Friday, August 20, 2010

Personal Experience

I am cross posting this from our ministry wiki, if you haven't checked it out yet take a look and join in the conversation and blogging whatever it is that you believe, it'll make things interesting. 

Frustration. What a common occurance in my life. I find that a lot of my frustration is caused by myself, why? Because I expect things out of myself and people that I or others don't live up to and I am left disappointed which for me leads directly to frustration.
Hands down one of the most frustrating experiences in my life is when I am talking to someone or someones and I am asked for my opinion, now those who know me know that I have plenty of opinions, it's no secret, occasionally I am ashamed of it but for the most part I try and embrace that part of myself while still reminding myself that other people's opinions are just as valuable as mine and if I take the time to listen them I will probably gleen something worthwhile, believe it or not you can gleen something from every conversation, either something that you would like to be like or do or something you definetly want to avoid becoming or do not want to do. OK, rabbit trail. Frustration, opinions, I'm back. I was recently in a conversation where my opinion on a certain item was asked. After I gave my opinion (just to be clear the opinion I gave was based on personal experience as well as some science and professional backing) the reply from the other person started with "actually", uh oh, at that point the frustration starts to rise from my chest and quickly make it's way towards my throat where it will slowly start choking my over the next few hours, days, weeks... "actually" is one of the most negatory words out there, when the word "actually" is used after someone has said something and before someone's opinion on the matter it completely negates what was said before it. "Actually", the word came flying out right before an entire explanation on why what I said probably wasn't true and had to do something with something else this person had read or researched. I then preceded to ask where the personal experience came from and was informed that the person I was talking to no longer did what we were discussing! Why? And get this, for the reason that I stated the product my opinion was asked on was used for! 

Now this is not a one time thing. It happens all of the time. I don't know if people aren't listening or if everyone really thinks they are so dang intelligent, maybe the internet is partly to fault because there is so much information floating out there ready for anyone to pick up on and read but there is one thing that makes all the difference, personal experience. Now I do think that there are some other ways to learn things as well, like learning from someone who has had the personal experience that is called trust, my listening, absorbing and then putting someone else's personal experience in to action you have gained wisdom.

Of course that is just my opinion.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yesterday was my 3rd anniversary. It of course drapes my mind in reflection. Reflection on love, what it is, what it isn't... at least a few things that I know about it.

When I was a teenager a young man wanted me to dive in to some cold water, I was reluctant, I have always been one of those people who tortures themselves by shuffling in to the cold water one agonizing inch after another, I have been told it is just easier to dive in but I just can't seem to make myself do it. This young man then stated "if you love me you will jump in". Now, I never did have an official boyfriend before my hubby but during my teen years I had a couple of brushes with teen romance of sorts. For some reason that young man's sentences lodged somewhere in my young woman's heart, it set up a precedence in my life about what love was between men and women. Even though I had not seen that kind of love demonstrated in my parent's marriage over the next couple of years I allowed several different men to talk to me in ways that were demanding of affection while they used their words to create insecurity, to tell me I was loud, too opinionated, not as good as so and so, to demand demonstrations of affection that I was not willing to give, to tell me that I had to choose them or my family, I was told time and again that I was intimidating.

I remember all this coming to an end at 19 when my family sat me down and said that something had to give. I was demoralized by their words and was constantly wondering what was wrong with me. I chose to change at that point. I didn't even know what that change was except that I had to get even more stringent, more guarded. And I did. For the next three years I dealt with the "ice queen" comments and more "I'm intimidated" comments. I have never been very good at letting things just roll off but my skills did improve considerably.

I did consider that there weren't any good guys left, I just figured whoever got to marry my brother was going to get a seriously lucky break. All the good ones (and plenty of bad) had already been taken.

What is it that makes so many men use love as a way to exert control over women? Love reduced to nothing more than a silly game of who can get what out of whom by playing the "how much do you love me game". The truth? The truth is where there is true love there is no one asking that question. There is no need to use "if you love me" because there are no ifs.

Solid. That is what love is. Anything less? Not love.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Death Grip on Life.

Warning: This post contains personal beliefs. 

The last blog was about birth and it just seems fitting that this is about death. Human conditions both.

It is no question that death is scary. It is scary and in some ways unnatural. Why? Because we as people weren't meant to die. Cancer, aids, murder... none of that is natural. But death... death wasn't natural, death now is natural.

I understand not wanting to die and I definitely understand not wanting a friend or family member to die. I say I understand because I listened as a doctor told me that my dad should be dead and they were hoping that they could get him in to surgery fast enough to keep his femur from compounding and my dad from bleeding to death. He was pale and in more pain than I have ever seen him in. I also called 911 as my dad held the limp blue form of my sister who had just had a grand mal seizure. I watched as my great grandmother died of cancer, dementia and advanced age, she died angry. I can't say that I understand everyone's situation and there are plenty of devastating situations that I am sure would send my world spinning out of control.

There is something that has been nagging me lately and it started with reading an article about someone dying after donating part of his organ. It was said that it was a "heroic act" the "ultimate sacrifice". I wonder if that is what his young children will think growing up?

I am not making a judgment call on someone's family or their own choices but it did set me to thinking about the un-graceful passing of people. Yes, young deaths are "untimely" and are "wrong" but doesn't that go back to the beginning of the discussion? Isn't every death "wrong"? When does a death feel "right"? It does seem more wrong when a young person, especially with a family, is dying or dies, it makes us question and grieve. But I find that I keep asking myself this question, where is the grace in all of this? I have a wild thought that I could die gracefully, that maybe I would be able to let go gracefully. I don't want to have a death grip on life.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

“You want to go into the most intense physical experience in your life unprepared? That doesn’t make any sense to me,” she said. “I thought, OK, let’s get to work. I wasn’t expecting someone else to get the baby out of me.” Gisele Bundchen (I got the quote of a fun blog I was just introduced to "Confessions of a Judgmental Hippie")

Gisele put that beautifully. I feel strongly about birth and about my part in it as a woman. You may say "duh" to the idea that my part as a woman in birthing a child, it is almost laughable to think that a woman doesn't have a part in birthing her child but it is the last part of Gisele's quote that really caught my attention "I wasn't expecting someone else to get the baby out of me." There is a prevailing attitude that doctors deliver babies. Deliver them, you know like a rescue mission of some kind, deliver them like they are prisoners inside their mother's womb. There is a prevailing attitude that women need to blindly trust doctors and the doctors believe they are the experts on all things women and baby, even if they happen to be males and as such will never actually be able to fully understand pregnancy or the birth process.

Now before anyone gets their panties in a bundle I will state that I know that doctors have a specific job that they are very good at and that is to deal with emergencies and abnormalities, they are trained to deal with it and are good at it. Emergencies and abnormalities. Babies are not emergencies, you have months to get ready for them and they are not abnormal, babies have been birthed for thousands of years.

It isn't even the fact that it is doctors but the fact that women expect doctors to just take care of things, look to them to "get the babies out of them" and then are grateful and owing their child's birth to a doctor when in all reality there is no one but a woman that can house and birth a baby. I think it is that attitude that leads to the laziness and the lack of prep work on the part of the woman. It is riding right at the top of the list of the most physically taxing, mentally challenging, emotional experience a woman will go through. When those lines appear it is time to go to work. Because no one and I mean no one is going to birth that baby but you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


You know what I don't understand? People with no grit. You know, the kind that don't have any gumption, don't have a "lust" for life, people that don't go after what they want, who are waiting for life to happen to them. I don't really know what is behind this, maybe it is a personality thing. It just seems like I have met a lot of people like that lately, surprisingly most of them are young. Why do I find this surprising? Because young people have non-stop energy, or at least that is what I thought and that is how I was at their age and really at 25 continue to have more that enough energy to go around. So what is it that makes so many young people so... apathetic? Lack luster? Most of the time I do not even know how to label it.

 It seems that many people have become comfortable doing whatever they are told and if anyone steps out of line or starts to bring up questions quick and cliche platitudes are thrown out in abundance and I mean cliche in the worst way. There are some cliche things that are good, take roses, chocolate, condolences... etc. those things are all "cliche" in there way but good. Then there are all the wrote answers to what should be soul searching questions, you know what I mean, the kind that makes you wonder if the writer got them straight out of the "life lessons" book or if they modified them just a bit.

What is it that makes people shy away from the gut wrenching? And I don't mean watching a sad movie or the news. I mean the real grit and dirt of life. What is it that makes people flinch from real things? Things like real love, passion, having babies, death, spirituality, ethics, race, people... the list could go on and on. And it isn't the discussing of these things so much as the living of them. Talk is cheap. (See what I mean about cliches? That is a good one.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I haul myself out of bed but this time not because I haven't slept well, my son is actually sleeping very well at night, at some point in time he comes to bed with us, good thing too because it is continuing justification for my king sized bed purchase last fall, so it isn't a lack of sleep that is making me drag and it isn't even the seasonal allergies that are kicking my butt right now it is the foot that is in my face and the other that is in my rib and it is the screaming laughter, ok, so mostly the screaming that makes me cringe and roll over slowly. It is another day with a two year old. You know people say a lot of things but my parents were happy to help confirm that the next year of my life is going to be one of the most challenging I have faced. "Challenging" that is a great word. Challenging really means miserable to me for the most part but that really doesn't have anything to do with the word itself. I am one of those kinds of people who doesn't really like challenges because usually that means I don't know how to do whatever it is I get frustrated, usually there are tears involved, sometimes anger of some sort and then... I overcome, HA! What were you expecting? I didn't say that I didn't overcome my challenges, I am a very competitive person.

But this is different. Why? Because this is a piece of life that I don't want to just bulldoze my way through, I want to not be frustrated for the next year and I certainly don't want to cry my way through it and the interesting thing about children is that they seem to adapt and overcome every one of my challenges creating a new and very creative labyrinth, amazing little people. But this is the time for me to overcome and in a totally different way because I can't use the same tack that I have used all my life. So what is it to be? In all honesty I am not sure but yesterday I came to a realization as I thought and wrote the words "I do not like being the mother of a 2 year old", now of course I love my son and there are plenty of great times and fun times but seriously almost every day I am brought to a crisis feeling in myself. I know that changing my thoughts about it to the "terrific twos" like I have heard some other parents say is just not going to work, as far as I can tell for me it would just be trying to cover up the fact that this is difficult with a false mental attitude that would eventually crack and crumble under the stress in a few weeks... a few months and usually things crumble with a BANG! when it comes to toddlers.

I have not come to a full conclusion but I know it has something to do with becoming more of the new person I started becoming when I birthed my son just over 2 years ago. Honestly, he ranks right on up there with the more frustratingly cute teachers I have ever had.