Monday, July 30, 2012

Music Has Always Reached Me...

I love music.  Truly.  From my earliest days I could be found singing all around the house.  In fact, my mom (and later my husband) had to enact a "no singing when you wake up" rule in our home.  It was just too hard for these non-morning people to wake up to cheerful, happy singing. So I complied to preserve the peace in our home...but I still sang in my head!

I discovered early on that I learned lyrics easily and remembered them well.  Eventually, someone taught me how to sing...thank you, Judy (Woods) Hooks!  And then I learned that I was an alto and figured out how wonderful harmony feels when you get the "money" note in a chord.  Oh!  Not much tops that in life, my friends!

Music has always reached me.  Always.  It's the language of my heart.  It speaks to me and teaches me in ways that little else does.  And lately, it's been my "go to" for this journey, particularly on the tough days.  The messages that I get from the music I love have been a big part of how I'm choosing to reshape my life.

Today, one of the people I follow and enjoy on Twitter used a quote from a Switchfoot song, "This is Your Life", as his post.  Here's what the chorus of that song says in part...

"This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be?
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose..."

Well, needless to say, songs that pose questions, even rhetorical ones, command my attention and engage my thought as I ponder the answer.  This IS my I really who I want to be?  And if not, why?

I've said to a few people lately that I feel like I'm living someone else's life these days.  And I just want to have my own life back.  Well, that feeling may be understandable given the enormity of the changes I've endured in the past 6 weeks.  But in reality, this IS my life...the result of choices I have made, both on my own and in response to the choices of others.  And if it's not what I want it to be...if I'm not who I want to be...then it is up to me to change that.  Before I can make those decisions, though, another question has to be posed and answered. 

Who DO I want to be?

You see, it does me no good to make grand, sweeping changes in my life without having an idea of who I really want to be when all is said and done. 

What do I value?  How does that play out in my life?  In what ways does my life reflect what I truly believe and would be willing to die for? 

The answers to those questions require me to look at myself with complete honesty - to see my strengths, as well as what is lacking in my character.  It's only with that knowledge that I can decide who I really want to be, and make the changes I need to become that person. 

So, this is what I'm doing these days...seeking the answers to these questions...evaluating where I am, where I've been, and figuring out where I want to go from here forward.  And isn't that what a "journey" is really about anyway? 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why Am I Up and Watching a Bicycle Race???

A quiet morning.  The sun begins its gentle rise up over the horizon, peeking through the small slats in my mini blinds, beckoning me to awaken and join the day.  I slowly open my eyes...stretch contentedly, smile, and get up from my warm bed to begin another day. 


Welcome back from the brief trip to Fantasy Land!  That's not really how it went down this morning around my house.  More like this...After getting only about 5 hours of sleep, having stayed up last night (and early this morning) to pick up my son from work at 1:00 AM, my body woke me up at 6:30, apparently deciding that I'd had enough sleep, although it is a perfectly wonderful Saturday morning when I could have stayed in bed for MUCH longer! 

So, why was I up?  Well, I can tell you this for sure.  I wasn't awake specifically to watch the bicycle race that was on my TV when I turned it on for some company (because you and I both know that my 20 and 17 year old sons were NOT awake at 6:30 this morning! Shoot...the DOG was barely awake!)  I was probably awake because I'm a middle-aged woman, learning how to adjust to her changing body, which apparently requires much less sleep than it used to.  (Boy, I hope that changes soon!  I feel tired, but wake up after only a few hours of sleep!)

So perhaps I'm asking myself the wrong question.  It's not "Why am I up?"...the better question is "Why did I watch bicycle racing?"

Well, I know nothing about bicycle racing other than there's a really long race through France each year that is bigger than the Super Bowl...if you're a Frenchman and don't have an NFL team to cheer for.  (For those of us who bike race will EVER hold a candle to good old American FOOTBALL...but I digress!)  My point is that I didn't watch bicycle racing because I'm a big fan of the sport.  Nor did I watch it because it was the only thing on my television.  I could easily have changed the channel and found any number of things that would have interested me.  That's the beauty of paying Verizon for FiOS every month...literally thousands of channels at my disposal.  But I didn't.  I kept it on.  Probably for the same reason that I watched the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics last night.  This is the OLYMPICS, for goodness sake...the biggest competition EVER!

To me, there's something wonderful about watching the culmination of an athlete's training and preparation play out in competition.  In fact, I get so captured by it that I forget I'm not a fan, that I know next to nothing about the sport, and I'm right there, cheering along with those who live and breathe bicycle racing!  Competition will do that to me.  It always has.

When I was younger, I used to compete at both team and individual sports.  I enjoyed the contests...and winning, which I did a lot.  And I hated losing.  As I got older, for some reason, I changed my focus to academic competitions versus physical ones, perhaps because I changed to a very sedentary lifestyle in my late teens and early 20's and didn't win the athletic pursuits nearly as often.  I still played the brain games to win, though.  And often did (and still do!).

What maturity has now taught me, however, is that competing is really only of value in my life long term if the person I'm competing against is myself.  Oh, there's nothing like the thrill of victory beating someone in a game of cards or board game.  But that feeling is short lived.  Competing against myself in my pursuits, though, is an entirely different euphoria when I win.  And it's a much more lasting and satisfying result.

I'm sitting here at my desk as I write this post.  Under the glass top that protects my grandmother's antique wooden desk is the bib from my first (and so far only) 5K race.  Just looking at that number 68 makes me smile almost a year later because I easily remember the victory that day.  Oh, I didn't win that race.  In fact, I came in pretty much dead last in the Cougarthon 5K.  (Angie and Dan were with me and wouldn't let me cross last, but let's face it, I was the last place finisher.)  But I was competing with ME...not those other runners.  I had never even come close to walking that far before, much less trying to do it quickly.  I won that day because I finished...finished when I really wasn't sure that I could! 

Now, 10 months later, I can walk/run a 5K in a much faster time than I set that day.  And every time I step on the treadmill, I try to beat it.  I'm not always successful at bettering my time, just like I don't always win the other games I play against people, but I'm always out there competing...going for the win.  Competition fuels wonderful things in me.  Perseverance.  Determination.  Effort.  So many positive and useful character traits are on display in my life when I choose to compete.

So, why was I watching a bicycle race at such an early hour this morning instead of sleeping snugly in my nice warm bed?  Because the drama of the competition drew me in, like it always does.  And by the way...the finish of that race?  Completely unexpected!  I won't be a spoiler and tell you who won, but I'll say was worth watching!  High drama!  (And we all know what a true drama queen I am! Ha!)

Have a great day, friends.  Go COMPETE...and WIN!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"You Want the Truth..."

The scene:  a military court martial, a courtroom filled with high ranking officers.  Jack Nicholson is sitting in the witness chair, testifying about the Code Red he ordered as a disciplinary measure for a young soldier, against military protocol and regulations.  Tom Cruise is grilling him like any good hotshot attorney would.  (And doesn't he just look YUMMY in that uniform...I've totally got a thing for guys in uniform!)  The interrogation begins innocently enough, but goes nowhere.  And then comes the climax...after a particularly heated exchange, brave, bold military attorney Tom demands: 

"I want the TRUTH!"

Angry, indignant commanding officer Jack thunders back: 

"You want the truth?  You can't HANDLE the truth!"

OH!  I love this scene!!  It's one of my very favorite scenes of any movie, ever. It's just so eyes literally can't leave the screen when it's on. (And not just because Tom Cruise is hot!  Really!)  The drama just overwhelms and entertains me.

What's this got to do with the price of tea in China?  Well, not much, actually.  But it has a lot to do with where I am in life right now, in a twisted kind of way, I suppose.

I got called on this very thing today by a person who's opinion I greatly value and respect. Oh, not the movie.  The scene.  The truth.  He caused me to question whether I'm living the way I want to be living...walking the talk so to speak.  And that's a good thing to consider.

One of the things that I've committed to in life (and on this blog) is living in a transparent manner.  I'm not always completely successful at that, but for the most part, my life is an open book.  And I do that for several reasons.  I feel it keeps me accountable to my friends and family, which is important to me.  It helps me make good choices when I'm sometimes tempted to not, because I know that people will know about it.  That's a big motivation to think things through!  And really, honesty is one of my core values - something I prize greatly in my relationships and work to maintain.

But here's what my friend had to say about my last blog post.

Where's the truth?

At first, I argued that.  My last blog post was filled with truth...very painful truths in my opinion.  In fact nothing in that post wasn't accurate.  But then I realized...truth is more than just being accurate.  It's portraying the ENTIRE situation with authenticity.  And when viewed through that lens, my last blog post was lacking.

So, here's some truth that was missing from my story...

The truth is...this is the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life - remaking me, handling the physical pain that my knees produce on a daily basis, dealing with a marriage that has huge problems and may not survive, questioning every aspect of my life and being willing to change things that don't make sense to me anymore or don't fit with the person I want to be.  That's HARD...and it's a heavy load to carry around every day.  Sometimes...many times...the weight of it overwhelms me and I'm not sure how I'm going to keep on going.

The truth is...I hurt.  A lot.  I smile and I maintain the most positive attitude I can because at my heart, I truly am an upbeat, happy person.  But I ache.  Physically...emotionally...mentally.  And I wonder when that pain is going to stop...if it ever is going to stop...and life can be easy and carefree again.  I honestly wonder if it ever really was easy and carefree, or if I just wished it to be so and ignored too many things that should have been confronted years ago.

The truth is...I question.  Myself.  My choices.  God.  I'm not feeling like the "good little Christian girl" so much these days.  And I know God can handle that...that He's bigger than my questions and doubts.  That He even WANTS me to question Him and own my faith as I work it out.  But what about my friends?  I wonder if my friends will get that...and so I try to keep that a little bit hidden from them and sometimes give the "Sunday School" answer to questions they ask.  "Oh, yes, I know God is good and He will work this out."  Well...what if He doesn't?  Or what if I don't like how He works it out?  What if my marriage doesn't get healed?  What if my knees are in constant pain the rest of my days?  Then what? I question that often...and I don't have any answers.  God and I wrestle with this on a daily basis.

The truth is...I'm lonely.  Oh, I'm surrounded by loving, supportive friends.  Don't get me wrong!  I'm not physically or emotionally alone in this world.  In fact, I've been overwhelmed this week with the love and encouragement that has been shared with me since my last blog post.  I'm always humbled by that.  And thankful to God...because I understand the true gift it is to be loved by these people.  But alone and lonely are two different things.  Please don't be offended and think your friendship isn't important to me.  On the contrary, it's vital to my well-being.  But at this moment, sitting here on my bed writing this post, I feel lost and lonely.  I want so badly to belong to someone, but I don't. I need to value my own company more than I ever have in the past, and I'm just not completely there yet.

So why am I sharing all this truth with you tonight?  Well, a few reasons. 

First and most importantly, because it IS the truth.  As I mentioned earlier, living in a transparent way is a choice I've made.  I don't usually hold things close to the vest.  I like living as an open book.  It may not work for everyone, but I'm OK with it.  And by not balancing out my story for you, it wasn't as open and honest as it should be.

But here's the other reason.  And I honestly struggled with this one, but in the end, sharing won out.  So many people have been impacted by my life on this blog.  And that amazes me.  It humbles me.  And I feel it deeply as a responsibility that I've voluntarily taken on as a blogger.  It's not ME making this impact.  It's totally God.  I know that.  I relish in that!  But He's using my life to inspire and change others.  Because I'm willing to be "out there" so to speak, to share it all...the good, the bad, the ugly...He can USE that and change other people's lives who are looking for hope, support, help.  But if I only share the good...the successes...the nice, neatly packaged truths - and neglect to show you the other side of that...the me who hurts, questions, doubts, fears...then I'm missing an opportunity to show you that if I'm getting through all of my crap, then you can get through yours too.

I don't know what your struggles are.  But I know you have them.  We ALL do.  It's a promised part of our heritage since the fall..."In this world you WILL have troubles..."  But I love the next part of that verse.  "But TAKE HEART!  For I have OVERCOME the world!"

Because God has overcome...I am an overcomer.  That's a process...and I'm not yet there.  But I'm working it out.  He and I are wrestling it out.  Daily.  I am overcoming.  And the great thing is, I'm nobody special...I'm just plain, old ordinary Angie.  And if I'M doing this...YOU CAN TOO!

Like I said, I don't know what your struggles are.  But I know this.  You have the power to overcome.  It's in your DNA!  Tap into it!  Lean into the pain, not away from it.  Trust that you can defeat your own demons because greater is He who is in you than anything or anyone in the world trying to defeat you.  Cling to the promises of the Faithful One. 

When everything falls apart, He WILL hold you together.  I promise you that.  It doesn't mean it's easy.  It's not pretty.  It hurts in fact.  But He will.

So there's the truth.  The real truth.  Can you handle it?  Sure hope so!  Thanks again for being along for the ride.  It's a bit bumpy right now...but I'm hoping for smooth sailing again sometime in the near future.  You know me...positive and upbeat...and hopeful!  :-)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

When Everything Falls Apart...

There's a song on Christian radio right now that really speaks to me.  It's called "Everything Falls" by Fee.  Here are some of the lyrics...
"You said you'd never leave or forsake me  
When you said, this life is gonna shake me  
And you said this world is gonna bring trouble on my soul  
This I know
When everything falls apart your arms hold me together  

When everything falls apart you're the only hope for this heart When everything falls apart and my strength is gone I find you mighty and strong, 
You keep holding on You keep holding on."

I've mentioned it a lot lately, but there's a lot going on in my life.  And sometimes it feels like everything has fallen apart.

My knees are not really in a great place (although they are getting better with PT...thanks, Ang!).

My job was difficult during the past school year (although there were some lovely moments and successes and next year promises to be a little bit easier).

My role as a parent of 20 and 17 year olds has been challenging at times (although my sons are really good's more the age, I think.)

And right now my family is undergoing a change that I never wanted or anticipated happening...we're living apart from one another (although we are making the best of it and praying hard to determine the next step.)

So...when everything falls apart, what do you do?

Well, if you're find the foundation at the bottom of it all.  You find out what you're really made of...what's essential in your life...what isn't.  And you refocus and start rebuilding.

That's what I've been doing for the first half of this year.  Trying my best to figure out who I was, who I now am, and who I want to be going forward.  That is a very introspective activity, but not only am I looking inside myself, I'm also looking up to God and my faith for guidance.  I'm also looking outward to my friends for support and inspiration.  Fortunately for me, that's so easy to find!  I have extraordinary friends.

What have I learned from these 6 months?  Here are some of the many lessons I've gained....
  • When you have a solid foundation (faith, family, and friends) and things fall apart, they don't completely crumble.  They can be rebuilt because the foundation stands strong. And that's what I'm doing.  Rebuilding.  Keeping relationships, activities, and habits that serve my purpose in life well, modifying those that need to be in order to be relevant, and removing some things that I've needed to address for a long while.  (Things like negative self talk, low self esteem, and a distorted self image!)
  • Rebuilding my life was not my first choice, but it has been an adventure that I've stayed positive about for the most part.  It has given me a chance to refocus my life on what I think is vital and most important.  Many people don't take that opportunity unless they are compelled to by circumstances, and I was the same.  But when you assume nothing, question/assess everything, and then allow yourself the chance to make real changes to your life, that's a very liberating thing.  You get to refocus your goals, prioritize differently, eliminate some goals that are unimportant, and hone in on the ones that will take you where you want to go as you rebuild your life.  And that frees you to be who you want to be, who you think you're supposed to be...not stay stuck with who you were.
  • Life is an adventure...and the ride...the the important part, not necessarily the outcome.  Being thoughtful about life is something that I had not done in a long time. I allowed myself to live on autopilot for far too the point that I got unhealthy in every area of my life:  spiritually, mentally, and physically unhealthy.  But by changing my life...being intentional about what I do...and what I DON'T do...I am impacting my health greatly.  No, I'm not what I would term "healthy" in any of those areas, yet.  But again, I think the process is the more important part here...and I'm making headway.  Lots of it!
So...when everything falls put it back together.  That's what you do.  You make it better.  You refocus your goals.  You keep on keeping on.  And that's what I'm doing right now. Thanks again for being on this ride with me.  The journey continues on...

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Want To Tell You Something...

Well...I really do have something I want to tell you.  But in order to tell you, I have to tell you something that I have intentionally NOT told you.  Oh, the dilemma!  I can't tell you one thing I'm really excited about without also telling you something that I'm decidedly not eager to admit.  

Except, this thing I want to tell you is something important.  So I'm gonna have to spill!

I had intentionally stopped posting my weight on the blog lately.  Because it wasn't what I wanted it to be.  It was moving the wrong direction.  I let you in on that...but only in part. 

What I didn't let you in on was exactly how far it went in that direction.

But in order to tell you what I want to tell you today, I've gotta come clean.  So here goes...

You know that for the past 6 months or so, I've been dealing with a lot of personal stress in my job and in my family...and a pretty nasty arthritis flare up that significantly increased my daily level of pain and frustration. I also had an infection that required a medicine that caused me to gain weight, which I never really lost. 

Between January and June, I gained 18 pounds.  I went from having lost 108 losing that 100 pound 238...only 90 pounds down from the 328 mark I hit when I began this journey.

I kept that from you for many reasons, but mostly because I didn't really want to own that weight gain.  There were a lot of reasons why I gained weight, but the bottom line is, for the past 6 months, I lost my focus.  I stopped focusing on myself and the journey I am on, and instead started focusing on my circumstances.

But here's the problem with that kind of thinking.  When I focus on my circumstances, I'm completely powerless.  There is absolutely nothing I can do to change what happens to me.  My only choice is how I will to react to it.  I don't get to filter what I'm going to experience in life and only choose the good things.  I have to take what comes, good or bad, and deal with it.

On the other hand, when I focus on me...the goals I have for myself, the journey I've already walked, and what's yet to come, I have power to effect change.  I am the one in charge of that.  I can evaluate myself and my habits, keep what needs to be kept, change what needs to be changed.  In short, I'm the one in control. 

So now that I've come clean with you about this...let's get to what I really want to tell you!

In June, as I was processing this (and honestly, feeling really sorry for myself because I lost the 100 pound mark and couldn't bring myself to admit it to anyone), I decided that enough was enough.  I brought myself back into focus, set some new goals, and decided to really work for them.  No more focusing on circumstances, especially ones that I can't control. Time to get it right again.  So I did.

And at the doctor's office yesterday, I got the results from my effort.  I have officially lost 11 pounds in the past month.  I GOT MY 100 POUND LOSS BACK!!!  By a pound! 

I'm 101 pounds less than I was when I started focusing on improving my overall health and wellness.  And really, as great as it was on January 6th the first time I hit 100 pounds down, I honestly think this feels better.  Hitting the 100 pound mark this time was a real testament to the fact that who I am at my core is a strong, committed, capable person who is taking charge of the things in her life that she can.  It makes me feel good about moving forward and maintaining this new lifestyle I've created for myself.

Am I doing anything different now than I have all along on this journey?  No, not really.  The difference is all in my head.  I've told you before...and have confirmed for myself through the first half of this really, truly is almost entirely a mind game.  Once you make up your mind you're going to do (or not do) something and change your focus off of the circumstances and onto your goals, the battle is over.  You've already won it!  My 11 pound weight loss this month proves that to me.

I've talked a lot in the last six months about finding my groove again.  Well, I think I finally really have.  And now it's time to keep rocking it.  I've got 87 more pounds to lose and a whole lot of strength to gain emotionally and physically.  This journey has been on hold for too long.  Time to start controlling what I can and dealing with what I can't.

Thanks for taking the ride with me, friends...let's keep rolling!  We've got places to go!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Letter to the Future Me...

July 10, 2012

Dear Future Angie,

Now that you've gotten much farther along on the journey and you look back to this time in your life where you began to make these incredible changes in your life, there are some things I want you to remember.

First, remember that you didn't do this alone.  Oh, you did the hard work.  You were the one in the pool at 6:00 AM on those cold winter mornings, and then later in the gym after long hard days, working off these pounds, but you were never alone.  You had great support all along the way.  Your family and friends were and are extraordinary.  They encouraged and enabled you every step along the path.  In fact, without them, you probably would have never gotten to where you are now.  Don't forget to thank them, and to acknowledge the tremendous role they played in shaping the "you" that you now are.

Next, remember that this journey was about so much more than losing weight.  It was about a complete transformation of yourself into who you are now.  You quite literally are not who you once were.  You lost a lot more than weight along the way. 

You lost your insecurity about your place in this world, and replaced it with the knowledge that you have wonderful things to share with the world.  You looked for and found ways to do that, and you impacted many lives because you stepped out of your self-imposed shell.  Don't ever go back in it! 

You lost the belief that life is something that happens to you completely out of your control, and replaced it with the understanding that you had choices about what...and allowed to be in your life.  You began to make wise choices after suffering some great hurts in this process, because this lesson was a difficult one to learn.  Don't forget that pain is not wasted when it's a source of growth. 

You lost the limitations that you used to think were yours, and replaced them with an adventurous spirit and willingness to try new things, to press beyond what you used to think your limits were. You became persuaded of the belief that once your mind was set, you could do anything you desired.  Don't ever confine yourself with artificial limits now that you know the power of your mind to effect the things you want in life.

But perhaps most importantly on this journey, you learned one key truth, and I am confident that you are still living it out now.  You learned that loving and accepting yourself JUST AS YOU ARE is the key to the whole process of allowing and empowering yourself to change into the New Angie.  Yes, you've changed much of who and what you were, but you loved yourself along the way, even when you had more weight on your body than you wanted. Even when some people found you unlovable.  Even when you weren't making progress on the journey.  Even when the days were long and difficult.  No matter what happened, you learned to love you.  Not the "you" you are now...the "you" you were then. 

I'm writing you these things so that you can remember who you are, where you came from, and know for certain that where you are going is just the rest of the journey.  Because one other big thing you learned through all of this is that the journey never ends.  It's called life.  Go live it well!

Much love,

Monday, July 9, 2012

I Am Enough...

I am.  I am enough.
And I am learning this on the journey to the new me, a little bit more every day. 
And I believe it.
I can say it to you here and know that I believe every word of this. 
As I am, right here, right now.  Not as I WILL I AM, I am enough.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

So Long, Status Quo...

Status Quo:  Latin for "the state in which", also commonly translated as "the existing/current state of affairs."

Well, friends, the state in which I find myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually is being challenged on a daily basis for me these days.  The existing state of affairs in my life is changing in many ways and for many reasons, whether I'd like it to or not.

Here's the key.  I want it to.

I'm embracing the changes as they come.  That's what this journey to a new me is about, after all.  I'm not just talking about weight loss here, though I often focus on that aspect of the journey because it's obvious and measurable.  I'm talking about a complete evaluation of who and what I am, why I do the things I do, what I will and won't compromise on.  In

Have you ever looked in the mirror and knew that things needed to be different?  I'm not just talking physically - your hair, your style, your weight.  I mean the deeper things.  What makes you, well, YOU.  I have to tell you, this is a scary proposition, and until recently, I'm not sure I have ever allowed myself to look this deeply into myself and evaluate what I found there. But for the past 6 months or so of this journey, I've been reworking who I am.  Mostly out of necessity because the circumstances of my life wouldn't allow me any other choice.  But also, because as I go through this season of my life, I'm learning the value of this type of introspection for my growth and happiness.

By considering every aspect of my life subject to change, by laying it open and saying that nothing is a given right now, I've allowed myself the opportunity to truly OWN the choices I'm making with my life and know for certain that I'm willing to be accountable for them.  I'm living far more intentionally, and relying far less on the "it's always been this way" decisions that I default to.

Here's just one example of what I have been working through.  My career means so much to me.  I love being a teacher and believe that I am a very good one.  I work hard at it, but to me, it seldom feels like work, because I enjoy it immensely.  Well, this year, that was decidedly not true for me.  In 24 years, this was one of the most challenging, difficult years I can remember experiencing in the classroom.  In the end, I feel like I was successful, but it drained me.  Emotionally, physically, intellectually - every way you can be drained, I was.  So I allowed myself to use this challenge as an opportunity to consider whether or not my career needed an overhaul, a very scary proposition for me, honestly.  You see, I derive a great deal of my self-esteem from doing this job well.  Giving that up, even if it was my own choice to do so, was a difficult thing to consider.  But I forced myself to try to evaluate fairly whether my career was working for me anymore or not.

The conclusion I have come to is that while I DO love teaching and am very good at it, that there are a number of careers that I believe I could love.  When I broke it down to the values at the core of me, what teaching appeals to is my desire to serve and help others, especially children, and my desire to leave a mark on the world because I was here - to be significant.  As you can imagine, there are many, many other careers that could accomplish those same ends. 

I've always just assumed that I would be a teacher for my entire career.  By allowing myself to step back and evaluate this choice for myself, I have affirmed that I do indeed love it, but have also acknowledged that a few other careers would also appeal to me and satisfy my needs and values.  Therefore, I have begun investigating the possibility of entering law school, figuring out how it fits with my undergraduate and graduate degrees, what it would require from me financially and in terms of time commitment, and what I would gain when I successfully complete it. 

Now, I'm not saying that I'm ready to leave my teaching career, become a lawyer, and never look back.  In fact, in all likelihood, for the foreseeable future, because of some other circumstances in my life that require more immediate attention (like these knees!), I probably won't make any major moves in this area.  My point is this...I allowed myself to go here.  To look at this area of my life, my career, and evaluate whether or not it's still the choice I want for myself.  It's not really about the changes.  It's about the process.  That's important.  Let me say that again.

It's not really about the changes.  It's about the process.

And herein lies the point of this entire blog post.  I'm not just doing this with my career.  I'm trying to be open to this kind of scrutiny, evaluation, and change in every part of my life.  And not only am I doing it, but I'm also encouraging you to do it, too.

The Bible is important to me - and I've affirmed that belief in my life, by the way.  Even that wasn't allowed to remain unchallenged!  One thing that it encourages us to do is examine ourselves.  To see if our lives measure up to our proclaimed faith.  To determine whether we are prepared for communion and intimacy with Him.  To ensure that we're walking the talk in essence.  What I've determined by engaging in this action in my life is that it is wise to challenge the status quo.

Some things in my life have changed for the better because I've done this.  Some things have remained unchanged, but even those have taken on more significance and meaning for me now because I know that I am intentionally choosing to live the way I am.  Many more things have yet to be considered, but I'm certain that I will.  I'm learning more and more who this "New Angie" is going to be by engaging in this process...who I want her to be, who I believe God has called her to be. 

It takes guts to do this.  What I've already figured out on this journey is that I'm a lot stronger than I usually give myself credit for.  And most certainly what I've affirmed in the past few months is that our God is a lot stronger than I have given Him credit for, too.  Oh, I've SAID that He's strong, but far too often, I've acted on my own without Him because I didn't really believe He would handle it.  I've never been more happy to be so wrong about that.  :-) the words of one of my favorite Nichole Nordeman songs, Brave...

"So long, status quo.  
I think I've just let go.  
You make me want to be brave!  
The way it always was 
Is no longer good enough. 
You make me want to be brave!"

Monday, July 2, 2012

Run Your Own Race...

I am not a runner. 

I hope that one day I will be able to choose to be a runner, but right now, with my knees in the condition they are, to run would mean to hasten the time when I have to replace them.  So I don't run.  I walk. Often. And far. But I don't run.

I do know people who are runners, though.  And I've been thinking a lot lately about something I hear them say all the time.  It seems like it's a key component of training and competing in the running world.

Run your own race.

What they're saying is that no matter what anyone else around you is doing, you've got to run the race the way that's right for YOU.  So what if a faster runner sprints away from the starting line and gets a huge head start?  If your own race plan is slow and steady, run it.  Don't be enticed into abandoning your plan to respond to other runners.  Go with what you know works for you.  Stick to the program.  Run your own race.

Why is that sticking with me lately?  I think it could be that I'm finally settling down into the fact that this is how the rest of my life is going to be.  I won't always be in a weigh loss mode.  One day, I'll be maintaining the full weight loss.  But I'm always going to have to run my own race, so to speak.

I'm always going to have to find the balance of eat less, move more that works for ME.  It may not work for everyone else, but it's also not everyone else's race to run.  It's mine.

Just where my head is today.  Settling into my new reality.  Adjusting my focus a bit.  Running my race.

Thanks for being my running partners in this thing called "Life".  I'm honored to run alongside you!


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