Monday, April 27, 2009



Angels are all around me,
interwoven into the fabric of my life.
Forever unconsciously following their path,
as they try to lead me away from strife.
I’ve not been coherent to their meddling,
merely clay awaiting the potter’s wheel.
Blindly trusting a will I didn’t comprehend.
Following the guide, walking through the tides.
Unknowingly embarking on a journey,
With a destination not determined.
Heading towards the sun . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Taste of Success

Who doesn't love icecream?? I mean really - what's not to love?? Sugar, Milk, Flavor, Yummy goodness, Creamy . . . yeah, anyway - this is NOT about ice cream and how it made me sick the other day . . .

So, Wednesday I will register for courses, and then I'll officially become an undergrad student pursuing a Bachelor's (and eventually a Master's) in Psychology at Washburn University here in Topeka, KS. After much self reflecting and soul searching, I've heard a calling and have answered. I believe that I can help those that are struggling with the decision to have bariatric surgery, and more importantly help them deal with the issues that got them to this point.

At church this past Sunday (where I am now a member incidentally) I met a wonderful woman, we'll call her Xena (b/c I don't know if she'd want her name on here). It came to my attention that someone in the church was considering having a lap band. And since I had one, they wondered if I'd be willing to talk to her about my experiences and insights. Of course I said yes! Those of you that know me know that I am open book on this experience, as it has already completely changed my life!

So Xena and I chatted about the surgery itself, what I went through, where she's at in her journey to getting the band, commented on how precious her grand daughter is (she truly is), etc. We shared a lot, and I pray that the hope and joy I have come to experience from this procedure I was able to communicate to her. We laughed, shared phone #'s/emails, hugged, and parted ways.

That's when it hit me -- THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! I'm going to help people that have had some tough experiences in life, and I will help them not only survive them, but be able to thrive. I get to help them slay their own demons, as I did mine. It's humbling, and motivating at the same time. It motivates me to continue to follow the program (btw - I'm up to 45 lbs lost in case you missed the counter change!!!) and to really focus on my upcoming degree endeavors. I don't want to become a psychologist quickly, I want to be a damn good one.

I've said before I'm not a big believer in fate. But I do believe in paths crossing for a reason, and I believe that we all affect each other and change each other a little as we pass through our lives. Xena did more for me than I did for her. I hope to repay the favor one day. God indeed works in mysterious, but wondrous ways. Good luck hon!!! I can't wait to find out your surgery date!!!


So long I've toiled, in my cocoon.
Building walls to stand against the elements,
to stand the threats of hunters,
to stand against the world.
Safely I'm bundled inside.

Slowly working, becoming more than I am.
Looking around, I must tear them all down.
The walls that protect now bind,
that heal not hurt.
Suffocatingly I'm bundled inside.

Tearing at the fibers, hopelessly fighting to get free.
A prisoner in my own shield,
Unable to cast it aside.
The only existence I've known.
Tragically I'm bundled inside.

Breaking through to the outside, my wings spread wide.
The armor prison falling down by my side,
The world around, not at all how I left it.
So full of hope, so full of life,
My soul no longer bundled inside.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Killing Time - Random Updates

If there's one thing I'm not good at, it's waiting. Guess it's a product of being a Gen-Xer -- instant gratification is such a necessity sometimes. Or maybe it's that I'm worried my ADD will kick in and I'll forget what I'm waiting for. Or maybe it's the excitement piece of wanting to move forward from where I'm at. Or it's that I have to leave for work soon and need to get this done. Or . . . (see - it's the ADD)

Seriously, I'm just chillin' waiting for 1pm so I can call the psychology department at Washburn to set up a meeting with an academic advisor to get my schedule set and then register for classes for this coming summer session and Fall 2009. It's kind of weird, but I'm going to be classified as a Freshmen again :) Of course, I'll be moving MUCH faster through those designations than my peers will be - since I only need a few classes to progress from each classification. In 2 years time ~ give or take a semester ~ I should be graduating with a Bachelor's in Psychology from Washburn University. Then comes one of the biggest decisions in my life - stay here to get my Master's or move back to Texas. I know where my heart is, but this decision has to be made with my mind. So - no rushing that . . .

Working out is going rather well. I've gone everyday since I joined the gym, and have enjoyed it a lot - suprisingly. I walk for 30 minutes or so at an incline and do some light dumbell work and resistance training to tone muscles. Last night, I started working on my "core" which is a nice way to say my big belly! That's a bit sore from last night :) Good news is that instead of dreading the gym, I actually look forward to it. I didn't sleep well the night before last so it was hard to really get into my workout yesterday, so I will really push myself tonight after work. Don't wanna fall off the wagon there . . .

Finally finished the redesign of my own website - I've been so busy with work, getting into school, and helping others with their websites and other design favors, that I just kept putting this off. I'm very happy with the outcome, a bit cleaner I think. Feel free to let me know what you think. Also keep in mind I would gladly help create a gift for you for someone - you just have to pay for the item (it's a hobby so don't charge - just like the challenge). Recently, I did a t-shirt for a good friend of mine that is going to Egypt for a year and he wanted a tee for his troops (he's in the Guard).

Have completely fallen in love with the Metropolitan Community Church of Topeka. It's such an open and welcoming congregation - they even gave me a coffee mug the first time I visited! I'm taking membership classes this Saturday to become a member of the church. I've ignored my spirituality for far too long, and am excited to reconnect. You know I am open with beliefs and don't want to push mine on anyone, just sharing here. For me, I seem to be on a journey that I can truly feel God's love - I really feel that I'm finally on the path he wants me to be.

So - other than major career change, going back to school, web design, working out, and joining a church I don't have much going on :) It's so strange to even see that list - I really am enjoying life again! Can't wait to get back home . . .

Anyway . . . killing time waiting for 1pm. Don't remember why but I'm waiting for 1 . . . ;)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Poem: the Phoenix

Thom is right, this will be a birthday I will never forget. There's so many reasons why, but beating the demons that fought for control of me for so long is on top of the list. For the first time in a long, long time, I am content. That doesn't mean I won't continue to move forward, quite the opposite actually. I just have the confidence, faith, and patience to know that I will succeed. Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend - hide an egg for me:)

“the Phoenix”

Reaching up
With dingy hands
Sorrows clogging lungs
Granules of pain
Making it difficult
To see ahead

Climbing up
Pulling life from the abyss
Moving towards the light
Ascending from the pit
The flames have singed
But not destroyed

Looking up
It is bright, the sun warm
Spirit not broken, resolve still strong
Vision clearing, Breath cleansing
Understanding soul
Loving me

Rising up
I am the Phoenix
From the flames that burned
I raise up from the ashes
Living again

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Birthday Reflection

I don't remember many happy birthdays. Not b/c I they were awful, they were just uneventful. I never really put a lot of stock in them. Until today . . .

See -- I've got direction, goals, and desires again. I am in the process of enrolling in college that will eventually thrust me into a completely different career.

I, for the first time in a long time, received an unexpected present. Two friends from work got me lottery tickets and a card . . . simple but sweet. I've haven't felt that special on my birthday in a long time.

I fielded calls from my brothers, dad, and stepmom. Always nice to be remembered. Several text messages - and lunch tomorrow with my bff. Just simple gestures of love, and so treasured. I open my facebook page and am inundated with tons of friends taking a moment out of their day to wish me happy birthday.

It's been a long time since I was happy to get older, but today I was. Truly happy for another year gone by, another challenge behind, and more ahead. I can't wait to see what's in store next for me. It's been a long time since I've been this content, and felt this loved.

Thank you to everyone who thought of me today, it meant more than you can know. Much love -- jj:)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

5 Weeks After: Six Inches

Everyone get your mind out of the gutter . . .

So, haven't gone to weigh in a while, mainly b/c I've been kinda busy. Work was a bit of a mess when I got back, but that's to be expected since I was out for so long. Not in a bad way, just had to catch up on stuff.

I was thinking about weighing, but held off. Mainly because of how I lose weight. My body is dropping the weight in small jolts -- not really a smooth process. I'm sure everyone is like that, which is why they tell me not to weigh more than once every 2 weeks. What I've found is that I'll lose weight, then my weight will remain steady and I'll lose inches. Never really both at the same time though . . . which is kinda weird, but I'm okay with it.

So - as you might have guessed by now (unless your mind is still in the gutter, which I think is hilarious btw) I've lost 6 inches on my waist line. Kind of caught me off guard because it was quite sudden, like this past week. Last weekend I tried on a pair of shorts that were smaller and I just couldn't get them all the way on (like up on my waist). Today - I'm wearing them comfortably while at Starbucks blogging about it . . . Kinda cool . . .

I went into my basement last weekend and went through all of the smaller sizes I have to see what still I can wear now, and I practically have a new wardrobe. I know the weight loss will slow down to a more gradual level - it has too b/c I don't think my body can keep up - but it's really neat to be doing this.

The neatest thing that has happened to date was at work yesterday. Two people were walking towards me (from quite a bit of distance away) and when I got to them they stopped me. One of them said that they commented on the fact that I am looking really good right now. The other one said, "Yeah, and he's happy too." Looking good is nice, but being truly content and happy is the best thing ever . . .