I’d Probably have been the Fat Amy of the Resurrection…

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

Last Sunday, during Pastor Merle’s message at church, he said something that has stayed with me all week. It wasn’t even the main point of the message but it has not left my mind and heart.

He said “Jesus appeared to Peter after the resurrection.”

I looked over at my BFF Corrie and pointed to my journal where I had written that sentence and said, “That’s a big deal.” I wanted to cry just thinking about it.

Seriously, all I can bring to mind about Peter is that he denied his buddy, his savior, his Lord THREE times before the crucifixion.

AND JESUS STILL WENT TO HIM?!?!

aca awkward

Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect)

What was THAT like? #AWKWARD

I mean, did Jesus just stand there with his arms crossed, head tilted to the side with an expression saying “Well?” on his face?

As the week progressed and snow days piled up for all our local school districts I stayed up late one night playing some Borderlands 2 with my friend Luke. Luke is married to another BFF of mine, Laura (Yes…they are Luke and Laura), and he has played a not so insignificant role in teaching me about Jesus over the last few years. Ironically, a lot of our talks about God and Jesus come during our times playing over xBox Live (so take that all of you who think video games are so bad…we shoot robots and talk about Jesus).

Anyway, so I’m telling Luke about how it’s been blowing my mind that Jesus still appeared to Peter-that he didn’t “excommunicate” him, so to speak. Luke asked if I knew what Jesus said to Peter, and I think he didn’t really believe me when I said I didn’t know. I think it’s hard for a lot of people to believe I don’t know the most basic things. I think because Luke didn’t believe me he continued by asking if I wanted to know what happened and I very excitedly said “YES! TELL ME!” I still suspect he thought I was faking this excitement but I was not at all. My heart was beating fast in anticipation and he was taking way too long to deliver the goods.

I agree with Luke that it had to be on Peter’s mind that Jesus might be a little miffed at Peter because he denied Him. Peter was with Jesus when he was taken into custody after praying in the garden (after Judas Iscariot’s betrayal) so he was brought along to the location of the High Priest with Jesus. This is where Peter denies him three times (then the rooster crows-all as Jesus predicted)…They ask him three times if he is a follower of or knows Jesus even after he apparently cuts off the ear of one of the guards defending Jesus from arrest, so these guys may not have been too bright (I picture Kronk from “The Emperor’s New Groove” who was voiced by Patrick Warburton).

So Luke tells me that not only does Jesus appear to Peter after his torturous crucifixion and miraculous resurrection but He DOESN’T even shun him. He asks Peter if he loves him. When Luke told me this I thought “awww. that’s sweet.” No, then Jesus asks him a second time…and then I understood what he was doing and I wanted to cry again. Jesus asks Peter THREE times if he loves him and each time Peter affirms that he does, indeed, love Jesus.

I think anyone of us would have immediately launched into a litany of questions starting with “Then why in the WORLD did you say you didn’t know me? Why were you all like ‘Jesus who?’ when the guards asked you about me? Why didn’t you have my back?”

BUT JESUS DOESN’T DO THAT.

Instead he commands Peter to take care of his sheep. In fact, he says it three different times in three different ways.

Incredible.

Even though Peter denied Jesus when he could have used his help the most (although it wouldn’t have changed a thing) Jesus doesn’t deny him in return.

Instead, he charges him to care for his people; to lead his people; to share the gospel.

I wanna live like that. For real, I wanna love like that.

Peter denied Jesus three times and Jesus allows Peter to affirm his love for Him three times.

Jesus is the great equalizer in the battle of good and evil over our hearts.

My dad was raised Catholic and is now just plain ol’ Christian. He has shared this image he has in his mind with me and I sure hope someone with more talent than me can make it come to life, but I will describe it for you as best I can. Some Christians (and non-Christians) believe it is your good works that get you into Heaven. That as long as the good you do outweighs the bad then you are all set. It’s just not the way it works. Another thing that defies logic, I know.
Ok, so picture a set of scales and they are going back and forth weighing your good and bad deeds. Now picture a cross holding each plate of the scale. Now that wily Jesus comes along and gets up on that cross, breaking the chains of the scale and the plates go crashing to their equal resting place on the ground.

Jesus is the equalizer. It ain’t about being more good than bad. It’s about the love of Jesus; knowing and understanding what His sacrifice meant for us…for you.

When I was learning about Jesus a few years ago, before I was a Christian, it was important to me to know what I was getting into. I’d always been somewhat of an agnostic. I believed in a higher power and even believed that Jesus actually lived; I just didn’t believe he was the son of God and born of man. Mary was a virgin? Walked on water? Changed water into wine? Healed the lame and the blind?

Yeah, right! Sounds just like a cult to me…and I know because I have multiple pysch degrees so I learned all about cults in one of my undergrad classes.

None of those things are possible and if you have any kind of brain at all then you know that.

Correct. None of those things are possible APART from the divine.

We can’t fathom it because we discount anything at all supernatural in our times.

I wanna tell you that I have been “saved” many times in my life; and yes, I mean hands up in church HALLELUJAH saved! I did it once at Full Faith with my Grandma and Aunt when I was maybe 7. They told me to go up front and pray so I did and they were happy…even though I had no clue why. Again on New Year’s Eve with best friends around me I prayed at a youth group event and some weird older lady took me to a room and talked with me…but I made my friends sit on the steps because she creeped me out. In high school I went through two years of Catechism; one year with the high school kids who I didn’t fit in with and a year with the adults who I also didn’t fit in with. My Grama Hayden was so happy when I did that, and I loved to make her happy. And finally, I was saved again as an adult after I was married and looked into my dad’s best friend’s eyes at church as he asked for us to look up if we wanted to be saved and he would pray for us. I looked up and I know he saw me.

All of those times I expected something magical to happen. I thought life would suddenly become easier and happier and shiny and pretty and great.

It never did.

I used to hold a little bit of bitterness about the things that happened to me as a kid with adults who forced me into something to please them without truly knowing what I was doing, so I know that none of those instances of being saved were “real.” Some of those things contributed to making me so angry at Christians for so long. They were forcing me to be “good” when I knew I wasn’t and they were forcing religion and rules on me when I didn’t want them. I didn’t know anything about what I was really doing other than saying I was saved so I could go to Heaven.

It was purely a means to an end or a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

An Easter story – Lisa from TrueLight Productions on Vimeo.

When I began learning about Jesus a few years ago and considering becoming a Christian it was important to me that I wasn’t doing it because I had all of a sudden committed a sin big enough that I actually “needed” Salvation. I didn’t want it to be a decision I made because “Now I’d really messed up.” It was important to me that this was a decision I was making with all of my intelligence. It was important that I could do it and still be ME. I am not a rule-follower. In fact, I took an assessment about my spiritual gifts and learned I am “non-compliant.”

I know there are some who argue that Christians are super dumb. I actually understand that. We sound so stupid sometimes. I sound stupid saying that “apart from the divine” all those miracles were impossible. I KNOW that.

Most people I know who claim they don’t believe in a higher power and base it off intellect, well, they’re totally right. Most of them are incredibly intelligent people, and also very wonderful people whom I admire.

The thing is, faith has very little to do with “brain” intelligence, in my book (I’m cringing at how dumb even that sounds). I know I am smart, yet what I know about my Savior I know with my heart. I can’t quantify it because it is not quantifiable. I refuse to break love down into numbers and data. The same goes for forgiveness and the mystery of grace. You cannot break down divinity into data and operational definitions therefore it does not make sense to your brains. I get that.

It “don’t maka no sense” to my brain either.

So approach it from a different angle sometime and see what you “know” then.

Ok, anyway, I was really not trying to convert anyone with this, and I am sure I didn’t, but the real point I was trying to make was this:

If Peter, who denied Jesus no LESS than three times, was still loved and trusted by Jesus to lead his people even though Jesus KNEW he did those things;

THEN

None of us can really ever be too far gone. You can’t make Jesus (God) love you less because He doesn’t know how to love you less and He can’t love you more because he already loves you and wants you with everything He was and is and will be.

He wants you and He is always in pursuit of you even when you deny Him. He’s the king…of stalkers.

Even when I fought Him and denied His divinity He was seeking me.

And he was a sneaky SOB about it…(sorry God).

No really. I went through some incredibly difficult times (quick summary: miscarriage, spouse’s suicide attempt, long divorce, attempted sexual assault, my own big mistakes) and all along there were these wonderful people all around me caring for me, praying for me, helping me, believing in me.

Loving me. Not once did I question whether or not I was loved when all of that awfulness was happening to me.

Jesus’s sneaky butt showed his love to me through my friends and family and their friends and family.

“God put a million, million doors in the world for his love to walk through.”

“One of those doors is you” (whether you know it or not or even like it).

As for me, I’m not sure anyone could say any of the “changes” in my life since being caught have been bad or awful…

So maybe, just maybe…

If you’ve been running your whole life then maybe just see what getting caught is like.

Last Sunday, during Pastor Merle’s message at church, he said something that has stayed with me all week. It wasn’t even the main point of the message but it has not left my mind and heart. He said “Jesus appeared to Peter after the resurrection.” I looked over at my BFF Corrie and pointed to […]

I’ll Always be Fat and Ugly on the Inside.

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

   A quote from author J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series) before we begin…jk rowling

“Fat” and “Ugly.” Those are two words I remember being called by my “friends” in elementary and middle school. Subsequently, that was how I viewed myself for most of my life until I was 30.

I wasn’t always overweight. In fact, I was an active girl through high school with swimming and tennis, but my senior year I started my first long-term relationship, which went into my first year of college. The combination of being on birth control, being in a relationship, and no longer playing sports meant I packed on the pounds over the next decade.

I remember getting a physical exam one year and the doctor saying to me that I was gaining about 10 pounds a year and that was not a healthy trend. She then told me I should start making changes to my diet, like drinking skim milk.
My thought at the time was “Lady, I’ve been drinking skim milk for as long as I remember so I have some news for ya: It ain’t the milk.”

I stopped going to that doctor because I didn’t want to hear it anymore, and her “suggestions” never worked. Over that decade I did work out, sometimes very consistently, but never lost weight. Eventually, I gave up on exercising because it never yielded any loss. I didn’t realize that NOT GAINING weight was a good thing. I just knew I was fat.

I got married when I was 24 and put on even more weight. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a pretty emotionally abusive situation for the last year or so. Regardless, I did gain some incredible perspective about myself from being married; specifically, I learned I am smart, funny, capable, and resilient. It’s funny that I didn’t know those things before with how often I see myself display those traits now.

Bah! That’s all beside the point of what I want to say, so let’s get back on track: Me. Fat. Ugly.

side by sideIn the summer of 2011 I decided it was time to do something I had been putting off for a decade: Get help losing weight. My Aunt B and cousin Tamra let me know about a nurse practitioner who could help me on this journey and I went to see her. She made losing weight seem very DOABLE and not scary. I wouldn’t have to be hungry and I could eat food I actually liked. With the guidance she provided I had a very easy plan that wasn’t rigid or scary: Eat more protein and veggies and less carbs and drink more water. She prescribed a medicine that was an appetite suppressant and energy booster. For 10 years I had said I would never take a pill; I would never “cheat.” For 10 years I gained more and more weight.

I waited 2 weeks to start and at my highest weight the scale read 271.

Yikes.

I made some really easy changes:
1) Stopped eating McDonald’s for breakfast 5 days a week
2) Stopped eating Jimmy Johns, Minsky’s, or other fast food options for lunch 5 days a week
3) Drank coffee and ate a REAL protein bar every day for breakfast
4) Greek Yogurt, Cheese, Edamame, Walnuts, Cranberries, Almonds-these are the kinds of things I started eating for lunch
5) Less Soda-More WATER!
6) Less Carbs-More Protein

That’s how I did it. That’s how I lost almost 70 pounds. I won’t even claim I worked out consistently because I never did.

In fact, the first time I had to run after having lost about 50 pounds (playing kickball against 6th graders) I couldn’t believe how much faster I could move. I actually injured myself quite a few times after that because I was doing things with my body I hadn’t done in years, and because I had lost some muscle that was hiding under all that fat.

My lowest weight was 206 after the weight loss. I go up and down between 206 and 218 based on how well I eat now. I’d like to get down to 200, but I know I’m not trying hard enough.

And I’m ok with that.

For now.

Earlier today I read a blog a friend posted written by a woman who lost 100 pounds. She wrote about how differently she was 100 poundstreated by the world when she went from a size 16 to a size 6. Click here to read the article by Jasmin Singer (pictured).

I want to write about what hasn’t changed for me: some good….and some not so great.

First things first, I lost a bunch of weight, but I am STILL an overweight person. I went from a size 22 to anywhere between 14 and 18 depending on the brand. I am not skinny. I am not thin. I am OK with it. I am so very proud of myself for losing any weight.

The thing is, losing that weight has not changed how I view myself, nor do I think it has changed how I am treated. I think my experience differs from that of Jasmin Singer’s because of the fact that I am STILL overweight.

The psychology of “me” post weight-loss is what I find most intriguing and irritating.

Dating is not easier. In fact, it’s kind of harder for me. If any man compliments my physical appearance I don’t believe him or I don’t value that compliment IF it is the initial subject used to enter into conversation with me. I am much more flattered with compliments about my intelligence and wit.

Conversely, if a guy doesn’t reply to a message I sent or doesn’t initiate contact after my attempts for attention, I assume it is because of my weight each and every time! I don’t write about my weight loss in my dating profiles, but I always feel like I want to use it so I can get guys “just” to take a look because I used to be “so much worse.”

real womenSince I lost weight I haven’t felt sexy even one single time. I have felt pretty (which is a big accomplishment), but never have I felt that I had sex-appeal like I used to when I was nearly 70 pounds heavier. I still can’t figure that one out.

People still ask me about once a week if I have lost more weight. They usually comment that it seems like I have. I don’t mind these comments or questions at all, but they do make me chuckle since I know I haven’t lost any more, in fact, I’ve gained a little from my lowest weight. I can only surmise that body mass continues to shift long after weight loss stops.

In fact, for as often as people compliment me or ask if I have lost more weight (which I take as a compliment) they still seem to bear less weight (har har) in comparison to the handful of comments a guy I once dated made about my weight.
In a moment of courageous (yet craptastic) honesty he said the reason he was hesitant to consider seriously dating me was because of my weight. Luckily it was dark and we were cuddling so he couldn’t see my face. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I had lost 65 pounds yet my size was still too much for him to love me.

Yes, I should have realized how little this actually reflected upon me, but I didn’t.

Instead, I was back to feeling like that 12 year-old girl whose best friends told her she was “fat” because her boobs were too big and she was “ugly” because of her zits and braces.

crimped hairOnce we were looking at pictures of me as a child, and as you may suspect, I was rather adorable. 🙂 Later that night, while eating dinner, he asked when I gained all the weight since I was clearly not an overweight child.

Suddenly I didn’t want to eat the corn-nugget dipped in ranch that was headed toward my mouth.

The harsh or rude comments I have experienced in my life tend to stick with me. I think that happens to a lot of humans.

better complimentsWe place so much emphasis on appearance that kids grow up not knowing what is great about who they actually are on the inside. That is why I am so vocal (pun alert) about the language we use around kids and how we talk to them. I know how I feel about myself and I SEE every day how kids think about themselves.

I observed a very young boy purposely not eating his chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes at lunch a few weeks ago. He told me he often didn’t eat his lunch. Yes, you could make a joke about school lunches here, but that was not the problem. I said to the boy if he didn’t eat he might be cranky later and it would be hard to learn and then he wouldn’t get all the knowledge he needed.

His reply: “I’d rather be cranky and stupid than fat.”

I’m not sure I have a point any more, my friends, but if I did have one it would be this:

Be purposeful with what you’re saying or not saying about your bodies and how you talk to the smaller humans about their bodies. Kids will do what you do (and not what you say).

Let me also say, before I go, that the best things in my life didn’t change with my weight loss. The blessings I’d always had in my life remained: my family and friends.  They have loved me just as hard no matter what the number on the scale read.

Love yourself.

<3
Lisa

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   A quote from author J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series) before we begin… “Fat” and “Ugly.” Those are two words I remember being called by my “friends” in elementary and middle school. Subsequently, that was how I viewed myself for most of my life until I was 30. I wasn’t always overweight. In fact, I […]

Babies are the Worst…

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

A little over 2 years ago I accepted Christ. My life has changed in so many ways since that day, and every single one of them has been for the better. Something cool about my journey of discovering Christ is when I learn a piece of the story and can apply it to my life. Today’s epiphany came when talking about a baby.

Babies, at this point in my life, are a touchy subject for me.

nopeIn fact my feelings about babies aren’t really “allowed.” They’re not something I’m supposed to acknowledge because babies are innocent and warm and snuggly and sweet.

For me, however, babies shine a spotlight on what feels like my biggest failure: Not being a mom and making my parents into grandparents.

Babies are the reason I don’t fit in with a lot of my friends anymore; they’re the reason I don’t get invited to hang out; they’re the reason my friends decline my invitations to hang out or don’t show up even if they do accept.

Basically, babies are a big source of disappointment and loneliness in my life.
Those thoughts and feelings probably make me a piece of crap in a lot of people’s minds.
That’s ok. Everyone gets an opinion.

The biggest challenge in my struggle to trust God has come through my desire to know if I will get to be a wife and/or a mother. I firmly believe God makes all things work together for our good. That doesn’t mean the uncertainty of my circumstances hurt any less.

I want to stop wondering.

I want to stop hurting.

I try to let that family-shaped hole be filled with God, but I feel like I fail at it often.
More failure.

jesus akaThe series at my church for the last 2 weeks has talked about the many forms, identities, names of Jesus. Today we centered on “The Word.” Pastor Greg explained that in the book of John, Jesus is described as “The Word.” In the Old Testament, when God’s presence spoke to someone it was always phrased as “The Word of the Lord came to (insert a name/place here)…”

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his home among us.
When John refers to Jesus as “The Word” he is asserting that Christ WAS the personification and embodiment of God here among US.

Very often, the focus of Christianity in the world (among believers and non-believers alike) is the image of the cross. The big reason, or “sell,” if you will, is you should believe because God sent His son to die for us so that we can have our relationship restored with our Heavenly Father. God loved us so much he sent his son be tortured and die for our sins.

Here’s the problem with focusing on Jesus’ death: It makes it seem as if your belief and allegiance to God is your payment for what He lost; that your faith is owed to Him. It makes me think of a God sitting in the clouds with his arms crossed over his chest nodding in superiority thinking “There. Told you I loved you.” Apparently all he had to do to prove it was have his son tortured and crucified.

We humans get so focused on all of our “bad” sometimes and we take that guilt or that need for salvation as reason to be grateful for Jesus’ death.

It’s such a human thing to focus on the negative.

It’s 10 days till Christmas; the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus because that ultimately led to his death and our salvation, right?

Ok, so stop being a typical human for a moment and think about this:
God knows our “bad.;” all of it. He always has and always will. I just don’t think that is what our God focuses on when He sees us.

I won’t pretend to comprehend all that God is, but I do think He is good and that He wants us…and always has.

I think this was proven before Christ was crucified.

DSCN5351

Parker 6/6/12

I think He proved it when a tiny, helpless, defenseless, innocent baby was born into this broken world. When God sent His Son to LIVE with us; to BE one of us; to be WITH us—THAT was how He proved how much He loves us.

When Jesus was sent to love among us (I meant to type “live among us” but “love among us” is WAY more meaningful)…When Jesus was sent that was our God, our Father, saying “I want you. I love you. I know all about you and I TRUST you.” He chose us; all of us (even those who don’t know it or want it).

Those words are what describe any successful and intimate relationship:
Wanted
Loved
Known
Trusted.

And God demonstrated them all by sending a baby.

DSCN5353

Slept in the waiting room all night in anticipation of meeting this little guy. 6/6/12

I don’t expect this to have the same impact on you because your life and your journey are different from mine.

But, for me, I think that every time I see a baby it will remind me of God’s love for us.

The spirit of Christmas (being wanted, loved, known, and trusted) is something I will hold onto every time I see or think of a baby from this day on.

My faith will no longer come through a sense of owing God, but of sharing in being Wanted, Loved, Known, and Trusted by God and returning the same to Him.

The baby is the gift.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Love,
Lisa

A little over 2 years ago I accepted Christ. My life has changed in so many ways since that day, and every single one of them has been for the better. Something cool about my journey of discovering Christ is when I learn a piece of the story and can apply it to my life. […]

I Think I Smelled Like Teen Spirit….

Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) | Point and Laugh No Comments

This afternoon I left my office and began to walk down the hallway toward, I dunno, somewhere, when I realized the paper towels I had shoved down my shirt and into my arm pits were beginning to escape. It took me back to a moment during my 5th grade year when I was washing my hands in the restroom and I saw a teacher doing something very strange right next to me. You see she was….

sweating alive

Couldn’t I just have that verified through the breathing and moving I’m doing instead of all the sweating?

…Huh? What? You mean you don’t shove paper towels or Kleenex into your shirt to absorb sweat?

Well, then I suppose you just learned something about me.

Sometimes I sweat more than I’d like. This has led to the development of many new words I use in regular conversation with my family and friends.
Words like “Swass” and “Swoobs” are a part of our vernacular.

I’ve been teased for a long time about the amount of deodorant and antiperspirants I layer onto my pits, but I long ago analyzed why I use so much.

So, let’s take a trip back to my 6th grade year. Yes, this is also the year in which I “became a woman,” which I wrote about a while back. It was a year of cringe-worthy memories. In fact, looking back, all of middle school was just one giant cringe. Thank God that is over with.

Another thing to know about me, if you don’t already, is that I was pretty much born “boy crazy.” I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a crush on a boy, so 6th grade was absolutely no exception. This particular memory involves a boy named Andy and a smelly, awkward, short-haired version of yours truly.

I had Mrs. Prager for English that year, and I sat one row over and a chair behind Andy, who had crystal blue eyes and light brown hair perfectly styled with too much gel, just like Zach Morris.  *swoon*

One day I noticed he was turning around in his chair toward me. I noticed because I was most likely boring holes into the back of his head from staring at him.

Anyway, he turned my way and looked directly at me. Here is what I am sure my 12 year-old self was thinking:

OH. MY. GAWD! Andy is staring right at me. This is it! This is the moment he realizes he loves me even though I’m not at all cool, have braces and acne, and short brown boy hair. He doesn’t actually like all those pretty blondes with cool names so unlike my basic name. He does love me.

Be still my heart…he is raising his hand toward his mouth; most likely to blow me a kiss while declaring his love in front of 30 of our peers. Everyone will see this and know we are soul mates…

We are totally getting married!

Wait…why is he pinching his nose? Why is he waving his other hand in front of it?

I think pitting out is pretty awesome, too!

I think pitting out is pretty awesome, too!

Balls. At that moment I realized the hearts I saw swimming in front of my eyes were really just fumes from my sweaty pits.

Fantastic.

I was the smelly girl. This psychologically rooted in my brain and manifested itself as copious use of underarm products.

In fact, for whatever reason, I sweat more on my right side, so I often have to shove something in there to provide a barrier between my skin and shirt. Even better, sometimes I forget it’s there till it falls out of my shirt onto the floor in the hallway or my office.

I know, you wish you could be me. Sorry. Position is FILLED.

Now you know.

BUT, I digress!!!!

Back to being in the restroom in 5th grade with a 5th grade teacher behaving oddly.

As I was washing my hands I noticed Mrs. Cochran either putting paper towels in her shirt or taking them out. I can’t remember which was she was doing, specifically.

What I do remember is I left the bathroom convinced this 40-50 year-old woman was stuffing her bra; because that is what a girl my age would be accused of if she was observed doing the same thing.

I am certain I told TONS of other kids because it would have been a juicy scandal which I had witnessed with MY OWN EYEBALLS!

Here I sit, a little over 20 years later, and now I understand that she was sweating. I didn’t now Mrs. Cochran and I would one day be kindred spirits.

Thank God I work in schools with air conditioning.

UPDATE in the form of a PSA:
Ladies, use men’s deodorant. I started doing this several years ago and it has pretty much eradicated my sweating problems. The women’s deodorant industry is a LIE!

This afternoon I left my office and began to walk down the hallway toward, I dunno, somewhere, when I realized the paper towels I had shoved down my shirt and into my arm pits were beginning to escape. It took me back to a moment during my 5th grade year when I was washing my […]

One Thing Remains

Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

Well, here we are…. a year later.

I started this blog 9/30/2012.

I wrote to make the thoughts and feelings swirling inside of me calm down. It’s still why I write.

thank youSometimes I write to make you laugh.

Sometimes I write to share something personal that is bothering me.

Sometimes I write to make you think because I’m convinced my revelations are staggering.

Sometimes I write knowing no one will care.

Either way, I always write to process through an impasse within my heart and brain.

As I look back I realize I have grown so much in a year; I have moved so far—and yet everything is pretty much the same.  Growth is funny and stupid that way. You can be so aware of the great strides you’ve taken, yet what you have to show for it (on the outside) can be minuscule.

So, what’s different from a year ago?

Nothing.
Externally, if you look at my life, you will think nothing has changed.

And Everything.
My heart and mind have undergone an incredible rejuvenation that has changed everything about me.

I was so angry at this point last year:
My romantic life had just been crushed.
My professional life was reeling from a lack of personal control and my passion was being crushed.
My church life was a struggle because of both of those things and I didn’t feel “fed” or even know how to worship.

I couldn’t figure out what God was trying to prove.

I think I’ve figured some of it out.

That romance business:
Well, as of this week I have cancelled all but one of my online dating profiles. The only reason the last one is still open is because it will still charge me an arm and a leg even if I close it, so I have decided to retain access.

This was a little bit scary because I knew it would take away a lot of what I write about, but my hope is I can find other things to share everything is differentwith you, OR maybe, just maybe, this could lead to some real-life interactions with the opposite sex, which would definitely provide some comedic gold.

Realistically, the reason for closing my account is something I’m proud of: In the past online dating has caused me to wonder far too often “What is wrong with me?” I’m finally at a point where I realize I’ve been wasting time and energy on it for 4 years and have gained almost nothing. I’m not saying I’ll never do it again, but it was the right thing to do for me, right now.

I can’t leave this out, because it is the biggest change from a year ago as well as something that has only happened in the last 6-8 weeks: I’m not mad anymore. It’s such a relief. I’m finally not angry at my ex-boyfriend. I can finally listen to ANY song and it doesn’t bother me. It’s so incredible to be free of that anger. At least twice a week I have to fight texting him out of the blue to tell him that. I know it won’t make his life better. In fact, I hope he has been over it for a while (even if it pissed me off at one point to know he probably was).

The big change happened sitting in church one day (where they usually happen) and I had an epiphany. God forgave me of my sins. He doesn’t want me to keep reliving them and feeling ashamed because that keeps me from all the things He wants for my life.
If I’m truly living like Jesus, then I have to stop wanting Dylan to feel bad for what happened. Wanting him to dwell in shame was causing me to relive his sin over and over. My pastor said this is truly “bitterness.”
Well, if God forgave me for my crap, and I know He did, then it was time for me to do the same so I could be free of the bitterness.

I like being sweet (and a little sassy) far better than that dark bitterness. 🙂

Professionally:
It’s risky to put it out in the world that I’m not happy with my professional life. The thing is, I work in schools, and because of all the new initiatives being implemented across the country, I am confident I am not alone in my discomfort at work.

One thing hasn’t changed: I love kids….and adults make working with kids hard.

For me, personally, the new policies and procedures are not what have caused me to question what I have always felt was my calling.

You see, working in a population that is so discouraged, and yet so VITAL to our society has fostered a new passion within me.

encouragmentLast year I took a skills inventory at church. My highest gift was in the area of  “exhortation.” I had no idea what that was, but when I told my dad his response was, “Yeah. Duh.”

Merriam-Webster defines “exhort” as “to try to influence someone by words or advice: to strongly urge to do something.”
Have ya met me? I’d say that is something I try to do often. It could be seen as manipulative, but I don’t encourage people with the motivation to benefit myself; I want people to do whatever it is I am suggesting so they can be better; or remember who they are; or realize why they are important; or to persevere.

I feel happiest and most successful when I am encouraging people.

Working in schools is tough…but it is so very important.

I think I am a good counselor, but I don’t think I am a great counselor. I work with far too many rockstars so I know what great counselors look like.

So, I don’t know if schools are where I will stay. However, encouraging people within schools very much inspires me and feeds my soul, so I also don’t know where I would be if NOT in schools.

That, my friends, is what I call a conundrum.

Church:
This is the happiest part of my life. I love Jesus. I want to talk about him all the time with everyone. I want them to know how he has changed my heart and my life and how he isn’t the bad guy I always thought he was.

I look forward to the ministry opportunities that keep coming my way. I feel a calling to do more in the church; to do more for Jesus. Sometimes glimpses of what I might do flash in my brain and thrill and terrify me at the same time.

Mostly, when I look at the last year, I can’t believe how Jesus has used me in this little corner of the world.
Everything good and positive that comes from me is because of Him. I have been able to do so much more because I know this spirit dwells within me. My heart wants to burst just typing this. I can endure anything because I truly know I am never alone. I can get through any frustration or hurt because I know this is not my final home.

I love Jesus, and I am often staggered at the concept of God’s Grace. You should really check these dudes out. Does it defy logic? Yep. It’s Supernatural.

Back in February I wrote a post about how a song seemed to be following me around. I decided my repeated encounters with that song were God’s way of telling me there was a more divine reason for my ex-boyfriend to stay in my life.

8 months later I have more clarity and perspective.
My heart wanted so badly to hold on to the possibility of reconciliation and even to hold on to the hurt that I missed what the message has really been from the moment I first heard the song:
Forget about the romantic relationship. What God wants me to know is that He is always there: constant through the trials and the change. His love never fails; never gives up; never runs out on me.

One thing remains. 🙂

So, I’m gonna keep writing, and maybe you’ll keep reading….and maybe you won’t.

Either way, I’m always watching and always thinking…you never know when you’ll inspire a post. :p

Well, here we are…. a year later. I started this blog 9/30/2012. I wrote to make the thoughts and feelings swirling inside of me calm down. It’s still why I write. Sometimes I write to make you laugh. Sometimes I write to share something personal that is bothering me. Sometimes I write to make you […]

I Don’t Care About Being Labeled Pro-Life or Pro-Choice. I Care About People.

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) 1 Comment

I’ve had so many posts I’ve started to write in the last few weeks, but my health and a lack of clarity have kept them from fully forming.

There’s a passion within me tonight, so here’s this:

Tonight I watched a music video my Uncle Doug sent me telling a story about a little girl whose life was nearly aborted by her teenage mother. The artist is the former lead singer of the band KANSAS; which is pretty much my uncle’s favorite band of all-time…EVER.
Click here for the link he sent me in case you would like to read about it and watch the video:

This video got me to thinking about something I have felt for a long time, and it is a big shift in a belief I held for a long time.

You see, I’m a female; a quite outspoken gal who likes to be in control and make her own decisions. Because of this dynamic aspect of my nature I don’t like being told what to do with my body by men, or women, or anyone.
What I do with my body is up to me!

Then this thing happened about two years ago: Yes. That thing where I accepted Christ.
Now, I am not saying I suddenly became an uber-conservative who’s adopted all the beliefs of the conventional church. Nope, turns out I’m still pretty non-compliant. So was Jesus, and I like having that in common with Him.

BUT, when suddenly the whole idea of eternity, Heaven, Shangri-La, whatever you want to call it, became a real possibility in my mind and heart, and I really began to look forward to the idea of a reunion with my loved ones, I realized there was a loved one I’ve never met whom I have always believed is waiting for me.

In the Winter of 2008-2009, for a very brief month, I was a mom. I never held my baby; never bought any clothes or furniture; never felt a kick; never had a baby shower; never picked out names; but I experienced the joy of a positive pregnancy test and getting to share that news with my family and friends.

The joy was short-lived, however, because very quickly numbers weren’t doubling, the heartrate was weakening, and no viable egg sac was visible.

For 5 weeks I had weekly ultrasounds where I would be told the heartbeat was fading. Each week the bloodwork would show the numbers were falling. I was no longer a mom. My brother was no longer an Uncle. My parents were no longer grandparents.

Eventually there was nothing left except a dead dream inside of me.

And then I had to wait.

For weeks.

The medical practice I used did not believe in removing the tissue because it was better for it to pass on its own.

I spent Christmas and New Year’s 08-09 having a miscarriage, or as it is medically coded, a “spontaneous abortion.”

The cruelty of that term is still painful for me. It may be medical, but there is no humanity in it.

The word “abortion” is heavy with so many negative and painful connotations for our culture. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone knows what they would do if it were them (but I sincerely hope they NEVER have to find out).

I know now NOT having that child is in many ways a blessing considering the turns my life has taken. I’m sure there are people who think it’s awful for me to say that. You haven’t lived my life, and I won’t pretend to have lived yours.

Women, girls, are faced with tough choices when it comes to fertility every single day. It’s deeply personal, and I will never EVER pretend that I have the RIGHT to say what they should do or how they should feel about it. I don’t care about your science or your religion. I care about that person who has to make that decision (with all of the bajillion facets that contribute to it; NOT just “eh…I don’t want a baby”).

What I know is this, I used to be fiercely protective of my uterus and all its accompanying parts. Now, I believe that little life, that only beat inside of me for 12 weeks, has a name and a face that I will only know when I get to Heaven.

In the meantime, that little soul is with some of my most favorite people ever to exist, and I can’t wait to get there and meet her (because I always felt she was a girl).

miscarriage

I’ve had so many posts I’ve started to write in the last few weeks, but my health and a lack of clarity have kept them from fully forming. There’s a passion within me tonight, so here’s this: Tonight I watched a music video my Uncle Doug sent me telling a story about a little girl […]

An Ode to a Vestigial Organ

Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) | Point and Laugh No Comments

Once upon a time I had an appendix. Now I don’t.

It’s said that everyone mourns a loss in a deeply personal way. Upon suggestion of the KT I have decided to write a eulogy for my once useless, uhhh…thing.

Dear appendix,

I’m sorry we never really got to know each other; or maybe I mistook your advances for really bad gas. I know I did that at least once last summer because I had a boyfriend. I was too embarrassed to be taken to the ER on the off-chance the doctors would tell me I just had an epic-ally impacted poo awaiting me. Everyone knows girlfriends don’t poo. I’m sorry I was inadvertently ashamed of you when all you wanted was some attention.

I suppose the real loss here is 3 emergency days off work I had to take. Those are the things I will really miss. It’s like you knew my personal challenge and chose to sabotage me.

Thanks for NOT doing that...jerkface.

Thanks for NOT doing that…jerkface.

To be fair, the way you ultimately got the attention you so lazily sought kind of makes you a douchebag. All I wanted was one last nap before I had to go back to work for the school year. In the end, I guess I got a nice, memory-erasing nap. I really appreciated being alert enough to know I was gasping for air as the anesthesia took effect. That wasn’t terrifying or anything, so yeah, cool.

So what was it that set you off? You just hung out inside of me, doing NOTHING, and you decide you’re through and you want out? Well that could sum up a couple of my relationships, so you aren’t in very good company.

In summary, I didn’t know you for the 32 years while you dangled all wobbly-like inside my guts, and know that you’re out of me, I don’t think I shall recall you too fondly.

Please trust that you shall be recalled because of the 3 nice-sized scars I will have because of your shenanigans.

Your memory will love on through them and through phantom appendix pains.

Good riddance.

Your host body,

Lisa

Once upon a time I had an appendix. Now I don’t. It’s said that everyone mourns a loss in a deeply personal way. Upon suggestion of the KT I have decided to write a eulogy for my once useless, uhhh…thing. Dear appendix, I’m sorry we never really got to know each other; or maybe I […]

She Gave Birth to Me….Allegedly ( I Don’t Remember It)

Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

Today is a cool day because a lot of people I love share this birth date. My best friend Corrie turned 32 today; another bestie, Alison, had her baby boy on this date 2 years ago; and best of all, my mom celebrates her birthday today.

According to others I resemble my parents almost 60/40, but I usually only see my dad when I look at pictures.

3 years ago in Colorado

Growing up, it’s safe to say I was a daddy’s girl. I used to think I was just like my dad. We like the same movies (classics), find the same things fascinating (history, music), and I look a lot like the guy. Either he’d make a good-looking lady or I’m close to being a good-looking dude.

A sassy legend...

A sassy legend…

I gave my mom some pretty hard times as a teenager. I’m sure it’s hard to imagine, but I was pretty sassy as a hormonal adolescent. My mom was home the most and took most of the heat.

In fact, I would postulate my mom and I didn’t get along a lot of the time, but I can also remember the moment our relationship started to change: My first heartbreak.

During my first year of college I ended my first long-term relationship. Even though I ended it, it was very difficult and it was hard to comprehend that I was responsible not only for my own heartbreak, but for hurting someone else, too. My mom helped me through a lot of that just by listening. I think having her validate my feelings brought us closer.

I remember my mom being at every event I ever had…EVER. Every choir concert; every swim meet (summer and school year); every tennis match (with a loaf of Hallmark bread for the team)…I mean everything. She has always been my biggest fan.

dad

I know I’ve already mentioned how much I thought was like my dad, but the last few years have made me realize how much of my mom is actually within me.

She and I both wear our feelings on our face-we can’t even manage to keep our hearts down on our sleeves. If we’re gonna cry you will know it. If we’re angry, you can definitely tell. If we’re happy, well, the giant smiles and laughter give it away.

In fact, laughter is the most noticeable aspect of my mom I see in me. I definitely have her sense of humor. Sometimes she is quiet and doesn’t always talk a lot around people she doesn’t know. Actually, my best friend Katie pointed it out a few years ago when she said, “People think your mom is quiet, but she’s FUNNY!”
True story.
Not only is she funny, but she has a great laugh. Sometimes I will turn my TV all the way down so I can listen to her cracking up while watching her shows upstairs. I don’t even know what she’s watching, but just hearing her laugh so hard makes me laugh. It’s pretty great.

rubies
My mom is incredibly thoughtful in a very quiet way. I’d like to think this is one of the greater gifts I have inherited from her. If she sees something that she knows someone will like then she gets it. Even if you just briefly mention something there is a chance you will have a special little gift waiting for you the next time you see her, even if she’s only met you once or twice. I know several people who can attest to this, and I probably benefit from it the most.

Two years ago I started a weight-loss plan and began to incorporate coffee into my diet. I would drink it on the way to work, but being the clumsy gal I am I often spilled on myself or my coffee would get cold before I finished. I was lamenting these things one day (or so I assume because it was not a memorable conversation to me) and the next week a package was delivered. It was a very fancy travel thermos. Mom said she researched online and everyone said this brand was the best. It looked annoying and complicated to me (typically ungrateful daughter) but after trying it out, her research was validated. I told her how well it worked and later that week I walked up the stairs to see four more of the same thermos. Now I have one for every work day. I have since found out these thermoses are not cheap. That’s the stuff my mom does. She spends her money on things to make life easier; to make people smile; to let them know they were thought of by her and are special to her.

gandalf
That’s her heart-ALWAYS thinking about others before herself.

Just a little over four years ago I went through the hardest day of my life: July 12, 2009. After being out of town most of the weekend with family and friends I came home to my ex-husband (then husband) having made the decision to end our marriage. It was noon on a Sunday and I knew my parents would be getting out of church. I calmly explained that he was leaving and asked if they could come over. They made it there before he left the house and got to see him loading his car and taking the dog. It was painful. There’s not a lot of coherent memories from those initial weeks, but one of my clearest memories is this: As my ex backed out of the driveway my mom walked up the stairs with me. I barely made it inside the front door before I collapsed on the floor and cried…hard. I couldn’t do anything but lie in a ball and cry for about 15 minutes. The whole time my mom was on the floor with me. My misery was her misery. My sorrow was her sorrow.
I was hers.

I am hers.

These last 4 years with all the plummeting lows and soaring highs would not have been “doable” if it weren’t for my mom.

To this day she loves me even when I haven’t been very delightful to be around; even when I make it hard because I’m still kiiiinda sassy.

She always has my back. She won’t let me fall.

I’m proud to be my mother’s daughter. I love knowing her heart and mine are the same.

My mom is awesome.

Happy birthday Mom!

I love you.

130

Beastie

Today is a cool day because a lot of people I love share this birth date. My best friend Corrie turned 32 today; another bestie, Alison, had her baby boy on this date 2 years ago; and best of all, my mom celebrates her birthday today. According to others I resemble my parents almost 60/40, […]

The Hormone Pit

Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

Last year my doctor and I bonded over guys, dating, and a little-discussed, often-avoided, yet consistently occurring phenomenon she dubbed “Hormone Pit” day.
On this day normal, even-tempered, delightful females become irrational, moody, inconsolable messes of emotion. Guys call this PMS. That’s polite but far from accurate.
I like my doctor’s term. If you read this, you may at least know what NOT to do when you are around a woman on this day.

bukowski
Today is that day for me. It happens once a month; usually on a Wednesday. It’s not the day to approach me about making any big decisions and for the last 10 months it has ABSOLUTELY been the worst day to talk to me about finances or dating.
dont even want a boyfriend
The timeline of my day:

5:45am-I had a terrible nightmare involving a harrowing escape apparently from MY abusive husband. Once delivered safely to my father we went to the police station to report the man. He was already there in handcuffs and began to approach me. My father jumped in between us and tried to keep the guy away from me, but he poisoned my dad, or something. It’s a dream….I dunno. I looked at my husband’s face and he was smirking. All the police rushed to help my dad so my abusive husband tried to approach me. As he did I grabbed a pair of scissors from a nearby desk and stabbed him 3 times. I woke up and was so bothered by this nightmare that I couldn’t go back to sleep so I went for a walk.

11:00-I went to my hair appointment with my awesome friend Kassey. The subject of dating was brought up and I almost cried twice. Clearly I should have known this was Hormone Pit day.

12:40-Hair appointment over and a major breakdown in communication with my folks over when and where to have lunch. Argh! More frustration.

2:30pm-After this I came home and tried to take a nap. A conversation about having dinner with some of my wonderful friends came up. I said I couldn’t make it because I would be out of town. Somehow we got to the topic of dating and I became all kinds of defensive with a good friend, who was just trying to talk to me, and I cried intermittently for 2 hours….uh, very not normal for me. Again, I should’ve known what was going on.

Now that you know it’s Hormone Pit day, I’d like to share with you some of the thoughts that have gone through my head about dating today.

After last week’s Singles Mixer debacle I have been feeling discouraged and apathetic about dating. It was so disheartening that my personality didn’t win over any hearts, but I also knew there was no one there I really wanted. The worst feeling is that I am trying as hard as I know how and even attempting to branch out and do new things, but meeting someone (or not meeting someone) is beyond my control.

someone

Any canned advice you want to offer to a single person, I am telling you now: DON’T DO IT! It doesn’t help.

“It will happen when you least expect it.”
“It’ll happen as soon as you quit trying.”
“God has a plan.”
“Just go get laid.”

Let’s address that last item since it gets thrown at me often: the one about getting laid. Here’s the deal, friends: That offer has been made many times over (I realize how arrogant it sounds, but be realistic-I’m 32, somewhat cute and pretty personable). If all I wanted was meaningless physical interaction then I would be doing that. That’s not what I’m looking for at all. I want a relationship loaded with intentionality and loving. I want to make someone feel loved and be loved in return, and I haven’t settled for less in 4 years, so I won’t settle now.

big girl panties
So really, none of those standard replies help a single lady in my position. Seriously, none of that is comforting at all to me. None of it makes me snap out of it and think, “Oh my goodness! You’re so right! I just need to stop investing all this time, money, and energy and then God will throw a hell of a winner my way.”

No, what it makes me think is this: If God had a man for me he would have sent him my way by now. He hasn’t so there must not be a man out there for me. I should just get used to being single and go ahead and get some more cats and prove everyone right.

Clearly I am thinking rationally….

Then there’s the guilt of how many other far more valid and concerning things people have going on in their lives and how selfish and petty I am just for wanting a husband.

The good news is I’m fine now. I stopped by a friend’s house this evening and they invited me to dinner. We had good conversation, good food, and some nice shoe shopping. As I went to leave their kiddo yelled to me that she loved me. My heart felt much better after that. 🙂

Last year my doctor and I bonded over guys, dating, and a little-discussed, often-avoided, yet consistently occurring phenomenon she dubbed “Hormone Pit” day. On this day normal, even-tempered, delightful females become irrational, moody, inconsolable messes of emotion. Guys call this PMS. That’s polite but far from accurate. I like my doctor’s term. If you read […]