Becomes sometimes words aren't enough

I usually do the birthday post thing.
And I have plenty to say...
but I think these pictures and songs say it better than I could.

*and because I don't think I gave credit w/ my shoddy video attempt...the tunes are Sleeping at Last: Umbrellas and Needle and Thread.

last year's post:
year before that:


Summer has long been over. However, officially, today is the first day of fall. And I won’t be pulling out the earth tones or picking apples, because our local 4 day forecast has it in the 90s all week. Our swimsuits don’t need to go anywhere just yet. But if I go to the store all I see are pumpkins and long sleeves. Starbucks brought out the pumpkin spice latte weeks ago. Next week is the last week of the first six weeks of the current school year. I’ve even seen a few Christmas decorations.

And I do really like earth tones. And those little orange mellowcreme pumpkins and not shaving my legs. In Texas, the weather kind of skips fall. We go from hot to cold and the right back to hot again. There aren’t the amazing foliage changes that you get up North. And to be honest a month straight of 100+ heat killed most things green already anyways.

In other words, nothing makes today any different a season than yesterday. Except that the calendar says so.

I use the word season a lot to talk about phases of my life. And I’ve noticed that when I do I am usually referring to hard ones. And so sometimes it is nice to remember that it doesn’t take much change to start a new one. Just calling it something different is apparently enough to create marketing campaigns, new flavors of lattes and longer pants. Or a shift in your heart.

So break out the sweaters if you live somewhere with such a thing as autumn. And even if you don’t. The rest of you can change even if the weather doesn’t.

and a few pics that have nothing to do with fall...except for the fact that they happened today.

cupcake carnage X 24. i bought these for Tess's birthday to take to her class. And she wanted to eat knocked them ALL off the counter to try and get into them. Her class may not have gotten cupcakes. but she had one for breakfast.

crazy hair day at school. mohawk. half blue. half red. apparently i'm not the only on in the house that is a fan of some ridiculous hair.

The summer's begining to give up her fight....

(and this is the best version of this song i could find. and is awful and deserves some commentary. like the fact that Amy is on stage in plaid pajama pants. I do in fact like boys, but have seen them live. but. insist that the best place to listen to this song is outside. middle of the night. on some Mo Ranch tennis courts.) 

getting it back

Yesterday I was waiting on a friend outside of Starbucks, and a favorite name showed up on my phone. One from out of state. That I rarely get to talk to.

For lots of reasons like…we are both working moms w/ 2 little kids....which doesn't leave a lot of overlapping phone time. A slight time difference.  Her cell service stinks. But also because if I am going to talk to her. I am really going to talk. Like real stuff. And we will laugh. But the big stuff will come bubbling up. Because there is no pretending with this friend.

So. I answered even though I only had minutes. And I don’t think she knew what hit her. I unloaded. All kinds of stuff that I had been keeping inside. Some of it I wasn’t  sure of until I heard myself say it outloud. And even though I totally dominated the conversation with my ranting, She didn’t complain. Even though she has her own stuff. She made the right funny comments and didn’t make me feel bad. And by the time I was done there was only a sliver of time to talk about her. And turns out she knew exactly what I was feeling. Because in some ways we were in the same boat. And we aren’t really the sappy type so we mostly just made funny jokes about our serious mess.

And. same friend. Her facebook status the day before said this

"There was a time when you were five years old, and you woke up full of awesome. Somewhere along the line, so many little girls lose that, without ever considering maybe the people trying to take their awesome are full of shit..."

And both of us don’t have a lot to complain about. Jobs we like. Husbands who are great guys. Ridiculously cute blonde kids. Houses. Lots of friends and full social calendars. And we both usually laugh more than we cry. But sometimes we both still feel a little broken.

My wounds are still healing. 4 small incsisions on my abdomen. But these are just the ones on the outside. And I keep reading and hearing how easy and uncomplicated gallbladder surgery is. How quickly people heal and get back to work. And I went back to work for the first full day today and I feel run over. It was good to be back and to some kind of normal. But by lunch I had already taken my daily allotment of alleve and felt myself fading fast. I am not bouncing back as quick as I’d like. I keep trying to rest. But that is hard to do. With soccer practice and dance class and papers to grade and it seems like there is something every night this week. I wont even mention Tess turning 3 this weekend! So I’m feeling like a pansy. And tired. But. Somehow. Today I still felt more like a person than I have in almost a month. I think I got so used to being sick and tired that I forgot what it felt like to be well.

And getting well doesn’t happen overnight. Especially when someone takes a nice small organ tucked under your right rib cage and pulls it through your belly button.

My friend still has all her organs. But she knows loss more than hopefully I ever will. And how it feels when it takes longer than people expect for you to heal.
But. that doesn’t make us broken.
Nor do all the other things we talked about.

I liked her silly quote. I was tired of feeling like this. And decided that we were going to get our awesome back.

So I started by looking the quote up…and found the slightly longer version of it here:

And it is true. My little girl just insisted on going to Target with me wearing cowboy boots and pajamas and fairy wings. And she was proud. She sang at the top of her lungs from the cart and didn’t care who saw. As a matter a fact I'm pretty sure she wanted people to see.

My son is just a few years older. And he still laughs hard and likes to be silly. But. he has started to get embarrassed. To know that people are watching. That some things are cool and some things aren’t. Somewhere between 3 and 6 he is losing just a little bit of awesome. He is no less great and cute and funny and smart. He is just slightly less sure of it. And by the time he is twelve, he will almost be fully convinced that he is not. And that scares me.

And don’t even get me started on myself. I think I’m a pretty confident girl most seasons, but would never describe myself as awesome. Or sing at the top of my lungs in a grocery store. Or twirl in public. Or wear fairy wings and hot pink cowboy boots. Well. Maybe I’d wear the boots.

But I felt that way once,  and there has to be a way to get some of that back.
I texted my friend and told her we were on a quest.
Project Awesome is underway.
And it is a ridiculously corny and silly but I am already feeling better.

I wasn’t sure what to do …..but….I made us a list of 7 things to do this week. And she could be in charge of next week's list. Some are silly. Like sing at the top of your lungs. And some are serious. And some are things I’d never in a million years print on my blog …so I wont be printing my list here. Sorry. Make your own project awesome. If you need help I like this girl's list (read all five).
And this website made me happy too….
A few of my faves (and no I did not take the time to read all 1000)
#996 opening a new can of tennis balls and smelling them
#951 hearing a stranger fart in public
#837 pushing those little buttons on the soft drink lid
#813 museum gift shops
#809 new socks day
#794 people that you don’t clean up for when they come to visit
#754 when someone gives you their last piece of gum
#736 the smell of play do
#700 making someone laugh when they’ve got a really full mouth.

Because awesome is out there if you are willing to look for it.

And Ann Voskamp wrote a whole book about it. She just calls it eucharisto. And pointed out that it is biblical. Thanking God for the little stuff like clean sheets and and jeans fresh out of the dryer.

So. Getting our awesome back might sound a little silly and ridiculous. But. if Tess doesn’t care. Maybe I shouldn’t either.

this wasn't tonight's outfit. but the ridiculous is a pretty common theme. unlike matching shoes. tights ontop of pants is also a fashion idea that should not be repeated!

and this girl....doesn't need any help either!

(and because my husband thinks chick drummers are awesome....)


I’ve always liked the fact that Jesus’s first miracle is at a wedding. The whole water into wine thing. First of all. I like wine. I like weddings. And that is the last place you’d expect the son of God to show his divinity….making sure the wedding party didn’t run out of good wine. And he was a little reluctant of course, but he did keep the party going.

I just googled Jesus’s miracles because when I thought about it, I could think of any that didn’t involve feeding or healing people. The site I landed on listed 34. And there were a few that I had forgotten which didn’t exactly heal or feed. He calmed the seas. He walked on water. He pulled a coin out of a fish. But the other 31. Those were all feeding and healing. (and I could even make the case that the other 3 were still about relationships)…

Also I thought it was interesting that when he healed. He just touched them or pronounced it. Or told them to stand. The most complicated it got was making a paste for the blind man’s eyes. But he was in charge of the healing.

But, when he fed—other people had roles to play. The servants filled the wineskins. He gathered loaves and fishes from the crowed and disciples before somehow making that measly meal enough for thousands (more than once). He had the disciples cast their nets and pull in so many fish they thought their nets were going to break. Every time he fed, he expected other people to help.

And the miracles of the old Testament are all pretty weird stuff. Burning bushes that don’t burn. Rivers turning into blood. Seas parting. Manna from the sky. Men swallowed by whales. etc. and they even get kookier. But Jesus was all about healing and feeding. Taking care of people.

And when something bad happens. When people are sick or stressed or lose a family member and we don’t know what to do. Someone will show up with a casserole or a pizza. When my neighbor’s husband died I brought breakfast. When my friend’s dad was in the hospital I made enchiladas. When my friend’s mother in law had surgery and she had a lot on her plate I picked up burritos. When someone has a baby I bring food. When someone dies I bring food. When someone is in the hospital I bring food.

When I wanted to make up with a friend in college I showed up with a snowcone. Or Sonic. When I want to be extra nice to a friend I bring them a coffee. When I want to treat someone for their birthday I get cupcakes or chickfila or buntlets (my new favorite word). More often than not I pick it up. But sometimes I make it myself. Either way – someone is getting fed. And we all have to eat.

I have been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of that a lot. When I had each of my kids I was blessed with a strong network of friends and I got meals for a month. Maybe even longer. And the gift is more than just the meal, but the time and thought of not having to go to the store or make a decision. A fridge full of Tupperware when you are tired and sick and don’t want to go to the store or eat fast food one more time or just plain think about what to do about dinner is truly a miracle.

I just got out of the hospital and had a minor operation. I am feeling much better and could probably manage dinner on my own, even though I still can’t drive to the store. But I don’t have to. My dad spent yesterday in the kitchen. Chopping, cutting, stirring. Making soup. And spaghetti. A few friends have called asking if they could bring dinner. When they finally let me eat in the hospital (breakfast yesterday), I wanted something a little better than the watery oatmeal and greasy bacon they brought me. My friend showed up with perfect oatmeal from Starbucks. Another brought me a venti iced green tea. And I ate happily until I hurt.
And I have always liked food. My parents made me a bit of a food snob. And even my son thinks that lobster is it’s own food group. But when you don’t feel good or like getting off your couch. Anything you don’t have to cook yourself is a gift.

And if we look at the things Jesus did while he was here. He fed and he healed. Most of us don’t have the gift of healing or went to med school. But we can all go through a drive thru or turn on a crock pot. And turns out, Jesus calls those miracles.


Lately I have felt like I couldn’t get it together. And I don’t mean the clean house, homemade cookies, PTA mom kind of together. I’ve never been that kind of together. I mean the cry in the car kind. It was like some kind of bad domino set up. One thing went down and then everything else seemed to fall as well. I felt like I was failing, in every area of my life. My family, my friendships, with old habits and even at work. And we have all been here. This wasn’t my first negative train ride. But, I don’t do sad well or for very long. I know what fixes me and can snap out of it fast enough. I usually need some alone time to think and pray and sort and then I need the opposite. I need friends and dates and lots of coffee and long conversations, long runs, to play outside with my kids, anything with frosting and a new hair color.

This time, I got stuck on the alone part. I spent a lot of time on my couch. I turned the ringer on my phone off. I didn’t ask people to do things. I tried to run but didn’t get very far. I tried to fix all those things that I felt like I was screwing up, but the harder I tried to more I seemed to get wrong. The dominoes kept falling. And I was getting more tired. And insistent that I just needed to keep stacking them up by myself. Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be a sad rant. And that season hasn’t been so long. And I kept thinking that I needed to do all these things better by myself, that I needed to stop leaning on people. When maybe I just needed to learn to ask for help and lean in more than one direction.

A week ago I was walking up to my son’s soccer game. I had left my phone on the coffee table and they guys were already there. I wasn’t feeling right. And the more I walked the harder it became to breathe. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest. My hands were shaking and I felt dizzy and like throwing up. I needed to get to my son’s field. But it seemed miles away even it was just a few hundred feet away. I didn’t have my phone so I couldn’t call him. I thought about asking someone for help. But I felt ridiculous. So I sat down in the middle of the sidewalk. People looked at me funny and I’m sure they could tell I didn’t feel well but no one stopped. I’d rest for a few minutes and get up and try again. And then sit. I started to panic even more and knew I needed help. But still didn’t know who or what to ask. The last thing I wanted was an ambulance. Eventually I made it to a ref stand and instead of asking for help. I asked to use their phone. Only problem – I didn’t know my husband’s phone number. So I called one of the few friend’s numbers that I have memorized (only b/c she has had the same # back when I used to have a house phone) and told her who she could call to call Shaun. That I needed him to come get me. Instead of playing 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon on the phone I should have just asked someone to go to field 15 and get my husband. But passing out or puking seemed easier to me than asking a stranger for help. Eventually Shaun found me, and a ref who I thought had been ignoring me tossed me a Gatorade and told me I was dehydrated. I had to ask her to open it. And even then I couldn’t even get half of it in my mouth my hands were shaking so bad. Shaun pulled the car around. And I decided, that despite the fact that I had just gotten to the fields and eaten lunch that maybe I was dehydrated after all. I had gone on a pretty long run at noon. And it was 100 degrees out. And to just take me home rather than the hospital.
So I went back to my couch that I’d been spending lots of time on drank more Gatorade and dodged phone calls from people asking if I was ok. Of course I was ok, I even tried to keep my dinner plans. And eventually I realized I wasn’t. That my side and back and shoulder were sore like when I had what I was pretty sure were gall bladder attacks. Which I’d been having more of in the middle of the night lately. (and yes, a normal person would go to the doctor – but I had already done that years ago. Multiple times. And they never found anything despite sonograms, fancy hospital scans and endoscopies). But I couldn’t ignore my attack on the soccer field and my husband was about to leave the country for almost two weeks. So I drove myself to the ER. And friends texted me and asked if they could come sit with me or watch my kids. And I refused. I didn’t want anyone there while the doctor told me nothing was wrong and to see a counselor and get some sleep. The doctor asked if I wanted something for my pain and I was in quite a bit of pain, but asked her to give me something mild so that I could still drive home. Again, I didn’t want to call anyone. Which is ridiculous. My phone is full of people I can call. They found plenty of stones, which made me happy because I finally knew what was wrong and they gave the name of a surgeon to call and sent me home with some pretty strong meds. That I didn’t plan on taking. Because that would mean I couldn’t drive or work or watch my kids. And I’d have to ask for help.

They next few days were fine. I told Shaun, that he still needed to go on his trip because it wasn’t likely that that I’d get scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks anyways and that I was fine. I was still tired. And a little sore. But after he left, I knew something was wrong because my pee was not all the right color. But I just drank lots of water and scheduled an appointment with my surgeon. People at work told me I didn’t look well. I appreciated their concern but tried to make jokes. Through a string of travel gone horribly wrong, Shaun’s 2 week trip turned into only a 2 day one and I was relieved to have him home. And he couldn’t have made it home sooner. Because less than 24 hours after going through customs, he was with me back in the ER. That morning at work I started to feel like I did on the soccer field. I made it through my first few classes and emailed the secretary in charge of subs that I really needed to go home. This usually doesn’t go over well because it can be a nightmare to get coverage in the middle of the day. And so I really didn’t want to ask. Then I went downstairs and asked the nurse what to do. Another conversation I didn’t want to have. Then I drove myself home, even though I was pretty sure that wasn’t a good idea. And there were people who could take me, I just didn’t want to ask. ( see a trend here!)
I went home and dug out my pain pills and waited for relief and a nap. I got neither. So I called my husband to drive me back to the hospital. We waited forever. And they just ran the same tests. And came back and said the same things. Shaun went to run kids around and I started packing up to go home. They said nothing looked different from Saturday and they were waiting on one last blood test, but most likely I’d just need to keep my appointment with my surgeon the next day. I was feeling silly for dragging my husband out of work and dropping who knows how much money on a pointless ER visit. I was texting friends that I was about to go home (and this time, I actually talked to people!) and the nurse popped back in and said change of plans – they were getting a room for me. My lipase levels were through the roof and I had pancreatitis. I’m still not sure what that is but I did know that it hurt like hell and that it had kept my sister in the hospital for almost an entire week.

Asking for help suddenly wasn’t an option. I made phone calls and texts. Instead of telling people not to come, I was thrilled when friends showed up with magazines and books and chapstick or just to keep me from being bored. And trust me. I have not been good hospital company. But they came and stayed anyways. And I was greatful. I had to ask for help watching my kids, getting subs, making copies, help picking my kids up from school, help tying my robe, and even help getting up to go to the bathroom.

The gall bladder came out yesterday. And I am happy to see it go. Apparently when it isn’t working right you can have all kinds of issues besides just the stomach ones. Apparently the fact that woman have so many more problems with it than men has some correlation to estrogen. And well, my hormones have obviously been out of wack lately. And also can account for my exhaustion and apathy. So hopefully I’ll be a whole new girl when I get out of here.

And gall bladder surgery is supposed to be pretty minor. If you don’t start with crazy lipase levels like me, you go in early in the morning and they send you home around lunch. But I of course can’t do things the easy way. My pancreas calmed down much sooner than expected, but it still has made my day surgery at least a 4 day event. To deal with the pancreas you can’t have any food or even drink until it is fixed. The last meal I had was a granola bar Wednesday morning. And until last night, the last drink was water in the ER Wednesday afternoon. I asked the nurse that morning how long surgery would take she said 30-40 minutes. Mine took a lot longer. I woke up from anesthesia awful. I felt like they were still operating and I could feel everything. It hurt worse than my 2 c-sections combined. They gave me morphine and more morphine and then finally some demoral. And I thought I was going to puke. So they gave me something for that. Eventually my body relaxed a little and they took me back to my room. Well over 4 hours later. And had to keep asking for help. And I felt like such a pansy because this is such a minor operation. But I had a low fever. My insulin levels were off. And they kept giving me shots in the stomach and taking blood, asking if I had diabetes and when my last bowel movement was and I just wanted to go home so badly and the fever and blood sugar levels had it looking like I’d be spending another night! Shaun was sleeping at home with the kids and suddenly I wished I had asked him to stay. I was tired of being alone in this room. I was tired of hurting and nurses waking me up and alarms going off and I suddenly wanted to have a sobfest but thought crying would hurt too much. So I had to ask for the worst kind of help. For someone to just tell me it was going to be ok. To remind me to breathe. And to stop freaking out and go to sleep. And she said exactly all the right things. And this morning I woke up and my fever is gone, my blood sugar levels are closer to normal, they took out my IV in the middle of the night, pain is way better, they might let me eat breakfast and even better I think I’ll even get to go home late this afternoon or tonight.

And I’m ready for that. And yes, when I get there I will rest. But I’m pretty sure I’ll be spending less time on my couch than I have the last few weeks. Good riddance gall bladder. And thanks to everyone who helped me. Even when I didn’t want to ask.

new scars.

I went to the dermatologist yesterday. I had a spot on my face I wanted her to look at. Apparently, the rule at the dermatologist is that they want to look at everything.
And trust me, if I’d known I was going to strip down and wear an extra large paper towel for an hour of my afternoon I might have shaved my legs and worn cuter panties.
Instead I found myself standing there in not my favorite underwear and a paper towel while she measured moles on my thighs and back and everywhere else.
She kept asking me if certain spots had always been there. If they’d always looked like that. Been that dark or that big or shaped like the state of Connecticut.
A few were familiar, but most of the time I had no idea. Some spots she pointed out I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen before. Much less noticed their diameter, shade edges, or spotting. I have lots of moles and freckles. They just showed up.  I don't keep track. You can’t expect me to name them or remember them.

However, if she had asked me about my scars. The ones on my knees, forehead or anywhere else. Those I know. They all come with stories. They aren’t so easily missed or forgotten.
I’ve written about my favorite scar before here
And scars are something I consider "the ugly beautiful", as Anne Voskamp likes to call it.

Scientifically speaking (or at least according to Wikipedia), scars are fibrous tissues that replace normal skin after an injury. It results from the body’s natural way of repairing anything that has been damaged. It is a natural and critical part of healing. And not all wounds leave a scar. Only big, deep ones. Scars are actually made out of the exact same proteins as the tissue it replaces. But. It is still different. It looks different. It acts different. And it is more sensitive. They change us.

And why I am even thinking about this in the first place. Barron Batch, most well known for being an impressive running back that was recently drafted to the Pittsburg Steelers, also happens to be a fantastic writer. Just a few days before his first pro game ever, he tore his ACL. Recently out of surgery, this is what he had to say about it on his blog:
“I have a new scar now. Its permanent address is my left knee. It is a work of art created by the artist simply known as Life. Life doesn’t discriminate whom she scars physically or emotionally. However, over my 23 years of life I have come to realize the beauty of scars. How crazy would it be if once wounds healed they didn’t leave a mark, what if there were no scars? What if we healed without a reminder or what was? Would you forget the pain that you endured? Would you forget the healing process that took place? Would you even forget the wound altogether?

Scars serve as a permanent reminder of our fragility but more importantly our strength. Scars are proof of what you have overcome. Every time I look at my many scars I remember how weak I was at the time the wound was formed, and what formed it. I remember the healing process. I remember the strength I didn’t know I had to push through, and I remember eventually being healed.”
(you can read the whole thing here if you want. and trust me, you want to)

Every scar reminds us that we have been permanently changed.
And more importantly healed.
Weakened. And then made new.
So wear them with pride. Tell their stories. Don’t forget the lessons you’ve learned.

Mine for example:
Don’t scratch even if it itches bad. (the big chicken pock scar on my forehead).
Don’t ride on the hoods of cars. (a nice one on the side of my wrist).
Go easy on the turns. (a thick scar on my knee from a bad biking wipeout)
Duck. (a nice one on my hairline that almost needed stitches).
I had no idea I could love anyone that much. Twice. (a 6-7 inch pink line across my lower abdomen)
And I have plenty more. But what I don’t have. Open wounds. (at least not for long). Because more importantly than all my scars. Is the fact that they always heal. Some need stitches or staples or band aids. No matter how careful we are, we will get injured. But. We are continually being put back together. It gets better, it just might leave a mark.

the song I've wanted to listen to at least a dozen times the last 2 days for no reason other than it makes me happy...

but the more obvious choice for today's post..


So. I have this blog. Maybe you've noticed. I’ve had it for a while. This is my 601st post. I even look at my stats a few times a week. They aren’t great, but lets just say that more people read it that I don’t know than I do. When I played the game I got more traffic and weekly emails from people asking me pimp their products. A publisher on occasion getting my hopes up. Sometimes I even got really nice emails. And occasionally I even got some mean ones. And they got to me every time.

But my closest friends know that I have an unwritten rule. Don’t talk about my blog.
Well, at least not in large groups. And never with people I don’t know.
Even my husband knows not to read it in front of me.
Or if you do (and yes it is ok, I'm a fan of breaking rules), be warned that I might get kind of weird on you.
Even if I am the one to bring it up.
Don’t get me wrong. I totally dig the compliments.
I even secretly crave them.
Just expect me to get all red in the face and stare at the ground.
Or try and change the subject and once I even literally ran away.

One time I had someone ask me if they could email it to my coworkers.
I said yes with conditions, but warned them that they would find me puking in the bathroom. I’ve avoided a few people who talk about it too much.
One friend brought it up in front of my class and I jerked her by the arm and took her out in the hallway and said to never do that again.
The other day another co-worker took a stab at it and I said I wanted to kick him in the face (yes, real mature of me I know). And I totally meant it.

But. It is public.
It links automatically to my facebook. I could probably figure out how to turn it off, but I’m not really sure I want to.
And I want my friends and family and even plenty of strangers to read it. I’m even slightly offended if they don’t.
I even want more people to read it. But don’t expect me to go broadcasting it.
Yet, I’m still strangely private about this very public thing. That I do completely 100% by choice.
Because it makes me feel really naked.
I say things here that I don’t always say outloud.

I’ve said many times that I’m open and honest and authentic here.
But not too open and honest.
I filter. I pick and choose. I occasionally take some creative liberties.
I leave out the really hard stuff. I don’t talk about things that might hurt other people. I am occasionally intentionally  vague even when I want to be specific. The last thing I want is my students landing here…but I try to not say anything too revealing just in case they do. But even if I wasn’t worried about keeping my job.
I’ve hit a point where I’m kind of limited…
Some of my family reads this.
People I work with read this.
People I go to church read this.
Some of my friends read this.
I couldn’t face them if I put it all out here.
So I’m limited by two things:
1. protecting people I care about (which is a good limitation)
2. shame (not so good)

and today I read this post on shame ….and LOVED.
and just in case you don’t take the time to read it….here is my favorite quote:

“Sometimes people ask me how I do it, how I lay all my crap out there for the whole world to see, open to judgement and ridicule. They ask me where I've found the freedom to be myself no matter who's watching. They wonder how I “get away with it”, as if I'm breaking some unspoken law of Christian living that says “Above all, never stop pretending to be perfect.”

My answer is always the same:

I can be "authentic" or "transparent", or whatever, because I don't give a hot shit what you think of me. “

Now is also a good time to mention that the author is a Christian missionary servng in Costa Rica. And her posts and language isn't exactly Elisabeth Elliot approved, but it makes me want to be her friend!….She also goes on to explain further in terms of Adam and Eve…and you should really click on it and read the whole post…(or atleast this part)

I love the story of Adam and Eve, in Genesis. It always gives me pause when I get to the part where it says they were 'naked and unashamed'. Mmhmm, bare-assed and unashamed at the core of our creation. It's not until later that we get all mortified to see that our junk is showing. It's not until after the fall of man that we start hiding in the shrubs and fashioning leaves into underpants. That's where God finds us, shivering in our fig and ivy blend bloomers, and He asks, “Who told you that you were naked?”

Seriously. Who told you to be ashamed?

With everything that's in me, I want my life to be a fulfillment of the person God Created me to be. I understand that because of my brokenness I don't get to spend my days waltzing through Eden. But, in the story of Adam and Eve, I can hear Him whispering my name, saying,

“Baby Girl, you weren't created to hide in the bushes, you were made to live in the garden... Be who you are. I love you that way.”

And I am not there.
I have all kinds of shame even in my continual effort to be honest about my mess.
I hide in lots of bushes. And usually like to cover up with way more than a fig leaf.
And maybe it isn’t the best idea to put it all online.
Or say it all outloud. Or write it all in an email.
Because it is really hard to protect yourself when you are exposed.
Online. Or outloud.
It feels naked.
But, maybe that is the only way to Eden.

finishing strong

A year or so ago I read Born to Run.
I didn’t go out and start running barefoot, or even buy those weird looking Vibrams (although I seriously considered it).
I didn’t sign up for a marathon or even a half. But I probably have run more since I read it. It was mostly stories about ultramarathoners and was really interesting and easy to read. Even if you aren’t a runner and just like a good story. The most intriguing thing I read in the book wasn’t that we are wasting all our money on expensive shoes, or that I should run on the pads of my feet or eat salad for breakfast. But that these runners going 100 or more miles often have pace runners. Friends or volunteers that are allowed to run the last 30-50 more miles with them. To keep them going. To encourage them. And because it is always easier to run with a friend. (Well, unless you are sometimes like me and talk so much you use up all your oxygen!). But these “volunteers” often run in the middle of the night for long stretches for nothing. No free t-shirt. No race swag. No medal. They don’t even get to cross the finish line. They just run for support. And that is a beautiful thing to me. Someone willing to go along beside you with nothing but a decent workout in it for them. Just so you don’t have to do it alone. Just in case you were thinking about quitting or slowing down.

And I know first hand how helpful that can be. Obviously, in life. But also just in a race. Last year about this time I ran a Sprint Tri. I was not used to the swimming or the biking so I was beat before the running part even started. And to make it worse, no one was allowed to wear headphones. But not too far into the run I caught up with a few friends. And we talked and jogged and I hardly even noticed the last two miles, despite the fact that my knees were creaking and I was exhausted.

Yesterday I decided to run another race this morning. And I’m no ultramarathonner, or even half marathoner. It was just a 5K. But they also had a kids fun run right before and my son had a friend who was participating so I thought we could both race. So we got up before the sun. We carbed up – him with donuts, me with a power bar and pinned on our bibs. And Owen runs laps around our living room, and up and down the street and plenty on the soccer field, but…I wasn’t sure how he would actually do in a race. Some parents ran with their kids, but I was racing next and Shaun was watching Tess so he was on his own. And I worried a little about what would happen when he got tired or wanted to quit. I wondered if he’d just start walking or if he’d just stop entirely. They blew the airhorn, I snapped a few photos and he took off at a dead sprint. Which is a bad idea. They didn’t go very far, but most of the time he was out of sight…and as kids started to round the corner towards the finish line I kept looking for his little blonde head. My race started in less than ten minutes, but I walked around the curve, around the building and finally spotted him. He wasn’t walking but looked tired and slow and ready to quit. So I hopped in and joined him. Kept telling him to run faster that we were almost there. And he did. I ran him to the finish line and saw him prouldy grab his trophy and almost wanted to tear up. Which is silly. He runs that much on a regular basis and he was no where close to first or second or even twentieth. But he is my kid. And he finished even though he wanted to quit and I was proud. Before I could get all gushy, I had my own race to run.

I run 5Ks a lot, and actually prefer a 10. But the weather was really nice and I was hoping to knock a few minutes off my last time. This was not the case. My runs lately have gotten shorter and further apart. And it was showing. So I stopped looking at my watch, turned up my ipod and just kept following the crowd in front of me. Not allowing myself to stop. I often run these with friends. But today it was just me. And I am not a fast runner or a strong finisher. I’m not the kind of girl that saves much for the end. I have never learned to pace myself when I’m running or pretty much any other area of my life. The rest of my family is usually still asleep or at least at home watching cartoons when I cross a finish line. And I wasn’t even sure they’d be there this time (seeing how there was a Chick-fil-A and a bounce house close by), but I looked for them anyways. And about a 200 yards out I saw them. I held my hand up to give my son a high-five and he did something that surprised me. He took off sprinting beside me. Until we finished.
For the second time that day.
And again I wanted to cry.
And my time sucked. And my right calf hurt in a weird way it never has before.
But I’ve never had a better finish.

punky power

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Punky Brewster. It was on everyday after school and I wanted to be her bad. I already had the freckles and bad fashion sense. I wanted to name my dog Brandon. Paint clouds on my ceiling. Wear two different color converse and tie a bandana around my knee. One of my real life best friends actually did and I was terribly jealous. My parents wouldn’t buy me one pair of converse much less two, and my hair was too short for pigtails. I thought I could have been a better best friend to Punky than Cherie and thought that Henry was a little mean for a foster dad (although his appearances in Police Academy did help give him some street cred) and that her and her golden retriever Brandon should just move in with me. We could paint the ceiling and put each other’s hair in pig tails.

I still enjoy pig tails, converse (matching or not), anything painted on the ceiling, and have a big heart for homeless people. Maybe it started with Punky.

Much to my chagrin, the show was canceled after just 2 years. That or I’d moved on to bigger and better shows like Blossom.

A few years later Punky, or Soleil MoonFrye (what kind of name is that?), showed up on another popular shows. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. And despite for my past affection for Clarissa Explains It All… I could never get into the show. I was in highschool by then and far to cool to be watching shows with talking cats.

So today, I was walking down the book aisle at Target looking for something to read….(yes I know every other person on the planet has a Nook or a Kindle or something like that and as many books as I go through I could save several forests by investing in one but I just haven’t taken the plunge or dropped the cash yet). And I stumbled across this:

A book, by Punky on parenting.
Sitting right there between a Mitch Album book and a Elizabeth Gilbert book.
Punky was an established author.
And apparently a model parent.

I took it as a challenge.
If Punky can be a serious writer…
If she can be a model parent while naming her daughters Poet and Jagger (ok, Jagger is a kickass name but Poet??)….
Well….I need to break out my converse and get to work….on my own writing. And as far as my parenting goes, well I already have the chaos part down. But maybe I shoud rename my kids: Axl and Barista, or atleast change my dog's name from Mazzy to Brandon.
But not till after I paint some clouds on the ceiling.