Wednesday, December 21, 2011

May There Be Peace To All This Christmas

Alright. I must make this quick, as I have to get to work... I've been holding off for months on saying this, as I wanted to articulate it well. But alas, lately I've felt as if I don't say anything, especially around Christmas, I'll just burst. So here's the short and sweet.

I work with folks with special needs. Throughout the years they have been marginalized and shuffled off to 'keep with their own kind'. As a society, we believe there's something wrong with them. Health insurance companies largely don't want to touch them and no one wants to believe that they can love, develop true relationships, get married, and have children. It's almost a joke to some to believe that they could possibly be successful in life. As a society, we're so scared of our babies being born with a deficiency, that we'll abort them. Some of us believe that a dead baby is better than a "broken" one.

I tend to want to punch people in the face for thinking such thoughts. I believe we're all cut from the same cloth by the one true God who created us all.

So it got me thinking... who else as a society, and especially as a church, have we marginalized because they don't look like us or it just seems 'unnatural? Minorities. Check. Women. Check. Homosexuals. Double Check.

For thirty years I believed what I was taught - that if you're gay, you're less than. You're dirty. Flamboyant. Filthy minds and lying tongues. You're cheap and promiscuous.You must be fixed. You've chosen to be this way. You can't really love Jesus and you must never ever be given any form of power, lest we all turn into perverts and child molesters. But a surprising fact began to emerge... some of these homosexuals, really did seem to love Jesus. And they didn't have fangs. And I wasn't going to catch whatever this horrible thing was that they must have all carried to make them this way.

And I started to think... if I believe that we're all cut from the same cloth by the one true God who created us all, why did I believe that he couldn't really love the gay population? Why did I think that he was so disappointed in them as a whole? What type of kool-aid had I been given? As a church, we're embarrassed that our forefathers treated folks of a different color worse than animals. It's almost horrible enough, that we kinda block it out. We were a pathetic example of Jesus. As a church, why are we going down the same path then, with the gay and lesbian community? Do we really want our children blocking out our deeds and pathetic beliefs?

If Jesus really came to save us all. If he really came because we are all jacked up. If he really existed and is searching out those who have been discarded and unloved and are seen as misfits... then he must love us all. 

May your Christmas be filled with much love and peace.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

40 Confessions (I think I should have been catholic)

1) I really dislike brown picture frames. I'm actually using one right now for a Christmas gift, but it's a deep brown and it looks manly, so it fits the gift.

2) Candles make me ridiculously happy. I'm burning 2 right now.

3) I don't tell my friends enough how much I really love them and how great they really are. But I'm afraid that if I do, they won't take me seriously. Or I'll look like a stalker.

4) I love my dog more than I ever thought I could.

5) The clearance aisle in Hobby Lobby is really the place to shop.

6) I had 62 gifts to give out this year. Less than 12 were completely store bought. I only spent $6.25 on average per gift. I feel completely satisfied in this knowledge.

7) I have no desire to go back to see my therapist because I'm ashamed that I've gained 20 lbs.

8) I think I agreed to run a 1/2 marathon with Kristen Dooley in May. omg. OMG.

9) I have a tendency to say hurtful things without meaning to.

10) I have a very difficult time forgiving myself. I'm actually better at it than I used to be, but there's just some stuff...

11) I think it's harder to forgive yourself than it is others.

12) That being said, I still haven't forgiven a few people. I simply can't find it in me. I know it's wrong, but I'm not going to "fake" forgive somebody in order to attempt to clear my conscious.

13) I like feeling important.

14) I'm going back to Nigeria in May. I'm pretty stoked.

15) It's still easier for me to be friends with guys, or at least trust male friends more than females. But I am trying to work diligently on this.

16) I have favorites. I know I shouldn't, but I do. I think this would make a terrible attribute in a parent.

17) I think I just burned out the motor in my blender this morning. Oops.

18) I struggle with anxiety, depression and ocd. It's getting easier to handle, but still.

19) If you don't think there's anything wrong with today's government, just sit through a 90 minute health insurance meeting.

20) I've never really thought Fox News was fair and balanced. Ever.

21) I judge people who watch Fox News. It makes me uncomfortable to go into doctor's office's when it's the only thing on.

22) I have the most absolute random hair that grows out of my back. I hate it.

23) I bought a pair of awesome green jelly shoes at Kroger for like, a buck this summer. I love green and I love jelly shoes. However, they hurt so stinking bad. But I still wear them as a way to get back at my mom for throwing mine away when I was little. She has no idea that I probably even own jelly shoes, let alone remembers throwing my old ones away. I think the only person I'm hurting is me. But I still have a twinge of "I'll show her!" when I wear them.

24) Sometimes I do really dumb things.

25) I hate feeling stupid and vulnerable. It kinda makes me angry.

26) I hate feeling angry because I feel stupid and vulnerable.

27) Do you ever have a teeny tiny fart slip out and just run up your butt crack? They don't make noise or smell, but goodness, do they feel funny. It's like a fish is trying to swim out your butt hole.

28) Youth scare the crap out of me. Large groups of children do as well.

29) I can't believe I'm getting ready to turn 32. THIRTY-TWO!

30) I have a hard time staying on task.

31) I hate all church journey's. Actually, I hate long periods of time when as a group we're supposed to be focused on one thing. Maybe it goes back to #30. I think I understand the importance of the idea, but I just tend to feel like it's trying to manufacture something that's already there for some small groups.

32) Part of me is ashamed of gaining so much weight. The other part of me isn't disgusted by myself anymore but feels like I should be. Another part of me doesn't see a difference from the old me to the skinnier me to the whateverIamnow me.

33) My views on theology and grace and life and family have shifted in some significant ways over the last year or two. I think this is healthy and natural to an extent and I'm at peace with most all of it.

34) Even if I could have a kid, I'm not sure that I could afford one.

35) I really really love my career. I feel guilty about thinking of giving that up to have a kid. But I still kinda want one. But there are a lot of deep seeded issues that follow.... sigh.

36) I can't make myself puke. I've tried.

37) I don't wish that I was a millionaire or "rich", but I do wish that I had enough money to just buy "whatever" without budgeting. But doesn't everybody?

38) I'm actually probably a little too proud of where I live.

39) I just realized in the last week that I don't care very much about presentation. Isaac was astonished by the fact that I just discovered this about myself.

40)  I am no longer the manager of The Q City Players Comedy Improv Troupe. It was a fun run, but it's just time. I'm at total peace with it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

So There I Was, Hanging On For Dear Life, Like A Dingle Berry...

Beginning of my freshman year of college, my roommate and I did the whole bunk bed thing. I slept on the top bunk, and Dana was on the bottom. It seemed only fair, as she was a petite 4'11.

Because of the placement of our furniture, in order to get to bed, I had to climb from my desk chair to my desk to the wooden planks to reach the top. I think it's really a toss up between me being a giant wuss, and just having tender feet, but I always had to wear my soccer sandals to bed. I found it nearly impossible to climb without their support.

Most of my friends simply jumped off of their beds when they desired to go somewhere. Not me. The fear of almost everything had been successfully ingrained in my heart, thanks to a fantastic combination of DNA and my mother : ) I'd always climb back down, grasping the bed like a scared monkey.

One afternoon, while perched on my mattress, I made up my mind - today was going to be the day that I conquered my fear - I was gonna jump off. It seemed like the perfect time, since the door was shut and I was all alone in my room. With sweaty palms, I inched closer and closer to the side of the bed. Eventually, I got to the point where I was just dangling off the side, the last of my butt cheeks hanging on for dear life. I'm 5'8,  so looking back there was probably only inches of space between myself and the floor. However, to me, I felt suspended in fear, unable to pull myself back onto the bed and unwilling to let go. I was a cosmic dingle berry.

What I lacked in courage, I also lacked in muscle tone. I had to let go. There was no other way out. I stretched as far I could, toes pointed downward, eyes shut.... For about .5 seconds, the wind was rushing through my hair, I felt strong, courageous. I was every woman. Tom Petty's Free Falling was the soundtrack of my life. And then it happened, in my effort to make every cm count, I had kept my feet pointed downward the entire time, hence my athletic sandals reaching the ground first, and consequently, literally flipping me on my face like a flapjack.

And that was the last time I attempted to jump off my bunk bed.
The End.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

thoughts and reflections

I had an asthma attack this afternoon. I have mild asthma, so this sorta thing isn't super surprising. It used to be really bad during marching band season and when I weighed more. Anyway, went for a run/walk with Isaac today and forgot to bring my inhaler. dumb. I never really got over the weird feeling, even when I got home, used my inhaler and took a really hot shower. The rest of the afternoon was spent in bed. I got up when Isaac left for small group, but I freaked out, because I still felt weird. So I went to West Chester and cuddled with him, so if I died or passed out, at least he could be with me : ) Luckily, I didn't, but I'm still not much for words at the moment, at least not verbally. It's as if every breath counts. It's weird.
As if 2010 wasn't bad enough, my adult acne came back. Sometimes I break out all over my face, but it's a 110% guarantee that I will always break out on my chin. I wonder if a chemical peel would help get rid of some of the underlying bacteria?

Sometimes when I sit down to purposely write something, I think, "Damn, that's good."  I think that ego may be a reason to not sit down and purposely write : )  (btw- I am in no way referring to this blog post)

Once Upon A Time on ABC is pretty darn good.

Have you ever noticed that all Taylor Swift songs seem to lead to the conclusion that the guy is with the wrong girl? ie: should leave his love for Taylor.  After a while, sweet little Swift songs don't sound so sweet : )

I'm really into smiley faces tonight.

I applied for a newly opened coordinator position at work. Found out tonight that I didn't get it. I'm definitely bummed, but I'm at peace with it. I feel like I gave a pretty solid interview and I'm in a place where I know that I fit in. I not only enjoy what I do, but I'm pretty good at it. I didn't change anything about myself or create trainings or extra stuff to impress anybody. Sometimes I go above and beyond because I feel like it's what the clients deserve and what we should all strive for. I wouldn't be happy if  I wasn't doing what I do. Worst case scenario, not getting this position allows me time to grow and learn more. How bad can that be?

I dressed up like Lady Gaga last night. Blue swimsuit, gold belt, fishnets, robe, house slippers and a giant blond wig with curlers and a little blue bow. I was supposed to be Lady Gaga when she gets old, fat and tired. I'm still a bit uncertain how a woman, dressed up like another woman, could resemble a drag queen so effortlessly. Once I took the wig off last night, I realized I perhaps missed my calling and should have been downtown, singing "It's Raining Men" by the Pointer Sisters. Maybe it was the gold and pink eyelashes. I'm not too sure.

I think I could be friends with Kelly Clarkson in real life. She seems so down to earth and likable. Sometimes there's a little too much try in her videos, but I think that's just because she's just a really freaking good singer and not an actress. Who knows.

My dog gets to play with Charlie tomorrow. He's pretty stoked. He recognizes his name and knows where he lives and can remember playing with him. Granted, he's never actually told me this, but I can so tell by his eyes and actions and the fact that he cries when we get close to their house.

Rumor has it that a popular entertainer is pregnant, but doesn't want to announce it publicly until she gets a fat deal with a magazine. There's a 90% chance that this is all it is - a rumor. But the slim chance that it's true, makes me kinda sick.You're in an essence, selling your baby.

People who think Halloween is evil are weird to me.

I've been exhausted for the last week. It's really beginning to get on my nerves.

I still really wonder if my friends are overly disappointed in me because of how fat I am. I hope I don't disgust them.

There was forgiveness for something, but I'm still really hurt and there's a bit of trust lacking. Which begs the question, did I not fully forgive or did I do something wrong? Or it that just a normal part of life? You can forgive, but you don't forget. I don't know. I'm kinda torn on the issue.

It's hard to watch someone fight death in front of you; friend's marriages in trouble; be with folks who want to take their own life. There's absolutely no right words to say to ease that pain. I'm hoping that just being there is enough.

Please be in prayer for a client's family. Death seems to be rather immanent.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why You Should Hate Christians

I could list a million reasons why I could hate my tribe. Well, if we're being honest, probably more...
We say some of the dumbest things - and at the most inappropriate times. We're whiny, rude, condescending and arrogant. We love to be right and sometimes play victim when we're wrong. We secretly like the separation of church and state, unless of course, we want to build Noah's Ark in the middle of KY and need funding.

We're very proud of our morals and codes and ethics. We say we've been 'saved by grace' and 'saved from our sins', but most of us don't actually work hard at the grace bit. Dare I say because quite a few of us don't actually believe we deserve grace. We work so hard at having all of the right answers and looking proper and doing 'all of the right things' that when we slip up, it's swept under the rug so quickly, as to not soil the good name of the denomination or the church or of course, ourselves. We secretly heart the idea that our good deeds and purity has earned us a better seat, therefore negating the entire appeal of grace and love and forgiveness. And if we've been working so hard to be so good for so long, well then what hope do the other poor shmucks have?

We're really into catchy phrases and fads and the dying and shaving of youth pastor's heads.  We think we're holy with our stained glass and pews but way cooler, when we meet in a school with folding chairs, a rocking band, jeans and coffee. (We love to feel authentic and like we're the first ones to come up with an idea) We like to steal popular logos turn them into a Christianese slogan. A few of us think 'Friend Day' is considering reaching out to the community. We usually don't look into where the actual teaching of Jesus and the saints came from, because that seems scary and unfaithful somehow. I think a few actually believe Jesus was an American and wrote the KJV. We feel good about ourselves when we gloat and shout and protest, at scared young mothers. We twist and grope the image of the most glorious redeemer to suit our own purposes. We throw dung in the faces of our enemies and are convinced that the party (no matter which one) we vote for, or the music we listen to (whether Christian or not) is the correct one. Every generation is convinced that whatever particular race or gender or sexual orientation that we decide to taunt and spit at, that those deeds are blessed by God. We love being heard. (why do you think I have a blog?)

But I can't do it. I may hate with all of the passions of this world, the things that some of my tribe members believe and do in the name of Yahweh, but I can't hate them. Because when it gets down to the nitty gritty, I believe that we're all created in the image of God, and every single one of us has royally screwed up. We all want something to serve, whether it's a religion, money, sex, attention, food, or praise, we crave it. It wakes us up in the middle of the night, gasping for more. We are like little children who never want to be picked last in gym class. We yearn for acceptance, but we always want to be our own Master. It's a continuous thread throughout the Bible - we fall, we're redeemed, we yearn for an earthly master, we don't like being told what to do, we turn away, we act stupid, we come to our senses. Rinse. Repeat. Over and over again, like a beat up pair of tennis shoes in a dryer, we just get loud and kinda uncomfortable.

See, I really kinda wanna hate my tribe. I even flirt with the idea of hating certain people sometimes, but this crazy guy once taught that "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13:1). And the weirder thing is that the crazy guy followed an even kookier guy who said something to the effect of, "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other." (John 13:35) It's sounds crazy. Absolutely absurd - have you met some of us?!  But as much as I've tried to fight it or deny it or pick it apart, I'm convinced that Jesus was more than some great teacher or magician or hippie. That he lived and breathed amongst a community of numb nuts, because that's who we all are. That he was fully God and fully man. And we need to be shown how to love and heal and listen and embrace each other. That we shouldn't be scared or angered at those who look or believe differently than us, cause we're all cut from the same cloth.

I'm tired of being a gong.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

blissful

We just got back last night from a WONDERFUL vacation. Here's some of the highlights for me.

* If you are given the chance to spend time without a planner, a blackberry, a schedule and you have limited news coverage - embrace every moment of it.

* a 50 minute deep tissue massage is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY you paid for it, and then some.

* slot machines are really, really fun.

* Being surrounded by lots of different cultures and ethnicity's is totally awesome. It helps remind you that you're not the only person on the planet.

* If you ever have the chance to just hang out with the one you love for 6 days, jump on it.
(that's what she said) No, seriously. A week with just Isaac was uh-mazingly nice.

* Even if you get a dinner table all to yourself, everyone around you will still listen to your conversation, just as you will try and secretly listen to theirs. Nobody chews their food for that long.

* I finished 2 books while I was gone - Saving Jesus From the Church by Robin Meyers and Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller. Making the transition from a Unitarian point of view to a Presbyterian minister's was fantastic. Both were great reads and both offer incredibly good points. I believe I embraced parts of each. Now I just need to finish Created for Community that I read (and don't remember at all) in college. I started to reread it a few months ago, but never completed.

* Reading and being by myself for a bit, reminded me of how much I enjoy writing. I have about 2 or 3 solid ideas for a book or blog series that I've been holding on to for months now.... I need to just take the plunge....

* I really, really, really loved the random naps.

* I felt like a princess. And I don't mean that to be cheesy. I just appreciated how much time I had alone with Isaac, and how hands off I got to be with everything. And that we weren't in a trailer.....

* Every person should be so lucky to have a friend like Debbie Boyd. She is pure and lovely and kind and a darn good travel agent. You should take the hint and book your next travel destination from her.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

confession

when I get in a funk, I tend to want to talk it out. Usually with friends, sometimes through a blog. I think the idea of embracing the crappiness in the moment is much more appealing than always reading about how someone's come through on the other side... There's some form of relationship and solace found in confessions, struggles... And while I believe that 100%, I almost always wuss out : )

But not tonight. This is nothing life altering or crazy or anything - so don't get your hopes up - but here's what I'm struggling with.

* I've gained 14lbs since May or June. About 8 in the last month. I loved the movie experience, but I was so anxious, that I drank and ate my way through it. I'm still a 12, but I'm a tight 12. The tightness reminds me of what a failure I am. I am embarrassed to go out. I think I am an embarrassment to others because of my weight gain. When I'm out somewhere and someone comments on how much skinnier I am, I immediately fire back with "I've gained 10lbs".
* I've been trying to whiten my teeth for about a month now. It's a combination of laziness and my tongue/throat reaction that has only led me to be 1/2 way there. And I'm not sure I can tell the difference.
* Someone is BLARING the Cupid Shuffle outside my house at the moment. I honestly just think that it's hilarious.
* I've been ridiculously excited about something for a long time. We're going on a real grown-up vacation. But today I've really been struggling with being depressed. It all circles back to the whole philsophy that I don't believe that I deserve anything good... and that I definitely don't deserve to enjoy myself because of how overweight I am. Vicious circle.
* I just applied press on toenails and fingernails. Yep.
* I have been dreading October since August. 10/10 my life was filled with chaos, death, dread, hatred, anger and anxiety. I hate the person I was then. I can't forgive myself for who I was, mainly because I wonder if part of her's still in me. And partly because I don't believe people have forgiven me. Nor do I believe they should.
* I ate 2 Little Debbie Pumpkin Cakes while I typed this blog.
* My dog is currently laying on my clean laundry blowing out diarhea farts.
* I'm in the process of re-examining my faith and the Bible. I wish I had paid more attention in Bible college.
* Okay, Cash's gas is just getting disgusting now.
* I think I want to learn Greek and/or Hebrew. I think.
* I'm going to be off the grid for awhile. Please don't take it personal :  )

Thursday, September 15, 2011

grateful

Isaac makes movies. I make friends with folks who have "disabilities". I prefer it this way.

I signed up for a week to be a production assistant on the film. I think I ended up on set everyday : )  Partly because it was the only way I could see my husband : ) but mainly because I fell in love with the people around me. It was hard, stressful and incredibly enjoyable work. I'm deeply saddened that some of my favorite people are leaving town. It's very humbling to be surrounded by such an array of talented individuals. Folks who are beautiful on the inside and out. I doubt most of them can see their own self worth, but I feel like I can.

I can honestly say that it was an honor to serve under the leadership of my friend and director, Brad Wise and Joe Boyd, who I have without permission, lovingly adopted as my big brother. And of course, Isaac. It's taken us six movies, but we've finally begun to figure out how to work together :  ) I am so, so, so grateful for his love and support and guidance over the last month and a half. For allowing me to serve with him to an extent. To be a part of his dream. That is an amazing gift to be given.

I have a few pictures of the set, but most are stored in my heart. I planned on taking a ton at the wrap party and celebrating and saying last good-byes, etc, but I came down with a rather large anxiety attack instead. BOO. So I ended up stealing the director's baby and sitting outside of the Harbor Point Dewey's holding the most precious 14lbs of infant ever created. I told him how much his mommy and daddy loved him and how they had waited so long to have him. How they probably cried when they found out Leah was pregnant. And how they love him more than anything else in this world. Henry just cooed and looked at me with deep satisfaction, as if to say he already knew.

I also spent a chunk of time with a very close friend, discussing life and love and what to do about all of it. I have been very blessed in the friendship department, even when I have not done anything to deserve them or have pushed them away. I am very, very, very blessed. I have forgiving and loving friends.

And then I just spent the rest of the quiet evening at home with Isaac. And I loved every last second of it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What A Feeling!

Okay.  So I promised myself that I wasn't going to write any more blogs until at least September. I have a fairly difficult time remaining focused to begin with, and right now, I sorta feel pulled in a few directions. But today needs to be shared.

The morning started off well at work. Routine is really big in the house, and some days I don't mind it. Meds, breakfast, bath, wash hair in the sink, start laundry, shave. I feel it is my civic duty to periodically trim back the mass of ear hair and bushy eyebrows that endow this particular person. (I mean, who wouldn't want that taken care of? Have a heart, people) Everything was going well with the brows unless he sorta rocked forward into the razor. Well shit. I got nervous after that, and so eventually we were both gently rocking back and forth while I was trying to lighten the load. The area above his eyes now somewhat resonates the pipes on an old church organ. They're all there, but not necessarily all the same height. Luckily, he wears a hat and keeps his head down most of the time, so I think it'll be okay. But gracious, did I feel like a jerk.

Today also happened to be the big day - the annual visit to the obgyn. I stayed with the same practice, but this afternoon's visit would be at a new location, with a new doc. Needless to say, I was anxious. It's just...so....invasive. What a terrible way to meet people! As I waited to meet the new guy in the room, the same familiar trail of thoughts raced through my brain.... "Did I remember to put my phone on silent? I don't want any surprise noises... I have to make sure I pee before he starts working on me. I wish I wasn't so nervous, I hate getting gas.  Oh God, why did I eat so much granola today?!?!?!?! (side note: I always have these visions of the doctor pushing too hard and me farting in his face. It is a very real fear. And one that I so do not want played out) I wonder if OBGYN's are really just perves with a degree. If they were hugged too much as a child.... If my stuff is good enough. If being forgotten at the OBGYN's office would scar me more than being left at a funeral home (I decided, most definitely, btw. Side note: This happened to a very close friend of mine)  I think about a story I heard once where the nurse told the patient to "crawl on up there" and she did. She was apparently on all fours on the table when her doctor walked in. 

The plethora of thoughts were broken as the new doctor opened the door to the room. His Tigger-like enthusiasm took me aback for a moment. That brief second was almost immediately replaced with the decision that he probably pounces onto his wife.  We chatted a bit, and then I excused myself to the restroom to squeeze out as much urine and gas as possible. Always uncertain and anxious about when the doctor would come back in, I made a mad dash back into the room and began undressing as if I had A Minute To Win It.

When I used to go for my yearly, I'd always get pretty dressed up - a skirt, makeup, hair, good shoes.... But as I've lost some weight and gained a greater sense of self, I decided that today I was purposely going without makeup (I must admit, some days I rather enjoy or at least appreciate looking in a mirror and not wanting to throw up) and that I was NOT going to hide my underwear. (See, there's this thing with women and hiding our unmentionables while the doc checks out our twats) But as I shimmied out of my jean skirt like a jackrabbit on a date, I just couldn't stand the sight of my underoos, just laying there. So I hid them. And then I hid my bra too.

About three minutes later, the doc came back in, just chatting away. I had planned this great idea about asking him if he wanted to be an investor in a movie I'm working on, but alas, I just couldn't bring myself to do it..... So, never without words, I decided that asking him exactly what he could see was a better option. Dumb idea. I decided in that moment, that every parent should take their daughter to her first visit when she's 12. The feeling and words used will suck the sexiness right out of ya. And if it wasn't illegal and just plain wrong, I'd say that the sons should go to. Trust me, they will never want to hit that. Ever. There, I just solved the nation's teen pregnancy crisis. BAM!

After I got dressed, regained my composure and began driving away, the song Flashdance came on the radio. I genuinely got excited about this, as it seemed to somehow fit the mood (okay Jen, you just made it through your yearly. What a feeling! I can really have it all! I can conquer the world!).  Roughly three minutes later, the song ended and I was saddened. Then I flipped to another station and guess what song was on?!?!?! FLASHDANCE! I really, really can have it all!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Other "L" Word

Okay, well, actually, it's probably the other, other "L" word.

Leadership.

Ugh. The word gets me all creepy crawly and makes me wanna puke up my snack size Rolo McFlurry.

Until recently, I think I would have defined myself as a leader. (not even in all circumstances, but I would have definitely believed it was there).  I probably do have some natural leadership giftings, however, I think most of that probably comes from being the oldest child and my super strong desire to "fix everything" (if only stemming from my anxiety disorder). But there's a real difference between being able to lead with maturity and simply calling yourself a leader.

It's often said that in order to be a good leader, you must first be a great follower. I finally realized that I neither. That's a shithole of a place to find oneself.

I'm kinda to a place now where I'm redefining everything that's important to me. Redefining my faith, my relationships, myself. That would have scared me to death a few years back, but I'm almost relaxed being on this journey. There is something definitely freeing about seeing yourself in a different light, figuring out who you really are... I don't think I care (or at least hope) so much about the whole "where do I fit in?" anymore (side note: is that not all we learn to obsess about from kindergarten thru college?) as I do the, "who am I? and why do I believe what I believe".  I am somewhat comfortable saying I am Jenny, not I am Jenny because of X,Y and Z.

Of course on the flip side of all of that, because I no longer define myself by certain traits or characteristics, I've also gotten into the habit of saying that I am definitely NOT certain things. I get all weird and clammy when people even talk about leadership around me (they're not even talking about me - that's how self-focused I am. boo).  I know that when I go to church tonight, they'll probably run a promo for the Global Leadership Summit and talk about how it's great for everyone, everyone should come, etc..., to which it typically makes me want to reply with a f*** you! (I am fully bearing my complete and utter lack of concern for others and my extreme self-centeredness here)  Honestly, I think a lot of it is simply because I can look back with such ease and recall hundreds of times when I was a terrible leader. And I hate being reminded of those times... Of that person... In my journey of self-discovery, I also kinda just dropped out of lots of things. I wonder if I quit volunteering in part, so I didn't have to be reminded of how terribly I led some of them.

Every once in a while, I'll muse with the idea that if I got better, more complete, figured out who and what I believed and was following, that I could sorta lead on a small scale and succeed. Admitting that just now, makes me feel all dirty, and not in the good way... But dang it, it's my blog. And I doubt most of you will read this. And few will understand. And I'm okay with that.

Maybe certain things make me incredibly uncomfortable partly because they're ugly truths, and partly because I'm a giant scardycat. Who knows. It's all been jumbling around in my brain for a long time now....

Friday, June 3, 2011

Why Doesn't Anyone Else Look Like Me? (so boobs are weird)

I'm torn.

I look around at ads for Victoria Secret and Lane Bryant and Dove and I don't see anybody who looks like me. Where is their 12 inch scar from a surgery when they were 3? The scar that divides their already large midsection into 2 extra fat rolls and squishes their bellybutton down so tight, it looks like it's constantly winking at you. Where are their varicose veins that make it hard to tell where a bruise begins and a vein ends? Why don't they have monkey paws for feet? (Seriously, nobodies size 11 feet should have as many knuckles as I do. And it wouldn't be so bad, except that even my toes look ashamed of how they turned out) Why don't they scar easily? Where are their red birthmarks on their neck, their mishaped eyes lids and crooked smile? Why don't they have a widow's peak and a duck tail?
When these models lay down at night, do their boobs sorta just sag off to each side, as if to say that even they are tired from the day? Do they worry that if somebody walked by while they were waving, their arm fat just might reach out and smack 'em?

I'm torn because I know that not everybody is gonna look like a Victoria Secret model. Not everybody is born with incredible features and spends close to an hour in makeup, so they can achieve the perfect "smoldering eye" look. Not everybody has bright lights and spray tans and fans around when they put on their underwear in the morning. But not everybody is going to look like a plus size model either, which begins at a size 10, btw. It seems fairly easy put down the "skinny model" or the "fat model", depending on which way you view yourself. It's easy to make jokes about how the Victoria Secret model must not eat in order to look that way. It's just as easy to praise the Dove models for looking like "real women".  But where do we blur the lines between health and beauty? Is it really okay to promote in a sense, being overweight because that's what real women look like and we should just love ourselves the way we are? Or is it better to push being a size 2 or 4 as what women should look like, or promote the way a woman should look like if you only wear a certain bra?

I can tell you the exact moment in 7th grade when I decided that I was fat. Looking back, I probably wasn't, but because I believed that I was huge, I ate my way to it. (and even this I am torn about - at my largest I was an 18/20 and there are lots of women who might wear larger clothing that I would never ever consider to be "huge". It's simply the way that I thought of myself) It's not like I had a ton of muscle or something. It was mainly just good 'ol fashioned fat : )

I went to a job training in Texas a few years back and during a discussion about marriage and weight gain, one of my peers said that if he ever got married and his wife was a size 12 or more, he would divorce her. Now granted, the guy was a total douche bag, and I knew this even then, however, that was five years ago and when I think about being 'excited' about my 55 lb weight loss and feeling good about myself, I remember that douche bag and realize that I would still be kicked to the curb. I was in a relationship once where the guy I was with liked to respond to my question of "Would you still love me if I gained more weight?" with "Don't ask questions you don't want to know the answer to".  Even my gynecologist has a special way of telling me that I'm too fat to have kids. (Disclaimer, this is a soapbox moment: I don't open that portal for just anybody, jackass. The least you can do is say, "Shew, that's the best one I've seen all day" or "Woo wee, clean as a whistle!" before you question my workout and eating habits.) Right before I got married, I ordered a couple of Victoria Secret lingerie items that looked amazing on the online models. I was sooooo excited to try them on when they arrived in the mail, until, of course, I saw myself. My boobs and fat rolls were smashed between an array of elastic lace doilies. I looked like a dolphin caught in a tuna net. It was really, really baaaaaaaaaad.

There's nothing glamorous about being unhealthy and increasing your chances of heart disease, diabetes and a slew of other things. And there's nothing respectful in weighing yourself 10x a day and vomiting so you can look like the other girls. When is it okay to just be "okay" with what you weigh? I'm 5'7 and a 1/2 and a size 12 now, which on my good days seems like a victory compared to where I was. I'm healthier now than I probably ever have been, but in my mind, I still look the same. So sometimes I still eat like I'm a 16. I'm still the fattest one in my small group. I still care about this for some reason. When I was an 18/20, I'd dream of the day when I could be a 10. Now that I'm somewhat close to that, it's changed to an 8. But I know myself well enough to know that even if I was a 8, I'd never be satisfied. I wouldn't be able to change my face or my hands, I'd still be an "apple" body shape, which WebMD says is the worst.A friend recently asked me what would I have to weigh in order to be satisfied, and my answer was everything. I would literally have to lose every ounce of my body weight in order to be satisfied. Of course, the irony is that I'd be dead, because even my bones weigh something.

I'm trying to be healthier on the inside and the outside, but it is a battle most days. I feel like I'm stuck in a carnival mirror room, and I'm not sure which reflection to trust.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Facebook Ads Crack Me Up

Just don't watch The Exorcist before going to your class.

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Honestly. This was the best example you could come up with???

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This honestly disturbs me. If you're so cheap that you have to crack open an eggshell because you don't want to buy a baby carrier, well then, I just don't know.

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A) I have never seen this building in Cincinnati.
B) Even if I had, I would never PAY to step foot in it, even if it was 1/2 off the normal admission fee.


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In general, 'bypass surgery' seems like such an oxymoronic statement to me. And for some reason, this picture just makes me think that it's dancing to Flo Rida. Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low.

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Hmmmm.






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Yes, THIS is how you spot an addict. They don't ever smile, they look like a zombie, and worst of all, they have dreads in their hair and ridiculous bangs. If only we could reach every person with bad hair for Jesus.






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What type of nurse are we talking about here? Once again, Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low.
 
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A) I don't think this is a real baby.
B) You shouldn't have to go to school to learn that.

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I have no words.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

wonderments and amusements part 2

I tend to not brush my teeth before I run in the morning. I figure if someone is going to try and attack me, they'll have to get through my breath first.

Depression hurts. Cymbalta doesn't do jack shit.
I don't actually know this from personal experience, but I'm still willing to make it into a t-shirt.

I accidently burned my forearm trying to change the settings on my lawnmower. Then very early this morning, I accidently ripped the blister/all skin off of it. ARGH!!!! I would not suggest doing this.

I have found through personal experience, that if I have to fart, the motion of sitting down on the toliet sucks it all back up. This is frustrating. What is even more frustrating, is that as soon as I stand back up and button my pants, the urge is back and intense. Thus, I am forced to fart in my pants and then fan them out. Wwwwhhhhhhaaaa? Fan them out, you say? Um, yeah. Who knows what could happen after I walk out the bathroom door? An old lady may drop dead in front of me and I would be forced to go to drastic life saving measures, only in my effort to kneel and start pumping her heart back into motion my waistband may crease and poof, there goes my stored fart. With my butt up in the air and a thick fog lumming, I can't quite blame it on the dead lady when the paramedics arrive, now can I?

You know how in the Bible when Jesus would raise folks from the dead and he's always tell someone to get them food immediately afterwards? I kinda wonder if it was because they really were hungry or if it was just because it seemed like a tangible thing to do instead of everybody just staring at the person or asking them a million questions.

I wonder if Jesus had a fat brain. I wonder if he liked ketchup. If he preferred dark chocolate over milk choclate. If he even liked fish, or whether he just ate it because that's all he had. If every morning, manna fell from the sky for him for breakfast.  I wonder if we're even concerned about food in heaven. If there is food, I'm assuming since it's heaven, there will be no food allergies, which means that I can chow down again on shellfish. And we can all drink and not get tipsy. And if we run out, we'll just find some water and change it. And all of my Baptist friends will pass out from the shock and my Catholic friends will say, "I told you so."

If He is supposed to forget our sins as far as the East is from the West, then why do people talk about being judged after we die? Because then where does the whole, "welcome, good and faithful servant" come into play? After someone we don't care for does something ignorant, do we say, "well, they'll be judged for that later" and if someone we like does something we think is grand, do we say things like, "Jesus won't forget this. You're written in his book. Some people have even served angels and not known it."  Is it really that Jesus won't forget all of the bad and good things that humans have done, or is it more about the fact that we won't?

I'm much more at peace and happy than I used to be. It's not that my problems are solved, but I feel like I'm making progress to some tiny degree. And I really do believe that there is freedom in sharing your pain to a degree.

In the past 3 or 4 years, I've really begun to realize and identify safe people in my life. And I'm to the point now, where I'm okay saying that some people just aren't safe. It's not that they've evil (although at times, it may feel that way), but they're not a person who will help you along in life. Someone who constantly brings you down and/or hurts you, whether physical or emotional or financial, isn't someone to be trusted. Yes, there is forgiveness, and yes, we are supposed to love our enemies, but I don't think loving them neccesarily equals having constant contact with them. They may need time to grow, just as you may need time to heal.

Some things just belong together:
Armpits and deodrant
Joe and Deb
Bourbon and Dt Coke

Okay, I have to go pee and then give my dog a bath. Tell me you're jealous.

ta ta

Monday, April 11, 2011

a gentle offering at your feet

Dear Jesus, please take these as a peace offering. I once tried to chuck them at You out of anger and frustration. I think I'm almost to the point where I'm just more interested in seeing what You want to do, as opposed to seeing how I'm involved.

There are two things that I have wanted/felt like I could do with what I have been given.
1) Was to write a daily devotional for young adults. It's more of fun thing I have wanted to do since college. It's not like it was a "word from the Lord" or something. Nothing super serious about it... I just always kinda had this silly idea that I could take all of the funny, random, ridiculous stories in my life, and apply a short life lesson to them. However, this hasn't come to fruition for about 3 reasons:
A) My story telling skills have a bit to be desired and I'm not nearly as concise as I need to be.
B) Everytime I've tried to start it, I quit because I either hate it or think everyone else would : )
C) There's really nothing funny about being depressed and angry. Or at least, I haven't found the life lesson in it yet.
 2) After taking an evangelism class at church, I felt like God sorta outlined what He wanted me to do with my life. Kinda my lifeplan or vision or something. I was very torn about this. I was immediately elated and wanted to share it with everybody, but most of me was terrified of what others would think. I shared it with a couple of folks and it kinda got poo pooed on, so that was hurtful. (I'm also one of those dorky folks who are dumb enough to think that if you think God gives you an idea, you're supposed to act on it immediately. Like, wake up one morning and it just will all happen. Not a whole lot of planning. And when that doesn't happen, then I get really confused and kinda upset. Also, I tend to follow the same pattern when I quit something. Wham, bam, finito. Again, not a whole lot of planning goes into the process and I tend to just be "finished". I think partially because I think I'm supposed to be done and also because there is some level of hurt and/or sadness involved and I'd really rather not stay in the pain for longer than I have to.)  It's been taped to my bedroom door for a year and a half now. I started to rip it off in anger a few months ago, but found myself unable to. Like I wasn't finished with it yet. It's weird, because I kinda moved past the idea of this vision/plan becoming a reality about a year ago. What church in their right mind would want to hire somebody like me, anyway? 99% of the time, I believe that He is real, but sometimes I just wonder if I'm talking to the stars. I run away from Him easily (although I almost feel as if I've quit running, made a u-turn and am heading back somewhere healthier... I would hardly call it a sprint, though.), my thoughts on theology are changing, I'm INCREDIBLY self-obsessed, I barely go to church anymore, I have issues with authority figures sometimes, I'm depressed, anxious and I don't believe He cares.  Hardly the equation for an amazing church staff. Or attendee for that matter....

Anyway, so I'm giving these back. It feels slightly freeing, and peaceful and just like the "right" thing to do on some level. Hard to explain, but I felt that I needed to share this with or for somebody... Perhaps you will find it healing too.

The Vision. The Goal.
To love others the way that Jesus loved those around Him – Extravagantly.
With intent focus on those with special needs whether they be men or women, children, teens or adults. To search out and find those around me who are called to the same heart. To implore them on how to become leaders and be adequately trained on how best to love the ones they serve.

To make a seamless transition from unaware to seeker to Jesus follower to servant in a way that still respects their needs of communication and learning. To develop a system of specifically targeting ways for individuals with special needs to become interactive in the church body; with a special emphasis on the creative arts. (i.e.: Not just a face in the crowd. The goal is not to just have these individuals with special needs to come to church – but to understand and become “the church”)

To help the immediate church body and those particular individuals with special needs understand their worth as God sees them and their gifts.

To develop relationships with those in our surrounding communities so that we as a church might understand the needs of children, teens and adults with special needs better. In turn, so that we may serve them better.

As a small part of fulfilling this mission: Have round table discussions 1x every 3 months with the above communities. Have round table discussions 1x every 6 months with surrounding churches to share ideas, concerns, etc about how we as the “Big C” church is doing in respect to involving others with special needs.

To travel to communities, churches and schools outside of the immediate Tri-State area so that I might get a fuller picture of how to best communicate and grow those I am working with.

To set a goal of the majority of this vision to be coming into fruition in 2 to 3 years.

To remember that this is not my vision – it is God’s. These are His children and this vision is simply part of a bigger plan. That this vision is no more important or less important that anyone else’s. It exists to help edify the Body.

And to remember that this will be hard. But it will be worth it because it is God’s plan, not my own. I just have to obey.
August 26th, 2009

Sunday, April 10, 2011

50 Lies That I Believe

Dear Jesus, please take this heaping pile of shit and turn it into good soil.


1. Because I am not all good, I am all bad.
2. I am too ugly and/or fat to be anyone's true friend.
3. I am worthless.
4. I am nobody.
5. I have and will always be these things.
6. Because I make a mistake or miscommunicate, this means I am an idiot and terrible at what I do.
7. I am not allowed to have good things.
8. I will always be fat.
9. Even if I wasn't fat, I will always be disgusting.
10. I make people want to throw up.
11. My friends secretly hate me.
12. I do not deserve forgiveness.
13. I deserve to be punished.
14. I am a terrible person.
15. I have or will ruin any hint of a positive relationship.
16. I deserve to be left.
17. I am not allowed to make mistakes.
18. If people really knew who I was, they would hate me.
19. I embarrass everybody.
20. I am not worth fighting for.
21. I will always be like this.
22. I would be the worst parent. My children would hate me.
23. I am not allowed to think that I am pretty.
24. I am not allowed to believe that it is a good thing that I am trying to get better.
25. I am a failure.
26. I will always be a failure.
27. I will never be the wife Isaac needs me to be.
28. Because I thrive on relationships, this means that I am broken or not strong.
29. I don't enjoy being misvalued, but I believe that I should be.
30. I will die a horrible death.
31. Jesus doesn't know who the hell I am or if he does, he's not pleased at all.
32. Because I can be bitchy, that means that I am a bitch.
33. My friends only tell me nice things because they feel bad for me, not because they mean them.
34. I am beyond forgiveness.
35. No one is to be trusted fully.
36. Because I fail at something, it makes me a failure.
37. Every neighbor looks out their window when I jog and makes fun of the lazy fat girl. And wonders why I even try.
38. I do not work hard enough.
39. If I gain a pound, it's because I enjoyed my food the day before.
40. If I allow myself a treat, I have instantly gained 7-8lbs.
41. Restaurant patrons judge me and know that I went over my Weight Watcher points for the day.
42. People think about me this much.
43. That at my truest form, I am a cross between Java the Hut, the Mucinex guy and the shade of a dull grayish cream.
44. I am less than everyone around me.
45. My husband will leave me for someone better.
46. I will never be as pretty or smart or talented or desirable as the other women.
47. Everyone instantly knows this.
48. My story is a waste.
49. I am a fool.
50. Believing anything other than these things means that I am selfish, arrogant, stupid and blind.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Enneagram

I took a short version (I think....) of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram a little over a year ago to find out my "type".  The results make SO much more sense now than they did a year ago... Astonishing.

My top score of 30, was a Type 2: The Helper
The Helper: The Functions of Empathy and Altruism— the potential for other-directedness, thoughtfulness for others, genuine self-sacrifice, generosity, and nurturance. Negatively, the potential for intrusiveness, possessiveness, manipulation, and self-deception.

My next highest were a 19, a Type 6: The Loyalist
The Loyalist: The Functions of Trust and Perseverance The potential for emotional bonding with others, group identification, sociability, industriousness, loyalty to others, and commitment to larger efforts. Negatively, the potential for dependency, ambivalence, rebelliousness, anxiety, and inferiority feelings.

And with just a point lower at 18, my next highest score showed me to be a Type 4: The Individualist
The Functions of Self-Awareness and Artistic Creativity— The potential for intuition, sensitivity, individualism, self-expression, and self-revelation. Negatively, the potential for self-absorption, self-consciousness, self-doubt, self-inhibition, and depression.



If you're interested, you can find your type here, http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/

Friday, April 1, 2011

wonderments and amusements

I have a widow's peak and a ducktail. I hate both. If I wrapped my hair in a couple of Princess Leia buns and pinned them up a few inches higher, I'd look like the love child of two Disney characters.

What is the purpose of large pores? My facial pores are okay, but I have ginormous pores on my very ghostly white legs. The legs that never tan. EVER. Because of my pores, I always look like I haven't shaved.  Even when I just have. Argh.

Cassius puked up a pair of my underwear this morning. Isaac found them and cleaned it up. I asked him what pair they were. He said "gray". I said "I don't own any gray underwear." We figured he'd eaten something like that because he started puking up his food Tuesday night.

Stegman, Isaac and I watched him poop out one of my socks before. That was interesting.

I can't tell you how many pairs of underwear I've had to throw out because the dog has either eaten/puked them up or I've found him gnawing on them. Crotchless underwear aren't nearly as sexy when you know your dog made them that way.

I worked 25 hours of overtime in 5 days this week. I love, love, love my job and what I do, but I am tired, tired, tired.

I think I may have permanently demaged some relationships.

I don't want to care about church or God or a relationship with Him. But in the last few weeks a tiny little fire has begun to emerge within in. I think it's a healthy sense of justice or holy discontent or something. I would still love to believe that I can't be bothered with any of it, but I think I'm beginning to realize that that idea is impossible.

My friends Chris and Monica Human are having their Grand Opening of their new club tonight.  Check it out.  They are 2 of the most amazing, talented, wonderful people God ever created. You should take the time to get to know their hearts.

I watched somebody have a seizure yesterday and do a face plant into the pavement. There was no time to reach out and catch them, no bracing on their part. I thought they were dead for a couple of seconds. It really shook me up.

I still wonder why God allows kids to get cancer or children or young mothers to die, or miscarriages or why a tire comes loose from a truck and kills a 22 yr old on the other side of the interstate. Or why people have seizures.

I don't really want to die. Eternity scares me, even if it's supposed to be all glorious and wonderful. The never ending time thing throws me. It's quite a place to be, when you don't like who you are now, but you're not certain you'd like who you'd become.

I may add to this later, but I've got to go to work.... See ya.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Makes My Heart Happy

My Grandma Johnson has dementia. Her life over the past 3 years has been a slow and steady decline into a very sad state. This disease has caused my sweet, loving, neversayabadwordaboutyou grandma into someone who I do not recognize at times. 

Last Thursday started off with the same questions I have been greeted with for a while now, "Who are you and are you going to take me to the bathroom?"  : )  However, Grandma was awake, friendly and very talkative! (not typical)  And apparently had been singing "Jesus Loves Me" all day. She has no longer recognizes herself in pictures, knows who her grandchildren are, asked me once if she was supposed to sleep under the Christmas tree and usually doesn't remember that her husband is dead, but she can remember a simple song. I think there's something to be said about when all else fails you, remembering these six simple words....

video

Friday, March 25, 2011

There's Something Wrong With This Picture

Everybody has pet peeves. Some are silly nuances and some are legit. I have one that has flustered me since I was a kid - when churches block out the community. Example A: the church I belonged to as a child took down basketball hoops because the neighborhood kids kept playing on them and "tearing them up". Example B: Another church I used to belong to had signs in their parking lot prohibiting skateboarding.

Isaac and I passed a church sign on Monday that just lit me up. I actually drove the 45 minutes back down to Florence yesterday to take a picture of it to make sure that it actually said what I thought it did. And then I wrote an e-mail to the pastor. I honestly tried to do it in love and actually use some form of tact. I think I succeeded.

There's just so many things wrong with the whole mindset. It seems very "us against them". If there's an empty lot, why can't people park there? Why can't folks skateboard or shoot hoops? Why do we thank God for 'all He's given us', only to hoard it? In my opinion, you can have as many "Friend Days" and Revivals as you want, but if you're selective about who you invite in, then what's the point?

All that comes to mind when I see signs like that is, "You're not welcome here." How content are we to come to a building, give testimonies and praise an invisible God? A God who we like to mold into a neat little package so He fits our every need. Don't like music when you worship? We've got that covered. Think the idea of speaking in tongues is a little too cutting edge? No problem. Worried your best friend's amazing legs and short stylish haircut might make your husband lust? Cover 'em up and grow it out. Feel the need to dress up every time you go to church? Check. Hate the idea of dressing up and think that the other guys have it all wrong? Got those churches too. Afraid to have a real discussion about alcohol? Ban it. Talk about hell and sinning a lot. (And whatever you do, don't teach on John 2!) And yes Pastor, I'd love to meet you at KFC for a couple of Double Down sandwiches after the service.

It seems so often we're all about come to us, come to our special event, let me tell you what I believe... It seems so rarely that we focus on go, go, go. Wasn't that the Great Commission?

It's not that I think that going to a "church" is bad - I don't. At all. I get irate when we think that it was created for our preferences. When did church become about us, anyway?


The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn't even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, "That's mine; you can't have it." They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.


And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person's need. (Taken from The Message, Acts 4: 32-35)






Thursday, March 17, 2011

ramblings

it's 2am. I should be in bed. but I am not. I'm on the computer using poor punctuation and spelling and grammatical errors out the ying yang. in other words, nothing too out of the ordinary.

I think I'll go jogging with cassius in the morning.

I'm no longer considered obese. Now I'm just good 'ol fashioned fat. I have 31 more lbs to lose before I would be considered healthy. It seems far away. 

My friend gave me a real hug. and he didn't say anything about my chest. I nearly fainted.

I wonder a lot if it's normal or healthy or sane or just stupid to care about and love the people in my life the way that I do.

I still can't figure out how to write about my grandfather's passing. But I miss him so much. he was the only grandfather that I remember or knew cared about me.

I never realized how selfish I was until I got married. holy cow.

something interesting happened on Sunday. I had perfectly laid out plans to be lazy all day, but I couldn't sleep, went for a jog and then decided that I was too sweaty and awake at this point to go back to bed, so I went to church. it was the first week of the open series. or maybe the 2nd. I don't know. I don't really go anymore. Anyway, wanted to leap out of my skin, it was so nerve wracking. considered leaving,but got blocked in. then about 10 mins into Dave's talk, I noticed a mother and her son get up and leave. The son has some form of special need and his behavior embarrassed the mom. She appeared angry, but I know she was embarrassed, because that's the way I react when I get embarrassed. I instantly felt for her and chased them down the hallway : ) Long story short, I connected them with The Circle (service at vcc for folks with all forms of special needs) and was delighted that they took my invite to let me introduce them to the leaders. (the circle only meets at the 10:30am service on Sundays and I just happened to show up to the 10:30am VCC service) I could overhear the mother stating all of the reasons why her son would be a distraction or wouldn't fit in. They rolled off her tongue like it was something she's had to explain for the past 2 decades. several times she looked at me and mouthed "thank you" with tears in her eyes. I missed the service, but I went to church. I cannot explain the delight that rippled thru my veins. If you read my last post, you would see why this was is such a strange, yet warm feeling. I caught a glimpse of what redemptive stories are about. Definitely for the mom. Maybe for myself. maybe. My best laid plans were laid to waste Sunday morning, but something else much greater came over. I cannot fully explain this. But it's exciting. But if I talk about it too much, I'll probably get all funky and moody, cause I'm awesome like that.

okay, I had more to say, but it's almost 2:30am and I need to brush my teeth and go to bed. Night, y'all.

Man, my punctuation and grammar really do suck. You'd never believe I was a Communications major, would you? I KNOW how to communicate properly, electronic blogs and mail has just given me a reason to be super, super lazy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

oh george michael, where art thou?

it's not so much that I've lost my faith, I think I'm just redefining it.

in my past history with church, I tend to get really excited after becoming involved in a particular ministry and then after a series of failures (not telling you where your tithing is going, poor leadership, fakeness, focusing solely on politics and catering to those with perceived money, pastors finding their sermons online instead of doing the work themselves, finding out the leadership are arrogant jerks - or just dare I say human?), I leave and wallow and then find a new place to worship - but never feeling completely at home - and the cycle begins again. I believe it primarily happens for two reasons: 1) I burn out fairly quickly. Apparently, it's part of being a Disseminator. You get very excited and get people on board, you believe in the mission, but you have trouble finishing things out. 2) I place very heavy emphasis on relationships and people. I think I used to get sincere respect for leadership and putting said leadership on a pedestal, mixed up. It just got all hairy, because whenever someone got knocked off this high and mighty mountain where I had placed them in my mind, I couldn't really deal with that. Sometimes I would equate church problems with problems with religion. (i have tried to make strides in recent years to amend my flawed thinking. While I don't think I lean so heavily on the pastor/leadership on a pedestal, I still need to work on the respect thing...) 

but this past year has felt different. I essentially went from being moderately involved at the vineyard, to nothing. I came to a place where it just wasn't smart for me to be in leadership, even on a very small scale. I don't regret that decision. And while I don't agree with every decision leadership makes at the vineyard, and maybe even some decisions anger me (I think that's probably normal to some degree?) I don't actually have a problem with the leadership. I'm not angry with anyone at church, I think they do some amazing things and honestly seek out what God is calling them to do. I'm proud of my friends and their authenticity. It just genuinely pains me to be a part of a church right now. For a while I continued to go, either to please others or just because I thought I would eventually get out of this church funk (again, I'm not frustrated at leadership like in the previous experiences).  But I never did. And it just continued to get worse. This probably won't make sense, but I cannot adequately explain the deep seeded pain that flourishes when one of my old friends/ministry partners/whoever comes up and talks to me. (this isn't about being angry or upset at anyone. The actual building does not bother me, it's the people that fill it. They remind me of someone who I used to be. Happy and content. On a mission. With a purpose.) There is deep, deep pain. When someone calls and leaves a voicemail asking if I want to be involved in something I was totally into 12-16 months ago, I forget to return their phone call for days, because I try and block it out. Eventually, I remember and send a text instead. I've asked to be taken off e-mail lists, but I keep getting them somehow. I don't even read them anymore, I just hit delete.

it's just very different now. Where there was once joy, there is deep sorrow. I think back on all of the times that I was so excited about an idea or a ministry or just Jesus, and I feel ashamed. Foolish is really the best word. Everything I have ever done in the name of Jesus or for his sake seems foolish. There are a few sacred folks who are what I would consider to be "safe".  I've realized lately that I tend to pop in on said folks when I'm needing to feel safe. And on a really good and rare day, I believe that they love me.

it's not that I don't believe in God anymore. I still pray on occasion, even though when I do, everything inside me wants to scream that I'm doing something wrong, or at least something I don't really believe in or understand fully. My core beliefs never really changed. I still believe that God created the universe (although I don't really give a rat's ass whether it was in 6 literal days or 6 million years. Or if Adam got bucked off of a dinosaur. Who cares? He created it. Deal with it), that we as a human race are really screwed up, and that Jesus literally died on a cross because we as a people needed a perfect sacrifice to suck up all our shittiness. That three days later he literally rose from the dead and that he will return. That he wasn't just some nice dude, that he wasn't just a prophet, that he is part of the Trinity and that there will be no others added to that. I believe that there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth as promised, but I don't really get what that's gonna look like. (and to be honest, it's pretty far down on the list of things that I really ponder over) Eternity scares me because I cannot fathom what that even looks like. I believe that we as Christ followers are called to give away a little bit of what we believe God has provided (although I continually wrestle with whether that must go to a local church or just doing God's work. I have church money issues. I always will).  That we're called to be more than a seat filler, we are called to serve others, and not for some trophy or recognition, but because I think Jesus tangibly showed creation the way to serve and then called us to do the same. These are things that I have believed and built upon for 31 years. I really wrestled with some of them in my early to mid teenage years, but I feel rather secure in these core beliefs now.

okay, so here's what I think my problem is. The cause of my great sorrow... (Please bare with me, as I've been fleshing this thing out for a while, and could be wrong or simply only partially right.) It's not that I don't believe in God, I simply have trouble believing in a god who created me in his image. It's fairly easy for me to see God moving in the lives of my friends. To see the life and truth of a living god in their breath and movement and talents. I cannot see that in myself. I think I spent so many years serving a god that I believed existed, but not convinced that he wanted me. I think I did things because they got me excited or because I could see the good they would do or because I believed I was supposed to. The later is probably the most dangerous. There's a fine line between doing something because you're told to, (ie: parent telling you not to touch the hot stove. they love you enough to not want to see you get hurt) and doing something because at your core, you believe it to be true. I spent so many years trying to please a god who I believed saved me from eternal separation from him, but who I have never really believed loved me. Or really, even liked me. How could I honestly keep serving someone who I think barely even knows or just cares that I exist? How could I keep singing worship songs to a creator who messed me up and is probably disgusted by me? It is a painful place when you realize that what you have silently feared for most of your life becomes a reality. Even if it's just your reality.

i'm tired. Exhausted, really. I'm tired of sitting in church and listening and trying to act out something because I believe I'm supposed to. I think I've viewed God as my silent business partner for years. I  know all of the right things to say and do. I know there's more to faith than crazy skits, big productions, wacky youth leaders, a "cool" pastor, attendance numbers and the building that you sit in. I just want to rest for a while and figure some stuff out. I can't continue on this path. I need to re-define who I am to me and who I am to Jesus.

and lastly, to anyone who I have hurt in the past; to anyone who was weary and I didn't get it; to anyone who just needed time to flesh some things out and I didn't allow for it; to anyone who I acted like I had it all together around - I am so sorry. I am terribly sorry if I hurt you. Please forgive me.

there. Glad I got that out, it's been brewing inside me for about 6 months now...

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm not sure what to name this post

I typically say what's on my mind. People tell me they appreciate this, until of course, I say something they don't agree with or worse yet, I say something rude and very hurtful.

I feel like a blog should be to some degree, freeing. An online journal where you can openly express what  you're going thru. The good, the bad, the ugly (maybe still saving some of the really ugly stuff for the closest friends).  A place to speak your mind, but not necessarily bash.

However, for various reasons, I feel like I can't do that. It's not like it's somebody's fault or something, I just won't/can't do it. At least, not 100% of what I'm going through on any given day. But I am going to start blogging a bit more for me. I've always had that bent anyway, but maybe a bit more so now....

Okay, probably about 75% of you quit reading by now, so that's okay. It was getting a bit tedious anyway. Oh, and one more thing, since I'm blogging more for me, I will occasionally curse a bit more.  I already curse horribly in person, so whatever. If that offends you wildly, then you probably shouldn't keep reading my blog. If it's that big of a deal, then you probably weren't reading this to hear what I was saying anyway.

I sound like I'm super negative today. I'm not. I'm just trying to lay out some stuff.

For lots of reasons, I started eating healthier again. I got a trainer at the gym, started working out 5x a week and some other stuff. In 21 days, I've lost 13.4 lbs.  I'm having a good day today, so I'm choosing to celebrate this victory. 

Food has been an issue for me for years. I've said it before on here; I'm an emotional eater. And the richer, sweeter, saltier it is, the better. So not only do I eat compulsively, but I eat terrible things, too. The few times that I have decided to eat better, my brain sabotages me. It tells me that I shouldn't be eating anything at all. That food is the enemy. The logical side of my brain will then kick in and remind me that it's not food that's the problem, it's the poor choices I make with food... Anyway, it becomes a very ugly battle some days. No one should ever feel guilty over eating a salad or a healthy sandwich or wrap, but I do. Not all the time, but frequently. It's beyond frustrating. 

Isaac allowing me to get a trainer (at a reduced price- which btw, is still bloody expensive) has been remarkable. I meet with her once a week, and I do some of the craziest, hardest exercises, but I feel great about myself afterwards. Throughout the rest of the week, I rotate around the gym with things that I work on. Usually, it's a mix of resistance training (30-50 mins) followed by cardio (around 20-30 mins). I have HORRIBLE balance, but I did stand on the balance ball today for 5 minutes, so that felt like something.  Having somebody to encourage me and knowing that I have to answer to them for a year has helped keep me motivated. Plus, there's nothing like leaving the gym dripping with sweat, knowing that I kicked major ass for 60-85 minutes. After a really good workout or if I know I have to go somewhere afterwards, I make myself a smoothie. I mix about a cup of plain fat free yogurt with a scoop of protein, dry oatmeal, a little bit of frozen fruit, usually some fresh fruit, one packet of Emergen-C, frozen cranberries, and today I threw in some spinach and broccoli. It turns out pretty big and since it's naturally sweet, my brain thinks that I'm getting a treat. Sometimes it's fun tricking myself. It  also fills me up, so it takes the place of meal.

Typically I do my cardio in the movie room. That stupid place is a godsend. There's black light's everywhere, so portions of you glow, but for the most part, you're unseen. Plus, nobody's really looking at you anyway, they're watching the movie.

I am a little nervous about when the excitement of working out dulls. As a general theme in my life, I lack the ability to see very far down the road. It's genuinely difficult for me to "dream" or at least envision myself very far into the future. I have never been able to imagine myself growing old. Even planning 2 years down the road is nearly impossible. So it's also very improbable that I would be able to "see" or imagine what I would look like if I dropped x amount of weight. Not having any goals or dreams is hard. Sorta makes things bleak. I guess I'm just saying that I'm not too sure what I'm working towards weight wise. I guess I'm attempting to lose it for my own personal satisfaction, however that's the curse. No matter how much weight I lose, I will never be satisfied with the way that I look. Or sound. Or my walk. Or anything. I could lose weight, but I can't really change all of me.

I don't know, I'm rambling at this point. I will say this, just so I don't end on a sour note..... I got my first review at my job last week (I work with adults with developmental delays) and it was rather stellar. Apparently, most people's first reviews aren't scored that high, so that made me feel kinda worthy or at least respected or appreciated to a degree. It was a nice surprise to say the least.