Friday, October 30, 2009

Tap dancing in my too big shoes....

Time to get excited people! It's DST! I literally cannot WAIT to stay up till 2 AM on Saturday/Sunday just so I can enjoy turning back the clock and getting the great pleasure out of seeing the new time. Things I am going to do with my extra hour of time this week?

Eat something

Okay, I realize that all of that won't fit into one hour. But I plan to make the most of it!


Happy DST to everyone!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big shoes

Today, as I was getting ready for my day, I selected a pair of shoes that I thought were going to be super duper cute with my new outfit. Well, not new exactly, but I just took the price tags off and the pants were the smallest size I have been in 3 they were new to me. Anyway, I digress. The shoes were too big! I took them off and looked at them to see if I could find some explanation for this...the shoes are almost brand new! I bought them at a great sale not too long ago. I tried them on again. Nope, they are too big. I got another pair off of my shoe rack and decided that I would have to go with those, even though they weren't as cute, because I was running short on time. Too big. What in the world? I stared at my feet in confusion. It finally dawned on me that all of the shoes I had been buying in the last year don't fit anymore because I have apparently even lost weight in my FEET. I had to go grab a pair of OLD SHOES that are my normal size. My feet grew half a size when I gained so much weight! You can stop laughing now...this is a true story. As I stood there in shock looking at these shoes swimming on my feet, I thought that this was quite possibly a metaphor for my life right now.

Sometimes, I feel like maybe my own shoes are too big for my feet....even without the weight loss. Sometimes, I wonder whose shoes I am really standing in when I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. Is this my life? Who is this person in the mirror? When did I take on so much responsibility? Decide that I was the right person to make life and death decisions about children's lives? About whether families stay together or apart? That I was the right person to teach new workers about how to determine if children are safe? If a case can be closed? Who is this Rebecca? She is not anyone I would have recognized 10 years ago.

All of this was precipitated today by a huge assignment from my boss. I idolize her, adore her, have more respect for her than almost any one I know. I have worked for her for a very long time- by choice. When I got the assignment, I literally felt the weight of the world crushing down on my shoulders, felt my chest tightening with fear. I didn't want to let her down...but I couldn't see how I was POSSIBLY going to accomplish what she was asking me to do. I could hardly sleep at all last night worrying about this and was up with Troy at 5 AM worrying about it some more. "Just do the best you can Rebecca," he told me. I told him but this was impossible, I don't think I can do it. He told me she wouldn't have given it to me if she didn't think I could. I said, "That's just the problem, they think I can do ANYTHING." He looked at me with seriousness and said, "That's because you can. You can do anything you want to, you always have been able to. It's your gift." I felt the weight coming down harder....because I know this is how he feels about me...and I was just adding him to the list of the people I was going to let down.

I called my best friend, who is my co-supervisor, and shared the "good" news about my new assignment. I told her I was FREAKING OUT. She told me, "You can do it! You are SUPER CHICK!". We call my unit "Dix's Chix" and have a bulletin board with the cutest little chicks for each worker....and so she decided about two weeks ago that my nick-name would be "Super Chick" because of my "super powers". I just shook my head and laughed when she came up with that then. Today, it was making me ill.

I hung up the phone with her and posted a status on facebook that read, "Whatever doesn't kill me will make me stronger....". One of my workers immediately jumped online and wrote, "I just call you SHE-Man". Another one of my ex-employees followed up with, "I just call you a badass". These workers have so much respect for me, they trust me so much....they think I can move mountains. I wonder sometimes (often times) I deserve this? What if I am not worthy....what if I am not this person who they idolize and look up to? What if these shoes are too big for me to fill? Don't get me wrong, I have worked HARD to get where I am at my job. But sometimes I just wonder who this person is that has this reputation of being...invincible.

As I stared down at my old shoes I had to dust off this morning, I took a deep breath and told myself I can only take it one step at a time. One case at a time, one day at a time, maybe even one hour at a time. Sometimes, I over-think situations (okay, most of you can stop laughing now, I over-think MOST situations...) and try to plan things out so far in advance that the sheer thought process associated with these tasks can be over-whelming and crippling. I was already worrying not about how I was going to get through this week but how I was going to get everything done for next week as well, never mind just getting through today. Whenever I break it down to just take it one step at a time, it is liberating and I can start to feel like I can breathe again. I opened my calendar and added the one meeting I needed to have to start the process for tomorrow morning. There, it's on there. I am moving in the right direction. I was starting to feel a little bit better.

When I was on my way out the door, I went to grab my keys and looked up at the sign we have hanging in the kitchen, "Prayer: When life gets too hard to stand.....kneel". And I suddenly remembered, why am I trying to do this by myself? Why am I putting the pressure of the world on my shoulders alone? I wasn't designed for that....I am only hurting myself by forgetting to ask for help. By forgetting that God will not put more on me than I can carry. For forgetting that I am never in this alone and that I don't carry this burden unassisted. By forgetting that I always have somewhere to turn when I am facing the impossible.

So, after I got done venting to my boss (thank goodness she knows me well enough after all these years to just let me get it out without judgment), I prayed. I prayed for guidance, for strength, for courage, for vision and for hope. I thanked God for blessing me with this gift to be able to give back so much sometimes it hurts. For blessing me with my abilities and for the gift of compassion. For blessing me with workers who respect, trust, and look up to me and for a boss who trusts and values me and entrusts me with her most important tasks. For a boss who cares enough about me as a person to let me rant and rave when I need to in order to get it out of my system. Thanked God for a husband who has stood by me and supported me through almost 11 years of service with this agency and has more faith in me than I could ever have in myself. I thanked God for the privilege I have to serve him and to serve my community. For the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children, families, and the employees I work with.

Does the road ahead still look scary? Bleak? Difficult? Challenging? Yes, it is all of those things. But it is not hopeless. I have some big shoes to fill. It is a good thing I don't have to stand in them alone (and a good thing I had some smaller ones handy in the closet). God has given me this gift and I know he is going to help me use it. I just have to put one too-big shoe in front of the other.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

And the greatest of Love.

So, I have had a TON of feedback about my blog regarding mean people....and not so much about the mean people I spoke of but more about the thoughts regarding mean people who shout from the rooftops about how "Christian" they are. Some people have agreed with what I said in the blog post, some have been upset by it, and some have reminded me of something that is very, very, very important.

As Christians, we are sinners. We are forgiven, but as humans, we sin. Alexander Pope said, "to err is human, to forgive is divine." I don't expect Christians to be perfect. I am not upset with people for not being perfect. I think, by definition, we are most definitely NOT perfect. That is why we must be forgiven and we must never forget to ask for that forgiveness...because we are children of God living on His Earth and making human and earthly mistakes each and every day.

Someone reminded me that every time I say a not-so-nice thing about someone else, I am sinning. Every time I gossip, behind someone's back, I am sinning. Every time I say a bad word, I am sinning again. They went on to remind me that despite these sins, Christianity is NOT about being perfect and that I am forgiven.

One of my sister's friends wrote me (I am waiting for permission to share her complete thoughts here, because I found them to be quite profound and speak to my heart) and I was most struck by her thought regarding where some people have turned as Christians is into a "holier than thou" state where they feel it is appropriate to pass judgement and elevate themselves into another status, a higher status, than others. Elevating themselves above others and deciding rules for them, based on their "status" of Christianity.

That, I believe, is what I was trying (possibly failed) to speak to in my previous blog entry. I am imperfect, Lord knows, I am so imperfect in so many ways. I ask for forgiveness regularly and know that I am loved with an unconditional love and that I am blessed and I am saved because I have taken Jesus into my heart. I am constantly under His watchful protection, His grace, and mercy.

What has me so bothered is those persons who use their faith and their professed Christianity to hurt others. When you say to someone else, in a snide tone of voice, "I am going to pray for you", implying that you are lesser than them, implying that you need their intervention from their faith as yours must be lacking, implying that their faith, that their devotion, that their character, that their state of being "Christian" is superior to yours, implying that this is so because they believe that they are on the "right side" of an argument and since you are on the "wrong side" your faith is not as just, not as pure, not as feels wrong to me. Feels wrong in so many ways.

When people use their faith as an excuse to abuse their feels wrong to me. Every day, myself or my workers, are quoted to from the Bible by people who have hurt their children. Have beaten their children. Have had sex with their children. People who believe that "spare the rod, spoil the child" means that you are to hit your children to instill good behavior (I won't even stir the hornet's nest here to indicate that is NOT what is implied by that proverb and it isn't even a direct quote from the bible but rather a compilation of ideas from scripture....I will save that for another time) and good character in your children or you are derelict in your faith and in your parenting.

When people who constantly degrade others, pass judgement on others, speak ill of others, instigate arguments with others, find ways to be as non-helpful to others as possible, hurt others and use hurtful language and hurtful tones of voice to others, get pleasure out of proving others wrong, making them look foolish, and calling attention to their mistakes....and then profess that they are "Christian" so these things aren't possible or couldn't be true about themselves....I am left to wonder if they DO remember that being Christian does mean being imperfect, being a sinner, and asking for forgiveness. If they remember that they are not perfect because they are separated from God by their sin. I am left to question whether they truly believe it to be true that because they are Christian, or they believe they are "more Christian" than someone else, they can never be wrong...never hurt someone with their words...with their actions or lack thereof.

Christianity is not a status of perfection. It is not a status of good moral character. It is not a status that makes you better than me, or me better than my neighbor or my neighbor better than his friend. It is not a tool that should be used as a weapon. It is not any of these things. As another person wrote to tell Christians, we are still sinners, we are simply forgiven sinners.

Corinthians 1:13:1
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing........And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

My prayer is for us to stop the clanging of the cymbals. Stop the ringing of the gong. Remember our imperfect nature, remember that the greatest of these is love, and remember that sin separates you from God, and His son died so that we can be forgiven for those sins and our ultimate act of Christianity on Earth is to live our lives in a way to make us worthy of His love.

Much love,

Friday, October 23, 2009


For some reason, I am craving the most bizarre things to eat. Thing I didn't even eat on a regular basis PRE-weight watchers. I feel, for some reason, perpetually hungry. I don't know if it is because I have been sick? Or if it is because I ate all of that junk at the fair? Oh. What's that? I was sick AGAIN, you ask? Yep, I thought about starting to take a vitamin though. :-) Or, if maybe my stress level is at such a level again it is causing these cravings? I don't know, but I need to figure it out and quickly....because this list is out of control!

I am craving the following random things:
Cheesecake. Okay, that one isn't random. Anyone who has known me since about 10th grade knows that about me. But I still want it. Bad.
Long John Silvers fish. Why? No idea.
Pizza from Disney World. Yep. That's right. Disney World.
Taco platter from Taco Cabana. Now, let me be honest. That one, I DID eat on a regular basis before WW. At least twice a month so I can kind of explain that one.
Root Beer. I know it isn't food. But I am craving it all the same.
Large Cherry Coke from Sonic. Same as above.
Texas Sheet Cake. I saw the danged recipe on Pioneer Woman and haven't stopped thinking about it since.
Sour Cream and Onion potato chips. sigh.
Del Frisco's spinach supreme. I don't know where this one came from, but it ended with it being added to my Thanksgiving Day menu in a modified format.

Now, generally, with my WW leader, she strongly recommends that if you are craving should eat it. Her thoughts are that you enjoy a small portion of whatever it is you are wanting and then you move on. Otherwise, you will eat everything in sight and still not be happy because you haven't had that one thing you are really craving and you will end up eating it anyway. So, I am wondering what to do when I am craving a LIST of things? And one of them is only located in Orlando, Florida? Again, I say.....*sigh*. They also say that sometimes you are craving things like potato chips because maybe you have a salt deficiency, etc. So, it appears, I am deficient in salt, sugar, fat, and fluid. I could buy items 1, 2, and 4....but since I know item 3 isn't true, I am thinking that isn't it.

So, I suppose I will have my two slices of non-Disney World pizza, drink my fourth bottle of water for the day, and try to get this train back on the tracks before it is completely derailed and spontaneously combusts.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Do you ever wonder what people are exactly thinking before they speak sometimes? Someone came up to Troy this week and asked him if was "okay". Troy was looking at him wondering what he was talking about and if there was some bad news going around that maybe he was the last to hear. The man leaned over and whispered, "I see how much weight you have lost, I don't know if you want to talk about it...." and Troy replied with, "Well, I don't mind....I have lost over 50 lbs and I am going to weight watchers. I am not embarrassed by it. Me and Becca are doing it together actually." The man looked surprised and then said, "Oh. You are TRYING to lose weight? I thought you know......sick." Talk about ego deflation to someone who has been working their bootie off (get it? Working their bootie off? Haha...oh never mind.) to get thin. Troy comes stomping in the house looking at himself in the mirror. "BABE!" (Oh Lord, did he burn his ass again?!) "Do I look SICK?!" UGH. I felt so bad for him! What are people thinking?

It is the same thing with people who INSIST on pointing out to me that I am "sick all the time". Someone asked me this week, "Is there something wrong with your immune system? Have you been checked?" I was that any of their business? It wasn't even someone I would consider a friend....more like an acquaintance! I get asked that a lot....because obviously....I AM sick....ALL the time. I wonder when someone tells me that if they think they are telling me some new information? Or if they thought THEY noticed I was sick a lot and maybe I hadn't noticed yet? So in case I was remarkably unobservant, they need to bring it to my attention? Is that what they are thinking? Maybe they are trying to be helpful? That would be an optimistic way to look at things. Perhaps I should try it. I would rather say to someone, "Man, you are RUDE all the time! Have you noticed?!" But that would be....well, rude, I guess.

Someone suggests to me maybe about 2 times a week that I start taking vitamins. I always wonder if I am being too polite by telling them I already do take vitamins. Would I be within my rights to just say, "You know what? That is none of your business or your concern. Good day to you!" and then politely walk away smiling? Or maybe I should start replying with, "WHAT A GOOD IDEA! They make VITAMINS?! THANK YOU!" Hmmmm, there goes that sarcastic side rearing its' ugly head again. *Sigh*

One day, I did get a little bit annoyed with someone who was going on and on making jokes about telling Troy he should invest in a "plastic bubble" for me for Christmas (it is cute when someone does that out of love by the way. Because they want to protect you and don't like seeing you sick. The other is just flat annoying.) so that I wouldn't get sick so much. They followed up with, "What is wrong with you anyways?" Again, this was NOT a friend, not a family member, just an acquaintance at work. I smiled and said, "Well, I was born not breathing and almost didn't survive. I was very weak and my immune system never properly developed. I was a very, very sick infant. Since then, I have worked myself into an even weaker state by putting in 80 to 100 hours a week at this place and sleeping about 3 to 4 hours a night for the last 10 years. To top it all off, I was put on an intensive steroid regimen three different times for my jaw surgery, my separated shoulder, my chronic bronchitis, and then three MORE times after my car accident. That pretty much took care of the immune system I had left. Then, I work at CPS where my workers are in and out of dirty, nasty homes all day everyday and the rest of the time are either in daycares or schools. And, oh yeah, my sister is a teacher and my nephew attends daycare. If I don't get whatever they have floating around here, it is waiting for me when I get home." They just stared at me and said, "Oh. So there is actually a reason? Sorry." Now, maybe I was being unkind by airing my dirty laundry to them in such a manner that they might have felt guilty about asking the question. Was I out of line?

What is the craziest or more inappropriate thing someone has said to you? Surely this isn't just happening in the Dix household?! By the way, to keep my PG rating on my blog, I omitted all the lovely things that come out of people's mouths when they hear our last name for the first time. Whew. That would fill up a whole other blog entirely. Right Shannon? :-) Now, everyone can wonder what you said....

Monday, October 19, 2009

The BIG 100

This Saturday, something amazing happened. Troy and I went to WW on Saturday like is normal for us every Saturday since April. We had missed the weekend before, which was our first missed meeting, and had gone traipsing all over the State Fair of Texas finding crazy food to eat that was both yummy and ridiculously high in points. We were a little nervous, coming off of a week where we hadn't weighed in, and having eaten pretty much what we wanted that past Saturday. I guess the traipsing part paid off though, because we both had amazing weight losses when we stepped on the scale and celebrated new milestones with our group.

I have now lost 44 pounds. Troy? Well, you know he has to have lost more than that (of course) and if you are really good at simple subtraction, or even addition, I bet you have figured out that he has lost 56. Put it all together and what do you get? The big 100. I honestly cannot believe it and despite the fact that it HAS been really difficult and challenging at times...I really can't believe how easy it has been and how fast we have gotten to this point. I just keep telling myself that I will blink again and next summer will be here and we will both be where we want to be.

When our leader announced our new success milestones to the group, the room broke into the most amazing applause and cheers. I am telling you- we are like weight watchers rock stars. :-) Then an older lady in the front says, "Oh my goodness, they have lost a WHOLE PERSON!" I wasn't sure whether to be amazed or embarrassed by that, so I chose to just go with proud and smile away.

Troy only has about 20 pounds left to lose and he is starting to focus more on strength training and muscle building at this point. I am down to 59 pounds left and while that is still a LOT of weight- it feels easier now than ever before. I have already made out my Thanksgiving Day menu, complete with point values for each dish, and figured out ways to lighten up everything and use my points where I really want to....that would be on the mac and cheese. I know it is going to be rough to make it through the holidays and keep on track, but I know with us supporting each other and keeping each other accountable....we will be just fine.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Relax, relate, release

This week has been an interesting week and by interesting, I mean challenging. One of my biggest faults is my quick temper and I have come a very long way in learning to keep that and my smart mouth in check most of the time. This week pushed me to points I have not been in quite some time and left me feeling a multitude of things. For one, I am proud of myself. There were times when I wanted to just really let loose and tell someone what I was thinking in my head that I was dying to say out loud. I didn't do it. That took a whole lot of restraint and effort on my part and, to be completely honest, left me exhausted.

On the other hand, I am left feeling confused and bewildered. Why do people feel the need to be so mean? Is there some benefit to being that way? Did their mother never tell them that whole catch more flies with honey spiel? Why people would spend their time being obnoxious and argumentative instead of helpful and cooperative (particularly in my line of work) is simply befuddling to me. Yes, I said befuddling. Meanness, bullying, rudeness have all always been things I could just never understand and they are sometimes so unsettling to me, they make me physically ill.

Today, I spent 37 minutes on the phone with another supervisor who berated me, berated my staff, talked to me as if I was 2 years old and had misbehaved and somehow offended her. The purpose of the conversation? Trying to come up with a time when we could staff a case together because she reported that she was too busy to do so today. I heard someone in the background and she told me it was her worker (the one we needed to staff with) and I said....can't we just staff the case NOW? We have been on the phone arguing about this for 37 minutes! She advised me that it was her lunch break and she doesn't staff cases then. I am left to wonder if she ever even considered how petty she sounded. To wonder how we can all supposedly be here to help change the lives of children when that is your mentality. Why would you waste 37 minutes of time arguing that you don't have time to staff a case today...that would take 15 minutes to staff? Oh was your LUNCH HOUR! Now I get it! The sheer ludicrous nature of the situation was enough to give me whiplash from shaking my head.

This is only the most recent example I experienced this week of behavior that left me wondering what on Earth people are thinking and trying to understand where they are coming from. For some reason, it made me the most upset and I ended up bursting into tears. Not out of sadness but out of sheer frustration. Maybe it was the culmination of events of the week? Or my lack of sleep?

Not all of the things that happened this week were in my professional life and some were in my personal life. I am making some really tough decisions about how to include people in my life who are really important to me but are possibly destructive to me as well. I am trying to push the negative as far away from me as I can and trying to surround myself with joy and happiness. Sometimes, in matters of the heart, that is easier said than done.

I am trying to be self-reflective as well and understand what role I have in the situations I have me, I am well aware I am not little miss innocence. One thing I am not; however, is just mean. Smart aleck? Check. Sarcastic? Check check. Arrogant? Slightly. :-) Mean? Nope. That one I just don't understand. Is there some sense of satisfaction for some people in hurting others? Does it make them feel better about themselves? I don't even understand how that could work that way...but maybe I am missing something. I am sure that I could have handled several of those situations better than I did this week and perhaps the outcome would have been different. I do know, however, that I handled them better this week than I would have five years there is progress and hope for different outcomes in the future. One of my friends told me this week, "Rebecca- you can't fight ignorance so just leave it are just going to wear yourself out and they are never going to get it because they aren't capable." I have a hard time accepting that to be true. I have to believe that, deep down, everyone has the capacity to change for the better and not stay "stuck" where they are. I have to hope for that or I would go crazy (no, for real crazy....) at my job seeing the cruelty and sadness day in and day out. If I thought there was no hope for change...I would be completely ineffective and I like to believe that is not the case.

Just curious though, have you ever wondered how much nicer the world would be if people didn't spend so much time convincing you how "Christian" they are and spent more time showing you? And that if they spent more time showing you....would you even need to talk about it? Their beliefs and their true spirit would be transparent and self-evident....would they not? Something that has had me really scratching my head this week is the people who hide behind the guise of Christianity and talk about their faith while at the same time berating and degrading others, passing judgment, and arguing and criticizing others. Perhaps I missed the lesson regarding "Judge not lest ye be judged" but I thought it went against all of those things. Maybe I misunderstood. I especially love when someone ends a particularly hairy argument with "I am going to pray for you." I am always a little frightened about exactly who they are praying to and left kind of wishing they would just leave me out of it...

As one of my young worker's encouraged me to do this evening....I am off to relax...relate....release. Don't worry, when I get done, I am going to pray for all of those mean people. They keep telling me they have Jesus in their life but I think we might be talking about two different guys. :-)

Much Love,