Saturday, September 29, 2007

Relationships

This past week has been full of life in general---full of highs and lows. I've come to realize that "speaking the truth in love" is freeing but not pain-free.

I have hurt with some who are hurting and rejoiced with some who are rejoicing. Being involved with a "small group" of those searching for the same thing and becoming involved with another for accountability purposes has been incredibly difficult and overwhelmingly refreshing at the same life.

When considering what all this worldly life has to offer, it all boils down to relationships. Sharing with one another, depending upon one another, feeling with one another, attempting to love one another in the un-demanding way that God loves us while trusting to God the consequences of the actions/words chosen has proven to be life/attitude-altering.

Many of my self-imposed-protective-barriers are coming down and though it is frightening, it is also liberating. While looking through some "old papers" the other day, I came across the following writing by Lois Cheney. May I never regret the "bits and pieces"...


Bits and pieces. Bits and pieces. People. People important to you, people unimportant to you cross your life, touch it with love and carelessness and move on. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why you ever came into contact with them. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of remorse and wonder why they had to go away and leave such a gaping hole. Children leave parents; friends leave friends. Acquaintances move on. People change homes. People grow apart. Enemies hate and move on. Friends love and move on. You think on the many who have moved into your hazy memory. You look on those present and wonder. I believe in God's master plan in lives. He moves people in and out of each other's lives, and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who ever touched your life, and you are more because of it, and you would be less if they had not touched. Pray God that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder, and never question, and never regret. Bits and pieces. Bits and pieces. By (Lois A. Cheney, God is No Fool, 1969)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blurry existence

These past couple of weeks have been such a blur. Thankfully, the hormonal issues seem to be working themselves out--yay! --Maybe it won't take the dreaded 3-month estimation, after all.

My classroom has been keeping me incredibly busy. I have an amazing group of students and I so want to make sure that I "do right" by them and I also have put pressure upon myself to make up for what I so desperately "lacked" with last year's group. Most of last year's group seems to be doing all right in 1st grade so hopefully; I didn't fail them as badly as I feared.

My kids this year are totally different in attitude and personality yet enjoyable, nonetheless. I am deeply concerned about one child in particular but have contacted the proper authorities, openly made myself available to him and his siblings in any way that may needed, and am fervently praying that God will watch over and protect these precious children from the imagined horrors of their daily lives.

Counseling has hit a new level of difficulty that is strangely accompanied by a sense of relief and peace. I am in the process of discovering the fact that "The truth shall set you free." Over the past couple of weeks, I have been able to identify and articulate my life's #1 need, outside of a relationship with God. May God bless Jim a little extra after the poor man (lol) had to 'deal with me' for 5+ hours over the past week or so. He has to be one of the most patient people in this world.

I think I have also 'finally' been able to break down/through to 2 core beliefs (that are proving themselves to be false) that I have unconsciously based my life upon. This was a double-edged sword type of realization because upon these realizations, I can now honestly/openly turn them over to God yet I am also having to see how basing my all on these false beliefs has effected how I have allowed myself to treat/view God, others, and myself. Humbling, encouraging, despairing, and relieving all at the same time.

I will close with some thoughts that truly resonated with me from Brian Mashburn's blog ON BECOMING TRUER. He articulates so many of my thoughts much better than I would ever even hope to.

Definition of Terms
On a scale of one to ten...one being worthless (even damaging) and ten being useful (even life-giving)...

If "optimism" is the denial of reality for the sake of avoiding pain: [1]
If "optimism" is the acknowledgment that there is good and usefulness in everything: [10]

If "giving" is done out of guilty obligation, legalistic righteousness, or to feel better about oneself: [1]
If "giving" is done out of the discovery that sacrificial love is the best, most rewarding possible life available to a human being: [10]

If "judgment" is the determination of what is right and wrong in people's lives and behavior [1].
If "judgment" is the determination of how to best love other people most profoundly despite what is right and wrong in their lives and behavior [10].

If "critical thinking" is primarily used to "point out what is wrong". [1]
If "critical thinking" is used to determine "what I need to be". [10]

If "unconditional acceptance" is the decision to not care how anyone else lives for the sake of being okay with them [1].
If "unconditional acceptance" is the caring so much that I can attach to anyone because of my realizing I have nothing personally at stake because of how anyone else lives [10].

If "giving everyone the dignity to choose" means "do it my way or your free to leave." [1]
If "giving everyone the dignity to choose" means "I'm striving to living life at ever-increasing levels of truth and love, and I'd love for you to join me, but no pressure." [10]

If "telling the truth" is the blunt, careless, and uncensored speaking of my mind. [1]
If "telling the truth" is the loving exposure of the introspective searching of my heart for the purpose of being a loving mirror for a friend or to engage in the humble, confessional healing of my own heart. [10]

If "spreading the word" is the academic teaching that certain religious practices, outward sacraments, and accurate doctrinal beliefs are the means of getting to heaven. [1]
If "spreading the word" is the sharing of Jesus Christ's message, Jesus Christ's heart, Jesus Christ's mission, Jesus Christ's priorities, Jesus Christ's character, and Jesus Christ's life that can be enjoyed here and lasts on into eternity. [10]

If "seeking to understand another" is the listening to others and applying your own definition of terms to what they are saying in order to hold them accountable for "what they said." [1]
If "seeking to understand another" is the holistic hearing of another person's heart regardless of the words they use and definitions they attach to it in order to "be with them right where they are at". [10]

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Triumph of Today's Blessings

It's official...this year's kindergarten group has, once again, stolen my heart. I am enjoying my job so much and am so thankful for the blessings of the innocence and honesty of children. This past week has, personally, been emotionally topsy-turvy, but the hours with these precious little ones have fed, rather than drain, my soul.

I am grateful for the weekend. I felt in desperate need of some down time. My sleep is still somewhat fitful so being able to take advantage of 'sleeping in' has helped. The only plans for the weekend are worship services and the congregation's annual family picnic tomorrow. I am looking forward to both. Wayne is going to meet me for the picnic---yay! I'm glad to have the opportunity for him to meet some of the people that have become such an important part of my "new life".

I continue to struggle with some heavy emotional issues. Talking with Jim this past week was way more difficult than I even expected. As I was leaving the office, I had the thought of wanting to go straight to the physical arms of God for comfort. I did so, spiritually, and was so thankful for the physical arms of Amy. A lot was said and I'm not sure where those particular admissions will lead but I know, thankfully, that God will lead me, through this experience, to a better place.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Holding on to Logic

Today has been hard. I ran the shower and simply sat in the tub and cried. Rationally, I know that this is the effect of the YAZ pill. The doctor actually wrote out what to expect so I wouldn't get discouraged. She assured me that this will be worth it in the long run, but as for the here and now, I am prayerfully having to fight off the fears of returning to the 'darkness'.

I was so looking forward to this 3 day weekend after going non-stop for the past 2 weeks but now I am longing to get back to work and KEEP BUSY. "Down time" simply doesn't suit me well when struggling so. I had an action plan today to thwart off these emotions but just didn't pull it off. I don't want to talk or listen. I want silence and solitude. I want to escape into a laughable movie, a good book or restful sleep. Probably not the most productive use of my time but who said that every moment had to be productive?!

I am feeling way too much, way too deeply. The 5:00 news sent me into a tailspin until I wised up and changed the channel. I will not give into these feelings. I will remember the cause, keep all in proper perspective, and not make any major decisions until running a "rationality test" with those more clear-minded.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Adventures of a Sunday afternoon...

I know the hormones are playing a huge part in my emotions but it's still hard. I didn't make it through Bible Class or Worship Services because of the tears that threaten at the most inopportune times. I left class and went to the restroom to get a grip. Thankfully, no one noticed so no undue attention was received. I wasn't as lucky when stepping out of worship services but thankfully no explanations were expected; just hugs and offers to help, if needed along with promised prayers. I hate when moments like that come upon me but oh, well...part of life right now. All will even out. I am feeling the stress of the emotional upheaval but not the sense of depression so simply ridin' this one out. Once the meds are fully in my system, I have been assured that "this short amount of time that will seem lengthy" will be well worth it. Wonder if I could get that statement in some sort of written guarantee:).

Sheryl, Kaeden, and I met Wayne and his family for lunch at Luby's and that was an adventure in and of itself that one day I'm sure will be looked back on with laughter. Afterwards, Sheryl, Kaeden and I then headed to the mall. I am the kind of shopper that goes in to a store, picks off supposed sizes off the racks, makes sure that returns are acceptable and checks out within minutes. I can't remember the last time I saw the insides of a dressing room but today was all about "girl-y mall shopping". The time with Sheryl and Kaeden was nice but I've had my fill of the mall for at least a year or more. I am thankful for discount stores and online shopping. I can't imagine the mall scene on a regular basis!!

So much for plans...

Yesterday didn't run as smoothly as hoped but thankfully, it's over. The family reunion was more difficult than I had anticipated. I ended up excusing myself early and drove around for a while in tearful prayer. I am in this strange sort of 'grieving process' over the relationships I never had and relationships that I may never establish. Par for the course, I imagine, but not enjoyable.

I am also heartbroken for 2 friends who have recently lost their mothers and concerned for another who is inevitably facing some big changes/obstacles. I so easily lay down requests before God but I must learn to LEAVE them there so not to carry around excess worry and concern.

I spent some time at the Christian bookstore and finally found the Bible I'd like to purchase but will have to wait a while for the funds to be available. Unfortunately, all were incredibly expensive. I went by Mom's and spent some time with her, Sheryl and Kaeden. I had an enjoyable visit outside of having a reaction to one of mom's cleaning supplies. My allergies went berserk!! I ended up coming home, crawling into bed at 7 p.m. and slept until 7:15 this morning. At least now, I feel well rested. :)

I am fixing to head out to worship services. The afternoon plans are lunch with Wayne's family at Luby's and then to go shopping with Sheryl. Tomorrow, my only plan is to wash my car and hang out with my hubby. Guess I'll see how things play out.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Blessing of a 3-day weekend


Unfortunately, I woke up entirely too early this morning, for a Saturday. Not quite sure what is going on with me but the bad dreams have begun again, and I continually feel on the verge of tears, though smiles come just as easily and I am functioning pretty well. I imagine it's a hormonal thing...Dr. Klouda warned me that adjusting to the new Rx may be a little difficult.

I am also concerned about my ability or maybe lack of ability to keep a balance in the "day to day" living process. I think that I have only made it home before dark once in the past 2 weeks when leaving the house well before 7 a.m. I am feeling the physical exhaustion, which doesn't benefit the emotional state very well. The term "ability" isn't honest; it's simply a matter of choice and following through. I can handle that. My principal holds to the teaching philosophy of "work hard, play hard...come in and leave work at reasonable times...enjoy your family and friends...the tasks of maintaining a classroom will always have loose ends so prioritize...". I need to grasp hold of that philosophy rather trying to control every moment and every relationship.

Our campus theme this year is based on the book, How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton. Below is the excerpt off their web page section: "About the Book".
How did you feel after your last interaction with another person? Did that person -- your spouse, best friend, coworker, or even a stranger -- "fill your bucket" by making you feel more positive? Or did that person "dip from your bucket," leaving you more negative than before?
The #1 New York Times and #1 Business Week bestseller, How Full Is Your Bucket? reveals how even the briefest interactions affect your relationships, productivity, health, and longevity.
Organized around a simple metaphor of a dipper and a bucket, and grounded in 50 years of research, this book will show you how to greatly increase the positive moments in your work and your life -- while reducing the negative. Filled with discoveries, powerful strategies, and engaging stories, How Full Is Your Bucket? is sure to inspire lasting changes and has all the makings of a timeless classic.

I've only had the chance to glance through the book but it appears to be an easy and interesting read. Michelle bought each of the staff a copy and had logo t-shirt specially designed. Sounds like an interesting concept. Maybe reading the book should be one of my top priorities.

This holiday weekend, thankfully, isn't filled to the brim with obligations or expectations. The Golden Family's Annual Reunion is this afternoon but they have always been enjoyable. Worship services on Sunday which I live for from week to week, spending time with my wonderful husband, making some time to play with Kaeden, do a lil' shopping with Sheryl and Mom and maybe even spend some time at the apartment pool are all in my agenda. I also need to check on a co-worker friend whose mother just died and whose father is terminally ill. She, understandably, is having a difficult time. I'm (slowly) learning to prayerfully live moment-by-moment and allowing God to take care of the details.