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Where you are today…

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“Feeling tired, but thankful for the motivation to go running.”

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“I tried to smile, but today, it wouldn’t be real.”

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“Early morning fun with the Grandkids. Beyond joy.”

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“Feeling sick and defeated…but also loved because my mini is with me. Lord heal us quickly.”

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“Another day of doubles. 40 lbs down, so much freedom. My hair thinks so too.”

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“Impatient and now annoyed.”

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“So blessed…”

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“Hard to be motivated when I’m drowning in laundry and my bed making and closet look like a bomb went off in it.”

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Antsy.

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“Feeling Pampered. It’s hard to take time for myself…”

These Moments.

I am grateful. Overcome by your honesty. By the gift of your lives. By your realness.

You are so brave to share. Even if you’re tired. Even if you’re sad. Especially when your overwhelmed.

When we are real…in the bad and good, and messy and authentic– we are giving a gift to each other.

A gift of lives being lived.

The gift of lives so loved by God.

You may not see it…but your story is valued today.

Living Wednesday. Rocking what is so needed…Our Truth. Our Stories. Our Real World.

And this Moment.

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“I can’t not explain myself, I’m afraid sir,” said Alice. “Because I’m not myself you see.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Today I got mad.

Really mad. I got mad because I just want to feel normal again. I don’t want to have to work through things. I don’t want to feel inadequate or fake it until I make it. I want to be whole again.

Today I got mad.

Because I want to feel in control again. And be able to give advice on parenting, and things like colds- and not have insight on PTSD, and depression, and anxiety.

I want to be funny and not worry that I offended anyone. I want to sleep at night and not be tired all day. I want to to be real about shallow things like Mom Jeans and laugh about people who post pictures of themselves exercising so I can send pictures of “real me” exercising to my friend Brit.

I want to feel present in my life. Not like I’m watching through the glass like I have since Sunday.

Since Sunday I’ve allowed all these thoughts- or A.n.t.s( automatic negative thoughts- suck) into my stream of conscious and under my skin. And I’ve become so tired again. And low.

It’s always like that after I’ve had a good day.

Saturday was a good day…

Then I had a couple of how low can you go days. That’s being real.

So I got mad. And it ends now.

Right now.

I refuse to allow these a.n.t.s to infiltrate my mind. I refuse to allow the ways I’m inadequate define who I am.

So I’m different.
So I have off days.
But I have good days, and for a while there weren’t many of those.
And some days I don’t have a lot to offer,
But most days I can find beauty in small things I used to take for granted.

I don’t take anything for granted anymore.

Not when I’ve worked so hard to live.

Today I got mad.

And then I thought. And I prayed. And I looked inside.

And I began to clear out all those cob web thoughts and saw somethings with clarity.

And I became grateful.

And it surprised me. Because I never expected it.

I want a lot of things.

But if I hadn’t been there…

If I hadn’t known a dark night of the soul…

If I hadn’t loved and lost and been broken…

If I hadn’t watched the fierce love of my love living his vows…

I may have never known the tremendous flood of hope and overwhelming love of God.

If I hadn’t lost his voice during the dark*, I may have taken it for granted.

Which I won’t. Ever.

If I had never known that loneliness I would never have gained insight into people who don’t know Him. Don’t know that life shattering Love.

But I do. And it changed my world.

It broke me. But it also changed the way I live. The way I love.

A life of fresh eyes.

There will still be low days. And mad days. And a lot of days where I long for that wholeness again.

But until then I am so grateful that I can watch my children when I get home through the window. That I can watch them grow and live. That I can watch them play.

I am grateful I can feel. That I can feel anger. And passion. And remorse. That I can feel empathy for real pain.

That I can see God working in me. And know He is there.

I may not totally be myself. But I am alive!

I. Am. Real.

*i talk about my Dark Night of the Soul in an earlier post if you are confused…

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Did you know 10 years ago I lost 87 lbs? I probably told you about it, because after I lost it I gained a few things. I gained healthy eating habits. I gained a job and the opportunities that came with helping others change their lives. I gained an absolute love of exercise.

But about a year ago something happened.

I gained some weight back. I hadn’t changed my eating. I hadn’t changed my exercise. But what did happen, was my life changed. Stress began to weigh down on every part of my life and I gained 12 lbs that I had lost and kept off for years. It happened over night. The doctor called it a rise in Cortisol from stress related weight gain.

And it gave me no consolation. Because I’m a doer, not an excuser(is that a word?). But something else began to happen. I started down this path of self doubt. Even with everything I know. Especially with everything I know.

It doesn’t seem like a lot but it is when your clothes don’t fit. It is when it was the one thing I felt like I was really good at. And people are SO focused on weight. They want to praise it, and really it’s great, but it’s not when you’re struggling. It’s not when you just want people to love you because you are good and kind.

But I want to look good too.

I know…super pride here I come!

And it wasn’t as if I was one of those super fit, short shorts, half shirt, leave nothing to the imagination selfie takers.

Those people are annoying. But I also think they don’t love themselves either. Not the way they should. Not for why they are beautiful.

So I wasn’t a Yummy Mummy…

I was still me. With translucent skin, and spider veins, and saggy boobs, and stretch marks…but I fit into my clothes and I don’t care about those other things. The only person who needs to think I’m hot- is the man who has loved me most when I was a leaky breast- post baby- saggy hot mess.

So a Slummy Mummy, who was really ok with that.

But for me…I felt like last year, or what I will now call “the year which will not be mentioned” with all my learning, and growing, and being about as cracked as Humpty Dumpty- that maybe that part of me now should be bouncing back together again.

But it hasn’t.

And I hate it.

Because I’m different now. Not just with the weight. But on the inside. In my heart.
And I’m trying to figure out how when I started picking up the pieces, and God started healing me, that I forgot to remember how I used to be.

I don’t want to be so insecure. And I don’t want to still have such low days. I don’t want feel out of place at social functions. Or be so aware of what people think of me.

I just want to be me…again. With my clothes that fit.

But maybe. This is the real me. Now. I’m still getting to know her- but maybe she is the true in my skin, version of me. And I don’t know if I’m ok with that.

And yet…even with all my “don’t wants” I am realizing that I don’t want to be the one to try all the time, like I used to. I don’t want to be taken advantage of or waste my time with people who don’t really know me, or don’t even care to know the real me. Could I be both?

God…loves me. Even this new, still healing, still cracked open version of me. I am still a child of God. I’m still trying, moving, searching for his will in every facet of my life. Because he finds me worthy.

I’ve said it before but I was a damned good
mom before I lost my weight. And I still am.

I was a damned good wife as well.

But these self doubts were built over a life time of questioning whether I would ever be good enough. I remember as early as first grade, wondering if I was good enough. I remember being totally aware of how I didn’t always get things that others got. That I didn’t always understand how the other girls played, or how to react when they were mean. I was aware. That I stood out. That maybe I didn’t fit in. Early self doubt. Was I ever going to be good enough? Beautiful enough? Smart enough?

Especially for those I love…

Worthy enough.

Worth. It.

Oh…how my God…loves me. Today he loved me through a text from my friend Steph. A long time ago she and I were talking about the weight I had lost and she said she couldn’t imagine me having to lose that much weight. So randomly today I was cleaning and found a picture and texted it to her…

She texted back four powerful worlds…

You are still beautiful.

And It was as if the text came from heaven, because my day had been filled with all the doubts and don’t wants, and regrets about me. Who I was. Who I am. Today.

But my God…he loves who I am today.

You are still beautiful.

So, maybe I lost some of me in the year that shall not be mentioned.

But what did I gain?

I gained more Faith than I ever knew was possible.

I gained the knowledge of who was there and who my real friends are.

I gained a new-version of Me. And I think the little girl in the picture…the little girl in the dress her Mommy made…bright and bold- but so unsure, would like this me. She might even hold my hand. And walk with me. Because she never imagined her life could contain such beautiful blessings.

I lost so much.

But I gained Real.

I gained so much love.

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When I started this whole “real” thing I was prepared to be able to share all the beautiful things about my world.

Things like a messy lived in house, which to me is beautiful chaos. Beautiful moments in life and parenting. Beautiful imperfect relationships. Beautifully real people.

What I wasn’t prepared for was being asked to share the real that exposes the unhealthy parts of my life, the still-in-progress, and the ugly. Some days, though, those are the real places that occupy my mind. My heart.

But in order to be real, I kind of need to. In order to start a revolution you have to know your own weaknesses.

Sunday is my hardest day of the week. It has been for a while. The weakest spot of my week.

I don’t know if it’s because its the day the week catches up to me. Or the day I have to look at another week staring at me, full of schedules and commitments.

I should love Sunday.

We go to Church on Sunday. I love Church.

It’s the day “Downton Abbey” is on. I love “Downton Abbey.”

I get to take a nap every Sunday. I love naps.

I get to lead my Youth Group on Sunday. I love my youth group kids.

But for some reason Sunday is…hard. Once in a while I will have a Sunday that is amazing, and it gives me hope that the following week it will be easier. But most Sunday’s are hard. As the afternoon folds into evening it gets easier and by Youth Group, I breathe a sigh of relief because I got through another Sunday.

I heard recently that Sunday has the highest rate of death than any other day of the week…So maybe Sunday is like that for others. Maybe it’s not just me.

Needless to say, today wasn’t an easy day. I had a hard time seeing any beauty, especially in my own faults. And it was a Sunday where I felt like I was watching the world around me, but not quite a part of it. Like I didn’t quite belong.

I knew my love could feel that. He kissed multiple times and hugged me tight to calm my insecurities. To ease my mind. And I felt a tiny squeeze in my heart as I watched my kids, and even in my own struggle know and see a beauty in them that offsets the grey on my heart. Because they are so good. But the grey was there.

The grey that says…

You don’t fit. Anymore.

You aren’t good enough.

You need to forgive.

You need to be.

Better.

More. Together.

Thicker Skinned.

Less. You.

And I do. Need to forgive more. I do need to be more open to change. But I also need to let go of this insecurity that if only I was just a little bit more I would fit better.

In my own skin. In my friendships. In life.

But as I was praying and pondering, and writing this post, I also thought about the powerful way that God loves me. How even on His day, the Lord’s Day, which happens to be my hardest day, that he gave me the safety net of my spouse- who loves me fiercely, and the comfort of my children.

Love is powerful.

As I began to write this post, our Grace laid on our bed and swung her legs.

Back and Forth. Constant motion. Joyously.

And it brought me joy. Because she was happy.

And it came to me…It makes my God happy when I can find an ounce of joy. Even if it’s a tiny tug of Grace, because one little joyful thing, leads to another and another, and suddenly I am looking into my joy filled daughters eyes.

Nose to nose. As she swings her legs.

On a Sunday. At home where I fit. And the grey begins to lift, and I know that being real can be a powerful amazing thing. Especially when it contains the most important part of this revolution. One of Love.

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You…

I found out about you after two months of having a stomach bug that wouldn’t go away.

Your Dad and I weren’t planning on you so soon…but you were there. And I had never been so happy.

You…

Grew inside my body, and my heart grew a million sizes as things transformed. My skin stretched, and my heart began to feel brand new things, things I never knew I could feel–instincts I never knew I had. I knew one thing, you were the best thing I had ever created, ever been able been able to grow.

You…

Were more important than finishing college, and more important that any job I had. You changed the way we viewed our life path, and I didn’t understand how I could view life so differently suddenly.

But then I met…

You.

You came fast and furiously, and I didn’t get to hold you because of complications and your Dad named you. He held you next to my face. And you looked right at me. And you were the most beautiful person I’d ever seen.

You…

were born with your eyes wide open, like you’d been waiting a long time to look around.

You. Never. Stopped.

You…

brought out every spidey sense I ever had. I wouldn’t let everyone hold you. I became incredibly aware of the world, and who I was. I remember going to the grocery store for the first time after you were born, by myself, and panicked at the check out thinking I’d forgotten you in the car. But you were home, but still your grip was tightly around my heart.

You…

Had the most delicious giggle and it still comes out when you think something is very funny. You have a birthmark of white hair on the top of your head that I have always loved. You taught me everything I knew about being a mother.

You…

Were the first one to call me Mom. You were the first one to make my heart physically hurt when you woke up with a fever, when we rushed to the ER at night with your asthma, when you pushed your hair into spikes when you had sunscreen in it and and smiled so big and open at me.

You…

Feel everything. Care deeply for people. Hurt when they are hurting. Understand what it’s like to not be good enough, even when you’re trying hard enough. You know what’s it’s like to have people hurt you. And it hurts me to know that it’s just a part of life, and that it’s something we all go through, but I never want it to happen to…

You.

And now, you’re a teenager. I blinked and it happened. You are a musician. An athlete. A student. A brother. A Christian. A son. And a teenager. You are changing, but I still see you…my little boy.

So please know…

I…

Am having a hard time watching you grow up. I’m so proud of the person you are, and I’m so grateful to be raising such an amazing beautiful person. But It is hard. To watch you need freedom, to let you go. To see you be hurt. And to not want to step in.

I…

Am still learning about how to find that balance of Mom of a little boy and Mom of a young man…and it’s not an easy balance. But I expect you to get good grades. I expect you to try. I expect you to be kind to others. I expect you to respect adults. I expect you to never text and drive. I expect you to live your faith.

I…

Know you are good. I know you gave your St Patrick’s Day glasses last year to someone who kept getting pinched, and I know you helped someone get to the office all Fall from their locker because they had a broken leg. I know you came to me when a friend was in trouble, because you were worried. You. Are Good.

I…

Want you to know that in life I may say a lot of things but someday all that will matter to me–will not be a degree, or a high paying job, or awards or accolades, but knowing that you are a good person. That you know God.

I…

Give you to Him. Daily. Because I will fail. I will let you down. I have let you down. But I have loved you enough to know that the gift of your life, turned and stretched and made me better than I could have ever imagined.

So, maybe sometimes I hold too tightly. Or I stare, because you’ll look at me, and your growing face will still have glimpse of the teeny person whose face was placed next to mine- who changed my life forever. for Good.

You.

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I drive him crazy. I leave my cell phone volume on silent too often. And miss his calls. I never check my messages.

He drives me crazy. He can’t find his keys when I am getting ready to go somewhere. So together we look for his keys.

I drive him crazy. I love lights. I love to leave them on. The electric company loves me right back. He does not love that.

He drives me crazy. He forgets what I told him about our schedule but remembers every single birthdate of every person he has dealt with at work.

I drive him crazy. I’m always the last one to be ready for church.

He drives me crazy. He hates being late to church.

I drive him crazy. He likes me in sweatshirts and sweats.

He drives me crazy. I make him flex his arms after he lifts.

I drive him crazy. I volunteer too much, but I never stop trying. I’m not a good house keeper, but I keep our family moving. I love well but the laundry is never done.

He drives me crazy. He works harder than any person I’ve ever met, and takes care of us. And never stops loving and being present.

I drive him crazy. I call too much. I text him I love him too much. I make him come back to kiss me goodbye.

He drives me crazy. He will always apologize. He always tries to do better. He can’t stand being mad at each other.

I drive him crazy. I cry over commercials, and won’t allow him to talk when I cut his hair, and I don’t use his razor…anymore.

He drives me crazy. He’ll drop everything to help a friend out. He still whistles at me and makes up songs about his love for me, and even if they aren’t original he still sings them.

I drive him crazy. I am truly madly deeply in love with him after 19 years, 5 months, 9 days and 3 hours.

He drives me crazy. He leaves tulips in the door of my car when I leave work, and when I see his work car pretends he doesn’t see me.

But I know. That he knows. That “this” cannot be taken for granted. This love is a gift that we work hard at, this life that we build is something we have built together. We don’t always get it right, but we stay committed to our lives. To Each-other, and to our God.

I know. He knows.

He drives me crazy.

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Sometimes it’s just too real.

Sometimes it makes me want to scream.

Sometimes it makes me want cry.

Sometimes it makes me do both.

Sometimes the unfairness and realness is too much for me to take.

Katie should not have to write this. But she did.

Katie should not have to live this. But she does.

So today I share this real. The reality of being a police officers kid. The reality of how dangerous their job is.

And like her Mom, my kindred said “I wish they(the critics- the cop haters) would walk a mile in her shoes.”

This is our real. This is their reality.

This is Katie’s real.

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So maybe you’re just joining us…maybe you’ve noticed my Blog has been updated daily…I am on a mission. A mission to show Real. Every Wednesday I will use unfiltered real people’s pictures…brave people, who sent pictures without asking why, who allowed me to post them here. This Year is the Revolution of Real.

Brave Selfies. No show offs.

None have been filtered. Some wrote disclaimers…

“I haven’t showered in three days, but I made dinner.”

“I’m not really a selfie taker.”

“I’m having a good hair day.”

“I just went for a run.”

About a month ago I realized a fellow classmate of Micah’s Mom had a baby…we spent two months together this summer when our boys played baseball and I had NO idea she was expecting. She even showed me a picture and said “I can’t believe you didn’t notice.”

Well…can I be real?

I don’t notice people’s looks. I notice people’s hearts. I noticed she was a great Mom and so patient. I noticed she always brought extra waters for kids who forgot.

I consider it a great gift…but I also notice something else, which hasn’t always been a gift. I notice the ugliness in people. I will
meet someone and can see them, the real them.

It’s like that movie with Jack Black, Shallow Hal, I see people for who they are. Sometimes I just hate it, because people will really want me to like someone and I just can’t…because I see that they gossip, or aren’t trustworthy…I see that they use people, or take advantage. I see selfish and mean.

Because I see the ugliness in others I also see the ugliness in myself. A few months ago “a girl” did something incredibly hurtful and public to one of my dearest friends…even when I hear this persons name my skin crawls. I didn’t know her really, only through mutual groups online, so I didn’t get to meet her or see her…which is the downside of this virtual world. Because if I would’ve met her, I would’ve known and seen her- and been guarded and not been so surprised by her actions.

I need to see her…sadly, the ugliness in me hasn’t forgiven. The ugliness in me has held resentment and bitter words in my mouth. The ugliness is something I have to always work on, because I’m finding I’m not as good at forgiveness as I once was. When I was young I used to be able to brush it all off, but my own perspective and growth wants people to Try to be more…and that causes Ugly in me.

Real Ugly.

Isn’t it amazing when we share ourselves, how we feel the need to have disclaimers? Like my disclaimer that I can see people for who they are…but that means I carry a lot of ugly in me?

As if we weren’t good enough to begin. As if I’m not good enough. But I do it. Because I want to make sure you know…I have a really hard time saying Thank you when you compliment me. I have a really hard time seeing beauty in myself, because I know…I know me.

But let me be clear. These people that shared their eyes and their faces…they are beauty.

They are beautiful. And not just on the outside…they are beautiful real souls.

If you saw them on the street…you may stop and look, smile, and say hello. You may see their beauty, but I see them…and I’m blessed to see and know them.

You wouldn’t know…

That one has been taking care of a dying parent. One prays the Rosary every day for different people. One has a doctorate, but more importantly taught me how to get out of a car like Dukes of Hazzard. One is the mother of twins.

You wouldn’t see that one just got off the night shift at the hospital. One is moving. One just lost her Mom. One is in love. One hasn’t worn make up in years. One has five kids on earth and one in heaven. One used to be a firefighter. One doesn’t have any family in town.

You wouldn’t know that one is the biggest prayer warrior I know and takes care of everyone. One has adopted all her children. One has had back surgery. One is not sure if she should have another baby and hates working out.

And all don’t know how beautiful they are. How real they are.

No filters. Just real.

No Ugly. Just Lives being lived authentically. Who are so beautiful.

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The sun is out. It is absolutely glorious.

Feels nothing like January. The skies are bright blue with streaks of white clouds.

These are the kinds of afternoons I relish when the dreary seems so far away.

These boys. The ones with the dirty knees…

They make the most of it. Four boys who play every school day in rain and sun. Their siblings, the Middle Schoolers, get out later so they take over a patch of grass. Last year they built a club house in the branches of an old tree but the school cut it down over the summer. Last year they were pirates, and kings, and had sword fights on the small tree branches. But this year when the tree was gone and they found new things to play farther back on this patch of grass.

Football, tag, professional wrestling, and million other things to pass the time. They argue. They make up. And laughter. So much laughter.

It’s a magical time where they can just be boys. Before lessons and practice start. Before homework needs to be done, and chores need to be finished. This time is theirs, where play reigns over any pixel filled screen. No one keeps score, no one is the winner, they just play. They are in that space where they are not little boys, but yet they are still little to me.

Magical boys.

Some times that 45 minutes seems like an eternity. The days where I’m tired and they are cranky. Where everyone is an expert, and they test me, or step in dog poop and get in the car. But today was blissful. The sun was out, they ran and fell and played. Four boys with grass stains and sweaty brows.

Next year two of them will not be there. They will be in class as the two younger ones wait. I know this time is fleeting.

But today…Today, I took this picture with the sun resting on my neck, freezing time with one of my favorite images. Of childhood. Of lifelong friends. Of brothers. Of dirty knees.

Someday I won’t sit in this car, with children at this school. Someday I won’t have 45 minutes to just watch them fall and tumble over each other in laughter. But today I did.

Grace who read with me in the car asked, “Is it really this warm today, for real life?”

Yep, magical unfiltered sunlight for real life…on a glorious January day with musical laughter.

Can you hear it?

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Today was not a bad day.
But it was unpredictable.

I slept in. Accidentally.
School started back a week too early.
Most of the things I planned didn’t pan out.
My husband is working late.
I won’t get to work out.

Kids are tired, have homework, want freedom, want food. We don’t have groceries. Or clean laundry.
I want a nap.

So today…the real is just cherishing the little sweet moments.

Like watching Grace hug Annie- and knowing the day didn’t turn out as I planned but that doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. It’s just another opportunity where I can try to see the good on Monday, which always keeps it real.

And there is a whole lot of sweet to see…

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