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You don't own me...
I'm not just one of your many toys.
You don't own me.
Don't say I can't go with other boys.
Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba Baaaa...

And don't tell me what to do,
And don't tell me what to say.
And when I go out with you,
Don't put me on display...


 
 
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Sometimes I don't know how exhausted I really am until I sit down at night. Before long, couch-blanket draped across my legs, my eyes start to feel heavy and I miss bits and pieces of any show that my husband and I attempt to watch. You know the drill: up before dawn, get kids ready for school (we're on year-round schedule), work, work, work, prepare meals, and exercise somewhere in between there. Pass out. 


 
 
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"But...is it OK that I'm different now? I feel like people just want me to go back to the way I was before." Tears gathering at the corners of her bright blue eyes, she waits for the answer. And then we talk - just like all the other talks that I've had before, with women who've asked personal versions of the very same questions. Women who've seen or done hard things and who can't undo them.

Am I acceptable even if I've changed?
Is it OK to refuse the veneered version of myself?
Will people still like me if I put my real self out there? 



 
 
Have you ever tried meditation? What did you think about? How did you feel? What did God show you about yourself? About Him? We'd love to hear about your experience!

 
 
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There's one kid running naked, protesting against the shower I'm trying to muscle him into. The other one knows better than to flee by foot, and unintentionally continues to smear black goo across the bathroom floor. He stayed to clean the mess they'd just made together. Grandma left her mascara in the guest bathroom and well, the rest is history. The dog's barking and darts in and out of my legs as I walk. Not even able to hear my own thoughts, I run back and forth between the two crime scenes a couple of times, uncertain about where to begin. 

 
 
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I own exactly four unfinished journals. They sit stoic (and a little bit dusty) on my office bookshelf. The idea of journaling is idyllic to me, but the reality is much less fantastic. I'd begin with a vigor - writing down thoughts and prayers, pulling scripture, and becoming astounded by the sneak peaks of grace that God allows. 

And after a while, they'd sit.

 
 
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My Dad's got this saying that he pulls out when he wants to call somebody a know-it-all without saying as much. "She's sure gotta lot of answers right now," he'll comment with a shake of the head. I grin on the inside thinking about it. I know for a fact that he's said that about me at some point or another. I don't think any of us actually realize when we're being know-it-alls until after the fact. In recognition that I'm the first person in the guilty-as-charged line, I present: 

How to know when you've "gotta lot of answers." (Goofy sarcasm intended)


 
 
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The workout got the best of me. New to the gym and programming, my time was the slowest out of my entire group. Chest heaving up and down and hands on my hips, pride died right there next to me in a pool of sweat. That day, we were required to complete a combination of running, wall balls, and box jumps while being timed. “I don’t run,” I remember mentioning to the trainer as the starting bell sounded. I ran anyway. It wasn’t pretty.

 
 
I can’t stop wiggling in my seat. Continuing education day. Facts ring in my ears and I want nothing more than to run home and hug my kids. The information just keeps coming: 

  • Teenagers and young adults who regularly use cannabis suffer an average 8-point IQ drop that’s irreversible… 
  • The United States uses 80% of the entire world's prescriptions…
  • After a substance abuse relapse, people's withdrawal symptoms worsen each time they attempt sobriety… 
  • Society is ill-equipped to deal with normal life stresses in natural ways...

 
 
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I catch my four-year-old rifling through the wooden, oak-stained, memory box that my Grandpa Charlie made for me years ago. Pictures litter the carpet as he immerses himself in the parts of my life he's yet to understand. "You have so much memory in here, Mommy."