Just worship

I’ve always been a person who tends toward the darker side of life. For a very long time I lived in the negative. Somewhere along the way I made a choice that it was easier to embrace pain then to try to change who I was.

Last year I made a real and true commitment to follow Jesus with all my heart. Over the course of this last year, I’ve been learning to trust God as the Lord of my life in more than just words. I’ve been growing with God in an intense way. I’ve felt my faith strengthening. I’ve worked to build a real relationship with God through reading the Bible, a commitment to prayer, and attending church as more than just a social gathering.

A few weeks ago I noticed some of my old patterns and feelings coming up. I was unreasonably annoyed with the little things of life. I was frustrated by everything. I wasn’t treating my husband the way he deserves to be treated, at all. I was struggling to just get through the day, instead of appreciating each day for the gift it is. I started to feel extremely anxious in social situations, which is something I haven’t had to deal with in months.

When I’ve felt this way in the past my response has been to isolate. I would stop talking. Sleep as much is my schedule would allow. Not spend time with my family. Stop going to church. Stop reading the Bible, because it’s easier to escape into fantasy books then it is to really try to give God‘s word all your focus. Stop praying. Stop listening to worship music. I would get caught up in the cycle of feeling bad because I was feeling bad.

Once I figured out what was going on, I decided not to do that this time. I didn’t miss a single day of praying. I didn’t miss a single day of reading the word of God. I didn’t miss a single church service. And while I wasn’t always is nice to my husband as I should be, I didn’t shut him out. I prayed every day that God would show me what this was, and help me to get rid of it. I told God that I was tired of going back to the same patterns I’ve been repeating since I was 11 years old.

Wednesday night, my husband was out with my stepdaughter so I had the house completely to myself. I turned up my worship music as loud as it could go and danced around my living room like an idiot. I spent most of that two hours praying for others and not myself. But near the end of my worship time I heard God say to me, “just worship.” I decided to take that literally. I spent time in worship, with my christian playlist whenever I could on Thursday and Friday. Yesterday I went to a women’s conference and during worship time I pretended I was in my living room, or at my home church, where I worship like only God is watching me. I didn’t focus on the 350 other women around me, I didn’t worry about what others might be thinking of me. I just worshiped.

This morning I woke up with a very true and real sense of peace. I found myself smiling at nothing while making breakfast for my kids. I prayed a true thankful prayer to God for his peace, and his joy, and his love. There is absolutely nothing different about my life today than there was yesterday. There is no reason for me to be any happier or on happier. The only reason that I am not stuck in the same depressed cycle I was in three years ago, is because of God. I am learning to trust God, to seek God, and to worship the Lord my God no matter how I feel.

In doing that, God is teaching me that he can use my feelings. I can be an intense person, and that can be a good thing when that intensity is focused on God. I can be an emotional person. And that can be a good thing, when I’m using those emotions to bring others closer to God. I am learning to let go of who I used to be, and the old things that gave me comfort, and hold onto the only true comfort there is in this or any other world.

“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

Psalm 100:2 NIV


75 Days

75 Days 
I knew three things for certain the day I met Carley Anderson. I knew that she was blind. I knew that she was sick. And I knew that I wanted to know more. 
It was a beautiful California day. The sun was shining on the beach. The sand was covered with blankets and families and people enjoying their day. I was laying on the beach, on the edge of the water. I was collapsed next to my surfboard, exhausted. I had spent the first 4 hours of my day surfing. I had caught every wave I’d tried for. I’d had a perfect day. 
I saw her walking through the sand even before she tripped over my foot. She walked confidently even though she was walking with a cane. She walked like she knew exactly where she was going. She walked with her head held high even though she was completely and utterly bald. She wore a black 2 piece swimsuit. It wasn’t slutty like most of the girls who spilled their almost naked bodies over the sand. Her swimsuit only showed an inch of her sunken belly. I thought “Cancer” as soon as I saw her bare head and her thin body. 
I saw her coming toward me but I didn’t think to warn her before she stumbled over my foot. She landed on top of me, her legs tangled with mine and her small body pressing mine into the sand. 
“Shit, shit, shit. I’m so, so sorry,” She said as she scrambled to pull herself off of me. “I’m blind,” She added unnecessarily. 
I laughed. I wasn’t laughing at her exactly, more that I was laughing at the situation. A blind girl just tripped and fell on top of me, at the beach. It sounded like the start of a bad joke or something like that. 
“I’m sorry,” She said again. Her face was bright red. I realized how embarrassed she was and what a jerk I was for laughing. 
“No, it’s okay. I’m sorry. I should have told you I was here. I saw you coming I just didn’t think to say anything,” I said. 
“I follow the sound of the waves to the water,” She said. “Most families make noise so I don’t really crash into them. You were just so quiet. I had no idea you were there.” 
I loved this. I loved how she found the water. I loved how brave she was to walk all alone into the ocean with no way to see what was coming. She had crawled off of me and lay in the sand next to me. I found her hand and held onto it. “I’m Justin,” I said. “It’s nice to meet you.” 
“I’m Carley,” She said. “I’m sorry I tripped.”

“I’m sorry my feet are so big and I’m so quiet,” I said. 
She laughed. The sound of that was breath taking. Her laugh sucked the air from my entire body. “Carley, can I go swimming with you?” I asked her. 
She looked over at me. “You want to swim with me?” She asked. She sounded shocked. “I would love to.” She sat up pulling me with her because I hadn’t let her hand go. “Okay, swim with me,” She said. 
I stood up and just because she was so small and delicate looking, and because I’d never done anything like it I swept her up in my arms and carried her into the waves. She was laughing breathlessly from the cold and the shock of being picked up and carried away by a complete stranger. I set her on her feet far enough out that the waves would have come up over her head every time they came in if I hadn’t picked her up each time. We settled in to a rhythm. 
I’d set her on her feet when the waves were calm then scoop her up into my arms when they broke around us. She laughed hard and free every time I touched her. After 20 minutes of this she lay on her back and floated in the waves. I stood there mesmerized by how at peace she looked in the water. I didn’t say a word I just watched her breath in and out. 
Finally she swam to me and took my hand. “Justin, will you take me back to shore? Help me find my cane?” She asked. 
“Of course.” I carried her again. I wrapped her in my oversized beach towel and lay her in the sand. 
“Can I take you somewhere?” I asked. 
She shook her head. “I need to rest,” She said. 
“It’s not a good idea to rest here. You’ll get sunburned. Can I take you to your house? Or to whoever brought you here?” 
She shook her head again. “No one brought me, I walked. I can’t walk anymore for a while though. My body can’t. I just need to rest.” Her voice was slowing like she was drugged, or completely exhausted. 
“Baby you don’t have to walk anywhere. I’ll carry you. You’re not heavy I promise. Just tell me where.” 
Her hand lifted like she wanted to point then dropped back to the sand. 
“I’m the smallest beach house. The white one with the huge glass front windows.” Her lips moved slower and slower with each word but I knew where she meant. I passed that little house every time I came to surf. I didn’t say another word. I just picked her up and carried her to my truck. She was asleep by the time I buckled her into my front seat. 
I went back for my board and her cane. I drove to her little beach house and found the door unlocked. I carried her out of my truck and lay her in her huge white bed. I should have left then. I should have walked out and hoped I’d see her again someday. But I couldn’t. I had to stay. I lay down next to her in my swim shorts. I draped one arm over her and I fell asleep. 
When I woke up a much different girl sat next to me. She smacked my arm, that’s what had woken me in the first place. 
“What the hell are you doing in my bed?” She yelled at me. 
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I, You, you fell asleep on the beach. You told me where you lived and I brought you home. And then I just didn’t want to leave you here alone.” Her pissed off expression fell off of her face as soon as I started rambling out my apology. 
“You’re real?” She asked. 
“Of course I am. What do you mean?” 
She blushed. “I have cancer. Sometimes the medication I take and the tumor itself make me imagine things. But never so real as you. And never for so long.” As she spoke her hand reached out. I took it without thinking. 
“So, you have cancer?” 
She nodded. “I’m going to die,” She said. She said it simply. She didn’t sound afraid at all. It was just a statement. The ocean is beautiful. I can swim. I’m going to die. It was just a clear fact. I sat there not knowing what to say. Then as the silence got more and more uncomfortable she started laughing. 
“You don’t know what to say, right?”

“No. I don’t know what to say.”

“It’s okay. I’m okay with it. I’m going to die. I know that.” “Why are you at the beach then? If you’re going to die?” 
She smiled. “My family raised all this money for treatment. I was never going to get better. I did some treatment and it was so awful. I’ve never been so sick. So I took the money and I rented this house for 6 months. I won’t live to the end of the lease. I know that. But I’ll get an entire summer in a beach house. I can walk to the ocean by myself every day. When I get worse my sister will come stay with me until I die. But for now I wanted to do it alone. I’ve never lived alone before and since life is ending soon I wanted that chance.” 
She spoke of her life ending so easily. I didn’t even know this girl and I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry for weeks because a girl who thought like she did shouldn’t die. She shouldn’t be sick. She should be swimming and laughing in the ocean. I didn’t say anything. I wrapped my arms around her and I pulled her into my lap. I knew it wasn’t right for a complete stranger to do that but I had to. I had to hold her because she was beautiful. She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. 
She didn’t pull away. She lean back into me. I did something in that moment that could have qualified as insane. I lay back pulling her on top of me and I asked her a question. 
“Can I stay with you?” 
She laughed. “What?” 
“I’ve never been in love before. But I think I fell a little bit in love with you today on the beach. I saw you walking out into the water with no fear at all. You were the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. The way you laughed with me in the waves. The way you fell asleep on the beach. The way you just told me you’re going to die. It’s all incredible. I want to be here. I want to watch you live until the living is over.” 
I expected her to yell at me. I expected her to tell me I was insane and to get the hell out of her pretty little beach house. But she didn’t say any of that. She pulled herself closer to me and relaxed more into my body. 
“You can stay,” She said. “You can be my partner in this little bit of happiness I get here and now.” 
That was how my 75 days with Carley started. I changed my life very quickly. I quit my job at the ocean side cafe (where I served drinks to healthy girls 5 nights a week) that very first day. I called my roommate and I lied to him. I told him I had a family emergency, my mother was sick. I had to skip out on our apartment. He was pissed but it didn’t matter. Everything that wasn’t Carley had stopped mattering that day. 
In a matter of about 20 minutes, 2 conversations, I had cut ties with everyone in California who expected anything from me. It was only about her. Carley. It would only be about her until it couldn’t be anymore. She sat in the middle of her bed watching me make phone calls with a very small smile on her face. When I was done with the phone calls I pulled her back into my lap and asked her to talk. 
“Tell me your story? I’m meeting you at the end of it. I want to know what came first.” 
She told it all to me. She had been blind her entire life. She had gotten cancer when she was a year old. She had been healthy her whole life, until she wasn’t anymore. “I was in school,” She said. “I wanted to be a writer. I worked so hard. I cared so much about my grades. I cared so much about what people thought of me. Then I got sick. The brain tumor came quickly. I changed my life. Stopped my life. My family wanted me to fight it. TO do treatments and get 
better. But there was no getting better. I knew that. I tried. I did treatments for 6 months but the tumor wasn’t getting smaller. The cancer wasn’t being hurt by the poison. My body was. So I prayed. I asked God if he wanted me to keep living through that. The night I prayed that prayer I had a dream of the ocean. I don’t know if it was God telling me that was my heaven or not. But I knew it was God telling me I didn’t have to live in that hell anymore. So I quit. I told my doctor I wanted to stop treatment then I told my family. They were all so angry. They probably still are. But I think when your life is ending you get to be selfish. I wanted this. I wanted the ocean.” 
She stopped talking then for a moment. She pressed her lips against my chest in a very soft kiss. “I didn’t know it yet, but I wanted you. I wanted to live a life that was just mine for a while. I’m 23 and all my life I had been working so that I could have my own life someday. I’m not getting any more somedays. So I took my own.” 
I loved the simplicity of this answer. I also understood why her family was so angry. If this girl had been mine, if I’d been her boyfriend before she got sick I would have been livid if she chose to leave me. If I’d met a mermaid girl in the waves who hadn’t been sick, then watched her get sick, I would have wanted her to fight it too. 
After knowing her for a few hours I already knew she’d changed my life forever. After she told me her story I understood some things. I knew there was beauty in the world that I had never seen and I knew I’d treasure every moment I got with her. I promised myself that first day I would make this her love story. I’d give her that someday for as long as she was with me. It’s a very strange feeling when the happiest time of your life is the ending of someone else’s life. 
It was an ache that lived in my heart every single moment that I was with her. The ache was lost in the mornings we swam in the ocean. It was lost in her beautiful laugh. As the days I got with her added up, 2 weeks, one month, 2 months, the ache became more real. We fell into a pattern very easily. We would wake with the sunrise. I’d make sure she ate with her pain medication. Then we would spend every moment that she was awake in the ocean. 
She played like a child. Completely carefree and happy. I would carry her back to the house when she couldn’t move anymore. The time she got to be awake, happy and truly with me, grew smaller every day. She slept more and took more pills as the days added up. In the last 2 weeks she couldn’t get out of her bed anymore. 
We would lay and whisper about God and heaven. She told me she hoped there was an ocean there for her. I had not truly believed in anything before I met her. I had vague ideas of some higher power. But watching the complete faith she had in her God, in the heaven she was going to, changed my view of the world I had known. I wanted a faith like that. 
Even when she was in pain she wasn’t angry with her God. She would wrap herself around me while she shook and she would whisper thank you to God for me, for the ocean, for the day. I had never seen that kind of strength. I would watch her pray and she looked at peace. The same way she did that first day in the waves. 
I asked her if I should call her family when I knew her time was running out but she said no. She told me she had letters for all of them that I should give them after. The day Carley died, the 75th day I was with her she woke up strong. She sat up in bed and she shook my shoulder. She asked me to go to the water with her. It had been a week and a half since she’d been strong enough to get out of bed. 
I didn’t ask her if she was sure, I just picked her up and carried her out into the waves. She swam on her own and she laughed. That night when we were in bed she kissed me. All of the days I was with her she hadn’t kissed me once aside from the small kiss on my chest that first day. This kiss was different. She pressed her lips to mine for just one moment. Her mouth fit mine perfectly. I wondered in that second why I hadn’t kissed her before right then. She pulled away too soon and she started to talk. 
“Justin, I’m going to die.”

“I know that,” I said. It had gotten easier to talk about it with her. “No,” She said. “I’m going to die soon. Probably tonight or tomorrow.” 
I didn’t argue. I could feel something changing in her as she spoke. “I know,” I said. 
She smiled a very sweet smile. “Will you stay with me?’ I wrapped my arms around her as tightly as I could without hurting her. 
“Of course I will. I’ll stay until the end.” 

Perfect In my Eyes

If you are like most people you probably don’t think about your eyes often. I don’t mean all of the things your eyes do for you, I mean the existence of your eyes in general. Your eyes being in your face is a given for you. I am not someone who has had this luxury in my life.
When I was 1 year old I developed bilateral retinoblastoma. This is a cancer of the eye which develops in young children. When presented with all the treatment options my parents chose to have my eyes removed. This was a decision that I will always be grateful to them for making. I have been blessed to have been healthy ever since. My eyes though. How does one deal with a toddler who suddenly has a lack of eyes in her face?
My parents did what most parents would do. They had prosthetic eyes made for me. As I grew older I learned to take my eyes out and put them back in again. I also learned that my ability to remove and replace my eyes made me interesting! I drove my parents crazy by taking my eyes out and leaving them places they didn’t belong. I educated my Friends about the mysteries of the prosthetic  eye. But somewhere along the way I developed a deep insecurity about my lack of eyes.
I have learned in my life that this world is a very visual place. If you look different, people are going to judge you differently. So I can respect the fact that my parents wanted to shelter me from a certain amount of that judgment. They taught me to never leave the house without my prosthetic eyes in. If I was sick, or suffering from a headache, or couldn’t find my prosthetic eyes, they made me wear dark sunglasses. They told me to never let anyone see me without my eyes in. They told me that I didn’t look good without my eyes in. They taught me to be ashamed of something I couldn’t change. I don’t believe this was the intention. I believe the intent was one, to stop me from losing my very expensive prosthetic eyes. Two, to save me from the judgments of an uneducated world.
In the last few years though, I’ve learned something else. It is a lot more healthy to be confident in who you are with or without eyes then it is to search for The acceptance of the whole world. I will never be exactly like everyone else. When I go out in public people stare at me! They stare at me if I had my eyes in or if I don’t! They stare at me because I use a cane. Because I’m blind! They stare at me because I have an interesting hairstyle. because I have tattoos and piercings. Whatever! I have learned that they are going to stare! There is no getting around that! But I’ve also learned that I have a safe place within my family. That when my husband or my step kids look at me they don’t see a girl with no eyes. They just see me! They except me with or without the prosthetics. And they never ask me to change. If I’m not in the mood to wear my eyes it doesn’t matter. I can just be myself and not worry that the people closest to me, who should always except me for exactly who I am, are judging me. It’s a very safe feeling.
When I read on social media about parents of children who are struggling with the same kind of cancer complaining about their child not wanting to wear their eyes, it makes me remember the little girl I was, and the young woman I became. I understand and respect the desire they have to keep their children safe from the judgment of others. I implore them to also teach those children that they are beautiful no matter what they decide to do with their eyes. Teach them that people will stare, people will ask questions, sometimes people will be mean! But that’s life. it’s far better for them to know they have a safe place in their parents arms than anything else. They need to know that they are perfect in their parents eyes, even though they no longer have perfect eyes of their own.

Shouldn’t Be News Worthy

Today I saw a post on twitter about a young woman who is blind being offered a braille menu for the first time in her life. The twitter post and subsequent BuzzFeed article made it seem like this absolutely normal moment was life changing for the young woman. At first it made me smile, that blindness was being discussed on social media. After a while though, it began to bother me quite a bit. I’m 24 years old and I have been blind for 23 of those years. I learned at a young age to ask for menus in braille. They aren’t always available, but in most chain restaurants they are. Because most of the general public isn’t used to interacting with those of us who don’t use our eyes to see, you have to ask for the braille version, but it’s always fun to be able to decide what you want for yourself. I myself, am a creature of habit. Once i find a food I like at any given restaurant I’ll usually just order that food because that’s what I want. The last time I was given a braille menu I used it for the purpose of showing my stepson what braille looked like in a book. I never saw something like a braille menu as anything more than I deserved. Maybe my opinion here is a product of the self confidence I’ve been actively fostering in myself over the past 2 years. But I believe the fact that what should have been seen as an ordinary moment in a young woman’s day became a news story says something very negative about how blind people are treated by the majority of the sighted public. If we as a Society are surprised and emotionally moved when blind people are simply treated like everyone else, what message does that send? From where I sit it screams that people who happen to not have eyes that work should feel very lucky when they are treated with common decency. They aren’t usually seen as full, capable, functioning members of the world, so when they are they should be extremely grateful. The sad part of this to me is that it becomes a vicious circle. Blind people are taught that they shouldn’t expect to be treated like everyone else. So they grow up not demanding the respect they should be given automatically. On the other side of this equation, the rest of the world is learning that they can, for the most part ignore blind people. When they do treat the blind like they are actually people too, they expect a parade for their goodness! I see this whole situation as just sad and wrong. I live my life demanding respect. If someone is genuinely kind to me I am thankful for that. But if I’m offered the same treatment as my sighted friends, I just call that a normal day. It shouldn’t be news worthy that a young woman who is blind was able to order dinner with the same ease as her sighted sister. Blind people need to become strong enough to take what they, as human beings in this world, deserve. And in return sighted people shouldn’t feel like saints when they do the minimum to include blind people in everyday life.https://twitter.com/buzzfeed/status/846786971385171968

Hello, I’m a person, too!

A couple of instances have occurred in the last week that have bothered me quite a lot. As a general rule people don’t speak to me directly. They address their questions or comments to whoever I happen to be with. People act as if my blindness has rendered me incapable of doing something as simple as ordering a coffee. Although this annoys me a great deal, most of the time I don’t go through the effort of correcting them. The exception to this is when I’m alone with my step_children. I’ve spent the last year trying to teach these kids that my blindness doesn’t have to keep me from living a productive, full and happy life. Letting people overlook me and speak to my 15 year old feels like accepting a kind of defeat. And in doing that, I would be showing her that I’m less of a person than I actually am. This weekend my stepdaughter and I went shopping for my wedding dress. The saleswoman who was helping us was one of the most frustrating people I’ve dealt with in a long while. Not only did she not speak to me directly, but according to my stepdaughter, she didn’t even look at me once during our hour and a half of working together. Every time she asked my stepdaughter a question about what style or color of dress I was looking for I’d jump in with my answer. Some people take this hint and stop the behavior and start talking to me as though I am an actual person who can talk and think just like they do. This woman however, was not one of those people who could be taught. When we finally left my stepdaughter was absolutely annoyed and I was incredibly frustrated with the way the experience had gone. This incident came to my mind immediately the next day when I opened the door to the pizza delivery guy. Now I should explain that the pizza delivery guy and I have a long term relationship. This particular delivery guy has been delivering pizza to my house at least twice a month since October. He is fully aware of my blindness. Every time he delivers my pizza he asks me to sign the receipt. I do sign it, just in my own way. I have been blind my entire life so I don’t know how to write many print letters. I learned how to write a somewhat messy H and thats what I use as my signature. For some reason the pizza delivery guy chose this weekend to become unsatisfied with my signature. After I opened the door and said hello he looked over my shoulder and asked my stepdaughter if she could sign the receipt for me. I may have slightly overreacted to this because of my frustration with the saleswoman the day before, but I didn’t feel like it was appropriate for him to address my daughter when I was standing right in front of him. He has seen me sign receipts at least 12 times. There was no reason for him to ask someone else to do it. The fact that he asked a child to do it seemed even more disrespectful to me. I less than politely told him that I could sign it and sent my stepdaughter to get her brother ready for dinner. I signed the receipt and forgot about the whole thing until tonight. I ordered pizza for dinner and the same delivery guy brought it. He handed me the pizza and left without even asking for a signature. After I closed the door I stood in the middle of my living room and laughed. These 2 episodes have made me realize something. As a blind person I have the responsibility of demanding the respect that sighted women my age are given without question. I have the responsibility to make people treat me the way I deserve to be treated. It isn’t fair, and it isn’t reasonable, but it’s absolutely true. If I don’t demand respect, I will be treated like a passive child. I won’t accept that in my life. I won’t teach my children that it’s okay to treat someone as though they don’t exist because they are different. I will continue to push the people I interact with to see me as a person with all of the same rights, opinions, and thoughts as them. If you encounter a person with a disability, try to remember that they are a person first. No matter how different the disability may make them look or even act, they deserve a certain level of respect just for being a member of the human race.

Healthy Lifestyle.

I’ve spent most of the last year and a half learning an acceptance for my body I’d never known before. I’ve let go of damaging patterns of behavior and negative self talk, to replace them with a confidence in who I am and how I look. In the process I’ve gained 40 pounds and 4 jean sizes. I’ve also gained the strength to not let that become a bad thing. I realized that I’m more content with myself at 160lbs than I ever was at 120lbs. I have never dieted like a normal person. There was never a time in my life when I looked at eating as simply a necessary part of being a human. Food was good or bad. If I ate food that I loved, which of course was all bad, then I was weak. I spent 14 years denying myself the foods I wanted and beating myself up when I would eat them. When I would exercise it was never purely so that I could feel healthier. I always had my weight in mind. When I decided to let all of this go, I did it completely. If I wanted pizza I’d eat an entire pizza. If I wanted chips I’d eat the whole bag. I ate what I wanted when I wanted and I didn’t feel guilty for it. While I know eating a whole pizza is in no way healthy, I absolutely believe it is better than starving and hating myself for eating. In the past few weeks though I’ve been wondering if I’m ready to find the middle ground. I decided that I’m finally ready to define healthy eating and exercising for myself. Last month I left my nanny job to work with my boyfriend working  nights running a paper route. This means hours sitting in a car every night followed by a whole day of sleeping. As a result of this, my physical activity has decreased. I thought at first that my weight would shoot up. To my surprise this didn’t happen. I haven’t gained any weight at all. I have felt myself becoming more lethargic and lazy though. I’ve realized that I want to move my body more than I do. I want to exercise because I want to feel better. I want my body to feel stronger and more energized. This week I took the first step in my fitness journey. I ordered my very first workout CD from Blind Alive. This company makes accessible workout materials for blind people. I love this because it means I can truly be in control of this part of my healthy lifestyle. When I want to exercise I can just get up and do it. I don’t have to wait for someone to go to the gym with me. I don’t have to follow anyone else’s schedule. While preparing myself to start exercising in a healthy way I’ve also been more mindful of what I eat. I haven’t been restricting my diet, I’ve just been noticing what I’m eating and how much of it. I’ve been eating because i’m hungry instead of just because I’m bored. My definition of healthy may not look anything like anyone else’s. Maybe instead of a whole pizza I have 2 slices for dinner. I won’t feel like I failed if I have cinnamon toast crunch for breakfast. I don’t have to count calories or hit a certain number on the scale to feel like I’m doing well with my health. I’m very much looking forward to starting this new phase in my life. Thinking of food as fuel and exercise as a way to make my body strong is an entirely new idea to me, but it is one that I’m ready to imbrace fully.   

Faith in progress.

I am a Christian. I believe in God and Jesus. God is a real part of my everyday. I don’t doubt the power of God in my life. I believe with my everything that my life is not mine to plan, but part of a much bigger picture. I believe this. Well, I say I believe this. I believe I believe this most of the time. You know, until things get difficult at which point I get insanely control freaky and I start PLANNING! WORRYING! My boyfriend and I are compatible in most every way. He and I are an incredible team. We parent the children as a team. We take care of our life as a team. One of the only areas we conflict in is my worrying. I tend to over worry about our finances most often. When I worry, I go one of 2 ways. I get pissed, or I shut down altogether. Worried Harmony is not a good team partner to have. She is not a good mom. She is not a good friend. Quite honestly, she sucks hugely on every level. I KNOW this. Even though I know this, I still worry every time something comes up. This month for example, I have 2 weeks of unpaid vacation. I spent the last 2 weeks stressing out over this. I laid out an unreasonable budget for my boyfriend no less than 209 times. I stress my poor stepdaughter out with my worried, sucky, Harmony attitude. I had nights with my boyfriend where I refused to even speak to him. Not because things were bad, but because I was angry with him for not worrying with me about a possible time in the future when things may be difficult. How incredibly stupid is that? So yesterday I got paid. I made A private decision not to worry about the money situation. I prayed over my check when I got it, handed it to my boyfriend and committed not to worry about it. My not worrying about it equated to me telling my boyfriend I wanted nothing to do with the money situation for the rest of the month. “You deal with it. I’m not worrying about it.” I don’t think that’s exactly what he’s been waiting for me to realize. Mostly because he knows me way better than that. He knows I am incapable of not worrying about things. I can talk a lot of game about how I’m not going to worry while continuing to worry extra hard. Today I got a smack me in my doubting, worried, stupid human heart moment. A few months before I got my job, in the middle of my worrying I posted a bunch of stuff on EBay. I was going to be an EBay super seller and NEVER worry about money again!!! And then only 2 of my things sold. After I got my job I no longer thought about the EBay stuff. I let all my posts expire. Today I got a message enquiring about one of my expired posts. This item ended up selling today for exactly the amount that I won’t be making at work the next 2 weeks. What does this mean? This means that all my worrying was absolutely pointless. This means I’ve waisted days of our lives being a B word to my family for absolutely no reason. This means that God took care of us, like he always has, like he always does, even though my faith is CLEARLY a work in progress. I’m writing this as a public thank you and apology to God for being an idiot most of the time. And as a reminder to myself for the next time I want to slip into the worrying mindset. I am not the boss of my world and I don’t want to be. God can take care of us much better than I ever could. No matter how much I worry.