good days and bad days

who is the ant? I AM THE ANT.

this week’s long run bullied me.  it kicked me down, spat in my face, slammed my name all over the place.  the 8 mile run took my lunch money and made me cry like a girl.  just like a bully– it lured me into a false sense of security before it lowered the boom.

i had a great front half and was feeling kinda special.  i stayed with my homeskillets for most of the first 4 miles and saw my regular bunch of characters while i was running.

can't look.....

the nearly nude was on the trail–  and he had a friend (who was also rocking the man boobs).  i want to say, “bravo to them”–  for being secure enough to run shirtless.  but, i have to confess– my eyes don’t know where to look and i get very uncomfortable.   so, the holla-fest running squad does not give shout-outs to nearly nudes.  (clearly–  i have issues with nudity i need to address)

i also saw my very favorite couple on the trail.  they hold hands and walk at a very leisurely pace, but they’re all decked out in sports gear–  like any minute may be THE MINUTE to start running.   they smile and raise the roof right back at me every time i see them.  they make me smile.

and, i made contact with one group of runners i’ve been encouraging for a while.   we gave each other hollas and fist pumps– and, as they passed me, the lead runner asked, “what IS your name?”

so.  i was feeling PRETTY GOOD as i entered in to mile 5.  i was super-sassy– throwing out little dance moves while listening to “body movin” by the beastie boys.  then it turned ugly.

holy cow!!!

my body started actin’ a fool–  my right knee started grumbling .   each step brought a stabbing pain– and, it stopped me cold (bright side– i think i’ve finally conquered the blisters) .

the 8 mile “run”  became a tough reminder–  life’s highs can be quickly followed by lows.

and just like in life– with the pain comes unavoidable truth.

i was gonna have a loooooong walk back to the car.

key to life

since choosing to run–  the word “choice” has been bouncing around in my head– during the 3 mile limp home, the word kept gnawing at me.

i choose to get up and meet my wonderful homeskillet.  i choose to face the long run.  i choose to finish the goal– a half marathon.

WHY??  WHY??  WHY??

this is not easy.  this is not fun.  all i’ll get at the end is a t-shirt.

so, why do i choose to drag myself out of bed to face a pain fest?

because there’s freedom in choice.  there’s direction in choice.  there’s consequence in choice.  this makes me think of the boo bah.

her choice has cut her freedom,  forced her into a certain direction– she’s facing the consequences of one choice.  i REALLY miss my sister.

for those who don’t know– my sweet sister is serving a 2 year prison sentence for a drunk driving accident she caused last september. thankfully, no one was killed– but she and the two people in the other vehicle (amanda and matthew) sustained serious injuries.

i think about erin, amanda, and matthew a lot on saturday mornings.  i’m so grateful God spared all three of them and allowed all of the families more time to love them and just be with them.

i think about how her choice to drive drunk changed them all for the rest of their lives.  i think about how i just want to hang out with boo bah and give her a big hug. i think about how life is a mash-up of one mess right after another–   and moments of rest, peace, and joy are true gifts not to be taken lightly.

go directly to jail-- do not collect $200

i also think about how EVERY song on my mp3 player reminds me of prison some how. there’s kelly clarkson’s “break away” — might as well be singin’ about a prison break,  christina aguilera’s “genie in a bottle” — just re-title that one “boobah in a jail cell”, and rod stewart’s mega-hit “if you think i’m sexy”– well,  let’s face it– rod should have been incarcerated for that skintight body suit he sported in the late ’70’s.  that look makes the nearly nudes seem prudish.

my mind is a weird place, peeps. but boo bah would understand.

because boo bah made a bad choice–  i’m left missing her, praying for her, and looking toward the day we’ll be back together to share our strange view of the world.

anyway.

these are heavy thoughts to have early in the morning time.

before coffee.

this saturday morning–  the combination of missing erin and the job of running 8 miles became too much.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

i hit an emotional wall.

the pain, the sadness,  plus the walk– made me a little cranky.

SURPRISE! i get cranky.

in fact– i battled crankiness for 3 miles.

but,  i still tried to give an encouraging word to the other runners on the trail.

i threw out REALLY LAME ooo OOO’s and some SAD hollas.

it was easier to not dwell on the pain, on the sadness–   when i focused on others.

i think when the trail gets hard i have yet another choice to make.   i can choose to let the crankanoodle attitude take hold or i can deny it access to my heart and mind–  my thoughts, my day, my life.

am i sad?  yes.  do i hurt?  yes.

will i let the cranky change me?

no.

my HOPE won’t let it.

i wish i could say i finished the run strong–  that the decision to NOT be cranky was enough to fuel a super-strong moment of triumph.   and, God pulled out a miracle–  filling the air with music from chariots of fire as a show of support.

that didn’t happen.

instead, i rounded the bend– to see three of the most supportive ‘skillets i know– cheering me on as i limped towards the finish.

waaaaaaahhhhh

the closer i got– the more emotional i became.

in short– i was limping, whimpering, and my face was in the ugly cry.

those sweet ‘skillets met me with water, aspirin, and offered a piggyback ride.

no judgment.  just grace and support.

when it was all done– my super-fit homeskillet said, “there are good days and bad days on the trail”.

how true.  how true.

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battling the blah blah monster

this frayed life

right now i am under attack– i am battling the blah blah monster.

unfortunately,  this isn’t the first time the monster has made an appearance.  usually when the battle begins it starts small–  like a well-loved blanket my life starts to feel slightly frayed around the edges.   i know the monster is messing with me because a few key strings (relationships) start to pull, feather, snag on the day-in/day-out routine– misunderstanding and hurt feelings are the norm and i begin to lose energy.

no one enjoys a super sad 'skillet

that’s when i become one. sad. ‘skillet.

and, believe me– NO ONE enjoys a sad ‘skillet.

when i lose my joy (and my therapist can tell you, in great detail, about the times i have)– everyone suffers.  thing one and thing two fight more and battle for attention.  the hubs walks around like a kid who’s lost his favorite toy.  and i just exist– sucking oxygen and filling space.  i have nothing to offer and i become a shadow of what God made me to be.

thankfully, i’ve battled the blah blah monster enough to know how to win.

thankfully,  my previous battle scars remind me– i am uniquely made and able to take on any challenge the monster might throw at me.  the beauty of experience, pain, and conflict is–  i have WISDOM.

i know i can CHOOSE joy.  i know i can CHOOSE to participate in my life.   i know i can CHOOSE to sparkle despite the nagging voice in my head that SCREAMS at me to stop.

i ain't buyin' -- bad boy

see.  i finally figured it out.  the blah blah monster is just the part of me too afraid to make a choice–  too afraid to participate in God’s plan for my life.

so now when the attack comes–  i battle back with TRUTH.

i tell that blah blah bad boy to go sell sad somewhere else.

’cause this ‘skillet ain’t buyin’.

repping “the what”

i have cerebral palsy.

it’s a fact i’ve lived with all my life.

i’ve never wanted cerebral palsy to define me, and i’ve work really hard to not let it be the what that makes me who i am.  but, last week i made a woman REALLY, REALLY happy BECAUSE of the what.

this is seriously how fast my feet were moving. seriously.

i was at the ymca with my killer-fit ‘skillet and had just finished her treadmill class (by “finished” i mean i hung on to the panic bars  for  dear life a total of 27. 5 minutes of a 30 minute run).

so.  i was nursing blisters on my right “baby” foot (as i call it) and was explaining how i battle blisters all the time because i have cerebral palsy and can’t flex my right foot–  when this complete stranger looks at me SOOOOO happy and says, “AWWWWW, can i give you a hug??!!”

i thought okay—  if the lack of flex feels like a “hug moment” for you–  we can hug it out.

after the hug–  this young mom explained she has an 8-year-old son with mild cerebral palsy and she’s never met anyone like him.  she’s been around families and children with more severe cases, but no one like her little boy.  in that moment we connected.  i understood.  we talked about how the word “disabled”  wasn’t in our vocabulary, how he/i could do anything we wanted.

ouch. that hurt.

this is not how i’ve always felt inside.  there have been moments in my life i’ve been deeply wounded by people who have seen, pointed out, and judged me only by my physical limitations.  each time it happened i vowed to work harder to hide the thing that made me different.

but, after experiencing the joy and love of this stranger– i began to wonder how much i had grieved the Lord all these years by avoiding, covering up, or ignoring how special He made me.

i used to call it “my cerebral palsy”–  like i was the ONLY ONE on the planet made differently (i’m sooooooo self-centered like that).  when i was young(er)  i held on to the cerebral palsy and pushed it away all at the same time.  i’d think about how i was going to enter a room, hold things, and function as normally as possible in each situation BEFORE i was actually in it–  to overcompensate or distract from my physical differences.  this push/pull was exhausting and wreaked havoc on my self-worth and my identity as a whole.

but, i’ve gotten better– SOOOOOO much better.

i see God in me

and what’s made me better, more complete, is seeing myself through my God goggles.

my God goggles allow me to see Christ in me.  i truly believe He lives in me and anything good reflected in me or through me comes from Him.  slowly and faithfully, God’s love has stopped the tug-of-war in my heart and i can say i love everything God’s blessed me with– even cerebral palsy.

when i look in the mirror–  i can say, “i am awesome.  i am beautiful.  I TOTALLY ROCK.”

because i am saying that about my Lord and what He is accomplishing IN me– through a baby leg, a skinny, un-stretchy arm, and a defective hand.

that's right lil' girl!

can i get a great-big-madea, “hallelujer!!”

my whole life i’ve worked really hard to push past my physical limitations and keep my heart on display–  NOT cerebral palsy.

but,  a sweet, encouraging stranger showed me if i want to see God’s work in me– then for better or worse my whole life (the what included) must be the focus.

God blessed me with this body.   and, if  i feel it’s anything less than AWESOME–  i miss an opportunity to rep for the Lord. holla!!

this is only a test…

raise your hand! raise your hand -if you're sure..

this week has been a series of tests, and i feel i’m still waiting to see if i passed. i should feel confident, confident, dry and secure– sure– i should.  but i don’t.  not yet.

my little guy is full of life.  he’s loving, happy, silly, and unfocused at times.  he has trouble making eye contact and gets easily frustrated when he’s overstimulated.  he’s three and big for his age.  i’ve been approached by a well meaning individual and encouraged to get thing 2 evaluated.  evaluated for what — i have no idea.

(ain’t that a kick in the head, homeskillets?!)

what do i do?? cha cha cha!!

since that awesome encounter–  i’ve been on a wild goose chase waiting to hear life-changing news.   this journey started a few weeks back– and, the entire time i’ve been dancing the fear-filled cha-cha.

one moment–  stepping up — thinking,  “let it go! how dare this woman!”– the next moment–  stepping back — thinking, “but, what if there’s something that needs attention!  i can’t ignore it!”

yuck-filled thoughts= fearful homeskillet

each and every day i’ve gotten clear, tangible proof my fear is unfounded.  but, here i am.  still unsettled.  still jittery with worry.  two tests.  two positive, encouraging results.  numerous friends lifting us up in prayer and saying they SEE our family and have faith God has made our boy exactly right.  exactly who he should be.

so i ask, when is reassurance ENOUGH to move on?  how do i stop worrying.  i know at this point my fear is a huge insult to God.

( i picture Him with a thick, new york accent– godfather-style— saying things like “you’re breaking my heart, fredo”.  “leave the worry, take the cannoli.” )

so, why am i hanging on?  why am i not comforted by the fact that my baby boy is a normal 3 year old?  because if there’s nothing wrong–  if he’s “normal”  then maybe my guy is falling short because of me.  maybe i haven’t given him all he needs to succeed on his own.  maybe my limitations as a mom or my past bad choices have hindered my sweet boy’s present.  ouch. every action, choice, thought has a consequence– and, as a parent my stuff affects the innocent babies i’ve been blessed with.  ouch.

how do i say, “i’m sorry?”  how do i make it right?  how do i move forward without worry?

stop. drop the worry- yo.

i stop.

i stop trying to move through this alone  and confess my fears and doubt.

i pray.

“Lord.  i’m scared.  i’m afraid i’ve failed my son.  i love him so much and i love his sweet heart.  i don’t know if i’ve done enough, and i fear he’s missing something because of me.  i pray that you’ll give him ears to listen and focus his eyes on what is important, and true.  please cover all my missteps with Your grace and keep my feet moving forward– away from fear– towards rest and peace in You.”

sweet peace....

life. moments.

a few days ago i made a play list of songs that mean something to me.  the music i picked wasn’t the hippest– but, each song on the list puts me in a space.  a place in my heart, or in my past, or a place where God has taken me– to grow me and show me life is about RIGHT NOW.

too cool for school

one song on the list — STUCK IN A MOMENT– by the awesome mr. bono   takes me back to the first days of mommyhood.

i remember how broken i felt.  i was feeling stretched and invisible and used up.

i was a straight.up.mess.

this is a good day-- totally rockin' clothes

motherhood did not come naturally to me.  i kept wondering why people kept congratulating me– were they crazy? congratulations!  you are sleep deprived!  congratulations!  you have no clue what you’re doing!  congratulations!  you are totally responsible for another human being– good luck with that!

oh, and by the way.  life is NOT all about YOU!

i could not get over the dreams i’d had for myself–  the plans i was so sure would make me complete and happy.  this whole baby thing was not what i had in mind.  and, i was angry.  i was angry at myself for letting this happen to me.  i was a smart girl.  i knew the consequences of meeting the perfect guy–  falling in love– saying “yes”.  but, here i was.  career done.  just as it was getting started.

bam! life just got kicked up a notch

i was angry at my hubby– because let’s face it– i couldn’t have done this alone.  i was mad at him for loving me– wooing me– marrying me.

the first week was great.  then life totally threw me an emerill, “BAM”.   i’m pregnant–  a honeymoon baby.  really? really.

just call me fertile myrtle.

i remember running on a treadmill trying to regain my pre-marriage, pre-baby body (ha!) listening to bono sing,  “i never thought you were a fool… but, darling look at you… ooh… you gotta stand up straight… carry your own weight…  these tears are goin’ nowhere baby… you got yourself stuck in a moment and now you can’t get out of it.”

big, fat cry baby on a treadmill-- attractive

i literally started crying.  i was hanging on to the treadmill– staring at myself  in the mirror– and crying through this entire song.  WHAT WAS I DOING?

i was missing out on the first, sweet moments of being a mommy and wife because i wanted my life to stick  at 28.

i wanted to control my fate, my future, my path.  and, these were the first moments God began to whisper, “you’re mine.  your path is mine.  your future is mine.  your fate I decided long ago.  you’re mine.”

i didn’t understand what He was saying at first.  i struggled with leaving my career behind.  i struggled with a new baby,  with new responsibilities, with a new body.  (i know the body image thing may seem superficial, but i’m not too proud to admit i did not like what i saw in the mirror.  i pushed my hubby away because i did not feel attractive AT ALL.)

when God moves-- go with it

i was overwhelmed by each and every part of this new version of me– that’s when God began to move.  He closed down old relationships and brought in new ones with women brave enough to say they were not as great as they pretended to be.  He moved through my marriage and gave my hubs the strength to listen to my junk and not try to fix me.  my sweet iron skillet (he’s requested this nickname)  heard what i said and admitted he did not know what i needed–  he simply loved me through my stuff.  God also took away things i thought i needed to live– approval, security,  false idols that did nothing but distract me from realizing what life is really all about.

i realize now what the congratulations were for.  congratulations!  you’ll realize you can never make yourself happy through a career, pay check, or title!  congratulations!  you will not be able to fully rely on yourself to get through life! congratulations!  you’ll get to see God’s handprint on each and every day of your life from here on out.

the Lord gave me the huge honor of being a mom to not one baby boy– but two strapping jones boys.   thing 1 and thing 2 keep me grounded.  they humble me through my mistakes, show me grace despite my sins, and love me JUST BECAUSE .  the Lord has held me up during my on the job training with these wonderful guys.  i say,  “thank God!”–  for shaking up my life and sticking me in this moment and keeping my eyes wide open because i know this too shall pass.

between me and you

ain't no thang-- but a blog thang

since starting this little blog thang—  i’ve noticed something.

there’s a thin line between being hidden and being transparent.

the difference is simply between “me” and “you”.

hoping my heart is always open...

if i’m writing about my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings– with no agenda except to be KNOWN i hope i’ve stepped closer to being truly transparent–  and, living a life for no one but God .

unfortunately, being transparent when you have the luxury of a DELETE button can be a struggle– and,  like everything else in life it’s my choice.  i’ve found it’s easy to distance myself from my true life story just by using the  word “you” instead of “me”.

hoping to magnify my need for God

i am desperately seeking more love, peace, patience, kindness, forgiveness in my life every second of every day.   but, if i hide my struggles by saying things like, “your heart can only be as open as you let it… you need to forgive as you were forgiven… you need to be slow to anger” — well then, how much longer will i have to live with my hurt or pain just because i keep it in the dark?

when “you” finds it way into the story– an honest retelling of my struggles and joys turns into an empty sermon that preaches things i AM NOT living up to.  if i’m afraid to show how i fail, where i don’t measure up, or when i stumble–  how can God be revealed and work?  how can He lift me up?  keep me humble?  move me to change?

i really hope i’ll be brave enough to keep “you” out of my life.   and, my ramblings will reveal only God’s work in “me, myself, and i”.  i hope if  i expose my soft underbelly– my homeskillets will feel comfortable enough to be just as open with me–

true growth, true 'skillets = true life

because life is a WHOLE LOT BETTER with a few REAL ‘skillets.

i pray by sharing the good, the bad, and the silly of my life i am working towards true transparency and a closer relationship with God– but, ALWAYS staying a girl who likes to say, “HOLLA!!”


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mama needs a time out

i need time alone–  away from my kids, away from my hubs, away from my life.   if i don’t get time alone my brain becomes overloaded and i find myself shrinking– screaming for a break.

arrrrggghhhh!!!

it’s hard telling my boys (the big one and the two little ones) that sometimes i need to walk away (out) to breathe.  i know sometimes it hurts them–   and it’s hard for them to understand.  after all–  they just want to BE with me.  they’re left behind wondering, “what’s wrong with that/them?”

the answer is NOTHING is wrong with that or them.   the truth is–  i feel small and challenged and broken because of what they show me about myself.  my hubby and thing 1 &2 hold a mirror up–  and sometimes i don’t like what i see.  when i look at what i give them– i see not enough.  i see struggle.  i see selfishness– and, i get overwhelmed by the negative thoughts.

ahhhhhhhhhhh...........

so,  i choose to take a break– give myself a time-out — to catch my breath.  to remember who i AM.  i am a woman trying her best–  seeking truth–  and i am not perfect.  i never will be.  when it’s quiet–  i’m okay with this.  when it’s still–  i know i’m a work in progress.   i can forgive myself  for stumbling through motherhood.  i can be thankful for my hubby and see his unconditional love for me– even when i mess up.  i can remember that i am more than the culmination of my stumbles and mistakes .

i need time alone to stop beating myself up– to sift the lies from the truth.  in the end i know i’m the only one that can BE me (air guitar- rockin’, cupcake-filled, edward-lovin’ me)– and, being me isn’t that bad homeskillets.   i LIKE myself– sometimes i just need a time-out to remember why.