Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Intentions 2006:

Health – real, true, health…mental and physical and emotional. I’d like to say I’m going to commit to losing a bunch of weight and being a sports junkie, but that has just never worked for me.. Sooooo...my health goals are as follows:

Move – every day for 30 minutes a day. A walk, the core routine, dancing, combat training…something for 30 minutes every day.

Eat in balance – no more processed food, no more fast food, more protein and veggies..a focused approach to eating in balance without deprivation and far greater variety in my choices.

Water – 1 oz minimum for ever pound of body weight I carry…this should be interesting.

Sleep – 8 hours every night or as close as I can get.

2 Risks a Week – I read about this in a magazine (the title of which I cannot remember.) These can be small or large, but must be something outside of my comfort zone.

Simplify – I’ve got a whole lot of stuff packed in boxes in the garage that I have lived without for a month and a half. Granted, some of it will have to come out of those boxes when we have our own home, but there are many things out there that I have held on to for far too long because of their sentimentality or my “I might use this some day” mentality. I’m cleaning out and simplifying. We just don’t need all this junk following us through our lives...there is powerful symbolism in us carrying a bunch of junk we don't ever use all the way across the country to start our new life. Its insane, don't you think?

Journal – I say this every year, but I never get myself around to the habit. I have such beautiful journaling tools and a style of my own that is satisfying to my heart. I’m going to be working working working on this! Blogging will be part of it, and there will be another component, a more personal component. I need to give God the time and space to speak to me through my journaling so that I can heal and grow and nurture those things in me that are struggling for the light.

Create - Last year, I committed to one scrapbook event a month and it was fabulous. I kept my promise to myself and actually got in far more than one a month. This year, I want to focus time at home on my hobby. Scrapbooking is soothing and fun and I get so much relaxation and pleasure out the time and what it produces. I’m turning off that darn TV and working on creating more.

Scriptures – every day, without fail. I’m going to study and learn and memorize. The Word will become an inseperable part of me.

There are other things…big things…I want a business of my own and a new home and to go back to school and to have a baby. But I think my focus needs to be on the smaller things. I want to get the details in order so that there is room for these bigger things. I want to get my house in order, to start here, “at home” so that the changes can find their way in concentric circles from me to those around me – like a ripple in water.

First the pebble…then the ripples...then the waves…

Peace everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Pics on the Photo Blog

Check out my Christmas and other misc shots:

Chksngr's View

And the word for the day is:

Edify

In Websters New Millenium Dictionary of English, this means to build up, establish, or strengthen, to uplift

This SHOULD be my word for my LIFETIME!

I am too critical…

FAR too critical…

Its just that stupid people bother me. “Here’s your sign.”

And rude people bother me too – they should wear flashing red lights.

And obnoxious people bother me – you know these ones – the ones that are so totally out of line all the time just to push somebody’s buttons. These people should wear lights AND sirens…and probably not be allowed to re-produce…

I digress…

I’m too critical…HA!

So…we had a fabulous Christmas. Like all Christmas celebrations, it had its ups and downs…

Expectations that went unmet…

Self-centered whims that could not have been ignored by any mere mortal were displayed…

Oddly hypocritical things were said…and not noticed as being hypocritical by the speaker, of course…

But the truth of the matter is that it was a blessed and very generous Christmas in this household.

We are blessed of God in the most amazing ways around here and, each and every day, I’m reminded anew that He really does reach his hand down out of the sky and touch my life and the lives of those around me.

God sees me in a light that I cannot even see myself in most days…the critical eye I turn to others is as focused inward as outward. No one gets a break from me, not even me.

However, in the Spirit of what God is doing in me and for me and how He sees me, I’m resolving here and now to edify those around me.

I want to be focused on the good, to spotlight the positive, to encourage the constructive, to work at being a source of light in the darkness.

I don’t want negativity to eat away at what I know I’ve been gifted with and I don’t want to stand in judgement of another when I have been forgiven myself.

Lets not be deceived – there are people in my world who are maddenly in need of a good smack, but I’m not qualified, nor do I have the desire to be the deliverer of the news that these individuals are grossly out of line.

Rather, I want others to look at me and say, “I want what she has. I want to be like she is. I desire that positive peace she carries around with her.” And this will also help me weed out those crazy-makers that I just don’t need in my life. If I’m consistently positive and I give those around me the benefit of edification at every opportunity and they still drive me up a tree, then, perhaps, I need to reconsider my relationships with them and how much I will continue to interact with them.

It’s a good plan…

So – word of the day – EDIFY.

I’m focused.

Peace, everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Compassion…

Here is the challenge I face today…

How do I have compassion for some one who got what they deserved?

So I know this…God is so good to me. I always get more good than I deserve…always.

BUT if somebody was a real poop and then got a little backlash from it, how do you have compassion for that person?

And how in the world do you listen with empathy to them speak in anger about what they got when you WANT to say, “Hey, I know it makes you angry, but you got what you deserved and you haven’t much right to be angry about it. You are currently reaping what you sowed.”

I don’t know…

It’s a tough one, huh?

Unfortunately, we all suffer when there is tension in our midst….its never pleasant….it makes me in particular want to run away and never turn back, to make up excuses why I can’t visit, to smile politely and say, “Maybe next week”.

It makes it hard to connect to people on a really satisfying level…

It makes it hard to connect to people at all…

And when the consequences are well deserved, its difficult to remember that the Bible says it’s a darn good thing I don’t get what I deserve from God because it would be sure and certain eternity in hell. And that I’m to have compassion for others as God has had compassion on me…

Hmmmmmmm…

So…as compassion has been granted unto me, I’m trying to have compassion for those around me in return…

But darn if it isn’t really hard to do sometimes…

Darn if sometimes I don’t want to say out loud, “SO THERE!”

Sigh…

And even in my self-righteous moments of no compassion, I know this…

I’m being taught a great lesson…I’m getting a free education, here.

I don’t have to pay the painful price…

I am privileged to watch from a distance and learn.

I see myself in there…my knee-jerk reactions, my pride taking over, my anger welling up…I see me. And how very very counterproductive that stance can be.

How powerful!

Its so much like God put a mirror up for me in these situations so that I can see where I react the same way and how not to act when faced with a similar situation.

See, here is the deal…the key, if you will…when you get a slap back, you HAVE to ask yourself, “Did I deserve that?”

And then – perhaps the most critical part - you have to keep PRIDE from answering for you…because PRIDE will always say, “NO!” And PRIDE is usually very very wrong.

Its at these points where the mature adult thing to do is say, “Gosh, I’m sorry. I was wrong. Forgive me and lets move on.”

Sadly, in tough situations, there are very few of us who can do that…just swallow all that nasty PRIDE and say, “I am wrong here. I admit it.”

And when you don’t say, “I’m sorry” and you have been a poop consistently for hours or days or weeks or years…and then you get a slap back, a reality check, from outside of you, somebody saying, “What’s coming out of your mouth right now is completely unacceptable and I don’t need it.”

Well….

It’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of the recipient in that case…

It’s hard to be understanding…

It’s really hard to have compassion.

But I’m trying…

And praise Jesus, He’s trying to help me find that place…

Peace everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas List #3

Closeup

Today I’m pondering Christmas…or at least trying. I’m searching for the sharing, the peace, the joy and the love.

I want to feel settled in my soul as we approach the celebration of the birth of my Savior.

It should be a time of sharing and acceptance, where differences are put aside with purpose.

This is my focus for the day – to find that light inside of myself and kindle its warmth so that others can feel it, see it, receive it. Its my aim, not to pretend that discord is not striving for dominance around me, but to choose to be joyful in spite of it.

I choose to be the change I want to see in my world.

That’s it…

I choose to be joyful in spite of those things that might be going on around me.

I choose peace in the midst of the chaos.

I choose to be grounded, solid, faithful and true to what I know to be right.

I choose to not give the devil power here…he has no power here.

I choose to put my lamp on a stand for all the world to see.

I read Keri Smith’s blog for the 20th - the “Guerilla X-mas Guide.” I got so inspired!!!

So…Christmas List #3 will be some NEW Christmas Traditions I’d like to start in our family.

1. To let our children put the first ornaments on the tree.

2. To answer a “Santa” letter (or letters) a la Operation Santa Clause or adopting some local family in need.

3. To hand make ornaments and/or gifts as a family.

4. Cookies for the neighbors – this is something I could not have done in California…but here, I think it would be fun!

5. Christmas movie Christmas eve – wouldn’t it be fun to set up some “party” food and rent a stack of Christmas movies and get snuggled in with your family on Christmas eve? I think it would be FABULOUS!

6. Random decoration of a public tree – this is one of the very creative ideas Keri Smith lists. It just tickles me!

7. A Christmas picture card – I’ve always wanted to do this and I never think far enough ahead!


As the Christmas frenzy reaches its pinnacle, may you all choose to spread some Guerila Christmas cheer and may you all choose to be the peace and joy in your worlds!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My morning reward…

These little lovelies were having a little feast on the back porch this morning!

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Aren’t they beautiful?

Later, when I was walking outside with the dogs, I saw a Blue Jay too, but alas, I didn’t have my camera with me!!! That’ll teach me to leave home without it!

Peace, everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Today I cried…


…because I’m a little sore from the morning workout…even though I’m STILL jumping around like a crazy woman from all the oxygen I got from it!

…because my box from Mom and Dad arrived today and it was filled to the brim with love.

…because I have a UTI I’m trying to evict and it just plain sucks.

…because I miss the home I created for myself in California….I miss Kat and the kids, I miss my scrap buddies, I miss D and Deb, I miss Teri being only 4 hours away (instead of 2111 miles), I miss the coffee shop, I miss Trader Joes, I miss my job.

…because I’ve had to artificially create a disciplined schedule for myself so that I’m not floating about aimlessly getting nothing accomplished.

…because I cannot leave the house for a girl’s activity…I have no girls here.

…because I miss my church…BOY DO I MISS MY CHURCH! Its just that there is no place I’ve been here so far that feels opened up to God the way they did.

…because there is no Collective Journey Scrapbooking store here with everything I could ever possibly imagine under the sun inside of it.

…because I don’t get to sit and gossip about life, the universe and everything scrapping with Kare. I miss that girl! (AND she doesn’t like planes!)

…because we live in the middle of proverbial no-where…not really, but it feels like it when you want to get out and make friends.

..because all my precious Christmas decorations are in a box instead of spread around the house. Its foreign with somebody else’s decorations.

…because I’m getting lovely Christmas cards from all my friends and family, but have none to return…and this is the SECOND year I’ve not made cards.

…because we are going to see Christmas lights tonight and I’m so excited and so disappointed all at the same time. I am eagerly anticipating and missing the streets I’m used to visiting in one emotion.

…because I don’t know where my sports bra is packed and finding it will be an act of God.

…because I have to STUDY to take the test to get my new NC driver’s license. UGH!

…because I’ve now tried 4 times to unsuccessfully win a reasonable bid for a Canon Digital Rebel 300D camera on E-bay.

…because no one around here seems to notice that the carpets need vacuuming. I hunted down the vacuum today and did a room myself.

…because I’m trying to do something positive to help the business, but I ran face first into unsolicited negativity.

…because I’m overjoyed that there have been so many great moments between me and Scott since we got here. If nothing else, this was a winning move for our marriage!

…but most of all, because change is overwhelming in every possible sense…its exciting and thrilling and happy and sad and awkward and fun and angry and mean and blunt and satisfying and risky. And I feel alive in a way I have not experienced for a very long time. That feeling is completely at odds with my organized, planning, efficient, list-making, completely type A personality. I am at odds with the adult I THOUGHT I was…how exciting!

I have some room to be artistic and creative…

I have room to be irresponsible in a way…

I have some time to think about what I really want out of my life…

I have some time to really evaluate what my skills are and where they would be better used…

And probably most important of all, I know what it feels like for the first time in my adult life to be at home. I can envision myself as a stay-at-home mom or a part-time business woman…not just as a driven career person or an on-the-go artist.

Its absolutely fascinating to feel this way…

And no way…

Excuse me…

I have to go get another tissue.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"I will not die an unlived life.


I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,

to allow my living to open me,

to make me less afraid,

more accessible,

to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing,

a torch,

a promise.

I choose to risk my significance;

to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom

and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."

Dawna Markova


Thanks to Stacy Julian for this one…I’m putting it up on my board so I can stare at it at length, process it, internalize it, feel it…

The best part: I chose to risk my significance…

Yes, I do!

Peace!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Vision…

Its so funny to me how things strike me, touch me, teach me…how God puts stuff into my path that is so powerful, so educational.

I have learned so much in a few short weeks and it is easy to see what God is doing here.

I won’t lie…its been a struggle for me. Too close to home for my liking. It unearthed something I’ve been trying to bury for a very long time, a root I’ve been trying to dig up, and deal with and forgive for and get past so that my relationships could be more meaningful, deeper and more real.

I want that depth in my relationships…I want those relationships that are grounded and honest and fully trusting and deep…Son shine relationships….

He is answering my prayer…He is teaching me about myself and about the family I was born into and the family I have married into…

I am learning where were run parallel and where we diverge.

Things are startling…the things I hear others say surprises me.

I’m learning how emotions play out, how pride figures into our relationships…I’m learning about dependence, independence, interdependence and codependence…and how each of us has something in each of these that binds us to other people or separates us from them.

Sometimes there is bold, refreshing honesty and real conversation and really amazing love and trust.

Sometimes there is quiet, under-the-breath whispering and secrets are spoken and you know there is unspoken strife in your midst.

I’m learning how absolutely odd it is to be the one person in a room not talking and how much you learn by smiling and nodding and listening.

Learning how much feeling needed and wanted and loved and appreciated are a part of what motivates people.

And I’m learning about the things that I do that are totally irritating to other people because I’m watching somebody else do those things and it irritates me beyond measure.

Love is so fragile and so tentative and so precious. It is a strong emotion, but it seems always to be overpowered, rendered helpless by pride.

It is absolutely amazing to me to hear somebody speak of God and all things Godly, and then to actually watch them do something absolutely ugly in the very next moment.

Its helping me so much…the scales have been removed from my eyes…

How emotional I can get and what it looks like when I allow emotions to rule me, when I allow emotions to make my decisions.

Where the ugly phrases I hear spoken to me come from…where they were originated and how they sound coming out of another person’s mouth.
I ask myself…

Do I do that?

What do I sound like when I’m angry?

How rational am I when emotions flare?

Do I represent the God I love so much when things get tough?

Would I be brave enough to speak my whispers out loud?

How honest am I?

They are tough questions and I praise God for giving me insight, for showing me these things so that I can learn from them.

I am so glad that I can see myself in other people…

I am so glad He has fortified me enough to say, “Oooo…I do that….its ugly…I’m not going to do it anymore.”

I believed so much when we moved here that Scott and I would be knit together more tightly, that we would understand and learn from each other, and that our love would gain strength and power. I believed for a strong man of God, a person who would be a fabulous father and a husband and a person with whom I could explore friendship…and the tumultuous events over the last week as oddly destructive as they have been….have done that for us…

As one bridge is being torn down, another is being built…

Praise God!

Peace…

Friday, December 09, 2005

Chaos…

Whirling…

Swirling…

Up and down the stairs…

Into and out of rooms…

Hard edged voices…

Viscious words…

One member screeching, yelling, controlling…

One member maddenly calm and quiet…

A third member trying to separate the two…

And I have a realization…I am entirely too comfortable with this.

I sit in a quiet room…

Down the hall...

Out of range of the tornado of rage and emotion…

Quietly…

Breathing steadily, peacefully…

Listening…

Observing…

Waiting…

And I’m used to it.

I have this startling revelation that in my lifetime, I’ve heard so much of this, participated so many times, watched and waited my way through wave after wave of this chaos that I am entirely comfortable within its eye.

I know what this feels like.

I know what to expect.

I know how it will not really end, but just fade away into an uncomfortable silence.

Things were said, words that slice and dice, that hurt because they are designed to, that reek of evil rage and power struggling and issues unresolved…

Words that speak death into the life of another, that kill something trusting, that snip the chords of a safety net...

Words that unleash uncertainty and ill will and waning confidence and pain…

Words that have been unleashed to spread their destructive force from one life into the lives of three other people...

Words that cannot be taken back...

And its everybody else’s fault

I know that “I’m sorry” and “I love you” will be spoken, but that they are ineffective band-aids over gaping, bleeding wounds.

I know that the person who created this chaos did so because they could not bear to be corrected, could not bear to change one small thing in a life that is already so very fragile…a life built on cards, on sand, on something shaky and in great need of shoring up, in great need of repair.

This was about power...

Somebody needed to be in control...

Somebody needed to be right

And I know it so well that it bothered me almost not at all

And this disturbs me greatly...

I have grown entirely too comfortable with emotional war...

I am too comfortable with chaos...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Reflections on living in some one else’s world…

After two weeks, I’ve learned these valuable lessons – things I never would have guessed:

I’m not good at living inside the rhythms of other people’s lives. I thought I was adaptable. I was wrong.

Left-over turkey with a side of pasta with jarred spaghetti sauce is an acceptable meal. Where the heck have I been?

Cookies are ok…bread is not. I’m ok with this rule, but I have one question: Bagels? Ok? Not ok?

I drink WAY too much coffee for my own good. Though I drink no more coffee than I ever did, its apparently far more harmful when there are people around to witness the consumption. I’m becoming a closet coffee drinker….NO, I’ve only had ONE cup! (that I keep refilling when it is ½ way out…if I never hit the bottom, its one cup, right? RIGHT?)

The things my husband hates about me are qualities that me and his mother share…and, incidently, qualities that HE shares too, my life is in danger if he ever finds THAT out! For example, I “huff.” And so does she…and SO DOES HE!!!

Some people do not use the “blow-don’t-sniff” policy when struggling with a stuffy nose. Sniff. Sniff. Sniff. AHEM.

It is indeed possible to work like a mad person all day long and not accomplish a darn thing.

Paying bills is mysteriously more complicated and time-consuming than I remember.

Even though I make my living helping Fortune 500 companies improve their business processes, the business process of a home-based business with a total of three check books and four associates is complicated far beyond my limited understanding of life the universe and everything.

Family dinners at 35 are pleasant and fun and exceptionally educational.

It is ok in some cultures for a dog to eat from the table. (I told you dinners were educational!)

400 degrees is too hot for pizza even if the directions say that is the right temperature.

It’s not ok to argue in the mall or in the driveway… It has something to do with the physics of witnesses that are blood relatives.

There are people who can sneak out of a God or Faith discussion so quietly that you don’t even realize they are missing until you turn to ask them a question and realize their chair is empty. How feline.

It is possible to exist indefinitely without leaving the house as long as the fridge is full and the cable works.

Oprah is not to be missed.

Peace everyone!!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Christmas List #2

Holiday Treats for the Tummy

1. Eggnog Lattes – I wait all year for these sinful things!!!

2. Frosted sour cream sugar cookies – FABULOUS sugar cookies

3. Peanut Butter Blossoms and Mounds Bars cookies a la mom

4. Mulled wine

5. Rich dark hot chocolate

6. Bratzels – or cracknels, if you prefer…they are swiss wafer cookies…they are mostly brown sugar and butter and they melt in your mouth…a completely decadent memory of Grandma…

7. Petitza – This is a yeast bread that is rolled like a cake roll with a filling of raisins, currants and ground walnuts with honey and sugar and milk. I think its Austrian, but I don’t know for sure…its been YEARS since I had it! Does anyone have a recipe?

8. Tamale’s - specifically, chicken and not too spicy.

9. Gingerbread – thick, dark, cake-style with powdered sugar on the top

10. Cranberry bread

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Things I’ll miss about California, Part Deux

"Scrapbooking with my good CKU buddies once a month" (Christine said it so good, I thought I’d just quote her!)

My long-lost college buddy Karen…he he he…though I get a lot more e-mail from her NOW than I did before! HA!

Rubio’s Roasted Chipotle Salsa

Two-lane roads (most here are a single lane!)

Being able to WALK to a multitude of stores (must remember the neighborhood closeness I crave when purchasing a house…trees are nice and all, but I’m tired of everything being at least 10 minutes away.)

People who drive FASTER than the speed limit – ain’t happenin’ here…they are very serious here about speed limits and their turn signals (I appreciate that one…)

Trader Joes – have found NO replacement for all their yummy goodness

Jack radio staion….they have a Jack in Nashville, but not anywhere else out here that I’ve been able to find

Air 1 radio…although I do listen on-line.

Collective Journey scrapbooking store…girls, if you go there, say a hearty THANKS to them…there is ONE serious store here that is easy to get to…the rest are not so easy…hmmmm…I smell a business opportunity! And…they aren’t that great. The Memories store is good, but not at all the caliber of CJ’s…CJ’s, you ROCK!!! I MISS YOU SO MUCH!!! (Special props to Haven and Christine!)


Ok…and here are some things I love way more than CA:

Harris Teeters grocery – this a grocery store on steroids, people! They have EVERYTHING here! And the produce is beautiful, bountiful and vastly varied. It blows everything but a farmers market away.

Caribou Coffee – yes, the closest one is around 15 minutes away, but its worth the drive.

I do not have to chew my air…beautifully clean, fresh air to breath…on the other hand, I’ll be on antihistimines until I die.

Many Christian radio stations to choose from and they all are fantastic in their own way. I hear WAY more Christian music here and it’s the rockin’ stuff I love.

Friendly, smiling, gracious, happy, polite people…everywhere I look, everywhere I go…its very refreshing! (and a little humbling!)

Dean and Deluca down the street

Belks – its like Nordstrom, only it’s a local.

Christmas List #1

Tree 2003

So…I’m really good at lists…I love them…

For the season, I’m starting the Christmas Lists…I’ll be putting these out here from now until the BIG DAY…as regularly as I can think to do it! HA!

Christmas List #1: THIS season’s musical selections:

1. Linus and Lucy - Vince Giraraldi Trio
2. Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Vince Giraraldi Trio
3. I Believe - Natalie Grant
4. Sweet Little Jesus Boy – Natalie Grant
5. Rejoice – Jim Brickman
6. We Three Kings - Jim Brickman
7. Oh What a Night In Bethlehem – Sawyer Brown
8. Just One Night – Sawyer Brown
9. Let the Merry Bells Ring Round – Canadian Brass
10. The Angel Choir and the Trumpeter – Canadian Brass
11. Veni Veni – Manheim Steamroller
12. Still, Still, Still – Manheim Steamroller
13. One Bright Star – Vince Gill
14. Caroling, Caroling – Manhattan Transfer
15. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Manhattan Transfer
16. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Mercy Me
17. Joseph’s Lullaby – Mercy Me
18. Christmas Time is Here – Mercy Me
19. Oh Holy Night – Mercy Me

Peace, everyone!