I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Love’

First Goal of 2016: Come up with better titles for blog posts 

I’ve been hesitant to publish my resolutions post because I haven’t been able to come up with a title I found worthy of my blog. Clearly, I give up. 

Instead of making a laundry list of goals which I know will go bust, I am simply choosing to go with a word for the year. Maybe this is a cop-out because I hate to fail. I definitely have things upon which I would like to improve, but I don’t really have any concrete goals like “lose 10 pounds” although God knows I need to, heh. 

*We interrupt this blog post for a mid-thought goal announcement* 

I have a goal to not accidentally hit “Publish!” in the middle of writing. Damn. 

Sorry if anyone read this too soon. 

Anyhow, the word for 2016 is nourish. Let’s take a look at the definition: 

1. To provide with food or other substances necessary for life and growth; feed.

2. To foster the development of; promote: “Athens was an imperial city, nourished by the tribute of subjects” (V. Gordon Childe).

3. To keep alive; maintain: n

Everything that is living needs nourishment. I want to nourish my relationships – with God, with my growing family, friends, music, teaching, and myself. As life gets busier, I don’t want anything that is important to me to wither away because of lack of nourishment. This year is going to be a pivotal one in the story of Lady J, and I wish to love others in a way that they find nourishing. 

  

The Confession of Confessions 

  
My God, I am needy. 

I’ve spent 30 years trying to deny it, but now that I am engaged, the jig is officially up. What is a wedding if not a public admission of lack of self-sufficiency? Blah blah love blah blah family blah blah big ass party. Don’t get it twisted – I could not be happier to profess my neediness before the Lord and forever intertwine my life with that of Adonis. I would be remiss, however, if I did not reflect upon that which has helped me arrive here. 

I must admit that this denial of being needy has been rooted in fear. If I truly need something, will I be able to get it? Let’s pretend that the need doesn’t exist! Do I really need to elaborate upon all that I have needed from my parents? I am blessed to witness their stable, loving relationship. They’ve demonstrated their love for Christ and shared Him with me. They gave me music lessons! Learning to play this beautiful music has brought not only joy but wonderful teachers, colleagues, and now students into my life to shape me into the woman I am. The discipline I’ve gleaned as a musician has helped me commit to running and fitness, which has brought another amazing cohort of people into my world.
I am confident that March 12 will be the best day of my life to date because it will be the day that I am finally celebrating my neediness. It is this need that has helped me the strong person I need to be in order to risk being permanently vulnerable. No celebration can be recognized as such, however, without the pregame. Apparently, this is to come in the form of a bachelorette party, says society. 

If you know me well, you know that I am a long-range planner. I picked my bachelorette weekend six months ago. “Why am I just hearing about it?” You asked that at JUST the right time. Inviting people to something like this means I need you, and that still makes me uncomfortable. I have needed amazing girlfriends all of my life, and I will continue to need them after I am Mrs. Lady J. I don’t just want to celebrate getting married. I want to celebrate with the wonderful women who have helped me become who I am. I want to celebrate the life God has given me and the people He has given to me. I want to be the best friend I can be because I’ve been given such wonderful friends. I need you to run or walk beside me, just as you have been doing, whether it’s been for 20 years or 20 months. 

I need you. 

Hurt 

It’s hardly news that Lady J does not handle her imperfections well. However, there is one type of mistake I make that bothers me more than any other by a long shot. I would venture to say that this is because it is one, at least from my point of view (which may indicate this is an area in which I need more work), that I do not make very often. 

I believe that I hurt someone who was already hurting. This hurts me not only because I try to love the way Jesus loves me but because of how I couldn’t see that it was happening. I think of myself as sensitive to the needs of others and fairly emotionally intelligent but right now I feel like a complete idiot. 

I am fighting back tears as I type these words. This is the first time in my 4+ years as a classroom teacher that I have felt legitimate remorse over how I’ve dealt with a student. 

Here is what’s been happening: 

I see my students who meet for one of my after school ensembles once a week. I also see these same students in class. I have one, new to our school, with whom I’ve found myself particularly frustrated. Not only does it take several redirects of his attention to get him to be on task, but when he tries something new, he complains about it. As I work to manage 15 other students whose fine motor skills have, uh, equal room to grow, one who will NOT quit complaining just grates my nerves. It’s the end of the day, I want to be home, I feel like I’m asking something simple, blah, blah, blah. I am not a teacher who raises her voice often; I believe in economy of dynamic. If you live a Fortissimo life it won’t be effective very long. Turn it up from my usual mezzo forte and there is no mistaking that Ms. Lady J is serious. Yet I’ve found myself turning it up quite a bit toward this young man, because I thought it was what he needed. 

Our concert is coming up and I thought he could use some additional help, so I reached out to his mother to see if I could spend 30 extra minutes with him on his own after school. As the day came closer, I was dreading dealing with his complaining. I contemplated canceling and making some excuse. I hoped he or his mother would forget. Wouldn’t you know, as soon as carline ended and I walked back to my classroom, he bounded toward me. 

Let me tell you something – I needed that 30 minutes of extra time INFINITELY more than he did. 

We reviewed chords. We had some spontaneous music battles with one another. I saw quickly that his musical struggles were indeed minimal. He smiled a lot and when he missed something, he would sigh, look up, and try again. Then he would get it. By the end of our time together, I was asking him some questions. He wouldn’t look at me as he answered. I asked if he was okay and he said he was just shy. He told me he was excited that his Grandma is coming from New York to live with his family and that he likes his new school. I walked him out, met his mom, who thanked me, and drove home, pensive. I had invited him for extra help but God knew that I was the one who needed the time after school to correct my attitude, not some sweet kid’s chords. 

I have been trying not to beat myself up about being overly firm with this student. He just needs a gentle touch and I was too wrapped up in my agenda to see that. It is humbling to be reminded that despite not being a beginning teacher any longer, I can miss the forest for the trees. I am praying that he continues to adjust to school and that I can bring him as many smiles as possible. 

I hope that in time, music can be something that gives him the confidence to look people in the eye and share what he has to offer. For me, though it hurts and I am scared to make a mistake like this (and I am sure I will again), I have to keep sharing what I have to offer, too. May my best continue to get better. 

  

Two Years and Counting



Today is my 2nd raceaversary, which means it’s my 1st bloggerversary!

I write often about how racing has changed my life, but starting a blog has also had a significant impact on me. You’ll note the tagline of my blog: 

I do it, and I do it big. Here’s not to forgetting about it. 

I have a way of underestimating both the quality and quantity of things I do. Even when I acknowledge them, it is often with reluctance or shame. If I’m capable of so much, what am I doing with myself at this very moment? 

Writing has helped me have moments of delight I would not have allowed myself before. Since my last raceaversary, I have:

  • Finished my first and second Olympic distance triathlon 
  • Finished my first Ironman 70.3
  • Raced my first (and second) races in another state 
  • Raced my first race in another country 
  • Completed my first (and probably last) obstacle race 
  • Gave my first solo recital in 9 years
  • Maintained my weight within a healthy range 
  • Gotten boo’ed up 

That’s a lot of stuff. A lot of good stuff for which I am very thankful. There is nothing on that list I could have accomplished without the grace of God and the love and support of family and friends. My parents, Blonde Oprah, Coachie, The Mentor, 3M, Adonis – things seem to keep coming back to the relationships that give me strength and inspire me to be the best Lady J that I can be. 

If you’re reading this, you are likely a part of my life, and I want you to know that I think of you and (try to, I forget sometimes!) diligently pray for your awesomeness. Thank you for being you! 



Shoutout Series: Cut Short

My friend’s death humbles me. 

In general, I think death can serve as an important reality check for us all; a harsh reminder that life as we know it is indeed temporary. However, Cut Short is (yes, present tense, as I’m confident her cancer free soul is gloriously celebrating) extraordinarily special. 

Her life on earth was entirely too short, but in the years with which God blessed her and everyone who was touched by her, she made an incredible impact. I met Cut Short in college as we rushed the same music fraternity. As I looked back through some of the memorabilia I have, I feel honored to have her signature among my things. She had a heart so full of love for music and people, a sharp and silly sense of humor, and a talent brilliant enough to make even the most confident musician doubt her competence. Precocious not only in intelligence but in wisdom, her down to earth manner put even the most insecure at ease. Cut Short was evidence that the best things often come in small packages; the only challenge she seemed to have in those days was a vertical one. 

Then Leukemia. Ugh. 

I will never forget her calling me and my stepping out of a practice room to take her call while we were in grad school. She spoke with confidence that she would be able to beat it. And she did, like the champ she is. At least – the first time. Sadly, she had to undergo additional treatment last year. She still maintained her cheerful, upbeat demeanor each time we spoke, this time knowing exactly what lay ahead. 

I am sad to say that though we kept in touch via Facebook, phone, and email, I didn’t take the time to see Cut Short when I had the opportunity. I mean – she’s Cut Short. She beat odds left and right. How was I supposed to know the last opportunity I would have to see her would actually be the LAST? As I heard her battle here was ending, I reflected on how she’s touched me and desperately hope that I made that evident to her at some point. I felt guilty for occasionally envying her awesomeness. That’s just like Cut Short though – still moving people to be better without lording anything over anyone. 

At her memorial service, there was an invitation for her friends and others to be a part of the choir. I am no singer but I leapt at the opportunity. Being among those who love and miss her was both heart-wrenching and joyous. I am definitely a cryer, but I’ve learned over the years that it is difficult to both cry and perform at the same time. I had mixed emotions about the choice to sing because I knew I needed to cry for her and didn’t think I would be able to. Well – I did cry. But not too much. The privilege of singing goodbye for now for my friend allowed me not only to mourn our loss but celebrate both her life and how she continues to touch those around her. Even in her death, Cut Short helped me to see all with which I am blessed. Love. Music. Health. That’s just how she rolls. 

Cut Short. I’m sorry I didn’t come see you in July. For my own sake I hope I don’t see you too soon. But I WILL see you. Thanks for being a part of my life. 



2005 🙂 Cut Short is being awesome on the far left! 

Lady J’s Christmas Reflections: The “J” is for Jerk.

Christmas The way Christmas is often celebrated sucks.

I had to word that carefully. As a Christian, the marking of the Savior’s birth is a pretty big deal. I have no desire to be blasphemous or flippant about it. It’s merely that all of the hoopla surrounding the observance – for me – doesn’t serve the purpose of celebrating His
birth. Forget about the supposed commercialism of the holiday and how some are up in arms about “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas.” “Oh, woe is me, a store is trying to sell more things!” That’s kind of the religion of business, no? I’m talking about familyism. And friendism. It’s y’all who ruined Christmas.

Let me tell you how.

A quick look through my previous posts will illustrate that I am fairly adept at expressing thankfulness for the blessings in my life throughout the year. Yes, of course there are times for me personally that make me reflect upon these blessings more than others, but it is definitely more often than the last 6 weeks of the year. So all you jokers come along, “Hey, it’s the holidays! I miss you. Let’s grab food/drink/swim/bike/run/whatever.” I am not in some black hole, inaccessible the first 10 months of the year – unless Coachie has me there, but even then I still get phone reception there. I get a little time to relax from work and all of a sudden because the Savior is born you want to blow up my phone. Quite frankly, if it is important for me to talk to or spend time with you around this time, I would have done so on stupid October 3. I’m not saying I’m above losing touch with important people. I’m just saying that I’m probably better at staying in touch than you are. 🙂

Then I hear the still, small voice.

“Hey Joan. I came because people are imperfect.”

I then am forced to take the time to reflect upon my own imperfections. Indeed, I am a thoughtful person, and one of the things I hate most is wronging someone unknowingly because it reminds me that I cannot be in control all of the time, even when I think I am. As good as I am at expressing my gratitude throughout the year, I will never be perfect.

I pray that in years to come, I am able to find both the solitude I need to strengthen my relationship with Christ and with others. Love is patient, wrote the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. I’ve got a long way to go.

Merry Christmas!

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Shoutout Series: Adonis.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that the life of Lady J falls fairly neatly into a few categories which often (if not always) interrelate: Music, Teaching, Triathlon, and Faith. All up in there are the people who make my world brighter. Ya girl has a very fulfilling life. I gots me Jesus, Beethoven, bricks, and a career that is only improving. Plus, I’m fine as hell. I am no ingrate – it would seem unfair to ask for more than I have.

And then…Adonis.

Giggles. Fluttering of eyelashes. Goofy ass smile. You guessed it – Adonis is the man in my life.

Typing that is freaking WEIRD. I had adjusted quite well to being fabulous and single. At 29, I’ve seen friends marry and divorce and think, man, imma just swim bike run teach and call it a day. Moreover, I don’t think it’s cute when otherwise intelligent and educated women go batshit over the prospect of being paired up with anything in pants. Ain’t nobody got time for all that. I’ve got a world to conquer and there’s no way in hell some joker is going to ruin all I have going for me. I’ve got Jesus and Daddy – I’m good on men, thanks. Therefore, I can only assume that the presence of Adonis in my life means that God is HILARIOUS.

Man, has this man got my attention. Busy introvert that I am, I make time to connect with my loved ones via Facebook or text and am not generally bothered that I don’t see them often. Adonis, however? I could see him every day. And it’s not even because he’s ridiculously handsome. Just like that, I have a new friend who wants to help me be my best.

It drives me NUTS that though he’s been in my life for such a short time, I would miss the hell out of his fine Greek ass if he weren’t there anymore. He brings me laughter, support, and the sweetest cuddles a Lady J could ask for. There’s nothing that I can’t discuss with him, which is incredibly freeing. Get this – I think his (proverbial) balls are bigger than mine – and my ovaries are freaking huge. You read my blog and you see how big I do it.

So, Lord. I suppose it’s possible that I could be doing it even bigger with someone amazing like Adonis at my side. Only You know why you’ve allowed him into my life. *giggles* I know what I hope the reason is! In the meantime, I am thankful for the time we are having together. How novel it is to be simultaneously delighted and humbled.

Tee hee. My Adonis. It is my hope and prayer that you are around helping Lady J do it for a long, long time.

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