Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tidings of Comfort

An empty chair
The unworn apron
One less Christmas card
Cookie recipes unmade
The present that doesn't need to be purchased
A voice missed singing favorite Christmas songs
The silence meant to be filled with laughter
A gap in the family picture
The lack of a close hug and kiss on the cheek
One 'Merry Christmas' too few

Love
Hurt
Ache
Tears
Sadness
Sorrow
Emptiness
Grief
Need

Scents
Touches
Sights
Sounds
Tastes....
Remembered,
but unable to be mustered

This is for my friends who have known


loss


this year.

This is for those I love,
those I know well,
those I am getting to know,
those I have known in the past, but am distant from at this time of my life
those I do not know at all,
but with whom I share an experience...
a life-changing
heart-tearing
forever-altering

loss.

I have lost my mother.
You have lost yours.
You have lost your father.

And this
is your First.

Your First
December

Your First
put-out-the-decorations

Your First
batch of parties & celebrations

Your First
December 24th

Your First
December 25th

Your First
Day after Christmas

Your First
Put-away-the-decorations

without
them

Without her
Without him

This is your first time to push yourself through the sadness
Your first time to remember
and think
and relive
and call out
and wish
and long for
and ache for
them
for the way it was
for the Christmases of your childhood
or your years as a teenager
or your breaks at home from college
or your earliest days as an adult
or your first times as a parent

When they were there
When they were a part of the day
of the season
of the laughter
and stories
and music
and gifts
and meals
and traditions.

They were there
and now
they are
unreachable

I know
I know, oh too well
how it feels...
surreal
slightly "off"
somewhat empty.

I know how the
heavy-holiday-heart
from being without them
him
her
...feels

Yes, there are joys
there are moments
there are delights
there are traditions in place
traditions begun
efforts made to
live, love and laugh during these days.

But,
if you are like me
if you love deeply
if you feel openly
(and even if you don't)
there is a Blanket you'd love
to wrap yourself in
to warm
and comfort
and heal
your heart.
That Blanket is
them
him
her

Oh what I would give to see her smile one more time
to watch her, watch my children open their gifts this year.
What I would give to set a place for her at my table
and serve her, her Sweet Potato Casserole and Tollhouse cookies.
What I would give to spoil her
and buy her a gift from my heart.
Her smile of fondness, would warm me.
Blanket me.

What I would give to hear her sing, "Joy to the World."
Completing every verse by heart.
In harmony.
Her favorite carol.
What I would give to hear her sing it just one more time.
Her voice would soothe me.
Blanket me.

There was a time,
the first two or three Christmases,
When I could open a box of her decorations
and still smell her on them.
I would sit on the floor,
ease open the flaps on the cardboard box,
lean in
and breathe
her
in.
And she would comfort me.
Blanket me.

This
is my
14th
Christmas
without
her

And the ache is still there
for
her
I still long for that voice
that scent
that smile
that Blanket.

Not with the same overwhelming,
pressing down,
gasping-for-breath
intensity
of the first year
or the second year
or even three years ago
but it still rests on my heart

And
because I know this is your first year
without
them
him
her,
I feel it fresh
for you.

I am sad with you, my friend
I hurt for you
and feel a tenderness
and rawness
a vulnerability
for you
and your
loss

I wish I could give you a blanket.
I wish there were a way,
I could sit with you
pour you something warm to drink,
make your favorite childhood dinner
tell you the stories he used to tell you
encourage you the way she was able
listen to you as only they could
hold your hand in mine
smile at you they way they would
and tell you all the wonderful things
about YOU
they loved the most...
as
you
are
remembering
them
this season.

This...
This is the best I can do.
I can only offer this:
comfort
and understanding
and hope
and prayers for light, and love and peace
to fill your heart
with delight
and memories
of the days
years
and holidays
from times past.

You are loved
You are remembered
Your loss from this year has not been forgotten
The world has moved on.
Activities have resumed.
Life has continued.
But I remember.
I remember that you have lost.
What you have lost.
Who you have lost.
You are missing them.
You are not exactly the same person you were this time last year.
You are without her
You are without him

But,
You are
loved.

Merry Christmas.
Merry, Hopeful, First Christmas Like This.

I love you,
Becky

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meet My Children



Went shopping with my kids at Old Navy. Ducked into the fitting room to try on a few things. Told them to be good while I was gone & to stick together. When I came out, I couldn't find them ANYWHERE. Turns out, they were HERE. I passed them 3 times, before one of them laughed. Meet my children. They are GREAT & so much fun! They did this completely on their own.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thick Skinned



...I am not.


And because I am not thick-skinned,
my heart is swollen and raw right now.
Because I wear it, not only on my sleeve,
but through every pore of my skin.


And right now,
my heart hurts.


Allow me to introduce myself,
I am Translucent Woman


Today,
I feel like everyone can see through me--
through my skin
past the muscles
and beyond the bones,
straight through my chest, to my heart.


They can see it
Because I have put it out there
They can Scrutinize
Criticize
Judge
Question
and
Make assumptions about my heart
and about Me.
(sometimes it is hard to tell us apart)
Because I have put us out there.


And, I guess that just comes with the territory.
I'll take the judgements and questions and assumptions
as they come.
And keep my heart out there,
on my sleeve,
seeping through my pores


I am not going to go back.
I am not going to lock my heart up in my chest
again.

I did that for a season of my life
I got to a point, where I could hardly feel it beating against my ribs
I lived for a while with it buried 
protected
muffled
and hidden
(I have done this with a clock before...smothered it under a pillow because the constant ticking pounded in my ears, and kept me from sleep)

I have emerged from that time
that time when the aches
and truths
and music
and love
and losses
of my heart, we too hard
for me to handle

I have left behind that darkness
that place, that valley
where the shadows and fears
of facing the deep disappointments of This Life
were too intense to acknowledge
or experience openly.

Here is what I learned during that time
Here is HOW I emerged,
Here is WHY I am no longer afraid:

I discovered that
keeping it all hidden,
keeping the sadness
and failures
and worries
and hurts
and grief
COVERED UP, INSIDE my heart,
Led me to an even deeper,
darker place
where hopelessness
and depression
were my primary companions.

When I hid my heart,
covering the darker, uglier,
messier, muddier parts--
I ended up feeling like a fraud.
I ended up feeling like a failure.
I ended up feeling like Mr Hyde.

Hiding my heart,
Hiding the realities of WHO I AM,
Left me more isolated
and broken
and hurting 
with each passing year

Here is what I realized
Here is what I know
Now

I am a fraud.
I am a fraud as much as I am sincere.

I am a failure
I am a failure as much as I am a success.

I am Mr Hyde
I am Mr Hyde as much as I am Dr Jekyll.
Perhaps, even more so


I am a mess
A beautiful mess.
I am His mess.
And I need Him.


And that is the whole, entire point
Of. It. All.


I spent most of my life, not wanting to be a mess.
Not wanting to admit, that I was a mess.
Surely, not wanting ANYONE to see, that I am a mess.


But, the evidence cannot be argued.
I am a mess.
A beautiful mess.


And there is freedom in being a mess.
There is true, pure, freedom in 
knowing
embracing
and accepting
that I am a mess.


Because, NOW
I don't have to hide it.
I don't have to smother the truth anymore
I don't have to put on a show
or pretend
or try to please
or fake my way through Life


I am a mess
and I declare it boldly.
I am a mess
and I screw up all the time
and make messes in my marriage
and with my children
and in my friendships
I am a Major Mess


And because I KNOW it
about myself,
I
don't
have
to
point out
your
messes
to
you


I was really good at that
I was really good at pointing out other people's messes.
Because I denied I had my own.


Now, I know the darkness
that place, that valley
where the shadows and fears
and deep disappointments of This Life
dwell


I have been there
I return there,
some days.


Like today.


But now, today
I am willing to do so openly.
Because I know I am not alone.
Yes, I know I have Him
and
I know you are there, too
I know you don't want anyone to know.
I know it is scary
and you feel like a failure
you are disappointed in yourself
you are struggling to keep a grip
grasping to hold on to your heart, lest it push right through your chest
you are ashamed and hurting and angry with yourself
because you have Faith
and you are Strong
and it's not that bad
and there are people who are much worse off than you, right?
Right?


I know you are right there, too.
And I know, you need to be told
that it's ok.
It's ok to be a failure
and to be Mr. Hyde


Just don't be a fraud
anymore


We are all messes
Beautiful messes
and we are loved
and we need to come clean about ourselves
and quit trying to have thick skin.


I don't want thick skin anymore.
I want to stay tender
and fragile
and sensitive
and open.


It's how I know I am alive
It's how I know, it will be better Some Day.
It will never be all better here.
But it will be better Some Day.


and 


Days like Today,
when my heart is swollen and raw
and my very pores are
aching for relief,


I know


that I am loved
that I am known
and
that I am understood
for the Beautiful
Dr Jekyll 
and 
Mr Hyde 
Mess 
that I am.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Risky Business

I've been thinking.
And I believe I've had a sort-of-epiphany.
I have been examining a critical question.
A question I have been asked a few time lately,
by women.

Women like me
who are navigating through
motherhood,
wife-ing
and faith.

Women who are wanting to be all they can be,
honor their God,
care for their children
and maintain good marriages.

First off,
I am always struck with the amount of
devotion
commitment
care
and selflessness
we as women
pour into our children (assuming we have them--I have FOUR).
I wonder how many minutes in any given week, would reflect the grand total of TIME
I spend on, for, with
my children.

Secondly,
I have been pondering the amount of time
devotion
commitment
care
and selflessness
we as women
pour into our husbands (assuming we have them--I have ONE)
AND YES, I am laughing at myself as I write this.
I am chuckling at the total number of minutes, in any given week, which would reflect the grand total of TIME
I spend on, for, with
my husband
.....in comparison to what I spend on my children.

Thirdly, am I the only one,
who's knows there is a GREAT discrepancy between those two totals?
Am I the only one,
who realizes (with some embarrassment)
that I do not
consciously GIVE
as freely, openly and sacrificially to
my husband
as I do to my children
(and I know, it is not because there are FOUR of them and ONE of him. I know it is not because he travels and commutes with work and is away from home a lot. I know it is not because he is a man of 44 and they are young people of 12 and 10 and 7)?

It is because of ME.
It is because of how I have placed importance on certain things and not others.
It is because I have made some things, some tasks, some duties (with my children)
more important, or necessary, or meaningful than him.
I know this.
I know I am doing better with this than I ever have before,
but I still know
there is a great imbalance between my EFFORTS toward Mike
and my ACCOMPLISHMENTS with my children.

But,
even this confession, this realization, this fact...
is NOT my actual epiphany.

Here is the question I have been struggling to answer...
(and thus the epiphany for MY life)
As I work on ME,
as I connect with myself
and learn more about loving and accepting ME
and becoming the woman I want to be
OUTSIDE of the roles and duties of
mothering
and
wife-ing....
How do I keep myself from becoming selfish?
How do I draw boundaries for myself, so I do not cross over into narcissism and neglect others?
Bottom line:
How do I know I am not being selfish when I take time out for me to REALLY focus on ME and what I want or need, and still be the kind of woman who loves and honors God with her life?

This is the question I have been asked by others.
This is what I have been pondering.
I want to be able to answer this question, when asked.
I want to be able to answer it for myself.

This is a major question.
This is a question (I believe),
rooted in guilt
driven by fear
and
(dare, I even state it)...
only HALF of the question we (I) REALLY should be asking.

Deep breath, Becky.
Here's where I cross a line into an area that might shut down interest in anything else I have to say (ever)...
I think the OTHER side of this question,
the question I would ALSO like to be asked
(and frankly, have NEVER been asked, and until now, really never considered as a question for myself) is:

How do I know, I am not working, laboring, doing, being selfless, volunteering for everything, driving everyone everywhere, and pouring out every ounce of my life and my energy, and neglecting myself, me as a woman----out of PRIDE---in those very actions and sacrifices?

Selfishness
or
Pride?

Both are risky business.

So why is it,
we feel guilty
and struggle with our fears
and question the possibility of
selfishness,

when we
rarely,
take a look at ourselves
and feel guilty
and struggle with fears
and question the possibility
that we are riddled with and
drowning in
PRIDE?

Pride
in what
we do for others,
what we give to our children
how we go without, for them
give up and drain ourselves for them.
And
at
the
end
of
the
day,
Pride in how we have been
Good Mothers
or Good People,
because of what we have done, and
how exhausted we feel.

I think
Pride guides us,
as women,
much more than Selfishness.

Here's the epiphany part:
I am starting to see that
Pride is
another type of
SELF-ish
behavior.
It is a valuing of ourselves
because of who we THINK we are,
based on something we are doing RIGHT.
It is a focus on OURSELVES
and what we do and accomplish,
which makes us appear noble
and virtuous
and self-sacrificing.

I know that's harsh.
I know that sounds judgmental.

Maybe I am the only one looking at myself and my mothering
(and some of my wife-ing, friend-ing and church-ing)
through a magnifying glass...realizing I am truly
prone
to walk
in pride
(and ignore it)
because it is OTHERS focused...
But makes me feel Good.
The exhaustion and stress and suffering and self-neglect
(on some level)
feed me
and make me feel like I am GOOD because of that exhaustion, stress, suffering and self-neglect,
like I am Good and Right, for DOING all the "right, self-sacrificing" things.
And then, when I crash at night, there are THINGS to SHOW for my day.
THINGS to SHOW for my time.
REASONS to point to,
as to why I am worn out and drained
and ready for sleep,
when my husband might be ready for......me.
(And then, I can do as I've done in the past...I can blame him, feel like it is him who is being selfish, because I have GIVEN ALL DAY LONG.)


Pride is MY confidence in the things I do, making me Good.
Selfishness however, just makes me look plain ol' Bad, or at the least Not Good.


Both are risky.
Neither is worse, or better than the other.

So now, for me,
the bigger more important questions, based on what I am "knowing" about myself today (post-epiphany) are:
Why am I not more concerned about Pride in my life?
Why am I so riddled with guilt and convinced it is so wrong, or inappropriate to concern myself with ME?
What is at the root of my pride and my selfishness?
What is driving ME in each of these situations?

Asking such questions, can be risky business.
It may stir up some tough answers.
Answers which point to conclusions
and even, epiphanies-of-sorts,
leading me to understand and accept how much of a mess I really am,
and how much I need Someone to clean up after me
and make me right with Him,
each and every day of my life.

What I do know, for sure, is that
if I ask these questions because I am examining my SELF,
getting to know ME,
spending time on ME,
exploring who I want to be....
If I am asking these questions during the times when I am focused on SELF
and they lead me to an understanding of my need for Him,
isn't that the Point of it All?
Isn't that why He came?
Does He love me any more, or less or differently, because I am closer to the truth about who I really am AND who I want to be?
Nope. He's known the truth about me, all along.
And it's in the "getting closer to the truth,"
in the ME times, that I take FOR myself,
that I know myself even better
and
know even better (and deeper),
how very much He obviously loves me
and how very obviously,
I
need
Him.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

I eat dessert first (sometimes)
I eat my favorite chicken salad for breakfast (on occasion)
I head to the movies when my kids are in school (once a week, in August)
I put on make-up & re-do my hair at night, just to try new things (quite often)
I don't make my bed every morning
I eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch from the box
I don't return all of my phone calls
I wear my over-the-knee boots around the house (in August)
I put on lipstick to check the mail
I try on dresses at the store, that I'd never wear in public
I wear in public, dresses some of you would never wear in your life
I wear skirts and dresses to school events
I wear heels to school meetings
I skip a real dinner sometimes, and fill up on wine
I buy pretty notecards I might never use, because I like them
I have three American Girl dolls, I don't let my girls play with
I don't finish reading books I don't like
I cut pages out of InStyle magazine & tape them into my Fashion Journal
I change to & start a new bottle of shampoo, when my other bottle isn't empty
I give/receive make-overs from my 7 year-old daughters
I don't volunteer at school. Really
I make my kids do their homework by themselves
I don't walk my kids to the bus stop
I let my kids skip school for Mental Health Days
I play Christmas music whenever the mood strikes
I slip treats under my kids' pillows for no reason at all
and I swear

AND
Today, I bought a sweater.
A yummy, textured, burnt orange,
ruffle-y collared
make-me-feel-so-happy
Sweater.

And it was 82 degrees out.
But I wanted to wear it.
So...
I cranked the AC,
Put on my sweater,
and a pair of jeans,
and a pair of boots,
lit my LEAVES scented candle in one room
and my PUMPKIN PIE candle in another
And sat in my Dining Room
which is ALWAYS decorated for Autumn.
I looked at and studied
the pumpkins,
gourds,
berries
and pine cones
in my favorite ceramic trays
arranged with
bark-covered candles and
leaves
And I was delighted
I felt Fall
I felt all the wonderful things I love about
Autumn
and ignored the fact that my kids were in shorts
and had been throwing water balloons a little earlier in the yard.
I escaped from the reality that Mike had mowed the yard on Saturday because the grass is still growing like crazy.
I allowed myself to experience TODAY
what is probably another 6 weeks from being TRUE

I did this today,
and do all the other things I listed above
because
I am free.
I am free to do them.
I have finally given myself the FREEDOM to
play
and have fun
and enjoy
and grab hold of, the things that bring me joy
and enhance my wonder, of this beautiful thing I have
called
LIFE.

I have been hung up
for so long
on doing things RIGHT
or being RIGHT
or
Correct
or
Abiding by Laws and Rules
of my own making,
or by cultural,
grown-up or
"what's expected"
standards

I spent too much time,
years, decades even,
DOING things I didn't want to do
or NOT doing things I REALLY wanted to do
because the calendar
the season
the neighbors
or other moms
or other wives
or other southerners
or other religious people
or other Williamsons or Usserys
DID them or DIDN'T do them.

I am, by nature
A Pleaser
A Rule Keeper
A Good Girl
(still true, all of the above)

But now,
NOW,
I am an adult.
I waited all of my young life,
to Grow Up....
and I love being a grown up.
I love being a woman.
And
It is now time,
for me to
step into,
walk through
and enjoy
all the experience,
wisdom
opportunity
creativity
fun
pleasure
and
Freedom
I have at my disposal.

I am not a rebel
I am not out to buck the system
or do destructive things
JUST BECAUSE I CAN....

But I am ready
to LIVE.
To live FULLY ALIVE and Awake!

I can say NO
when I don't want to do something

I can say
"I'll think about it"
When I'm not sure
and need more time to consider

I can
Change My MIND
in the middle of almost anything.
Really,
I can.
I am free to do that
and will take responsibility for my actions when
doing so necessitates it.

I can say YES to doing things
I have wanted to do
(but have NOT done because I felt silly or immature doing them
or considered FIRST what other people would think,
rather than what I wanted.)

And
I can put on a cozy sweater
and rig the AC to make the house chilly,
so I can savor a 30 minute preview
of my favorite season-to-come,
SIX weeks before it gets here.

There is absolutely
Nothing
Wrong
with being free.

Let Freedom Ring
(I've decided to listen to Elvis sing, Blue Christmas before I head to bed tonight.)

L, thank you for getting me thinking about this.
You are my inspiration for this post.
I love you, Becky

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

NEW BLOG UP AND RUNNING!

For those who have sent me notes with comments and questions about how I lost 100 lbs (see the YouTube link below), I have started another BLOG devoted (almost exclusively) to stuff related to weight loss. You can link to it from "View My Complete Profile," right there>>>> under that Contemplative-Writer-Type picture of Yours Truly. Or you can do it the old fashioned way by copying and pasting this:

dancepartyforone.blogspot.com

I am very excited and encouraged by everyone's interest and support! Can't wait to see where my new blog takes me and how it helps and inspires others...because THAT is my hope!

I will still be here, blogging on Truth Time
as I have in the past
reflecting on the things in life
that are teaching me
more and more
about myself

The response to my weight loss story
has been a shining light to me....
that people, mostly women,
need to hear each others stories.
And we need to be told those stories with
honesty
openness
and above all,
vulnerability

That's what I've been hearing
That's what your notes have been saying to me
Thank you for sharing openly
Thank you for putting to words, what I feel
I needed hope
I needed someone to understand
I need someone to help show me the way

More than ever,
I want to be open
I want to peel back the layers and let my heart
OUT
I want to examine my life and share the results
without all the filters
and pretense
and insincerity
and falsehood
I am prone to use to cloak the real, faltering, genuine Me.

I want to be more transparent
because I am finding
the more I reveal about myself,
the more my fears of rejection and judgement
diminish,
because each time I come clean,
about the truth
about ME,
I am met with friendship, community and acceptance.
And it fills me up.

So here's to emptying myself out
and finding myself refreshed, renewed
and content
and in very Good Company



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

100 of the Greatest Results of Losing 100 lbs.

(Note: I have been sitting on this post for MONTHS. Honestly...months. I wrote it soooo long ago {and had it rattling around in my head for months before that}, but shied away from posting it. I wanted to wait until I felt safe enough to let the world "in" on my life....my struggle...my success. I lost the 100, a while back. I've kept it off. I'm opening up. And letting it out. Reminding myself, and revealing more of the layers of me. The Authentic, Filled-With-Flaws-But-Changing-and Growing....Me.)



100. Being able to post before and after pics (NEXT TIME)
99. Not having to hide behind other people when cameras are flashing
98. Having one chin
97. No longer having to buy WIDE shoes (because my feet went down a size and width)
96. Having a neck
95. Wearing belts
94. Discovering it's easy to climb a flight of stairs without gasping
93. Double-takes in the mirror because I don't recognize myself
92. Trying on smaller and smaller (and smaller) sizes
91. Looking forward to bathing suit shopping
90. Surprising friends (and non-friends) who haven't seen me in a long time
89. Getting on the scale at the doctor's office, and being happy
88. Riding a roller coaster, and listening to the harness go: click, click, click, click, click... (instead of hoping it catches after ONE click)
87. Having normal sized eyes in my head, instead of squinty ones
86. My children saying I'm pretty
85. Liking what I see in the mirror
84. Having a selection of stores for shopping
83. Posing for pictures with my old jeans, like they do on TV
82. Recognizing MY problems are of MY own making
81. Feeling like I can do ANYTHING
80. Inspiring others
79. Off-the-charts confidence
78. Discovering my husband, re-discovering ME!
77. No longer having migraines
76. Being able to walk without my thighs rubbing together
75. Knowing I look better at 40, than I did at 30...and 20...and 15...
74. Wanting to meet new people, rather than hiding
73. Finding creative ways to reward myself for every 10 pounds I lost
73. Filling my closet with color, rather than always wearing black
72. Knowing I am FINALLY, on the outside, who I've always been, on the inside
70. Admitting it is a CHOICE to live as a victim and resist change
69. Going strapless
68. Dropping 8 sizes
67. ENERGY
66. Having a husband who can't keep his hands off me
65. My children being able to completely wrap their arms around my waist and hold on to their own elbows
64. Sitting comfortably in movie theatre seats
63. Going down two ring sizes
62. Learning I can refuse to give up, sit back or wallow in SELF
60. Being proud of myself
59. Waking up NOT SORE in the morning
58. Not sweating (as much!)
57. Celebrating it as a permanent change, because I took 18 months to do it
59. Embracing and accepting that I really can re-start my life whenever I choose
58. Finding mental, emotional and physical strength I never knew I had
57. Feeling and being emotionally free and open
56. Knowing my husband is proud of me
55. Finding supportive friends in new places
54. Letting people in on my struggles, rather than shutting them out
53. Clear skin
54. Having a better body than ever before in my life
53. Watching The Biggest Loser and knowing I did it, without a trainer, chef, surgery or diet
52. Watching The Biggest Loser and NOT thinking, "One Day I will do that..."
51. Getting a part-time job so I can buy new clothes
50. Giving my clothes away when they get too big
49. Liking Every Single Item in my closet
48. Dressing like a woman instead of a mom
47. Having a waist
46. Discovering my legs are a lot better than I thought
45. Realizing how much my weight, was weighing me down emotionally
44. Understanding my weight had become a suit of armor I used to protect myself
43. Re-learning how to shop and dress for my body-type
42. Finding out I ACTUALLY have a body type
41. Having a man ask for my phone number at the grocery store
40 Having a stranger buy me a dozen roses at another grocery store
39. Seeing a surprised look from people when they find out I have four kids (as they give me the "once-over" from head to toe)
38. Celebrating Every Single Day of My Life, Because I Took It Back, and Became ME, Again!
37. Shopping at Victoria's Secret
36. Strutting around in things from Victoria's Secret
35. Rediscovering my love of music...and dancing
34. Not being fat
33. Getting clothes for Christmas instead of "stuff"
32. Putting my 11 year-old son on my back and walking around for ten minutes...to remind me I carried THAT much extra weight for a decade
31. Drinking LESS wine, and it having a stronger effect (who am I kidding, I don't drink any less than before)
30. Eating cheesecake, donuts, nachos and Reese's without fear that I'm going to gain it all back if I treat myself, every now and then.
29. Decreasing my risk of diabetes
28. Knowing I've set a good example for my daughters by taking responsibility for, and control of, my health
27. Knowing my children are not embarrassed by my size (now I can embarrass them in other ways)
26. Feeling beautiful
25. Believing this is just the beginning of new things in my life
24. Watching 90% less TV (my favorite snacking time), and it not bothering me one bit
23. Buying fashion magazines and attempting what I see
22. Not feeling jealous or envious of women who managed to lose their pregnancy weight and look great as moms
21. Connecting with the woman in me and becoming a better wife and mother, because of it
20. Not having to unbutton my pants after eating out
19. Realizing mayo doesn't really change the flavor of a great burger, so I can leave it off
18. Finding myself getting cold on a chilly night and needing to wear socks to bed.
17. Choosing to NEVER look SCHLUMPY again, because I did that for 10 years and looked like crap most of the time
16. Wearing my hair pulled back, and liking my face
15. Wearing my hair straight because I don't have to hide behind big hair
14. Growing my hair past my shoulders because I like how it looks on my smaller face
13. Climbing on top of the house to hang Christmas lights without being afraid I'll step through the roof
12. Looking FORWARD to being 45 and 50 and 55 and so on...because Everything is Different now. I am different...now.
11. Not having to come up with "funny" one liners about my size and weight--getting to think of one-liners that are actually FUNNY and not self-deprecating


AND THE TOP 10 GREATEST RESULTS OF LOSING 100 POUNDS:

10. Feeling TALL (for the first time), rather than BIG-BONED

9. Getting to post this:
I currently weigh
30 pounds less than on my wedding day
35 pounds less than when I graduated from college
20 pounds less than I did on the day a boyfriend told me he might be more attracted to me if I'd lose ten pounds (stupid that I remember this almost 20 years later...but sometimes words hurt and linger long after break-ups.)
(By the way, I forgive you...I realize you were young then and didn't know better--right?)
and
12 pounds less than when I graduated from high school.
I am not skinny, nor do I want to be,
but I do wear the same size jeans
I wore when I was 13,
in the 8th grade

8. Knowing my husband weighs a WHOLE lot more than me...NOW

7. Having collar-bones

6. Wearing VERY high heels and boots, because in them, I look taller, thinner and sexier...and my feet don't hurt because there are 100 fewer pounds bearing down on them.

5. Getting a tattoo to commemorate, mark and celebrate the whole experience of meeting my goals and changing my life.

4. Being surprised by an amazing, powerful love for myself and from others I never knew before.

3. Gaining the courage to post this list--letting everyone know what I've accomplished, because the shame I felt about NEEDING to lose 100 pounds, is now a part of my PAST, my HISTORY, my STORY, and it does not define ME, my PRESENT or my FUTURE.

2. Recognizing that overcoming the greatest struggle and area of personal disappointment/failure I have felt in my entire life, is worth shouting, singing, dancing and blogging about--even if it means people who didn't know it, find out I used to be really fat.

1. Knowing that no matter what,
completely regardless of the 100 pounds,
even if I hadn't lost the weight,
even if I needed to lose 200 or 600 pounds,
and never
even tried
to lose it,
God loves me
and gave His Son to, and for me
to make me right with Him.

Knowing that God looks at my heart,
and
loves me
because of Who HE is,
and
finds me to be pleasing because of Jesus.

Knowing that He knows
and
loves me...
and
is
very
fond
of me.
No matter what.

Resting in the assurance,
confidence
and truth
that my body is just a shell, anyway
A house-of-sorts, for my soul.
A temporary place where my spirit and His, reside.
For now...
Until one day,
when I am greeted
face to face
with open arms
by Him...

Weightless
Healthy
Flawless
and
Whole
for all eternity

That is worth more than 100 Million pounds of gold.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Remembering Place

I graduated from college in May of '92
My mother was diagnosed with cancer later the same year
For her next Mother's Day,
I bought a simple notebook and began making a list...
a stream-of-consciousness-of-sorts
one-liners and simple sentences or single words
detailing things I was thankful for,
things I remembered from 22 years
things she had done for me, given to me
loved me through and taught me.

It was with that notebook,
that I started writing, the way I now journal and blog,
as a list
rather than paragraphs
in small thoughts and
short phrases

So
Here it is
almost 13 years since I lost her
and the list of things I have remembered,
in the time I have been without her,
could
fill
volumes

The things I have missed about her,
and
the moments when I have
needed her
and longed for her company
advice
support
wisdom
comfort
understanding
friendship
and love
cannot even be itemized or listed.
The number would be too great.

But, alas
I am in my
Remembering Place.

I sit here
in this Place,
around this time,
each year,
leading up to The Day,
the mark on the calendar
when she left here
and went There.

Sometimes I am sad
Sometimes it is hard
Very Hard
I cry a lot
A Lot
But I am not depressed
I am not hopeless
I am not in a pit of despair
or stuck in the Remembering Place

I just really, really, really
love my mother
and miss her.
Especially this week.
Every Year.

So
Here is a short list of things I am missing today
Her voice
Her laugh
Her teeth
Her smile
The paper-thin, freckled and wrinkled skin on her hands
Her salt-and-pepper hair
Her straw purses and cheap shoes
Her wind-suits and elastic-waist pants
Her red lipstick and black mascara
The slope of her shoulders and roundness of her belly
(and the way that same belly shook when she laughed really hard)
The way she hung on every word I said
The way her eyes sparkled when she looked at me
The way she loved to play board games
Her nails tapping on the side of her tea cup while she was thinking
The cheese toast she ate for breakfast
Her scent. Oh.I.Miss.The.Way.She.Smelled.
Her box of coupons for grocery shopping

I miss sitting next to her at church and listening to her sing
I miss her calling to tell me about Regis and Kathy Lee
I miss watching her read the paper every day
I miss watching her eat popcorn
I miss watching Murder, She Wrote together in the den

I miss having a mother.
I miss having someone love my children, the way I know she would
I miss getting to introduce her to my children
I miss that she never got to admire my son's character
or witness Tatum's compassion
or revel in the news that she has twin grandbabies.
I miss my kids getting little treats in the mail from her.
I miss her validation.
Her admiration of me.
I miss her words and hugs and kisses.

I miss---
that no matter
how great
or how bad
how hard
or how amazing
Any Day
Any Event
Any Moment
Any Success
or Any Failure
might be...
I am unable to share it with her
I am unable to relive it with her
That Is What I Miss The Most

I miss getting to share who I am
who I have become
who I am hoping to one day be...
with her
when she is so utterly and completely
involved with why I am any of those things
That Is What I Miss The Most

I miss getting to see her in her 60s, 70s and 80s
I miss seeing how she would have grown and become
more of who she already was
and how we would have laughed and cried together
about
Everything
That Is What I Miss The Most

But
I
know,
I am loved
I am known
I am understood
and I am secure.
Because she is a part of everything I do
and everything I am
because I was
Mothered
by her.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Just Thinking Out Loud Here...

What does every CEO, President, Olympian, Oscar winner, Doctor, or any other 'successful' position have in common? An utter LACK of cynicism. "Real success cannot be achieved in the presence of cynicism... A cynic will always put their finger on the disease before they put it on health. It's the easy way to go."


I got this quote from my brother, Scott--who heard it from a friend.
It was so impacting
I had to post it here
Would love to leave it up for a month
So completely and utterly
TRUE

Really
So, so true

Now, here is what I think:
Cynicism is crippling.
It can halt you in your tracks
and can keep you from
reaching out to accomplish,
pursuing a dream,
believing in love,
going for that promotion,
putting yourself on the line,
taking a risk,
having faith to believe,
taking the plunge,
making a commitment,
letting down your guard,
opening up,
living life fully,
doing the right thing,
pushing for change,
standing up for justice,
seeing the possibilities,
and just about
anything
else!

OK
and here is more of what I think...
The only real cure for cynicism
is forgiveness.

Forgiveness.

The only way to cure cynicism
is to forgive
whoever caused
the hurt,
the broken-ness
the disappointment
the betrayal
the let-down...

Whoever, or even whatever
broke your heart
smashed your hopes
crushed your dreams
hurt you
snubbed you
embarrassed you
neglected you
damaged you
gave you up
gave you away
gave up on you
let you go
didn't stop you
didn't want you
didn't believe in you
didn't trust you
didn't notice you
didn't help you
didn't return the favor
didn't follow through
didn't return your love
didn't answer your questions
didn't give you a chance
judged you
left you
left you out
singled you out
sold-you-out
broke their promise
broke your trust
failed you
turned on you
over-looked you
stood in your way
kept you in the dark
took you for granted
took advantage of you
took your place
stole from you
tricked you
avoided you
mocked you
made fun of you
meddled in your life
turned others against you
blamed you
lied about you
cheated on you
or did
something
else.

The only way out
(if you want out)
is to
forgive them.
him.
her.
yourself.

And then,
I guess
after the forgiveness part,
the only other thing left to do,
is let go of the fear
that it's all going to happen
again.
And again.

But,
here's the thing,
if it does,
you can always forgive again.

And
I'm sure
I make it all sound too simplistic.
I'm so naive.
I'm far too optimistic
about all of this.

(especially, if you're cynical)