Seriously though, I thought I'd give you a little insight on my life outside the bariatric world.
First and foremost, I love Jesus! Through the many trials and adventures in my life, Jesus is who gives me hope and the perseverance to march on. He is my strength in times of weakness and the one whom I give all the glory and thanksgiving for the abundant blessings in my life.
I am married to a wonderful man (referred to as CME in my posts) that I met on America Online (AOL) in 1995 - way before online dating was the "it" thing to do. CME is a paramedic who was nationally recognized in 2008 for the work he does - above and beyond his career. He was a National Park Ranger before moving here (southern Indiana) to start a life with me. We have four amazing children - two daughters (whom CME has raised as his own) and two sons. Our girls were involved in competitive cheerleading for 6 years. (They participated in competitive dance before cheer.) That means that CME and I have both inhaled more than our fair share of hairspray and glitter and the fact that we are not deaf from the loud music/yelling is a miracle all its own. It also means that there are certain "classic rock" songs that we cannot hear without seeing a cheer routine in our memories. Both of the girls are married and the oldest gave birth to our first grandchild (it's a girl!) in May 2012.
Our boys are honor students, active in church youth activities and Boy Scouts, where the oldest is Patrol Leader and the youngest is currently the Chaplain's Aide for the Troop. Our oldest is extremely musically talented. He plays the cello, guitar and ukulele and loves to sing. In 2012, he finished his first "tour" with the all-city Honors Orchestra. His talents are definitely a gift from God as he's never had a lesson on cello. He did take guitar lessons for a short while, but even since that's stopped, he's done well at continuing to improve his skills. He even pokes around on the keyboard to try to learn it. YouTube has been his main "source" of learning. Weird, huh? Our youngest son is the comedian of the family. Ever since he was a toddler he's been quick-witted and knows how to effectively deliver a punch line. (I may have to add a page just to recount some of his stories!) He has a drum set - though I can't qualify the statement "he plays drums". I think he'd like to play drums, but he's not had lessons and he's not much interested in trying to figure out his own rhythms, etc. He does play the tuba though and as an elementary student, he seems to be doing well at it. He's also a great little actor. God has made him with an incredibly tender heart. The compassion he feels for other people (and animals) is rare for someone his age.
As for me...
I've come a long way over the years. I was an honor student in elementary and high school (we didn't have "jr high" back in my day). I made history for my graduating class. I was the first member to be inducting into our school's National Honor Society after 1) having a child at 16 and 2) being married. That's right, I was a teen-mom and wife. I was determined to show others that though the timing might not have been the best, it was not an excuse to let the world take care of me. I worked hard at school and hard at being a mom. (I hadn't really thought of working hard at being a wife...it just was kind of an afterthought, I suppose.) My high school band director was probably the most influential teacher during that time of my life. I vividly remember him telling me that I had a choice to make (and it wasn't to get rid of the baby!!!): I could either let this event ruin my life or I could embrace it and rise above it. Thank you, Mr. Matthews for those words and the guidance you provided to a young scared 16-year-old girl! I'm forever grateful!
As I mentioned above, the marriage wasn't a priority in my life. It was more of a circumstance of the baby. That sounds horrible, but it's true. My girls' biological father and I really had nothing in common. We probably were total opposites to be truthful. I can tell you reasons why I dated him, why I married him...and even why I stayed with him - but that would give way more effort than I want to put into that relationship even now. What I will say is that the relationship was not good for either of us. It was like throwing a lit match into a TNT plant. At the age of 27, nearly 11 years after we married, we divorced. Enough said.
God has grown my heart over the years. He's opened my eyes to so much of what I use to think was normal. He is amazing that way! I am drawn to learning about and loving Internationals. I have the blessed opportunity to work with immigrants on occasion to assist with their English as Second Language (ESL) classes. God breaks down language barriers and does heart work that makes lasting bonds. In addition, I get to spend a lot of time with International students from one of our local universities. There are a few who refer to me as "mom", but there is one girl whom truly is like my own daughter. I am so thankful that God has placed her in my life. She is a blessing to me!
Other quick facts about me:
- My parents have been married since 1964! :::more wild applause:::
- I have one sister who is older than me. Love the fact I'm the baby! :) She and I are close. Maybe not as close as we always want to be, but close nonetheless.
- My Grandmama lived to be 100. She is my hero on earth - not because of her age, but because of her zest for life and overcoming some pretty difficult times herself. I miss her lots.
- My friends - sisters in Christ - are huge inspirations in my life. They are my support and my network and my teachers. I can't imagine how I'd go through life without them.
- I love my in-laws! No, really!!! I do!!! My mother-in-law is an added blessing to being married to CME.
- I am a huge Indianapolis Colts fan!!! If I were in the position to go to every game, I would. Even though Peyton Manning doesn't play for the Colts anymore, I'm still be a Peyton fan wherever he plays...unless it's against my Colts.
- My all-time favorite movie is Disney's Beauty and the Beast. I think it's because Belle can see beyond the outside and sees Beast's heart. That's what love is suppose to be, isn't it?
- The radio in my car is always on K-Love. Best music on the air!
- I love coffee.
- My favorite color is blue. (Would you have guessed that?)
- I love to do crafty things...but don't do them often.
- I love to write.
- Reading is not something that I do enough of, but am glad to see my boys embrace it! Especially our youngest.
- I use to have a phobia about praying in public. God has changed that as well. After all, my prayers are not for others to critique - they're offered as thanksgiving and praise to Him! He is the Audience of One.
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14