Monday, January 23, 2012

Raw

Long time no write... but that is ok.


I have always envisioned this blog as a place to come and share as inspired with no pressure.


So much has changed since June, but I will need to go back some time to elaborate on all of that...


In short, we found a church... an amazing fit for us that I am still shocked over and beyond thankful for...


God's timing is pretty amazing.


I am not sure I could have swung this winter without finally having the church piece of my puzzle figured out.


Last year was a funny year. In so many ways it was one of the most difficult of years, but then in other ways, I finally figured out major parts of my life at the same time... Come to think of it, perhaps those two things aren't so strangely linked after-all.


Regardless, winter has had me scared since last winter... 


I dreaded it all summer and come fall- my favorite season- I was nearly paralyzed.


Last winter was long and hard which caught me totally off-guard as someone who is usually upbeat without much effort. Then as winter finally broke, I was met with a spring miscarriage that wrecked me.


I keep thinking... wondering... why has this one been so much "harder" than the others, as if they are supposed to come with a pain meter and just stop hurting when enough is enough.


Raw.


That has been my word for months. I have just been raw. 


Not particularly about the specific loss... I really thought I had dealt with that part of it. Perhaps some of that grief was still lingering, but mainly I think it has been about not being able to make the choices in my life... silly as that sounds.

Raw.

Ever noticed how "raw" things aren't pretty... yeah, this wasn't either.

"When are you going to have another?"


How many times had I been asked that deceiving question by well meaning people? 


As if I ever had control. Who was I kidding?


Feelings, frustrations, the unknown all bubbling up right under the surface of a gaping wound... never but a fleeting thought away from bringing me to tears... out of no where.


No control. No plan. No next step. But plenty of tears... uncontrollable, unpredictable tears.


I hate crying... it creates a need in others to know what is wrong and when you don't have the answers to that question everyone is frustrated...


Life became a series of trying to keep it all under the surface until the next uncontrollable eruption of tears (read: embarrassment)...


Turns out that isn't exactly a great healing plan... ;)


One night I was watching Up and just lost it... to my defense, who doesn't cry at Up?


That was a breaking point though. I thought Puddie was going to worry himself to death if I didn't figure something out. So, I started talking to him more about it and pardon my term, but a scab began to heal over the wound... 


I would nick it every now and then and feel the sharpness of the pain, and occasionally I would feel things bubble up, but I was feeling better most days.


Winter loomed.


During this time we had been attending services at our new church non-stop and it was helping... I would still fight back the tears, but it got me back to praying, back to God... God... man have I missed Him.


Exhaustion.


The world doesn't stop (nor does it operate very well) when your world feels like it is crushing in and even as it has gotten better, I have never been so tired. 


I could sleep for days and never fully rest. 


Regardless, priorities had to be taken care of... I was committed to work and family... and both are rightfully demanding... rest could wait.


Then this past weekend, the sermon was about getting "stuck" and I knew my running days were over... 


I prayed. 


Hard.


I prayed for God to take my burden. I just couldn't take it anymore...






I went to bed and dreamed a vivid dream... I dreamed that someone from my past --from another stage of life-- came to visit me and as I walked out to greet this surprise visitor, they asked me what they were doing there...


Suddenly...


Click.


I knew and I told them.


They just stood there as I told them they were there to show me that heartbreak can be a step towards something beautiful. That God knew what He was doing and I could finally rest. He knew how to take something ugly and broken and use it to build something beyond my imagination. And they were sent as a reminder.


An unexpected messenger, but the exact message I needed.


It grounded me. Footing gained at last.


Something... Hope perhaps, was finally grasped.


I awoke. 


Rested. 


More rested that I have been in months.


Different. So different.


Finally at peace.


Months of turmoil. 


One prayer of surrender from a stubborn broken woman.


Peace.


Simple, complicated peace.


God is good.


 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
-Matthew 11:28

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose."

-Romans 8:28 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."

-Jeremiah 29:11-12 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Just so ya know...

I have been catching up on some bloggy reading and finding myself going down the proverbial bloggy rabbit hole and when I find myself out in the blogosphere it is inevitable that I find myself on more than one occasion on posts that at one time or another declare that there are "so many mommy bloggers out there pretending to have it all together or pretending to be perfect"... and in some form or fashion the posts go on to condemn this prevalent character and that practice of being perfect...


My first thought every time I read this-- a common notion in the blogosphere-- is where are all these perfect people that are ruffling everyone's imperfect feathers???


The blogging community that I know and love is rich with honesty, raw motherhood moments and the support that follows and shouts "Amen--right there with ya, sister".

While at the same time those same brilliant resourceful women offer me so much that I love to learn from and laugh with...


Then the thought occurred to me that I kind of like a light, fun and happy blogosphere... not a plastic--nothing ever goes wrong-- one, but rather one that seeks out the positive and gravitates towards joy despite whatever life throws at us...


It does my heart good... and some most days my heart really needs it... just sayin'

Philippians 4:8

New International Version (NIV)

 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


Then a fear sprouts up in my mind that perhaps some think I fancy myself as perfect or that I am an offender of sugar-coating motherhood over on my main blog.


I get the sentiment of why we all want to hang the "perfect mom" up like a pinata and take several whacks at her... it boils down to being sick of being made to feel guilty. 


We are guilty that we can't do it all to the level we want to.


Guilty that we work.


Guilty that we are away from work.


Guilty that we didn't do that load of laundry.


Guilty that there are bedtime tears.


Guilty that fido hasn't been played with.


Guilty that God wasn't the focus today, or yesterday or heck when was He the main focus?


Guilty that life is more like a hamster wheel than a glorious journey.


Guilty of storybooks that weren't read.


Guilty about the food we buy.


Guilty of TV time.


Guilty of time wasted.


Guilty of the exercise that did not happen.


Guilty of time gone by...


Shall I go on? 


So when someone comes along or perhaps just the thought of someone coming along with it all together... we want to whack her... and her disingenuous self...



I am just wondering if the majority of these women that are judging me so harshly with their perfect lives are in fact myths... a figment of my imagination to cope with guilt I self-impose... almost like a Big Foot-esque spotting in the blogosphere.

I am sure there is some gal out there somewhere still pretending to be June Cleaver... but for the most part, most moms I know online and off have evolved from this out of touch creature... who has the time to pretend?

Yet, we carry on constantly about her, berate her, claim to be nothing like her... but secretly (or sometimes openly) deal with the guilt that comes with the thought of her...

And, with that said... if I am wrong... I kind of feel sorry for the perfect souls--or those who pretend to be--, for they don't know the magnificence of a friend coming to your aid when you need it most or the support of a loving blogosphere... or the blessing it is to share a struggle with someone when they need to hear it most.

Shared imperfection is part of what binds us to and builds our relationships.


Now, I have tried to make it clear that in this house- Martha doesn't live here... but, just in case there is any question... here is a list of things... Just so ya know...

Just so ya know... right now-- as I type this-- my house is in complete disarray.

Just so ya know... if you knocked on my door right now, I'd hide.

Just so ya know... there are lots of days when I don't want to cook-- even though I love to cook.

Just so ya know... some days the number (or lack there of) of vegetables consumed here is just shameful.

Just so ya know... I love my kid. She isn't perfect... but she is the perfect match for me.

Just so ya know... I struggle. I struggle with my faith, weight, clutter, balance (figuratively and some times literally;))--just to name a few.

Just so ya know... I love my husband. He isn't perfect either... but I know God sent him to me and I thank heaven above... even if he came with smelly socks...

Just so ya know... His mama does not have the sense of smell... and with raising 5 GOODe Ole Boys, I'd say she is thanking God for that as well ;)

Just so ya know... We have never had a regular bed time routine for Miss Add or routine period...gasp.

Just so ya know... I wish I was better at a lot of things.

Just so ya know... I have been slipping on thinking positively lately... and I have really felt the effects of it.

Just so ya know... I need to be much better at managing my time.

Just so ya know... So far, I stink at learning how to bake bread.

Just so ya know... I don't post every recipe that I make... a lot of flops don't make the cut.

With all that said, I know that I intentionally try to keep GG positive, fun and an inspiration in and out of the kitchen and I don't begrudge any other mom that tries to do the same in their little neck of the blogosphere.

What are your thoughts... are there droves of perfect moms slathering the blogosphere with their icky perfection or is it a bloggy urban myth that is needlessly driving us all crazy?


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Leaning Towards vs. On

Dear Reader...

It has been a while. Truth be told... I have been avoiding this little space I have created.

Life has been a little too raw to sit down and face it all... which is what I do here.

AND life has been a lot busy, so excuses to avoid this place have been abundant.

HOWEVER, this week I had a little wake up call in the form of one sassy little conversation with my bathroom scale.


Note: My scales have never read the same as this picture... just sayin'

Now, as most of you know... I am not a big fan of Oprah... BUT she did say something once about her weight that really hit home with me. She talks about when her weight is out of balance, for her, it means her life is out of balance... that she spent years fighting a cosmetic issue when she really had an emotional issue.

Bingo.

As a gal that has struggled with my weight for years... it was only after I came to the same conclusion (after banging my head on the weight wall for years) that I finally managed to keep my weight in check... Sure my usual number on the scales would still be really high for many of you...but for me... it was a huge accomplishment.

However, between this winter's remodel, the pregnancy and the loss of the pregnancy... I have been running from an avalanche of emotion and right into my kitchen, my work, my fridge, my work, any restaurant that'll take my money and my work.

And, shockingly enough... that all caught up with me on my scale... crazy right?

Truth be told... emotion isn't all I have been running from.

Several months ago... God started stirring in my heart again... and I started digging in and studying His word...

I can't even tell ya what I was reading at the time, but something got too raw during a devotion and I shut down and pushed away. Something that touched on an uncovered nerve of feeling like there was a time when I tried to lean on God and He wasn't there...

Now, I know I am the issue here. I know God is faithful and I know that He is always there for me...

However, years ago His silence changed the trajectory of my life (for the better)... but also left me with this exposed fear of leaning on Him and falling flat... feeling that desperation again...

So... as wrong as it is...


I often resort to my own strength, with my feet planted and lean towards God not on Him.

Now... fast forward to the week before my first ultrasound with P-dab... Despite the fact that I had two previous miscarriages years ago, I hadn't been too worried about the pregnancy. I had been really sick with this pregnancy which gave me all kinds of false peace of mind.

Then I got a call from Puddie that said his work schedule changed and he was not going to be able to go with me on our first appointment. In that instance I filled with fear. At that point, I had laid on that cold ultrasound table a total of 3 times at the beginning of a pregnancy... and two of those times ended in sadness... clinching Puddie's hand and that all flooded my head.

I'd love to tell ya that I stopped and prayed a beautiful prayer that God's will be done, Amen.

Nope.

Oh I prayed... but not the prayers of a good Christian girl.

Nope.

I remember telling God that everything better be OK because He would be cruel to make me go through that by myself.

Then that Sunday's sermon was about tragedy and when bad things happen.

I remember being upset with God over the sermon. How dare He make me needlessly worry.

Then the day came...

I had some work I needed to catch up on, so I headed to one of my favorite working lunch spots and worked for a few hours before my appointment.

As I packed up and left, I turned back to my table and saw a nicely folded napkin laying on my table... I was confused that I hadn't seen it before or cleared it with my dishes and I was all packed up and ready to head out so I awkwardly placed it in my jacket pocket...

I remember thinking man that was an odd thing to do.

I then sat and awaited my triple appointment... first the ultrasound, then the OB nurse and then my OB.

My name was called and I headed in for my appointment.

My fear grew as I put the gown on...

I kept telling myself that I just needed to make it to when the nurse would turn the monitor my direction and show me little P-Dab floating around.

She entered the room and started chatting right up a storm... which I appreciated... gown and stirrups and all...

As she started the ultrasound, she was smiling and asking me if we had told Addie yet...

Suddenly her smile dropped and her face went neutral... as if it were trained to do so... and her chatty nature fell silent... deathly silent.

I knew what was happening...and I was losing hope by the second... in the eternity that must have been every bit of 10 minutes of silence.

At one point the microphone kicked on and I thought I heard a beat of a heartbeat... but that was hope's last stand. Soon she turned off the machine and told me things didn't look quite right for the dates I had given her... but that there was hope that my dates could be wrong.

I knew my dates were spot on... and I knew this conversation from years before. She tried to reassure me... but I could tell it was half-hearted and when I combined that with my fears and history... I broke out in tears as soon as she awkwardly left the room to figure out what to do with her potentially not-so pregnant patient...

As the OB nurse was instructing her that she no longer needed to see me and to see if she could bump up my OB's appointment...

I sobbed in the ultrasound room...

Alone.

I scanned the room for tissues and there were none. I actually sat in the room wondering why on earth they would not have tissues in a room that potentially holds so much joy and so much pain... tissues seem like a no brainer...

I was a mess... but I knew they were going to soon start shuffling me around... keeping me from the other expectant mothers for my emotional comfort and for theirs.... So, I got up, got dressed and put my coat back on...

As she came back in, she saw my emotional level had deteriorated and tried again to reassure me... which only made me worse. She didn't know my history and I wasn't interested in false hope. Then she realized she was way outside of her comfort zone so she too scanned the room for tissues and actually ran out the door looking for some before taking me to the next office.

At that point, I put my hand in my pocket and I pulled out something oddly placed there... that folded napkin from the restaurant... and I immediately felt God's presence.

I clutched it and used it throughout the rest of my torturous time there... As they shuffled me through the staff break room as to not have me re-enter the waiting room full of expectant moms and babies and then placed me in the "Bad News" room...

Anyone who has been through this knows what I mean... It is a room with no exam tools or furniture... it is a closet like room with a couch and if you are lucky some magazines... designed for patients like me to sit and wait on the bad news... And... oddly enough... it was also lacking tissues.

As I sat in the Bad News Room and awaited my doctor... I looked at that napkin and thought about how God was there for me in that moment that no one else could be...

Then it washed over me that perhaps God kept Mike away that day to help me see that He is still there for me... that at that moment when I couldn't keep my footing any longer and keep it all together that He was there for me to lean on when my human nature finally fell a part and I couldn't lean towards anything any longer.

A lesson from a napkin of all things.

A week later the blood tests finalized the bad news and a week after that nature took its course...

And I... well I kept my feelings mostly bottled up and got back down to business with life and work.

Staying busy... and not thinking too much...

Then this past Easter Sunday I heard a moving sermon that talked about not faking it... if you have doubts or questions... be honest about them... and throughout the sermon I felt my emotions bubbling at the surface... but I pushed it all back down in a prideful act of trying to keep it all together for appearances sake... that and I am simply too tired to deal with the emotions of it all...

So that brings us to this week... where the weight I have been carrying for a long time showed up on the scale itself... and that brings me to you... and to Him... trying to figure out what and how to lean next.

So there ya have it...

How about you? Do you lean towards or on God?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Winter's Chill

I have been whining about winter since... oh... I don't know, November?

Truth be told, I have NEVER liked winter.

I LOATHE being cold.

My teeth chatter relentlessly.

I tend to be short tempered when cold.

Do. Not. Like. It.

Frost on my windshield ALWAYS surprises me... and ALWAYS comes at a time when I don't have time for winter's latest shenanigans.



For whatever reason though, this winter has been especially trying on my nerves and the ears of anyone near me...

I think it has a lot to do with our home being in a state of disarray since Thanksgiving due to our kitchen repair/remodel.

That and Puddie (my hubby) being gone for 10 weeks prior to that due to a work assignment.

10 weeks of my FAVORITE season... fall.

We Goodes do fall up right... there be punkins, apple orchards, corn mazes and tons of festivities...

This past fall we did all that, but Puddie couldn't always be there... and that, well... it sucked.

From the 10 weeks of limbo to the remodel to this winter season that feels like it is going to keep me from my flip flops FOREVER...

I have been struggling.

Flip flops are important ya know...

I feel like I need Spring like I have never needed her before.

And, I don't need all them showers just quite yet ... I'm talking to you April.

I need some 70s and some sun... Heck, I'll settle for 60s with sun.

Warm glorious sun.

And a long walk, with a GOODe friend. Or maybe 2... or 5!

What are you looking forward to come the Spring sun?

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Burn Rule

People.


People are tricky.




For years I lived by the rule of thumb: "Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me."


And, truth be told, I made it a custom to rarely let the ladder happen. 


Oh it did from time to time... and when it did, I'd give myself a stern talking to... 


I mean they had shown me their true colors and yet I let my guard down... it was my fault really. 



Some people just should be trusted. I need to wise up on these matters... and I would build another wall.


If someone disappointed me, my solution was to lick my wounds and the adjust my expectations of them.




If someone lied to me. I was done.


If someone hurt me intentionally. I was done.


If someone betrayed me. I was done.


I felt that life was short and I wanted to fill it with the people who love and respect me...


Ahh respect... my cornerstone. Nothing gets me more agitated than disrespect. 


But lately, I have been think a lot about Christ. And about God.... about the folks they chose to fill their lives and Word with...


Jesus chose 12 (or technically 13, I suppose) humans to hang with while on this earth. 


13.


Now what blows my mind is that Jesus knows what kind of character these folks have... one would think that he would have chosen those with pristine character...yet, we all know about Judas...



Think about it. Jesus chose Judas. Chose him--knowing that in the end he would betray him. He spent his days with him. Of all the people to have in his inner circle, and he chose Judas. I can imagine they even had some good moments. Yet, the whole time, Jesus knew what this dude would eventually do... the ultimate betrayal and then ultimately kill himself. Can you imagine how heart breaking that must have been.


And, to a lesser degree, what about Peter? Dude lies about Jesus after pledging to him that he would never do such a thing... This from a man that Jesus calls a "Rock"


It had to be frustrating that James and John were a bit into self-promotion with that whole right and left seat bit... while Jesus was trying to show the world a completely different way of life.


And what about everyone falling asleep despite his asking that they remain awake as he prepares to take on the most difficult time of his life that will result in the salvation of the world?




Not to mention the fact that he made that ultimate sacrifice after spending years on this earth with all the disappointment and imperfection that is the human race.


From an outside view, it might appear that he was pretty lousy at picking friends... ya know from the burn rule...


It is pretty clear to me that Jesus was viewing the world from a place of love. He wasn't interested in self protection. I am in wonder after all these years that I am finding a message of friendship and love in stories that I have heard a million times.


And, when I think about it... his choosing sounds very familiar to the God of the Old Testament that chose a rag-tag bunch of folks who were far from perfect to interact and engage with...to love.



I guess my point centers around this:


John 13:34-35
   34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Love one another.

That kind of rocks my burn rule's world...

Then, if that doesn't clarify the matter... he clears things up with this little number.

Matthew 18:21-22 
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."


Man. That is rough. How on earth am I suppose to protect myself in these kinds of conditions?

I guess the point God has been tugging at me lately with is that I'm not very good at being a protector and perhaps I ought to leave that to the pro... ya know, him.

Ya see, despite the fact that I have been oh, so wise and oh, so diligent in building all these protective walls-- the hurt still got in... and yet it was successful at keeping a lot of people out.

I am not really sure how to fully proceed at this point, but I am glad that he is still working on me...

I will close with a note about the Oscars... of all things... ha!

I am not a huge Oscars fan, but from time to time I do watch. I don't particularly care for all the hoopla over the dresses and most of the time I haven't seen very many of the movies being celebrated.

Through twitter and facebook, I usually witness those that love the show to those that hate it and everything it stands for...me on the other hand... I can take it or leave it.

This year however, the video of all those that have passed away really got my attention. I actually found myself oddly with my hand over my heart and a tear in my eye as I watched a screen full of folks--most of which I had no clue of who they were--flash by.

Some old, some young.

All gone.


All important to someone no doubt. Worlds for ever changed. In that moment my heart broke for them.

Later, feeling a little silly, I got to thinking about why that got to me so much. I think it was because for a moment I just sat an looked at their humanity. Not the dress she was wearing or the bad example he was setting. Nope. I was caught up in something entirely different.

Her smile.

His eyes.

Her gift.

His love.

Her voice.

The way she touched another's life.

What he meant to her.

And, I guess I just wonder if that isn't at least in part how and why God puts up with us imperfect humans--looking past all of this dreadful mess we make of ourselves and seeing the beauty that lies within-- the beauty he put there.

So what are your thoughts on dealing with people?

Are you a burn rule person like me?

Or, have you found a way to live at peace with the human folk? ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Expiration Labels

I recently had an epiphany that took me a little by surprise.


For a really long time, I have been defining myself...

In little ways and big ways... 

Based off of a culmination of what I thought others thought of me...


Turns out, some of these labels are well past their expiration dates and not from credible sources... just sayin'

Truth be told, this independent, successful woman felt just a tad bit foolish when I came to this realization...

Since coming to this understanding--like an onion--I have begun peeling back the layers of these labels and discovered that in some ways I haven't known myself for years... I had been set on auto-pilot without really knowing it.


No wonder I hated social interactions... it is hard to be on auto pilot when you aren't sure whether you were a plane, train or automobile.

Now, from a professional standpoint I have identified with my labels and embraced them for the most part. Hardworking, resourceful, "go-to gal", dependable, communicator, facilitator, etc.


There were a few areas professionally where I discovered I had let some uncredible sources box me in... 


I remember talking to a friend one day about starting my own business. About how I was thinking about going back into writing but I wasn't sure if I was going to be any good at it. 

Her jaw dropped. "Umm... You are a writer."

She assumed that since I had been writing pretty much my entire life, was on the newspaper and yearbook in high school, excelled in my writing courses and worked for the newspaper all through college... Since I wrote daily on my blog and for other people my entire professional career-- including my time as a Marketing Director and later a Communications and Outreach Director-- that I had confidence in my writing... 

Psshaw!


Didn't she know that Person X used to mark up my work with a red marker until the page bled and embarrassed me constantly in front of my peers? Or that Person Y used to tell everyone that I was incompetent behind my back.

Now, would I have trusted either Person X or Y to give me an assessment of skill sets on anyone else? 


Absolutely not. 

For a myriad of reasons, I knew enough not to trust their judgement of others--yet I let them inside my head to plant a seed of doubt about something that turns out to be a vital part of my professional and personal life.


Holy cow. 


Why on earth have I just been handing the keys of my life over to other people all these years? And, in some cases, to people I would have never trusted with anything or anyone else.

As I have been peeling back this onion, I have discovered so many of the labels that I have let determine my social and spiritual struggles should have expired years ago... or even worse... shouldn't have been allowed to be planted at all. 


"It is not what name others call you that matters, but what name you respond to that truly determines who you are." - Swahili Proverb


Have you been answering to names that aren't you? 

Have you allowed others--knowingly or not--plant labels on you that have expired?



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Basket Full of Squander

Sometimes I wonder why God blesses people so lavishly, only to have them squander it...

And by people, I mean me.

A lot of times I think the other shoe has got to drop... I am so undeserving in so many ways.

Almost all of the time I feel this sense of urgency to be more... to do more... to somehow figure it out.



I often complain of not enough time, but God has given me the same number of hours in a day that He has given people who have done amazing things.

But, I somehow can't escape my laundry...

Do you feel like you are fulfilling your life's purpose?