So, for three hours today, it went really well...I got out of the house this morning without yelling. I was calm and composed; the kids got to school on time; and I went to work and all was well. Then I went to a meeting, which started out fine, but as it continued, Steve started to annoy me, and I could literally feel crankiness welling up inside me (kind of like the blue outer-space alien Stitch...how his "bad-o-meter" red level started rising when he got cranky..."). Anyway, on other days, I would start to pout, or yell or hit him (actually I did hit him...but not in a totally cranky way), and today I breathed. Seriously, that's all I did, I took a deep breath, told myself this was not going to turn into a cranky spiral, and my red level started to go down. And actually I used that technique a few times today..actually more than a few. Red level starts to rise...I breathe and feel a little bit better. Not bad for the first day.
However, tomorrow, I've decided for the 12th time, that I'm going to stop drinking diet coke. I'm not sure if it's for Lent, or for me, but whatever it's for, I will definitely need to do some praying to get through the day. And, I'm pretty sure, my crankiness level might get a little high. So, wish me luck...or my family luck....
And tomorrow maybe I'll write without watching ridiculous shows on Disney Channel (what in the world is Kick Buttowski anyway, and why do I let Elijah watch it?!?!?), and my posts will make sense.
Until tomorrow, I'll leave you with my new mantra/verse/motto given to me by a dear pastor friend of mine (Thanks Kurt!) Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Looks like I haven't posted since the end of May. Imagine that...me starting something and fizzling out! I've decided, however, that I like writing...I like at least attempting to do something longer than two days, and since I can't keep anything to myself, I'm going to blog my efforts. So, my new endeavor has nothing to do with weight loss, or church, or my children (but you know me...it will probably end up including all three).
So, here's my new mission--I'm going to stop being cranky. I know--if you actually are my friend or really even acquaintance, you know how hard this will be. I'm not exactly sure how to do it...I come from kind of a cranky, complaining family (sorry mom!)...and I'm a pessimistic, look at the dirty, empty glass kind of girl. But, lately I'm annoying even myself with my negativity, so I'm giving it up. Right now. At this very moment, I'm going to look on the bright side of life (cue--Monty Python) and think only positive things, and surround myself with positive people, and realize that I have a beautiful life...
How exactly will this happen? I'm not sure. How will I measure my progress? Again, not sure...but my guess is my children and spouse might have something to say about it. In fact, I just told Evelyn that my new blog posts were going to be about not being cranky and she said (and I quote) "that will be a miracle..." Obviously I have some work to do.
So, maybe for the next few hours, I will find a few things to be grateful for....and when my eyes start to roll or an accusatory tone wants to be spoken, I will pause, take a deep breath and remember my new motto: I am now a cranky-free girl. Wish me luck!
I considered posting the very first picture I ever posted on this blog. Because it's exactly what I look like now. Yep, lost 50 pounds, and gained back 45 of it. I figured nothing's changed, I might as well collect my $200 and circle the board again. Except, these past ten months, I've changed a whole lot...and not just the expanding of my ass...So, here's what I learned:
1. Sometimes you just have to say no. I've never really been a martyr kind of girl...I don't complain about how busy I am, or how much I have to do. There are 24 hours in a day and I choose to spend them wisely, or not...more often than not...not. But, this past year I failed miserably. I took on second job that taxed my family, that taxed my body, that make me literally explode from the inside. I've learned doing more does not make me a better person; that having a long to-do list does not send me to the front of the line in heaven. Sometimes you have to say no...
2. So that, you sometimes can say yes. Because there are things that give me life--and are you ready to hear this...exercising makes me feel better--and getting a gym membership that lets me go sweat with the rest of Rochelle pushed me out of my comfort zone, got me off the couch, and although hasn't yet helped me lose weight, has made me feel much, much better. And doing this gives me life--writing and thinking and reading...I absolutely hate being outside, and I'm going to quit thinking that good people go camping and hiking and biking...instead I'll put in my life-giving time on the ellipitical and then crawl into bed read a book, and start writing the book that is churning inside me.
3. Sometimes falling on your ass is the best thing that could happen. About six years ago, I slipped on a patch of ice and fractured my coccyx (or broke my ass); it still hurts sometimes; healing happens very slowly on something you sit on everyday...but I also have become much more careful when walking on snow and ice and any uneven surface that might send me downwards. Falling has taught me how to walk carefully. And falling this year has taught me that the world does not end if I don't succeed--that life will continue, and that before it, during it, after it, I am still the same girl looking at herself in the mirror (even if her face is a little (or a lot) fuller).
4. Sometimes it takes a village to raise...me. This year I have learned I simply cannot do it alone. So, I surround myself with people who pick me up when #3 happens, and who push me forward when I'm treading too carefully. There's my doctor who sees me sometimes three times in a month because the depression is too deep and I need med re-adjustment. And there's my therapist who teaches me to breathe and to love...myself. There's my Health Clinic Coach--a wonderful girl who calls me every three or four weeks just to make sure that I have goals in front of me and helps me remember my successes. There's my pastor friends who let me sit in morose silence when I need to, and who affirm my gifts even when I think they're non-existent. And then there's my...
5. Spouse, Partner, Lover, Man-I-Adore, Daddy to my children, who has taught me that love indeed can be blind (I really didn't know I was gaining weight for awhile, because his eyes shown with nothing but love--cheezy, I know). I've learned that my struggles affect our whole family and that he will always...always pick up the pieces that fall shattering to the floor (and often puts them back together with krazy glue). I have fallen more in love with this man than ever; we celebrate our 15th anniversary this year, and there is no one I would rather have journey with me through these peaks and valleys; skinny shirts and tent dresses.
6. My children want me--not perfect mom...not skinny mom...not cookie baking mom...but me. And hearing my youngest say at my lightest and at my heaviest..."You look beautiful mommy..." says that maybe I'm doing something right.
7. And finally I've learned that I am Me...that sometimes I carry a few more layers...layers my body adds to tell me it's had enough. But, underneath it all, is Me...and I am loved by this gracious, amazing group of villagers. And most importantly...most deeply...more assuredly I am loved by Jesus, who couldn't care less the size of my ass, who made me inside and out, and who wants nothing more than for me to love myself as deeply as I love my neighbors.
I'm kind of excited to start this journey...or continue this journey...to slowly uncover the Me that's been there this whole time.
Steve just posted, so I decided it's time to begin this process again. I think when you're going in a mostly positive direction, it's much easier to let the world know. But, when you're really struggling...probably when you need to share it the most, even people like me (who keep virtually nothing hidden) tend to stop the typing and turn to paper journals instead...
So, here it goes again, sharing with the world...I have a tape in my head, that is always playing, and honestly it says things I wouldn't say to my worst enemy. "You're stupid, fat, ugly, and lazy." I've heard it for so long, so many times; it's waiting for a mistake to be made, or a pound to be gained, or a failure to pounce on; sometimes it's deafening, other times I'm able to drown out the noise with distractions; but it's always there. Don't worry, I'm in therapy...I'm trying to override it, to speak the truth to what I'm told is lies; But, often it wins--as it has been for the last six months or so. So, there you go, sometimes simply to name it, takes it power away (at least that's what I'm hoping); maybe tomorrow we'll talk more about quieting it, but today, no neat little bow, just naming where I've been. Today, just softly tip-toeing into the typed word...
Staying true to the name of my blog, I'm known to be quite the unholy one. I tend to swear during my sermons (it's those times I'm so happy the little old ladies can't hear); I got drunk at a parishioner's wedding and had to be driven home; yesterday, we played cards during Sunday School instead of opening the bible; and on more than one Sunday, I too wish I could stay in bed like the majority of the people in my congregation. That all said, however, I love Jesus! And it is absolutely amazing how often he keeps popping up in the world, showing me that the the Spirit roams free--if only I would get my substantial ass out of the way.
So, you know what I've started doing? I've started praying. Yep, that's it; good old fashioned, sit down, stand up, fold your hands, raise your arms, opening my heart to the Spirit, praying. It started with a book (which I'll probably talk about a lot in the near future) called Unbinding the Gospel; my congregation did a test group (10 of us gathered together for about 10 weeks), and we simply prayed together, shared together, cried together, and laughed together. Now, like I said, i'm the unholy one, who would much rather keep Jesus in my head, and interpret scripture, and talk about things...and praying is not something that us unholy people really like doing. But, I swear to you--once you let those scales fall away (actually once you let Jesus tear them down), you start to see things in a whole new way. You actually start to see Jesus. And people who were scared, start to take a few steps, and the fear you used to have about making mistakes, starts to lessen and you screw up a whole lot more. And the way you thought God was meant for an hour on Sunday starts to look quite foolish, and you see her in the grocery store and when you tuck your children in at night and even in your mother-in-law. And you even start to sound a little Jesus-freaky, and for the first time in your life, you really don't care, because that man changed the world and conquered the darkness and made death obsolete and you kind of want everyone you know to hear the story too.
So, here I am, a stoic Lutheran, who's had a change of heart, who will not become Baptist, but who just might raise her hands in the air. And who knows prayer changes things and who doesn't care how cliche that sounds. So, there's the ramblings of the unholy one for today...I'm going to go for now, because the Spirit is moving, and I gotta go find her.
Every year it’s something different.Sometimes it’s Mary—wondering about giving birth in the middle of some strange city, with a husband she barely knows.Sometimes it’s the manger scene—the smell of hay and cows and crying babies.
This year…this year it’s the shepherds.In the nativity scene on my piano, they are almost as beautiful as Mary—always looking lovingly at the baby lamb they hold in their arms.They’re calm and serene, contemplating the wonders that have taken place.We love to see them, when they’re little children dressed up in their daddy’s robes, traipsing down the center aisle with staffs made of duct tape and smiles that light up their faces.
But, really, shepherds were pretty awful people…no one liked them—they were the beggars of the working class…they pastured their sheep on other people’s lands, in essence stealing the grass under their feet.They were away all night, leaving their wives to fend for themselves—giving themselves the description of dishonorable and unreliable.And, my guess is, they were anything but beautiful and serene—with faces weathered by the wind and clothes worn for days and weeks at a time.And yet, yet…it was to these ones to whom the angels sang:
“Do not be afraid.For see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
I’m trying to imagine this…you’re hard at work—doing what you can to survive—doing what you’re called to do; maybe you’re preaching a sermon to a bunch of hope-filled faces; or you’re sitting at a desk making a phone call; or you’re in class listening to a lecture; or you’re guiding planes to their destination; or you’re stocking shelves or driving to your next appointment—when suddenly the skies are filled with angels from on high, bidding you to put down your phone, to stop your typing, to cease your preaching, to strain your eyes toward heaven.And what you hear is far from an ordinary birth announcement.And surprisingly enough it’s not the angels proclaiming, or the arrival of a Savior that knocks you over, but this time you hear that your baby has been born.Your baby.Because in case you missed it—To you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior.To You.
It would have made much more sense to hear what we always hear:“Mary and Joseph would like to announce the arrival of their new bouncing baby boy—Jesus.”And the shepherds could have send a nice card and some well-wishes and gone back to tending sheep.But apparently when God enters the world, even birth takes on a whole new meaning, and instead of getting nine month to prepare, those despised shepherds discovered they were parents in the wee hours of the morning.And so what did they do?Did they shake their heads: “I’m pretty sure the angels must be talking to someone else?”Did they wait a few moments, trying to figure out if indeed that was God talking or the strong ale they had just consumed?Did they try and analyze or discuss or disregard…
Nope…they ran.They hiked up their dirty shepherd robes, used their staffs for leverage and ran…because when you’ve just been told your baby has entered the world, there is nothing more you want, then to hold him in your arms.When you’ve just been told hope has flesh, you have to grab hold of that promise and never let go.
Can you hear them?Can you hear the heavenly chorus of angels?They are singing their song once more.“To you…to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior.”To you, is born a baby…to you is born God.I vote…we bypass voting and discussion altogether and instead…we hike up our robes, use our staffs for leverage and run…run to our baby…and hold him close…because today hope has a body; today a promise has been born; today we have heard the angels.And clinging to the One born this day, seems to be the only thing we’ll ever need.
I'm a mommy to Isaac, Evelyn, and Elijah, an ELCA pastor, and an ELCA pastor's wife who longs to be creative, who loves preaching, who despises preaching and whose favorite thing in the whole wide world is to take a nap.
p.s. All clever written content is my own work; all pics, links, etc is my husband Steve's work; all dorky stuff is his as well!