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I’ll Take a Venti Life with 3 Pumps of Sweetness and a Side of Career. Oh, And I Have a Coupon

wwwww

So the award for the longest title goes to me.

Also the award for the biggest tantrum on the planet. It has been going on for two days two years. And now it’s ending. What I really needed to do two years ago was give myself a spanking to snap out of it, but I don’t believe in corporal punishment, so instead I whined and complained and basically made myself and many around me miserable.

And then last week I threw water at my argumentative teenager which was my wake up call to give myself a time out on my nuttiness. And here’s what I learned.

Right now I’m exactly where I need to be.

I’m not God so I can stop pretending to run the universe. He has a plan for my kids, my hubby, my job, my entitled sausage of a dog… all of us.

I’m working at Starbucks.

I can stop feeling bad about it. It’s not because I suck at writing or because I couldn’t get something better. It’s because it’s an honest living. I get to stretch that side of me that hates discipline, order and routine and become good at it. Why? Because how can I expect my kids to do the same if I haven’t learned that lesson?

In taking a little time to myself the other day (a long time coming, I might add) it really sank in that my current job situation is tough for a creative like me. But it’s not impossible. And it’s not necessarily a punishment or a burden. It’s quite the opposite.

Getting paid pennies to show up on time, flex new sides of my brain and show professionalism when I want to scream are valuable life skills that I need to be ready when the bigger stuff hits. It’s allowing me to become a warrior in my own life. This is not a crap job. It’s a magic tool belt to refine my spirit. It’s a petri dish for my character defects and because of it I get to grow.

Life is not a Starbucks drink. I don’t get to stand in line with a kushy gift card and order a Venti Existence with Three Pumps of Joy and a Side of Career. (With a gift card no less!) I get to earn it fair and square so I’m ready when the big stuff comes along.

And here’s the real kicker: What if the big stuff is not out there? What if this is the big stuff… this very minute? This very “smells like Pike standing on my feet working it all out in a green apron” minute? Is that good enough?

The very plain answer is yes. Because right here… right now… is where my kids get to be 12 and 13. Where I get to work on my relationship with my spouse. Where I get to serve others and love on my nasty customers and try to make someone else’s world better each and every day.

And in doing so I get the greatest riches of all.

Peace.

Just a few thoughts for today.

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

bookcover profile pic

 

 

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I Am. Enough.

Enter Adele Song

Hello, blog…

It’s me.

I  have lost you in the pile of the

Trash and the laundreeeee

blog 11blog 8

But I’m finding…

My waaaaaay out…

Of the construction and the shipments so this post is all about….

blog 3

(Big bridge)

Hello from the other side

My freelancing career done died

No more Ebay… and clients

It was all way too much

So I’m now… going full time…

So I don’t go any more nuts…

blog 14

Anymore…..

Yes, hello from the other side… the side that is getting back to the me-that used to be. Like my kid who tried to rock the Robert Plant rocker look only to finally get a haircut yesterday, sometimes we have to cut off the old in order to grow something new.

after

I’m not sure if you’re like me, but sometimes things can feel overwhelming. It can feel absolutely impossible to get everything done in one day and do it well. And, well, that’s because it IS impossible. How does one mother, work, clean the house, shop, exercise and, God forbid, stoke the fires of her own soul?

I could overthink until I’m blue in the face (or pink like my kid’s pic above) but the real answer is: YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL.

Knowing this, and giving oneself the permission to not get it all done, are two different things. I’m making baby steps toward the second option and cutting myself some slack. But here’s the deal. I love to write. Some of my favorite times were when the kids were little and I wrote for a few big name blogs in addition to keeping my own personal blog. There was something connective about it. Something exhilarating about getting a comment. It felt like I made a difference. When other people wrote and I read their words, they often pierced into the very marrow of my bones as if to say, “I get it. I’ve been there. Keep going.”

I want that again. Full-time job or not, family obligations or not, I want to do the thing that makes me feel most alive. I want to do what God wired me to do.  I’m a story teller. And while for a season of my life it seems I’ll be adding commuter to my title, I’ll still need a place to share my stories. And that’s here.

Today on a walk with a friend, we were discussing the notion of balancing “want to’s” with “have to’s”. She, too, is a worker, a mama of two (one with some extra needs). She, too, knows the frustration of feeling like, in her words, a “piece of silly putty… pulled in a zillion directions.”

She told me about a sign she has on her computer screen at work that reads, “I am enough.” Yes, she is. So am  I. And so are you. How do I know this? Because I have a God who, in translation, literally means “I am.” Add a period to her sign and you’d get, “I Am. Enough.” I can’t help but believe this is the very God I choose to worship, telling me to cool my jets. “Slow down, Andrea. I am here. Stop with the spinning. Enough.”

And so, just for today, I will breathe.

I will get that transcript ordered from my college to turn into my potential full-time gig.

I will go back to the grocery store and pick up the items I had to leave yesterday when my checking account disagreed with the amount of food I was attempting to purchase.

I will take my son to Bible Study with his best buddy, Ty, because it’s Tournament Series and nothing says Jesus like a bunch of stinky tweens with painted faces and wrestling capes screaming “Lucha Libre!”

lucha libre

I will take the $100 a neighbor so kindly gave me out of the blue (“for always helping my son out”) and bring my daughter to the mall for a dress for her first middle school dance. (Visa bill, you can suck it for one more month. My kid needs some ruffles.)

I will send a reformatted galley copy of my book to my publisher so that I can get my #s up on Amazon from 200 sold to 201. (Nothing says hitting the big time like a $90 residual check.)

I will grit my teeth when I feel like screaming and tell my husband that he is “smart” and “courageous” and that I “have his back” with his business, even though what I really want to do is fall face first into my raised garden bed and cry about having to work full-time because I DON’T WANNA I DON’T WANNA I DON’T WANNA!)

The truth is, despite what can seem like a pretty daunting to-do list, all of it is do-able thanks to my God. This God helps me do big things. I don’t need to be scared. I have a teammate. I am no longer alone.

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How can I let go of fear of the future? I can live in the present. In His presence. Because there, in His embrace instead of my own anxious mind, I am secure.

I am brave.

I can do this.

(And so can you.)

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Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

 

book cover

Joy. Every Day. Just Cuz.

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My daughter knows how to have joy. Whether it’s baking, or playing the piano, or singing or just playing with the timer on her new camera (see above!) she commits to beauty and contentment.

She is strong. She does not cater to popular opinion. Bring on the Justice sparkles and the “Peace Love and Monkey” tee shirts. NO THANK YOU. She’ll sit there quietly, back straight, with crisp black Mary Janes at the ends of her perfectly crossed ballet legs. She is kind and respectful, but she accommodates no one.

This mama has been has been watching her and taking notes. She’s onto something. Why NOT commit to joy, even with my to-do list bursting? Even with demands pressing at me wherever I turn?

I’ve had this realization that while I Ebay, write my articles, consider full time work and attempt to take care of my children (at times I feel like I’m lagging on that last part) I might as well enjoy every second of it. And while you’ll never catch me baking or taking artsy pictures, I sure as hell enjoy a Costco trip. Grocery shopping and budgets be damn, I can squeeze enough laughs out of a one hour run to last me for the day.

Take yesterday.

After downing more samples than a drug addict at a cocaine-for-all buffet, I was making my way from the Rotisserie Chicken section to canned beans when I  had to stop. A burly man and his wife were blocking my cart as they eyeballed the Vitamixers.

Wife: (startled) Oh, are we blocking you?

Me: Yes, you are. But it’s fine. I’m not in a hurry. (Which was true.)

Wife: (thrilled) Oh, thank you! How kind!

It was a little thing, but I could totally feel her light up from the inside over the fact that I didn’t call her a lazy ass slow poke for halting my progress.

Later on, while in line to pay, I saw the same couple next to me. The wife had just finished asking an elderly lady if she needed help lifting the 2000 pound bag of Pedigree. I suppose the wife could have been one of those predators that take advantage of needy octogenarians, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I could sniff her faith out a mile away, too, and just had to ask.

Me: I know this might sound odd, but are you a church goer?

Wife: Yes I am! How could you tell?

Me: I guess you just had a whole lot of God coming out of you. It’s nice.

Wife: You, too! Praise Jesus!

What could I say to that?

Me: Sounds good to me!

Lest any of you non-Christian readers think I’m about to get into a “Your kid’s tics will be healed if you drink the Jesus juice” rant, rest assured I’m not the Bible Thumper type. But I do love to connect with people, which is why seconds later I found myself at the coffee grinder, talking 20 minutes to man whose name turned out to be Bob. Come to find out he was also a member of the same 12 step association I belonged to. He later introduced me as a new friend to his wife, which of course I turned to and said, “Um, mam, I hate to break his anonymity, but did you know that your husband is an ALCOHOLIC?”

On the way out the door, I spoke to the transgendered item checker who, despite looking more manly than the week before, still goes by the name Krystal. She agreed that it is indeed cold outside but it’s no excuse for people to drive like mother cluckers.

On the way out the parking lot I looked the other way at the teenagers joy racing in the electric disabled carts. Why? Because I was young once, too, and their smile made me smile and that meant joy.

Later that night, I heard thump thump thump coming from upstairs. I could have gotten annoyed, but I didn’t. That was the sound of the two people I love most, having some joy with my daughter’s new camera. Apparently the timer feature is awesome for flying shots. Who can argue with that?

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A few hours later, while painting my nails with my daughter, I heard more squeak squeak squeaks coming from my son’s room. I sighed deeply.

Pip: Mom, you wrote a book for other people to deal with the tics. Why don’t you read it again for yourself?

Me: You have a point, kid. I’m working on it. But I’m not perfect yet. I’m trying.

After that, despite flogging myself like I normally do for just not being over sounds that my kid can’t control, I went on painting my nails. I joked around with my daughter (who of course scolded me for the inappropriate ones. How did I give birth to Jane Eyre?) And I internally gave a quick “Thank you, God” that my kids are still here in my home, safe and sound, despite  a few noises.

And joyful.

Thank you God, for the joyful.

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Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

book cover

 

 

 

 

 

I Could Be Ticked Off, But I’m Too Bleepin’ Excited

kids start school

Greetings from Happily Ticked Off. Remember me? That once faithful blogger who helped you navigate through the highs and lows of tics? The person who gave you all sorts of encouragement when you felt worse than a nit in your kid’s hair after a session with the lice lady?

Side note: Do any of you non-L.A./New York readers have this service? A real, live nit-picker who will comb baby lice out of your kid’s hair one painstaking strand at a time? Yes, even with much of our world in dire poverty, I say without apologies that I blew $400 bucks a few years back to deal with what I can only refer to as the Lice Infestation of 2010. It’s chronicled in this article, “Of Lice and Men.”

SUMMER

Did you all have a good summer? I, personally, did not. Mine consisted of this:

* Commute 1 and a half hours each way for a writing gig that kept promising insurance but didn’t give it

* Schedule kids for play dates and camp dates around my husband’s work schedule – that schedule being his very own I.T. company start up which, of course, does not pay insurance, but we have a dream, people! Dental, schemntal, insurance. Who needs teeth! I’ll start on my smoothie regime, lose weight, save money on the gym, and buy health insurance!

* Ebay on the side to make $29/month to put toward elusive insurance, only to inevitably spend it by the end of the month because I can’t take cooking, cleaning and kid wrangling ONE.MORE.SECOND. so I give my hard earned income to El Pollo Loco, Taco Bell or some other fast food joint that is not full of gluten but inevitably causes me to worry that I’m going to make my kids die an early death from their GMO-laden, toxic, hormone pumped chicken/cows, not to mention increase tics because, you know, I’m going to cure this whole syndrome with food alone.

* Have a few people close to me be less close to me because I’ve been so busy working my patience resembles a burned out elecrical chord on a dried out Christmas tree and, well, apparently I’m not as much fun to be around when I’m on four hours of sleep, six cups of coffee, and enough Oreo cookies to make Santa vomit. 

After 8 weeks of this insanity routine, my kids started school.

Normally I cry.

This year, it was all I could do to numbly kiss them goodbye at the classroom door. On one hand, it saved me the agony of worrying about my sixth (yes, SIXTH) grade boy’s tics increasing. I was too tired to freak out. “He’s a strong kid,” I told myself, and I meant it. “If he’s fine, then stop.” Work, with all it’s zillion tasks and responsibilities, simply didn’t allow for excess rumination. It was fall down and die of fear, or keep moving. I chose the latter.

On the other hand, numbness and stone cold resolve was a real sign for me that in running such a rapid pace I was not only outrunning grief, I was outrunning joy.

When was the last time I sat with my kids and read a book?

When was the last time I had coffee with my mom at the mall?

When was the last time I sat in my room, organized my photos, and just laughed at some of my family and friends’ ridiculous hair-do’s, not to mention my own?

While I can’t say I didn’t do any of those things mentioned above, I wasn’t as present as I’d like to be.

But today, after almost 10 months of marathon training, I was given my walking papers at work. (Well, not 100% true. My job was reduced to 75% of its original description. Which means 75% less pay.)

Fear? Anxiety? A wee bit. But truthfully, not that much. I truly feel God has a plan for me. Despite a whole lot of uncertainty ahead, joy and hope is bubbling up to the surface.

I’ll get to be present.

Present on my site.

Present in my home.

Present in my community.

And people, that is SUCH a gift.

I’ve missed you.

Andrea

(Pic of Stink, Pip and Miss L, starting 6th and 5th)

Wait, there’s more!

Check out more posts about Tourettes at the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome where this blog is syndicated.

Find me on FB here. 

Follow me on Twitter 

Blog Hop – Why I Write!

I bring this long fast to an end to talk about something dear to my heart. No, not tics! Writing!

Not only did I just finish a second rewrite of my book where it’s actually being considered by some pretty decent agencies (Squeeeeeel!) but a lovely writer named Lorraine Devon Wilke asked me to participate in her Blog Hop.

What is this Blog Hop, you ask?

A Blog Hop is where a writer refers her followers back to other fabulous voices in the online community. I’m a big fan of supporting other writers, especially women, so I said ‘Yes’ to the opportunity to play.

To start with, let me give some love back to Lorraine!

lorraineLorraine Devon Wilke is a creative hyphenate currently enjoying her three-ring circus of writing, photography, and music. She’s a longtime HuffingtonPost contributor, a successful screenwriter, and a widely published essayist; she curates her fine art photography site, as well as her personal blog at Rock+Paper+Music, and her original CD, Somewhere On the Way, can be found at CDBaby.com andITunes. But her latest “big adventure” is the launch of her first novel, After the Sucker PunchatAmazon…stop in for a copy! Check www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for links and information, www.AfterTheSuckerPunch.com for updates and links for her book, and stop by her blog at www.rockpapermusic.com for her own answers to these questions! 

Secondly, here are a few questions I was asked to answer. I will ask the same of two other writers I bring into this. Check back Tuesday or Wednesday as I add them!

1.What am I working on?

Writing full time for a faith website

Currently I’m writing full time for the faith website, Believe.com. This means spear-heading campaigns such as “I’m a Believer,” featuring such up and coming voices as Leanne Penny, Doreen Lecheler and Michelle Wulfestieg. I also get to feature old friends and equally talented voices such as Gretchen Hanna.

I have contributed over 50 articles since December, including movie reviews for Noah, Son of God, Heaven is for Real and more. I have the pleasure of interviewing big faith writers, too, like Ted Dekker. (You can see my bio at the top of this link. The articles are underneath it.)

While I don’t mind the movie and book reviews, I’m most proud of the blog I write which features a transparent look into my journey of faith.

Why be so open online? Am I that needy?

Yes. I’m needy for connection. And so are a lot of people. Life is too short to go about it alone. Writing gives me the wonderful opportunity to look fear in the eye and say, “Buzz off. You don’t scare me. I got peeps around the world going to emotional bat for me. And guess what? I’m doing the same for them. Plus, by writing about faith, I have people PRAYING for me now, too. Look out!”)

Some people wouldn’t “air their dirty laundry” for the whole world to see, but I don’t look at my personal writing this way. I also don’t buy that to be a person of faith we must not have challenges. No, I don’t believe we have to be perfect to find Jesus.I believe Jesus wants us to come to Him as we are, because He is perfect. That is the gospel. That is the redemption. When we can get real with our very ugly warts and scars, we can rise into the people we are meant to be in our souls.

Want to see those blogs? They are located in the parent section at the right side bar!  It’s called “Fundamentally Imperfect.” I wanted the title”Jesus on the Couch and other Tales of Christian Therapy” but hey, life ain’t perfect. This leads me to question #2.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My writing is a bit different than what many people expect Christian writing to be. There is a misconception Christians are the epitome of hypocrisy – shiny on the outside, rotting on the inside. Me? I make no bones about it. I’m a rotten sinner. What do I mean by that? Sin is simply being separated from God. Every day I have to fight my natural instinct to do what I want to do. I don’t get to run off with Hugh Jackman and smoke doobage at Disneyland while singing Sesame Street. Instead, I have to be a responsible human being. Christianity gives me permission to know I’m not alone. That someone else out there loves me enough that I don’t have to be perfect.

Do I 100% believe everything in my faith? No. I don’t. I admit it. If being open and honest about some of the things I’m not sure about makes me a wishy washy Christian, then I guess I am. But, like a kid, I didn’t know everything about what it meant to be an adult, but I trusted my dad. Jesus is my Father now, and I can moan and complain all I want, but I feel safer, more creative and stronger under His guidance than I do without Him, so I journey on.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I got lucky enough to have someone find me on Linked In right when my husband lost his job. Some big company actually wanted to pay me to talk to writers all day, interview production folk, and write about my faith journey. So I said yes!

I also write because in writing there is connection. I am not afraid to be vulnerable, because in being so, I let others know they don’t have to be perfect. Then they tell me their war stories and together we trudge toward our happy destiny of peace together.

4) How does my writing process work?

I write every day without exception. Mostly I write because I’m on deadline, but when I am writing for myself, I set a time and do it. Example: My second rewrite was due May 1. I’m working full time. I have kids I pick up from school at 3. This means I’m up at 5am to be on the road by 6. Lest I sound like  martyr, I’m grateful to God to have this job. But my job is not as exciting to me as my book. It just isn’t.

And so, with that in mind, I wrote an hour/day from 6am – 7 for a month straight. I came home and did an additional 2 hours of paid work later. I knew, in my gut, that THIS WAS THE TIME to finish this book. I know my job won’t last forever. I want to have something I love in the depth of my soul to carry me into my next experience. I think it’s this book, but if I’m wrong, I’ll never regret writing it. I’ll self-publish if it’s not picked up by a traditional publication!

Any questions?

Does anyone have any questions? I’m not often asked about my writing or my faith on this site. I am your tic mama and I love that. But I also know that if it weren’t for my writing, I’d be much more stressed about tics which, for the record, are a bit better today! (Though my sweet boy DID have a new tic which kind of scared me. Check back Wed for more info.)

And come back tomorrow to see a few new writers I’m going to add to this Blog Hop!

Love,

Andrea

 

 

Consequences and T.S. – The Big Pay Off

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When I was in the middle of my big “do I or do I not follow through with this UCLA study/medication” I spoke to one of the doctors. She once again told me the pro’s and cons of Intuiv. The pros: It’s been on the market for 20 years. It’s got very few side affects. The cons: It can make a child really sleepy and sometimes faint due to its blood pressure lowering attributes.

I was still so iffy. It seemed weird to push my kid toward medication when Stink was content with himself. “He’s happy. He loves his tics!” I said to Dr. J..

Her response was a bit startling to me. “Yes, you’ve said that and so has he. It seems kind of odd, though… this whole liking his tics thing. What’s the meaning behind that do you think?”

I had to pause. What was she implying? That somehow Stink was living in Delusion Land? That perhaps I, as a mother, had been feeding my kid the Kool Aid all these years? (Note: This Kool Aide would of course be organic and dye free.)

Dr. J is really great, so I’m not annoyed at her, so much as surprised by the reasoning. Isn’t it possible that a child could like themselves, despite a few tics and twitches?

Is it possible… not to pat myself on the back (but it beats the alternative of flogging myself with fear so go with me)… that Stink was brought up to believe that he, as a person… as a soul… is valid, despite a few “flaws” in the form of tremors and twitches?

And is it at all plausible that this self-confidence is not a side-effect of “potential” Aspergers – the syndrome where people are considered non-self aware and self-focused to an extreme – but the ease in his own skin has to do with the fact that… here’s the zinger, folk…. he actually likes himself.

This leads me, once again, to my feelings about God. (Sorry to you non-faith based folk.) As you know, I’m on a Christian path. It’s one where I have my doubts right along with my blind acceptance of improbablilty faith. But the crux of the matter is this: If some dude really came to life as God in human form, was nailed to a cross, then rose from the dead to have new life, isn’t it possible that my own very human son, through the grace of God, could rise above his own wonky circumstances and love his life?

From my impartial perspective (ha ha… like I could ever be impartial about this little Stinker) my son’s love for his differences come from a combo of 3 main things:

* Personality

* Home life

* Faith

Like the trinity I look towards as strength and support for my joys and sufferings, how can I not look to the trinity of those three attributes and give all of them a little bit of credit toward his contentment?

Never to be underestimated or overlooked, so much of who Stink is comes from his sister. She is his greatest fan and advocate. As the sibling of a “special needs” brother, I am acutely aware that she needs the same sort of honor and time as I give him.

The other day, I said to her, “Pip, you know, there are groups for sisters of kids like Stink. I could totally sign you up if you’d like.” Her eyes got wide and she squealed, “You mean, a group for sisters who have brothers as awesome and funny as Stink?!”

I laughed out loud. What do I owe such an amazing daughter to? Perhaps more of the 3 above. I’m beyond grateful.

In closing, going along with my gut (or as my faith calls it, The Holy Spirit) I really felt compelled to follow-up on this drug study, despite Stink’s protests. “I won’t do it!” he stated in the bathtub one night. “I will spit out those pills! I will pretend like I’m swallowing them and stuff them down the toilet!”

“UCLA is going to give us $25/week for eight weeks for participating in the study. I’ll give it to you to save toward Disneyland tickets,” I offered, figuring he’d turn me down anyway.

“Sounds good to me!” he conceded.

I’ve now got a son fifty bucks richer, two times more hyper likely due to a sugar pill and one happy sibling who will be tagging along with him to the Happiest Place on Earth.

This Jesus of mine clearly has a good sense of humor.

* Photo taken last week before the kids’ music show. That’s my Pip on the left. Miss L is on the right. Stink is, of course, front and center. It’s shocking he’d pick out clothes that would make him stand out so much, huh?

Gluten Free Living/Vitamins/More Revelations!

A new reader asked me to point her toward some of my more concise posts on diet and T.S.. (Me? Concise? Is that possible?)

It got me thinking that I should really add a tab on diet/nutrition to this site. Until, then, though, I’ll leave her and you with a link from my old website.

Gluten Free/Caesin Free Living and Tourettes

http://www.lifehappins.com/2/post/2011/09/10-ways-to-go-gluten-free.html

This is a great book on T.S, diet, etc.

http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Treatments-Tics-Tourettes-Patient/dp/1556437471/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331674008&sr=8-1

Here’s info on how to test for food allergies

http://www.lifehappins.com/2/post/2008/11/the-abcs-of-igg-testingfood-allergies-and-tics.html

My Revelation

Stink’s Tarzan is still with us. I’m trying really hard to love it. Perhaps instead of viewing it as the squatter that constantly interrupts my son’s speech, I will view it instead as a quirky visitor who adds spice to our days. If only Tarzan would cook and clean toilets I might consider permanent adoption.

While I will never stop looking for ways to eliminate this sucker (stricter diet? more acupuncture? less Wii? better vitamins? drug options?) I had a super big epiphany today about me.

I was sitting in Bible Study, and we were asked to talk about a time when we simply could not forgive someone – no matter how much we were called to do it for our faith.

“Who would like to share?” our 82 year old kick-butt leader asked us. (I seriously want to be Rosemary one day. She hikes, wears Ugg boots, and is a nurse working as a lactation consultant. She had a shower at her home last weekend for one of our knocked up sisters in Christ. She called it “Better Than Sex” cake. Moving on.)

No one wanted to share their stories of un-forgiveness and anger. I don’t believe it’s because they were all so pious. It’s hard to talk about the ugly side of ourselves. Lucky for my leader, I have no shame.

“I have someone I can’t forgive,” I said. “Tarzan!”

I explained how, no matter how much I tried, I simply could not accept that annoying sound. I admitted that I’ve come a long way from getting totally nutty about it, but it still bothers me. I want it to swing on outta there.

“I am not 100% defeated, but I’m not 100% at peace when my son tics. I want to love Tarzan as he is part of my child. But I don’t. I hate him. (pause) With all my heart. (Pause) I don’t forgive him. (Pause) But I want to.”

People nodded and said they would pray for me – which is totally awesome. I do believe it’s God’s grace that is strong when I am weak.

Then a beautiful Barbie of a woman – call her Jodie – chimed in. In a venue where she could have left me with happy platitudes, she cut right to the core: “I don’t think you’ve accepted the tics because it’s not really about the tics. It’s really about you. When you are able to accept everything about you and love yourself the way Jesus 100% loves you, the tics will lose their power.”

Well, there’s that.