Sunday, May 11, 2014

thanks mom.

For when I was zero, thank you for birthing me. Thank you for going through months of pregnancy and hours and hours of labor- all so that I could have life.
For when I was one, thank you for quitting your job to stay home with me o that I could always know that I had/have a mommy who loves me. Thank you for spending time with me. Thank you for sacrificing so that I could have time with you.
For when I was two and three, thank you for loving me and teaching me songs about Jesus. Thanks for watching The Jungle Book a million and two times with me and for listening to Copycats of the King a million and seven times with me.
For when I was four, thank you uprooting everything and moving to Alabama so that we could be closer to family and live in a better environment. Thank you for the trips to the library to pick out fun books to read. Thank you for letting me get something from the ice cream truck one time.
For when I was five, thank you for holding my hand and walking my crying self into school each morning- even when I yelled and screamed and didn't want you to leave me.

For when I was six, thank you for volunteering in my classroom and helping my teachers and going on field trips. Thank you for teaching me how to read and encouraging the love of books that I still have today.

For when I was seven, I guess I can thank you for giving me a little brother. :)

For when I was eight, thank you for being my girl scout leader and going camping with me. Thank you for the time we stayed up late getting the head lice out of my hair so that I could go to camp with the rest of my troop, and thanks for reassuring me that even though I forgot my socks that day- the snakes wouldn't really bite my ankles.
For when I was nine and ten, thank you for being a friend and a listening ear. Thanks for being someone who always loved me, was always on my side, and someone who was always there when I needed someone. Thank you for encouraging me to use my voice and to speak up for what I believed in.

For when I was eleven, thank you for teaching me about how to love those who don't love you back. Thank you for teaching me that I was more than what a mean girl or mean teacher said to me.
For when I was twelve, thank you for introducing me to the miracle of adoption. Thank you for being willing to open up my home so that I could have a temporary sister that I had always wanted. Thank you for teaching me that being a mom doesn't just come from giving birth- but rather a place of love in the heart.
For when I was thirteen and fourteen and socially awkward, thank you for standing by me and letting me spread my wings to fly. Thanks for being a Band chaperone so that I could go on the fun trips without getting homesick. Thanks for bringing me to practice and school and everything else. Thank you for encouraging me to stick things out when they got hard.
For when I was fifteen, thanks for not leaving me. Thanks for sticking with me even though I didn't always want to be around you and I was a moody teenage girl. Thanks for not sticking me out on the side of the road when I threatened to call DHR on you because I was mad.
For when I was sixteen, thank you for giving me independence and space when I needed it, but not pushing it on me quicker than I could handle.
For when I was seventeen, thank you for standing beside me as I waded through the mess of scholarship and college applications and trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life. Thank you for being my advocate when I needed you. Thank you for letting me make my own choices on what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. Thanks for hemming my prom dress.

When I was eighteen, thank you for not abandoning me. Thank you for coming to visit me on Thursdays in Auburn so that we could have lunch together. Thank you for driving me to and from college because the interstate and driving freaked me out. Thank you for embracing my quirks and not making them seem abnormal- but rather accepting me for who I was, even if it meant massive sacrifice on your part.
When I was nineteen, thanks for letting me change my major for the second time. Thanks for letting me move back home. Thanks for encouraging me to never give up on my dreams. Thank you for telling me to speak up when something wasn't right.

When I was twenty and wanted to move off to Chicago, thanks for letting me go and then rescuing me. Some of my sweetest memories are of you and me walking in downtown Chicago, sharing a crepe, exploring Navy Pier on our last morning together. Thanks for letting me take the leap of faith. But thanks for coming to get me a week later too. Thanks for being there when I needed you.

When I was twenty one and still unsure of what to do with my life, thank you for encouraging me to follow my heart and my dreams. Thanks for letting me change my major a third and a fourth time. Thank you for instilling a love of children's ministry in my heart. Thanks for listening to me whine about how much I hated HC and the childish drama there. Thanks for rescuing me when I needed rescuing. 
When I was twenty two, I came to you crying about how I had an eating disorder and you did your best to do whatever you could to fix it. Thank you for listening. Thanks for the hugs. Thanks for taking me to doctor's visits and therapy appointments and treatment centers while we tried to figure out what to do. You drove me back and forth from Birmingham every weekend. You drove me to appointments two days a week in Birmingham. You became knowledgeable about treatment centers and models that you never knew of before. We didn't have a clue what we were doing and sometimes you messed up, but that's okay because you were trying your hardest to get me the help I needed. 
Now I'm twenty three. Since last year, you've held my hand countless times. You were there when I when I yelled and screamed and got manic and mean. You were there in the messy times. You were there to pick me up when I fell. You have always been there for me and I am so so so thankful for that. I'm grateful to call you my mom. Thank you for being there for me when my brain gets weird and I want to do bad things. Thank you for holding me as I scream at you. Thank you for never leaving me. I'm thankful that I have you to hold my hand when I'm getting blood drawn or a hard therapy session, and I'm thankful that we get to smile and laugh over lunch. I'm thankful that I have this season to learn from you. Thank you for accepting my messy beautiful life- even though it's not what we always expected it would be.
Thanks Mom.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Reading List

Every so often, I like to share what I'm reading. What's on my shelf, what's caught my eye. I realized the other day that I haven't shared what I've been reading in awhile....probably because I'm not reading too much! I feel like I read many more interesting books when I was in college, because I had to for classes (that was definitely the good part of being a religion major- all the fun books to read!). As I'm finding myself find a routine again, I find the urge to relax and curl up with a book. It's just the "safe and comfortable" thing for me. It's comforting to curl up under a quilt and read before bed. It's comforting to lie in a bubble bath while reading. Anyways, long story short- I'm back on the book reading train.

I've been prayerfully considering leading a bible study/small group this summer on healthy self esteem and body image and what God has to say about all of that. It's funny. I planned for things to work out one way, but God works in funny ways and things work out differently- but still really good. I'm at a peace about the study, which will be for 3rd-5th grade girls- but I'm kind of nervous about writing my own curriculum. There's just nothing out there on the market like what I want to do, which is incorporating art and creating projects while discussing the themes of the study. I've found two books that I plan on reading to hopefully inspire the curriculum.

Perfectly Unique was written by Annie Downs. I haven't read too many of her blogs, but I've heard good things about this book and it's author! The description reads as follows,
Your body is an instrument. No, it’s not a flute, or a guitar (I hope). It is a sacred and original design by a master craftsman with a specific plan and purpose. That’s a pretty big deal. From head to foot, the way you view your body is directly connected to how you serve God. Seriously. From the thoughts you think to the steps you take, every part of you is linked to the divine. Perhaps you are struggling with your body image or are trying to make sense of why God made you as you are. Maybe you are looking for new ways to understand Scripture or to love God more fully. Either way, this book will take you on a thoughtful, funny, and spirit-filled exploration of the way you were designed and will help you better honor the Creator by learning to value his perfectly unique creation (yourself!).

The second book I plan on using is Graceful, by Emily Freeman. I just love Emily and her blog. I used her book Grace for the Good Girl in some papers I wrote for college. It's one of my absolute favorite books, so I thought that getting the companion written for girls would be a great idea! Here's the description:
You know her--the good girl. She's the reliable one who shows up every week at youth group wearing a purity ring and a smile. She gets good grades, makes the team, and doesn't need to be told to come home on time. But deep down she is crushed by the weight of the responsibility to be the good one, the smart one, the one who never messes up.
With the same candor and gentle spirit she showed women in Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman now gives young women what they need to be free on the inside, no matter what's going on outside. Through an honest look at the roles girls play, she helps them learn to stop trying and start trusting that the Jesus who came to save them also comes to live with them, right here and now.
Freefall to Fly is the third book on my list. I've been wanting to read it for awhile, so it seemed like a good time. It's not necessarily tied to the study I'm doing, more just for personal growth and development. 
Women today are fading. In a female culture built on Photoshopped perfection and Pinterest fantasies, we’ve lost the ability to dream our own big dreams. So busy trying to do it all and have it all, we’ve missed the life we were really designed for. And we are paying the price. The rise of loneliness, depression, and anxiety among the female population in Western cultures is at an all-time high. Overall, women are two and a half times more likely to take antidepressants than men. What is it about our culture, the expectations, and our way of life that is breaking women down in unprecedented ways?
In this vulnerable memoir of transformation, Rebekah Lyons shares her journey from Atlanta, Georgia, to the heart of Manhattan, where she found herself blindsided by crippling depression and anxiety. Overwhelmed by the pressure to be domestically efficient, professionally astute, and physically attractive, Rebekah finally realized that freedom can come only by facing our greatest fears and fully surrendering to God’s call on our lives. This book is an invitation for all women to take that first step toward freedom. For it is only when we free-fall that we can truly fly.
So that's what's on my list! What's on yours?