Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oh, Just Swimmingly.

I have been meaning to blog for awhile now. I'll have to thank Dusty for usurping my shower tonight so I am sitting here thinking about my new years resolutions.

Update on quiet times:

I have only carved out intentional time for the Creator Of The Universe about twice since the new year, BUT the intent is still on. I'm still going to make it a priority. It NEEDS to be a priority... see exhibits A thru C:

Update on listening more and interrupting people less:

I still interrupt incessantly. I feel worse about it now though. Oftentimes I tell people (I interrupt them) to tell them that I am sorry for interrupting them. This doesn't seem to be quite getting the spirit of the thing... but I am not giving up.

I'm actively trying to listen better, I can tell that I am improving a little. For example, my brother (who is and always has been very into shows about nerd stuff: geology of the earth, string theory, pandas,) was just telling me that there are these tribes of monkeys that live in secluded caves in Africa have learned to hold their breath for inordinate amounts of time and have learned to swim. I had to stop him and tell him that I was not listening. Honesty...that is progress right? I definitely told him again when he started telling me about bears that I was not listening. If I'm not looking at you I'm probably not totally focused. But I'll be more likely to tell you I am not focused. It's a pathetic start, but a start nonetheless.

Update on another thing I am not sure I called out as a resolution before, not being a total harsh bitch to the people I love the most:

Utter failure. Still doing that. In a most self-righteous style too. Apparently, still when I am my most hormonal, I am my most awful, my most "Pink" in that song "Please don't leave me". I have been saying for awhile that God knew that I would need lessons in not being harsh, so he has put some extremely sensitive people in my life to help me select my words better, but maybe they are just normal people and I am abnormally harsh, and he put the most graceful people in my life to love me anyway.

I have probably just figured out that I spent some formative years (and some latter years) in some fairly high-stress situations where I wasn't really given the opportunity to have any emotional responses to anything said to me. "For a group of people to work effectively, there has to be rules, those rules have to be followed." Right? Wrong. Corporately speaking, yes I agree still with that philosophy. On an individual level, though, especially around my own short comings, NO one was EVER harsh with me. I'm left with no plausible excuse. Even if I speak to the world the way I legitimately hear it speaking to me first, that isn't right either. So to you (you ALL know who you are, or were...yes you.) I am sorry. In the "Speak the Truth in Love" equation... I usually lack at least one at all times. Can we "Chat the Truth in Love?" Not very well.

So this do-er of the Word thing isn't going so well yet. I shall try again.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Ode to the "O's". Hello to the tens.

For those of you waiting in breathless anticipation for my summary blog, yes both of you.

Your wait is over.

I have many things to say about '09, as well as the '00's as a decade. Yesterday (12/30), perhaps not mysteriously, I was feeling quite under the weather and unwilling to venture out into the weather, so i stayed in for the day. Something about snow makes me reflective. Not just because the sun streaming off the snow into your eyes can burn holes in your retinas. It always slows me down. It reminds me of being a kid and being awed that such teeny tiny little insignificant flakes that can't be caught in a warm little hand before melting, can band together to bury a barbecue grill, close school for a week, or run an eighteen wheeler off the road.

It coats and quiets me and muffles other sounds.

Like Pepto-Bismol you could say.

I rested. I worked for most of the day and then I started getting a little bit more antsy, so I attacked my house which has just needed attack for so long. I didn't travel as much in "oh niner" as i did in "oh ate" but I still did quite a bit. When I travel so much I often only have a short week or even a weekend to re-group before running back into the airport again, or into the office again. It makes things like "Dry Cleaning" and "Regular Maintenance" or "Gardening" simply funny words to say. So now that travel is ceasing for a least a few weeks, and holidays are mostly over, I rolled up my sleeves and grabbed a few bins from the basement. A few rubber-maid time-capsules, if you will.

As messy as I typically am, I love organization and getting un-messy. Evidenced by my bins of many colors, some labeled. (Some labels still match!) I have a box that used to be my desk that I organized once in the recent past. I am re-organizing it again due to an amazing new acquisition to my home this year. Ashley, the roommate extraordinaire. She is one of the most beautiful and thoughtful people I have ever met. Striking in her simplicity and grace, she strings together words that make me laugh so hard. She doesn't care that I had multiple Christmas trees sitting in the dining room undecorated since October. I moved them out of the spare room in order to make room for her arrival, but I never decorated them for Christmas. I realized two days ago that they totally had lights already on them from last year (which is why they were in the spare room to begin with) and I didn't even bother to plug them in. But I digress. Ashley is here..and she rocks... that's the point.

In one of the bins there were rolls of undeveloped film and a random hello kitty camera that Caroline Wacker gave me when I moved into my house four years ago. I got those developed...an WOW. Time has flown.

There were more old photos.. doubles of pictures I have already put in albums elsewhere, or pictures that were stuck together with some unidentified goo. They reminded me that:

I spent another whirlwind jaunt across the pond to Mama Ireland. I got to fly first class once and I'll never forget it. I traded a steamy St. Louis summer for a mild and rainy Irish one. I played 19 holes of golf in it's mother country and drank my first and last pint of Guinness. Perfected my Australian accent and took notes from the Dublin cabbies whose grasp of the language just slayed me. Do not be jealous. It was rainy. It was depressing in parts, lonely in others. I figured out that it's all a gift. All of it.

Marc the scrabble-feisty German Lion came for a quick visit. Took him to his first baseball game ever, where Albert hit a grand-slam. He thought that was normal. I stuffed him full of Cheeseburgers, Ted Drewe's and Budweiser and sent him on his bloated way. He told me to sit still. I responded by traveling to Ireland, as mentioned above. I do not follow directions well.

I spent some time in beautiful Portland Oregon with my long-distance crush. Rode on the back of a motorcycle branded 'Victory for 200 miles. (What a name!) Through the lush and fruity landscape of Oregon wine county and the Columbia River Gorge. Gorge is short for GORGEOUS. That is awful, but I'm leavin' it. Ate fresh crab just hours after pulling it from a cage in Tillamook Bay, and watched the sun go down on a rocky beach. My jaw just remained slack. I marveled at the height of the fabled evergreens and at my lumberjack on ice skates.
The Starlings made their first and only volleyball tournament appearance of the 08/09 season. They blew me away with what they learned in such a short time. They continue to blow me away. Continue to frustrate and crack me up all at the same time. Our hoodie wearing captain, now a much more confident 7th grader can now spike a volleyball out of my outstretched hand with some pretty good authority.

The beginning of '09 saw a derecho rip through my parents neighborhood, stripping naked the landscape of so many trees. Now, almost ten months later, it still looks like a battlefield, with fallen wooded soldiers strewn about.

I got rid of some bins of old toys in my heart. I got to talk about it.

This year I started eating better and losing a little bit of weight and working out and stuff. And the pattern before had been "Oh I screwed up.. since i am already off the bandwagon.. better cement it with a whole box of cookies...and then scrap the idea anyway, it's impossible...travel...work... blech" Excuses. I learned that so a woman thinks in her heart..so she is. I could have majored in "Pre-Defeat" in college.

This year I was given the gift of a subtle change and of a few examples of people walking our their subtle changes with big results. Simply telling myself different words helped: "I can take care of my body. I like working out. I like eating good food. If I don't, it's not the end of the world. I am not vain because I am losing weight." Satan wants to kill us one way or the other, either by making us starve ourselves or eat ourselves into early graves. Can't catch me in the middle, Chump.

I wish I had given myself permission to false start before. I met someone who wanted to make changes and they false started 4 times before eventually succeeding. They also kept post it notes of the false starts as a record of the battle in plain sight. Freaking Hero.

My photos also reminded me of how far I have come. In the year 2000, I was a 3 year old Christian. At about 2 and a half I wanted to go run away and be a missionary. Now, looking back, that may not have been the best idea for a toddler just barely learning to walk. God could have done many things regardless of my toddling, but maybe He did intend for me to toddle on domestic soils at first. He took me around the world later. He scaled me back and I went to Belize, then Mexico, then to downtown St. Louis and to Webster Groves before I realized that in relationships are primarily where his work is done. I have let the shame of that first false start go.

I spent a good deal of this past decade intensely if sporadically studying God's Word. I liken it to just exactly how long looking directly into the sun is possible. I also spent it building some pretty amazing community. Now that I'm a teenager, I'd like this next decade to be dedicated to being a do-er of that Word. To being less judgemental, more humble, more consistent and more willing to make mistakes and to get messy. To living out that Word better, truer, and more fully. Not for feathers in my cap, or jewels on the crown of my life...but for peace in my heart and the advancement of His kingdom on earth, one tiny snowflake at a time.

I spent most of the past decade wondering when my life was going to start. (Marriage kids, etc.)

I spent last night looking at records of the life that did actually happen and thanking God for it.

Basketball victories, travels, learning to ski, Damascus Road, Trivia Nights, Fire Pits, Prayer Vigils, Work Day's, Soup Kitchens, Cardinal Baseball, Home Purchasing, Roommate Shuffling, Basement finishing, My relationship with Beth Moore, My Relationship with God (those two are NOT the same, turns out), The Swiss Alps. The Swiss Valleys. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The beginning of this blog. People starting to encourage me to write more. Me writing less because of it. (I'm getting there). Hanging with my Bro, riding my bike. Letting stuff go. Killin' monkeys.

Bring it on Teen Years. Bring it.