Humbling Thoughts

December 20, 2008 at 11:14 am | Posted in Life, Thoughts | 13 Comments

I had a moment tonight hit me like a ton of bricks. One of those moments that really make you stop and think. And examine. And process.

I was having dinner with my church staff co-workers. It was our Christmas dinner, but of course the conversation turns to people, the ones we serve. My pastor asked me how everything was going and what was going on at my other part-time job. I started to tell him about this family I have been working with the past few weeks. Single mom, two special needs children, recently divorced from an abusive relationship and facing her first year as a working mom trying to make ends meet. Not only is she very alone here in this town with no family, but she is also months away from the first anniversary of burying her first-born child who died due to another childhood disease which has plagued her family. Just watching her function as a human being is humbling.

As I was telling my pastor this woman’s story and the struggles she is facing,  he said something that hit me like a ton of bricks. I can’t remember the exact quote but he basically said something like this yet way more eloquently.

“The biggest misconception we make about people is the amount of pain that they are experiencing.”

Just take a minute. Let that sink in. Read it again. I am pretty sure it took a good twenty minutes for me to wrap my head around that statement.

How true is that? Doesn’t that make you look at every single person you encounter a little differently? Doesn’t that make your view of the world a little more humbling? No matter what we think about our own circumstance we can never know the amount of hurt, frustration, anger or bad, messy junk people bring to you when you encounter them. Doesn’t that make you want to approach people in your everyday life with a little more compassion and love? Doesn’t that make you want to invest in the lives of other people so that you may be a person who could actually help alleviate some of that pain? Not heal, alleviate. There is a difference.

Yes, we all have our own pain, but when you invest your time in other people it will not take you very long to find someone who has harder circumstances than yourself. 

How should it effect our viewpoint of them? Why should you care?

Because it will change the way you look at people as a whole. And in doing that it just may change you too, for the better. It will help you to be more empathetic and observant and yes, even concerned about someone other than yourself. It may make you examine other people and where they come from and what they are carrying around with them. It just may put things in perspective and it just might make you a better person.

Live-blogging Insomnia. Sounds Fun, Right? Wrong.

November 28, 2008 at 2:20 am | Posted in Thoughts | 8 Comments

Everyday I continue to learn so many things about myself. For instance, until today I had myself convinced I am all independent and such. Wrong. Big fat wrong.

This year our holiday found Hubby and I states away from each other. For someone who likes a little “me” time every now and then, I am hating it.  We don’t spend nights apart well, this we already know. Nothing wrong with a little time apart, but when you decide you want to be married to someone and you then spend appx. the next year and half sleeping alone, well, let’s just say that does something to you. Following the deployment that would never end, Hubby and I decided that we would do whatever necessary to never spend nights apart. So much so that I don’t participate in girls’ night slumber parties or all-nighters anymore. I drive home at 4am if need be. Everytime. We don’t sleep well without each other. Trust me, I never thought I would be that girl.

So, after a day of quality time with the family, I found myself wondering what to do with myself. The following is a ridiculous run-down of my contradiction to everything Destiny’s Child sang about in Independent Women.

8ish-Leave parents house turning down multiple invitations to stay so I don’t have to be alone. Arrive home to feed and relieve doggies all the while still contemplating returning to parents house with doggies in tow. Decide it really is too cold to turn and head back to be with family.

8:30-9ish-shower, prepare for bed.

9-10:30-crawl into bed and attempt to settle.

10:35-begin to paroose Youtube for old Friends. Watch way too many six-minute clips.

10:55-talk to Hubby for last time of the night.

11:30ish-click to the ever-trustworthy Hulu and decide a movie is too much of a commitment and land on an old episode of The Office.

11:45-Pick up phone to call Hubby to do a Michael Scott quote talk me to sleep. Put phone down in overwhelming wave of guilt on the chance I might wake him.

12ish-decide against all better judgement to view an episode of Ghost Hunters. I rationalize this decision by telling myself that I will only watch the All Access episode which technically is an interview of the investigators and should not leave me peeking out from under my comforter at every creak and noise. Wrong.

12:35-cringing under the covers at the one clip of the picture frame moving on its own at the old inn in Pennsylvania. Convinced I hear footsteps downstairs. Have minor panic attack and grab phone to call for help. Realize it is Ellie wandering aimlessly downstairs waiting for Hubby to come home. Go retrieve Ellie for both her comfort and mine.

12:40ish-TURN OFF GHOST HUNTERS. Turn to twitter. I am the only loser twitterer there. Great and well, sad. 

12:45-make first real attempt to sleep by making the dreaded move to the center of the bed. Decide it is way too quiet, and visions of picture frames moving still in my head, I decide on Pandora as my distraction of choice. Ingrid Michaelson station is the only obvious station of interest. Attempt to relax. Realize I am singing along against my will to “The Hat” and not sleeping. Recall the last time I sang along to that song was at one of her shows because she forces you to sing. Laugh out loud at the fact that participation is required at an Ingrid show, and if you don’t participate she will call you out and make you regret it. Remind myself that I am not at a show and attempt to stop singing. Fail

12:55-Must roll over to see who is singing the next song. KT Tunstall. Roll back over to turn away from the glare of the Mac that I keep taking off of sleep mode to devulge my curiosity at each artist singing the current song. 

1-1:15-Hear: Ingrid M. and yes, sing along again. Amos Lee. Kim Richey (Katie Herzig does it better). Rachel Yamagata-Skip. Keane-Skip. Death Cab for Cutie-Skip (It is nothing personal, they are singing about lovey-dovey relationships and I don’t want to hear it tonight). Norah Jones-Nearness of You. SKIP. Receive the dreaded “too many skips” notification from Pandora. Curse Pandora. Forced to listen to Norah sing about being near to people you love. Hate her for the rest of the night. Contemplate removing her from Itunes Library entirely to gain revenge. Get a grip on reality and realize I need to chill. Pronto.

1:30-Refrain from calling Hubby for the 8th time since hearing a random noise.

1:35-1:40- Facebook. Email. Twitter. All Lame.

1:45-Make myself again put down the phone. Decide (reluctantly) against texting.

1:50-Continue justifying calling Hubby on the hope that he is still awake after a 5am morning wake-up call, a ten hour drive, and a huge turkey dinner.

1:55-Make final decision not to call by placing the phone under the mattress. Rethink decision based on the fact that if either a masked murder or a ghost comes to kidnap me I will need to call Hubby to say goodbye. Remove phone but strategically place it far away so as to discourage late night desperate phone calls and/or texting.

2:00-Vow to never again kick Hubby in the middle of the night while screaming, “move OVER” when the two dogs and his snoring keep me awake. Continue to let Pandora play. 

2:05-Blog. Realize blogging isn’t helping and listening to doggies snoring only makes me jealous.

2:20-Vow to never again let Hubby leave. Ever. Decide my fate now lies in the hands of Regina Spektor, The Weepies, Brandi Carlile and the like. Accept the fact that I will be up for a long time.

Hope your post-Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced dreams turn out better than mine. Do not call me before noon tomorrow.

Here’s to hoping I get to sleep before dawn. Apparently, I am that girl.

Be Happy!

November 23, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 3 Comments

This has been such a good weekend. I don’t know if it is the holiday, the weather, or just life in general these days, but man life is good. It is kind of hard to say that though. Why? Well, cause some people in my life are having some really hard times. Like. Really. You all are some of them. Love and prayers to all. I love you. I am here if you need me.

That being said, this was awesome today. “I Will Be Happy, So Help Me God.” Seriously listen to it. Bask in it. Take it to heart. Everyone (including myself) gets so bogged down by life and it helps to put it into perspective.

Excerpted from my pastor’s blog davidfoster.tv 

 

mmemonsters_icon_small_web.jpgToday @ The Gathering we observed Communion, one of the most sacred moments that we get to enjoy together, gathered in worship.  It’s an exciting time to see families, children, parents; people of all ages bow in remembrance of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ.  It reminds us that our hope is not in this world, but in a risen Savior who has redeemed us, and has not left us to our own devices.

We concluded our current series with a talk entitled, “I Will Be Happy, So Help Me God.”  It asks the question, “Which kind of person are you?”  The kind of person who says:

 

1.    You owe me.
2.    
God owes me.
3.    
I owe you. I have a debt of love that I can never repay.

We talked about the enemies of a grateful heart.

1.    The enemy of greed that says, “there’s never enough for me.”
2.    The enemy of 
fear that says, “everything is running out and I’ll never get mine.”
3.    The enemy of 
entitlement, which takes everything it’s given for granted and, with pride and arrogance, looks for more.

We also talked about what gratitude knows:

1.    Everything is a gift.
2.    Every place 
has meaning.
3.    Every person 
has value.

We were encouraged to simply make the choice every day, “I will be happy, so help me God,” understanding these three important realities:

1.    I am loved in order to show love.
2.    I am 
healed in order to bring healing into every situation.
3.    I am 
blessed to be a blessing.

Think of it this way.  When you enter a room, do you say, “Here I am,” or do you say, “There you are”?  It makes all the difference in the world.

 

Also, I just joined a little scarf swap that seems way too much fun for words. Head on over to SarahMarie’s to join in!

I’m Done Being Quiet

September 3, 2008 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 20 Comments
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I am irritated. I am mad. I am tired of people degrading the military experience of John McCain. You don’t have to support or agree with the man, but you do not have to be disrespectful to his service.

I find it interesting that the people who are so against hearing the John McCain POW story again and again are also the same people who have never experienced firsthand anything about war. Most are of my generation who don’t know much about the war that is currently being fought, much less the wars of past generations. They have not sent anyone they love into a war, or watched the horrors their loved ones suffered through from the effects of it when they return. If you continue to complain about the telling of the war stories you need to be aware that one day you may be faced with a war, perhaps on your homefront, and then and only then can you understand the sacrifice it causes because then it will be a part of your story. 

Only then will you understand the deep and personal feelings it stirs within a serviceperson’s family and only then can you empathize. Until you do, you have no idea the amount of hurt and suffering you cause those people who have served or stood by a loved one who has when you degrade that service and sacrifice. They fought the wars so you won’t have to, remember that, whether you agree with that sentiment or not. You don’t have to support or agree, but you can respect.

Weighing the Options

August 28, 2008 at 8:15 am | Posted in Blogosphere, In the News, Life, Thoughts | 26 Comments
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This is such a sticky subject, but I am going there. I consider myself a pretty moderate person when it comes to politics. There are a few issues I am very passionate about. Just to mention a few: foreign affairs, the environment, the war, our veterans, family issues and healthcare. I was so impressed with the ability everyone had over at Alexa’s to nicely discuss their need or lack of party affiliation. It seems overwhelmingly that most of you are not connecting to a party but to the issues, which in my mind is very wise. I also was so relieved to see that most of us seem to really understand and are passionate enough to be educated about the issues that are deciding the course of the future of our country. No longer are we just voting a certain ticket because someone told us to or because our great great grandfather did, we are choosing based on our conscious and what will impact our future. Bravo!

It got me to wondering. If we are breaking the mold of generations and not necessarily choosing our candidate based on their party affiliation, what are the issues that will ultimately decide your choice for the next president? What do you do if you are like me and you find yourself supporting different platforms of both candidates? How do you weigh the importance of one issue versus another?

Like Alexa said, discuss nicely!

Beep Beep

August 24, 2008 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 26 Comments

Last night I was sitting on my front porch. Just sitting, which is very hard for me, and listening to nothing. I amazed even myself at my ability to be still. My quiet moments usually happen in my car these days, so to be completely and utterly still was so nice. I forgot how I miss it. It is hard for me to slow down and relax. Even at home with nothing to do I am usually very manic about cleaning, sorting or organizing. I can always think of something else to do. Even in the shower, normally a time for most people to stop and reflect, I use it to make a mental list of things to do as soon as I get out.

I know. I need to work on this.

My mom calls it the “road-runner” in me. Constantly moving. Beep beep. Never slowing down. Beep beep. But is it really a bad thing to think that there is something that can be constantly improved or bettered? No, I am sure it isn’t, but there is also some really great things that can come from just being still and listening. I liked it It didn’t drive me crazy. I think I will do it more from here on out. 

Is this just me? Am I crazy??

A New Set of Role Models

August 16, 2008 at 10:03 am | Posted in In the News, Life, Thoughts | 14 Comments
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The Summer Olympics are my favorite. I love the fact that every four years the world, for the most part, seems to stop, watch, and realize that our planet is full of amazing and talented people who may not look like us, worship like us, or live like us, but all in all we come to realize that we are all just people living on a rock.

I love the unity that it brings, the exposure to other cultures that it gives us, and the heroes it produces for us to admire. 

One of my favorite stories so far from this games comes from the example of Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson. Comeptitors, teammates, and roommates, they hold many roles to each other.

In the midst of the most heated athletic competition known to our world, these two women have competed against each other and won the women’s highest honors, all the while remaining friends and supporters of each other. They exemplify class and respect each time they speak about their relationship. They went into the competition as individuals, yet they committed to supporting each other as teammates. They said from the beginning that they wanted to go 1-2 in the Women’s All-Around. And they did. But they both understood that one would be first and one would be second. But in the midst of it all they remained each others biggest supporter.

How phenomenal is that? They chose to use each others talents and strengths as catapults to drive harder and push themselves at their own training and aspirations, instead of tearing each other down and competing negatively which would have lead them to ruin.

While they were both each other’s main competition, they remained friends and teammates first, refusing to hinder each other’s goal. 

What an amazing example this is to women everywhere. 

I have been the first-hand recipient of some less-than-nice women all of my life. Instead of seeing me as a teammate or a friend, they chose to lash out in fear of their own territory and in the end it caused great strife and rifts in the attaining of our common goal. I have left jobs because of it, lost friends over it, and refused to participate in organizations because of the drama that some women bring upon their own. Women everywhere, take notice. These two young women have it all figured out. 

Life up your teammate, even in times of competition. Support their process, even at the cost of your own gain. Celebrate their success, even in the midst of your own set-backs. It’s really not that difficult.

And that is why those two young women make me proud. A few medals gold and silver medals are just to boot.

 

We Interrupt This Blogcast

August 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 11 Comments
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I got nothing today guys.

Between the sniffles and the sneezes and the ickiness I am zonked. So, I would like to point you to this guy who gave a great and phenomenal talk today on being the change we want to see in the world. I unfortunately did not get to hear it in person. I was holding babies and playing with the cutest kids in the Nashville area (yeah, our G3 Kids). So, I can’t wait till the video version comes out on the podcast, but it will soon.

But for now, listen to the audio file just like I just did. It is short, quick, to the point and so worth the time.

It is so important for us to be the change we want to see in the world and stop expecting other people to change the world for us. Stop expecting the next President to change the world.  Stop expecting your government to change the world. Stop expecting the religious leaders to change the world. Stop expecting the teachers in the public school system to change the world and on and on and on. Do what you are good at and be the change in the world that you want to see happen.

I also love what he said about the Presidential election. Choose for yourself people.

Why It’s All About the Blog

July 30, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Blogosphere, Thoughts | 36 Comments
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It seems like everywhere in the blogosphere I am reading blogs about other people not understanding their blogging. I must say I feel in that boat many a day too and I got to thinking the other night why we as bloggers are so passionate about what we do. We don’t get paid. We are by no means Dooces or Perezes. For those of us who do put ads on our page I hear the majority of the consensus is that it doesn’t bring in a lot of money.

So, why then? Why do we comment, set up subscriptions, create blogrolls, join communities to network, and all around spend so much dang time with this stuff? For the people we live with, socialize with, and are in relationships in real life with who don’t get it, it can be a source of frustration and contention. Why so much time is put into it. Why you choose to air your personal thoughts and feelings to the whole world with little to no knowledge of who is stalking or reading you every single day. Some would say we are egotistical and looking for attention. Some would argue that it is our need to feel validated and heard when it comes to our opinions and our convictions. I would say that those all could be true, but in the past few days I have really started to think about all of this and why it is such a driving force for so many of us.

And I have found the answer for myself. It is all about the people. Simple really. Not complex, not selfish. Curiousness or noseiness? Perhaps. But all in all I think that the draw of book deals, published articles, and revenue from ads is really not the heart of most bloggers.

It is about the relationships you build, the people you meet, and the friends who become important to you. Case in point, yesterday I was furiously typing away on my Gmail. I had two laptops open and working. One with personal business, the other with work business. Trying to keep up at both ends seemed pointless. It was around lunch and I had not yet had breakfast and lunch was looking more like it would happen around suppertime. I was having a long, hard, bad day. Deadlines were looming. Deals were falling through. People who needed to answer emails were not. My final week of school was demanding my attention. Personal complexities seemed to abound. Then I got a IM from a friend. A bloggy friend who I have never met in real life, but she is someone who I feel I have known for a very long time. I can tell you the day we meet in 20sb, the way we became friends, and we know more about each other than most of our bloggy friends do. She asked how my day was. I honestly told her. Now, I am not usually one to be honest about my feelings with anyone. I am an internalizer. I work through things on my own and when I have worked through those issues then I tend to come out of my cave. It is a very Mars-like male quality I possess.

I told her I was sorry and that I had not even realized or admitted those issues to even myself. She knew I was needing to vent. She told me to let it all out. And boy did I. She listened (read what I typed) and she offered great feedback. She was my therapist for the day, my ear, my outlet. And I apparently needed it pretty badly. It really surprised me that I could be as honest with her as I could about some things that were bothering me. It was like having a great conversation with a very old friend. The exchange was quick and to the point. She was amazing. I was shocked that I could be so forthright with her. But I trust her. I know that sounds weird, but the bonds you create with people who share your like interests create an amazing sense of community and connection. Reading about each other day in and day out, sharing each others joys and frustrations, and acknowledging each others accomplishments and defeats is an amazing journey.

And that people, is why we blog. Not for fame or recognition. Not for a hobby or an opportunity. But for the people who come back each and every day who take some kind of interest in your life and what you have to say. That is a very powerful thing. I am amazed every single day that people are interested in little old me. I am not very interesting. I am not very opinionated. I can, at times, be very downright boring. It amazes me that people find so many things about my life so interesting. But that is the way of the blog.

 Most of the people who read my humble words I will never know them, but I feel so connected with them like they are a part of my life. When they hurt I worry about them. When they reach a goal I am excited for them. And they all do the same for me.

So, I am sorry if you don’t get it. I hate that you don’t understand. But it is who we are and what we do. I have met some of the most amazing people through blogging. People who inspire me to be a better person, fulfill my dreams, and analyze myself. And I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for sharing this experience with me. Thank you all for being such an important part of my life.

Redeeming Love

July 10, 2008 at 11:49 am | Posted in Thoughts | 14 Comments
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I love a good book. There is nothing better than carrying a book around with you for two days straight because you can’t wait to see what happens. It has been a while since I have found a book like this, but I just finished Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and it is going in my list of top five favorite books I have ever read. It has been out for sometime, with almost a million copies sold, but I wanted to wait until I could buy it for myself, just to see what all the interest was about.

Redeeming Love is a retelling of the Old Testament book of Hosea. Hosea had a wife who was a prostitute and God had told Hosea to marry her. He did and in facing the turmoil of her past and the uncertainty of her future she ran away from him. She never knew or was shown love and for someone to want to love her was very traumatic for her. She messed up, she ran away, she fought him. He followed her, brought her back, and loved her through it all, even when she did many things that are hard to love someone through.

Even in knowing the story of Hosea, I found this story so inspirational and more relevant in a more present day telling. It is set in the gold rush of the 1800’s when Angel is sold into a life of prostitution as a young girl. The story follows her through tragedy, heartache, and loneliness. Then there is a man. A man who is lead to take Angel, love her, and make her his own. He does and even though she is unable to understand or comprehend the love he has to offer, his patience and perseverance is astounding. Still Angel felt lost and unsure. Still she couldn’t understand. To follow her on her journey was so sad, so frustrating, and so heartbreaking. There are many ways that many of us can relate to Angel in our own lives.

I think all women should read this book, no matter what your stage in life. If you are single, dating, engaged or married it is a great reminder that there are men out there who are wanting to love you unconditionally for who you are and not who you could be. Hosea in this book shows that there are great men out there, yes, even in present day time. Men who honor and respect, who give and don’t just want to take, and who will love forever. For men it is a great read to remind them of their place with women. To show patience, to show love, and to show forgiveness, just like we all need to do. Such a great reminder too that our God loves us all no matter what our past, our situation, or our circumstances.

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