Hope

Hope during chaos
Focus in place of distraction
Courage under fire
Composure is required
Anger won’t bring satisfaction

Be open
Be brave
Be hope’s slave
And ride high on this blue wave


Hope requires faith
Faith is now accepting questions
Peace is an option

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Ford Ahead

I just want to write briefly about the hearing yesterday.

CB Ford gave her testimony yesterday. She was terrified. I would be, too. Not to speak in front of people. She does that every day as a professor. To speak about trauma. To speak about PTSD, anxiety, the assault and to be humiliated all over again by having to relive the attack. With her alleged attacker nearby.

Terrifying.

And the nation was listening.

I cried and trembled yesterday. Not much. Not crazy sobs of compassion, just small little tremors. Mostly moved at her quiet bravery. Strength. Composure.

I heard her tiny voice. Stuck at age 15. It’s not unusual to be stuck vocally at an immature age for victims of sexual violence. Meek. Restrained. Congenial. Apologetic. Deferential.

You don’t have to apologize, Christine. Or be concerned about anyone else’s comfort. You’ve worried about that for far too long! Thank you. Many women will benefit from your authenticity. Thank you for showing us class, candor, courage. Transparency. Something we want from our SCOTUS nominees.

We believe you. And your tiny voice will topple the tallest towers.

You, at least, deserve what any victim does–an investigation.

From 2015: So You Got a Little Damp

BB–before blog πŸ™‚


so, i’m standing outside in the rain this morning, waiting for the bus with Lil. we only have one umbrella. so i give it to her. i can get wet, but if she got soaked, she’d be miserable all day. at least i can come in and dry off. it’s cold and a little breezy, but not too bad. it was chilly, but if just a tad warmer, not at all terrible. it made me think of when i was somewhere between the age of 5-8. for the life of me, i can’t remember how old i was. but it was an experience i would never forget.

it’s raining outside and my sister and i come up with a great idea. let’s put on our bathing suits and go stand in the rain on the porch. what would mom say? OMG! she said yes. what?? so we put on our bathing suits and we go outside. all i can see is about 3 feet in front of me. it’s raining hard. no lightning and it’s quite warm. a warm summer soaker. it’s so hard to see. so we start pretending that we are waterskiers on the back of a boat and hold on for dear life. i think we even had a rope that we tied around the railing of the deck and that was our tow rope. we leaned back and ski’d like pros. i even had the sensation of bobbing up and down on the water, making jumps and doing tricks. what a powerful experience. my sister and i squealed and frolicked in the downpour and literally danced in the rain. i didn’t worry about getting hurt, i just enjoyed the rare delight of getting completely wet on purpose.

well, as adults we lose that ability to enjoy the storm. we think about our things that get wet, our basements, our stuff, our cars. we think about that leaky roof that we want to hold for one more storm. we think about how the storm might damage our flowers and plants. we wonder if the wind and rain will claim our possessions, houses, lives even, if it gets really bad. we wonder if the power will go out and if we will be left in darkness. we fear the thunder and lightning because we don’t know what will come. i can’t think of a time as an adult that i enjoyed the actual storm. maybe if i was inside, under a blanket and the rain was light. but i would never willingly stand in the rain.

i did get caught in the rain with my husband on the huzzah (pronounced hoo-za) river one year, in a canoe. it hailed on us and lightning all around. hail. and we were in a metal canoe. with lightning. i was scared to death and all i could think was to paddle like hell. we made great time after the hail started. never paddled so hard in my life. Guy was humming “Ride of the Valkyries” from the back. for a minute, even while paddling, i thought, “maybe we should stop.” but where was there to go to escape the rain? the banks were small, no trees really, no shelter. the people on the sides of the river were being rained/hailed on just the same. might as well keep going. just keep paddling. we’ll make it through or die trying. i’d rather be struck by lightning trying to get to where i need to go instead of waiting around on the side of a river and be struck by lightning. we were the very last team among our friends to make it to the end. worst experience canoeing ever. ever. many mishaps on the river that year. but we made it through and i can laugh about it now. at least we had a boat to float it out! and a dry ride back to camp.

but this morning i stood in the rain. and it wasn’t so bad. i can get wet and it’ll be okay. this is life. with God. he’s my umbrella. and while i may not dance around like i did when i was a child, i can still smile through the storm and know, it’ll be over soon and He’s got this. I don’t have to worry or be afraid. there will always be storms. there will always be rain. it makes things grow. like me. be thankful for the rain and don’t worry.

James 1:2-3
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

boy, does it.


If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Winston Churchill

Born Naked

Born naked
And die alone
Those two things
Done all on your own

No hand toΒ  hold
No face to trust
Simply do and die
Two things we must

So if we’re assured
Of only two things
Bloody birth
And a pair of angel’s wings

Why not try
In every single way
To pull down dreams
And author our play

Why live in fear
Be brave, hold fast
If you leave it for tomorrow
Today won’t last

Being born and dying
Are already done
What comes between
Is the race to run

Keep running.

Me-rror

I catch my reflection
In the shiny laptop screen.
I threw away the girl I was
In being just a teen.

Skin gone slack.
Life off track.
Stark and dark.
Taken aback.

But the eyes.
She’s still there.
The care and thought of
My singe-tinged stare.

And my smile.
Still turned.
In spite of all
The bridges I’ve burned.

You can’t stop the fire
And stomp in the ashes.
When you’re the one
Playing with matches.

Burnt to the ground,
My youth is gone.
Rising from what remains
Is the sun on the dawn.

Exuberance escapes
And with it my verve.
But age brings wisdom
And strong-willed nerve.

Do I have enough guts
To follow a dream?
When life is pulling
Apart at the seam.

So what if my chin
Is sagging a bit?
It’s not a question of beauty
But taking a hit.

Is that jaw strong?
Enough for a blow?
Sticking my neck out–
The only way to know.

So. I’m older. But bolder.
And I’ll just say thank you.
Age is a privelege
Achieved by so few.

Take Heart

Psalm 61:2 (NIV)
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

OR this version which is much cooler and grammatically correct (LOL):

GOD’S WORD Translation
From the ends of the earth, I call to you when I begin to lose heart. Lead me to the rock that is high above me.


So, like, bring me to a higher place, a higher ground. Right? High above me. Like, way up there! Pull me up!

But about losing heart. Losing nerve. Losing courage.

It’s hard to be brave when you’re playing chicken with job satisfaction and basic human needs. Right?

Justification upon justification says, “Pay the rent. Enjoy air-conditioning. Eat food.”

And Jesus said to the rich man, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.Mark 10:21

Gulp. He didn’t say anything about A/C and paying the rent.

But this was the rich man’s stumbling block. The thing that kept him from God. The one thing he wasn’t willing to do. Walk away from his most precious accomplishment. His most closely-held ideal.

Jesus knew that. He knew the man’s heart, the core of what drove this man every day–get money, things, wealth and power. And Jesus challenged that. Like he does!

The man was rich. You don’t wake up rich, I’ve tried. You have to really bust your hump to get it. You may even have to screw someone else to get ahead. In fact, most definitely.

The passage ends with sadness. The man is deeply sad because his eager heart is confronted by his unmotivated flesh. The account reads, “…the man’s face fell.”

So, his face was all “Yes! I love you Jesus! *SMILES* I’ll do anything for you, just tell me, ’cause I don’t know what to do with all this intention and I’m so excited by you!”

Jesus: Give it all up! Walk away from everything you hold dear. Be like me. Live on faith.

And then, his face was all “That’s the worst news I’ve ever gotten.”

I’ve been there.

This is hearing from Jesus:
To a porn addict: Just come on over to church when you get that whole porn-sex thing figured out.
To an overeater: Stop eating so much and I’ll see you over here!
To a gun collector: Yeah, sell all those things that make you feel safe and powerful and then follow me into a really bad neighborhood.

Uh. What?

Yeah.

I don’t think Jesus was telling the man do this or you can’t hang out. He was saying, “Oh, you want the answer? You won’t like it. It’s not easy!”

He was explaining. “The road I choose for you and the path you’re on don’t merge. Getting to my road isn’t going to be easy. It’s complicated. And you’re going to have to let go of everything that is materialistic. Can you do that? Are you still happy and eager?”

It’s like hearing about this job that you can have where all the best versions of life come true and you have everything you’ve ever wanted emotionally, financially and physically. But you have an hour commute. Or the job is on the other side of the world. The neighborhood is rough. Or there’s no neighborhood…on the other side of the world!

Have everything you ever wanted, but here’s the price: giving up everything that ever made you feel comfortable.

It’s like losing your heart. Losing the very thing that you thought made you tick, motivated you, drove you, inspired you. And you find out, all along, you were ticking to another machine. A greedy, oily machine that disgusts you. But you can’t live without it.


It’s much harder when you’re making decisions for 3 people and not just yourself. I’m married with one child. That’s a decision I made a long time ago and didn’t even have to think about. Yes! A thousand times, yes. Give me those choices, over and over, and I’d give the same answer–yes! Yes, to my husband. Yes, to my baby. Yes, to a lifetime of laughter, love and fulfillment.

But I have wandered this lonely planet for years in search of the right “job” for me. Because wife and mother doesn’t pay very well. πŸ˜‰ I would love to be a writer who gets paid to spit wisdom on paper. I would love to work from home doing graphic design, photography, acting, writing, creative stuff. But nobody pays you for that. Or if they do, it’s not enough to pay the bills.

I would actually love to serve a mission before I die and help others. Live in a hut. Roll around in the mud. Haul water. Build things. Take showers outdoors. Not take showers at all. Meet people. Love on people. Stinky people.

I know that comes with many challenges. Sickness, loss, difficult physical conditions. No luxury! And how can I choose that for 2 other people?

But if I know anything, those moments are the ones we live and die for, the ones where we feel most connected to other humans. We don’t clean and count our possessions. We see and touch and talk to other humans. What are we living for if not God’s people, each other, our neighbor?

Things are nice. Things are really nice. Comfortable. Secure. Reassuring. Downright luxurious. But I don’t think God created us to be comfortable. Right? Idk. Most of the time, following Christ has moved me out of my comfort zone. Which I hate. But what does a person accomplish in their comfort zone? Even internally?

I’ve never truly loved another person inside of my comfort zone. My husband regularly pushes me into Uncomfort Zone. Being a mom isn’t always comfortable. High rewards in both relationships, but I am often challenged to love without limits. But I don’t want to!

Loving cute little babies and sexy husbands is easy. It’s when they aren’t so attractive that makes it a challenge. “Hey, Babe, do this thing I know you hate just because I like it.” or “Hey, Mom, drop what you’re doing and come help me.” Sigh.

OR

My husband said to me the other day, “Triggered!” Which is our shorthand for, “Leave me alone, I can’t deal with your issue, get off my back! Back up off me, Bro!!” And I hollered back, “Me triggered!” And he just softened so much. His eyes changed to deep compassion and empathy for me. At the drop of two words. He was way outside his comfort zone and loved on me. That’s marriage. That’s being outside of your comfort zone and loving.

Dropping your life, your issue, your house, your car, your bills, your ego at the door and following Jesus. Loving without limits. Driving to the bad neighborhood and helping. ‘Cause where else do they need help except the bad neighborhood? Doing the crummiest jobs because who else is doing them?


I have a chance for a job and it’s everything I always wanted. High emotional satisfaction, working for a nonprofit that espouses Christian beliefs, helping poor people find housing, using my graphic design skills, photography and other creative talents. 100% health and dental benefits. But it’s in a different part of town. It’s a drive for sure. But exactly what I want. Probably very rewarding. But I haven’t been offered the job. I’m in the initial stages of interviewing.

BUT! I have a job offer on the table. Office work. Part-time. Nothing glamorous. Not really in my field. A little, but it’s mainly answering the phone, scheduling rides and data entry. Some social media perhaps.

What do I do? Hold out for the perfect job? Or take the first thing I can get? I feel confident that I will have a job before the end of this month or next. (Unless I become famous for blogging, retire early and eat coconuts. LOL) Do I wait? Do I take the okay job and then quit when offered the full-time dream career? The okay job made it clear, “People come in and then leave me in a lurch, and I just need someone who’s gonna stay.” In light of that very explicit detail, I don’t want to start and then bail when I get something better.

I have been out of the traditional job market for so long, I don’t know what to do. Ethically and idealistically, my gut says don’t take okay and wait. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer. But we need the dough. The perfect job isn’t so perfect either. There are drawbacks. But it’s my field of graphic design. I’ve waited so long to do what I went back to school for. Ugh.

What do I really want? What do I need to do for my family?


I’ll figure it out. But this is hard. Deep breath. Don’t spiral.

Take heart, be brave, find courage. Follow Jesus. Get dirty. Love without limits today. It’s just that easy!

LOL No. It’s hard.

But try it! It’s like climbing a rock. πŸ™‚

You can be lead to that rock.
But you have to decide to climb it.
But you don’t have to climb it alone.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than me!

 

This Might Break the Internet.

Deep breath. Go ahead. Laugh. Giggle. Look away. Throw up in your mouth a little. It’s okay. I get it. This is a very crazy picture. But I’m posting for myself. This is the most courageous, the bravest thing I have ever done and I know I’m being open, vulnerable and some would say reckless by posting this on the Internets. But–I have to post this. I know the people who love me will not misuse or harass me. And those who don’t love me, I couldn’t really give two sh!ts about what they think. So. THIS is the before pic. I covered all the bikini parts.

Today, I am 435 lbs. Almost 2 weeks ago, I was over 455. I wanted to take a pic before I lost any more weight. I’ve been on a high-protein diet and dropped about 20 lbs. very quickly. I’ve been here before. I was down to 412 on my own, but then my thyroid went full-on kamikaze and blew up with cancer. I gained back about 40 of the 100 lbs. I lost before my thyroidectomy. (I started at about 513 when I entered the hospital in 2012 for heart failure. See full health journey here.)

There is shame in that. I’ve wallowed in shame most of my life in big amounts and small amounts. For things inside of my control, and out. I don’t like this feeling of shame all the time. I’ve gained and lost hundreds of pounds and suffered with hypothyroidism for years. What I would like? To cast off that shame once and for all by doing things that scare me, doing things that take guts. Proverbial guts. πŸ™‚

Honestly, I posted this pic with all its flaws in full-out authenticity to the world and to myself (this photo has only been cropped) to show what I look like. When we see before pics, this is what we want to see, right? How bad was it? How big was that gut? How flabby were those arms?? Well, there’s no hiding in this photo. This is me. This is real.

This is 43 years of tragedy, abuse, obesity, bullying, birth-giving, overeating, thyroid-cancer-having, heart-clogging, sleep-apnea snoring. (Those saggy boobs fed a human being.) But this is also 43 years of never giving up on trying to level up and be the best possible person I can be. Never giving up on losing weight. Never giving up on being healthy! NeverEVER giving up on my dreams. I am the strongest person you’ll ever know and the fattest person you might ever see in their skivvies. Take a good, long look. I dare ya. If you look close enough?

You’ll see an excited smile for what’s about to come. My weight loss surgery is going to change my life. I’m ready for born-again salvation and transcendence in the celebration of new body and new mind. Deep breath!