Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dr. Grandpa

My dad is a doctor. 

Not the kind of doctor that has a vacation home somewhere on a beach, not the kind of doctor who drives a fancy car, not the kind of doctor who goes to the opera and ballet or holds any sort of season tickets.

If he could, I think my dad would most like to be a country doctor.  The old fashioned kind that makes house calls and doesn't need a lot of fancy technology but really just wants to figure out what's wrong and help the patient get right again.  I think he'd like to be paid in apple pie and fresh eggs and would exchange medical care for lawn care.  Not to say he doesn't value his salary- he certainly does. 

The best doctoring of all is the doctoring he does with his family.  We all have our own family doctor that we see, of course.  But it's good to have a doctor in the family that you can call up to describe a rash or give a list of symptoms and get some free medical advice on how to treat or at least comfort. 

This weekend, we got to go and visit the family in celebration of my brother's high school graduation.  The family went to a local park to play and throw a frisbee and fly kites. 

While climbing up on some bleachers, Zach slipped and got an owie on his leg.

Thankfully, my brilliant husband immediately "paged Dr. Grandpa" to come and take a look. 

The exam begins with gentle removal of the foot wear.

Dr. Grandpa carefully checks the leg to make sure the bones are in tact.

Next, it's important to check and see how the foot and leg respond to gentle pressure. 

Be careful- it might tickle a little!

OK- it might tickle a lot! Good thing laughing is contagious!

I think those smiles were all the payment Dr. Grandpa needed.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Farmer’s Market: Opening Day

I've been waiting for opening day of the Fishers Farmer's Market for a while.  I thought it was because I desperately wanted some local honey.  But once we got there Saturday morning, I realized it was more than that. 

I really like our Farmer's Market.  I like that there are the same vendors who come back year after year.  I like that the Market is it's own little community.  I like the diversity of products offered- from the many produce options to homemade pastries, from crafty soaps to homemade hot sauces. 

I love the locally grown flowers.  If I ever get serious this year about our landscaping, I might turn to my Farmer's Market to find flowers to fill those spaces.  Look at how beautiful these are!


I was very excited that the baker of yummy treats was back this year.  Last year, Christy disocvered them for me when she bought me a jalapeno brownie.  It was divine.  This year, I met the husband and wife owners when I stopped and raved about that brownie.  I had shopped there a few times last year- my kids adore the gingerbread men and sugar cookies and I have a hard time resisting the biscotti.  I look forward to having a treat from Sugar 4 each week that we are able to attend the market this summer!


And of course, a Farmer's Market has to have produce.  It's why we go to the Market!  Locally grown food is a huge and important part of a healthy diet, in my opinion.  Eating food grown on a nearby farm or a local garden means less transporation, less processing and handling.  You can buy food at the Farmer's Market that was just picked that morning!  I love the option of buying food that was picked and driven 30 minutes to my town versus picked and then driven 3 days from California, held in a warehouse for a day to be moved to another truck, and then transported to my grocery store so I get the produce 5 days or more after it was harvested.

Eat local!


The most popular Indiana grown offering at the start of the season is always asparagus!


I'm also a fan of Pete's Pastries.  I tried them for the first time last year and these are seriously some of the best danishes I've ever had. 


Royer Meats is a local farmer and I actually bought 1/4 cow them back when Teagan was first born.  It was a great time saver to always have that beef in the chest freezer and it's something I keep meaning to do again but just haven't sunk the money into that cost.  I do continue to buy from Royer.  They offer a variety of meat and also bring farm fresh eggs.


What was it we came for?  HONEY!  I'm a huge fan of consuming locally grown honey.  And it was at the honey booth that I realized how much the Market is about the people.  These vendors come back year after year and they've gotten to know their customers and she spoke of the vendors being a family.  And she's right.  I think about my friend Flartus and her and Miss Chef's market adventures where they live.  So much of their time at their Market is all about the vendors, the people, the connections.  That's the really cool thing about shopping at your local Farmer's Market regularly instead of always going to the big chain grocery store. 

I also learned that my honey is sold at a little health / vitamin shop year round right in my little town so I know we won't have to go without at all next year!


Another vendor we buy from repeatedly is Sandy's Homemade.  Delicious jams, butters, pickles, beets, and a fantastic variety of salsas.  From black bean and corn to finely chopped to pineapple to raspberry to peach to a new and super hot habanero salsa.  I love the jalapeno mustard and the raspberry jalapeno jam.  Teagan tried that raspberry jalapeno jam and really liked it!


I always start my visit to the Market with a stop for a cup of coffee.  If it's a chilly morning, I take a cup of hot java with some Sugar In The Raw in it.  If it's a warm summer morning, I adore the iced mocha.  I found out that Harvest Cafe Coffee Roasters offers some fundraising opportunities and I'm going to have a conversation with the guy about Christy and I doing a fundraising for Team In Training!


I didn't have a chance to try these hot sauce but they are on my list for must buy on our next trip.  This is a new vendor at our market and I'm very excited about them.


And part of why I'm excited is because this is Captain Jim and his wife.  They make the hot sauces.  And don't the just look like they should be at the Market selling homemade hot sauce?  Captain Jim was even wearing a chili pepper earring and they arrived at the Market in a VW Bus.  These are so my people!!! 


Also next on my shopping list is some maple syrup.  I love real maple syrup and am eager to have some at home again.  Might even inspire me to make pancakes or waffles sometime.  I didn't take a lot of pictures at this booth.  The farmer who was selling is Amish or Mennonite and gave me permission to take pictures of the products as long as I didn't take a picture of him.  I snapped a shot of the syrup- mostly to remind myself to buy some next time- but felt like continuing to snap photos would have been rude.  However, I have purchased produce from him before and definitely will be again!


It was a quick trip yesterday morning because we had somewhere we had to be at a certain time that morning.  I look forward to going in a couple of weeks when I will have more time and money to spend.

My tips for going to the Farmer's Market:

Bring cash.  You don't know who takes credit cards and you don't want to miss out on anything by not having the easiest form of payment!

Talk to people.  The vendors at a Farmer's Market at part of your community!  They are friendly and eager to sell to you.  Chat and ask questions.  If you don't know what a vegetable is, ask!  Ask how to prepare it.  You can learn a lot from the people who grew it or made it.

Bring shopping bags.  I suggest bringing a few if you can.  Bring an insulated bag for cold items.  Bring a bag just for produce and a bag for other items that might be heavier. 

Just go!  It doesn't matter if you've never been to a Farmer's Market before.  It doesn't matter if you don't go to the one down the street.  Just go and check it out! 

Unknown Mami

Go check out other offerings of Sundays In My City with Unknown Mami by clicking the button.  It's a great way to travel without leaving your home!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I like surprises. 

Some people don't, I hear.  Some people really like knowing what is going to happen next and like routine and like things to remain standard.

I like those things, too, sometimes.

But I like being surprised- with a gift, a note, a visitor, whatever.

I also like to surprise others.  I love the thrill of pulling off a happy surprise and seeing that big reaction of joy and eagerness unexpected!

Jeff likes to surprise others, too.  Not me, so much.  He likes to surprise the kids. 

It's like those videos of parents telling their kids that they are going to Disney as they are arriving at the airport... there's something so exciting and joyful about it!

Sometimes, Jeff and I get excited about our plans for a fun day and we want the day to be filled with little happy surprises for the kids so we won't tell them what we're doing.

Sometimes, that works out well.  We get those big joyful grins and the glee filled reaction and we feel good about bringing our kids some happiness.

Sometimes, the kids figure out that something is up and press until we cave and tell them or we get cranky about them pushing and then it sometimes isn't so joyful.

We obviously have a little work to do on our "behaving like grown ups" thing.

But it's no fun when someone ruins a surprise!  Haven't you had that happen?  You work and think and research and plan and come up with what you think will be a great surprise... and the person you are trying to please guesses it ahead of time.  Or buys themselves the gift you had been working on.  Or suddenly changes their opinion of something.

It's no fun when you accidentally ruin a surprise, either.  To see the disappointment on your friend or spouse's face when you accidentally happen into a situation that gives away a planned surprise.

I remember being totally intrigued with the Christmas gifts under the tree each year.  My mom would go to great lengths to hide presents out of sight before wrapping them.  One year, I learned my lesson by my own choices.  I was home alone.  I got a paring knife from the kitchen.  I slit open the packages, saw what was inside, retaped them.  And then I knew.  I still had to wait and I had to pretend to be surprised and excited on Christmas.  And it wasn't fun. 

Jeff likes to surprise me.  Little gifts are the main thing.  And sometimes just the things he chooses- when he knows it's something I'm going to enjoy- are nice surprises, too.

It's nearly impossible to surprise him.  He either figures it out or what I think is something he's going to like ends up being something he has no interest in.

Today, we get to surprise the kids.  An opportunity presented itself to be able to spend time with my family and the kids have no idea.  In fact, our getaway that we've planned will be a surprise for them, too! We aren't telling them where we're going or when.  They'll go to school/camp for the day and get picked up early and off we'll go on our adventure!

In a lot of ways, surprises are about trust.  When you know something is about to happen, you have to trust the person trying to please you.  I think that's what it boils down to when we don't like the kids pressing us to find out the surprise when they catch wind of it.  While they're just excited and want to be informed... we want to be trusted that it will be awesome and fun. 

Do any of us have that kind of deep trust to truly enjoy a surprise?


Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Fragments: The Breathing Edition

Mommy's Idea


While the crazy work situation is not completely over, I do feel like we are getting closer.  Big improvements have been made and things are starting to settle down.  I'm excited about the progress that has happened in the past 5 weeks.  I feel like I can breathe again!


I realized yesterday that we had no commitments for this coming Memorial Day weekend!  That's very exciting!  Of course, my mind starts racing with a list of fun things we've been wanting to do.  I'm not going to load up our schedule.  But I am eager to be able to do some of the fun things we just haven't had time for.  Tomorrow, we're hitting opening day of our local Farmer's Market.  I'm meeting up with another mom for a little errand.  And then I think I'd like to take the family to 100 Acres at the Indianapolis Museum of Art


One of the biggest challenges of being part of Team In Training is the fundraising.  Asking people to donate money is not an easy thing to do.  What I do like is bartering for donations.  For example, my first effort is to offer advertising on my blog in exchange for donations.  I've set up levels (you can read about it on my Team In Training Page- click on the tab at the top of the page) of different donations and what you get.  I'm also going to contact some local restaurants to see if they'd help me out and I have several friends who do those independent sales things- Thirty One, Mary kay, Tupperware, etc.  I might try to host an Open House fundraising event.  So far, I've got 2 promised donations for $95 with the advertising and I have 1 personal donation of $25 from a friend.  $120 down, $1,475 to go!  What successful fundraisers have you been part of before?


I love working the day before a holiday weekend.  It is so quiet in here today.  My phone hasn't rung, I only had 4 new e-mails in my inbox when I got in this morning, no one is walking or storming past my door.  I plan to use today to get cleaned up.  My desk is a disaster because there has been no time to keep things organized.  Maybe I should give you a before pic and then share an after at the end of the day?  It's pretty bad... I'll post on my Facebook page (link to the right) to share the current and will share again at the end of the day!


Tonight, Christy and I are taking Teagan out to celebrate.  Teagan had her Kindergarten Graduation on Wednesday evening and yesterday was her last day of Kindergarten.  She is a first grader now.  And how do us girls celebrate anything?  With a trip to our favorite sushi place- Wild Ginger!  Teagan is already excited to get her very own favorite roll and not have to share it- Spicy Albcaore with Ponzu Sauce.  She also loves the shu mai (dumplings). And she wants to try the roll she had with Christy onher birthday that she liked- unagi (eel).  I love being able to share one of my favorite things with my favorite girl!


What are your weekend plans? Anything fun for the holiday weekend? Making any summer plans?  How are YOU doing??  I've felt so disconnected lately... I need an update on my friends!


Thursday, May 26, 2011


I am very excited that we have finally found the time to squeeze in a family getaway! 

I'm a little bummed that we won't be taking a big trip this summer.  We had seriously considered Sesame Place but it just didn't make sense financially.  We would take 2 days to drive there, spend 2 days having fun, and then another overnight to get home.  That's a lot of hotel stays and long driving (and expensive gas) and meals out and going to Sesame Place is not cheap. 

Instead, I started looking at nearby places that we could easily drive to and still have a great time.

My kids are 6 and 3 years old.  There isn't a lot of patience for long car rides.  There isn't a lot of expectation of fabulous resort vacations. 

As long as there is a hotel with a pool, they're on vacation.

We're going to Kentucky!  Specifically, we're going to Louisville and Lexington.  The drive is only 2 hours so it will be a piece of cake to get there.  And with the help of a friend in the area, I found a hotel I'm very excited about at a great price. 

We've got time set aside to just enjoy the pool and hotel when we first arrive.  Time to just relax and play and have fun. 

We've got plans to do some outdoor fun stuff- like rent a surrey along the waterfront for an hour! 

We're going to the Speed Art Museum.  Jeff and I like to visit art museums.  The kids have enjoyed an art museum before, too.  This one has some really cool stuff for kids!

We're going to take in a Louisville Bats baseball game.  They're the farm team for the Cincinnati Reds.  I find that I rather enjoy minor league baseball- maybe more than the majors.  It's more affordable, it's more intimate, and I feel like the game is played with more passion for the game itself.  Last year, we had a great time at a local Indianapolis Indians game with a group from church.  We also went to a Fort Wayne Tin Caps game last summer.  We will definitely get at least 1 Indians game in this summer- the week after vacation, in fact.  And if we do a weekend in Fort Wayne, I'd love to be able to go to another Tin Caps game.

We're going to visit my aunt and uncle near Lexington.  They live on a farm and are surrounded by farms so my kdis will love being around cats and dogs and horses.  I hear there are lambs at a neighboring farm, too.  I'm looking forward to seeing my aunt.  We only see each other at holidays and special family gatherings. 

While near Lexington, we're going to check out the Explorium before heading out to dinner with Jeff's cousin and her husband.

We'll visit the Louisville Zoo.  Our family always enjoys the zoo.  I have so many fond memories of visiting the Cincinnati Zoo when I was a kid and when my brothers were kids. 

Best of all, it will be time away from home, from my messy kitchen, from my stressful and busy job.  It will be time away from real life and a chance to just have fun together. 


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Miracle of You

I gave a sermon on Sunday, May 15.  My pastor is writing a book and took a study week.  I think it was fun for him because he still came to church events and to church with his family on Sunday morning- he just didn't have to do the pastor stuff.  He got to just be part of the church family. 

I was very excited to give this message to my church family.  When my pastor approached me, I immediately knew my message and purpose.  This one has been building up and just needed the right outlet.  I've gotten great feedback from my church family- I know that this message really touched some people and I know that there is going to be change in some lives. 

You can watch/listen on the church's website.  You will need QuickTime (free download) and it will take a few minutes to load so be patient.  Click on it, go get a snack and a beverage, and come back to enjoy.

It's a sermon so it's long but, like last time, I'm going to share the typed up version.  Watching/listening is a better experience so I hope you will take the time to watch/listen. 


Senior Year.  This is what the world saw when they looked at me.  Inside me was a different story.  While they said, “pretty, compassionate, patient,” my truth was “ugly, shameful, dirty.”

10 years old.  They said, “Smart, so much potential, such pretty eyes.”  My truth was “shredded, worthless, pain.”

Elementary school.  They said, “So cute! Such a pretty smile!”  My truth was, “no one loves me, I don’t deserve to be loved, no one even likes me.”

I look back on those days and, honestly, I’m shocked that I was so cruel to myself. Where did that come from? For me, it started with abuse. I survived some pretty traumatic stuff. It also came from being abandoned by my birth father. And from me and my mom struggling with money and food and clothing. I was teased for hand me downs and K Mart sweaters. I was picked on for being the smallest in my class. In junior high, I was tormented by 2 bullies who picked on me for anything they could- what I wore, how I did my hair, how I answered questions in class, the shoes I wore. I had generic Reeboks, my history teacher gave me a dumb nickname that turned into teasing (Lucky Dog ads), I didn’t wear my hair like the other girls. I changed schools from junior high to high school (went from a public school to a small private school where everyone already knew each other). I didn’t fit in with the kids there. I struggled to make friends. I was lonely and hurting. All of this surface stuff was piling on top of these deep wounds that started early in my life.

We all discover pain pretty early in life, don’t we? It can be the illness of a parent, the death of a pet, a parent losing a job, being bullied. I knew a set of siblings who fought each other so much that they seriously wounded each other’s souls. A parent can be absent, neglectful, hateful. Look at the list I gave you of just some of my hurts and wounds and pain! We all have that list, don’t we? We look back on our childhoods and can find the pain that seeps into your soul. A child’s world can absolutely implode when parents divorce. A teenager can lose hope when they feel they’ve done nothing but disappoint the people they love. Our peers make sure to tell us that we aren’t cool enough, pretty enough, buff enough, hip enough, strong enough, tough enough.

We grow up and the pain doesn’t stop- the personal pain that damages the inside. Friends betray us, some are beaten, raped, molested. We experience death, illness. Life beats us up. We hear disappointment or embarrassment in the voice of a spouse, parent, boss, friend. We look in the mirror and decide we’re fat, old, bald, wrinkly. We get passed over for a promotion and our confidence fades. We get turned down for a date and we doubt our appeal.

But what about those who actually grow up with a normal life? Seems far fetched, maybe. But there are those who have a happy beginning. And even that happy beginning doesn’t guarantee that we come out unscathed. We are bombarded with images and ideas and “supposed to be’s.” From the dolls we play with to the TV shows we watch to the ads that are plastered everywhere you turn from the side of a bus to the billboards on the side of the road to the glossy photos in magazines.

How you are supposed to look and feel and dress and be is dictated to you from very early on. Our culture tells us what is wrong with us- so that the marketers can tell us exactly how to fix those problems they made up for us.

Your hair is gray, color it. Your hair is curly, straighten it. Your hair is straight, perm it. Your lashes aren’t full or curly enough so apply this magical medicine and use this mascara. Your nose is to big so surgically reduce it. Your teeth are too yellow so whiten them. Your chin- well, you just have too many so go for that face lift. Your shoulders aren’t broad enough so better get that weight that shakes. You aren’t manly enough until you drink this beer! Four pack abs? Not good enough! You need six pack abs! For every problem you are told you have, there is an advertiser waiting to tell you how bad it really is and exactly how they can fix it for you. (armpit challenge)

We take all of this pain and hurt and criticism and what do we do?

All too often, we self destruct. It might be in small ways, it might be in big ways.

I lived with That Voice in my head for a long time. Do you have That Voice? That Voice that reminds you of all that pain and hurt and shame? That Voice that repeats the negative messages that were pounded into you? That Voice that says you’re ugly, fat, weak, worthless, unlovable?

Unlovable. Worthless.

I can tell you that as a teenager and young woman, I worked very hard to present the image that my insides were normal. I overcompensated for how I saw my insides. I really hated myself. But I desperately wanted to fit in and be normal. I discovered that when I served others, people saw my acts and didn’t see me. I could hide my ugly behind what people saw as valuable. I started doing volunteer work, I helped with kids at church, I orchestrated food drives and collected items for soldiers and organized drives to collect luggage for foster kids. I volunteered hundreds of hours- a senior center, an inner city Montessori school, and a camp for kids with emotional disorders and for countless organizations. I hid behind service.

I’ve known others who are truly destructive in how they compensate for feeling so worthless. Addiction to drugs, numbing with alcohol, eating disorders, attempts to take their own life.

But the choices aren’t always so dramatic, so obvious. The compensation for that lack of self love isn’t always so evident.

Sometimes, we just end up hard to love. We push people who want to be close to us away from us. We refuse to accept that our spouse can love us, that our kids can be proud of us. Every time we start to feel happy and secure, That Voice comes creeping in to remind us of all the things that are so incurably wrong with us.

We look in the mirror and criticize what we see- sometimes in front of our kids without even realizing they hear us. And what impact does that have on them? Not only are they then learning about that harsh and unfair form of self criticism, they can easily flip it onto themselves as soon as someone tells them, “You look just like your mom!” or “You definitely have your dad’s eyes!”

We look in our checkbooks and feel worthless. We aren’t providing enough for our families. We can’t afford the things we think would make our families happy and proud. We see the pile of bills, the lack of funds and we turn that bitter disappointment in on ourselves- and we just might hear That Voice… telling us how stupid we are, how worthless.

We see someone that we consider ideal and wonder why we don’t have such a flat stomach or such strong arms or why we can’t do the things they do or have the things they have. That Voice is there to remind us of exactly why we don’t have and look and feel the way we want to feel. That Voice is a constant reminder of our failures, our fears, our hurts, our past, our pain.

Listening to That Voice, living with That Voice, no matter how hard you fight it, keeps you in a dark, empty, lonely place.

What are we supposed to do when we are in that place?

I started with the Instruction Manual for Life. The Bible.

Psalm 139:13-15  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

I sound pretty awesome when I read that! “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” Fearfully has nothing to do with our traditional definition of fear in this context. “Fearfully” also means with awe and reverence. I was created with awe, reverence, and wonder. You were created with awe, reverence, and wonder.

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Created mankind in His own image. Those are big words. If God was here in front of me, would I see myself in Him? And could I then say to Him the things I say to myself? Could I see myself in God and say to myself in Him… “you’re ugly?” “You’re worthless.” “You don’t deserve love.”

No. So why did I ever think it was ok to treat myself that way? To talk to myself with such cruel words and feelings? Yes, I was damaged- almost destroyed- by another person and by life circumstances.

I fought back and with the help of God’s love and strength, I found something truly amazing and miraculous.


Yup- me. I am God’s miracle. From the moment He formed me in my mother’s womb… I was a miracle. He created me in His image. He gave me these hands, these feet, these legs. He designed me as I am- with this nose, this stomach, these eyes. We are all so much the same but also so very different. We can’t fathom the ways we are the same- some can carry a baby in their womb, some can run 100 miles at a time, some can ride a bike across the country, some can form words that inspire millions and future generations. Some have disabilities that become abilities. Some have impediments but finds ways to grow. He created us, He gave us this incredible gift of living and loving.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Every single part of us is special and designed in His perfect plan- even if we do not understand it.

I’m going to challenge you. My friends in the Face Out group that I co-lead will tell you that I like to issue challenges- weekly challenges to try a new food, a new workout, a new way to soothe the soul.

I want you to love yourself. I want you to love yourself because God loves you. I want you to love yourself right now, right here, just the way you are. I want you to love yourself- with all your imperfections, guilt, shame, pain, and with That Voice telling you all those lies. I want you to love yourself as you are- not as you wish you could be.

I want you to be gentle with yourself. I want you to comfort yourself.

I want That Voice in your head to be gone. I want a new voice- I want you to hear honesty and love instead of That Voice.

Step one.  In the week ahead, I want you to listen to that voice.  It’s hard.  You don’t want to hear it, I know.  But it’s there.  I want you to hear it.  I want you to know what That Voice is saying to you.

Step two.  Recognize the lies the voice is saying.  And they are lies.  Remember what we read in the Scriptures?  We are wonderfully made.  All parts of our bodies are connected and when one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  Hear those lies in your head and label them as lies.  FEEL that they are lies you have been convinced are truth.  It’s one thing to say the words, it’s another thing to feel it, to really believe it, to fully recognize that falsehood.

Step three. Replace the lies with truth. When you hear “You’re so disgusting,” stop yourself, look deep inside and tell yourself “I am wonderfully made!” When you hear “You should be ashamed of who you are,” look deep inside and tell yourself, “I am created in His image.” Take those dark, hurtful lies and replace them with God’s truth about His love for you.

And that is His greatest gift, isn’t it? His love for us is so pure, so incomprehensible, so all encompassing… it defies definition.

Grab hold of that love. Let it fill you, consume you. Allow it- because you deserve His love, because He created you to love, because He loves you as He created you. Bring down that wall, that block, whatever it is that is stopping you from seeing yourself as lovable, valuable, worthy.

There’s a Chris Tomlin song we sing called “I Will Follow.” When I first heard it, I thought of others as I sang. I thought about how I would love others and serve others and follow God for others. But one of the lyrics is “Who you love, I’ll love.”

Why doesn’t that start with me? Why doesn’t that start with you?

I have to tell you- I do love myself. Not in an egotistical way, not in a prideful way. I love myself because God loves me and gave me the gift of love. As a teen, I tried to hide from my ugly, hurt, and dark insides with those acts of service and hours of volunteer work. The acts were good but the motivation was all wrong. Once I figured out that God created me, that God loves me, that I am truly lovable and deserving of love, I continued my acts of service and hours of volunteer work. But this time, the motivation was different. Now, I’m not trying to hide who I truly am. Opportunities to serve others is a chance to show the love inside of me, a chance to show the love that God has given me…

He loves you. He created you. See that when you look in the mirror- see what He sees, what He created.

There’s a song I love by JJ Heller called What Love Really Means. (give description of song) I’d like to leave you with the words of the chorus.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

They Love Each Other

In August of 2009, my first born left the safety of home daycare and ventured into the world of big girl school.  She started preschool and was so very excited...

Until the day she realized she was going to have to leave her baby brother at daycare while she traveled to preschool.

Up until that point, they'd been in that home daycare together.  Since he was born.  Together.

It was an adjustment for her.  We made a small photo album filled with pictures of Zach and of the 2 of them together.  She carried it in her backpack and found great comfort in knowing that she could look at those pictures anytime she was missing her little brother. 

For the past year, they have been reunited.  They have both attended this preschool- Teagan in Kindergarten and Zach in the earliest class possible.  The school has 3 preschool class levels and 1 Kindergarten.  They come to school together and get to spend the morning together and usually spend at least some of the end of day time together, too.

My kids love each other.  I'm very blessed.  They love to play together.  Zach adores his big sister and wants to do everything she does.  Teagan loves taking care of her little brother but also values him as a playmate.

I'm realizing that this is a precious and potentially fragile time in our little family's timeline.  They are very best friends.  At this point, there is no outside influence of a peer group for either of them.  They have friends at school and at church but the boundaries of age are fuzzy and both include each other quite nicely. 

We are about to face a new transition.

Teagan will go to public school next year for First Grade.  Zach will remain at our happy little preschool, moving up to the next preschool level.  He has at least 2 years of preschool to go and might go to Kindergarten there as well. 

Yesterday, the kids were doing a dino dig (a special project brought home from school that I'd saved and dug out this weekend- it's a block that the kids dig in with special tools and they discover and dig out dino bones).  Teagan asked me when she would get to visit her new school.

I explained that I needed to make a phone call and find out what we needed to do to get her signed up. 

Zach said he wanted to go to Teagan's school, too.  Teagan said she wants Zach to go to her school.

I explained that this school doesn't have classrooms for younger kids and that we were very lucky to have a place where they could be together for the past year.

Teagan jumped up from their little table and hugged Zach and told him, "It will be ok, buddy! We'll make you a photo album just like mine and you can look at it anytime you miss me!"

My insides got very mushy at that point and I had to walk away so that I didn't fall apart.

My hope is that we can preserve this fantastic love they have for each other.  That we can foster continued growth of this relationship.  I can feel that there is a very real chance that they could be friends for life.  Part of why Jeff and I feared having more than one child is that neither of us really know what a great sibling relationship can be like. 

Christy has it.  Christy and her little brother are very close.  Sure, they might annoy one another from time to time.  But they sometimes travel together, they have similar interests, they share stories and laughter quite often.  They talk on the phone just to talk and stay current.  They aren't afraid to say, "I love you."

I have 2 brothers.  But we don't have shared childhood memories.  I was a teenager when they were born and had moved on to college very early in their lives.  I really feel like shared memories of childhood is part of what bonds siblings together.  I love my brothers and I love the relationship we do have.  I'm enjoying watching them grow into young men and get ready to face the world.

Jeff has a sister but they are 10 years apart and had vastly different experiences in their shared childhoods.  They grew very much apart because of some of those things that went on.  In the past 10 years, I've seen them grow closer and that's a true blessing. 

So neither of us knows what it is like to have a sibling that you truly love and adore and would call a close friend.

Being able to witness that in my kids is such a gift.  Managing the responsibility of fostering it can sometimes be a bit scary and overwhelming. 

But mostly I just sit back and enjoy it.