O.K…here we go, one pant leg on…got it… now the other… then a prayer (a sincere one!) “Please Lord, allow my pants to button.” Deep breath…because deep belly breathing is supposedly good for you, even though it sometimes makes me more anxious! Doing it properly means inhaling, holding your breath for however many seconds you can while your belly is expanding out, and then exhaling for however many seconds. Too. Much. To. Think. About. But this day...it works and my jeans button! PTL!! Can anyone relate to this scenario?!
It’s literally like I woke up one day and glanced at my mid-section and thought, “O.K... have I been eating like crap these past several months? Or, maybe I have Ovarian Cancer; I should make an appointment with my doctor.” Yes, my brain goes straight to the worst possible scenario, because, c’mon I haven’t been eating that poorly, have I? So, after the doctor’s appointment and learning that it is not cancer, I deduce that it must be the dreaded menopause belly. Fabulous. I feel like (at 48 now) I am living in the age/tension of wanting to appear younger, doing all that I can, well, not all that I can, (I could be doing CrossFit or Orange theory, however, that just does not sound like any fun at all) but the easy stuff like fillers/injectables, Rodan and Fields Skincare, that new MLM teeth whitening paste, it works! Yet, thinking that I don’t want to appear too young (pretty sure this is not an issue, but a girl can dream, right?!) so that people think I could actually have a bun in the oven. Such a conundrum. I read recently that as women age the biggest concern about their bodies is their mid-section, however, as they age they care less and less. Now, that is what I am looking forward to, the caring less and less and the living more and more. I am just not there quite yet. Maybe by 50 I will get to that place of acceptance and stop trying to fight the battle of the bulge. As for now, I will continue the good fight and pray the Lord continues to allow my pants to button, as well as, remind me daily of what is most important, and why I am here on earth, which is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever, big belly or not.
Full Disclosure: When you see a pic of me on the GTF site, its either an older pic, or I am donning a “Yummie Tummie”/Spanx like tourniquet/tank top underneath whatever I am wearing, and at the same time trying to suck in my belly, OH and pose in a way to lengthen and attempt to eliminate the mid-section. AND, most importantly, I have the BEST photographer (Flawless Faces and Photos) friend who knows how to capture and conceal and photoshop. JUST KIDDING! Please know, truly, that I don’t fixate on this issue during this season of life, I am just highly aware of it! Also, I will not be doing many “fluff” pieces like this one going forward, even though my web-gal bestie urged me strongly to do it for this month, and I am glad she did.
Another trip around the sun. A friend gifted me custom pints of ice cream and one of the labels displayed this saying: “Another year sweeter” Super cute, however I don’t know about that. 😉 As I look forward to my birthday each year, this one is hitting me a bit differently than previous years.
As I gazed over at the side table in our kitchen that holds several b-day cards received this week, some touching, some funny, all of them thoughtful, and looked at the material gifts that I had received each day this week as the Lord so graciously ordained. My thoughts turned to my dad (and the fact that he is now gone from this earth as of Jan 6th this year) and the thought that the absolute best gift I could receive (from the Lord) was seeing a bluebird on my birthday. I wept at the thought. As, I have yet to see one since dad’s death.
As I woke up this morning (quite melancholy, knowing that this day will not be unlike most others unfortunately) after a restless night of sleep and continued my day as always, feeding the pups, reading devotionals and praying, making coffee, walking the pups etc.…It does hit me that even though my dad, Lou did not recall that Oct 7th was my b-day for many years preceding his death, which was super hurtful the first year that happened, it hit me that no one loves you quite like your parents. And, when they are gone, nothing will ever be quite the same. There is a deep void in our heart and soul that realizes, no one will love you in the same way your parents did. That is my experience now (in this moment) and I realize that will not be everyone’s experience. I was blessed to have parents that loved me despite my flaws, which were truly my biggest cheerleaders in this temporary life on earth. And, when they are both gone from this earth, it changes things, and that truly did not hit me until this week leading up to my b-day.
We entered 2021 excited for what was to come. Things were looking up! We had a goal, a vision, and a purpose that gave us great joy. We had it all planned out. Our amazing graphic designer, Preston, had created the artwork. I had sourced just the right garments. Our trusty local printer printed onto the amazing garments. We had created giftable items for folks who might be looking for something more than apparel. We spent several months curating, sourcing, and working towards our goal of launching THE most amazing thing ever. We had a plan; (we have learned over 5 years to plan far ahead of the seasons.) We even had a pop-up planned at a trendy store. We were super excited to launch this powerful, hopefully life-giving movement. Everything was on target.
Then…during a benign Monday night in early January, we got a phone call. For anyone who has ever been a caregiver, you know that when you see the facility name and number pop up on your screen, your heart drops a little bit.
In mid-March, Kansas declared that schools would close for the rest of the school year. Other states soon made the same determination.
Very quickly we started hearing terms like “Shelter at Home” and “Social distancing.” “Quarantine” was a word seldom heard these days…until now when we hear it daily.
The words “Pandemic” and “Plague,” although foreign and strange to the younger generation, engender memories giving rise to fear in the minds and hearts of the oldest among us.
Businesses and churches closed,
The economy faltered,
Violence at home is increasing,
and Deaths from the virus are reported daily.
Many of us have only seen times like these in movies or read about them in books.
and Discouragement is on the rise, exacerbated by the news reports and accompanied by weather fluctuations from cold and wintry to mild and spring-like and back to wintry again.
And we are all wondering, "How long???"
Nothing is certain except that nothing is certain.
I always love it when I read those words “But God” in my Bible. Often they follow bad circumstances or evil, offering hope to a situation that would otherwise seem hopeless.