Paparazzi Jewelry!

pap

So I jumped in, bit the bullet, whatever you want to call it, and am now selling Paparazzi jewelry. I fell in love with this fun, stylish, cheap jewelry so much that I want others to experience it as well. Everything is $5, lead and nickel free, and the working conditions of the laborers who make it is closely monitored and is safe (that was a biggie for me!).

If you want to shop, check out my online boutique and if you have any questions let me know!!

Paparazzi with Heidi

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The Weight of Weight

Some days I wake up and I feel good. Not health wise (ha!) but just about myself. My hair lays right, my clothes fit, I feel cute.  Other days I wake up, have 13 chins, feel like a busted can of biscuits in my clothes, and just generally feel gross about myself. This is all on me. No one makes me feel bad about how I look. In fact, my husband swears (and I believe he is sincere) that he sees me the same way he did when we were 17 year olds in high school.

I will get on these gung ho health kicks that last all of about, oh, a month or two. I’ve been gluten free, I’ve been vegan, I’ve done Weight Watchers, I’ve done Trim Healthy Mama, I’ve done Herbalife, I did Body By Vi and that is just what I can think of off the top of my head. None of them worked for me because I didn’t want to work. I know people who have had great success with all of the above, but not me. I think it comes down to being lazy maybe? I want to care, but in my mind I’m just not at that point where I want to commit to anything like that.

They say with drug addicts or alcoholics, they have to first WANT to quit. You can cry and scream in their face all day, show them statistics, try to scare them straight but until that switch flips in their head that THEY want out it’s falling on deaf ears. The same can be said for losing weight or getting healthy. I mean, yeah, I get it. If I could lose a few pounds, my psoriatic arthritis may ease some. If I could get healthy maybe my fatigue would decrease. If I could eat right maybe I wouldn’t be so self conscious in a swim suit. But you know what? Maybe not. I could loose 50 pounds and still feel crappy about myself.

So for now I’m going to do what I want (like I was ever NOT going to do that!). I’m going to eat fresh fruits and veggies but I’m going to have a coke when I want. I’m going to go for a walk when I’m feeling able but I’m also going to sit my butt in my chair and let my body rest. I’m going to make good choices some days and bad ones on others. And the older I get, the more I am ok with that.

Faith and Science

“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.” 1 Timothy 3:16 (MSG)

You know what this verse does NOT say? That the Bible is intended to be a science textbook or a history book. The Bible is intended to show us God’s nature and teach us how to be closer to Him. The point of Genesis is not to give a Power Point lecture on the literal origins of the world, it’s a guide to our human nature and our relation to God. Do I believe that God spoke and then there was light? Yes. Do I also believe that this may have occurred over millions of years and started off with The Big Bang? Yes. Why can’t it be both? One doesn’t negate the other.

I love God and I believe that He uniquely made me for a purpose and had plans for my life long before I was born. I also believe that He gave humans the amazing ability to adapt and evolve and change over time. Our circulatory and respiratory systems are amazingly complex and, in my eyes, designed by an intelligent creator. I also believe that intelligent creator (God) gave doctor’s the knowledge to repair this amazing body and use things like stem cells to improve health and longevity. They don’t have to be exclusive of each other.

This is not a new or crazy way of thinking amongst progressive Christians but I still personally run into the stereotyping that since I’m a Christian I must be a Young Earthist or think evolution is a bunch of hokum. Nope, exactly the opposite actually. The more I study God and His word, the more I love science and the discovery of His vast creation. The more I learn about science the more I believe in God and his intelligent design for our universe from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy. It’s awesome, in the truest sense of the word.

If I get to the end of my life and find that I was wrong, so be it. I’d rather have lived my life in awe of this beautiful universe and loving every part of creation than condemning others for what they believe and missing the entire point of this journey of faith. Much love to all of you.

The Nose Knows

I’m around 8 or 9 years old, I’m sitting in the front room of our house on 18th street, Nick at Nite is playing old re-runs of The Lucy Show. Our dog, Benji, is curled up at the end of the couch. We have our sleeping bags laid out on the floor in anticipation of a ‘front room camp out’.  There is nothing particularly special about this night or any other nights like this in my memory. They are memorably uneventful and my childhood is filled with many good ones like this.  Anytime I smell a window unit air conditioner, I am instantly transported back to this time in my life.  Sometimes I’ll just close my eyes and take the scent in, letting it draw me back into the past. I love the smell.

I’m around 8 or 9 years old, I’m at school and my anxiety is about to make me sick. I feel out of place, awkward, and like everyone is staring at me or making fun of me. I try to go to the nurse, but she knows me and sees through my faking. I go to the counselor and she calms me the best she can. When I come back, it is lunch time and my anxiety starts anew. The smell of food cooking inside of a school building takes me back to that terrible time. Working in a school and being front and center with that smell almost daily has been a test of my anxiety. Sometimes the smell will hit me just right and all of the sudden I am that anxious, fearful elementary kid again. I have to take a minute to center myself and remind myself that that is not who I am anymore. It’s a hard smell to be around.

I’m always amazed at how a certain smell can take you to a certain moment in time. I could list off a dozen different smells that remind me of a dozen different things. Even more so than music for me, smell is what takes me back. I wonder what smells my own kids are going to associate with their childhood’s good and bad memories? What will they smell as adults that will take them back? The funny thing about memories is that you don’t know you are making them at the time they happen. Pardon me while I go relive summers with my grandma as I smell this waft of damp air blow through.

 

Loss

9 years ago today, we lost a baby.  I had gone into work in the lab at 4am like normal. I went to the bathroom and there was blood. I was about 8 weeks pregnant with our 5th baby so I knew that didn’t mean anything good. I walked over to the ER from the lab and checked in. It was a cold room in both temperature and overall environment. There were needles, tubes of blood, invasive ultrasounds, vitals, and a variety of other medical procedures. Yet no one ever addressed ME. How was I feeling? (Worried.) Was I scared? (Yes.) Was I sad? (Yes.) Could we call someone for you? (Please.) It was sterile and cold from start to finish. I can remember the doctor’s words: “There is no viable pregnancy.” Just like that. Just like it wasn’t going to change my whole life and rock my whole world.

I came home and cried like I have never cried before. Cried because of the physical pain, but cried more because of the emotional pain. It was such a profound loss for me, but did anyone else even care? No one could see or feel the pregnancy yet. To everyone, but me, it was just words. To me, the minute I saw that second line pop up on the home pregnancy test I had already imagined that child’s whole life in my mind and now it was just… gone. It felt like no one cared and no one understood, not from a place of callous or meanness but from a place of just not knowing what it felt like to be me.

Grief is weird. I almost feel weird even calling it grief. Should I even be sad? It was an 8 week pregnancy, not a full term still birth or anything like that. My grief is surely not as bad as someone who lost a baby further along. Right? I had four other kids at home at the time, shouldn’t that be enough? As the years go by, I sometimes feel like I’m ok or even ‘over it’ but when this day rolls around I find myself thinking about their little life and who they may have been and I just get sad. I’d of loved to have had them in our family, we would have loved them so. I just have to lean on the fact that God knows what He is doing and He is ultimately in control. Even if it is something I will never understand this side of Heaven.

 

 

Being Known: A Sense of Community

“How’d you manage to get out of the house by yourself?”

It’s a simple question, passing conversation, a polite interaction but it says a lot. It says that she knows my family, she knows we usually come in with a kid or two (or three, or six) in tow, she knows it’s a rarity to see me alone, and she took the time to say something personal to me.  Who was this awesome lady who seems to know me and my family? The sweet lady who works behind the counter at the gas station near our house that we go to almost every day. I wonder if she knows how much it meant to me for her to ask me that?

Our neighbors to the north bring over treats and snacks for our kids every so often. On Christmas: they hand deliver a card, bring a ham, and a small gift for each of our kids. One night we had several people over and she saw lots of cars, she texted my husband just to make sure everything was ok. They even buy dog treats…for OUR dogs. I love having neighbors we know and who I know care about us.

If we happen to miss a Sunday of church, I have no less than three people texting me or messaging me to say they missed us and making sure everything is ok. My kids get birthday cards in the mail from our church family. They pray for my health and celebrate our joys with us. They are more than just people we wave at in passing one hour a week.

Put your phone down every once in a while and see the people around you. Get to know your neighbors, the clerks at your local stores, the people you share life with.  Invest in them and they will invest with you. Before you know it, your life will be filled with a  rich tapestry of amazing people who were there all along.

18 Years Out: Remembering Columbine

I was 16 and a junior at Central High School. I was sitting in genetics class taking notes off of an old over head projector. Another teacher came into the room, walking pretty quickly, and came up and whispered something into my teacher’s ear. He stopped, turned on CNN, and we saw kids just like us running from their school and the building surrounded by cops and ambulances. The news of 2 kids shooting up their high school was coming from Columbine, Colorado.  It was unlike anything we had ever seen or experienced before. For my generation, this is definitely a “where were you when you heard” type moment.

I know it’s hard for you youngins to even comprehend this, but we did not have smart phones. Smart phones did not even exist. The world we live in now of instant news at our finger tips was not a thing back in 1999. We had to watch the actual news on a actual TV. Even the Internet was a fairly new phenomenon. There was no one Facebook Live-ing the shooting, no news station on the scene Tweeting a play by play. We were just stuck in limbo, in horror, watching it all unfold together in that classroom.

It’s hard to describe the terror and fear I felt that day. What was going on? Was someone going to do this at Central? Was I safe? Sadly, I feel we are are almost desensitized to shootings anymore. We can barely go a day in this country without some type of shooting: at a school, at a theatre, at a hospital, on the side of the road, etc, etc. This was the first time I had ever even realized this was a thing that could happen. Now, it barely even elicits a response when I read on Twitter of yet ANOTHER shooting. And honestly, that is really sad. Is it a case of there actually being more violence now or us having access to so much news and information that we are bombarded with everything? *shrugs* Who knows?

As a mom who is getting ready to send her oldest to high school in a few months, I’m reliving the horror on a whole new level now.  It’s one thing if I get shot, but my baby? Now you done woke the momma bear! All I can do is love and pray and spread that love and prayer all over. Thinking of those in Columbine today: love and prayers to them today and every day.

Saying No: Anatomy of a People Pleaser

I am a people pleaser to a fault. You could be standing on my toes, absolutely crushing them, ask if it was ok, and I’d be all, “Sure. This is fine. Great actually!”  I used to almost wear it as a badge of honor. Look at me! I’m such a martyr!! I put everyone else first and myself absolutely last every single time!!! I do things I don’t even want to do just to make sure other people are happy!!!!

Let me tell you, there is no faster sure fire way to burn yourself out on life that to be this way. You find yourself getting bitter about commitments you’ve made. You find yourself dreading running into certain people because you know they will ask you to do something and you know you will say yes even though your brain is screaming no. You will get so angry and annoyed about doing things that you committed to but have no interest in doing. Bitter, dread, and anger: sounds like a lovely way to live life! I believe it was the esteemed philosopher DJ Khaled who said it best, “Congratulations. You played yourself.”

What changed for me is that I stopped looking at it as letting other people down and started looking at it as being able to fully give myself to the things I truly care about. When you are pulled in 100 different directions doing 100 different things you don’t really care about or enjoy, that leaves little time to dedicate to the things you do love and do well. You do yourself and your true gifts a disservice by trying to please everyone else.

It’s hard and I struggle with it. But I’m gradually shaping my life around the things I love, enjoy, and do well.

Band-Aid Station Ministry

I got more than a few scoffs and snickers when I announced I was leaving floor nursing to be a school nurse. Is that even real nursing? Won’t you just be running a glorified band-aid station? How can you go from the excitement of a step down unit to the boring, monotony of a school clinic?

Every day when I walk into my clinic I never know what my over 400 students and 60 some staff who are under my care will bring my way.  Some days are slow, some days I see 70+ kids, some days I end up at the hospital ER with staff or students. I have students with complex medical diagnoses and students who just need some extra TLC. Someone once told me being a school nurse is 50% being a nurse and 50% being a mom. I would agree with that.

A  ministry is defined as the service or functions of a minister. A minister is a person acting under the agency of or an instrument of someone else, in this case, God. So, yeah, I definitely feel like what I do is a ministry. I feel a calling from God to be a nurse and to serve in this school. This is where I belong and it was a journey of faith that got me here. I get to touch lives every day and show God’s love without ever quoting a scripture. Where you are called to is your ministry, it need not only be from behind a pulpit.

‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:38-40

We Are Human: How the Story Ends

We were talking about King David in Sunday school this past weekend. How he is considered to be one of the ‘great mean of the Bible’ even though he did some pretty sketch stuff including adultery and murder. It’s a testament to how nothing takes you too far from the fold of God’s love and plan for your life.  God loves us, forgives us, and uses us despite all the ways we screw up. Then a guy in our class spoke up and said, “What if someone like that walked in right now? Someone who you knew cheated on his wife and killed someone. Would you embrace and love them?” *record scratch*

It’s one thing to see someone from history way after the fact and appreciate what God did in their lives. I wasn’t living in the times with David to know how his acts effected his every day life and the way people looked at him and treated him. We see how the story ends, not the messy middle part.

Back to the guy’s question. I immediately thought of this guy I know who is total jack wagon. He treats his wife like crap and is just generally a slimy type guy. I tried to picture how I would react if he walked in. I, in all honesty, would probably roll my eyes and be disgusted if I am being 100% honest. This realization shocked me! I consider myself to be a very loving person. I have a deep love for humanity and their struggles. So this really made me take a long look at myself. Do I only love the people who are easy to love? The people who I feel are deserving of love? Yikes. That’s not what I want to be about.

I think this all goes back to what I said earlier about why it’s easy to see the value of King David’s life despite his mistakes: we see how the story ends. We, in our humanness, do not see how the story ends for people in our lives right now. This guy who I think is a total bum? Who knows what God has in store for his life and how He will use his mistakes? That’s why God is good and we are human. God loves us because He does know the end of the story.  He knows how bad we are going to mess up, but He also knows how we will be redeemed. And I’m convicted all over again to just love people where they are, even if that is hard.