A Summer Prayer

 

If fire is honor, then we’ll stand and let it burn.

Hot and loud as it calms into a deep burning midnight.

Popping and clapping its truths.

Glowing red and warm; a blanket of appreciation.

Shadows of flames dancing on our faces as we gather around and listen.

 

If water is pure,

let us strip off these pretenses and plunge in.

Washing away all of the expectations.

Easing the heavy weight from our bones, bathing us fresh and new.

 

If the earth is nakedness,

let us run.

Let us take to the fields and carry ourselves to the edges of sight.

Let us stomp our feet in the dust,
to the sound of drums.
Dancing unashamed.

Like the children who still live hidden away
under the layers piled on our hearts.

Let us uncover these wounds and expose them to the open air for healing.

 

If the stars are mystery,

let us follow their lead.

Surrendering our proud explanations and false humility.

Gazing upon the vastness and treasuring the wonder that we are so eager to dismiss.

 

If the moon is lonely,

let us be a friend.

Let us set ourselves aside and turn our faces toward each other.

Let us see what we don’t want to see.

Let us forgive and be forgiven.

 

If the sun is victory,

let it burn brilliant and forever.

Let us turn our faces upward in unison to soak up the radiance that is promised.

Let us lift our hands together in thanks.

Like warriors,
moments away from an earned homecoming.

Finishing strong and whole.

 

 

 

One year of blogging and looking ahead

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It has officially been one year and I have the same heavy body I had last February when I started this blog.

I’m writing from the same couch. Same living room. Same house. Same warm dog lying next to me.

So much has remained the same but I know that when I stop and think, I’m at least a little older and whole lot wiser.

A lot can happen in a year.

If I’m being honest, I really thought that if I gave myself over to the honesty of writing and sacrificed myself on the alter of this blog, that somehow all of my excess weight and self doubt would magically melt away by the sheer power of humility.

I would NOT hold back and I would come out of this transformed and on my way to being a big deal. Spiritually, mentally, physically and creatively superior. Ready to impact the world with my success story.

Well, that didn’t happen.

What has happened is REAL life, and not the la-la land I was imagining where magical things unfold without any work.

One thing I’ve learned is that love hurts. Sometimes, love means turning the other way. Destructive and repetitive family cycles are agonizing to remove yourself from, but for wholistic health, it must be done!

When trying to soak up someone else’s pain only makes them sicker and you, sicker…the downward spiral deepens. Having to let go of someone you love because you can’t be their savior…walking away from their pain?
About the worst thing I’ve had to attempt and see through. Somewhere along the way I’ve believed that taking care of others is way more important than caring for myself. I’ve learned the hard way that this is just simply untrue. I have no idea how or what that looks like.
Still working it out.

Because of not knowing how to properly care for myself and my own needs, I’ve also learned that I can’t trust myself around food and REALLY can’t trust myself around a bible.

My spiritual life is connected to my tangible eating and breathing life, is connected to my creative life, is connected to my mental life is connected to my spiritual life…blah blah blah. I know that the more I struggle against my creator the worse I seem to struggle mentally, creatively and physically.

So why the struggle?

I know all the proper “theological” answers. I am a sinner who wants to be my own God…I want to captain this ship of mine on my own, and thus will suffer from these ill navigated waters until I surrender.

Boo.

That’s really not it.
I’m just desperate for an authentic faith. I reject being boxed into a “Christian-living-looks-like-this” box. As much as I try to not care and act aloof about the whole thing, at the end of the day I just want to press in and get close enough to Jesus to touch the hem of his garment. To push through the crowds and see him for REALS. Be near Him. Be healed. Without anyone telling me I’m doing it wrong, or interpreting it wrong, or questioning if my motives were biblical…or WRONG.

I’ve let my distaste for our audacious “Christian culture” and all the rights and wrongs create distance between me and the source of love and life.

It’s weeks like this past week that bring me back down onto my knees where faith and reality meet head on.

A beautiful friend of mine suddenly passed away from a violent athsma attack. She was my age. A mother of 4 young children and a wife to a husband whom she adored. Her death was shocking and heart breaking. A few days later, the news of another friend from high school, taking his own life.

No matter who you are or what you believe, when your heart is breaking you look for the goodness of God. You search to find light to chase out the darkness. To fill in the cracks of what’s been broken.

Perhaps that is why he allows us to endure hard things, so that we will put down our rubbish and shenanigans and get back to finding and staying near to the source because we certainly aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.

So, this year I will continue to do just that. Seek out He is who is the source and stay near to Him. I will continue to write and throw myself onto this blogging alter in that pursuit.

No expectations of crazy miracles or outcomes, just me, keeping it real.


*I was surprised by who was on the sidelines cheering me on at the start of this blogging journey and am equally surprised by who remains and is still here pushing me onward.

So, in honor of my one year blogging anniversary, THANK you so much for loving me despite what a maniac I am.

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Keep me where the light is

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“Until we have seen someone’s darkness we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness we don’t really know what love is…[until you confront and acknowledge your own darkness, you will never forgive].”

– Marianne Williamson

I hate having to face myself after a binge.

After making the choice to go out of bounds and indulge myself, I always have to look myself in the mirror afterward. It doesn’t feel good or rewarding in any way. Giving into the temptation always seems like it will bring relief but temptation is a liar!
It sucks.
The only thing yielding to it brings is shame.

Truthfully, I hate having to face a lot of things about myself…but the whole point of Realology is gaining the faith and courage to face the truth and tell it.

But, sometimes it just seems easier to keep things hidden in the darkness, even though the only things that grow and thrive in the dark are toxic.

Like black mold. Infiltrating the overlooked nooks and crannies of your house before finally showing itself. Revealing its destruction and rot. The only way to get rid of it is to gut it out.

Can’t paint over it. Can’t build walls around it…it would only spread through eventually.
Self deception is like that. Sharp and clever and we are skilled experts at it. But eventually…you can’t avoid the stink, and the walls have gotta come down.

The hardest part about trying to live in freedom, without relying on food (my drug) for comfort, is that I have to be constantly faced with my own ugliness, and choose to have a willingness to be honest about it. Choose to turn myself and my affairs over to a trustworthy God. It’s not like ill have it all figured out and “cured” one day. It’s a daily struggle…I will probably grapple with my entire life.

The beauty that emerges from this ugliness is that facing my own darkness gives me the ability to have empathy for others…which helps me to KNOW and FORGIVE as I learn to KNOW and FORGIVE myself. We are all dealing with the same issue…it just looks different for each of us on the outside. Understanding and love can grow out of this…that is a miracle.

What I’m learning is that it’s easier to look myself in the eye when I’m in the light.
Basking in it.
Soaking it all in and letting it reach every corner and crevice. Instead of fighting it and running from it, but instead, letting it dry up all those dark, soggy parts that beg to stay hidden.

One day at a time, praying, “just keep me where the light is…”


“For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
(Psalms 91:3-6, 9-16 NLT)

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This little light of mine…

So I met up with an old high school friend last night. He is the founder of a clothing co. here in my home town and was personally delivering some merchandise to my husband and I. I realized something very interesting about myself in the process. I wondered why I was so anxious and nervous? It’s the same feeling I get that keeps me from wanting to go to an Aces game ( our local baseball team) or basically to any public function where I might run into people from high school or anyone else I haven’t seen in a long time.

We all size people up.
Especially those we haven’t seen in a long time. We all know what WE say about people who have gained weight, lost weight, or for whatever reason have made some kind of mess of their lives. Making for delicious gossip. We know we shouldn’t, that its wrong…but alas. Ladies, we are the WORST offenders of this crime, and yet we are the most hopeful that no one will judge our own appearance or circumstance so harshly. Hoping the whispers and mutterings are not about us.

“Did you see…”

Or, “I heard that so-and-so…”.

Juicy…until you are the object or subject of discussion.

So I have intentionally avoided any and all possible run-in’s if I could help it. Being someone who has since high school, gained OVER an extra 100 lbs. Which has made me a little paranoid. I guess I didn’t realize to what crazy extent this went until last night, when I found myself acting like a lunatic because someone I haven’t seen in a long time was gonna simply drop something off at my house. This morning it seems so ridiculous.

The truth is I have been disabled by my shame. I have not only carried this extra weight, but also the shame and fear that comes along with it. Ready at any time to bump up against some sort of retort or rejection. There are things that have happened to me publicly that should have been enough to send me over the edge and make me change my life earlier on. Teenagers making fun of me and my weight at the movies, not being able to get on a ride at six flags with all my siblings, stuffing myself into a booth at a restaurant with my whole family looking on with sadness in their eyes.
Ugh.
I learned how to soak up each mortifying experience like a sponge…absorb it of the pain so that I would not fall apart. Act like it was not a big deal, and move on. Later, numbing and numbing and soothing and retaining my false sense of control with binges. This has been the way I’ve lived.

Pardon my bluntness, but that is just b.s. Sorry, but it is. Last night I resisted the urge to run around and put make-up on or change my clothes. Made a decision that I just wanted to fight that inner voice that was telling me my friend would laugh at me or think me a joke. And even if he did, so what? This life God has given me was not meant to be lived in hiding. Jesus himself says,”No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:15 NLT)

We ended up having a lovely visit and he is very supportive and encouraging of the work I’m doing in my life. It was silly that I had gotten myself so sick about it.

The days of hiding and living life beneath baskets is over. However I look on the outside, it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. My life is amazing and I have nothing to be ashamed of, ever. Thanks be to God! May we all live our lives placed proudly on a stand, where we can give light and shine, as brightly as we were created to! May we also remember this when we run into people we haven’t seen in awhile. May we show grace and kindness and genuine and abundant love, because everyone is dealing with stuff.

Blinded by the light

I’ve been stating from the first blog post I ever put up, that this “journey” is about my pursuit of a meaningful make over. It is more that just losing weight or slapping on some make up. Beyond learning how to shop for my shape or find more flattering ways to wear my hair. Though I am interested in beauty rituals and think they are important for self-confidence as a woman, the main event has been the dissection of my heart.
The exposure of the whys and how’s I was allowing myself to operate in an attempt to understand and evolve. Above any other motivators, the thought of staying stuck in my dark, miserable cave of self loathing had become too much. I had reached my limit.
I will throw myself out in the wind and be vulnerable again, creative again, and honest again and again and again. Because I know that there is real life to live out here. That’s all I have really…my honest experience. That is what I share here. A REAL account of trying to be the woman I was created to be. Cutting out all the B.S. expectations we all stick on ourselves as women, wives and mothers. The “pinteresty”, fake, pressure-y ways we compare and judge each other. I believe there is MORE to this womanhood than looking good and appearing good.

This has opened me up to a lot of new experiences. One of which being the 12 step recovery group I’ve committed to. Last night recovery class was intense. We are working on the fifth step which is, ” We’ve admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

“… God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7 (NLT)

There was lots of talk about walking in darkness, and exposing ourselves and our stuff in the light. Lots of talk about hiding and functioning with denial. Lots of talk about confession and admission. So many of us neatly packaging and tucking away our issues instead of dealing with them until we reach a point where we can’t. I heard someone say last night, “Self deception keeps us going because it works for us, until it doesn’t.”

How true.

The majority of my adult life was lived in this way. I think we are all guilty of deceiving ourselves at some point…it looks different for all of us. For me it was the nonchalant way that I dealt with my body image and self-worth. Making fun of myself and acting like it was fun to just go ahead and be fat and eat whatever I felt like. I had accepted being the fat woman. I had turned myself over to it.

It worked for me for a long time- until it didn’t.

Walking in the light, means practicing truth. It means that I am no longer deceiving or hiding. It means I am opened up and free to have intimacy with God and other people. Telling the TRUTH sets me free and may also help others to be free. It’s contagious. The light is warm and it thaws even the most hardened and frozen parts of myself even though it is sometimes painfully uncomfortable.
Being open always is. It is scary because honesty and openness may leave us feeling rejected or humiliated…but that fear that keeps us in the dark, keeps us living lies. Deceiving ourselves.

Yesterday I posted a cartoon about butterflies. The transformation that caterpillars go through in a dark cocoon to become what they are truly intended to be is not pretty. They actually dissolve into a liquid form and then reemerge into something totally different. Did you catch that? They dissolve into mush. In a dark place. We must surrender. Dissolve. Trust the process. Sometimes the dark is necessary to reemerge as we are intended to be in the light.

Living in the light is a choice I’ll have to make daily. Maybe even hourly. But with each new day here, I’m realizing its worth it.

#mygirl was the official photographer for my club @anytimefitness_northreno free workout event today...she got some great action shots and video...but this sneaky selfie she took is my fave.  #mybaby #mydaughter❤️ #thosefreckles

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