Happy 2013 Some Random Thoughts from little ole me.

When writing the story of your life,

don’t let anyone else hold the pen. – Harley Davidson

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It doesn’t matter how 2012 ended.

It does not matter if you kept last year’s resolutions or not.

You have the power to decide where to go next. You always have.

I usually end the year with an inventory of some kind. I list what went well, what did not go well, what I learned, what I still need to learn and then once finished, I declare the year complete. 2012 was a year of challenges and great growth for me. Instead of making resolutions, I followed the advice of several writer friends. I chose to live a great story (Donald Miller) and picked a word for the year to focus on. 2012 turned out to be one of the best years I’ve had in a while. I even chose to follow Ken Davis’s advice and live a year that is Fully Alive and what a difference that makes. Living a great story Fully Alive is not an easy road — you get skinned knees and bruised hearts along the way. It requires honesty with yourself and others. It’s hard work. Sometimes you say as many goodbyes as you do hellos and that is okay.

Some highlights from 2012

  • My youngest graduated high school and started college as well as a part-time job. — He has epilepsy and a great deal of my life and his childhood has revolved around taking care of him and being his advocate. Now I get to watch him spread his wings and I could not be more proud. (My oldest is in his 4th year of college with one more to go — my life is changing fast)
  • I’m in two movies as a paid extra, Cowgirls N Angels and So This is Christmas — I am at a loss of words trying to explain the emotional impact of seeing myself on the big screen had on me. The best I can come up with is “it rocked!” I want to do more of that.
  • I rode the Tulsa Tour De Cure for the first time and will definitely raise the challenge bar and do it again.
  • I started playing the banjo.
  • I emceed a local youth rock concert.
  • Attended the Christian Comedy Association Conference in Nashville and had a blast.
  • The political climate caused some attrition in my friendships. Sorry to see that happen, learning to let go.
  • Made new friends.
  • I said goodbye to the church I’ve attended for ten years and hello to a new one that has women’s ministries and bible studies, two things that are important to me. This was a hard choice, but one that needed to be made.
  • In 2013, I plan to ride more, participate in the Route 66 Marathon, return to Nashville for the CCA Conference. My word for the year is Resolve and I plan to continue writing and living a story that keeps me alive.

Random Thoughts:

  • It’s easier to tell the truth the first time than to have to remember a lie.
  • Hidden things have a way of coming back to bite you — deal with your closet before it deals with you. (Just trust me on this one.)
  • You can’t have everything you want.
  • Don’t take what isn’t yours.
  • Don’t do something permanently stupid just because you are temporarily upset. – Temper your temper.
  • Always strive to leave people and things better than you found them.
  • Own who you are.
  • Don’t blame others for your choices.
  • Try new things.
  • Fail as often as you need to before you succeed.
  • Gratitude is a choice.
  • Write your own story.
  • Find your catalyst and be the person worthy of love, trust, and respect that looks back at you in the mirror every day.
  • LIVE a life that is UNDAUNTED.

Thoughtful Thursdays: If you are cute and you know it, bat your eyes.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

I’ll be honest, some days I feel more like my old self than I do my new. Some days the old me emerges out of nowhere and I wonder if I’ve grown any at all. Thankfully, feelings aren’t facts.

The old me was really really cute, and man did she know how to work it. I still do and I hate it. As much as I hate how good I am at cute, there was a time when I hated being called out on it even more. And yet, I have a mentor, and a multitude of friends who when seeing my “cute self” try to push her way around, call me out on it. A lot. I am learning to appreciate that even if it hurts. That’s what happens when you hang out around 12 step rooms for too long. You learn to appreciate things you used to resent. – Like the truth. It took me a long time before I ever allowed people to tell me the truth. While I’m selective today about who gets to, I still allow it because I know I need it from time to time.

“I’m cute and I know how to work it!” Said no self-respecting woman, ever! —Tweet This

Playing cute is a lack of trust as well as a lack of respect both for ourselves and our victims.

My cute self got us in a butt load of trouble when I was younger. So much trouble in fact it cost me the respect of my co-workers, friends, and myself. What made me change? A man. An honest one at that.

Do you know what he said to me?

“Don’t get me wrong darlin, I love my wife. I just think we’d be good in bed together.”

I didn’t feel very cute after hearing those words come out of his mouth.  Actually, I never felt more alone, hurt, and ashamed in my life. My cute self had behaved us into a really nasty corner and I felt stuck.  I’d pursued him, if I’m being honest, under the guise of we work together, we should hang out. What’s the harm in that? Not that he wasn’t willing, ready and able, but I digress. Every time we hung out after work was at my invitation, never his. And we rarely hung out in a crowd, it was usually just us and a couple of beers.

My excuse at the time “I thought we were just buds. I never saw that coming, HE’s the jerk, not me.” — It took me a few weeks (okay years plus a few 12 steps, sponsors and finally a flat on my back moment of surrender) to stop lying to myself. Even though I wasn’t willing to admit it at the time, deep down, I didn’t want him to love his wife, I wanted him to love me. Now that the truth was out, I couldn’t lie, I couldn’t pretend and boy did it hurt.

The truth is, they always love their wives and you and I deserve better than meaningless table scraps. We deserve the whole banquet and yet due to moments of extreme stupidity, loneliness, lack of self-esteem or what ever you want to blame we are easily tempted to settle for so much less.

Instead of being the kind of woman that brings out the whole man, we play the cute little girl who can manipulate boys and nobody wins.

“I love my wife…” I heard these words more than two decades ago, and I have never forgotten them.  My life changed that night.

Yes, I turned him down. Just in case you were wondering. Not that it matters really. It still cost me my job eventually. I also cried for weeks. Cute stopped being fun. It stopped working. Cute wanted love, not a cheap one night stand with a married co-worker. I had to kick her to the curb if I was ever going to get what I really wanted and kick her to the curb I did.

The problem I have with Miss Cute Self is she likes to make an appearance every once in a while just to see if she’s still got it. That’s when my brain kicks in and tries to tell me that I will never change.

I have a news flash, my brain lies. For one thing the committee that meets are a bunch of drunks, misfits, co-dependents, floozies, and stone throwers. They are the nay-sayers of life and live to prove that I’ll wind up homeless and rejected tomorrow if I’m not careful. They like to wring their hands and show slides from the past. They like to try to prove that what tripped me up yesterday will surely trip me up today and I need to stay in my little cocoon and keep up my old tricks in order to survive.

Every time my brain rehearses the past to take away my present reality, I lose the chance to grow.  Committees are just dementiated liars. (I made that word up – my committee suffers from memory loss and warped perceptions of reality.) I don’t care how many times I hit replay on that DVR’d memory, it’s going to be foggy. Did I say this or that? What did they really say? When did that really happen? All I get are sound bites and nothing more. Just enough really to want to cling to my old habit, old hurts, old resentments, old anger, whatever.

I miss out on so much when I let the committee have its way with me. When I get lost in my mind as I’m prone to do, I need a referee. I need an advocate. I need Christ to take over and set things straight. Once I have that, I can ignore them when they call. Unlike my committee, God doesn’t keep score. I’m told in psalm 130 that he keeps no record of our sins.  I think that’s fantastic. He’s not some boogie man in the sky waiting to strike me dead or hold me to account for my past — he covered that with the cross.

There are still old habits, old behaviors, and old memories that trip me up from time to time even today. That doesn’t mean I haven’t changed or grown. It doesn’t mean I have to keep doing those things either. When I catch myself in an old behavior (or have an old behavior pointed out by a friend) I can choose to react and behave differently right this minute. Yep, I’m back to choices.

I have friends who believe in me enough to tell me the truth. Sometimes it’s a “yeah you, you so got this!” and sometimes it’s things like, grow up, quit being a victim, don’t manipulate me, and take responsibility for your choices.

I don’t have to crumble when someone points out something I know to be an old behavior surfacing. It’s not the end of the world. I don’t have to allow the committee to take over with their doctored evidence. I can own it, apologize and move on. And it’s over and done with. I love that.

Sometimes there are tears because it hurts. Hurts is okay. It means I’m alive. Allowing myself to be open enough to these friends is a good thing – and a somewhat new thing. Ken Davis said it well in his book Fully Alive, If you choose to move forward in your quest to live fully alive, you will fall, it will hurt…and it will be worth it.

I have friends who love me enough to help me kick her to the curb when they see her and I love that. I don’t need to be cute with them. I just need to be me.

Contrary to what the committee says, I don’t need my cute self in order to survive anymore nor do I have to stare at my past and believe I’m never going to change. I have changed and that is good news.

What old habits trip you up? Do you let them define your day? How do you change?

Thought for the day: Are we there yet?

I’m a redhead again. My year of hair repentance is over. (Some of you may remember the great blonde fiasco of 2011). There is much rejoicing in my house as I got the green light to cut my hair and go back to my truest self. I cannot tell you how much I missed my hair. Learning patience is not an easy journey.

Raised an only child by a single mother who worked two jobs when she needed in order to make ends meet, I had to learn how to wait for things.

Today I live in a world where I no longer have to worry about what I’m going to eat, if I’m going to eat, and where I get to live. Lulled by a false sense of security, I’ve forgotten how to wait.

I am safe.

I am in many ways, the exception rather than the rule.

I am impatient and a perfectionist.

In this season of my life, I catch myself wanting it now instead of later and get impatient with the journey.

I still wait for the day when I can finally say “I’ve arrived.” only I read in Fully Alive that arriving is death. Once I arrive it means I’m out of things to learn and mountains to climb. Arriving means I get to relax. I’m ADD, if I relax I’ll get bored. When I get bored, I forget who I am and make stupid choices.

It’s the valleys of life that teach me compassion and it’s the mountains I conquer that teach me bravery. Without those two crucial things in my life, my spirit withers. I lose touch with who I am created to be and I lose touch with others.

I want to race through the valley, and be on the mountain top already. I forget that the journey is the life. Whether I’m in a valley, climbing a hill on my bike, or standing on top of the mountain, I’m breathing. I’m alive.

I used to dream of the day when I would no longer be neurotic until I realized it’s that place of living in the raw, stuck between the shitty first draft (As Anne Lamott would call it) and the clean up that gives breadth, depth and meaning to all of my relationships and experiences. It’s here in the middle where the oxygen is most abundant and I am at my most truest self. It is here where I am free.

Living in the middle means I get to be bad at something until I become good at it.

Living in the middle means I get to feel pain, know hunger, and suffering on occasion and learn that this too shall pass.

Living in the middle lets my eyes scan the horizon for the next goal, and the next opportunity to push myself beyond my perceived limitations and experience the joy of real accomplishment.

Jeff and I took a new path while riding bikes yesterday. This one has more hills than flat lands and I wasn’t prepared. I wound up walking the first hill and dug down into myself for the rest. I decided that I could stop and catch my breath if needed but I was not coming off my bike again no matter what. I knew that hill was waiting for me on the return trip. I knew I was going to have to dig in if I wanted to climb it.

I watched my pace and kept close to his. I shifted gears, pushed through the pain and refused to stop. I made it to where he was waiting and then…

…………………………………………………………………I threw up.

I am living in the middle of the consequences of throwing a temper tantrum and gaining 50 pounds hoping to assure that I’d never get hit on again. I’m living in the middle of learning boundaries, facing fears and finding myself. Sometimes living in the middle means doing the right thing even if it means I have to throw up afterwards. (Fellow scardy cats will understand that one)

Living in the middle is messy. It means I don’t get to have all the answers. It means I get to make mistakes and be imperfect. It means I get to try again until I get it right.

I don’t know what middle you are living in right now. Maybe it’s the middle of a storm, the middle age of life, the middle of a climb or the middle of a descent and you keep waiting for the day when you can finally say “I’ve arrived.”

Don’t settle for arriving. Don’t waste time wishing you were there, when you could be living in the here and in the now.

Strive to live.

Dig down.

Get messy.

Make mistakes.

Be neurotic.

Throw up if you have to.

Choose joy.

Believe in yourself.

What I’m Reading Right Now: Fully Alive by Ken Davis.

I am a huge Ken Davis fan. If you read my blog, you know that. I feel like I owe him a lot and I tend to gush when I talk about his impact on my life over the past 20 years.

Depression does horrible things to people. I have friends who can’t bring themselves to eat when they are depressed. HA! Not to be flip, but I don’t have that problem. When I went through my depression from 2004-2008 I went from 154 lbs to 207 lbs in just a few years. Instead of needing to lose 20 pounds, I now need to lose 60. Not fun. I’ve spent the last four years gaining and losing the same 20 pounds. To add insult to injury I have friends and family who thought taking bad photos of me would convict me to change. Nope, just made me camera-shy.

When I met Ken in 2009, he talked about how he was planning to ride in a triathlon of sorts. The dude is in his 60’s. I was 43 and in no condition to even think of doing such a thing. The photos never bothered me. Sitting in a room listening to a man old enough to be my father talk about a life change, got to me. I started following his blog. He placed second for his age group in said triathlon. He’s not depressed any more. His spiritual life is changing. His personal life is improving.

Now he has my attention.

I had an unexpected hysterectomy in 2010 and my doctor told me I HAVE to lose weight. I listened. I pursued multiple forms of diet and exercise and learned my ankle does not tolerate a lot of things. My bulimia became active again and I had to deal with that monster one more time. (Walking in victory today) I learned that walking, running, Zumba, Step Aerobics are all out as my ankle cannot handle the strain. I can however ride a bike and so I purchased my first real bike last October. I even lost 20 pounds (again) if you’ll recall. Then I got busy and gained it all back.

I got my first copy of Fully Alive in June and devoured it in three days. No lie. Loved the book. I even took the DVD to my Mom’s and we laughed ourselves stupid for an hour.  Then something humbling happened. My husband started reading the book and asking me questions about passages. “So what do you think of thus and such? I like his point, don’t you?”

I must have missed that passage.

“Oh well how about…..”

Nope..

“Did you read the book or did you skim it?”

I read it.

Hmmmm

OUCH.

My goal was to read the book. I read the book. I never allowed it to digest. I Deana, am a passive participant in literary pursuits. Nothing traversed past my brain. Sure I highlighted great tweetable quotes, but you know what – reading without gaining the nourishment intended and much needed and then regurgitating it all back to you guys makes me a literary bulimic.

Yuck.

My husband went out and purchased a new bike himself. He is at the “I own a grown up bike and it isn’t a Huffy” honeymoon phase. He wants me to ride with him. I like that. I also want to really read Fully Alive, not from a passive stand point, but as an active participant. I want to digest the chapters and get the words from my brain and into my heart. Once I do that, I plan to walk it out with my husband and with you guys.

Do you want to join me?

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Many men die at 25 and aren’t buried until they are 75.” This book is intended to wake up these people.

Fully Alive uncovers forgotten signs of life in a culture seemingly filled with the opposite. Through action steps that led to his physical, mental, social, and spiritual health, Ken Davis recounts his journey back to the land of the living and the signs of life he found along the way.

The anchoring focus is based on the apostle Paul’s quest for life, when he said, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” A power greater than death is available for what we face today? Who doesn’t want a piece of that?

Filled with narrative stories, humor, and practical help, this book is for anyone who wants to live fully and wonders just what that might look like in daily life.

Many people are lurching in the twilight, hoping to sing once again…living lives of quiet desperation, searching in vain for signs of life.

St. Irenaeus said, “The Glory of God is man fully alive.” For those who have been sidelined in life, for those tempted to give up, this book screams…Live!

In Fully Alive, readers will learn how to:

  • Discover the adventure hiding in the middle of the mundane.
  • Exchange the pain of unmet expectations for the joy of living with expectancy.
  • Get unstuck and take the first step that will lead to a new body, mind and spirit.
  • Kick guilt to the curb and experience real freedom.
  • Drive a stake into the heart of your everyday fears and live again.
  • Tap into a power that will protect you whether you’re crawling through the valley or standing on the mountain top

You were made for more. It’s time to reignite your desire and live Fully Alive!  Go here http://fullyalivebook.com/ for more information.

Fully Alive Coming to a Theater Near You.

"Fully Alive is the opposite of partly alive and a wonderful alternative to totally dead!" - Ken Davis CLICK PHOTO TO FIND A THEATER NEAR YOU.

Where are you in life right now? Are you Fully Alive or semi-conscious? Or are you where I was nine years ago – mostly dead?

Some of you may wonder, what in heaven’s name would prompt a 46-year-old women to start riding a bicycle, do stand up, audition for movies, and write a book. That’s easy. It isn’t a midlife crisis.

These changes in my life are brought to you by Grief. Failure. and Grace.

Never in my wildest imagination did I think God would have more in store for me than PTA, Bible Study and Carpool. There was a time when my life could be described as super busy and super disconnected, whether I wanted to admit that or not. Fortunately for me, I’ve met wonderful people over the last nine years – Ken Davis is such a person.

I wanted to learn how the be a better teacher and speaker. Pursuant to those goals, I signed up for Ken’s classes on communication and performance management. Through his stories, blogs, and classes he has shared this journey to becoming Fully Alive with all of us, step by step and mile by mile. I received far more than I bargained for when I went to his seminars.

Before she passed away last fall, my friend Tiffany used to say that between her anxiety and control issues, she was pretty much a hot mess of crazy. I can relate. Hanging with comedians has changed me in great ways. Instead of just learning a craft, I’m learning how to lighten up and live Fully Alive. I owe these men and women a lot.

Fully Alive is Ken’s newest comedy DVD. This is a movie you can watch with your friends and family. It is hilarious, inspirational, life changing and not to be missed by anyone.

Edited: April , 2012 – while the Movie Fully Alive was a special showing only on March 22 and 23 – see kendavis.com to find out more about this wonderful DVD.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. No goods or services were given in exchange for this endorsement. I only share resources I believe my readers will enjoy as much as I do.