Saturday, April 29, 2017

BELIEVE WHAT I AM SAYING

You know that old adage, "Practice what you preach?"

Well, I may not always good at that.

In fact, I might be really, really bad at it.

I've been having these personal praise and worship moments in my car and in my living room and in my kitchen and just all over the place lately, and the one thing I've been prompted by the Holy Spirit the most during those times is this:

Will you praise me in the tough times? Will you trust me in the tough times?

Just so you are aware, it's super easy to answer YES! emphatically when you're in the midst of the fun, happy times ... when you are in the midst of a lull in yucky life stuff ... when you are in the middle of rich worship time.

In the midst of deadlines looming and car parts failing and a tooth that needs a crown and the pressure of my job weighing heavily on me and too much month and not enough paycheck?  I find it so much more difficult.

I want so badly for things to always be easy.  But then, if things were always easy, my faith muscles would be so very flabby ... much like my current muscles. Y'all. The flab!

Today, after panic set in over car troubles once again, I said a wimpy little prayer. I told God I was trusting Him.  I would do so in such a sloppy, ugly, whiny fashion, but by the time, I'd opened up this blog to begin typing, my nerves had calmed, and I was feeling more at peace.

Trust is so hard. Trust in something .... some one where there isn't the typical, tangible form is so very difficult. For people who do not believe, it's even tougher.

I tend to default to the Dollar Signs ... they tend to take wing and fly out of my purse.  That causes stress. That causes lack of trust in my God and an uncertain trust in my human ability to make it all better (which I don't, just so you are aware). It's an ugly cycle ...

But I have to remind myself that He is in control.  He guided me to that car. He made the way available to me. He dreams bigger than I could dream for myself. He has this in the palm of His hand.  That alone should be comforting.

That alone IS comforting.

I just need to believe in what I'm saying.  I need to have faith.

Friday, April 14, 2017

I CAVED

Well, it happened.  I caved.

My dad has suggested it.  My mom has suggested it. My sister has suggested it. My good friends have suggested it.  Heck! Countless Facebook friends have suggested.  Yesterday, I finally caved under the pressure and made it official.

I hired someone to mow my grass for me.

I mowed my lawn last week, and while I was okay at the time, three days later, I was lame and unable to use my good knee.  And I need to use my good knee.  I walk and stand for a living.  I need to be able to exercise. I need to be able to function in my house, seeing as all of the ways into and out of my house are via stairs (I didn't really think that one through very well).

He did the first cutting yesterday, and I have to say.  The weight lifted off of my shoulders was immediate! I know it sounds super melodramatic, but it felt like I could breathe again. Lawn mowing has been a stress for me from the word go.

I was raised by The Lawn Nazi. I love my dad, but when he was younger, he wanted a perfect looking yard. I have assumed many of his same tendencies, heaven help us all! Now, I'm not going to say that I have a perfect lawn.  I mean, I have dandelions galore in my yard, and I am perfectly fine with that.  However, I don't like having weeds growing up along my house ... or a ratty looking yard.  Both of these things happened frequently when I was in charge of mowing because A.) My life is chaotic during the school year, and since we have a growing season from March until October, much of my mowing was happening during school time, and B.) My physical limitations lately have gotten in the way.

I would get done with the yard, but then wouldn't have the spizerinktum to work in my flower beds. Something would ALWAYS suffer.  As a result, my house looked like The Crazy Lady at the Top of the Hill House.

I was constantly worried about the appearance, especially after countless neighbors starting commenting on how sad my lawn looked.

As I was walking up my street toward my home today, out on what I hope will be my daily walk, I couldn't help the feeling of calm that washed over me as my yard came into view.  It is neat and tidy and cut!

I guess some things are worth the money spent!  Plus, as my sister and my other pointed it out, it's cheaper than another knee surgery!

EASTER IN KENTUCKY VERSUS EASTER IN MICHIGAN

There are a few differences between the Easters of my youth and the Easters I have experienced down here in the "South."

The biggest difference?  I have never, in my life, hunted Easter eggs outdoors.  Never.

Why, you ask?  Well, I grew up in Michigan. You can never predict what the weather is going to be like.  You can have a gloriously beautiful Easter or you can have snow or rain or both.  It all just depends.

Weather in Michigan is a giant crap shoot.

So, when I was a kid, we hunted our Easter eggs indoors.  Some how, some way, the Easter bunny managed to get in the house (I suspect he and Santa had similar tactics) and would hide all the eggs prior to Ann and I waking up.

Down here in Kentucky?  EVERYBODY hunts for their Easter eggs outside.

There are tons of community Easter egg hunts, Easter egg drops, Easter egg rolls ... if you can do it with an Easter egg, it is offered up to the community.

It's kind of neat to see all the outdoor activities tied to Easter that the south supports. However, it's all a bit foreign to me.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

IT'S JUST A NUMBER

Weight.  Why is it that particular number nags at us ladies so?

My doctor and I have had numerous conversations wherein he has said that he isn't so much concerned about a number as he is the types of food I am eating and the exercise that I am getting.

And yet, that number.  It hangs over my head.

A few years back, when I really got my butt in gear and did something about my weight, I was sooooo concerned about a number.

This morning, while pawing through some old pictures, I found one I took of myself when I was at my lowest weight during that weight loss journey.  I looked at it this morning through new eyes. Eyes that were comparing myself to now, a great deal heavier ... heavier than ever, I might add. Suddenly, that number didn't seem so bad!  It seemed wonderful, in fact!

While at school this afternoon, helping my teammate with her classroom (loooooooong story there), I discovered some Spring pictures that our school secretary left for me to sort and get to the appropriate homerooms.  At the top?  My homeroom class picture.  I looked at that photo, and thought, "Who is that beached whale next to my kids!?"

It was me.

That number I had way back then?  It seemed like a distant memory ... a dream as I stared down at my fat body now.

Why is it that we are never satisfied with where we are at?  Why are we ruled by numbers?  Weight ... clothing size ... salary ... kids ... number of square feet in our McMansion?

Instead, I wonder what my life would be like if I focused on the number of days the sun shines?  Or the number of times I smiled? Or laughed?  Or the number of butterflies floating around me?  Or the number of favorite songs playing on the radio?

It is, after all, just a number ...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

SPANX ARE OF THE DEVIL

I had an event to go to recently. Naturally, the event called for me to dress in something other than a pair of yoga pants.

Why has no one created formal wear in the yoga pants department?

I pulled a dress out of my closet that I had not worn since probably September.  I slipped it on.  Not going to lie. It didn't fall as nicely over my body as I always dreamed it should.  In fact, it highlighted every roll in my middle, and, lately, I've "grown" a lotta rolls!

So, I did what any desperate fat girl would do, I pawed through my lingerie basket until I uncovered my trusty Spanx.

I have a love hate relationship with my Spanx.  I love that they cover up a multitude of sins.  However, it takes an act of God to wrestle those suckers onto my body.  And heaven help us all, when I have to wrestle them off.

My last thoughts, as I got the last bits of fabrics over my ample middle was, "Please, Lord, keep me from having to go to the bathroom. Wrestling these on and off in a bathroom stall will not end well."

I was doing great at the event too -- but those two pots of tea I drank did eventually require some attention, which meant I would have to deal with the Spanx.

Now, getting Spanx back up again is a delicately, tricky business.  You must get them pulled up, but still maintain a proper and equal percentage of restricting fabric on offending and flabby thighs.  At the same time, you must make sure that your abdominal muscles (or lack thereof) are fully and completely encased in said Spanx. Otherwise, all the stuff you've shoved in there will refuse to stay put.

I knew things were not right when I felt the left leg roll up a tiny bit from my fatty thigh.  However, when we got into the car, I quickly tugged at the leg, rearranging the fabric.  Something still didn't feel right.

My car mates and I made a quick stop at a local outlet mall, and that's when things got dicey.  I got out of the car, and my fat shifted. With that shifting, came the waist band of the Spanx shifting, which means, I could feel the waist band roll on itself.  The more I walked, the more it rolled so that by the time I entered the store my car mates wanted to shop in, my Spanx were threatening to roll right off my body!

It's amazing how fast the fat can push those suckers in a downward motion working with gravity in the most heinous of ways.

All I can say is thank goodness there was a restroom nearby.  A quick visit allowed an adjustment and put a stop to what could only be termed a very, very ugly situation.

The Spanx are now shoved back into the bottom of my lingerie basket, and they are not scheduled to make another appearance until Easter Sunday.  Congregation, beware!

Monday, April 10, 2017

ON TAKING THE HIGH ROAD

Blaming other people for your shortcomings is a cop out.

Blaming other people for your feelings of inadequacies is a cop out.

Blaming other people for not getting to your next level is a cop out.

I speak from a great depth and breadth of experience.  There have been so many times where I've attempted to blame other people for my issue. My issue? A lack of self-confidence.  Plain and simple.

It isn't right nor is it fair to make other people own your issues.  What I've learned from my years in my 20s ... and my 30s  ... is that if I am projecting a feeling of "not measuring up," it's usually because I am comparing myself to others rather than just focusing on the task at hand and doing it to the best of my ability.

The moment I got it straight in my head that measuring myself against others is not only stupid, it's dangerous, well, let's just say that I became a stronger version of myself.

Most people put their best foot forward, and that foot oftentimes is a sham. It would seem in today's society we fall into this "putting up appearances" trap.

"I have to show how perfectly clean my house is."

"I have to show how perfectly dressed my kids are."

"I have to show how perfect my marriage is."

"I have to show that I have it all under control."

And where does it get us?  Well, one thing I've noticed is that we get cut throat.  We are more willing to mow over someone else to make sure we get noticed, we get the accolades, we sound like we have the expertise, we have the knowledge.

I work really hard to show an authentic life.  That means is that I will authentically point out that I've gained a ton of weight. It will also mean you will see my hot mess of an outfit ... the crazy hair that does it's own thing ... a speck of something between my teeth ... my discouragement wrapped around my physical issues ... my struggles as a single woman in a world of couples.

I am not going to say that I don't still struggle with measuring myself to others.  I still catch myself doing that.

I am not going to say that it doesn't still smart when I don't get the invitation to the party or shower or wedding or night hanging with friends.  Being left out does smart.

However, what I have to remember is that my worth isn't wrapped up in anyone else. My worth is wrapped in Christ. The only person I strive to measure myself against is Christ.

As such, if I am working to meet my potential as Christ's child, then I need to be willing to take the high road.  I need to be willing to smile, recognize that person's issues are NOT mine, and move past it.

It's like a car wreck.  Why would any one roll up on a car wreck, look at the carnage, and then tell the police officer, "well, this had to be my fault."

Nope.  No one would do that.

I will strive to take the high road. Will you?

Friday, April 07, 2017

FINDING MY HAPPY AGAIN

A friend of mine told me recently that when I was walking consistently, she noticed I was always happy. I was fit and happy and had a positive outlook. She noticed all of that.

I haven't really thought about that time much recently ... well, other than to berate myself for letting myself go as much as I did.

I remember struggling with a plateau that I couldn't get past.  That was frustrating for me. However, I also remember fitting into a size smaller than I had been in ... having people notice my hard work ... feeling good, physically ... being stronger and able to do more physical stuff.  Despite all the emotional stuff I might have been going through, I felt physically fit ... more physically fit than I had in a long time.

So why did I stop?

I suppose part of it was the frustrating plateau. Then I had all that pain from the torn meniscus that I ignorantly ignored.  It became harder and harder to walk without excruciating pain. I suppose the last straw was having my surgeon's PA tell me that I had a limited amount of miles left on my knee, and how was I going to use the miles I had left?

People speak stuff into your life, and most of the time you can laugh it off. However, for me, there are certain things that people say that just cement themselves into me, and what that PA said?  It stuck.  He scared me to death. Suddenly, I was a whisper away from a knee replacement. And so I sat.

Here's the reality. I have a family history of degenerative knee disease.  I have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees. The odds are, I will be having knee replacements at some point in my life. It is what it is.  In the meantime, I cannot sit and have my life pass by me while I get to the size of Shamu.

So, I am going to start walking again. Today, I logged 1.2 miles. It was a sloooooooooow 1.2 miles, and there was pain.  But I did it.  I want to get back to those things that make me happy.  Walking makes me happy.

The next nine yards will be getting back to the gym ... the gym I've been paying a membership for and not using ... but I'm not going to beat myself up over that one.  It is what it is.

Baby steps, right?

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

SOME PEOPLE GO TO THE BEACH ON SPRING BREAK

Some people go to the beach on Spring Break.

Some people hang out their windows at midnight watching the local police department arrest a criminal on the run ... allegedly.

It's the difference between having the money for fun and making your own fun....or rather others around you making the fun ... er trouble.

So, let me back up because this is one of those stories that deserves being told.  In its entirety. With all the crazy, nitty gritty detail I can muster. And y'all know I can muster some detail!

I stayed up past my bedtime last night to catch the weather because, well, every one is saying we're going to blow away in a ton of storms today.  Of course, most folks know, I am a terrible Nervous Nellie when it comes to storms. So, I wanted to know if I needed to begin making my basement storm-ready.

The jury is still out on that one. But I digress.

You know that moment when you are settling into bed?  Your mind is shutting down ... your eyelids are heavy, and the cat is snoring beside you?  Yeah.  I was there.  I was in that happy in-between place until the sirens I had heard in the distance, suddenly came closer and closer to my house. With the sirens came this horribly loud, grinding noise, like there was a car dragging something or driving on metal tires.

I hopped out of bed and opened my curtains in time to see this car make a left turn onto a street behind me, the metal grinding sound ridiculously loud, and two police cruisers, lights and sirens going, right behind him, barreling up the residential street behind me.  I braced for a big crash, sure someone was going to careen into a house or something, but it never happened.  What did happen were about six or seven OTHER cruisers, lights flashing and sirens screaming, chasing after this car....coming from all different directions!

Now, I really thought that the dingbats had left my subdivision. The sirens sounded like they had... that was until I started seeing all the flashlights and search lights ALLLLL over the next street over.

It was about that time that I saw who I thought was a neighbor walking between two houses, and while it occurred to me that most neighbors would know better than to walk outside during such a chase, the guy bends down and, I thought, picks up something from the ground.  Then he lights a cigarette and starts walking across the street.  I grabbed my cell phone and was about to call 911 when a police officer speeds down my street and stops Smoking Dude in the road.

The exchange was hard to hear, despite my ear to the window screen technique that I had going on, but I did hear the officer ask the guy where he'd been and where he was going, and while the guy tried to walk off, the officer stopped him and asked him to just tell him where in the neighborhood he lived.  Clearly he couldn't, and before it was all said and done, Smoking Dude was patted down, handcuffed and carted off to the county lock-up.

This morning, upon waking up, I learned from the news that these guys (there were four of them) were being chased on I64 after they failed to stop for a traffic stop after speeding past a trooper doing 90 miles an hour.  The state troopers chased them from Scott County into Franklin County. Despite the use of stop strips, those idiots continued driving on their flattening tires.  The horrible grinding sound I was hearing?  Those rocket scientists were driving on nothing but the wheels!  Nary a piece of rubber was left on that car!

They arrested three occupants there at the scene.  A fourth occupant ran ... allegedly right into my neighbor's back and then front yards!

The post script to this exciting evening?  The police were back today searching my neighbor's yard!  Turns out that when I thought Smoking Dude had dropped something (I assumed his cigarette), he was actually stashing something into the straw in my neighbor's yard! See, this is why I do very little to my yard. Nothing to stash nefarious items in!

My neighbor has a security camera system and caught all of this idiot's actions on video.  BUSTED!

So, yeah.  That's what I do on Spring Break.

How is your Spring Break going so far?

Saturday, April 01, 2017

SPANX, NAIL POLISH, AND PUTTING ON SOME MAKE UP

I was invited to a dear friend's birthday celebration. It's a birthday tea ... at an honest to goodness tea house ... salon ... okay, tea place.

Anyway, they serve high tea. So, I knew immediately, this was more than just a "make sure the good jeans are clean" kinda day.  The problem is, and I am being brutally honest here, I have let myself go.....like REALLY go.....like, "someone find her the nearest grocery cart for her bag lady look" go.

I wasn't even sure I had a dress that would fit!

But as I've said sooooo many times you are all probably ready to puke from sheer boredom, I am attempting to fill my emotional tank. Filling my tank today meant putting on my girlie best.

I am a fan of the 5-minute face. I am also a fan of the 5-minute hair.  I love that I really only need to spend 10 minutes in front of the mirror (not counting the teeth-brushing/flossing time).  It makes up for the HOURS I spent in front of it in the 80's.  Y'all. One can of White Rain per week!

However, this is a tea room.  It seems to speak to elegance and grace and gentility.  This knocks me out almost immediately, seeing as I exude none of these things, but I was determined to pretend.  Girlie it up a bit!

So, I got out the "it looks like make-up" make up -- I usually defer to the "doesn't look like make-up" make-up.  Plus, there is only so much spackling a person can do in five minutes, right?!

I spent more time.  I added darker eye colors.  I put on some blush ... or more of it, I should say.  I unearthed my Spanx, wrestled those suckers on (heaven help me should I need to use the restroom!), and dug around my jewelry box until I uncovered my pearls.  Tea calls for pearls, no?

I threw on a leopard print cardi ... I dug out a vintage hand bag. I painted my toe nails AND fingernails BRIGHT, FIRE ENGINE RED, y'all!

The final result?

Well, I resemble a trollop, but a girlie one -- which seems a bit redundant, but whatever.

I team room ready.  Or as tea room ready as this Northern girl is going to get.