Category Archives: Christianity ~ trying to walk the walk

Soooo… it’s 2012. And I’m not as unhappy as you think.

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I have nothing fantastic to say about this. I mean, it’s all “a new start” and all that rot… but I really don’t like making New Year’s resolutions.  I mean, if I need to fix something in my life, or change something, I don’t really think I should wait until January 1st to do it.  I usually try to fix things as they come up.  (mind, I didn’t say I did fix things… just I try to…)!  However, it is a time when a person does sort of reflect on her life a bit, examine it if you will… I mean, there’s not a whole lot else to do if you’re not out partying or something!

One thing really struck me after reading a comment on a recent post of mine. The commenter made a remark about me being “so unhappy with my life”.  And I thought “I’m not unhappy”… then I thought “yes I am” then “no I’m not” and then it rolled around a bit more in my head until I had to yell “stop”!! and then I thought some more.  🙂 Hard. Objectively.  And here is the honest truth:

I am not unhappy with my life.  I mean, not in the “I’m so desperately miserable” sort of way that the commenter thinks. Yes, there are things – important things – in my life that I am unhappy about. Things I would like to be very different.  Sure, my things may be biggish things, but doesn’t everyone probably have things in their lives they are unhappy about? At least some small things? 

I suppose I give the impression of being totally depressed because I often use this blog as my place to vent.  When something upsets me, I blog about it.  So I can see where someone could get that impression, since most of my blogs are unhappy ones.  But, after doing some very honest introspection, I can tell you that I really am, overall, happy. I am al-right. Perfect? No. Could be happier? Yes. But, okay.

In fact, it’s funny, because just yesterday my boss was telling me how much she enjoys working with me because I am so cheerful. Ha!

We had a really interesting sermon at church today, and it reminded me that I need to try harder to remember that God does what He does (or, honestly,what I struggle with is the “doesn’t do what He doesn’t do”)  because He has the bigger picture in mind.  And I haven’t got a clue.  I know what I want, but maybe not totally what I need.  Sometimes I don’t think the Lord makes any sense at all.  I ask for things like… help fixing my marriage, and I can’t possibly see what the downside of that could be – why would He say “no”? or, at least “not yet”??  I don’t get that at all. But I am a moron compared to God, so what do I know? Today I thought – maybe I need to learn to rely on Him for my needs, and if my husband was the man I wanted, I’d rely on him instead.  Maybe? Interesting …

I am just trying to see the … good.  See the point in it all, if I can. Maybe that’s what I’ll strive for in 2012.

Parenting is painful if you want to do it right

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I. Am. Going. Insane. 

Kiki wants to read “The Hunger Games”.  Any book she wants read, I read first, to make sure it’s acceptable and appropriate.  Generally, I don’t mind this.  I love reading, and usually we like the same… genre?… I guess.  I have had no desire at all to read this set of books (there are 3 in the series). One of my nieces read them, and I had checked into them a bit back then – the storyline is nothing I am interested in at all. 

In case you haven’t heard of this book – although how could you not, since it’s being turned into a movie as we speak! – the premise is some post-apocolyptic America where every year 20-some teens have to participate in a televised fight-to-the-death forced on them by the government because of some long past rebellion.  Yeah. Yee-haw for fun reading, right?!

Kiki’s never been one for doing something because everyone else is, (she didn’t get into Harry Potter or Twilight at all)  but for some reason she is really interested in this book series.  Well, today Alan went to the library for a book he wanted so he looked for the first book for me – yeah, there are like 200 people on the waiting list!  So, this afternoon I was at Target, and they had the paperback on sale so I bought it.  So far I have read just 9 pages and I hate this book.  Even if I look past the whole stupid storyline of the book, I really dislike the main character so far.  She’s…. heartless.   Despises her mother, tried to drown a cat, killed a lynx who befriended her (she “almost regretted it”). 

Here’s my deal:  Life is hard. Sometimes, life sucks. If I am going to invest my precious spare time reading a story, I want it to be NOT life -ie: uplifting, hopeful, happy. I am pretty sure this is not that kind of story!

I am going to read this book.  I really don’t want to.  But, I will. And then I will tell Kiki she can’t read them.  HA!!

I can do that, ’cause I’m the mom.

If flute lessons don’t kill me, parenting a teen probably will

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Constant drama.  Lord, how tired of it I am! I am way too old to put up with this silliness, honestly.  A whole lot of it is just  ridiculous, you know?  The stuff that, at 50, you know doesn’t really matter.  However, the latest trauma happened just yesterday, and it’s a little harder to deal with – a school friend asked to hang out with her,  then later told Kiki that her mom said “no”  because the mom (a teacher at the school) doesn’t like her daughter to hang out with mine because mine is too “crazy” and she doesn’t like how her daughter behaves around mine.  Wow.  Wow.  How do you react to that?  Seriously?!  I mean, yeah, Kiki is crazy – in a fun, laughable way.  Yes, she’s goofy and somewhat annoying I suppose, if you’re not into fun.  She’s a great, sweet, reasonably well-behaved kid.  This just blows me away.  Or, not really, when I consider the source.  This mom – this teacher – is someone who seems about as un-fun as they come.  We have been in the same, tiny little school for the whole 8 years, and she still barely acknowledges me when I walk by.  She’s never been Kiki’s teacher (she teaches high school math) but still… my kid has never been in any kind of trouble at the school – or anywhere (besides home!).  I can’t believe she wouldn’t allow her kid to hang with mine.  Could the story have not been taken quite straight? I know kids have a way of misunderstanding – or not really listening – when we talk with them.  This friend of Kiki’s has gotten into a little trouble (very minor) hanging out with other kids at the school after hours… could that have been the intent?  Kiki swears her friend said this, word for word.  She’s upset, of course.  So what do I do?  Do I talk to the mom?  (Please say no.  I am kind of afraid of her!) Do we just let it go?

I really miss the toddler days, when I could fix any problem she had with a band-aid, a needle and thread, or a kiss.  sigh

Looking for perspective and gratefulness

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All right. I am tired of, well, of myself. My attitude.  Yes, it’s true, my life could be better.  There are certainly things I would like to be different, and lots of people in my situation would not want to be in said situation.

That being said, my life could also be worse.  Now, that in itself is sometimes not incredibly encouraging… I mean, do you tell a person with breast cancer “at least you don’t have brain cancer”?  That’d be stupid.  I mean, most of us, no matter what our situations, can find someone whose life is better and someone whose life is worse.  Because that’s just the way it is.  And, your life is your life.  I don’t think we feel all warm and fuzzy in our own disappointments and frustrations because someone else is worse off,  because we are stuck living our own.  Good or bad, our “bad” is our bad. 

But, I keep coming back to that whole ‘attitude’ thing.  I need to work on improving mine.  No matter what might – or might not – change in my life, I need to look at it differently.  Part of my life being my life means I am stuck in this one… it’s the only one I’ll get, even if I wish I could go back and make different choices and therefore be on a different path.  No matter how bad I’d like to do that, I don’t get to.  Here I am, so where do I go from here?  I don’t really believe “it’s all up to me and I can have a better life from here on out” because  1) I’m not the only one in my life.  Other people in my sphere of life make decisions that effect me, for better or for worse, and I have no control over their choices.  2) There is evil in the world – sickness of mind and of body – and that also I can’t control.  It can effect me.  So, we are back to that whole attitude thing, aren’t we? I can’t help what happens to me, to a large extent, but I can choose how I react to it.

That’s hard.  Really, really hard.  I haven’t done very well at this over the last decade or so.  To be honest, I am not sure how I can improve, or if I will.  But I am going to try.  Because the last decade hasn’t been all that enjoyable.  There have been good times, but they have been outweighed by the depression I have felt.  I want so badly to be done with that!  I deserve better!

Help! I need a couple years therapy, and I need to be done tomorrow.

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Sibling rivalry.  Why is it still happening when you are supposed “grown-ups”?  My sister is making me crazy.  Well, crazi-er

If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know I have a weight problem.  Yeah.  I try not to make my blog about that, but it comes up.  I mean, unfortunately, it’s a big part of my life.  A “big” part… get it?  Hahaha… okay, it’s late.  Gimme a break.

I have a sister who is a couple years older than me.  (I had another sister, a younger one… she passed away a few years back.  I miss her soooo bad.)  So this is probably wrong, but one thing I miss about her is that she was there to complain to about my other sister.  If that makes sense. Well, my “big” sister is driving me nuts.  Part of the problem is that we live in the same town and go to the same church, so we have sort of the same circle of friends. This is not a good thing.  I really, really need a new group.

Anyway, a few months back, a couple friends of mine (of ours) started a sort of “weight loss Bible study”.   Most of us in this group have a weight problem… except my sister.  Who is skinny.  Seriously – I think she wears a size 2.  She’s sick.  Or makes me sick… Anyway… I really don’t know why she is in this study, except that she probably doesn’t want me to be getting closer to these friends than she is.  I wish I was making this up!  I mean, I don’t think she consciously thinks of this stuff, but she simply has to be involved in everything.  It’s ridiculous. Every week it gets worse… that is, I get crankier and crankier with the stuff she says and just the fact of her being there… in my weight loss group.  In her size 2 pants.  And being cranky is what a Bible study is all about, right?  So then I have to feel guilty about my attitude…

This week she decided to show us how to make her kind of food… she is on this “all raw” “vegan” diet… yeah.  Whatever.  Poor thing just has such a food problem, yeah?!

I just want to figure out how to get through a day without eating a dozen cookies or a pint of Ben and Jerrys.

She does NOT get it.  And I can’t figure out how to explain it to her.

My 50th birthday ~ it was actually a pretty good day

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First off, I think birthdays should always be on Sunday.  I mean, pretty much everyone has that day off… I know, not everyone, but most folks in my circle, anyway.  The day started off with church, which is always a good way to start.  The service we go to isn’t super early, so I don’t mind – too terribly – getting out of bed.  I also have a big group of my ‘peeps’ to sit with, so even on days like yesterday when Alan is in the coffeebar and therefore goes to early service instead, I don’t have to sit alone.  Not that I’d hate that, I’m a big girl and sit by myself just fine… but it’s more fun to sit with my friends.

After church we went boating with some other friends.  We went to a small reservoir nestled in the sagebrush covered hills of southern Idaho.  You drive up Freeze Out Hill then past Frozen Dog Road – I’m so not making this up!!  Funny stuff, this place I live in. The hills are dry and the grass is brown, so they look like beige velvet.  The sky was as blue as you can imagine, with huge puffy white clouds piled up over the Boise Mountain range in the distance.  It just so darn beautiful here! I was careful to wear sunscreen as that stupid medicine is still in my body messing things up, one of which is causing me to burn easily. The kids all got to try waterskiing and tubing and had an absolute blast.  (I used to adore waterskiing, but it’s been over 20 years and 100 pounds ago – I was afraid I’d hurt something if I tried it!)  Maybe next summer….  I’m irritated because I forgot to take my camera!  I did find one pic online that sort of gives an idea of the area we were in, but doesn’t really do it justice –

Anyway, we had a fabulous time!  We had to rush home from there (about a 45 min. drive, thru the town we used to live in, which made me really miss it!) take about 15 minutes to change clothes, try to do something with our hair to not look all wind-tousled, then head over to my sister’s for my birthday party.  It was actually more of a tea than a party… that just sounded nicer to me!  My sister has a real talent for design and decorating, so it looked amazing.  We had lots of goodies and jabbering… how can you beat that??

So, all in all, since I had no real choice in the matter of turning 50, it was still a good day when all was said and done.  I guess I can continue to push forward, one day at a time.

Living in that Sandwich Generation… could I have a fresh salad instead?

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My parents have always been my rocks… that firm foundation on which I could always rely.  If I needed something built or repaired dad was always my “go-to” guy.  Advise or sewing (or the good home-cooked meal)?  Mom.  Even the occasional loan, though I hate to think about that.  I wish I never needed help in that area.

My dad just turned 80 last month, and mom will follow in just a few months.  By all accounts, they are doing fantastic for their age – neither of them is on any kind of medication other than vitamins and the Tums my dad regularly chaws down.  They drive all over, go places, do things; especially mom.  Just last week she and three gal pals headed up to a cabin in the mountains where they stayed up all hours playing games, chatting, and drinking the occasional glass of wine.  Honestly, when I grow up, I want to be just like my mom.  She rocks.

But.  Always has to be “but”.  They are 80.  I’ve noticed they are a little less steady on their feet these days, and the reflexes aren’t what they used to be.  Right after we’d moved in here, my mom tripped and fell in the house and split her head open. I had to take her to the doctor for stitches.  Do you know how head wounds bleed?!  It was awful, and I don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered.  Yesterday, my dad was mowing the lawn (it’s an acre, all in grass, so it’s a big job… fortunately he has a riding mower). Alan did this work when we first moved in, but now that he’s working 2 full-time jobs, he doesn’t do it anymore.  Well, yesterday dad was going under a tree and an errant branch took a nice hunk out of his head.  Now, being my dad, he pulled the paper towel out of his pocket (his form of pocket hankie, since mom long ago refused to keep washing nasty snot rags) put it on the gash, put his hat back on and continued the mowing.  Once he was done with the back half, he came in…. when I saw the blood on his head, I almost lost it.  Sure, I was calm on the outside, and I checked his scalp, determined no stitches were necessary, told him to rest and forced my husband (even though it made him cranky with me) to finish the yard.

What I noticed after was that I was shaky and sick to my stomach.  Blood doesn’t really bother me, so I know it wasn’t that – it’s just the realization that my parents are truly aging, and it freaks me out.  They are supposed to take care of me; I don’t want to take care of them!  Not because of the effort, that’s not it at all – it’s what that implies – that they are getting to a point in their lives where they may become unable to take care of themselves; that they aren’t all they used to be. It scares me.  Even though I am nearly 50 years old myself (uhg uhg uhg!!!) I still feel like I need my parents.  I have a daughter who needs me, and it just seems like a bit of a frightening spot to be in.

My natureopath told me that my health issues are definately compounded by stress; somehow I need to find constructive ways to deal with these issues or I may end up just spontaneously combusting one of these days.

How do you tell the truth when the truth hurts?

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With each passing day my podunk little job is getting more and more difficult to deal with.  I work in a family-owned and run business, and most of the people who work there – all women – are family members or friends with each other.  Yeah, you can hardly imagine why that might be a problem, huh?!  It’s not like I am feeling excluded; not at all.  In fact, a bit more of that would be a good thing at this point!  The trouble is that I am finding myself being, I don’t know, the confidant of sorts, the go-between of other people’s issues with one another… and I so don’t wanna be there.

The problem I seem to be facing more and more often – and this is happening outside of work as well – is the following scenario:

Someone comes to me, truly hurt because someone else told them something they didn’t want to hear about themselves.  Something that they totally can’t believe could possibly be true about themselves.  Such as “you are such a huge whiner!”  “you are really mean” “you are obnoxious so much of the time” or, whatever.  (these are all adults, by the way.)  Then this person, who is in tears or nearly, asks me “am I really like that?”  Okay.  Seriously.  How do you answer that question when the answer is “Yes.  Yes you are.” ??  Because this person is already wounded by that other person saying that they are – whatever – and so then what am I supposed to say?  I am beginning to think I am supposed to, somehow, be finding ways to let people know that, yeah, you have a bit of a shortcoming there but I know you’re not a bad person, and you don’t want to be that way….  or, something like that.  Maybe.  Or maybe I should just start poking myself in the eye with a stick.  Quite enjoyable either way, I suppose….

Parenting ~ It only gets harder (You thought the toddler years were hard?!)

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Ah, the good old days.  I remember them well… Kiki had a friend – a Best Friend – and life was good.  They generally looked even happier than these two girls! (maybe these gals don’t like their pic taken?)  If there was a problem in Kiki’s life, I could most likely fix it… with a needle and thread, glue, a band-aid, or a hug.  Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Shift to current day teenage life.  There are suddenly so many problems I can’t fix – even with SuperGlue.  Problem of the week?  Friendships.  Kiki is a tender-hearted and kind soul who gives her heart easily and fully to a friend.  She prefers one “Bestie” rather than a group of friends.  Not that she doesn’t have a bunch of friends… in fact, my biggest problem this week of Spring Break is trying to co-ordinate all the picking-up and dropping-off of various friends who were clamoring to spend some time with my daughter this week.   So, what’s the big deal? 

Her “best” friend. They’ve been friends for, I don’t remember, about 4 years.  Last year, she was the friend Kiki missed most when we moved to Virginia.  She was the friend Kiki was aching to get back home to.  And the month we came back, her family moved away.  Life sucks sometimes, I know.  I just hate it when it sucks for my kid.  So we are on the 2nd year of them being apart, and being with other kids.  I knew at the outset that they probably wouldn’t remain best friends… long distance relationships just never work that well, do they?  Of course my kiddo didn’t know that… nor would she have believed it if I’d told her. This week the friend is in town visiting for Spring Break.  She has spent more time with her friend she purportedly “doesn’t like” and who her mom said was a “bad influence”; now, that makes no sense to me, but what do I know??

 The worst of it was when the “best” friend, Kiki, and one other girl were talking about a “fun” outing, and what they’d do… then the other two girls did that thing, and left my daughter out of it.  These other two even bought “best friend” necklaces…. wow.  Kinda crappy in my opinion. Now, when Kiki gently confronted her friend about it… well, she lied.  The friend said the other girl suggested  it, and she had no idea that my daughter had talked about this plan. Well.  Really?  Because I happen to remember when the idea first came up, and they were all there!  Ah, well, Kiki chose to believe her; says she doesn’t really remember when the whole idea first came up – and, that’s good.  I’m glad for her “selective” memory.  I am also glad that she is the kind of girl who spends time thinking about – well, things – and she realizes that she will just have to have fun with this friend as it comes, but no longer call her “BFF” and that honestly, it’s fine, because they have changed over the years, and just aren’t as much alike as they once were.  Which is pretty mature thinking on her part, I believe.  But you can’t tell me it doesn’t hurt.  She’s already had her kindergarten best friend move out of state, and her 1st grade best friend move to a different school…. and, therefore, different friends.  That’s life, but it’s not fun.

I can’t say I am really upset about the loss of this particular friend.  After all, if she’s the kind of person who will treat a friend that way, who needs her?  Besides, there have been other behaviors that I have found rather questionable, so I will be fine with Kiki moving on.  But.  It made me feel really bad for her.  I’ve had friends “move on” and it never feels very nice. 

I hope she deals with it well.  I hope, unlike me, she keeps on putting herself out there, making new friends, being vulnerable.  Because I sort of gave that up after too many painful “friend break-ups” and the result is that I haven’t really got any close friends.  I hope she will have a lifetime of dear, sweet friends!

Global day of prayer for Burma: the Karen people

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The city where I go to church is listed as a “soft landing site” for refugees.  I don’t know why, or what criteria is set up for this.  In fact I can’t really tell you exactly what that means!  It just is.  As such, we have a lot of interesting immigrants coming into our area.  At our particular church we have a large group of people from the Burma/Thai border called the “Karen” (kuh-rin).  I think they come to us because they are Christian immigrants; also, our pastor was over there working for them…gosh, 30+ years ago.  So he knows them, knows their hisory.  They are a very persecuted people; they’ve been subjected to ethnic cleansing by the Burmese since sometime in the 1940’s. 

Well, I’m not gonna get all political on you…. I don’t know too much about the whole deal except that I believe it’s certainly wrong to try to wipe an entire group of people off the face of the earth. 

One guy from their group got up and sang a worship song in their native tongue.  It was pretty cool.