Monday, May 30, 2011

what friends are for

Saturday night I received a rude and strange comment on this here blog.
Saturday night I wrote an open letter to that Anonymous commenter, pressed "publish," showed the post to Sweet Man and then closed my laptop and went to bed.
I was completely unprepared for what happened next.

 Withing 3 minutes of hitting posting my letter the floodgates of true friendship and sisterhood broke wide open, spilling amazing rivers of  kindness, empathy, support, love and solidarity over me and every gal who has ever spent the majority of her childhood hiding in the bathroom when everyone else at a sleepover was changing. 

I don't know what Anonymous wished to accomplish with her (or his I suppose) comment, but I have a feeling that the gifts of friendship that I have received over the past 48 hours were not the end goal.
I have read every single comment on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter multiple times.
I have laughed, cried and cheered.

I hope that if you have time you go back and read the comments because the truth is in there: We are not alone. We all struggle. We all feel less then. We all have our stories. And we should share them, not hide them, because the truth is we all feel different, strange, odd-gal-out from time to time, for different reasons. And the fact that we feel this way, this separateness, is actually one of the things that we all have in common. Pretending that we don't feel this way is perhaps the loneliest place of all. 

So thank you for letting me be honest. For letting me share a part of my story, for letting me admit my imperfections and limitations and brokenness. And for sharing with me yours. For crying with me. For standing up for me. For reaching out and saying "me too!"  
This has erased so much aloneness in my heart and I hope that maybe it has erased some of your aloneness too. Because you are not alone, you really aren't. And if you ever need reminding of that, please let me know. I will come to your side and cheer you on and sing back to you all the love and beauty that you have sung to me these past few days.
Because that is what friends are for.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

an open letter to anonymous, or why I am ok with showing my fat face

Never be bullied into silence.  Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.  ~Harvey Fierstein

Tonight I got my very first ever mean comment on this here ole blog.
I think maybe that means I am getting good at this blog thing.
I mean all the great bloggers get all sorts of hate/rude comments all the time right? I mean look at Heather B.!
It has taken 5 years, but here it is. And boy is it a good one, and I wanted to share this with everyone because I think maybe this is a good subject to talk about openly. So here we go:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "14 years of different kinds of happy": 

This is going to come off as totally, awfully rude, but are you guys not disturbed by how much weight you've gained over the years? Seriously. Just scroll down "over the years" and it looks like you are being inflated. 

Posted by Anonymous to the adventures of jolly goode gal at 9:05 PM

Dear Anonymous, 
First let me thank you for reading my blog. I am glad you have  popped in for a visit. I do have start off by saying that I think it was mighty cowardly of you to not sign your real name. If I have the courage to show pictures of myself "inflated"  then perhaps you should have the courage to sign your name. I'm just saying. But let's get to the point shall we?  Our weight, or more specifically my weight (I am not going to speak for Sweet Man. My story is not his and vice versa. How he feels about his body is up to him, not me, so I will not address it further.)  When I was little, say perhaps 4 years old, I was already aware that I was not small or petite or skinny like other little girls. I knew that my tummy stuck out too far and that my thighs were too wide and that this set me apart from others. How I know these things I have no idea, but maybe when you are from the South it is just part of your DNA. So from the age of 4 I was aware. Very aware of my inflated size, to the point that when I was 10 I joined Weight Watchers for the first time. 10 years old. Got that? A little girl and I was already obsessing about my weight.  And so the battle began. The battle against what I saw in the mirror and what I saw in the magazines. The battle against what size I wore and what size my friends wore. The battle to be thin enough. 
And so I fought the fight: I lost weight and I gained weight. Up and down, up and down. Never really successful in my own mirror. I was never a waif or a rail. My thighs have always touched. My middle has always pouched. My chin, always on the verge of more than one.
 Fast forward to college. I dated some boys, I fell in love with a couple. One of these love boys told me I was the biggest girl he ever had dated. I was 5'5" and weight about 150lbs. I was flat chested and bottom heavy.  He thought I was "cute" but not beautiful. And so the battled raged on, only more intense than ever. I walked miles upon miles each day, I  ate dry tuna on plain low- fat bagels or ate angel hair pasta with canned tomatoes and canned corn, no fat.  And that was it. For months and months until I weighed a whopping 135 lbs. And still it wasn't enough. He didn't find me beautiful then either.   When I look back on pictures of that time I do not see a healthy girl, I see a girl who was completely starving and out of her mind. I see a girl who thought she looked like the girl I look like now. I look sick. I look funny. I do not look healthy. Jump ahead  a couple of years, I have gained some of the weight back,  and suddenly Sweet Man comes into the picture. And he loves me. He thinks I am beautiful. Just like I am. Flat chested, bottom heavy, soft middle. And he means it. There are no "buts" attached to his proclamations of love. He loves me. Period. He never turns away from me, he never acts embarrassed by my size. Never compares me to other girls or hints that I should cut back.  And this love he gives me, this delight he finds in me, it gives me the courage to believe what I have always secretly suspected, but have never had the courage to truly live out. The courage to believe that I am enough. Period. Not good enough until... But enough as I am. All that I am. Thighs and all.

That is Part 1 of the story. Part 2 is this: Yes, it concerns me. Yes, it is something I think about. Do I want to be 135lbs again? Nope. Would I like to be 175lbs again? Yes. That was the best weight for me. I was full but happy. Healthy and energetic.
And I honestly hope that I can get there again in the next few years. 
But am I going to let it shame me that I am not there now? No. Am I going to hide my pictures and pretend that this is not who we are now? No. I believe that the best policy is honesty. It is looking your reality straight in the face and saying "this is what it is. now, what do I think about that?"
And so here it is: I weigh 25 more lbs than my ideal weight.
I want to lose those 25 lbs.
But the fact is that my life is really full at the moment, and as it so happens, so are my pants.
But I am trying to have grace for myself and remember that I am still enough. I am loved. I am happy. I open my hands to grace as best as I can, as often as I can, and I try to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. 
Weight will always be on my radar. And it may always be on yours. But I hope you know that you are enough as well. Just as you are, whoever you are, however big or small.
And on the off chance that this applies (and seeing how you are human too it probably will) I hope that whatever fight you have been fighting since you were 4 years old, that somehow you find the courage inside to put down your sword and open your hands and let the grace flow in. Because really, that is the whole ballgame. 


Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.  ~Dr. Seuss

Friday, May 27, 2011

weekend plans

 My weekend starts today. Praise the Lord!
It came just at the right time, this 4 day break. 
I have big plans for this weekend and they all include staying home (except for the church cook-out on Sunday and going to see Sweet Man's band play at Riverfest afterwards.)
My to-do list is filled with projects for the book - cooking and crafting and writing.
I am praying the sun keeps shining so that the boys can spend lots of time outside as well. We all need a few days of the slow life.

Our big weekend plans also include playing with the ever-growing chicks.
They are full on 16 year olds now and they do a lot of strutting and they pick fights with each other. It is pretty funny. Wylie is our chicken-wrangler supreme, he can catch them better than anyone.

Sweet Man is hard at work on their big coop. He is using old windows and doors for the majority of walls and I cannot wait to see it when it is finished. Now that the boys have seen his handy work on this beauty, I think a tree house request is quickly coming... 

So those are my grand-plans for the weekend - what are yours?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursdays Confessions

Welcome to Thursday's Confessions. A new weekly feature where I confess, before you my sisters and brothers, the silly, the ridiculous and even at times the shameful. Why? Because confession is good for the soul. Even in Blogland.

 I like paper flowers and real flowers and  fabric flowers that I can wear like a brooch.
I like cabbage roses and climbing roses and heirloom roses but I do not like the typical "dozen roses" long stem roses. I do not really like any kind of lilly. They look pointy and snobby and untouchable. I like flowers that are lush and curly and full. Flowers that are a bit of a mess and look best all clumped together, shoved into a mason jar. I do not like succulents at all. They look like rubber and the 70's. They are the polyester of plants to me. I love hydrangeas and sunflowers and Gerbera daisies and real daisies and snapdragons and sweet peas and stock and peonies and poppies and wildflowers of all sorts. Gardenias are beautiful and smell wonderful but they are not good for cutting and putting in vases. I love the smell of honeysuckle bushes and I love the look of  cherry blossoms and dogwoods, but I adore mimosa trees more than any other.

If you send me a beautiful commemorative tin of delicious English biscuits (shortbread cookies) I will squeal with delight like an itty bitty girl. And then I will eat them. All. With no regard whatsoever for my waistline.
(Thank you Penny, you are the bestest!)

The end.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

tuesday farmers market

The school that I worked at (and were my boys attend) is right smack in the heart of downtown Little Rock. A lot of people who have not been to Little Rock aren't always aware of just how fabulous and artsy we really are. On even given day you can walk out the front doors of our school, take a brisk stroll down the street and go  see a Picasso or a Monet. You can turn a corner and go watch amazing theatre, attend a lecture by a famous politician, and eat  food that you will dream about for weeks after. Another thing you can do is walk to the Farmers Market. While the big markets are held on Saturday mornings, there are several farmers and craft artist who show up to pawn their wares on Tuesdays too. Yesterday on my lunch break I walked down to the Rivermarket district in hunt of some yummy homegrown fruits and veggies.
This is what I found:

Watermelon and the Farmers Market version of tweeting.

Snap beans

Fruit baskets

Colorful chard.

Turnips. My mother makes a great cake from these.

Green tomatoes for frying or pickling
Reds for eating sliced with salt or on your BLT

Georgia Peaches - the Arky ones are not in season yet


Arkansas Strawberries - a gift from heaven

Okra, I love it anyway you cook it.
I am a southern gal, I cannot deny it.

So that is what was at the market yesterday...Can't wait to see what else rolls in as the summer arrives!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

14 years of different kinds of happy

 Then & Now

(Who let those babies get married so young?)

better than our promises
is the day we got to keep them
I wish those two could see us now
they never would believe how
there are different kinds of happy 


I love you Sweet Man. Thank you for loving me too and for all the kinds of happy we have had together.
Happy anniversary.

Monday, May 23, 2011

make do {and make lovely} monday

Today's post is a little different. It's about making lovely in a bigger way, for someone you don't even know, but whose life could be changed because of you.

How would you like to win this amazing camera?

How would you like to help bring a sweet little girl with Down Syndrome to a family that loves her and will care for her and all her needs?

What if you could do both?

Click here to help and to read more of this sweet story.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

sundays challenge

Luke 9: 23-27 Then Jesus told them what they could expect for themselves: "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat—I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

reading now

Last week I splurged and bought myself a healthy stack of books all in the name of *ahem* research.

Is it weird that I find myself at work, sitting at my desk, daydreaming about coming home and reading?

Thank goodness it is the weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursdays Confessions

Welcome to Thursday's Confessions. A new weekly feature where I confess, before you my sisters and brothers, the silly, the ridiculous and even  at times the shameful. Why? Because confession is good for the soul. Even in Blogland. 

I dig things out of the trash. When driving through any neighborhood I tend to take my time, one eye on the road and one eye on the side of the road, where goodies may be left for the trash or junk pick-up.
I have hauled home chairs, shelves, swings, lampshades, boats, all sorts of fun finds.
This lovely lady is my most recent score. A neighbors tree was recently cut down and in the pile of wood (yes I went and looked at discarded wood) there was a large vintage Angel. The kind you hang in a tree at Christmas time in your yard. The wing and body part where made of that tinsel garland and were completely destroyed. But this sweet face survived and I snatched it up. She was a little grimy, but after a good scrub she is lovely again. I am not sure where she will land. I am thinking my bedroom, perhaps the dressing area. For now she is hanging out in the kitchen, keeping me company while I experiment with freezing jello and pudding.


Money. I stink at money. Well, not completely. I am good with finding bargains and deals. I am not great at budgeting. Better, I am getting better ( a lot better in fact. Cash is king!) but still, the fact remains that I am lousy with money. This is the #1 reason I know longer have my own business. I dug myself a really big hole and I have spent the past 3 years digging myself out of it. In brief lets just say that things got so bad that they got "legal" and that I will never again have a credit card. Period. Those credit card offers that come in? They might as well be coupons for free liquor being delivered to the AA chairmans home. That is how it was is for me. I find that it is very embarrassing to be so bad with money, and coming to terms with this fact has been perhaps the most humbling experience of my life. 
For a while I thought that because I was bad with money that I was less of an adult. That I was less than everything.  That if I could just conquer this one issue within my own power that I would BE. 
Be what I don't know, but I was sure that being whatever it was, was better and gooder than being this.
Eventually what I worked out through trial and error and mountains of grace, is that being good with money is not what makes you a grown-up. Being honest and transparent and really, really humble about ones limitations, struggles and failures, those are things that are required to truly grow-up. 
I also learned that I need to take certain preventive measures and precautions. Like never, ever opening a credit card account. Ever. No matter how much free stuff I will get or how big a discount I can save today. And switching to cash budgeting for things like groceries, eating out and flea marketing is good, because, whadda know, when the money is gone, it is really gone. Much easier to keep track of how much you have left to spend that way.   And there has been lots repentance and supplication,  the constant rhythm of my favorite prayer: Help me, Help me, Help me. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, keeping time in the background, as I find the steps to this new dance.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

jewish food festival

For the past few years I have managed to find my way down to the Jewish Food Festival after church.
 It is an interesting experience, to be a person named Jerusalem, who is a Jesus follower, walking around  Jewish celebration. I feel both a kinship and a separation. Everywhere I look my name is displayed, and yet I I feel a bit like a traitor. As if, on this occasion, it would be better to be named Jane, than to carry the name of the Holy Land and not be a descendant of Abraham. I am probably over thinking this, but still, there it is.

Of course all this over thinking made me very hungry. Luckily I was in the right place.
First up: A Falafel plate - complete with Falafel, pita, hummus and slaw. It was all so good and I licked my plate clean.

My sister Judea was with me and I had the great honor to introduce her to one of my very favorite guilty pleasures:  Blintzes .Served with sides of jelly and sour cream these are the Jewish answer to crepes (or maybe it is the other way around? Or maybe they are from the same origin? I think I need to buff up on my History of All Things Yummy...)  anyway, these delicious treats are filled with a yummy creamy filling and I actually can feel my mouth watering for them right now. One of these days I am going to attempt to make them myself.  Do you have a good Falafel or Blintz recipe? If you do, would you mind sharing it? I would love to give them a whirl!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

pretty stack of plans

In my family all the women share one particular habit.
We are fabric addicts. There I said it. The truth is out.
We have closets dedicated just to fabric. We buy it whether we have plans for it's use or not.

I had managed to kick this habit for a few years, and replaced it by becoming a paper addict during my banner making phase. Well, it seems that my fabric addiction was only lying dormant. Waiting for an excuse to rear it's greedy head. Apparently working on projects for the book was just the excuse it needed.

This weekend I hit the jackpot on some great fresh cottage cottons, perfect for several of my projects.
I think I could just leave it all stacked up like this and be perfectly content just to look at it every day.
I am pretty sure that if you are happy just to buy fabric and look at it, that you might the worst kind of fabric addict. Oh dear.

So dear readers, come on confess - are you a fabric addict too?

Monday, May 16, 2011

make-do [and make lovely] monday

Today is Make-Do and Make-Lovely Monday here at the ye ole blog and I have some fun news to share!

I would like to welcome everyone to this visit - especially all the visitors who have found their way here via my latest adventure : A monthly column on the At Home in Arkansas blog.

 Crafting 101 with Jerusalem Greer  with be a monthly feature on the recently redesigned At Home blog, and I am beyond thrilled to be able to share lots of wonderful crafty ideas, inspiration and projects with readers all the At Home readers.

My first post went up today and it is perfect for a Make-Do and Make-Lovely Monday because it is all about makeovers - of your craft space that is. Whether you are starting from scratch or making do with what you have, a Crafty Makeover can fit any budget and space.

I feel so lucky to be among the other wonderful columnist like Tracy Porter and Chris Olsen and you will want to make sure you check their inaugural post out as well - (especially to enter the $250 Giveaway waiting for you on Tracy's post!)

A huge thanks to everyone over at At Home - especially Paulette, Mandy and Diane for always being so supportive and making my day (once again) so absolutely LOVELY!

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