Saturday, April 30, 2016

This Bikini Heart

This post has tumbled around in my heart for just under a year now. I couldn't bring myself to write it because I feel under-qualified and overemotional about the whole subject. I have a limit on idea hoarding. This idea either had to be posted or deleted to make room for new ones (you know me and my anti-clutter mentality). 

Several months ago a friend kindly said to me: "Joy you are so critical of yourself". Never were truer words spoken. Her response came immediately after I rapidly shut down the compliment she gave me. I've learned to pile drive compliments aimed in my general direction and have earned several TKO badges on my "no compliment is worthy of you" belt. I've starved myself of affection and literally starved myself to earn it.
And that is precisely the subject matter I plan to dither on about in this post. 

The condition of your heart is 1,000 times more important than the condition of your butt.
Yep. You heard me. 
I was bullied in school beginning in 4th grade and on through middle school. Girls can be vicious! I defended myself a few times like the one time in the 8th grade when I ran to the back of the school bus and plunged myself into the seat kicking my legs wildly into the air while the bully punched and she got madder the more I closed my eyes and kicked. She didn't like me because I was a Christian. I've been hated for other reasons though! I was also poor and not the cutest runt in the bunch. Allow me to give you a visual. 
I present to you:
My Doppleganger
I started starving myself in high school. You'd think it was because I was worried about being fat but it actually didn't start that way. It was because I got free lunches for being poor. My lunch ticket was a different color than everyone else's which made it obvious that I got free lunch. I couldn't let anyone know I was lucky enough to eat that crappy food for FREE! Don't get me wrong, I sure as heck fire didn't think I was pretty or thin, but neither of those were the motivation behind the decision to skip school lunch. 

My freshman year of college introduced me to exercise. And also the freshman 15. So now you can imagine a swollen faced poodle. That was me as a freshman. Okay, I had gotten over my perm phase by then. The 80's always makes a combeack ladies! I know you're all staring intently at my perm right now thinking "I.Must.Have.That.Look". Give credit where credit is due. Let people know I'm your're inspiration. Back to exercise. I joined a step aerobics class with Janette Oke's daughter-in-law (yes, the famous authoer Janette Oke, whose son was a college professor at Bethel when I attended.) Ya'll didn't know I was famous. As a result of that class, I've exercised nearly every day of my life for 21 years. It wasn't until after college though that I became addicted to exercise and started caring about being skinny. It was after I graduated that I not only exercised but also took up running, usually running around 7 miles a day (I nearly got kidnapped three times while out on a run) and I discovered the BeachBody excersice program and all.manner.of.diets. I've tried (in no certain order). Atkins, South Beach, diet pills, snickers and a pepsi for lunch (for the whole day.. but I made that one up myself. If you take it and patent it I demand to be able to name it and receive the royalties), high carb/low carb cycling, The flat belly diet, Trim and Healthy Mama, Shred, Weight Watchers, SlimFast, Essential Protein and most recently the 21DayFix.

People consistently made comments to me such as "you are skinny, you don't need to exercise" etc...
 Lies. Lies. Lies. 
You can't tell someone those things if they have neglected that spiritual closet because they can't hear you. Yes. I said spiritual. I've not had a day that has gone by that I haven't felt felt and ugly until recently. After I decided it was high time I allowed God to open the door to that closet and take a look inside. I'm anti-clutter so I didn't expect him to get bowled over by garbage. Boy was I wrong. Poor Jesus. He knew what was about to hit Him behind that door.
This post is getting long. I wasn't expecting that. So I'm interrupting myself to make the whole point of this message very clear.
WOMEN: Let's stop spending so much time on our outside and let Jesus change our .

We'll spend hundreds of dollars on clothes, hair, makeup, diets and exercise equipment but won't sit in God's presence long enough to hear what He has to say about us. Which is free by the way. Well, all except the cost of denying yourself and taking up your cross to no longer live for yourself but for Him. But still. 
Think of the results. We can say good-bye to insecurity, booty shorts, tight low cut shirts, a million selfie posts a day and whole gamut of other insecurity driven actions we put ourselves through.
  Charm is deceptive and beauty if fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 
What? Praised? That's right. Praised. I translate that to mean she gets a standing ovation, but that's because I always wanted one back in the days when I wanted to be on Broadway.
Open your bible. Start a bible study (either individually or with a group). Pray. Give.God.Everything. Hold nothing back. Prepare to be radiant. 

All that being said, initially I was just going to blab on about my new FitBit Blaze which is the poor man's Apple Watch. I purchased it for my birthday. This is because I'm able to exercise when I want to now, without guilt or obsessing over it. I lost 10 pounds just by putting it on, see?
Before:
AFTER:

Okay I don't want this post to be in vain so here's the real after:
I can receive texts on my watch people. Look:
Jason thinks he's so funny.
Now that I've run out of things to say, I'm not sure if I made any sense or even conveyed what I really set out to say. So I'm going to end with one of my favorite bible verses.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
Psalm 143:8

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Love Is Kind

Love never gives up. (Love is patient)
Love cares more for others than for self. (Love is kind)
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. 
Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, (it is not proud)
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
1st Corinthians 13
These beautiful ladies threw me my second ever surprise birthday party yesterday. By doing so, they displayed the kindness of love to me.
My first surprise birthday party was thrown for me in college by my roommate. She blindfolded me, 
then kidnapped me and took me to Olive Garden.
Yesterday the conspiring beauties really had me fooled. As a matter of fact, I wasn't even going to go inside the house for my party. I was going to sit in my friends car and wait on her to "go inside and shut the windows real quick because her husband would be mad if she left them open". But she plowed ahead of me which sort of left me feeling obligated to trail along behind her. Then when I got inside, the first person I saw was Evan's best buddy Sadie walking through the kitchen and everyone just sort of looked at me. And I looked back and them. 
So I said "Huh. Hi Sadie!" And then Heather suddenly had the wherewithal to say "Surprise" and everyone laughed.This is Heather. She's fun.
Stephanie bought me balloons
And Jacqui decorated her table while all of them brought goodies to eat
  We ate and then they sang Happy Birthday to me (you know, since it's public domain now)
 Despite Jason's insistance that I love to be the center of attention,
 
 I'm really quite embarrassed to be the center of attention.
 Which ultimately leads to me talking incessantly about nothing in particular.
 The song mercifully ended and I blew out my candles while wishing to win a trip in a sweepstakes. I mean go big or go home. I can share here anyway because Carrie immediately guessed what I wished for.
In addition to all of this, they gave me gifts!! I was flabbergasted. 
I asked Stephanie to get a picture of me with my balloons and flowers.
Then me Stephanie and Jacqui took a selfie together.
 Then I asked Stephanie if she could give me a ride home after I grabbed my keys and headed for the door and Jacqui asked me "How do you plan to get home, since I brought you here?"
I had to think about that for a minute.
Stephanie offered. And it's a good thing because I would have drawn all kinds of attention walking home with my balloons and flowers on display.
So I squeezed myself into her car.
And she took me home.
 Best. Day. Ever.
 

Friday, April 22, 2016

That One Time When I Was Born

I've had 39 years of birthdays.
Not to be prideful or anything, but I really do think that if I were to ask any number of people how old they think I am they would say "you can't be a day over 38".

I love presents. This year I have my heart set on getting an Apple Sport Watch. I'm pretty certain that I will lose 10 pounds the moment it's placed on my wrist. I've actually entered no less than 5 sweepstakes trying to win this watch but I've had no luck at all! So I'll trade someone the Spiralizer I just won for your brand new Apple Sport Watch. Otherwise I'll just sit here waiting for birthday money to roll in.And you all know it's better to give than receive (Acts 20:35). I'm the perfect person for receiving!

Of course I've blogged about my birthday several times before but I wasn't 39 any of those times. So I figured this was just as good a time as ever to update everyone on the fact that I was born.
And to share some pictures of the cuteness that I once was.
I'm thinking I could still fit into that little top and it would still be in style. If only I still had it...
 I got the love of traveling from my dad. We were always traveling to a new state, or Canada to go camping and/or hunt morel mushrooms. 
If only I could have worn the matching top with the matching bottoms at the same time... Maybe I was the type of toddler that has a breakdown if something matched.  Regardless, this picture should probably be featured in Life Vest Magazine.
 Speaking of life vests. I have no idea who anyone else in this picture is, other than my dad who is shirtless and paddling our canoe. That being said, I'd like it to be on record that the Budweiser in the cozy wasn't mine. 
 And finally, I love this picture of me with my Aunt Sandy on Christmas for several reasons. 
First, look at that huge present! It most likely held something of equal or greater value to an Apple Smart Watch. Second, the 70's wallpaper, the phone on the counter of our bar and the fact that I was barefoot bring back a flood of memories of my first home (which was a basement and I'll have blog post all about that in the near future). Finally, the outfit I had on doesn't go together. At all. But I've seen several pictures of me wearing said outfit (to my knowledge, there actually aren't very many pictures of me as a kid or baby that exist. Isn't that so sad?) leads me to finally understand my lack of fashion sense. 
Anyway. I'm in no way prepared for the madness that is 40. So give me a year to prepare for that.
Thanks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stranded

This morning I discovered that at least 11 complete strangers have pinned one of my blog posts to their wall on Pinterest. Does that make me your hero? Because if not, this probably will:
I have been frustrated because the new headband I bought to wear during workouts is too large for my head. (I'd say that's probably a clear indication that I'm a skinny beast and therefore why am I working out?). I've had this problem with several headbands but I really wanted to wear this one because it wasn't stinky, you know, since it was new and all. 
Being the innovative thinker that I am, I cut a chunk out of it and sewed it back together.

I know right? It fits me now! Even though it slides off the top of my head when I do jumping jacks. 
#i'mmyownhero

Last weekend my awesome husband bought me a plane ticket to travel with him to the Living Proof Life event in Omaha, NE so that we could volunteer at the Compassion tables. This also meant I was able to go listen to Beth Moore speak when the tables weren't busy. #bonus. (I bet you're all thinking: "wow, she's super great at hashtags").
You'll notice I'm all about the hashtags now and I'm even using them correctly. #itotallyknowhowtouseahashtag.

Omaha is a pretty great city if I do say so myself. See. Here's the view of a car and a building from our hotel window:
In our exploration of the city as we searched for this thing we call food, we happened upon this little place:
They won cupcake wars! I could totally win cupcake wars if they just took a brief moment to look at this picture and see my reflection in the window.
P.S. I took that picture just after I received the notification that I won a Spiralizer in a FB giveaway.
 
Yeah. I bet I'm someone's hero now.
I don't ordinarily share food pictures but cupcakes aren't food. Their sweets. Big difference.
Two sweet & salty, two chocolate chip cookie dough and two chocolate.
Poor Jason didn't get any. HAHA! j/k.
Right next door to the cupcake joint was a taco place where we ate. The restaurant has shiplap! I know shiplap because I'm now an avid fan of Fixer Upper. I'll probably shiplap my car. So.
We quickly made our way to the Baxter Arena to man our table.

Compassion hadn't been presented just yet, so the table was free and I was able to go listen for a bit. 
Travis Cottrell leads worship at all of Beth Moore's Living Proof Live events. They sang one of my favorite songs that he sings (he didn't write it, but I first heard of the song by the recording he has of it) I like it so much in fact, that I blogged about it years ago
I'll share my one regret. When I first walked in as the night was kicking off, there was a message on the 2 main screens at the front with a phone number. Then I heard someone announcing something along the lines that "if you have a birthday this month, you can text this number with your question". I jumped up and down in glee and yelled at anyone who would listen: "my birthday is next week!" And then I grabbed my phone and the message was no longer on the screen. I kept thinking, ask what kind of questions? As it turns out, the following day Beth asked several people to come stand by her while she read their questions out loud and responded to them. One ladie's question was "can I have a selfie with you". Awwww. I missed it!!
4,500 people in attendance. That's how many people come to my birthday parties.
I absolutely loved the message she presented (the parts that I got to hear). The theme was growing up in the faith. As opposed to throwing up in the faith. Just kidding. I added the throwing up part. The whole point was to grow up and live for Jesus. For whatever reason, this verse she focused on (which I've heard a million times) the second day really gripped my heart.
Ephesians 5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
The words "dearly loved children"... they can fly right past you when you are familiar with hearing them. But after she read them she asked "how do children act that don't know they are loved?" 
You know, insecure children have the tendency to act out in the worst way. But dearly loved children? (loved. not spoiled.) how do they act? You tell me. I love comments.

Of course since I didn't get to meet Beth I had to settle for Travis.

The conference ended at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon so Jason and I had the rest of the day to find something to do. We had lunch with the Jason's friend David  (the Compassion independent contractor for this event). We had Thai food. Because I know you wondered.
Then Jason and I walked around the Old Market District, which has wonderfully old and historic buildings and cobblestone streets.
You know my love for old buildings. That being said, if I were a squatter, I'd squat here. 

We ate dinner (I had fish and chips and not an Omaha steak because I can't remember why, and Jason kept feeding the birds french fries).  Then the rest of the evening I continued reading and then finished "Miracles From Heaven" an excellent book and must read for everyone! I had never heard of it and didn't know it was even made into a movie until I won the sweepstakes on Twitter. I highly recommend winning sweepstakes. It's fun.

2 weeks before we even left for Omaha Jason fretted about the weather. Rumors were spreading about a big winter storm headed to our area the weekend we were traveling and it's hard for Jason to function when rumors like that are circulating. As it turns out, on Saturday tons of flights in and out of Denver were cancelled so it was looking like there was a good chance we wouldn't make it home. To make matters worse, our connection from Omaha to Dallas was being threatened by thunderstorms. 
We got up early Sunday morning and boarded our flight for Dallas which did in fact get hit by thunderstorms. As a result, we were put in a holding pattern until our captain told us the holding pattern was going to last at least 2 hours and we didn't have the fuel to go in circles that long (my paraphrase). So I went up and told the captain it was fine with me if he just skipped Dallas altogether and took us on to Denver or possibly Barbados but he pretended he didn't hear me.We got diverted to Amarillo and landed. As we sat on the tarmac Jason made some calls to find out if our flight going from Dallas to Denver was even going to leave. It was. So we sat and waited. After an hour, we started worrying that we weren't going to make our Dallas connection so we had a brief discussion about ditching, renting a car and driving the 5 1/2 hours home. Jason called and reserved a rental car just in case.
We told the flight attendants our plans and were told and then untold that we were allowed to get off the plane. Actually the flight attendants were having a rather heated discussion with the ground crew who came on board about getting us stairs and how the captain wouldn't allow us out of the back of the plane because he had to keep the left engine on and back and forth they went. So we sat there. Waiting. And Waiting. And Jason and I both wondered "how can the ground crew get on and off the plane but we can't?"
 After we sat for 2 hours we were notified that the Federal Regulations stated they were required to let us off the plane once we hit 3 hours. We knew there was no hope of making our Denver connection and when Jason called the airline they told him that there was no way they could get us home until Tuesday due to all the previous flights in and out of Denver that had been cancelled. That's when we made our final decision to drive home. But they wouldn't let us off the plane!
So I snuck through the cargo hold. 
No I didn't. 
They finally got stairs hooked up to the front of the plane and let Jason and I off (we were the only two who got off the plane).
We had to be escorted by a fireman in the airport firetruck and in all the excitement I got a picture of my nose and my hand reaching to get my suitcase.
We were in a hurry and I couldn't even stop long enough to get a picture of the entire truck.
But I did rather excitedly force Jason to take a selfie with me real quick after we sat down inside even though you can't even tell where we were.
As we started toward the airport, Jason got his iPhone headphones twisted around his seat belt so he unbuckled to release them. This stopped the engine. That is no lie. The fireman looked back at us and Jason just kind of stared at him like what is going on and I'm yelling "Jason buck your seat belt!" He quickly refastened his seat belt and the fireman was very nice about the whole thing and then I took a picture of our forlorn airplane as we passed by. 
We got our rental car (with about 5 minutes left before the rental car company closed) and drove home. 
The End.

Monday, April 11, 2016

This Little Light of Mine

I'm not biased. I really do have the funniest kids. 
Yesterday in the car on the way to The Arc (a local thrift shop very similar to Goodwill) Dawson and Evan were playing a game. 
I feel an indescribable need to interrupt myself to tell you why we had to go to The Arc. It wasn't for me to find a new used dress for Easter or to stalk the religion book section to find new used books that people have discarded that are invaluable like the 2 Beth Moore bible studies I scored for $3 each a couple of weeks ago (neither had been written in!) Oh no. We were going there to find a pair of white tights for Dawson to wear. This is because I wouldn't allow his stinky feet to get near my white boot socks. He has to dress up for Patriot Day for school next week. I need to know: Where did men find their white tights back then? Or did they just borrow some from their wives?

Anyway, back to the game. Once I began eaves dropping I could hear:

Dawson: Listen, I'm a "physi-ky-rist" (spelled the way he pronounced it) and you need a shape expert"
Evan: But my shapes are MISSING! (he is holding up his Etch-A-Sketch to display the screen to Dawson).
Dawson: Yes, I know. And that's why you need a shape expert. I will give you the name of a guy that you can go to for help. 
Evan: OK.
Dawson: What other problems do you have?
Evan: Baby Jones' locker has stinky socks in it.
Dawson: Evan, you mean DAVY JONES! His locker has stinky socks in it?
Evan: YES!
Me: Evan where did you learn about Davy Jones' locker?
Evan: Ugh! SpongeBob!

And... somewhere around there we arrived at our destination. But it's at this point that I'd like to mention that it's because of Spongebob that Evan exclaims "darn it sauce!" when he's upset about something. I came to realize that it's a case of misunderstanding as Spongebob actually says "Tarter Sauce" when he gets upset about something. But I don't correct Evan because I think darn it sauce is funnier.
In addition to these little quirks, Evan also says "nimma nims" for m&m's, he tells you he wants to "aks you a question" and he plays I Spy incorrectly. This is how he plays:
"I little spy with something"... proceeded by his color choice. Then he continues to call out names of objects in his direct line of sight while you say "yes" or "no" for as long as you want him to keep guessing. I've tried explaining several times that he isn't playing correctly but he will have none of that nonsense.  
This is what I'm dealing with peeps:

Now I have to share the awesomeness of Ephesians 2. There's something about the Message Bible that breathes new life into scripture that I've read numerous times. I love the wording that I emphasized in purple italics

Ephesians 2 
1-6 It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

I actually don't have anything else to say about those verses. Nor did I ever figure out how to incorporate it into the title of this blog post. 
Oh well.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Break 2016: Salida, CO

First order of business: A HUGE shout out to my husband for my new most excellent blog header! Isn't it lovely? It only took 24 hours to complete and I'll spare you the details. But I love it! Yay.

We aren't the type to take vacation on Spring Break. You know those kind. The awesome one's. We're more what you call, extremely cool, which is just shy of awesome.  But this year I was needing a break. A break during spring. So we set out for a two night stay in Salida, CO. It's not considered to be a ski town, but people who ski stay there because it's a short jaunt to Monarch Mountain which is a popular skiing destination for those who can't afford Vail or Aspen. By afford I mean you won't charge the trip to a credit card and then ask Dave Ramsey how to pay it off  before you retire. We haven't gone skiing since moving to Colorado. Hey! Maybe I can win a ski trip!
We're off!
Take a look at this action. That's right! 78 degrees on our road trip. Which lasted until we got to Salida. But still.
Views from the drive. I was bored because I finished the book my sister gave me.
Everyone needs a selfie in the rear view mirror of the car. Just don't do it while you're driving. No wait. Try it. Let's see what happens.
As soon as we got to the hotel, we just dumped our stuff and walked downtown to find food, which was only a mile or so away. See. Here's a shadow of me carrying Evan while taking pictures of Jason and Dawson walking. Creative I tell you.
We passed this house which looks like a mini version of the house we called "The Old House" where I grew up. Legend has it that the house was haunted. I also heard rumors that one or two of my sisters walked around inside it after it was abandoned. I wish I had a picture of that house. It has since been remolded, which means the ghosts are probably stuck behind the new dry wall and can't get out!
We ate Amicas, a fun little pizza joint. You can call them if you want. 
The boys were not keen on my desire to photograph the entire 2 days. 
It was nearing dark by the time we walked back so we went back to the hotel and called it a night. Poor Evan. We had to bring his breathing treatments along because he was having a rough time sleeping at night due to his cold. That has now become MY problem. Boo.
The History Channel wanted to know "What was the Republic Carrying"? Did anyone watch that show? I really want to watch all the episodes of "LostHistory". Just sayin.
The following morning, I thought it was a great idea to capture our surroundings from our hotel window.
Dawson kept begging me to watch HSN now that he knows his mom is famous from calling them.
We went for another walk to pass some time before going to the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center .

If you listen carefully, you can hear the swing squeak.
The Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center is an indoor recreation center that has water piped in from hot springs 5 miles away in the Rocky Mountains. And now Jason is annoyed that I keep asking him to let us do that. I don't see any reason we can't dig until we find hot springs.
This large lap pool is kept at around 83 degrees and I thought I would go into hypothermic shock after getting into it from the 100 degree pool.
This picture is actually of Dawson and Evan in the pool at our hotel but I crack up seeing Evan in goggles. So I'm inserting it. 

And... that was all we did. Really. We were only there for 2 days. So.
I did snap a picture of this cool shed-barn (sharn?) that was right beside our hotel. I love old buildings. Especially if they're abandoned. Maybe I should be a squatter.