Humble Pie, an open letter to Maura Kelly

photo credit: flickr.com/photos/cobalt/

Dear Maura,

While playing on Facebook this morning, I noticed that a fellow blogger, journalist for the Palm Beach Post , and a friend who I know slightly in real life, but mostly through Facebook, blogs and emails , Leslie Gray Streeter had posted a link to your now infamous article.

Just last night in my “life of love” group this bible verse was brought up.

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Prov 29:11)

I obviously didn’t retain that. Or represent a “life of love”.  So, I vented, and I foolishly wrote you an open letter. I was so proud of myself. I had said most of what I wanted to say while trying not to attack you personally.   “You” became that voice in my head that told me I was fat an ugly and disgusting my whole life, and I finally had “your” email address. I had finally told off  the girl who always picked on me, the voice that never left me. I was even interviewed for The Palm Beach Post. My friends rallied around me.

They told me how beautiful I am.

They told me I was a great writer.

They told me I was witty.

They told me I was snarky.

Then, I was told I was mean. (I did say I would hug you if I didn’t want to strangle you. Ouch.)

Much to my surprise, you responded personally, in humility. You told me I was right. And very few times have I ever felt so very wrong.  We have since exchanged several emails. You told me of people who have told you to go hang yourself.  How sad you are and how you have spent your time  today responding personally to most emails. As of this letter, you have over 2,200 comments, on the Marie Claire site alone.  That is one heck of a bad day for you. I didn’t see that. I needed to be heard. I kicked you while you were down, and snidely offered you calorie-free humble pie.

I have apologized to you privately, and would now like to do it publicly.

I am sorry.  I was wrong. I was the jerk, and hypocrite. I have contacted Leslie and tried to unring my bell. Telling her that I am your advocate, and you are not my enemy. I have forwarded her our correspondence so she could also see a glimpse of the repentant you, and the true foolish me. I have responded to comments telling them, I was wrong.

I realized that  it’s easy for us to write about someone not realize that we are talking about an actual person, whether a fattie , or a journalist who wrote a brutally honest blog.

Thank you for extending me the grace that I did not extend to you.

I need to take my own advice. Think twice, write once.

Moving forward,

Julie

A confident, beautiful, strong, not always so friendly  ”fattie” who is eating some humble pie.

julie UNSCRIPTED? Not so much.

So, julie UNSCRIPTED…. that’s the name of my cozy little home here.

Photo: Unhindered by Talent Nic McPhee (flickr)

Unscripted?

If only that were true. The truth is that I script. Constantly. Well, except for the moments that it is obvious that I do not think at all before I speak. Those moments turn out cute, witty, or embarrassing.  We all laugh. Those seem to be the best moments. When I am in the moment.

Back to scripting. It’s annoying and it’s exhausting. My mind is often three steps ahead of the moment. I think about what I will say, what you must be thinking and how you will respond, and then what I will respond to what you said, or haven’t even said yet. Or I will complete the thought of what I think you maybe thinking, and interrupt you – mid sentence. Or I will interrupt myself, and start a whole new tangent or a whole new conversation.

Here’s where it gets tricky. My mind is almost always wrong. I am thinking of all the terrible things you could be thinking of me, things that have never crossed your mind. So one smidgen into our conversation my guard goes up. I think that you will think that I am this, that, or the other, so I shut down, or get super defensive. Or I add an unnecessary disclaimer to what I finally do muster up the koyach to say.

It’s even worse if all of this is happening in writing, like an important letter, or blog, or something where I can change the words to sound all smart or move paragraphs around. This one, for example, has already been moved. Twice. I will take days to write an important email, and there are many unposted blogs. Because what if I really said what I was really thinking?  I’ve done it before. I have even said what others were thinking, and what they wouldn’t say, and have put myself on the chopping block. Alone.

So I script. And sometimes I don’t. And it can end up even worse. I can be snide and rude and sarcastic and condescending. And I can blow up. And it’s not nice. Kinda ugly actually.

Even now in my head I am thinking that you are thinking that I must be having some sort of emotional breakdown and that I  need you to encourage me and tell me all about how I bring thoughts of unicorns and skittles to wherever I go… but you weren’t even thinking about skittles. Were you? Maybe unicorns, but not the skittles.

See, I told you it was exhausting.

P.S. (Irony, P.S. stands for post script): Most of this scripting happens during confrontation, or anticipated confrontation, or flirting or anticipated flirting, especially if you have a Spanish accent. So, when you talk to me tomorrow, I may not be scripting, but seeing as how I already started scripting my response to your reaction to this blog…Unscripted? Not so much.

Red Pill Kinda Girl.

After watching Food Inc. I start frantically texting my friends little nuggets of “new” information that I had learned.

“You should’ve chosen the blue pill ” John and Nattie tell me.

Huh?

It’s a reference from The Matrix.

No, I have  never seen it. Yes, I know, it came out over 10 years ago. NO, I’m not kidding you.

So, I watch The Matrix.  It was a very intense, thought provoking movie for me.

My head feels like it is about to explode.

And shouldn’t it? Everything I ever thought I knew about food has been wrong. And what about all the stuff I never even thought to think about?

Organic local foods, imported apples from China, vegan, animal cruelty, genetically modified, hormonally enhanced,  government subsidiary, farming, high frutose corn syrup, Foodborne Illness, Nutritional Labels on Restaurant Food, Diabetes and Obesity, Factory Farming,  Genetic Engineering, Pesticides, The Global Food Crisis, Monsanto….

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

twirling down the rabbit hole….. and moving forward,

Julie

Awww Heck….

My life is filled with moments that are totally unscripted, hilarious, and may only happen to me. Everyday, it’s something. Everyday.

Whathadhappenedwas….

I’m spending a beautiful Saturday morning doing our windows. Now, this is not a complaint. With the view and lala.com providing me with unlimited Jack Johnson, I was having a wonderful morning.

I did promise Miss Flo at one point over the past year that I wouldn’t go out onto the ledge and do the windows, and I admit, I did that for a moment this morning to clear the streaks… but that’s not the point.

Whathadhappenedwas….

I’m almost done with all 18 windows/doors  in the front. Getting ready to do the last one in the kitchen. I unlock the windows, put my bucket on the counter, start to open the window, must have forgotten to latch it open. And I specifically remember day dreaming listening to Jack Johnson. How I would love to see him in concert, in Hawaii, who each song reminds me of, how I love the lyrics, how I could drink some fruity drink out of a coconut, how I don’t mind doing the windows here, ohh it’s beautiful here, I love the beach, I can’t believe I live here, It’s so better than Cleveland, how I liked him when I was still in Cleveland, before he was “anybody”, what it would like to be married to him, and then remembering he is married…………..

SPLASH…..  5 gallons of water… everywhere… Counters, cabinets, floors… everywhere…

Including on Miss Flo’s kitchen t.v. that I was freaking out that I would get electrocuted for trying to unplug.

Whoopsie Daisy.

Row. Row. Row your boat….

I row. And row. And row.

I work three jobs. I have to make money.Sure, I paid off all my credit card debt, but I still owe someone, something. I must have insurance. I must have money to give if someone needs something. I want to travel to Denver. I need to buy a new bed. I need to buy a bicycle. I have to go to the doctors. I need. I want. I have to. I must.

So I row and I get up before 4am and work until almost 7 at night and am in bed by 10, sometimes 8, unless I am swept into another late night conversation. Somewhere in the in between I meet with friends for intentional accountability. I pour into the lives of young women. I try to be Christ to those “in the world”. I read. I write. I try to eat better. I try to work out more. I try to have “quiet time”.

I row. And row. And row. My oars seem to be attached to my calloused hands.

It’s not very “gently down the stream” either. There are relationships that have been neglected. I don’t answer all my calls or texts. I’m so busy. They have to understand. If they only knew what I was really going through. But I can’t tell them. They need to talk to me about them. I can’t talk to my mentor about it. I’ve avoided her for months. Plus I don’t have time for me. I emotionally shut down. I lash out and focus in. I analyze until I am paralyzed. I can’t take a day off for rest. I can’t take care of myself, that’s selfish.

I row. And row. And row.

Two or so years ago God gave me a big dream.

He must be talking to me about someone else. I’m too much. I’m not enough. I won’t handle success right. I’ll fall into lust again. I’ll mismanage my money. People will think I am crazy. I’ll be rejected. I can’t do this. I’m too broken. Too hurt.

But God, look at all I do now. Doesn’t it make you happy? I’m in ministry, I live beneath my means, even beneath my potential. Yes, I am tired. Yes, exhausted. Yes, I am only giving others my drips from an empty cup that should be filled and overflowing. Yes, I’m hiding out. But, God.

If I am going to move forward? How can I do it?

That’s it. Add MORE. Do more.Work more. Save more. Give more. Be more. More. More. More. Row more!!

So I row. And row. And row. Faster. More.

And as I start to feel a fresh old familiar wind at my back, it starts moving me forward.

But, I’m confused. Clutching my oars, I row more. Faster. More.

Gently and sweetly, He raises the sails and says, “Jules, put your oars down.”

What?

“Jules, put your oars down.”

But, God, can’t you see, I’m moving myself  forward. Gripping tighter.  I row more. Faster. More.

“Jules, put your oars down. Can’t you see? You’re on a sail boat.”

But God.

“Put them down…”

But I have to…

“Put them down…”

But I need to…

“Put them down….”

But…

“Jules… I’m moving you forward.”

Happy New Year !!

Okay, Okay I know that January is almost over.

Happy New Year !

Have you ever had a feeling like, this is my year…..this is it, MY year?

I have that feeling, and it’s exhilarating.

And the best part about it is that there are no New Year’s  resolutions, no lofty to do lists, no unrealistic expectations, no self-perpetuated stress.

And guess what? It’s been the best January yet.  At the end of the month, I am just as encouraged and motivated as I was in December.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still have goals, and I have been moving forward on my Big Dream. But it’s not forced or manipulated.

When your have to’s become your want to’s, there is freedom.

How true is that in our spiritual life too?  When we keep the laws with a motivation of love, and not performance based works, or guilt or obligation or shame. So much freedom.  And “good” works flow from that, not from striving or achieving.

I’m glad that this year, I have been blessed with a better grasp on Grace.

I know it’s slightly out of context. But this verse further encouraged me today.

2 Corinthians 8:8-12
I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

With readiness to desire it, and moving forward to completion,

Julie

Giving Thanks Bye Bye Plastic

I don’t even remember what my first credit card was, or what I bought with it, or why I thought it having one was such a good idea.

 

It wasn’t just that I was spending money that I didn’t have. It was that I was trying to live the lifestyle of an executive, as an intern. I was at the lunches, wearing my cute new outfits. I was getting Starbucks and adding the extra shots. I was buying presents for people.

 

I was trying to gain the acceptance of everyone around me while the only One who has ever truly loved me and accepted me watched as I put another shackle on my ankle. I was an idiot.

 

I have nothing to show for the over $30,000 of credit card debt that I had racked up between the ages of 18 & 23. Nothing.

 

I was living in Ohio and part of the community at sevenoseven the night I laid my debt on the altar, literally.

 

Pastor Dan Burgoyne was preaching on radical amputation . Remember the whole “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” business? Yeah, that was Jesus (Matthew 5:29-). And He was serious.

 

Pastor Dan challenged us something was sin in your life, and you know sin separates you from God, Jesus commands us to radically amputate that sin.

 

There he was, calling all of us twenty-somethings out on our junk. He challenged the hormone driven men to burn their porn, our lust, our flirtations, our overeating, drinking, sleeping, spending,  gossip magazines. If we are the body and bride of Christ, why are we so entangled in our self pleasure and sin? And what does that say about the redemptive message that God is our all in all that we preach to the “unbelievers”.  And I knew.

 

My credit cards had me in chains. I could not run hard after God while in bondage to sin.

 

So there we were. A community broken over our sin. I knew what I had to do. I cut up my credit cards to pieces. I returned to my seat to continue in worship of my Creator, and Provider.

 

I remember Ryan Wilkins leading worship that night. I remember it as though it was just yesterday. Through the tears we sang….

You are the only one I need

I bow all of me at Your feet

I worship You alone

You have given me more than I could ever have wanted

And I want to give You my heart and my soul

You alone are Father And You alone are good

You are alone are Savior And You alone are God

I’m alive, I’m alive I’m alive, I’m alive…………

 

With my credit cards on the altar I made a commitment to not rely on the false security credit offered. So I closed all my accounts and made an aggressive contract to pay all the debt back, with a negotiated lower interest rate, in just over 5 years. I had to trust that this was true obedience and that He who started the good work would be faithful to complete it.

 

God proved Himself faithful.

 

The last several years have been rough. It has been total dependence on Christ and His provision. I have had to ask for help from my parents. I have freaked out in prayer about my money and bills. And God led   people to randomly, and anonymously bless me with cash, or gift cards, or checks through the church in the mail. Friends have noticed me being on fumes and filling up my car. There were seasons of not being able to find a job, and He was faithful.

 

In September I made my last payment to my creditors.

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace………….

I’m alive, I’m alive I’m alive, I’m alive…………

The BIG Dream….

Thanks to a Bible Study last night where we talked about how God’s creation praises Him by simply doing what it was created to do paired with some extra motivation, and just the fact that if I don’t, I never will …. I am letting the cat completely out of the bag..

I haven’t answered the questions when asked what it is….

I have avoided talking about it, even though when I am excited about it I have a fire in my bones…

I have eluded to this, and if you have read all of my “old writings” you know what this dream is….

I have been thinking about this since April of 07, and writing about it in a separate blog since last June…

 

Ohh how my noodle twirls ..
I am going to market myself to Nike .. I want to be a spokesperson for them, and be a public speaker…

I want it to be my platform to let people know that they were created to live a full life … not to be stuck in fat and being unhealthy… I can see it – and I can visualize it –

Here’s the thoughts behind it…
Ok – so Dove has been doing the real women campaign.. they are getting major PR points from it – and it’s been amazing for them – and then there is the subway Jarrod guy – again just a regular person who has redeveloped a brand — not to even touch the obesity statistics in our country… we are being robbed of our lives..

So my thought is that if Nike’s slogan is “Just do it” – What is the thing that keeps women (and men, and children) in this country unhealthy ?

NOT DOING IT…
We don’t need fad diets and we don’t need a magic pill, and we sure as heck don’t need studies telling us that weight gain is all genetic -This all came about Kristen and I were walking on the beach…. we were making all of these plans to bike this many miles a day to the beach, and then walk for x amount of miles, then bike….. and classic Kristen… she says “Dude, you need to just do it”..

We need to JUST DO IT – we know that broccoli is more healthy than chocolate and that salad is better than pizza and that even just walking for an hour is better than sitting and watching TV ..
It would be pictures of me, and journals, videos as I am losing weight ….. something like below…
No excuses – Just do it
No fad diets – Just do it
Nothing Holding you back – just do it  and so on and so on and so on

I tried contacting Nike and they deferred me to their ad agency – and their ad agency dumped me in some fake voice mail that they won’t take any outside ideas .. I have some ideas on how to get it out there… but again I need to stop talking about it and Just Do It!!

With or without Nike involvement – I have still been inspired and called to action…
I am going to continue lose all of my extra weight anyways so why not communicate to and encourage others to do the same??

 

WHY??

“I believe that if Jesus can save the world from sin, he could surely help me lose my rear end.” – Dana Littleton 

Let’s try some honesty shall we?

This isn’t just about fat vs. skinny… this is about life.. and living..

I want to live the life that I know that I was created not born, not raised, not wanted to, CREATED to live… and I want you to live that life too… I want to encourage and inspire and communicate…

I want to be able to play the sports I love to play, but I don’t because I can’t keep up, or am out of breath way before other people are even warmed up…

I want to not have to pretend to that I don’t like roller coasters because I am afraid of whether or not the seat belt will shut right…

I want to go into a store and buy an outfit because it’s cute and looks good on me – not just because it’s the only thing that fits..

I want to be able to walk into a restaurant and not analyze the seating arrangement, not nudge the table away from me and not hide inside my thoughts thinking that everyone is judging me on what I decide to eat or drink…

I want to… do a cartwheel… go kayaking… climb a mountain, or at least a really big rock… run on the beach… get a piggy back ride…

I want to see the captives set free… and I want to sing songs of joy and songs of victory with them…

Please continue to pray for me… I know that this idea is from God, and I have not been faithful, actually I have been quite lazy about it… 

Whew….. Let’s see what happens shall we?

Julie

Dream BIG…

We have a “D.R.E.A.M.pledge” acronym at Urban Youth Impact we say with the kids when they are at the Dream Center… everyday…

It starts with “Dream Big”…  we want every student to know that God has a plan and purpose for their life, and that they should dare to Dream Big, beyond the shadows of sin that are cast on their lives from others bad choices…

About two weeks ago I started feeling like a hypocrite, actually in February after a staff retreat the feeling started but with a  crazy emotional funk I was in, I didn’t realize it.

So we tell the kids to Dream Big everyday…. and I have been dreading them asking me what my dream is, because it is a big one, and I haven’t been faithful.

In one week I celebrated the ministry anniversaries of both of my “bosses” -10 years for  Lewis Nelms, founder of Gospelink, and 20 years for Bill Hobbs, founder of Urban Youth Impact .

For a week I was surrounded by celebration of God’s faithfulness and provision as these men walked in faith and obedience to the call on their lives. Stories of lives changed beyond what we can see.  I was overwhelmed and inspired. Encouraged. Spurred on, and reminded of my dream that I have put on the back burner.

I have been so afraid to tell people about my dream, and I am so sick of myself for making decisions or holding myself back because I am convinced of what other peple will think. Which in my mind is never good – terrible actually.

I didn’t want people to think that  I don’t love being “Miss Julie”.. because I do. I love seeing when one of the girls actually “gets it”, I love the hugs and laughter, drying the tears,  I even love when the kids hate me because I know they know better, and hold them to a higher standard.

I love it. But it’s not my dream.

So I decided to tell Bill about it.   I was so nervous talking to the man whose ministry I am planning on coming on full time missionary staff with. I was so afraid, I think I even just blurted it out – inhale, speak, and there it was. And Bill’s eyes lit up…  He didn’t think that I was saying I wanted to leave Urban Youth Impact, He didn’t think I was crazy, He didn’t think that I was a bad Christian for what my dream is. He embraced me, literally and figuratively.

I am starting to really believe that my dream can and will be a reality. It’s not about success as much as it is about faithfulness….

I know that I will regret it for the rest of my life for wasting what I feel God has given me…

So here I am – dreaming big, and making dreams my reality.