Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's Not This, It's Me

Let's talk about stress for a minute.

Today I woke up 2 minutes before my alarm, panicking. In my dream, all I wanted to do was to go to CrossFit. But Michael kept calling me back. He had the lawn mower and was trying to figure out a way to mow the lawn. I knew I needed to mow it, so - I set my gym stuff down and started walking the lawn mower to the back yard to mow. Then, when I was pushing the mower, I noticed all these bags hanging on it - the bag I use for work, plus a bunch of reusable grocery bags. That mower was overloaded with bags! I was trying so hard to push it, and then I saw my CrossFit coach go by, and people from the gym were like, "are you coming?" And I started to cry.

Then I woke up, in tears, panicked, and so tired. Like I do every day, I got up and made coffee. But unlike every day, I decided to not go to the gym.

I decided to sit down, watch the news, then come upstairs and write.

Because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, right?

I'm one of these people who stresses themselves out. Are you familiar with this type?

We fill all of our "free" time with obligations, we have never-ending lists of things that need to be done at work and at home, and given an extra 10 minutes here or there, we'll check those lists to see what we can do as to not "waste" any time.

It's sick, really.

The weird thing is, in the professional world - we are hailed as organized, productive, and lauded for being the people who "get things done."

Well, we do. That's true.

This time last year, I was in the thick of traveling constantly for work - covering the Presidential campaign. I absolutely LOVED it! But, I wasn't home a lot, and when I was, I was so tired, I didn't enjoy spending time savoring life with my husband. All I did was rush around, cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping.

We decided we would get through the election, then re-evaluate. So, the election came and went. And then I was presented with a great job opportunity back in my hometown at a TV station I worked at about 10 years ago, the station I grew up watching.

It was a perfect fit, and everything happened so fast. We moved here and got settled and living at the beach and near family has been great.

But guess what I do?
I work, work, WORK, then rush home and rush around cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping and now I've added to that - going to the gym.

And Michael looks at me like I'm crazy. And I get jealous of him because he gets to work from home, doesn't have all of the responsibilities I have, and he just seems so relaxed. And I don't get it.

Because when I sit down to read a book, or watch TV - you know - relax - for more than like 5 minutes, I fall asleep.

I realized and admitted this weekend that I have resentment over that! That is not good. There were tears, there was forgiveness, and I'm trying a different way.

I'm owning up to the fact that it never was my busy DC job, it wasn't all the travel, it isn't because I am the breadwinner and a caregiver and it isn't because I work an overnight schedule.

It's me.

For a while, everything in my life has been pointing me toward facing this, but I'm finally doing it.

If this is something you struggle with - I recommend Jeff Goins' latest book, "The In-Between," which I finished this weekend (without falling asleep!!) and this message Michael sent me months ago, but I just listened to, by Jack Graham.

I'm tired. Something has to give. It's time to try a different way.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I am Splenda.

I remember one time my friend Ginger told me that when she heard the song, “I Will Praise You in the Storm,” that she thought of me.

Oh, Ginger.
If you only knew.

I don’t praise Him in storm.
I don’t even trust Him.
I’m pretty good at thanking Him during the good times - but being proud of that is like getting a trophy for showing up for team picture day.

I suck, actually.
I kick and scream and pout and I’m passive-aggressive towards my husband, I curse and cry in the car when I’m alone.

Because there are parts of this that I hate.
There are times that I just can’t get past the unfairness.

When that song comes on the radio, I’ll sing along. I may even go full-on Christian and close my eyes, and try really hard to mean it.

“I will praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands, you are who you are, no matter where I am...”

But, I’m not kidding anyone. Not myself, and certainly not God.
Right now, I am in this season of seeing my faith for what it really is.


Hear me out.

You’re familiar with Splenda, right?
It’s the yellow packet.
The label says “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.”

I saw a part of a documentary about this. 
I am not a scientist, but I did pretty well in Dr. Conyers high school chemistry class.

Enough to understand that Sucralose (Splenda) is almost identical to Sucrose (Sugar), except for one little thing - Sucralose is chlorinated. When you glance at the molecular structure, they look identical. You have to look really, really close - maybe even a couple of times - to see that CI in place of OH.

**I now believe that both Splenda and Sugar are evil and make you unhealthy, but that’s beside the point. This is not a story about nutrition, or even chemistry. It’s a spiritual truth.

I’ve been wanting to have a baby for about two years. We all know that hasn’t happened yet, for various reasons.

The number one reason that no one who isn’t hanging out in my heart and in my head doesn’t know is that it’s because I’m afraid.

I am afraid to try.
To really try, consistently. 
I am afraid of trying and it not working, and being heartbroken.
I am afraid of that leading to trouble between me and my husband.
I am afraid of being mad at God.

Because I’ve been there before, and that was no fun.

Recently, our pastor preached one of those messages that slapped me in the face, in a good way.
Here are the points:
  1. Jesus accepts you just as you are, but loves you too much to leave you there.
  2. Your devotion to Jesus is not dependent upon your circumstances, emotions or cultural trends.
  3. You as a member of the church, must be committed to knowing the Word of God and living by it, regardless of circumstances, emotions or cultural trends.
  4. You must choose to follow Jesus, to travel down the road of apostasy.
  5. Your choice to follow Jesus will be rewarded.

This message forced me to look in the mirror.
To face the fact that even though I look like I believe, act like I believe, and even inspire others to believe... I don’t really believe.

I am Splenda.
Splenda sweetens your coffee, it satisfies your sweet tooth, it even looks like sugar, but it’s not.
It’s so close, but so far away.

I have the flavor of faith, but no real faith.

The good news for me is that that’s okay! It’s never too late to be obedient, to change directions, and to take those little steps of faith that will eventually lead to big steps. See the points Pastor Kyle makes above - it's up to me. Jesus has done/is doing/will forever do His part.

James 1:22: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Anyone out there dare to join me? To press in and press on until we really believe? Until we really trust God?

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the point of actually praising Him in the storm. I don’t know if I’ll ever give birth to a baby. But this isn’t about that. This is about being real, and seeking truth and admitting that I’m not in control, that I can’t figure this out in a million Google searches. 

I have a long way to go.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Caplin Warren Brown

Standby for the musings of a very proud Auntie.

I was there, in the waiting room when he was born. We heard the lullaby music over the speaker and wondered, "Does that mean he's here?"

Then, 9-year-old Autumn (baby Caplin's big sister) came running out announcing the news: "He's born!"

And just like that, the world changed.

I sat in the waiting room with my sister, my mom and Brandy's mom. We were all four clenching our phones, waiting for text messages from my brother, and the first pictures of Caplin Warren Brown.

What you see above is one of the first we got.

Caplin was born at 10:23 a.m. Friday, August 2, 2013.
He was 8 lbs 10 oz, and 21 inches of perfection.

He was beautiful, right out the gate.

It hasn't even been a week and a half, and the love and light this guy has added to our family is immeasurable!

He's a blessed little boy. He has a great Mommy, a proud big sister, and a Dad wrapped around his tiny finger with his cute tiny little miniature fingernails.
Watching my mom fall in love as her first time as a grandmother (or "CiCi" as she has named herself) has been so sweet.
And watching my brother as a Dad - he's a natural. This kid's going places.

Now... what do I want to give baby Caplin Warren Brown? A cousin, of course.
One day...