Posted in Post A Week Challenge

Foundations

This pair is defective. Can I exchange them for newer ones?

I posted the above picture to my DailyBooth site today. I needed to vent about my current feet situation and it seemed like the best place to do that. One year ago this week, I somehow damaged a nerve in the top of my left foot and have been battling numbness and tingling for months. It actually got better with the anti-inflammatory patches I wore, but I managed to aggravate it at Rock by the Sea a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been wearing the patches ever since. I’m sure it will get un-inflamed soon, but I’m wearing the sessy patches until it does. On my right foot you will notice the even sessier moleskin I have covering my bunion. Yep, you read that right. I am 43 years old and I have a bunion. Forty-three year olds are not supposed to have bunions. Grandmothers, now those are the kind of people who get bunions.

I could sit here and play dumb and pretend I don’t know how this could have happened to me, but I know exactly why I have a bunion. And it all started in elementary school.

As a fifth grader with size 9 feet, I was relentlessly ridiculed. The “OMG those are some big feet” and “Bigfoot” jokes were never ending.  Of course, I had feet bigger than everyone I knew, except my mother, who had the same size 9 foot as I did. But, she was an adult and adults are supposed to have big feet. I was just a kid, a kid with very big feet.

My family tried to console me by saying that my large feet simply meant that I had a better foundation than everyone else. Umm, no, that really didn’t work for me, even though I did throw it back at the name-callers and bullies. Of course, this just made them laugh and make fun of me even more. But, God bless my family for trying.

As I advanced through high school, life became a bit easier in that more girls’ feet grew to nearly my size. However, none of my close friends wore anything larger than a size 7. I could share clothes but was never able to comfortably share shoes with any of my girlfriends.

Now, if you are paying attention you might have picked up on that last statement. Let me say it again for you. “I could share clothes but was never able to comfortably share shoes with any of my girlfriends.”  It was in high school that I first began the practice of razing my ‘foundation’. I would often wear shoes that were one or more sizes too small for me in an effort to make my feet look like all the other girls. I desperately wanted small, thin, dainty feet and God had cursed me with these lumpy, oversized flappers upon which to stand.  All those years of ridicule had made an impact on my self-image.  I thought I looked like a clown and nothing was going to change my opinion of myself.

My habit of wearing too small shoes continued through my 20’s and 30’s, but at least I had lessened the amount of abuse by only wearing shoes a half or one size too small. I continued to deny the fact that my foundation had grown and I was easily a size 10. I continued to shop for size 9,  or maybe 9.5 if the shoe I wanted wasn’t available in a 9.

Today if I walk into a shoe store, my first instinct is to start with a 9.  I know better, so why can’t I let go of those childhood humiliations? Why do I continue to deny the solid foundation I was blessed with?

I think back and realize that it wasn’t only my physical foundation that I began to ignore in my youth, but my spiritual foundation also began to deteriorate about the same time. I started denying my foot size about the same time that I started denying God’s presence in my life.  I stopped taking care of my faith foundation and it began to crumble, crack and shift. This degradation would continue throughout my teens, 20’s and 30’s, just like with my feet.  I always assumed my foundation was strong and would support me, even if I never provided any maintenance, care or upkeep. I certainly never thought there would be irreparable damage that would require professional help.

I know that the damage to my feet cannot be reversed so I’ve made changes in my life to stop the progression of years of mistreatment. When I enter a shoe store, I am now more likely to start with a size 10, and then go down in size only if I need to. I’m also making strides (pun intended) to repair the years of spiritual abuse my soul has suffered because I thought I needed to be something other than what God intended for me to be. I spent decades tearing down the fundamental support that held me upright. Starting now, I intend to spend years and years strengthening both my physical and spiritual foundation so that I can be everything I know God intends for me to be.

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Posted in Post A Week Challenge, Treasure Chest

Monday’s Treasure Chest – It’s YOU!

I missed my Monday Treasure Chest post last week because we were traveling back from St. George and Rock by the Sea, and honestly, when we finally got home, I completely crashed. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of the computer and think. However, on the drive home, I was contemplating about what the post would be about if I actually found the energy needed to write, which I obviously did not. As I thought about my many blessings, one kept coming back to the forefront of my mind. I found myself smiling with joy each time I thought about my most recent discovery in that chest.

My treasure chest has been overflowing lately with blessing of you. Yes, you, there, reading these words. I am so honored and humbled that you’ve taken time out of your busy days or nights to check out what I have to say. I am even more grateful when you tell me about it. Recently, I’ve been left completely speechless and crying tears of delight because of the compliments you guys have given to me.

I had wanted to start a blog for a really long time but my fears kept telling me it would not work.  Once I finally decided to just go for it, I was so blessed by the fact that Gil was there every second of the way offering words of encouragement, praise, and guidance. I could not have gotten this far without him. I, also, could not have done this if not for you and the amazing, sweet, wonderful feedback you have been providing me for months now.

I recently received an email from someone I love and cherish very much. This email left me in tears for hours. These weren’t sad tears but tears of joy and a sudden awareness that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing with this blog. I’m writing about what I feel, what I want, what I need and what I love. I’m trying to say things here that maybe I’ve been too ashamed or afraid to say out loud. It’s strange how I know this is the most public way possible to share my innermost thoughts but something about it also seems so anonymous, and that makes it less scary. I know, that makes no sense to anyone outside of my crazy little brain, but it’s how I feel. I’ve felt demons inside of me start to die and disappear. I’ve felt portions of my soul, which I thought were dead, start to rise again. I’ve felt closer to God than I have since childhood.

When I started writing back on January 1st, I had big plans and big dreams for how this project would progress. After 30 days of writing every day, I had proven to myself that I could do it and all the fears I had simply faded away. You guys were reading and commenting and telling me that you liked what I had to say.  You were telling me that my words touched you and you told me how you felt the same way but couldn’t find the words to say the things I was saying.  I was flying pretty high and very satisfied with what I had accomplished when February rolled around. But then, I began to fail myself. I began to find reasons not to write as often.

I don’t know what happened. I blamed work, kids, exhaustion. All of the same things that were there in January but I somehow managed to still make the time for me and for this blog. I still thought about writing every day but I could never find the motivation I needed to sit down and type. What really sucks is that the motivation was there, I just kept ignoring it, kept pushing it aside and giving something else a higher priority. You guys kept providing the motivation I needed in the form of conversations and emails, comments and feedback, and questions about when I would post again. I don’t know why I let my dream start slipping away, but I did. I feel ashamed and thoroughly disappointed with myself.

“Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”

~Mumford and Sons

As I sit here and write, I think about all the things I want for this piece of my world. I want to tell my tale and find out more about myself, but there is so much more I want. I want to share my experiences with you. I want to grow in my faith in God with you. I want to talk about my marriage, both the good and sometimes not so good parts of it. I want to share both the uplifting and heartbreaking stories that have made me the woman I am today. I want to open myself up to you in an effort to share who I really am and who I really want to be.

I am going to pour my heart and soul into this dream of mine. I am going to love and nurture it with every ounce of passion I have. Maybe if I do those things, and do them honestly, maybe you can find some piece of my life and experiences that inspire you.  Maybe you won’t make some of the mistakes I’ve made. Maybe you’ll find some peace within yourself because my words helped to heal an old wound. Maybe you will find the inspiration you have been looking for to pursue your own dream because you see my courage in the pursuit of mine. My main objective with my writing is still to find my authentic self. But how awesome would it be if I play a very small part in helping you to find your authentic self as well?

Posted in Inspired by Music, Post A Week Challenge, Treasure Chest

Monday’s Treasure Chest – Anticipation

An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing. ~ Samuel Smiles

Today I opened up my Treasure Chest and was a little surprised by what I found. It wasn’t a person or a thing or any particular act that overflowed from the top of my blessing box. It was, instead, an emotion. It was anticipation. It was something I never considered a blessing before tonight, but after thinking about it all day, I am certain it is my treasure of the day.

Gil and I start a much needed and deserved vacation Wednesday morning. We’ll be heading up to St. George Island in the panhandle of Florida. Since 2008, we have made this journey north to attend the annual charity music festival known as Rock by the Sea. We look forward to this trip every year because it’s an opportunity to hear some of our favorite artists, discover new ones, hang out with our music-loving friends who have become family and well, it’s at the BEACH, people. What’s not to love about this?

Rock by the Sea (RBTS) is a Florida not-for-profit organization dedicated to planning and producing music festivals and events that raise money for deserving charities that provide direct services to those in need. RBTS has created an outlet for those agencies to gain exposure with the public and to facilitate donations. Through musical concerts, silent auctions, merchandise sales, and general donations, RBTS has been able to create awareness and provide an avenue that leads to involvement and enhancement of the direct services provided.

Even though this is our fourth year attending RBTS, this year is very different for us. It’s different because we will play a role in helping to make the event the best it can be.  Late last year, we were invited to join the RBTS Board of Directors and I can’t even begin to tell you what an honor that was. RBTS is an event that has been very near and dear to our hearts since our first year attending. Not only does the event benefit a variety of charities that are incredibly close to our hearts, it just so happens our dear friends, Beth Gosnell and Gail Harkins, are two of the founding members of Rock by the Sea.

I’ve admired Beth and Gail since I first attended Rock by the Sea II in 2008, and to be asked to be a part of this organization was one of the highlights of my life. This group has managed to make this event look completely effortless for those of us attending. I’m so very blessed to be a small component within this group of extremely giving individuals. I have so much to learn from them, but at the same time, I hope to add value to the organization as well. I’m very new and very green when it comes to charity event planning, especially fundraising, but I’m willing to learn. It’s what I hope and dream I’ll be able to do with my life someday, and being given this opportunity has only reinforced my desire to make this dream come true.

The anticipation and uncertainty of the upcoming week consumed me today.  I managed to be super productive at work but every second my mind had a chance to wander, it did just that. I thought about things like the weather, the idea of too much sun on my frog-belly-white skin, what food to pack, how many pairs of flip flops I’ll need (yes, I said NEED), and other vacation related concerns we all think about before a beach vacation. But this is not all I thought about. My mind also drifted to concerns of how much I’ll be able to contribute, how much money we will raise, will the honored charities be happy with the level of awareness we bring, will the event hit any snags along the way, etc. The thoughts just went on and on.

The anticipation inside of me fuels the hope I have for this event. My hope is that we do the charities proud, that we raise enough money to make a difference to at least one person, that everyone’s journey to and from the event is safe and without incident, and that the feelings of love and selflessness envelope us all weekend. I hope that when the music has stopped and it’s time to pack up and head home, we leave St. George feeling as if we’ve accomplished something extraordinary, both individually and collectively.

I’ve been given the gift of anticipation, and my anticipation level is ten times what it’s been in the past. My reward, however – or shall I say, my treasure – at the end of the weekend, can potentially fill a thousand treasure chests. For this, I am truly blessed.

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This year RBTS has selected three amazing charities. They are University of Florida’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Program, The Down Syndrome Association of Tallahassee and Camp Sunshine. I invite you to visit each of the charity’s websites and see the incredible services they provide to people in need.

If you would like to know more about the organization Rock by the Sea, please visit our website or Facebook Page. If you would like to know more about our upcoming RBTS 5 event, you can check out our Facebook Event page.  We also invite you to follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

If you would like to make a donation to Rock by the Sea, you can do so here.

Posted in Post A Week Challenge

Monday’s Treasure Chest: The Laundry Doer

I really don’t like Mondays. I know, I know. Who does, right? In addition to not liking Mondays in general, I’m pretty sure someone declared this “let’s irritate Lee” day and didn’t tell me. Seriously, with all the craziness and irritability, I would have bet it was a full moon. Of course, maybe it was just me who was feeling a bit crazy and irritable, but dammit, I’m entitled every now and then. (Gil, do NOT comment on that statement!)

I’ve spent some time today thinking about ways I could make my Mondays better. After ruling out taking every Monday as a vacation day, I have decided to make Monday my Treasure Chest day. “What is that?” you ask. The idea came from a tweet I read earlier today from @dose_of_love.  I’m a sucker for affirmation tweets and it always make me smile when I see one pop up in my twitter feed that I’m pretty sure was written solely for me, as this affirmation today was. It said “Count your blessings and you will find, life is a treasure chest, look inside.” Those simple little words have inspired me to take my usually blue Mondays and spend the day looking for treasure. My goal is to share that treasure with you guys every Monday. Some Mondays I may only find one treasure and some days I may be bombarded by them. I suspect that when I start looking for the treasures in my life, they will become much for evident.

Today I’m opening up my chest and I’m sharing the treasure that is my husband and how he’s always looking out for me. I’m not talking about how he takes care of me in the ways a husband takes care of his wife and family by providing and protecting them. I’m talking about the every day, little, unnoticeable actions that he seems to do without even thinking about it. Today was a perfect example of one of those events.

Gil is the general laundry doer in our home (because he’s SOOOOO good at it), but I like to take care of my own work clothes so that I can hang them right from the dryer so as to prevent wrinkles and having to iron. As I was heading to bed last night, I mentioned to him that I had put my last load of dirty laundry in a basket on top of the dryer and that I would wash that today when I got home because I was just too tired to stay up waiting for the dryer to finish. In an attempt to convince me he was listening, he nodded, but he was totally and completely distracted by the basketball game he was watching.  We said goodnight and off to bed I went.

This evening I headed straight for the laundry room. No, I wasn’t that anxious to do laundry but I knew if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have clean clothes for work tomorrow, and bathrobes and sweatpants are really frowned upon in my workplace. Now, imagine my pleasant surprise when I noticed my basket of laundry was folded. Then imagine my horror when I realized my new, cold water, delicate cycle only shirt was in that load. I fumbled through the basket only to realize that only the top few items were actually folded. Whew, maybe it was ok. But wait, there are more folded clothes near the bottom of the basket. I started wondering what the heck he did.  He was on his way to Danny’s scout meeting so I called him.

“Hey baby, did you wash my clothes today?” I asked with a smile.

“No, I saw Dudley (the spoiled princess cat) was sleeping on them and they looked wrinkled so I ran them through the dryer to get the wrinkles out for you.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, and then I folded them so they wouldn’t be wrinkled. I know how you hate for your clothes to be wrinkled.”

“Aww, thanks baby. So, you didn’t WASH them?”

“No, why?”

“Remember last night when I said I was putting my dirty laundry in a basket on top of the dryer?”

“Ummmm. Kinda. Maybe I remember you saying that. Yeah, I remember now. I wondered why they didn’t smell….clean.”

We both laughed a little and I said goodbye as I was putting my neatly folded dirty clothes into the washer. My first reaction was to grumble to myself that if he had paid attention to me instead of the basketball game, then he would have remembered our conversation and wouldn’t have wasted his time. But, really. Who could do that? He saw a situation (my clothes were wrinkled) and he took time out of his day to try and fix it for me, so that I wouldn’t have to iron later. He probably didn’t even think twice about what he was doing. He’s pretty good like that. Even though his actions were wasted, his thoughtful intentions once again melted my heart. For a moment today, I fell in love with my husband all over again. And that’s why he’s my treasure, my blessing, for today.