My jealous-bone-ectomy (a slow surgery)

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Change is often a slow process, an evolution in which you don’t notice what’s happening until it’s nearly completed.  Generally, we’re reluctant to give ourselves credit for positive progress until we’re only feet from the finish line.

Often change just slowly ripples across our lives until one day it’s eroded us into someone completely different than the last time we checked.

As for me this needed change, the one that was a long time coming, was to break the cycle of living in jealousy, to have my jealous bone removed if you will.  

This rhythm of jealousy was suffocating me from the inside out. I was living a life of hopeless inferiority on every front: as a mother, a wife, a writer, a Christian, a woman.

I often felt like the little sister of whatever world I was operating in.  Always chasing after the big girls, hoping that they would notice me, play with me.  Ever praying that someday I would be as fabulous and confident as they were.

Over the last year I realized that this inner belief that of jealousy, of “less-than”, was my most life-stealing issue.  I was always so busy being jealous that I had no time to feel joy all around me, my thoughts were ever elsewhere.  Continue reading

Posted in Grace, jealousy, journey, patience, perseverance, purpose | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Red yarn, purity and my misplaced worth

7782343794_4a8c280005_cI was 21 years old, just, when I found myself sitting in a tiny counseling office trying to recover from a painful breakup. The woman in the chair across from me was praying passionately as she called upon the Holy Spirit to free my heart from my ex-boyfriend.

From the aching of being dumped… over email.

The focus of our session was all about freeing my heart, which was intrinsically linked to his, because we’d had sex.

She opened an old, metal drawer and took out some pre-cut, crimson yarn. She held the ends between pinched fingers and held the taut strands between us.

She handed me a pair of scissors and told me to cut the yarn as a representation of my cutting my heart free from my ex.

Through snipping this yarn, the Holy Spirit would set me free and disconnect us. Although I was told my heart was forever damaged and would be messy and incomplete because of my transgressions.

I remember getting into my raggedy blue Saturn and wondering… “Would cutting the yarn really do it? Should I feel different now? 

And for that matter, would this painful breakup be easier if we hadn’t… “gone there?”

I turned it all over in my head for months, like you do when you’ve been dumped. I took to rollerblading around my parents neighborhood while I listened to Dashboard Confessional on my disc-man.

Was it true that I had superglued my heart to his, never to be whole again?  Had I robbed my future husband of something special? Was I forever demoted because I proved true the age old cliché of “looking for love in all the wrong places?”

The more I rolled around the neighborhood, the more I realized that I hadn’t had sex with this guy out of love, or even for physical pleasure.

I’d done it because I needed to believe that someone had wanted me completely, just as I was.

you see, my problems went far deeper than my lost virginity. I had an incredibly screwed up sense of who I was… and whose I was… and what I was doing with my life.

I thought that I needed to belong to a man to feel complete and that belief was far more damaging than my sexual mistakes would ever be.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking through all the clumsy, awkward steps that led me to ultimately “losing it.” All those concessions I made, one by one that ended with me tucking my purity ring in my jewelry box and hoping my Dad wouldn’t notice its absence on my ring finger.

If all the girls I’ve ever mentored as a youth worker were sitting across from me and I could tell them one thing about their sexuality, what would I say?

They’ve heard thousands of words from hundreds of sources, what would I add?

It’s this: Your worth cannot be found or taken from you through sex.

You were created for a big, bold beautiful purpose. If you go have sex to feel better about who you are, you will only be taking steps backward.

I would tell them that I regret having sex before marriage, but that I regret all the years that I lost believing that I was worthless even more.

I regret looking for my worth in sex, because it only ever left me emptier.

I would tell them that if they’ve already had sex, God loves them and values them just as highly as he would if they had their “v-cards” in tact. I would let them know that they can still have a healthy, joy-filled, passionate, sexy and intimate marriage someday.

I would remind them that even though the church world seems to see sexual sin as weightier or dirtier than the rest, that God sees it all the same. And that he loves the virgins and the non virgins equally.

That he’s close to the broken hearted, even the ones who didn’t wait.

Then I would tell their parents that when it comes to “the sex talk” that they should spend most of their time teaching their children who they are and who they belong to. Because kids who value themselves and have a solid send of self worth are less likely to go looking for it in all the wrong places, Like in the backseat of their cars.

And then I would go home and kiss my husband and cry a little. Because there is nothing easy about this jumbled mess of human sexuality. I would lay my head on the pillow and thank God for infusing my journey with so much grace… for leading me to this place, this day, these words.

Posted in Beautiful Scars, Grace, My life, redemption, seasons of life, thankfulness | 13 Comments

What I’m into (This January Edition)

me heart Well would you look at that?  January is coming to a close and my friend Leigh Kramer is calling for a another “What I’m into” linkup.  Let’s check in, shall we?

As you can see on the left there, I really like my new denim shirt.  I was so skeptical about this trend coming back because for a while they were so tacky. Yet,  I’m consistently reassured that I don’t look like a goober when I wear it.

 

Month in [Super Brief] Review:  

On the 6th I turned 31 and then 4 days later Caedmon turned 2.  Then the rest of the month was spent in doctor’s offices or hospitals.  That’s pretty much our January, birthdays and hospital visits (or recovering from them)

In between all that nonsense, I’ve been taking a hard look at what works for us around here and what doesn’t.  As I figure that out I’ll be making changes accordingly.  It’s all about systems for me and figuring out that discipline really does set you free in the end.

PicMonkey Collage1

Best Moments of the Month: 

Every time Noelle sings “Soft Kitty” (Big Bang Theory Style) to the cat I laugh and feel like a friggin awesome mom.

And then there was the time time when Caedmon almost vacuumed Noelle up.

And one of my favorite nights of January was my very belated birthday night-out with the amazing Joely O and Hannah H, complete with conspiracy theories, cake balls and fondue.  You just can’t top that people.

Also, Kel is teaching Caedmon to vacuum the carpet, I raise good boys

PicMonkey Collageq3 Great Reads & Word Discoveries 

This Month I finished two Novels (you will see these numbers go up throughout year):

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty which was a light, fun read that made me really appreciate my marriage.  Although I don’t think you have to be married to enjoy it.

The Tiger’s Wife (nearly done!) by Téa Obrecht: This is a somewhat gray and mysterious read which incorporates an somewhat complex plot line with several rich and ever developing story lines.  Overall a good read, unless something changes in the last 30 pages.  Which it very well could… then I will change this review.

In the Non-Fiction world I read Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood (Fay) and it gave me instant tools for my parenting toolbox…. In fact I’ll be blogging about this more.   I recommend this one if you have kids under the age of six, I am loving the concepts of Love and Logic parenting.

On the TV Screen

I started the New Year by watching the Christmas Special of Downton Abbey, Bad IDEA! I almost needed to call a therapist but…  I still don’t want to talk about it.  I’m going to need to be held when the next season starts.  I’m so invested.

Finally caught up on How I Met Your Mother, and was blown away by “The Robin” play. Go Barney Go!  Although, if that one doesn’t go all the way I’m gonna be mad.  And when, Oh Lord, when will meet Ted’s wife?  (this toe tap is directed at you CBS)

Also been watching Once Upon a Time (old news, but I want Pinocchio back!) and I have started watching Call the Midwife (starting slow, but over good)

Favorite Bites

So you guys, we’ve started eating Paleo over the past few months and the fare coming out of out kitchen looks so different these days.

This all started with Noelle’s need to go gluten and dye free and then progressed with of help from google and my dear sweet friend Anne Bogel.  Now we don’t really eat grains anymore (with the exception of the occasional corn tortilla) which sounds crazy but it seems to be the right choice for us.

photo copy 9 My favorite recipes this month have been: This Beef Stew (with wine instead of beef) and bacon wrapped dates.  Also I invented the most delicious walnut date dip / spread in the world and started a riot at our lifegroup.

This month cannot be concluded without telling you about the best snack in the world:  Take a Banana, Smear it in almond or peanut butter and sprinkle it with coconut…sit down and eat it slowly… it will be gone before you want it to, I promise.

On my Crochet hook

This month I’ve been making tiny hats for little baby heads.  Seriously I get giddy over covering up those fuzzy newborn heads.  If you don’t believe me, have a baby, I’ll probably send you a hat.  (although this is NOT a good enough reason to have a baby)

I also worked on some rag rugs and infinity scarves.  I love the zen time of the day when I’m watching TV and yarn-ing.  They’re my peanut butter and bananas.

PicMonkey Collage-yarn

On the Blog

I started out the month writing about my word for the year which is Faith, this has already been making an impact on my soul and we’re only a month in.

I spent a week having virtual coffee dates with students from my Alma Mater, Kuyper College. It was ridiculously humbling and excited to read their questions and suss through them in my heart.

The most popular mosts of the month (in case you missed out) were

Will you Pray? (8 things I’ve learned to ask for when asked to pray) and

Caedmon’s Surgery or God be with the mommas at the Children’s Hospital

Random Lovin

photo copy 8 My husband Kel and I collaborated on this new end table for our living room, which is constructed from an old cupboard door and 4 antique banisters.

Don’t worry I made sure to sand and lacquer it to seal in the lead paint.  But, if you come over, don’t gnaw on it!

This is now my favorite corner of the house.  We are plotting a ridiculously large ottoman this month, prepare yourself.

Also, I’m loving loose leaf Rooibos tea, seriously I’m doing a least two mugs a day right now.

I’ve started listening to Florence and the Machine and whenever I catch myself singing “Shake it out” Caedmon runs over and helps me, Cut it out that kid is adorable.

So now it’s your turn, what are you loving?  What are you into?  This blog thing is a give and take people, speak up.  

Posted in book review, What I'm Into | 4 Comments

The one where I give up storm chasing

Storm

Back in his college days my husband helped his best friend Andy storm chase across the state of Oklahoma. Andy was a meteorology student and so clouds, their colors, their movement, were his obsession, his favorite art form.  Like any good Oklahoma chaser, he pursued mostly Tornadic cells, waiting to see the hooks and churning that indicated a funnel cloud may touch down.

Kel was a bit more level headed and stayed home on his computer to help Andy avoid getting sucked up into the sky.  Storm chasing is a serious business here in Oklahoma and if you’ve seen the movie Twister, they tell me it’s not too far fetched.  I wouldn’t know, when the weather gets insane I stay on the couch.

Kel heads out to the back porch to check things out, this is typical Okie behavior by the way, when the weather gets crazy, the crazy go outside.  Native Okies = Crazy

I love to using storms as a metaphor for the difficult seasons in our life, I’m not alone in this. Something about the dark, swirling clouds and the ear splitting thunder soulfully resonates with our human experience.

There are two sorts of storms that roll across our lives, both painful, both hard, yet quite different.   Continue reading

Posted in bravery, everyday life, faith, journey, seasons of life, trust | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Groundhogs Day (for when you wanna drive off a cliff)

Yup, life's like that.

Yup, life’s like that.

My amazing friend Hannah (read more about her at the bottom!) says that lately everyday of her life feels like Groundhog Day.  You know the movie where Bill Murray wakes up and does the same thing all over again, and again, and again, until he drives off a cliff?

 

Because if we’re honest, that’s what life feels like sometimes.  It feels like we’re making great efforts all day long only to fall asleep exhausted wondering if we’re making any this busyness is going anywhere at all.  And then… we get up and do it all over away.

(so put your little hand in mine….)

I wipe the same table so often it makes my head hurt.
I load the same dishwasher while saying the same things as I shoo the same kids out of the bottom rack.
I coerce my children to pick up the same toys off the same living room floor.
I cook meals that seem the same in the same pots at the same times.

And a lot of days I wonder about the smallness of my life, I know that in the grand scheme it amounts to so much but some days it feels like I’m stuck.

The other day I caught myself telling a friend that writing has been hard lately because I’ve exhausted all the inspiration I can find within these four walls.  I commented about how I needed to get out more and have some new experiences to stir up the creative juices.

And while new experiences, vacations and escapes are good, needed sometimes, I don’t think they’re the solution as often as we think.  So often when things are falling apart we think that we need to get away to fix things or find what we’re looking for.   Continue reading

Posted in balance, connection, everyday life, family, motherhood, patience | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sudden Cemetery Wondering

photo copy 7 Some people think of this as a grief blog, and sometimes it is.

That’s because I believe in grieving, it’s for read, a long road that must be traversed and not ignored.

I’m thankful to be a part of people’s grief journey and lately I’ve been wondering how I can best do that.

Should I do a grief related post, once a week?  Because it’s not the only reason I write now but it IS a big part of the reason I started writing.

So I guess I could do a day week devoted to grieving.  I could ask other writers to chime in, If you’re a regular here, what are you thoughts?

For today though, it’s a grief related day…

For past month I’ve found myself thinking on the same question: Why do we go to the cemetery?  

This thought process started when we were in Michigan for Christmas.  I was out running some errands for my family (by myself!) and I found myself driving down the street that houses the cemetery where all my family is buried.

As I wound down the street I felt a sudden, pressing need to visit my parent’s gravesite. Continue reading

Posted in greiving, hard questions, heaven, My life | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Water, Wash, Sanitize, Repeat. The motto of the sick house mama.

317955_522932647757_1296263072_n You Guys, what a week already!  And it’s only Wednesday for crying out loud…

Yesterday our 2 year old Caedmon landed in the hospital with the flu and febrile seizures.  I can say with absolute certainty that driving my seizing son to the hospital was one of the scariest and most intense moments of my life.

I felt so helpless and strong all at the same time, which makes no sense except for the fact that it does…

He’s doing a lot better now, no more seizures and the high fevers are thankfully just a memory.  In case you’re counting, thats three hospital visits in the last month, two in the ER and one surgery.

To say I have a new appreciation for my son would be a profound understatement.  If I get the flu it’s because I compulsively kiss those cheeks, all. the. time.

So now we have the flu and we’re passing it around, one by one.  Kel went down today and I’m not feeling 100% but as the mama, I must stay strong.  If you’ve never been the mom of a sick house, I’ll fill you in on the job description,

It’s basically: Water, Wash, Sanitize… repeat. Continue reading

Posted in family, motherhood, seasons of life, thankfulness | Tagged , | 3 Comments