Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The One Where I Look Back (2016 and beyond)

I had lofty goals for 2016.   I dove in deep into #SOULutions.   As 2015 came to an end I was very much in a #byefelicia mood.   Goodbye.  Good riddance.  So long.  Farewell.  Auf Wiedersehen. Good Night.

Twenty-sixteen began with tears.  I though that when the clocked ticked over that it would be magic. The a fairy godmother would wave her wand and twenty-fifteen would have just been a bad dream, I would be going to the ball with the handsome prince and life would be different.   Better.  Less Shocking.  Something else.

It was something else indeed.  The clock struck twelve oh one and I broke down.   This was the first moment of my life that I had to face a new year without a parent.   I didn't think it would hit me like that.  So painful.  So tragic.  So sorrowful.  Such a blow.   It wasn't over.   The shock was over and the sorrow snuck in, right under the glow of the New Years Eve ball drop.  Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, Tears.

There were lots of tears and sorrow in twenty-sixteen. There was also lots of laughs and enjoyable moments and surprising days and beautiful new memories.

A new semester began with my study girls in the same classes!! YAY!  They breathe life into these old bones, this dried out brain.

We joined Planet Fitness about the same time The Adhesive began working at a local fast food joint. We worked out faithfully.  I kept running long distance and well it's no surprise that I became injured. Being at the gym was helpful in my rehabilitation.  I started C25K again in March.

The semester ended and summer began! Yay! I signed up for a summer class.  An Art class I need to meet my degree requirements.  It was a surprising and enjoyable class.  I spent a day at the Museum with my guys.  Such a wonderful day.

Because I missed running the Rock N Roll Marathon Series in New Orleans due to  my injury we deferred those funds and travel plans to go on a proper vacation.  We went to the Grand Canyon. There are no words to describe it.  Awe Inspiring isn't enough.  The colors, the depth, the beauty, the views, the vistas, the cliffs, the history. It took my breath away.  While we were there I was fortunate enough to meet up with a friend from the past, way back.  She was like my other mother.  She was my best friends mother.  I grew up across the street from her.  She is one of my fondest memories from childhood.   It was such a joy to catch up with her.

I finished up the summer semester and had a few weeks off before The Adhesives sophomore year began and my next semester as well.  The Adhesive began new medication and due to his lack of motivation to obtain his drivers license he rides the bus to and from school.

It wasn't until September that it hit me.  There had been sad times in during the year, moments that hurt my heart.  And for how crazy it sounds, I cried on my birthday because my dad didn't call me.  #thanksdad  #ijustcanteven

The sorrow continued throughout the remainder of the year.   My husband and I attended Re|Engage, it was helpful, but overwhelming.  It was sorta in the middle of that I realized it was too much for me. And that I'm an introvert, like, seriously.  It was a good class but it was too loud and too many people and too raw.  I thought I could get a tattoo and call my grief over.  Re|Engage brought back a lot of memories and questions.  

Running really helped me to get through these times, this year.  My runner girls kept me going, listened to me,  hugged me tight through the tears, logged the miles with me.

I was chosen to be in the Mentor Program at Collin College in October.  It has been such a wonderful opportunity.  My mentor has helped me realize my potential and, well mentored me.    I ran a 5K with my niece in October.  It was so fun I really enjoyed spending time with her.  She's a beautiful and bright young lady.   October also brought with it normal.  Normal.  For the first time since before dad died we had a Family Day, although everyone wasn't available, it was fun!  My family, my brother and his girlfriend, The Rents we went to the pumpkin patch, took pictures,, went on the hay ride, ate hot dogs and pumpkin fudge.  Such an outstanding day!

The next weekend I ran with my BFF at White Rock Lake.  It was her goal to Loop The Lake on her birthday!  And we made it!! All the way around!  So proud of her!!

In November The Adhesive approached a milestone, he turned 16.  How did we get here?   I spent the day with my sister and The Adhesive spent the day with his friends playing AirSoft.  Back to normal. Normal, I need more of it.   We made plans to get together for Thanksgiving and we all showed up! All the siblings, spouses and kids!  Normal.  We laughed so hard, we took pictures, we ate good food.
My guys left from there to go out of town and I spent the weekend doing homework in silence.   So.Needed!   Musical season has begun! I met my sister at fair park for Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.  

The first Friday of December I had a tour and admissions appointment with Texas Women's University.  Oh. Em. Gee!  This is becoming a reality.  Y'all I could live in the library! I wonder if they allow such a thing? Maybe I could be the first! :)  

My sister and I attended the next musical Christmas Extravaganza.  It was so fun!  Afterwards,  we met up at my brothers house for Normal.  Our sibling Christmas day.  All the siblings, spouses and kids.  Yummy food and lots of laughs, hugs, and joy, real joy, beautiful memories and normal.

A year that began sorrow ended in joy.

Psalm 30: 5b Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

You may not know how long the night will last, but you are always promised morning.  Morning will always come.

I wrote out my #SOULultions for 2016

Embrace GraceEngage Gratitude
Be Available 
Believe the best (of myself and others)
Break Free from worn out cycles
Daily Connections 
Do hard things
Let Go of the outcome 
Learn to be vulnerable 
Live authentically 
Give of myself
Grow stronger

I did some of this well, consistently.  Others, not so much.  Progress.  Making progress is the goal every year.  I took two or three steps forward, and only one or two back.

2017.... #SOULutions

Top Three:  Embrace Imperfect.  Eight classes and 3.25 or above GPA.   Run 850 miles.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The One Where I Choose A Word 2017 edition

Although I've continued to choose a word or a phrase to focus my thoughts on during the year, like making a resolution, I haven't updated the word or my thoughts in subsequent years.

2014 - Trust
2015-  Progress (not perfection)
2016 - Hope and Worth

On an odd day in December as I read The Greatest Gift and listened to Pandora a familiar favorite, what I consider to be a comfort song.  Hope Now by Addison Road played.

If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I'm Yours

I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life 

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free 

When my life is like a storm
Rising water all I want is the shore
You say I'll be okay
And make it through the rain
You are, my shelter from the storm

I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free 

You've become my heart's desire
I will sing your praises higher 
Cause your love sets me free
Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free

I needed that comfort on that odd day.  It was the salve for wounds that still require healing, scabbed over places not exactly closed.   In that moment, there was hope.  Hope now.  And it's true, everything rides on it.

Day 19 of The Greatest Gift has some poignant words that got right to the point, to the heart of the matter of the things that matter.

"We lose every single person we love. There is never another way.  Think about that too long and you find it hard to breathe.... Fear is always this wild flee ahead.

Olives fail.  People fail.  Dreams fail.  You feel like you fail.  A thousand things mount.  Somedays it's hard not to panic.  You can feel it - we are driven by the fear of failure.  For all our frenzied running around, could it be that we are actually fleeing - trying to escape all the fears? All this pain? All this failure?  We all live in these lives of quiet terror.  Of soundless, hidden grief.  You could just bow your head in the quiet and weep for all that isn't.  For all that you aren't.

In the barrenness of winter, Habakkuk offers this gift to always carry close:  rejoicing in the Lord happens while we still struggle in the now.   Struggling and rejoicing are not two chronological steps, one following the other, but two concurrent movements, one fluid with the other." (Chapter 19, Page 188-189, Ann Voskamp)  

and hope now plays in the background, if I listen closely, it has always played in the background of my life.

There is hope, now.  Hope in the now, in the present, for the future, for this life.  

HOPE.   A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.   Hope differs from a wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired or the possibility of possessing it.  Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.

Worth or Worthy

A few friends and I are reading Savor by Shauna Niequist.  It's a 365 devotional type book with recipes.  Recipes, Y'all!!  The type of recipes I refer to as "food of love".   Anyway, it begins with an entry January 1st; this paragraph jumped off the page at me.

"You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of the super and the natural."

Worth.  Know it.  Know your worth.  Your desirability, excellence, importance, the weight of your intrinsic value, worthiness.

WORTH.   Value, that quality of a thing (a person) which renders it useful or which will produce an equivalent good in some other thing (or person).    Excellence. Dignity.  Value.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

The One Where I Learn Who I Am

Until recently I couldn't remember where I'd heard it.  Read it.  Learned about it.  But the memory of it remains.  Jen Hatmaker wrote about finally finding her vibe, who she is, how she functions in a world of loud and people.  She says she felt "diagnosed" for the first time in her life after reading Susan Cains Quiet.  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.   I would tend to agree with this analysis about myself and I can see how it applies to Jen Hatmaker.

I was raised with an extrovert parent, to be an extroverted person.  To enjoy group activities,  dislike solitude, prefer large (and loud) parties, enjoy talking (on the phone, in person, in crowds, to people), to be busy all.the.time, to multitask... things of this nature.

However, I actually prefer small settings.  I experience sensory overload.  I dislike large crowds, by large I mean more than 10 people.  I particularly dislike large crowds in small spaces.  I have anxiety about being in crowded public places.   People, noisy environments, loudness, crunching sounds (like ice, chips, popcorn, gum popping, slurping) can send me over the edge.

I purchased Susan Cain's book after reading Jen Hatmakers For The Love (Chapter 17 is her introvert epiphany).  I am determined to read it this it...I mean finish reading it.

Some tidbits that enabled me to turn away from the loud and chatty to embracing the introspective are:

Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone.  CHECK  Introverts dislike small talk.  CHECK  A typical introvert would rather spend their vacation reading on the beach than on a cruise ship.  CHECK  Introverts prefer environments that are not overstimulating.  CHECK

All of this made sense to me and I began embracing who I am.  An Introvert.

In knowing this I have resolved this year to be who I am.  In the words of Gretchen Rubin, who states in her book The Happiness Project to Be Gretchen.   I resolve to Be Shelly.   Live by the rules of being Shelly.

I'll update with where I am in the book this month (or however long it takes me to read it.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The One Where I Do Some Housekeeping and {I. Just. Can't. Even}

Well, well, well... once again I have neglected my blog(s).  Yea that has an "s" on the end.  

Although The Nester passed the torch last year, and oh, it's not October.  I do plan on picking a topic and writing about it in November.   Topic to be chosen and revealed soon.

Onto I Just Can't Even.

I just can't even believe it's November 2016.  Last year was so.... so.... hard.  If hard is even a word for it.  It was like the passage in Ephesian about the full armor, the term Shod.  Part of the greek for that word is deo, metaphorically speaking means to prevent one from standing upright.   That's what 2015 was.

And not here it is November.  Time has passed.  I decided in June that there was no more weeping. Yes, I was sad and I would have periods of sadness.  However, the inability to stand upright was over. To signify the shift, I got a tattoo! First not as bad as I thought it would be.  I had a great experience.  I met a friend there, she helped me to be brave.   She was going through a rough time and I was looking forward with hope.   You can see the tattoo here.

Soon after that summer turns into fall, school begins and my birthday month begins!  This year it hit me hard.  Last year I was in shock and the pain was more.than.I.could.bare.   This year I was just sad.  It's as though I expected to hear from my dad.  The phone didn't ring.  There was no card.  There was no joking about my age and if I were older, then so was he.  Just sadness.

For the first time in a long time, most of my family gathered.  My sweet people, my brother and his girlfriend, my BFF from forever, a few cousins, and one of my study partners.  Make your own pizza and devour cookies!  Because birthdays are for birthday cookies!  So. Yum!
Lots of laughter, and love, and togetherness.  It was so needed.

The following Sunday, on my way to church (and the day before my birthday) driving next to me, is a Prime Truck.  #ThanksDad  He didn't call, he drove up right next to me.  Well, in spirit.   And I. Just. Can't. Even.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The One Where I Question Normal

I have all 'the normals' husband, kids, dogs, house with a fence, community, siblings, Jesus. 

And I have all the 'other normals' not enough time, not enough sleep,! 

I started running 7 years ago and in the process began to learn about nutrition, fueling my body.  I'd researched becoming a Registered Dietitian multiple times but never thought I could do it.  I'm not smart enough and I don't read well enough and I can't do math or ya know science and well, this is a science degree and who goes back to college... wait who starts a (serious) college career in their 40's?  I didn't go. I made excuses. Because maybe I'm  #notenough 

And then tragedy hit. My dad committed suicide. A year ago. And I broke. Into a million pieces. And 'normal' became facing the giants, the past, the monsters in the closet I thought dad had dealt with, but hadn't. #addiction #alcoholism #mentalillness #unresolvedgrief #brokenrelationships #brokenness  

So #thanksdad 

I numbed out. But because I have kids to raise I couldn't drink myself into a frenzy or rather into a safer more numb place (like dad) 

I stuffed/numbed instead by eating Costco size bags of peanut M&Ms until my family thought I might have a problem...especially when they'd ask 'what's for dinner' and I say 'I have 5 M&M's left. My family actually looked forward to dinner, kinda expected it, but the thought of caring for other humans was overwhelming. I spent about 6 months numb.  Sitting on the couch, binge watching Netflix, stuck. On the plus side, I'm caught up on all the shows I'd never watched. 

And then it hit me.... After my village of runner girls and church girls and Instagram girls and therapy and piles and piles of books and if gatherings and anxiety meds (to help me get out of bed and stop eating M&Ms and also come to the real conclusion that's I've had an anxiety disorder all my life) 

This, this current life is the #newnormal which is not normal at all and that's okay. 

And as long as life is this short and eternity is an eternity away I should follow my passion and get off the couch, stop eating M&Ms and take a college entrance exam. 

Yea. So I'm currently in college, year one. It'll be years before I'm an intern and sit for my exam. And that's okay; because yesterday I heard a missionary speak at church about nutrition 'in the field' and helping mommas with HIV and their kids to learn about eating well with what they have and my heart leapt out of my chest #because Jesus and food (and coffee)! I can do that!  Like, for real! 

And by the time I have my license to practice dietary therapy maybe I'll be able to face my fear of... oh wait fear(s) of heights, fear of flying, fear of flying over large (or small) bodies of water that are most likely shark infested, so fear of sharks, ya know 'the normal stuff'.

#thanksdad for taking me to see Jaws as a child! 

All of this is written due to an Instagram post by If:Gathering visionary Jennie Allen. (Gush)

And on April 28th I may skip class to attend If:Dallas. And my heart is about to explode over it because IF is a life changer y'all. 

And I follow (read stalk and pretend to be BFF) with the If ladies on Insta and Twitter and Jeannie posted this Facebook link and so I'm here. Albeit late to the party, but I arrived in my PJs, coffee I hand. Ya know, #normal 😊

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The One Where {I. Just. Can't. Even}

And shots ring out when they shouldn't. And hearts ache when they shouldn't. And Wounds. Gape. Open and the past oozes out as if fresh and new. It grabs us by the throat until there is no more sound, until life is gone and hope fades

And it is harrowing and it hurts And. It. Should. Not. Be. Like. This.

And there is no hope coming to save us... to save him

And there is no peace for the weary, the worn out,  the rung out....

There is no hope for those cornered.

And as the flicker of the candle fades, there is no dawn coming.  There is only darkness, there is only hiding, there is only fear.

And God cries out Where Are You? To those who's finding is urgent, for those who are hiding, wrestling, wandering

And no matter where you are or what you are hiding, covering, concealing, carrying. The Finder is always coming.

The Seeking, The Savior is still coming to Seek and Save.  In this and for this hear and now. Especially in this, especially for this, especially because of this. For those hiding, hurting, hoping.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine...  Isaiah 9:2

A light will shine.
A light.
The light.

There is hope.  A hope. Wait for it. Wait for Him.
He Is Always Coming.

This is dedicated to my dad who I miss every day.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The One Where I Quit Facebook

Yea For Real! That. Just. Happened!

I just quit.

I go through seasons where I Facebook is a distraction for me and I pair down my friends and pages I follow.   But this time, it's something different.

There has been a lot of change in my life this year.  2015 in someways can hurry on by yet move in slow motion at the same time.  It has come with it's fair (way more than fair) share of bad news and tragedy.   I'm ready for a peaceful nights sleep and days that stretch into tomorrow without turmoil.

I realize some of the turmoil for me is Facebook.  Because #people.  Yea, people get on my nerves. Some days I can handle it.  Others I'm melting down like the wicked witch of the west.

What A World!
What A World!
What A World!

Such an occurrence reared it's ugly head last Friday.  Someone tweaked me the wrong way and I lost it.   Just.Lost.It over something trivial.   And isn't it all trivial?

So I decided then and there I was done.  D O N E Done with Facebook.   There was one reason I was continuing with this time suck and that season had run it's course in my life.   I'm turning a page.

Literally, as I'm enrolled in two college courses this semester and quite frankly it's kicking my butt.  My daily schedule has been moved around.  I have my nose to the grind.  I run in the afternoon.  I study until it's time to go to bed.  I need less distraction and more time.

Deactivate.  Done.

I feel so free!! I am not chained to news or silly videos or political debates.  I go about my day screen-less!   It's amazing!

If I want news, Twitter is the place to go.  If I want to keep up with blogs, I go directly to my favorite ones, Pinterest for all things recipes, Instagram for a mental break from algebra!

At first I thought I'd do it for a month, then I thought until the end of the year, then I thought, oh, I'll just get back on and only have my family members so we can keep in touch, but there's the invention of the phone and email, I see no reason for the time suck and distraction.

I think I'm done for the long haul.  Who else has quit or thought about it?