Thursday, June 30, 2005

Character NOT Comfort

Today's title is Character NOT Comfort because that is what God is building in me. Lately I have been in the most godly of places yet the most uncomfortable of places. I haven't really had any friends around and have had my share of drama and pain. I have learned not to be in the midst of drama and thefore have eliminated a lot of it from my life. I have chosen, just recently, to live my life for Jesus Christ in every aspect. This has not been comfy in the least. This has been a character-forming experience.

For most, if not all, of my life I have lived for Erica. I have chosen to sin to get my way. I have chosen the easiest and widest path that has no bumps or hills to climb. I have chosen the easiest and comfortable way to almost everything. If it was a relationship, I would lie and manipulate to get someone to feel a certain way about me. If it was a health decision, I would do what was easy, comfortable, and least painful in my life. I have proven to be a huge hedonist until now. (A Hedonist is one who does anything to cause pleasure and avoid pain.)

My life in the last 2 years has been remade. I have chosen the hard and narrow way which is very difficult but always yields the best results. Today, I am living for Jesus. I am living for my faith and my spiritual health. I know that the things I am choosing are the best things for me, but character is being tested. Please keep praying for me and also, remember to strive for character not comfort!


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Matchmaker Matchmaker make me a match

Have any of you wandered onto or any of these other dating sites? Yeah, well...I have. After speaking with someone yesterday who signed up on for fun, I wanted to see what it all was about. I signed up and put up pictures and everything and it's so funny how we think that this might bring us love. I was thinking about it and you know..God can do what he wants and I certainly COULD meet the man of my dreams on here but you know...I was thinking about it on a grander scale.

We are all searching for love and connection with another human being. We all long for this relationship of absolute happiness, contentment, and attachment. I was thinking about how it is absolutely out of the question to be single and love it. I was also thinking about the first book of the Bible (Genesis for those of you who are biblically challenged) and how God even says's not good for man to be alone. I think this is true. I think we are people of relationship! I think we are creatures that really do require connection with other creatures. Some of us find that in our friends, pets, dates, husbands, wives etc... but overall we all crave connection.

In saying that, I am just praying that God will help me get through the waiting time that is needed for the man he has for me. I know that my desire to be connected is NOT going away and although I would like to be content single..I will never be as my dream is to be a wife and mother. I am just praying that I will get better quickly so I am ready for him. I would appreciate your prayers and thanks for your friendship as it truly meets my needs for connection! :)


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Trust and why I can't!

Last night I was having a very difficult night. I was in a state of complete grief and it was about a number of things. I was hurting because I feel like this weight loss battle will NEVER get over, I will never meet the man I am supposed to marry, and perhaps that God has just gotten fed up with my chaos and has decided to let me just be sad and not really do any healing. I should note here that I feel that would be very fair of God to do that to me because I have really messed my life up. I have made decisions that I knew were wrong and that I knew would damage me and I really do deserve to live my life alone with 75 cats. Don't we all deserve that?!

I know that I didn't deserve my salvation and I don't deserve HIS constant interacation in my daily life and I certainly don't deserve how he always provides for EVERYTHING I need. I know that I am just thinking in a self-destructive manner and it's harmful to me and to others as they come into my life. Last night I was literally having such a hard time and I exhausted everything I knew to do biblically. I started by praying and just telling God that my heart was troubled and that I was feeling lonely and depressed. I was weeping before him and decided I should journal a bit. I journaled all of my crazy thoughts and then counter acted each one of them by looking into scripture at what is truth and what goes against my initial thoughts. I did that and it brought some peace.

All of the sudden I decided to call my friend Jason because it was his birthday and I wanted to say Happy Birthday as well as see how his day went. Jason has the ability to get things out of me in the weirdest ways. I began to tell him how I was feeling until I was weeping again. He really spoke truth into my life by simply telling me to look in the mirror and see what he and God saw. He also told me I need to forgive myself since God so freely does! I then got off the phone and cried into my pillow asking God to help me forgive ME! I am working on it today and realizing that God DOES have a plan for my life and wants to strengthen me, establish me, heal me, and provide a hope and a future. I hope you can cling to these truths today also. Forgive yourselves..because God clearly does! I love you all and hope you have a great grace filled day!


Monday, June 27, 2005

God Willing

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase "God Willing?" I have heard it used and it occurred to me that to be honest, everything is ..God willing! I was thinking about this today and how my life has changed drastically just in the last week to two weeks. At about that time I made a decision that I would whole-heartedly seek God's matter how hard it was. My life has never been so peaceful. Nothing in my life has really changed or even taken shape but I know this, I have peace that passes ALL understanding.

I am a very sinful creature who does things that my carnal nature really wants. If I was to be honest with my blogging public, I want to have premarital sex, I want to overeat bad things, I want to be lazy, I want to lie around in my sin and wallow but something in me seeks God above all of these things. Sometimes I fall flat on my face and do things that I know are the worst for me. I accept calls that I know will drain me spiritually or emotionally, I talk about things that I don't want to talk about, watch or listen to things that fill me with poison and the list goes on. I hate the things that I do, say, think, or feel sometimes.

Today is a day of thinking about God and his will for my life. I know that if I just follow him and obey, my life will be as peaceful as I would like it to be. It's strange that as I seek my goals, dreams, aspirations, and desires that in the past, I have never thought about HIS will. Today, I dwelled in his presence for about an hour praying his will over your lives, my life, and our dreams and goals. I have felt peace the last week or two just because God has finally been in the driver's seat in my life.

I gave my heart to Jesus (FOR REAL) at the age of 16. I chose that day that I would be a "Christian" and from that day until quite recently I lived my life the same Erica's will. At some juncture of this past couple of weeks, I have realized that my really not right. It's HIS will that is perfect, glorious, fruitful, and mostly peaceful. I have longed for peace in my life from the time I was little and hearing about problems that no child should ever hear about. I have gained peace for the first time by allowing God to be my parent, my friend, my boyfriend, my counselor, and mostly my WILL. I love God's will and know it is finally the place that I want to reside.

Today, I challenge you to give your will up to God and just allow HIM to be the one who makes decisions. It says in the word that we are to be in constant prayer and I think this is what it is referring to. I think that we need to be praying God's will over each decision in our lives and seriously seek HIM in every endeavor. I say...let's do that...God Willing! :)

Happy Birthday to my friend Jason Rodriguez today! He's 25!!!!


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Therapy continues to shape me.

Happy Saturday everyone and welcome to a huge day for me of starting over and remembering who God is in my life. I am ready to put these last 100 lbs behind me and get done with this weight loss battle. I am ready to accept that my family is unhealthy and move on. I am ready to accept that I don't have a companion and I will if I allow God to move in my life. I am ready to accept that I need to love the right way and stop being manipulative and manipulated. I am ready to be her best!

Today I went to therapy and we talked about the things I like about me and my counter thoughts and where those thoughts come from. I have a hard time with comparing myself to others because it's happened my whole life. My grandmother started it with comparing me to my sisters and cousin and another part of my family continues it today. With the separation that I have currently made with my family, I am ready to heal and start comparing myself. A year ago, I wasn't even 1/2 the woman I am today. I was selfish, manipulative, abusive to others and myself, and completely lost in my thought life. Today, I am working hard on all of these things and becoming the woman God wants me to be.

This weeks assignment is to really work on tearing down the thoughts in my head that keep me from being successful in my life and goals. I am going to do this by disliking the behaviors that have hurt me and realizing where those thoughts come from instead of internalizing them and believing they are real. We are all aware that as Christians, we have an enemy lurking around and ready to pounce on our biggest weaknesses and I sense his presence daily right now and I have to be ready to defend myself and attack what he is throwing!

For those of you who read my blog to know what's going on in my life and to are my top concerns today:

1. Eating..I have to eat right this week and exercise. I really want to lose this weight
2. GRE: I need prayers for preparation, financial registration, and the days of testing. There are two portions..the general portion and the psychology portion.
3. Grad School: I need prayers for application completion, picking the right school/program, financial provision in applying and going, and a lap top to be able to do my work.
4. Mental health: that God will continue to show me areas that I can work on and how to do it. Therapy with Sandra and how that is going to come together.
5. My little sister who is currently working on a weight loss battle of her own and will be visiting in August.
6. My trip to Colorado (leaving July 13th and returning July 19th)

Have a great day everyone and thank you so much for your prayers. I appreciate all of them!


Friday, June 24, 2005

My quest for health...documented.

Well I haven't written in my blog for a few days because I have been busy this week trying to keep my head in the books. I have been reading a book on boundaries, preparing for the GRE, and working on relationships in my life. Today I finished my things that are good about me and I am going to see my therapist tomorrow at noon. I think that I came up with some good things but the counter statements ended up being really strange and I can see that my whole life is in shambles simply because of my thought life.

This morning I had this horrible thing happen with our maid and my study materials for the GRE (fill in the blanks) and my stress level is kinda high so I am not going to write a whole lot today but I am going to go and have some prayer time. Thanks for stopping in and I am doing fine in case that is why you are stopping in. Have a great day and God bless you all!


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Things that are good about me????

Yesterday was a therapy session for me and as always, it was very good for me. We discussed a lot of things centered around my self-worth. I have been struggling about the GRE and Grad School in general just thinking I am not good enough to go or to get a great score. I don't know what would tell me this as all of the evidence of my past work would say that I am going to do very well. Another area I have been having a hard time with is marriage. I fear that I am not able to have a happy marriage with a man I adore. I am so scared that my choices will be to have a marriage with a guy I tolerate and/or be single. I am the kind of girl who would NEVER get married to someone I don't adore so it's kind of hard for me to think about being single for life.

Another area to think about is friendships. Sometimes I don't think I am worth the best friends in the world. I think I have to put up with abuse from their hands and/or using me to keep them. I think I have to entertain them, be there for them, and sacrifice my own time and efforts at their expense to keep a good friend. Why can't I just see the worth that I have and that God sees? I want to grow to love me more and realize what I am worth and settle for nothing less. Often times I crave attention and it gets completely out of hand and I lose my trust in God to run to someone who isn't worth my time. It's scary and hopelessly out of control.

My therapist felt I really needed to do an exercise to see myself. She told me to make a list of things I like about myself. She also said to immediately write the thought that counteracts that good thing. For example if someone said they had a great body and then their mind said "Except you have big hips!" that would be the process. I wanted to share this with my blog as this is journey of self-discovery anyway and I thought you would enjoy it. Have a great time reading the inner thoughts of my distorted mind. I have decided not to put a number on it but rather just do them as they come to me.

1. I have a great sense of humor --- sometimes my humor is inappropriate.
2. I do well in school -- I just work really hard and I am not naturally intelligent.
3. I am very organized -- I procrastinate entirely too much.
4. I am strong emotionally -- I have had to be since I have suffered so much.

ok that is all I have for today. This is a depressing task as you realize that you shoot down any and all traits that are good about you. Please write me if you have anything to add to this little problem I have. Have a great Sunday everyone and God bless you all!


Friday, June 17, 2005

Father of the Year.

Well, we are fast approaching good old Father's Day. It is this sunday for those of you who need to run out to get a card. I think a lot around this time of year because this is a sore spot in my spirit. Let me tell you a quick story before I start this post. My mother and father were only married for 7 years total to each other. They divorced when I was only a year and a 1/2 old after what I believe to be abuse, infidelity, and completely destroying of each other. It was not a match made in Heaven. While married they had two children together. The first was Hilliary in thier first year of marriage. Hilliary suffered through the entire duration of their marriage. In 1980, I was born and they divorced less than 2 years later. My dad's role in my life was less than fatherly. He wasn't really around much at all. I would see him maybe twice a year and that would be a lot. Eventually I didn't see him at all but only a card in the mail with a check in it on my birthday and Christmas. I didn't even call to say thank you because well..I wasn't grateful.

I did not respect, honor, or even like my own father. I still struggle with this today. My dad and I had a discussion when I was 21 and struggling through a very hard time in my life where everything I felt about him pretty much exploded and I let it out. We started to have a "relationship" from that day on and have been trying to have one since. I am now turning 25 in just a few months and I still don't feel like I have a father. I know that my dad is there and we email each other and I call once every 6 months or so. I am frustrated daily by our lack of communication and lack of connection even more so. I am fed up to be honest. So that's the story behind the biological father.

Now, let me bring you some happy news. My real father wasn't my father at all. He was my grandfather. My mom's dad (Poppy) is the best man I ever knew growing up. He had his faults and we all know them, but overall he was an amazing man. He was a very successful business man who was completely honest in his business endeavors. He was kind, compassionate, loving, generous, and absolutely hilarious to me! He protected me when the world walked out on me. He made me feel wanted in a family that made me feel less. I am so grateful to his influence in my life today and how it has made me into a woman I can be proud of. I am lucky to have had poppy and all of his love! I miss him so much as I lost him 5 years ago in April. I was devestated but I have learned something through my grief. People will live forever if you love them forever! I miss him so much but everyday I live to make him proud.

Even more happy news is that I have a Heavenly Father that I absolutely adore that absolutely adores me. Any father that comes to this Earth as a human is going to be less than what a little girl needs because he is human. The amazing thing is....there is a father who is gentle, wise, loving, stern, jealous, compassionate, amazing, all powerful, glorious, etc...and that is Jesus Christ my Lord, Savior, and true eternal Father! I want to take this time to say Happy Father's Day to not only my imperfect biological father, my wonderful Grandpa who isn't here anymore but mostly to my Heavenly Father. I love you Lord and you are absolutely amazing to me! Thank you for being my father when I had none!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today, appreciate what you have and give your Father in Heaven all the glory! Happy Father's Day to the Fathers who read my blog. Nick, you're almost there buddy! Congratulations on the new beautiful boy on the way! I love you all! Here is a song to remind all you daddy's out there....

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
and she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I've done all I can
To stand on the steps with my heart in my hand
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters, too

Ooh, you see that skin
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters, too

Boys you can break
You find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong and boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without warmth from a woman's good, good heart

On behalf of every man, looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too

Have a beautiful Father's Day Weekend!


Thursday, June 16, 2005

My eyes are green for a reason

Today I decided to confess a sin of mine to all of you so that I can get it out in more than one way. I prayed this morning about this specific sin/hurt/problem and it really captivated me and made me realize that it's something I have to get rid of. The title of today's blog is "My eyes are green for a reason" because well my eyes ARE green and green is a color often associated with envy and jealousy. I am having a hard time with this and have for my entire life. I can put a little sense into it right now for you and I will. I will also tell you what kinds of things I am jealous and envious of.

It all probably started with the fact that I have a horrible family life. I would go to school each day and was happy to do so because no one screamed at me, hit me, or degraded me at school. I made friends very easily because of my humor and natural social abilities, however, I was always envious and jealous because my friends looked like they had better lives than me. I was living the perfect life in front of them. I rode to school each day in a limosuine because my grandpa insisted. We had enough clothes, food, etc...because my grandparents had money. I looked like a well-adjusted child because I was happy and laughed all the time while maintaining a great academic record. What could be wrong?

Every person I came in contact with was my enemy because they had the home life I wanted...or so I thought! Later on it was an issue of weight as well. As I started to gain weight and eventually reached about 350 lbs...I hated any girl that was under 200 lbs. I begin to hate anyone who didn't have the exact problems I did. I then decided I would get into things that weren't good for me because they brought me worth. I felt good when I did them and they made me forget what I didn't have.

Things haven't changed much since I have become an adult. At age 21, I had my wedding cancelled the day before it. Since then I have been jealous and envious of anyone who has a wedding. I don't care if they married the biggest loser of all times, at least they had their dream wedding. I know it doesn't make sense, I am just being honest. I am jealous of every woman in my life and those who aren't even in my life because they can get the attention of a man I love and not me. I am jealous of my friends who have normal bodies, normal lives, and better home lives. I am jealous of people who don't have to work themselves out of debt beyond their control. I am jealous of people who have parents they can run to when they are in trouble.

Just recently I realized that I HAVE to deal with this jealousy. It's hindering my sucess in life because I think, "oh well..I'll never be as good as her." My dreams get overshadowed by other people when my dreams are just that...MINE. I love the thought of being a therapist and a good one at that but something in me makes me jealous of everyone else and their dreams and the way they can get to theirs without dealing with all of this baggage. I don't understand what God's purpose is in all of these struggles but I need to start trusting that I can find purpose in it and grow. I know that I am a great person and there is probably someone out there..who is envious of me and all that I have and accomplished. I need to get some perspective.

Thank you for listening to my confession today and please pray that with GOd's help, I can grow to understand and get this sin out of my life. Thanks everyone and God bless you all!


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The machine won't take my dollar

Have you ever walked up to a soda machine just dying of thirst and you pull the only dollar you have out of your wallet only to find it's all crinkled? I sure have. You stand there waiting for your beloved bottled water and working hard to get the dollar to stop being all folded and messed up. You try everything, put it in every way and even slide it along the machines side to crispen it up. Nothing works, you walk away from the machine as thirsty as you came and your dollar is no longer worth a dollar...but worth nothing to you!

Today I have been feeling like this poor little dollar. Let me illustrate. I was thinking about how the dollar really is worth 1 US dollar, however, if you don't go the right place, it's worth nothing. It isn't worth anything to this machine because the machine can't accept it the way it is. That's exactly what God is showing me about people in my life who aren't accepting of who I am. I was really grieved yesterday and thinking about how my life will probably consist of singleness for a while or maybe forever. It really got me down and had me thinking about how sad it is that people out there wouldn't be able to accept who I am and not be intimated or scared of what I bring to the table.

I know that I have worth, just like the dollar but it's the same story. There are certain people who can't really accept me therefore I have no worth to them. I know that I really shouldn't worry about this knowing that I am a child of God and that he provides for me and will bring the man that is supposed to be in my life but I fear the very worst. I fear that I will have to be someone I am not to get him, change who I am to keep him, or stifle the amazing passions and goals I have to make him feel better or stronger than he is. I am saddened by this not because I am going to do it but rather because I won't and that could mean a lot of waiting for me.

I have talked to a few friends about this and their responses were similar. God has something amazing for me and I just need to wait, I need to start looking at more confident and healthy men, etc... I know all this but it doesn't stop me from feeling crinkled and worthless. I really can't wait until that person comes and I am worth what I am again. That dollar is worth a dollar in the store and you can get your bottled water, which is great! Someday, my store will come. Until then, please pray for me!


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bricks and Mortar

Today I wanted to first of all tell you all about my new blog. I have a new blog that is called "Life in Lyrics." I tend to speak my life through music so I decided to start a blog that will have one song a day to tell how I am feeling, what I am going through, etc... You can find this blog at

This morning after my walk at the beach, I was driving home and turning left off of Poppy St. onto PCH. As I sat at the stop light and looked around I noticed that there was a brick wall built to the side of this plaza. I noticed that the mortar between the bricks was spewing out the sides and it wasn't done neatly. To be honest, this bugged the crap out of me. I like things neat, organized, straight, and together. This looked like a sloppy job and it made me think of disorder in my soul and the way I was feeling this morning.

I came home feeling really lonely this morning. I am having a hard time with the desire and craving for companionship and really seeking that in the Lord. I am trying to remember that God has a perfect time to bring people into my life and right now, we are in alone time. I am hurting with this but also growing as I have an attention issue. The bricks brought me to some thoughts and I kept thinking about them all the way home and even throughout the morning before I came to blog. I sat down at the computer and thought about what I wanted to say to you all today. The bricks...kept coming back.

I decided to log on to and see what I could find about bricks. I read an article about how to lay bricks and one about the different types of bricks and still no clue why God was bringing me to bricks. This morning as I have sat here and thought ..I finally came up with it. The bricks are like an example of me. Each brick on that wall represents something I am working hard toward. The bricks I automatically think of are weight loss, grad school, mental health, healing emotionally, physical health, accepting diabetes, developing healthy relationships, attention, eating disorder, and the list goes on. In my perfect world, each brick would be layed down in the proper order and would be straight and perfect. Well, as you know...we aren't in a perfect world.

Now, let's talk about the mortar. As I picture it in my head, it still disturbs me to think of how they let the mortar harden in big clumps sticking out of the bricks. That's like my life. Each brick will be set and eventually will be built but what I believe God is trying to show that the mortar in between may not be so smooth. My transition from being an engaged woman and being a terribly single woman has not been easy. The brick is layed and I am indeed single and I chose to leave an unhealthy relationship...but the mortar that surrounds that brick is clumpy and oozing out the edges with hurt and disappointment. It's going to be hard to build this wall and it's probably not going to be straight, perfect, and smooth but this much is true..that extra mortar that is oozing out the sides simply holds the wall even more steady.

God is so good to me and shows me things every day. I am grateful for my intellect that helps me to think through things because I might never have seen the good in that crazy looking wall. Anyway, I hope you all are doing great and I miss you dearly. On the other side of this wall, I promise to be better! :)


Monday, June 13, 2005

Hydrating your spirit.

I sit today and stare at my half full glass of water (I am quite the optimist) and wonder about hydration. I got up this morning and had breakfast that included a glass of water, had one more glass of water, and went to the beach for a walk. When I returned, I again had a glass of water which I am now enjoying. I was reading my Bible for the day when it spoke of God as living water. I was thinking about that today since water is a huge part of my day. I am one of those people who doesn't drink anything but water and that is really good for me with my bad kidneys. Water has been on my mind today and all of the benefits that it gives me and how that compares to God!

Water is known to do quite a few things for the body. Some of these are:

  • Improves your energy level
  • Increases your mental and physical performance
  • Removes toxins and waste products from your body
  • Keeps skin healthy and glowing
  • Helps you lose weight
  • Reduces headaches and dizziness
  • Allows for proper digestion

Now I am going to go my normal route and completely take this knowledge a step further. If God is referred to as living water...why don't we look into these benefits and relate them to our spiritual life. This is how I believe this corresponds to actual water!

1. Improves your energy level: I believe that spending time with the Lord every day helps you feel energic about living in this world. Without spending daily time with God, it's hard to keep on task and you feel very lethargic about living in this fallen world.

2. Increases your mental and physical performance: This is so true. Our thought life and physical obedience to God comes with drinking of Him daily. This is imperative as we try to beat the millions of mental and physical temptations surrounding us.

3. Removes toxins and waste products from your body: I think this one is obvious in the removal and forgiveness of sin. What bigger toxin can you think of?

4. Keeps skin healthy and glowing: Our skin is our outer shell. In our walk, I believe this is referring to the fruits of the spirit that either are healthy and glowing or rotten and stinky. With God, our fruit (or skin) is always healthy and glowing.

5. Helps you lose weight: This one made me think about those burdens that we carry every day around with us. God is faithful to take our burdens upon himself if we will just allow him to have them and they aren't so heavy for us..therefore we lose weight.

6. Reduce headaches and dizziness: How often have you felt spiritually dizzy and a brief moment with the Lord can get you grounded yet again. It's easy to get a big headache from trying to live the Christian life here on Earth but with time with the Lord, the headache is doable.

7. Allows for proper digestion: In the spiritual realm, our food is considered the word of God. Time with the Lord can help us to digest the scriptures properly and learn how to take them in. With just a little time with God, we will be able to take large portions of the gospel and apply it to life properly just like eating a meal and having it go to the parts of the body it needs to successfully.

It's funny how this water thing is a direct mirror of God's place in our life. As I go to fill up my glass again so I have all these benefits of actual H2O, don't forget to fill up your cup today!

Update on me: I have been exercising faithfully again and have had a very faithful and good morning. I woke up, ate breakfast, took my shot, and went for a walk. I feel like I am starting to get a grasp on things. I studied for the GRE last night on Analogies and I would appreciate all of the prayers you can send my way. Hoping to get more studying done today and think through some essays for applications. Have a great day everyone and God bless you all!


Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Indiana Mindset

Today I wanted to quickly update you before I start in on my usual eye opening writing! :) I am proud to say that I went for a walk last night for the first time in about 2 months. I could only walk a mile without being tired but at least I did it. I also did not binge last night after binging every day for the last couple of weeks. I am hoping to get really serious about taking care of ME! Also, I saw my therapist today and we delved into some issues about Grad School and my personal beliefs about me and my abilities. It was eye opening and is helping me to get a grasp on some of these irrational thoughts that absolutely plague my mind.

Today I was thinking about my mindset and where I get it. I grew up in southern Indiana for those of you who weren't aware. Indiana is obviously a small state in the midwest that is known for corn, farming, the Indianapolis 500, basketball, and the such. I am from a very beautiful part of Indiana that has gorgeous colors in the fall, full green trees in the spring, rolling hills as far as you can see, and swaying corn stalks that make you think you are looking at a midwestern postcard. A part of me is really proud of where I come from and some of the things that you learn being from the midwest/south. I have a good work ethic, deep respect for my elders, the knowledge of taking care of myself, and can cook like nobody's business! I also have a healthy bank of completely stupid sayings and a cute little accent that comes out when I am a little tired or have had a few drinks.

Here in California, we laugh a lot about my upbringing with redneck jokes and assumptions about what it must be like to hang out in Indiana. I hear a lot about rebel flags and Wal-marts and I can handle the heat. There is a part of me that isn't so happy that I am from Indiana too. I have a very horrible past that sits back in Indiana and sticks its tongue out at me and says "you'll never escape!" Indiana, on the whole, is full of a lot of really disturbing things. It is almost normal to be pregnant before you graduate high school. It is certainly normal to marry someone that you can't stand just because he either got you pregnant or my favorite...I LOVE HIM! It is customary to either be verbally or physically abused by your spouse, male or female. It is not often that one graduates college and it certainly isn't run of the mill to go on to an advanced degree. It is not far fetched for someone to be related to their husband before they get married (I am not kidding) and it's unheard of to marry someone of another race, just because you love and honor that person. As you can see, I am not really a product of my upbringing. I defy so many of the norms of my roots that it's scary!

Today I was thinking about the actual Indiana mindset. There is an attitude in Indiana that is so disturbing that it makes me physically ill. It is absolutely normal in Indiana to hate people because they are successful. Let me set up a scenerio and you can try to picture it.

Sally Jo is walking through the aisles at the local grocery store. She stops at the peanut butter and gasps at the outrageous price of Jiff Creamy and before she knows it, she hears her name being hollered (word for yelled in Indiana) across the store. She rolls her eyes a little as she notices that the person yelling is none other than Jessica, a girl she went to high school with. She didn't graduate with Jessica because Sally was in labor on graduation night with her firstborn. Sally ended up dropping out and now has 3, count em, 3 young-ins. Jessica runs up to Sally and gives her a hearty hug and says "How are you girl?" Sally throws out her best attempt at "Great" and asks Jessica what she has been up to. Jessica begins telling Sally that she has moved to Northern Indiana and is now the Editor of a very successful magazine that comes out of the Michigan area. Jessica had graduated from Indiana University in Journalism and gone on to meet a man she really enjoyed and married him and is just now pregnant with her first child at 30. Jessica is beaming at how happy her life is and Sally is seething inside.

Sally goes home to her less than perfect trailer and sees her husband that has put on about 60 lbs since their courthouse wedding and looks around at her filthy house in disgust. She then does what any self-respecting Indiana housewife would do. She grabs the cordless phone and heads outside to call her friend, Beth. Beth answers and Sally proceeds to tell her about running into Jessica and that Jessica was terribly self-righteous and snotty. "She thinks her crap doesn't stink Beth. She thinks just because I don't drive a BMW and have a rich husband that I am worth nothing. She works for some magazine but I am sure she slept her way to the top. Yeah, she's pregnant, I hope it's her husbands!"

This is an actual story from Indiana people (names have been changed to protect the innocent children involved) who don't feel happy with themselves so they must bash successful people. I have been fearing success my whole life because of this but NO MORE. I am going to shrug off my Indiana mindset and forget what those people think and become all God wants me to be! I am excited to see how they respond when I come back to be Persimmon Festival Grand Marshall because I am a successful writer, speaker, therapist, mommy, wife, and have lost 225 lbs total. I am going to be a sucess story and for all that it's worth..I hope they hate me!

By the is what God says about it in Eccl. 5:18

"Here is what I have seen to be good: it is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward."

If you are from Indiana and reading this..I assume you don't have this mindset because I wouldn't be friends with you. I appreciate the fact that we have overcome! Free at last...Free at last..Thank God Almighty we are free at last! Have a great day ya'll and I love you all dearly!


Friday, June 10, 2005

I'm looking forward to it!

Today I was reading again in the scriptures and came across a rather popular verse in Phillipians 3:13 that says...

"Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,"

This is great advice on how to live life. I have been a person who has literally grown up and matured (and I use the term loosely) continuing to look back. I have spent most of my life looking backwards at the horrible past that I have and it has made me think I can't have a great future. I have done in this almost every area of my life. I think that since my whole family is overweight and I have always struggled with it...I have to always be overweight and struggle with it. I think that since my family has never gotten a masters degree that I can't get a masters degree. I think that since everyone in my family is either single or divorced...I will have to be either single or divorced. This is the saddest realization to come to.

It seems I am always looking the wrong way. I always look to the future when looking at my accomplishments and I feel overwhelmed by my own dreams and goals. I always look to the past when I think about my dreams and goals in the sense of whether I can do them or not. I need to start looking in the right direction. I am going to start looking forward when it comes to my life. I need to stop looking back at the past and comparing myself with my family. I am a different person with a different sense of drive and motivation.

This verse helped me to get some perspective on my first boulder today. As you all know, I am working through 3 distinct boulders in my life in order to reach my goals, find my dreams, and most importantly please the Lord and become mentally healthy. I wanted to go ahead and update you all on these boulders and confess a little bit as to how things are going.

I am working really hard on accepting my family and understanding what I am capable of. I have been working all week on Grad School and Gre preparations. In order to pray, I am taking my GRE probably at the end of September and I am taking the GRE subject test in Psychology on November 12th. Instead of hexing myself and not preparing, I am spending the next several months working on these tests and going into the test fully prepared and realizing that I could be the first person in my family to do great on the GRE! Actually I will be the first to even take it. I am feeling really excited about grad school and should be working on applications throughout the rest of the year. My first application is due in January and I think the last is due in April. I have picked out 7 schools so far that I would like to apply to. Please pray about God taking me in the right direction as well as financial provision for the GRE and application fees to graduate programs.

Secondly I have been working on my attention issue by spending more time alone and realizing that people have different love languages than my own. I am really missing some people in my life and I feel neglected by them. I know that isn't the case because they are just busy and have a lot of stuff going on but it hurts me so much. I have to really look into those feelings and figure out why it bothers me to not hear from people in my life for a week or so. I am frustrated with myself for getting scared and emotional and thinking that these people don't love me or have abandoned me or love others more than me. It's so hard for me to understand and I need so much and I have to figure out why I need so much.

Lastly, I am really struggling with my eating/health/weight issue right now. The only day I took my shots this week was Monday and I only took one of the two. I am very frustrated with myself as I am back to binging on a normal basis. Lately it has been Krispy Kreme donuts and tacos from Taco Bell or Del Taco. I have been eating these items really late at night and that isn't good for me. I am putting a lot of extra calories in my body and overall, haven't exercised in months. If I don't get it together, I am going to gain a whole lot of weight back and make myself sick again. Sometimes I wonder if this is an area that connects to attention as well. I mean, the weight gets me attention..even if it's bad attention. Also, sickness gets me attention although not good attention. It's so hard to understand why I just don't pick up the syringe and take the shot and why I can't just stop eating. I wish I understood and these are things I want to be working on. To start with on Monday I am going to start back up with my exercise plan and possibly recording what I eat or something regarding my diet. I am really worried about my behavior. The good thing that I need to report this week in this boulder is...I actually called the doctor and made an appointment to talk more about diabetes on July 5th. Please pray for this appointment.

On Monday I would also like to start recording my blood sugars and possibly my intake of insulin so I can see what the real trend is in my blood sugars. I am nervous about the precise dose of insulin I need and feel frustrated with the whole process. Please keep me in prayer as I know I am putting myself in danger but can't seem to get a handle on the facts. I appreciate all of your prayers and concern and mostly your care through this hard time. I love you all dearly and I hope to hear from you all soon!


Thursday, June 09, 2005

The smarter I am, the crappier it gets!

Hi everyone! Today's title doesn't seem very happy and maybe it isn't. Today I was reading my Bible (yes, I do that daily) and I came upon a verse from Ecclesiates 1:18. The verse is as such...

"For with much wisdom is much sorrow; as knowledge increases, grief increases."

How saddening is this statement? My whole life is a pursuit of wisdom. I have been seeking wisdom for the last almost 2 years. I met someone in my life that really challenged me to be a better Erica and since that day...I have been striving to be full of wisdom. I have wanted to be wise about myself, others, the world, literature, psychology, etc... That being said, it's no wonder that this blog for the last year has been filled with grief. I understand this verse almost more than any verse I have ever read in the scriptures.

Later on in Ecclesiates 2:24-26 this is stated (pay attention to the bolded area)

"A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness,but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."

A part of me was very calmed by this verse but also a little confused. If an aquiring of wisdom brings does God give wisdom, knowledge, and happiness at the same time. I started to really think about this because well...I'm a thinker. Lately I have been seeking wisdom in a lot of areas. I want wisdom about the following things...

  • Myself
  • My friends
  • My family
  • Psychology
  • The World
  • God
  • Nutrition
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Love
  • Character development
  • Cultures
  • Philosophy
  • Mechanics

The list sincerely goes on for miles. I seek so much wisdom and often times I literally get tired physically from wanting to know so much and not having the time to learn it. I decided to look at those verses from Eccl. 2 one more time and notice that the end of the passage says this..."a chasing after the wind"

I think this little part of the passage is very important because when we search for wisdom..sometimes it is a God-ordained search like my search for knowing myself and God and things like that. Sometimes it is just a mindless chasing of the wind like when I am searching for wisdom about a man who isn't supposed to be in my life. I know this makes no sense but wisdom can be fruitless or very fruitful. It will bring grief no matter what even when the wisdom is a healthy seeking like with looking for yourself. The world is an unhappy place and a very sad place at times and the more you know..the more you wish you didn't.

I also believe though that seeking wisdom in the healthy ways will bring spiritual fulfillment because God is moving through you and creating you to be a knowledgable, effective person in His kingdom. Overall, the consensus of what I found was...I will still seek every piece of wisdom that God wishes me to seek because no matter how much grief it brings.. I would rather be sad..than stupid!

Always put in such a classy way! Have a great day everyone and thanks for stopping in. Much love to you this beautiful Thursday!


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The 3 kinds of love...and how to do it!

Good Morning everyone! I hope this Wednesday finds you all doing well. I, myself, am working hard on multiples tasks and feel a bit overwhelmed. I am trying to keep my focus on God right now and realize that some things are just beyond my control. I wanted to first of all update you all on my boulders today. I have been working really hard to seperate emotionally from my family. I know this sounds like a bad thing but I assure you, it isn't. I need to stop being so dependent upon my family when they can't be depended on.

I have taken steps to stop talking on the phone with them so much, stop telling them everything, and stop caring about their opinions or input regarding things that they don't really understand. I have also been working on the attention matter but I have found this week that it is going to be one of the hardest tasks for me. On the eating issue...I have been doing mediocre. I have been binging a little on things that aren't good for me (fast food, donuts, etc..) which is really not ideal. I have been limiting my intake and the times I eat but it's so hard for me to understand.

I took my shots on Monday faithfully but Tuesday I didn't. Today I am hoping to be more on top of it. I know it takes time and it's one day at a time and one step at a time. I am so frustrated with my life being a constant struggle. I know what I need to do sometimes and I just don't do it. I know that a lot of people have a struggle like this in their lives. As for weight loss, I haven't really been focusing on it this week because I am so tired and having such a hard time with shots and eating. I am hoping to be more focused on that next week.

Today's title is the 3 kinds of love and how to do it because I was reading about the kinds of love today. There are 3 distinct kinds of love and they are:

1. Eros
2. Phileo
3. Agape

I will now explain to you what these kinds of love are and how you can do them because I think it's important to understand love since it is quoted as the most important thing in the walk with Christ.

Eros-- Eros love is erotic or physical love. It is touch, sex, etc... I know that it isn't customary to speak about sexuality and godliness in the same blog. Well, I am today! God created sex and I have a very strong opinion about it. I know that God made it to be pleasurable and to create new life. He also created it to bond a man and a his wife together. This is the kind of love that must be in a marriage relationship and really strengthens the bonds of marriage.

Phileo -- This is brotherly love. This love is present with friends, family, etc.. It is the kind of love where you are good to each other and support each other in life. I have many people in my life that I love this way and you all are a piece of that. This is a friendship love and is also present in marriage obviously.

Agape-- This is the most perfect love there is. This is the love that God has for you, his child. This is a love that expects nothing in return. This is a love that is not based upon emotion but upon will. I think about this towards SOME people in my life. I work very hard to love them with Agape love.

It's hard sometimes to always love with Agape love. If we could do it, we wouldn't really need God. To love correctly we need to stop making it about us first of all. When it is about what we can get back from the other person, we are not really loving them correctly. We, second of all, need to stop loving with emotion. In other words, we need to realize that even if someone messes up and we don't get the "warm and fuzzies" the love should still be there.

Love is a very important topic and because I read about it today I thought I would share with you. I hope all of you are doing your best to love each other and today, I am hoping I can show better Phileo love and Agape love to the people in my life. I am going to keep that Eros out of the question for a while though ;)

Have a great day ya'll and I love you! (TRULY)


Monday, June 06, 2005

I need narration!

This morning I dropped Christopher off at school a little early and came back home to my comfy lavendar pajama pants and blankets. My goal was to sleep a few more hours since I didn't get home until late. This weekend was rather eventful as I met some new people, did some fun things, and spent time with a dear friend. On Friday, Heather Short asked me if I would like to go to the airport with her to pick up her friends from England. I was game so we went up to meet the boys. James and Carl are really nice guys that she met from England. They were really great and I ended up spending my entire weekend with Heather and them.

On Saturday we ended up spending the evening at downtown disney and then Sunday we went to Vegas. Overall, it was an eventful, exhausting weekend but it was fun. Vegas required a lot of walking so I got a good start on getting back into exercising. James and Carl were way fun and they were a joy to know. It was a good weekend but I was thinking this morning as I tried to get back to sleep so I could recuperate. I was thinking about how great things are usually narrated.

Narration is that voice that tells you what is going on. It really reminds me of the new television drama "Desperate Housewives." I really like this show and through it a woman narrates what is going on on Wisteria Lane. I would really love for my life to be narrated. I know that sounds ridiculous and it's most likely just the rantings of me on the cusp of sleeping but I thought about the spiritual implications of narration.

I think my life truly has a narrator. I think God is my personal narrator. I think he is always watching and commenting on my life. I am starting to be able to hear his voice on things that really matter and hopefully will continue to gain my hearing of him. I thought of this, this morning because I got in really late and I only got about 6 hours of sleep when I woke up this morning. I knew I was not feeling well when I got up and knew it was lack of sleep and bodily exhaustion. I was parking my car in front of the house after dropping Christopher off and I heard God's voice (obviously not audibly but within me) saying "Will she listen to me and lay down on the bed and sleep for a few hours to gain her health back or will she get into her hampster wheel again and start to spin without any regards as to where she is going?" He knew that answer but he wanted to present the choices to me.

I heard his voice and I also realized that unless I got back into bed, I was not dealing with any of my boulders. I went into the house and did NOTHING before I got back into my pajamas, turned on the fan, and layed down. I set the alarm for a few hours and drifted into sleep-land. I was happy when I woke up at about 10:45 and I felt completely rested. I realize now that I need to listen to the narrator of my life and know how much HE loves me. I have to stop listening to the guilt messages of my family past and stop putting myself last. I am first today because God wants me to put myself first.

Right now, I am going to go downstairs and clean up the kitchen while I have some prayer time. I am also going to take my insulin injection. I want to thank all of you who are praying for me because everyday is truly an inpsiration and a chance for me to WIN! Later on today I am going to start my research and work on Grad school. I have so many goals and I know that these boulders can no longer get in my way. Thanks for stopping in today and I love you all dearly. Listen to your narrator!


Saturday, June 04, 2005

The three "little" boulders!

Today the title is "The three little boulders" because it's a monumental day in my re-making of Erica. I am currently seeing a therapist and I am very proud of this. This is my life's goal to be a therapist so I am aware of the deep need all of us sometimes have to talk to someone and strategize about our problems or issues. Today I had an appointment with my therapist and we have come to the next 3 boulders or issues in my walk to health that really need dealt with. I will share these with you today because I am proud of how far I have come and not ashamed in any way about the things I need to work on.

The boulders...

1. The first boulder in my life is an issue that stems from birth. My family has been a crazy mess since the day (and before) I stepped onto the planet. Basically it goes like this. My family is a family that is covered in molestation, divorce, chronic illness, sibling rivalry, verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, infidelity, financial issues, substance abuse, eating disorders, obesity and beyond.

If I was to write my life story, I don't think anyone would truly believe the barriers that were laying in front of me shielding me from success. In retrospect, I am completely lucky to have survived this childhood, adolesence, and now adulthood. I am almost 25 years old and I have truly done a lot with my life. I have changed things about me that are insurmountable to other members of my family. I have moved out of the state of Indiana and live on my own in California. I have graduated college with my Bachelor's degree in PSYCHOLOGY no less! I escaped high school without having sex, children, or getting married. I got through college without having sex, children, or getting married. I truly overcame a lot of my past. This boulder is that I would truly accept what my past is...and let it be what it is. I need to come to the realization that my past DOES NOT define me and doesn't decide my future. I don't want to embrace the problems that my life gave me, I just want to acknowledge and accept what is. That is boulder #1!!

2. The second boulder started a little later than the first but has a lot to do with the first as does the third. My second boulder is my extreme need for attention. I am sure this stems from not having my father around, being neglected for other people, etc... There is a lot to this problem and although I haven't really grown to understand exactly where it started or how to stop it, I know it's real. I know it has a lot to do with my need for control in a world that is very scary to me. I know that it pushes people away more than it draws them to me and it's something that could destroy my chances at a meaningful relationship with a man.

This problem is going to be interesting to work on because it involves me allowing myself to depend on ...myself. I am going to have to be the things that I need and be healthy in my relationships with others. I know that we each need people in our lives and totally need to be connected, however, we also need to have time alone and understand that we are enough for us! We also need to make others a priority in our relationships with them instead of always needing the attention. I really have to work on this so that I can love people correctly!

3. Boulder # 3 is the hardest one for me to be honest about. It is my weight problem/eating disorder/health. These three go hand in hand and encompass the same boulder. The weight problem started a long time ago and has been a huge issue. I got so overweight that my top weight was 350 lbs. Since then I have lost a total of 130 lbs and now weigh in at 220 lbs. I am proud of the progress that I have made. I believe in myself that I can reach my goal weight of 125 lbs someday but I have no idea the steps I need to take to get there. I am aware that this coicides with my eating disorder and health so here goes those two. My eating disorder is multi-faceted. I am a compulsive overeater and emotional eater with symptoms of bulimia and anorexia. The gist of this is that I love food and the way it makes me feel along with loving control and the way that makes me feel. I usually have symptoms of the first two mentioned. I usually overeat because I am afraid of not getting enough of anything. I also emotionally eat because food can be very medicinal.

Food makes me feel better when I am lonely and bored. I usually don't eat a whole lot when I am extremely happy or extremely sad because those emotions are not my trigger emotions. Mine is usually lonliness. When I realize my lot in life I usually want to eat. I want to eat because food is my friend/boyfriend/family etc... I know this doesn't make sense to anyone who doesn't have the problem but I am just speaking out for once. I like to get alone with food and allow it to heal me or at least make me feel better for a while. The symptoms I have of anorexia and builimia are that I binge and exercise entirely too much afterward or that I starve myself for a few days in order to get over a binge. That being said, obviously my health is affected.

I am an insulin dependent diabetic who is supposed to take two shots a day and eat a healthy diet and exercise daily. Ask me how many of those things I actually do on a daily basis. NONE OF THEM! I have a serious problem with taking care of my health. My eating disorder and weight problem get in the way of all of this. I eat so poorly with my eating disorder that taking shots seems counterproductive. I obviously don't have a healthy diet with binging. I can't exercise as much as I would like to because of the way I feel due to not taking care of myself and the way I easily tire from being 100 lbs overweight.

As you can see, this problem is so huge and is going to be the biggest victory. I am very proud of how far I have come but I can see a long road ahead of me in this battle. Hopefully I can keep my perspective with this one and the main goals here are to lose the 100 lbs, take care of my health, and live each day beating the eating disorder!

Now, you may ask yourself why I chose to share this today! Well, I want a milestone marker that I can look back at and say this is where I started on these three boulders and today ..I am this much better. I believe in myself that these three won't always be issues. They might always create a backdrop for my life but they will one day be victories as well. I am going to keep the blog updated on how I am doing and set small goals to try to reach my destination in these. I have no timetable for my life that says I have to beat these things or else. I think that would be detrimental to my success. I did not start having these problems overnight and they certainly aren't going to be solved overnight. I am going to commit today to giving myself a grace period and plenty of time to do this. I am going to commit to working hard and when I get tired, allowing myself to take a "pit stop" and look back at the great work I have done!

Today's update is this...

I am working very hard to accept my family. I love my family very much and can't imagine life without them. They, after all, helped create who I am today. I know that I am beyond the damage that has been done. I know that I have the power to turn my life around and do things that my family didn't do. My next step is to accept that I am intelligent and I can get into grad school. Getting into grad school is very important to me and the first boulder keeps me from feeling confident enough to embrace this time in my life. I am very excited about grad school and the opportunities it will open up to me. I am aware that I am usually very good at school and should be able to get into the program I would like to go to. My family past really affects me in that our family has never gone beyond an associates degree within my immediate family. This is horrifying as I am challenging all of my own schemas. My goal is to spend next week researching graduate schools and the GRE in order to get going on my dream. I believe that I CAN go to grad school..despite my family history. I am Erica and I am not my family and I am intelligent, able, motivated, and I have a world of support around me!

I am also working on the attention issue. I am currently spending a lot of time alone. I am learning that time with me can be very satisfying. I am also learning the difference between positive attention and negative attention. Because my need for attention is so great, I will settle for either kind usually. Just recently I did a bit of housekeeping and swept away all of the bad relationships in my life. These are, in my opinion, relationships where I fill up on negative attention. This means sexual attention, codependency, using me, etc... I am very happy to have cleaned my life out and I am exceedingly pleased with the fact that I have a great support group around me that is full of people who don't feed the bad parts of me! These are the steps I would like to continue with this issue.

Last but not least, I am again starting over on my health goals. I relapsed very badly recently with my eating disorder and have been struggling very much the last week or so with how badly I have done. It's time to get real with myself and reach out and get a sponsor with OA. I am hoping to make some calls this coming week and find someone who can support me in my quest to get healthy. I also would like to get back into working out this week. I haven't worked out in about 2 months or so. My body desperately needs to get some endorphins and cardiovascular exercise. I also want to make a weekly goal this week to take my shots every day from M-F. I don't want to jump the gun and act like I can make a goal for any longer than that. I really just want to feel better and taking my shots is not optional for that. I am very scared about this problem as it effects me so greatly. I would appreciate prayers surrounding this problem!

Overall, I feel really good knowing that I shared this problem with the blog and at least a few people will know the struggle I am going through and how to pray. I appreciate all of you that read the blog to stay up on my life and it's been fun. I really need prayers and support right now and I am asking each of you for that. I need support in all three boulders so please pray for God to lead you regarding that. I want to say a special thank you in the blog today although the people who are involved will get a more personal thank you from me. I have been supported so greatly recently in the huge struggles I have been enduring. I have had people in my life send me large sums of money as well as take care of me health-wise, do things on my car, pray with me, pray for me, and listen to me through all of that. I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my very own heart! You all will hear from me personally but corporately ..thanks for being a great team of people in my life. I truly have a family that loves me very much that might not be blood...but is everything I have ever wanted in a family. I love you all so much! Much love to my favorite boy know who you are!


Friday, June 03, 2005

Do you want to be right or be connected?

Today I was sitting in my beloved rolling chair in front of the tube watching the man who sends chills up my spine, Dr. Phil, and I came to an incredible truth. I was watching yesterday's episode that was geared toward "Family First." Dr. Phil wrote a book with this title regarding putting your family first and focusing on having a safe and happy home. There was a couple who were fighting quite a bit and their fights got outrageous. The woman would call her husband demeaning names, curse at him, and threaten to file for divorce. The man would yell at his wife telling her to "shut her trap", emotionally shut down, walk out of the room, and also threaten divorce. Today, this seems run of the mill. Isn't that sad?

I am not going to speak about divorce or marriage or even romantic relationships that much today in my blog. I am not currently in a romantic relationship in the fundamental sense. I have a "place" in my heart for someone but I am in NO shape to be a girlfriend, fiance, or wife in any manner right now. That being said, I have to take a little walk down memory lane. A year and 4 months ago I was a very unhappy person. I was getting ready for a marriage that I knew was doomed. I was with someone who didn't suit me and certainly didn't understand me. I was very verbally abusive, much like the above mentioned female. I spent every fight verbally demeaning Adolfo, threatening to leave, and tearing down any and all signs of a partnership.

Today, as I watched this couple on Dr. Phil, he said something that really struck me. He asked the female in this story if she wanted to "be right or be married." Two years ago, I would have answered that I wanted to be right. I longed to win every fight that Adolfo and I had. I wanted to come out on top and prove that he was the worst boyfriend and fiance and future husband that could ever happen. I wanted to be the one who had the upper hand at all times. It worked for the most part as I stood victorious over every fight and got my way under every circumstance. The problem was, I felt very alone in the relationship every day.

My realization today is ...of course I felt alone..I was being right instead of being connected. I made a decision this morning as I watched in horror. I was so angry with this woman because she was so much like me...except she had a marriage. She had vowed before God to honor, love and possibly even obey this man and she was destroying the partnership. What was I thinking? I was almost going to marry a man I didn't respect, honor, or even tolerate at times. I decided that I am going to live by this question in EVERY relationship I have in my life. This goes for my family, friends, co-workers, and future romance because this is a great way of thinking.

I want to provide the people I love with a place that they can come and present their issues and know they are being heard. I don't want to be the girl that interrupts, bullies, proves a point, or drives problems into the ground. I know that the mistakes I made with Adolfo are things I have learned from. I have no excuse for the things I did and I truly hope that someday Adolfo can and will forgive me for himself. It's amazing the things that you think when you look at something differently.

There are days that I realize that Adolfo was a great boyfriend, fiance and otherwise. He was my friend, my companion, and certainly someone that put up with a lot for me. I love him dearly and miss him more every single day but within me, I rest... I rest knowing that Adolfo is free of the guilt trips, yelling matches, and demeaning names that I put him through. I admit that the woman I was 2 years ago was the worst person I have ever been. I know that there was no turning back for Adolfo and I. The damage was too great and the price too steep for us to try to start over. Adolfo and I, however, have a great opportunity. We are both very young, 24 and 26, and have our whole lives ahead of us. We didn't take that fateful walk down the aisle (thank you Adolfo) and we didn't vow before God to make it work. Thank God and Adolfo that we didn't because divorce court can be ugly.

Today my challenge to you is to really try to be connected to the people in your life. Some of you reading this are married with children. Take the time to really be connected to your husband because being right isn't worth a divorce. Realize that any fighting you do in front of your children, IS affecting them. Stop and think about their future and the kind of men and women they will someday become just watching your fights. Love your husband/wife and realize that in order for you to win a fight, that means your husband/wife has to lose. You are a team, if he/she loses, you are a loser too!

Some of you are engaged, even newly. Take a minute to really think about the commitment that you are making to your husband. You are committing to being on his side, FOREVER! This means, there is no way you can be against him. Learn how to communicate now because time does not do anything but move. It doesn't change people or behaviors. People change themselves. Take the time to really find out how to work through issues and love your groom. I always give this advice to women who are planning their weddings because it's something I have learned the hard way. Don't get so caught up in planning a wedding, that you forget you have a groom! Hear me here, HE is the one that matters to you!

Some of you are either just dating or even dating seriously. Learn how to reconcile issues now. That boy that you think is so precious today, does have issues. He has differences in opinion and he will do stupid things. That girl will one day show you an ugly side and you will wonder where it came from. Take the time now to see how issues are only gets worse with more time together. Learn how to communicate.

Some of you are like me, single and loving it! I invite you to hear what I have said today and really take it in. Use it for the people in your life, period! Use it for your family, friends, co-workers and your future mate. Imagine how much deeper our relationships with others would be if we take the time to say "Am I trying to be right, or trying to be connected?"

I want so much to have meaningful relationships that are healthy. It's one of my deepest desires. Some of the people in my life will NEVER be healthy. They will have the same issues until death parts us. They will use the same strategies to win a fight, prove a point, or accomplish something. They will take me on the same guilt trip I have been on numerous times before and won't even pay my airfare. They will neglect me, abandon me, verbally slander me, and perhaps even abuse me until they are stopped. My power is not with those people. My power lies in me. I have the power to stop things where they are. I have the power to break patterns and generational curses. I have the power, with Jesus Christ as my guide, to become a woman who can fight fair.

I invite all of you to fight fair with me and really start to love the people in your life. I love you all dearly and I hope that if you are reading this, you have really tried to take a step back and examine your own heart. Please take this in for certain if you are engaged or married! Marriages are breaking up at an astronomical rate. Let's stop this while we are strong enough to do so. I love marriage and all it represents and I am just sad to see it go! Good luck to you all on your endeavors and much love to you today!


Thursday, June 02, 2005

no excuses, weight joke or profound life lesson?

Not too many years back I was a junior high kid. I went to the local department store (Wal-mart and the such) and purchased jeans from the juniors department that were a little bigger because I have always had a big rear-end. (I knew you all needed to know that) Before you ask, yes, I actually shopped at Wal-mart at one point in my life. I really didn't care where my jeans came from because back really didn't matter. That is beside the point. There was a brand of jeans, and other clothes I am sure, called No Excuses. I don't know if it was spelled correctly or not but again, beside the point. I wonder now, was "no excuses" meaning there is no excuse to have a butt that big or was it some profound life lesson to be learned. Today, I am learning the life lesson.

Today I thought about my life and the way I usually work things and that phrase, no excuses, came to mind. I was thinking about my fears and how I usually really allow my fears to win. My biggest fear at the current moment is that I won't be accepted into the graduate school program that I really want to go to. This idea makes me so sad and really makes me think about not even applying. This is why I say I allow my fears to win at times. I also think about maybe not working very hard on my application so that when I don't get accepted I can just shrug my shoulders and say "Well, I really didn't work that hard on it!" and then it won't feel like failure. My fear is working very hard on the application, putting effort into it, and not getting in. I fear rejection in the worst way.

I decided today that I have to use the phrase "no excuses" to get me through the hardest times of my life, which seem to be right now. I have to use that phrase when I apply to grad school. Next week (monday to be exact) I am going to start working on grad school. I am going to look into all of my options and start to work on applications and application additions like curriculum vitas and the such. I am very nervous about the application process and knowing which grad school to get into and which program to choose but I know this, God is with me and there is going to be no excuse because I am going to put 110% into these applications. I will not hex myself by not working hard on the things I want to do with my life.

I am also starting monday on my GRE preparations. For those of you who are not aware, the GRE is the Graduate Records Examination which is given to schools in which you want to attend Graduate School in order to make the decision. This is an important test in the sense that SOME schools use it to make a decision about your admission or lack thereof. In the same sense, I should note that my # 1 school does not require it. My first step in getting this underway is to look into when the test is being offered in the next year. I have one year before applying to grad school and this is a great time to get started. I would like to be a grad student in Fall 2006. The next step to this process is to buy a preparation book and start studying for this exam. This is a very hard task for me because I tend to not do well on standarized testing. My SATs were mediocre and my ACT was above average but I felt like it was hell to take it. I don't test well under the standarized testing umbrella.

Normally I would use this as an excuse but there are a few factors to consider when I make this generalization. The last standarized test I took was when I was 17 years old and completely and utterly irresponsible and lazy. I took the test with no sleep the night before and completely wasn't prepared in any way. I had not taken any practice tests or even considered studying and that was the ACT. You can see how I hexed myself into doing mediocre so that I didn't risk actual failure. These are not good patterns to see in yourself.

I am now 24 years old and completely in love with my major. I am passionate about psychology and I want to do it for the rest of my life. I can't do this without a masters in clinical psychology. I can't get an MFT without that masters and I surely can't get a PhD without the Masters! I really have a passion to do therapy as well as possibly teach collegiate level cognitive psychology...possibly at my favorite school on Earth..Vanguard University! I also have a passion to work with young women with eating disorders and coach them into healing. I also want to write psychological literature and work within the Dr. Phil Foundation for kids who are in bad situations and want to become something. I have such amazing dreams and I believe that I can do them. I can't live in the excuse bubble anymore. I am a very smart woman with amazing support and the possibilities are truly endless. I am going to live the next year of my life thinking NO EXCUSES!

Please join with me in prayer on this mission of getting my Grad School applications finished, turned in, and to 110%. Also please pray that I can take the GRE and do well on it and prove myself to be a great tester with the right preparation. I know that God has equipped me with the tools, if I stop making excuses! Have a great day ya'll and I love you dearly!


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Grab the statues, we are going on a trip!

I want to start off today's post with a little happy news and a congrats to a friend who I love dearly. Yesterday I heard the amazing news that my friend (and past co-worker) Heather Barrington is going to be Jason's wife this fall. Jason proposed on May 26th and they are getting married! How special is this? :) There are no words to convey how I feel about this other than Holy Crap and I am just so excited and happy for you two! Congrats to the newly engaged couple and bring on a wedding!

Today my title is a little strange but I promise I will make it completely make sense by the time I am done. There is a story in the Bible where Jacob and his wife, Rachel are heading to Canaan to reconcile with Esau and start on the plans God had for them there. Rachel was a believer in Jacob's God but even though that is true..she does something that I think we all tend to do and something I am doing on a regular basis. Before they head out on their trip, she grabs her father's household gods to take with them. This shows a huge lack of faith on Rachel's part. She figures if God doesn't come through, these little guys will handle the back up plan.

How often have you done just this? I will step out in honesty and tell you I do it over everything I pray about. This goes for any prayer that I utter with God. I tend to have a little back up plan in my head that will work out if God doesn't come through. Let me illustrate with a few examples from my own life.

There is a certain boy in my life who I really admire and cherish and would go so far as to say ..I am in love with him! I believe that God is the God of my heart and my life and will decide who I will marry and by all means ..should decide who I marry. God will have to perform a miracle for this man to ever want to marry me, however, I know God is a God of miracles! I say all that...and then in the back of my head, I have constructed a back up plan. In case God doesn't come through, I will wow this man with my genius, improving looks, and total and utter love for him. WRONG.

I have learned the hard way in life that you can't make anyone love you. You can make them do what you want, propose, buy you a ring, give you great gifts, speak the love languages, and such...but to make them love impossible. In saying this, you would think I would allow God to have the reigns and give up my back up plan to making my sweet boy fall in love with me. I haven't yet but today just might be the wake up call I need.

Another example is my financial life. I speak the language so well just like Rachel did. I pray about my bills, ask my friends to pray, pray over every expense and transaction, etc,...but do I honestly live allowing God to have my finances... Heck no I don't!

My pattern is that I go to work, make money, pray about it, and then worry until every bill is paid. Worry is a direct quote to God saying " I don't trust you at all!" Now, I am not saying I am wrong to pray about my finances or have others pray about my finances but when I am being a scavenger in my house to find items to pawn just in case God doesn't come through, that's not trusting my God! I am Rachel, picking up all of the household gods to take with me to Canaan.

Today, I read this story in the Bible and came to the realization that I didn't like Rachel's attitude. I was angry at her for not trusting God and her husband to get her to Canaan alright and take care of her once they were there. When I get angry at someone in the word of God, it's my first instinct to examine ERICA! I know that usually, I have that same attitude if I don't like it. I found that I am Rachel in so many aspects of my life. Today, I want to recognize that and start to give God the trust that he SO deserves. He has never let me down or let me go without. He will provide the man I am supposed to marry and it might not be my precious boy..but the man I will marry will indeed be the most precious man I have ever known! (Erica still stops to say..I hope)

Oh ye of little faith is actually a nickname God uses for me! :) Anyway, I hope this blog touched you today and made you examine your own back up plans. I love you all and if you know Heather and Jason, please extend your congratulations to them and rejoice with the angels today that are just so happy that they have found their matches. Please join with me in prayer for them....

Father God, you are so amazing to give Heather and Jason such wonderful spouses. We are so happy for them and know that you had your hand in all of this. Please take their hearts and prepare them for marriage. Take their wedding and let everything fall into place and let their day be so special. Prepare their hearts to join together as one and create a family that brings you glory. You are holy and wonderful and we thank you for the blessing of Heather and Jason. Thank you God for allowing me to share my life with Heather and now I get a new friend, in Jason. In your name--Amen

I love you both dearly and Happy Engagement!

Much love to all today!