Friday, June 24, 2011

The Heart of the Matter

2 weeks have passed since I've sat down to write in this blog and so much has happened.  Within just my radius of friends and acquaintances, change has come on us like a freight train.  A tragic accident, a few new births, new jobs, and just a zillion firsts! The internet gives me the luxury of experiencing someone's sky high joy one moment and read about another's hard, hard road of mourning, the next.  Since I'm just on the edge of much of it, it feels similar to standing on the side of a highway, literally feeling the cars rush by.  There is just so much intensity to it all that I often feel like I'm going fall over from the power of it all.

With such contradicting waves, I've come to a couple of conclusions about my life and the way I spend my days.  Tragedy makes us say, "Live every day as if its your last!"  Joyful events make us say, "Enjoy it while it lasts!"  And when you think about it, those are kind of extremes.  Living as though there is no tomorrow suggests no planning for the future or no waiting (patience) for something better.  But the opposite can lead us to believe that nothing will ever change and that we have all the time in the world.  The truth is (yet again) in the balance.  My world could change in a moment and all the planning I've been doing could be for not.  Or I could constantly  be waiting for the other shoe to drop and simply flounder around going nowhere.   Instead, each decision I make, I need to be at peace with it.  The brevity of life should never fully leave my mind, but the great amount that God could do with my life (if I am willing) shouldn't either.

Jude had his 2nd tooth break through this week.  And while I know few genuinely care or find useful that this happened, it is joyful to Randy and I.  Watching him change and grow is  And yet, once he has a full set of teeth, we won't think another thought about it.  Life has so much joy to offer, but its gone so quickly.

We're headed to Tennessee in the morning so I ask your prayers for our safety and Jude's continued easygoing-ness.  But beyond that, please pray for those who are mourning and dwell on the joy of those who are experiencing new life.  Let us all live purposefully, peacefully and always keeping the end in mind.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Let the Games Begin!

It is Friday evening at 9:00 PM, Jude is in bed, Randy is gone helping some friends and I am engulfed in the calm before the storm.  This summer is going to be one of the busiest I've had in a while.  And while I'm thankful that I'm no longer pregnant, having Jude in tow creates an equal amount of hurdles.  Tonight I'm trying to prepare for going to Camp next week, but my son decided to experiment with pulling up in his crib so I've done more babysitting than preparation.

Tomorrow will consist of cooking and as much preparation for C as I can get to.  Tomorrow evening we will be celebrating with my brother and his fiance via a wedding shower.  All next week Jude and I will be camping!  Randy can't take off because of said-busy summer.  No matter how significant of an experience camp always is, it is EXHAUSTING! So, by the time Saturday rolls around, we will be ready to come home!

But little rest for the weary, let me tell you! That same day of returning from camp, we will be celebrating with some other friends via another wedding shower!  The following week will be working and recovering so that the following Saturday we will head to Nashville, TN.  We are blessed to be allowed to sing on Acapella's new Praise & Harmony CD.  We'll see how things go with an entire carload of us traveling out there and a 7 month old who has never really traveled for more than a couple of hours!  Lord willing, we will return home the following Wednesday to possibly some fabulous house guests! And then in marches 4th of July!

And no that does not include the two actual weddings eluded to above, one in July and one in August! I'm tired just thinking about it all. I'm making it my goal to continue focusing on my weight-loss and eliminating my toxic relationship with stress throughout all of this, so would you please pray for me? I'm up for the challenge, but it will nevertheless be a challenge.

Finally, that boy of mine is 7 months old today.  I'm so blessed with such a good guy and my heart wants to burst, I love him so much.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Personal Rights

"You can't build a divorce-proof marriage and remain unbending toward your personal rights."

I read that this morning and felt a large pang of guilt regarding just about any difficulty Randy and I have ever had.  I  have a problem with foregoing my personal rights.  Granted, it is easy for me to talk a good game.  I understand the value and benefit (not to mention that it's a commandment) of submission and honor in any relationship.  When a person feels safe and cared for, especially in a relationship, there is a better chance for cooperation and compromise. 

See? I can discuss it, showing a full understanding of what should be.  The thing is, if I feel like I am owed anything or unfairly treated, all the reason goes out the window.  If you're not giving me what you should, then I feel whole-heartedly justified to behave however I choose (which is probably badly).  It's awful.  Hateful words, unmerciful expectations and generally unforgiving (for a while at least).  I always come around, but not after doing a lot of unnecessary damage.  I think I would compare it to a tornado, considering the season.  

So, "unbending toward your personal rights" is a concept that I understand, but have never really learned to practice.  Any advice or pointers on how to bend in the personal rights department more quickly and automatically?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why I Love/Hate Facebook

When I was 14, we got our first computer complete with internet access, chat and email.  To an adolescent girl who got nervous in social situations but longed for friendship, excitement and romance, it was like a dream come true! The possibility of it all in the 'safety' behind a screen was exactly what I wanted.  So, social networking and I go back a long time.

Fast forward 15 years and some days I'm still that teenager that just wants to feel a part of other people's lives but is a bit shy to be so bold face to face.  Facebook provides me with a connection to other people with little responsibility if I so choose.    I love being able to communicate, in-depth or small talk, with friends near and far on MY time.  I don't have to sit by a phone and wait for a call.  I love staying up with people's lives through pictures and videos and laugh with everyone at the latest goofy thing.  I know that it is partially created in my own mind, but I love feeling a part of a community in that way.  Plus, the 'secretarial' side of me adores the efficiency it provides! Events, group messaging, and general announcements make planning a breeze!

The deal, though, with Facebook is that it doesn't have a filter option on my emotions.  It doesn't control the user so there is a risk of abuse somewhere along the line.  When I read that someone is back to their pre-pregnancy weight barely after the child is born, there isn't a setting to keep me from getting green eyed jealous! There's nothing to stop me from getting all stressed out after being privy to someone's family feud (that probably should be fought in private, but private issues are out this season and public displays are in!). The only way to control my attitude and mood after seeing pictures of a great time that I wasn't invited to, is me! And, let's be honest, "me" works only about 25% of the time.

I LOVE what Facebook can offer to me, but the risk of negative involvement is significant and I haven't been very prepared for it in the past.  So, here are a couple of filters I'm trying to implement in my relationship with Facebook.

1. If I'm browsing someone's page/pictures/information in order to judge or criticize them, STOP. I could do so much more productive things with my time than that.

2. If I'm feeling bad about myself/life/relationships/accomplishments, DO NOT linger on those who I compare myself to.  Better yet, NEVER compare myself to anyone ever.  It will always lead to self-hate or sinful pride.

3. Never post anything or engage in anything (ex. arguments) I wouldn't mind to do on a stage somewhere. And better yet, if I can't say anything nice, then I should just shut my mouth.

I would find it pretty hard to quit facebook completely, but hopefully we can stay friends by not getting too close!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Don't Be Afraid To Say

Some people are good communicators.  And some people just aren't.  Sometimes its a good idea to keep your mouth shut.  And sometimes it's not.  If you consider yourself a good and effective communicator, I pray you are and count yourself lucky.  Myself included, so many of us are poor at expressing to others how we truly feel and what we really think, especially in ways that are clear and classy.

How many times have you been overcome with emotion - compassion, pride, love, hurt - about a person in your life? Now how often do you communicate that?  There are certainly instances when there's no good that will come from your ugly thoughts being expressed.  But consider the health of that relationship. Do others know how deeply you care about them?  Do they know that their recent accomplishment made you proud to be associated with them?  If a hurt is truly damaging your attitude with them, do they know how much what they said hurt you?

I'll be the first one in the room to shy away from this kind of communication because, with me anyway, it most likely will come out awkward and make me severely uncomfortable.  I have many regrets regarding relationships with people that I've not nurtured, but wholeheartedly neglected.  Not purposefully or out of dislike or something.  Mostly,  it has come from a discomfort with myself.  I've often felt compelled to be okay with everything in my life first and THEN reach out to friendships.  The problem is that being okay with me has taken a long time and I'm not completely finished yet.  That is the foremost reason why I'm most comfortable writing rather than speaking.  But, whatever the form, sometimes what you are thinking needs to be said. Perhaps mostly for the other person.  People need to know they are cared about and that what they do matter.  And not just on some prescribed holiday.  And those burdens of pain you're carrying around blaming on someone?  If you can't get over it on your own, you need to communicate with them.  

I can be long-winded so no I'm not talking about hours of therapy.  Just a simple, "It still hurts me that you  never came for (insert special event)", "I love you still", or "I'm proud of the decisions you're making."  Too often we start filling our heads with what we assume people are thinking and feeling about us.  Maybe its right or maybe not.

If we have ever been friends and are now not so close, I really do want to be.  Mostly, I've forgotten how.  I hate being awkward so its easier to not try at all and hope you will extend first.  But, life is shorter than expected.  Let's make peace with our hurts and make sure the ones we love know it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

TV-Free Summer

I've felt it coming on for a while, but every time I would be convicted to go TV-free, the Office had celebrity guests or another season finale would show up.  So, as of today June 1st, I am officially going TV-free for the rest of the summer.

I'm not a super TV junkie or anything (I don't even use a tv to watch 'tv' - hulu is awesome!), but I've found myself using it to relax, often while I eat.  And it just suddenly became a habit.  I would now like to break that habit by inserting a new one.  There are several books that I have struggled to finish or even start.  Mostly its because I feel like I could/should be doing something else if I'm taking the time to sit down and read. But that's really foolish when I take the time to watch anything on a regular basis.  I also really want Jude to see me read, especially in the summertime. Summer is about experiencing life for yourself, not watching actors pretend to experience life.

Some days it feels like my brain has shrunk 3 sizes as it is.  So, I'm going to do my best to boost my entire life (parenting, relationships, educating, spirituality, etc.) through boosting my reading. Do you have any recommendations of books I just HAVE to read?  I'm looking for a few more.