Holy jeez you're gonna be a mom!

So I found out today that my friends Lisa and Scott are going to have a baby!
As in a baby, that belongs to them, that they will raise.

Holy cow.
I'm so stoked for them and know they're going to be great parents. But wow. I mean, most days, I still feel like I'm 13!
My friend Claire and I were talking to someone at church a few weeks ago and I said that and she agreed. She said, "I think that's why we're such good friends we both feel 13" (Claire's 50ish I think)

I mean, I look at Belinda, and Sharen, Lisa, Angie, Katie, and they're responsible for other lives dang. Some days I can barely take care of myself let along Gertrude and Agnes. Then Alexis, and other people all married or in serious relationships and I'm all "He is so not my boyfriend don't even hint at it" commitment phobic.

How are we not all still 13?

Congrats Lisa and Scott....if it's a girl, I think Bethany is a FINE name for a baby.....


Just out of sight

Lately I've been seeing things lingering on the edge of my perception. Sitting on my bed the other night I swear I saw something moving in my closet, but up towards the top of the doorway, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't Gertrude or Agnes.
Walking into work today I saw something reflecting in the water standing on the ground. I looked up and around and saw nothing.
Just out of sight are things that I can't comprehend, ways of thinking, acting, learning, leading, believing. The more I read, the more I experience the more there seems to be to know.

Sometimes when I'm in the thick of life, sure there is no way out or a feasible solution there appears on the edge of it hope. Hope found in the smile of a stranger, or a friend saying I have faith in you or an acquaintance saying I'll show you the way.

I feel so stuck in this relational face off. This stalemate of my stubbornness to allow anyone closer then an arms length. Have I settled so deeply into this pocket of protection that it should now be called my home?
Is it all a facade? Some sort of intricately constructed thought pattern of independence and solitude?

The feelings vacillate so often I've stopped keeping track. I think that's OK.


On temporary shells and chipmunks

This weekend I went north to see Jerry. I haven't seen him since his excursion to Cincinnati in August, and I missed him terribly. So I drove in Saturday morning and we went to see the Chipmunks movie. Which was hilarious. Even better we saw it in a theater with tons of kids that were amazingly well behaved. It was cute when a spongebob squarepants cartoon was shown in the movie and the kids all started screaming the theme song!
Afterwards we went to Wal-Mart and I got the cutest snow boots. Now SNOW already!
Saturday late afternoon I drove from Fremont to Clyde to stay with Nicole for the night. On the way to Clyde I have to drive past the cemetary where Denise was buried.
Looking at the grave and feeling the grief wash anew over me I was gently reminded that she doesn't live in the cemetary. Her body may have been placed there, but who she really was, it's no longer there. God just nudged me over and over again reminding me what a temporary life we're all living, from the moment we are born we are moving towards bodily death no matter how fancy we wrap up life, it's still the truth.
Standing in that graveyard contemplating all this and wanting so bad to hug her again I was again just reminded by God that life is so much more then the grief that we bear, then the sorrow we curl up with at night. Life is about giving everything and then some more, it's about telling people you love them and treating your spouse, parents, kids, friends as kind if not kinder then you treat strangers.
It's been almost 8 years since Denise, and a little over 13 since ellenjane died, and I still find myself drawn to their graves in ways I can't exactly articulate. But Saturday, the idea that they aren't really there, they aren't really there, the idea that they are somewhere else, somewhere I'd like to believe is so much better then the place they were here.
Grief is a funny thing friends. It has a way of popping in on you during the most joyous occasions, times when all I really want is to call you who I'm grieving up and tell you all about the conversation I had with Ryan on Friday, all about the Chipmunk movie, all about the silly inconsequential things that happen in my life, that seem somehow lessened because I can't share them with you.

Nicole and I took her parents out to Fontana's (mmmmm) in Clyde for dinner. One of the guys I worked with at Whirlpool that summer was there with his wife. He grew up down the street from my dad and would tell me stories about growing up there while we rotated through tubs and braces. But dinner was good, then off to Nicole's parents where we laughed and played with animals and just hung out.
It was a good weekend. I slept in and procrastinated severely Sunday since I was near any church I've ever gone to, played on the computer in bed (I really need to get a new laptop) and just generally lazed about.
Visited my parents for a bit on my way through BG on the way home....
Oh! I watched 3:10 to Yuma Sunday night which was fantastic. So good!
I finally started the MLK Jr. bio that has been mocking me from the bookshelf for about 4 months.
Good times.
One last thing....in less then 5 days I'll be in Florida on my way to Key West for a week!

How was your weekend?

I'm in love

I'm currently embroiled with an unashamed, torrid, time consuming love affair.

with string cheese.

le sigh.


Yippee and other ponderances

I had a meeting with Ryan today about outreach stuff.
I'm so pumped now. I think it's going to be great, hard work but great which incidentally is exactly the combination I'm looking for!

It was 8 degrees when I left for work this morning. My car was defrosted enough for me to start driving so I left for work. The car in front of me sprayed up salt on my windshield and like the superstar I am I tried to wash my windshield to clean it.
Going 40 mph
On an 8degree day
So for the next few blocks I watched my windshield crystallize and cover over with ice. But it wasn't all of the sudden, or in one smooth sheet of ice. It was gradual. Sporadic and patchy even.
It reminded me of sin.
Sometimes sin comes and it just immediately covers everything about your life in one foul swoop. It happens so fast that you can't even stop it.
But in my life, more often it's like my windshield this morning.
I act without thinking.
Slowly parts of my life will fall into old patterns and habits of gossip, hateful thoughts, fear, lust, lies, and any number of other things.
It will start quietly, almost stealthy in a way. Inch my inch I'll give in and reconform to my old life, the one that isn't really that far behind me.
Ben said once where there are secrets sin is crouching at the door.
It's so true. No sooner will I start not being completely honest about what I'm doing, where I'm going etc., sin is right at my door banging to be let in again.

So my windshield iced over slowly.
I tried passing over it with one, two, three swipes with the wipers. It smeared, became gray and dingy and I couldn't see out of it.
So I had to use my windshield wiper fluid repeatedly to wash it clean, I had to put my wipers on high (probably wearing them down and shortening the length of time I'll have before I need to replace them)
It took the few miles until I hit Tri-County to really get it cleaned up and back where it needed to be for me to drive safely.

It just really struck me as a parallel to my life. So often I'll slip in one little way, thinking it's not that big of a deal and I'll stop.
But slowly the sin, and more importantly the consequences of that sin seep in and cover my whole life. They shade my perceptions of others and the way I see myself and interpret my community of friends and families see me.
The sin covers me in a cold isolated and lonely feeling. One that causes me to feel such shame that I don't share what it is that I'm struggling with which only exacerbates the shame.....(this is where I especially see what Ben said playing out, by not sharing or allowing others to support and encourage me in fleeing this sin I can talk myself more readily into continuing down that path)
Life becomes...dull, dingy, covered over and gray, hard to see my way out of the hole I've dug for myself.
It takes longer to recover from the crushing blow of sin then it would have if I had just shared with someone I trust (coughbobbiecough) and asked them to help me pray and disentangle myself from it.
Life becomes, less about shining the light of Christ and more about trying to polish myself up to hide the deep shame I felt for stumbling.
Conversations are sprinkled with my proud boasting and quick covering of behavior that isn't right. When they should be sprinkled with encouragement of others, listening, laughing, and celebrating the life that is found in Jesus.
Slowly but surely a year will pass....with activity covering the hollowness of my heart and superficiality taking the place of the true and deep relationships that grew me to the place I was when I started this descent.

But today is today, not yesterday or tomorrow. In the past few weeks and months my eyes are opening anew to this junk, to this false shame, to this isolation that I've sewn myself into.
Shame, well, it's good I suppose. But I don't think that's the right word for the emotion I should be feeling when I'm struggling with these things.
Shame is often a lie of the enemy I think....the enemy telling you that of course people wouldn't love you if they knew.
Last week I shared this shame with someone and was so surprised by the reaction, the encouragement, the love that I felt from breaking down that barrier I thought I was building to protect myself, but it was really an isolation wall that not only kept people who hurt me out, but also those that love me.
This healing of a wound that has begun is so cleansing, so beautiful in the hope that it gives me for the future. It's hard work. It's harder still because of how long I've let it fester, how long I've let it grow untended and free inside my heart.
But with the consistent attention and prayer, love and affection that I'm washing this wound with, in a few miles, it will be ok again. It will be safe to drive again and I will be cleaned up and ready to go.

Hopefully this time, when I build things around me...it will be relationships that build me up and encourage...or even demand....that I stay in daylight, where sin doesn't lurk at the door.


Read this. It made me cry and articulated the way I've been feeling of late.
Plus I love this blog




I love talking to Bobbie and Justin. They make me feel so encouraged and loved and able to speak my mind even if it's unclear to all parties involved just what it is my mind is trying to say.

Here's an email he sent me:

"Well, I know that God is calling you to be unapologetically outrageous for him. I just want to encourage you to go for “it”, even if “it” changes. I just love watching God work through people that love him!!!! You are a great encouragement because you are not afraid to share your heart….or anything else for that matter. So, know that we love you and see that fire that God has put in your heart. Follow what he is telling you. Just let me know if you need to hear that everyday because I will keep telling you that. I believe in you and I believe that God has called you to do his work."

Awww....shucks. Thanks Justin.

*this also fulfills a shout out to Justin in accordance with the prophecy*

Oh the weather outside is frightful

And I have no fire in my house...which is a good thing since I have no fireplace.

I can't really complain I suppose. It's a HIGH of NEGATIVE 17 in Minnesota.
Plus I have a house, and tons of clothes (that I can't really fit into but that's another self critical blog I suppose) and a car and heat, oh and a bed.

So yeah. It's cold.

It's no coincedence that people call old age the winter of their lives. Winter is a winding down before a rebirth of sorts, as in spring.
Old age, at least the way I see it, is a winding down before a spectacular rebirth in God's kingdom.
I realize not a lot of you feel this way. But I do and it's my blog.

I look at these bare thin trees out my window at work and I think of the frail limbs of the elderly, or the ill. How easily they get snapped by gusts of wind or to much weight being placed on them.
But I know young and healthy people that feel frail and bare as well.
I'm talking about those moments when you feel that the world has given you to much weight to bear, to much responsibility, to much grief, to much of everything. These moments when you just collapse under the weight and it isn't until someone helps you that you're able to stand on your own.
To me, there seems to be this shame associated in asking people for help. This idea that if I expose what it is that I'm most struggling with that people will be aghast that I struggle with such things and flee the scene as if their life depended on it.
I feel like I should handle it on my own. Put a brave face on it and trudge forward head down striving for the goal.
What is that goal again?
I don't know.

I mean, the majority of experiences I have with this situation tell me otherwise. I talked to Bobbie just last week about something and she was nothing but encouraging and uplifting.
Also, I love it when people ask me for help. When they let me help them carry the load, when they lean on my shoulder and I can try to comfort them.
Why then would I rob others of that same opportunity?

We're created to live in this community, this state of depending on others and supporting each other. To not be engaged in vital growing relationships with people, to not reveal to at least one person what it is that is your deepest dream and have them encourage you in that.....that's what causes the bare branches and the feeling that you're carrying the weight of the world.

I told Tony and Deano one of those things on Sunday....and just by the sheer fact of letting that dream slip it's taken hold of my mind and won't let go.
I told someone else today.
I think it's time to stop dreaming and start planning. Looking logistically at if this is possible, if this is something that I can actually do and follow through to the end.

I'm also afraid to start things. Beacuse if I don't finish, or change my mind in the middle...then I'll be a flake not following through on the 13957th thing in my life and disappointing people again.
I think I need to get over that.


Humility vs. Humiliation

Ben's been talking about pride the last few weeks. This past Sunday he talked about humility being the opposite of pride (or something like that). He talked about how we should focus outwardly and build others up, encourage them, compliment them etc.
But humility, that word I think stops some people in their tracks.
I said that word to someone the other day and they looked at me as if I were crazy. They asked, "Why should I believe in a God that requires me to humiliate myself to be near to him"
So I turn again to dictionary.com for assistance:

the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.

not proud or arrogant; modest

to cause (a person) a painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity; mortify.

So often people get the two confused, humility and humiliation are not the same thing.
But I know I've struggled with it myself on and off. I think the problem isn't with the words, and the problem isn't with God.
The problem is with us. This idea that being humble is about being a doormat, quiet and meek not troubling anyone for anything or any reason.
But I can be humble and stand up for myself and frankly I find it insulting when you call me a doormat. Some things are just not that important to me.
I can apologize that what infuriates you does not infuriate me. But what else would you have me do?
It's just someone cutting me off.
It's just someone slighting me in a way that I don't appreciate.
But maybe they didn't mean it. Maybe they didn't notice. Maybe they're having a worse day then I am. Maybe their mind is wandering and they aren't paying attention.

There are so many reason I think that people behave the way they do, in the way they offend others, in the way they insult others or "humilate" them in seemingly intentional ways.
But so what?
When is it enough to push back? Ever?
In the book "Mean Girls all Grown Up" the author (the name escapes me) has a whole chapter on being offended. She talks about how to the point of dying on the cross Christ wasn't offended expect when people spoke against his Father in Heaven.
So who exactly do we think we are when a 2 second delay because someone cut us off cause an avalanche of expletives to erupt from our mouths?
Yet when someone says the GD word, or derides our God we say nothing.
Now I'm not talking about "going to battle for the Lord" or anything like that. We can stick up for our Lord perfectly fine using kind words and actions.
I'm talking about saying nothing in defense of the Lord that saved you for fear your friends, families, co-workers, strangers even will think you a Jesus Freak and not want to play with you anymore.
Having humility is nowhere near being humiliated.

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Titus 3:1-2
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

1 Peter 5:5
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." [ Prov. 3:34]

On clean carpet and cat hair

My carpet is clean! My carpet is clean! My carpet is clean! My carpet is clean! My carpet is clean! My carpet is clean! My carpet is clean! My carpet is clean! My carpet is clean!

I got home last night and it was soooo clean and nice smelling and lovely.
I let Gertrude and Agnes out of the bedroom where they were locked all day and they immediately proceeded to rub themselves all over the clean carpet. Which is tan.
With Agnes...not so big of a deal, she has short white hair.
But Gertrude, oh long black haired Gertrude....big clumps of fuzzy black hair that need to be picked up by hand....


Sharen and I worked out last night.
I'm terribly out of shape.
My arms hurt a little.
I'm officially addicted to Biggest Loser. I started predicting and commenting last night.

le sigh.


It hurts my heart

To hear people so vindictive and grumpy all the time. I mean....I can't imagine there isn't something in their life that they can focus on being joyful about.
It makes me want to help....but honestly, I've tried with these particular people that I'm talking about and it's just not working.
It's like their INTENT on being unhappy and miserable.
How many times should I try to help? once, twice, a hundred times?

No really....what WOULD Jesus do?

Notice: I'm a kick butt ninja. Do not cross me.

Don't say you haven't been warned!

Ahhh...let's see.
So Friday Deano rolled into town. I went home and crazy cleaned (as in did it with no 30 minute breaks in between). He arrived about 1130 and we had to stand outside at my car to blow up the air mattress he was sleeping in.
It. Was. Cold.
But our plan was to tell any curious passersby that we were going to be camping in the cluster of 3 trees right outside the apartment buildings.
I'm sad no one passed by.
We stayed up until about 130ish chatting and reading post secret books....oh how I wish Deano lived closer!
Saturday morning I had a meeting at church. Which I love...have I mentioned that before on here?
cough http://www.4cornerschurch.com/ cough

We're going to be reading another book as a group, I'm excited to see what it is.
Meeting ended about 10ish, I checked with Greg about a possible mission trip to Ghana which seems like it will be a go in the fall.......SO STOKED!
I told Ryan I was in for leading the outreach ministry (voluntary, he'll be my staff uplink) so I drove home all geeked out about what's to come.

Tony, Deano and I went to the creation museum in Kentucky. It was interesting, they did an amazing job building models and a life size portion of the arc. The "reenactments" of the flood were a little cheesy, but it was totally worth it to hear people around us gasping and clutching people around them. But it's $20 to get in. It was nice, but not $20 nice.
It took us around 3 hours to work out way in, through and out of the museum. We had a late lunch at Applebees....mmmmm mozzarella sticks.

We headed back to my place. Tony headed into my room and took a 3 or 4 hour nap while Deano and I watched "Anchorman". He'd never seen it....holy crap still hilarious and I've seen it maybe 12 times.
When in Rome!
You look like a blueberry!
I'm going to punch you in your ovary!
There are literally thousands of men I should be with instead of you. But I'm 72% sure that I'm in love with you.

Good times.
Deano and I also watched some Nooma videos by Rob Bell and had some interesting conversations about them.
We decided to stay in and have some brew, since it was EIGHT degrees out. But alas, the brew I had was a smidge skunky so Deano and I ran to UDF and got some more. Then decided that wasn't enough after we came back and drank a few with Tony (who finally woke up). So the three of us went to Meijer and bought more and the game Balderdash.
Good times. Many antics ensued.
To bed about 2am. I didn't sleep worth a darn. I was up until about 4, then awoken by Agnes running sprints up and down my side. Then Gertrude knocked a glass and a beer bottle off the counter and shattered them about 530ish. So I woke up and cleaned that up. The silly kitties kept trying to pick up the glass in their mouth and run away with them. So I locked them in the bathroom. Then I left them there when I went back to bed. about 630 Agnes woke me up with her yowling. Then I was up again at 7 with calf cramps, then again at 730 due to the noisiness of having 2 other people sleeping in my teeny apartment. Finally about 830 I threw in the towel and got up and ready for church.
Deano and Tony both came with me and I was so excited. They both come from, and favor more traditional church. But Deano said he really liked it.
The message was great, as usual, and Deano said he liked the conversational style of Ben's sermons the most....not only talking about others but talking about his own life sort of thing....oh, you want another link to the sermon? Ok

We headed out to lunch at IHOP afterwards. There was some great conversation on the way about the church and Ben's message and a little at lunch too.
Deano and I have had some more great conversations about it since. I love that I go to a church that gives sermons that are such tangible starting points for conversations I'm longing to have with people....but am unsure how to start.
Tony headed home to do laundry and watch the games...I hear they were football games...but what do I know about it?
Deano ended up bra shopping with my sister and I...which was awesome. He kept commenting on how alike she and I...and he are.
It was nice having someone help carry in the groceries!
He headed home and I tried to nap....but it was IMPOSSIBLE. So I watched Kingdom of Heaven..which was only ok.

Then Monday. The day that my true ninja skills arrived. I had an appointment with Sara the apartment manager at 9am. Well......920 she still wasn't there. So I left a message that basically said I needed to go to work so could she call and set another appointment she would be able to make. Then she showed up. What a waste of a perfectly good nasty gram!
The way it ended is this:
They are going to remove the counter top edge....it's only about maybe 4-5" and paint it to solve the staple problem.
They are going to fix the balcony in the spring when it's warmer.

Not much else. I have some more serious thoughts rolling around in my head...but those are for another post.


So much for me considering living there another year

A Rant on apartment life:

Since August I have reported 3-4 broken boards on my 2nd floor balcony 4 times. 3 of those times there were actual workers painting and fixing balconies and they kept saying, "you're on the list"
Guess what? Not fixed yet.
Tuesday I reported that my shower was backed up, my kitchen linoleum right by my living room was pulling up, and a part of the edge of my counter top was broken off, and was able to do so because it was already broken and only glued down before.I also reported the balcony issue for the 4th time and told them I was concerned that mold was growing beneath my carpet because everytime I vacumn black spots pop up everywhere
Tuesday night I came home and found:
My shower fixed
My linoleum fixed, by the maintenance people STAPLING it down.
The edge of my counter fixed by the maintenance people putting the broken off piece back on....with STAPLE, but with about 1/4 of an inch hanging over the edge and the raw wood showing in the middle.
No work order to explain the game plan for carpeting or balcony


So I called today and asked for an update. Sabrina said that the balcony would get fixed by the end of the month (hmmmm where have I heard THAT before?)
She said that as far as the carpet is concerned it's not mold so it most likely just needs to be cleaned. I said, "Will you do that or am I responsible for that?" She said they could arrange it but I would be charged since (AND I QUOTE) "I'm the one that spilled so much stuff everywhere in my apartment"
I also addressed the stapling issue and was told that's the "only way to fix those types of problems" I patiently told her that I disagreed. She said, well I can't do anything about that.
Sabrina: "Would you like to talk to the manager?"
Me: yes, please
Sabrina: Ok, well she's out of the office for the next 3-4 hours
Me: Could she call me back?
Sabrina: I suppose
Me: Ok, would you like my number?
Sabrina: 'SIGH' Sure.
Me: 555-eat-crap

So, Sara the manager called me back right as I was going on lunch and I went over everything with her again.
Sara repeated that I was responsible for the carpet cleaning. I said, I can see where you're coming from, but I think that you should work with me since I've paid my rent, on time, for 5 months. I'm paying for a balcony that is unsafe and have in good faith reported it 4 times and nothing is being done about it.
I reiterated the STAPLING of the counter top and floor, I also said that I was pretty sure if I and another person stood on the balcony that it would collapse and I felt it was a safety hazard that they were procrastinating so long in fixing in.
I asked, Would you be willing to split the cost of carpet cleaning with me?
Sara: Well, we had a lot of issues with the guys that were repairing the balcony and they just didn't do what they were supposed to do which is why we're no longer working with them.
Me: um, ok
Sara: Is there anything else?

I'm thinking WTF? Did you help me with my original questions?!
I tell Sara that it isn't my concern what the issue was with the guys fixing or not fixing the balcony. I pay my rent to the apartment complex and they have substantially dropped the ball on my balcony being fixed and now they are not only still not fixing it, they are charging me to clean the carpet in a house with a countertop that is STAPLED DOWN!

Sara: "Ma'am what would you like me to do?"

I'm thinking....stop patronizing me would be a start!
So I said, I would like my countertop fixed with something other then staples. I can live with the ones in the floor, they're not that noticeable. I would like my balcony fixed on the next day that it is warmer then 40 degrees outside. I would like my carpets cleaned and ideally I would like the apartment complex to cover the full cost of it.
She said, well I can't do anything about that without looking at the issues.


more silence

more silence

Me: So.....can you come look at them?
Sara: OK, when?
Me: When can you make it out?
Sara: Probably tomorrow between 4 and 6, I have a lot of meetings I need to go to
Me: OK, will you let me know what the next step is
Sara: OK
ME: will you call me back
Sara: would you like me to?
Me: yes
Sara: Ok, what's your phone number?
Me: (thinking, didn't you JUST call me?!) 555 eat crap

Seriously. Seriously? I mean really?


A little irony with that fast?

I've been thinking and praying about fasting lately.
I may or may not write more on that later.
But in my search of things online, to quest my thirst for alternative conversations on this topic I came across this and it made me laugh.

"Prayer and Fasting Conference fee : $65.Includes meals."

Hopefully no one is fasting at the fasting conference.


So much can change in a weekend

I entered this past weekend with a sense of....agitation, irritation, anger, sadness, I mean take your pick.
I felt unseen, misunderstood and exhausted. The exhaustion of late I know is coming from a sense of melancholy and displacement, and I'm battling against it as best I can. Prayers would help if you pray.
I've been really thinking about this whole outreach thing. I have a meeting scheduled with Ryan next Tuesday to go over the outreach possibilities and our "what's next" plans.
Equal or greater then my excitement at the idea of playing a substantial role in this ministry is this overwhelming fear that is growing inside of me. This idea that I won't be good enough, or helpful enough, or something enough.
It seems that this enemy is moving and trying to drag me away from something that I couldn't feel more passionate about.
To be honest, it scares the crap out of me. What scares me the most is this idea that I have to fight it alone, that I can't really trust anyone else to join in this battle with me.
Which is another lie.
I've kept mum about it mostly, because it seems to me that feeling this fear is a weakness of sorts and I don't want to seem unable or inept.
When I keep quiet about these fears it quickly (breathtakingly quickly) morphs into a sort of depression/irrational anger.
Its been an interesting process in my head of late.
I've known for quite some time what the "roadblock" is in this advancement. I've greatly lacked the esteem or courage to walk around this roadblock and move farther down this path that I strongly feel God is calling me to walk.
That's the funny thing about God though. Sometimes, he sends other people to help you move the roadblocks, and they're not always the people you would expect.
So I go into this weekend hoping to avoid conversations about my poor attitude of late. It seems to have succeeded. I had several phone conversations (well sort of, I didn't do a lot of talking, attitude problem and all) that seemed to end with allowing me to continue to wallow and practice my well honed avoidance skills.
Then at 330am Sunday I had exactly the conversation that I needed to have, and it seems to me that neither parties involved have a history of being very brave in regards to having the difficult conversations, but to me, it was like God was waking me up out of sorts and telling me to snap out of it. It. Was. Amazing.

The exact words of this conversation aren't really important. I don't even really want to share them in detail, because the conversation just meant so much to me. Like a wise person told me Sunday night, it's OK to keep some things just for me.
But in the course of this conversation several things happened.

I was sleepy and out of sorts, so I revealed a lot more about my state of sadness then I've to date revealed to anyone. It was well received and the other party expressed their deep desire to fix it, and their frustration that they couldn't

I also was much more open in my points of view and feelings on subjects that I have really never verbalized before.

The roadblock of sorts, that I've been so fearful of moving around for any number of reasons, was removed from my path by the most unexpected person. I felt the roadblock being removed both from my path, and from my shoulders. I wasn't brave enough, so God worked in someone that was. That God, man, He's so good!

I was seen. Noticed. Cared for in a way that I haven't felt in a very long time. The other party spoke from a place of concern for me because they wanted me to be happy, or at least less sad. Having someone see your need and then try to fill it, even if they don't succeed (which this party pretty much did) means so much. Especially when connected with such a strong belief, especially when it's what's the best for me but not the most fun thing to do. I really just can't articulate how much that meant to me....at least not without weirding out the other party and sounding like a drippy melodramatic girly girl.

Kind things were said to me. I have such a problem accepting compliments. I always want to deflect and pshaw it away. But nice things were said to me, and I heard them for what seems like the first time.

I think the moral of the story is, if you're not getting answers from me then use guerrilla tactic and wake me up at 330am (I'm kidding, please don't do this!)

I'm under no illusion that this is the end and there will be no more battles with the enemy. But I woke up Sunday feeling so much better then I have in months probably, even though I didn't get a lot of sleep. I felt...hopeful and optimistic about the path ahead, now I can see farther down it then before.
I went to church on Sunday and felt a renewed sense of worship during the service, just reveling in the goodness of God.
Ben started a new series on Pride this week. He talked about how most (all?) of the sins can be attributed back to pride. I'm not sure if that's right....here, listen for yourself.

But I think it's going to be a great series. I know that I have a lot of pride in the way I think I can "handle" myself and don't really depend on other people to drag me (sometimes kicking and screaming) out of these funks I insert myself in. How when I have a problem or concern or need, I don't allow other people to serve me by helping.
Truth be told, my conversation at 330 Sunday morning really laid a lot of groundwork for Ben's sermon on Sunday at 10. I have more often then not refused to allow this person to be there for me, when nothing they have ever done or said indicates it's unsafe to do so.
This person that doesn't necessarily believe what I believe, or maybe even want to, reached out across this chasm I was building between me and this dream that I refuse to acknowledge and yanked me back across. It changed more then I'm really willing to say on here, and for the better.

Today I woke up feeling this tug of despondency again, this idea that it's just not worth it and I'll fail anyway so why bother. But remnants of my Sunday morning conversation floated up through my heart, and it felt better.
I've been dealing with terrible, nasty, mean just because they can be customers this morning. But I feel joyful and contemplative, dreaming about what is to come.


Of Birds and Trees

This morning when my alarm went off I was so not feeling getting out of bed (as has been the pattern for the last month or so). I begrudgingly got up, showered, dressed, and wandered to my car.
As I was sitting at the intersection of Kemper and Winton I saw a huge flock of birds dive bombing telephone wires. But they didn't go straight for the landing. They flew back and forth, almost seeming to change their direction mid wing flap. Some would settle others would flit about as if they just couldn't quite get comfortable, still others hovered in their own little flocks angling for the best place on the wire or just not caring if they ever found a place on the wire, and still others flew far to the right and sat on the part of the line that anchors the telephone pole to the ground. So this last group was very literally sitting tilting down.
As I watched this, in apparently a very ADD moment I realized how many moments of my life could be found in the behavior of that one flock of birds.
Most of the time I feel like the last group, semi-settled, but having to constantly readjust because my world seems to be tilting substantially to the right (no political inferences here please, it's just a direction). Every once in awhile I have to jump and fly for a second and then I settle back in pretty quickly.
This seems to be how I feel with friends that I've known since forever and most family. I still feel slightly tilty (and that's so a word) but overall pretty settled.
In regards to what exactly it is that I want to do with my life....well, I feel like the part of the flock that flits back and forth, seemingly changing direction mid-flap. I've been to 4 colleges and I still have no degree to show for it, a fact I fear disappoints and disheartens the majority of people I know, and still no real concrete plan for what it is I want to be when I grow up. Does this make me a flake? Does this make me irresponsible, does this make me less in some way?
In what way has this indecision and lack of commitment to just seeing a degree through for the sake of graduating lessened the amount of "ideal perches" available for me to land on?
For relationships, of the romantic variety, I feel like the part of the flock that is in their own little clique and only hovers, never quite seems to settle.
I mean, I'm hanging out with friends, having what most of the time is filling and satisfying relationships with them. But sometimes, for a moment here or there, I look around and wonder where he is, or who he is. Am I just angling for the best place on the wire so to speak? Am I being to picky or am I being smart about this whole relational question? Or secret ninja option number three....am I hiding in the flock until the last possible minute so that I'm not held responsible for my being alone, it's merely a situational inevitability.
The last group, the group that flits about from place to place as if trying to find the most comfortable place....I think that's me in a nutshell (help help, how did I get into this tiny little nutshell!(love you jake!)). In all things I feel this unsettling, this idea that there's something, somewhere, someone else that may be a better fit. Is there ever a good time to say enough this is it? I mean, when does it stop being good sense to be particular about where you invest your heart, time, money and start being an intentional choosing to be alone and separate from what it is that should be important?
Who exactly decided what should be important anyway?
Each and every moment of my days this flitting about can happen, these big dreams that I dream and they never come to fruition. Is it really as simple as the 4 word decree that burnt it's way onto my heart so many years ago? "Bethany you're a flake!"
When will I feel ok not meeting the expectation of success that I am feeling more and more being thrust upon me? Ever, Never when?
Because I don't meet your definition of success does that make me a flake, irresponsible, unhappy, a freak?

So a few miles later on my drive to work this morning I was stopped at the light on Chester, getting ready to turn left towards 75. As I stared out my front window I saw 2 pine trees being tossed about so violently by the wind. Back and forth they would whip, pine needles falling off, the branches would slam into one another over and over again. I was sort of exhausted just looking at it. This scene reminded me of the conversation I had with person who shall not be named here for various reasons yesterday. For readers convenience we shall refer to person as A.
A was lamenting the state of A's mind, thoughts, soul, and heart yesterday. Things going wrong, things being said that wounded A and caused A to think in ways that were very destructive and self-sabotaging. That and so many other things that A told me I saw in the pine trees this morning. The constant wind, rain, slamming into action that was happening to A emotional, physical, mentally....sometimes it seems it will never end. The pine trees this morning were losing some needles, and I think one of them was about to lose a branch. Like the trees A has lost sleep, friends, money and confidence.
But as I'm staring at these trees I think of the conversation that A and I had following A's lamentation of the battle that was being waged against A's growth.
I believe there is a real enemy walking amongst us and this enemy hates it when anyone that he could claim as his starts drawing closer to God/Jesus. A has been really refining A's idea of a relationship with Jesus of late, really doing the hard work and self examination to enable A to draw closer to Jesus then maybe ever before. The enemy is infuriated and is blowing that wind and slamming against A as often as possible and as hard as possible in hopes that A will just give up pursuing this claim that God has on A's life.
A is being so brave, so much stronger then A thinks A can be. A bends but does not break, A doesn't know everything for sure, but A knows the sovereignty of God and that God is in that windstorm with A, holding A up and pushing back against the windstorm for A when A is not strong enough to do it on A's own.
So this morning when I was watching these pine trees fight the good fight, a great sense of pride and love welled up in me for A, just knowing what A fights against everyday, and seeing A's hold on God grow tighter and tighter.

So no matter which group of birds your in, know that it's ok for now and you don't have to be successful by anyones terms except God's and your own. (and I will try to take my own advice)
If you are a tree, blowing in a windstorm, know that God is with you even if you can't see him or feel him. The windstorm, it's not God, it's the enemy getting more mad with each inch you move closer to God. Stay strong and bend if you need to....



I think my hair is broken. It's all gross and greasy looking and I don't know how to fix it. I find it infuriating.
I should have never cut it.

I get the feeling I'm not supposed to talk about this


"Does God really condemn loving homosexual relationships? Is the chasm separating Christianity from gays and lesbians too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? These questions and more are answered in this award-winning documentary, which brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture - and reveals that religious anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a misinterpretation of the Bible. Through the experiences of five very normal, Christian, American families - including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson - we discover how people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child or family member.
Offering healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity, this landmark film "boldly takes on a loaded topic and examines it both intellectually and emotionally; the result may well leave you blinking away a few tears." (Seattle Times)"
This was the start of a thread on the forum. I'm actually pretty interested in seeing this. There are so many voices out there decrying homosexuals. There are a great many people that I've talked to personally that are so filled with condemnation towards homosexuals that they are screaming to loud to hear their own sin. To me, how can the start of a conversation about homosexuality start with the "you're going to hell" sentence? Aren't we all going to hell if we are separated from God? Without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ aren't we sitting in the bobsled to hell right alongside those we point fingers at?
I have quite a few friends that are gay, and quite a few people that I've come into contact with that are...but aren't quite friends...more like people I meet along the way you know. A lot of them, their most pressing concern and grief (although not the only one) is this. Does God still love me?
Yes. In no uncertain terms. God loves us all. He cherishes relationships with us all, he desires relationships with us that are separated from him. He wants these relationships so badly that he sent his Son Jesus to take the burden for us and die to redeem us.

So why, where scripturally does it say that being gay is worse then adultery, worse then murder, worse then pre-marital sex of the opposite sex variety? Where does it say that being gay is worse then "messing around" without having intercourse outside of marriage?
Jesus said that to even lust in your mind is committing adultery. Damn. I guess I'm guilty of that sin. Jesus said a lot of things. But he said to love.

What is the best way for you to receive information? Are you more able to accept it when plastered on a poster screaming that God hates you? When someone is decrying everything that you feel and condemning you to hell when they are slipping there themselves?
The conversations that I've been able to have with people, gay or straight have come after entering into community with them. Loving them. Showing them that I truly care for their well being and salvation, not just adding a notch to my salvation belt. (which that's a WHOLE other tangent)

Ben talked at church on Sunday (pimp: http://www.4cornerschurch.com/message_pop.php?id=167&type=audio) about looking forward in 2008. It was a great talk on what it is that we can do to improve ourselves in the upcoming year. It was preceded by an equally if not greater talk on leaving behind those things that weigh us down the previous week. (pimp2: http://www.4cornerschurch.com/message_pop.php?id=167&type=audio)
But one of the things he talked about was believers relationships with seekers. People that are a little distrusting of God and "his people", people whose hearts are stirring with this idea that God could maybe be real. Please keep in mind that I'm in no way indicating that people who are gay are unable to be believers. I know two people in particular and a few more that are pursuing a relationship with God, with God. They are seeking out God, conversations, books, his book the bible and soaking up what that has to offer them.

What is the best way to have those relationships?
Should we hold ourselves separately from things that are not "of God"? What does that even mean? If we believe that God made everything and everyone....then who is not "of God"?
All I'm saying is. I'm excited that someone is talking about this on a larger scale basis. Someone that is not from that church that shall not be named that holds up contemptuous signs at funeral.
How can we reconcile that God hates someone? I mean I really don't know so I'm asking. How can we as believers aim to be more like Christ and yet we espouse hateful nasty things at people that we think need him the most?
A sin is a sin is a sin. The only sin (I think, I'm no biblical scholar people so don't take my word on it) that God said is greater is blasphemy of the holy spirit, maybe hypocrisy too but like I said I'm just not sure.
How is someone who is gays sin greater then mine? I've cheated, lied, stolen, engaged in lustful behavior, been quick to anger and slow to forgive. I mean, just because I like fellas and not ladies I'm somehow above other people? I am having a difficult time reconciling that with the God that is moving in this world.

Yet, I get the feeling that I'm not supposed to be talking about this. Like if I ask these questions I'll be estranged from two communities that I very much enjoy moving in.
I am not sure that I'll ever understand how people can think the most effective form of ministry, of evangelism, is to tell people how disgusting they are in the eyes of God.
Sin is sin. I'm not saying that God doesn't find it disgusting. I know that sin is what separates us from God. But before I was a believer, that night I talked to Steve for 3 hours about my fear of Christianity....if he would have told me that God was disgusted by my shortcomings, by my sin, by me, I would have hardened my heart and moved on to the next bottle, next razor, next night at the bar. When I talk to people that are so broken and weighed down by their "not being good enough" for their parents, spouse, kids....the last thing I would think they need is someone saying..."yeah, you're right...you are to disgusting". I mean, can you imagine?
But Steve said to me that he was an asshole and God still loved him and moved in his life in a tangible and deep way. Steve said that God loved me, that God wanted to be in a relationship with me through his Son Jesus Christ. Steve said that my unabating grief would be worked through, my thoughts of suicide would abate, my tendency to disconnect emotionally and physically from the fellas would lessen and I would be able to be in healthy relationships again. Steve said it would take time, it would take work and tears and maybe even some therapy if necessary. But Steve gave me hope not condemnation, love not hate, a hug and not a kick in the ass. Steve gave me a Jesus I wasn't afraid of, and honestly....I can't imagine doing anything but striving to do that same thing for anyone I come in contact with.

Wow, I'm like way off topic or something. But heck, why stop now.
I think this is why I love this outreach stuff so much. People, in their everyday walking around lives are sometimes so convinced there is no good near them, no kindness or hope. It sometimes can seem silly that we give people gas cards, that we give them cotton candy or phone cards. It can seem odd that we would pay for a total strangers meal and walk out without waiting for or even expecting a thank you.
When I was at my lowest, my worst and was most convinced that there was no one who could really see me. It was these small acts of kindness. These little beams of love that would come from someone just saying hi, holding a door open for me, or offering to put my cart away at the grocery.
Jesus, he doesn't always look like a Jewish man from Nazareth. Sometimes he looks like you and me just taking the time to start a conversation with love. You'd be surprised that most of the time the person changed, softened, growing...is you.


A George divided could probably still stand

Just in case you thought these posts were going to perk up soon....well, you were wrong in a sense. I'm sure there will be some that think they aren't, but I can feel slight shifts in the mood in my head...so it's progressing. It would help if I would stop getting like 10 messages in 10 minutes and 20 emails in 20 minutes at work *grumblegrumble*
So it was an eventful weekend. Deano's coming in T minus 11 days and counting woot! Deano, Tony and I are going to converge on my apartment and just chilax together. I'm so incredibly looking forward to it.
I had a worlds colliding conversation with Tony throughout the weekend, and a little with Deano. Because I met Deano through Tony and Tony doesn't like his separate worlds to collide. I'm trying to understand, but it's rough...my mind likes to come up with little scenarios that are untrue and then drive me crazy with them. Which, that process was actually quite enjoyable for me because I was able to note the leaps and bounds of growth that I've done in that aspect of my thought process. The crazy only lasted about 10 minutes instead on 10 days!
Saturday I dog sat and made more chocolate. I'm running so damn late on my secret santa and Katy gift....I'm hoping to send them out tomorrow....sigh.
Saturday night I went to church with Katie and Daryl. It was baptism night, which I always love baptism services. I sat next to this woman named Robin that kept glancing over at me during the service and then gave me an arm squeeze after and said the nicest thing...which I'm keeping to myself because it was just so timely and like a little present that I don't want to share.
I can't remember the title of the service of Saturday night. Only that I found the shortest sermon ever very moving. The pastor, who I think is named Steve but I don't really know, talked about what God wants from us.
God wants our short comings and failures. He never asked us to do life on our own.
Romans 12:1-2
1 -2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

The pastor talked about this dirty, worn out, been there, done that feeling on the inside that can just consume us. He talked about how God just wants to carry that for us, help us let it go and move past it.
It was just amazing. I'm not sure that this grief in my heart is connected to a feeling like that. But I know I've felt that way before.
It's not anything that I didn't know....but it was lovely to hear all the same.
I got this terrible headache at dinner that I could barely make it home with. I just passed out.
I woke up for church on Sunday, the first regular Sunday I've been to at my church since 12/16. I was like home. I love my church....have I mentioned that before? Just seeing people that I love and being hugged and spoken to in such a way that made the grief dissipate.
I'm going to dinner with Bobbie on Wednesday (BTW Bobbie, when are you going to post a new blog hmmm?) and started out talking to her about that. But it turned into this amazing conversation about the recent entries here and how similarly we feel to one another sometimes. I can't even remember exactly what it was she said that encouraged me so much, but the whole conversation felt like one continuous hug. I love Bobbie : )
Big up to Justin for being the lucky son of a gun that is married to her! (and I'm totally going to beat you at Wii tennis this Wednesday!)
I went home and laid in bed. Feeling simultaneously bolstered and exhausted by the love and encouragement I found at church. I just laid there....staring into space petting Gertrude.
Then Tony started texting me and we ended up Goodwilling all afternoon. I love Goodwilling. Especially with Tony. I laugh so hard about what we find and the uses we think of for these things. We found all of this miniature furniture that may find it's way into a "cat house" for Gertrude and Agnes....a sassy knitted beret that I wore for a bit at the store like a Rastafarian (yeah, I don't know how to spell that). We also had this great conversation about the pigmentation of Jesus' skin with a woman in the aisle at one of the Goodwills. She asked me if I knew Moses married a dark skinned woman...and I had just so happened to have just listened to that on my OT bible experience so I talked with her about that for a bit. Tony told her I knew my stuff....which made me smile. (it really doesn't take much people!)
Then back to my house for some Family Feud on DVD. We played 2 games and I kicked his BUTT. I mean, the one round I had like 803 points and he had 300ish points...that's just embarrassing!
Bible study at 6 which was good too. It's our 2nd to last group meeting until we re-form life groups again. We talk about the sermon that morning and this one was about looking forward, how we're going to take bold steps in areas of our lives. My friend Amy said something that made everything around me stop and go whoa.
She was talking about this place between how is was and how it will be. Amy is nearing the end of Chemo treatments and was talking about friends of hers that are going through inexplicably devastating life events. She talks about this idea of who you are before you know something is about to happen and who you are after the change happens. For example: pre cancer diagnosis and post treatment. She said there's this type of limbo in between. After you've received the news, diagnosis whatever and the time that you're done dealing with it. What should you do in that limbo? How do you live in that waiting room until your "new normal" (thanks Don Piper) starts?
It got me thinking about what signifies a change, a devastating life altering change that picks you up out of your life as you dreamt it would be and plunks you down in a void so vast you have no idea how you'll make it to the other side. Cancer will do it, death, murder, I mean, there are so many things. I found Jesus in that void. In some ways I feel like I'm just now coming out of it. Taking steps on my own (well on my own w/ Jesus I suppose) without this second guessing and fear that defined the void and a lot of my life before it.
Seeing this weekend the places that I wanted to take the idea of worlds colliding, understanding some of those ideas are so ridiculously invalid and impossible and then moving away from them, it was a clarifying moment almost...in the silliest way but it meant something to me.

I woke up this morning still feeling pretty sad....still for no truly definable reason. Just this sadness that weighs on my heart. I laid in bed again, just staring into space....through all my alarm clocks, unable to muster up the strength of courage to get out and start the day.
I started, about 30 minutes later then I really needed to. But my little black thundercloud has turned gray, and soon enough it will dissipate again.
In the meantime, I keep thinking about that thorough hug in 11 days from Deano, I think about that comment, perhaps thoughtlessly thrown over a shoulder that makes my heart smile from this weekend. I think about so many good things, lovely things and people and the black to gray transformation of that thunder cloud seems like enough for now.

I hope that you all had weekends that reminded you how you were loved. I hope that when people tell you and show you they love you, that you believe them. I hope you know how much I love you all....even though I'm struggling to tell you and show you right now.


Filled with such sadness

I know it's the cold. I would like to start by saying that. I know it's the cold and the winter and the approaching season of remembering her that is no longer living. I know that. I will be fine.

But I seem to be filled with such unending sadness of late and I just can't shake it. This sadness that makes others uncomfortable because they can't fix it. This seriousness and longing to just be alone, yet wanting so much to not be. I've been reading this blog as I've mentioned about a missionary family in Uganda. Their dog died. I burst into tears. After a year of rebel invasions, Ebola outbreaks and the death of a friend from Ebola their dog died.
Sometimes this grief in the world seems so much, this ability for despondency and just absolute darkness to settle over the world like a blanket is at times just to much to bear.
Some days it's easier to smile through then other, this idea that I have no idea what I want or how to go about obtaining it. This banshee yell that I can hear most days urging me in a direction that I'm not entirely sure I want to go, yet want to go so badly.
This paradox of holding such grief and unabated sorrow in one hand while laughing insanely about spatulas and other hilariosity is like a broken in pair of jeans some days. How is it that I can fell such opposite emotions often in the same breath?
I'm not really looking for answers I suppose, because I'm not sure that there are any. This season of missing her seems to start so much earlier every year the farther time takes me from her actual death. Why? The more I think I've processed and forgiven he that is my mental impairment the more it seems there is of him to forgive, the sooner things crop up to remind me of his damage. How?
When will it be enough this grief and anger, sorrow and bitterness? When is enough enough? Is it me? Am I just not letting it go? Am I just nurturing the wounds like the long line of women before me have done?
Yet it is somehow OK at the same time. Somehow it's still OK, necessary even, to laugh and joke and hug and love.
It seems that these are the days that God is so near that I can't see him except in moments of intentional focus....sort of how you can't really see your nose if you don't look down with crossed eyes. It seems that these are the days to run to God faster and harder, seeking out the answers that evade my desperate grasp.
But the answers are often disturbing. They are often answers that cause me to clap my hands over my ears and cry, "Not that God, don't make me do that"

So I know I will be fine. I'll take some medicine, I'll sleep off this crankiness, I'll be able to breathe through my nose again and this sorrow will abate if only for an hour.
The real question is...will I do what God is asking of me?


The secrets that weigh you

I don't really know why I keep things from people. I don't think that it's something I do intentionally, somedays I just don't think they'd be interested.
But people are, more then I think they would be....and it sort of freaks me out.
This letter, this business that must be attended to eventually is fading in and out of my mind. I started to tell ___ about it this weekend, but I don't know....I think I'm afraid of how ___ will react, which is silly really, because why does it matter?
Ah well. I spent about almost 72 consecutive hours in my house : )
It was lovely.
Saturday Scott and Lisa came and we all went out to lunch. Thier dog Archie came in my house and caused Agnes and Gertrude to poof up into giant puff balls....which was hilarious.
Sunday I slept through church because I felt like poo and had taken nyquil the night before.
X ended up coming over on his way home from deanos. We exchanged Christmas presents and I got the Time Life collection of hits from the 80's......I can feel a session of teasing my bangs and pulling on leg warmers coming up soon...anyone in!? X seemed to really like the gifts I got X....which makes me happy, I like it when people really like my gifts : )
We played Family Feud which Stephanie got me for Christmas....you play it on DVD. X won, which means that all is well in the world ; ) Now, if we had played Skip-Bo....then that's another story.
So I didn't leave my house at all on Sunday.
Monday I went to Meijer with Sharen and the kids for about an hour.....then went home and that's about all I did, didn't leave Tuesday at all either.
It was LOVELY!
X called Monday morning to let me know X wouldn't be coming over on NYE. Which was ok, I was looking forward to a relaxing evening of ALIAS season 3 and 4 on DVD. But it is nice that X was so concerned about my being home alone on NYE.
Sharen was awfully concerned about it too...but seriously, it was LOVELY!
Just what the doctor ordered.

Oh, and Biggest Loser premiered Tuesday night woot!