Guess what I am up to this weekend!!!

Hanging with these lovelies at the Questival Indy 2017!

Check us out!!

 

1+

Montgomery Gentry sings a song entitled Tattoos & Scars. The key line says “tattoos and scars are different things. And yes, they are. Kind of. But one of the things that makes them similar is the story that they carry.

Have you ever seen someone with tattoos and asked them to tell you about them? It is usually an amazing experience to hear what prompted the tattoo or the story behind it. The same is true of scars, but often, we don’t see people’s scars because they are hidden or may not even be physical scars.

In November 2016, I got my first tattoo at the age of 42 after thinking and crafting and trying to decide if this was something that I was willing to live with for the rest of my life. It has a story, and deep meaning for me. It is a heart because everything that I do in my life I want to do in and with love. There is a cross at the center because I choose to put Christ at the center of all that I say and do. My children’s initials are there because they are a gift of love from God. There are 3 smaller hearts that signify Father, Son, Spirit; health of mind, body, and soul, and Mike, Anne, and Ty.

I also have scars. Physical ones that remind me of running down the rocky alley in flip-flops, and our childhood cat, Fluffy, that was NOT meant to be an inside snuggle cat (but don’t tell my sister Stephanie, she still won’t believe you). I have incision scars from fertility testing, gall bladder removal, and appendix removal, that remind me of not only those procedures but all of the circumstances that surrounded those times.

But then there are the scars that you can’t see, the ones that I carry with me from words harshly spoken, friendships broken or lost, and many other hurts that have come from different situations over the years. These are the ones that tend to be hidden away in the deepest recesses of ourselves and every now and then something happens to bring our attention to them. Maybe the memory is just that, a memory, because we have been able to heal from the experience. But sometimes the scars are nasty because they keep getting ripped open and never heal properly or completely.

When we look at others, there may be some who carry some of their stories on their body as tattoos, but most people carry their stories within themselves, in places that we can’t see. What we can see is someone who is sad, angry, aloof, removed, attempting to cover their hurt with a smile and a joke, pushing their kid to do more and be more, or a host of other actions and emotions.

What if, instead of judging them we offered them grace?

What if, instead of assuming we know what’s going on, we asked them to share their story?

What if we are the balm that helps them to heal from whatever gave them their scar?

It’s easy to see and feel our own scars. It’s harder for us to acknowledge that others have them as well. It is harder still to recognize that some of those scars we have inflicted upon others or we have reopened by ignoring the story and the person behind them.

When we love our neighbor as ourself, we give them the same kind of care we would give to ourself. I think that means that we listen to their stories and help to heal their wounds in such a way that the scar brings a reminder not of the hurt the caused it, but of the love that helped it to heal.

What do you think?

I would love to see/hear some of your tattoo and scar stories in the comments!

1+

I’ve been pretty quiet lately. Other than a random blog post here and there, I haven’t been writing. Not even in my journal. The last entry was the middle of January 2016. And until yesterday, I hadn’t really realized it.

But as I sat in her office for the first time in a couple of years, my counselor asked me, “How is your writing?”

Nonexistent was my answer.

But the thing is, it’s not just my writing that has been quiet. I have been quiet. I have been silently suffering for months. I have been making it through the days as well as I could, doing what had to be done, but not much more. And other than a random text here and there to a few key people on the really bad days, I have just kept silent.

Why? I’m not sure. I knew the depression was there. I knew it kept cycling lower. I knew it was starting to cripple me in certain ways. But I just suffered in silence. Maybe because I know that people depend on me to be the one who has everything under control. Maybe because I know that even if I am struggling, life goes on and I have to push through. Maybe because I know other people who are in a much worse place than I am. Maybe because I’m too proud and embarrassed that I am human. The list could go on and on.

But the thing is, silence only feeds the darkness. The longer I kept silent and held onto what was happening, the darker things got for me.

Last week I went to dinner with a friend, and for some reason I spoke out the truth of where I have been lately. And the next morning as I started the day, I felt brighter than I had in months. And then I let someone else in, and voila! More brightness. And then I went back to my counselor and let her in, and things got a little brighter.

The darkness comes on slowly, and the light creeps back in slowly as well. But the thing about light is – it always conquers the dark. John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” You can’t bring darkness into light, because dark cannot dispel light. But bring a lamp into a dark room and the darkness disappears.

The same is true when we give light to our darkness. When we speak out what is happening inside of us, that reality becomes exposed to light. The more we speak, the more the light shines. The more light shines, the less power the darkness has over us.

So I am going to commit to start writing again: here and in my journal. I am choosing to expose what was in the dark to the light through the words that I write. Stay tuned as I come out of the darkness.

1+

We wore these bracelets for 21 Days to remind us of what we were doing and why we were doing it.

On February 8, 2017, I started a journey.

The winter of 2016-17 has been rough. Some circumstances in the fall led to a depressive dip for me. It was bad enough that some old habits I thought I had broken crept back into my life.

I knew what was happening, but it felt like I was powerless to stop it. I was so down on myself about allowing it to happen, that it kept getting worse.

So I decided that I needed to face what felt like the ultimate depression and ultimate bad habits with an ultimate challenge: Beachbody’s Ultimate Reset.

The Ultimate Reset is 21 days of food and supplements to help detox the body and reset it to the ways in which it was meant to operate.

I was scared. But I was determined. And I found six other women who were just as determined so we decided to walk alongside one another throughout the 21 days in a FB Messenger group.

What I found immediately was how my body needed this time: it had missed the real foods I usually nourished it with. I also remembered just how much I need to spend time preparing my food as it is a natural stress reliever to be in the kitchen chopping and cooking.

Was it difficult? Of course! I got sick less than a week into the program and fought the cold turned sinus infection for the remainder of the program. Some days I was so tired and worn out that it took everything in me to get up and prepare the food. Some days I had to force myself to put the food in my mouth out of sheer exhaustion. But every time I wanted to quit, or cheat, I reminded myself why I was doing this and checked in with my support posse who encouraged me every time.

By part-way into week two, I was feeling tons of extra energy (despite the sickness) and just “lighter” overall. It was actually fun to try some new foods and recipes that I wouldn’t have considered before (and I am an adventurous cook).

At the end of 21 days, I am down 12.8 pounds and 5-1/2 inches, but most importantly, I am relieved of those pesky cravings for junk food and have a renewed focus on eating real food. Oh, and that pesky depression? It is improving as well.

I have decided that at this point in my (busy) life, filled with family, work, school, ministry, volunteer work, and more, I NEED the structure of a PLAN because I can’t be trusted to my own devices. For this reason, I will be working hard to MEALS each week, as well as WORKOUTS each week so that I can continue the momentum I have started.

I have said it before and I will say it again: caring for our bodies isn’t a one and done proposition, rather it is an ongoing process. If we don’t take care of ourselves, no one is going to do it for us and sometimes we just need to be reminded of that truth.

The Ultimate Reset was a great reminder, challenge, and reset for me.

If you are interested in doing something like the Ultimate Reset, I can help you get started. 

2+

Seminary. Church work. Family. PiYo/Beachbody work. Volunteer work. BoCo RunCo work.

My life is crazy these days without much margin. I won’t say my life is not my own, because it is my own. I am here because I have chosen to follow this path. It definitely isn’t easy, and I have to be honest and say that I am struggling with the demands on my time, but it is exactly where I am supposed to be.

I was reminded of that very fact just this morning. During my prayer time I was working through some of the discipleship tools being offered to me through one of my seminary courses. I listened to Rachel Platten’s Fight Song (below), both this version and the version done by the Piano Guys, read Rachel’s back story about this song, and then spent some time with Psalm 84.

Through this and some insight from our professor, I was reminded of what it took for me to get to this place. I have fought with God over whether or not He really meant to call me to be a pastor. I have struggled with verbalizing this call to my family and friends. I have ben knocked down by things like lack of support and imperfect systems. I even went through a very tough time of simply waiting for three years and seeing no forward progress at all.

Through that time I had a post-it note that stuck on my computer monitor reminding me, “Your calling is sure,” words that the Lord had given to me through a variety of sources.

When the time of waiting was over and movement began again, it didn’t always feel like forward momentum. In fact, there was a period of time that felt like I was punched in the gut and left for dead. But God was still at work marking out a new journey on new pathways.

The new journey hasn’t moved quickly and easily either. My husband says, “It seems like anything worthwhile isn’t easy,” and I agree. There are still many fears to conquer, mountains to climb, and opposition to face, but I cannot let the fight go out of me. I have to push forward (in God’s timing), follow-through, do my part, and watch as God fulfills His promises.

Part of Psalm 84 (VOICE) says “Blessed are those who make you their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey…They journey from place to place, gaining strength along the way; until they meet God in Zion. (Bold mine.)

These words were especially important today as I feel weak and worn down, trying not to fall into the “just get through” mentality that can sometimes plague me into not treasuring every step of the journey. So the reminder that I will gain strength along the way is a beautiful one for me today. I won’t continue to wear down as I go, but I will gain strength as I go.

This fight that I have to finish the journey isn’t one I fight alone, but rather one that God fights right along side me. He gives me the strength to fight. He gives me the path to follow. He gives me the truth to believe.

I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.

Bring it on.

Fight Song
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion
And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep
Everybody’s worried about me
In too deep
Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)
And it’s been two years I miss my home
But there’s a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe
0

No Words

Lately I have been thinking about times when there are no words.

I have opened this page up to write a blog almost daily for the last couple of weeks, but there have been no words.

I mean, sure there are words running around in my head, but nothing coherent or formed that I could put down.

Life is busy. Life is crazy. Life is wonderful and hard all at once.

I have been re-watching Dawson’s Creek. Yes, I know how pathetic that sounds. Mike and I watched the entire series when it aired on television (don’t take away his man-card, we were newlyweds and I wanted to watch it) and while scrolling through Hulu a few weeks back I saw that it was among the offerings of shows available to me with the touch of a button. In a moment of weakness, I pushed play.

One of the things that I have (again) noticed about this show is the massive amount of words that pour out of these (supposedly) teenage kids. Always talking, analyzing and waxing eloquent about this, that, and the other circumstances in their lives. Rarely do you see any of them in a place where they have no words.

And while part of me thinks that is no where close to reality, another part of me realizes that we often talk too much. But the difference is we talk about nothing, because we have no words to really talk about the hard stuff. We can find lots of words to talk about the stuff that doesn’t much matter. We can talk about the weather, how busy we are in general terms, how we don’t like this or that about home/work/school/church/community, and what our plans our for the weekend. But when it really comes down to it, the words that we need to speak stay unspoken.

When struggling with yet another bout of depression, we don’t speak the words, “help,” to anyone.

When experiencing deep pain and sorrow, we put on a happy face and answer, “fine” when asked how we are doing.

When watching friends go through the pain of divorce, we don’t know what to say, so we say nothing.

When seeing others grieving loss of one kind or another, we allow them to suffer in silence for one reason or another.

When witnessing the downward spiral and loss of faith of a community member, we stay silent.

When observing someone making poor choices, we choose not to talk with them about it.

The thing is, in those times that there are no words, sometimes words are exactly what is needed. Not surface conversation. Not platitudes that make empty promises. But words that acknowledge the truth. Because, you see, something happens when you acknowledge the truth and speak it out.

Healing can begin.

Help can arise.

Hope can be proclaimed.

Comfort can be given.

Faith can be renewed.

Love can be shown.

Let’s work on learning how to speak the words that need to be spoken, the hard words, the words that don’t want to come, and the ones that bring truth, healing, help, hope, comfort, faith and love into our lives and the lives of those around us.

1+

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer of FitnessSometimes amazing things happen.

After years of watching me workout and not wanting to have anything to do with it, except what she had to do for volleyball/cheer/track, my daughter has decided that this summer she and I will be working out together. Daily.

After years of watching me set goals and work towards them and not wanting to do so herself, my daughter has set a goal for herself which is why she is willing to work out with her mother. Daily.

After years of watching me eat right and do my best to eschew junk food… Oh, who am I kidding, she’s not quite there yet.

Anne has decided that she wants to have six-pack abs by the time she goes back to school this fall.

Anne has decided that she wants to stay in shape for – are you ready for this? – THE REST OF HER LIFE!

When we were taking a run the other day (a run that she totally kicked my butt at), she told me that my pace was so slow compared to what she was used to running. I told her that when she was 42 and running with her 15-year-old daughter, she would see that her pace would be slower than her daughter’s pace as well. Her reply was along the lines of, “Nope. Cuz I am going to stay in shape. That’s why I am working out with you.”

You guys, you have NO IDEA how awesome it is to see your teenage daughter starting to get the importance of a healthy body! Add to that, my SON has agreed to daily workouts as well (as long as they aren’t ‘PiYo or 21-Day Fix or anything like that”), so push-ups, sit-ups and running are his daily dose of fitness.

This morning, this title jumped into my head and I texted it to Anne as a name for our summer challenge. Her responseDo I have abs yet?e? “LOL! YASSS!!!”

This was yesterday’s text.

The answer is yes. And no. We have the abs, and they are strong. But they aren’t to six-pack status because they need to be stronger, they need to be defined, and yes, they need to be not covered up by a layer of fat. And that means more work, both in the workout and eating portion of our Summer of Fitness.

So here’s to working out with my daughter, having my son join in the fitness routines, and FINALLY seeing that being an example to my family DOES PAY OFF!

I will keep you posted throughout the summer on our quest for the six-pack and the joys and struggles of working out with your teenage daughter!

 

0

When did we become a culture that thinks so highly of our (individual) selves that we no longer respect those who are in authority?This has been bugging me lately.

When did we become a culture that thinks so highly of our (individual) selves that we no longer respect those who are in authority?

I have seen it getting worse for years.

There is always someone who doesn’t think they have to wait in the pick-up line at school, despite the fact that the principal has asked that parent’s don’t drive around those in front of them so that accidents can be avoided.

There is always someone who doesn’t think they have to use the left lane on the interstate as a passing lane only.

There is always someone who doesn’t think that the answer they were given by one person is good enough so they have to go find someone else and see if they can force them to give the “right” answer.

I read somewhere on the inter webs that Mark Twain once said, “Don’t go around saying that the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Whether or not he actually said it, it is true. We don’t “deserve” anything. Why do we think we are owed something? Why do we think we are above what those placed in authority have said? Why do we think if we push hard enough, or attempt enough end runs we can evade what the authorities have deemed important?

The results of this kind of mind-set are children who don’t respect authority – elders, teachers, police, etc. – and why is that?

Because they are mirroring the behavior that their parents have set forth.

A child is failing a class? It must be the teacher’s fault, so the parents yell at the teacher. And when they don’t get the answer they want, they yell at the principal. And when that doesn’t work, they head on over to the superintendent or a school board member.

It needs to stop. Romans 13:1-7 says:

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

Do people in areas of leadership screw up? Sometimes! Do they take advantage of their power? Sometimes! But that doesn’t change the fact that we are supposed to respect and honor those who are in authority over us. We will answer for our transgressions. Those in authority will answer for theirs.

Our job is not to usurp their authority and try to get our way when we don’t like how it affects us. Our job is to be respectful, not rebellious.

It is time to start looking at our behavior and the example we are setting or our children and make sure that we aren’t walking around thinking we are the exception to every rule, we are entitled to what we want, and we don’t have to listen to those in authority. And those of us in authority have to start being responsible and trustworthy. Because unless something changes, the path we are headed down will lead us to a world that none of us want to live in.

0

Knees or BunsHere I go again! Showing you a glimpse of Savor by Shauna Niequist! But this time we are talking about CHOICES!

I love this story about parents insisting that their child sit at the table, but in a way that gives the child a choice of how to sit – on his knees or on his buns. It makes the child feel like he has some say in the matter and empowers them.

Guess what? This doesn’t just work for kids.

That’s right! It works for us, too!

The choice isn’t whether or not to work out; it is which workout we want to do.

The choice isn’t get up and workout or sleep in and skip; it is get up and do the longer workout or get up a little later and do a shorter one (or set a no-excuses time later in the day).

The choice isn’t healthy food or crap; it is which healthy food.

The choice isn’t all or nothing; it is get it done using plan A or plan B.

When we give ourselves choices between healthy habits, it empowers us to keep working toward our goals, even when we need to make adjustments for life.

Just this morning, my running partner was up late doing homework and decided she wasn’t going to make it for our run. At that point I had a choice. Plan A was run and then do my Hammer and Chisel workout for the day. Plan B was sleep a little longer, skip the run, but get up and do the Hammer and Chisel workout. Plan C was sleep even longer and do Hammer and Chisel after I had been to the hairdresser and had my hair newly cut and colored. Well, I was tired, but I didn’t want to mess up my hair later, so I chose Plan B. I probably could have done plan A and been just fine on sleep for the day, but I needed a little leeway this morning so Plan B it was. And you notice, none of my plans included skipping working out today.

I’ve said it before, our minds are powerful things, and if we train them to think along these lines, we will be much better off in the long run because we won’t lose a battle with ourselves.

What kinds of choices do you give yourself when it comes to your health? Are you an all or nothing kind of person? Or do you give yourself healthy choices? I want to hear from you!

0

Playing Dumb & FragileSavor by Shauna Niequist. I love this devotional. It makes me think. It resonates with me. It gives me recipes. And the daily readings are short. Short is good when you are as busy as I am.

Sometimes as I read them I get fired up. And this was one of the ones that got me fired up. It might have something to do with the fact that I am a girl raising a girl. And that I so badly want to influence young girls and young women to grow into the women that they were created to be rather than falling prey to the pervasive influence of our sex-crazed culture where the gender divide still is quite evident in many ways.

  • Why do women think they have to rely on their looks to get what they want?
  • Why do women think they have to dress with their shirt cut down to there and their skirt cut up to here to draw attention?
  • Why do women think they need to play the part of the “weaker” sex to attract men?
  • Why do women have to worry about being seen as “bitchy” if they have a strong personality?
  • Why do women have to worry about offending a man if they are in a place of leadership (particularly true in the church, but still entirely too true in the corporate world as well)?

The answer is the same as the one as spoken and sung by the character Lieutenant Cable in the musical South Pacific. The song, “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” is preceded by a line saying racism is “not born in you! It happens after you’re born…” The same is true for the ways in which women behave, and are perceived by other women and men. We are all taught how we are to behave and fit into the world around us based on how our parents raise us, our peers influence us, and the culture defines us. And the only way this changes from generation to generation is when we stand up and say, “enough is enough,” and choose to teach ourselves and our children a new way to operate within the world around us.

That means not perpetuating the dumb and fragile persona. That means teaching our daughters to be strong, and dress appropriately. That means doing things that make us feel beautiful, but not just to garner attention and teaching our daughters to do the same. That means teaching our sons to respect women for more than their looks and teaching them not to assume that any woman is unable to do something. But it also means teaching them to be attentive and offer to help in such a way that doesn’t demean or shame women. It means teaching our families that authority in leadership has nothing to do with male or female, and no matter what, you listen to the authority figure.

We have all been carefully taught how to be women and men. And like it or not, we are carefully teaching our children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other young people that we influence. Let’s decide here and now that we are going to be intentional in how we communicate our values – not only in this area of sexism, but in all areas of our lives.

 

0

« Older entries