Friday, December 12, 2014

Getting Deep

Some words I've been sitting on...

Oh, hey.

I wanted to write some follow up words on my last (was it really in April?) post.  I'm doing much better, and I'm thankful to kind friends who expressed their concern.

Something's been bothering me, though.  I wrote in my last post that I wasn't giving up on God because I was stubborn.  Those words have been eating at me since I wrote them and I have to ask your forgiveness.  Stubbornness can keep you religious, sure, but it won't get you any closer to God.  I'm not sure it has much to do with us giving up on Him anyway; I think it's more that He doesn't ever give up on us.  The second reason my stomach churns with these words is that my problems are really so small.  Not small in comparison to others.  Sweet friends who have seen the worst life has to offer are always quick to remind me there is no value in that comparison.  No, I mean they are so small compared to the bounty that surrounds me daily.  Grace and love and good gifts.

Moving on.

I am feeling better and it would take a long time to go into the details (although, feel free to ask me), but I've been seeing a nutritionist I met through some oddly ordained circumstances and she's been helping me repair from the inside out.  It's been a long slow process (starting in February), but I started seeing big changes not too long after that last April post.  At a recent appointment, my nutritionist told me she believes we are getting really deep now, "deep into the caverns of your body," she said in a silly ghosty voice and we both chuckled.  She said we may be zeroing in on what's been holding me down for years (2005 was my first ER visit, but I don't think I was healthy for years before that).  Now my 'plan' is becoming quite focused.

The reason I'm telling you all this boring stuff is that on the same day I also had sort of a breakthrough in the deep caverns of my soul (insert silly ghosty voice here).

As I've been getting physically and nutritionally healthier, I've started to realize all the poor choices I made that got me here.  Not just the food choices...that was just the coping mechanism (sugar, sugar + some sugar).  No, I mean...trying to do too much.  Trying to do it all.  Trying to do it alone.  Trying to be loved (or lovely, which I thought was the same thing).  Trying to impress so that I would feel like I had some worth.  And all that pressure that motivated me.  These are the things that pushed me over the edge and will again unless I change.

I've been reading John again (a homeless man told me to) and watching how every time crowds were about to worship Jesus on the basis of his miracles, he fled.  He refused to be worshipped on the basis of the spectacular.  Satan himself tried to tempt him to do something spectacular to get everyone to follow him and Jesus said no.  I was listening to a sermon from my pastor and he was talking about this very thing.  Satan wanted to Jesus to come in strength.  Jesus refused and came in weakness.  Why?  Because he knew the way he would draw all people to himself, and it wasn't by a show of strength, but of seeming defeat.  He would be lifted up from the earth (John 12:32) (first on a cross and again when he resurrected and ascended); he wouldn't lift himself up on the highest point for all to behold (Matthew 4:5-7).  Jesus never questioned his place as the Son, and it has taken me decades to get to the place where I can accept and receive that I am God's beloved child too.  So why then am I still trying to do it all on my own?

This is where the rubber meets the road.  It's probably easiest to explain if I just write the prayer as it fell out on my journal page yesterday:

"Sometimes I go my own way because I don't know what else to do.  I have no direction and I doubt very much that You have a plan for my life because I hear and feel nothing from You in that respect.  So, I panic and (start to) despise my job because it's not what I feel made to do (whatever that is) and I stress about how to get out of it and I worry that will never happen.  If I could only hear or see something from You.  But I know it probably begins by learning to believe and trust that You do have a plan for me and I haven't fallen through the cracks...which is exactly how my whole life has felt."

When I wrote those last words..."learning to believe...I haven't fallen through the cracks...which is exactly how my whole life has felt"... I realized the nail had been hit on the head.  I was zeroing in on what had been holding me down years longer than any health condition or virus.  All my life I have been longing so intensely to be found and not forgotten or invisible.  For someone to believe in me or just to let me know it was okay to believe in myself.  I literally would hide in my closet for hours as a kid hoping someone would come find me.  It didn't really ever happen, but I think I'm kind of over the waiting.  I don't know God's plan for my life yet, or at least...not in the usual sense.  But I think my plan just got pretty focused.  I'm just gonna go forward on this journey of believing that He has one.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Can I Tell You a Secret?

I'm falling apart. I'm trying to hold all the broken bits together, but my hands are small and weak and tired. I'm too scared to tell you because I don't want you to call me the self pity queen or the drama queen, both of which I know too well I can be. 

I'm scared to let my guard down and release the illusion that I'm fine and in control. But the truth is...this isn't working. 

A speaker asks what we can quit and all I can think of is 'life.' Not forever, of course, but just for a bit. Just let me off the spinning wheel so I can catch my breath and have time to figure out the point of it all.

I eat, I sleep, I wake up (but never fully). I wash, I run late putting makeup on to hide, and cry it all off on the way to a job I'm too exhausted to do and therefore not proud of. A job I'm not sure I ever really believed in.

I'm spending stretched dollars on a last ditch effort to repair health that still isn't found. I officially surrender my addiction to coping with sugar (you laugh, but it might as well be cocaine for all the withdrawal). Nothing is helping yet, and I'm trying to stay positive, but deep down I'm scared this is just how it's going to be. Always hungry, always tired. Not because I'm not eating and sleeping well, but because my body is apparently giving me the finger after years of stress, neglect and abuse. I worry: What will I do if my last resort falls through?

There are days I look in the mirror and don't recognize her. Those days when I cope with thrifting - you know how I am. I like you to think I'm naturally thin, but really I've just been sick a long time and it's nothing to wish for...even though I did for years and now regret it. Maybe if I had sought help when the weight started dropping, I wouldn't be this far gone. But I didn't. I told God in my car on the highway, "I'd rather be sick than 'fat'." And so it continued. I've since repented, but consequences run deep.

It breaks my heart that you can't see what seems so obvious to me. That this version of me: exhausted, weak, too tired to care and too anxious when I not me at all. I wish you could know me at my best: when I made all manner of things and lived for little gestures to make anyone smile. It makes me wonder why you love me when the best parts of me are gone? I'm glad...but a little sad, too. I don't want to settle and I don't want you to settle for me. Please don't. I need you to hold out hope when I no longer can.

I don't know how to react when the doctor says I have the womb of an overweight 60 year old and kids may never happen. Am I sad? Angry? Relieved? I'm too tired to consider it anyway, so maybe it's just easier not to. But what about that little girl I saw in a waking dream in that season of deep sorrow so many years ago? The warmth and rosy pink hope that washed over me as I knew her name, Evangeline. Evangeline..."Good news". This is the secret I tell almost no one.

And in the midst of the wheel that keeps spinning, I'm still trying to grieve, or trying not to, I can't tell. A first friend. A year and two days later: a second Dad. I can't process how lucky I was to have them and how sad I am to have lost them so quickly. It makes all the other stuff seem trivial, and yet I know it's all hopelessly intertwined in this thing called life.

Now, sweet friends who once surrounded and whom we surrounded, have moved away one by one. Secrets once held close are scattered far and wide. Such a short, precious time. Can I really start over? Will I ever be so lucky again? 

I'm not giving up on God. I guess because I'm terribly stubborn and because He alone knows all my secrets, even the ones that would wear you out and make you want to leave. As loyal and faithful as I think I am, He is more. But when I'm honest, I do wonder where and why He hides His sweet presence sometimes. Sometimes when I feel I need it most. 

I wish I could be honest to your face, but the truth is...while I desperately long for your hugs, I push them away like the plague because I'm terrified that I will come undone in your arms. And while I long to be honest when you say, "How are you?", I try to talk around the real answer because I am incapable of trust. I avoid your eyes when I reply because I'm afraid that you will see my truth...or I will see your rejection.

The speaker asks what Emmanuel means to us and it's simply this: hope. That the One who has carried me this far will not let me go. It's the blood in my veins without which, life would have ended for me long ago. Does that sound like self pity and drama? I can't tell, but for once maybe I won't care.

- Thumb-tapped on my phone.  Please be gracious.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


They always say God works in mysterious ways, and I suppose He does indeed.  But sometimes...He also works in some pretty clear and simple ways, and here am I, looking and longing for the 'mystery' to make it harder (translation: to give myself excuses for not following through on next steps).

Days ago, I was praying and daydreaming about a move that seemed--to my extremely finite mind--inevitable with Mac's upcoming graduation.  I prayed for the decisions (I thought) we would be making, for clarity, for strength to tackle this move and start over in a new place.  And God surprised me by giving my husband a job right here, right now (months sooner than I thought it could even be a possibility).  You'd think I'd be celebrating, right?  But I was heartbroken.

Staying here means putting some roots down, and that is something this commitment-phobic no-sayer has very skillfully avoided her whole life.  We were so fortunate to fall into a melting pot of amazing friends when we moved here, but through various chapters of various stories--some of them sorrow-filled, as you know by now--one by one everybody's gone their own way.  Naturally, I thought this meant that it was our turn to leave soon, but it turns out it just means it's time for me to grow up...or to grow 'down', if you will.

Moving would have meant starting all over in a brand new place, which can be scary, of course.  But you know what I think scares me more?  Starting all over right where I'm at.  Risking rejection where I am already known, allowing myself to get lost where I know my way around, falling down when everyone thinks that I know how to walk by now.  It brings me face to face with the fact that it's not so much the circumstances that require's me.

And if it weren't already clear and simple enough that God has provided a way for us here:  After weeks of stress and panic over our income being cut by a third and not knowing how we're going to make it, a looming debt's been suddenly paid and I got another raise today...the second in less than a month.  I have to laugh at how good God is to this Eeyore.

Driving home from work today.
Texas, it looks like you're stuck with us for a little while longer.  I love you--I wish you were closer to home--but I really do love you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Style Stalker

For years, I've tried to be someone who doesn't notice (something so shallow as) clothes, but let's face it...I just do. I get positively giddy studying cut, drape, print, palette, texture...Wondering to myself what someone was thinking when they chose different things and put them all together...Why you like what you like and I like what I like...Who defines what's pretty or what is style? I ponder things like this because they fascinate me in the nerdiest way possible. I take outfits and garments apart in my head just to see if I can put them back together again.

I'm also a little bit of a stalker. I could tell you stories, but I won't (yet).

Recently, I discovered the Polyvore app for my iphone. Now, when I see a happy outfit about town, I can dissect and recreate and share it with you, too. I do hope you enjoy the view.

What's the style climate in your neck of the woods?

At the Crosswalk // 5th Street

Girl on a Bike

Girl Late for Class

Going to the Office // Lamar

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Head To Toe

Wearing head to toe thrifted (shoes included), and clearly very excited about it. Enough to be a dork and take a photo in possibly the most un-photogenic place in the house. Ah well. Maya approved. Just look at that cute little photo hijacker:

True (and a little gross) story: Even my lipstick is sorta thrifted. It was my sister's...when she was a Senior in high 1994. Ha!  Can I help it if a flattering red is hard to come by?

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I tapped this post out with my thumb on my phone the other morning.  I hope you'll forgive the roughness, but it was on my mind and needed to get out...

How do you cope when what you're going through feels like a life sentence? How do you maintain your belief that God is good, yes, but that He also has good for you?

Can I be honest? I really really really struggle with this. I can believe that God is goodness & love & justice & kindness & on & on...But do I believe that He has good for me here on earth? I have a really hard time with this. I mean, look around us: shootings in places we should be safe, deaths too soon (violent or otherwise), unemployment, disease, famine, or even just the daily meaningless grind...How can I possibly say God has good for me here? Now?

It's easy for me to believe He has good for us in heaven. Heaven's like a happily ever after. But see, that's where I get tripped up in believing that everything short of heaven is a life sentence. Some flowers growing through the bars on the windows now & then which I try to be thankful for, but good? No way. The thing is, I don't think I'm the only Christian who lives this way & I think that has the potential to make us a very sad race of people indeed. Why would anyone on the outside look at a life approached as a sentence & want in? They don't. They shouldn't.

I think maybe the whole point of Jesus entering our world was to bring salvation to the here and now. To secure our eternity, but also to redeem our moments here. If it wasn't about the present, would he have bothered to put on a coat of flesh & live & grieve & die with us? I would tend to think he could have remained a heavenly being to do the heavenly business. But the earthly business? That took flesh and blood and the perfect being made broken.

Faith is hard work; it is not for the lazy hearted, which I often tend to be. Last year I read a book (yes, just one) about counting gifts. I think I might try it this year. Not because I'm trying to be Pollyanna inside my prison bars, but because I have a strange hunch it might be the key to getting out once & for all. I think I might find that Christ is in the here & now. Flesh & blood & ready & waiting to set free & redeem all things...All things, all things. Ready & waiting to show me the way into the freedom of trust.

If 2012 showed me anything, it's that the faith I just assumed I had is lacking. Faith is given to us - I think in equal measure - but big faith? Hardy faith? Maybe that belongs to the people who are simply willing to do the work of one building block on top of another, one footstep in front of the next. Not staring into heaven's rays & being blinded (& dare I say, potentially useless) to the here & now...but letting heaven's light illuminate everything around us, soaking up its much needed warmth so that we might radiate peace & comfort & a sense of home & hope to a cold & hurting world.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolution

Taking lunch breaks at Goodwill

The other night on the way to the mall, I expressed to Mac with a bit of trepidation that I had spent the last few days pondering a New Year's resolution for 2013.  I inquired whether he would like to hear, and before I could finish, he asked me what it was.

Now...before I continue, I should explain my days of pondering and trepidation by stating that I am terrible at resolutions.  The last one I can remember with any clarity was in Junior High or early High School.  I read aloud to a roomful of my peers that I would limit my TV intake to one hour a week (which I imagine I had thoughtfully divvied up between weekly episodes of Home Improvement and Saved By The Bell).  I cannot tell you whether or not I kept this resolution, because all that I remember is a boy named Josh widening his eyes and shrieking, "One hour!?!?", and to this day wondering whether he thought that a large or little sum.  All resolutions since have been hopelessly defeatist (& therefore, defeated) or optimistically vague (& likely defeated as well).  So, fast forward to now and not only do I hesitate to make resolutions for fear I can't keep them, but I most often decline to express them outloud.

Today I make an exception (which I will probably regret post-Publish-button) because I think that I can actually keep this one and because the only one I've told (the one who counts) did not shriek in appalled horror, but seemed to cautiously approve.

So here it is: For 2013, I've decided not to spend any of our income on clothes.  I'll only sew, swap or alter/refashion what I already have or what is given to me.  (For my purposes, I am including swap to mean selling my clothes and using only that money for a thrift purchase.)

As a side note, for the last three years, I committed (somewhat by accident) to buy clothes only from thrift stores (with the exception of a couple pair of shoes and a new coat during the freezing winter of 2010).  So, while I've gotten really good at saying No to new-new clothes & to retail stores...I don't know that I've exactly saved a bundle, because the Goodwill's here are loaded and I have developed a slight addiction to the thrift-hunt.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking.  All this build-up and that's it?  Lame.  I get it. But there is a greater good at stake like doctor's bills and student loans to be paid...a closet in desperate need of some cleaning...a life to be simplified...sewing skills to be honed...and fun progress and mishaps along the way to post about.  And while next year I hope to be able to tackle slightly more epic things, maybe getting out of debt and saving a little cash can help pave the way.  In the meantime, I'll have a little more means to devote to my Etsy shop, which will still continue to donate 20% of all proceeds toward projects and people I love (including this one, which I think is pretty epic).

Sound like fun and want to participate? Here are a few ideas:
  • Join me in your own clothes budget freeze and we can sew/swap/upcycle together
  • Follow along as I document my saving, selling and sewing/refashioning adventures
  • Send your castoffs my way if you think that seeing them recycled on the blog sounds like more fun than having a garage sale
  • Shop my closet on Ebay for some good scores like these:

Recent Ebay listings
 Happy New Year!  Here's to a healthy, joyous (simpler) 2013!