Thursday, June 11, 2015

Subject Matter Expert

This is a term I have heard at work in regards to someone who is extremely knowledgeable in a particular field of interest. I have found out recently that I am actually a subject matter expert about something: CRAZY WOMEN.

Yes, yes, friends I am a recovering crazy woman. It wasn't all that long ago that I wrote pages and pages and pages of lamented, loving bullshit to an ex.

As I mentioned in the previous post my relationship history has not been exemplary. The good news is that I've learned a lot and grown up a lot since that time (I was 27, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it).

I have been the girl who calls and texts five million times just to get my point across.

I have been the girl that drives by your house just to see if you're home and feels a closeness just by seeing your car.

I have been the girl that wrote EIGHT SINGLE SPACED TYPED PAGES of ways to 'fix' our relationship entitled "What I Want..." (sister, if it takes you EIGHT SINGLE SPACED TYPED PAGES to fix the relationship you should probably not BE in the relationship)

Tonight I wanted to go back in time and slap my former self. Real hard. Like real, real, real hard.

Oh my geezes.

While cleaning out drawers in my kitchen I found a stack of papers. All the things I wrote (typed) and printed fundamentally presenting my case as to why my ex and I should get back together.

This was painful to read. Honestly I couldn't read all of it. I was so incredibly sad for the person writing it and while I knew it was me that had written it, my writing style, my tone, my words, my thoughts, my feelings, it was like a slap in the face of the person I've become.

Let me just give you an excerpt so you know the level of crazy I'm talking about here:
"Relationships aren't always easy and you're not always going to be happy every minute of the day. The same things happens when you are not in a relationship. That's just the way life is, there are good days and there are bad, there are good weeks and months and even years, but there can also be bad ones. Just because things get hard doesn't mean you should give up. I have grown so much over the last several weeks. [Editor's note: NO I HADN'T] I finally understand w here the problems we have come from. It has nothing to do with our relationship, [Editor's note: um...hello EIGHT TYPED PAGES] the baggage we brought into the relationship caused the problems, not the other way around."
 No, no, no, no, no, no.

Just no.

There are pages of this. Pages. I even have one set that I put page numbers on.

If I met someone who did this now I would pray for her and tell her to get out, not because I've been there, but because it's CRAZY. Crazy might be a harsh word to describe someone who has just gotten their heart smashed to pieces, but since it was me I feel pretty confident that I can use the term.

The truth of the matter is that this girl wasn't crazy. She was codependent and unaware what love really meant. She had found what she wanted to be love because she didn't know any better and when everything went spiraling out of control she did whatever she could to hold onto it, even if some of that behavior was a bit 'over the top.'

Reading through this I realize the things I desired from the relationship weren't that unrealistic, to be honest, however if I have to write down on paper that I need you to be kind to me and respect me after being together for a significant amount of time then we really shouldn't have been together. Obviously I'm not letting him off the hook, he did some bad things, but I let him, over and over, I let him treat me this way. I was so insecure and had such low self esteem that this is what I thought I deserved and didn't think I could find anyone else and could not bear to be alone. Knowing the person I am now I have tears in my eyes because I know that was true.

Someone who has just gotten to know me in the last few years will know a confident, secure, matter of fact, sarcastic person who would talk to the president the same way she talks to her best friend. A person who can command a room (when she's in a comfortable place). A person who smiles and laughs and is really funny.

The girl who wrote those papers I found was none of those things. But the things is, she was. Underneath all of that she was all those things, she just forgot. Bad relationship after bad relationship made her doubt who she was. She found her self worth through the eyes of someone else. She did not have the courage to get out of the relationship because her value only came as being the other half of a 'we'.

I'm glad I don't do those things anymore, but I'm also glad that I went through that period of time. I'm glad to be a survivor of that because I can help others. I can see that behavior in others and try to knock them out of it. Granted I have to remember how well I took these conversations when they were had with me at the time and show a little bit of grace.

I truly believe if I was to share some of these very private words with people who know me better than anyone else, but did not go through that season with me, they would think either I was writing fiction or I was showing them something someone else wrote. That is a completely surreal feeling.

If you are in a relationship that you have to fight for more than you enjoy, trust me, you shouldn't be in it. And that's okay. I am here to tell you, you WILL survive it and you will be so much better for everything you went through. Relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, should bring out the very best in you. A person that is good for you will make you be you-er than you've ever realized you could be. They will love every little quirk about you and not want to change one because they love YOU. They will make your face light up and give you a little twinkle in your eye.

But the thing is, you have to love you first. Love is an inside job, and until you love you then you won't be able to be loved the way you so very much deserve to be.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Standards (OR Terms and Conditions to Date Me)

The photograph above is a list that I made about 3 years ago with a few girlfriends of what I wanted in a husband. In case you can't read my scribble, and the fact it was written on a dry erase board that has been in and out of a cabinet I will type it here for you:

  • Christian
  • Bachelor's, Masters preferred
  • OU Fan, no orange allowed!
  • Must understand JL &Tiffany's
  • Christian Grey type talent Ch. 12 & pg 118
  • Job that doesn't move
  • Independent
  • Wants kids
  • Spontaneous
  • Preference: Never married, no kids
  • Positive Personality
  • Romantic
  • Knows wine
  • Likes to travel
  • Respects women & friendships
  • No debt
  • Confident
  • Nice smile
  • Clean cut
  • No tattoos
  • Professional job
  • Rich
  • Older than me
  • Blue eyes
WOW-ZA! (and yes we had all just finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey when this was created...)

Let's be honest, this isn't a checklist of all the required prerequisites for me to be attracted/date/marry someone. This is the wish list! These are the things I would pick if I was going into the Build a Boyfriend store...that's a thing right? They just don't have them in Oklahoma, like Ikea? 

I digress, a lot. A few years and a lot of life removed from this list there are some additions and some subtractions that I would make to this list. The specifics aren't particularly important, and the order of importance isn't particularly either, however a few things will be touched upon here.

Let me paint a picture of my life a few years ago, wants, desires, etc.

A few years ago I wanted two things: get married and have kids. That was it. Then that didn't happen like I so meticulously planned. There is this funny thing that I have learned in the last few years: people other than yourself get a say in the plans for their lives. 

Seriously? Who would have thought? CLEARLY I know better what would make a great life than the people affected by it.


What I realized, however, is that I didn't even know what would make a great life for me. I learned that controlling people isn't very fun for the other person and that it's really not all that fun for you because they end up resenting you and not really liking you for who you are, because who you are isn't really all that great.

I had to take a big ol' swallow of the truth about codependency. This might be my favorite word to throw around these days (okay the last 5-6 years), trust me I have a friend or two that probably want to throw me for using it around them! (you know who you are) If you are not familiar with this term it came about around the time alcoholism became a recognized disease. It was found that spouses and children of alcoholics exhibited certain behaviors to deal with their alcoholic loved one. Enabling is a big one. Desiring to change the loved one is another. 

I once cried through an AlAnon meeting because it hit so close to home. I didn't have an alcoholic in my life, however the struggles that these people were facing were my struggles. I was doing the same things. I had been living in unhealthy, emotionally abusive relationships for a long time. There is no need to call out particular individuals in this because it doesn't matter, but it wasn't exclusively in romantic relationships. Throughout my life these toxic relationships were present. I handled things the only way I knew how: by attempting to control the situation to give myself a sense of control when things were very, very clearly out of control.

These are things that are hard to swallow. They aren't fun. They don't give you warm and fuzzy feelings. They hurt. They make you cry. They make you feel guilty when you realize what you put others through without realizing you were doing it. They make you question every little thing about your being and your ability to be in a relationship...even six years later.

As time passed and I took a few counseling classes in grad school, had some incredible friends that I still occasionally send a random text thanking them for putting up with me during that time, and a lot of time and soul searching I think I've got the codependency thing under control.

There's one fundamental problem with that though: I have not been in a relationship since the one where I was so very codependent. 

Want to know why? 

Well for starters (and my most favorite reason (read: excuse) to give) no one is asking. I use this one all the time, and it's true, no one is asking. Does this make me feel sad and depressed and like a loser? No not really. I have an incredibly full life and for someone to be in my life in a romantic way something else would have to give. Until very, very recently I wasn't willing to give anything up to make someone fit. Am I now? Maybe, but I'm still not 100% sure. I think I'd at least give it a shot though.

There's another fundamental reason: I AM SCARED SHITLESS. Like for serious. Have I really grown enough that I won't be codependent again? Is it possible for me to be in a healthy relationship? I mean I know what they're supposed to look like, but will I get completely enveloped with someone and get hurt like that again? I don't know, and that scares me. As previously mentioned, I have some control issues. They are a lot better than they once were, but I can control the situation of dating a lot better if I just don't do it than I can getting someone else involved.

Am I missing out on something?

Maybe. Well, probably. 

Would I be willing to jump off the dock and take the risk?

For the right guy 100% yes. However, in the last few years and with everything I've learned I've come up with some Terms and Conditions, shall we say. These are the standards which I will hold anyone I date to. They are not meant to be an ultimatum or an attempt to change someone. It simply means, if you are not able to live up to these standards then we don't need to be in a relationship, the end. Nothing mean, nothing controlling, just simply for me to be happy with myself in a relationship there are a few things that a suitor (isn't that a lovely word?) needs to be on board with.

The first thing, because I think it's the most important to me, is monogamy. I have done the 'fun, let's hook up and not be serious and just flit around' thing. And yes, it WAS fun. There is a thrill that comes with meeting someone at a party and never seeing them again or having a number you can call at the end of a night out, but I am past that point in my life. If someone was to come along that only wanted that then we're not going to be compatible, and THAT'S OKAY. I swear, I don't want to change anyone, however, for me to be able to look at myself in the mirror, I need that. If that's not who you are then that's not who you are, but we won't work. I would rather be alone than be cheated on again. Period.

Another thing, I need fun and excitement and spontaneity because I'm really, really, really bad at all three of those things. Well, that's not entirely fair, I am a fun person, however I get major tunnel vision and forget that having fun is an important part of life, so having someone in my life constantly making me throw out my calendar or making me do something crazy is not such a bad thing. 

Independence. Pretty much the opposite of codependency. Go, have your own life. That is awesome with me, so long as I get to have my own life and I'm doing it. I have been so wound up in someone else's story that I forgot to continue writing my own and that's a bad, bad deal. This is not to say that cowriting a story won't be awesome, but I need to have my own story independent of you and you need to have your own story independent of me and the way we merge those stories together is where the magic is. I need my own friends. You need your own friends. We need to be away from each other, that is okay. In fact, that's awesome.

(You may have realized I have started typing as if I am talking to potential suitors...didn't really intend to do that, but we'll just go with it)

Kids. Man this is a hard subject. For so many years the desire of kids was a non negotiable, but the older I get the more it is. I waver on this more that I probably admit to most anyone. Can I picture a life without kids? A few years ago I couldn't, but now that picture is getting clearer. I could completely see myself ending up with someone who either already has kids from a previous relationship and doesn't want more or doesn't want kids at all. It's easy to picture what a life of soccer games and dance class looks like, but the idea of not having that is a little fuzzier though it is coming into focus. It would be a life of sleeping in on Saturday mornings, traveling whenever we want, no weekends spent at a ballpark, no sleepless nights, money to spend on what we want. It's not really all that bad of a life, huh? Not dissing all my lovely parent friends, but just saying there is another option to life and frankly there are so many kids that need homes that having kids can have a different look. Ultimately, this rational allows for freedom: freedom to make that choice together instead of forcing an idea on someone (Look at that loss of control! Aren't you proud?!?)

And how am I going to meet this person?

I don't know. I really don't. Maybe I already know him, he's a close friend or someone I've met in passing through a friend. Maybe he's someone I'll meet at a book store in NYC. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't exist. I accept this is a possibility, however I hold out hope that's it's not a very realistic possibility. Hope is pretty much an awesome thing. I could go off on why I don't do the online dating thing, but your eyes are probably tired from reading so I won't go there, but I have my reasons and I'm sure I'll write about them later, just remember just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean I have to (and a lot of times is the easiest way to get me to do the opposite).

I say all of this to get to this, priorities change through the years, months, weeks, and sometimes from day to day. In the end I want to find Mr. Right, not Mr. Right Now, and I want to settle down, but I am never, ever going to settle. Settling is not an option for me. I know, for a fact, I can have a wonderful life if I don't find someone who can live up to what I want, what I need, out of a relationship (the stuff with lots of words, not the stuff on that list, though if you know a guy that fits all those send him my address is on the right). It's really not as complicated as I make it out to be in my mind, when it comes down to it: don't cheat, be fun, be independent, and we'll figure out the kids thing together. (There are a few obvious ones from that list at the top too, but I don't think they need an explanation and we'll let you figure them out on your own :-p)

Pretty simple, huh? I think so...I know I've always wanted to find a unicorn, how about you?

I hope you enjoyed me diving back into writing, from the heart, and hopefully there will be more of this popping up on here, because I really do enjoy it.

Until next time...

Monday, March 30, 2015


Seriously though, the best.

My friend Katie loaned me this about a year ago and it sat on a table in my living room for a year. She loved it and said I needed to read it (she was right, but we'll get to that). I didn't have much time to read in 2014 (read: I didn't make it a priority) so for 2015 I added it as my pick for our church book club. I've had a bad habit of not reading the book club books and I'm trying to get better with that, plus it was MY pick! The other issue is that in the past when I've picked a book that I haven't read prior to picking it, well, it's flopped. So I was hopeful that this one would be better.

It was.

A lot.

Long story short, Jen Hatmaker is awesome and you should read it.

Okay, maybe a bit longer... Basically a few years ago Jen realized all the excess in her life and decided to do an experiment to alleviate some of this excess. She committed to seven months reducing (or changing) seven things in her life: food, clothing, media, possessions, waste, stress, and spending. These are things I think we can all relate to, so a bit more convicting than others.

I loved it from the first chapter: food. I was so inspired I decided to do try the food challenge for Holy Week. You can read more about that here (coming soon!).

Overall reading about her challenges and how she became a better person and a better Christian through this really inspired me. She is funny, witty, smart, and honest. I really can't say enough great things about how incredible this book is. Just go buy it. And read it. Now. Go on...look you can even click here and get it on Amazon!

I'm Baaaaaaaack!

It has been over two years since I posted and before that it was quite a bit longer since I was regularly blogging. Last week I started a new book, The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner, and it has inspired me to get back to writing. It is something I love and I need to be doing the things that I love.

I'm also planning to move from Blogger to a custom domain in the coming month, so get ready for that!

Lots and lots has been happening and I'm going to try to catch up and what is going on now (because there's a lot!). When I do get all caught up I'm going to shoot for a schedule to post in hopes that I'll keep to it. Lots of things have changed so get ready!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tunnel Vision

I have done a lot of writing over the last month, but most of it has been aimed at a particular person and is not exactly something I want to share for the world...sorry guys! But I need to write and I'm patiently (yeah, right) waiting to get ready for Charity Ball, so I thought I'd write a little bit about what's been on my mind lately.

Tunnel Vision. I have it. Bad.

I tend to get very, very focused on one thing and one thing only. It could be a person, an activity, a project, but whatever it is when I get locked I get LOCKED.

A few things have come to mind in relation to that including balance. And stepping outside my comfort zone. And not putting things (and people) in nice neat little boxes. It's funny how when something is weighing on you how it ends up being EVERYWHERE.

There is no doubt I love my church. I do, very, very much so. Unfortunately, lately, CrossTimbers has been my tunnel vision. Everything was about CT. I've been reminded lately that I do have a life outside of CrossTimbers. I kind of looked at the person and said "I do?" and had to really think hard about it. None of this is to say that I love it any less, but more about realizing the other amazing things that are going on in my little world.

Things have been so hectic and fast paced for me the last six to nine months that I had to start somewhere to reclaim my life. The life that involves all kinds of amazing people and activities. The life that allows me to open up to new people.

Around this time last year I REALLY wanted to quit my job. I mean just walk out. Thankfully I have a very wise friend who reminded me that money would eventually run out and I shouldn't quit without a new job in place. I was really thinking about what all has come into my life because I didn't  make that decision. I have a new found love of driving again. I had gotten to the point that I hated driving and now I don't so much mind it. I have met some incredible people that I would have had no reason to know otherwise. I have made a friend or two that I honestly and truly cannot even begin to imagine my life without. One that I can't really believe hasn't been in my life the entire time. If I'd stayed mad and just quit I wouldn't have these people. Life keeps going back to me realizing the amazing opportunities that have come my way because  of my job.

Now I've also been asked recently why I'm still at my job. I have a Masters degree and could look for something else. Again, I'm glad I haven't done that because I wouldn't have the person that asked that in my life! Some new opportunities are starting to present themselves to me, one in particular which happened today. It's almost as if the stars are aligning to make something really incredible happen.

All of these new things are completely  out of my comfort zone. Like so far out of my comfort zone that I can't really begin to imagine where to start. With my tunnel vision comes a plan for what my life is going to look like in five, ten, twenty years. Looking back five or ten years ago, however, nothing that I thought would happen has happened. Some of the people that are the most important to me now I had never heard of five years ago, let alone ten years ago. I acquired these people by doing the thing that I hate to do the most: stepping outside my comfort zone.

What's funny is that when I do that I tend to see the most incredible things happen.

So why would I want to live in a world where I'm comfortable if all the things that happen outside of that little box are so amazing?

Fear of getting hurt, screwing up and being rejected.

I am terribly afraid of making mistakes. I don't believe in regrets, only lessons. And I wouldn't change anything about my life to this point. But I'm extremely cautious. I hate to be embarrassed and screwing up or being rejected cause me to feel that way.

And then there's my heart. Oh that poor thing has been to hell and back a few times, each time coming out a little stronger and a little more hardened. It's been broken, bruised and bandaged. And now it has healed. And I like it being healed! There's not the worry of crying for hours and feeling completely empty. I've done that and I've felt that and I don't like it. I have grown since that time, a lot, but I feel like all my past relationships were so incredibly bad, from a healthy emotional standpoint, and I don't know that I know how to do this in a manner that is healthy. Granted, I have amazing people who are completely rooting me on and who will hold my hand until my feet are sure. I can't thank them enough for being those people in my world.

So get ready people. I'm going to try to break down the walls of the box and cross the lines of my comfort zone. Tonight is the beginning. This is about me being happy with me, just who I am right at this moment in time. Because you know what? I could name so many people that tell me that every single day. That I am incredible just the way I am; I don't need to change anything; I'm not broken. If all of these people, whose opinions I value so greatly, believe that, then why on earth shouldn't I?

Watch out world, I'm coming for you.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Love My Church

Since, for the most part, CrossTimbers has taken up the majority of my time (when not at the real job) it seems like the perfect place to start writing again.

A few moons ago I wrote a post and said that I chose to leave religion out of my blog. I had a million reasons why I did that. Being separated from that moment in time I can't seem to think of one. I'm sure it had a lot to do with not being entirely certain of my faith at the time. Not wanting to offend people probably was in there. Certainly I didn't want to start any arguments. Now, though, I don't really care. This is MY blog and my faith and my church is extremely important to me. If you don't like it, leave. Plain and simple. I don't want to argue. I don't want to try to change your mind. I simply want to tell my story. The one that I am living. I hope you will stay and read, but if you chose not to, well that's okay too. (Check back though, I'm sure there will be silly and frivolous posts coming soon too).

And on we go.

So I love my church. Plain and simple. We are in a campaign at CT that is called "I Love My Church." I didn't steal the idea, I really do love it.

Last week I was working in Lawton and was talking to a friend who simply asked "Why church?" I gave the answer, which I will give throughout this post, but I've spent the last eight days really thinking about that simple two word question.

My journey to get to CrossTimbers and become the person that I am wasn't exactly easy. It wasn't quick. I fought and fell and screwed up to get there and to stay there. I tried to run away, more than once, but ultimately something about this place and this faith grabbed me and wouldn't let go, no matter how I struggled against it.

I came to CrossTimbers about three months after my engagement was called off. I was a broken shell of a person. Everything I had built my life around had been taken from me. Thankfully I was able to retain a few amazing friends who never gave up on me. I also had one person who I met very quickly who was still floating around in facebook-land. I cannot thank God enough for Jennifer. From a simple conversation nine months before to an invitation on facebook on my birthday she was the catalyst to who I have become.

I went to a women's group event on a Saturday. I liked all the girls. Sunday I walked into worship where most everyone was in jeans and there were drums and loud contemporary music. I almost walked out, but I didn't. Thankfully I really hate hurting people's feelings. Chris did his sermon and I was hooked.

I promised I would not get overinvolved. Even going so far as to text my best friend that very statement as I am getting in my car to drive to the new building to set up. The next week I suggested a prayer card ministry, and as they say, the rest was history.

My journey at CT hasn't always been uphill. I fell more than once. In the past when that would happen I would be reprimanded, judged and embarassed or angry. Places I had been active at prior to CT were never home. They never had a feeling of unconditional love. This is something that I can say CrossTimbers excels in.

I worried for nearly three years that the other shoe would drop. That I would do something that was just bad enough that I would be pushed aside. In situations similar to this in the past I would push myself to a point that I was doing things simply so that I was doing so much that they couldn't get rid of me.

I feared being abandoned. {This fear was pointed out to me last week and I've been realizing lately just how true it is}

When I turned thirty I made up my mind that I needed an adventure. A big one. I was going to move to New York for a year. It seemed like the best solution. If my friends were moving on with their lives and leaving me behind (which is what it felt like, not how it actually was) then I would just get a head start. I would run before I was abandoned.

Then I realized that I was running again. I tried to convince myself that I wasn't, but I was.

I hadn't made my decision when I made a week and a half long trip to Manhattan just so I could know for sure. As he was driving me to the airport Chris simply said, remember that New York doesn't have CrossTimbers.

Two years of grad school had flown by taking my time and my energy. CT was growing and with that came more activities. I so desperately wanted everything to fall into place in my "five year plan" in Junior League.

I was tired.

I had a glorious time in NYC. I got to run around the city by myself and decompress. I came home and had big decisions to make. I was certain that moving was not the answer. Sure I'd had ten days of making my own schedule and not being overbooked, but, in my heart, I knew that if I moved I would do the same thing again, just with a different church, a different League, and with different people.

Location wasn't what had to change. I was what had to change.

In a conversation with Chris I mentioned that I really wanted to be in a relationship, like really badly. Then when asked my favorite part of my trip I said being on my own.

Contradict myself much?

It was as if I was wanting what everyone else had and neglecting what actually was making me happy. I wanted to put myself in the same box as everyone else because that's what I felt I should do. That being said, Chris gave me a deadline. He said I would fall in love by July.


I liked how he thought. I now had a set time that I could wait for. Eight months wasn't so long. I could SO do this.

I put my new countdown date on my countdown clock on my phone (along with my vesting date at work, my vacation, and graduation). I counted down the days.

In July we did a series called "Confessions of a Leader." Chris preached two weeks then Jason then myself. I talked about running, both in the physical and the emotional sense. I had realized that running to New York was not the answer to my problem. I loved CrossTimbers and I loved all the things that we were doing. The people we were reaching. The ministry that was occuring. The changes that were taking place in my life.

That one Sunday, though I'd written the sermon a month before, changed everything. That was the day that I made the commitment to the entire congregation, and to myself, that I wanted to make CrossTimbers the best place it could be.

That was July 29, 2012. Two days after that my countdown to falling in love ran out.

That was an extremely busy and amazing week. We pulled off the most amazing VBS. It touched the kids and it touched the adults. I watched transformations occur among the people of CrossTimbers. People who didn't want to be involved were singing and dancing with the kids. People who thought they'd just drop their kids off were in costumes leading groups by the end of the week. There were God sightings everywhere.

It was amazing.

I had to share my birthday with VBS which initially I was not thrilled with. I can say, without a doubt, it was the best birthday ever. I could not imagine being with anyone else but my CrossTimbers family on that day.

So, we all survived VBS. We had an amazing "box Olympics" with the youth to clean up after it. (CT people: ask Chris about the gymnastics).

Then Monday came.

The chaos had gone and I was alone. I'll admit it was nice, but I had to start making some big decisions. I was slated to be the Community Vice President for Junior League this year. I knew there was no way I could do it. I love the League, but it just wasn't what I was supposed to be doing. It took the entire week for me to get the courage to write the resignation letter, send it to the president and tell my close League friends what I had done.

I felt awful. I felt like a quitter. I generally will tough through stuff so that I don't let people down. I knew I couldn't do that this time and I knew that it was in the best interest for everyone involved for me to resign. I still felt awful.

When I'm having a bad day I drive. I found myself in Oklahoma City, close to the Devon Tower. Now, Devon is not exactly the skyscrappers of NYC, but it's the closest thing I can get to in my car, thus I tend to flock to downtown OKC just to be in the presence of tall buildings.

While driving around I drove by the Jaguar dealership. I have wanted a Jag, specifically an XK8, since I was in high school (yeah, yeah, Ryan Phillippe in Cruel Intentions caused that). As I passed the cars I realized that if I had the $75,000 to spend on the car of my dreams I wouldn't do it. If I had an extra $75,000 lying around I would give it to CrossTimbers. That is how much I believe in what we are doing.

So that got me thinking. I had this plan for working up to a full 10% tithe. I was starting simply because I didn't want to bust my budget. The more I drove and the more I thought the more I realized that if I wanted God to bless me at CT I needed to start trusting Him with the one thing I held the tightest: finances.

I made the decision to put it all in God's hands. From the next paycheck on I have given a full 10%. It is weird how things fall into place when you just start to trust God. Even though I have a tenth less money each month it somehow works out. I haven't had to worry about finances since then.

Over the days following that I started to think about my July 31st countdown (as it had now started to count up on my phone). I almost called Chris out saying that I didn't fall in love.

That's when I realized it.

I had fallen in love.

Head over heels, in fact.

It wasn't with a guy though (and not with a girl either, get your minds out of the gutter!)

I had fallen in love with CrossTimbers, with what we are doing there and with God all over again.

That moment changed me.

Never in a million years did I expect to be someone that people looked up to in the church, but that's who I've become.

Never in a million years did I expect to really know the Bible, but that's what I strive for.

Never in a million years did I think I would want to do this "church" thing full time, but now I can't think of anything else I would rather do, when the time is right.

I could list for you a million reasons I love my church.

I could start with the names of each and every single member.

I can name an amazing ministry that cares for CT and what I've seen God do at CrossTimbers because of it and how He has worked magic in the lives of those that are part of it.

I could tell stories of how lives have been changed, and saved, at CrossTimbers.

I could talk about people who had never walked in the door of a church and now are there every Sunday without fail.

I could tell about people who had just about given up on church until they came to CrossTimbers.

I could tell you about the confidence that I get by Chris trusting me with some extremely important ministries.

I can tell you about people that you would never think could ever be friends bonding over Bible studies.

I could name a group that needed a place to meet that has turned into an incredible ministry bringing people to God.

I can tell you how I used to breeze in late so that I would avoid greeters and get to sleep a little later to now getting there an hour before my Sunday morning group starts.

I could tell you about watching the faces of the kids coming through the Communion line getting bread (and sometimes juice) and watching the moment that they "get" what they're doing.

I could name a lot of little faces that call me Wennie or Wewe.

I could tell you of people who have had to move, due to their jobs, that post how much they miss it.

I can see it in the smiles, and the tears, and the laughter, and the prayers.

When someone asks me about CrossTimbers they get an invitation to come. Whoever they are, whatever they believe.

CT is like no other church I have ever been to. We're not perfect, but we strive to be the best that we can and it is something that you see anytime you see someone from CrossTimbers.

I read a book last summer by Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz. I love this quote:
I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.

After that I liked jazz music.

Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.
I truly hope that every part of my being shows that I love my church and I love God. I strive to show God's love through this amazing little church in a strip mall in southeast Moore. I strive to show God's love through everything I do. I know I'm not perfect. I know there are things I can do better, but the most amazing thing about my God is that He loves me anyway. He loves me when I'm getting it right and when I could do a little better. My church is the same way. We don't allow perfect people to walk in the door (well I guess we would if we ever found one!). We embrace imperfections and quirks. That's what makes us who we are. There is room for everyone. I want everyone who walks in the doors of CrossTimbers to feel like it is home and that they are being asked into a family. Too many times I have felt unwelcome at churches and I strive to make sure that CrossTimbers is not like that. No one will be turned away.

So, to answer the simple question "Why church?" Because I love it.

Knuckle Cracking

I have missed writing. When writing is your outlet and you don't have time for it you miss it, simple as that. I was talking to someone last week and I mentioned that I had a blog, but that I hadn't written in some time (and even since that last post I hadn't written regularly) and he asked why not. At the time I simply said that I didn't have time. While that is true I think there is more to the story. The only way I'm going to figure out the rest of the story and get myself back into the writing game is to just write.

So here I am, knuckles cracked and ready to go. Let's see where this takes me...