Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ugly Truth

So, yesterday was an UGLY one. It's the only word that i can use to describe it. It's the most in control of an uncontrolled mind that I have ever experienced personally.

As I reflect back on it, it boils down to a bottomless pit of LONELINESS. It's the only word I can find to describe the feelings I was experiencing. And, I'm not sure what triggered it.

It was a complete moment of depression and honestly I will never use the words "out of body experience" after all I went through. I was literally having out of body conversations with myself. Saying "pull it together", "get up", "get moving", etc.

At the same time, there were words of insufficiency, inadequacy and simply not being "enough". Words. Ugly words. Bitter words. And yet it was my voice.

I wanted to crawl back in bed and start over or at least end the day, but the silence only made the voices louder. Oh, I could distract them, but as soon as a moment of silence crept in, they were back. Words as black as tar and as sticky as fly paper. Words saturated like a sponge of lies. Destructive words reminiscent of circling vultures.

I spent the weekend in a room full of 1200 enthusiastic people. Most of whom were rejuvenated, revitalized and yet it was the quiet moments of my weekend that I allowed these thoughts of inadequacy sneak in. I think I kept them at bay with busyness and compressed them with details and planning.

But, there they were; a spewing geyser covering my soul like an oil spill.

As I worked through my day, I tried to talk myself through it. I tried to tell the truth to my heart, but the ugly was greater. I tried to think of who to call, but could not verbalized what I was feeling and tried to form descriptive words. When they failed me I thought about a text. "I'm having a bad day. A low. Please pray". I didn't send it bc I didn't want to seem weak or try and describe what was going on. Plus when you ask someone to pray for you, you are then accountable to share when it comes true. Right, because prayer is a vending Machine of requests to God and when we find the golden ticket in the Wonka bar, we are supposed to jump in the air and kick our heels together?

I'm strong, right? I couldn't let anyone know I was depressed. That would make me weak and not able to fix my own problems. Not able to control myself or my emotions. So I channeled my inner Martha and made myself busy. Now don't get me wrong. I had an Excel party and organized the mess out of my desk, which are both firms of my love language! But as soon as my to-do list was finished and the quiet kicked back in, the voices were waiting on me like gargoyles outside a haunted mansion. Just perched up on their stand ready with their snarls and snares; like a briar patch just waiting for me to walk by and "accidentally" puncture me as I sauntered by. And they did.

Again, I sought a salve for my soul. This is the kind of night that would normally call for an impromptu trip to Taco Mama or at least a Apple Streusel French toast at Cracker Barrel finished off with Pumpkin Custard. Yes, these are the ways I soothe a burning, hurting heart. But not last night. There was no one to go with and that reality was like pouring gasoline on a fire.

So, I came home. And tried snacks. Food will usually do it. After all, if you eat a bunch of junk food, you will always feel better about yourself. I tried TV, but my DVR was empty. I tried a movie, but my DVD player is not hooked up right and to keep from throwing every disk in my living room, I was able to manage enough sense to walk away. So I sat here. In the middle of my big red couch on the sunken cushion in the middle where I've made my nest and I fought. I waged a war, a mental war where ugly truth and pretty lies met. It was then that I remembered. Satan is a liar. These were not my words, they were his words. Excuse me, his lies. His chalky, heavy, black coffee, bitter words. And, they had hurt. They took my Monday. Stole my joy. Built up inadequacy. Tore down a sacred spirit.

Now I must admit I've laughed at people who told me the only diet that ever worked for them was to pray and ask God to take away their desire to eat. I mean really who would ever pray that? And, does God really have time to answer that kind of prayer? And it was in that moment that I realized He alone is the only victor over Satan's lies.

So, about 10:30 last night the voice in my heart cried out. Begged for fresh thoughts. A new mindset. One that would overcome ugly. One full of truth.

The words, ugly words, that were clinging to my heart strings peeled away one finger at a time. Oh it took several moments of me reaching out. Asking, pleading, praying each tiny bitter finger of the wicked witch that had provided the bitter, poisonous fruit that I had taken a big bite of.

And then, there it was. Waiting in my email. How long had it been there? Why had it come tonight and not today?

But it whispered sweet nothing's to my heart.

Hello Keisha,

Today's Bible Verse (Job 10:8-12)
Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity; yet You would destroy me. Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay. And will You turn me into dust again? Did You not pour me out like milk, and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews? You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit. NKJV

Today's Devotional
Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard, who keeps our soul among the living, and does not allow our feet to be moved. For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment! Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! (Psalm 66)

You mean He audibly speaks to us too? Yes, I read the words out loud. Yes, I understood He was speaking directly to me. Yes, I heard Him.

He formed me, He created me and that alone makes me enough.

Yesterday was full of new truths. But, why did it take me so long, after I tried everything I thought I could do to control the situation, to realize my ugly lies could be resolved by the Father of truth.

Guess I kinda feel like my clay pot got re-centered on the wheel this morning.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Relay Summit 2012

This weekend has been a blast.  We attended the American Cancer Society Mid-South Division, Relay for Life Leadership Summit.  I'm still processing all the emotions.  It was a full blown internal roller coaster - doubt, fear, excitement, adrenaline, encouragment and emotion.

The theme was Dream Big, Hope Big and Relay Big.  Everything was BIG, BIG, BIG.  I so adore my Relay famiily and we for sure made some great memories while gearing up for this awesome year.

Just in case you can imagine, here's a little photo journey!

Love my new team!

Just a warning, this is going to be a big year.  My brain is swimming with ideas and I've already moved a bulletin board to my office so I can visually surround myself with all the ideas we talked about on the way home.  If you are not involved with a Relay for Life event in your hometown, you should be.  And, if you are close to mine, you probably will be!!!  Northwest Arkansas is about to Dream Big so we can make a bigger difference together, but it is going to take all of us to make it happen.

I'm so grateful to work for an organization that is not ok with complacency.  We will not stop until we find a cure and we will not be satisfied with "enough".  During the closing session, we closed our eyes and looked for the face that reminds us why we do what we do.  This is the picture I saw:

I fight for my family, for my friends, for a cure, for the researchers working so hard, for the Relayers pushing the limits in their towns to raise more, for the doctors working to provide the best care for their patients, for the ideas we have to try this year and for the next generation who will be celebrating the victories we are working to make happen. 

Cheers for what's to come!

(I also love this summary of our weekend)


Friday, September 14, 2012

one month

Yesterday was a month. One month that I've been in my new job.  That's really hard to believe.  You know me.  My desk is covered with post-it notes.  My cubi walls are covered with papers and lists and ideas.  But, in it all I'm finding my way. (or at least trying to!)

I spent the day in LR with our new team.  It was a long day for a down and back trip (but it started with a Pumpkin Spice Latte, so I was a happy girl!).  But, what a way to celebrate a one month anniversary. 

We celebrated the accomplishments of the team around the state, we dreamed about how this year could be better and we talked through the challenges in front of us. 

I don't think we stop often enough in our lives to intentionally reflect.  Yesterday, we closed our eyes and dreamed.  The kind of dream that started with "What if" and ended with, "then what's holding you back".

Those are the questions I asked myself a month ago. 

I hope a year from now, I'm looking at these lists on my walls with "strikethroughs" all around and that they have been replaced with new dreams, bigger dreams and possibilities that I don't even know exist today. 

DREAM BIG is a buzz word around here.  There are lots of visuals of clouds and thought bubbles but inside them are bullet points.  Blank bullet points.  Bullet points reserved for dreams and goals.

When is the last time you sat down with blank bullet points and really dreamed for yourself?  What do you want personally? Professionally? In your relationships? For your volunteer opportunities? For your kids? for your marriage? for the empty boxes in your garage? for the book you've been waiting to read (or write)? For the bible study you've been waiting to start? For the play group you've been wanting to host? For the recipes printed off or pinned that you've been thinking about trying? for the hobby you wanted to start or the classes you wanted to take?

What have you been putting off that you've always wanted to accomplish?

A month ago I asked myself "Why Not?"  Why not leave the most amazing friends, a stable job with an organization you love, a community that you are invested in, a church that feels like home....to go to a new place, further from home, where you really only know 1-5 people, to start a new job with a new organization?

Because I don't live in SOMEDAYS!

I asked myself if you don't put things off for "someday" in any part of your life...why are you holding back now?  So, I followed a dream.  A BIG dream in a lot of regards.  But, a dream with challenges and hardships and what I'm already beginning to see is full of rewards.

My heart is full.  Optimism has been restored.  I'm pursuing a passion.  And, making a difference.

A month later I find my mind wandering on a day full of rainy skies if there are big white puffy clouds on the other side.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Strawberry dreams

22 years ago I was sitting in the lobby of a hospital in Dallas coloring wrapping paper with my sister. (back then you could safely leave your kids in a hospital lobby and not worry about them!) we were there because my grandmother was going through experimental cancer treatments. They knew it wasn't going to be good, but they wanted her to have every option available.

I don't remember tons of details about those days. But a few I can draw from my recollections. I remember that paper. I remember the boxes my mom used in our garland that were left over from the shots my Papa had to give her. I remember him putting straws in the little jars of ensure for her to drink. I remember the hospital bed that sat in their living room. In the same place their couch now dwells. I remember barely being able to peer over the handles on the side of the bed to see her weak and frail body. I remember the last time I saw her she took a nap with Nelly, my cabbage patch doll. I remember the Sunday morning my dad sat my sister and I down to tell us she had passed. My mom was cleaning out her refrigerator and I can only imagine the feeling in the room when she drew in that last breath of East Texas air.

For some time tonight I sat on my couch and mourned her passing in a way that I have never known how to.

There are moments where I can hear her voice. A twang that I can only faintly remember and probably know more from the videos of my childhood.

I grew up not knowing her. Not knowing her at least in the way that I should have. She was a seamstress, a baker, a supportive wife and mom and most importantly the best grandmother. Her house was always an adventure land (although I attribute that more to my Papa) and going to visit was a vacation a treat that I wish I could re-experience. Picking pecans in the back yard, shelling peas on the park bench after supper, blackberry cobblers, drop in guests and Friday night at the church with the Triple L club (still don't know what the three L's are).

I miss her. I missed the memories we could have had and the moments we didn't share.

She is the reason I got involved with Relay for Life. The face I could see when I thought of celebrating a life, remembering the loss and a reason to fight back!

Tonight I made her cake. The cake. The one that my dad married my mom for. The one that mom makes better than me and the one that grandmother made better than her. The one that fell apart when she put it in layers and tonight, my heart did the same.

I'm not sure what happened this time when I iced it. Maybe it's the fact that i made it for my new ACS family. The ones who are daily in this fight with me. The ones who have grandmothers, friends, sisters, dads or kids who they lost memories with for the same reason and it was not enough until they gave every thing.

She was a remarkable woman. And her picture in my wallet serves as a reminder to capture everyday moments, to fill them to over flowing and to give until I'm give out.

Wonder what she would think of me making a strawberry cake for the cancer staff meeting?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

enchanted evening

Friday night was the first event I've been part of since joining the NWA American Cancer Society team.  It was a day of tons of hard work, but so much fun!!!  Enchanted Forest Ball at Pratt Place Inn and Barn in Fayetteville.  (a fantastic venue for ANY occasion - it has so much charm and is the perfect blank canvas!)

So thankful everyone braved the crazy weather.  It was a fun night!  We rocked out to Breaking Silence, were entertained by the Backstage Dance Co. and caught all the latest fashions for kids for the fall in the Gap fashion show.

Thanks to Chick-fil-A for all the food...nuggets are the way to our heart!
We appreciate Coke and Little Debbie for their goodies too!

Fairy Godmother and Strides Fairy

If you are in NWA and need a band for a party...they are awesome.

My co-worker Rhonda and her sweet daughter and friends

Britta is in NWA going to law school...apparently she got to spend more time in the sun this summer than I did!  She also spent it running (note to self don't take pictures with people who run!)

Told we danced and had a good time!!!

Britta, Laura and Scott

So excited about the adventures ahead in this new journey.  I do need to make the point that I cant find my to-go coffee cups or many of my dishes, but I knew exactly where my play clothes were!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Good one

It's been a good day.

I woke up this morning and realized it was the first work day in Sept and realized that meant it was officially my new work year. Meaning everything I do from here on out determines the outcome.

I actually thought I wonder what I can do today to not disappoint myself 365 days from now. Is that weird? Wonder if I asked myself that more often what kind of different outcomes I would see.

But, it was a good day. I got an appt to visit a volunteer tomorrow. I signed up for a free social media seminar. I saw all of my in office co-workers smile. I heard a vision. I came up with a new idea. I got positive feedback. I created a 6 page document. I organized "my documents". I created email folders. I learned how to make an email distribution group. I made a big page post-it note list. I filled up my friends inboxes with Pinterest forwards (I like to think of them as little gifts waiting for them to get to work tmr')

I ended the day feeling like I accomplished somethin'.

I was a good one.