Friday, March 28, 2008

Omaha or Bust!

Well, I've made it to the end of the week. It is FINALLY Friday, and I couldn't be happier! I'm really at a loss of things to blog about today. And, I'm a bit apprehensive to write anything else since someone (read: George) told me my last two posts were dense (which I think is code for boring). So, instead of not blogging at all, I thought I would fill you in on my weekend plans. Because, after all, I have some GREAT weekend plans!
In just a few short hours, two of my girlfriends and I will be on the road to Omaha. We are going to a Women of Faith conference at the Qwest Center in Omaha. I am really excited because this is not only the first Women of Faith conference I've been to, but it is also the only large, corporate worship event I have ever attended. So, I am completely excited. I really have no idea what I have to look forward to, but I'm sure it is going to be good!!! And, Nicole C. Mullen will be there. She is my absolute favorite.
So, I will be MIA this weekend, but I generally don't post anything over the weekend anyway. I'll be back on Monday with all the details. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Square Pegs

I've had something on my mind for a couple of weeks now; something that has really been bothering me. I just haven't been able to formulate it into any type of coherent post. It appears, however, that the geekiness of yesterday's post brought the issue to the surface. So, I'm going to try to explain what has been bothering me so much lately. With a little help from some 1980s pop culture. Anyone else remember this?

Ah, Square Pegs. What a great show. Patty was always my favorite. What can I say, I guess I've always been a SJP fan. If you remember, Square Pegs centered around Patty and Lauren, two geeky girls trying to make it into the inner circle at Weemawee High School. You couldn't help but love Patty and Lauren, and in my opinion, they were much cooler than Muffy. But, Patty and Lauren never quite became part of the popular clique. Primarily because they were different than Muffy and her friends.

Now, I don't know about you, but my high school was pretty similar to Weemawee. I went to high school with 2500 other teenagers, and almost everyone was segregated into some kind of group. But, what struck me recently was that not much has changed. Although many years have gone by since most of us were in high school, cliques are alive and kicking. For the most part, we become friends with people who are just like us, and we, either consciously or unconsciously, reject people who we perceive to be different.

I mean, take a look around. We segregate ourselves along lines of race, class, and gender all the time. Now, I recognize that is generalization, and PTL, I know there are exceptions to it, but you can't dispute that the vast majority of the time, it is true. And, even after we get ourselves into these groups, we segregate further. Married vs. single. Children vs. no children. Work at home women vs. work outside the home women. "Liberals" vs. "conservatives." I could go on, and on, and on. And, dare I say it, but my experience has been that women in the church are worse offenders than those outside the church. We have even more "classifications" than women outside the church. Baptist v. Lutheran. Church vs. unchurched upbringings. We make all kinds of judgments based upon whether or not a person has had the same life experiences as we have had. Again, I realize that this is a generalization, but nevertheless, it has been my experience.

Now, don't get me wrong. I realize that it is important to have friends who are in the same life stage that you are in, or friends who are going through similar trials or issues. But, with that said, I think we horribly short change ourselves if those are the only friends we have. We can learn so much from others, even those who have had completely different life experiences than we have had. Perhaps, we can even learn more from those who are different from us.

I speak only for myself when I say that I don't want all my friends to be carbon copies of me. I can already be so self-absorbed that I make myself sick. I certainly don't need any additional encouragement to be more wrapped up in me. I want friends of all shapes and sizes, from all different backgrounds, walks of life, and places. I want friends who are wonderfully different from me. And, the more the merrier. Who can have too many friends?

Maybe that's why I didn't care for high school. I don't care for cliques. In fact, I don't care much for classifications in general. I guess I am my own square peg. I could never understand why the tuba player couldn't hang out with the quarterback, or what was "wrong" with the hippie girl on the debate team. If only their peg boards would have been equipped to handle different shapes and sizes of pegs, I think they would have liked each other. Especially, the hippie girl on the debate team. I'm sure she was pretty cool. *wink*. After all, I read somewhere that geek is the new cool. And, all I have to say, is it is about time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm Going to Get You Isaac Newton...

Those of you who know me well, know that I am a total nerd. I love to learn, and I always have. I loved school (and would go back and stay forever if I could), and there wasn't any class I didn't like. Except for P.E. Well, I guess I did like the tinikling unit, but I digress. The point is that I loved learning about all things, and science was no exception. I particularly enjoyed physics. (Don't make fun of me, and please don't reach through the computer to give me a wedgie...Please). But, I haven't really thought about physics since college. That's why I found it very unexpected when a physics theory popped in my head after my prayer time last night. But, I should have realized that God can teach us things in many different ways, even through physics.
So, this is how it all went down. I crawled into bed last night feeling a little down about some things going on in my life. There are many I could discuss, but this one is perhaps the least embarrassing. (And, after yesterday's post, that is probably appropriate.) I have had really good intentions since, oh, January 1st, of starting a diet and exercise plan. So, here it is, nearly the end of March, and to date, I haven't done much to speak of with regard to either of those things. The closest thing I have done is watch the Biggest Loser, which is what I did last night. And, I cried when the contestants started weighing in. (Just so you know, I blame the crying entirely on PMS.) Anyway, later that night, as I was lying in bed, I started whining (yes, I do believe that whining is the correct verb) to God about these things that I am down about. I kept telling Him, "I don't know what is wrong with me. Why can't I get it together? I pray about these things, but nothing ever happens. What is wrong with me? All these other people out there have everything together. They are dieting and exercising. What is my problem?" And, do you want to know what the response I received to my, albeit whiny, inquiries was?
Isaac Newton.
Say, what??? Isaac Newton? What does he have to do with anything??? Fig Newtons, maybe, but Isaac Newton? I don't get it???
And, then I started thinking about it. "Isaac Newton? What did he do? Well, there was that thing with the apple. You know, the law of gravity. Could that be it? No, I don't think so." And, then it hit me; kinda like Newton's apple ;) Newton's First Law of Motion, or, the law of inertia.
In its simplest form, the law of inertia states that a body at rest tends to remain at rest, and a body in motion tends to remain in motion. But, the actual Newtonian definition of inertia is much more interesting. According to that definition, inertia is "a power of resisting, by which every body, as much as in it lies, endeavors to preserve in its present state, whether it be of rest, or of moving uniformly forward in a right line." (emphasis mine.) (And, I want to let you all know that I did have to look up the definition of inertia. I didn't have it memorized.) Hmm. Interesting.
And, then I started to recognize what God was trying to tell me. (At least what I think He was trying to tell me. Work with me here ;) That is me. In my fallen state, I am inert. My "flesh woman" is fighting with all her power. And, unfortunately, she has a lot of it. Primarily due to all her extra pounds. But, again, I digress. The point is, she is resisting and endeavoring to preserve in her present state. (Which unfortunately involves eating leftover Easter candy while watching the Biggest Loser and crying. So sad.)
The bottom line is that in my fallen state, I am a body at rest. And due to flesh woman's inertia, I will always be at rest. Well, that is, unless I am acted upon by an unbalanced force. Like, um, a push in the right direction by a Divine Hand! So, what I believe God was trying to tell me was that my "good intentions" will never be good enough to overcome my inertia. And, I can try, try, try all I want to "get it together", but in my own power, it ain't never gonna happen. The only way I can change from being a body at rest to being a body in motion is through God's unbalanced power. In other words, I've been looking at these issues from the wrong perspective. Instead of whining to God about how I should be able to do this, and why isn't he letting ME do this. I need to ask God to give me a Divine push in the right direction. Because with God's power I can be a body in motion. (Ha, ha. Get it ; Even though I think that this applies to more than my exercise issues.) And, as long as I have God's power, I can remain a body in motion. But, God must work through me, and not me through Him. Awesome. Isaac Newton. Who would have thought he had anything to do with me? Isn't God amazing!
So, I'm going to ask God for that divine push in the right direction. Starting with the ability to move toward the TV to turn off the Biggest Loser. I mean, after all, we all know that show is nothing more than Satan's pawn *wink wink*. But, seriously, I am going to ask God to give me a Divine kick in the backside. One that miraculously ends with me standing on my treadmill!
And, if you haven't been geeked out enough by today's post. Here are a couple of factoids to chew on. 1) Inertia comes from the Latin word for laziness. Who, me, lazy? And, 2) In addition to being a scientist, Isaac Newton was also a theologian who believed that God could be seen in all things, including science. Interesting, isn't it?
Well, in the words of Bugs Bunny, that's all folks. But, if you come back tomorrow, we'll tackle Einstein's theory of relativity. Just kidding. But, I am going to go straighten my pocket protector. *wink*.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In the Interest of Full Disclosure

I am so excited. This weekend I get the absolute pleasure of going to a Women of Faith conference with two awesome friends of mine. The conference is just far enough away that we have to stay in a hotel, and I love staying in hotels! I am a bit apprehensive, however, to stay in the same hotel room with people who are not contractually or genetically obligated to love me. Let's just say that I have some issues. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I thought I better share these issues with my girlfriends. And, since I have no shame (and nothing better to blog about today), I figured, why not put it out there in blog world. So, in no particular order, here goes:

Number 5: I talk in my sleep. Not mumble, groan talk, but complete sentences, carry on conversations talk. Sometimes with my eyes open. Scary, I know. You don't have to tell me. I'm the one spilling my guts to people in the middle of the night. AND, unless you tell me, I don't know I did it. Or what I said.
Number 4: Sometimes, I sleep walk. Generally, I only sleep walk to the refrigerator where I down some Diet Coke. Did I mention that I am ASLEEP!?! I guess sleep drinking is better than sleep eating, but unless we have a mini fridge in our room, we better make sure the door is securely locked. Otherwise, who knows where you will find me.

Number 3: I love monkeys--all kinds of monkeys. I think they are awesome, and if I had a pet, I would want a monkey. But, since no one else seems to think having a monkey for a pet is such a great idea, I have to settle for a stuffed one. His name is Grand Master Monkey. Yes, for real, and he always travels with me. Hey, no laughing. Did I mention he is fierce? ;)
Number 2: I am not a morning person, but I am not a night person, either. I am a sleep person. I like it, and you better not interfere with it. (Otherwise, see number 3. Grand Master likes his sleep, too. And, like I said, he is fierce.)
Number 1: Repeat, I am not a morning person. So, I don't think I 've ever gotten up on the "right" side of the bed. That's primarily because I firmly believe that both sides of the bed are the wrong side when you have to get up. Like I said, I like my sleep. But, I never get it, or at least enough of it, so I can be a little crabby first thing in the morning. At least until I've had some coffee and/or Diet Coke. Prayer always helps, too!

I could go on and on and on. I'm a bed hog, I have to have a million blankets, which I kick off onto the floor after I fall asleep...You get the idea. Like I said, I have issues. But, at least now, they are fully disclosed. Well, almost. I'll tell you about my dreams later. I think I've scared everyone enough for one day.
By the way, is it time for a nap? *wink, wink*.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Weekend Recap

It's Monday, and I haven't blogged since Thursday. I'm a slacker, I know! Just so you know, though, I started this post on Friday. At that point, I was planning to blog about my NCAA basketball bracket. But, I could never get anything down "on paper" that sounded right to me. It wasn't that I didn't have anything to say. As those of you who know me well can attest, I always have something to say. The problem was that every thing I wrote seemed so trivial . After all, last Friday was Good Friday. And, while the fact that I finished the first day of the NCAA tournament 14/16 is pretty cool, it does not compare in the slightest to Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross. So, I decided that I would spend some time with my Jesus. And, that's what I did.

Friday night W. and I went to the Good Friday service at church. It was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. The sanctuary was beautiful (completely lit with candles), the music was beautiful, and so were the words spoken by our pastors.

Saturday I finished my last Bible Study session. For the last ten weeks I have been doing Beth Moore's Jesus the One and Only study. Like all of her other studies, this one was awesome. And, I can tell you that God is good! The timing couldn't have been more perfect, finishing this Study during Holy Week. If you haven't done this Bible Study, you definitely should! I would tell you it's my favorite, but I have to admit, I say that about all of them.

On Sunday, we worshipped at our church. I love Easter more and more every year. I think that is because with each year that passes, I increasingly realize how undeserving I am of Christ's sacrifice. I can't fathom Jesus' love for me, but I am so thankful he loves me! He loved us enough to die for us, but death couldn't contain Him. He is risen, and that is so AWESOME!

This is the first time I've done this, but here are some pictures of our little unit dressed in our Easter outfits.

Oh, in case you were wondering, on Saturday my NCAA bracket nearly disintegrated. I guess that's what happens when one gets proud of her performance the day before!

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Insult or Invitation?

OK, so I had Chinese food for lunch yesterday. For the most part, I will say that I am an equal opprtunity eater. I haven't met very many foods that I don't like, and this Chinese food was no exception. I had some egg drop soup, some beef lo mein, some crab rangoon, some rice, and some sui mai. Yummy. (Sorry, honey, I know you hate it when I have Chinese food without you.) Anyway, the point is that I may have overeaten, you know, just a little... And, after I stuffed myself with all that food, I opened my fortune cookie. I mean, it doesn't matter how full you are, you have to eat the fortune cookie, right?

So picture this with me, I'm sitting at the lunch table in my breakroom, trying hard to breathe, wanting to take a nap, and unwrapping my fortune cookie. After I got it out of the wrapper, I broke my fortune cookie in half, shoved one half of the cookie promptly in my mouth, and read my "fortune." I expected it to say something like, "You will live a long, healthy life," or "A closed mouth gathers no feet." But, instead, it said, "New clothes are in your future." And in the words of my ten year-old, I thought to myself, "Is that an insult?" (In case you were wondering, apparently EVERYTHING is an insult when you're ten.) Hello?? What kind of fortune is that? Now, I'm not superstitious, and before I opened my cookie yesterday, I didn't believe the sayings in fortune cookies had any mystical powers. And, now, my friends, I KNOW they don't. They are obviously written by men. Because only a man would place such a saying in a COOKIE. A COOKIE you eat after you've eaten the emormous portions of food they give you. A COOKIE that you already feel guilty about eating! A COOKIE that is worth more WW points that some of their frozen meals. No woman would ever do such a thing!

So, I did what any self-respecting woman would have done. I grunted, "Hmph," ate the other half of my cookie, and waddled back to my desk. And, after I had fumed about it for four hours, I shut off my computer, and drove straight to the mall.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Regrets and Grace

Have you ever had one of those days where you don't want to get out of bed? One of those days where you just want to pull the covers back up over your head and hide from the world? Well, I'm having one of those days today. I don't exactly know what brought on this mood; all I know is that I woke up in a funk. And not the George Clinton kind. I've been trying to shake the funk all morning, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere. I don't know how to explain it other than I feel as if I am literally weighted down and exhausted. There is a pressure in my chest that makes it difficult to breathe. It kind of feels like I'm stuck underwater, unable to come up for air. Not a pretty picture. Not a pretty feeling.
Like I said, I don't exactly know what brought on this mood. I do, however, have a few ideas. Saturday was my dad's birthday. Well, it would have been his birthday, if he was still alive. But, he passed away two years ago in January. He had cancer. Cancer that started in his colon and metastasised to his liver. By the time it was diagnosed, it was Stage IV, and he had three months to live.
Three months is not a lot of time. Especially when you have a lot of time to make up for. You see, my dad and I hadn't spoken in about two years when he was diagnosed with liver cancer. There were reasons for that. Reasons that seemed valid at the time. Reasons that would still seem valid to many people, especially proponents of the "tough love" school of thought. But, death has a way of stripping every relationship down to its raw core. And, when it came down to it, I may not have condoned my father's behavior, but I did love him. I don't deny that I have many more bad memories associated with my dad than good ones, but I will tell you that it is the good ones that I remember most often. After all, he was still my daddy.
I tried to be more present after my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I visited him at the hospital while he had his chemo treatments. I helped him prepare his living will. We spent Christmas together. I helped plan his funeral. And, when it became entirely clear that he wasn't going to make it out of the hospital, I didn't leave. When we moved my dad to hospice, I held his hand in the ambulance. And I sat by his side, holding his hand, as he took his last breath. I have no regrets about any of those things. Despite all the pain involved, I wouldn't have traded any of those moments for anything.
But that doesn't mean that I don't have any regrets. Because regrets, I have more than a few. While I sat for hours on end with my dad, telling him how much I loved him, and how much I had always loved him, we never talked about the breakdown in our relationship. Even in those final days, I couldn't muster up enough courage to talk about it, and I couldn't choke out the words to tell him how sorry I was for my part in the whole mess.

But, that isn't even what I regret the most. You see, my dad wasn't a Christian. In fact, he was very outspoken in his belief that God did not exist. There were many times I felt the need to talk to him about God while he was in the hospital, but you know what, I never did it. I could make all kinds of excuses for myself. I wasn't in church, I wouldn't have known what to say, etc. And, both those things were true. In fact, although I knew about Jesus, and although I had "walked the aisle" as a teenager, I can tell you now that I had never been to the cross at that point in time. But, none of that matters. I knew in my heart I should say something to my dad, and I didn't. Over the course of the last two years, I have asked myself why I didn't say anything. A better person would have said something; you would have said something. I'd like to think I'd say something if I had it to do over again. Ultimately, the bottom line was that I didn't say anything because I was afraid. Afraid, that my dad would reject my message; afraid that my dad would reject me. Fear. It is so ugly and so destructive.

But, God is good. Despite my failure, God wanted my dad to be saved. He had my mother, my dad's ex-wife, step in to talk to my dad about Jesus. And, I am grateful that she did because he believed. One of the last things my dad said before he died was that he needed more Christ in his life. And, I'm no theologian, but I believe that he has a whole lot more of Him in his life now.

So, as I look toward Easter Sunday this weekend, I am so thankful for the mercy and grace of our God. I am thankful that He doesn't want anyone to perish and that He wants all to come to repentance. I am thankful that He chose my dad to be one of His children. But, perhaps, most of all, I am thankful that He sent His Son to die for my sins. And, He says that if I will confess them, He will forgive them. No matter how small or how big those sins are. And, for that, I am grateful.

There aren't very many days that go by that I don't think about my dad, and there aren't very many days that I don't wish he were still alive. But looking back in hindsight, I do see God's hand at work. If my dad had never gotten terminal cancer, he would have never accepted Christ. If my dad had not been given three months to live, and instead, would have died instantaneously, we would have never reconciled to the extent that we did. And, if my dad had never gotten cancer, I may have never set foot in a church. And, I may have never come face to face with my Savior.
My dad didn't have many requests regarding his funeral, but he did want three specific songs played. The last song he wanted played at his funeral was "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones. And while a day doesn't go by that I don't wish I had handled things differently with my dad, I am comforted by the fact that while you can't always get what you want, sometimes you might find you get what you need. And, I have certainly gotten what I need. Grace. And, I am forever thankful.

PS--I know that this post wasn't pretty, and I know that it was very heavy. I am reminded that my dad loved to laugh. So, if you haven't done so, please read my post from yesterday. It just might make you laugh.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Xanadu Lives...Just Not Here

OK, so I went roller skating yesterday afternoon. Yes, roller skating at a real rink. Roller skating complete with ugly skates and disco balls galore. And, no, it wasn't for a school fundraiser, and no, my child wasn't even with me. (He is way too cool for that). I went roller skating because I wanted to go roller skating. And, all I have to say is "What was I thinking???" I mean, I hadn't been roller skating in at least 20 years. But, I got to go with some of my favorite girlfriends. And, what can beat hanging out with your girlfriends at the skating rink? Nothin', that's what.
You may have picked up on the fact that I try to look for life lessons in just about any experience. So, without further ado, here is my top ten list from the roller skating rink. With a little help from some 80's friends...
Number 10: When you were just a young girl and still in school, How come you never learned the golden rule. Don't talk to strange men, don't be a fool. I'm hearin' stories, I don't think that's cool. Don't talk to strangers. Especially strange men who want to talk about your "bumpers."
Number 9: Lies, lies, lies, yeah! Lies, lies, lies, yeah! No matter what your friends try to tell you, roller skating is NOT like riding a bike. Well, maybe it is. I really wasn't very good at riding a bike. So, I guess I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on this one ;)
Number 8: Don't stand, don't stand so, Don't stand so close to me. It's been two decades since I've roller skated, and I might fall and take you out. Small children should especially heed this warning as failure to do so could result in serious injury or death.
Number 7: Whoa, we're half way there, Whoa, livin' on a prayer. If it has been more than a few years since you've been roller skating, prayer is key. Pray before you get on the rink, pray when you're half way around the rink, pray after one complete rotation around the rink. Repeat sequence as many times as necessary.
Number 6: I've been around for you, I've been up and down for you, But I just can't get any relief, I've swallowed my pride for you...I believe it's time for me to fly. It becomes a problem, however, when you can't really fly, but you are frantically moving your arms in a wing-like motion. You know, like animated characters in the cartoons. And, I can now tell you from experience, the flapping isn't gonna make you fly, and it isn't gonna keep you from falling either.
Number 5: We are the world, we are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving. There's a choice we're making. We're saving our own lives. It's true we'll make a better day, just you and me. OK, so that really has nothing to do with roller skating, but admit it, you are singing along now. And, I know you're doing the Stevie Wonder thing with your head. Don't even try to deny it.
Number 4: Say, we can act if we want to, if we don't nobody will, And you can act real rude or totally removed, And I can act like an imbecile. If you feel the need to share your hidden rapping talent with the entire skating rink, you better be OK with acting like an imbecile. Especially if you are white woman from the burbs who has no real, musical ability.
Number 3: Let's get physical, physical, I wanna get physical, let's get into physical, Let me hear your body talk, Your body talk, let me hear your body talk. Roller skating really is physical activity. It may not have seemed like it when you were ten, but twenty years later, let me tell you, it is. And, if it's been twenty years since you've been roller skating, you might want to increase your OS-CAL dosage, or bring a can of WD-40, because you might not want to hear your body talk. It kind of sounds like someone walking on an old staircase.
Number 2: And I'm free, free fallin, 'Yeah I'm free, free fallin'. If it's been two decades since you've been roller skating, and you don't have the muscle memory of your wonderful friends, you should be prepared to wipe out. To prevent swollen kneecaps and bruises I would highly suggest wearing knee pads. Especially, since despite the stranger's remarks about your "bumpers", said "bumpers" do very little to protect your knees. Unless, your Maxine from those Hallmark cards. Can we just say, PTL for support bras.
And, drum roll please...
Number 1: Now I've had the time of my life. No I never felt like this before. Yes, I swear it's the truth, and I owe it all to you. It's amazing how much fun you can have at a roller skating rink. I think we just might have to do it again. But, maybe I'll make use of the Saturday morning lessons before I do...

Friday, March 14, 2008


It is finally Friday, Hallelujah! I don't know about you, but I felt that this week moved at a snail's pace. I must admit that I'm in a better mood now that it's Friday. And, my mood is even better because I'm off the hook. You see, I thought that I was going to have to drive five hours tomorrow for work, which I would have done, but I just found out that I don't have to go anymore. Awesome.
Well, mostly awesome. Saturday is "Get It Done" day at my house. It's the day we run ALL of our errands. We go to the grocery store, the dry cleaners, the post office, the auto shop, Target (we always go to Target--Always), etc. It's also the day we do all of our cleaning. We prepare meals for the next week. We do homework. I get my nails and hair done. We shop for clothes, books, or anything else we need. I think you get the idea. No one likes Saturdays at our house because they are so HECTIC. And, I was secretly looking forward to delegating all of these responsibilities to someone else. I guess it wasn't meant to be. Oh well.
I really wish I could come up with some kind of solution to our Saturday madness. Some kind of schedule, or division of labor, that would make Saturdays more enjoyable for us. Anybody have any suggestions? Anything that works for you? If so, bring 'em on. I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pint-Size Pushers (Also Known As Girl Scouts)

I've only been home from book club for an hour and a half, and I've already devoured almost an entire box of Girl Scout cookies. Thin mints, in case you were wondering. Also in case you are wondering, I have a stomach ache--go figure. I could blame those pint-size pushers, or I could blame the devil, but the problem is really with my flesh. Especially the flesh on my hips and back side!
Anyone else out there eaten too many Girl Scout cookies? Come on, I know you're out there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fear, Friendship and Forgiveness Part Deux

Well, everyone is now well again at our house. And even better than that, it's 42 degrees today. I'm definitely going to open some of the windows for a little while, even if I keep the heat turned on while I do it!

I did want to get back to my last post before I forgot what I wanted to say. Don't you hate that? Or, maybe it's only me...Anyway, in addition to the chapter on fear, Joanna Weaver also had a chapter on forgiveness. Apparently, this is becoming a recurring theme for me. Do you think that maybe God is trying to tell me something? *wink, wink*. Well, I know that I have been, and am, struggling with the issue of forgiveness recently. (OK, and not so recently, too.)
Without going into too many of the gory details, here is my dilemma. One of my closest friends hurt me deeply a couple of years ago. (I wanted to tell you why, but God just reminded me that it really doesn't matter, and that I only wanted to tell you why to get you on my side. Ouch! But, oh so true.) I was so hurt initially that I cut off contact with her. Over the course of the next few months, I convinced myself that my actions were not only justified, but also that I had done nothing wrong. And, you can be certain, I did not want to change my behavior. During that time period, my friend got married. I went to the bridal shower and the wedding, but only because I wanted to play the martyr. She tried to apologize during the reception, but I told her we could talk about it later. So, several months later, I called my friend and we got together for an hour or so. The conversation was light. We didn't discuss much, and we certainly didn't discuss "it." It certainly wasn't like old times, but I thought I had resolved the issue in my mind. We haven't spoken since.
I did get a Christmas card from her, along with a letter to all her friends and family. I found out from the letter that my friend was pregnant. I have to admit, the first thing I thought was, "I can't believe she didn't call me." And, then I got angry at myself. I thought I was over this. I thought I had put all of this in the past. So, I pushed it all down again. Down in the crevices of my mind where I thought it was buried for good. Well, not quite. You see, a few weeks ago I got an invitation to her baby shower. And all those feelings and emotions I had pushed down rose to the surface again.
At this point, I do think I should let you know that if I had, in fact, written this post on Friday, the events described above would have been portrayed very differently. See, they may look one sided to you (and to me, believe me), but they would have been even more one sided then. Just call me Heather of Arc. Martyr extraordinaire. I had read the chapter on forgiveness in Having a Mary Spirit, but I had only internalized what I wanted to. For example, Joanna Weaver writes about how forgiving doesn't excuse the other person's behavior, but it does make you OK. The problem was, I thought I was OK. I mean, hello, I thought to myself, "I have it all together." Oh, such foolishness.
It wasn't until I was talking with Melissa on Saturday that things slowly began to click in my mind. Melissa made a simple statement. She said, "Maybe, your friend doesn't know there is anything wrong." At the time, I was quick to retort, "Of course she knows something is wrong." But later, I started thinking about what wise friends I have. Maybe she doesn't know anything is wrong? I mean, I think she knows our relationship has definitely changed. After all, we no longer have sleepovers, and she no longer braids my hair for me. And, I think that she knows how hurt I was, but maybe she thinks I've let it go, or gotten over it. But she probably doesn't know, as Joanna Weaver said in her book (and Beth Moore talks about in her DVD series Measureless Love--which if you haven't seen it, you should. It is fantastic), that I have locked her in a prison in my heart. And as I thought about all this, I realized that that was, in fact, exactly what I had done. And, I was the prison warden, chained to the chair, right outside the prison cell; incapable of moving away. And suddenly I understood what Joanna Weaver meant when she wrote that forgiveness makes you OK. My friend has been living her life, not knowing that I have her chained up in my heart, while I have carried around this bitterness for over two years. Well, sisters (and George), it is time to let it go. I'm unsure where exactly to go from here. I don't know what the first step is in this mess. Joanna Weaver told a story in her book about a feud she had with her friend. She wrote that God told her that whenever she thought drove by her friend's home, she was supposed to say a blessing for her. Blessing. Now that's a thought. Maybe I'll start there. And if you have any suggestions or insight, I'd love to hear them. Like I said, I know I have wise friends!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fear, Friendship and Forgiveness

My wonderful (and well-read) friend Melissa recommended that I read Having A Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver. I finished it today. It was awesome, and it spoke to me. And, although it spoke to me in many different ways, two chapters I read today were particularly timely. The first one dealt with fear. Anyone who read my post a few days ago probably intimated that I am fearful of change. I am fearful of trying new things. I always have been. If I am speaking truthfully, I only like to "try" things that I already know I will succeed at. At the very least, I want the odds of success to be tilted in my favor. That's why only a handful of people I know are cognizant of the fact this blog exists--my closest friends and loved ones. Well, that was until last night. Last night I stepped out of my comfort zone and left a comment on another blog. It was a blog that I have been reading for several weeks now. One that I immensely enjoyed reading. What I didn't anticipate, however, was that in a few short minutes, the number of hits on my own blog would quadruple. All of a sudden, I was struck by a terrible wave of panic and fear. I poured over every word that I had ever written on this blog. Would these women read it? If they did read it, would they like it? Would they think I was odd, weird, or strange? Would they ever come back and visit my corner of the world again? In a word, would they like me?
Today, as I was reading Having a Mary Spirit, I came upon a chapter on fear. In it she explains that when we struggle with fear and anxiety, we must know and rely on the perfect love that God has for us. And when we trust God's perfect love for us, we no longer have to be fearful or anxious. After reading that chapter, I felt a wave of relief come over me. God brought to mind the verses that Beth Moore taught on from Ephesians where God tells us that we are blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven. In Him, we are loved. And, as I meditated on that Truth, I felt at peace. I realized that even if none of those women, or anyone else, ever visited my blog again, it wouldn't mean that I wasn't liked or loved.
With that said, of course, I would love to connect with other women through my blog. Both women I know and with women I don't know yet. Secretly, I think I've always wanted people to read and comment on my blog. Whether that will happen or not, only God knows right now. But either way, I am secure in the knowledge that I am loved.
I know I said there were two ways this book spoke to me, but you will have to wait until later to hear about the other one. I have to go check on my precious 10-year old boy who has a stomach bug. I can't wait until it warms up and we can air out all of the germs that have congregated in our house!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

World Tour 1982 Revisited

I know I post a lot about music, but I do love it. Probably because I have no musical ability at all, and I mean NONE. For example, my eighth grade choir teacher asked if I could just mouth the words to our spring concert. But, I digress.
I was eating lunch today, reading the Concert Call page, and I became so excited I almost couldn't stand it. You will never believe who will be in concert here in just a few, short weeks! OK, I'll give you a hint. This duo is comprised of one Aussie and one Brit. Need another clue? They went on a worldwide tour in 1982. Still need another clue? OK, but this one will give it away. One of their biggest hits, "Lost in Love" was released in 1980. Yep, you guessed it: Air Supply!!! Can you believe it? Me either. Now some people (George) may not appreciate Air Supply. But, I do. And, I'm not ashamed either. So, maybe, just maybe there is an Air Supply concert in my future. I better start practicing my swooning. I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you....

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Confessions of a Hippie

So, you may know that my parents were hippies. Real, live hippies. Hippies who loved music. I grew up listening to all the music from the 60s--Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, the Stones, the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Dylan, the Dead...You get the idea. I loved that music. I loved that era. I wanted to live in the 60s, and I desperately wanted to be a hippie. Well, at least what my idea of a hippie was. So, for a while, I became one. (Somewhere after my acid washed jeans and my leisure suit phases). I had long hair, patchwork skirts, Birkenstocks, and all the hemp accessories one girl could ever want. And, even though I eventually stopped dressing like a hippie (primarily because those skirts do not look good on post-baby hips), I still have a soft spot in my heart for hippies. And, I'm fairly certain I could still play a mean hacky sack.

Anyway, you may be wondering why I am taking a trip down memory lane for you. Well, I just got done watching both days of American Idol from this week. (All I have to say is thank God for DVR!) I love that show, and, I definitely have my favorite contestants. Right now I'm totally diggin' Jason Castro. He, and his dreads, are totally cool, dude. He reminds me of every hippie boy I ever knew. And, I'm loving it! If you haven't checked him out on the show, you should. Not only is he awesome, but he also has a really unique voice. And, in the interim I'll try to find some pictures of my hippie stage for you. At the very least they will be amusing.

Life Lessons from Carly Simon...Sort of

Whoo hoo, two days in a row. Absolutely amazing! Maybe I will make a habit out of this blogging thing yet. And, since yesterday's topic was so deep, I thought I would lighten things up a little bit today. And exfoliate, and decrease the appearance of fine lines....Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself.
So, I was listening to my ipod the other day, and, what do you know, one of my favorite Carly Simon songs came on. I turned up "Nobody Does It Better," and thought about my favorite James Bond, Sean Connery. He was, and is, so cool...and distinguished. If I do say so myself. And as I was singing along, I wondered why I didn't become a spy. Now, don't start laughing, I'm serious. I mean, after all, when I was ten I used to spy on our across the street neighbor. All the neighborhood kids knew she was trying to kill us, primarily by poisoning those muffins she baked. I mean, who has heard of oat bran anyway??? Obviously, we had to find evidence to corroborate our "knowledge." We never did come up with any hard evidence, but we did get chased out of her driveway. Maybe that's why I didn't become a spy. Hmm...Well, if I wasn't cut out to be a spy, then I wondered why I couldn't have become a Bond girl.
As you may be aware, "Nobody Does It Better" is not a very long song. By the time all of these thoughts had run through my head, the song was nearly over. So, while I was still pondering my "promising" career as a Bond girl, a new song started. And wouldn't you know it, it was "You're So Vain." Isn't that ironic, as Alanis Morissette would say. (And George, if that is not an appropriate use of irony, keep it to yourself--wink, wink).
Now for an important message from your sponsor: On the very slim chance that there is anyone out there reading this blog entry that doesn't know me, I want to tell you that I really don't think I could have had a career as a Bond Girl. Miss Moneypenny, maybe. I am a decent typist. But a Bond girl, not so much. And to the two of you who read this that do know me, I think you know me well enough to know I'm joking. (But not about being a spy, OK?) Because, after all, I am a realist. No one is going to mistake me for Jane Seymour or Halle Berry any time soon. And come on, let's face it, my name is not nearly cool enough!
Now back to your regularly scheduled blog entry: So, I was singing along to "You're So Vain," and I realized I still needed to use the remainder of a spa gift certificate George got me for my birthday last year. Hmm, what should I use it for? A microdermabrasion or a peel? A facial or a massage? I manicure or a pedicure? I thought to myself, maybe I just need a spa day, complete with all of the above. Vain, who, me? Maybe, but I prefer to think of it as preventative medicine--wink, wink. After all, I'm not getting any younger. And, you just never know when they will be casting for the next James Bond movie....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Blog Neglect and Other Random Musings on the Meaning of Life

Oh my, how time flies. Here it is Tuesday, and it's been a full week since I've blogged. Total blog neglect, but, what can I say, my life simply isn't very interesting! I'm going to attempt to be better at blogging more regularly. We'll see...The sun is coming up earlier, and that does make it easier to get out of bed. Now if it would only quit snowing and WARM UP!!!! Amen? In any event, my apologies for not having posted anything for awhile. Lo siento!
So, onto more important things, like the meaning of life! Well, kind of. It's just that I have been thinking about my life a lot recently--where I am, where I've been, what I want to do, and where I want to go. Maybe because it's nearly spring, the time of new beginnings and spring cleaning, or maybe it's because I'm just at the end of my rope. But, whatever the impetus, I feel that God is telling me it is time for some changes in my life. Specifically, I feel that He is telling me two things: 1) "It's time to move on"; and 2) "Cut the crap." (OK, so I'm not sure that God uses that exact phrase, but the meaning is the same!) Now, that's all fine and good. I am definitely ready for some changes in my life, and I have a general idea of what I'm being prompted to do. The problem, however, is I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do after I make certain changes.
For example, for several months I have felt as if I am supposed to leave my current place of employment. It's no secret to anyone who knows me: I AM MISERABLE there. My work environment is insufferable, and I don't even enjoy my work anymore. I dread going to bed at night, knowing that I have to get up and do it again the next day. I have nightmares where I dream not only about work, but I also dream that people I work with are physically harming me. Some days it takes all the physical strength I have to actually get out of bed. It's like I'm paralyzed, lying there, completely unable to move my extremities. And, after I suffer all day at work, I'm utterly spent when I get home. And, then I get to do it all over again the next day. All of this stress has taken its toll on me, both emotionally and physically. Emotionally, I swing from sad and depressed to angry, and even vengeful. And that can happen in a matter of seconds. Physically, my body is deteriorating. I've gained the weight equivalent to a large toddler, my migraines are worse and more frequent, and I've made at least two trips to the emergency room with stress related symptoms, all since I started working there. Nothing that is sacred to me is sacred to these people, not God, not family, not physical and emotional health.
But, I thought that since I was here, God wanted me to be here. I thought, "There must be some purpose in this." But, over the last several months, I have felt God telling me, "It is time to move on." At first, the promptings were whispers. I would often push them out of my mind, thinking that they were a figment of my imagination. Since those first promptings, however, everywhere I go, in everything I read, watch or listen to, I see or hear something that corroborates those promptings. Over time, the promptings have gotten louder and louder. Now, instead of whispers, they are screams. As I laid in bed this morning, crying about getting up, once again, I felt God say, "IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON."
I agree with that, but here is my problem. I don't know what I'm supposed to move on to. Am I supposed to get another job in the same field, or am I supposed to move on to something entirely different? Over these last few months I have also felt that I am supposed to move. But where? I have been thinking of the South a lot, but is that only because we've had five feet of snow this winter, and I'm tired of it? It is not at all clear, and right now I'm getting silence on the specifics. Is it just me, or do you sometimes wish that God gave us all an instruction manual? You know, one that tells us where we are supposed to live, what we are supposed to do. Everything spelled out clearly for us. Maybe, it's just me and my Type A personality. I don't know.
In any event, the lack of specific direction compounds my problem. Instead of continuing to pray through these issues, or waiting on God to make the answers clear, I begin to doubt the promptings. Beth Moore once taught a lesson about being led by the Holy Spirit. In that lesson, she told a story about a friend who was awakened in her hotel room one night by a flashing red light. Her friend initially thought that God was speaking to her, but, instead, it turned out to be the light on the fire alarm. Beth's point was that sometimes God is leading us, but other times we just think it is God, when instead, it's only the fire alarm.
So, after awhile, I start to think, "Is this God, or is it just the fire alarm?" And, then I start thinking it's all in my head. I begin to think that I'm not supposed to find another job. Instead, I think that I'm weak and wimpy for not being able to handle the pressure and the stress. I tell myself that if I was only stronger, more determined, more steadfast, things would be OK, and, I stop listening to the promptings. And, initially things are good. I have a surge of "self-discipline" and "will power." I feel as if I am handing things better, even well. After awhile, though, it all falls apart, and I start sinking. Then I beat myself up for having doubted the promptings. I start listening to them again, but the same things happen. It is a nasty cycle of belief, doubt, and unbelief. A cycle that I can't quite seem to break away from right now.
I wish I had the answers. It would make it so much easier, but I realize it's not supposed to be easy. So, I'll keep struggling along, praying for more faith, and, of course, some specific guidance! But, if you have any ideas or suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them. And, thanks for letting me ramble on and pour my heart out. I know it isn't pretty, so thanks for listening.