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Letting Go by Looking Up

30 Jan

I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find that when I attempt to save this blog post I am prompted to change the title due to the fact that I have already written one named this.  It seems like it’s something I have struggled with, constantly.  Feeling the need to control or be in control or….well, worry.

Let me back up really fast before I dive in.  I have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression in my life and I deal with both quite regularly.  It doesn’t mean I am never happy or always fidgety or ever crazy…it just means that is my reality and just as you’d take medicine for cholesterol or diabetes, I take medication for that.  End of story, not up for debate and save the judging for Jesus, okurrrr?  🙂

So….when I go to a retreat or am in a period of deep thought or reading a devotion I am consistently looking for what the Lord is showing me through His Word, praise and worship music and through other people.  I was blessed to be able to attend You Are last weekend.  If you are local…or not…you need to just start planning on being there next year.  It is indescribable. Such a gift that I live just a few miles from where it is held but honestly, after going the last two years…if they moved it to the moon I’d be there!   It is so well thought out…with times of praise, worship, prayer, teaching, fellowship and even shopping!  One of the greatest moments I experienced there this year was in the prayer room….  Again, I can’t even describe the feeling of being one of HUNDREDS of women literally waiting in a line for prayer (by over twenty other women that were pouring out prayers over others!!)…it was a surreal moment to see the huge calling for prayer set before me so visually….and to be honest that was the first thing I thought of in reflection.  It gave me a new focus and new thirst to be in prayer for those that are hurting, doubting, stressing, searching…..just all the things.  Whew.

As I prepared my heart for even getting out of my seat to go to that place, I found myself wrestling with the question of what exactly I was going to ask for prayer about.  My health?  My family?  Our country? My parents or inlaws?  Friends that are in need of healing?  Friends that are hurting?  These are things I pray for every single day, mind you…but would I use this time to really focus on any of those things?  I literally started making a list in my notes of the things that I found myself worrying about….x, y, z….1, 2, 3….and I had quite a list, y’all.  I was saying to myself…”hmm, I worry about this and that and them and those”…..and then, I am just going to tell you exactly how it happened…..I prayed one more time for the Lord to just fix my eyes on the thing that He would have me pray for.  My eyes searched up and down the list I had made…..and then as clear as the sun, a word jumped off of the page…..as I realized it was listed over and over and over (honestly more than I even remember writing it!!) – WORRY.

Y’all this was NOT breaking news for me.  This was not some revelation that I never realized I had a problem with.  This was the same old thing creeping back up and making me realize I push it back down and don’t deal with it.  SO many times I pray about trusting more, I push it down and then it pops up again….within MOMENTS.  Not this time.  I am telling you that had the devil himself stood between me and that prayer room I truly believe I could have fought him with my own little hands.  This was an urgent kind of need to pray….but I am not going to paint the picture that I went in there and never “worried” once I stepped foot in there…because I did just that.  Once I wrote my name on a tag and sort of came out of the “moment” a bit…I started to (over)think about who I might be praying with.  Would I have to tell them my life story?  How could I work in the depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, move from NC to TX, the fact that I’ve had five surgeries in as many years (four of those pretty major)…in a short period of time and still get across ALL THE THINGS?  My heart raced.

But, God.

When the sweet lady led me to the face of the woman that would be praying over me, I saw a friend.  As a matter of fact, I had sat beside her the night before at the conference.  We had held hands in prayer for the conference.  We have had coffee dates and she was even my Bible study leader my first year here in Texas.  She gave me a look of, “are you ok with me praying for you?” and I laughed and said “YES!!  I don’t have to tell you my life story – you already know it!!”

So, with all of that behind me, and as another reminder that He has little ole ME in the palm of His pierced hands….I admitted that I have a problem with WORRYING.  That sometimes it consumes me and I know it’s not healthy.  I know it’s not something He rejoices in.  I know it is not from Him and I know without a shadow of a doubt, that He wants more for me.  He wants me to trust Him completely.  With the huge things – which I seem to have less of a problem with….but also, with the silly things that seem to “worry” me all day long!  I received such a blessing in that prayer room…a prayer so sweet, so freeing, so intentional and so perfect JUST FOR ME.  I truly believe the Holy Spirit got me to that room and interceded where I was absolutely DREADING to go and admit my failures.  When I think of the BIG things in life, I truly feel like I trust Jesus….totally.  But, y’all, with the mundane little things?  The things that likely most of you don’t even bat an eyelash at????  Ummmmmmmmm…….

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Seriously, that was my life!!!  All the doctor appointments, the waiting for test results, the day to day things that were not 100% clear or answered – WORRY.  The feeling that I might not be doing enough, or doing too much, or being unsure about directions to a place…the worry that I might feel *gasp* embarrassed.

Well. Not. Any. Longer.

I cannot tell you the peace or difference that I feel today versus even Friday.  Only hours have passed but I feel like a lifetime has.  I cannot imagine the hours I have wasted in my life of trying to retain control over a situation that was absolutely not mine.  That was not my circus, my monkeys, my family or even my friends….  I have always excused my worrying ways with statements like “I just worry for everyone” or “that’s just me” or by calling it something that it is not – like anxiety.  They are two different things.  Yes, both can lead to physical FEELINGS but my worry was out of control and Jesus is healing it.  He is helping me remove that from my life and I cannot tell you the weight that is off of my shoulders today.

I have not shared this with anyone, becuase I felt like I needed to tell the WHOLE story – all at once – and not pieces of it…so that it’s clear that I am not judging people who have a tendency to worry.  You do you, boo.  I had to deal with the root cause of a lot of the issues I was facing – the things that were keeping me up at night – the things I felt so deeply were affecting my daily life (besides my fatigue) in such a large way.   This was a HUGE thing…and does it likely feed into the depression and anxiety that I face?  I have a hard time thinking it does not.  So, who knows how this whole thing will effectively change my life in more ways than one?  God does.  He’s already worked this all out and tied it up in a bow….and I’m just here with a smile on my face, a song in my heart and a considerably stuffy nose from the crazy amounts of crying I did this weekend.  It was amazing, to say the least.  To know that there was a purpose for my attendance there, totally just makes me so grateful that I answered His call to go.

I am already so very excited for next year’s conference.  Instead of worrying about who I’ll go with, what I’ll wear, the perfect time to arrive….my thoughts are full of promise and wonder about what answers He will reveal to me next year.  What will this year in between look like for my spiritual walk?  How is He going to use me to show and tell others about His love and His provision?  Ohhh the possibilities are endless and so is His love.  For that, I am SO grateful.  Without a worry in the world.

 

Focusing on the grace…not so much the race

17 Jan

This is a post I’ve wanted to share for a long time. I’ve written probably fifteen iterations of it over the last few months and every time I let fear win…I delete…I walk away…I keep it to myself.

I’ve not landed on a word for 2020 yet. I had one last year…I’ll probably decide on one this year, but it’s something I do with prayer and intention…but I can tell you that a theme I keep hearing in music, in scripture, in prayer and in life – is SHARING. So, I’m going to DO THAT. When I feel something resonate with me that I hope can help others, I have a natural inclination to want to share it. So here it is today:

Having something wrong with you that others cannot see is a struggle. When I show up at Bible Study with my hair curled, a dress on and my shoes actually match…you don’t know that I had to wash my hair the night before because there’s no way I can wash, dry and fix my hair without a break in between. You don’t know that I had to pick out my clothes the night before to make it easier for myself the next morning or that I decided against makeup because holding my arms up for extended periods of time makes me exhausted. You don’t see the tears I cried last night because I didn’t feel like cooking dinner for my family because I knew it would wear me out and that a bath would be out of the question….because even that is tiring. You don’t see the depression that cycles from missing out on life events…the anxiety that comes with planning anything – literally anything – because I am afraid that when it rolls around I will be too fatigued to show up. You don’t see the worry that comes from letting people down and fearing that they won’t give you grace – again.  You don’t see the disappointment from getting excited about getting out and doing something but then it’s “one of those days” and there is NO way you can make it out of the house….and quite frankly, the bed.  You don’t see the way I miss the race of deadlines and a work family and last minute presentations.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a THING.  It is one of MY things and I have truly tried to own it.  To just live with it…to give MYSELF the grace that I’d extend to any of my loved ones.  To pace myself. To do what I can and focus on THAT.  Focusing on the things I can’t do…the things I run out of steam for…the things that do not get crossed off of the list? That leads to frustration, shame and sadness.  Which puts me in a funk…which leads to a depressive state…which….are you seeing a pattern here?

When you see someone with a cast or a sling or hear them coughing or see visible scars – is your inclination to judge them or feel a certain pang of hurt for their illness/injury?  Just because all scars are not visible does not mean that we don’t all have them and need that sympathetic/empathatic smile you’d give someone that you knew was going through something based on their appearance.  I have to tell you, I barely made it through this afternoon.  I overcommitted myself this week and I was struggling this afternoon.  Once I had the chance, I got comfy and I slept for HOURS. I needed it. It didn’t mean I am lazy or worthless or unproductive.  It meant I was taking care of a need.  I needed rest.  But don’t think I didn’t go to my calendar, make a line for rest, draw a box AND CHECKED IT OFF.  Focus on what you CAN do, friends.  It makes a world of difference.

*******SIDE NOTE TANGENT BELOW*******

While I’m at it…a reminder…check on your friends.  The sick, the well, the strong, the weak.  The busy, the bored, the employed, the retired, the traveling, the homebodies….ALL THE PEOPLE.  Ask how they are…and listen to the answer.  And y’all…if someone asks how you are, TELL THEM.  I don’t know about you but I mean it when I ask someone how they are really doing….I want to hear the truth.  I don’t want to a hear a standard answer or a flippant reply.  I want to know HOW they ARE….how can I be praying for them….have the prayers I’ve been praying been answered?  I value my friendships…I value my prayer time…and I want to be sure that my friends know I am praying for them with intention, as specific as possible and as often as I say I am.

Weight Loss Chronicles ~ TOC

24 Feb

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have been contacted by a friend from high school, a neighbor or a perfect stranger to ask for help as they decide whether or not to take the plunge and have Weight Loss Surgery.  It can be SO intimidating and stressful throughout the process and especially when thinking of maintaining a new life and a new relationship with food.  I am always SO happy to help and always direct them to this blog as well as my Instagram feed for WLS (username:  rnyftw) but I have noticed how hard it is to go back and reference each stage of my journey so I thought I’d link it all here to help anyone (and myself!) who may need to see a specific one:

WLS Chronicles – The Decision

WLS Chronicles – The Initial Visit

WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Testing

WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Diet

WLS Chronicles – Surgery Day!

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 1 -3 Clear Liquids)

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 4 -13)

WLS Chronicles – Emotions

WLS Chronicles – HELP!!! (links to apps, and support talk)

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 14 – 20) ~ Semi-Solids

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 21/Week 4 – Day 41/Week 6) ~ Soft Foods

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 42/Week 7 – Three Months Post-Op)

WLS Chronicles ~ Week 14 Update

WLS Chronicles ~ Dining Out

WLS Chronicles ~ Maintaining

I hope that makes it easier for everyone to reference the stage they are looking for!  If you have ANY questions beyond what I’ve blogged out, please please please reach out to me!  My email is mrsjmejones@gmail.com and I truly do enjoy helping others in their journey as well!

 

Promises, Promises

23 Feb

I am so human.  SO human.  I am also SO thankful that Jesus is much more than that.  That His promises are guarantees.  That said, I am going to promise you that I am going to update you, in due time, on all of the changes that have gone on in my life in the last year.  I will try to follow through with this but I will likely fail….but I do PROMISE you that I have good intentions!  If you have followed or known me long at all, you know that I love lists…so I will just jot down here the changes and come back here to link once I actually type it out!

In 2017 – we……..

  1. Sold our NC home.
  2. Lived with my Mom and Dad (and without my hubby!!!) for two months.
  3. Moved to Texas.
  4. Road tripped to Austin, Houston, Waco, Arlington, and Galveston.
  5. Lived in an apartment for several months.
  6. Started an amazing Bible study, through Community Bible Study.
  7. Continued weight loss.
  8. Built a house.  An amazing, beautiful, creation if I do say so myself!  (see #10 for referenced IG acct to see pics)
  9. Started backyard projects.
  10. Started a home decor Instagram page (due to that nagging fear of my friends/family growing tired of me sharing home stuff) at http://www.instagram.com/sweetcharmhouse
  11. Visited NC in July and December.
  12. Stepped up our prayer life.

SO, happy Friday and have a great weekend!  I’m going to work on my blog catch up posts!  🙂

 

Onward…

30 Dec

I don’t like resolutions.  I shy away from predictions.  I am more of a “goals and objectives” kinda gal.  In – SHOCKER – a list form!  Here are some of my goals for the coming year:

  1. Read the Bible AT LEAST daily.
  2. Become more active in my church. Also, if I’m uncomfortable with that, find a church that I am comfortable with doing that in.
  3. Keep blogging.  I love to journal and I love the feedback that I get.  It’s not usually in comments, but rather in emails or direct messages that are from close friends.  I appreciate that so much.
  4. Do more random acts of kindness.  How about making them NORMAL and not RANDOM?
  5. Disney. Again.
  6. Make sure my teenagers know how very special they are…and then keep telling them.  Every day.  I see so much hurt in teens all over the place and I need to be SURE I don’t have that under my roof.  Ever.
  7. Be more expressive of my feelings in person.  I have a pretty hefty problem of expressing myself if you’re in the same room with me.  Over blogs, texts, emails – I can rock out words a plenty.  I need to get over it.

I’ll never ask my mom for oatmeal cookies again…

26 Dec

It’s so hard to believe that it’s come and gone.  That the long-awaited day of celebrations of our Savior’s birth…with presents and food and family has happened and is now a memory.  As I upload the photos to my computer and try to process the frenzy of the last few days….I thought I’d list out some things that I hope I remember a year from now…or even 5…but hopefully 30.  You know I can turn anything into bullet form.  🙂

  • Oatmeal cookies are good.  But making them is NOT an easy task.
  • My boys DO count presents.
  • Mama will let you help.  If she has a debilitating illness.
  • Family really is the best part of it.  Hands down.
  • If your husband buys you that Kitchen-Aid mixer, he WILL expect you to USE it.
  • When people say “if you need me, just call” – they might really mean it.
  • Santa can find his way in even if you don’t have a chimney, a special key for him or sleigh parking.
  • The more you say “I’m not going to overdo it this year.” is proportional to the amount in which you WILL.
  • Kids are really fun to watch open presents. The wonder, the surprise, the smiles…it just makes the hustle and bustle and money and time SO WORTH IT.
  • It really is better to give than receive.  Honestly.
  • There is no better party than a pajama party.
  • McDonald’s really is the only place open.  Really.
  • Being able to help your parents out more than ever is still rewarding even if your Mom is sick and that’s the only reason she let you do most of the grocery shopping.
  • Having a sick mommy on Christmas is pretty much the same as having a sick kiddo at Christmas.  Feels just as yucky and you want to take it away for them!
  • Real friends wear pajamas to your house.  And don’t care that you’re still in them.
  • Reading the Bible on Christmas Eve with your kids is actually that awesome.  Having a husband that explains things and is so patient with them is even more awesome.
  • When it’s all said and done and your four year old lists out a few toys as her fave parts of the day….but ends with, “but spending time with my family was the best thing ever” – it’s okay to cry.  It’s probably preferred to exploding internally.

Merry Christmas to everyone reading.  It’s been a great one for us and I hope it has been for you as well!

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Countless Captions – My Daddy

27 Nov

So, I did this earlier with my great-grandmother’s picture…and I thought it was time again.  Chose THIS GUY…since it was just his birthday and I had this awesome picture of him!

That man right there is my Daddy.  He’s a great husband to my Mom, a wonderful Daddy to us girls, and a fabulous Papa to all the grandkids.  This pic was taken at his birthday party just a couple of weeks ago.  It makes me think of a few things:

  • to get my Daddy to smile straight on in a pic – IMPOSSIBLE
  • his laugh, which is contagious
  • his love of San Felipe where he orders “pollo VANDITO” every time, no matter how many times I correct him (fundido)
  • our Sonic dates when I was a teenager…every Friday night
  • his height…six feet six inches..he has always been the “jolly green giant” to me
  • him taking me to my first race in 1989…getting vomited on and leaving early!  LOL
  • Darrell Waltrip
  • that stache. (Victor Newman?  LOL  Weekend at Bernie’s??)
  • I remember hanging out with him when my mom worked in retail and we would order pizza, those were some of my favorite nights!
  • That time we sat on the floor together to watch Miami Vice and he ended up with knee surgery (womp womp wompppp)
  • I also remember the gut-wrenching feeling of disappointing him (too many times)…and the hurt look in his eyes…thinking there was NO way he could feel as bad as I did (as a parent know, I know that’s not the case)
  • If you know my Dad, you know he watches commercials.  All of them.  And he likes to talk about them.  And I secretly sometimes watch the funny ones so we can talk about them. 🙂
  • Seeing him and Christian build things when Christian was about 3 or so….melting my heart.

I am so blessed with a Daddy.  Not a “father’ or a “dad”, but a DADDY.  He’s always been there for me and still is.  As a teen, when I thought I’d done that THING that would make him not love me anymore..it was when he surprised me and was more present than ever.  In my adult life now, I am so very thankful for my childhood relationship with him and even more for the grown up relationship too.  I truly believe I married someone that’s somewhat like him – and that makes me so very proud.

Gee Thanks!

23 Nov

So, I’ve been a bad, bad girl.  I haven’t been on FB to post every day what I’m thankful for!  <Gasp!>  (Before you think I’m talking about YOU, I did it last year and I didn’t hate it….so I’m not judging.)

But, we all know by now, I’m a list girl.  I’m thankful for lists.  That’s all!  Good night, thanks!

Okay…maybe…more….like…

  1. My personal relationship with my Lord and Saviour.  (If you don’t have that, please talk to me!)
  2. My sweet, considerate, funny hubby.  Our relationship is crazy strong and we are just getting started!  (Six years…)
  3. My kids…all three of them are so different but such great combinations of personality, wit and charm. (And sarcasm.)
  4. My family, every single member of it.  Both sides.  All sides. Especially the relationship with my Mom.  Always there for me.  Always willing to listen.  Also, the relationship between myself and my step-wife (my step-son’s Mom if you are not in the know) is such a blessing.  No drama, just working together for the good of our families that are intertwined.  Makes perfect sense, huh?  🙂
  5. Our home.  Though we are trying to sell it…it has provided shelter from storms, cold (hmm), heat and rain…we’ve welcomed a new life into this home together and had many moments of cheer and sadness as well.
  6. My job and it’s blessings..coworkers…my team..my boss..my friends made and kept there…
  7. Yoga pants
  8. Short hair (don’t care)
  9. Talenti gelato
  10. My wonderful family physician…Phillip takes such good care of us ALL!
  11. A clean house and the fabulous lady who makes that possible!!  (Love my cleaning angel!)
  12. That all my kids are potty trained!!!
  13. Social media. It’s been a lifeline at times for me. Might sound sad..but it’s true.
  14. Lifetime movies
  15. Nordstrom personal stylists. Sometimes when I put on one of the outfits she put together for me I’m still shocked that I’ve gone outside the box on some things.
  16. Hallmark Channel
  17. Dasani water
  18. Bojangles.  Just yes.
  19. Thyroid medicine.  Makes such a difference.
  20. Excel. Pivot tables. V look ups.
  21. Freedom
  22. Fantasy Football – gives me a reason to watch and spend time with my boys and hubby
  23. Blogging. A healthy outlet for me.

Just Beachy

22 Oct

Our time at the beach was short but it was FUN.  I’ll write in detail about it later I’m sure…as I’m exhausted and am going to listen to my body and rest.  For now, here is my reminder and your tease…in list form:

  1. Daddy’s driving
  2. Our Beach Residence
  3. Value of FaceTime
  4. Hamburger Joe’s
  5. Wonder Works
  6. HomeGoods and my chevron finds
  7. Skywheel at MB
  8. Krispy Kreme
  9. Teenage Boys
  10. Post-Mono Vacations

Countless Captions

13 Oct

So, many bloggers have a “Wordless” something post where they add a picture with no caption or explanation.  I thought I’d do something a little different since I am rarely never wordless and in fact have many, many words to share and do so quite often.

I decided to browse through my iPhoto album on my Mac which includes new and old photos…and stop on the one that evoked the most emotion.  What I stopped on was this sweet woman:

It is my great-grandmother, Myrtle.  She was my “Ma”.  She was everyone’s “Ma”, really.  Her picture reminds me of many things…

  • ear-bobs and ruffled shirts
  • exquisite clothing
  • frozen pizza with added toppings like ketchup and bacon
  • her art…capturing flowers or birds or fruit, in the most amazing of ways
  • Richard Petty
  • chicken pox
  • panty hose and black shoes
  • sugar
  • her poised demeanor
  • a formal “front room” where the Christmas tree was placed each year
  • low-pile carpet
  • her chair in the corner where she’d read or sew or talk
  • the gift of gab…she loved to talk (and I loved to listen)
  • her art supplies under the stairs
  • claw-foot tubs and the walk through between closets
  • attics full of treasure
  • my first Papa
  • thimbles
  • the stool beside her bed, the cause of many falls
  • Psalm 23 (on the wall beside her bed)
  • pies cooling on the porch
  • pecan trees and squirrels

Basically, it takes me back to being a child.  Of my mom letting me stay with her when I had the chicken pox.  She folded out the couch for me and took such good care of me.  She waited on me and enjoyed it.  So much.  And what she probably never knew was, having chicken pox was one of my favorite childhood memories.

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