Saturday, December 25, 2004

The best gift ever

The notion of a "merry" Christmas may seem ridiculous or even cruel to a person who is hurting. All over the world tonight people are silently suffering - people who have recently lost loved ones, or whose loved ones cannot be with them, or who for whatever reason have hearts and spirits that are broken.

But today is about commemorating the best gift ever, God's gift of His Son. For me, Christmas carols do not come close to doing justice to the magnificence of this awesome gift. This simple song, found on the CD "The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir Live...Again", does.

Smile, make them think you're happy
Lie, and say that things are fine.
And hide that empty longing that you feel
Don't ever show it, just keep your heart concealed.

Why are the days so lonely?
I wonder where, where can a heart go free?
And who will dry the tears that no one sees?
There must be someone to share your silent dreams.

Caught like a leaf in the wind
Looking for a friend, where can you turn?
Whisper the words of a prayer
And you'll find Him there, arms open wide, love in His eyes.

Jesus, He meets you where you are.
Oh, Jesus, He heals your secret scars
All the love you're longing for is Jesus
The friend of a wounded heart.

Joy, comes like the the morning
Hope, deepens as you grow
and peace, beyond the reaches of your soul,
Comes blowing through you, for love has made you whole.

Once like a leaf in the wind
Looking for a friend, where could you turn?
You spoke the words of a prayer
And you found Him there, arms open wide, love in His eyes.

Jesus, He meets you where you are.
Oh, Jesus, He heals your secret scars
All the love you're longing for is Jesus
The friend of a wounded heart.

("Friend of a Wounded Heart" Lyrics by Wayne Watson)

Accept this gift from God, and your heart can be healed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I don't feel the way I look

There is something in our brains that distorts what we see when we look at ourselves in the mirror. At over 300 pounds, I have no illusions that I appear to the world as a thin, healthy-looking woman. But when I look in the mirror, I still see something different than what a camera sees.

I got a new PC camera last week and have been playing around taking pictures and video clips. Tonight I bought a new hat, and looking in the rear view mirror in the car on the way home I saw myself as cute and sassy...I liked it. But in front of the camera now it is another story. It's just a hat on top of a very large round face.

 Posted by Hello

The "me" that is seen by the world (the same me that is captured in photos) is not the me I see. The people who know me probably see what I see for the most part. The ones who don't may choose not to get to know me because what they see is undesirable. This may have happened recently when I was introduced to the brother of a friend who thought we know...want to go out. He seemed nice, and I let him know I was interested, but I haven't heard from him. I'm not sure it is because he was turned off by my weight, but that's what I suspect.

This may sound conceited, but I feel sorry for that guy if indeed he wrote me off because of my looks. He missed out on knowing me. Funny thing is, he weighs almost as much as I do and I was willing to give him a chance.

Because the way I look does not reflect the real me. And that's probably true for most people, regardless of their size.

Here's something that doesn't happen every day

Yesterday at lunchtime I decided to get my car washed, since the prediction for the rest of the week was drastically falling temperatures.

I waited in the line for the automatic wash for about 15 minutes. Once I got in, I couldn't get out! The moving bar that shoots the water, soap, wax, etc. never got past my front end. It kept starting and stopping and the lighted board kept saying "back up slowly" then "pull foward slowly". It seems I was never in quite the right position.

After five or six times, I tried pulling all the way up, but the front door would not open. I finally pulled all the way back and asked the guy in line behind me to call for help. (I had left both my cell phones on my desk at the office.)

After I was freed, I went to the cashier and asked for my money back. Bless his heart, the guy felt really bad...but he made me a totally ridiculous offer. "Would you like a free car wash?" Um, where - in the chamber of soapy death I just escaped?

I got my $6 back, and drove to the office with soap on my hood and the rest of my car still dirty. But I was glad to be free!

Sunday, December 19, 2004


A web friend of mine lost her mother to cancer a couple of weeks ago. She's going through a lot of the same feelings and experiences I had when I lost my husband. She recently wrote about a dream she had, in which her mother was so real she actually felt her when they hugged in the dream.

I had many similar dreams in the months after Daniel's death. But there was one dream that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.

In this dream, Daniel and I were standing side-by-side at the back of what I can only describe as an outdoor church, with trees and flowers everywhere, birds singing, and soft music playing. I was looking up at him, with my left hand threaded under and resting on his offered right arm. He was glowing! He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen - tall and slim, with wavy golden hair and crystal blue eyes. He was in golden attire. At some point I realized I was also beautifully golden - slim, with long gold curls, and wearing a golden gown and a crown of flowers in my hair. We were about to get married, again. I spoke the only words of the dream:

"Isn't it wonderful? Not every man gets a second chance at life."

My first thought upon waking was that this might be what heaven is like. Maybe when you meet your loved ones in heaven, they will appear as their essense - beautiful and full of love. And their love for you will be tangible, something you can feel down to your bones.

For those few sleeping moments, Daniel was alive for me. My friend is feeling her mother's love in her dreams. The love is real, but the dreams can be scary. And they are bittersweet because we wake up, and our loved one is "gone" again.

But they are not completely gone, are they? Not as long as we love them.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Real Live Preacher

Reading is one of my passions, especially reading about real people.

I've been reading a blog called Real Live Preacher for a long time now, and thought you too would enjoy a two-part essay about his grandfather, a real Texas oilman.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Oh, my darlin'...

STOP THE PRESSES!! NEWS FLASH!! Aunt Judie ate some fruit. Real fruit. A couple of Clementines, those small oranges that are everywhere right now. My hands smell wonderful! And no seeds...sweeeeeeet!

A short trip to Never-land

The other day for a short time I found myself in Never-land...not the imaginary Peter Pan place, but my own private, dark Never-land. In this place I use the word "never" in a sorry, self-pitying way:

"I'll never lose this weight."
"I'll never be married again."
"They will never promote me."

I think the word "never" should be used sparingly, maybe only in sentences like "I would never rob a bank" or, "thank you, but I never eat head cheese".

When you misuse the word "never" in projecting the future, you deny the endless possibilities of life. Words are important, especially the ones you use when talking to yourself!

I didn't stay long in fact, I consider it a sign of significant personal growth that I was able to get out of it so quickly. All I had to do was remind myself of some of the things I used to say, like "I'll never get married" and "I'll never weigh that much".

You cannot know what will or will not happen in the future. Never forget that.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Small changes - Part III

Read Part I
Read Part II

Three weeks ago I started an effort to change my life, one habit at a time. Since then my new habit of eating breakfast at home has taken solid hold. I have only missed doing this once or twice, but did not resort to the fast-food solution. I'm also still at just two cups of coffee at home in the morning, and am having none at work (which is "coffee breath" worries).

In the meantime, another change happened quite by accident. As most of you know, I am a serious junk food junkie, with a love for McDonald's that goes back to my first Quarter Pounder with Cheese in the early 1970's. And the fries! Incomparable! If the saying "you are what you eat" were literal, your Aunt Judie would be a potato.

Until a few weeks ago I had no intention of watching the movie "Super Size Me". This horrible man was trying to insult my good friend Ronald, and blame him for my weight problem. But on the recommendation of my friend W, I added it to my Netflix queue. When it came I thought I would go get a McD's meal and eat it while I watched the movie just to spite the film maker. It's a good thing I didn't.

The guy ate McD's every day, three times a day, for a month. He bought the Super Size meal if it was offered to him. He got sick in a number of ways, and actually vomited from eating so much on day two or three. But once his system got used to the higher volume, he was able to keep it down. (Our bodies are designed to the good and the bad.)

Now, in all the years I have eaten at McD's, I have maybe once or twice had it three times in one day. But I had never regularly eaten the quantity this guy put in his body. And I am a firm believer in personal responsibility. Nobody forced me to eat this stuff. I liked it!

But something about this movie just changed me. I have not gone near a McDonald's in over two weeks, which must be a personal record. I cannot get the picture of him throwing up out of my mind. That, plus one of the deleted scenes which revealed that the fries do not decompose. He had a batch on his desk in a glass jar for 10 weeks, and they never mold, no spoilage. I imagine there is a fry or two under the seat of the first car I owned, sitting in a junk yard somewhere, still looking fresh 25 years later. This is just wrong!

I'm not saying I will never eat at McD's again, but it sure doesn't appeal to me at the moment. I'm cooking more now, bringing my lunch to work once in a while, and even eating an occasional real vegetable. I'm saving money too, by not eating out all the time. The benefits of change seem to multiply.

My next conscious effort to make a change started yesterday. My apartment complex has community mailboxes scattered throughout the neighborhood. Instead of driving up to my mailbox a couple times a week, I am going to walk there every day.

Friday, December 03, 2004

My vacation in another world

It has taken me days to get back in sync with my home planet. My week-long visit with my cousin and his family truly felt like being in another world.

And I loved it.

For a short time I was completely immersed in an alternative universe. I was transported from my singleton life of drinking from the milk carton and peeing with the door open into to being one member in a household of six. Except for the fact that (my cousin) Dad S was off work several days because of the holiday, I believe I witnessed the regular routine of a stay-at-home mom household.

The days began early for Mom K, as her four-year-old J regulary wakes up at six no matter how much (or how little) sleep she has had. They quietly go downstairs and go about their morning routine while the rest of the house continues to sleep. Two-year-old A wakes up later and happily sings in her crib for a while until she decides she wants to get up and "pages" Mom through the monitor.

After a day that could include any combination of pre-school, play dates, shopping, errands, time-outs, reading, singing, drawing, playing games, cooking, doing dishes and laundry, Mom K gets a little time for herself before retiring for the night. Dad S makes the most of his time with the little ones in the evening after the family dinner, and helps put them to bed.

This was a fascinating experience for me; completely foreign compared to my growing up years. S and K have made a wonderful life for their family.

Now I'm back home, back to work, back to peeing with the door open (at home, not at work). I miss the home cooked family dinners, the dog with the slimy toy in her mouth begging for attention, the afternoon naps (which I took every day at the same time as the little ones), the adult conversations, and the happy energy of their world.

But I especially miss J, with her bright eyes and curious mind, and A, and her totally sincere declarations of love a hundred times a day.

I need a hug.