Monday, August 31, 2009
LL1 - I feel cheated out of summer and I hate how much the weather impacts my mood. We had the coolest July on record, followed by an August that, save for about 5 hot and humid days, felt like October. I love, love, love summertime and I have an extreme dislike for being cheated out of it this year. Here's hoping for a great Indian Summer.
LL2 - I have no poker face and should probably work on that. Just today I was in a meeting with several people in a conference room and one person on the phone. The person on the phone was not paying attention and kept interjecting things that didn't apply or asking questions about things that had already been fully explained. I realized half-way through that it was totally obvious to everyone in the meeting that I was half amused, half annoyed at the guy, just by the expressions on my face. I cannot be fake nice or face excited or fake any emotion. There is nothing wrong with being honest, but I should work on not wearing my emotions on my face in such an obvious manner.
LL3 - While writing is pretty much my only 'talent,' forcing myself to do it produces (at best) mixed results. All day I think about what I'm going to write and then I sit down and start writing and often times what shows up on the page is not suitable for posting. Then I get frustrated and post something to fill the spot that may or may not be even worse than what I was originally working on. I have an excess of drafts now that will likely never see the background of my blog. I have many thoughts I have tried to put into words that just seem crazy. I know... it is a little scary that I have things that are even crazier than all the things I've posted this month. I think I'm mostly sane though. For now.
LL4 - While I really want people to read what I write and leave me comments, I am paranoid about putting too much personal information out there. The crazy guy who commented on my post about the creature we had for a short time, still checks that post at least once a day and that really creeps me out. I think it's weird an anonymous person goes around commenting on other people's blogs and then has time to keep going back and checking them every day.
LL5 - Despite that I'm creeped out by trolls, I crave feedback on my work -- on what I can do better, on what is working, on what I should never do again and I wish more people either commented or emailed me about the stuff I write. I try to be all I'm-doing-this-for-my-own-enjoyment, but I guess I really do want to know what people think about the stuff I write. Even if they think it is crap.
LL6 - I think I'm getting better at expressing my thoughts about the things I'm learning. At least in writing. In person is a whole different and scary thing.
I think that is enough for now. I had thought of more earlier in the day, but I didn't have time to write them down and now I've forgotten them. This has been a great exercise for me, but I'm ready for a break. I'm ready for writing from inspiration and not from self-imposed pressure. Thanks to the couple of you who have kept up with my blog this month. I doubt I write tomorrow, but I hope to be back soon with something I'm proud of.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I want to write about religious tradition vs. biblical beliefs, but I still have so much research to do that I don't feel I can even begin to cover the topic. I do know that I am trying to sort out for myself what things I do or believe that are just traditions and then determine if those things are useful or helpful to me.
I want to write more about trust. I am still having trouble with this. I've thought a lot about
Isaiah 55:8 & 9, which reads, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." On one hand, it is reassuring to me, because it's a reminder that I am obviously not the first person to have questions about God and why he does what he does. That God sees the big picture and I can only see what's right in front of me. But it is also disconcerting because that doesn't answer questions to just say, "Well, he's God and we just can't know." I really don't think that's what God was trying to say, but sometimes it feels like it.
I want to write more about how I've often thought of my beliefs. I realized that because of so many negative things I dislike about 'Christianity' and many who profess it, I am moderately ashamed to say I am a Christian. I am not ashamed that I have a relationship with God, it's more some kind of misplaced guilt for being affiliated with a religion that people can so easily distort and have distorted for so many years. This guilt has impacted my life and decisions and opinions regarding church and people who attend church. I realize it is not my fault if other people get it so wrong, but I am having a really difficult time coming up with an acceptable answer, for myself and for others, as to why this happens and what I can do about it.
I want to write more about questions. I keep going back to one of my favorite Rob Bell excerpts:
Central to the Christian experience is the art of questioning God. Not belligerent, arrogant questions.... but naked, honest, vulnerable, raw questions, arising out of the awe that comes from engaging the living God. This type of questioning frees us. Frees us from having to have it all figured out. Frees us from always having to be right. It allows us to have moments when we come to the end of our ability to comprehend.
To me this is not about giving up and accepting that something doesn't makes sense to me. I truly believe it would be wrong to just resign myself to not understanding. For me, this is about accepting that I may not understand something right now, but that might be that because of where I am right now, I'm not able to comprehend. BUT, if I keep searching and asking and studying and questioning, I will at some point gain at least some level of understanding in answer to my questions. Something to look forward to.
And I want to write about how all of this has me thinking about the difference between knowledge and experience. Sometimes when I think about people who have different beliefs than I have, I catch myself thinking they are somehow so much more intellectual or enlightened. My beliefs can seem old and quaint and outdated. But that is all about knowledge. That is just picking up some books and reading them and saying that one sounds logical and reasonable while the other seems confusing and crazy. If you just think about it on the surface, if there were a perfect person who never made any mistakes or did anything wrong, why would he chose to die for something he didn't do, just to reconcile the rest of humanity to God? BUT, if you've experienced the relationship and the love, the same story is amazing and beautiful.
So... yeah. I still have more I need to explore in these areas and still more topics I simply couldn't form into decent paragraphs today. The knowledge vs. experience thing is really big for me right now. I am struggling with how to talk about it with people who have only the knowledge and not the experience. Not in a 'come over to my side' way. But for me it is like talking to someone about a friend that person has never met. And in some cases it is like me talking to someone about a friend they have never met, who to them seems like my invisible friend. I just want to be ready with an answer... not a canned, 'Christian' answer, but a real and personal answer, should anyone ask questions.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." - Hebrews 10:23
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I was the kind of girl who felt true physical pain when asked to put down a book at the dinner table. I felt ravenous toward toward each book, like a vampire desperate to clamp my fangs into the foreign body until it was drained in its entirety, lifeless on the floor.
I was, in my tastes, completely indiscriminate... It was on the shelf and I could follow at least 35 percent of the action? I gave it a try. - Excerpted from Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnick
I read this in Reader's Digest a few weeks ago and it was like Ms. Skurnick was writing about my childhood. I started doing odd jobs for my grandparents when I was 7 or 8 to earn money to save up and spend on books. When I didn't have a new book, I would scour the shelves at our house or my grandparents'house for anything that would hold my interest long enough to get through it. My grandmother had the boxe set of the Little House on the Prairie series, and I read through the all of it three times by the time I was twelve. I had to have something to read. Always.
I have maybe four memories of my childhood from before I could read. My mother, an elementary teacher, taught me to read when I was four. By the time I was seven, I was reading anything I could get my hands on. Despite that they were unbelievably strict and censoring of everything else in my life from music to clothes to friends, my parents paid little attention to what I read. I guess that to them, I reading and learning and that was good. I read the Reader's Digest cover-to-cover every month, some romance novels I found at my grandparents with content much too mature for my age, and anything about Holocaust survivors I could get my hands on.
Reading opened worlds and ideas to me that were not available anywhere else in my life. Reading also gave me something to do that was only mine, that no one really paid attention to, and that allowed me to escape from any number if situations I wanted to avoid. I distinctly remember reading when I was supposed to be cleaning my room, doing schoolwork, or many various other chores. I would sit or stand, poised as though I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, while reading the book in which I was currently engrossed. I had about 85% of my attention on the book, and about 15% keeping guard so that if my mother came by my room I could quickly stash the book and look as though I was toeing the line.
Reading also came in very handy for keeping up with adult conversations that were none of my business. Since many of my mother's friends had kids my sisters' age, much younger than me, I was usually able to get away with hanging out with the adults... Albeit in the corner with my nose buried in a book. I heard all kinds of gossip, as well as concerns about marriages, child-rearing, and life in general. Since I was a very fast reader, I could quickly read to the end of a page and then pause to listen to what was being said before continuing to the next page. The whole 'little pitchers have big ears' saying completely applied to me. I just happened to be a little big-eared pitcher with her nose in a book who appeared to not be paying attention.
I still love to read, but I have so much less time for it now. I have a stack of books by my bed, waiting for me to read them, but after I take care of the boys, tidy up, and then try to write, I am so exhausted I just fall into bed, asleep as my head hits the pillow. But I miss my old friend. When this month is over I intend to take some time to invest in whittling down my book pile, passing time in some other worlds that are only available to me in books.
I need something.
Sleep, for certain,
but also reassurance.
I want to be strong
and care not.
Oh, how the doubts
creep in and
crowd that out.
I want rest
But I need something.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Liberté Méditerranée Yogurt - Some crazy guy accosted me when I was buying other yogurt at Whole Foods and told me I had to try this yogurt. Maybe I tried it to appease him (best to avoid pissing off crazy people) and make him go away, but he was right. It may not be low-fat, but it is amazingly delicious. I think the lemon flavor is my favorite. SO good.
Franco Sarto Shoes - Don't bother trying to look them up online because for some reason the ones they list online are mostly ugly. But the ones I have in real life are totally cute AND comfortable... which is difficult for shoes with high heels. Plus I love that they sell them at Famous Footwear so I can usually score a pair, regularly priced at least $80, for around $20 with discounts and coupons.
Half-and-half - In my original favorite things post I talked about coffee, but since I can't really drink coffee without half-and-half, I think it deserves a spot as well. I drink my coffee with only cream, no sugar. Yum. I wish I had some right now.
Facebook - Apparently (according to several articles I've seen lately) Facebook is becoming outdated and for old people, but I really don't care. I hate to talk on the phone, so I love that I can keep up with people and what is going on with them via Facebook. Oh... and I'm old so I guess it's okay.
Homegrown Tomatoes - We planted a tiny garden this year, which included three tomato plants. I love tomatoes anyway, but homegrown tomatoes are about a million times better than the ones you can buy at the store. They are so good and I could eat them every day. Delicious.
Okay. That is enough for now. I'll try for something better tomorrow.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I've already written about why I like tattoos and what they mean to me so I'm just going to talk about my dilemma. I really want a new tattoo, but I also really want to add on to one I already have. As (good) tattoos are not inexpensive, I have to choose one or the other. The one I want to add to is the one on my shoulder. It is two wild violets and some ivy. Violets mean 'watchfulness' or 'faithfulness' and I got them to represent the boys and how as their mother I am to be watchful of them, not just in making sure they are safe, but also in the example I set for them. The ivy is for Ryan, as it means loyalty or fidelity. I loved my tattoo after I first got it and I still really love it. But when I look at it now it seems too small. Ivy doen't just grow in a little tiny patch all neatly around some flowers. I think it needs more ivy. I want more ivy.
But.... I also want something new. I still really want a foxtail, not exactly like the one in the picture on the left, but similar. It wouldn't be to represent someone else, it would just be for me. I love foxtails because they remind me of summertime in the country. I love summertime and a foxtail seems way less cliche' than getting a sun on my ankle (not that there is anything wrong with that if you have it). However, I am concerned about how it would translate to a tattoo. It would have to be big enough to get enough detail in, but I don't really want it taking up my entire side or side of my back. Decisions, decisons.
I don't want to get to the end of my life and find thatI lived just the length of it.I want to have lived the width of it as well.- Diane Ackerman
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I think I've been trying to not write this post for some time. There are so many things I'm trying to sort out with my own faith and I certainly don't want to come across as though I think I have it figured out. I'm trying to really study and sort out what are things that I do or believe that are actually just a tradition that someone made up and what is the truth that I really believe and want to keep.
The reason I've been avoiding this post is because I really, really dislike when people come across as preachy or trying to 'save' someone and I certainly want to avoid that myself. But I think that by not posting this post, I'm not being entirely honest. I strive to be the kind of person who accepts people how they are and where they are. I don't expect people to change for me or to match up with my beliefs. But I need to allow myself that same freedom. I need to accept that my opinions and beliefs are not any less relevant than any other person's and I shouldn't be hesitant to write about them. By avoiding the subject that is taking up most of my thoughts, I am producing some true crap writing.
I rarely know what to say to people. I know I've mentioned this before, but I'm pretty awkward. Even in normal, social interactions I usually just listen and say as little as possible so I don't say something stupid. It's like when I open my mouth and say something it is just something odd or crazy and people don't 'get it.' When I'm in a situation that would normally be uncomfortable, like offering comfort or advice, I'm even worse. I simply don't know what to say.
So I've been thinking a lot about what to say to people who have been victims of the terrible result of people ascribing to 'religion' and religious tradition. I've heard and read horror stories that have just infuriated me that anyone would treat someone else so inhumanely under the guise that they are doing God's work. I've had to ask myself if I would still believe in God if that had been my experience all my life.
As I was thinking about this the other day and thinking about all my trust issues, I realized that I don't really trust that God can repair that type of damage. I believe that those people out there with the judgement and the abuse and the lies who are pretending they are obeying God have done far too much damage to a lot of people that it is a hopeless situation. Sad to admit, but I'm just being honest.
I know sometimes 'Christians' meet people who have different beliefs from them and tell these people they should just read the Bible or go to church and they would obviously see how wrong they are. I have to say just reading a book or just going to a building is probably not going to change anyone. And this is something I can't stop thinking about. I have people for whom I pray daily, but I don't say much to them about faith one way or another. I don't think there is much I can say to them that will persuade them either way. But if I don't believe anything I can say will make any difference to them and I doubt that God will get through to them, where does that leave my faith?
I was listening to this song (lyrics below) and I had the thought that it isn't about if they just read the Bible or just went to church or just... anything religious. It really is about if they just realized how much God loves them and how broken his heart is over all the terrible things they have experienced or the things that have gone wrong in their lives. And that he is so proud of them for overcoming adversity and for the things they do that contribute to the world in a positive way. And I was wondering why they would believe that and I really don't know. Maybe they never will. Many people who don't believe in God or who believe in something/one other than God are quite well versed, not only in what they believe, but also in what others believe. It wasn't a choice they made on a whim. They know what they believe and why.
I certainly don't pretend to fully understand the mind of God, but I do know that he loves me. There are many things I am still working to understand about God and who he is and why he doesn't prevent certain things or why some things don't work out. But I know that as a parent there is nothing that would ever make me love my kids any less. Even if they ran away from home and told people they didn't have a mother, I would still love them and still want what is best for them and still rejoice in their successes and morn with them in their sorrows. And I know that is how God is with his children.
I have really hesitated to post this, at risk of seeming like the things or people I dislike/disagree with. But I needed to write this out, to wrestle with it, to try to put it into words that I can go back and mull over and revise if necessary. It's just what is on my mind. I'm not sure of where to go with it from here. I guess I need more time to figure out how this all plays into my faith. I can't make people believe that God loves them, but I can pray for them. And I love them. I wonder if that is enough.
How He Loves - John Mark McMillan
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…
He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us.
Monday, August 24, 2009
My favorite movie, About a Boy, uses double voice-over narration with the thoughts of the two main characters. In one of the scenes, the character Will is explaining how he views his life and the lives of others as television shows. In his show, he is the main character and all the people around him are just other actors. He is concerned with what he does and keeping his show interesting. If other people's shows are having trouble, that is no concern of his. (I know that doesn't do it justice and I'd like to watch the scene right now so I could quote it, but Ryan is watching golf and I'm already sitting here at the computer ignoring him. I'd feel rude to monopolize both the computer and the television. Maybe I'll add that in later.)
I don't know about anyone else, but I think that I do kind of see my life that way. Not the not caring about other people and their shows, but the part where I'm the main character of my life and my friends and family are the supporting cast. I'm part of the supporting cast in their lives. Friends of friends are shows I don't watch regularly, but I keep up with their shows because some of my supporting cast are also their supporting cast. Then there are the people in my life who aren't really cast mates, but I watch their shows enough to keep up with the plot because they happen to be filming at the same time as my show. The people I don't know are just extras. Blank people. Girl 2 with ice cream. I don't know anything about them so it's like they are a television show that I don't watch and that none of my cast mates talk about.
I don't know why I was thinking about this today and I don't really know where I'm going with it. Something about the thought made me sad. Obviously it is impossible to know everyone you encounter. No one can watch and know the plot of every show or how well it is doing, but some part of me wishes I could. I think a lot of people are fascinating and think fascinating thoughts and it would be great to get a glimpse of that. But I guess it is a lot easier to not think about those blank people. Do I really want to know how difficult life is for Sad Grocery Cashier or what is going on with Bitter Old Lady in Cafe'? And isn't it a lot easier to be annoyed at Rude Woman in Line or Jerk Number 3 if I don't know that she has just found out her husband is cheating on her or that he just lost his job?
I guess I sometimes feel overwhelmed by keeping up with my own show and worrying about how the shows of my cast mates are are doing that I don't have time to take on any new shows. How sad is it that I don't have time for additional other people? I haven't always been this way, but I feel like I've become hesitant to take on any recurring guest roles or new cast mates. In the past year, I have encountered a few people who I couldn't seem to resist bringing into the case, but not many. There are also a few people I've completely lost track of. I don't like feeling this way. And I kind of don't like that I'm talking about myself or other people as actors in television lives, but this is the closest thing I have to a completed post so I'm going to post it anyway. By my own admission, my ratings are slipping and I need to fire my writer.
I do have some other ideas of things to write about, but they are still only half-formed. I guess for now my goal now should be to come up with at least one decent post in the remaining days of this month. Ah..... goals.....
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Insomnia, my dear friend.
I cannot sleep because
of all the questions.
I don't know.
I do not know.
I wish I knew.
All true, but I need answers,
not catch phrases.
The wondering and
the thinking and
the worrying get me
I still don't know.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Today, I just feel like this whole exercise has been a failure. I don't think my writing is improving. If anything, it is getting worse, diluted by the sheer volume of nonsense I've been producing. Such frustration. I guess since I didn't really have a goal other than 'Write Every Day' I can't really say I'm doing a terrible job. I guess I was just expecting some sort of breakthrough were I would realize a new direction for my writing. And now I feel like it has even less direction than before.
I guess I shouldn't lose all hope. I still have a week left. I guess something great could happen and I could suddenly feel good about my writing. I'm thinking that is not going to happen tonight.
Waiting for practice to
Instead, all this practice
led me astray.
My eyes on perfection,
but my efforts
falling so short.
All this practice made
All this practice made
Thursday, August 20, 2009
There is nothing like being a mother. It can be so embarrassing and rewarding at the same time. We are potty training Owen and he has been doing so great. Dry for two whole days/nights. This afternoon, we were at Target and he started yelling, "I'M PEEING!! I'M PEEING!!" (which for some reason is what he yells when he has to pee, he was not actually peeing). I mean, I was really proud of him for telling us he needed to go even when we were out of the house, but it's so embarrassing to have everyone looking at you and thinking that your kid is actually peeing all over the floor or that you've taught him to announce his bodily functions. Ha.
As I was thinking about this week, I was thinking of what it must be like to be home with your kids all the time. I love when I get to spend more time with them, but I also love that I work and do things on my own. This got me thinking about some things I read shortly after Luke was born. It was actually from a book I purchased as gift for my mom, but after I read it I kept it and got her something else. Two things that have shaped my ideas of motherhood were in this book. Here is the first:
In the end did I find the secret, and it was this: There is no one secret way to be a "good" mother. Each of us has to invent motherhood for herself and invent it over and over and over as we move forward through it. We can find the common threads of motherhood from talking to each other, but everyone is different. Each child is different, and we are different with each child, just as life is different for each child. No one explains how to do it. Each of us must figure it out for ourselves.
- Frances Wells Burck, Mothers Talking
This is so, so true. There are so many different ways to be a good mother and we have to find what works for ourselves and our families. Full-time moms, working moms, etc., etc., we all have to figure it out for ourselves. I'm doing the best I can and I just pray that God will make up for my shortcomings.
But there was another thing in the book I was thinking about. It's one of those things that once I read it I've heard it many, many times in my head. I knew the feeling, but sometimes other people can put feelings into words so much better than I could ever hope to:
"We're taking a survey," she says, half joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?" "It will change your life," I say carefully. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes: That the physical wounds of childbearing heal, but that becoming a mother will leave an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable.
I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going to an important business meeting, and she will think about her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her child is all right.
However decisive she may be in the office, she will second guess herself constantly as a mother. She will never feel the same about herself. That her life will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years--not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her children accomplish theirs.
- Dale Hanson Bourke, in Everyday Miracles
Being a mom is only part of who I am, but it really did derail my life. Oh well. I didn't really want my life to be on the rails anyway. Much better to be able to play cowboys and cowgirls or Candy Land or Legos or taking-a-trip-to-the-high-mountains whenever the mood strikes. I will never feel the same about myself as I did before, but I have a whole new purpose and perspective that I like a lot better.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
My secret hopes are
tucked safely in pillowcase corners,
and strangely tangible.
to expose them to
the light of day.
I clinch them more
tightly in my hidden fists,
dreading the shattered pieces
scattering at my feet if I
loosen my grasp and
let you see.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It might take me some time to come up with those kinds of topics. In the meantime I'll post a poem I've been working on for years. I've worked on adding stuff to the first line off and on. This is my most recent revision. Still needs a lot of work, but it's what I have for now.
I say hello
to you and
you say hi and
ask me how I am,
but do you
I see it there,
behind your eyes.
I make you
ill at ease and
you wish I'd say
I'm fine and just continue
a kindred spirit
hides in awkward skin.
Monday, August 17, 2009
when free-flowing verse
until they overflow.
(I had originally written it this way (below), but when I posted it I liked it better as written above. The above is the way I would normally write, but the version below was me trying to put myself in it. Which works better?)
My trusted friend.
My valiant foe.
when free-flowing verse
I'm smashing empty
until they overflow.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
"Amidst his search, he stumbles on a stinging truth: his life plan is unreal, for he has made an idol of all the virtues his evangelical faith and suburban lifestyle have tattooed on his soul. In the end, he returns home to where his journey began, albeit with a scarred bravado and a faith barnacled but more transparent."
Aside from never having lived in suburbia, I somehow identify with most of this statement. I feel as though this idea of "a faith barnacled but more transparent" is what I'm going to end up with or at least what I'm trying to end up with. So many times I find myself thinking something that was a part of what was "tattooed" on my soul growing up and then I have to take a step back and ask where it came from. Is it something that is in the Bible or that God revealed to me or is it something that is part of a religious tradition that someone made up at some point and has no basis that I can find in scripture? It's not just that I want to abandon that religious tradition. I want my faith to be barnacled in the sense that it has evidence of a journey and to be transparent and something I can easily talk about to anyone. And not in a condescending or judgemental way. In a humble and true-experience way.
Sure, I don't know what my life or my faith is going to look like ten years from now. But I know the last thing I want is for it to look just like the stereotype of a married, working-mom, Christian. It is not my place to judge how other people work out their own salvation. But it is my place to never stop working out mine.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
My mind is alert
and churn-y, but
my hand does
not want to hold the
pen and jot the
words my brain
My arm is failing
under the weight of
propping up my head
so my eyes can see to
Willing myself to
press on to insomnia.
I hate the thought of
forfeiting inspiration if I sleep.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Sitting in traffic.
but still running the
because there is no breeze.
Reaching to turn up the stereo,
but then distracted
by the girl on her cell phone
in the car next to me.
She is talking loud.
And maybe crying.
What happened to her today?
What happened too all these people today?
We're all trying to get
to the next place
but the stupid traffic lights
make us wait.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
noun (plural ster·e·o·types)
Definition: oversimplified conception: an oversimplified standardized image of a person or group
I was thinking about my post from yesterday and why I felt the need to vent. Then I was thinking about my Defense of Motherhood post and why I get so irritated about things I read or watch when it is just someone's opinion or perception. I don't want to seem like one of those people who is protesting too much about things so that it comes across as me trying to convince myself of something. I think the real reason it gets to me is that I dislike when something is based on a stereotype of a group to which I belong. Base something on a stereotype of any of the following and you will probably piss me off -- Female, wife, mother, Christian, friend, working mom, white, middle-class, college-graduate, coffee-addict, meat-eater, book-worm, blogger, tattooed mom, wine drinker, beer drinker, shoe addict, sushi lover, coupon clipper, country girl, pretend poet. (Yes, I know some of those wouldn't really qualify as a typical groups that are stereotyped, but it's my blog so deal with it.)
I think I mentioned a while ago that I was working on a post about labels, but it's not really labels that bother me. To some extent labels can be positive because they can create groups we can recognize and with which we identify. It's actually stereotypes I have a real problem with. I hate being stereotyped and I hate when I see it happening to others. Just because a label fits a person, doesn't mean the stereotype for that label fits them.
I haven't always been aware of stereotypes. When I was growing up, I thought it was okay to think I knew what a person was like based on how they looked or to what group they belonged. For example, when I was growing up, I didn't know any atheists. Surprisingly there were none who attended our church or belonged to our conservative homeschooling group. I may not have known any atheists, but I knew about them. Atheists were the angry people in the pictures in the 'Christian' news magazines who spent their time getting abortions, picketing schools where the ten commandments were displayed, and trying to infiltrate the government to remove the word 'God' from our money and our pledge. They were also trying to take away the rights of parents to homeschool, to discipline their children, or to take their kids to church. Atheists were busy, angry people who hated God and Christians.
And that is the problem with stereotypes. The atheists I know now are nothing like that. Well, maybe they don't really want the ten commandments or prayer or religious teaching in public schools. Maybe they are pro-abortion. Maybe they don't like it that our currency or pledge say say 'God'. But does that make them all terrible, angry, christian-hating people? (Oh, and atheists don't hate God. They don't believe he exists.) I mean, even I don't really think the ten commandments should be displayed in public schools, nor do I believe that students should be forced to pray before they start class. I don't really care either way if the word 'God' is on our money or if it is part of the pledge of allegiance. I fail to see how any of those things will help kids learn or make people behave better or whatever those things are supposed to accomplish. And I think it just comes across as arrogant and narrow-minded to push one's beliefs on other people.
I'm sure that to some extent I still stereotype people, but I really try not to. I try to treat each person I meet on their own merit regardless of what I may think of what 'groups' into which they could be categorized. I really need to work on not letting it bother me so much when I feel that someone is using a stereotype to misrepresent something I am or believe. Getting upset isn't going to help people see that stereotypes rarely apply to an entire group. Something else I need to work on, although I can't guarantee that I will never post another rant about something I care for being stereotyped.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Three things. First, married people are not all completely miserable people who secretly despise each other. Sure, we're not always happy, but neither are single people or dating people or 'living in sin' (sorry Irena for stealing your line) cohabitants. No one is always happy and if they say they are they are lying. But married people are not all the most unhappy and unfulfilled of all people on the earth. It irritates me that so many movies portray us as such.
Second, we do not all spend our days just trying to resist (and then finally giving in to) the urge to jump into bed with every attractive person who comes along. Movies would have you believe that because we are all so unhappy in our marriages we all just want to grab a little happiness for ourselves by getting it on with any hot, willing person who crosses our path. Sure, you don't stop noticing someone is attractive just because you're married, but ew. The thought of infidelity makes me want to vomit.
Third, why does it always seem that in most movies when a man discusses why he got married it was because the woman gave an ultimatum? This idea that most men would not get married unless somehow tricked, forced, or pushed into it is sad and can encourage women to think that is just how it is. Marriage isn't something people have to do so they shouldn't unless they are with someone to whom they want to be married. Yes, I know the ultimatum happens in real life, but guys, grow a pair! If you do not want to marry someone aren't you better off without her than married to her? Let her leave! Let her be with someone who wants her. And girls, if it comes down to you having to resort to an ultimatum, please realize that you are better off spending the weekends single and out with your girlfriends than married and home alone wondering where your husband is and why he doesn't seem happy with you.
I know relationships are complicated, but I think there are men out there who want to be married to their wives and there are women out there who are willing to just let the relationship evolve. When both are on the same page, they can get married because they are both ready. And if they are never ready then one of them moves on or they are both content to just wait and see what it becomes. Why do most movies want to deny that this could happen? I'm not a relationship expert, but maybe if there were more movies that portrayed healthy relationships (married or not) then people would see that there are alternatives to the sad, pathetic ones they see on the screen.
Okay. I'm finished with my rant now. I'm sure I've said a lot of things that people would disagree with, but something about this movie really got to me and I needed to get it off my chest. The end.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I was thinking about this and how it would be great if we could do that with our lives. I know this is not at all an original thought, as numerous books and movies are based on the idea of going back and redoing something or going back and fixing 'what ifs' or some variation of those concepts. But I was thinking about how easy it is with water and how you can freeze and refreeze it into a seemingly infinite number of shapes.
If you could do that with your life and get to a certain point and just melt it all down and redo it into something completely different just to see what it would look like, it would be so tempting to do it again and again. Naturally, the problem with this is that you couldn't just thaw away the parts you want to change and keep intact the parts you like. Sometimes I do wonder what my life would be like had I gone to grad school and done something cool. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like had I kept looking for a job and not taken the first good offer out of college from the company where I still work. Sometimes I wonder.... a lot of things. But maybe I would have gone to school and not gotten married to my husband and I wouldn't have the boys. Maybe I would have worked for a different company and my 'career path' would be completely different, but then I wouldn't know my friend Denna who is seriously one of the coolest people ever. Sure, I wouldn't know what I was missing, but now that I have those things, I wouldn't want to give them up.
I guess it's good that reversible change doesn't apply to our lives. We could be so obsessed with finding out what else we could do or have or be that we would never stop to appreciate the now and the wonderful, despite that it may be flawed or imperfect. I know this sounds like I'm all 'yay for life and everything in it!' but it's really just a lame attempt at a decent post when I've spent the past two days listening to kids playing or kids shows or both.
I'm working on this decently good post about labels, but finishing it is giving me fits. Since I can't seem to pull it together, I'll just post a partial poem about it. Having to do that is more than frustrating because I feel as though the quality of my work is declining rather than improving with this exercise. I guess we all have our difficulties. Bleh.
Blind faith and
Friday, August 7, 2009
Sometimes I just sit around, wondering what people are thinking. Sometimes I talk to someone who is in a difficult or frustrating life situation (the result of choices, not something out of their control like an illness) and I wonder what I would do if I were in their place. Sometimes that works. Sometimes I can think of something and offer some good advice or some encouraging words. Sometimes I just can't do it because I can never see myself making the choices that would lead me to be in that situation.
But then I think that maybe I would have ended up where they are if way back I had done something different. That maybe if I had screwed something up somewhere or done something incredibly stupid at one point instead of at a different point, I would have started making choices differently. And then I could be the one wishing someone could do something to help me.
Or maybe it is because I started disliking where I was going and started making different choices that I am here and not there. It's all very confusing. I realize this isn't making a lot of sense, but I'm going to have to post it or miss a day. Maybe I can explain more later. I think it just boils down to this: How is it that some of us are able to make choices that lead us to a more fulfilling, albeit imperfect place... but some of us just seem stuck in a cycle of choices that constantly lead to our own unhappiness? Is it possible to help another person break that cycle? Why am I not a psychiatrist?
Okay, so maybe that last question was a little over the top. This is all I have time for. Yay for another crap post.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
My Bible is stuffed full of notes. When I read something and want to remember a thought about it, I usually just write it right there in the margin, with a little arrow pointing to the verse to which the note refers. When I'm listening to someone speak, usually in church, and something stands out to me, I make notes on the back of the bulletin or some other piece of paper and stick it in the page. I got my current Bible in 1996. It contains a lot of notes.
Sunday night I was looking for my notes from that morning, but instead found my notes from a sermon from 1999. I'm not even sure from which church it was because it was only a bulletin insert and not the whole thing, but maybe Ovid or Eastside or Northside Church of God. (I went to a Church of God school. There are a lot of Churches of God in the surrounding areas and I attended several during my years there). The notes were on a pre-printed form with fill-in-the-blank bullet points. The sermon was from Joshua 3 and the topic was Faith. One of the bullet points read "Trust is the precursor to Faith." and the thought occurred to me that I really don't trust in God. I believe in him and I have faith, but I don't think I really trust God.
So then I started thinking about if I could have faith without trust. I think it is possible, but not sustainable. From my experience, you can have faith in someone's ability to do something, but not trust that they will do it. I believe that God has the ability to do miraculous things, to heal the sick, and to provide, but I don't really trust that he is going to do that for me. I prefer to try to be cautious, to take good care of myself, and to maintain a good job, so that I won't be in a position of needing to rely on anyone. Not that this will prevent something bad from happening, but I feel it gives me a slightly better chance of preventing it. There is anything wrong with being careful, with taking good care of myself, or with having a good job. I think these things are wise and responsible, especially since I have a family. But I think in allowing myself to be so self-reliant, I've treated God like a casual acquaintance.
It is foolish to trust everyone, especially those you don't know. I'm the lady who wears her purse in the supermarket or at least waits till I have stuff in my cart so that I can put my purse way in the back of the cart, under the seat part, with stuff on top of it so that someone would really have to dig and make a scene to steal it. When I'm driving, I never assume that other drivers are going to do things they should do, like using their turn signal to change lanes or even check to see if you are driving next to them before changing lanes. I HATE driving in the center lane. I just don't trust other people. Many are dishonest or careless or worse.
But in relationships, you need to learn to trust. I need to trust that Ryan is going to be faithful and a good husband. I need to trust that he will take care of our kids while I'm at work. If I did not trust him, it would destroy our relationship. I have faith in his ability to do these things and I trust that he will. And Ryan is only human.
In my relationship with God, I think I've always had faith in his ability to do the things he says he will do. I have seen God do some pretty amazing things, but I have also seen times where people trusted him to do something that he didn't do. I think I have told myself "Just because God can do something, doesn't mean he will and I just have to accept that." And then that thinking became, "I don't have to trust that God will do those things because if I do and he doesn't then I won't know what to do. Better to just try to rely on myself for the things I can and then if God wants to step in and do something great, that will be an added bonus." It's weird to admit I've been thinking that unaware, but it's not helpful to pretend it isn't true.
I'm not entirely sure of where this leaves me. I've been researching and praying and thinking about this all week. What I have so far is that trust is a choice. I have to make a decision that I will trust God, and that he will do the things he said. Most of the trust verses I've found in the Bible say things like "Trust God and this is what he will do." or "Because I trusted God, this is what he did." (FYI, none of these things say if you trust God he will make you rich or never sick or not have a bad day or make your life perfect). Here is one of the verses:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13
That is what I want. I want to be able to trust God and to be hopeful, despite that I know things aren't always going to work out the way I would like. To have joy and peace, and to not fear. I need to choose to trust and not rely so much on myself. I'm not there yet, but it's good to know the goal. This is getting to be a very lengthy post, so I'll stop now. I know I have more on this and I've already started the next 'trust post,' so..... more on trust to come.
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. - Nahum 1:7
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
My sister and her husband came over for dinner tonight. After dinner and hanging out a while we turned on the TV. Despite that we have satellite television and more channels than anyone could possibly need, there was nothing on. Well, nothing except shows on Food Network. We started watching 'Dinner:Impossible' and the challenge was to create a meal for Mattel VIPs for Barbie's 50th birthday. All the food had to be super tiny -- Barbie size. It was quite amusing.
My brother-in-law has to get up early so they had to leave half-way through the show. My sister jokingly asked me to please let her know how it turned out. I'm not even sure how it started, but we started acting out how it would look if Barbie were trying to eat the food. She was a straight-arm Barbie and I was one with bent elbows. It was so silly and funny and stupid and we were laughing SO HARD! Our husbands were just looking at us like we were completely crazy (for the record, we are only mostly crazy). The thought crossed my mind, "It feels really good to laugh like this."
I love moments like that. Moments you aren't really expecting, but you just embrace them when they happen no matter how silly or crazy they may be. I'm so thankful for my sister and that we 'get' each other and can have those moments. I feel like I've been so stressed and deep in thought all the time lately, trying to figure out all the stuff I have going on in my head. A good laugh was exactly what I needed.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
SO, I'll finish and post something I started a while ago. It has been languishing sadly in my drafts for a couple months. Likely for good reason, but I have to post something. I did warn you there would be some crap posts, although I was hoping to wait until at least the end of the first week before I had to resort to this. I hope you'll forgive me.
I am a HUGE Lisa Loeb fan. She is sheer genius. Someone once told me that I look like Lisa Loeb when I wear my glasses. I didn't believe him for a second, but I still took it as a compliment. I love how quirky and cute she is and I love, love, love her lyrics. Here are a few of my favorites:
"When I'm left at home, I'm all alone. But I'd rather be alone with you. So what is this weather, and what is this darkness, and why do I feel so alone?"
"She can't tell me that all of the love songs have been written 'Cause she's never been in love with you before."
"I didn't come this far for you to make this hard for me. And now you want to ask me "how"? It's like - how does your heart beat, why do you breathe? How does your heart beat, and why do you breathe? Why did you come here? You weren't invited. You were on the outside - Stay on the outside. And now you want to ask me "why"? It's like - how does your heart beat, and how do you cry? How does your heart beat? "
"You kick my foot under the table, I kick you back, I can't say I'm able to stand for you or fall for you ever again."
"I kept talking to myself, I had to get the words out of my head (so I did)"
My favorite all-time Lisa Loeb song is 'Stay.' Arguably her most popular song and probably one of two Lisa Loeb songs that most people (who listen to the radio) would be able to name. It will always be one of 'my songs.' It was on the album 'Tails' which was released in 1995. I loved it the first time I heard it on the radio and it remained a song I listened to frequently through the rest of high school and college. I still turn up the stereo whenever it comes on. There is no point to this post. I guess it's more of an addition to my favorite things post.
"So I, I turned the radio on, I turned the radio up, and this woman was singin' my song..."
Monday, August 3, 2009
"...Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light..." John 12:35-36
Sunday, August 2, 2009
A lot of the things I post on my blog, originated in some form in my sketchbook. Poems especially, but even this post about writing in a sketchbook started on a blank white page. I think it is just another thing in a long line of things I do to try to stay my own person despite all the just-like-everyone-else that threatens to engulf me sometimes. Sure, some things are bigger than other things. That I work full time away from my kids (I hate the term 'working mom' because if you care about your kids and take care of them that makes you a working mom regardless of whether or not you work outside the home). That I have tattoos. That I make time for girls' nights and doing things away from my family. These are kind of big things. But I also like to do little things on a regular basis that I like to think of as uniquely me. And yes, that quote "You're unique! Just like everyone else." does come to mind here. There is nothing new under the sun. I know there are lots of other girls out there like me or who do things very similar to the way I do, but I like to think that there are some things that I do that are not like anyone else. It's okay if I just tell myself that, right?
I read this poem the other day. It is so sad, but I love this line: "what you were will not happen again." I think it makes me hope that, at least in some very, very tiny way, what I am will not happen again. Isn't that kind of what we all hope for?
225 days under grass
and you know more than I.
they have long taken your blood,
you are a dry stick in a basket.
is this how it works?
in this room
the hours of love
still make shadows.
when you left
you took almost
I kneel in the nights
that will not let me be.
what you were
will not happen again.
the tigers have found me
and I do not care.
- “For Jane” by Charles Bukowski
Smiles hiding bitten tongues.
Truth can be obvious,
yet difficult to hear
and impossible to speak.
Honesty can unite.
Honesty can polarize.
Reaching and pushing
in the same breath.
hmmm... it needs something. Oh well. I can always rework it in another post.