Sunday, August 25, 2013

the reflection of truth

have you ever been guilty of making things appear like they are peachier than they really are? this was me yesterday. i posted this photo of my daughter and i watching the cowboys game on facebook with this caption:

"Come on Cowboys...let's finish this! To watch our first game we had to buy it for $10 after 6 sitters couldn't babysit last minute, but watching with this lil' fan is fun. K loves saying "TOUCHDOWN COWBOYS!"

fun? not so much. i had to wrangle Kennedy to get her to take the picture and bribe her with a dark chocolate peanut butter cup 10 minutes before dinner just to say cheese. all day it seemed the whining and fighting between morgan and kennedy WOULD. NOT. STOP. because of my killer workout 3 days ago, i was still incredibly sore. when i woke up, i felt like an 85-year-old woman stricken with arthritis. this was not a recipe for a good mood.

i lost my cool and yelled about the girls' behavior to ken and at them, multiple times. i seriously lost track of how many timeouts and wooden spoon spankings kennedy got. by far, the most challenging day we've had parenting her in a long, long time.

but don't we look happy and full of joy?

truth? what we put out there, isn't always a reflection of what is REALLY going on in our lives.

most of us probably start our day intentionally seeking joy... and sometimes, it simply does not work. some days just suck. all of the days the Lord has given us are meant for joy and if we wake up, He has promised yet another blessed day.

where it goes haywire is us...the human spirit. the rebellious, selfish, my-agenda mentality. taking our gaze off of Him, and onto us.

yesterday i had an agenda of watching the cowboys game ('cause y'all all know what a crazy fan i am!) and i wouldn't die to fulfilling that need. i figured i deserved it since i haven't watched a game yet. yeah, yeah, it's only preseason...but i am a CRAZY fan.

i texted 6 babysitters, 3 of which i have been meaning to interview/meet but who have never watched the girls. (i know your mouth is gaping wide open, thinking i just texted some random people off the street; but i assure you these 3 sitters are strong recs from my friends.) ken and i were kind of desperate to get the heck outta dodge for a couple hours. i think the longest stretch of no whining and crying we had all day was 1 min and 37 seconds.

we couldn't find a sitter so we ordered the game for $10. and my selfless husband let me watch most of it while he missed a good portion. active girls like ours can only be entertained with "touchdown cowboys!" for like 10 minutes max. and somebody had to bathe and feed them.

halfway through the game i found the bargain of the year on craigslist for $60. a fantastic outdoor patio set. ken and i finally sat down to eat at 8:30 after a challenging time of him putting down the girls, and i asked my weary husband to drive a half hour to pick it up. he said he would but admitted he was so very, very tired.

when i looked into his exhausted eyes, i realized, i am SMOKIN' CRACK!

"no honey, i'll go. you need to rest. you need some time alone." i can load it up, no problem (never mind that i can't hardly lift the girls today.)

i drove the 30 minute trip reflecting on how selfish i had been all day. tears filled my eyes and i was very disappointed in myself so i repented and prayed. on the way home, i opened the sun roof and blasted JT's 20/20 album.

this morning i woke up at 6:10am and got to experience my new-to-us patio set with 2 cups of coffee and a full dose of Jesus.

i was reading "mended" by angie smith, and came across this jewel:

"The consolation we have in considering our failures comes from knowing that He sees our hearts. It doesn't make what we have done right, no question. But it also doesn't separate us from Him if we have trusted in Christ."

Jesus. Grace. and today, a fresh start.

how many times do we get derailed by a bad day and not realize the new day has come, the sin is confessed and forgiven and we can start anew? many, many difficult parenting days and failures mount and we start to believe we can't get out of the valley of tantrums, messy diapers and children flopping around on the ground. we start to believe we are actually the worst parent ever. isn't that just the enemy whispering?

oh dear friend, do not listen. embrace grace and start fresh.

after i finished my quiet time, i sat down out on my patio to type this blog post when i heard pitter-patter steps behind me. i pushed my laptop aside and chose to put her first, to start the day out right, and read her the children's bible and pray.

in this moment, i am a great parent. how do i get to that mentality after yesterday's disaster? a moment-by-moment breath-by-breath prayer I pray for patience, guidance and discipline. a wise lady taught me this strategy...she happens to be my mother. :)

i snapped this pic where you can see i started out reading the 10 commandments which is where we are in her bible. however, after i read the first page, she grabbed the bible and INSISTED we start over, yet again. almost every day that we get out her bible (not implying we read every single day, but we surely try), she wants to start over with adam and eve and the snake and the apple.

she can't get enough of God's perfect world he created and how we screwed it up.

surely soon she'll be able to "read" the entire story herself. she has this incredible memory...and this incredible smile. i'm so blessed to be her mommy, even on the most challenging days.

Lord. please remind me of this in the midst of all the insane 3 1/2-year-old behavior. Amen.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

get up off my a$$ and....change!

for awhile i've been posting here and there about my weight loss journey on facebook; never on this blog. and for a 14-year recovering anorexic/bulimic, this post is hard to reveal numbers and details of my up-and-down weight struggle.

but sometimes we have to do hard things...

in my life, i've been really thin and i've been obese. and last year after i had back surgery, my doctor told me to pick another form of exercise, instead of running, to lose weight. "it's bad for your back, your knees, and your whole body," he said.

let's be clear; i LOATHE running. i really, really hate it. but it's the one way i know to drop weight. and i've started training for my huge BUCKET LIST item -- TO COMPLETE A HALF MARATHON before conceiving each of my 3 children. each and every time i had to stop training due to the high risk factors of my pregnancies.


(dang hills and all!)
and you know what is so cool?? JUNE 1, 2014 will be my 15th year of deliverance from a life-altering and life-threatening eating disorder.

My heaviest, at 205 lbs, the day I delivered Morgan, Oct. 17, 2011.

with Ken gone to Afghanistan last year and my back surgery in April '12, which practically eliminated working out except swimming and walking, i tried to eat healthy and i started losing weight. after all, what's sexier than losing some LBS when my man walked off that plane from war? and please don't get my wrong, Ken LOVES me any size. he truly does. he has seen me (and loved me) in 7 different sizes. SEVEN! and he has always told me i'm sexy at all of those sizes. but i wanted to do something for myself.

i NEEDED to prove to myself i could get up off my ass and make a change.

the pain i was in for a year post back surgery, up until this past April, was 100% real and physically limiting. and it sure was a good excuse to be lazy and large. even though i dropped down to 169 pounds when Ken came home from Afghanistan in Nov '12, i packed on 15 pounds over the winter months. i stopped eating hummus and carrots for dinner and actually cooked and barely exercised, and boom, i'm back up to 184 pounds in Jan '13.

i got just enough mad at myself this past february that i decided to do something about it. plus, all these freakin' people in san diego are SKINNY!!! (totally unhealthy mindset, but seriously a motivator! always honest on this blog.)

i joined weight watchers and this time i went to meetings. (before my wedding i did WW online to lose 25 pounds). the night before i joined WW in february, i took myself out on a solo date night and ate a crazy huge 4-course italian dinner. i gained 2 pounds just that night. no joke.

my starting weight in WW...186 in early Feb. '13

i learned a lot at meetings and i felt like i was back in high school. this time though, competing with myself. every week, i wanted to get on that scale and lose 1-2 pounds. slow and steady is the name of the game.

Me on Aug 17, 2013 at 162 pounds

as of last week, i have lost 24 pounds in 6.5 months, now weighing 162 pounds. my goal weight is 140, and i sure as heck don't care about the numbers. i just know that my 5' 6" frame is comfortable in size 6/8 clothes and that's what it'll take to get there.

this morning when the girls were just sitting down to eat and Ken was leaving for work, he came over to hold our hands and pray for our day. our routine: ken prays, then i pray, and the girls smile and giggle. kennedy's not a morning person like her mama, so i pray with her about her day later. :) morgan prays we'll give her back her bobby (aka paci).

today, ken left and swatted me on the butt and said, "hot mama."

and you know what, i felt proud of my hard work.

it's not easy being a mom, a wife, making new friends in a new city, and launching a business. but i have said yes to myself - to have the time to exercise, to pray, and to see change in myself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.

sure i have more work to do, but i've lost 43 pounds in 22 months through having a baby, being limited in exercise for 1 year due to back surgery, weight watchers, and now...really exercising; really pushing myself.

today at the YMCA i ventured into an intermediate/advanced class called body sculpt. let's just settle on the fact it needs to be renamed "advanced/bad-ass advanced level." i should have known i was going to be near death when the instructor, Kelly, introduced herself to me the newbie, and said it was a "drill style class at your own pace."

s&%t. what have i gotten myself into?

in the first 5 minutes, i was introduced to 20 burpees. this is an exercise from the devil. i'm sure of it.

i tried not to throw up. burpees then jumping jacks and then push-ups. we did as many as we could: 20 burpees, 10 jumping jacks and 10 push-ups for 5-8 mins. i lost track. and, this was called the "warm up." crap, i'm in real trouble here.

during this "warm up" people were talking and when there was a break in the conversation, i made sure everybody in the class knew i had NOT done this style of class since my instructor, Sarah Hart kicked my butt in Crete, Greece in Mar '09. FOUR, AND SOME CHANGE, YEARS PEOPLE! i hired her to help me lose the obvious baby weight after losing matthew phillip, and dang, she was good. this instructor, Kelly...i just knew, she was that good too.

10:10am: doing lunge things that made my legs shake, i begged God to move the clock to 10:55am fast.
10:15am: the hell with real push ups, i'm dropping to my knees.
10:20am: great, i'm now a full 3-4 mins behind the last person in the class.
10:22am: no wonder all these women are keeping up; i've got 25 pounds on the heaviest gal in here.
10:25am: Jesus, if you will create a power outage, i will give all my money to starving children in Africa.
10:28am: i don't make much $; but please for the love, POWER. OUTAGE. NOW!
10:30am: realizing i've fallen 5-6 mins behind and pains thoughout my entire body, i'm now doing plank things on a ball and lifting weights into the air. but i still...keep pushing myself. who cares if i keep having to ask "ok, what's next?" the girl next to me is at least 4 sets/exercises ahead of me and she can't remember what i'm to do next. awesome.
10:31am: a woman walks by with a newborn and Kelly, the instructor, goes over there. THANK YOU JESUS. i need water. i need to breathe.
10:32am: please Lord, have Kelly hold that baby and get some sweet baby love. I. NEED. A. LONGER. BREAK.
10:33am: she's back, so i'm back. great. but no way am i cutting corners. is that girl really 7 sets ahead of me?
10:34am: Lord, can you strike Kelly down, dead?
10:35am: how many of these? in plank position, my arms are now swaying back and forth like the pirate ship ride at the fair. my arm's gonna snap any minute.
10:37am: Jesus, i lost my mind a couple minutes ago asking if you would kill Kelly. just kill me. but also, break her arm so she can't keep pushing us??
10:40am: i keep pushing myself, so red in the face and dizzy, i think, i don't need a power outage...i'm just gonna pass out and wake up to somebody doing mouth-to-mouth on me.
10:50am: Kelly yells, "WAY TO GO CORTNEY!" as i finally finish my set and head out the door for a run down the hall, about 5 minutes behind the last person.
10:51am: let's face it; if she hadn't given me a shout-out, i would have punched her in the face.
10:53am: i get back from the short run thinking, whew, i made it. it's O-V-E-R and i'm A-L-I-V-E. then i entered the studio and saw people on balls against the wall doing more push ups. FOR. THE. LOVE. isn't this class over at 10:55?
10:59am: I FINISH! and multiple people told me how proud they were i hung in there and finished without cheating. i smiled and barely said thank you. ('cause give me a break ladies, on that last set, i did 12, not 15. i live by grace!)

after class i got to talk to a girl who has had 4 knee surgeries. she was told not to run again and got up to 203 pounds. she's maybe a buck fifteen now and has ran 20-something half's and 1 full. way to go, Joann! after i came to, from my out-of-body experience, where i lasted 59 minutes, doing God-knows-what to my body in that "intermediate" class, i thanked Kelly and asked, "when's the next class?"

Tuesday? i'll be there.

note the super-red face and yes, the blonde behind me is Kelly. Jesus did not break her arm during class.

i don't think i've completely unpacked all that that class has done for me. but i know it has made me stronger physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.


when i set out this morning i said to Jesus, surprise me with something cool and unexpected today.


what is it you find to be impossible in your life? do you need to challenge yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and/or mentally?
always remember that striving and struggle precede success, even in the dictionary.
- Sarah Ban Breathnach
p.s. this is a 2 or 3 part post. tomorrow i'll be writing about thyroid disease and how i've had it for a long time, but only diagnosed just a few months ago.

Friday, August 9, 2013

3 signs mama's sick

1) piles of laundry that need to be folded
2) sink full of dishes

3) "i'm sorry you're sick" flowers!

dang, i'm spoiled by this little family of mine. especially this wonderful, wonderful man. he takes care of me in so many ways...and is so gentle and loving when i'm sick.

9 years married; 11 together. i mean we have a love, like no other, people. really.
see for yourselves:  

he's all mine y'all!!
and he's got 50+ more years of me, god bless 'em.
what's that honey?? now you're sick, puking, and fever ridden. ughhhhh. yeah, yeah, i'll be off of facebook and done updating my blog in just a second....

Thursday, August 8, 2013

i need help! my gallbladder exploded!

after spending last night in the ER, i awoke out of my foggy state of i-don't-know-where-i-am mind. i reached for my cell phone and it said 10:50am. i stumbled into the kitchen to find a teenage girl and 2 toddlers. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE??? now i remember, this is our babysitter and these are my kids.

for 12 hours yesterday i was in the ER puking and balling, crumpled over in unbearable stomach pain until i got the good drugs. then i was as high as a kite. i ended up in the ER because my surgeon said i had to go.

you see, 3 weeks ago, my gallbladder decided to explode without proper notice. 2 days before my birthday on july 14, i sent my family off to church thinking i had the stomach flu. while they were at church i barely drove myself to the ER and the next day i was getting that bad-boy out. my hospital experience shall i say this?...lacking, to say the least. between the 3 infiltrated IVs exploding, lack of aggressive pain mangement pre-op, incorrect post-op info by a medical student, MIA surgical team who didn't visit me until the day after my surgery, unprofessional conduct, intern giving me discharge instructions with potentially lethal dose of extremely strong pain medicine (which is never given to post-surgical patients), and post-surgical infection, i. was. done!!

so yesterday when i started vomiting violently and had major stomach pain and cramping, we called the surgeon and he instructed me to go to the ER, get thoroughly checked out, and a member of his team would come and evaluate me. we certainly considered going to a civilian hospital given the abovementioned experience i had, but we're a family who believes in second chances. and i'll say with 99% certainty, they must have thought i was the admiral's wife. i had excellent care for the entire 12 hours i was there. other than the 2 hours we waited to be seen, it was a great experience. except if you ask the nurse and nursing student i puked in front of, slash, on. they were all updating their facebook status' with "gross, a patient puked on me today."

at the end of the day, i was sent home with a diagnosis of the stomach flu. thank you Jesus! during my ultrasound the radiologist thought he saw some fluid where my gallbladder had been. this could have been a big deal (general anethesia in the OR to do a surgical drain) or no big deal. so they sent me for further evaluation and to get a CT scan. 4-5 hours later, nothing. as in no fluid at all. a Jesus miracle? or a radiologist who mistakenly thought it was fluid. i don't know. all i know is i didn't have to get another surgery and i was as happy as a parent on back-to-school day.

ok, with all that background, i can now explain my blog title..."i need help!"

these 3 words are so hard for me to say. some people have a hard time saying i love you. not me. i'll love you to the moon and back. but to tell you i need you, is so very, very difficult for me. 3 weeks ago when we were faced with my surgery and a week of work ken could absolutely not miss, we had to say....

i need you.

i need meals. i need childcare. i need prayer. i need support. i need a shoulder to cry on. i need you to change your plans and be here.

we have lived in SD for 7 months and cautiously i have been sticking my toe in the water. that's it. i joined a MOPS group in February. a neighborhood moms group the same month. a group from our church getting together for weekly dinners last month. attended one event of the navy officer's spouses club.

in other words, i haven't completely jumped in.

i'm not sure why i was holding back but i was. everyone we met was nice but i have not made many, "hey can you drop everything, go to my house and watch my kids so my husband can come up to the ER" kind of friendships. we knew 8 families when we moved here; 3 of which we hadn't connected with yet because honestly, my lack of trying, 1 we ran into once, and 4 that lived 30 mins-1 hour away (that we have been able to hang out with a few times). the day of my first ER visit 3 of those families we knew were out of town.

and seriously, people have their own hands full with their own kids and can i ask them to be apart of mine??

sometimes it's just SO HARD to be a military family away from family.

but creatively, God provided help and coverage the week of my surgery and Ken was able to go to work all week; the most important week of his 3-year tour here -- the joint commission for the hospital. (This is basically where they come out every 3 years and say whether you can keep your doors open. And Ken's the facilities department head for the it was kind of important he be there!) my dad and stepmom changed their plans to go to chicago to meet my nephew so they could come help us and they were here for almost 2 weeks. they went home this past weekend, and boom, the stomach flu came at me like a spider monkey. the doctor explained that the excruitiating pain i felt was from strained muscles at my surgery incision sites when i was vomiting. ahhh-ha. ok, that makes sense. because i've had the stomach flu before, but i sure didn't require a trip to the ER!

and yet again, yesterday we rounded up 4 people to watch our kids so ken could be with me almost the whole 12 hours i was in the ER. it was HARD to ask for help. a couple people just offered. and we asked a few others. but if Ken was going to be with me at the ER, we had to say "YES" to receiving and asking for help.

sure, we all want to believe we can do everything, always, on our own, within our little family. but i believe that's a sad, lonely way to live and not what God designed for us. i believe life is supposed to be lived in community. and while i was putting myself into community where i could make these connections, i only put one toe in. when it came time to "call in case of emergency," i had to get on facebook and email to send messages because i didn't even have phone numbers.

i believe God designed the exploding gallbladder in my life to get my attention. cortney, i intend good things for you in San Diego. i want you to be who I've designed you to be; to love, serve and give to others...and to receive from those like you. but first, you have to really, REALLY put more skin in the game. toes in the water aren't going to make deep, lasting friendships; you have to...


so, to my exploding gallbladder and the lessons i've learned from it so far...thank you. i'm sorry you had to go to the medical-waste-whereever-they-put-ya place. it can't be good. but i hope you rest in peace. i will, now that you're gone.

subsequently, when i rejoined the world this morning, i logged onto my computer and cruised through my online devotionals and read this - the (in)courage posting from yesterday when i went to the ER.

of course...