Monday, November 10, 2008

Regrets

'No Regrets!' A phrase we hear in movies from time to time that can be misleading I think. To live your life with no regrets is a very tall order. Either you must live life exactly the way you want and are proud of or you must let go of all those mistakes you made, claiming that they made you who you are today. I am finding it almost impossible to do either. The life I want to lead I just can't seem to do. And the many, many fouled up situations I find myself in, I just can't let them go completely. Mostly because they affect how other people think and live, in regards to me. I have so many regrets that sometimes it is overwhelming. I regret things about yesterday. So, no regrets? Not for me. In another light, I do need to use my regrettable circumstances and choices to better shape my future decisions. Yes, I need to do that, but I know I need a lot more practice on that.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Why Can't You Be Just Like Me?

One of the hardest things about marriage is also what makes it so beautiful. As children, many of us are misled into thinking that everyone is or at least should be just like us. When diving into marriage, whether we realize it or not, we carry that sentiment with us. Of course, the blinding love usually keeps us from seeing just how annoyingly different our mate-to-be actually is until its way too late to back out.
This morning, my husband and I were playing 20 questions, mandatory answering and they must be honest. In asking him what his ideal holiday plans would be if he had complete authority and control, I was struck by how different he was. And it wasn't that I didn't already know that because his differences were some of the reasons I loved and needed him. The most difficult part was that I finally realized how important it was to me for him to be just like me, in some areas at least. If it were up to him, he would spend the winter holidays in a different place every year vacationing. Leaving home, not being around family and setting up our own (home-centered) traditions struck me as absolutely the worst thing I could do. Yet, that's the best thing he could do.
Rational or not, I went into a little bit of grieving for myself. In a lot of ways, I had always felt vastly different than my family growing up. One of those secret solutions that we seek in marriage (yes, that we never verbalize or admit) for me was finding validation for me being me. This certainly was not doing that. Now, I know all of the positive things about the joining of two very different worlds, especially for our future children. Compromises can be beautiful things. As much as I want to share my perfect holiday with him, spending a week in NYC or Flagstaff could be fun too. So, yes I know we can share and probably be better off. But, there is just some kind of insane draw about sharing things that you love with other people who love it too. And suddenly realizing that may not happen in quite the way you had hoped with the most important person in your life is pretty mind-altering, if only for a while.
As usual, Randy's differences set up a learning situation that is exactly what I need. We are two extremes, sitting opposite of one another, sharing commonalities mostly because of our extremity. So, really, I shouldn't be surprised. But as a kid, going over to your friends house for dinner can bring quite a wrench to your relationship. Especially if they have weird food for dinner and watch weird things on tv or don't have a tv at all. Suddenly, you're looking at your friend much differently. Most likely, you'll still be friends because kids are more resilient than adults. But how many adult relationships, between parent & child, friendships and even nations, get stuck here and never are the same again. No worries, I'm sticking with Randy despite his 'crazy' holiday ideals, but its certainly something to help me reflect on how I deal with differences.

Thursday, November 6, 2008













As I have mentioned before, we have two dogs. Lizzie (on the left) and Grace (on the right. For those who believe dogs are dogs and have no people-like tendencies, just skip this entry. These dogs are stricken with personality all over and oddly enough one favors my husband and the other favors me. Just as Randy and I are not like the rest of the world, well neither are out dogs. With that said, Grace still seems to amaze me sometimes. In our large backyard lined with a privacy fence, there has never been a hint of them getting out or even wanting to get out. As weather and age do, though, wood can wear out after a while. In the corner, without a gate, a couple of panels had started to crumble and with a little help from doggy noses looking through the holes, they just came down the other day. So, what does Lizzie do? Nothing. She looks out for squirrels on occasion, but she has remained within the confines of our yard. It might be argued that she is just too big to fit through the whole, but I don't think so. She's big and strong. If she wanted out, she could make it through. Now, what does Grace do? She marches herself through the whole to greet the blue yonder of freedom never to be seen of again??!! No, she marches through the whole and stays just on the other side of the fence. Sniffing around at the leaves and the neighbors air conditioner, she doesn't even make it to the front yard.
Getting around to fixing the hole just hasn't been top priority, plus I thought I had scared her enough then to make her not try it again. Unfortunately, that was not the case. This morning Grace slept in until about 9:30. When I finally let her out, not 10 minutes later I called them for breakfast. Lizzie trots in, happy as a lark, but no Grace. Yeah, here we go again. This time I was mad. I had to go put decent clothes on, shoes and a jacket. When I finally opened the front door to track her down, I didn't even have to leave the house. There she was sniffing around the front walk, shivering the moment I opened the door. She knew she was in trouble. What possesses a dog to get out but not really get out? If it were me, I'd make the breakout worth my time and run up and down the street or something!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'Change' in 2008

Since last night's win for Obama (whether you are happy about it or not) is historic, I thought I'd at least borrow from The Daily Oklahoman's headline "'Change' in America". In time, I'm sure, we'll see what kind of changes will actually occur in America. For now, I'm embarking on change in my own life, having little to do with the rest of the world.
Did you know that as of today, November 5th, we have exactly 8 weeks left in 2008? 8 weeks until New Years Eve and less than that until the holiday season. I know some are groaning, 'only 8 weeks?!?' It has me pretty excited though. If I lose a pound a week, I could lose 8 pounds by the end of the year! I could read the entire New Testament by the end of the year! More specifically, I can take steps in being a writer instead of just talking about it. That is what prompted this new leaf I'm turning over, but man 8 weeks exactly? You gotta take advantage of things like that.
We have all done our fair share of griping and complaining about politicians, their ways and their lies. They promise us changes until those votes are tallied and anything else we get is fluff, right? If I'm going to be honest, as you should be too, I'm not that different than a politician, except perhaps that I don't always do it on purpose. I declare change and prosperity to myself, my husband, my friends. Sometimes I even follow through on a few changes. But honestly, before I realize it there are too many fires to put out and everything I vowed to change earlier just doesn't seem that important anymore. That is until I'm 10 more pounds overweight, embarassed for a career that's going nowhere and just plain miserable. Then, all of those changes that just weren't important enough are the biggest thorns in my side, plaguing me with regret and self-loathing. So, I guess our politicians found all of this appealing and wanted to do it professionally, huh? :)
What makes the next 8 weeks different than any other lame attempt at change? Lately I've been inching myself closer to consistancy. I don't expect sprinting towards it, just a little bit each day. I have run over a mile every day for almost 3 weeks, up to a mile and a half right now. My perfectionism is waning, in a good way. I have goals now, not unrealistic standards. Most importantly, I believe I can get the jobs done. I'm trying to keep balanced with spiritual goals as well as physical, inviting God to be a part of everything. And not being foolish enough to think I can muscle my way through everything with or without Him. That is where I have stumbled many times in the past.
Here's to Change - Change in America and Change in Me! May it all be successful and healthy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

She and Him Discovery

Once Halloween is over, my mind (perhaps prompted by our shopping malls) fast forwards into holiday mode. Yesterday I was reminded of 'Elf', one of Will Ferrell's redeeming movies, and made a mad dash for Google and all the possibilities it brings. Zooey Daschanel's character "Jovie" does a rendition of the song 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' that I just loved. Her voice was so impressive, yet I had never taken the time to see if she had done anymore singing. Google and I made some neat discoveries! Turns out I wasn't the only fan of her voice, searching for an album of some kind. This FAQ page was created for people like me and at the time of publishing, she had no album or recording plans in the making. Disappointed, but not defeated, I turned to YouTube for solace, hoping I could find a video of her singing anyway. Those who perservere will be rewarded!! Not only did I find several videos, but this past year she colaborated with M. Ward to form the band She & Him and released a new album, Volume One in March. There is at least one official music video on YouTube and I have heard several other tracks on Pandora. Quirky, raw and reminiscent of something long gone, I really like it! Now I just wish I could make a show of theirs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Today begins the last week of October and frankly, I can't believe it. The chill outside is exactly what you would expect for the days leading up to Halloween, but the build-up has left somehow. I am pretty sure it has something to do with NOT being in school or NOT having school-age children around. Whatever the reason, I'm considering the possibility that it might be okay that there will be no hoopla of school parties and coma-inducing, candy countdown. Randy stopped at a nursery and bought us some pumpkins last night and then discussed our plans for Friday, causing me to reflect on my expectations and child-like anticipations for most holidays. There might be a party at my house Friday night and there might not. I haven't decided yet. If there is, it will be an attempt at growing myself up, in holiday events as well as anything else I can swing.

Did you know that Celestial Seasonings (grand maker of herbal tea) is now making 'Dessert Teas'? They are a lot like dessert coffees, minus the caffeine and sweetener. Warm and yummy - just what I need on a chilly morning like this when I have yet to turn the heater on.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Its curious how alone one can feel, almost invisible, when surrounded by life and very visible to all.  With no one around to look over my shoulder, its easy to slowly stop, only contemplating, but never doing.  How easily it is for me to despise those with the overflowing emotion that never end. Yet, I am that person.  I embody it in everything I do.  My emotion overflows into everything. I despise those who hate my emotion.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Going Outside

Over the weekend, my husband and I hiked at the Wildlife Preserve out by Lawton, OK.  This morning I was listening to an older episode of Vicky & Jen's 'What Really Matters' podcast that featured Richard Louv, author of "Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder".  Throughout their discussion several interesting points are brought up. Some people are quick to make video games and television the bad guy in childhood problems like obesity, ADD and violence, but Mr. Louv suggests that it may not be the presence of electronic diversions, but the absence of quality time spent in a human's natural environment.  Getting out of the city and literally climbing on rocks, through trees and caverns, and spending a whole day outside was awesome! I'm just disappointed that we can't do it again this weekend.  Our society is full of new diseases or syndromes, trying to blame all of our discomforts on everything. From the way I see it, the further we get away from life the way God created and intended it to be, the more complications we're going to see.  I don't think we need to strip our homes of electricity or anything, but why not learn about the world by being out in it, instead of learning it through the Discovery Channel.  
The weather has turned cooler this week and to me has brought about an amazingly serene feeling in the Butler household. Even Grace & Lizzie, our beautiful dogs, have basked in the peaceful atmosphere by laying out in the backyard, occasionally rough-housing, but mostly just sitting, staring into the blue sky. Its a great dynamic we have going on.  I've added some links regarding getting kids back into nature, if you're interested.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Somewhere In The Middle

In the fall semester of 2004, I found myself in an English Literature course, but not always discussing strictly literature.  It being an election year, political opinions came up quite often.  I'll never forget the conclusion our class came to as a whole - No matter what the parties say, no matter who winds up in the White House, and no matter how many fanatical movements pop up, the majority of people and their opinions lie somewhere  in the middle.  We categorize everything in our lives, from our healthcare methods to our houses to our politics.  Why?  Why do I have to be labeled as a republican or a democrat, upper-class or lower-class, and conventional medicine or natural health?  The truth is sometimes I'm both.  Most of us are closer to moderation than anything else. Why? Because that's where the reason and healthy perspective is.  

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Everything I Thought I Knew

As I was riding my bike around the neighborhood for a little added calorie burn, I thought about my emotional life the past several years.  For several reasons, I have not been at peace or happy about things most of the time.  There has been pain of all sorts and more than anything an inability to handle it all adequately.  I had shut God out of most of it, I think. I wanted action or an answer immediately and when I didn't get it, all I could see was how miserable I was.   Never giving God a chance, I ignorantly thought I was the victim.  I just knew that I was doing everything as right as I could and that I should be pitied or helped by everyone else. 
As the wind was rushing past me, cooling the sweat running down my skin, I suddenly thought of Paul and how sincere he was in his persecution of the church.  He was utterly convinced that stamping out Christ's church was what he was commanded to do.  If he was wrong, of all people, he should be pitied or helped because he was so sincerely convinced of his justification. Yet, he wasn't. Not even a little bit.  Though his sin was pardoned in his faithful obedience to God later in his life, his persecution of the church and the results of his actions were in no way right or justified. 
If Paul, eventual martyr for the Lord, could not be excused for his misdirected sincerity, then how could I even begin to expect that?  Well, when in my right mind, I cannot.  It is only when I am willing to see myself and my world as it is that I can grow and find justification.  Though it can hurt beyond bearing, the truth is the only way to freedom.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Confessions

For all of my thoughts spent obsessing about understanding personality and personal growth, I've come to realize that I have done very little of either.  After 28 years of life, I have had my share of depression, weight gain, anxiety, failures and personal tragedy, that to some might not seem significant, but as always, what matters most is how I experienced it.  And, unfortunately, much of it felt tragic.  On a happy note, I have found much joy in my life as well.  I now have a wonderful husband, two beautiful dogs, a part-time job that is worthwhile, and the world waiting for me at my doorstep, so to speak.  As to honor such joy that has found me, it is my burden and responsibility to let go of the tragic pain that I have stuffed in the corners of my heart, hoping it would dissolve like cotton candy.  I have broken through all of the adolescent mantras that strapped me down (You're too sensitive, You're too fat, You're not pretty, He will never love you for you, unless you is perfect, You're too much, You can't, etc.), but I guess the world forgot to tell my soul.  So, I must learn how to grow past the lies that I have believed for so long and learn what the world is really like.

Monday, January 21, 2008

How old am I?

As we were about to turn the light out, Randy asked me, "Why is it that time goes faster as you get older?" We agreed it was because everything grew to be the same. I remember the day of my wedding very vividly. They say you usually don't and I was determined not to forget it. But, for me I was so conscious that this day was different than all other days and would never happen again. I was so conscious that I couldn't sleep the night before and I never have real trouble sleeping. My run around my parents neighborhood at 5:30 am was the only thing that saved me. I'm not one for running in the dark, but I was getting married at 10:30 in the morning, so what can ya do?

Why does everything end up being the same? I guess because its easier. The American society - at least the general population - does not search for adventure and challenge. Well, other than on television, I guess. We look to streamline things, quicken the pace in order to get through the things we have to do so we will have time to do the things we want to. That's the theory, anyway. Usually, after we've done all that 'HAS' to be done, we're too tired to go out and do anything else. So, instead we sit at home, watch some tv, go to bed, and then wonder the next morning why we are so unfulfilled and bored. Makes me want to forget all the stuff that so-called 'has' to be done and start with the stuff that really matters to me.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Needs a name...

Through the sweetest touch of a child,
In the softness of a friend's embrace,
Amidst your smile and forgiving heart,
I see the gentleness of Christ.

When I turn from you in bitterness,
As my words fly out to hurt,
If I deny our Lord in rebellion,
I need the gentleness of Christ.

When I care for the hurting,
When I quietly accept your correction,
As I humbly overcome your rejection,
I show the gentleness of Christ.

Blessed are the humble. Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are the peaceful. Blessed are the gentle.
Lord, help us learn this wisdom from above.