Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I'd love to say that all has been great with me. Don't get me wrong - nothing serious has happened. God's really been piling on the life lessons lately.
Lesson #1: NOTHING is beneath me
I've been out of work for over a year now. Searching tirelessly online for a job. Got to the point where I'd apply for just about anything. Taco Bell was looking like a good career. Christmas is coming and the money would really come in handy - especially with unemployment running out. Then came the call - from WalMart. An interview. Ok... what could going to an interview hurt. I went. I was offered a job.
I pasted on a smile & headed to my 1st day at WalMart. Yet inside I went kicking & screaming. Seriously? WalMart? God wanted me to work at WalMart! Is this some kind of sick joke? God really has a GREAT sense of humor & He's using it at MY expense. That's the furthest from the truth. God provided. We asked for a job and that's exactly what He did. He gave me a job. One that would help my family through the holidays & even give us a little extra. Who was I to think that I was 'too good' to work at WalMart. Honestly, I'm enjoying it! It's a carefree kind of job there in the bakery (yeah, that's a whole OTHER lesson).
Lesson #2: I AM a food addict
If you're familiar with my blog, you've read that I am a food addict. I am a compulsive overeater. I have come to terms with my disease - for the most part. Getting a job in a BAKERY was yet another 'sick' joke. Sure - I wanted a job. But why put a compulsive overeater/food addict to work in a BAKERY! I was scared. I mean, frosting & croissants are a weakness of mine. I'll say it - they're a BINGE food.
Yet, I haven't had the desire to binge on either. Not a single temptation. I think maybe its because I was honest about my fear with friends at my meetings. I didn't hide it. Those who love me check up on me to see how I'm doing at this job.
Lesson #3: My body talks to me
All of our bodies talk to us. When you're hungry, when you're hot/cold... God's designed us that way. It is up to US to listen to our bodies & give it what it needs. I haven't been listening to my body. You know, when it tells me I'm full. I'm beyond full. Ok, I'm gonna explode if I put one more thing in my mouth.
Thanksgiving was the perfect example. I was smart about the day. Small breakfast, very light lunch in preparation for the feast that awaited me. However, seeing ALL of that food. I took a little bit of everything - even the vegetables. And I ate every speck of food on my plate. And then some. And then some more. Even dessert. And a 2nd piece of dessert. Yep - that did me in.
I got SO full that my body decided to revolt against my gluttonous feast. I ate until I puked. That was the 2nd time in 3 weeks that I had gotten to that point (that I can recall). So now, I've realized that my body talks to me and I HAVE to listen to my body. When it is hungry, eat. When it is full, STOP!
What life lessons are you learning?
Monday, November 8, 2010
What is BE RICH you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked.
It's based on 1 Timothy 6:18:
Something that sounds SO easy often is SO hard to do. I mean, we lead very busy lives, don't we. Most of us would rather just cut a check than donate our time. BE RICH calls us to do one or the other - or both!
Last year, our small group decided to volunteer at 2 local non-profits. It was difficult to get all of the couples together (since we usually babysat each other's kids) so we decided to have a Women's Volunteer Day & a Men's Volunteer Day. I'll be honest, I wasn't too thrilled about having to do manual labor. I'd much rather donate my time behind a desk somewhere.
But once I got out there and started scraping & painting, I was SO glad I did. I was totally out of my comfort zone, but God showed me that sometimes the best way to help is not how I want to help, but how HE needs me to help. It was an amazing experience.
This year, our small group has decided to something a little different for our BE RICH project.
We had decided to help a single mom and stock her pantry for the upcoming Christmas season. Honestly, we weren't sure where this was going to go. Heck, we didn't even know how we would find a single mom who needed our help. Yet, as always, not only did God provide a single mom, He provided a family too!!! Our little 'project' has turned into something a little bigger.
We couldn't keep this to ourselves. I mean, we could keep this to ourselves & help these 2 families, but we want to show just how great our God is. We've opened it up to our families & friends.
What does that mean?
From now until December 1st, we will be collecting non-perishables, gift cards, money, clothing - any donated item - so that we can truly stock these families pantries. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could not only stock the pantries for December, but for January too!!! God's in control of just how big this is going to be. We're just blessed that we can be the catalysts for this project.
Want to help? You are more than welcome! Feel free to email me and let me know. My email address for this project is: firstname.lastname@example.org
How else can you help? We would LOVE your prayers most of all.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
13 years ago, I walked down the aisle of my childhood church to marry the man that God chose for me. Little did I know what God had in store for us.
I'd love to say that it has been a blissful 13 years, but I'd be lying. We've had our problems; financial & relational. God hasn't always been at the center of our marriage. At one point, we would have become another marriage statistic.
I wish someone would have pulled me aside and told me that marriage takes work - hard work.
I've known this man since we were 15. He was my 1st boyfriend... He was the 1st boy I ever kissed. And now he will be the last boy I ever kiss.
I am SO proud to be his wife. His help meet. His partner in life. I am the mother of his 2 children. One day I will the grandmother of his grandchildren. There are nights where I just lie in bed, amazed that I am laying next to him. The boy that I kicked under that church pew 23 years ago. The young man that stole my heart on our 1st date back in 1993.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I am scared.
There, I said it. Don't I feel better now? Nope, can't say that I do.
What am I scared of you ask.
My beautiful Songbird has been quite anxious this year. To the point of developing an eating disorder. It's not full blown, but its there. I want to sit & beat myself up and blame myself for this turn of events. Why? Well, I have an eating disorder. Surely I've been a terrible example for her and she is only mimicking what she sees.
I need to stop blaming myself. There is no blame. Besides, what good does blame do? It's not going to make the situation any easier. In fact, it'll only hinder MY progress.
I need to turn this over to God. We all know how well I do that. It's not that I don't turn things over to Him. I do. But I've struggled with turning my own eating disorder over to Him. Now I'm struggling turning HER eating disorder over to Him.
We've gotten her help. Just when we were getting a glimpse of this, we decided to find help. Of course, its slow going for my liking, but I need to remember that God is in control. He lead us.
This is a battle... plain & simple. Satan is trying to take hold of my daughter's life in order to make me weak. What's the best way to weaken a Mama? Attack her child. Though in the wild, a Mama usually becomes ferocious.
That's what I need to do. I need to be ferocious in my prayers! Not just for my precious Songbird, but for Slugger too. Puberty is just around the corner for him & there will be trials to go along with it.
My prayer life isn't consistent. That's an area where I falter. I need to be diligent with my prayers. Not just for my kids, but myself & my marriage. I need to bathe my family in prayers each day.
So, there's my confession... You know, I do feel better.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Psalms are some of my favorites. Raw emotions & adoration to an all-powerful, all-loving God.
Psalm 23 is probably one of the most recognized Psalm in the world. You don't have to be a Christian or even a religious believer to know it. It is often read at funerals:
However, this Sunday my view of that Psalm will forever be changed. It isn't about death at all... it's about life. About God's promises.
I won't do the sermon justice, so I encourage you to listen to it yourself. Head over to North Point Messages and listen to 'PROMISES'. Justin Grunewald dissects the Psalm and delivers it layman's terms that will really open your eyes.
What it all boils down to is this: God gives us promises. He wants to give us our heart's desire. He longs to have a relationship with us & provide for us. Psalm 23 is just a glimpse of His promises for us. Yet there is something that WE have to do.... for God to work those promises WE need to accept Him. The very first sentence is key!!!
The Lord is MY shepherd.
To many, He is THE shepherd, but He wants to be MY shepherd. Once He becomes my shepherd, he fulfills those promises.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Then God does something to gently (or sometimes not so gently) to remind me that He is in control and He is using me and my abilities. I don't need to be in a position of importance in order to make an impact on this world. I just need to be a light of God's love.
Thank you God for your reminder today. Some days I'm just too self-absorbed to hear your reminders. I'm blessed beyond measure.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
THANKS ONCE AGAIN FOR SPREADING THE WORD!!!
Please take a good look at this young woman.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Fall baseball is up & running. His team, Coyotes/Marlins, is pretty much the same group of boys that played together during the spring. He even has 2 of the same coaches. The Mayor is the 3rd coach. Slugger got a chance to pitch a few innings. He's HOOKED! Unfortunately for us, most of the games are at 7:30 on a school night.. Makes for an interesting morning the next day.
Songbird is finding her groove in 7th grade. She decided to not really participate in school activities this year. This had me a little worried, but I think she did it so that she wouldn't overwhelm herself. I give her credit!! I don't know if I would have done that at her age.
My mom's group is working out well. Last week, I went to group - prayed before I got there - and had a great time. I'm slowly coming out of my shell. It'll take time, but I'm excited to learn more.
Our couple's Bible study moved to Monday nights. We've been blessed with 3 other couples. I'll admit, I was a little disappointed that we had ANOTHER small group, but God is beginning to show me that it's not about the quantity, it's about the quality. Each of us has told our story and have already begun building community. Friendships are already being formed.
Speaking of friendship, Kristin's in town!!!! I am SO excited. I can't wait to see her - you'd think that I'd be over her house right now. Seriously, I'm looking forward to spending time with her. I hate the fact that she'll be leaving again, but happy to have the few days I will have with her & the kids.
Like I said in the title - not much has been going on. I've got a few job prospects going. Prayerfully hoping that something comes into fruition.
My Bible verse for today:
Romans 8:38-39 (New International Version)
38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Yet, I've signed up to be part of a mom's group... right now we're reading & discussing 'Boundaries with Kids'. What's the big deal about sitting around chatting with fellow moms about this book? EVERYTHING. Every week I have to talk myself INTO going. The thought of being in a room with a group of women that I just don't know scares the bejeesus out of me. Seriously to the point of almost having an anxiety attack the one week.
These are fellow moms. Moms who are there for the same purpose I am - learn more about how to get a handle on this Mom thing.
Tonight..... yeah. I got there late. I was about 2 minutes from NOT going. I mean, my son had a baseball game. What kind of mother would miss her son's baseball game (as if there aren't 8 others to go)? Heck, I couldn't even remember the name of the street I needed to get to. Wasn't even sure if I remembered the directions and, of course, our computer wasn't working so I couldn't MapQuest for directions.
As I drove, I prayed. God, please help me to calm down. Help me to open up to this group and allow myself to enjoy this experience. Help me to be open to making new friends. No one can replace Kristin (my best friend who moved), but I can allow other people into my life. Help me to stick with this. An immediate sense of peace washed over me. As I drove, I remembered where I was & found the house without ANY problems.
Sure I was a few minutes late, but I am SO glad I went. I enjoyed the 2 chapters we were discussing and could really use some insight into how to apply them to my life. One of the hard parts for me right now is that I am one of the only moms in my group with children over the age of 5. I'm struggling with the 'tween' years while all of the other moms are dealing with younger ones.
They were all so kind and allowed me to share, assuring me that they needed to hear what I was saying because one day they too will be where I am.
This is going to be a slow process, but I am going to stick this out. This will be good for me, emotionally & spiritually. I need this.... not a b*tch session about my kids or hubby, but a REAL opportunity to talk to other moms about raising children.
I'm stepping out of my comfort zone. On the surface, I may look calm & collected but underneath I am like a duck in a pond - paddling like mad.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I don't remember exactly when I found out, but a few days after the towers fell co-workers told me that a former co-worker had lost his brother that day. His brother, William McGinn, was a Lieutenant in the FDNY. He, along with hundreds of others, responded to a job on that Tuesday morning only never to return home.
I can't even remember whose idea it was, but 2 of my friends in the office decided to make pins and sell them. Red, white & blue ribbons and American flags made out of beads & safety pins. We didn't have a set price. Basically, we were asking for donations. These donations would then be given to Lt. McGinn's widow & family.
I'm still in awe at the response we got from those pins. What cost pennies to make were being 'bought' for up to $20. Not because that's what we were asking for, but because that is what people wanted to give. Eventually, we asked our HR department if the company would be willing to match what we raised. They agreed to match up to $1000.
Several weeks later, Lt. McGinn's remains were found and a funeral was taking place on Staten Island. My friends, Irene & Priscilla, and I decided to attend the funeral and present the Lt. McGinn's widow the money we had collected - over $3000.
I will never ever forget that funeral for as long as I live. There were firemen EVERYWHERE from all over. Hundreds of people had come to pay their respects to this hero. There were pictures of his family, his wife & children. Firemen flanked the casket.
As we stood in line to give our condolences to the family, reality hit me. This family, this widow was living my worst nightmare. You see, The Mayor was a volunteer firefighter. I often feared that I would receive a knock at the door telling me that my husband didn't make it out of a fire. Here was this family living that fear.
Irene & Priscilla were in line ahead of me & gave the envelope to Lt. McGinn's widow. Explained that we had once worked with her brother-in-law and her husband's story touched our lives. Then I got to her.
My eyes welled up with tears. I was choking back sobs. All I could say to her was 'You are living my worst nightmare. My husband is a firefighter too and this is my fear.'. What she did next will live with me forever. She hugged me tight and whispered to me 'Go home & give your husband a hug & kiss from me. I never got to do that to mine before he died.' There she was, in her grief, comforting me in my fears.
It has been 9 years since the events of 9/11. Lives have gone on. Yet this family will always be in my thoughts & prayers.
Lt. William McGinn will always be one of my heroes.
Friday, September 10, 2010
The Mayor & I having been leading a couples small group for the past few years. Our last small group disbanded in the spring and we've decided to gather up another group. It is important to 'DO LIFE' with people. As much as I want to be in a small group, the thought of finding new 'people' is not something I'm too thrilled about.
Starting a new group means having to put myself out there again. Exposing my vulnerabilities. I know I don't HAVE to, but in order to have a genuine group experience it is important to be transparent. I don't have a problem being transparent - hence this blog. It's just being transparent to people in person.
Besides my best friend has been in the same small group with me for 4 years. This will be the 1st one without her. Just not the same. Yet I know that it is important that I do this. It is beneficial for my Christian walk.
Tonight is a social at my house. Great idea in theory. However the execution is enough to send me into a tizzy. The thought of new people being in my house for the 1st time. I mean, what if my house isn't clean enough? What if it isn't nice enough?
Yeah - that's the enemy talking. Creating doubt so that I have a miserable time. Creating panic & anxiety so that I'll binge eat. That's my usual M.O. - life gets tumultuous, EAT!
People aren't coming to judge my home. They are coming because they honestly want to join a couples small group. They want to get together with other Christians, study God's word & make friends. It's not about my house or me. It's about God.
Then, of course, tomorrow is 9/11. That's another thing that sends me into a downward spiral. The events of that day will forever be etched in my mind. Yet, my sponsor reminded me while tomorrow is a sad day; a day of remembrance, I need to remember that my family is still here. I have my husband and children. My father is alive & well. Do not focus on what 'could' have happened. Celebrate the here & now.
I've been talked down from my ledge of insanity. I did not binge. Oh, I SO wanted to. The thoughts of chocolate frosting were dancing in my mind like Mikhail Baryshnikov in a Russian ballet. Going to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things for tonight, it took every ounce of strength to NOT go down the cake & frosting aisle. I could have... but I didn't.
I want to keep my abstinence.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I just read an article on Yahoo about a new TV show called "Mike & Molly".
The premise of this show is 2 adults who find romance at their local Overeaters Anonymous meeting.
As a plus-sized woman, I guess I should be happy that there is yet another show about plus-sized people. All too often Hollywood portrays 'beautiful' as a stick-figured woman with plastic lips, boobs, butt. However, as someone who actively participates in OA meetings, I fear that this show is going to do more harm than good.
How can that be? Am I just freaking out about my own insecurities?
I'd love to think that a show like this would call attention to the growing problem of food addiction. People will flock to the OA rooms in hopes of finding help. Instead, I fear that OA is just going to become another 'meat market' for those who are in the market for a 'fatty'.
Overeaters Anonymous is for ALL eating disorders; food addiction, bulimia, anorexia, obesity.
Yes, I am open about my struggles with food, but not everyone is. For some people, the OA meeting is the ONLY place they can openly talk about their battle with this disease. Will the OA meetings remain a safe place?
Who am I to decide if someone attending an OA meeting is genuine? Still scares the crap out of me. I feel vulnerable. Almost as if I'll be exposed. Yet I openly talk about my issues here... but that's on MY terms. Is that what this fear is all about?
I just don't know... I won't boycott the show (just yet). I want to watch it & see what its really about before I weigh in more. Right now, I'm just addressing my insecurities.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I know, I know. I know what you're thinking. They're your children, you're flesh & blood. You kiss him. How can you not share germs with them? Not quite sure how to answer that - I just don't.
I also won't eat food once it's touched the table - that's a whole other post.
Reeling myself back in.
Anyway. This past weekend I took a BIG jump out of my comfort zone. You see, I had the amazing opportunity to hang out with over 600 6th grade students at Boot Camp. I was definitely intimidated to hang out with my 11 small group girls, but determined to survive.
On Saturday we played 'team building' games... you know: dodge ball, slip-n-slide, eat-the-doughnut. I made sure I participated in as many activities to encourage my girls to join in too. I couldn't possibly ask them to do anything I wouldn't do, right?
That leads me to 'Worms in my Cereal'. Imagine a large bucket of Froot Loops filled with milk and Gummy Worms hanging out on the bottom. It was a relay game.... run up to the bucket, shove your head into the bucket & pull out a Gummy Worm. Sounds easy, huh? Yeah, probably a TON of fun for people who don't have germ issues. Yet, I dove right in!!
Trust me, my brain was SCREAMING at me. My skin was crawling with the thought of other people having already put their sweaty faces in this bucket. Yet, it was just something I 'needed' to do. Even my husband didn't believe that I did it - until he could smell me 10 feet away about 2 hours later. Being covered in milk and running around in the heat does NOT smell very nice after 2 hours.
Does this mean I plan on sharing my cups with my kids? NO! Does this mean I'll have no problem sharing a fork with my beloved? NO! But it was a step for me.... I'd probably do it again too.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Lately, I've seen some great quotes by a man named, Mark Brown. Sometimes so profound that I'll copy & use them as my status (giving him the credit though).
Today, The Bible recommended a video of Mark talking on Philippians 4:13. Since I'm up early, I decided to take a look.
For I can do EVERYTHING through Christ, who gives me strength. (NLT)
I want to go back to school to get my degree to become a surgical tech. I want to begin my own ministry for rape survivors. Why haven't I done it yet? Fear. Fear of failure.
That's just Satan trying to hold me back. The last thing he wants is for me to be a ministry. He wants to hold me in my fear so that I cannot help others.
So, today's the day! I'm getting my butt in gear; gonna start the education process again. This time, I can't worry about 'IF' I fail. There are tons of 'IF's in the world... living by 'IF' isn't living. It's FEAR and I will not longer be fearful of the unknown. It's not unknown.... God knows what His plan for me is. If someone knows, then it isn't unknown.
What is your dream???
Monday, August 23, 2010
I like Facebook. Tons of fun to be able to stay in touch with family in NJ & NC; share pictures & what not. I've also enjoyed reconnecting with friends from high school & grade school. Good stuff.
But then I reminisce. Which in itself isn't bad... but its when you think of the 'what ifs'.
I don't want to live my life in 'what if'. I want to live my life in the here & now. Looking back, I see a sad young lady who wanted nothing more than to be loved. I jumped through hoops to get that love and I didn't care what it cost me - which wound up being my self-respect.
The Mayor is a part of my past. He was my very 1st boyfriend back in 1987. My very 1st kiss. But he's also a part of my present & I know he'll be a part of my future. You see, what's best about him being my 1st kiss is that he will be my last kiss.
Our marriage isn't perfect, but it's ours. I won't sit & think about the 'what ifs' of my life. You see, I am married to EXACTLY who I am supposed to be married to, living exactly where I'm supposed to live. I don't want to be married to anyone else. He is my heart & soul. My one true love. The man that God chose for me, even before I was born. Sometimes I lay in bed and am overwhelmed at the thought that I am married to him.
How blessed am I that I get to grow old with him?
Monday, August 16, 2010
Another gentle reminder that I need to relinquish control DAILY and leave it with my Heavenly Father. Yes, my life may feel as though it is spiraling out of control, bu t the truth is God has everything under HIS control. I am just a passenger on this crazy drive called Life.
In real life, when the family goes on a long trip, I usually fall asleep. Mainly because I am tired, but also because I am not the one doing the driving - I am not the one in control. I have been asleep most of my life, allowing my disease to have the control. Now, I need to give that control over to God and enjoy the ride.
Just like on any road trip there will be detours, but God can make those detours manageable.
He has to stitch it up right.
The solid road to healing may be slower and more painful,
but in the end, it will be more complete.
Until then, all I know is God is with me.'
~ Christi Armstrong
After last night's pity party and only 3 hours of sleep, I woke this morning feeling renewed. I guess sometimes you just need to let a little emotion out in order to gain perspective.
True friendship is not limited by state lines. True friendship continues to grow even when the miles separate them. True friendship rooted in God is one that can last forever.
I have opted to have a good day today. Sure, I slept in for a little bit - mainly because I only had 3 hours of sleep. Sure, I got a late start, but once I got started it felt great to get out.
Dropped off some shirts to the cleaners, picked up a few groceries for a friend & then spent the afternoon enjoying the day. Chatting, dining, praying & shopping. Exactly what I needed to lighten my heart.
Kristin's move still stings my heart. It wouldn't have been a friendship if it didn't hurt. Yet I am putting my faith in God; trusting Him to heal my heart. The hole in my heart is God-sized & only HE can fill it.
I feel SO needy right now and I HATE that feeling. It's just another form of feeling out-of-control. We all know how great I am at that!
For the most part, my food has been good. I've managed to eat my 3 meals and not binge. Did have a little slip up, but nothing that resulted in a catastrophic binge.
However, today has been the hardest for me emotionally. It was really weird not seeing BFF & her kids at church. A reminder of this new chapter in my life that I am not actively seeking; it's been thrust upon me.
It feels even more strange to tell people that I am upset because my best friend moved. Man, that sounds SO high school. It looks stupid even as I type it out. Yet I feel abandoned. I know I'm not. BFF is just a phone call away - of course I'm coming up with every excuse I can think of to not 'bother' her. My pathetic attempt to pull away. Then, of course, if a friend can't meet for Starbucks or go to a meeting with me, I sink even LOWER into my pity party. Clearly they don't want to be around me.
Foolish, foolish thinking on my part... really, it's my diseased mind talking. Attempting to convince myself that eating or sleeping away the pain is the best course of action. That is SO tempting too.... But I can't allow that to happen.
I feel fragile right now... emotionally; spiritually. I am trying really hard to cling to God. Trying to not close my heart to what lies ahead. Knowing that HE will see me through this. This is all a part of His plan; I just need to trust & jump in His arms. He will carry me...
And THAT is what I needed to hear....
Monday, August 9, 2010
I've been nervous about what this day would bring for me. I am alone in the house. There is no one here to chat with (besides Pablo) or entertain me (besides Pablo). This is when I usually do one of two things:
- endlessly eat
- endlessly sleep & forgetting to eat
I'll admit, I DID nap this morning. And it felt WONDERFUL!!!! Sure, there were probably a million things I COULD have been doing instead, but I just wanted to take this morning to nap. Recharge.
Now I'm ready to go. Well, mentally I'm ready to go. I've had my breakfast. I've just finished my lunch. Need to hop into the shower & run a few errands.
Kristin's moving away this week too. For the first time in my life, I have NOT pushed someone away as they prepare to leave. I'm sticking this out and dealing with the pain. It's not the end of a friendship. Hardly. It's just the end of this chapter in our lives. I hesitantly look forward to the next chapter & what God has in store for BOTH of us. We came into each others when we needed a friend. I am blessed that I can help send her off.
My verse for today:
This truly applies to ALL areas of my life. It is when I am weak that God's strength shines through. Today I will not wallow in my weakness. I will revel in God's strength.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I've got to dig deep at the "WHY"s. Why do I binge? Why do I react this way? It's a lot of self-discovery.
Granted, it's not always wonderful, fluffy self-discovery. Most of the time is raw emotions that bring up feelings of inadequacy. Yet occasionally there is a glimmer of hope. A ray of sun in the dark forest of emotions. There are still times where I don't feel as though I fit in. Maybe that's just a part of being human. I don't know. But I do know that this is the first time I am dealing with it without stuffing my face about it.
I like my life. I am truly blessed with what God has given me. My husband, my children, my family, his family & friends. Truly my cup runneth over. So often, we compare our lives to the lives of others and think that they have a better life. I'm guilty of that. Yet, when I stop to REALLY look at my life I realize that I have a good life.
I'm unemployed right now and I hate it. I've been working since I was 14 so this has been tough for me. Yet, I've been able to enjoy a summer with my husband & children while looking for a job. I've been able to build a stronger marriage and make deposits into my children's lives that I wouldn't have normally been able to do.
My marriage needs work. I'd be foolish to think that it didn't. One thing I've discovered is that I WANT to work at my marriage. When I stood at that alter in front of God, family & friends, I promised that I would do this 'until death parts us'. There have been times where divorce or separation seemed like the better option. I am SO glad that we stuck it out. Those 2 words are no longer a part of my vocabulary. I am with Craig through thick & thin. We have seen some great times, but we have also survived some horrible times. No one ever tells you that marriage is hard work. Let me be the 1st - MARRIAGE IS HARD WORK!!!! But it is SO worth the effort.
I'm learning how to respond better to my children. To stop & take time to listen. I'm learning so much about them because I've had the opportunity to SEE them. They are turning into beautiful human beings with gifts of their own. Yeah - they have their moments of selfishness; we all do. But they also have hearts of gold that have been cultivated by their relationships with our God. Slugger is creative and methodical. He has a one track mind. Whether its reading, Legos or video games; he puts his all into it. Songbird is imaginative & playful. She has a heart for music & loves to express herself through song. She has a gift for playing with little children - like the Pied Piper.
This is a just small glimpse of what I've learned... it hasn't been an easy road of discovery. I'm sure there is SO much more to come. But I cherish each lesson that I've learned.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
For SO long, I have hidden behind a facade of who I really am. You'll either meet 'wallflower Allison' OR 'jokester Allison'. The sad truth is neither is the REAL me. What's even worse, I'm not quite sure who the real me is.
Wallflower Allison has been around since elementary school I think. I had a handful of friends. Tried not to make waves. You know, you recognize the name, but need to look it up in the yearbook to see exactly who I am. I was the tall, gangly girl. I should have played basketball, but I didn't. I also didn't see the potential that I had.
Then came Jokester Allison. Always laughing & smiling. Looking like I'm up to no good. I'll usually put myself down in a funny way, just to get a laugh. I'm the one guys would be 'just friends' with. I SO wanted to fit in...
Both are pieces of me, but not the real me. I've been hiding for as long as I can remember. First, because of the lack of relationship with my dad. Then, because I didn't want anyone else to hurt me. Eventually, because I didn't want anyone to see the horrible pain my heart was in.
I've hidden myself from the world... most importantly, I've hidden myself from my husband, children, family & friends. I've played the victim in certain areas of my life so that I could ignore the truth of my life. I have battled this disease in some form since high school. Attempting to control what I ate, when I ate in an attempt to feel in control. Now my life is out of control because of the 'imaginary' control I was trying to attain.
So, how do I become the real Allison; the Allison that God intended me to be? Slowly & lovingly. Each day I ask God to work in me in each aspect of my life - not just the disease. Quite honestly, EVERY area of my life is touched by this disease in some way.
It's an uphill battle, but one that I don't have to do alone. Every day, God puts me in contact with someone who will help me in my journey. Friends, family & fellow program followers who speak wisdom into my life. What's even better is that every day, I ask God to speak truth into my life.
Slowly, I am learning that I DO have worth. As I gain self-worth, others will be able to see the real me.
I'm excited to see who I become.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I've been doing program half-assed. Deep down, I guess I've known for a while, but I am now finally willing to admit it out loud. Reading chapter 5 in the AA big book has been eye opening. I need to stop expecting perfection & focus only on my progress. And I have made AMAZING progress. I can't remember the last time I binged.
I consistently have 3 REAL meals a day, making wise choices most of the time. Yes, I call my sponsor at least once a day, but I do not make my other calls regularly. I need to stop thinking about the 'what ifs' and just call. If it's not a good time, they'll tell me.
I'll read occasionally, especially when my sponsor has given me an assignment. But other than that, nothing. I haven't been journaling the way I should either. Every day I think of my 3 positives, but seldom write them down. No quiet time with God either.
I've made 2 calls so far today. Left 1 message & spoke with the other person. I jumped out of my comfort zone & called 2 people that I have never called before, but always wanted to. As uncomfortable as it was to dial the phone, it felt great after because I did step out.
Heavenly Father, thank you for not giving up on me even when I had given up on myself. Thank you for the gentle reminders of your love. Help me to be willing to work this program the way YOU want me to work it. Even when I fall, remind me that I can't give up. Thank you for bringing people into my life who genuinely want to see me succeed in this program.
I commit to:
- reading daily from the AA big book at least 4 pages.
- doing my assignments in a timely manner
- hitting my knees in prayer daily BEFORE noon
- journaling daily - either in my journal or on my blog
- calling 3 people daily, other than my sponsor.
~ relaxing vacation
~ renewed commitment
~ my sponsor for letting me figure this out at my own pace
Monday, July 19, 2010
Surprisingly, I've been awake for most of the trip. So far, Florida is flat, hot & muggy. ACK!!!
One thing that I've noticed on my family road trip is that the scenery ISN'T family friendly. Every other billboard sign is for an adult store or $tripper club. Makes me thankful that we've invested in a DVD player & DS games. Hopefully my kids haven't taken notice.
As a kid, though family trips were few & far between, we would play the 'alphabet game', using billboards & exit signs for the letters. We would have to wait a while to find the letter x. Letter z wasn't found until we hit Buzzard's Bay.
Yet our trip today, we would have completed the game before letting out of the state of Georgia, thanks in part to X-mart and other adult establishments.
Instead, Craig has taken to 'playing' the license plate game....
Here's to a restful family vacation.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Back then, I wanted to share the song with you, but was only able to share the lyrics. Thankfully, today Casey Darnell (the artist) uploaded it to YouTube.
CHECK IT OUT!!!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I've been doing well on my own. Kids went camping for the 1st time. We've managed to eat most meals at home. Granted, they certainly were not GOURMET meals, but they had some nutritional value.
I have been feeling lonely though. Yesterday, I did NOT want to get out of my pjs. Slight depression setting in. Thankfully, my wonderful friend, Kristin, invited us for dinner so I had no choice but to shower & get dressed. But last night... feeling as if life was out of control, I binged. I knew exactly what I was doing. I knew that the binge wasn't going to take that depression away, but I felt as though I was in control. If I wanted to eat 3 chocolate bars, then I could - and did.
Did my depression go away afterward? Nope... and I knew it wouldn't. But I will admit that the chocolate certainly tasted yummy as I ate it.
Today we ventured out of the house & went to the movies. Free movie Tuesday at a local theater. The place is ALWAYS packed!!! I don't do well with crowded places, but this wasn't too bad. It was the AFTER that made me shut down emotionally.
We (Kristin & I) decided to take the kids to lunch at Chik-Fil-A. There's a play place there so what better place to go. Food & entertainment for one low price, right?!?!? Apparently, everyone else at the free movie had the SAME idea. We actually had to WAIT for a table. Needed 6 seats, only got 4. I don't cope well with chaos. Then, we let the kids play in the play place and WE went in. Another BAD idea for me... all those kids yelling in one small place. It was hot & sticky in there..... no air & lots of nasty little feet. Throw in some STUPID (yeah, I said stupid) cog toy that made a HORRIFIC noise while it was spun; my brain shut down. I couldn't concentrate. Tunnel vision began.
Poor Craig called right as we got in the car & I had a total meltdown. We're talking tears-a-streaming, snot-a-flowing meltdown. I hate having the kids see it, but it won't scar them, right? It's ok for them to see me as a human and not SUPER MOM, right? Of course, Craig feels helpless because he's in Florida and we're here. I've learned to appreciate him more. I realized that so much of my day is made easier because I have an amazing husband.
With Craig's urging, the kids gave me some "ME" time once we got home. I took a nap. I'd love to say that I woke refreshed, but that's not the case. I did awake with a resolve that I needed a meeting MORE than I needed Zumba.
So, with the help of my wonderful friend, Amy, I dropped the kids off with her. Then my fantastic friend, Lisa, picked me up and drove to the meeting. It's EXACTLY what I needed. To be surrounded by people who 'get' me. I didn't share anything profound nor did I learn anything profound, but I still got something out of it. A gentle reminder from God that I am not alone. That all I need is to simply be WILLING. He'll do the rest.
Tonight, I am willing to let God work in my life.
Thankful List 6/29/10
1. Friends perfectly placed by God
3. The love of my husband & children
Thursday, June 24, 2010
As much as I like to say that I'm a 'fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants' kind of girl, I'm not one that embraces change either. I'll embrace it when it doesn't actually have a HUGE impact on MY life.
But if MY life is going to change, you better watch out!!! I'll be kicking & screaming the whole way! Trying to control everything and everyone around me so that I can 'think' that I am in control.
There's a saying:
Some people come into your life for a season.
Some people come into your life for a lifetime.
I'm all about seeing the reason why certain people are in my life. I love when God reveals that to me. I LOVE having friends that will last for a lifetime. You know the ones: days, months, years can go by before you talk to one another, but when you do it's like time has stood still (except for the gray hairs & wrinkles).
It's those SEASON people that I have a hard time with. Don't get me wrong... some of the season people are in my life for a reason... some of them will be in my life for a lifetime too. But it's at the end of the season, when there's that "goodbye" of sort, that I hate.
Sometimes the friendship just fizzles. Sometimes it's a catastrophic event. Either way, there's a sense of loss. That little hole in your heart that only that is reserved for that person.
But then God does something amazing!!! He fills that void with His love. Sometimes He brings new people to your life that increase the size of your heart so that void doesn't feel so BIG.
It's moments like this that remind me of one of my all-time favorite Christian songs by Michael W. Smith... You know the one. In fact, the tune just popped into your head as you're reading this.
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though its hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long to live as friends
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I'll be the 1st to admit that I did not have a good relationship with my father when I was a child. Honestly, we didn't really have A relationship. We were like ships that pass in the night - except with a lot of yelling and anger.
Because of circumstances beyond my control (and because God knows what He's doing), my father & I were forced to form a relationship when I was 21. I was left to live with him (or I could have moved out). It was very stunted at first. But as time went by, I learned more & more about my Dad. Not necessarily from my Dad, but the knowledge I gained really helped cement the relationship that we have today.
My Dad is my hero. In the past 17 years, I have seen my father humble himself before me, asking for my forgiveness. Really putting an effort into being the Dad that I so longed to have when I was a child.
My father-in-law is one of those guys that just kind of sits back and absorbs life. He's not all that quick to offer his opinion on something. But when he does, be ready. He's got a dry, sick sense of humor that the kids LOVE.
Skip has been serving his community for decades as a VOLUNTEER fire fighter. He's a 3rd generation fire fighter, working through the ranks of Lieutenant, Captain, Deputy Chief, Assistant Chief (2x) & Chief (2x). I love the dedication to his service. He doesn't do it halfheartedly like some of the fire fighters. He doesn't get paid to run into a burning building when everyone else is running out. It' s just in his blood.
I have been blessed by being married to Craig for almost 13 years. He is an amazing father to our children, one whom is SO loved & adored. He is our daughter's protector and our son's hero. We may have 2 children of our own, Craig has touched the lives of hundreds of others through teaching & being a small group leader at church.
Craig followed in the footsteps of his father by joining the volunteer fire department while we were in NJ. He chose a career, while not monetarily rich, that is VERY personally rewarding. He has become my best friend - the way God intended us to be.
We have seen a lot of ups & downs in our marriage, but have finally put God in the center of our marriage. He strives to be a wonderful husband (which he is) and a terrific father (which he is).
These 3 men have a tremendous impact on my life and the lives of my children. Ultimately, these men will have an impact on the world because they give us just a glimpse of what our Heavenly Father's love is all about.
To our 3 super Dads - HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!
I have been too focused on what I cannot control - to the point of utter frustration. I had my meeting tonight. Let me tell you, had I not been the leader tonight, I would have went home. The sliding doors at the meeting location were broken. So, I begrudgingly walked around to the back of the building to get in. No big deal, right? I mean, every other time the stupid sliding glass doors were broken, the back door was where we needed to go. NOT TONIGHT!! Nope, those doors were locked TOO! So were the next set of doors right next to them.
There I am, ANGRY as all heck, wheeling the material for the meeting and I'm ready to just go home. Well, not go RIGHT home - no, I was going to stop at Wally World for a little binge. I was willing (or at least contemplating) to give up my continued abstinence because a DOOR wouldn't open. Really? Seriously??
I called my sponsor who calmed me down & then saw a program friend and walked in with her. Did I really get that upset because a door wouldn't work? Because a door didn't open the way I expected it to?
Earlier in the week, I got upset because my expectations of people weren't being met. Yep, that's right. MY eating is out of control, so let me try to control those around me. That works!!! (NOT)
Tomorrow is a new day. I have remained abstinent, but need to really get back with the program. It's not just about maintaining my abstinence. It's about working the Steps. It's about connecting with God and working through this TOGETHER - not alone. I am not alone in this. I have my husband, children, family & friends, but most of all I have God. He will never leave me or forsake me.
Thankful list (6/20/10)
1. A loving & supportive husband
2. A safe place to talk about my disease
3. Opportunity to spend time with my children
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Another friend shared her children with me today. I feel so blessed. This friend believes that yellow butterflies represent her son and ladybugs or red cardinals represent her daughter. While I will never meet her precious children here on Earth, I have faith that I will one day meet them in Heaven. Yet, today I feel as though I have a little connection with them.
Maybe I just don't usually pay that close attention, but maybe, JUST MAYBE God was sharing these babies with me. On my way home from my friend's house, I noticed a yellow butterfly pass by my windshield. Coincidence? Possibly. When I got to a stop sign, I noticed a BRIGHT red cardinal just sitting. Another coincidence? I guess.
But tonight, while having ice cream with other friends, one of the little girls in our group came over to us. In her hair was a ladybug. I don't think I can call that a coincidence anymore. I believe that I MET those children and God wanted me to remember them in my daily life.
Now, every time I see a delicate yellow butterfly, I will remember Travis. Every time I see a beautiful red cardinal or a tiny little lady bug, I will remember Emily.
I love that through God's creation, I was able to meet my friend's children.
Friday, June 18, 2010
My online friend though I hope to meet her one day in real life, Lynnette challenged her readers to post pictures of themselves being themselves. Well, being that I'm usually behind the camera, I don't have any really goofy pictures to show you. But I can assure you, those that actually know me can attest that I am GOOFY!!!
So, I present to you, my family!
As for an update, things have been going pretty well. My in-laws have come & gone. It was a nice visit. The kids had a blast with them. Not that Craig & I didn't, but let's face it, the in-laws come to visit the grandkids!
Having people visit is usually very stressful for me. I want to be the perfect hostess, then I wind up not doing ANY hostessing because it's too overwhelming for me. I did maintain my abstinence while my in-laws were in town though. It was tough - I won't lie. I had to have some snacks hidden because they were just TOO tempting. I am blessed that I have family & friends who are so supportive of my journey.
There you go, my family & an update. We may be a small family compared to most, but we have hearts as big as mountains!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Last night, while my in-laws were still in town, we headed out early, had dinner at Sonic and then headed on up to Dahlonega to check out the planetarium. The show was great! Ok, it doesn't rival the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, but I was still impressed!!!
The best part of the evening was heading out to their observatory after the show. I won't even try to explain the telescope they had (I don't know how). Even one of the students brought their own telescope.
I've always had an interest in astronomy. Probably dating back to my senior year of high school. A boy I dated was a boy scout and taught me to look at a few constellations. Orion was my FAVORITE (still is). I even toyed with the idea of changing my major to astronomy. Regretting it now.
Last night... while it was quite hazy outside, we were still treated to incredible sites! We were taught to find Venus, Mars & Jupiter in the night sky. Then we got to view EACH planet in a telescope. OUTSTANDING! AMAZING!!! Truly INDESCRIBABLE!
The very best part of the night was seeing Saturn & its rings. We were also treated to a peek at Titan (one of Saturn's moons). For a bit, I thought that there was a magazine picture on the other end of the telescope, that's how clear it was. Seeing it in BOTH telescopes... intense!
Can you believe it!! THIS is what I saw. Justin & I could have stayed there for hours. The professors that were with us were SO knowledgeable and were very willing to share that knowledge. Seriously, if I had a tent, I would have stayed... heck, if I had a CHAIR and a car (we carpooled with the rest of the family) I would have stayed. They even pointed out star clusters. Told stories of the constellations. We even got to see 3 satellites in just 5 minutes.
The whole time, I couldn't stop thinking about what an amazing God we serve. While we're busy trying to figure ways to put life on Mars, God just keeps showing me new & exciting things in His creation. Here I am 38-years old, been privy to see some beautiful sites here on Earth, now treated to what God has placed in the heavens.
If you find yourself having a free Friday night and looking for something fun to do, I HIGHLY recommend heading up to Dahlonega for the free planetarium & observatory. I couldn't even put a price for the experience.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
It happened all the time in NJ. My friend, Debbie, started calling him "The Mayor". Literally, without fail he would know SOMEONE where ever we went. Being from a small town & having your father in the fire department probably attributed to that.
When we were visiting Georgia, looking to move, we were in Newark International Airport (yeah, yeah I know. It's Liberty Airport or something like that) getting ready to board our plane. Wouldn't you know it - my husband KNEW someone on our plane.
Years later, once again sitting in Newark International Airport, hubby saw someone he knew on THAT plane to ATL too.
Anytime we ran into someone he knew, I'd sit there in the background, waiting to be introduced. Sadly, 9 times out of 10 they would say goodbye and I'd STILL be in the background.
Fast forward to today... we had to swing by the school that he works at to pick something up. He went to chat with his principal, whom I had yet to meet. What a wonderful surprise when he introduced me as his "beautiful bride".
He's STILL the mayor everywhere we go, but now he introduces me. He's been saying that more & more recently when he introduces me, yet today was the first time I REALLY heard it. It made me feel SO wonderful. He really must love me to introduce me that way. I mean, we'll be married 13 years come November. I don't consider myself his BRIDE still. But to him, I am still that bride that he married 12 1/2 years ago.
Friday, June 4, 2010
We had small group at her house tonight. We always have fun at small group. Except tonight. There was that big elephant in the room. Gathered in corners of her house were items they're getting rid of -- 'the store'. We were told to take what we wanted; the rest was going to Good Will.
It hurt to see the piles. The piles mean they're cleaning house. Figuring out what to bring to Iowa & what stays behind.
As we walked out to the car, saying goodbye wasn't so simple anymore. It wasn't a 'bye, see ya later'. There was MORE there. Heck, I'm probably going to see her every day for the next 5 days, but soon enough we will be saying GOOD BYE.
While I shouldn't be focusing on what has not come, I need to always keep it in the back of my mind. I don't want to be shocked when the day finally does get here.
Hopefully we'll be heading to Starbucks one night soon. Probably more like multiple nights soon. I need it. She needs it. Especially before her hubby leaves.
I'm scared yet excited to see what God has planned for our families.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
These experiences should prove we cannot successfully avoid coming to terms with our aloneness. The sooner we accept responsibility for our lives, the sooner we will stop inflicting unnecessary pain on ourselves.
In accepting our aloneness, we accept that no one can protect us from ourselves - and that no one can live our lives for us. "Aloneness" simply means that we cannot depend on others for our joy or sorrow. We are the authors of our actions, attitudes, and experiences and not the "victims" of fate or circumstance.
Today I will not be afraid of my aloneness. I will accept total responsibility for my attitudes, actions, or neglects. I will not seek unnecessary pain by relying on what others say or do to make me happy.
Normally, I love the interesting little tidbits that arrive in my inbox from Hazeldon. But not this one.
Our disease is what isolates us. But we do not HAVE to be alone in this. We have our program friends and some of us are blessed to have our family.
If I am honest with my sponsor & fellow OA friends, I do not have to be alone. I can rely on their support, love & understanding.
If I am open with my husband, I am not alone. Granted, he cannot fully understand my battle, but he can certainly give me the love & support needed persevere.
Most of all, we have God. They're right, no one can protect me from myself... no one here on earth. But God can! If I am walking with God during my recovery, I am not alone. He will protect me from myself & my disease.
It's a new day for me and I plan to make the most of it. I will not be 'alone' today!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Honestly, I want to just crawl in my bed and stay there for days. Wake me when it's over! But the rational part of my mind (the part that RARELY wins) is telling me to just get up & get on with life. Yes, my very-best-friend is moving to Iowa, but I can make the most of the rest of her time here. THAT is what a friend would do. I am going to break 'tradition' and not pull away. I am going to face this head on.
I am also waiting on test results. A lump was found in my right bre@st via mammogram & ultrasound. It could be a lymph node or a cyst or the C word. As much as I want to just think the worst, I have an overwhelming sense of peace. Whatever the outcome, my God is in control. It is a part of His story for me. Do I want cancer - HECK NO!!! Yet, if that is what's being dealt then so be it.
As usual, I turn to music. It's what makes up the soundtrack of my life. So, what am I listening to right now, during this tumultuous time? Casey Darnell's newest album, ANTHEM. Especially his song, When the Waters Rise. He wrote this song right after his wife suffered a miscarriage of their 2nd child. The story behind the song is BEAUTIFUL! I am using the words of this song as my prayer.
In the valley Lord, you are near always
You have surrounded me by your grace
When my strength is gone, I won't be afraid
You are with me always
When there seems no way, You are here with me
And this life brings pain, You are here with me
I wont be afraid, You are here with me
You are all I need and You are here with me
~written by Casey Darnell
Friday, May 21, 2010
The birth of our son was TOTALLY different than the birth of our daughter. He was a planned c-section. My mother came up from North Carolina for the birth - her birthday is May 22nd. My dad took the day off of work and hang out at the hospital too.
I remember hearing his cry for the first time. That was something that I didn't get when our daughter was born. The best was when our daughter (22 months) came to the hospital later that day to meet her new brother. As soon as she saw him she said 'Hi Buddy. I'm your big sister.' Talk about a melt-your-heart moment.
Here we are, almost 10 years later, they're still pretty good friends (as long as the planets are in alignment).
Happy Birthday Buddy!!!