Monday, July 19, 2010

Why I Love Paula Deen

Paula Deen is one of my heroes. That might sound a little weird coming from me, but it is true.

I have to put in a little disclaimer here - I read an article that said that in her recent biography, Paula Deen admitted to a 10 year long affair with a married man. THAT I can't admire or support - it is completely foul. So, make no mistake, that isn't why I admire her, and it was a real blow to me when I read that because I liked her so well.

But, that said, I still respect Paula Deen so much in so many other ways.

I see a lot of criticism of Paula Deen online and people love to bash her it seems - from saying her accent is fake to taking delight in her being hit in the face with a ham, there is definitely a contingent out there that loves to Hate Paula.

But in many respects, Paula Deen is an excellent female role model.

When Paula Deen was 42 years old, she found herself divorced and living in poverty with her two sons. She was house bound by Agoraphobia and panic attacks and was really at "The Bottom".

At 42 she had nothing, and now she must be one of the wealthiest women in the world.

With her last $200, she started a food service business called "The Bag Lady" where she made bag lunches from home and had her boys deliver them to local businesses so the business people could buy them for lunch. From there she went on to start her own very successful restaurant and then to having her own show on Food Network - and the rest is, of course, history.

She is the quintessential success story in my opinion. Paula's story gives me hope, and I think it should give all women hope. If Paula can get to where she is now, we can ALL reach our own dreams and goals with hard work - just like she did.

And Paula gained her success without losing who she was - without losing sight of what is truly important [if you read any interview with her, she will tell you that her two sons were always her top priority and still are - she's obviously crazy about them]. Paula was and is, first and foremost, a mother.

I like Paula for other reasons too.

I like that she loves food and isn't ashamed to let the world know. Women in our society are absolutely neurotic about food [not our fault, really, look at this insane culture we live in!]. Then here comes Paula - rich and powerful and she is not the least bit afraid to tell you that a stick of butter will make just about anything better. You go Paula!

I like her work ethic too - by all accounts, Paula is a hard worker. One of my favorite quotes is from her: "Anything is possible if you are willing to work for it." And work for it she did. She embodies the good old fashioned "hard work pays off" ethic that is so missing in our "get rich quick" culture.

I also admire her *confidence*. Paula Deen is an uneducated woman from poor white trash roots. She would tell you that herself [she'll also say she's not very smart, but I disagree with that - maybe she's not book smart, but she's definitely crafty like a fox!] But the woman radiates confidence - exudes it. She took what she had and she worked like crazy and made the absolute most out of the cards that were dealt her - she OUGHT to be confident!

Another thing I like about Paula is that she is a big fat older woman who doesn't feel ashamed of herself - in fact, if you watch Paula for long, you will know that she thinks she's the absolute bees knees. She obviously thinks of herself as very sexy and desirable. In a world that tells women they are "over the hill" by the time they hit 30 and that they are "fat and ugly" if they aren't a size 4, it is refreshing to have a role model in her 60s who is FAT and HAPPY and not worried one bit about it. Paula feels *Beautiful* and she IS beautiful. It all sure seems to work for her - she appears to be happily remarried to a man who seems to cherish and adore her. Good for her.

The world could use more women like Paula Deen [OK, more women like her but who do NOT have affairs with married men].

Thank you Paula Deen.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Power of Forgiveness

On May 17, 2 days after I attended my best friend's funeral, I came to a very clear and startling revelation.

I realized that God was calling me to forgive my Ex husband. To forgive him, to stop hating him, to stop being so angry with him.

At the time, it seemed impossible. I whined at God "How can you ask me to do this Lord? This is impossible! My children and I have been wronged so completely, how can I forgive this? My Ex husband doesn't even feel bad about what he has done - he is not repentant. How can I forgive him? Please God, Please - ask anything besides this!"

And God said to me, quite clearly, "Kelly, until you forgive him and let go of your anger, you will never be free to be who I want you to be. You will never be able to become who I am calling you to become. Let it go. Trust in me."

And that night I said "OK God. I don't want to forgive him. He doesn't deserve forgiveness. But you are asking me to do this and I am saying to you that I want to do what you ask of me. I am saying Yes to You. But God, I don't know how to do this. I don't see how I can forgive him - I don't even know how to begin!"

And God said "That is enough - you are saying Yes to My Will and I will do the rest."

And I trusted God. [and thought to myself "Yeah, well, I love you God and I trust You, but good luck fixing my broken and hate filled heart."]

And God took that pathetic "yes" and He worked His miracles.

Somehow in the last 8 weeks, I have forgiven my husband. FORGIVEN HIM. I can't even believe it. My anger is gone. My hate is gone. The constant litany of rage at him in the back of my mind for what my children and I endure every day because of him [living in poverty, nightmares, extreme grief in the children, etc] has ended.

I don't know how God did it, but He did it. I am even able to pray for my Ex husband now. For the longest time I could not pray for him - I could not pray for him at all. I couldn't sincerely face my Lord and wish anything good for my Ex husband.

And now I can.

Now, my Ex did not make this easy. [Nothing comes easy in my life, does it?] He pulled some amazingly horrible things during this time period.

And I dealt with it all - without hate. Without rancor. I was willing to do whatever I had to do to protect my children - and I WILL protect them, always. But I have no spite for him.

I am still constantly picking up pieces - the things he has shattered and left broken in his wake. I am still constantly holding my children's broken hearts in my hand and trying to heal them. I am still under the gun 24/7 trying to keep our heads above water. But I am doing it without the hate.

It is what it is and I can only control my response to the situation. Finally I know this.

And God has taken me to a deeper place spiritually than I have ever been.

Forgiveness has set me free.

My children and I are walking a knife's edge of poverty right now - our situation seems impossible at the moment. Several things have happened [in addition to my Ex husband's lack of responsibility] which have made our situation very precarious.

Normally, I would be out of my mind with worry and fear at this point - because with my human mind, I can see no way through this.

But I have finally learned a lesson that God has been trying to teach me for so very long - HE will take care of us. He will lead us through this safely - and out the other side - as He has always done.

And I know this.

And I finally have Peace.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quote of the Day:

Monkey1, 11yo, says: "I wonder if the Death Star has good Buffalo Wings?"

[This was part of her monologue on why having Darth Vader for a father wouldn't be such a terrible thing... ]