Monthly Archives: May 2010

Club Awesome for Friday May 28, 2010

Standard

Club Awesome for Friday May 28, 2010

The purpose of this weekly blog entry is really a selfish one, despite the title. I find that if I am not held accountable for gratitude on a daily basis, I let it slip and tend to think of the things I do not have rather than my blessings. So maybe these lists don’t do as much for you as they do for me. However, I hope they inspire you to think creatively about your life and what you are grateful for today.

1. The single moms ministry at my Church is growing by leaps and bounds these days; so exciting to see!
2. School is out, so I will be reminded daily to relax and enjoy myself and summer because that is what my kids will be doing. Is work REALLY all that important anyway? (I know, I know, somebody needs to buy the hotdogs on the grill)
3. Cheeseburgeres and hotdogs on the grill.
4. My fat dog Max is always up for a run. I wish I could have that unconditional loving attitude and unbridled enthusiasm for life even if I had to eat the same damn food day in and day out.
5. Irises are a really cool plant. They grow with minimal water, need little care, and have those intense flowers that are so intricate and beautiful.
6. “Live life to the fullest. Laugh like you’re going to die. Love like there is no tomorrow” -Summer Goodwin (I interpret that as a directive to go to Dairy Queen more often)

Swimming through the Spewage of Feelings

Standard

I woke up this morning in the middle of a vivid dream: I was with my 2 very small children and we were waiting for my then-husband to get out of jail. I have not had this dream in a long time. But I immediately felt betrayal, anger, and fear all over again, surprisingly fresh. I have not been in this situation for over 10 years now, as my ex was released quite a long time ago (after serving almost 4 years). And yet, emotions were still there- vivid and so tangible in my dream that I could taste the acidity from stomach acid that would just not stay down during that time, and almost reach out and touch my baby son’s soft hair as I wondered how to raise my kids alone with such a horrendous cloud over us. My chest was practically boiling with emotion.

You know the feeling. You may not have been in my situation, but you have experienced vivid emotional turmoil that literally takes your breath away, for days at a time.

My cousin Anne lost her adult son in a motorcycle accident; my friend Craig’s marriage unraveled after 20 years of marriage; my Dad is losing his physical prowess that framed his life for 76 years; my friend Michelle’s teenage daughter ran away and was gone for over 2 weeks; my new friend Chris lost her husbandin a freak snowmobile accident; and you have your own story. Getting to the other side of these feelings just seems impossible. And yet, we must.

My sweet friend Leanne has instructed me endlessly about getting through -not around, not over, not sideways, but through the emotions to the other side. I have perfect memory of her instructions, even if I cannot follow them. “Anne- There is no way around emotions,; we have to live, breathe, and swim in them before they will dissipate”. So I have more swimming to do…

The song Work by Jars of Clay (http://www.jarsofclay.com/ a really great Christian rock band) has a line “I have no fear of drowning, it’s the breathing that’s taking all this work” is so true. When I swim laps, the breathing part is much harder than the strokes needed to keep my body afloat. I always end up gasping and gurgling and grabbing for the mouthfuls of air until I slow down, don’t try to go so fast, and just try to find a rhythm.

All the emotions need to flow. I need to try as effortlessly as possible (a paradox?!) to breathe while swimming through them as they bubble up past me. Sometimes the same emotional situation will bubble up around me for weeks or months, (or decades?!) before it loses its toxic shock completely. My only job is to do as Dorie sang in the movie Finding Nemo “just keep swimming”.

This is not easy. We all grew up in dysfunctional families. Mine would rather work 20 hours straight doing the job of 8 draft horses than “relax” into bubbling noxious emotions. Paving new reactions to stimuli is anxiety-provoking work. Our brain’s neurons are not used to it, and they rebel by producing anxiety for our tender hearts to misinterpret as all kinds of other things rather than the good thing it actually is.

Letting myself experience intense emotions feels more like spewing garbage disposal waste from inside my heart and lungs than simple words like “feeling sad, or anger or jealously” implies.

This week, I have no list of 10 magic bullets to do to keep my head screwed on straight while surviving the Spewage Factor of life. But I DO KNOW when I am sneaking around the feelings. So here is a list of what I do when I am shirking my real work:

1. Not praying, basically avoiding God- I do this by staying up too late reading or watching TV or anything to keep my brain numbed
2. Working lots and lots of hours- letting the overly responsible draft horses move into my brain
3. Telling, talking and practically singing the whiny “I’m such a victim” song
4. Drinking and eating too much- thereby bloating my brain
5. Avoiding true sincere friends who look me in the eye and ask me how I am
6. Looking for a fresh face to distract me from myself
7. Arriving home with brand new shoes, clothes, dishes, books… stuff
8. Allowing my boundaries to flop over, particularly with my kids
9. Not sitting down quietly to allow the bubbles in
10. **The Kicker** Controlling others or being overly responsible for loved ones in my life who are capable of and need to take care of their own business without my interfering or my God-forbidden-unasked-for advice (which I am particularly gifted at giving!)

“Yet time, and showing up, turns most messes to compost, and something surprising may grow”. My favorite quote from my favorite author, Anne Lamott,in Plan B Further Thoughts on Faith. The mud and muck might just evolve into something wonderful and miraculous, if we can sit with it long enough to let it mature.

May God’s blessings and mercy rain down upon us today or any day we are courageous enough to swim in the spewage and let the tide of feelings wash us over to the other side.

Love Glutton

Standard

I am a love glutton. I want it all. Is that really too much? I like all 5 love languages*: quality time (on a walk or bike ride preferably), acts of service (Could you PLEASE sweep the garage for me?), compliments (tell me I am wise, witty and beautiful- and is daily too often?), gifts (not expensive, just anything thoughtful hits the spot), and physical touch (daily, hourly… as often as possible, as long as I can still hold down my job).

I realize I have created a problem for myself with this blog. My blatant sharing of internal quests and naked frailties spread out smorgasbord-style on the web could be a detriment to attraction: occasional lack of confidence in one dish, a sometimes lack of trust on the side, a dish of various resentments for dessert topped with a sprinkle of ill-timed needs for reassurance… If you read my blog, you know all about them! There is more, of course. I live on the edge (of propriety sometimes); I get overly angry still at stupid stuff that really is not a big deal (not that often, only when I am PMS-ing, ovulating, or really sleep deprived); I don’t keep track of my checkbook like I should, especially (not coincidentally) when my ex does not make his payment on time (a double negative); and if I am really busy, sometimes I go a few days between brushing my hair.

But- I always brush my teeth!

I am an awesome person, and have lots of great traits too. So do you. You know you are beautiful inside and out, whether you brush your hair every day or not. Your partner may not always think so, but you and God know. You are always gorgeous and wonderful and utterly loved, no matter what bag of gunk surfaces and explodes inconveniently. Perfection is not expected from God.

The thing is we are REALLY most intensely in need of more unconditional love than a human is capable of giving. We ALL are, whether we are single parents or not. Only a super-human Spider Man/Iron Man/Super Man could love all of me and my character defects all day, every day.

Luckily, we have a higher power (HP) that loves us no matter how cranky we are before the morning coffee. The HP fills in a LOT of gaps for me when I am a less than perfect mom, friend, colleague, girlfriend, boss, committee member, worker, etc. In ALL of my relationships, whether romantic or not, but perhaps more importantly in romantic relationships (which I may choose not to have again until 2015, a subject for another blog…).

I need to ask the HP dude to kick in a little more often than I have in the past. When the human is falling short of his super-human capabilities and I am having my gluttonous love needs, I need to count on the HP (higher than human, more powerful than human) to fill in the gaps. And I can ask for it every single morning. And expect it to show up.

A human can NOT meet all of my needs, and THAT IS THE POINT. A human, even a rock-solid gold partner, is not supposed to.

Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are anew each morning; great is your faithfulness.

May God keep you and hold you today and every day in the palm of his hand.

*Gary Chapman 5 Love Languages. http://www.fivelovelanguages.com He wrote about 8 versions of this book- for singles, for children, for teenagers, for spouses, etc. A great set of books. See my blog entry on it.

5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Standard

Gary Chapman 5 Love Languages. http://www.fivelovelanguages.com He wrote about 8 versions of this book- for singles, for children, for teenagers, for spouses, etc. All are great books that describe and apply the concept of love languages for each type of relationship.

Everyone speaks one of 5 love languages: gifts, words of appreciation, physical touch, acts of service, or quality time. We feel most cared about when we receive the language we “hear”. But the trick is, we often do not pick partners or have children with the same love language that we “speak”. And we usually give the love language that we “hear” best. Consequently, we often feel like we are giving and giving and giving love, but they don’t “hear” our caring loving actions, and actually can feel very unloved and unappreciated!

So, we need to be aware of our own love language, as well as theirs so that they feel loved and cared about. Otherwise, our efforts are not having the effect we think they “should”.

For example, my love language might be words of appreciation, and so I naturally give my daughter, whom I love very much, lots of compliments and kudos and “I love you so much, you are so beautiful”. But if her love language is gifts, and I neglect to give her little notes or packs of gum, or a special rock that reminds me of her, she does not think I care as much for her as I do. She likes tangible evidence of my love.

Knowing our love language is very important so that we can communicate it to our loved ones and let them know when we appreciate their love offerings. And obviously, learning to speak our loved ones’ language is crucial so that we can give them love and caring in a language they can “hear”. It keeps everyone’s “love tank” filled so that we feel good and loved. Chapman says that relationships are much more satisfying and nurturing when we are conscience of how THE OTHER ONE likes to be loved and give it to them.

I have applied these concepts to my relationships with my parents too, and it clears up lots of missed opportunities or confusing interactions.

I highly recommend any one of the books on 5 Love Languages!

Friday May 21, 2010 Club Awesome

Standard

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Gratitude Highlights
Friday May 21, 2010 Club Awesome-gratitude highlights of the week
1. Conversations with my daughter on her bike while I run. Amazing stories and philosophies go through that little mind: “Mom, if we run out of cat food, we could just feed her Cheese Nips, you know. She won’t eat the crackers, but she will lick the chesse off!”
2. Eating Qdoba with my son alone after his final track meet and talking about school, friends, girls, and summer plans he has for keeping in touch with them-“just chill together a lot”…?
3. New running shorts and shoes for me! Yippee! Unfortunately, my legs still get tired though.
4. Feeling neutral about my birthday… mostly sorta
5. I found this in Wayne Dyer Power of Intention: “Good Morning, this is God. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help, so have a miraculous day.” I started reading it most mornings and it helps me get off the worry wagon.
6. Corn on the cob is actually pretty good these days from the grocery store. Having grown up in central Illinois, I am a corn snob. I usually pass on it until July, but we ate it 3 nights in a row last week, and it was surprisingly tasty!

Now is Totally Awesome: Be Here

Standard

When I am there, I miss her smiles and his jokes. I miss the flowers, I miss the message, I miss out on the hug. I don’t hear the compliment. I don’t get a chance to help them. I am too hung up on yesterday to notice that I am in fact living an amazing incredible life today, at this very moment.

I want to be here. Not there. It is true, yesterday I didn’t get quite what I wanted done, and I wasn’t exactly who I wanted to be. Last week I didn’t plan so well. I regret being grumpy and snarky. Last year I definitely did not appreciate my blessings enough.

Tomorrow is crowded; too much to do, to prepare, to pay for, to produce, to accomplish. Next week is a nightmare of obligations and places and people I need to smile at and be kind to no matter how tired I get.
But right now, right here, I have this moment to smile and enjoy my blessings in front of me. I want to let go of all of yesterdays’ remorse.

We all feel this way at times. Sometimes for really really Loooooong times! I have the ability to wallow for days… I made a list of promises to make to help live in the present:

1. Count blessings instead of my desires
2. Smile at kids and coworkers a LOT more often
3. Be quick to laugh and slow to anger
4. Keep nourishing healthy boundaries to protect my soul
5. Find beauty in something every hour
6. Find ways to be kind to everyone I meet, and that includes me
7. Do one creative endeavor every day
8. Be open to new ideas
9. Have forgiveness and compassion instead of anger and resentment
10. Get physical: love physically, exercise physically, and be physically open to newness

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


“God-I give you all of my guilt over my yesterdays. Please help me to be here right now. I give you my fear and worries about tomorrow and all the rest of my tomorrows. Help me to be here in this moment”.

The Ideal Relationship

Standard

It was the perfect relationship. We had romance and intrigue. We ate together night after night in a row at delicious restaurants. We laughed and shared secrets and inside jokes together about coworkers and ex-spouses. We shared our philosophy of life together. We shopped for clothes together (a t-shirt at the sushi restaurant counts!). We stayed up late in groups and laughed and flirted outrageously. We had plenty of, some… ok, just a little tiny bit of physical affection.

We noticed each other across crowded rooms with heart-throbbing winks and smiles. We teased each other and argued over little things, but only with extreme kindness when we had to disagree. When in groups, we usually finagled to sit next to each other, pretending to focus on someone else’s words while our knees touched with longing. We had intimate conversations about our kids, our divorces, and our relationship history. We shared our passion for books and outdoor activities and made suggestions to each other about what the other would like.

We did not say everything, or stay up all night together. But we shared enough to have that magnetic closeness that drew us together in groups and caused extreme shyness and complete blabbering like an idiot when alone. I memorized his face, the sound of his voice, and there was enough mystery that we wanted to hear more and share more.

Then it all ended, so easily really. The business trip was over. We went back to our lives after consummation with a (too short) kiss. It all stopped just in time, before anyone could feel resentful about calls unreturned, gifts ungiven, or plans not made. No one had time to whine that they wanted “just a little more time together”. No one disagreed about who should or should not pick up the check, so money never got in the way. There was not enough time for miscommunication or misunderstandings. No chances for jealousy or hurt. Egos never entered the scene.

I think I can say I know how to do relationships now. As long as they only last 4 days, it’s all good.