I Let Go.

I love country music. My first memory of hearing country music is of my dad playing Johnny Cash-Live at San Quentin State Prison. In my memory, Johnny Cash played all of the time at our house. I’m sure that’s not true. My mom was known to crank some Diana Ross and also The 5th Dimension…hello, Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine in. Bad Company and the Eagles were the first two albums I ever had of my very own. Totally fit right in with my rock n’ roll/rebellion era. But country music and I go way back and, while I still love rock and most music including classical, if you ride with me in Fancy Pants *The Wild Boy’s nickname for my new car,* you’ll probably hear country music.

One of my current faves is Dierks Bentley’s I Hold On. I’m a huge fan of Dierks and this song does not disappoint. Being a bonafide control freak, I Hold On is right down my ally and could be my theme song in life. Has been, thus far. I hold on to stuff. I want to hold on to my children. I hold on to the pain. I hold on to the bad stuff that has happened, been said or I have done. I hold on…to everything. It’s all about control, baby.

That’s not God’s plan for me. For us. I shared with y’all my book ban fail last week. Turns out I was wise to fail that day. Whispers of Hope is just what I need. Today’s devotion, Day Three, was a huge ah-ha smack in the gut. It’s not about me. Yes, I knew that already. But really, it’s not about me. It’s not about what I want everyone else to be doing. It’s not about what I want to focus on. It’s not about what I want to write about. I guess it all boils down to this: why are we here? Right now. Today. In this place. To focus on ourselves? To do whatever the heck we want; when we want to? And when I’m saying we…I’m really meaning me.

I don’t believe…finally…that it is all about me. Or ever about me, except for how me relates to we. I have to be honest with y’all…being totally focused on me is exhausting and frustrating. So I’m letting go of me. I mean, it hasn’t been working for me for 53 years now so maybe it’s time to try something new? I’m thinking that focusing on God and what He wants me to be doing is going to take the pressure off. Focusing on giving and serving and just plain old loving those around me. Oh, and that doesn’t mean I get to slack *continue to slack* when it comes to loving me and taking care of me. Just the opposite, I think. I can’t do anything without taking care of me. I don’t think that is selfish. I think it is obedience.

The day I stopped saying, "just one more."

It started in a hotel room the day after Christmas.

You know how they have those humongous, fills the entire wall mirrors and one on the back of the door. And the lighting. Could it be any more unflattering? As I was changing into my pj’s…no need to look away, that’s as graphic as I’ll ever get…I caught a glimpse of the stranger staring back at me in the gigantic mirror.

She was scary.

Not only was she, well, more than 50 pounds overweight, her skin was blotchy, the bags under her eyes would run her $50 to take on any plane, her nails were bitten down to the quick, and she just looked seriously…tired.

We stared at each other for a few minutes, she and I. Sizing each other up. I looked away first. It was that or throw a brush at her too-much-white-roots-showing head.

That was forty-two days ago. It has taken me that long to truly come to terms with it. Sure. I’ve been flirting with the notion that it was, “time to really get serious about it.” Being butt-ugly tired all the time. A bonafide couch potato, NCIS-watching, slug.

Day after day. Night after night. It’s been the same thing: just this one time and then I will start tomorrow.

Start tomorrow. Just saying it out loud now leaves a bad taste. Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. I think the final straw was walking through the parking lot at Best Buy to get to Bertucci’s for dinner with My Man and My Girl. They were way ahead of me and the distance was growing and I was hoofing it. I realized that my feet hurt; my legs hurt; I was winded and I was pissed. Thoroughly, utterly pissed that I have let it get this far. Sending me over the edge to tomorrow-I-start-for-sures-ville, however, was My Girl’s comment to her father. It went something like, “why is she so slow?” She was me. And she was right. I was slow. Even though I was hustling.

How had it gotten to this point? Overweight was bad enough. But this out of shape? I allowed myself one more tomorrow I start because I knew I was going out the next night and I wasn’t going to have a choice on the food and drink and it was all going to be ohsobad yummy. That was last night. So one last time I said, “tomorrow I start.”

And I did.

Comfortable in my own skin.

This is one of my “serious pieces of work.” Men, and those with a queasy stomachs, look away now. Ready? I’m going to talk weight. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

I’m going to be 53 years old come January 2014. If there were ever a time to finally decide to get healthy, it would be now. My struggle with my weight has been on-going since my teen years. I’m sure that is not a revelation to anyone who struggles with weight. Or struggles, period, for that matter. The funny thing is? I’m actually an active, healthy, exercise-loving person. I’ve just buried that girl under years of trying to deal with my tendency to worry, stress, panic and put an OCD touch on everything.

Let’s be real for a moment. I can blame my over-eating and weight gain on legitimate, actual events and causes in my life: grief, medication, stress, worry. And it is true that those things have and are occurring. I’ve tried to deal with them on my own. By eating. By allowing myself to sink to some pretty serious and dark depression. By not getting up off the couch and addressing this stuff in my life in a healthy, constructive manner.

Do not misunderstand me. Taking control of my eating, exercise and weight will not magically make the reality of my life disappear. But, it will help me to manage these things in my life in a healthier manner. It is a circle. Grief, stress, worry make me want to self-medicate with food. Unhealthy food makes me tired and draws me down. Which contributes to stress and worry and depression. Eating healthy foods, exercising, handling my grief and stress in a positive and constructive way will, I know, begin to pull me out of this cycle.

January 1 is always a time of resolutions, new beginnings, changes. I’ve always scoffed at the notion. This New Year, however, is going to bring changes; beginnings and yes, even the resolution to get back on track and get healthy. That Girl, the younger me, would do it to look better. Period. This Girl sees the bigger picture. Now that my kiddos are all grown up, essentially, I’m looking ahead to wanting to do things with My Man, just the two of us. I’m looking forward to grandchildren and keeping up with them and enjoying them. No guarantees, of course. But I sure do up the odds if I take better care of myself. And, honestly, I am beginning to feel the effects of my unhealthy living in my joints and energy levels.

I’m thinking now is the perfect time to get back on track. I intend to share with y’all as I step out on this journey. I’m hoping it will be encouraging; honest; insightful and of course, real. Don’t worry, I won’t be posting any “before” shots of me in a bikini. That would be just icky.

Love you guys.

A List. For Tuesday. And for Diane S-S.

1. I was checking out my blog stats the other day and was absolutely blown away by y’all. Thank you so much! So, only 6 of you are commenting regularly…what is up with you 75-100 other regular folks? Please pop in with a comment, just to say Hey. I have to have “traffic” on my blog before I can go all commercial on you.

2. Maybe once I get more serious about my writing…the “traffic” will come?

3. It is 10:40pm. I’m waiting for the 100 or so pics I just edited to upload to Flickr. Senior Football Banquet pics. It was a fun night. We had a blast setting up. Good people. Thankful for them in my life.

4. One day, in the future, I will share with y’all about the last two football years. Maybe in that book I’m going to write someday. I will just drop a teaser on you. It is amazing the impact a life-changing event has on the little bits and pieces of life…that we don’t even realize or think about until we look back.

5. This morning, after finally snatching a solid two hour sleep after a week of pretty much cat-napping, I got some church work done and then tackled the kitchen. From top to bottom. I spent the entire day on it. God help the pitiful fool who dares to eat, cook or otherwise touch anything in that kitchen. From now on.

6. Tomorrow I tackle the dining room and living room, which won’t take as long. Getting the house ready for The Holiday Season! I love it. I can’t wait for the boys to pull the 38 boxes out of the attic so I can start rediscovering all the treasures. Did I share with y’all that a couple years ago our neighbor, Flo, was over helping us decorate the tree. The previous year, I had finally sorted all of the kids homemade ornaments and made each of them their own bag o’ treasures. I must have been baking or doing laundry or something, but when I came back into the living room I noticed a bunch of the kids’ homemade ornaments on the tree. I looked around and there was Flo sitting in the middle of all of the kids’ ornaments which she had dumped, bag by bag, into one big happy pile on the floor. I took that to mean it wasn’t time to save those treasures for later and every year since they are back on the tree. This is our first Christmas without Flo. Since it was her favorite time of year, and she passed away a couple weeks before Christmas, she will especially be on my heart.

7. As I was editing the photos from the Senior Football Banquet, I ran across a few of me with my family. My family looks awesome. I just look fat. Just calling it like it is. I’ve never, ever, been this…voluptuous. I realized today, thanks to the dreaded “S” word *scale* that I have gained 40 pounds in the last 2.5 years. FORTY POUNDS. I won’t bore you with the whining. I’m taking it up with myself first thing in the morning.

8. Have y’all heard about this new “game”…the Knockout Game? I was dumbfounded when I saw it on the news. Have people completely lost their minds? Like I said…dumbfounded. I don’t even know where to start.

9. So be honest. Do you get a tad melancholy during Thanksgiving and Christmas? I don’t. But when that consistently frigid air moves in around mid-January, the only thing that picks up my mood is lots and lots of presents. The Wild Boy’s birthday is January 30 and mine is January 31. He will be…oh-my-Lord-no Eighteen on his next birthday. I will be turning a lovely little number that no one really needs to know. My Man already purchased the standard boy-turns-18 birthday gift that may, or may not, include a bunch of manly tools. What does The Wild Boy really want for his 18th birthday? Firearms. And ammo. True story. I’m still not sure how I ended up with these redneck, firearm-packing children.

10. Finally, number 10. Have I ever mentioned that I despise odd numbers? Did you notice I have three children…an odd number? At the first mention of rounding out our number to a lovely four children…My Man ran for the nearest phone and made a few calls and before I knew it, we were sitting in the doc’s office. No number four child for us. This birthday coming up is an odd numbered birthday for me. So I am ignoring it. That does not mean, however, that I don’t want presents. Because I do. Just to be clear.

Love you guys.

Hey Y’all!

Wowzers. The last time I blogged was March 27…36 days ago…give or take a day or two.

I have to be honest. I didn’t give the old blog more than a glancing thought one time during the last 36 days.

A lot has been going on…without anything going on.

Do you know what I mean?

No, of course you do not! I promise, I will be talking about it. Eventually. Right now, I’ve only been talking about it with my besties. The small handful of girlz I do this Life Thing with on a regular basis. And my family.

I’ve had this health thing going on. I’m on the mend. Feeling better every day. It’s been a tough cycle that hopefully, I’m coming out of. Lori tells me my body needs to “reset.” I think she may be correct. That hasn’t happened yet.

But I will share with y’all one thing. I have never, ever, been closer to God than the last month. Never. Part of that might be because I’ve been pretty numb the last two years or so. I tried to use the word, “apathetic” recently and was rudely hollered at. So, apathetic isn’t the right word…but I think “numb” might be.

I’m going to try to be a better blogger. I’m going to try to work out a blogging plan so that I can share a bit of what has been going on lately. Because I need to. Because I am supposed to. It’s part of the deal. What? You don’t make deals with God? Okay, “making a deal with God” isn’t biblical nor is it accurate. A better term is the wicked “O” word. My old nemesis…O-b-e-d-i-e-n-c-e. God truly slays me with His mercy. When you face a situation, or crisis, or, at least when I do, I come to Him and tell Him what is on my heart. He listens. (He’s a much better Listener than I, by the way.) He usually answers. And then I have a choice. Do I accept His answer? Do I ignore His answer? He and I had this back-and-forth going on the last few months where I chose to ignore His answers. Okay, honestly, I’ve been doing that pretty much my entire life. But since last year sometime, I’ve totally pushed the envelope with Him. And He took me down. There are consequences for disobedience. Most definitely when disobeying God.

One of my consequences is that I have to share what has been going on in my life. Or, more specifically, His Mercy in my life.

Funny thing about Grace and Mercy. We don’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. It’s oftentimes hard to accept it. At least for me. When I know that God is telling me to do something I don’t understand, I find it really difficult at times to do it. Specifically the last few years He has been telling me to do A. and then I can move on to B. And on from there. I struggled with A. because it was something specific that I am to do. I can share that with you: get healthy; eat healthy; exercise; lose this 25 50 pounds; just. do. it. I mean seriously? Why do I have to do that in order to move on to B. which I know I am supposed to be doing?

Folks, let me tell you something. When God tells you to move on out and just do A. You best do it. He has a specific reason for me to get healthy. I’m kinda anxious/kinda excited for what that my be.

I do know this, because He tells me it is true:For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Joshua 29:11.

Plan A. is in motion. Can’t wait to see what B. is going to be.

Love you guys.