Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just a Little Tip from a Former Kickball Captain

Hi Friends,

As life moves along, changes come naturally.  We start seeing light colored hairs on our head and little crinkles along the eyes that we pleasantly call "laugh lines."  Aging is a gradual change or shifting of life.  I am glad we don't face all of the aging factors at the same time because it would be too much to handle all at once.  Dealing with memory loss in increments is much appreciated at my house! I never remember....anything!

So this past week I voluntarily pushed an age button and created a shift in my life.  As I considered the advantages and disadvantages of having surgery, there was one that entered my mind and I said it without thinking...."How much do ovaries weigh?"

My daughter and I were sent into gales of laughter.  Since I have been trying to lose weight my entire life (it feels like), I was counting up the potential weight loss that might occur due to to surgery.  This conversation got funnier and funnier, but I think I might be pushing the boundaries for some readers so I will not repeat more.  Suffice it to say that we are talking about something the size and weight of an almond.  Not much weight loss to be had.  Phooey! 

Since the surgery, I feel really great.  I am still tired and have to be careful but I can tell it was a needed procedure and that my feeling of health will be much improved upon recovery.  As I pondered again any opportunity for weight loss, it flickered through my mind:  "I could do like all those other women with crazy stories do....go on Dr. Phil and ask for help!"   (Mom!  I am just kidding!)

Of course, I am just kidding but you know the ones...They have lost 253 lbs. and he grants them a tummy tuck?  And us chubbies kinda think, hmmm, wonder how I would look?  I wanna do that!  Well, that was sorta what I was thinking as I plotted my next weight loss attempt upon recovery. 

But as I jokingly said I would call Dr. Phil, a little voice whispered in my ear: 

"Why didn't you ask Me?"

My gales of laughter fell to silence.  I quickly realized that I had not asked God for any help with my weight loss.  I quickly repented and immediately and earnestly began asking for His care and His help.  I knew He was the One.  He who is over all things wanted me to ask Him to help me. 

Now I played alot of kickball as a young girl and was chosen captain on many occasions.  The captains always take turn choosing team members and I am no dummy.  I know that to win, you pick the best player first!

I had not chosen my team wisely.  But I have seen the wonders that God can perform and I want God on my team for everything.  Who wouldn't want The Champion on their side?  The star player?  The guaranteed winner?  The One with an army of angels?

As I turned this area over to God, I felt sweet relief as He bore the burden with me.   It seemed so obvious and I was embarrassed that I had not asked Him before.  Since the surgery, I am on the precipice of a huge change.  I feel energy building and a joy unspeakable.   What is it?  I don't know.  But God has told me it will be something like I have never seen before.

When we put our problems AND dreams in God's hands, EVERYTHING  is possible!  I like Dr. Phil, but I choose The Champion on my side!  As the captains of our team, we can choose Him!  He is there, waiting patiently in line.  He is just waiting to be asked....

Dear God:  You have been moving so fast in my life lately I can barely keep up.  I thank You for caring about even the smallest of concerns.  I know it was You who sent the lady up to me in the grocery store today, when I was feeling yucky, sweaty, no makeup.....She asked me if she could know how old I was because I looked so lovely.  I know that was You encouraging me when I felt tired and weak.  Please forgive me for not asking You to be on my team.  I want You with me wherever I go, whatever I do.  You are The Champion.  And I am blessed to call You Friend.  ~ A Real Gurl

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This is What I Dreamed About But....

Today, my heart is absolutely filled with gratitude.  I simply cannot believe what God has done for me, and in me.

For a couple of days I have been taking care of my brother's home and labrador, Duke, while they are away.  Watering the beautiful flowers on the patio is part of it too.

There are two, huge jasmine plants.  I don't know if you are familiar with the sweet and peaceful aroma of this plant, but as I sit here on their patio with Mt. Hood in the distance and a cool, morning breeze, it is the most pleasant perfume that can only come from the hand of God.  Even though it is not an overbearing smell, it gives me a feeling of God's abundance.

As I continue to grow and experience change and miracles faster and faster, I am aware of this sweet aroma with me everywhere I go.  It reminds me of the jasmine.  It is as if I am wearing a lovely lei of jasmine around my neck as a reminder that God is with me at all times.

I can't believe He is with me, in me.  Me!  It is fascinating to remember how hopeless I felt before.  I thought my life was over and I may as well be dead since I had nothing to look forward to in life.  No hope.  Just surviving.

But I am so blessed to have this testimony to encourage others.  If I had not LIVED it, I could not SHARE it.  God made me to encourage and then He gave me the story to become all He wanted me to be.

To be able to say that I am grateful for this story is also amazing.  During the most low of times I was told by a well-meaning friend that I would someday be able to use my story to help others.  I was aghast at the thought!  Paralyzed!  No way!  That would never, ever happen.

But here I am....truly experiencing the journey to Laura, truly find myself and becoming A Real Gurl, becoming who God had in mind all along.  The me that He knew would be most fulfilling in His plan and in my heart, for to be an encourager of others is what He placed in the fabric of me.

All the days of not measuring up, all the tears, all the mistakes that were repeated time and again....I was forgiven and started over only to falter and find myself bearing the same burdens and sins, and never brave enough to look deep and find the permanent change God was calling me to.  Yes, He was calling me all the time, at first in whispers and eventually using the proverbial baseball bat to get me to turn my head.  (I was a slow learner, but He loved me just the same.)

I can truly say these words with heartfelt meaning:  "I lost it all, to find everything."

Life has become so meaningful to me and I keep needing to pinch myself.  It can't last, can it?  I know there are still bumps, hills, valleys and mountains left for me to traverse.  But I believe that for the rest of my life here on earth, I will be holding the hand of God, my champion, and the sweet aroma of jasmine will be present in my life.  And my heart will be filled with gratitude.

If I am desperate for rain, I will learn to thirst for You and bless the very sun that warms my face.
If I am hungry for bread and long to be warm and tucked in under a sturdy roof, then I will learn to hunger after You and realize that a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead.
And if I ask for peace but it seems another world away, I will give thanks to You with gratitude, for lessons in how to trust in You.
For I am blessed beyond what I could ever dream, in abundance or in need. 
~paraphrased from N. Nordemann

And so my new theme song that just keeps me humming and singing is found in these lyrics below, from a secular song adapted as a letter from me to God:

Dear God,

I've never been the one to raise my hand
That was not me, and now that's who I am
Because of You, I am standing tall.

My heart is full of endless gratitude
You were the One, the One to guide me through
Now I can see and I believe that it's only the beginning.

I guess I've learned to question is to grow
That You still have faith is all I need to know
I've learned to love myself in spite of me
And I've learned to walk on the road I believe.

This is what I dreamed about
But the only question with me now
Do I make You proud?

Stronger than I've ever been now
Never be afraid of standing out, but
Do I make You proud?
~lyrics paraphrased from T. Ackerman, A. Watkins and P. Wilson 2006

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stick to Your Guns

I have no idea where the phrase, "stick to your guns" originated from, but it's easy to guess at its meaning.  For me, I think it means that even when you question or doubt your decision, to keep standing, or holding the line.

Now that I think about it some more, I think in the movie "A Few Good Men" they talk about putting sticky stuff on their hands so that they won't drop their rifles when their hands get sweaty, causing them to lose their grip.  So maybe that is the "stick" part.

Stick to your guns doesn't sound like any movement forward or backward is required.  Just hold on.  Hold on tight.  Hold the line.  Don't budge.  Just maintain the progress that has been made.  Don't give up any ground.

I have experienced so many important decisions in a short amount of time recently, that as I sit here in the quiet of the evening, I am questioning myself.  Of course, when I am tired and a little bit hungry isn't exactly the best time to consider changing course.  I have to trust that the decisions that I have made.  After all, they were made with a sound mind and heart and with great consideration.  Now isn't the time to monkey with the settings but to let it all settle and allow for all of the decisions to calibrate. 

Life is a dance.  It's fast.  It's slow.  I forget the steps.  I haven't had dance classes so I am learning as I go.  But the music is good and the words uplifting.  The company is kind and the evening is cooled by a light breeze.  There is a sweet aroma to my life that I haven't experienced.....ever. 

I must learn that I don't always have to be doing something.  I can be resting and at peace.  God doesn't need my help.  He's got it covered.  God told me that if I would be obedient that He has good things for me.  I will just stick to my guns.

Dear God,  As I started writing tonight I was allowing feelings to take over what I know to be true.  Those sneaky thoughts were creeping into my mind and creating doubt about decisions that were made with much thought and with a promise from You!  Thank you for letting me sort through it and patiently waiting for me to come back, full circle, to Your warm embrace.  I will wait on You.  I love You, God.  ~ A Real Girl 

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Lesson from My Son

My youngest son just left from a visit to return back to his home in another state.  Due to various scheduling, work, and other circumstances, we had not seen each other for almost 2 years!  We kept in touch via phone and text but as you well know, this is just not enough!

So he stayed with me for the last few days.  We did alot of family things like lunch at Five Guys, Cosmic Bowling, BBQs, auto repair and sleeping late.  I hoped that while he was here I would be able to impart some of my newfound wisdom.  Surely a 21-year-old needed some life lessons from mom....oh, how wrong I was.

I learned so much while he was here, things my head already knew but my heart did not.

For one, I can no longer be the mom I was 7 years ago.  I am just striving to relive something that doesn't exist anymore.  That is not the mom my kids need now.  I have wasted alot of time looking in the rearview mirror when everything is ahead of me!

Yes, I missed some time with my son.  But he has gracefully moved on.  He is a man handling an adult life.  By virtue of taking care of himself, he is free to live his his life as he sees fit.  He is paying his way, living with his decisions, without regret.  He deserves this freedom.

He told me that I had to have faith in how I raised him and his brother and sister.  Hmmm. It seems everyone has moved on but me.

I also learned while he was visiting that my "longing" for him to move here and live with me is also outdated.  If he did, it would only work for a while and he doesn't need THAT mom anyway.  THAT mom would hamstring him by making his breakfast every morning, make sure he got tickets to the ballgame and doing his laundry, just completely robbing him of his independence.

So, as I dropped him off at the airport terminal this morning, and he handled his own checkin, baggage, ticketing and stuff without a look back for mom, I realized that in freeing him to be himself, I am free too.  I am free to walk through the open door of this new and exciting chapter of my life and pursue my interests, dreams and something that is calling me.  It's time.

As he turned from the checkin counter, he walked straight to me for a big hug and a promise to be back, noting all of the nice time we spent together with the family over the past few days.  It was very sweet.

You know, I think this Real Girl just might have raised a Real Boy, one who is loving and true.  What more could one hope for?

Dear God,  Thank you AGAIN for Your mercies....they are new every, single morning!  Each day I see something new that You have brought me to, a new opportunity to move forward and far, far away from the Pretender I used to be.  Thank You for being ever mindful of me when there are so many bigger problems where You are needed.  You even see the little questions that nag at my heart and help me to find peace within.  I am forever Yours.     ~A Real Girl