculous and beautiful. I now realize that the deep emotion in the depths of my heart and soul is my own personal lack of this experience. 

As people stood around the room talking about their own pregnancy and birth experiences, I sat quietly listening… as I’ve done most of my life. 

I have no children born naturally to me. I’ve not experienced pregnancy nor the miracle of birth. Along with that comes a host of emotions of things lost. I will never be “the mom” that birthed a child. I can’t compare my stories to others… the list goes on.  

I’ve processed most of these over the years. I have always hoped and prayed I’d at least get to be a grandma! My wish came true! 

Wow… little did I know the emotions I’d feel last Thursday when I laid eyes on this little miracle. I can’t compare my emotions with anyone else’s, but now I have a little more clarity as to why mine have been so strong and deep.

I stand in awe of God and how He orchestrates life. The miracle of how He created a woman’s body to bring life into this world. I’ve had the privilege to watch my bonus daughter as she progressed through her pregnancy and listen to her talk about how things have been changing. I’ve been able to take some beautiful photographs of her along the way. Now I get to watch the miracle of motherhood unfold. God has created her to be a mom and she is a natural. I’m witnessing first hand her love and nurturing of this little being that is relying on her and her alone for his life! I’ve tried to imagine what that must feel like from her perspective… it overwhelms me.

Yes, I can honestly say I wish I’d had the privilege of birthing my own child. To walk through the 9 months and experience the miracle of birth. To raise a child that has my eyes or my temperament. To know that when I die, I’ve left a little piece of me behind. God had other plans for my life and that’s okay. I’ve had this beautiful experience becoming a grandma and will have more before my time is up. I am blessed. 

So, today I grieve a little as I look forward with anticipation to our next visit and that sweet time to hold him and dream of the memories we will make with this precious little peanut! 

NOTE:

**This blog is merely a purging of emotions that I needed to process. It’s not a cry for sympathy for anyone to feel bad for me. I’m perfectly happy with my life and where God has brought me. It’s the circle of life and the layers that need to be dealt with along the way**

heart ear

 

Uncategorized

#pbnj

Yesterday 

August 2

Twenty-one years ago it was a very important day of my life. Fourteen years ago it became a sad day to remember. Every year when the beginning of August rolls around I have a moment of reflection and a twinge of emotion. Yes, I’m one of those date-remembering people… drives my husband nuts! 

Yesterday

 August 2, 2018

Best day ever! The day our lives changed forever! A day that will now be filled with love and excitement with new memories to be made! The day we became grandparents! 

At 12:49 PM the sweetest, most beautiful little baby boy entered this big big world!    

Back in late December we learned that we would become grandparents in August. We were instantly filled with love and excitement and have anticipated this day since then. 

First thing on the agenda… names! Grandparent names! For reasons not worth mentioning, I did not want to be “grandma.” My sister has a cool grandma name… Jammie M! Since then I knew that if I ever became a grandma I had to have a cool gma name! Nana J…

#pbnj

Papa B and Nana J

I’ve been excited for months, but until yesterday I’m not even sure I knew what I was excited for.  After hearing her water broke, the hours leading up to 12:49 PM on August 2 were emotion-filled with very little sleep.  All I could do was pray.  After getting to the hospital yesterday morning, the minutes seemed to tick backwards.

Anticipation.

Excitement.

Worry.

Tears as I met and talked with a family who welcomed their little Olivia Grace weighing in at one pound. Heart wrenching…

When we finally found out that our little grandson had arrived there were more tears. Papa B was able to go back and see momma and baby. I had told him I wanted my first view of baby to be in person. He felt bad I wasn’t able to go to the active labor room so he took a picture for me.  I resisted looking and then couldn’t help myself. 

That is the moment everything changed. On Papa’s tiny cell phone Baby O was perfect! Tears… so many tears. Now I HAD to meet him in person! 

I am 55 and have no children of my own. I have no schema for a birth nor the wonder of that experience. 

I’ve not had that moment when you lay eyes on that special baby for the first time… until August 2, 2018 as I held him in my arms.

My heart melted into his. 

Nana J holding sweet Baby O. 

Tears were falling out of my eyes! I’ve never quite felt anything like it. I didn’t want to let him go, but the room was filled with all of the stakeholders in his life that wanted a chance to have a moment in his first hours on this planet!                              

So today… August 3… 24 hours later… I still can’t quite wrap my head around it all. I’m struggling with words to describe how I feel.  I’m not blood related to this little man, but the bond I already feel with him is strong. He is the greatest gift for this Bonus Mom! 

I know that God has His hand of grace and protection on this little man and his parents… on all of us for that matter! Many prayers have been whispered for this special boy and I’m hopeful for the amazing life that he is going to have! 

Papa B and Nana J love him deeply already… we can’t wait for the memories we will make with him! We are thankful to his beautiful momma and daddy for letting us share the afternoon with them yesterday… August 2, 2018.

Welcome little man… we love you to the moon and back!

Experiences · Generations · Gifts · Grace · Growth · Hope · Intentional Self · Lessons Learned · life happens... · love · marriage · My Journey · Prayer · Quiet Pleasures · Uncategorized

Adulting

What a year it’s been with 5 months still to go! Some years have come and gone and been full of heartache and sadness… harder than others. 

2018 has been a year full of change, excitement and wonder!! Busy. Full. Fast.

Both my husband and I turned 55. Double Nickel!  Fifty Five! Who is 55? It always seemed that old people were 55. Well now we are and we are not old! Funny that perspective change as we age! 

I have three bonus children. Our youngest graduated HS. When I moved here 12 years ago he was 6. Our oldest got married a few weeks ago. When I moved here she was about to turn 10. Our middle daughter is weeks away from having a baby boy. When I moved here she was 7. 

As we have watched them grow up and journey through the many family challenges we’ve had, our conversations at times were about where they would land when they became adults. It always seemed so far off. Some days we wished them old and wise… away from the tumultuous teen years. Other times we wished them to stay young and innocent. 

Today we sit in awe and wonder at the changes in the past 6 months. No more school events. We have a new son-in-law.  Soon we will be grandparents… Papa B and Nana J! We are now eligible for a level of senior discounts! AARP baby!! It all feels a bit surreal. 

So far on this journey, we have all made it! And it hasn’t been without joys and sorrows.  Honestly, there were moments when I wasn’t sure we’d ever make it to this point. So here we are and I am full of excitement and deep emotion. We joke about all of the kids now officially “adulting.” I guess then we are “adult adulting!” 

This time in life always seemed like a dream to me and so far off. Now it’s here and it’s grand! We love “adulting” with the kids! We do miss the days when they were younger, but this time of life is wonderful! As I’m having conversations with our momma-to-be about her life and the new life she is about to begin, I think back on all of the things I did that were good bonus parenting moments and all of the not-so-good bonus parenting moments. Thankfully, God’s mercies are new every day and His grace abounds! 

We all grow and change. We’ve all said and done things we’ve regretted and things we remember fondly. This doesn’t feel like a new chapter but a whole new book! Volume 2 – “Adulting!” 

I couldn’t have imagined what this would be like. I can’t even really describe it now. We are in the next phase of all of our lives and it is exciting and scary. Lives are changing and people are growing old. 

(The growing old thing is another blog for another day.) 

I’m sitting here in a new office space typing this and I’m looking at a wall decoration from a dear friend hanging directly in front of me… HOPE is what it says. I am hopeful and confident that the good things the Lord has started in our family will continue as He walks us all through the next phases of our lives. We can’t look back with regret and we can’t look forward with anxiousness. 

We are…

Right here. Right now. Just as we are. Loving no matter what…even when it’s difficult. Challenging relationships at new levels. Leaving behind the things that were hard and being hopeful for the things to come.  

Life is a gift and everyday we get to choose how we spend it.  I am choosing to be full of HOPE and excitement for what is next for all of us. 

Circle of Friends · Circle of Life · Lessons Learned · life happens... · My Journey · Quiet Pleasures · Quilting · Uncategorized

It All Started With Yogurt…

It all started with yogurt.

Frozen yogurt.

Peanut butter frozen yogurt.

In Palmdale.

Friends asked me to go to a quilt show in Palmdale. A quilt show? Are you kidding me? I don’t quilt. I don’t sew. I don’t even own a sewing machine! I’m the girl who had to do extra credit in junior high to keep from failing my sewing class. (Thank you Michael Todd!) That’s another story for another day!

IMG_1261

Because I wanted to hang with my friends AND there was peanut butter frozen yogurt involved, I agreed to go.

As we strolled through the quilt show, I was drawn to a stack of fabric in deep, rich colors. They were all tied together with a nice bow. I was informed it was called a “fat pack.” Hmmmm, interesting name. Is it time for yogurt yet?

I was again drawn back to this “fat pack” of beautiful fabric. This little stack of fabric that changed my life forever! We started chatting with the ladies at the booth, who happened to be fromLoving Stitches quilt store in Santa Clarita where we lived. They suggested signing up for a baby quilt class and I could use this beautiful fabric! We all agreed this would be fun! So I bought the fabric and signed up for the class! As we were leaving the booth I happened to ask how I was going to sew, as I don’t own a machine. Oh, you bring your own machine! So it begins!

Upon returning home I informed my husband that I HAD to get a sewing machine because I bought this fabric and signed up for a class! Off to Sears we went and I became the owner of a very basic Kenmore. It sews forward and backwards!

Then off to quilt class we went! Little did I know, that when you quilt, you need tools. Pins, scissors, rotary cutter, cutting mat, rulers… the list goes on! If there is a tool, I just knew I had to have it!

IMG_1524

Well, this sweet little blanket opened the door for a new hobby!

Now we have been sucked in to the vortex of beautiful fabric and stunning quilts!

The next adventure was a “Quilt As You Go By Hand” class. We thought this sounded fun! If only we knew what we didn’t know!

After signing up and paying the fee for the class, we then had to pick out fabric. Yards and yards and yards of fabric… of many different colors. I’m just going to say that I’m not the person you would hire to put together fat packs! We spent hours searching for the perfect fabrics. We had to pick out at least 5 different varieties. I ended up with fabrics in the shades of tan, purples and browns. None of which were any colors in my home or that was ever drawn to. I have a distant memory of the fabric alone coming to $200… and that did not include ALL of the MANY tools and things needed for this class. Thank goodness I already had a sewing machine and a rotary cutter! Oh wait… you couldn’t use either of those! It’s a quilt by hand class. I’m surprised we could use scissors! (Insert sarcasm!)

Well, this class turned out to be far more than I should have ever taken on. Time  and money alone, not to mention skill and patience and desire to have a giant purple quilt made all by hand! The teacher was very strict about the rules. I’m surprised they didn’t turn off the power and make us work by candle light! (Insert more sarcasm!)

Today, I rescued a very large box out of the closet. It was full of fabric that I had stuffed in it 12 years ago when I moved back to Washington from California. It was full of projects started and never finished as well as fabric from all of the quilts I made in the years following the infamous class! My “go to” was blocks sewn together and tied in the corners, not quilted.

We went through a phase of Block of the Month projects. Today I found one of them almost completed and two more all in the baggies I paid for each month! I cringed every time I saw the little price tag on the baggies. Quilting is not cheap!

I realized several things about myself today. First, I have a huge issue with finishing projects. Unless I have a specific goal, like making a gift for someone, I tend to get distracted and move on. Secondly, I am that person that has to have all of the latest and greatest when pursuing a hobby. If it can be helpful then I need to have it. I discovered this today as I unpacked all of the “stuff” that goes along with the fabrics to make quilts! Lastly, I realized that when I left CA, I tucked away a hobby that I really loved. I’ve made a few quilts over the past 12 years, but nothing like I was doing back in the day. Today I unearthed some beautiful blocks and I was shocked that I had actually made them with my own hands. Some literally by hand and others with the aid of my rotary cutter and sewing machine! I actually did some good old fashioned hand quilting as well!

It was fun to pull this out today and relive some sweet memories. It was also very emotional. This period of my life was very different living and teaching in CA. The ladies I quilted with were also the ones I knitted with, read books with , scrap booked with and traveled with. These were good years and good friends!

I brought it all with me to WA, but it was not the same. Along with the actual act of quilting, were the friendships that grew as we spent time together. Friendships deepened by a common thread (pun intended!). Cherished memories that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. Each block and each quilt has a story. I’m glad I found them again.

And to think… it all started with yogurt.

 

Expectations · Experiences · Grace · Hope · Intentional Self · love · My Journey · Prayer · Seasons · Struggles · The Journey · The New Year · Uncategorized

2018… A New Year

Last day of 2017.

I’d be lying if I said I’m sad to see this year end and a new year begin.

I know it’s just a day on a calendar but there is something about anticipating a fresh start… a do-over of sorts.

I don’t want to dwell on 2017… in less than 16 hours it’s over! Bye bye!

This morning I’m up early reflecting on the past year… things that happened and did not happen. I made health and fitness “resolutions” last year and… well,  here is sit older and in worse physical shape than I’ve ever been. Hmmmm….

I made a resolution to”be closer to God” yet I spent most of the year staying away from church and keeping God at a  stones throw. Thankfully that has been restored… and rekindled.

So, in 2018, I’m resolving to not make resolutions… you know that list you make. The list that is full of things that are all about being a better person… usually on the outside. I’ve got journals full of them! If I lined them up they would probably all look the same!

2018… it’s weird to say and hard to believe. 18 years into the 21st century. 55 years after the year I was born. What does it bring?

2018 promises this…

365 days

52.18 weeks

8,765.82 hours

535,949.2 minutes

31,556952 seconds

What we do with that time is up to us. What will we fill our days, weeks, hours, minutes and seconds  with?

Here’s what I hope to fill my time with…

Love more… judge less

            Listen more… talk less

               Pray more… grumble less

                   Move more… eat less

                        Sleep more… worry less

                              Serve more…sit less

                                  Play more… strive less

                                      Connect more… hide less

                                           Encourage more… complain less

                                                 Live more… enjoy the moment… 

                                                      Love who I am and where I am right now. 

I’ll leave you with a few words to encourage as we embark on 2018.  It’s like getting a brand new journal – never been written in!  Ready for a new story!

“So, let’s take heart, keep on, fight the good fight, pray continuously, and do not grow weary.  There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you.”                              -Francis Chan

And now may the courage of early morning’s dawning,
And the strength of eternal hills at noontime,
And the peace of open spaces at evening’s ending,
And the love of God abide in your hearts now and forever.” Amen.
– Harry K. Zeller, from the BRETHREN HYMNAL

 

new year

Advent · Christmas · Expectations · Gifts · Healing · Hope · love · Seasons · Struggles · The Journey · Uncategorized

Expectations…

Expectations. We all have them.  We all have them imposed upon us.

Webster says that an expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. Yep… my life has been full of expectations.

My biggest expectations come around the holidays. I tend to have a little Norman Rockwell in me and I imagine perfect family gatherings… like the ones you see on TV commercials and in the movies. Fabulous food (all hot at the same time!) around a beautifully set table (that fits everyone) and conversation that is bright and cheery, reminiscing days gone by.

Like I said… expectations… and this does not happen in my world.

Nine times out of ten I’m disappointed when all is said and done, along with exhausted from trying to make it happen.

My rose colored glasses have gotten in the way of expectations in marriage. In gaining a family after getting married.

Christmas is the most difficult for unmet expectations.  Every year I say I’m not going to get my hopes up and every year I have feelings of disappointment. I imagined starting some Christmas traditions which never materialized.  Some of the expectations I have are not worth sharing, as they are a bit shallow. They have actually been an expectation since I was a child and they have wandered their way into my adult life. Every year I promise myself I won’t let them get me down.

As I read Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift one morning recently, I came across these words…

                         Expectations can come steal the gifts. 

I’ve come to realize that I set an agenda for God each Christmas. Ann Voskamp says that when we have an agenda for God, we can’t see the gifts from Him. I am missing out on so much because I have MY idea of what I want to happen. As I’ve pondered this truth this past week, I’m praying that I can finally shake my years of expectations and settle in to all that God has in store for me and for my family. This year I’m open to receive His gifts and leave my expectations at the door. Oh the anticipation!

I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe, more loved and welcomed than I ever dared hope.                             -Elyse M. Fitzpatrick