Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dear Paula,

How can ten years ago seem like yesterday and yet seem so far away at the same time?

My girls never met you, but when they see your picture they know it's "Auntie Paula".

I haven't seen your face in 10 years, but every once in a while I see someone I think is you and want to chase them down and hug them.

It's been 10 years since I heard your laugh, but sometimes I see, do or think of something you would think was funny and hear you giggle in my head.

You weren't there to laugh at me when we got a minivan, but as that thing seemed to fall apart around us, I used to joke that you must have been trying to tell me something...

Good news - we have a Durango now.

You have not been here to give me advice but I still ask myself "what would Paula tell me to do?" - especially in parenting.

You haven't been here to watch me grow more in love with that man of mine over the last ten years ... but since you all but threw us together - and specifically ASKED him if he wanted to be my boyfriend - I guess you knew I would all along.

Ten years ago, we sat around your bed and sang worship songs to send you into Heaven. I held your head in my arms as we sang your favorite song - The Wonderful Cross. And when we got to the line that says "the wonderful cross, bids me come and die and find that I might truly live" you took one last breath, blew it out on my cheek and you were gone.

You were Home.

And we were here without you.

And, in that moment, I praised His name because I knew that you would never hurt again.

And, I still praise Him for that. Even though your leaving meant MY pain, I praise His name because YOU are free.  You were so strong through everything and your faith never once let go. You loved Him with everything you had ... and now you love Him face to face. We used to listen to I Can Only Imagine and talk about what it would be like to be in His presence ... and now you know.

And I praise Him for that.

I truly do.

And some day you and I will be up there dancing to praise jams and singing along at the top of our lungs. Just like we did here ... except now we will do it at the feet of the One we praise.

I. Can. Not. Wait.

I will see you soon my friend.

I love you.

(Here is our song ... YOUR song)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Little Letter To Winter

Dear Winter,

May I call you John?


good ...

Dear John,

Yes ... this IS a Dear John letter.

Please, don't be offended. It's me. Not you.

I mean, let's just be honest and say that many of the reasons I'm breaking up with you are the same reasons I loved you in the first place.

Your crisp white snow? Yes, I admit, it is lovely and bright and stunning.

Until you have to shovel so. stinking. much. of it and are now lifting shovels full over mounds that are taller than your children.

Your brisk refreshing temperatures? Yeah, those stopped being fun when you added the crazy freakin winds that blew my hat down the sidewalk and dropped the already low temps to conditions which are not natural or kind to this arizona girl. I mean, I CHOSE to honeymoon in Alaska, I like to be cool ... I just also like to feel the tips of my appendages. And, no, the burning that comes as they are recovering from near frostbite does. not. count.

Hoodies? You and I both know that I love me a good hoodie. But, when I go through hoodies like I have been and actually contemplate SLEEPING in them?  Not OK.

The sweaters? I' am OVER having to wear layers UNDER them.

All this to say, you and I are through. Please pack it up and go.

Yeah ... not only breaking up with you, I am also evicting you. Spring is ready to move in, so you need to go.

Thank you so much for understanding.

Love ... well, USED to be love,

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Today has been a frustrating day. Not gonna lie.

My goal was to get up early, have my time with Him and get in my workout.  I know Thursdays around here are crazy, so I know it's best to get 'er done as early as possible.  So, my buddy Jane and I agreed to a texting date/wake up call at 4:30.

yes ... in the AM.  I know.

I slept through THREE alarms and Jane slept through one. Neither of us got up early. So, with no time with my Jesus and no workout, I hit the floor running. The morning went OK - got to spend it with my Thursday Morning Bible Study Girls ... MAN, they bless me! And I had made arrangements with the hubbster to get a run in between his work and his duties at church tonight. But it snowed and there was not any time allowed in his break.

I decided to do a HIIT on the stairs (20 minutes total - 10 rounds of one minute full on/one minute rest), but on the first trip up I felt a major pop in my knee. Literally took my breath away and left me in tears. So much so that Sophie came running and decided she was gonna tuck me into bed. How sweet is she? I knew I needed ice though, so I got THEM in bed and came down to get some.

Which means I now have to get myself back UP the steps.


Anyhoo ... I sat down to FINALLY do my daily devotional (Beth Moore's Whispers of Hope ... Y'all. Getcha some. for real.). Today she wrote on Jeremiah 18, when they Lord told Jeremiah that he wanted to rebuild His people (like clay in His hands) and they basically said "yeah ... don't bother".

Ummmm ... WHAT?!?!?!?!  Who does that?

So easy to judge, but the truth is ... maybe I do that.

Maybe, by not believing in myself in this process, I am really not trusting HIM to take me through this process.


The last paragraph of the devo today:

"Can you imagine becoming a newly formed vessel in God's hand? A sacred and useful vessel? Have parts of you been marred for so long that you can't imagine how He could ever reshape you? Does the process seem to lengthy? Does it require too much cooperation? Do you sometimes thing, It's no use? Sometimes we can see folly in others that we cannot see in ourselves. Didn't we wonder how Israel could make such a poor choice when they were given another chance? How could they have been such cracked pots? To say "it's no use" is to say the Potter is not qualified to do what He does best. Take your chances on God. Put your life in His hands. Newness doesn't come from faith in yourself, it comes from faith in Him."

And, if you need me I'm just gonna be over in the corner, face down, hands in the air, giving praise to my Potter and praying for forgiveness for EVER doubting His hands.

He is SO faithful.

And, just this morning we were talking about seeing the power of God in our lives. Lord, open our eyes to your hand. Mold us. Shape us. REDEEM us.

Make me new Lord. I am broken. I am marred. I am imperfect and incomplete ... but God.

but GOD!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

All In How Ya Look At It

First off, let me assure you that I will not just be writing about this journey ... I will also be posting gratuitous cute pictures of my children ...

Like this one of Hattie ... too bad she is so anti-social

 Or Miss Sophie ... yeah, if only she was cute.

OK ... now ... where was I?

I started a new Bible study tonight. Well ... OK ... I RE-started a (less than) new Bible study tonight.  Yes, one more thing I didn't finish last time around.  (ahem ... )

The study is Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  And, y'all, so good. I kinda rushed through it last time and missed a lot. This time around, I want to really pay attention and see what God has for me there.  And, oh, He is already meeting me in those pages ... and we are on like page 3 or something. He is so faithful!

In the first video, she talked about switching your mindset from "deprived" to "empowered" and learning to crave GOD and not food.  She also - and this is what I did not get last time - talked about how indulgence is, by definition, taking unrestrained pleasure in something.  And when we throw restraint out the window in regards to anything but our worship of HIM, we are allowing that "thing" (in this case, food) to wage a war in ourselves. As a result, we end up feeling defeated, discouraged and disabled.

Y'all! God girls are not meant for defeat!  We are made for more. We are made for HIM!!!!

So, here is what I took away from this:
Does food wage a war against my soul? If I choose to find comfort in it, to turn to it and to use it instead of seeking HIM, yes.  If it leaves me feeling angry at myself, yes. If it takes my eyes and heart off of Him, yes.  Because, first and foremost, I am a Jesus Girl ... and I am meant for more.

Yesterday I wrote in my prayer journal "Father, show me how to love YOU enough to love me more". And, see, that is my struggle. I love Him. I do. I love Him more than ANYTHING in my life. But how can I say I love Him and not love myself in return? HE loved me enough to die for me? Should I not love myself enough to take care of me? I want to live my life to His glory and that means giving Him every area of my life, including this journey.  I have come too far with Him to let myself not be all He has made me to be - and He has made me for more than this struggle. He has made me for more than the defeat of deprivation ... He has made me for EMPOWERMENT.

I can look at that cookie (ya knew it would come back to a cookie, didn't ya?) and whine and ask "why do I have to be deprived?"  Or I can look at that cookie and know that He has empowered me to make a better choice for myself.

Now, I will eat a cookie here and there ... cause, y'all, it's a COOKIE! But, I will not let that cookie have more power over me than it deserves. I am meant for more.

Can I get an AMEN??!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

90 Days (and the rest of my life) To Go ... (Part Two)

Let's see ... where did we leave off yesterday ...?

Ahhh ... Round Two of the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge.

I was bound and determined to finish it this time. All 90 days. Just, ya know, get 'er done.

But that voice.

The one that kept telling me it was never gonna work.

The one that told me to eat the cookie anyway.

So I started the challenge, but my commitment level lost steam quick. It was September, things were crazy - the girls were back in school, schedules were all over the place, yada yada yada ...

By about day 20 I knew this was not gonna fly.

So I started it AGAIN with a friend from the facebook group.

And there was a group that started a diet bet thing for the month of October - you pay in $25 and have so much time (one month in this case) to lose a certain percentage (4%) of your weight.  And, I KNOW that this was not my best decision, but, well ... there ya go. I determined (based on prior experience) that I would lose weight faster if I help back on the workouts and got stupid strict with my food.  So, basically I crash dieted and hardly did any workouts at all through the bet ... and lost my 4%!  Oh yay.

Then, of course, the holidays started ... with the food, the parties, the commitments, the COOKIES!

And the germs.  Dadgum, stupid germs.

Between it all I ended up pretty much taking the holidays off. I got in a run here and there (oh how I love to run), did a random workout, etc... But I in NO way kept up with my vow to get healthy.

And, let me tell ya, my waist line and jeans told the tale.

Oh, I was still wearing the smaller size of pants, but they did NOT fit the same way.

But, I learned something in those months. I learned that I am an all or nothin kinda girl. I am not a "take a break" kinda girl. I am the kind of girl that has to follow a plan at all times. Cause breaks for me are NOT a good idea.

Now, I am also not a never ever have another treat in your whole life, til Jesus returns, kinda girl either.  THAT is just not gonna happen. Cause, ya know, have I mentioned the cookies?  I like me some cookies. I surely do.

No, I am the kinda girl who needs a plan ... and who needs that plan to include the occasional cookie.

Just keepin it real y'all...

Now ... we just gotta figure out what that looks like....

And, so, the journey begins.  Just 81 days (and the rest of my life) to go.  Feel free to tag along, won't you!?

Monday, January 13, 2014

90 Days (and the rest of my life) to go ... (Part One)

One week ago today I started a new journey.

Well ... OK, not new. I've STARTED this journey before.

I've just never crossed the finish line.

The first time I started this journey, I was sittin pretty and headed for victory.  And then I crashed and burned.

The second time, I barely made it out of the starting gate before I crashed ...

But not this time. This time I'm takin y'all with me, so I can stay on course.

And, after all I have learned the last two times, I am beginning to understand that this 90 day journey, is really gonna be a lifetime trek.

So, here is a little background, just so you won't be lost...

I have an ongoing battle with myself. I have always struggled with low self esteem and it has allowed me to defeat myself more times than I care to count. My biggest area of continual struggle is my body image ... which, as it turns out, is also my biggest area of self sabotage.

Late last spring I came upon a workout called the Bikini Body Mommy 90 day challenge, which I found very intriguing.  I began talking to some women about it in a facebook group that I am in and started seeing some before/after pics.  WOW. I started to wonder if this might work for me.

About that time I was in the bathroom early one morning feeling pretty down on myself because "this" (whatever "this" was at the time) wasn't working either. After nearly a year of focused efforts, I had lost a few pounds but ZERO inches. The scale had stopped moving and my clothes were still tight. I was in tears when my 5 year old baby girl walked in, found me crying on the scale and said to me "mama, it's ok. I love you even if you're fat".

And, I realized what I was teaching her was absolutely EVERYTHING I had tried NOT to teach my girls.

And I started thinking that I needed to find a way to get healthy, not skinny.


So, on June 1st I started the BBM challenge with two of my friends.  Within a week I started feeling better physically - more energy, not so sluggish, etc.  Two weeks in, on a cardio day, I was running down the road and felt my pants falling off. I LITERALLY had to run with one hand holding my pants up.

It. Was. Awesome.

By day 30 I had lost 18.5 inches!  Only 3 pounds, but EIGHTEEN stinkin inches!  People were starting to notice and say sweet things to me and I was feeling SO empowered. SO strong. SO good. But then that voice of doom and self defeat kicked in, while we were on vacation, and kept telling me "ya KNOW you're just going to gain it all back - you always do - so why not just eat and enjoy yourself?"

I fought that voice back ... kinda.

But there was another voice this time. The one that said "Look how good you're doing! You can afford to splurge now! And, you KNOW if you don't splurge a little, you are gonna fall on your face, so just have a cookie!"  And THAT voice was harder to deny.  And that ONE cookie was hard to resist.  And so were the ONE MORE cookies after it.

So, when the loss started to stall - cause of all the dadgum cookies - the first voice got louder and I fell completely off the wagon at about day 70.  And I felt like SUCH a failure ... again.

Round two was ...........

***to be continued***

2014 ... Pictures ... Week 2

This was the week of the great freeze. And the great dig out of all. the. snow!!!!

Monday ... our neighbor? Yeah, he is quite a guy. He's probably in his late 70's or so, rides a Harley and takes care of his snow packed drive and walks with this bad boy ...

Yeah ... also, please note that he is NOT wearing a jacket. Y'all, the tems were in the single digits with some crazy windchill factors happening.

I have no idea how he does it!!!

Tuesday ... THIS is how cold it was
The girls are playing with ice on the INSIDE of our windows - our double paned, well insulated windows that are above a heat register and next to a fireplace.

Yeah ... cold.

Wednesday ... Another snow day.  They had not been to school in almost 3 weeks at this point. They were a little stir crazy at this point...
... which may or may not explain the yoga on top of the coffee table.  Not really sure.

Thursday ... FINALLY the girls are back to school and Joccee has the house to herself again. So, ya know, she did the only natural thing to do...
... she set herself up a makeshift drive in theater and watched Sesame Street from the comfort of her car.

Ya know, since Soph wasn't around to push her in circles around the kitchen (battery is deader than a door nail!). 

So ... how was YOUR week???

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pictures ... 365 ... Week 1

So ... remember that thing with the pictures from each day of the year? 

Yeah ... gonna try that again. 

And, ya know, maybe make it past June this time.

Yeah ... OK

January 1
A fresh new year. A fresh new journal. Fresh new pens ... love new beginnings.

 January 2
 My sweet faced girl in her sweet new glasses. LOVE!

January 3 (got a few here)
 Soooooo cold out there, but if the big door is opened at the right time of day and the sun is allowed to shine through the glass door ... FREE HEAT!!!
 YouTube ... a mama's bff sometimes!
 Indoor campout ... complete with hot dogs and s'mores cooked over an open fire!
 Last camper standing ... and watching The Polar Express!!
***Note that the fireplace is working for the first time since we moved in!!!***

January 4
 Well ... if I ever get lost int he snow, just look for the shoes! LOL!  Had to get one last run in before the bitter cold hits. Also, people need to shovel their walks. This trek resulted in a shoe full of snow! FUN!!!

January 5
The snow was just beginning and the temps had not fallen too far yet, so we had ourselves a little fun. I will post more of these later, but I love this one. The way that the snow is in focus, but Soph is not ...I have no idea how it happened, but it is kinda cool!

So ... how was YOUR week?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Begin ... Again

New Years Day

A time for resolutions, promises and commitments.

All of which, usually, get broken.

But it doesn't HAVE to be that way.  Does it?

Today I started a new devotional, a new prayer journal and a new Bible reading plan.

The devotional is Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore. A 10 week devotional on prayer.

In the intro to the book, Beth gives a 5 point formula for prayer - P.R.A.I.S.E.  (Praise, Repentance, Acknowledgment, Intercession, Supplication (for self), Equipping). Let me tell you ... I adore it. I REALLY feel like, in my FOCUSED prayer time (which, sadly, has been seriously lackluster as of late), this will be of great benefit to me. So, in a fresh new prayer journal, with a fresh new set of pens, I began using this formula on this, the first day of the fresh new year.

In my prayer time this morning, when I was working on the Supplication for Self and again on the Equipping parts, I felt God whispering to me to "Begin Again". And, in my prayers for the last week or so, in praying and seeking a One Word for 2014, the words I kept hearing were "Beginning" and "Sacrifice". I felt led to choose Sacrifice for my One Word and Romans 12:1 - "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God" - this is your true and proper worship - for my verse of the year. But I still kept hearing "Begin Again".

As I started my new Bible plan, I did not feel ease in it and still heard "Begin Again". So, I put everything aside and just sat and listened, because I felt like I needed to hear His Voice. As I listened, I realized that there is so much in my life that I gave up on last year. Things that I had gotten further in than ever before, but still gave up on anyway.

I began a physical fitness plan and saw more success with it than anything I have every tried before. I FELT good, I had lost weight, and I felt stronger than I had in years. I was succeeding ... and then, suddenly, I wasn't. I had just sort of stopped.

I began a Read Through The Bible plan and got further than I ever have before. I made it past the laws and sacrifices and all the stuff I get "bored" with so easily. I made it all the way into September before I kids sort of stopped.

I began an organization plan for the house and for my chores and jobs and keeping house in a sane way ... ya know, instead of stuffing everything into a corner when someone is coming over. I had the kitchen clean and organized, as well as the closets and dresser drawers and toy boxes. And then, you guessed it, I just sort of stopped.

So, I as I listened to His voice, it suddenly became very clear what He was saying to me. Begin ... again. All the things you gave up on. Begin again. Don't make NEW promises ... follow through on the old ones.  Don't find NEW things to try. Finish the old ones. And, don't just pick up where you started off, begin again.

Back to square one.

So, for starters, I threw out the new Bible plan and dug out the old one. To begin again.

I walked into my closet ... well, in as far as I could. And I started pulling everything out. To begin again.

And I pulled out all the written on pages of my Physical fitness notebook. To begin again.

It's a brand new year and a brand new journey. Sure, some of the steps will be familiar. After all, I have taken many steps on this journey before. But this is a new beginning. And, this time, I will offer every single step as a sacrifice to the One who leads the way.

This is, after all, my true and proper worship