Make A Wish

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

You’re minding your own business, out for a walk in the lovely Spring weather. You run into a magical bunny. As you’re scratching behind his ears, he says to you… In gratitude for the lovely ear scratching, I’m granting you three wishes for yourself, and an additional wish that must benefit someone other than yourself. 

What are your four wishes?!  

It was submitted by: http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

My favorite TV show growing up was definitely “I Dream of Jeannie”.  I fantasized often about finding a genie bottle on the beach and being granted 3 wishes.  The wishes themselves have changed over the years though.  I will admit, in my fantasies, my genie never looked like this…

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It was more this…

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or even this…

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Maybe a sexy cartoon Aladdin come to life to rescue me.  I’m not complaining (I mean I am a little), a wish is a wish is a wish, I suppose the vehicle of a wishes deliverance matters not.  Just to be clear, wishing that my wish-giver was hot and half-naked is not my 1st wish.  I’m just thinking out loud.

(3 hours later)

Who knew thinking of 4 wishes could be so difficult.  I don’t want to squander them.  When wishing for things, I tend to be short-sighted.  I’m probably way overthinking it.  Eggs sound really good right now.  Maybe I’ll go eat breakfast and mull it over.  I make better decisions on a full stomach.  I’d hate to wish for a house made of chocolate because I’m starving and it’s shark week (that time of the month).  These are the kind of rash decisions I need to avoid.  So eggs.  More coffee.  Then wishes.

(2 days later)

So, those were some really good eggs.  And I got distracted by life.  And I still don’t know what my wishes should be.  When I got my topic, I thought it would be so easy peasy.  Yeah…not so much.  Thinking of one wish leads me to another wish which lead to an even better wish which reminds me of my initial wish.  It’s enough to make a girl dizzy and confused.  I really need to wash my sheets.  BRB.

(5 days later)

So…this post and these wishes may never get made.  I’m no closer today than I was a week ago to narrowing down these wishes (hashtag firstworldproblems – amirite?) You know what helps me think?  Chick-Fil-A!  I know what you’re thinking, just another diversion, but no really, nothing beats Chick-Fil-A when I need to get the brain juices flowing.

(6 hours later)

Also, Chick-Fil-A makes me full which makes me long for a nap which totally happened.  Then I started watching Scandal, and OHMYHUCK…  I won’t elaborate in case no one reading this actually watches Scandal, and I don’t want to be accused of rambling…  Oh wait…too late.  Sigh.

All is not completely lost, I do have good news.  While ordering at Chick-Fil-A, I did come up with one wish!  I know!!!!  So exciting, that food is magical, I’m telling you.  Why is it though that I usually only crave it on Sunday and it’s CLOSED?!?!?!?!  Oops sorry, veering off track again.  It happens.  I’m kinda hungry again, but I’m going to finish out this wish first, I promise.  I won’t leave you hanging.

So, I’m in the forever long line that is the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru seriously considering blowing my first wish on instant gratification, but I reign myself in just in time.  I finally get up to the window and holy hotness batman, the cashier/order guy is hot.  Not little boy hot and by little boy I mean high school age and not that I notice hot high school boys or ever drive slowly by high schools as football players are running around topless, but I mean really, boys did not look like that when I was 18.  It hardly seems fair.  ANYWAY, no this guy is like old.  And by old, I mean late 20’s, early 30’s?  My eyes are eye level with the best looking backside I have ever seen.  I mean…is it hot in here?  I need a fan.  I can’t stop staring.  Then I look up and he’s staring at me.  I’m thinking, “oh shit did he notice I was totally checking out his ass?”  Why is he staring?  Why am I smiling like this?  I look deranged.  My lips have disappeared.  Did I brush my teeth today?  Maybe he’s noticed the coffee stain on my shirt?  Or the fact that I left the house without a bra on and quite frankly THAT should NEVER happen.  My reasoning was that I wasn’t getting out of the car, but it’s very awkward to have to pick up your boobs so as not to accidentally buckle them into the lap belt portion of your seat belt.  You think I’m joking…  And now you have a weird visual…sorry, go back to hot butt not in high school Chick-Fil-A guy.  Breathe.  In and out.  In and out.  Visual gone?  Whew.  Then I realize he’s asking me if I want any sauce.  Is it wrong that I thought of this movie line in “Wayne’s World?”

Yeah, I know…all kinds of wrong.  Sorry not sorry.  If anyone could ruin a perfectly good topic like being on the receiving end of 4 anything you want wishes…it’s me.  Now that I’ve taken you places you never ever wanted to go and from which you may never recover, let’s FINALLY get to my first wish.

WISH ONE

I wish for the boobs of my youth.  Vain?  Yes.  Shallow?  Yes.  Necessary?  Absolutely.  I want perky.  I want to be able to leave my house without a bra occasionally and not horrify a nation.  I don’t want surgery or drainage bags or future ruptures or dots and lines drawn all over my chest by a plastic surgeon that does NOT look like McSteamy from Grey’s Anatomy and has cold fish-like hands.  I want beautiful boobs.  I want boobs I don’t have to scoop up to fit inside my bra cup.  I want boobs that don’t fall into my armpit when I lie down.  I want boobs that don’t peak out from the bottom of my t-shirt…that hangs down to my knees.  Forget about the pencil test, I could hold a set of 120 colored pencils under each breast.  Now that you’ll never be able to look me in the eye again…let’s move on.  I think I’ve exhausted this topic.

WISH TWO

Coming up with one wish was exhausting and terrifying.  I’m depleted.  Can my 2nd wish be unlimited wishes?  I mean, the only rule was that at least one of my wishes be for someone else.  Is there a wishing rule book?  I need the facts!  I can’t work under these conditions.  I have to understand the RULES.  I’m assuming I can’t wish for unlimited wishes because that feels like cheating, then again it’s my blog, my post and maybe the rule is that you can make your own rules?  This level of thinking this early in the morning hurts my brain.  Honestly, I bet the wishing genie bunny wants to punch me in the face right now.  I bet he’s sorry he stopped for me.

The truth is I feel like I’ve got everything I could ever possibly want.  I’ve got an amazing husband, the world’s greatest children.  I’ve been blessed with a family that supports and loves me.  I’ve been blessed with 4 healthy and beautiful children.  While my life is never perfect and comes with it’s fair share of challenges, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  I wouldn’t wish for it to be any different.  I love my life.  I love my family.  It’s perfectly imperfectly tailor made just for me, and I wouldn’t change a thing.  Not one thing.  Well…

I still want the boobs though.  I’m not giving up that wish.

WISH FOR ANOTHER

This one is easy.  I wish that my son passes the STAAR test the FIRST time.  We pulled him out of a brick and mortar school in January, which is another blog post entirely that I’ll get to eventually.  We decided to homeschool him, but I stuck with public online schooling because I just didn’t know enough about homeschooling to feel I could completely tackle it on my own.  It’s been an amazing and positive experience thus far and I have no regrets.  The only downside is that he still has to pass the STAAR test to continue on to 6th grade.  He’s come a long way in just a few short months, but he still has some catching up to do.  I pray and hope that what we’ve been able to accomplish in these last 2 months has been enough to pass him.  We are proud of him no matter what, because I know how hard he’s been working, but if he passes the 1st time, the boost to his confidence…well it just can’t be measured.  I want that so badly for him.  So that is my 4th and final wish for another.  Please Mr. Genie Bunny grant me this wish.  You can ignore everything else I’ve rambled on about here today, and just make sure my son passes that STAAR test the FIRST time.

Thank you for indulging in my nonsense for what might have felt like an eternity.  Hopefully you made it to the end!  I’ll be sure and let you know how my most important final wish turns out for us (fingers crossed) ❤

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

 

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Spatulas on Parade                   http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                     http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen                 http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Never Ever Give Up Hope                 http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon                             http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Not That Sarah Michelle                    http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace                       http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

The Angrivated Mom                         http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Climaxed                                        http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

When I Grow Up                              http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/

I’m Proud To Be…

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

What nationalities are you comprised of and how do they reflect on the person you are?

It was submitted by: http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

“Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” Walt Disney

I’ve been thinking that if I’d gotten this question a year ago, or even 6 months ago, I would have approached it or thought about it quite differently than I do so today.  To be honest, I’ve never really given much thought to my heritage or nationality.

I’m an American.

I’m white.

I’m parts Native American (Osage and Cherokee), Scottish and maybe Irish (probably wishful thinking, but with my name being Shannon and all…)

I’m a woman.

I’m a mother.

I’m a wife.

I’m a daughter, sister, aunt and cousin, etc…

Some of those things define me more than others.

I’ve probably felt as if I belonged more to America than a particular ethnic group.  What does being an American mean?  These days I wonder.

As a general rule, I avoid politics.  I’m too emotional, passionate, defensive, strong-willed and opinionated to enter into such discussions lightly.  I tend to take differing opinions personally, as if my very personhood is being attacked or threatened.  I know my limitations.  I’d like to keep my friends, so I keep quiet.

I can tell you what being an American means to me.  I think that how I personally define what it means to be an American defines the kind of person I am or aspire to be.

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.” Barack Obama

I feel we’ve entered into an era of extreme Nationalism, where the idea of patriotism is being confused or misconstrued, twisted into something self-serving, hateful and largely based on fear and bias.

“Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” Charles de Gaulle

I love my country.  I love her beautiful diversity, a rich tapestry of different cultural and ethnic identities, religions and faiths.  A rainbow of colors and ideas, explosive and expressive, reflective and representative of the freedoms that brave men and women have fought, bled and died in pursuit of since the birth of this great nation.  I’m not threatened by that which is different, I embrace it, it inspires and motivates me.  I don’t believe in a world that divides people into an US versus THEM.  I don’t worry that God is on my side but whether or not I am on HIS side.  I’m pretty sure Jesus asked for a longer table, not a higher wall.  Ideologies built on hate and fear aren’t destroyed by the policies, philosophies or ideas based upon those same emotions.  Ideologies constructed out of those negative and destructive emotions are destroyed brick by brick only by love, by acceptance, by inclusion, by forgiveness and by understanding.

“True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.” Clarence Darrow  

America, for all her imperfections and faults, IS a great nation.  Patriotism should not be confused with jingoism, which by definition refers to a country’s advocacy for the use of threats or actual force in efforts to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests.  I rebel against the idea that there is “only enough” for SOME people.  America embodies the hope that anything is possible for anyone willing and able to dream.  Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” The American dream is an iconic part of our identity.  It is our promise.  Our hope. Our past, present and future.  Being American means we embrace and accept our imperfections as a nation, as a fallible and fragile people, but we work to overcome our faults, right our wrongs.

Being American defines me.  Being American means I strive to learn that which I don’t understand.  It means I embrace inclusivity and acceptance from people or ideas that might be different.  I see the value in the uniqueness of expression.  My growth, spiritually, mentally and emotionally is sparked by sharing ideas and experiences with cultures both ethnically and culturally diverse.  My belief in God is strengthened by these differences, not weakened.  America embodies hope.  Being an American means I’m an extension of that hope which should be reflected in the love and respect I hold for those that may not look like me or think like me. I believe in the free exchange of ideas, beliefs and experiences because it contributes to the vitality of our great nation and enriches humanity as a whole. As corny as it sounds, I do believe good trumps evil and that love conquers all.

“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing.  But why should love stop at the border?” Pablo Casals

I don’t know if I answered the question.  I’m not opting for a soapbox or a sound bite, these are the feelings I truly believe and embrace when I ask myself the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” I might have completely gone off script but these thoughts have been weighing on my heart recently and this topic and/or question felt like a path I could take to unburden myself, share my thoughts and my fears in the little environment I’ve created to experience the freedom of my emotions, such as they are.

I feel that being an American is a privilege, and I don’t take the rights and freedoms I enjoy for granted.  Despite the uncertain and turbulent times enveloping our nation, I feel optimistic and hopeful about our future.  I’m proud to be an American.  It is our differences, our unique voices and perspectives woven together that make up the rich tapestry of our Nation.  We don’t always get it right, but we never give up. ❤

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy         http://dinoheromommy.com/

Spatulas on Parade                   http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                     http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope                 http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Confessions of a part time working mom       http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Southern Belle Charm                          http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Angrivated Mom                          http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Climaxed                                           http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Love Actually

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All during the month of February, I’ve focused on the word “love.”  It is the month of Valentine’s Day after all.  I’ve posted quotes on Facebook and Instagram all about showing the love.  I’ve focused my efforts on giving love, whether in service to others or learning to love myself a little better.  I’ve really tried to see the face of God in every person I’ve met or crossed paths with in one way or another.  I’ve even tried to love Donald Trump.  Ok…  So, I’m totally lying about that one.  Sorry.  I’m only human.  I’ve tried to smile more, engage strangers, look for ways to offer kindness and service, live out my faith in my day to day life.

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Well…I was doing really good till the last two days of February.  On February 27th, it all went to hell.  Where you will probably find me…  with my grocery cart of anger and bitterness.  There are two places where I’ve found myself to be at my most vulnerable to react negatively – the grocery store and behind the wheel of my car.  If I’m going to present the worst version of myself, it usually happens in one of those scenarios.  Patience, love, kindness and sanity – all completely thrown out the window when I either enter the swish swish doors of my local grocer or when I slip behind the wheel of my car. I don’t know what happens to me.  It’s almost an out of body experience, I see myself behaving badly but appear powerless to stop it.

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It was a Monday, which should have been my first clue not to leave the house, but did I listen? Nope.  I dropped my husband off at the train station, and decided to stop by the store on the way home to just grab a few things, less than 5, it would take no time at all.  I’d zip in, then zip out.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Right?  Wrong.  First, I talked myself into popping into the easiest grocery store from a navigation/proximity perspective.  After all, I only needed like maybe 5 things, 6 tops.  This is my least favorite location of this particular chain.  It smells funny.  I dislike the layout and parking is always bad.  I knew better than to stop here.  I should have gone just a teensy bit out of my way and perhaps none of this would have happened and I could have closed the month of February feeling as if I’d at least adequately mimicked a good person, full of love, generosity of spirit and a heart bursting with kindness and compassion.

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Might seem a tad dramatic, but you understand my point.  So, I grab my few items and walk immediately to the “speedy checkout” line.  There are two people ahead of me.  The lady checking out is an employee buying some gummy bears and the girl in front of me, has maybe 22 items (even though the sign says 20 or less…but that’s okay, I’m choosing to let it go, if only I’d kept up that mantra).  As it turns out, the employee is buying 2 things of candy, apparently paying for them separately.  She is talking animatedly with the cashier, like they have all the time in the world.  I can feel the tiny pinpricks of annoyance.  I force myself to smile (which was probably more of a grimace really).  Her second transaction gets messed up.  Sigh.  More laughing and talking.  I’m thinking she eats that package of gummy bears faster than she paid for them.  My mood is deteriorating at lightning speed.  I can feel myself deconstructing, my good intentions paving that road to hell.  A road that will be paved before she finishes paying for these damn gummy bears.  At this point, my mask of tolerance has slipped and probably something like this has been left in its place…

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Naturally, she chooses this moment to turn around and look behind her (yeah color me speechless, you aren’t the only one in this line!)  She grabs another candy bar (which I ungraciously think she doesn’t really need…) and includes it with the gummy purchase.  Finally!  She is done.  She turns around and hands the candy bar to the girl in front of me (who has been on her cell phone the whole time probably tweeting complaints about the amount of time this lady is taking btw) and thanks her for being patient, then shoots me a dirty look.  I feel a tiny bit of remorse for my impatience.  Ok, not really.  The slight just makes me more agitated and annoyed.

The girl ahead of me is super speedy (God bless her).  Then it’s finally my turn.  Hours later.  I unload all my items, grab my purse and step toward the cashier when he does the thing that completely sends me over the edge.  He actually beckons to the guy behind me and says, “hey since you only have one thing, I’ll check you out real quick.”

OH NO HE DIDN’T.

THIS IS SO NOT HAPPENING.

I mean, yes, he only had one thing but I was next in line and I had been waiting longer.  He just got there!  Sure, there have been times, when I’m not in a hurry, that I’ve let people with fewer items step ahead of me, but that’s been MY choice.  I can’t even find words.  I’m just standing there with my mouth hanging open.  Incredulous.  When my brain catches up to the scene playing out in front of me, my face turns from shocked bewilderment to something that I’m pretty sure looks like this –

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He ignores my death stare and sharp breaths that would rival Darth Vader’s.  I know my face is bright red, I can actually feel the rage.  I’m so pissed off.  The only thing that saved him and me was the fact I was too angry to even speak.  I just stared him down.  I didn’t even acknowledge the guy buying his yellow stupid ball; although, in hindsight, why would he accept!  I would have at least made sure it was okay with the person waiting in front of me that I was cutting off!  I can feel myself getting mad all over again, just reliving it here. This is why I would never carry a gun.  I know my limitations.  Yes, I was that angry.  I was in a hurry to get home.  It had been a long day, and I only needed 6 THINGS!  SIX!  I jerked my items off the turnstile and threw them in my cart, finding every possible passive aggressive form of anger I could use against this seemingly unaffected cashier.  To his credit, my anger and eye shooting daggers didn’t seem to phase him in the least.  When nonverbal communication doesn’t work to affectively notify the object of my ire that I’m angry, I result to muttering under my breath.  Which I began to do now.  I think he just thought I was crazy.  Yeah yeah…don’t say it.  I know.

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The next morning, against my better judgment, I go to the same store, different location.  I needed binders and school supplies and it was too early for Staples and Target was too far.  There were no checkout lines open, so I had to use the self-checkout option.  Not a big deal.  I’m pro.  As I scan each item and drop into a bag, I get an error message.

“Unexpected item in the bagging area.”

This happened after each item.

EACH.

ITEM.

I had 6 binders, tab dividers, coffee, orange juice and apple juice, a journal and a spiral.

By the 3rd item, I could feel it happening again.  I get to the 4th binder and it won’t ring up.  It says the barcode is invalid.  At this point, the cashier is practically standing on top of me because she keeps having to enter her code after I scan each item.  She attempts to scan it, even though she just watched me do it, and same error message.  She attempts to manually type in the code.  THREE TIMES.  Same error message.

Then.

She walks away.  WITH MY BINDER.  Saying nothing.

I’m all like…um excuse me?  I need that?

She responds, “the code is wrong.”

Ummm.  Yeah.  I got that part.  But I say, “well, I have another one, the same size…?”

She responds, “different brand.”

Are you freaking kidding me?  They are like 50 cents.  Ok so there are literally 5 employees just standing around talking, maybe she was going to ask one of them to go pick up another binder for me?

Nope.

She walked over (with my binder under her arm) and helped another customer.  Shaking my head, I rang up the rest of my purchases.  Getting an error message each time about the unexpected bagging.  At this point, my jaw is clenched, my hands fisted.  It’s taking everything I have not to erupt.  She clears my errors from her main terminal, not walking back towards me.  So she’s not completely clueless.  After I ring everything up, but the binder in question, I look over at her again.

She’s still holding my binder.

I say, “Umm… I didn’t put that into my cart for looks, I kinda need it?  Can you send someone to get another one, or can I leave my stuff here?”

Her response.

“It won’t scan.”

OMG

I’m done.  I’m need to get out of here. Screw the binder.  I will make one out of lasagna noodles and string!

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The month wasn’t a complete bust.  As a family, we spent one early Sunday morning in service to the homeless population in our downtown area with an organization that faithfully serves this marginalized portion of our society, feeding them physically, spiritually and emotionally.  It’s one of our favorite missions, and a time to truly live outside yourself and your own unique set of circumstances and learn the value of loving and helping others and the true definition of grace.  It’s a reminder to those who serve how much you have to be thankful for in your life.  A humbling experience that reminds each of us how precarious life can be and by the grace of God how much we are loved.

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In reflecting on my behavior in those two incidents, I am reminded of the hours spent in service to others that cold Sunday morning.  I’m brought low by my negativity, my poor behavior, my impatience with others, my anger and my selfishness.  I spent that last day of February in quiet reflection and prayer.  Thankful, that God’s grace has been bestowed upon me.  Reminded that although I will always be perfectly imperfect, made in His image, I’ve been afforded His grace, love and forgiveness, unconditionally and forever and that it is always within my power to extend that same love, forgiveness and grace to others, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.  It’s probably a lesson I will have to learn anew each day as I live out my faith as a flawed and fragile human being.

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I woke up on this new day, March 1st, with the promise of spring in the air, feeling renewed and refreshed.  During this season of Lent, I wanted to give up something meaningful, something possibly life-changing.  Not chocolate or social media or carbs.  I wanted to do something really hard, something that would require daily (heck even hourly) purposeful intention.

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I’m giving up…

IMPATIENCE

True story.  I might have to take up drinking.

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If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice and I really need to work on this. It’s probably my worst vice and leads to many others.  Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it.

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I’ll leave you with this Irish Blessing ❤

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You Are Loved <3

“UNIVERSAL LESSON:  YOU SEE THE WORLD THAT YOU HAVE MADE, BUT YOU DO NOT SEE YOURSELF AS THE IMAGE-MAKER.” 

Gabrielle Bernstein, “The Universe Has Your Back”

Personal development has never been something I pursued intentionally.  One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to acknowledge during my health and fitness journey is that in addition to weighing almost 300 lbs, I was toting around at least that much weight in emotional baggage.  It was literally weighing me down, drowning me in depression and despair.  Unwilling and unable to even leave my house most days, because I was so ashamed and embarrassed at how much I’d let myself go. I kept trying to claw and dig my way to the surface, only to be dragged back down again by the hands of my perception and self-loathing.  It was a cycle I didn’t know how to break.  I didn’t weigh 300 pounds just because I loved food, and I knew that part of my health journey was going to include delving deep into my heart and rooting out the negative and self-destructive emotions that brought me to the edge of the precipice I found myself on the eve before I decided to have Gastric-Sleeve surgery.  I didn’t want to ever end up back in that place, literally hanging over a dark abyss of self-hatred and fear.  I knew losing the weight was only half the battle, delving into my personal “why” was the key.  Why had I allowed this to happen to my body?  Why did I do this to myself?  I was hiding behind the extra weight.  Hiding behind the poor choices.  I needed to figure out why.  I couldn’t let this happen to me again.

Gabrielle Bernstein says something over and over in her book (The Universe Has Your Back) that really stuck with me, “Energy flows where your attention goes.”  Our perceptions create our reality or projection.  Gabrielle compares it to a movie reel.  What we perceive is what we project on the movie screens of our life.  If you find yourself struggling, whether it’s with your weight, your marriage, your relationships, your life…ask yourself, what movie have I been projecting?  I began to really think about what fear motivated me in a negative way to make the poor decisions that led me to this crossroads in my life.  I knew I had choices.  I could keep doing what I’d been doing and continue to live in the shadows, afraid to step out.  Or, I could take a different path.  I could step out of my 300 pound shadow.  I could stop being a spectator in my very own existence and make the decision to actually live!  I could make the decision to be fully present, living my best life, not just watching from the sidelines.

Somewhere along the line between childhood and adulthood, I decided that love was conditional.  I developed along the way this idea that I had to walk the tightrope of perfection in certain relationships in order to be loved and feel love.  If I missed a step, if I failed to say the right thing or do the right thing, that love was withheld from me.  It was taken away.  Whether in my mind or in reality, it was my perception and it colored my attitudes and emotions.  Food became a comfort, a coping mechanism.  Metaphorically, I could hide my shame and low sense of self-worth behind my weight.  If no one could see me, they couldn’t hurt me.  Obviously, I see the fallacy in my thinking, but when you are trapped in a particular mindset, it’s extremely difficult to see your way around it.  The self-destructive behaviors make a weird sort of sense.  You begin to find comfort in the things that ultimately will bring you down.

It’s difficult to explain in words, and I’m probably botching it up, but it’s really painful to open yourself up in this way and bare your soul.  I carry these feelings in the deepest parts of myself.  I’m always waiting for friends and family to realize how screwed up I really am and turn away from me, realize I’m not worth loving and walk away.  This is the movie, I play in my head.  This is my projection colored by my perceptions.  I don’t want to live this way.  I don’t want to gain the weight back.  I still have weight to lose, work to do and part of that work is being 100% honest and transparent.  I don’t want to always feel as if I have to hide behind humor and self-deprecation.  I want to shine a spotlight on the deepest and darkest parts of me, so I can change my “movie”, my perceptions and project a different outcome.

Sharing my thoughts and feelings in such a public forum allows me to feel empowered.  I want to reshape these negative thoughts and structure my life in a more positive and productive way.  As it turns out, losing 100 pounds was the easy part.  Changing my perceptions is where the hard work really begins.  If I want something I’ve never had, I have to do things I’ve never done.  I find inspiration in the support of others.  A big part of me expects failure.  It would be easy to listen to that voice.  That voice tends to get louder when I shut myself off from loving and being loved by others.  The stories I sometimes allow myself to believe about myself block me from feeling supported and happy.

It is difficult sometimes for me to reconcile the fact that I’ve come so far in my health and fitness journey.  I’ve lost over 100 pounds!  I don’t celebrate this amazing achievement often enough.  I usually say something along the lines of “yeah, I’ve lost 100 pounds, but I still have another 50 or so to go.”  My emotional health is an integral part of my overall health and fitness.  I can’t ignore it.  To ignore it leads me right back to where I started and I don’t want to ever visit or live there again.  I need to acknowledge and congratulate myself on the hard work that has gotten me this far.  That sense of accomplishment needs to be the light I shine on the projection I want to play in my daily life.  I don’t want to stay stuck in the negative rut of that old reality.  I want to break down those walls, squash those feelings and crush that mindset.  I have to be purposeful about connecting to the positive images of my success and accomplishments rather than focusing on the negative and destructive.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will I be.  I am perfectly imperfect, a child of God, and learning to love myself, forgive myself is essential to my growth and progress to being the person I was meant to be.

Writing the positive story of my life makes for a happier, more joyful me which radiates a power and light that forbids me from hiding in the shadows of my old self, hiding behind those old fears and spiraling down the staircase of destruction.  Being present in my life, being an active participant is my power and from that power I derive my motivation and my inspiration to continue down this new, unchartered path.  Seeking the approval of others is an integral part of who I am, connecting to those feelings, recognizing and acknowledging those feelings without letting the outcomes control me is key.

I’m worthy of being loved

The above statement, a mantra I repeat to myself daily, sometimes multiple times per day.  I am flawed.  I am imperfect.  I make mistakes.  None of those things discounts me as a person worthy of loving herself and accepting love from others.  In losing 100 pounds, this is what I’ve discovered.  I choose to look back and see my 300 pound self cheering me on, wanting me to succeed instead of trying to trip me up or praying I fail.  I understand that my intentions, my perceptions color my reality.  By being the change I want to see in myself and the world around me, I turn outward judgment into self-reflection and action against the only thing I can ever truly control, myself.

If you are feeling stuck, unloved or in a place where you harshly judge not only yourself but those around you, I hope you find comfort and solace in what I’ve shared here today.  I hope you take the time to stop and think about the movie you’ve created of your life and the part you want to play in it, realizing the power to change the direction and the outcome does truly lie within you.  Empowering yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself and others.  Forgive yourself.  Love yourself.  So that you may more freely forgive and love others.  Choosing to be intentional, empowering yourself and those around you, projecting the life you want and desire is a daily practice.  I find myself having to redirect my negative thoughts and actions over and over again throughout the course of a day.  Some days are better than others.  Don’t let fear be the guiding principle of your internal dialogue.  The point is to be intentional and purposeful in the changes you want to see and that will direct your thoughts and actions in a positive direction.  Taking responsibility for the lives we’ve created can be scary.  It’s much easier to blame those around us, or our circumstances.  Believe me, I know.  By acknowledging that my perceptions of self-worth, my negative thoughts and feelings and my destructive habits and choices were shaping the reality of my existence, my world, I was able to choose a different path, including the experiences in healing my heart, body and soul that resulted in the loss of 100 pounds and the journey to find the me God intended when he created me in His image.

The bottom line.

You are not alone.  You are loved. ❤

Forget Me Not

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.  Except I’m horrible at keeping secrets apparently and accidentally divulged my secret subject at the end of my last post.   Oops.  This is why we can’t have nice things…  Hopefully, no one noticed.  Fingers crossed.  I shall be super vigilant in the future to guard my secret better.  Pinky swear.

My not so “Secret Subject” is:

SHOULD old acquaintance be forgot?

It was submitted by: http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

I admit, I had no idea what I was going to do with this prompt.  Who am I kidding, I still don’t know.  All I know is that this song has been stuck in my head for two weeks, and I want it purged.  Completely.  Forever. I mostly just hum it though, because I don’t actually know the words.  Does anyone really?  I can’t even pronounce Auld Lang Syne.

One of my favorite movies of all time is “When Harry Met Sally” and I think Billy Crystal says it best…

Now I want to watch the movie.  Literally, like right now.  I’ll be back.  Eventually.

(2 hours and a day later)

I love that movie so much.  Okay, I’m back, did you miss me? See, I’m terrible at this question, I went 5 minutes and forgot about all of you.  Also, I almost died.  My blog post page was empty.  I had nothing.  So, I did what anyone would do, I found something to yell at my husband about.  I mean, honestly, why is he home in the middle of the day.  Interrupting my mojo.  Noisily chomping on those chips.  Smacking his lips, talking with his mouth full.  Mid yell, I accidentally suck down the iron pill I was dissolving under my tongue.  Choking, wheezing…dying.  Husband laughs.

(a few hours and a day later…cause recovering)

I love the Christmas season.  It’s definitely my favorite time of the year.  I mentioned in my last blog post (you know the one where I blurted out my secret subject…let it go already!) that I view the week following Christmas as a time to reflect and reminisce on the events of the past year.

So, should old acquaintance be forgot?

Absolutely.

NOT 🙂

Every one you meet has the ability to impact your life in both big and small ways, whether or not the contact is brief, long-lasting or somewhere in between.  You should all be thanking the lady who waxes by eyebrows, otherwise they would be taking over the world, with Donald Trump’s hair. (mental note:  need to get that wax done asap).

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It’s surprisingly difficult to take pics of your own eyebrows.  What should the eyes be doing!?  Do I close them?  Look up or look down? To the right or to the left?  Bah! It made me kinda cross-eyed and dizzy for a second.  I digress, and it wouldn’t be the first time nor the last.

(still more hours later)

Not everyone in our current life makes it into our future life.  Perhaps by choice or not.  Maybe there was a move, a new job, a marriage, an estrangement, a birth or a death, whatever the reason, people come and go from our lives, leaving an impression or an impact, sometimes positive, sometimes not.  Our experiences shape who we are and what we think or believe, not only about ourselves but the world around us.  The ending of one year and the start of a new one, should be a time to reflect on those memories and experiences and the people who helped shape them.  It is in our connections to others that we find a sense of unity and belonging.

At the end of the year, I reminisce on the past year with my family and friends.  I reflect on how our relationships have grown and evolved.  I navigate the choppy waters of my mistakes.  Believe me, there are many, sometimes quite painful lessons.  I don’t turn them over in my mind to simply relive or revive, but to accept and relinquish.  I use this time to forgive.  Whether it be to forgive myself or forgive others.  I celebrate the accomplishments and the milestones of friends and family, reveling also in my own.  Some things need to stay in the past, and a brand new year is the opportune time to move forward accepting the things you can’t change and anticipating the excitement of new adventures.

Auld Lang Syne carries both a mournful and hopeful tune.  Mournful in the sense that maybe some friends or loved ones are no longer with us.  Gone they might be, they are not forgotten.  We are hopeful in a future we can only imagine, surrounded by friends and loved ones, old and new, near and far.  Life is a journey.  It can be beautiful, tragic, challenging, rewarding and arduous, sometimes all at once.  We should surround ourselves with people who support us, bolster us, cheer us on, offer words of encouragement and provide refuge in a storm.

Auld Lang Syne reminds us to be thankful and wistful.  It is after all a wonderful life.

We received a Blessings Jar for Christmas from one of our favorite families with a note that said:

This January, start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen.  Then, on New Year’s Eve, empty it and see what  amazing things happened that year.

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We think our jar will runneth over ❤

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com       Baking In A Tornado

http://dinoheromommy.com/      Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/        The Bergham Chronicles

http://thelieberfamily.com                            The Lieber Family Blog

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/            Spatulas on Parade

http://www.renasworld.com/                               Rena’s World

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com      Not That Sarah Michelle

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch       Confessions of a part time working mom

http://www.southernbellecharm.com               Southern Belle Charm

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com               Someone Else’s Genius

http://mybrainonkids.net                                       My Brain on Kids

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com               Climaxed

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/       The Angrivated Mom

Overexposed: A Love Story

Friends shouldn’t let friends drink and write a blog, because this is what happens…

I’m sorry in advance Adam for letting out our little not so secret love affair.  I know you wanted to wait, but I just can’t deny the truth any longer.  I know it’s complicated, and things will get messy.  I’ve heard all the reasons why you’re afraid to let yourself love me, but I thought I would take this time to remind you of our amazing love story.

Remember when we took that pic (above) in Fiji?  I was stung by a jellyfish and you pissed on my foot and then carried me back to our hotel.  You were so sweet that day Adam.  That might have been the day I fell in love…because nothing quite shouts love like getting pissed on.  My son used to piss on me all the time.  Changing a diaper was an act of war.  I would slowly undo the diaper and peek in, make sure the little wanker was sleeping.  Then, I’d pull the diaper back letting the cool air in, and quickly (yet gently) slam the diaper back down before peeking again.  Sometimes the cool air would set off the urine stream.  All would seem quiet.  He would coo, giggle and smile at me, but I wasn’t fooled.  I saw the mischievous gleam behind his blue eyes.  I’d have the other diaper all ready, the timing and expediency of the switch crucial if I wanted success.  Success was achieved if I didn’t have to wipe urine from my face, shirt and the walls after a diaper change.  Wait…why am I talking about this…  Back to us my love…

Remember that day you took me camping?  Yeah…let’s never do that again.  Our love was surely tested that day.  I tried to tell you I don’t do camping, but you laughed off my concerns, and told me it was because I’d never been camping with you.  Of course, you didn’t know I’d have that allergic reaction to the ant bites…  But before I swelled up and got sprayed by that rabid skunk, it really was quite romantic.  I got a good look at the stars when the paramedics put me on the stretcher, and that cocktail of drugs they gave me was delightful.  Thank you for riding in the ambulance with me and holding my hand, and only gagging once when you saw the puss filled blisters on my feet and ankles.  I fell even more in love with you that night…

Remember walking along the boardwalk in Venice Beach and we ran across that street artist, and you asked him to paint a caricature of our Route 66 road trip in your vintage Thunderbird?  We ate ice cream, people watched and laughed all day.  We had to wear floppy hats and sunglasses so no one would recognize you.

Then you surprised me with that skydiving trip!  I accidentally sharted, it might have been the ice cream or the fear, and you were so understanding.  You even bought me all new panties, and I told you how I hate the word “panties” and I don’t wear thongs and there was that awkward moment where we stumbled into your ex-supermodel girlfriend, and I was all embarrassed because I smelled like fear, nervousness and poop and my palms were all sweaty, and my eye started doing that squinty-tic thing it does when I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Yet still you made me feel beautiful and desired.

Remember when you took me skiing in Aspen!  We skied, made snow angels, sipped hot chocolate by a roaring fire and frolicked in the hot tub!  I thought getting a yeast infection from a hot tub was a myth, but thank goodness that doctor was staying in the room next to us!  I’ll always remember how you ran to the drugstore and got every brand of yeast infection cream and suppositories on the market and raced back to my side.  Of course, I forgot all about the burning and itching after I accidentally set your jacket on fire.  I know you said it wasn’t important but it looked really expensive.  I wish you’d let me replace it…  Oh well, I’ve got a great Christmas idea for you now!

Surely you remember bringing me to the Cannes Film Festival!  It was definitely the most romantic night of our lives!  It was so sweet how you kept my name out of the papers, and I loved being referred to as the “mysterious woman clinging to Adam Levine” by the paparazzi.  I still don’t know how you kept our love a secret, we were glowing brighter than that Edward character in Twilight.  When my husband called to tell me that one of our children had fallen ill, you immediately made a private jet available to take me home.  You’ll make an awesome step-dad someday.  Thank you so much for getting Scarlet Johansson’s autograph for my husband, it did seem to mollify him quite a bit.

I’ve never had so much dressing up for Halloween as I did this year with you!  We were the hit of the party.  Until I threw up on Lady Gaga’s bacon dress, but I mean really…a bacon dress?  It would have made any slightly drunk person throw up.  I think some of that bacon was rather old, and it was kind of insensitive to wear it considering the bacon shortage threatening the nation.  Plus, they really should have stopped serving me after my 5th glass of that punch, it was very strong.  It kind of hit me all at once.  I’m really sorry about puking in your car.  And your front lawn.  And the floor of your foyer.  And in your closet.  Not sure how I ended up in your closet, but I hope I missed your shoes at least.  Did I mention how strong that punch was and I probably shouldn’t have eaten those tacos.  You made a bed for me next to the toilet and put a cold washcloth on my head…and I knew…just knew that we were meant to be.

I know I promised not to mail out our Christmas photo this year, but I love it so…

I should never have gotten our photo album out, plus the drinking…I know it’s a bad idea.  We promised to wait until March before we went public, but I just couldn’t wait one second longer!  I know you have to ignore me on twitter and Facebook, but it hurts.  It hurts so bad, Adam.  I just want to be with you, is that so wrong?  I mean, besides the fact I’m married and have 4 kids.  If it will make you feel less guilty, I found this tonight in my husband’s underwear drawer…

That Scarlett Johansson slut sent it to my husband!  Can you believe her nerve!??!  So, see…you don’t have to feel guilty.

We have this amazing fairytale romance, don’t you think it’s time to tell the world?  Follow me back on twitter if you agree…it will be our secret code until you can come get me 😉