Covid 19 Vaccine Dose 1

Hi everyone…
Super vulnerable post here…please scroll on if you aren’t in the mood for my honesty. I’ll still love you.
I hesitated to post the picture of me after I got the first covid vaccine this evening. Why do you ask? Because I was very afraid of judgement or people wondering why I got it now. I am not in health care. I am young(ish), healthy, energetic and not on the phase one list from what people who don’t know me can tell.
If you have been a close part of my life; you know that one of my biggest challenges is admitting that my health history differs from anyone else. I KNOW my life is a miracle, I believe all of our lives are miracles…I’ve just gotten many little miracles that are in my face along the journey. I’m a little prideful (and a lot grateful). Sometimes that pride wins. Never will I willingly place myself in a position to be seen as weak or less than. If that means faking my way through something that scares the shit out of me, I can go there quicker than you can blink your eyes. But on the inside, I am so afraid. That stance is exhausting.
I lived 47 years ago through a major surgery for a congenital heart defect. The odds were 50/50. I am here. I have people I love with all of my heart who lost their babies who had the same defect or even a lesser defect in recent years. Why? I have no answers. Guilt and shame…I do carry those well.
That big ole stroke in 2009 that I fought forever to get through my head that it wasn’t my fault. It really wasn’t my fault. There was a hole in my heart and it let a clot through and the result was that I got to learn to walk again. The biggest gift is the takeaway lessons I got. Life isn’t about staying busy and important; love wins and I can do things I never imagined I would ever have to do. So much more…not in the place to discuss all of that here. I remember the doctor well who indicated I was lucky to have ‘made it’. More guilt. More shame. How many people don’t make it?
I went to the dr yesterday for a little procedure. I had just experienced two of the most painful injections…one in each plush butt cheek. I was feeling weepy and helpless. If you have been subject to lots of ‘being the patient’, you understand the vulnerability of that moment. She chose that time…when I was laying on the table with no way to escape (super smart lady)…to discuss with me the reasons I was ‘high risk’ even though I was a ‘poster child’ for tetrology of fallot and she wanted me to be on the list for the high risk vaccinations. So, to the list I went.
I do not identify myself as a person with a significant health history; I fought long and hard not to do that. I do not want to be known as high risk anything.. I identify as me…a brave, joyful, loved by God, whimsical woman who is whole, surrendered and basking in the warmth of God’s sunshine. That is me. But sometimes I forget and it becomes more important to me to make sure that ‘you’ don’t think me less and I try too hard to explain.

In gracious answer to anyone who rightly wonders how and why I got that vaccination early….there you go. I’m sorry. I know there are a billion of me walking around and I want everyone to get a vaccine sooner than later.
Also, I take no moment for granted; good or bad. Treasure your moments. For real. Before covid, after covid…everything in between…this is your one beautiful life.
I am going to have one little bitty more glass of wine, go to bed and give thanks and prayers for it ALL.
Sweet dreams.

Bruised

Goodness, life is hard sometimes isn’t it?
 
Last night I went to bed with a heart feeling as bruised as my black and blue booty.
 
Covid times just add an extra layer of what if’s to my ever wondering mind. Add that to a little unexpected chaos, uncomfortable growing pains, restless sleep, deeply hurting friends and hard conversations..I hit my pillow last night with a sense of grief and loss, wondering where my hope and faith are. How can I stand in the gap for others when I am not doing so for myself? I can’t.
 
Then…I got to wake up this morning. I went outside to see the bright sun peeking out and feel the warm air on my skin. I remembered…this waking to a new day is a privilege not to be taken for granted.
 
I took a hot shower while singing loudly and off key. The lyrics rolled out of my heart and off my tongue. I was surprised at the loudness of my own voice; yearning to be heard. Thank God no one is home and only God and the animals (poor animals) could hear my shower symphony.
 
I’m thankful AND I’m hurting. I’m learning AND I’m imperfect. I’m open AND I have healthy boundaries. I’m feeling stuck AND I’m capable of getting unstuck. I’m making choices AND not everyone is going to approve. I must honor my heart AND it sucks that this means displeasing people I love.
 
There are endless dichotomies. Ultimately, I know my heart, motives and intent better than any other human; I have the choices.
 
Today I will choose to honor my moments, make the best of them, treasure those closest to me and hold on to the little bit of hope and mustard seed of faith I still have. Today, this is what my brave looks like.
 
Reminder to self…bruises heal.

A Tribute to Friendship, Sex, & Milkshakes

Thankful tears flowed from my eyes this morning as I thanked a friend for being the blessing he is in my life.

He is my imperfect friend who has no pressure to live up to anything but being him, because his perfectly imperfect genuine self is a rarity.

Take a big, beautiful heart and add in compassion; understanding; trustworthy; humor; integrity; wisdom;hysterical; God loving; creative man who is well dressed and super fun ..there is my dear friend.  See?  Rare.

He accepts me as is.  He loves me as is.  He might sometimes be disappointed for my choices and how they will affect me; at the same time, he is not disappointed in me.  Big difference.

He encourages me to be the best version of me I can be while never loving me any less as I travel my journey and sometimes behave like a dumbass. (true story) We speak truth to one another; even when truth is ugly feeling.  The thing is…when truth is spoken in love and safety is present…it’s a sacred treasure.  He challenges me when it’s uncomfortable and would be much easier to not.

He knows my everything.  My everything is safe with him.  He has never played judge and jury to me.  That is magical.  We’ve all been in a place that we believed we were truly safe with someone…until a dreaded, unexpected moment illuminates a reality that safety has been an illusion.  There was not acceptance and love of who you are; perhaps there was acceptance and love for who they want you to be.  That is not magical, it sucks.

Laughter, tears, and everything in between are welcome. He is proud of my accomplishments, generous with his encouragements, okay with my sunshine as well as my melancholy and super fun to go to the grocery store with.  He loves sex (not with me), milkshakes, animals, learning and laughter.  The countless endless conversations we have will never have sufficient words to let him know that he is cooler and more than he will ever grasp.

I hope and pray I provide the same for him.  There are perhaps 10 people in my world outside of my family that I have this type of friendship with.  I intend to ensure they always know how deeply I love them.

As I expressed my gratitude to my precious friend this morning, my heart was pinged.  Is this not how our God designed us to be in relation with one another?   We are made in His image, right?  I know God loves me.  He made me.  He knows my heart, he knows the numbers of hairs on my head for goodness sake.  He knows my journey.  God weeps with me, rejoices with me, and loves me in the messy middle (which is where my humanness seems to have me living the majority of the time).

Beloved human connections (could, should, can) mirror our relationship with God.  We are God’s heart, walking outside of His body but still in Him.  Our loves are the same…pieces of our heart walking outside of our body but always in us.

True Friendship…it’s a beautiful form of intimacy.  In our individuality, we are still all reflections of each other.  In our separateness, we are still made to be unified.  How cool is my God?  Not only does he offer me unconditional love and friendship through Him…he gives me that in real live humans.

The reciprocity of real friendship is the ultimate legacy to leave with another.  This type of friendship has impacted my life profoundly for the better.

I am grateful to have even one friend of this caliber in my life; sex and milkshakes too.

Philippians 1:3  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

 

Fear Faith Freedom

Freedom.  (What’s it going to cost?)

Circulating thoughts. (Merry go round mind.)

A voice that counts. (That’s me talking).

Change is inevitable. (How?)

Learning new. (Listen.)

Unlearning old. (Critical necessity.)

It’s tough. (Super f’ing tough.)

It’s necessary. (Now.  Right now.)

Breaking out this preservation prison. (Damaging, self defeating preservation.)

The turtle inches out of it’s shell. (Intentional, purposeful.)

Seeking. (Earnestly.)

Searching. (Within.  Deeply.)

Wondering. (Endlessly.)

Praying. (Without ceasing.)

Grieving. (The plan.)

Scared. (Tremendously.)

Stepping forward in the dark. (Being a light.)

Still scared. (Horrifically.)

Faith and fear. (Coexist.)

Fear and faith. (Together.)

Creating a new story. (Mine.)

Somethings gotta give. (Surrender.)

Fear and faith and freedom. (Alive and well, the three f’s hug.)

Acceptance. (Peace.)

Life…you only get one. (Yes.)

Cha-Ching

Those credit cards that are offered with no interest for a year…then if you don’t pay, the interest has accrued the entire time and CHA-CHING….everything is due.  #life

All the emotions, desires, regrets, grief and stuff that I have managed to keep nicely boxed seems to be screaming….”BALANCE PAST DUE!”

In honor of this reconciliation; Spotify gifts me with ” my most loved songs of 2019″. Songs of life, love and love lost permeate the air.

I dream up all the things that life is not but ‘should be’ and try to fit those things nicely with the reality life is offering. My thoughts are intertwined with a hurting heart and I’m desperately fighting to simply ‘sit with “It”; “It” being the unpleasantness.

The wind is strong, the night is dark.  I imagine the leaves dancing and fluttering their way to new locations; far from the safety of the now barren trees they once were attached to.

If the leaves could talk, I feel we would have much in common.  I, too, am fluttering about; unsure of where I will land next.

I see that someone else is living in the life that was once mine.  I want to latch onto the notion that this is not how things ‘should’ be.  I want to take back what is ‘mine’.  That thought makes me laugh.  It also makes me cry.  I own nothing and nothing is mine.

I am.  That is sufficient.

The home I have known my entire 47 years is for sale.  My heart is broken yet I know these  broken pieces still make a whole and my home is truly where my heart is.

My oldest kiddo is driving.  My youngest kiddo just got rid of her braces. I got a “new to me” car.

I have completed a Master’s program and am simultaneously thrilled and terrified.  I followed through with a really hard task, and I struggle to not allow the worry of the unknowns steal the joy of now.

Three years later, it has dawned on me that it’s perfectly good and okay to move on from the marriage I once had.  I just have to figure out how.  I want my own version of a fairy tale.  Before that, I have to surrender my all to the God I (kind of) trust.

Stretching.  Trusting.  (Trying hard).

A fluttering, sputtering leaf who desperately wants to safely land.

Please God, just let me land.

 

 

 

 

He’s a Shell, Sis. Move on.

Dear Sis,

Being physically attracted to a man is such an amazing feeling…especially when you are both drawn to each other like magnets.
Kissing is fabulous, sacred, beautiful, and fun!
All of the physical things are momentarily delicious, scintillating and normal to crave.
But…when you see that this super hot man is empty of the things that matter most (sharing of emotions, caring in actions AND words, true friendship, etc), it’s so disappointing. It’s even more sad to realize you’ve been kissing a shell of a man.
Kissing a shell. Blech. Sis, even if he is capable and full of those things, he’s choosing not to share them with you.
Picture a hard shell running down the street…would you chase it? If you caught it…then what? Can you turn that shell into your Prince Charming?  Probably not.
Think back to all those shells you’ve had the highest hopes for. Did they change for you? Maybe, once in a while. But that’s rare.
When dating a suspected shell, turn around and RUN! If he makes a real effort, he will catch you and continuously capture your heart with his own. 
If he was a shell after all..be sad for his loss and happy for your wisdom.
Be patient in the waiting. There is a HOT to and for you man with the inside goods who is just waiting for his lady.

In the meantime, find your joy and enjoy this beautiful life in a BIG way! You are worth it!!

Always.

Oh life…

It is so strange how our life experiences serve to teach us…I think they do anyway.

I read a quote, “Instead of asking why is this happening to me, ask what is this teaching me?” Instant shift.

It really is an instant shift. I begin to ask myself what my accountability in the experience is, how it is familiar to choices I have made before, and I can explore what is at the root of my choice. Hopefully, even if I can’t clarify the lesson, I can find value in the journey.

Goodness sometimes life surprises me. People surprise me. Sometimes in ways that make my heart sting, other times in ways that make my heart soar…and everything in between. Trying to remember that in many cases, the hurt someone caused is so much more about them than me but my mind has a much easier time grasping this than my silly heart.

So, my questions of the day…what am I learning right in this moment and dear God, where do I go from here?

Happy Tuesday my loves. Enjoy your journey today (and every day)!

Rooted in change…then and now

Transformation, alteration, renewal, metamorphosis….constant change is a certainty of this human experience.  Stubborn resistance may root us in place.  Still, the very change that surrounds will also change us.  Why resist?  We are forever becoming.

I was playing a little game with a friend, we were giving each other a number, and we had to share the photo from our phones that matched that number.  He asked to see the 10th picture of only me.

The 10th picture of only me sent me spinning with shame and embarrassment.  I could not show him this one.  However, I promised…no cheating.  Before sending the photo, I let him know that this was taken at one of the worst times of my life.  My ex-husband had just told me he no longer loved me and wanted a divorce; my precious daddy was dying after a 12 year battle with Alzheimer’s.  The picture (which is here for all the world to see) was a clear image of a lady who had no love for herself and her eyes held a deep sadness, despite the smile on her face. The only reason I share it is because I am trying to practice what I preach…vulnerability and transparency. In this moment, I also share in hopes of diminishing the pier of shame this photo holds.

This precious friend heard my shame and replied with, ‘it’s just a selfie, look at your smile’.  Then he made me laugh with a gentle joke about chipmunk cheeks.  I never thought I’d giggle looking at that picture, but I did, and it was genuine.  However, I have obsessed over that picture since.  It’s not just that I hadn’t realized how much I changed, it brought back a rush of painful memories.

I remember the day the man who was the only love I’d ever known told me he was leaving.  I was inundated with feelings of unworthiness, disposability and fear.  For some reason, I made a little video on my phone to myself.  I guess to commemorate the day.  I very clearly stated (to myself) that I wanted to learn to love myself, no matter who else loved or didn’t love me.  That my friends, is the journey of transformation I have been and am still on.

My timehop today reminded me that at this time last year, I had lost 20 pounds on Weight Watchers.  I then stopped Weight Watchers, and started doing my own thing.  It’s called the ‘keto’ish but not all the way because life is too short to not enjoy ice cream” diet.  Clean eating pretty much, low carb, very low sugar and almost no processed foods.  In doing this, I have lost another 28 pounds.  This makes 48 pounds gone!  I should be so proud.

Rather, my first reaction was “wow!, but I have so long to go.”  I began a laundry list of all the men who would like me better if I had a better body, and of how life would be different if my ass matched my sass!  (Borrowed from a favorite meme).  Somehow, I stopped myself in the middle of my negative recitation.  I wondered to myself, “what will it take for me to be good enough?”

I asked myself what I wanted.  Easy.  I want to love myself.  As is.  I want to believe I am enough and honor that deeply, no matter where I am on my journey.  I want to be excited about the work I am doing for ME while enjoying who I am right in this moment.

I want to practice gratitude, for I have so much to be grateful for.  I am here, breathing.  I am a miracle, just as we all are.  Life is the celebration!  I have two legs that are strong and lovely, and they get me where I want to go.  The gift of walking was taken away from me in 2009 and I had to relearn that skill at the age of 35.  How dare I fuss that I am not enough?  My heart is strong; it is full of love, life and laughter.  I can easily exercise on the elliptical for 35 minutes without rest.  I might not be the most graceful, but I am me and I am a masterpiece.  There is no one like me, ever, anywhere.  I am blessed in every way, I want to remember this every second of every moment of every day.

I want to realize that when someone asks me out on a date, they are every bit as lucky to have time with me as I am to have time with them.  It is not settling to be with me, it is a gift, for I am pretty damn cool.  I want to stand in this truth.  It changes my choices, it changes everything.

I want to show my kiddos who I am at my core and that we are ALL capable and worthy of beautiful, positive, transformation…their Momma included.

There is so much joy in the transformation these days…one day the pain will be nothing but a motivator for better.

 

Life

It’s been a teeny bit of a struggle hearing about Luke Perry’s death. I mean, it’s sad when people die anyway. Then, it feels especially sad to me when they are young. He was for sure young.
We are told that Luke died of a stroke. Anytime I hear this, I feel this flurry of emotions. It’s a combination of deep gratitude for being alive and well nine years after the stroke I had, and of intense guilt for being here when others are not. It’s a feeling of being safe and held that is often interfered with by feelings of anxiety and fear.
I want to know all the details of his stroke. How, when, why, where? As if all of these answers bring me a magical always healthy solution. I have such an ability to let my worries spin right out of control until I lose myself in the middle of them. (I’m speaking to health anxiety…not to my whole way of being). The minute I get lost in that world, I disconnect from all that I love.
It’s been a gift to learn this about myself; to be aware of the things I do when I’m heading in that direction; and to do them.
Being still and trusting that God has my back has been huge for me and it’s rarely my first response. Reaching out to the handful of people that know my heart deeply is such a gift, and another thing I rarely do first.
My wise momma once asked me in the middle of one of my biggest times of worrying about losing my life…”We only have this life, are you going to spend it living or dying?” Absolutely I want to spend it living.
It’s a good day.

Celebrate

It’s National Heart Health month and Congenital Heart Defect awareness week. I’m thinking about Dr. Loughridge who performed the full correction of my tetrology of fallot 45 years ago, my Dr. Cooper…the cardiologist who ‘grew me up’ and the cardiologists and medical personnel who have helped and do help me stay healthy and strong.
I am thankful for the practice of medicine. I am deeply grateful for those who dedicate themselves to learning the science of healing in all aspects. I am thankful for the God who fills my lungs with air and my spirit with joy.
Whenever these celebratory awareness events occur, I celebrate. But I celebrate always because I have seen first hand that my life is a gift to be treasured. Our moments are precious indeed, and time is truly a gift.
I ask myself and God why in the world I am here and others are not. Scientifically, I did not fit neatly into the statistics. I will never have the answers. I will never think my life is more significant that another’s. I will be grateful, deeply grateful for each breath and I will strive to find the wonder, awe and joy in each living being as long as I am here.
Anyway…HAPPY HEART MONTH! Love a little more!