Friday, October 1, 2010


My dad was born 60 years ago this past Sunday.
Andrew's dad was born 50 years ago this past Tuesday.
My brother died 15 years ago this past Thursday.
I was baptized 10 years ago today.

I'm not usually one to be overly dramatic for the sake of emotional ploys, but please indulge me while I sink my teeth into these momentous anniversaries.

I started the week out celebrating life. Not just my dad's life, or Andrew's dad's life, and the milestones they have reached, but moreso the life they still have yet to lead. As I imagine life with my children growing up, I imagine both grandfathers (as well as Andrew's stepdad, for the record, who will turn 50 in December) being around teaching my sons and daughters new jokes, tricks and sports moves. I see the life the dads haven't even experienced yet, as grandparents.

So as the week kicked off, I was thinking very positively about life and the longevity of it. But Thursday came, without warning, and I did the math to realize it has been FIF-TEEN years since my brother passed away. I had to face the reality of how short and unpredictable life is all over again. But also, how tragicly unfair it is. I've been through more than half of my life without an older brother. I honestly can't even imagine life with him at this point, because it was such a short part of my memory (and getting even shorter). Author J.K. Rowling stated recently in an interview that she wished her mother was around to read the Harry Potter books, but they would not be what they were if she hadn't passed away. And I'm left feeling the same about my own life. It truly would not have been the same if I hadn't experienced this loss at such a young age, but I know Andy would have made life that much more vibrant.

and in the midst of my joy and grief, I almost completely overlooked the moment I celebrated new, abundant, life. The moment I decided to give all my hopes, joy, expecations, fear, grief, pain, stress, and false courage to the ultimate source of life. On October 1, 2000, I publicly declared through baptism that I had indeed found this new life, and identified myself with the Creator of life, by demonstrating my own death to my former life, acceptance of the new life given to me Jesus and receiving of eternal life by the one who defeated death.

So as I contemplate life and all that it entails - the little moments and the big occasions - I must stop and be grateful for the God who not only gave me this life, but gets me through it. Not only the God who helps me survive this life, but enables me to thrive (John 10:10) in it. All these momentous occasions really just serve as a reminder that there is a God who loves us and gave Himself up for us. So we can celebrate birthdays and babies and joy. But also so we can survive grief and heartache and pain with strength that seems supernatural (because it is). The giver of life, the source of life, the sustainer of life. He's the one I celebrate this week.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I found the cure. It is two parts prayer and one part sunshine.

So the first thing I'll pray for is sunshine.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I feel crappy about myself.
The worst part of feeling crappy is that it entitles me to treat myself crappy which just ultimately makes me feel even crappier.

It's a downward spiral that I just can't seem to get myself off of.

Here's a sample from the spiral:
Sunday - Go to church and see some friends. I see those friends talking to each other, and not to me. I feel excluded, rejected, alone. Still at church, the minister asks other leaders to be included in something special - which I have previously been excluded from - and I am not. Not only do I now feel excluded, rejected and alone, but now also unworthy, unappreciated and used. I mope around the rest of the day questioning my very involvement in that church. I turn to Facebook to take my mind off things, but I'm only further reminded by the homepage how much fun other people are having and go untagged and unwanted yet again (not to mention the FB changes are annoying and in and of themselves infuriate me). I go to sleep wrapped in the blanket of all these emotions.

Monday - Waking up feeling horrible, I start getting ready for work. Already full of bitterness and hurt feelings, I brood over the fact that I have to get dressed up and go out in the cold. Drivers cut me off, go too slow and forget to use their signal. I am now in a very foul mood when my students decide to talk instead of listen. I snap at Joe Goof-Off when he makes his smart comment. Now, I feel like a bad teacher. I go to a coworkers room hoping to escape my angst-filled room for lunch. The food I eat is greasy and fried, the drink is carbonated and full of sugar and I finish it with a carbohydrate-packed sugar-full dessert. The coworker seems annoyed at my presence (whether that's reality or not) by the end of lunch, so I go back to my room sulking and not-at-all satisfied. Later, an email full of ignorance comes to my inbox right as my stomach starts to yell at me for the pitiful lunch. I'm now mad at the world. Andrew doesn't meet my unspoken emotional needs when I get home and I keep dying on the video game I tried playing to take my mind off the world. I go to bed once again wrapped in a miserable blanket of self-pity.

Tuesday - Tired and cold from staying up wondering why I'm such a failure, I pull in late to work. Not having any time to calmly get ready for the school day, I go straight to a team meeting where a coworker complains my room's warmth is causing bacteria to grow that she never would, asserts that her methods of classroom management are better than mine ("Oh, I never have that problem in my class; I just don't let it happen.") and then spends half the time harping on all the students I think are wonderful. I not only doubt my abilities as a teacher but now am so full of contempt that I can't stand to be in the same room. I spend lunch alone where I think to myself how awful I am as a person. The cheeseballs I consume seem to agree.

Wednesday - Those last few minutes of sleep I took don't seem to make me feel any more rested. Not to mention, the waste of time I spent on my hair, seeing as it refuses to do anything worth showing in public. The cat refuses to cooperate with me making me run even more late than before. The student who decides to do something stupid for attention gets it from me in the form of a very embarrassing put-down that REALLY makes me question my ability as a teacher. I continue to eat lunch alone afraid that somebody will either make me mad or I will annoy them and further distance myself from everybody. I look at petfinder for the perfect puppy to take my cares away. Andrew tells me I can't have one cause I'm too stressed. I say that's exactly why I need one. He doesn't understand. Nobody understands. Self-pity drives me to class that night. I get a strong impression I talk too much in class, but still have the need to ask questions. I decide I'm going to ask the questions anyway, but now feel stronger than ever that I talk too much and go home that night telling myself what a horrible classmate I am. I take the bowl of popcorn from Saturday's matinee to bed with me as I stay up way too late watching TV.

Ok, you get it. You probably get it all too well. I'm sure (ok, I'm not sure, just REALLY hoping) that this is a common play-by-play for many out there. But I'm also sure most of you are not currently in it. There must be a way out.
So before I take my popcorn to bed one more night, please please help me break this.

What I really now is the sword of the spirit to encourage me. I need verses from God's Word to empower me to break through the spiral.

It can't be human encouragement - because then it feeds my self-pity and self-doubt ("They're just saying that cause they feel sorry for me...").

So please, warriors, help me out. Help me break this spiral before I further alienate myself or worse - finish the ice cream all by myself.
Help me, blogger world. You're my only hope.