Friday, December 31, 2010

2011... Part 1

I love January 1st.

It is, bar none, my favorite day of the year.

I love new beginnings. I love blank slates. I love a white canvas, waiting for color and life.

For Brandon and I, much of December is spent discussing the changes we wish to make in the following year. We look back at the past twelve (and sometimes twenty four) months and determine what we liked - and didn't like - about them. We weave our way through pleasant family memories. We stumble through recollections of arguments or difficult decisions.

2010 has been... easy. Compared to 2009, in which we moved to and from a strange land, redefining ourselves and our family, 2010 was simple.

We worked. We played. We settled into a new groove of American living.

And as we look into, and pray over, 2011... one passage of scripture keeps coming up...

Starting with 2 Corinthians 8:1...

(1-4) Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.

(10)So here's what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart's been in the right place all along. You've got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it.

(9:1-2)If I wrote any more on this relief offering for the poor Christians, I'd be repeating myself. I know you're on board and ready to go. I've been bragging about you all through Macedonia province, telling them, "Achaia province has been ready to go on this since last year." Your enthusiasm by now has spread to most of them.

(3-5)Now I'm sending the brothers to make sure you're ready, as I said you would be, so my bragging won't turn out to be just so much hot air. If some Macedonians and I happened to drop in on you and found you weren't prepared, we'd all be pretty red-faced—you and us—for acting so sure of ourselves. So to make sure there will be no slipup, I've recruited these brothers as an advance team to get you and your promised offering all ready before I get there. I want you to have all the time you need to make this offering in your own way. I don't want anything forced or hurried at the last minute.

(8) God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.

(12-15) Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they'll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!

More to come...

Saturday, December 11, 2010


My little bloggy world feels like a distant memory these days. I could complain about the sickness(es) we've been battling, the stress of basketball season when married to a coach, the endless meetings at my job, and the fact that my house can never stay clean for more than 2.3 seconds.

My life is very full right now. At this very moment, walking through my living room requires crossing a gauntlet of sofa cushions, stuffed animals, crushed cheerios, dress up clothes, and the occasional dirty sock.

The sounds of my house are those of little girls giggling, humming, pretending, and the occasional whining.

My husband is studiously grading papers and gathering up the necessary DVD entertainment for our upcoming trip to Athens, in between filling the alternating rolls of a giant, Prince Charming, and a puppy named "puffy."

The Christmas tree is lit. Last week's "sparkly" sugar cookies are almost gone. A few presents are wrapped (and re-wrapped) under the tree.

The truth is that the last few weeks have felt chaotic. I feel as though I'm behind on all my "should-be-doings" in life. We have battled some rather scary illness. I have felt a lot like a single mom as my superman teacher hubby coaches young boys in basketball and in life. Work has been busy with meeting after meeting in preparation for upcoming changes. And my house has been in a constant state of upheaval in the midst of it all.

But as I look back on the past few weeks, I think about how blessed I really am. We are all healthy and active, despite the sickness. My husband is busy doing what he loves, and what he is called to do - a fact that gives him confidence in himself and closeness to his God. The meetings at work are leading to a new system that will make my job easier in less than two months. And my house? The upheaval is caused by the same two little girls who curl up in my lap at night to snuggle into me while we read the Christmas story. They climb in my bed in the morning and make it so much easier for me to wake up. They tip toe around in their tutus and pajamas, stopping occasionally to hug my leg before they scamper off into their next adventure. The gauntlet that is my living room right now is the very evidence of life and imagination in my house.

I'm busy, yes. Sometimes stressed. Overwhelmed? Often.

But that is to be expected when one's life is full. Full to the brim.


In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
2 Corinthians 8:2

Friday, July 23, 2010

Just a reminder...

I am still here. I'm just not here here. I'm here. At least for a little while. Clear as mud?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On this American Holiday

One thing I don't talk about (very much) on this here little blog, is how much we miss Korea.

Because we do.

Miss it.

A lot.

It's funny how that is, isn't it? When we were there, we missed being here. When we are here, we miss being there.

I recognize that, ultimately, it's a longing for our True Home, but that doesn't change the fact that, occasionally, "homesickness" for Korea sinks in and takes hold.

We had a wonderful July 4th this year. Friends from Georgia came to visit. Friends from Tennessee invited us to hang out with them. All of us spread our blankets on the grass and watched the fireworks while listening to Lee Greenwood.

As much fun as we were having, I couldn't help but think of this special night on a rooftop in Korea.

So, in recognition of the wonderful life-changing experience we had in Korea, here is a list of things I miss about my Korean Home:

1.) I miss Easter. She became one of my dearest friends while I was there. She lived one floor above me and would come knock on my door once or twice a week so that we could have coffee and let our girls (who are close to the same age) play together. I miss her so. very. much.

2.) I miss the sound of the Korean language being spoken outside my window. We lived right next to a very vibrant, busy church. There were always deacons and cooks and pastors and elders and samonims and children walking by our apartment, talking and laughing and heading to whatever class or service they attend. I miss hearing that sound.

3.) I miss the physical contact. I never (NEVER!) thought I would be saying that. In the church, at the store, on the subway, Korean people simply don't have the "personal bubble" concept we American's do. There were times that this REALLY annoyed me. But when we arrived in the states, I remember going to sleep at night and feeling so isolated. So alone. It was then that I realized - with the exception of my husband and children - I can go days and WEEKS in America without touching another human being. No wonder I felt/feel so disconnected sometimes.

4.) I miss our apartment. The heated wooden floors. The all-tile bathroom. The huge sliding windows. The deep kitchen sink. The little laundry room (my favorite room of the house) that looked out over a rice patty and the skyline of the city. Chloe's princess bedroom. Maple's dragonfly baby room who's wallpaper reminded me every single day of how much the Samonims cared for me. The smell of food cooking in the hallways.

5.) I miss the mommy-baby room at the church. For church services, all of the mommies with small children would go to one room. We would sit and chat or sing or listen to the sermon, while our children would laugh and play and share snacks.

There are so many other thing I could mention here - like gimbap, and the little garden behind the church, and small children with big brown eyes, and elderly women who coo at my babies, and ice cream after church, and the silouette of the mountains behind our home, and the peace of staying home with my girls all day.

Many things we miss. Many people we miss.

So on this American holiday, as we celebrate the blessing that is our great nation, I give a nod and a "thank you" to our other home.

Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, "The LORD will surely exclude me from his people."
Isaiah 56:3

And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant- these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."
Isaiah 56:6-7

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:8-10

Friday, July 2, 2010

A(nother) New Blog!

Ok, so here's the deal. I'm on this whole "healthy lifestyle" kick right now. I'm working out every morning. Slowly but surely cutting back my calories.

Slow and steady, folks. Slow and steady.

And because it's all new and exciting, it's pretty much all I think about (narcissistic much?).

So, instead of turning my beloved blog space into a "guess how many calories I ate today?" black hole, I decided to start another blog over here.

But before you click over there, let me give you my list of warnings (if you read them fast, like the guy at the end of drug commercials, they might be more enjoyable/bearable):

1.) Shrinking120is a place for me to talk about weight loss, healthy food, exercise, mood-altering drugs and any other random topic that happens to pop into my mind during my 6am workout. (Oh, you'd be surprised how many topics are popping that early in the morning.)

2.) It's probably boring to read.

3.) I'm ok with that.

4.) I promise to update it as often as I update my12hats.

5.) I'm glad you find that humorous. I'll pause while the laughter subsides...

6.) Side effects may include: nausea, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, x-ray vision, and the ability to leap small children in a single bound.

7.) Contact your doctor if you feel the need to throw your computer across the room.

8.) Contact your spouse if you feel the need to throw your cat across the room.

9.) Not recommended for anyone who suffers from short-sightedness or who listens to music by any member of the Cyrus family.

10.) Results may vary.

Anyways, check it out:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Review: The Noticer

I review for BookSneeze

So I realize I'm a bit behind the times in reviewing The Noticer(especially since I received my copy from Thomas Nelson last year).

Still, better late than never, right?

The Noticer, by Andy Andrews, is about an elderly gentleman who appears on the scene at the opportune moment and disperses just-in-time wisdom to individuals in crisis.

Ok... can I just be honest here? This book was a nice read. Nice. That's how I would describe it.

It wasn't rivetting. It didn't reveal untold wisdom. It certainly didn't present many original ideas.

For most of the book, I felt as if I were reading a conglomeration of several recent catch-phrases and pop-sermon series that have appeared on the Christian scene in the past 10 years.

At one point, I even said out loud, "I swear I just read that in The 5 Love Languages."

All in all, it was nice. A nice read.

As for a recommendations? I would say...Take it to the beach. Chillax with it in the hammock. Leave it on the back of the toilet. But don't expect it to change your life.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Second Time Around

There was a time in my life when the biggest thing I dreamed of - the thing I believed for and prayed for and invested all my time in - was a house. A big white house with Charleston green shutters, a red front door, green gables, and a wrap-around front porch. I had dreams about this house. I knew that I knew that I knew that this house was destined for me and I for it. I figured the reason the "Lord" had put this desire in my heart was because of my gracious hostessing skills (ha!)and because He had some fabulous home ministry planned for us. I believed this statement so much that I was absolutely convinced the Lord was going to give me my house. Not "provide a mode of payment" or "supply an excellent mortgage rate." No, I believed the Lord was going to flat-out give it to me. I was certain that I would come home one day to find a deed in my mailbox. Seriously, y'all.

My husband wasn't quite this dramatic, but he too desired a house like this one. Even as a teenager, when I asked him what he wanted for his life, he responded, "I want a wife and a family and a home (with a swimming pool) where our children can grow."

But in the past year (more accurately in the past six months), the Lord has done some work in our hearts.

It has been a long time since I stopped believing for that house. It wasn't a big, dramatic event. I didn't decide one day that God wasn't going to do it and so I should just give up on praying for it. No, what has happened has been more gradual, more grueling, more (I believe) eternal.

The "American Dream" that we have always wanted has been replaced by a different kind of dream. Bigger houses and nicer cars and well-paying jobs suddenly seem insignificant.

I don't know what that means for us. I don't know where this new world-view will take us. What I do know is this... I don't want what I want anymore. As I look back over the past 6 years (since Hubby and I have been married), the Lord has systematically given us everything we have asked for (in one form or another), and what we have discovered is this: the things we want - the things we have spent time and energy and prayers and faith and money and our life trying to achieve - they are vapors. Paper. Bricks and mortar. They don't last, and they often disappoint.

So now? Our goal is to get away from them. Proverbs says "The borrower is a slave to the lender," and boy don't we know it. Because of the debt that we have accrued, our time and money do not belong to us and therefore cannot be committed to God or His Kingdom. So, for now, we give Him what is His (the tithe of our money and time) and we bust our booties to buy our freedom. Because this time, freedom will look different. It won't look like houses and cars and nicer clothes.

It will look like surrender.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On blogging....

Blogs are such a strange thing. I mean, really.

Writing, in general, is difficult. It's taking what's inside - be it gut-wrenching pain or gut-splitting humor - yanking it out of its "safe place," and allowing it to flow through our fingers onto a page.

Several emotions present themselves through that process.

Sometimes the emotion is one of inadequacy. Sometimes there are not words to describe the whirlwind that's happening on the inside. Sometimes there are words, but we are not allowed to use them in Christian circles. Sometimes when the words finally do come, they are incomplete, empty, a black-and-white cartoon of the masterpiece in our souls. They are, inadequate.

Sometimes the emotion is fear. Sometimes the words are too adequate, too accurate, too real. The deepest parts of the soul are exposed for the world to see and judge. To accept or reject. To adore or ignore. In the moment we decide to publish - be it on a little blog page or in a master novel - longings and hurts and happiness and fulfilment are placed in the hands of a total stranger, and we learn if we are truly alone.

Sometimes the emotion is akin to freedom. Sometimes writing releases that thing that has been hiding from the world, and hiding us from the world. Sometimes it heals us to know that the secret is no longer ours to bear. The shame and fear of someone discovering us no longer binds or hinders. The light is cast in the shadows, and there is no more crouching or skulking, clothed in our trench coat of isolation.

Then sometimes... sometimes the emotion is faith. Only it feels less like emotion and more like action. Even obedience. Sometimes we write when we have no way to predict the outcome. Sometimes we expose our soul for no other reason than we feel like it's what we are supposed to do.

That's where I'm at right now.

It's not pretty, y'all.

A Link I REALLY Hope You'll Click....

I'm pretty sure I have linked to this before.

But in case I haven't, you seriously HAVE to read it.

Because of where I'm at right now, the Lord has had me reading this article by Jonathon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like) every single morning.

It hurts my heart, and it convicts me. Ugh.

Friday, May 28, 2010

So here's the deal...

I have several blogs floating around in the space between my ears, but they're all pretty intense.

Usually, after hard-core posts (like the past couple posts), I like to throw in a little comic relief.

But the comedian has left the building.

So... what would y'all like? A little more intensity soon? Or a little comedy later?

Your choice.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My closest friend (part 2)

I hope that it's painfully obvious that I don't actually talk to my friends like that.

But that is the way the Lord chose to reveal this sin to me. Because that's what it is. Sin.

I tried to sugar coat it. I tried to tell Him that I'm just giving myself a realistic self-image. I'm not depressed. I'm not unhappy. I'm fairly confident but, Lord, do YOU see my thighs? And do YOU see the numbers on the scale? I'm just being honest when I say that I'm lazy and I did this to myself.

That's when He replied: "Don't talk about my friend like that."


I'm not alone in this, right? I think we women are especially prone to being harder on ourselves than on anyone else.

We would never scream at our best friend for gaining two pounds.

We would never deny our child breakfast because she had dessert with dinner last night.

We would never demean someone or make them feel like a failure because they made a mistake.

We encourage. We uplift. We even tell little white lies so that people feel good about themselves. We love. We forgive. We overlook. We forget.

As women, we have the profound ability to look past someone's imperfections, to see beyond their outward appearance, to search deep into their hearts, and to find a reason to love them despite their apparent flaws. We hear about it all the time in cases of abused women. We listen to their story in disbelief as they answer the question, "Why did you stay?"

Because I love him.

Because when he isn't drunk, he really is a good man.

Because he never hurt the kids.

Because he promised me he would change.

We sit back and judge their reasoning. But is it really so unbelievable? Is it really that difficult to understand their need, their desire, to see past the flaws and love the person underneath?

We women love hard. God has given us the rare ability to love our husbands, our children, and each other with a love that goes far beyond a fleeting, wimpy love. It's a love that pierces through the outside shells and sinks into the soft, god-like part in the middle.

But when it comes to ourselves, we can't get past the cottage cheese thighs.

Women can forgive the most heinous of crimes against our soul. Rejection. Abandonment. Neglect.

But we can't forgive ourselves for eating that potato chip last night.

We look at those who suffer from anger, and see abuse from their past. We look at those who run from relationships, and we see the abandonment with which they still wrestle. We look at those who work too hard, drink too much, or care too little... and we see who they are beneath all the crap that the world has laid upon them.

But when we look at ourselves, we see failure and lack of discipline. We see the enemy.

But I'm done with that. It's disgusting. It's unfair. It's a self-inflicted nightmare that I refuse to give into.

Because He created me. He loves me. He is my friend.

And I won't talk about His friend like that anymore.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My closest friend...

I have this friend. She is very dear to my heart. I've known her for as long as I can remember. We were in diapers together. We went to the same high school and college. We had kids around the same time. For most of our lives, we have been joined at the hip.

I love this dear friend. She has been with me through every difficult situation, every boyfriend (and subsequent rejection), every big event, every major decision. She knows more about me than anyone else, and she still loves me.

But sometimes she's a little, well, obnoxious. She talks way too much. She's REALLY hormonal. And she's fat. Like, really fat.


It's not like I'm talking behind her back. I tell her all the time.

That's the other thing. She NEVER listens to me. I am constantly telling her what she needs to do to not be so fat. But she's stupid too. Like, seriously, really stupid. And lazy. That's probably why she's so fat and stupid. All she has to do is get off the couch and stop eating so much. And if she had just studied a little harder, she wouldn't be so stupid. It all boils down to laziness.

But I love her. Really. I would do anything for her. It's just, you know, she RARELY does what I want her to do. But it's okay. I'm working on ways to get her to obey me.

First, I yell at her, you know, just to get her attention. Then I remind her of all her faults. "You're fat! You're stupid! You're a terrible wife, mother, friend, and daughter!"

Then I simply instruct her on how to fix all those things: "Work harder. Get up earlier. Eat less, and for goodness sake, STOP BEING SO LAZY."

But, as I said previously, she never listens to me. So I have to figure out ways to make her listen.

First I make her eat so much ice cream that she's sick; then I don't feed her again for three days. Sometimes I just make her look in the mirror while I point out every single little flaw in her appearance. I start with her hair and point out how it's not like the other girls' hair. It's dry at the ends and oily at the roots. It's frizzy and, if she would just take some time to fix it, it MIGHT not be as shapeless as it ALWAYS is. Plus, she should totally go blond. Then I move on to her teeth. ACK! They're SO yellow. It's from all the coffee she just HAS to drink (though I've told her over and over again how bad it is for her). They're also getting more and more crooked every day because (hello!) she stopped wearing her retainer too soon.

Now we get to the easy part. Her arms look like somebody stuffed cottage cheese into pantyhose. Her stomach makes her look pregnant. I put my mouth next to her ear and SCREAM about her butt and thighs because, oh. my. word., they are HUGE! I remind her AGAIN that she should NEVER wear a skirt. Who would want to look at THOSE ankles? And her feet? Well.. size 10... need I say more?

Once I'm finished pointing out her flaws. I tell her she disgusts me for not being stronger. Why should all that stuff bother her so much? She should be used to it by now. It's not like she's a victim. I mean, every single thing I pointed out to her was put there by none other than herself. She IS the one who ate so much ice cream. If she had listened to me all along, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Finally, she caves in. She bolsters every bit of confidence she has left (which isn't much, for some reason. I make a note to talk to her about that later). And she PROMISES me that today is the last day she will rebel. Tomorrow, TOMORROW, she will do what I ask and start eating better, exercising more, and become an all-around better person.

I tell her to be sure she does, and to keep her emotions and "hormones" (whatever those are) in check in the meantime. "There's nothing worse than a needy female" I tell her.

Honestly, she's a really sweet girl. She loves the Lord and tries really hard. I just can't figure out why she won't listen. Doesn't she understand that I genuinely have her best interest in mind?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What's been up

So, there's a lot of stuff going through my head recently, and a lot that I could blog about. Some of these topics include...

1. I am going completely 'poo free! No shampoo. Ever. Interested? Check out the Winnowing Woman (one of my favorite blogs)to see what I'm talking about.

2. In the past month, Maple has... been to the doctor 3 times, seen a specialist, scheduled a surgery, CANCELLED a surgery, and is now completely healthy. Expect more on this topic later...

3. I'm not losing weight. It's as simple as that. I'm not GAINING, but I'm not losing. I'm stuck. Blah.

4. It's Yard Sale Season!

And while all of that stuff would make for some decent reading, I need this post to be about my need to write. There's some stuff I've been learning recently that I need to get off my chest. Some lessons that have been (and continue to be) difficult, but are totally worth sharing. While I could probably write a book about some of this stuff, I'll try to limit this post to a blog-worthy brevity.

My main struggle since returning to the states has been in the simple act of knowing myself. I spent an entire year of my life striving to become just like the people around me, and once that habit is established, it's a hard one to break. As I have continued the effort to become "like" the people around me, I have become more and more miserable with myself.

I'm too loud. I'm too honest. I'm too passionate. My personality is too much for people. My wardrobe is too colorful. My sense of humor is weird. My opinions are alien.

I'm a weirdo, y'all.

Not only that, but I'm a sinful, self-absorbed, painfully blunt weirdo.

Scared yet?

When I first started feeling this way, I hid from the Lord. I have tried to think of a better way to present that on a blog. But the full truth of the matter is: I hid from the Lord. I couldn't take any more judgement. I didn't want to hear about any more of my shortcoming. And I certainly didn't want to know how to fix them and thereby confirm that they are, in fact, major problems. It was His fault anyways. He's the one who made me this way. He's the one who spoke to my heart so many years ago: Speak forth in boldness, for the harvest is plentiful while the laborers are few. So what right did He have to condemn who I am?

Because, you know, God's a vengeful, spiteful, holier-than-thou, condemning, cruel God who likes to point out my flaws and give me a 12-step program to fix who I am all on my own.

Except He isn't.

And that's the part I forgot.

...until He reminded me.

You see, there are days when I am too honest, when I should shut my mouth instead of speaking up, when I should be gentle instead of firm, when I should choose peace over being right.

But there are also days when God calls me to speak light to the darkness and truth to the lies.

There are days when my emotions get the best of me. I laugh when I should be angry. I am angry when I should be in tears. And I cry when I should be able to brush things off as no-big-deal. On these days, my emotions are too raw - too much - too apparent, and those emotions make people uncomfortable.

But there are days when I can sit in the gutter and weep with those who are broken, when I can laugh with someone else's joy, and I can stand alongside them in righteous anger when they have been wronged. On those days, my emotions are weapons against bitterness and loneliness .

There are days when my passions are misdirected. There are days I am passionate about coffee, or a TV show, or the temperature of my office at work. There are days when my passions become others's problems.

But there are also days (and I have to believe there will be more day) when my passion causes me to raise up and defend the oppressed, the suffering, and the poor. My passion gives voice to the voiceless. My passion will make a difference in this world. Of this I'm certain.

So I'm resting in the Lord and trusting that He will show me a balance. I pray that my uniqueness will be a blessing and not a curse, that I will appreciate the way he made me and not wish to be like someone else, that someday (even if it's in Heaven) I will see how each and every "weirdo" trait was part of a grand design to better our world and glorify His Kingdom.

And I'm relying on grace... a lot of grace.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OK, Dave Ramsey, anwer me this...

So Brandon and I have taken to teaching our eldest about money. She has a list of chores that are *her* responsibility: cleaning her room, putting her toys away, throwing her dirty clothes in the hamper, brushing her teeth (and, yes, that is a chore for a three-year-old). But there are also a few chores for which she gets a quarter: setting the table, feather dusting, sweeping the patio (with mommy, of course), and throwing away diapers.

One of the thing I love about this process is that it gives me an "out" when she asks for a toy at the store. I don't have to say "no." I simply say, "Sure you can buy it, if you save enough quarters."

Sometimes she'll ask me how many quarters something costs, and if it's a number outside of her comprehension (like 23), she responds, "Woah... that's too many monies for me." End of discussion. No weeping, wailing, or gnashing of teeth. No begging, pleading, or puddles of disappointment. It's too many quarters, and that's that.

We're quite proud of this system, her father and I, as we feel it is setting her up to manage her finances for life.


Tonight we went to the store because she decided that the money in her bank was burning a hole in her pocket... or something like that. She chose five shiny quarters (about half of her supply) and clamored into the car, chattering away about all the many toys she would buy with her five quarters.

Of course, by the time we got to the store, I had explained that she probably could only get one small toy with five quarters, but she was undeterred.

Off to the dollar section of the local Target, and right to the small basket of balls. She picked out a sparkly purple ball - the kind that's filled with air and looks like a porcupine. She carried it around the store, happily taunting her sister with it for about 45 minutes.

We checked out, and she paid the cashier herself. She was thrilled to get a few "golden" coins back right before we headed to the car.

In the car. Seat belts snapped. Last-minute decision to stop and get ice cream on our way home. The perfect outing.

POW! Pshhhhhhhh...

I looked in my rear view mirror to find a purple, sparkly, porcupiney - completely deflated - former ball.

I braced myself and prepared for the wailing that would soon ensue.

No such thing.

"Aw, mooommmmmm," she said. "What happened to it?"

After a round of questions, we concluded that, in an attempt to help her sister get the toy she dropped, Chloe had put the ball between her teeth in order to free her hands. She bit a hole in the ball.

We were already halfway home, and Dave Ramsey said that kids have to learn tough lessons like these.

"Can we go back and get another one?"

What would you do, moms?

*In that moment - due to the sprinkling rain, and the fact that bed time was approaching fast - we did not turn around and get her another ball. After discussing it with my Sweet Hubby last night, we decided not to get her another one - yet. We are in the final stages of potty training, which means (cue dramatic music) no pull-ups at night! She has been doing great, but we still have some work to do. So... we have told her that if she can go two weeks without an accident, she will get a secret surprise. Guess what it will be?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ain't no stoppin' me now....

Ohhhhh bloggity blog blog bloggity blog.... whatever am I going to do with you?

Lots of surface-y things are going on 'round these parts. My friend Superstarr is headed into town this weekend on her way back from visiting kin. Work is going pretty well - I moved offices today. Maple is crawling like her diaper is on fire. Chloe has learned the meaning of a "secret spot" and has taken to hiding her most prized possessions. Sweet Hubby is off at basketball having a guys night.

And me? I'm sitting between the arms of my green comfy chair, listening to the grumble of distant thunder, watching my favorite scene of Julie and Julia (for the ka-jillionth time)... all the while thinking... I should be blogging.

So... here I am... trying to blog it out on the surface. But you know what? That's just not cuttin' it. Because on the surface, life is sweeeeeeeeet. I'm slowly but surely losing weight. My house, while always bombarded by toys and dishes and that one sock that never has a mate, is fairly orderly. My job is improving by leaps and bounds every week. My kids are happy. My husband is enjoying our life here.

It seems I'm the only one who's out of place in this picture.

Waa waa... poor me.


You see, I came to a realization a few weeks back. And since arriving at said realization, it has latched onto me sumthin' fierce and just won't let go.

What I realized was this: I'm not perfect.

I know, I know. I was just as surprised as you are.

(You are surprised, right?)

But that's not all... it gets worse...

I am sometimes so far away from perfect - so far away from what I am supposed to be, from what want to be, from what I am called to be - that I don't even recognize myself.

And I could tell you a million reasons why this particular realization has hit so hard during this season of life.

But the bottom line is this: my very best... everything I have to give... talents. giftings. boldness. sass. organizational skills. parenting skills. cooking. teaching. encouraging. hope. faith. ability to love fiercely. work ethic. quirky style.
...everything that makes me who I am.
...everything that defines me.
...every little thing to which I cling... the things that give me confidence and hope... all those things that set me up for a successful life...

They. Are. Rags.









And that, my friends, is a hard lesson to learn.

To be continued....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Anybody out there?

This is the 3rd time I have opened this page today. I'm still not sure where to begin. Coming back to a blog after 30+ days of nothing is like running into a friend after you haven't returned her calls... all 30+ of them.

So, like, hey. How you doing? Yeah, I'm good. Hey, look, sorry I haven't been around. Life has just been kinda crazy, ya know? So much going on. Work. Church. Home. Life. You know. Chloe's been sick a lot this year. Yeah, I'm still trying to get over something myself *cough*cough*... *awkward pause*...So... it was good running into you. Um, let's get together and talk soon, ok? Seriously, I'll call you. Mmmkay? Good to see you *awkward side hug*

Ok, so now that the initial awkwardness is over and done with, lets move on to more important things, shall we?

Recently... well... recently... life kinda sucks (if you'll pardon my French).

Here's the thing. The thing is, it's easy to blog when things are going well. I like to blog during those times. I like talking about weight loss and the funny things my kids do and all the things the Lord has been teaching me.

All of those things are fun to write about... except maybe the last one. I only like to blog about that one after the lesson is all said and done. I like to tell you how the Lord took my messy life and wrapped it up in a neat little 100-word-or-less devotional-type lesson for me to share with my nearest and dearest blog readers.

But when I'm in the nitty gritty of learning one of those lessons. When God peels back the bandage and reveals a nasty, gaping, infected wound that should have been dealt with a long time ago.

Well, you know how it's fun to show a scar after you've had a big accident? But it's not so fun to gross your friends out with the wound right when it happens?

It's kinda like that.

So that's where I've been. In the nitty gritty. In the nasty. In the infected, sensitive, painful lesson.

And, frankly, I wasn't ready to bring y'all in on that action.

But then I had a conversation with a friend the other day. She told me how she doesn't really like reading the blogs that give the idealized version of someone's life. She likes to feel like she's there, sharing someone's life with them.

And there I was, in the middle of that conversation, heaped in blogger's conviction because I've cut you out. And it's a habit I seem to have developed.

I write when it's easy. I write when it doesn't hurt. I write when all the healing is complete, and it's just a fun story to tell.

So I'm going to try to change that. I'm not making any grand promises, and I'm still not sure on what level those discussions are appropriate for the general public.

But, I am admitting it's a problem, and that's the first step, right?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 1... again....

So here's what's up y'all:

1 baby + 1 preschooler + 1 mommy + a nasty flu = no blogging + no diet + really really really messy house.

So, since my house work is getting caught up (sort of), and since everyone is feeling better (mostly), I have deemed today as the first day of my 20-day diet... again...

The plot: 1 twenty-something overweight wife and mom, twenty days, 600 calories, and a blog where it all goes down.

Soooo... that seems to be all the creative oomph I have tonight... soooo... I'll end with my end-of-the-week weight.

As of Saturday, February 13, three weeks (a full 17 days) into the process....

I have lost 18 POUNDS!!!!!

My doctor's goal for the first 30 days: 20 lbs. Looks like I might make that and then some.

Woo hoooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

19 days down; 71 days to go.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

(Re)Start Your Engines....

It's 2pm, and both girls are napping (amen?). We had a glorious snow-day today, and even though Maple Anne has a nasty little cold-plus-fever, I have enjoyed both the house cleaning and the lounging that snow days bring.

Last night was the super bowl... and the super bowl party... and the super bowl party food that comes with the super bowl and the super bowl party...

Combine that with a busy day and lack of food preparation, I broke down.

It's not cool. I'm not supposed to break this diet at. all. for 20 days. But, sometimes life happens, and as much as I would like to think that I will always be prepared with a handful of almonds when only chips are available, the truth is that I don't always have control over what food is set before me. So, I ate what was deliciously available... in small, single portions.

If I weren't on this 600-calorie-a-day kick, I might even be proud of the way I ate last night.

So here's the thing...

I'm an all-or-nuthin' kinda gal. And since I "fell off the wagon" last night, my first instinct is to say, "Dang, I failed. It's over. I will forever be overweight."

But I have been down that path, and I know where it leads.

So today I'm making a choice. Last night, and nights like last night, are and forever will be inevitable. I must choose to eat in moderation and jump right back on that wagon the next morning.

I hate that my 20 days have been interrupted, and I am considering starting the 20 days over again tomorrow (while still counting the past 12 days as part of the grander 90-day goal).

According to the good Doc, it takes 20 days for the brain to "reprogram" itself out of old addictions and ways of burning fat. If those 20 days are interrupted, the "cycle" may not be completely broken.

Soo... I'm in a bit of a quandary. Start the 20 days over again tomorrow? Or keep on truckin' for the remaining 9 days and hope that all the hormone stuff has been fixed???

Even posting that question makes me think I should start over... what do you think?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

On Being "Fat"...

The word is a faux pas in American society. Ugly. Shameful. "Obese" is a little less offensive, but only when used in medical conversations. "Fluffy." "Chubby." "Full-figured." "Plus-size." These are words that, in one way or another, shape our view of people. People like the lady in the Wal-Mart check-out line. People like the guy buying power tools at Lowes. People like a neighbor. Or a friend. A mother. A daughter. A brother. People like me.

I've been debating with myself for quite a while now. Is this topic too raw, too real for a blog? But, frankly, it's something I am comfortable talking about. I recognize that the topic often makes people around me uncomfortable; so I try to steer clear of it unless I'm with my closest friends and family. But you know what? I'm kind of tired of keeping it quiet.

I am "obese."

And since it's something I'm not "allowed" to talk about to the general public, I have decided to dispel a few fat fables here on my own little piece of the bloggersphere.

Fable #1: I am fat. Correction: I have fat.
I can remember a very distinct thought that struck me two years ago around Christmas time. Hubby and I were in the car, leaving a Christmas party, and I was feeling pretty bummed about my weight. At that point in time, I was the heaviest I had ever been: 140 lbs above my healthy weight limit. I had just been to my third doctor who told me that nothing was wrong with me and that I just needed to "become more active." I was discouraged and disgusted with myself. It was in that moment, that a vivid picture popped into my head: it was me, inside a fat suit. I pictured walking into that party and unzipping the suit, as everyone watched the real me step out of it. That was when I realized: I am not fat. It's not who I am. It doesn't define me. The real me is fun and vivacious, full of energy, and confident and comfortable enough to do all the things that "skinny" girls do. She's just trapped inside a fat suit that slows her down, saps her energy, and limits her ability to do certain activities. Somehow I had to find a way to "unzip" that fat suit.

Fable #2: I have low self-esteem. Correction: I have a realistic self-image.
I was talking with a friend a few months ago about my upcoming treatment with Dr.Z. She was so sweet and so excited for me. She told me how proud she was of me for even trying it, and then she said, "And when it's all over, won't you be so happy to feel beautiful again?" Yeah. I was completely flabbergasted by that comment. I had never thought of losing weight as making me "beautiful." I don't feel un-beautiful now. As a matter of fact, there are a LOT of things I like about my looks. Of course I have days when I hate my hair, and I feel like a bloated cow. But I have a feeling all women of all shapes and sizes have days like that. For the most part, I like myself and the way I look. However, I am not blind. I do see myself in the mirror, and I do see the numbers on the scale. I recognize that things need to change. But do you know what excites me the most about this change? I get to play sports with my husband. I get to have a chance at a long life - to see my grandchildren. I get a wider variety of clothing available to me, including dresses! Do you know how long it has been since I've felt comfortable wearing a dress?? I'm so stinkin' excited!

Fable #3: I'm uncomfortable talking about my weight. Correction: Other people are uncomfortable talking about it.
In American culture, when someone says, "My hair looks awful," the natural response is to say, "Noooo, it looks great!" To "My makeup is too thick" we say "I think it looks fabulous!" So, naturally, when someone says "I'm fat," the instinctual response is to say, "No, you're not!" But you can't really say that to a person who is obese because, well, everyone - including the obese person - knows it's not true. There is no scripted response when that person talks about his or her weight. There's no obvious reply. People shift in their seats. They look at their feet. It's uncomfortable. I know. Don't worry. Here's all I'm tryin' to say with this fable: I don't talk about it in public because I know it makes people uncomfortable. But this whole weight-loss thing is an important part of my life right now. It's changing things (I hope). It's giving me a healthier, longer future (I pray). It's an area of bondage in my life from which God is actively working to free me. That doesn't make me uncomfortable. It makes me excited. So ask me the difficult questions. Talk to me about it in casual conversation. I'm coo' wid'dat.

So that's it, y'all. That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter... for today.

Here's hoping for a great week and lots and lots of yummy, healthy food...


End of week 2: 14.5 pounds lost!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Qualified Cheating

I broke my diet tonight. But you know what? I’m okay with that. You see, there have been times over the past week that I have been sooooo tempted to scarf down a cheeseburger at McD’s, or devour a HUGE slice of death by chocolate cake, or inhale a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But I have resisted because I’m doing my very best to keep the end results in mind: “Will that decision help me become who I am called to be?”

So what happened tonight? Well, for starters, I ate real sushi for the first time in my life. Some of it I loved; some of it I did not love. I also ate a salad with a scrumptious, flavor-packed ginger dressing. So while I did break my diet, it’s not like I went all-out, deep-fried, chocolate-smothered, butter-laden fat. I had fish and rice and lettuce and ginger. Mmmmm…

But that’s not why I don’t feel bad about breaking my diet tonight. The reason I feel like it was a really good decision was because of the company with which I “broke fast.” It was girls’ night ‘round these parts, and I had a blast with three lovely ladies from the office. As I got in the car on the way to the restaurant, I was completely torn as to what to do about my diet stuff when eatin' time came around. Would they have a calorie count of each and every California roll? Could I ask for “anything that doesn’t contain sugar, fat, oil, bread, rice, carbs, starch, or more than 100 calories?”

It didn’t seem likely.

But it only took a few minutes with these ladies to realize that, if I chose to stress over this meal in order to stay on the diet, I would completely lose the true blessing of getting to know the women sitting around the table with me. It was in that second that the choice became clear: a set-back in my diet is sooo worth a step forward in friendship. And I have a feeling, these friends are gonna be totally worth it…

And so, as we sat down at the table, I smiled: “I’ve never eaten real sushi before. What do y’all like?”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Movin' and Groovin'

Can I just say, tonight ranks pretty high in the great nights of parenting.

In one night, Maple Anne said her first word AND semi-crawled across the floor.

There was one night a few weeks ago where we thought waving arms and "bah bah bah" was actually her first word of "bye, bye." We were wrong. But then... tonight... she dropped a toy and said, "Ah, Uh oh!" Of course, I was alone in the room and thought, "Yeah right, that was a fluke." So when Brandon walked in, I said, "I swear she just said 'Uh oh'." As if on cue, she giggled and said, "Uh oh." It has been the word of the night. When she drops something. When she topples over. When she just feels like talking: "Uh oh."

Not too long after that first word, we put her on the floor to do her standard roll-around. Next thing we know, she's doing a military-style crawl across the room. Arms and legs were moving in time; she was moving forward in one certain direction. All she's lacking is actually getting her belly off the ground. Still, this too was no fluke. We kept moving toys several feet in front of her, and she kept military crawling to get them.

All the while, big sister Chloe was clapping and cheering and encouraging her on.

I tell you what, it was a big night in the Thixton household. A big, big night.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 5: teeny tiny crisis

It's way past my bedtime. I breezed past the laptop on the way to take my night-time meds, but as I turned to head towards the sound of snores that were wafting from my bedroom (poor hubby has a cold), it beckoned. I swear, y'all, it called my name. And since I didn't blog yesterday (oops!) I thought I'd pop in for a little update.

Physically, things are bit rough today. My hormones are going a nuts, as evidenced by the THREE hot flashes that laid siege in the early morning hours. I'm not very hungry these days. As a matter of fact, I realized at lunch that I had completely forgotten breakfast! It was a super sweet treat to have an extra piece of fruit to munch on this afternoon.

But I don't want to talk about the diet or the hormones or the hot flashes or the food tonight.

Because today, today I have had something else on the brain. It's something that has been bugging me for a few months now, but it really came into focus as I stood in the face-wash aisle of the new CVS down the road.

I think, perhaps, I'm having a mild identity crises. I said mild, y'all, calm down. You see, up until January of 2009, I pretty much knew who I was. I knew my favorite beverage (Starbucks Sumatra with one pack of Sweet'n'Low - NOT Splenda). I knew my favorite color (red). I knew what I like to wear (hats and scarves and red red red). I knew myself. And I was pretty (perhaps overly) confident in that person.

Then I went to Korea. Korean coffee is instant - with cream and sugar already mixed in. I drank it every single morning for a year. Now I must have cream and sweetener in my coffee (preferably sugar or Splenda). And red? Well, nobody decorated with red EVER. And do you want to know who wore red clothing? Sweet old ladies. So now I don't know... do people my age wear red in America?

But it goes deeper than all that...

I'm having a hard time putting this into words...

Before Korea, I didn't have time to think about who I was because I was too busy thinking about what I was doing. Life was overwhelming. Work, school, church, babies, cooking, cleaning, driving... I swear I spent half my life in the car.

But when I went to Korea, and after the initial culture shock wore off, I realized that I really like who I am. I got to think - free of any of the things that had previously identified me. My job, my cooking skills, my unique (read: odd)fashion sense - all of those things were gone. It was just me, in my quiet home.

But now I'm back. And life is busy again. Job, church, grocery store, hair cut, car wash, bank, pediatrician, preschool... and in the midst of this hubbub, I find myself struggling to find a footing.

So where does the face wash aisle at CVS come in?

I have a $1 coupon for one - rather pricey - brand of face wash. I may or may not have mentioned that I LUH-HUV me some Korean face wash, and the last itty-bitty bit of my very last bottle ran out... two weeks ago. (Shampoo is a poor substitute.) So I'm standing in the aisle debating over whether I should get the brand for which I have a coupon or get cheaper, less appealing brand sitting next to it. (Just so we're in the same ballgame here, I'm talking about a price difference of about $2.) Seriously, y'all, I stood in that aisle, like, 10 minutes. Then I put it down and walked around. Then I came back and picked it up.


And as I'm sitting there debating over this $2-more-expensive face wash, I heard a clear question in my mind: "Does this product fit into who you want to be?" And the answer surprised me: yes.

When I was using the Korean face wash, which gave me silky-smooth skin and small pores, I felt beautiful. I felt confident. And though (I'm sure) no one else in the world could tell a difference, I knew - I felt - that I was beautiful.

Good face wash... makes me a better person.

And with that rather unsettling fact floating around in my head, I have realized something that I have somehow missed up to this point.

Last year, the year of the reset button, we were handed a fairly blank slate in life. Most of the mistakes we have made - especially in the area of priorities - were completely wiped away. And as we took our first steps on American soil, we were walking into a new life. Praise God!

But here's the thing about blank slates... they can become whatever you want them to be. They can be beautiful or ugly. Brite or dark. They can be a unique masterpiece... or they can look exactly like another one you've seen (or lived) before.

And as weird as it sounds, I feel like the question that was posed to me in the face wash aisle of the new CVS is one that the Lord has given me regarding every single area of this new life He has given us.

Does this decision... this action... this hobby... this purchase... this attitude... this bite of food... fit into who I want to be?

But more importantly... does it fit into who I AM in HIM?

These are questions I plan to ask myself a lot more often.

Thank you, Lord, for crumbling my city, and thank you for rebuilding my walls.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 3... mindless rambling...

So today was a pretty laid-back Saturday. Cleaning house, watching TV, cuddling with my family... but in the midst of all this, several thoughts popped into my head of which I thought, "Hm... I should blog about that."

But, as it is after 10pm and my night-time hormone meds are kickin' in, I can't seem to make any single thought, in and of itself, a complete post.

Hence, your friend and mine, the list format:

1. I think about food A LOT, and I find myself thinking of some yummy (read: fattening) dish and saying to myself, "After this three months is up, I am TOTALLY going to eat that." But today, I realized something: those fattening dishes are part of the reason I am in this mess today. Sure my hormone issues caused my body to store more fat than it should, but I was the one who put that fat in there in the first place. I need to start thinking of this change as a life-long change. Obviously, I can't eat 600 calories a day for the rest of my life, but I can start thinking of food differently... and permanently.

2. I don't really appreciate food. The foods that I think about and crave during this diet are foods that really take no skill to make. I think about boxed brownies. I think about cheese fries. I think about cereal. The thing is, those foods are absolutely no good for my body, and though I see them as a "treat," there is absolutely nothing special about them. At the beginning of this year, I committed to myself that I would try something new at every restaurant I go to. And you know what? I have had some AMAZING foods. Grilled chicken with pineapple glaze. Mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon. A salmon Caesar salad that'll make you wanna slap your mama. THOSE are treats. THOSE are special dishes that take skill, money, and - hello! - ingredients that I can pronounce. Hence, I have decided to start thinking of those foods as a rare "treat" and the other foods as, well, the junk that they are.

3. This week, I bought all broccoli and cauliflower for our veggies because they were on sale at WalMart for $0.98 for a 2-pound bag. Savings or no savings, I will not make that mistake again. I am so. sick. of broccoli. Blech.

4. I have some clothes that were too big for me going into this diet. Should I just go ahead and get rid of them now?

5. Though it is not technically the end of the first seven days on the diet, it is the end of the calendar week. So... it's time for the big announcement:

At the end of day three...


Ahhhh yeeeeeeah.....

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 2...

Somewhere around 1pm today, I had an epiphany.

I wasn't hungry.

I'm eating 600 calories today, and I'm not ALWAYS hungry.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Spoonful at a Time

I never realized how much mindless munching I do.

Pop a bag of popcorn for Chloe; grab a couple fluffy kernels for myself.

Smear some peanut butter on ritz crackers for the kids' afternoon snack; eat the remaining peanut butter off the spoon.

Open a cup of mandarin oranges in light syrup; drink the "juice" so it won't spill.

A peppermint candy here; a little piece of cookie there.

Twice today I had to spit food out of my mouth that I had - literally - mindlessly put in there.

It's so easy to just pop a small morsel of calorie-packed food into my mouth without giving it a second thought.

Is it any wonder that, when I add up my calories at the end of the day, I have no idea why I'm not in better shape than I am?

It hit me like a swiss cake roll today as I tried to reverse-swallow the "light syrup" that was sailing down my throat. I am probably "forgetting" hundreds of calories a day because I'm eating them one small bite, one convenient sip, one careless gulp at a time.

Day 1. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On the eve of the day...

25 months ago, a nurse told me that I should see a specialist about my weight and my "female" issues...

19 months ago, I finally did it...

18 months ago, I started on my first month of treatment...

17 months ago, I weighed in 19 pounds less than I had one month prior...

16 months and 27 days ago, I found out I was pregnant...

For seventeen months, I have patiently waited for this night.

I waited through nine months of pregnancy...

I waited through 11 months in Korea...

I waited through the holidays and through my family's weekend in the cabin (which, inevitably, focuses around food)...

And here I am, on the eve of the big day... the day when I start, once again, on my 600-calorie-a-day diet.

The challenge: 600 calories a day for 20 days; then 800 calories a day for 70 more days (under doctor's supervision, and with plenty of supplements and drugs).

I went to the store and stocked my fridge with fruits, vegetables, and boneless skinless chicken breasts...

I ate the boat-loads of fat I was instructed to eat the day before...

I had a "last meal" with my friend Christan...

So that tomorrow... tomorrow I will begin my journey to better health, regulated hormones, and (I hope) extreme weight-loss.

As an ode to what I hope will be this new phase of life, I am setting forth some new challenges:

1. I will eat only 600 calories a day for 20 days.

2. I will not cheat - not one time; not one calorie.

3. I will blog every day for the next 20 days (why are you snickering?)

4. I will report my results at the end of every week (no, I won't tell my weight. are you nuts?)

5. I will not get pregnant.

Now, these are not promises from my computer to yours. These are challenges that I have set for myself. They are goals. They are plans. They are only as infallible as the person who is attempting them.

But, y'all, I feel like this is my last shot.

I know that sounds dramatic. I know it sounds hyperbolic (how's that for a fi'ty-cent word?). But it's really how I feel.

Everything is lined up. My husband and best friend are doing the diet with me and in support of me (with a few more calories thrown in for good measure because, you know, they're not crazy). My parents are blessing me with "free" treatment from my doctor.

My life is in order.

I am not pregnant.

I am not sick.

I am not on the other side of the world.

This times is all set up for my success, if I will only take advantage of it.

So there it is, y'all. That's what's up in my life. This is the big change that's (hopefully) coming.

It's good, y'all. It's reeeeeal good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Too much or Too Little

So, I may or may not have mentioned that, upon our arrival in the states, I started a new job.

It's full time. My kids come with me. I feel as if I'm using my strengths to make a difference. It's all pretty awesome.

But I don't want to talk about the job... I want to talk about me (as all decent narcissistic bloggers should).

The problem with me in this new job is, well, I'm rather stressed. And when I say rather, I mean super-freakin' terribly stressed. And when I say stressed, I mean come home in tears, wonder if I made the right choice stressed. And the thing is, in the midst of all this new and all this stress and all this work...I forgot...

...I forgot that I don't like the person that I am under stress.
...I forgot that sometimes I get tunnel vision and prioritize finished products over people.
...I forgot that I have a hard time leaving work at work.
...I forgot that making the switch from "boss" at work and "wife" at home is not so easy for me.
...I forgot that sometimes I am too much for people.
...I forgot that sheer willpower isn't always enough.
...I forgot that I am not superwoman.

I forgot all those things... until this week.

Then, like a flood of stank-scented reality, I remembered: I really need my friend Jesus.

Because when all the laundry is completed and the kids are bathed, when dinner is on the table and I am at peace, when life is easy and everything is in place, I forget... I forget that I need Him... I forget that, without Him, I am a spiteful, ugly, mean, conceited, self-absorbed sinner.

And when things get tough... and when I forget that I need Him... I start to think that this is who I am. I'm bitter. I'm incapable of handling difficulties. I'm easily angered. I'm difficult to deal with. This is who I am.

So... tonight... as He gently reminds me that, in Him, I am beautiful, and patient, and kind, and tenderhearted, and slow to anger... as He shows me once again that I am only and truly who He tells me I am... I go to sleep with a different view of tomorrow.

In Him, I am bold yet gentle.
In Him, I am strong yet meek.
In Him, I am neither too much nor too little.
In Him, I am called for such a time as this.

Lord, help me remember who YOU say that I am.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gonna Write a Letter (GWL): To My Alabama Angel

It's been a long time coming, but here is the first installment of Gonna Write a Letter. Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!!!! Woo Hooooo!!! and Yippeeee!!!!

So, without further ado, a letter:

Dear Alabama Angel,

You will forever hold a very special, warm place in my heart. I wish I knew your real name so I could send this letter to your supervisor because, if it were up to me, you would be the most important, top, head, boss of all the other flight attendants at Delta airlines. I can only assume you are from Alabama because of the way your eyes lit up when you talked about going to the Auburn games. And I call you "Angel" because, well, you looked over me and my girls, protected us, comforted us, and cared for us during the entire 12 hour flight from Tokyo to Atlanta.

While the other flight attendants made me feel like a nuisance and inconvenience at best, you went out of your way to let me know that you were on my side, fighting (or flighting, tee hee) beside me.

You will never know what it meant to my culture-shocked mommy's heart to have an American coo over my baby and wink at my preschooler. You never hesitated to help me heat up a bottle or let me go to the bathroom.

Oh, my dear Alabama Angel, the story you told me after the incident about your baby -- it still makes chuckle to myself when I think about the Indian man sitting in front of you on that plane saying "What is that smell? What is that smell?" after you baby had spit up for the 100th time.

I still tear up a little bit when I think about you telling me that story.

You were so warm. So kind. So understanding after everything happened. You were the only. person. who saw the incident from my point of view - a young mom with two small children traveling alone... whose baby had just spit up all over a stranger.

My dear, dear, dear Alabama Angel. I am forever grateful for your kindness and empathy during that flight, and I pray that God will return the blessing to you one thousand fold.

Blessings and prayers and turbulent-free flights,

The Quote That Started It All...

I myself have twelve hats, each one representing a different personality. Why be just yourself? - Margaret Atwood