On Disappointment…

There are things in the world, well, that you can just count on.  The sun will likely rise tomorrow, you’ll pay taxes, you’ll have a million amazing moments in your life, and, you’ll face disappointment.

I’ve recently ended a relationship.

It was a volunteer opportunity and it along the way has provided me with many beautiful things. I was given the space to learn more about myself, people around me and perhaps the human condition in general.  It also taught me the world is an imperfect place. Of course, I know this to be true.  That said, when disappointment happens where AND when you don’t expect it… there is a stronger than usual sting associated with it.MLK disappointment

It’s not the dull “oh this again” type of pain you feel when that one person let you down again.  The pain you’re familiar with because you’ve felt it before and it’s likely you’ll feel it again.  No this pain is different.  It’s a sting and pain that cuts to the core and you’re just certain you’ll never hurt as much ever again.


I am having a tough tough time with this break-up.  I overall believe in the mission, I love  most of the humans I’ve been connected with. I think, that’s why it just hurts so much. It was just the sort of sucker punch I never expected.

More truth.

My heart will heal, and my disappointment while painful will dissipate and ache less in the coming days.  And I have learned another set of valuable life lessons to carry with me as I travel my road.  I will choose to continue to support causes and missions I believe in, knowing there can be or is risk involved.  Disappointment can and may strike at anytime, and I am strong in heart, convicted in faith and committed to NOT letting disappointment change me in ways that don’t represent the person I know myself to be.

How about seeing life’s disappointments as God’s appointments and as being according to His purposes? Take the psalmist’s advice and “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:20). If you insist on carrying around your own burdens and disappointments, it will be a heavy load indeed and you’ll have to carry around with you the weight of the world and that’s going to be difficult since we were never created to carry such loads. This is exactly why Jesus commands us all to “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30).

Thank you to Jack Wellman from Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane, KS and patheos.com  for the reminder.

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Fe Anniversary…

Six years.  Today, Eric and I have been married for 2,191 and 1/2 days.  Six years. 52,596 hours.  3,155,760 minutes and that all boils down to 189,345,600 seconds. When you think of it in terms of years or days it seems almost not worth noting.  We spend more time pursuing elementary and high school education.sandy-at-wedding

On a more micro level, getting down to seconds, it changes and becomes so much larger than you’d think. One Hundred Eighty-Nine Million Three Hundred Forty-Five Thousand, Six Hundred seconds.  It’s a mouthful.

We’re spending this weekend in Danville, Illinois, home of Dick and Jerry Van Dyke, Gene Hackman, and my sister and her family.  Her son Nick is graduating this weekend and we’re here to help celebrate his amazing accomplishment.

Much like our 189,345,600 seconds, this long weekend isn’t perfect.  I’ve managed to come down with some allergic or summer cold malady, and there is plenty of on-the-fly changes to suit just about anyone.

But — it’s like that with marriage too.  We have good days and not so good days.  We have bad days and worse days.  And of course we have those magical days that really leave us aware of just how blessed our lives are.  And they are.

So cheers to Eric… and to me as we celebrate our Iron Anniversary, and like iron that is wrought into beautiful fences and works of art — so to is our marriage….

#forageon #wroughton #sixmoreyears #mykeeper

The Virtues, in despair, quit the earth; and the depravity of man becomes universal and complete. Hard steel succeeded then.

— Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book I, Iron age, line 160 ff
Iron when mixed with impurity becomes stronger… a marriage mixed with time… becomes stronger.
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Everyone…has ONE.

Getting up at 5:20 in the morning is getting easier. 

Kickboxing — done.  I am waiting for my 9:00 a.m. so thought I’d take a quick minute to share an observation from the gym today.  While getting ready for work, I caught some of a conversation from a couple of friends…

It went something like this… “George was really able to help me with some breathing exercises and just reminding me to not be so hard on myself…” And that’s where I stopped. Dead. In. Tracks.  And realized…. Everyone has ONE. For much longer than I’ve realized, I thought alone on the isle of Liz lived the mean girl.  And surely, she is so exclusively mine. Imagined myself alone in the wallow of insecurity, not being good enough, smart enough, lovable enough. Today I learned it’s not just me. chaos

If I am being honest, I’ll tell you I found this, in some way, comforting and filled me with a sense of relief.  It’s not just me who has this perpetual incessant chatter in the head, filling me with things that are just not helpful.  I also found myself a little disappointed.  How can I find comfort in knowing that another woman out there — maybe a million other women, are having and sharing this same struggle?

Our get ready for work preparations continued, realizing some of us have the mean girl desperately needing to be put in to check, and maybe some of us have an inner mean girl just waiting to help us — set boundaries, say NO, put us FIRST, be unapologetic about who we are and where we fit in the world.  I watched one of my classmates this morning and could see in her, the very same things I see in me — and so casually I mentioned… YOU look lovely, try, though I know it’s hard, not to obsess about how your dress fits, what your hair looks like — if a full face of cosmetics if overwhelming, try just a dab of gloss or simply own your beautiful face, just as you are!

The work on the internal chatter continues… and while we’re talking about the internal chatter… have you ever noticed that it just doesn’t SHUT UP? — Courtesy of my book… and thanks Peter.  The inner voice keeps going, simply to be heard — some crazy notion that some crazy voice talking to you — in your head has the need to be heard, but not the right.  Turn it off!

Tomorrow we start again.  6:30. Sharp.

Quiet the mind… slow the chatter, turn down the volume and do YOU!33-verses-about-fear-and-anxiety-5-640x640

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Grace…In Honesty.

There is opportunity for incredible grace…in honesty. Let me share with you a recent experience I was able to share with a group of extraordinary humans.

SA10I volunteer with Colorado Youth at Risk, a non-profit here in Colorado mission minded pair young people with mentors in a grander mission to help them reach for what is possible in their lives.  I am a Group Leader in this beautiful community we call Steps Ahead 10.  In other words, I mentor mentors and help with coaching to mentors and young people working together, building relationships. Each “community” starts our year long journey with a weekend excursion to AU in Buena Vista, Colorado.  Often, it’s a first “trip” to the mountains, or “trip” of any sort for the young people we serve.

We spend a great deal of time in a course room, learning tools we can use in our SA10 community, and hopefully take with us in to our lives.  I can share more of that later.

We also spend some time outdoors doing a “ropes course.”  This course includes a Freedom Fall in to the arms of your small group as well as many other height challenging, obstacles — all designed to take us one step beyond where the comfort level lives.

Friday night — we learned and used a tool we call “emptying the cup.” Just as it sounds, it’s kind of like word vomit — just emptying the what’s bothering you to a group of people who aren’t here to judge, we’re HERE to HEAR.  Enter grace. I shared with my small group this year is my third year of doing the Launch Course, and that I had successfully finished two of the three never having done the freedom fall.  I have this tremendous mean girl, you know the one that lives inside your head, tells you that you’re probably too fat to do this thing — what if they drop you?  You can’t look at yourself in the mirror because how — just how did you end up THIS WAY? It felt good to let go of my dirty little secret that is the freedom fall.

On Saturday morning we started our ropes course…with… yep… the Freedom Fall.  Each of my respective mentors and young people hopped up on to the back end of the truck we perched from — faced their fear, what was necessary to let go of to get where we want to go… took some coaching and Trust Fallfell in to the arms of our community ready to catch them, support them, and as we put it… “have your back.”

And so we were done with that element.  Or so I thought.  Peter, one of my mentors called me out.  It was my turn.  Me. ME.  Now mind you, I think I narc’d on myself for some desire to finally let go and do this thing… but there it is looking me dead in the eye.  Me and the mean girl.   What if they drop me? What if I am too fat?  What if I just can’t do this?

What if…..?

So the mean girl and I had a conversation.  I am tired of whatever self shaming I have going on for what my body looks like today.  I am tired of avoiding a mirror, because I don’t like what I see.  I am on a journey to reclaim my health, my confidence, knowing that I am good enough just as I am today — and the possibility I have in tomorrow. And so I gave the command…

Me:  “Team Ready?”

Them: “Ready Team!”

Me: “Liz Falling.”

Them: “Fall on Liz.”

And nothing… 

Okay… reset and try again.

Me: “Team Ready?”

Them:  “Ready Team!”

Me: “Liz Falling”

Them:  “Fall on Liz!”

And back I went.

And…They caught me. And… then they lifted me… up above their heads.  And… I didn’t fall, they didn’t drop me.  Liz Freedom FallAnd when I was lowered, all I had was tears, lots of them.  There aren’t words I can find for the gratitude I felt, for these people, these, the ones who said they’d have my back.  And. DID. I’m grateful for the grace, I could show to the mean girl, and the scared girl, and the sometimes not so strong girl, and for the girl who was strong enough, to let them all exist and still come out on top.

#SA10 #WierdosRock

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Grace… and the Mean Girl.

Grace… and the mean girl.  She’s back. Meaner than ever, she’s managed to keep me in tears nearly all freaking day.

The art of self-kindness is hard.  Really really hard.  Today is no exception.  I’ve been working on trying to be kinder to myself, to give myself more grace, to give those around me more grace and it’s been tough.  mean girl poster

Often, I don’t or won’t ask for help, simply because if something is going to fail or mess up, I’d rather it be on me, than me allowing someone else in to my groove and creating even the chance of something going amiss. Professionally, personally, it just shows up.  I struggle with my weight, I’ll make NO bones about it, and this morning, it was called out by the inner mean girl occupying way too much real estate in my head. She’s downright mean about where I am with my weight. “Why can’t I just fix it? Just stop this, don’t do that — do more of this.” So. Much. Noise.  My all out defiance to ask for help also bit me professionally this week.  It. Just. Sucks. I’m sitting in the same space as the mean girl and today she’s winning. Overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start — what’s the first step? Presuming I take the first… do I know where the second is? What the second is? I paralyze myself.  There is zero grace in a self-imposed paralytic state.

Rock bottom, however, is the place many Christians try desperately to avoid. It’s the antithesis of the American Dream. Ironically, however, everyone who lives long enough knows suffering, or rock bottom, is inevitable. Everyone eventually meets that one situation beyond their control or capability. In this moment, you find the answer to the most important question of your life, “Will you try harder or look higher?”

Suffering isn’t failure. It can be a gift, an opportunity to see God’s grace, maybe for the first time. Suffering takes away our control, along with our talents, good works, and fool-proof plans. But it’s here, with nothing left, that we might just be desperate enough to seek God.

I was asked this weekend what I do? How do I stop the mean girl from rearing her head and opening her mouth? Rarely, do I catch her before the words escape, in fact, most often, I catch her after the damage is done, so is the case today. So again, let’s chalk one up to the mean girl, she’s won another battle, for a moment. The war rages on.

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Build A Bridge…

Build a bridge… and get over it.

Grappling with grace is a full-time job.  Truly.  There are days when it’s easy peasy and then there are those other days.  You know the ones.  I woke up late.  The dog just puked on the floor, oh great ten emails and it’s only 6:30 am you say?  Yes, that’s how life goes.  At least my life. Often, and usually in the midst of a huge pity party, I’ve declared a day a total waste, washed up, gone, toast, you know — busted.

I am convicted.  In these moments, relishing in my dysfunction, believing I alone live in circumstance mired in pain and trouble. Seriously Liz, just start building that bridge. NOW. Don’t wait!Bamboo bridge

Blessings are as much a part of my life, even more so, than any curse I am capable of fathoming. I want for little, have an amazing support system in my life and often, even with all of the support that I have can wallow with the best of them.

Someone pass the hammer.

Truths. We are gifted with one life. That’s it…. just one.  What I choose to do with it is my own and as painful as it is to admit, hours maybe even days are spent far from grace supporting ideas, things, feelings which really don’t do much good at the end of it all.

Build the bridge carefully, make your supports grace.  Use care and good thoughts to support the structure. If prayer is a part of your support system, lean on it. Heavily.  Maybe the universe is your source of temperance, or meditation, whatever it is, go to that place, often, even when you don’t believe you need it. Especially then. We do.  I do.


  • Hebrews 4:16 (KJV)

    Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


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Words I’ve been meaning to share…

It’s almost been two months. I believe that we miss her as much today as we did on February 1st.  My heart is not aching as much as it had been, maybe just resorting to the dull pain and awareness of not being able to just pick up the phone. There are words I’ve been meaning to share… of Sandy and it just seems right. Today.

I am seldom at a loss for words.  Well, Sunday and “the big game” and just how to tell my Sandy story being the exceptions.

How do I tell you the story of this woman?  I need to share enough with you to understand the struggle of our relationship to help you understand the sheer beauty of it in our final months together.

And then… I woke up at 4:30.

Earlier last week I wrote in my blog as we walked with Sandy through her last steps.  I had commented to the Chaplin, that this experience, Sandy’s end-of-life seemed to me to be every bit the miracle that the birth of a child is, the other side of the same coin. That moment was probably the most helpful determination of this process.

calling heaven  I blogged that we often conceptualize “miracles” with the BIG and MIGHTY things we may expect.  Loaves and fishes, turning water into the finest wine, resurrecting on the third day….  And then I thought, death, perhaps fits right in with those miracles.

I woke up this morning with a to-do list that really needed to be to-done, before we arrived this morning, and, grateful that I had found my words.

My relationship with Sandy is one of my own little miracles.  We started in a pretty traditional way, I was just never going to be good enough, to be the woman that would marry her son.  In fact, until just hours ish before our wedding in May of 2011, Sandy was determined that she’d have no part of what was about to happen.  As it happened, Sandy had a last minute change of heart, and my brother Vito went on a mission for what I think is the first of a series of miracles in our relationship, and picked-up Sandy to attend the marriage of her son, to me… the girl she just didn’t think was good enough.calling heaven

I shared earlier this week that at our wedding Eric and I shared photos of our relationship as centerpieces.  A photo of he, a photo of me, and a photo of we.  We also had boxed truffles set as table gifts.  After the pleasantries of the reception, one of our guests, I think it was LeAnn… had commented to me that Sandy had been traveling from table to table availing herself of the photos of Eric, the remaining truffles…. Leaving me and we behind.  I share this, because more than five years later, I still find it hysterical.

It was after our wedding, that the miracle of Sandy and I really started.  She stopped introducing me as the maid, Lord knows I’m not….and Eric says so too. But I was able to spend time with Sandy on a different level, one of acceptance and as the days progressed, fondness.

In the past several months of Sandy’s life, I noticed, I think we all noticed a change in Sandy’s demeanor.  She became softer and kinder – traits I believe she always had, but was perhaps guarded in sharing having had a life that often included heartbreak or disappointment, and I had moved from being the maid, to being sweetie or honey… a hand hold here, and a hug there.

While Eric was traveling late last year, it offered the opportunity for Sandy and I to enjoy a girls day out for lunch and shopping…. it’s a gift to me, because it wasn’t a have-to-do, but a want-to-do and so we enjoyed a lunch at Chili’s and Christmas shopping.  I have to believe that she enjoyed the afternoon just as much as I did. I know, without a doubt, she enjoyed the chips and guacamole.

And in her last days… I was able to just be with Sandy and Eric through this.  Mostly holding her hand, reading to her, listening to Barry Manilow, and reflecting with her at just how far we’d come.

Our relationship… is my little miracle and Sandy’s gift to me.

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