Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Are You a Bear or a Goat?

No, I'm not talking about Chinese New Year.

On the retreat weekend, we watched this clip by nursing scholar, Brene Brown. It literally takes about a minute or two to watch and speaks volumes.

If you're just lazy and don't feel like getting in touch with your visual learning side, I'll sum it up for you in a nutshell -

The clip shows a fox and a bear with the narrator (Brown) talking about the differences in empathy and sympathy. It shows the bear going "down in the dark hole" with the fox and simply just being there. It then shows a goat representing sympathy coming down and trying to "silver-line" the situation. In the end, the bear just puts his arm around the fox, signifying empathy.

In the last two months, I've had a handful of friends who I would consider the "bears" in my life. They've gotten down in the hole with me. They've listened, they haven't talked and tried to tell me everything will be ok. They've let me cry on the phone, let me cry on their shoulder, and curse and vent about it all. Some of these "bears" include Tammy, Lindsay, Heather, Laura, Brie, Ashley, & Bridgett.

There have been a few goats. They mean well, but really, they don't know what to say so they just make up the first thing off the top of their head that is automatically supposed to make me feel better. I don't think the "goats" read my blog but I'm not going to list them, regardless.

So, are you a bear or a goat? It's ok if you're a goat. I'm pretty sure we've all been goats plenty of times because let's face it - when life gets hard for people we love, we want to make it better.

But in the last two months, to be completely honest, the best way to make it better is simply to just shut up and be there for them.

Monday, April 20, 2015


This weekend I got to attend a women's retreat hosted by Coaches Honor, a ministry started by my aunt and uncle. I was apprehensive about going. I knew about 2 other people going and even though I like meeting new people, my heart hasn't exactly been in a warm spot lately.

The theme for the week was on the Prodigal Son. If you've read Tim Keller's Prodigal God, you know that the story isn't about the wayward son, but more on the father's heart for his son. In each breakout session, we talked about which son we were - the older or the younger brother.

We also shared stories. Lately, I've discovered that I'd rather get to know someone's story than be surfaced and this weekend provided many opportunities to hear other people's stories. It made me see that in the midst of the crap and uncertainty I've been walking through, that it's just a part of the story I'm telling.

This quote from Paul Miller was on the back of the t-shirts for the retreat and pretty much sums up life for me today:

"Often when you think everything has gone wrong, it's just that you're in the middle of a story."

I hope one day that all I've gone through with an unforeseen break-up, living in the middle of confusion, and transitioning back from another place will be helpful to someone else going through a storm of their own. Everyone has a story. They're all different, but we all struggle with pain and rejection and wounds that are deeper than we'd ever let anyone else see.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Story of Loss (in a good way)

Six years ago, I started working out with Kim. I lost a total of 70 pounds in a year 1/2. In the last three years, I put 40 pounds back on due to stress of seminary, then moving to a country whose main diet consists of bread, cheese, potatoes, and beer. Not to mention desserts and pastries from the local bakery.

When I came back in December, I wanted to start getting fit again b/c my fat jeans had turned into jeans that hardly fit anymore. I struggled in Orlando because I couldn't find a rhythm (though I know why now) and then when the break-up happened and I moved back to Jax, I decided I needed something to keep my mind occupied.

Kim was glad to have me join again and three weeks ago I started with boot camp and personal training. My goal is to lose a total of 70lbs once more. Originally back in 2009, my goal had been 85lbs and I was only 15 away from that but sadly, that never happened. This time, I'm not quitting.

I've lost 14lbs so far and I'm so excited about this. It might not seem like much, but last week I was able to get a dress from Ann Taylor Loft and I haven't been able to shop in a store w/o plus sizes for three years now!

There's a reason for everything. I don't think if the break up had ever happened I would have taken weight loss seriously again. But I'm doing this for me. Nobody else. I can't wait to see what the final outcome looks like.

Sometimes loss can be a good thing. As much as I'm still mourning what was, I am coming to realize what I gained in the aftermath.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

She Brings Me Joy

My counselor told me last week to seek things out that bring me life. It didn't take me long to list the three things right now that are life giving and joy-full. I applied for my last seminary course to be started in May and I'll FINALLY Have my MA in Educational Ministries in August. YAY! I also applied every and anywhere that was hiring for a theatre teacher or where I felt I could best use my gifts. I've heard back from a few, mostly 'thank-you-but-we're-hiring-from-the-inside', but still. At least I know where I'm not supposed to be. And God has opened my heart to new directions. I want to be closer to my family for once in my life. More or less because of this baby here:

I'm probably biased, but my niece is the most beautiful child I've ever laid eyes on. And I've gotten to spend so much time with her in the last three weeks. She always makes me smile and is the happiest baby in the world. It also helps that she thinks I'm hilarious. It doesn't take much for her to laugh at a silly face. I can have a horrible day and when I go over to visit, my whole world is made better.

Lauren brings me joy. And I need a lot of joy in my life right now.