“No Selfie Challenge” 

Discussing private matters has never been my topic of choice. I have always stuck to the motto: “Some things are better left unsaid.” Until recently, I have not been bucked on this topic too much. Of late, I have become disheartened about how we all tend to present a facade about who or what we truly are in places like social media. 

My biggest hang-up, is not that I don’t present myself in a good light. No, my biggest hang-up is that I feel that sharing aspects of my life with others is indeed “presenting myself.” I worry that a funny that I chose to share, or a caption I take time to write, may offend someone. The real parts of me are screaming to be unlocked. They are opening a door and screaming down an empty corridor, “Just be you!” 

In a society where we are trained to always put our best foot forward, is it so bad to hope that maybe we can train ourselves to let our blisters be seen? We all have them. Each of us is human, with mistakes, mortgages that sometimes are a struggle to pay, and relationships that get bruised and battered. Life can not be pretty all the time. We as humans are bound to make mistakes. We want what we want. We inhale hope and sometimes exhale hurt. 

When we decide to let things define us is when we give all the power to another person. I have no intention of giving someone else the opportunity to define who I am. 

Today, December 9th, I have decided to make a “No Selfie Challenge” for myself. For one year, I am going to refrain from sharing any selfie pictures. I think that taking a year off from presenting my appearance with filters or the way I think is acceptable to be seen, will change how I feel about giving someone else that coveted power. To be clear, I’m not saying I won’t share any pictures of me, say with my family. I simply mean, they won’t be pictures I took of myself. In many cases, I find I only use pictures that are from what I think is my best angle. I use filters to hide my wrinkles and graying hair. From now until December 9, 2017,  any picture I post will be one that I took of someone else, or one that someone else has taken of me. In both instances, I will refrain from using any filters or enhancers (except in the case of professional photos that someone else took, I have no control over those filters or enhancers). This is a little experiment just for me. I want to see how it changes or does not change my perception on “presenting myself.” 

Wish me luck! 


See what I mean? The left is a selfie with filters. The right is a picture taken by a family member sans filter. 

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Ablaze

I had a rather large and disappointing blow dealt to me today. No, it’s not my health or anything to do with my kids. The fact that I even have to add that disclaimer shows me that there are way more important things in life than being disappointed about something.
Still, I felt the sting of tears in my eyes. My heart did ache. I was angry. I was sad. I allowed myself those few moments (okay, hours) of self pity.
We all have those magical things that make us who we are. We have personality traits that people like or hate or like to hate. We have our own personal ideas of what our lives should be and how we picture them working out. Once we get that vision in our mind, we set out on our path. Depending on who we are and what circumstances surround us, we either find some deviation of that path or blaze a new trail.
I have always been a firm believer in staying true to your dreams. There have been plenty of opportunities for change. Even more opportunities to conform or simply survive. The only way I know how to describe my feelings is to say that I have worked my whole adult life at trying to fan some embers of a fire. The embers smolder and smoke. I would use one of those old school fans you see people in colonial days keep on their fireplace hearth. I would fan the embers of my dreams. At times, I would see the fire ablaze. It would have so much heat radiating from it that it would take my breath away. At other points, there would be no sign of those amber streaks of light, only the remnants of what was once a hot, heaping pile of fire. But, there underneath all that coldness, in the depths of that darkness of nothing, there were the tiny stems of a sparking light. They may have been unseen to anyone who passed by the black and burnt woodpile, but they were there. They were there all along.
That’s how I feel about keeping my dreams alive. I feel like I try. I feel like I push. I can hustle. Where are the rewards? Where is my happy ending or my happy beginning for that matter?
Today was just a setback. I feed myself that line more often than I care to admit. So, here I am, still sitting at square one. I have nothing left to do but give it up to God. I will keep praying that I find my way. I will not lose faith in my cold, hidden dreams. I will not be selfish. I will not fall victim to self doubt and self pity. That’s what the enemy wishes me to do. He wishes me to fail. He wishes me to give up. My dreams are my dreams. Nobody can take them from me, not until I let them.

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I Feel Him There

Sometimes, I open my eyes and I am standing in our pasture. It’s those few minutes between darkness and daylight break. I look out over the high grass and see the fog settling. It’s peaceful. It’s quiet. The air blows just enough that I feel it move my hair. I can feel God there.
One week ago, we welcomed our second son into this world. Already having a child prepared me for what labor would be like. I said several times that I think a woman’s brain is trained to block some things about labor out. Otherwise, nobody would ever have more than one. We went in to the hospital early Thursday morning. My doctor broke my water around 8:00 a.m. Things progressed pretty quickly this time. (I was in labor with our first son for 8 hours.)
After four and a half short hours, it was go time. Every time I was told to push, I did. I would close my eyes so tight. When I opened them, I was standing in our pasture. I was feeling the dampness in the air. I was listening and waiting. I felt the comfort of knowing he was with me. I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t hear him. I just knew he was there. Before I realized what had happened, my son was being placed on my lap. I had tears running down my face. All the months of fears and worry had come to a screeching halt. The worrying had been about eating the right foods, getting enough rest, living with guilt of my first son not being my only priority anymore. All of these things and more had been challenges for me. In that moment, the moment he was placed on my stomach, the moment I heard him cry, the moment I knew my life would once again never be what it was before, I knew that God had been there with me. I knew that he had a hand in helping us through.
Life is such a beautiful thing. In moments like these, I am thankful that I can open my eyes and my heart to see the things that not everyone believes to be there.

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It’s a Gift

Life is such a beautiful gift. This week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. Today, my sister gave birth to the most precious baby girl, Avery. I am so overwhelmed with happiness for her. Being a mother is such a wonderfully, scary, rewarding, awkward, breathtaking, heart stopping, and glorious thing. I am so excited to watch my sister as she travels down this new path in life.
I am also very sad at the same time that the distance between us has prevented me from being able to hold my new niece or give my sister a hug. I know I will meet her soon enough, but I still just wish I could have been there to see the amazing bond that was instantly formed between them.
This range of emotions is such a high compared to the feelings I was having the two days before. On Monday, the tornadoes hit Oklahoma, where my husband has been working the last year. He does a lot of driving throughout each day. Most of his travels take him as far north as Oklahoma City and sometimes east, west and south of OKC, depending on the day. The travel trailer is parked in Ardmore which is about an hour north of the Texas line on I35.
Monday, I was at work. I had just returned to the office from getting an advertising picture. I got a text from my husband that read, “Tornadoes hitting the ground. Pray for us.” I panicked. I immediately began to sweat. He kept me updated the best he could, but he had plenty of guys working out on right-of-ways that he was trying to check on and continue to watch the path of the tornado. Soon enough, reports started popping up about the tornado in Moore. I watched live video that was streaming from the computer. I felt my body go into panic mode. I was drenched in sweat and my stomach was in knots. I received another text that said they had left the office because one was located 1.8 miles south of the office. That was at 3:36 p.m. At 4:08 p.m., he wrote back and let me know that he was safe. At 5:40 p.m. he was in Norman. He waited out the remainder of the storms there. All the while he was very concerned about his guys out in the field. At one point, his boss called from Denver and asked him to get in contact with everyone working for them and make sure they were all accounted for. There was no phone service, he could only send and receive texts. After rounding up a response from everyone, including one that took an hour to answer, he could breath a little easier. This was great news!
8 hours after I received the first text, I finally heard my husband’s voice. He finally had phone service at 1:00 a.m. as he was driving back south toward his trailer in Ardmore. I think the events of the day really began to sink in at that point. All he talked about were his two kids. He was exhausted emotionally and physically. I sat there on the other end of the phone. It was quiet. I could hear the sadness in his voice. I could hear the quiet calmness of the night air. Just like everyone else, I can’t comprehend the loss of life. I can’t watch the news without crying. I can’t keep myself from reading and watching the stories good and bad. I want that constant flow of information. I want that spark of hope.
This week, I was reminded how precious life is and how truly blessed I have been. I will continue to pray for the families in Oklahoma. I will continue to worry too much and sleep too little. And I will praise The Lord for my sister’s new gift of life. Don’t take any second of life for granted. It’s a gift. It’s a beautiful gift.

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