Sunday, February 4, 2018

Losing Baggage and Gaining Weight

This page is kind of funny to me because it is ever evolving as my mood changes or life happens. I have been hesitant to write since my last post because quite frankly once you experience the truth about life after death, everything else seems meaningless.  I have tip-toed through different stages over the past 5 months, some feelings and emotions make it to insta or facebook, but nada on here.  I reference the tides that have turned in dealing with the death of my dad a LOT, because, well, it is the new reality I feel I am constantly learning to stomach.  There are just so many grueling moments you can only truly deal with as they come.

BUT one huge positive to come from losing a loved one is how it makes things crystal clear.  Life has never looked so finite.  It has forced me to truly understand what matters now and what never did.

Thus, I'm chuckin' baggage I've carried for 31 years.

This post will slightly address two hard topics for me.

1.  Worrying about what people think

My itch to write is sometimes smothered by the thought that some people do not care. And maybe they judge me for being a faux-blogger or that I put time into something that people may never read.  I think often about the people I like to call ¨lurkers¨.  You know them. There are 10 in every crowd. The avid scrollers.  The distant ¨friends¨.  The ¨go-to¨ for all juicy info yet they never support or comment or like or love or praise almost any post. Like, never.  Those people. Lurkers.

But then I come back to reality and think, you know, any and all of the above people do not matter. At least their opinions don't.   I don't need to gain permission of nay-sayers.  And no, some people will not care.  And yes, lurkers gonna lurk.  But who cares.  What people think about me is none of my the saying goes.  I find it brave of myself to spill my guts about life in the hopes of making just one person connect and not feel alone.  That's the whole point.  And, so, I will write.

2. Worrying about my weight

Since I can remember, I have always worried about my weight. I have always been made aware of it, I guess.  I remember being called Mrs. Piggy as far back as grade school - and I actually think that is where it all got started.  I have written about weight before...losing it, and not wanting to gain it back. But that season was a single season and life has (thankfully) been switched up over the past year.  In my recent adult life, I have been very active and very smart about my diet.  Almost to the extreme where I give everyone but myself grace.  I have realized I unknowingly labeled myself just as those means kids did so many years ago.  I always watched my friends eat pizza and queso, never understanding why my body "could not function like theirs". I thought if I looked at a cupcake I would gain 5 pounds.  This isn't true. It never was.  I have only learned it since dating someone who loves Andy's Frozen Custard (maybe) more than he loves me.  I was forced to find the balance in this new relationship and I am actually so happy I did.  It has been uncomfortable.  My mind yearns for thin, but my heart yearns for the healthy balance.  I go to my gym classes 5-6 times a week like clock-work and I always pick out the most fit person in the room and ¨verse¨ them.  My boyfriend laughs at me because I am pretty sure that is not even the correct terminology. But I always tell him afterwards who I ¨versed¨ and how it worked out.  Whatever it is, I want to do more. Or be faster. Or show more grit.  I want to be the strongest.  Well, as I fuel my body with real food, eat real portions, and become best friends with protein, I have become strong. But, I have also gained weight.  Only in this process have I FINALLY realized what my problem was all along. I CANNOT BE BOTH.  I cannot be skinny and strong at the same time.  Actually, in even more honesty, I was fueling my body like I thought I should and in reality it wasn't enough nourishment for my activity level.  My body finally said "nope". Not going to work.  I did this, unknowingly.  But I did it because I was trying to be both.

Isn't that what trips us up so many times in life? Trying to be two opposite things at the same time.

The number on the scale has changed.  Strong = Muscle = Gaining Weight.
We have to undo what society has set as a standard.  I am saddened about how social media portrays ¨health¨ or fitness or beauty. How people pose and pop and suck in is beyond me most days. I feel bad for young girls growing up thinking that is normal. Or valued. Or #goals.   I feel sick thinking about how men are so tricked into thinking women should look ¨that¨ way. It infiltrates. Just like Satan wants. And often into our own minds, creating doubt, anxiety, fear, and self loathing.  This is such an issue.  This has been my issue.  And I hate even typing that out.  But, I'm sharing the real stuff.  It's the baggage I've been focused on losing.  I'm not sure where the "perfect number" ever even comes from?   For me, difficult breakups led to anxiety attacks, missed meals, and one of the only ways I could calm my mind was to workout and run. That's a recipe for extreme and fast weight loss!  That'll give you a lower number.  But not a better life.  Looking back, you couldn't pay me to walk through those waters again.  God was my strength, but I was weak.  That number was never perfect.  That number was weak.  Not what I'm going for.

I've been craving strength.  Especially over the past 5 months.  I've had to really sit and think about my mental clutter.  What I had and what I didn't want to have anymore.  Weight has almost always been a huge piece of baggage for me.  But only because I never really unpacked it.  I think God gives us women a chance to trust Him with our bodies in every stage of life.  As I type, the only tears come from knowing some parts of my body that I do not love, such as my tummy and my toes, are exactly like my dads.  I have thought about that a lot. I don't want to wish away any piece of him. Even the pieces I'm not EXACTLY thrilled that he gave me. :)

Cheers to loving our tummies and our toes. Cheers to choosing strong.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Truth About Life After Death

I've been staring at this blinking cursor for weeks.

I don't know where to begin other than I just have to begin.

This space was never even meant for this story. I'm mad that I even have to write it out.  I began this blog a year ago with intentions of posting about my life as a educator, in and out of school.  I've posted about tough topics and I've posted about personal topics but I've always been in a place to collect thoughts and spill them out as eloquently as possible. Back straight, sit up, tell em about how you got through, Rieke....

And then my dad died.

This space today comes full of letters that form words that are blurred through tears. I don't know who this post is for. It could be for me, it could be for him, it could be for the next person to be stripped of a loved one or it could be for the one who has already gone through it. For now, it's for me.  For me to output the hundreds of lines of notes from my phone about feelings that come over me- especially when I think typing them out will somehow alleviate the ache in my heart and the cloud in my head.

On August 22nd, 2017, I was speaking to parents at a Back to School meeting about class expectations for the upcoming year. My phone kept on buzzing but I couldn't look at it. The meeting finished and as I was walking out with a coworker I saw it had been my brother. Over and over again. I was hoping he was just being annoying. But I knew. I called him back.

Nothing ever prepares you for that sound on the other end. I've seen it in movies. I've heard from my friends who have lost parents....but it NEVER in a million years can be put into words.  I swear my heart stopped. In one second, everything changed.

My dad had a clean bill of health just the month before.  He was my oak tree. Never on my radar. He was the type of person who would never call in sick unless he physically couldn't move. You'd never hear him complain. He loved life and he loved us.

On August 22, 2017, my dad's heart decided to stop beating. The strongest heart I ever knew all of a sudden....wasn't.

The truth about life after death.... is that it doesn't feel like living at all.  It's a kind of numb that nothing can prepare you for.  People talk about the stages of grief but I truly think we all go through different ones in different ways at different times. I've gone through what I would call a dark stage and luckily we are moving towards more light, currently..ha. But, I'm still waiting for my dad to call me back. I listen to his voicemails just to hear his voice and most days I blink a thousand times, hoping this new reality isn't real at all.  I'm changed. I'll never be the same. I almost mourn the person I was before because that girl had her daddy. How could I ever complain? I think of moments in life now as "before dad died" and "after dad died".  I see lines on my face that didn't exist before. They make me sad because they show just how hard the world can weather you when you lose a vital piece of your being.  People comment that I'm not quite myself right now and (as loving as I know they're trying to be), I just want to scream "I'm not because I'LL NEVER be her again."  It's like shattered glass. In order for shattered glass to regain any type of normalcy or return to being somewhat what it was before, it has to completely melt down. And even then, it's never the same. It doesn't mean that something else beautiful won't come from it, it just means it will never be exactly the same as before.  That's me. I've quickly learned that not myself is the best I can do right now.

Another truth is you always think there is more time until there isn't.  It sounds cliche until you're on this end of heaven wishing you had those few minutes to sit and talk to your daddy.  To have him run his rough hands through your hair and promise not to be annoyed for the first time in your life. I would kill for it.  I want to tell him I'm sorry. That he did break my heart at moments but that I know I broke his, too. I want to ask him more questions about him and his past and his dreams. Why was he always the one asking me? Why didn't I take the time to know more.  Why would I spend more time diving into the lives of people on social media than learning more about my own father.  It's a nightmare living with the whys.  I'm sad I didn't always fully appreciate his tight bear hugs and the way he called me princess.  I wanted him to meet my guy. I miss him on my wedding day that hasn't even happened yet. There wasn't enough time.

The biggest truth of all, though, is that God is still God and He is still good. Transparency is that over the past month and half, there have been moments where I've doubted that statement. The physical feeling of losing a parent is one that is hard to understand as any type of "good". But in the moments of doubt, I have people praying for me, people loving on me, filling in those gaps, and it's truly carried me through.  I've had a hard time realizing this isn't changing. And I want to be over it so bad. I want to be normal and I want to carry on. I find myself envying the bustling world around me that just gets to "carry on". I'm not a crier.   Well, I wasn't before this. I wasn't before my dad died. Now, I cry.  The only thing that I've found to console me is that Jesus also cried.  He wept. In John 11:35, Jesus wept over the grief he knew others were feeling about the death of their family member (Lazarus). Now, I know I'm not Jesus! But it makes me feel better. I'm sure He's cried for me, too.  He knows and He knew. It's crazy to think that all along, in 3 decades of life, God knew that my dad would leave on that day at that exact time and in that exact way. It's crazy to think He's cushioned that blow with the most amazing, steadfast, loving people. He hand-picked them for me.  He knew I would need them.  That must mean He loves me. Even still.

I do know I'll see my dad again. It just doesn't feel soon enough. I do know that God has a greater plan for this ache, but I just don't know what it is yet.

Until then, I trust.


This was the last time I ever saw him.  I'm so thankful for the silly video my brother made us take.

I love you, daddy.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Space In Between

Hat that actually fits a huge melon, click HERE. :)


Oh my goodness, it's been 3 months since I last published. Crazy.  There are a billion and two excuses for that and none of which are juicy. Life has just been BUSY.

I logged onto Blogger and decided to read through whatever chicken scratch (does that even make sense if it's typed???? No. Okay.) that I've written here and there. Most posts were either barely started or too far in to "fix", ha!  But there was one from mid-April that literally made me stop and reflect. I used to be really good at taking the bad moments and tucking them away in hopes of never seeing them again.  I ran from them until I (finally) learned that I needed them as much as the good ones.  The bad measures our faith and the good measures our obedience.  At least for me. Journaling has helped me see that. I love looking back because I almost always see God, crystal clear. It's my favorite.

So, that's this post.  It goes perfectly with what I wanted to say today.  I started writing the post in April and stopped because the battle was real and my thoughts were clouded.  It didn't feel right.  I couldn't see two inches in front of my face and my stomach still knots when I reread it. But, luckily, my God is bigger. :)

So I'm sharing today.  And hindsight is beautiful.



This blogging thing is kind of funny because just when I feel I don't have the time to write out a "good post" or I doubt my choice to lay it all out there, someone out of nowhere will encourage me to keep on.  The other week I was feeling particularly bogged down and I got a sweet card in the mail from a friend (snail mail ROCKS btw) and the entire thing was about what my words have meant to her. Really?! It was so sweet and so perfectly timed.

In my last post I was very transparent about taking this life one step at a time. Honestly, whenever I hit the publish button, even now, I could upchuck because it feels like I'm skywriting my life from the inside out. I've run out of words to describe the feeling, but man, it's still a huge deal to me

I've actually been in a different mind space lately and wondering when the dust would settle so that I could see what the funk was all about.  Have you ever felt that way? Knowing it will pass, but waiting for it to seems like it's taking foreverrrrrr???  That's been me.  I feel I've finally pinpointed it somewhat. I'm almost embarrassed to say where the answer came from, but #whocares.

So... the little gem of clarity came from an article on celebrity doppelgangers.  (HA!) It was all about how these people go to these extremes to look EXACTLY like celebrities.  At first I was just curious and wanted to see pics, but then as I read along, I started feeling more and more sad for these people. Like, how in the world are they going to feel when they look back on their life and realize they've only ever focused on being something that they're not?  

Then my moment happened. 

Sometimes I get so caught up in whatever I'm not that I can't see what I am.

Good and bad. That's been my problem lately.

At our church, they always say to prepare- because when you go to a new level with God, you gain a new devil.  I hadn't quite understood it before, but as I've been trying to grow in my walk, I'M GETTING IT. The stronger I am in the Lord, the harder satan fights me. I consistently talk with my community group and friends about how even though Jesus is the real-est...satan is real, too.  As much as JC knows us, satan is right there plotting against us and using the most intimate details about us to steal, kill and destroy. And goodnesssss.....he's been all up in my grill and I've been ticked about it.

This is how my battlefield has looked lately:

What I'm Not vs. What I am

I'm not married vs. I am single

I've written before (here) about why I am single and how I trust the Lord on this journey. Most days I wake up knowing it's just Char and I for a reason, and I trust in the things that I don't yet know and can't yet see.  I cherish my freedom and only having to work around my own schedule. That being said, lately I've had the craziest episodes of reminders that I'm single. And not the good kind.  The other day I was getting my weekly groceries at Trader Joe's like I always do after church, and for whatever reason the store was packed with cute post-church couples.  I normally don't EVEN notice. But that day I did, and I felt like such a loser!! I cut my shopping trip short and booked it home before I had an actual melt down. I'm a sensitive person, but I never cry. That day I did. Hello satan.

I'm not where I want to be vs. I'm right where I should be

Trusting God on this one is my only option.  He carries me and I cling to that.



I WAS so caught up in who I wasn't that I couldn't see who I was. at. all.  
Makes it kind of hard to talk about it!!

So, obviously, I didn't finish that post.  I was stuck in the muck.  And Satan used a freaking grocery store to try and take me down. As embarrassing as THAT is..... #honesty.

A LOT has happened in the past few months and thankfully I'm in a different season today.  But it's the space in between that always matters most. It's what makes or breaks you.  

That girl in April was desperately clinging to her faith in a time filled with more numb moments than not.  And smiling along the way.  I remember explaining it to my community group like... I know the mission and I know the outcome.  But I'm in a lonely bubble (yet surrounded by a lot of people) and I'm just trying to make it through. Fear and doubt VS hope and faith, 24/7.  In all areas of life. Exhausting.  It's crazy how you can still FEEL so much in that kind of numbness.

Truly though, I'm so thankful for the space in between.  It always molds, defines, and refines.  Those are the moments of choice.  Choose.  Pray like a warrior. Ask for what you want.  But be more OKAY with what He wants. Surround yourself with people who remind you of His goodness.  And repeat.  

Things have happened lately that feel like God is shouting "I TOLD YOU my child, I've got this." 
I'm undeserving and it's overwhelming.   

It feels nice to finally ramble (ha!), and hopefully I can throw together more posts soon!  I always have a lot to say but it's the question of if it should be said or not! ;)

Happy day-after-the-fourth-that-feels-like-a-Monday!!! 


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Heel Toe

This weekend I went on a walk with one of my favorite people on the planet.  I may be decades older than her, but she's always teaching me something new.  I watch her and I learn from her, more than she will probably ever know.  Our walk was down a particular road we have been on countless times, but Sunday was different.  For the very first time in her life, I was able to see her walk heel toe.  Up until about a month ago, her muscles were wired in a way that restricted her movement. Medical advancement is miraculous, God is good, and....her steps are now fluid.  We held hands and gabbed too much for her to see that I was blinking back tears, secretly wanting to tell her thank you.   Yet again, this little girl has reminded me that perspective is everything and that perseverance is a choice.

You see, we never appreciate the process until something slows us down.  Then and only then do we see that heel toe is actually what gets us through, every time, no matter what speed.

At school we are in what we call "STAAR season", which means our kiddos are preparing for insanely rigorous state testing and teachers are pouring every last ounce of hope into them.  I always tell myself that I should journal in this season because then I can look back and realize it's always this stressful AND it always turns out just fine.... but that wouldn't help anyway because it's inescapable. Not the stress and the tests and the scores, but the feeling of loving these little beings SO MUCH. It's inescapable because it's what we live and breathe.  Nonetheless, I enter this season knowing that some of my Einsteins don't like to be boxed in and won't perform with pencil on paper...because neither would Einstein.  It's knowing (and accepting the fact) that a single exam will never truly be able to completely capture their brilliance.  It's knowing that hundreds of hours of teaching, sleepless nights and heart-to-hearts can't make a child succeed if they themselves don't try.  And it's mostly knowing that at 8 or 9 years old, college-readiness is at the bottom of their worry list.  Which....can we blame them?  At this time, every year, I have a moment (or two), when I have to concentrate on each and every step, knowing that it's purposeful, that we're moving forward, and that our kiddos always pull through at the end.  Heel toe.

And transparency?  Dating life has been similar.  Whoever said dating is fun is either lying or they're weird.  It's a lot of work, a lot of outfits (esp for a girl), and a little exhausting.  It's been extra whacky lately and I could go all T Swift up in here, but this is neither the time nor the place.  ;)  No, but really, it's difficult to be open-minded when you want the second date and they don't ask, or you definitely don't want the second date and they do ask. Kind of lose-lose, every time!  Every time until it's right, I suppose. I'm constantly reminded by friends and family that God does make everything beautiful in its time.  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)  Until then, I'm working on being open and vulnerable.  It's tough. But....heel toe.

I never want to act like life is so perfect that it makes people question theirs.  I also don't want to act like it's so hard that people question mine.  It's all balance and sacrifice.  Serving others and glorifying God in all we do goes against the grain of our selfish flesh, so it's no wonder it feels hard at times.  But hard means it's the road less-traveled.  Like our road I spoke of earlier, we can struggle down it a hundred times and then one day, by Grace, somehow our stride becomes swift and we carry on in ways we never even knew were possible.  Heel toe.

Love. Always.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thrifty Thursday: $14 Floral Crop Blouse

Hello my friends!

Thrifty Thursday is here and barely rolling out because this week has flown by (in the best way)!! I'm totally laughing (again) while writing this post because the pictures you'll be seeing were taken by one blogger bestie who knows exactly how to pose and pop...and then there was ME.  Have a giggle or two while hurt feelings here! To be honest, I'm respecting people (bloggers in general) more and more as I learn just how much work and poppin' goes into their posts.  It's ridiculous! But fun(ny),

Now, to the good stuff!  This top is probably one of my most favorite purchases to date because it absolutely did not disappoint.  If you follow along, you know I have some great pieces from a discount site called SheIn.  But as with them all, it is hit or miss and you just never know until the piece arrives!  This $14 top is almost cuter and brighter in person. PLUS, it's floral. Enough said.  

Last week my besties and I were going to The Rustic to support some friends at the launch of their new dating app called Vouch.  The top was perfect for the occasion! Vouch, btw, is a revolutionary dating app that takes the dread out of online dating. The single person (holla at your girl) doesn't do the swiping. Her friends and family do it for her instead!  Everyone downloads the app (married or not), and then her posse of "vouchers" start swiping through people they think she would be a good match with.  Fun for everyone.  Genius, right?! Anyway, the party was perfect, our friends are amazing, and this top was adorbs. You can get it here.   I ordered a small, so it's true to the sizing chart!

Now for the hilarity.... 

I truly cannot take pics seriously and the best ones are because I was laughing at my ridiculous friends while trying to be in poppin' mode!!  Funny friends are THE BEST.  The other pics are from the event and you can see, having my vouchers in tow, and getting to meet Sean and Catherine again, were definitely highlights of the night.  I have a crush on them mostly because they relentlessly glorify God, even in the spotlight.  Most people are scared to approach them, but it's silly to me!  They are just normal people, too.

And that's a wrap!!  Go buy the shirt and download the app! :)



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thrifty Thursday: $13 Criss Cross Bikini

Happy Thursday, y'all!  I honestly am confused what day of the week it is because I've been on Spring Break and enjoying every single moment.

Today's Thrifty Thursday is also a #TBT to Mexico this past summer! We went to the Excellence Playa Mujeres for the wedding of some dear friends and I've been itching to go back ever since.  Off topic, but the Excellence is one of the few places I've been that I would go back yearly. The entire stay was perfect!  It's amazing and you should definitely check it out!

Now, back to this little number.  I refuse to post full body bikini shots for the world to see - just NOT gonna happen - but you'll get the jist in these photos!  My favorite part (other than the price) is the criss cross top!  The bottoms are a little cheeky, so order a size up! :)

They also have it in a black/leopard option if you're feelin' extra fierce: 

And my personal favorite, a red if you're feelin' extra spicy:

I just ordered this adorable little beach blanket, too, because something about it just MAKES ME HAPPY. :)

I hope y'all get you some bargain suits to kick off your Spring Break, or if you're in Texas...our summer will be here like....tomorrow.  I'm pumped!!! Love me some vitamin D!

Love, always!!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Out and About: Dot's Hop House, Lulu's Bridal, Ascension Coffee

Typing out that title made me realize just how jammed packed my weekend was!  Not at all shocking and it definitely left me with a full heart!  This blog (and my life) thrives off of firsts and I had a few this weekend!

Trying out new places is one of my absolute favorite things to do so when my friend Kaitlyn suggested Dot's in Deep Ellum, I was pumped to check it out.  Deep Ellum is one of my very favorite areas of Dallas and I really feel it's sometimes underrated (which is fine with me because it keeps the crowds legit).  It bleeds history, art, music and of course amazing food. It's vibe is unlike any place I've been.  Props, DE!

Anyway, Dot's was NOT a disappointment!! It was such a fun place with a cool vibe. Walking in I was busy paying for parking via my phone and some guy goes "if you're trying to text me, my phone's dead"!!  I died laughing. So did everyone else.  I love witty people!!  The day continued on with more laughs, girl talk, dog gawking, and people watching.  :) I got some pics of a few things that caught my eye.  They had super cool wall art, a stained glass window portraying some of Dallas' most memorable sports moments, and  this insane chandelier that I want for my own outdoor area some day. (one can dream!!)  I really cannot wait until it warms up a bit so our crew can go back!

Sunday I went to church and then hurried on over to meet my sweet friend, Vanchelsa, who was picking up her wedding dress!!  We laughed because the same day I ordered her bridesmaid dress I also ordered my jumpsuit for another wedding I'm in (on the groom's side).  So much fun coming up and SO many dresses! Maybe they should come out with 27 Dresses and a Jumpsuit? ;)

Anyway, all jokes aside, I really do love when friends invite me to experience these once in a lifetime moments with them. It's truly always an honor!  

 V has a sweet tooth so I had to show up with a celebratory doughnut from Top Pot!  Makin' sure the dress fit! :)  P.S. it rained on my all the way from church to my car, so I was lookin' frizzy fab!

We grabbed brunch at Ascension Coffee afterwards and it's just as cute as I'd imagined. It's been on my list for a while and this little gem in the Design District will be visited by me again very soon. 

Vanchelsa is a fellow picture lover and she's always snappin' something. The pic above is kinda too up  close and personal for my liking but I love it because she captured me genuinely looking at her and soaking up the day we had just had. :)

I rounded out the weekend by serving dinner at The Salvation Army alongside Echelon, a group of young professionals in Dallas.   Echelon partners with The Salvation Army and hosts various faith-based activities and fundraising events throughout the year.  It's always so refreshing to serve others and hear their stories.  

Needless to say I'm joyfully heading into my SPRING BREAK! :)  

Lots of posts to finish, lots of posts to come!

Much love!

© Rookie Rieke
Maira Gall