Life · Uncategorized

A stepping stone…

This week was not ideal.

Long story short, the company I love and work for lost the pitch to keep the business in my area.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt; that I didn’t take it really personally; that my eyes don’t hurt from crying/trying not to cry; that I don’t feel a little betrayed; that I’m not angry, disappointed, and a little scared.

Leading up to this pitch and Co-op vote, I found and lived my every day repeating this prayer:

God, I know I am impatient, so prone to worrying, to giving up, to losing hope. Help me to rest in Your promises today. In this season of waiting, renew my joy in this moment so that I do not miss Your presence in this place. Thank You for being with me and for never giving up on me. Thank You for always working for my good and for Your glory even when I can’t see. In Jesus’ name, Amen

It’s a good one. A really good one for me, as I have a bad habit of throwing myself into a worry or stress and neglecting to recognize the light and blessings all around it.

“In this season, renew my joy in this moment that I do not miss Your presence in this place”

My joy. His Presence. In this moment.

Here in this place. Here in this situation.

For my good. For His glory.

From here, I vow to focus on three things:

  1. God has a perfect plan for me; a beautiful plan far beyond my comprehension and likely so much bigger than anything I could ever dream up. I’ve been reminded of this on repeat over my last 28 years. I’ve cried over an embarrassing number of things that, looking back, were stepping stones on the way to something much more amazing. God has a plan. And I will trust Him to see it through in me. I will be open to His guidance and I will not doubt His direction for me.
  2. My people … (pause: thankful-crying) … my people are amazing. In response to my bad news yesterday (and really in response to my stress levels leading up to it), my people overwhelmed me with love, encouragement, support, “we‘ll figure it out”s, leads, comfort, prayers, and in one case, tulips and icecream.  I’ve said it a lot that I have terrible luck – and it’s true that wild and sometimes unfortunately things are often happening to me – but having the people I do in my life; people I love and who love me (and so well), easily makes me a very very… very lucky girl. Luckiest in the world, really.
  3. Perspective. Hurricanes are crashing into islands; crushing homes and changing lives. People are being diagnosed with Cancers. Others are starving. Families are watching loved ones suffer. Women are losing children. Children are losing parents.  …I lost a job/business account… How so very lucky and blessed I am that this is my “suffering.”

Thank You for always working for my good

and for Your glory even when I can’t see.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Life · Quick thoughts

Reblog: So You’re Feeling Too Fat to Be Photographed…

As I sit at my desk today, still kind of catching my breath from the run/walk treadmill “thing” I did about an hour ago… as I sit here thinking about how I’ve been working so hard with nothing really to show for it… as I sit here praying that the bridesmaid dress I ordered without trying on doesn’t make me cry when it shows up…

The perfect Facebook link popped up… so I’m re-blogging it here; mostly for myself to find again but also in case any of you get little insecurity pangs like I do…

So You’re Feeling Too Fat to Be Photographed…

Listen. I hear you. You’re a few pounds heavier than you like (or a 100 lbs heavier than you like). I completely understand how you feel. I get that same blah feeling about myself when I think about booking new head shots or long overdue pictures of me and Justin. Precious, I even picked a career that has me permanently behind the camera rather than in front of it. Seeing myself in pictures actually produces the faintest sick feeling in my stomach. Isn’t it amazing we can see the beauty in our best friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts without the slightest thought to their flaws… but can obsess for hours on our own imperfections? We fixate on our flaws to the point we shirk at any documentation that our round faces and curvy bodies ever walked the earth. No pictures to show how we LOVE, how we laugh, how we are treasured by our families. How is it possible that a double chin can overpower the beauty of a mother cuddling her child? How does arm fat distract from the perfect shot of a spontaneous hug? I swear y’all… how is it that we can put more value on a TUMMY ROLL than the captivating way you throw yourself into a roar of laughter during a shoot?

In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again.

I know girl. I know.

My personal duck-and-cover (or signature “make a funny face”) approach to having pictures of myself changed completely when I had a serious car accident last year (and started over). In the flash of a second (or a flash of the text message the young woman was reading) my entire life changed. I nearly left this earth with no physical evidence of the goofy, wide open and loud love I have for my life, my husband, my family and friends. I haven’t had professional pictures done since our wedding in 2006… always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.

So here is the harsh truth y’all. Listen good. Our vanity is no longer enough of a reason to avoid the camera. Life doesn’t wait until you “get thin” enough to capture it. Life is happening… it is happening right now and the only moment we are guaranteed is the one we are living. I shudder at the thought of leaving behind no pictures of my life with ME in it. My mom says of the accident she is “just glad that we’re still a whole family.” My gift to her this Christmas was a family portrait showing just that, nine months post-accident… a whole family.

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Do you know what my mom sees when she looks at this picture? Her beautiful family all together.

Do you know what my husband sees? The family he gained the moment he met me (and how much he looks like my dad…)

Do you know what my dad sees? The happy family he has worked for every day of his life.

Do you know what my brother sees? That he got away with wearing shorts…

Shocker: No one is looking at how fat I look.

Can we agree to put the value of family over the value of fat? Can we just accept that the weight you’ve been trying to lose for 5 years might actually just be a part of what you look like… and that if this magical day does come when you’re acceptably thin you’ll STILL regret not having any pictures of you with your kids from ages 5-10? Can we acknowledge that the insecurities we have in our heads will never be a part of how our children, husbands, and friends see us? Can we just please let our loved ones remember the YOU they love?

Your children want pictures with their mom.

Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.

Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (OK, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it).

And if you’re thinking that high school friend on Facebook will say to herself (“wow she has gained weight”) then… news flash you DID. You gained weight. Shed a tear. Read a book. Drink a sweet tea. Watch Oprah. Whatever it takes. Accept this reality… YOU GAINED WEIGHT. The truth is you’ve gained a lot of other things too (a career, a family, some kids, a house, a love for travel, the ability to coordinate your separates…) and that girl from high school is going to spend a lot more time hating on those things then she ever will on your double chin.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? OK… but you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.

Teresa is a photographer and blogger. Her work can be found at myfriendteresablog.com.

Thoughts

The season that required it…

Yesterday, I was standing in the kitchen at work, heating up a Lean Cuisine at 11am, feeling the pants that two months ago I regretted not getting in a smaller size, stretch against my thighs, trying not to cry. Haha.

I’ve gained a solid 10 lbs over the last 2-3 months. Which doesn’t sound like much, I guess, but when it took you an intense 8 months to get rid of 30 lbs (which was still 10 lbs away from goal)… ugh. Cue regret and tears.

I beat myself up about it all day yesterday. I even heard myself say out loud getting out a friend’s car, “I guess I’ll wobble my fat ass inside with you” …not nice Leanne, not nice. I knew I had been gaining weight (despite still exercising regularly… my endurance is badass right now… ) but I just let myself continue on the same track and now, here I am 10 lbs heavier and in tight pants.

Last night I was laying in bed reading a new book, What Women Don’t Know and Men Won’t Tell You– I don’t know that I’d recommend it quite yet. It has me rolling my eyes a lot, I’m not really the type of woman they’re writing to. But anyway, it was talking about knowing your worth – about not waiting to get to a certain place, job, relationship, weight, etc. in order to be happy. And I started thinking…

This weight is because I’ve been busy. I’ve been busy being happy; busy being sad; being a good friend; a good listener; a good cheerleader. It’s from sitting across from friends while they cried over dinner; it’s from friends sitting across from me while I cried over dinner; it’s from drinks with a newly single friend making her way in the world; it’s from the Starbucks I grabbed running late to work after a night of worrying; it’s from the late night snacking I did recovering from a heartbreak; it’s from bad dates and good dates; from catching up with old friends and attempts at making new friends… it’s from life happening. And while I wish I had made a few healthier choices, I won’t regret all that life; all that in-between. I’ll (temporarily) wear this weight knowing that it was a season of my life that required it.

That being said, I feel icky and tired. I don’t have the right energy or the right confidence to carry on doing this “life” work well.

So, it’s back on the grind we go. But this time, not because I need to look a certain way or impress certain people (though naturally, part of the drive), but because it makes me feel a certain way. Because it gives me energy and strength. Because if someone needs me to be a good friend, a good listener, a good cheerleader, I need to be my best me; mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I need to stop obsessing so much about how it looks and realizing more about how good it feels. I need to stop guilting myself for living and instead reward myself for living well with the opportunity to live longer and healthier; surrounded by more people and in a body that I’m confident carrying around in my life work.

That’s the goal at least.

On another note: Did y’all see this gorgeous new Sports Illustrated model, Ashley Graham? Give ’em hell girl, you look hot.

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Life · Stories

Those firemen though…

It’s been two full years since I totaled Sally-Civic (Phew! Statute of limitations is up!). Two full years since a very sweet lady pulled over on the side of 95 and helped me out of my car. Two full years since the nicest state trooper I’ve ever met sat me in his squad car and talked me down from passing out while we waited for the ambulance. Two full years since five firemen sweetly knelt down around me and bandaged up my (later stitched-up) knee while very likely (but surely accidentally) looking up my dress. Two full years since I limped around on a date with one of those firemen who seemed dreamy and charming. And a little less than two full years since I went on a second date with said-fireman and learned that he was (definitely) not (though, I guess he had already looked up my dress and I should have known better).

Sally

At the risk of being dramatic, I might should have died that day – at least gotten a lot more hurt. I wrecked during a rush hour on interstate 95 in the far left lane and somehow drifted, briefly unconscious and surrounded by airbags and that awful airbag-smoke-smell, across three lanes where my car stopped on it’s own 50 yards down the road on the far right shoulder.  How I wasn’t hit as my car made it’s way across those lanes and so far down the highway can really only be attributed to God looking out for me.

The stories that followed that accident are mostly funny – knowing those firemen really did probably see up my dress as a sat on the guardrail hyperventilating (I actually told them I was going to faint – as you know, I don’t do well with blood. They all jumped up and freaked out thinking I meant I had hit my head or something. I had to calm them down and say it was just the blood issue… and they laughed at me) and going on those two dates with the one (who I’ve bumped into around town a few times since – once sleepily, makeup-less, in my pajamas, with my hair on top of my head as I evacuated my apartment building for a fire alarm at 3 o’clock in the morning).

But really, it reminded me, and continues to remind me, of our power to encourage, comfort, support, and affect one another. In the days following that accident, I was overwhelmed by love; all of the strangers who had been so sweet to me, one of my best friends – Alex (previously mentioned) leaving work and getting stuck in the traffic that I had caused to pick me up because I desperately did not want to ride in the ambulance, and everyone who checked on me and sent their love. I still think about all of that kindness regularly.

I’m obsessed with the power we have to impact each other’s lives, and incredibly blessed and thankful that people repeatedly use that power to positively affect me.

That’s all. 🙂

Quick thoughts · Uncategorized

Returning love…

I have about 8 posts sitting in my drafts box. Blogging is harder than I expected – there are some topics that seem to just pour out and others that I can’t seem to even remember words exist for.

Not too long ago, I wrote about how people had been unknowingly filling me up when I was feeling kind of low on fuel.

Well, as I’m sure you could guess after this post, and this post… I let myself get all empty and pathetic again. But again, my friends and family – some knowingly, some unknowingly – filled me right back up. I don’t deserve them; their dedication to me and my happiness, their patience with me when I’m being unreasonable, or their willingness to invest time and effort into putting me back together. But I love them more than words even exist for and I hope they know it through both my words and my actions.

Last time this happened, I posted some quotes from other people. I’ve always loved quotes; people’s different perspectives, feelings, and thoughts. I love it when they hit me like they’re my own.

So, in the name of returning love into the world, here are some of my recent favs (thank you Pinterest)…

Quick thoughts · Uncategorized

A Christmas Drinking Game

Friends! Merry Christmas! Is the wine flowing at your house yet?

Let me preface this post by saying that I love my extended family. I crazy-head-over-heels-love my beautiful wonderful sweet extended family.

However, here’s a fun (slightly painful) game I’ve come up with to survive holiday gatherings with 10+ aunts and uncles, 20+ cousins and spouses, 7 second cousins, and all the inlaws and family-friends in between…

Ready?

Every time someone says something that makes you wanna roll your eyes, drink… twice if it makes you wanna cry…

“So, you’re still single then?”

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“When are you going to wise up and stop paying rent in the city?”

“Have you ever thought about ChristianMingle?”

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“That’s an interesting nail color.”

“Sure seems like you go to a lot of happy hours.”

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“What happened to that nice guy we met last time?”

“You’re not getting any younger, you know.” 

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“Are you sure you want to eat that?”

“I heard so-and-so met someone on Match.com.”

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“It must be nice to not have any real responsibilities.”

“You know, when I was your age, I had already had three kids.”

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“It’s just because people are intimidated by you.”

“How much have you drank tonight!?”

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…you made me do it. Don’t judge me. You don’t know my life.

Happy drinking!