Friday, April 30, 2010

Church Music



Here is the church. The steeple. The doors open wide and I begin to watch people.

I am a regular attender of church. A member so to speak. That is if we are discussing buildings or structures. If we are talking about the body, I have been a long time member which I believe is more important than my attendance on a Sunday.

No matter how church is defined when I am in the confines of a church building I am always watching people. I think it comes from my nosy nature but I like to break it down and define my intrigue as spiritual gifting.

One thing I notice in church or with the church is the boredom and the distant stares that show up. I don't fault them, I don't even condemn them.

Anymore.

I used to be so peeved when I would be on a worship team and people would just stand there and not get in to the music. I have a natural tendency to move, to sing, to get lost in the moment and when I was younger jump all over stage. It was my expression of worship to God.

It was how I marveled in a moment of total surrender to a perfect God.

When I married MR.FORDE I learned rather quickly why everyone wasn't acting in the same manner as me. It's not everyones thing. With time, maturity and spiritual understanding I have come to be OK with that. Now I find myself sometimes completely uneasy with the musical worship portion of our services.

This uneasy feeling has nothing to do with who is in the band, what songs they sing, key changes or how well they interpreted some bands version of a song. It comes down to the heart.

I still love musical worship. Alone, I revel in it. I sing songs at the top of my lungs, I write, I play my piano, I listen to CD's. I love it. Then, sometimes I get to church and that love escapes me. Why is that?

It's a personal thing. It all goes back to the heart. Maybe I don't identify with what is being sung. Maybe I just disagree with the lyrics. I can't worship God and lie to him at the same time.

It always gets me when I am by myself and I am listening to an artist sing their music. Their expression to God. I find myself with my hands lifted and my heart urning for God. At home I write and I feel His presence. I hear someone sing their songs and I believe a little deeper.

It's the heart.

It's not wrong to sing the songs we do. A lot of church songs are beautiful if you just stop and listen. Hymns are mystical. Chorus are energized with God's majesty. Praise encapsulates the amazement of our Saviour. Yet sometimes that expression isn't ours. We don't live in that moment that the writer did. In essence we are chanting empty words to our God.

That's insulting.

I think so anyways.

God deserves our honesty. I think he would rather us shut our mouths on Sunday morning if our hearts don't line up with what we are singing. If we feel fake in our worship time then it is in no way honoring to God.

I get that.

Now.

To all that I have looked down on in the past, I apologize. Maybe your reasons aren't mine for not being lead into that place of "worship" on Sunday morning but if they are I understand now. Not everyone feels vulnerable and exposed to God when they hear a guitar strum.

Maybe you see God's glory through pictures. Maybe listening to the original artist sing or read their piece with the emotion it was written reveals God's face to you. Maybe living in your talents makes God real to you.

Sunday I am going to church. I am going to stand there and not try to get into the music but open up my heart to God. I want to find Him on the grounds he wants to meet me on.

If that place is in the quiet by myself with a pen and a piece of paper, then I am there.

If he wants to meet me outside and walk through His creation together, I will be there.

If He wants me to worship by watching someone who loves God fall in love with Him all over again because of words and melodies someone else wrote, then be it.

If God wants me to open my mouth and use the gift He gave me to exalt Him, I will.

May we be faithful and glorifying to the one we call our God.

Worship is not something that is to be forced from within. It is the place we find comfort. It is when we fall at His feet and cry out praises, His desire becomes one to embrace us. God then invites us to crawl up onto His knee and He holds us. That is worship.

LJ

Correction

I would like to post a correction in regards to yesterdays blog post about marriage. I entitled it "Life's Hardest Commitment". While I still believe that statement is true my title was misleading and left readers with the wrong impression. I am sorry for the confusion and I have re-named the blog post "This Blog Post is About Marriage".
LJ

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This Blog Post is About Marriage


Marriage.



When I was little it was a fairy tale. Now, it's my reality.

When I was young finding prince charming was my dream. One of my many.

Cinderella did it. Belle found her beast and Ariel got a set of legs just so she could be with her man. Inside the pages of my favourite fairy tale books marriage was such a magical thing. It was the pinnacle of life. The reason we live.

Before anyone gets uncomfortable or a little bit freaked about where I am heading with this I would like to write a disclaimer. This disclaimer is advising you the reader, that I am in no way announcing that my marriage is horrid, that it is ending or that I aspire for it to end. I am being honest about what marriage is. End of disclaimer.

I remember the day I met MR.FORDE. It was at Joy Bible Camp. I wasn't a camper, I wasn't a staffer, I was the shy, unsure of herself, willing to work, not willing to socialize as much, outsider. The bookstore girl. No one really knew my name, my fault not theirs. I hid out behind the 4 walls that created the bookstore and that was my summer.

One day this gorgeous boy walked into my store. It wasn't bells and whistles, an alarm didn't sound, the world around us didn't get blurry like in the movies, he was just another person walking through my door.

After that summer I didn't see much of MR.FORDE. I assumed he headed back to the city, went back to his job, his gorgeous girlfriend and any conversation that we had that summer was a stale memory.

Boy was I wrong. September 2007 I become MRS.FORDE. Apparently those conversations had meaning, maybe the world did go a bit blurry, I just missed it.

Finally on that beautiful fall day, my moment. I got to marry my prince charming. He didn't ride in on a horse, but I did. He didn't save me from the fiery dragon, or the wicked witch, but he saved me from myself.

Almost 3 years in and life is pretty good. By no means is it perfect. There are days when my shining knight turns into the messy monster, the sparkle and dazzle of love is diminished by the stack of dishes on the counter and instead of getting lost in his embrace I would rather he got lost.

Going through the fantasy of dating this day never comes. How could I not want to spend every moment I am awake with him. Life was empty if I hadn't checked in that hour to see what he was doing. If I didn't get to see him for 24 hours it felt like time stood still. Life had no meaning.

Reality check. Rings are on. Things change. Life becomes a factor.

It startles me when I let life register and I think about my week or last few days with husband. It's bad when I realize we haven't had a real conversation all week. When I think back and it's probably, maybe, possibly been 3 days since we kissed and it gave me goosebumps (not just the "see ya" peck on the way out the door). It's really scary when I can't remember the last time we held hands just because.

I didn't read that version of Cinderella. I guess the story ends before we see how Cinderelly and Prince Charming live out forever.

Do they make it?

I haven't seen their divorce trial covered in "This Week in Court" so I think it's safe to assume they did. I wonder is life as happily ever after as they thought it would be when they rolled away in their carriage? Do birds sing? Are there still random deer walking through their kitchen? Are the mice still making dresses?

It would be grand if life was one long date. If the butterflies in my stomach set up permanent residence. If their was always angst and anticipation of that next kiss, that next touch. As exciting as that would be I don't think that is the way it's supposed to be.

I somehow think that the dull moments in marriage are the stepping stones to make the romantic times better. Sometimes the old butterflies have to die so that new ones can come in, bigger and better. They have more flutter to their wings.

We can't always be anticipating the next move, we have to let go of that wonder and just be. Comfort sets in and as boring as it is it's also kind of beautiful.

Our hands maybe don't naturally fall into each others as we walk down the street anymore but it's always nice when I wake up and somehow I ended up in his embrace.

Marriage is one of those things in life I don't think we will ever understand. There isn't a formula. What works for me probably doesn't for you. It's happy, it's sad, it's frustrating, it's amazing. One day I feel like we are just friends, others I can't live without him.

It appears that once the honeymoon ends it would just be easier to hold a membership to the pool. At least I understand the pool. It's square, it's full of water and you get in. It's predictable, it's constant and it never really changes. If only marriage was that way.

No.

Marriage is hard. It takes work. It's about growth, change, honesty, and becoming who we were created to be. It's a commitment that sometimes feels impossible and others unstoppable.

Marriage - Life's hardest commitment or life's biggest adventure, depends on how you look at it.

LJ

Death of a Dream

A dear friend died.

Someone I met when I was just a child. We experienced life and grew old together.

My friend was my life. I aspired to experience every part of my friend but never had the opportunity to.

My heart aches. The sharp, penetrating pain surges through my body.

I feel dead. Brokenness. It all seems so hopeless.

My tears fall unexpectedly. Never did I believe that I would see this day. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I was told this would not be the way.

I prayed. I hoped. I wished.

Where did I go wrong?

Everything seems surreal. I can't place one foot in front of the other. I can't move. My body is frozen.

No one ever prepared me for this.

I look around and everyone is thriving. They laugh, they move. I stand still.

I cover my eyes. My friend was always beside me. This is the first moment that we will not walk side by side.

I make my way toward my friend. This is the end.

Death.

Once so alive now my friend is nothing but ash. Uncontrollably I dig.

Could it be a joke? Is this a nightmare? It can't be true.

No one is pinching me. Everyone carries on.

I have searched the ash. It's true. My friend is gone.

As they lower my friend into the ground I cry. This is truly the end. I have to say goodbye. I want goodbye to be OK but I can't bring myself to wave.

My place is in that box beside my friend. Never have I existed with out my friend.

What will I do?

I want to look forward and find a new friend. I want to search for someone who will give me the hope my old friend did.

I desire to be free from the pain. I want to escape so I can stop stinking.

I try to walk away. I move forward but I look over my shoulder. Mourning is real.

Goodbye dream.

LJ

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Searching for What is Real

I desire to be real.

What does that mean? It means that I want to be who I was created to be.

Who was I created to be? I don't know... I just know that I desire to be that person.

Authentic, real, organic. Trendy verbs. Actions we desire to be and yet we don't even know what they mean...I don't anyway.

When I was young I had a dream. My dream was to be a preacher. That's funny! I would sit in my room and read my bible and then preach a sermon to the wall about what I had just read.

Ridiculous but true.

I didn't go that direction in my life but sometimes I find myself in an empty room, reading my bible and it hits me. I've had revival in the shower. I've converted the laundry pile. The fireplace is always re-dedicating it's life to Christ and I think that I have almost convinced the throw rug that Christianity is for it.

The other night while my husband was at work and my son had tucked in for the night, I found myself at the piano in a lonely house and the urge hit me. I jumped up from the keys and grabbed a Bible. I had this idea in my head and I had to find out if it was just me pondering or if it was God speaking.

I flipped through the silver gilded pages, not 100% sure what I was seeking but determined to find an answer. It all stemmed from a conversation I had with a man I didn't even know. Without sharing details this is what I took away from that conversation. Some Christians just don't understand what it is their faith is about. They get lost in the layers that are wrapped around Jesus. Causes, issues and theological debates become their ticket into heaven.

As I frantically searched through the pages desiring to have authenticity jump up and hit me between the eyes I made a profound discovery.

I am a self proclaimed artist. When I sit at my piano I know I have the ability to create. It is magical when the words and melodies pour from my mind through my finger tips and fill the emptiness that surrounds me with beautiful music.

Creation.

God is the ultimate artist. The world is his masterpiece. He created beings that he called man and woman and prized them as his finest work. He created us as His companions. His desire was that our everyday would happen with Him. We would walk, talk, eat and would live as friends.

Humanity messed it up. The art betrayed the artist.

I know when I create I fall in love. I desire to be with my creation because I am it and it is me. We are one. It is an expression of myself. I revel in it. I listen, I speak, I am, we are.

God's desire to be with me is like my desire to be with my art. I bask in my creation because it is an extension of who I am.

We will never experience the companionship of God as Adam and Eve did. Even though we can't physically walk with God He still desires our relationship. He desired this.

Jesus.

How amazing is it that the master artist desires to have a relationship with me. It takes on so many different shapes but in the end we still communion. He talks, I listen, more frequently I talk and He listens.

Creator - creation.

Redeemer - redeemed.

Worshiped - worshiper.

Friend - friend.


As I searched for the meaning of "real", the authentic Christian life, I discovered this.

If I live my life in the way God intended for it to be I will experience real.

If my everyday is a walk through the garden with my Creator I will have fulfillment. I will begin to peel away the layers that I have wrapped around my Christianity and uncover the heart of God. I will find love.

When I seek out the creator of my life, I will become real.

I will begin to understand who I am and why I am.

When I spend time with the Creator I will understand who He is and when I do that I will start to see that he isn't a cause or a debate.

When I live my life in communion with God I will peel away the layers I have bound around Him and be able to embrace who I am.

That sounds real.

When I can love God and embrace myself I can then live a life that is real, authentic and organic.

I can embrace our world.

Love.

Love is real. God is love. I am an extension of Him. I am the created.

Real.

LJ

Friday, April 23, 2010

Growing Up One Hair Cut at a Time



Yesterday I had a stay at home day. I love them. They don't happen often so I treasure my moments washing dishes, doing laundry, chasing my little boy around the house and making cheese sandwiches.

I am always reminded of my purpose for life on those days.

As our day progressed my son was showing signs of a cold. He had a sniffle, he sounded slightly like Barry White when he would speak and all he really wanted to do was hang off of my leg. I didn't mind his clinging on to me but it was definitely holding up the process in the laundry department.

Thinking I was being a great mom, I decided to put the Ti-man in the bath tub. He loves the bath. He wanders around the house and usually ends up in the bathroom, patting the side of the tub saying "tub, tub?"

I strive to be the cool mom. Something within me desires greatly to be accepted so I guess I am getting the jump on it with Ti-James. I poured him a nice warm bath and put him in.

This is where things started into a downward spiral.

As he played and we chatted I noticed his bangs were so long they were down in his eyes. I went to the closet, pulled out my scissors and started trimming his hair.

If you have ever met my son you know "stillness" is not a concept he gets.

I trimmed and straightened. Clipped a little more. Then I decided the side of his hair was a bit wispy and long, curling into his ears.

Snip and trim. Clip clip. A little more. A little more.

When I was all done with his trim my 13 month old had a trailer park mullet. Being a caring mother, fearing for my son's self esteem I decided it was time for Ti's first ever hair cut.

With Veggietales playing in the background I snipped and cut until all his little curls were gone. My long haired hippie quickly transformed into a clean cut business executive. You know the type that gets paid way too much but still gets their hair cut at First Choice or something of the sorts.

My baby is now a boy.

Can I say regret is my emotion right now? Being honest it really is. It's just hair and that was my defence statement to my husband but still I feel like I have cut away his innocence one crocked snip at a time.

It really has nothing to do with the hair. It will grow back. It has to do with the fact that my boy is 13 months and that time will never come back. I got one shot at those months and now they are behind me.

How I hate that they are behind me.

I love who he is becoming. I miss who he was. Helpless, snuggly, unable to walk.

Who knew a hair cut would be a turning point in my child's life.

When all the cutting was done I put the Ti-man down for his nap. The house was completely silent. I wandered around picking up little brownish-blond curls and putting them in a bag. For what, I don't know I just to have them I guess. I can't bare to let them go yet.

I have to remind myself he is going to grow up, that is what they do. But just as I picked up those pieces of hair and put them in a bag for safe keeping, I can also cherish the memories we have made in my heart and have them for ever without fear of loss or decay.

My little boy will always be my little boy in my heart.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kindness Comes in Many Flavours


The past two days I have been surprised often and showered with much kindness. First my husband, then my work neighbour and now a friend. I guess God knows that I am in need of it.

I have let this weeks theme, for me anyway be grumpy. It is quickly and nicely being powder coated with happiness and thought. I like that better than grump-a-loo-ness.

As a boring day came to a slow and painful end a beautiful young woman walked into my store. She walked up to the counter and handed me a lovely steaming cup of Chai tea. She said it was for me compliments of her mom.

Thanks!

I guess kindness goes along way. Who knew a cup of Chai tea could take a boring, dismal day and put a smile on my sober face.

Tea is powerful. It's delicious and alluring. It makes people happy and warm. So does kindness.

This week I challenge you to do something kind for someone else. Talking from experience, a small act like a cup of tea can make a huge difference in someones day.

Kindness comes in many different flavours.

Thank you for having the thought, and following through.

Blessings
LJ

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Good Morning World!

This morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. My fault? I don't like to think so.

Lately life has been "crazy" and unfortunately for me when things get "messy" my state of consciousness does not effect my thought process. Sleep becomes less deep and I get grouchy!

At least I can admit it.

My husband had to leave early for work this morning and I was left to get the wee man ready for a fun filled day with his Nan on my own.

We started off our day together with spilt cereal, him not wanting to eat his breakfast, a fit because he wasn't allowed to smear Shreddies all over my stairs, an un-contented bath time and then his toothbrush in the toilet.

At this point I was ready to pack it in, and go back to bed.


After getting myself pulled together I had to chase him around trying to get his clothes to stay on his body. Finally we were out the door and I was quite happy to get him to his Nan's for the day.

I dropped the peanut off for the day and then off to work I went. Feeling life underneath my right shoulder blade I drove into town. The movie preview of my life was scrolling through my mind and I was getting ready for a really crappy day. It's been said that attitude has an effect on the day but what do they know! :)

As I pulled up to the stop lights it turned red. I grumbled because I had lots to do before the store opened up. As I checked all ways to see if I could safely turn I saw my husband getting into his little car with an enormous bouquet of flowers. My first thought was "who's the lucky lady?" then when I suppressed my attitude I thought "what a sweetie!"

I pulled into my parking spot and my husband jumped out and presented me with a beautiful token of his love and appreciation! I was so thrilled! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We left the store, and headed our separate ways. I ran into a friend and she tagged along for a while and helped me get some of the last minute errands run!! Awesome...

While I was standing in line at the post office, just before I was rudely insulted, my husband stuck his head in the door and said he had bought me a lovely cup of Java and left it in my cup holder.

He was quickly racking up the brownie points this morning, and all before 10.

I must say, by the time I got back to my store, and settled in for my day I got an attitude adjustment. The good kind too, not the kind my parents always warned me about before I got the back of their hand or the belt.

I must say, I am really thankful for my husband! He is awesome.

More than once today I have had women ask me about the bouquet of flowers lying on the counter and I tell them my amazing husband delivered those this morning. They ask, "What is the occasion?" I respond with, "There is no occasion, just because!"
With shock and bewilderment they stare at me and say, "There aren't many men like that anymore. I wish my husband would do that. I haven't received flowers in X number of years. You are lucky." My response, "Yes I am."

I absolutely am.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Prayer On God's Clock


My sleep so far tonight has not been good. It's one of those nights where you fall hard but it doesn't last long. It's kind of been like that first love. Right now it's 4:10am. My lids should be glued shut with gunk and sleepies but instead I keep getting brought back to conciousness.

I blame God. He does this to me every so often. Does he not know that I need 12 solid hours of sleep? I guess he doesn't or He temporarily forgot so that He could tell me something. God I'm pretty sure I would have heard you at 7:00am. But would I have listened?

I have been praying all night. Not even for myself. For someone I kind of know but I have no relationship with. I'm scared for this person and obviously after tonight with reason. If you get a minute, just stop and say a little prayer for this person.

I don't know the details of their life or even where they are laying their head for the night but that doesn't matter. God knows and if He felt a wake up call was what I needed than with a little bit of grumbling I will submit.

Pray.

LJ

Friday, April 16, 2010

Illness Induced Trip Down Memory Lane



I haven't blogged in the last couple of days because I have been at home in bed, quite sick. Usually when I am sick I shake it off and keep going but not this time. I felt it. My gracious husband filled in at work for me and I sent the wee man off to my mother. I slept.

This time by myself, in bed made me think about when I was little and would get sick. It was almost really exciting being sick, minus the vomiting, raging fevers and lack of spunk. Nevertheless mom always made me feel comfortable.

I was thinking about all the perks we as kids got when we were sick.

Being sick in our house meant getting the TV in your room. This was always exciting even though you could only get 2 channels with the antenna, maybe 3 depending on the way the wind was blowing.

Mom always made us our favourite flavoured Jello, mine was strawberry. Nothing about Jello screams nutritious or even delicious but she always made it for us.

Apple juice was a must, but if we were really sick we got to drink pop. YEAH! Unfortunately for me it was Ginger Ale and after many rounds of "upset tummy" we figured out I can not consume ginger ale. It inspires horrible fits of throwing up.

Extra blankets, lots of snuggles and that silly little angel bell.

We were given a bell to ring if we needed anything. I think most of the time we just rang the bell to see how fast mom's reaction time was. She always came to see what we needed.

I miss those days. This time around being sick I didn't get Jello, there was no apple juice or little bell to ring. It was just me, the TV and I had to get off my butt to get extra blankets.

I enjoy being a mom but sometimes I really miss being a daughter.


LJ

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This Town's Michael Oher


The other night my husband and I watched the movie the Blindside. I have heard great things about this movie but I never thought it would be so touching.

I wont deny there were some cheese factors and some sappy moments but what got to me wasn't the acting or the screen play it was the "story" of Michael Oher.

While I laid in bed after watching the movie all I wanted to do was hug Michael Oher. I for some odd reason felt his pain. I felt his rejection, his uncertainty, his protective instincts, vulnerability and his grace. The flashbacks depicted in the movie of him being taken from his mom kept rolling past my eyes. Horror.

Watching this story made me think of two things. One, how many Michael Oher's do I know and two, I think this world needs more of them.

Most of us watch movies like this and think what a victory for that young man to come from where he did and end up where he is and yet we drive by our own Michael's and don't even see them.

There are lots of Michael's in this town. Not all are NFL bound, not all share the same circumstances. Nevertheless they still exist.

Kid's without parents.

People without homes.

Individuals that work hard but can't make ends meet.

Potential overlooked.

Learning styles misunderstood.

Social relations untouched.

We've given up on them. We label them no good, dumb, awkward and weird. They get shoved to the out skirts and ignored.

We don't have the time to invest so we equate that to their value and refuse to look them in the eye.


We sit around and talk about them while we eat our meals with family, meanwhile they sit alone and go hungry.



Futures are sacrificed because we don't have time to help with school work.


Loneliness sky-rockets because we don't think we have any way to relate.

Hope is lost because the broken get crushed.

I know "Michael Oher". He is a teenage mom fighting to break the cycle of addiction.

I know "Michael Oher". He is a school aged kid who tries every day to overcome family dynamics so that they can make a successful life for themselves.

I know "Michael Oher". He's a young man who is lost in a world of pretend that he created and he is his only friend.

I know "Michael Oher". He walks up and down the street all day not because he wants to but because he has no where to go.

I know "Michael Oher". I see "them" every day. People who have been handed hard circumstances. Thrown into a life that there appears to be no exit from. Caught in the grip of the economy. Lost and looking for someone to reach out their hand. Some find a way out but very few can do it alone.

I know "Michael Oher". Do you?

Silence




Silence. I used to think adults had no appreciation for fun and excitement. They always wanted to rain on my fun times parade. Recently I realized that it was no personal offence, adults just understood the presence of silence.

It's funny. This morning as I fed my son his breakfast, which I will admit was Hawaiian pizza, I finally grasped the true appreciation for silence. I have never been so happy to see Ti-J go down for a nap. My husband took him up to his room and I escaped with my first cup of coffee for the day.

At first I was going to sit in our family room and stare at the wall but then I decided to go out to the living room and sit in front of the patio doors. Peace.

So much happens in silence. I watched the steam dance it's way up from my coffee, swaying and seducing as it passed the rim of my cup. Yum, hot coffee.

I watched an interesting looking bird hop around the yard in search for food or maybe a friend. Aww, nature.

I let my eyes take in the beauty of the hills that roll for miles. I wondered what the people on the other side of those hills had planned for their day. Hmmmmm...

As I sat there allowing myself to hear the thoughts that often scroll through my mind my husband sat in silence beside me. It was nice. We didn't have to say a word we just got to be.

I imagine that is what it's like growing old with someone. Essentially that is what I am doing but I don't consider us old yet. The once scary silence of our youth becomes a beautiful connecting point. After a while the silence seemed to be complete, it's moment was over.

My husband and I began to talk about our plans for our home, our family and our future. It's fun to think about those things. To dream.

I wonder what those years will look like. How we will have changed. I look forward to getting older and many more moments of silence while we watch the bird feeder.

I get a mental image of years down the road. Our children are gone and it's just my husband and I. We are sitting in this very spot, in our living room. Not a word is being spoken. I'm knitting socks, he's starring out the window. What a sweet moment.

I think I found true intimacy yesterday. No loner do I have to fear the silence or fill the void. A new chapter has opened for me and it's one to savour and appreciate. Mindless chatter no longer has to occur.

Hmmmm, silence.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The House of Mirrors

I am hard on myself. I am usually the last to accept me, the first to put myself down and I'm ready to believe the lies people say about me. I am going to say right off the top I know this isn't healthy. It's a constant struggle in my everyday life. I am sure there are reasons for it but that isn't the direction I am heading in this post.

My self esteem, on a scale of 1-10 is probably a 5 but that has come a long way from the 1 that it used to be in my teen years. I usually feel very insecure in a group of people and sometimes I leave situations because I don't have "nice" trendy clothes, fit into them quite like someone else would or when I notice that I am the largest person present I run. I feel like all eyes are on me, even when the only ones that are, are mine.

My struggle with weight started in the womb...I swear! I was never the tiny "cute" kid and even when I was skinny I was the tallest in my class. I think I was 5'8" in kindergarten (sarcasm). My physical stature is something that I have always been very aware of thanks to others and my own insecurities. It's an issue that lives in my focus.

Since having this baby I can't seem to shake the baby weight. I don't know what it is. I have been told that baby weight is no different than regular fat but I am starting to think that it is. I know fatigue and the busy-ness of life factor in as well but I wish it would just melt away. I have friends who had babies around the same time as I did and they can't keep weight on their bodies, they are smaller than they ever have been and some can't believe how fast their baby belly went away. Then there is me. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

This morning I was working away at home. I started sorting through my clothes and getting rid of some because they don't fit anymore. They are too small, old as the hills or full of holes. As I was looking at them I started to feel down. I started to feel fat, and frumpy. Ugly passed through my mind on more than one occasion and I just wanted to die. I knew in that moment that I wasn't the prettiest girl ever and wondered why my husband ever wanted the title of "Leah's husband". He had lots of better choices and he picked me.

Feeling COMPLETELY like crap, I got my son up from his nap and took him down to have a bath. After he was done with his bath I took him out of the tub and stood him on the floor. I put his little towel over his head and went to wrap it around him and he bolted. Off he went. My little nude-e running free. As he ran the towel trailed behind him and when he came to an stop the towel settled in to cup his little cheekies. He was having a blast.

It was watching my little guy run with nothing on but the towel that made me realize how free he was. He hasn't been tainted yet. Innocence. I wish I still had it. I try to think of what it would feel like to walk down the street and feel as though no one was starring at me because I am carrying 50 extra pounds, to look in the mirror and see beauty, to be in a group of people and feel accepted. It's a pretty sweet thought. Hmmm.... to feel comfortable in my own skin.

As my little man ran with no cares in his mind, knowing that his mom loved every minute of what he was doing he felt loved. Precious. That gave him the freedom to be himself.

Maybe my issue isn't the extra 50lbs. I think it has more to do with the years of whatever can be summed up under "worldly tainting". As a parent it terrifies me to think of my little guy who today was so free to be himself may end up wanting to hide because of how others perceive him (or so he thinks). OH tears again... I can't do anything about how he feels about himself in 20 years but right now I can make sure that he feels safe and loved enough to know that who HE is, SO special, right and lovable.

I hope someday I get it. More tears...

LJ

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sick Kid, Gracious Soul



This week we found out that Ti-James has bronchitis. Hearing that little bit of news made me feel like the world's worst parent.

The last five or so days we have watched our little boy battle a "cold". We added up his rotten attitude and crappy feeling to a cold and four teeth fighting their way to the surface. Never did I imagine that it was anything more than that.

Bronchitis isn't serious but it makes me sad that I missed the signs.

He's a tough boy though.

I'm not well acquainted with babies but from the little experience I do have I know that my little guy is pretty happy and contented. Even in the moments when he feels the worst, he is still able to smile and let you know you he loves you.

That's such a good feeling.

This last week I have had more cuddles from my son and the amount of snot smeared on my collar, more than normal. Each goober, totally worth it.

I hate to see my little man sick, but through these situations I love finding out what qualities he holds. Strength is definitely one of them. This little guy has fought from day one to make it into this world. We almost lost him a few times but God had a reason for him and he made it safely into our arms.

This parenting thing is confusing. I had hoped that after delivery I would be handed a manual and a detailed list of directions on how to raise this being, but it didn't happen. Sometimes I have heard my child screaming and started looking around for his parents, realizing shortly after I that I am the parent.

Regardless of how many times I mess up at this parenting thing he still comes back to me. No one else will do. When he is scared he wants to be held by his parents. When he is uncertain he just needs to make contact with our legs. When he is so full of love that he has to show it, he makes sure it is expressed to his mommy and daddy first.

That's such a good feeling!

My little Ti-J is a gracious soul. His innocence allows forgiveness for all the mistakes we make with him on a daily basis. He shows us mercy and never holds a grudge. Not yet anyway...

That's a great feeling.

LJ







Thursday, April 1, 2010

Finding God in the Unexpected

I noted a few posts ago that I was offered an opportunity to be creative again. I think I need to expand on that. For Easter this year a friend of mine and I are compiling a video that is our vision of Christ reflecting in our everyday life. It is a video full of art and photos, water and rocks, crosses and blood accompanied with profound lyrics and melodic sounds. The beauty of God in our everyday lives.

We miss God so often. Every where we turn He is there. In nature there are flowers and trees that scream God. His face reflects in the water, his hands created the hills and yet somehow we miss it. His daily reminders that He is present.

I'm not trying to be deep or theological because I wouldn't even know how to begin. What I am saying is God is out there. He is in here. He is all around. I believe he does things so that when we stop and take a moment to quiet ourselves we notice, but when we hustle through life those promises are trampled and never appreciated.

For our video I was taking still shots of crosses. I was inspired to look beyond the obvious and find the cross symbol in those places that they would never be suspected. As I walked out my drive way I looked up the lane that leads to the road and in the path of the sun I spotted tire tracks. These tracks formed a cross. It all came full circle. God's little reminder that He is present, even in situations where we do not think He even cares. Truly it was just me backing over my own tracks but that inherent bond between my Father and I transformed those tracks from a simple imprint on the ground to a perfectly timed wink. Acknowledgement that he exists.

This whole video process has made me reflect a little more on what Easter means. As we conceived ideas of what is true imagery of Christ I thought of that moment of Christ's crucifixion. Obviously this was painful. Physically he was ripped and broken but I wonder if his emotions caused him more pain. False accusations, friends denial, the Father's abandonment. He was left alone to do a work that no one ever had or ever would do again.

At one time I was a teen girl. Drama is not foreign. It seems as though in the span of the teen years there are requirements you must fill and life drama is number one. (I imagine that throughout life these patterns exist in social circles but I am not far off from the teen years so I will reflect on those before that option expires for me.) There are always love/hate relationships that exist. Best friends one day, enemies the next. I was always thankful for the weekend because somehow they were magical. Friday relationships were unstable, Monday morning they were like brand new romances. Odd. In all of that confusion our emotions become like rubber bands. They are pulled and stretched and if that happens too much they wear and eventually break. I would think as Christ was beaten and hung on that cross his rubber band broke.

I remember when I was pregnant, lying in my bed for three months straight. I was alone, I was scared and felt like it was this impossible thing that no one could take from me. No matter how much this baby inside was a part of my husband and I, this portion of the process was up to me. I think that may have been how Christ felt. He died for our sins, so the Father could show his love but regardless of that, HE had to die.

Sometimes we ignore God and I think we take it all back to that day of Crucifixion. We break the rubber band. We deny God the enjoyment he is supposed to get out of his creation because we chose to be busy and not acknowledge His being a part of our daily life.

When the sun shines, he's smiling. When the rain falls, he cries. When the hills roll, his hand passes over. When the wind blows, he is taking a deep breath.


LJ

Short, Sweet, Should Have Been a Tweet.... ANTM

Last night my husband and I tuned in to ANTM Cycle 14. I was able to gain some understanding about this season and answer some of my own uncertainties about it.

Tyra is wearing those jumpsuits at her own will... #4 Hola!

The drama in the house has become more than the modelling competition. I don't feel the passion from anyone of these girls. No one wants it.

Simon went home... I bolted off the couch when Anslee was handed her picture. WHAT?!?! I froze. I was in this odd position, holding pillows out in front of me, frozen, unsure of what I just watched!

I think my husband is out. ANTM can not be our show this season. We are going with Dancing with the Stars. Sorry Tyra... we want to watch Kate.

LJ