Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's the Point?

I think I'm in the process of losing all inspiration for this pitiful blog of mine that I have for some reason kept returning to since its birth in 2005.  Maybe it's because I only have 8 followers (one of which is myself) and it's been that way for...I don't know how many years.  Maybe it's because I get very few comments which to me signifies even fewer readers.

 So what's the point?  Why am I blogging at all?  To stand on my virtual podium and shout about all that is wrong with the world?  To share some of my struggles (although honestly, if you knew the half of it, this blog is definitely not where I lay it all out).  I have no purpose, no focus in my postings as whole.  Individually, I don't like that.

I'm thinking of starting over.  A new blog.  Again.  But this time with a specified purpose from the beginning.  Let's be honest here, the reason we bloggers (or wannabes like me) blog is so others can hear us, validate us, encourage us, and at the very least, find us cool enough, on some level, to read every once in a while and maybe post something like, "Awesome post!"  "Amen sister!"

Maybe the reason my blog sucks is that I have detached myself from the words.  I write some things that are personal but still hold them at arm's length so the heart that is in my earlier posts is nowhere to be found in 2012.

Fear.  That's it.  That may the big problem here.  The problem that seems to continually infiltrate my life. The fear of my friends turning on me.  The fear of you, your eyes, reading without seeing and acting as you see fit.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ch. 7: Letting Go (S.H.A.P.E.)

This chapter is all about letting go of the burdens, surrendering the secrets, getting past the guilt.  That's how it spoke to me, anyways.

I wonder how often I have gotten in God's way of his plan for my life - in small ways and big ways.  Just this weekend Jon and I may have had a moment like this.  We had a wonderful dinner, watched the sun set overlooking the CDA lake with a drink and we decided  to head back to the car.  I didn't know it then but Jon was tired and very ready to go home.  We were almost to the car when I decided I really wanted to check out Sherman and see if any potential dancing could be had for us.  He made sure this was really what I wanted, and we set off.  We ended up having a really great time and in the process came across a friend that we had not connected  with in a very long time.  The next day, Jon said he couldn't help but wonder that us turning from the car was one of those small instances where God was at work - however small it may seem.

"You're only as alone as your secret(s)."  This was vaguely familiar when I heard the phrase in church but it has stuck with me since.  I seem to have been struggling with feelings of loneliness for a long time.  Ever since my life changed in November, 2011, there haven't been too many friends with me on my path.  At least that is how it feels much of the time.  There have been some who have reached out and I don't know if we got to busy or if I simply shut the door to those relationships.

The truth is that I have been dealing with some trust issues.  I have even spent time shutting Jon out of some areas of my life.  This caused such a deep loneliness that I started going absolutely crazy.  I felt I had another secret, and this one was more dangerous than the first because I was so much more careful about it.  Truth always comes out in one way or another.  I'm thankful that I allowed the Spirit to work among the members of my growth group to allow me the freedom to express some very deep emotional struggles I have being a step-parent to a pre-teen with down syndrome.

I am working on getting past all the guilt that I have lugged around for years.  Satan likes that I gather my guilt and bring it with me wherever I go.  Unless I let go of this heavy pack, I can't get to conviction.  This book makes this distinction so clearly, "While guilt makes us feel unworthy and causes us to want to  hide from God, conviction makes us feel worthy and urges us to run to God." I am realizing that in order for me to heal, in order for my family to heal, I must confess.  I must surrender.

Now every day I am practicing surrender in just a few simple words.  I surrender my son, who is begging me to let him live with his daddy.  I surrender my feelings towards my step-daughter whom I have to consciously decide on an almost moment-by moment basis whether I am going to be kind or mean.  I have to surrender Jon's trip to Hawaii which will take him away for 3 weeks.  I have to surrender my feelings towards my dad as he seems to have no idea what I am trying to say to him through our difficult times.  I have to surrender our checkbook because it's become apparent that with Jon's new job, I must take a leading role in our finances.  There is much to give up every day.

I am realizing I have not done any kind of surrendering since Friday or Saturday.  It's time for me to sign off and do that right now because my heart is heavy after digging up all this dirt.  I hope that you will do the same if you haven't already. :)  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Your Shirts go THIS way Honey!

Laundry Day.  I love it. I hate it.  It's a love and hate it kind of thing.

I love the smell of clean clothes - when I use it enough soap or fabric softener to make them smell good.    I especially like it when I find that grass stains have come out of Evan's jeans or the paint is no longer visible on Ciena's white skirt that she has only worn a few times.  I like folding and rolling everyone's shirts, pants and undergarments to perfection - a trade I am still working on.  I am the orchestrator and these are my subjects and will bend to my every will.

But do you know what I really REALLY like about laundry day?  I get to sit on the floor and sort laundry, fold pants and shirts,  roll underwear and match socks while watching my favorite shows on Hulu (which for the past few years has been Grey's Anatomy).  And do you know how long I get to do this?  Hours.  Hours!  So when Jon comes home and I'm watching Grey's Anatomy on the couch out of exhaustion I can tell him I spent HOURS upon HOURS sorting his dirty socks and folding his jeans.  Therefore, "please make us dinner honey.  I'm just so tired!"

There is one aspect I do not like about laundry day, however.  This one aspect actually has three different branches of annoyance attached to it.  First of all, I hate how long it takes to hang up my shirts AND Jon's shirts.  So I do my shirts first and everything is faced and in it's correct space.  Then I turn to Jon's side of the closet and his shirts are faced every which way, some buttoned up, some not, long sleeves mixed with short sleeves, dress shirts mixed with ugly work shirts.  When I'm feeling up to it I take the extra time and fix his clothes.  But lately, more often than not, I fight that strong urge that says, "Fix it! Fix it!  It's crazy! Fix it!!!"  I work as fast as I can and don't return for another two weeks.

Then, there is Ciena and her clothes.  She is not nearly as bad as her father and I equate that (right or wrong) to her down syndrome which causes her to be fairly compliant when it comes to keeping her room in order.  However, she is still a child and this just isn't always the case.  After spending laborious hours folding her jeans, matching her socks and smoothing out her undies, here is what I may find about an hour later:  Undies in a jumble, socks are usually okay, jeans rolled into a ball as are anything else belonging in a drawer and her shirts may be barely hanging onto the hangers - backwards.  Unlike my husband, I do not fight the urge to fix all, most some of these problems messes.  So I get to breathe a sigh of relief and know that Ciena's closet and dresser will soon be fixed.

Lastly, I have to deal with entering Evan's room.  Typically, he is not home when I do laundry so it's a great time to refold all his clothes and button up his nice shirts which hang up in the closet.  Then Saturday rolls around....and I just have  to steer clear of his clothes.  I've tried to keep it organized while he is home - to no avail.  I can't figure out if this is because he's a boy (equalling messy) or he can't figure out what to wear each day (equalling [the word for a guy that likes to dress really nice]).  To his credit, Evan does a nice job with his button up shirts.  But his drawers...every single item seems to be sloshed back and forth every time he has to get dressed.  So I stay away as best I can because it really is out of my control.

So yes, Laundry Day and I have a definite love-hate relationship.  It really is an all day event if I play my cards right.  I could make it quicker - but where is the fun in that?

What do you love/hate about your laundry day?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ch. 6: Experiences (S.H.A.P.E.)

Okay so I've been slacking this week.  But last week was a bad, bad week.  Every day something was happening which affected my mood which affected the rest of my day.  Some of it was small, like a wrong facebook post or I let myself stay hungry for too long before eating lunch.  But some of it was pretty big.  So I was in a funk. All week.  And that did not help me in reading this very "fun" chapter about my experiences - the good and the bad.


So here we go.  (I'm not having such a bad week this time around just fyi)

This chapter was all about our experiences.   We're told to imagine ourselves walking down a long hallway and on one wall are portraits/paintings of our positive experiences.  The other wall had the gross, painful, nitty gritty kick me in the stomach if I ever have to think about that again experiences.  I have no clue what that would like in a hallway.  Let's skip that part.

My Positive Portraits 

**The key here is to acknowledge achievements that hold value to me regardless of what others think. That said...

Personal: you mayve received an award that is especially meaningful to you.

  • 1st grade spelling bee, I runner up.  I'm not sure why that has always stuck with me.  Maybe because it's the only award I have ever won at school other than graduating...and almost winning isn't even a reward. 
Vocational: perhaps you have a pattern of achievement when it comes to productivity, sales, or leadership
  • keeping a clean home
  • cooking yummy meals (more or less)
  • editing videos for hpc (this was actually something Jon took on then I ... took over ... and started doing a better job)
Relational: you may enjoy a godly marriage or benefit from a friendship that comforts you in difficult times or challenges you to strive for excellence in everything you do. 
  • My marriage 
Educational: perhaps you have academic degrees or training certificates, or perhaps you are pursuing ongoing development in areas of special interest. 
  • Bachelor's degree in Radio/TV/Digital Media Production
Spiritual: you may hav e a history of success in sharing your faith or leading Christians to deeper insight about their own faith. Or perhaps your own acceptance of Christ and spiritual growth give you a sense of having attained something beyond measure. 
  • "Bob from Genesis" (There is huge meaning to this but I'm not comfortable letting my story go viral...yet! 
  • Accepting Christ around age 5 and recommitting around age 12

My Painful Portraits 

Personal points of pain: 
  • getting pregnant at 19 and unmarried
  • received mic a few weeks after moving away to college.  The story behind that is basically I was lonely. 

Vocational points of pain
  • Jamba Juice - I was let go on my way back from vacation.  I was a single mom at that point so I was pretty pissed about the whole thing.  I called my boss and left him a nice voicemail about how wrong it was.  
Relational points of pain
  • Step-parenting - I deal with a variety of emotions about this on a daily basis 
  • My dad - We have had the same fights for years with the same results 
  • Friends whom I am no longer friends with due to a huge falling out that only God can fix 
Educational points of pain
  • Grades in high school weren't great
  • unmotivated in college until I had Evan
  • Even after having Evan, I had no passion for what I was doing
Spiritual points of pain
  • getting pregnant at 19 and unmarried
  • losing my virginity at 16 years old (maybe this is personal too?) 


Apparently God uses these experiences to shape and mold us.  

"To melt down the old and recast it as new is a disrupting process. [But] with time, a change occurs: What was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable.

Then the blacksmith ceases his pounding and sets down his hammer.  In the still silence, he examines the smoking tool.  The incandescent implement is rotated and examined for any mars or cracks.

There are none.

THe pliable, soft mineral becomes an unbending, useful tool."

Jingle Bells, Santa Smells, Robin Laid an Egg!

I love Christmas songs!  Jingle Bells, Here Comes Santa Clause, Silent Night, Little Town of Bethlehem, Who Kissed Santa (is that actually a title??) should I go on or are you ready to barf??

Jon was ready to barf when I started singing Christmas carols as we were getting ready for bed. It was one of those wtf? looks.  I of course found this to be hilarious and sung a little louder until he interrupted me. 

I found out he REALLY DOESN'T LIKE these songs ESPECIALLY when they are sung out of season.  Shame on me.  

I think I like those songs for two three reasons: 

1.  We only hear them once a year!  And only for about two months, tops. 

2.  I know all the words!  (Which is why it's so great they play over and over and over and over again)

3.  Most Christmas carols/songs are in what I call the normal vocal range a.k.a. MY vocal range

(Did you know I could have been a famous singer like Brittany Spears?)

So what that it's June?  I'm going to singe Silent Night while I make dinner tonight!  The big question is...what's for dinner since I forgot to start the crockpot this morning??? 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ch. 5: Personality (S.H.A.P.E.)

It's funny how I brain-know so many things but I heart-know not so many things.  Or maybe it's that  I'm constantly re-heart-knowing things.

Today I am re-heart-knowing that I don't "have to conform to the expectations of others in order to feel [I] have accomplished something worthwhile in life."  Wow, that kind of sums up my life and all the expectations I have wrapped up for myself and others.  Jon talks to me constantly about my expectations I have for people and the high standards I have for myself.

A few days ago I couldn't even finish eating dinner with my family because I had failed miserably according to the standard of thinking I should have had towards Ciena.  I became trapped in jealousy, followed by guilt, then hatred, then shame.  The only way out was to realize that I am human incapable of perfection.  It's okay for me to have my emotions, but it's not okay to be controlled with them like I have allowed to happen for most of my life.  My standards should be set according to God's standards.  Description of a Worthy Woman

Okay so, let's see where I fall when it comes to my personality,  I'm going to discuss:

  • How I relate to others
  • My response to opportunities   

How do I relate to others?

 Am I outgoing or reserved?  Off the top of my head I am definitely outgoing.  I definitely enjoy starting conversations with new people.  This is actually how I met my newest friend (you know who you are Costco Buddy).  I love being part of the hubbub of activity and very often I find myself right in the middle of it.  One would think that someone like that would have many friends.  I can't decide if I'm one who has many relationships with many friends or deep relationships with few friends. While I do have a lot of friends particularly through my church community, there are very few I would call my go-to friends.  The go-to friends are the ones I can call and vent about that day's frustrations or invite out to the beach at a moment's notice and who do the same with me.  Over the past year that circle of go-to friends has dwindled.

Am I self-expressive or self-controlled? I tend to be  very open with my feelings and about what is happening in my life even with people I barely know.  I believe that God puts people in our paths in order for us to share with each other, encourage each other, motivate each other, even if its for a few fleeting moments while in line at the grocery store.  On the other hand, I will not share my deepest hurts and struggles if I am uncomfortable or sense uneasiness from the other person.  I believe this would be called: discernment. Generally speaking, though, I seek others out in an effort to connect and share my life.  I think I am a pretty easy person to get to know.  But I could be wrong...thoughts???

Am I cooperative or competitive? This is an easy one.  Well, wait a minute.  Now that I am thinking this through for the second time I am seeing it a little differently.  People are my focus.  Unless I'm having one of my self-involved days I generally see people and desire to connect with them.  When I see someone who appears to be hurting I want to help them.  If I am having a bad day, or a good day for that matter, and I have a random conversation with the woman standing in line behind me, then that was a good day.  That was a good grocery shopping experience.  I love those days.

 On the flip side, some might say I enjoy conflict and have a huge desire to WIN WIN WIN.  In a game, sure.  In an argument where I know I am right, most definitely.

I am reminded of the long late night conversations I had with my best friend in high school revolving around  Bible versus science.  I so badly wanted her to see Truth but I couldn't argue my point well enough for her.  Those conversations were never satisfying and I remember feeling like I failed.  Then one day after youth group she whispered in my ear, "I did it."  She became a Christian.   Our friendship continued to have conversations with arguable points.  I didn't care for those conversations as much.  I much prefer to be on the  same page with my best friends and not argue but instead think about and discuss what God is doing in their lives.

 Hmmm I am thinking I am Cooperative, not Competitive.  Could it be?!

Recap:  I am thinking I am: 

  • Outgoing (with a few reserved tendencies)
  • Self-expressive (with discernment)
  • Cooperative (surprising)

My Response to Others

An ideal situation for me to make the greatest impact for God would be something along the lines of the secret dream I have for my ministry discussed in a previous blog.  Another ideal ministry avenue would be writing a book of memoirs or essays and having  them turned into a movie.  I think this past year alone is grounds for a very good movie.  Don't laugh at me!  I know  these are big, silly dreams.  Whether or not they actually come true, God gave me these desires for a reason.

Am I High Risk or Low Risk?  Hmmm This is a hard one.  On one hand I welcome change, on the other  I try to sidestep it.  I think that adapting to change is an important part of growth.  A lot has been changing since getting married.  But let's face it, I don't like many of the changes that have happened.

 This is Ciena's last week of school and I am going to have to adapt my day to the changes that will come with her being with me all day.  I have a good schedule going with Evan's pick up every week but that will probably be pushed back farther in the day because that is what his dad wants and I have no real argument except I like the routine we have.

I think my low self esteem and "I can't" attitude hurts what should be my natural ability to thrive in a chaotic environment.  A simple example is my recent trip to Silverwood with Evan and some of our friends.  It was just us two moms and 4 little kids, 5 and under, who wanted to do everything at once.  Total chaos and total fun!  Then we slowed down on the train ride around the park and I became tired - even ready to go home.  But not the kids!  Go go go!

I enjoy seeing obstacles, overcoming them and throwing back a beer to celebrate my success.  For my church my husband and I are in charge of getting the sermon videos online.  I enjoy this a lot.  I am always looking for ways to improve the quality of my work and make it enjoyable to watch/listen to.  However when I am editing it does not feel like a high pressure commitment.  I do it in my own time, with no one watching me make mistakes and attempt to learn ways of doing things.  Whereas if the video feed goes live to other churches on Sunday morning everyone will see my shaky camera movements and when I mess up everyone knows.  There is no time to fix it in post when it's real life happening NOW.

I'm thinking that God designed me to be high risk because that's when my heart gets pumping in excitement.  But I often settle for low-risk because low-risk equals low chance of failure.  That's how I see it at least.

Do I prefer people or projects? Easy peasy.  I love people opportunities.

 This past weekend my family went to Bear Paw Camp for a work day.  I was not excited about getting up with the sun and wearing a bright yellow suit for two hours while I power washed an endless line of picnic tables.  I was excited for the people I might get to talk to and the for the men my husband would be able to connect with even if all they did was grunt to each other while mixing cement.  The project?  Who cares!  I got a chance to get to know my pastor's wife a little better AND I got to hang out with two cute kids (three if you include Ciena lol) one of which was a baby!  Wooo!  That day was a total success.

Am I a follow or a lead?  In the context of dancing I am supposed to follow but instead I often try to lead (much to the annoyance and frustration of my husband).  If you were to ask me: follow or lead? a year ago I would have said "lead" without batting an eyelash.  But is that really part of my personality?

I can easily find myself in leadership.  It's been that way for a very long time.  This year I was asked to be Prayer Leader of my small group in women's bible study.  I saw this as an accomplishment, a gift, a privilege and as a stepping stone into leading small discussion which would lead me to leadership in WBS overall.  Well, I ultimately stepped down as prayer leader due to personal issues.  I was confused and didn't know where I was supposed to be.  In retrospect I should have spent more time praying about the issue and  talking to my leaders before making my decision to give up and thus, in my mind, failing.

This year has been hard and I have enjoyed being a follow - yet with an itch for something more.  Could it be.... leadership???  But where?  No idea.  I have a strong desire to impact people around me whether it's during a play date, coffee, a blog or maybe a funny status update.  I do receive fulfillment in helping others....but helping them find success?  Being behind the scenes?  Working behind a camera instead of in front of it?  There is enjoyment and fulfillment there, but I struggle with which I prefer in accordance to my personality.

I'm in the middle of the road with this one folks.  Thoughts???

Am I a Team Player or Solo?  I am definitely a fan of team work.  Women's Bible study wouldn't work if it was just one person.  In reality it's many women working together as a team to make a difference in our community.  Sometimes I like being solo - such as when I am editing.  But even then I like to have others critique my work so I can be better.   People do energize me.  On days when the sun is shining but I'm home all alone I will be singing and dancing and talking to myself by the afternoon.

All smiley face,
My definition of
good morning. 
Do I prefer Routine or Variety?  This is another big question mark for me.  I tend to get overwhelmed with multiple projects on my plate and not having one to focus on.  Months ago when I had a huge such list Jon made me write them down in importance.  It was my job to focus only on the first one - then after it's checked off I could move to the second one.  I enjoyed the check list.  I enjoy check lists so much I have made check lists for my kids to help them get ready for their day and get ready for bed.  I love it!  Nothing gets forgotten EVER!

I used to be huge into variety for sure.  Every day was new and different.  I had no idea what would be coming at me.  But maybe that was just a small time in my life.  Now that I'm a wife and mother of two - one who has special needs, I need routine to hang on in the midst of all the chaos.

Recap: I am: 

  • Low-risk (with the desire to attain high-risk)
  • People (duh)
  • Follow? Lead? (I'm undecided here folks)
  • Teamwork 
  • Routine (it brings clarity to the variety in my life I describe as chaos)

Now it's time to take what I have learned and perfect it.  It's time to find the answers to my questions.  Knowing if I'm a Leader or Follower will be an important aspect in my ministry.  I don't want to be the right person doing the wrong thing.  

One huge lesson I have picked up from this chapter is this: "... God always wants to do something 'in us' before he wants to do something 'through us.'  So he may want you to stay until you learn to accept with humility his plans and purposes for you."  I am becoming fairly certain that Jon is correct when he says I have not accepted Ciena as she is, down syndrome and all.  I constantly fight the disability and what it means for her life and mine.  I am often boxed in out of my own doing.  Getting naked and running around isn't the answer.  Letting the flimsy siding fall down and opening myself to the unknown is what will propel me forward.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ch. 4: Abilities (S.H.A.P.E.)

This was a pretty easy chapter for me to get through this week.  I realized that I am already quite aware of my abilities and I use many of them almost daily.  From the list provided, here are the highlights: communicating, counseling, editing, improving, influencing, mentoring, motivating, planning, welcoming, writing.  Some of these, however, I wish to use more regularly.  Maybe this is how being available and aware to where God wants to take me will be useful. Top 5

  • Communicating: Te ability to share, convey, impart. 
  • Connecting: The ability to link together, involve and relate. 
  • Counseling: The ability to guide, advise, support, listen, care for. 
  • Editing: The ability to correct, amend, alter, improve. 
  • Improving: The ability to better, enhance, further, enrich. 
  • Influencing: The ability to affect, sway, shape, change. 
  • Mentoring: The ability to advise, guide, teach. 
  • Motivating: The ability to provoke, induce, prompt. 
  • Planning: The ability to arrange, map out, prepare. 
  • Welcoming: The ability to entertain, greet, embrace, make comfortable. 
  • Writing: The ability to compose, create, record.  
This chapter was pretty cut and dry and I don't have any heart changing lessons that I have learned.  But here is a list of some great quotes I pulled out: 

"All she needed was  to be available and aware.  It didn't matter whether what she did was noticed by others.  That is never the point of serving God.  Willing hearts are his delight." 

"Have you ever heard someone say to you 'Thank you so much' and your response was 'But I didn't do anything?'  People will be healed by God through you just being and doing what God meant you to be and do, not by all the things you think you should be and do to benefit the world."  

"God never finishes showing us his purpose - as long as we never stop seeking it." 

"Michelangelo said, 'The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.'"

"Significant achievements always involve a high degree of courage, focus, perseverance, and yes, high risk."