True Beauty: The Weight Of My World

This post has been churning in my head and in my gut for about two weeks now. I don’t want to write it. Yet, I’m compelled to write it. Maybe the writing will be part of the healing.

Reading this passage from A Holy Experience brought me to an all to familiar feeling.

Sometimes when I stand skin nervous, too exposed, before the hangers and the choices, his hands find the waist and finger around the bare that has stretched wrinkle thin six times and I cringe. He says it then in the light, what he whispers in the complete pitch with the door latch hooked close. I doubt that word beautiful from his lips and I shake my head and I regret hurting him, but I can’t help it. To accept it would seem a lie but he says it is his God-honest truth. Why do I argue?

The Feelings

The cringing, the doubt, the voice inside my head telling me it’s all a lie.

I feel it when John puts his hand on my waist leading me in to a restaurant or initiating a spontaneous dance in the kitchen. I feel it when my son tells me I’m beautiful in his most earnest heart-felt 4 year old way. I feel it when my daughter pats my stomach and says, “Mommy, you have a fat tummy, but I love you!”, as only 4 year old honesty will allow.

I feel it more when I am alone. When I have to get dressed, yet again. This never ending torturous process of dressing on a daily basis. The putting on and the taking off, over and over, trying so desperately to find something, anything that will not make me hate the obese image reflected in the mirror.

The disgust and the shame are overwhelming. It’s paralyzing. It’s restricting.

I hate to leave the house for fear of running in to people I know. Embarrassed at what they may think of me. What they may tell their spouses or friends about me.

I rarely socialize, even with my friends. The ones who have known me for years. The ones who know about this battle with my weight. The ones who have seen me gain and lose 40 to 60 pounds three and four times now.

I am so uncomfortable in this skin. I feels like it belongs to someone else.

And the feelings that accompany the weight are just as unbearable. They make me distant. They make me silent. It’s a gentle mix of apathy, hopelessness and nausea.

The Logic

Logically, my head knows this is not hopeless. It knows that what I am feeling is not to be trusted. It knows that I am beautiful to my son and I am loved by my daughter. It knows that John is telling me the truth, his truth, when he says I am as beautiful as the day he met me. (I am jealous of that 15 year old girl.)

Logically, my head knows that how I look physically is not important. It knows that where I am spiritually is the most important. It knows that regardless of what the scale says, or what anyone else says, God loves me and my heart and thinks I am His beautiful creation. This I know is true.

My head also knows how to fix this, how to change it, how to make it right.

My head knows how to turn around an obese BMI score of 31.5 to a healthy 24. Heck, I’ve done it multiple times. Last summer I was a size 8, the summer before that a size 4, and finally the summer before that a size 16, just like today.

The Struggle

What my head doesn’t know is how to stop letting the feelings control my actions.

At least for today.

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Starting Over… What Is Possible?

Starting over is not easy.

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In fact, I think it’s one of the hardest things we have to do as an adult. Far too often we get stagnant in life. Sometimes even in our own misery. It’s safe. Easy. It’s why people stay in a bad relationship or a bad job. Change is scary for most of us. And as we grow older we tend to resist change. At least some folks do, not all. I suppose it’s the element of risk that rattles us. The unknown is a mystery and the familiar is comfortable.

But sometimes you have no choice. I would not have chosen the last two years of my life, if you talked to me 12 months ago. But ask me now and you will get a different answer. I have come so far in life in what seems to be such a short period of time.

Nashville flood victims would not choose the last two weeks either. Given the devastation of the flood, it is quite possibly the most difficult thing that some have ever faced. Even if you didn’t lose everything, it is still very frustrating to deal with paperwork, insurance adjusters, policies, agencies, and on and on. If you did lose everything, it is even worse. Where will I go? What will I do? When will the assistance come? What if I lose my job? Certainly, with all of this it may not be possible to look at the future with joy and anticipation.

So how do you keep up your spirits and not get sucked in to the exhausting daily struggles?

Ask yourself “What is possible now?”

My journey after the divorce was based on one premise: Who am I beyond Jacob & Emma’s mommy? (Beyond JEMS) What else was there to me besides being a stay at home mom.

  • What was I capable of doing?
  • Where would I go?
  • Who was I as a woman?
  • How would I support my kids?
  • What did I dream of doing?
  • When would I get my life back in order?

Many folks did not understand my journey. Many scowled, visually and verbally, at my choices. But there was only one thing I knew to be true…. I knew that this was my opportunity to start over. I was facing the second half of my life and I wanted to it mean more, be MORE! I had to discover what was possible.

Not many folks have the choice to start over. It can be a blessing, even if it is forced upon you by circumstances beyond your control. You have a choice to dwell in the negative or try to see what is possible.

Trust me, I’m not suggesting, it’s all wine and roses and happy-go-lucky, cheery, positivity. It can be hard. Very hard. But it can be done. I recall someone saying that if you are not growing, you are dead. And we all know that growing pains hurt.

Take the moments of reprieve to dream.

  • Dream about possibilities.
  • Dream about what if’s.
  • Think about when.
  • Think about how.
  • Think about why not now.

Believe in yourself., believe in God and dream. If only for moments a day. It’s a start.

Nashville Flood: Lives In The Ditch

Franklin flooding brings community to help victims discard the ruins and pick up the pieces.

My Street

My Street in Rebel Meadows

The air was thick with a musty odor that reeked of rot and decay. As it should, given the amount of debris that lay by the road side waiting to be picked up by the city of Franklin.

The Rebel Meadows subdivision, my neighborhood, sits right beside the Harpeth River. It winds around us and ventures on back to the Cottonwood and Fieldstone Farms neighborhoods. We were all in the same boat during the flood, somewhat literally.

I ventured out last week to help my neighbors by offering the use of my home for bathroom breaks, air conditioning, or a general reprieve. I also delivered cleaning supplies, trash bags, towels, etc. It wasn’t much, but I grabbed anything extra under my kitchen sink. I had to reserve a bit for my own cleanup efforts, but what I had to deal with paled in comparison for folks just 2 doors down from me.

Lives Tossed Aside

Lives Tossed Aside

Furniture, clothes, toys, it was all in shambles. Piles upon piles lay in the ditch waiting for pick up. It was overwhelming. I didn’t realize how much it threw me off-balance emotionally until much later in the day. It left me with a feeling of loss and emptiness.

It also shed a whole new light on the disaster that brought New Orleans to its knees. It was one thing to watch news coverage of Katrina on television, but being evacuated from your home is another. During the flood, I had to reassure Emma and Jacob that God was not flooding the world again. But it’s hard to process as a child when you are being carried out in 2 feet of rising water. What a relief for them to come home and see their stuff safe and dry.

Flood Victim Guts House

Flood Victim Guts House

But it was also a good lesson to see the other homes on the street. You have a new perspective when you have to stand next to the destruction and smell it the very moment you step outside. You can teach children empathy by talking about it, but until they see it live, especially the littler ones, I’m not sure much of it really sinks in. This was an exceptional opportunity for them to learn and grow.

In fact, it made such an impact on the kids at their school, they initiated a toy drive for the boys and girls who lost their toys in the flood. Yes, when I say “they” initiated it, I do mean the students. Emma & Jacob voluntarily chose to bring two each. And not just any two, but newer toys they play with today. It makes me so proud to know this is who they are becoming. THEY ARE NASHVILLE!

flood clean up

It Seemed To Never End

And that is the bright light in all of this. The people. The community outpouring of support and generosity is amazing. People are not just donating things, but they are diving in, getting dirty, helping complete strangers dig out. Companies, volunteers, neighbors are all doing their part. Even Atmos Energy, our gas company, set up camp on my street for the week to pass out hot lunches and drinks for victims and volunteers alike.

Everywhere I turned people were coming to help. Just as I delivered cleaning supplies to neighbors on Wednesday, on Friday I arrived home to find two large industrial tubs of cleaning and safety supplies from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The irony. One I used. One I donated again.

This is what stands out to me the most from last week. The positive energy. The willingness of people to help. The countless volunteers driving by asking, “What can I do? Can I get you anything?” It surrounds us. It defines us. It is who we are. WE ARE NASHVILLE!

Goodbye 2009

Goodbye 2009! I am walking away from you and not looking back. You have brought me through this year of  trials, tribulations and triumphs.

In January… you made me doubt myself, friendships, and whether I made any progress at all from 2008. (Sigh)

In February… you made me realize that I can overcome  – a lesson I keep learning. You opened the door for my new business and introduced me to new friends.

In March… you made me appreciate Facebook and reintroduced me to an old friend. It turned in to a life changing experience. Thanks

In April… you made me realize that being a single mom sometimes feels like a like of deprivation and isolation that is suffocating and debilitating. You showed me that I was not the only single mom feeling this way and it was ok.

In May… you made me realize that I could open my heart again and feel as scary as it was. You taught me to follow my gut in business – if it doesn’t feel right, there’s a reason.

In June… you made me realize that I was in love with someone who loved my kids. You gave me hope.

In July… you made it possible for me to travel Europe with my new love and learn about dedication, loyalty and honor.

In August… you made me take a chance on a new life and find a place in a new church.

In September… you made me believe in my choices as life fell in place, some doors opened, and some doors closed.

In October… you made me learn to communicate and compromise.

In November… you made me learn to communicate and compromise – again.

In December… you made me learn to appreciate the bigger picture that God has in store for me and my family and that I need to trust in that more.

Overall, you have given me a better sense of myself than I have ever known.

Thank you and farewell!

FREE LEAPFROG PRODUCTS – BLACK FRI DEALS!

I just finished up Christmas for my kids and nephew, plus took care of his January birthday for less than $35! I placed 2 separate orders to take advantage of the best discounts because you can only use 1 coupon per order.  I bought 9 – Leapster2 games and 4 – Tag books with a retail value of $276.87 and my total out of pocket was $34.86 (89% discount)

ORDER #1 SUMMARY: Retail Value: $220.91   Sale Price: $54.96   Shipping: $5.95   Tax: $1.47   Coupons: -$45.00 Order Total: $17.38

Product Name


Quantity


Price


Leapster® Game: Sonic X™ 2 $0.00
Leapster L-Max™ Game: Dora the Explorer Wildlife Rescue 2 $2.49
Leapster® Game: Cosmic Math 2 $2.49
NEW! Leapster® Game: Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends 2 $0.00
Leapster® Game: The Batman 1 $0.00

ORDER #2 SUMMARY: Retail Value: $55.96   Sale Price: $20.00    Shipping: $5.95   Tax: $1.48   Coupon/Shipping Discount: -$9.95 Order Total: $17.48

Product Name


Quantity


Price


Fancy Nancy 1 $5.00
Walter the Farting Dog 1 $5.00
Kung Fu Panda: Po’s Tasty Training 1 $5.00
Cat in the Hat 1 $5.00

Here are all the codes all are 20% off with free shipping:
tag junior books LPTJB9
tag books LPTSW9
leapster learning system LPLHW9
leapster games LPL2G9
didj gaming system LPDHW9
didj games LPDSW9
Zippity learning system LPZHW9
zippity games LPZSW9
Clickstart computer LPCSC9
clickstart games LPCSG9
fridge toys LPFPT9

$5 off all Leapster Games – LEAPSTR5

ENJOY!!!

Life at 40 with ADHD

So I was recently diagnosed with ADHD. Shocked? Well, I sure was. But the more I have learned about it the more it has made sense to me. It explains behaviors and traits that I thought were just bad habits or anxiety, even depression.

As it turns out, there is a lot of misinformation regarding ADHD. I used to think that anyone with ADHD couldn’t focus or pay attention, struggled with school and/or work, and generally bounced off the walls all day. (Somewhat like my twins when they were 2 and 3) But that is not the case at all, especially for adults. Here’s a snippet of info from CHADD.org, a resource for folks like me..

Until recent years, it was believed that children outgrew AD/HD in adolescence. This is because hyperactivity often diminishes during the teen years. However, it is now known that many symptoms continue into adulthood. If the disorder goes undiagnosed or untreated during adulthood, individuals may have trouble at work and in relationships, as well as emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression.

This makes sense… for me. In fact my diagnosis was the result of peeling back the layers surrounding my anxiety and depression that resulted from the divorce. But after post divorce healing, there was still anxiety and depression left to manage. As we dissected it, repeated themes began to emerge from periods of my life.

But first, I want to take a step back to the basics of ADHD to load up on facts and disspell some myths.

1.  There are 3 subtypes of ADHD. They all present with different symptoms.

AD/HD – Primarily Inattentive Type:
Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes, struggles to follow through on instructions.
Has difficulty sustaining attention, avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort.
Does not appear to listen, is easily distracted.
Has difficulty with organization.
Is forgetful in daily activities.

AD/HD – Primarily Hyperactive/Impulsive Type:
Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair, has difficulty remaining seated, runs around or climbs excessively.
Has difficulty engaging in activities quietly, talks excessively.
Acts as if driven by a motor, has difficulty waiting or taking turns.
Interrupts or intrudes upon others,
blurts out answers before questions have been completed.

AD/HD – Combined Type: Meets both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive criteria.

2. Symptoms have to be present before the age of 7, present consistently for 6 months and significantly impact 2 areas of life (home, school, social settings, work)  Most people exhibit these behaviors at some point, but it the consistency and the extent to which these symptoms present that make a diagnosis of ADHD appropriate.

3. The cause of ADHD is largely unknown, but research has established that it is neurobiological. Heredity is the main cause of proliferation.

4. Now to list some common myths: (Each link is addressed in detail in the article: Myths and Misconceptions About AD/HD: Science over Cynicism By Phyllis Anne Teeter Ellison, Ed.D.)

Myth # 1: AD/HD is Not a Real Disorder
Myth # 2: AD/HD is a Disorder of Childhood
Myth # 3: AD/HD is Over-Diagnosed
Myth # 4: Children with AD/HD are Over-medicated
Myth # 5: Poor Parenting Causes AD/HD
Myth # 6: Minority Children are Over-Diagnosed with AD/HD and are Over-Medicated
Myth # 7: Girls Have Lower Rates and Less Severe AD/HD than Boys

Quite frankly, there is so much I am processing right now, it’s a bit overwhelming. I would have never guessed that this would be a diagnosis for me. I was an Honor Student in school, but received poor marks in Talks Unnecessarily and Mischievousness. Apparently, I finished my work first, then bothered everyone else. I also excelled in my career. At one point I managed 3 programs through 5 model year changes and thousands and thousands of engineering changes and builds. I was very good at my job, especially projects. This is driven by motivation and hyperfocus (a skill most ADHD folks possess). But I struggled with repetitive tasks, the daily grind.

It’s also why I have struggled this past year. The daily grind, the mundane day in day out, the lack of motivation, the lack of a structured schedule. Moving three times, getting a house put in order, etc. is the epitome of what I detest.  I get overwhelmed by the amount there is to do and get depressed when I don’t accomplish what I think I should.

The good news is there is a reason for the way my brain works and solutions to help me get headed in the right direction again.

Each Day Is A Tragedy…

For Someone, Somewhere.

The Appomattox

The Appomattox

This is an odd statement to start out with, but isn’t it so true. It was prompted by a friend’s tweet regarding this week being filled with tragedy for so many.

Yes, yes it has. But isn’t every day for someone, somewhere. Are you following me?

Many people in the Franklin, TN area have been following the progress of Josiah Berger, the son of Grace Chapel’s senior pastor, Steve Berger. Josiah was involved in a car accident and has been proclaimed brain dead. Since the event there has been a wave of prayer surrounding the globe for God’s intercession. The support befalling the family has led Vanderbilt Medical Center to request the family to stop receiving visitors, which I personally have never heard of before. It is an amazing testimony to the love and support of so many. And many are probably strangers linked by the wondrous social media tool, Twitter. Of course, this is how I first heard of Josiah.

While yesterday on the East coast, in the small town of Petersburg, VA, a young man named Jason took his own life. He hung himself down by the Appomattox River. Someone noticed and called 911, but it was too late by the time they reached him. There was no prayer vigil, there was no twitter outcry for support for the family, there was only a few emails between friends. He was a friend of John’s. He was in his early twenties and from what I gather did not have the easiest life. He struggled and John’s description of him really took me aback. He said he was insignificant. Not in the harshness of a life that had little value, but that he was one who was rarely noticed. He never made a fuss about anything, never called attention to himself. He was quiet, along for the ride, simple.

Of course, John’s greatest regret is not reaching out to him more. Not making him feel like he belonged more. That he could get through whatever it was that was hurting him so badly. But John didn’t know that this is what he needed because he lived his pain in the shadows. No one knew.

As so often is the case for all of us.

Each and every one of us encounter strangers, acquaintances and even friends who are living in pain, and yet we don’t know. We are either too busy to notice or they are too good at hiding. So before you jump to conclusions about someone’s ‘perfect life’ or rush to judgment about someone ‘getting what they deserve’; step back and ask yourself if you really truly know who they are and what they are living.

Grant each other grace because you never know what tragedy has occurred in their life today.

Introducing John Marler, aka Johnny $

I haven’t posted in quite a while because life has been busy and taken me on some new wondrous adventures. Until now, I haven’t been comfortable sharing this new, special part of my life. I think I wanted to keep it all to myself for a while. But I want to start writing again, so that’s going to change.

Below is an article written by my friend, Mari Hardenburg. She’s the editor of Petersburg People’s News and is close friends with my boyfriend John. (That’s the new special part I’ve been keeping to myself)

I’ve known John since I was 14. We reconnected last September, yes, via Facebook (gag). But this spring life took a u-turn for both of us and now John is moving to Franklin, TN. All the stuff in between September and now, I will share later, or maybe not :).

As I have spent quite a bit of time in VA over the last 6 months I’ve learned that John is friends with many, many folks from Petersburg. But that’s not a surprise to me because everyone who meets John loves him. It’s been that way since we were kids.

The reason for sharing this article with you is to introduce you to John as people see him today in his community. Not through my ooey-gooey, love fogged, rose colored glasses, but from their perspective, not that it’s much less biased. Ha!

Ladies and gentleman, I have the great pleasure of introducing you to John Marler.

A Fond Farewell to Johnny $

The day before Java Mio was scheduled to open I had just about given up. There Johnny-2was no way all the work could be done and we could open on time. My fatalist Capricorn nature kicked in and there was no convincing me otherwise.

Enter John Marler, aka Johnny Dollar. By 3 AM, construction of the stage hadn’t even commenced. The place was in complete disarray – the bookshelves weren’t positioned or stocked, inventory was strewn all over the floor, the bathrooms hadn’t been outfitted, and half the art and menu boards were still on the ground.

For those of you who don’t know him, John Marler is a Petersburg institution. For nearly a decade John has served drinks at the Brickhouse Run. Whether in the capacity of bartender, tour guide, or citizen extraordinaire, this man has given to Petersburg and brought us together as a community. My husband and I owe the achievement of Java Mio’s grand opening to two people, stage designer and builder Todd Davis and pillar of the community John Marler.

In the wee hours of the morning, I felt exhausted and defeated. My last words were “There’s no way we’re opening tomorrow”. My husband and Johnny $ convinced me to go home and sleep and promised that when I arrived we would be ready to open. So I went home and tossed and turned for a few hours. When I walked in the door at dawn’s crack, Van was straightening books, Todd was hammering the last nails into the stage, and John was vacuuming up sawdust. I was speechless.

As I counted money into the register and began brewing coffee all I could say was “Thank you”. The sacrifice John made that night by staying up around the clock to help us meet the deadline exemplifies his character. John has been the most popular bartender here in recent memory. He has given his time, his labor, and his attention to all of us. Petersburg is losing a devoted friend with an unparalleled ability to listen – a critical skill for a bartender that John mastered like no other.

Tonight is John Marler’s last night as bartender at The Brickhouse Run. It is a bittersweet moment as I watch him making drinks and serving friends. I’m happy for him, but sad for us. We’ll miss your warm welcome, your genuine smile, and your undying love for Petersburg. Farewell friend.