Tuesday, May 21, 2013

One Hundred

This past year has been a big one for me. My children have grown. My daughter has started kindergarten, my son preschool. I've begun writing for more than just a hobby- but as a paid freelancer.

And I've lost close to a hundred pounds.

It's something I planned on documenting here. But as the journey unfolded, it became much more personal and private than I anticipated.

I didn't have words for it.

And truthfully, I didn't want anyone to feel as if I was shoving this surgery down their throats, or promoting it as an option for THEM, when it was simply an option for ME.

I planned on posting pictures along the way. But the outside became much less important than the drastic change occuring inside of my body.

There are no words for this. For the realization of a dream I have had since I was 10 years old.

I am now as fit on the outside as I am on the inside.

My body works. It serves it's purpose of carrying me through my days. It helps me to accomplish what I need to. And it no longer hurts or weighs me down while doing so.

But the change I have experienced the most is at the core of myself. At my soul I am different. I stepped out on faith, did something that terrified me, and trusted God to carry me through.

I knew I would come through surgery. But at the core I was terrified I would fail at the weight loss like I have so many times before.

I surprised myself.

I have been reading alot about weight loss lately. I have seen on many message boards that alot of people feel this surgery is "cheating".

I did too. I did. But in the end there was no other option for me.

I was 230 pounds. I ate healthy. I exercised EVERY DAY. I worked hard to change myself. But my body was broken.

This surgery cured me of obesity. It gave me my life back.

It gave me my children back.

I was the mom who couldn't run. I had no energy. I was tired. I was sad.

I watched my children from the sidelines of my life because I couldn't join them.

I knew that if I continued the way I was going I would die.

So if that all constitutes cheating, then yes. I cheated.

I cheated my way into health. I cheated my way into being a better stronger person. I cheated my way into walking my daughter down the aisle. Into holding my son's firstborn.

I cheated.

This was a gift I gave my family, my children, and MYSELF.

I am 100 pounds lighter. But I am also a 100 times stronger. I am 100 times happier.

I am 100 times healthier.

I debated about putting a before picture here. But the truth is, it doesn't matter what I looked like then. What matter is that from the day I closed my eyes on the operating table, I woke up a new person. I was born into this body 36 years ago, but I was reborn on 2.14.12. God guided my path, guided my surgeons hand, and gave me strength to be where I am today.

And where I am is here, in this body, looking forward into a future with my health and my babies.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

True Beauty

Dear Lily,

The other day I went to buy you new swimsuits. I wandered the section I normally browse. But the swimsuits only went to size 5.

So I crossed over the aisle to the girl’s section.

And baby girl, my heart broke. There along the wall were swimsuits. Every color, every pattern you can imagine. But our old standbys- the Princesses, the Hello Kitty, the pink polka dots…were nowhere to be seen.

You are six now. And apparently the stores believe you are too old for these things. They want you to wear peace signs. And zebra print. And boy shorts with bikini tops.

I looked through racks of suits, all of them smaller than the next. Tiny triangle tops. Strings to tie behind tiny necks. Small bottoms to barely cover anything.

I thought of your neck. The place right at the bottom beneath your hairline where the string would go. I thought of how I hold you on my lap and touch my nose to that very spot. How I smell your shampoo and lotion smell. How I close my eyes and rock you as I do.

I thought about the bottoms. How they cover less than your princess underwear you still love. How you adore picking between Hello Kitty and Rapunzel after your bath.

I stood there and saw our future together. I saw you one day wanting a swimsuit like these- because your friends had it. Because you felt it would get you noticed. Because you were made fun of for your modesty.

And I cried.

You are six. You love My Little Pony. You love your brother and playing veteranarian with him. You love to draw our family, flowers, hearts.

You are innocent. And pure. And so very good.

And that swimsuit I was holding represented the end of some of that.

I put it back and walked away. And as I did I thought of what I wished for you.

I wish you could be this way, this innocent, for much longer than I was.

I wish that you could be yourself, mature at your own pace, without any outside influences.

I want you to grow and mature. I want you to change. But I also want you to remain as you are right now- nearly untainted by others beliefs about you.

See the world will try to make you something different. The world will see the goodness in you and try to corrupt it. Because this world we live in celebrates the exploitation of innocence. This world corrupts. It always has.

I wish that you would love your body enough to keep it a mystery. To leave much to the imagination. To be modest not because I tell you to, but because it honors a deep spiritual place inside of you.

I want you to use your body to accomplish what your spirit needs for nourishment. I want you to dance, to express yourself, to write and read and kneel to your savior.

I want you to love yourself enough to not care what anybody else says about you. I want you to love yourself to only care what God believes about you.

And what He believes is this, baby girl:

You are an amazing creation.

You are beautiful.

You are treasured.

You are pure and good.

You are more than just a pretty face or a body- you are a soul. And long before you belonged to me, you belonged to Him.

I wish that you would know always that what you look like is secondary to what you do. Beauty is created more than birthed. You create beauty with actions and deeds. You create it with your ability to love and give.

True beauty is looking at somebody and seeing their Savior. And you have this, my dear sweet love. I look at you and see Jesus in your actions.

I want this to remain a truth about you. I want the world to not harden your heart or change the way you feel about your worth.

I want to freeze time.

But I can’t.

So what I can do, baby, is tell you what I will always give you.

I will be your ear when you need to talk about how you feel about yourself.

I will give you space to change and grow.

I will love you, in any size, in any way your body changes.

I will help you to be healthy. I will nourish your body with good food, and your mind with prayer.

I will tell you a thousand times a day that you are beautiful.

I WILL TELL YOU UNTIL YOU BELIEVE ME. Over and over. And then again.

You do not need anything to enhance your beauty- it is there in ever word and every gesture you make. In every smile and ever compassionate thought. THAT is beauty. Your perfect face and healthy body are just the outside of your perfect soul.

So if you never take anything else away from these words, please remember this:

Nothing you put on your body or face can make you more beautiful that your actions or deeds. NOTHING. Anybody who tells you differently is lying.

I will love you and celebrate that beautiful soul of yours forever.



Wednesday, May 1, 2013


It's been a day.

I'm worn at the edges. My heart aches with loneliness. I am being slowly pulled under by exhaustion.

I am feeling tugged from all directions. Pulled.

I am worn.



Laundry. Carpool. Watering the garden. Pulling weeds. Chasing the dog.

There's no me in this day, only...them.

A meeting. A room with three faces. My son sitting next to me, pushing cars as the labels ride over his head on the wall. Projected there in black and white.

Severe delay.




All these words. Next to his name.

And him below it. With his eyes. His face. The face that looked up at me just minutes from my body. The face I caressed as he nursed. The eyes I have watched drift shut as I rocked, rocked.

His voice echoes across the sterile table. He says words only I can understand. I translate for him, watching his face.

I look down to hide tears I don't want anyone to see.

They ask- what do you want for him?

What do I see him doing 5 years from now?

And I say- I just want him to be able to speak.

But it's more.

I want him to be UNDERSTOOD.

And how, when the words are not there?

And will he be made fun of....and will he be lonely...and will he be sad. And god forbid any of these things because I WILL MOVE OCEANS TO SAVE HIM FROM THAT. Oceans. Mountains. I will NOT let him be lonely. I will not let him be mocked.

God help me. I will not.

The tears were swift. Hot coursing rivers. I did not let him see. He rode his scooter as I watched his joy and I thought -oh god how long will he feel this way? How long before he knows he is different?

My sweet sweet boy. My big eyed angel.

I put the kids to bed. Lily came out of her room with nonsense. I sent her back, harshly.

God told me to go to her. To make it right.

So I did. And it was back rubs and whispers and talking.

And then...



I stood up for somebody today.

Tell me.

And she does. Of the boy, the special boy, in her class. The one without many words. The one with big expressive eyes that look at you with such soul. Eyes like that don't need words.

She tells me of the boy who was laughing at her special friend. And how she told him to stop. Because it isn't nice.

My heart turned over. My eyes filled with tears as my heart filled with grace.

Because just as much as I have a sweet quiet special boy, I also have my kind compassionate loving Lily.

And there are many people like my daughter. Who see the soul, not just the body. That hear the unsaid words. That see the human beneath the diagnosis.

That hear the words that cannot come from the lips.

I looked into her eyes, so much like her brothers. And through tears I told her of how beautiful her soul is, how good she is, how treasured by God and by me.

Mama, it was nothing. I will always stand up for my friends.

I kissed her goodnight, whispering in her ear of how proud Jesus is of her amazing heart.

Redemption doesn't always come like lightning from the sky. Comfort is not always engulfing. Sometimes it can be the small voice of one heart, speaking for someone who cannot.

I thank God for the silence, and for the words.

Both have given me more than I could ever say.