Monday, February 22, 2010

Thanks, Inspired Dreamer!!!

For giving me the opportunity to be the guest blogger! Today I have the great privilege of being the guest blogger at "Out of the Extraordinary." It's my first time doing this, and I feel really excited about it!

If you've never checked out her blog, please do so! She is a great girl with a lot of awesome insights...seeing the extraordinary in everyday life. It's very cool. I've enjoyed following her blog lately - so check her out!

For the guest blog, I wrote about part of my adventure when I had to get another copy of my birth certificate (For that backstory, see here). It's called 'The Negative Space' - a lesson from high school that came back to me while I was on that little digression. I'm a teacher - so it's all about the lesson for me!

I'll be back here later this week, but for today, feel free to meander over to "Out of the Extraordinary!"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Insecure? Who, Me?

OK -on to So Long Insecurity chapter 2! Thanks for all who commented on the first chapter. [For those just tuning in, see here and here.]

Appreciate your honesty so much - very courageous steps and I applaud that. It's not easy to own up. But I think these are the first steps of overcoming this: admitting it - AND accepting ourselves even with our insecurities, not hating ourselves because of it.

So, the thought chapter 2 opens with is that we all have insecurities - it is a part of being human. But how much do those insecurities limit us or steal our quality of life? And that's the big reason to try to deal with this (besides just how crappy it feels).

Beth gives a specialist's definitions of insecurity [Wow, did I see myself in more than a phrase or two!]:

"a profound sense of self-doubt - a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world...chronic self-consciousness, along with a chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about relationships...constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate" (qtd in Moore 17)

A lot of that resonated with me. She makes a few other points that I thought were note-worthy. It really is this complicated mix of self-doubt, self-sabotage, doubting ourselves - and doubting God about ourselves.

One thing she said that is also worth noting is that insecurity can look like self-consciousness and it can look like confidence. Often, perfectionism a cover for insecurity. We think of someone who is self-conscious as willowy, weak, passive. We don't want to be her. We are too proud to be her. But all self-consciousness is is being pre-occupied with self - a constant self-awareness - which really can look like confidence at times, too! So, pride and self-centeredness are indications of insecurity too.

Here is another part she mentions about the whole 'self-consciousness' thing:

"Chronically conscious of self...acute self-awareness and a pre-occupation with self, no matter how it is externalized in life...she is ordinarily more aware of herself than she tends to be of any other person in the room. Whether she feels inferior or superior, she takes a frequent inventory of her place in the space..."

Yeah, I get this...just like an obsessive pre-occupation with self. It's not 100% of the times and it flares up in some environments more than others, but taking a 'frequent inventory of her place in the space'...yeah, that's me.

I want be the girl who is just 'self-forgetful.' She is so absorbed with the moment and the people around her that she is not even aware of herself. That, to me, screams, confidence - and more so because she is not even trying to.

OK, if I haven't overwhelmed you yet, here are some questions she puts out as sort of a self-inventory of insecurity. You may not fit all of them...but a 'yes' to even some could show that there may be an insecurity issue. Which is OK!!! We all have them. But let's be honest and DEAL with it!!!

OK, here are the questions (not an exhaustive list, just a few that she mentions):
  1. Do I cry easily?
  2. Do I avoid the spotlight in social situations?
  3. Do I have a strong desire to make amends whenever I think I have done something wrong?
  4. If someone gets angry with me, do I have a hard time not thinking about it?
  5. Do I sometimes feel anxious for no apparent reason?
  6. Does it hurt my feelings when I learn that someone doesn't like me?
  7. Do I fear that my husband might leave me for someone else?
Now, just because you feel some of these things doesn't necessarily earn you the label of 'insecure' (not that we want to be labeling ourselves or others), but her point was how intensely do you feel these things??? And how long have you been feeling this way??? If it's been more than 90 days, then it is chronic.

The final part of this chapter probably nailed me the most accurately. Here is the specialist's definition as quoted by Beth:

"The insecure person also harbors unrealistic expectations about love and relationships...often unconscious[ly]...creates a situation in which being disappointed and hurt in relationships is almost inevitable. Ironically...they are usually unaware of how they are unwittingly accomplices in creating their own misery" (23).

And here is her comment that completed resonated:

"We can be so blessed in certain relationships that our unrealistic expectations often seem met, and therefore, reasonable. We can get away with thinking we're secure people because, for a time, we have the important things just like we want them. But then change happens, and suddenly, we are thrown for a severe emotional loop. We realize we weren't secure. We were spoiled."

Ummm, in a nutshell.

OK, I have given you enough to think about! Here is the question for chapter 2:

What part of the definition or description of insecurity resonated most with you and why?

I will give my answer in the comment section. I know this is hard. But it is GOOD!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My First Ash Wednesday

I've never commemorated Ash Wednesday or Lent. I admit, in my judgmental state, I just sort of thought it was an empty ritual - people went to Mass, got some ashes put on their heads, vowed to give up something for a month and then they went on their way.

That is not what I experienced last night.

Since our new house is a bit of a distance from our church (and a nightmare-ish traffic catastrophe to get there), James suggested that we go to a small Baptist church nearby - he had heard there was a Bible study there on Wednesday nights and wanted to check it out.

Well, we get there only to find out it was an Ash Wednesday service. Since we were there already, we decided to stay. The downstairs doors to the fellowship hall were wide open, the lights were on - but nobody was there. Deserted, it felt like.

So, we walked upstairs to go in the main doors, pulled on them, rattled them a little. Locked.

We still were not easily dissuaded, so we tried to scope out another open door on the side of the church. I think we both felt like we were really meant to be there. All the sudden, the main doors swing open and a young guy about our age invited us in - the door just sticks, he said.

So we went into this old church, and it felt like we were stepping back in time...the wooden pews, the hymn numbers posted in the front, candles glowing....the church is just about 150 years old, we later found out. It had a very different feeling than our church. Solemn. Sacred. But I liked it.

The pastor greeted us and welcomed us to the service. James and I sat down - and so did the other guy. And then the pastor started speaking. I thought he was going to wait for more people to come, but he started promptly at 7pm. And no one else came. Just me, James and other guy and the pastor.

The pastor spoke of the significance of the ashes - representing mortality, mourning and repentance. And he gave us each a piece of paper to reflect on things that control us in our lives, that have become 'God' to us, sins and wrong attitudes in our hearts, things that are holding us back.

We each wrote on our paper and then brought it up to the front. This represented our repentance - our acknowledgment of our sin and our sorrow for it. Our shame. I felt it. I felt the weight of my honesty with myself and my short-comings.

And then the pastor burned it and put the ashes on our head. Forgiveness, he said. Our sin was burned up. God forgives us.

And then he said what I think touched me the most:

"When you go home tonight and wash the ashes off your head, remember that God has washed you clean of your sin and guilt. He doesn't see the sin, the shame, the 'ash' - He sees you cleansed, perfect - through Jesus."

And I got it. I got the ashes, I got the idea behind Lent - and I felt the lightness that comes when Grace arrives and puts your burdens on His back. And I realize that what we sacrifice for Lent is not to 'pay for' our sin or to try to do penance; what we give up for Lent is so we can be closer to God, because Jesus already paid for our sin, so now being close to God is possible.

Then we joined hands and all prayed together - the 4 of us - and then James and I stayed a while after and chatted.

Having never been to an Ash Wednesday service, I didn't know if this was the usual protocol - the writing on the paper, the burning it together, the prayer together at the end. It was just a half hour - but I was so touched.

I can't tell you what a nice night it was. No, nice is the definitely the wrong word. It was moving. Sacred. Reverent. Holy.

I just felt like it wasn't an accident for us that we ended up there - and it wasn't an accident for them either. We all just had a sense like this little gathering of 4 was somehow what was meant to be for the night. Well...5. Very apparently, God was there, too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Life in Boxes - Letting Go

It is getting close - 38 days - the sprint to the finish - and all of these things that I've been procrastinating doing but need to be done, nevertheless.

The catalyst of the big event last night was the birth certificate. In NY, we need ours to get our marriage license. Well, my mother has always been the keeper of these papers, but as of late, she has not been keeping them so well! She tried to pawn the loss of the said piece of paper on me, but I assured her, I did not have it in my possession.

"Well, what about when you got your passport?"

"Mom, that was 1996. I was 22 then. I am sure I gave it back to you. I was still living with you at the time."

She told me to just check through my things before we had to go to the town to get another copy. Well, that led to me going into the back of my closet. This isn't just an ordinary's the kind that goes back and back, under the staircase, so far back that you'd think you would end up in Narnia if you kept going.

And I have been dreading cleaning out this closet. When I was in high school, I was....well...let's say...the sentimental sort. I saved every note, card, award, ticket stub, movie clipping, calendar, token of affection from a boyfriend or crush...anything that could possibly have a memory attached to it.

To my credit, I have to say, it was effective, because in looking at these items, I really did remember some of those things I have forgotten. And some (not all - but some) were actually worth remembering and made me smile at the memory of it.

But it was a strange experience...coming face to face with my life like that. It made me wonder, 'Who was that girl? Was that me?' It felt like two different people - I was a little embarrassed by the 'cheese' of that girl and her friends.

But the question at hand was this: How much of that girl needs to come with this girl? [Which begs another question: Are they two different girls???]

Well, I did throw out a lot, which is cathartic and cleansing for me. I hate clutter. But some things...I just didn't know if I could get rid of:

I have this purple pullover hoodie I got in 8th grade. My girlfriends and I all got these hoodies (long before Abercrombie took the monopoly on the market) and wore them all the time. I just couldn't give it up. I also found this souvenir T-shirt from a Washington DC class trip in 1988. Along with my 'Class of '88' shirt - Class of '88 graduating from 8th grade, that is. We had all signed weird seeing the signature of the 8th grade Katie.

I found all of these old calendars...marked with everyone's birthday in known world (including Ron Darling, who I adored), every event, every party, every school trip...and while I couldn't remember every social extravaganza, there was something comforting in the fact that, even in spite of the insecurity I had felt at that age, I had a full, fun life.

Then I found all of these sports awards I had gotten. And old trophies. And my softball cleats. And my basketball Converse sneakers (which are back in style, I might add) do I get rid of all of this stuff? True, it might not be important to me, but it was important to her, the girl I once was, the girl who I suppose is still a part of who I am now.

Part of me wanted to just chuck everything out in the garbage - too much energy to go through all of this stuff. But another part of me felt that I owed myself this process - to reread some of the letters, look through some of the pictures, if at least one last time, to give my past the tribute and time it deserved. I owed it to the girl who felt it was important enough to her to save.

I didn't really come up with a system of what to keep and what to pitch. I know James would have a coronary if I showed up at our house with all this stuff. And honestly, it is too much work to hold on to every single memory and experience, as much as I try. So, I had to keep some and let some go. And, I'm still in the process of deciding. I couldn't decide it all last night.

So, I threw out a bunch of trophies, but kept a few of the meaningful ones. Same thing with awards. Pitched the cleats but kept the Converse (historic memorabilia, I tell myself). I got rid of some of the pictures I had stolen from yearbook, but kept the ones that really made me laugh or smile. I kept the cards that had something written in it that I might want to read again - or maybe my kids or grandkids would like to read some day; I threw out the old love notes, cards and gifts that I had held on to because, 'You never know..." (Well, yeah - now, I know. Good riddance!)

I got rid of folders of notes from my college classes - information I could easily look up on the internet now - but I kept a report card or class schedule or two.

I still may need to rake over all that stuff one last time, but it is getting thinner and it makes me feel like I am making progress.

But it is still kinda hard to let go.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Men Are Not the Problem

Nailed. Completely. I started reading the 2 chapters of So Long Insecurity, and it was painful but compelling at the same time. So much of her reflections could have come from my journal over the past months...insecurity just seems to be a root of so much. Grrrr...

On her site, Beth combines two chapters into one. I think I may split them, just because there is so much there and a few of you may not read the book but are along for the ride (and you are totally welcome to do so!) - so I'd like to include some excerpts without making each post a novel.

Her first point in chapter one is that really, insecurity is a CHRONIC problem among women. It is more the rule than the exception. It expresses itself different for all of us, but most of us can trace our symptoms of a particular issue in our lives to the root cause of insecurity.

She really begins by saying that we, as women -part because of our culture and part because we are a little 'broken' inside - look for our validation from men. Biblically, men should be validating us, true. But here is the questions she posed that I thought was thought-provoking:

"What if no one tells us that? Can we still find a way to be okay? Or what if he says it because he's supposed to, but to be honest, he's not feeling it? Are we hopeless? What if a man is not captivated by us? What if he doesn't think we are particularly beautiful? Or, understandably, maybe just not every day? Are we only secure on his 'on' days?....Or what if you're single and there's not a man on the horizon you want to take home to Daddy? Honestly, is there no validation for our womanhood apart from a man? (5)"

She then goes on to say:

"Men are not our problem; it's what we are trying to get from them that messes us up. Nothing is more baffling than our attempt to derive our womanhood from our men. We use guys like mirrors to see if we're valuable. Beautiful. Desirable. Worthy of notice. Viable. We try to read their expressions and moods in order to determine whether it's time to act smart or hard to get or play dumb and needy [Oh, man! Guilty as charged!
....we're attempting to get our security from a gender that doesn't really have much to spare. Our culture is just as merciless on men as it is on women. Their insecurities take different shapes, but make no mistake: they've got them. You know it. I know it. ...Let's face it. Men want us to get a grip anyway. They don't like the pressure of being in charge of our sense of value. It's too much for them (7-8)"

This really made me think. Yeah, I do this. A lot. I try to act more secure, but as much as I try to suppress my insecurity, it squeezes itself out in some shape or form. It won't be denied; it just has to be conquered. And it made me ask, "Why does it matter so much what he thinks???" I'm not saying it shouldn't matter at all, but why so much????

The part that really made me think was how she used the analogy of using a guy as a mirror to see if we are valuable. It's like his view of us is, for us, the real picture of who we are. Why does what he think of us get to be the deciding factor of the truth of our value and worth and beauty?

His opinion is the bottom-line, absolute truth of who we are??? I'm not saying we shouldn't strive to be our best for the men in our live, but we are giving them a lot of power in that their opinion of us becomes absolute truth and the final verdict of who we are. That is kind of scary. But I do it all the time. And it begs the question: Did I just make him God in my life??? Whoa....that is really scary...but I think I do it all the time...

So, that thought has been resonating all weekend with me. Every time I feel that surge of insecurity start to rear its head, I start thinking to myself: "So this person's opinion of me is now the truth of who I am?" And it has helped to remind myself that it is, really and truly, only God's opinion of me that is the truth of who I am.

OK, so hopefully you found something thought-provoking in our start! The question Beth posed for chapter one is this:

Chapter One: When was the last time you came face-to-face with our gender’s massive struggle with insecurity? Describe the setting.

Feel free to answer in the comments below, comment on your thoughts, the reading - or not comment at all! :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So Long, Insecurity!

I've had enough of this. Seriously. Insecurity. The more I look at myself, the more I hear from other bloggers, the more I witness the behavior of other girls I know - teenagers, my students, adults - I am convinced this is the silent emotional killer of women.

I'm a fairly introspective person, and I am always trying to uncover the roots of my feelings or behavior. "Why am I feeling this way? Why am I doing this?" I've been told that my habit of introspection is sometimes on steroids - and I would agree - but the answers always seem to have their roots in that one, ugly word: insecurity.

Why, as women, are we so freakin' insecure? Is it society? Is it our relationships? Or (this is what I truly suspect) is it something that is just broken inside of us and needs to be fixed?

I always thought that when I reached the 'next' phase - a job worthy of respect, a purposeful ministry, a healthy relationship, then I would feel secure. Happy. Comfortable in my own skin.

But, even with those things, something feels 'off.' Not right. Broken. And again, maybe it is because I am the introspective type, but I get the funny feeling I am not alone.

So, in this phase of the journey, I really want to try to deal with this issue. Ideally, I would like to have it resolved before my wedding, but I don't think that will be the case. I have a feeling this will be a little more involved than just a 6-week crash course. And, I am sure I will have new insecurities to deal with even after I get married.

And here is where you come in. If you would like to join me on this leg, here is my plan. A new book by Beth Moore has crossed my path So Long, Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us. On her website, she is hosting a book-reading blog discussion group. Each week, she is going to post an assignment and a question, and then readers will be able to respond and comment.

There are close to 5,000 people who are going to participate on Beth Moore's site , and I know, for me, that discussion is going to be a little overwhelming.I am planning to participate over there, but I am also going to host and post the same assignments and question (and maybe add a few dimensions, depending on what it looks like) over here on a smaller, more personal scale. I may even just include a quote or passage from the book for those who might want to participate but may not want to read the book.

I haven't even gotten the book yet, but I plan to grab a copy once the snow stops! She is posting her first assignment and question tomorrow, Thursday, February 11th. And I believe how it works is that there will be a week to read and comment (just like an online class).

If you are one of the fortunate secure ones, feel free to opt out. However, if you are anything like me and are wanting to get rid of this silent killer once and for all, then I hope you will hop on board. Would you do me a favor and drop me a comment if you plan to join? Then we can work on getting this all set up!

Yay! I'm excited! Soooooo long, have been a bad friend to us and I am more than ready to see you go!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Silver Lining: Found

As I mentioned in my last post, I was a little down about all the wedding drama going on. In the grand scheme of things, life would go on, but in the moment? I indulged in a little self-pity and let myself sulk a little, knowing things would look better in the morning.

Well, if you are familiar with Long Island weather, we got no snow yesterday. No-thing. This is what I woke up to:

But anyway, I got up and tried not to let it get me down for the day. So, the silver lining. Not just to help me feel better about the shower but just as important as a life skill, I knew I needed to start looking on the bright side. It really was ridiculous to stay upset over it.

So, here is the silver lining:

First of all, James was great. He was totally sympathetic that the shower was an important day for me. We went out for lunch together to an Indian buffet and just spent the rest of the day in our house, on the couch, watching TV and movies. The cancellation provided James with the opportunity to show his extra-sweet side. And that meant alot to me. It also gave me and James some quality time, which I love more than anything.

Next, it showed me the heart of my family. They really wanted my shower to be special, and they didn't want it to be spoiled by a storm and have nobody show up. Their hearts were in the right place, and I am really lucky to have them.

Then, the drama between me and my friend got cleared up (via Facebook), but cleared up all the same. Apparently, it was a misunderstanding, and by the end of the day, things were fine with us and he'll be at the wedding.

My bridesmaid issue is still up in the air, but I feel like we will be able to resolve it.

Finally, I received so much encouragement from blog-friends, which really was amazing too. The sympathy and understanding from 'strangers' was really touching, quite honestly. I shouldn't be, but sometimes I am amazed at the kindness of people, especially strangers. And even from friends, too. They were more sympathetic than I would have been, if the situations were reversed. That was a bittersweet revelation for me - it really showed me how tough I can be on people, in my own mind. If what they are going through is important to them, it should be important to me.

So, there was a silver lining, as I knew there would be.

So what do I take from all of this?

#1. If at all possible, try not to plan major life events in the winter.
#2. Don't stress over things you can't control.
#3. Just because things don't turn out how you want them to doesn't mean that things still can't be good. It's just a different good.
#4. There is always something good you can take from every situation - i.e. a silver lining.

silver lining n.
A hopeful or comforting prospect in the midst of difficulty

A silver lining, indeed.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Silver Lining

I am still trying to find it. Yes, it has been one of those days. It started with a bad dream I woke up from early this morning...I had this dream that James and I were fighting, and he just would not talk to me! I kept trying to resolve it, and he would just walk away and ignore me! It was terrible!

When the fog cleared and I realized it was only a dream, I still had this heaviness on my heart. Then I remembered...last night, I had gotten an email from a bridesmaid who wasn't sure if she could be in my wedding anymore. I totally understood the reasons, but I just felt so deflated [It might still work out, but it's just a bummer].

I rolled out of bed, got my cup of coffee, journaled for a little while and then checked my email. Well, in it was a totally unexpected email from a very close friend who was apparently very upset with me about something pertaining to the wedding 'bring a guest' issue.

'You aren't serious, right???' was all I could think. And this wasn't the first time this issue had come up either. Didn't people get it when you are paying for a wedding yourself and you have to cut even close friends and other family members because you can't afford to invite them???

Slowly, my enthusiasm was draining.

And, by around 1pm, I got the bad news: my bridal shower, that was supposed to be tomorrow, was being canceled due to the threat of snow. We are in a precarious stretch of this East Coast storm, where we could get a lot or nothing. But they couldn't risk it - so they postponed it until 2 weeks later.

At that point, I was just done. This was too much for me - too much drama, too much work. Where was all of this experience that people blog about saying how much fun wedding planning is? I keep waiting for it to get fun. It hasn't been. I know that is sad to say, but I don't know if it has been fun yet. I know the end result will be great, but this process hasn't been.

In the grand scheme of things, I know this isn't a huge deal. The bridal shower will happen [and even if it didn't, it's not the end of the world - alot of people have it far worse. I know.] The wedding will happen, and the people who care enough about us will be there. But I just didn't anticipate all this. It's not fun. I keep waiting for it to be fun.

So, trying not to camp out in the land of sulky-poor-me-feel-sorry-for-me, I'm off to find the silver lining. I know it is there. And I know that there have been some alot of good things that have happened through all of this. I know that, for sure. And deep in my heart, I know things will all work out and there are reasons for everything. I know everything will be fine.

But is it OK if I look for it tomorrow? I know I shouldn't camp out here, but I might just lie down and take a nap for a little while. I'll be over this spot by morning and will be ready for some new scenery. And I'm sure the world will look a little brighter by then.

silver lining n.
A hopeful or comforting prospect in the midst of difficulty

Yeah, it's there. It's definitely there. But a little sleep might help me see it better in the morning.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Some Love from Friends

A few kind friends in Blogworld have sent over a little encouragement. That is a great feeling - hands down. But being fairly new to Blogworld, I never quite know how these things work. There are some rules to getting them, which usually involves awarding others.

I love to pass on the love, but I kinda feel like a bit of a poser with no real authority to bestow awards on others (who am I to give out awards??? I'm no Grand Puba in Blogworld) after I receive my award.

But I sort of feel like I'll get in trouble by the 'blog-police' [who are they????] if I don't follow the rules. Or, the awarder will think I'm a snob if I don't continue to pay it forward. But honestly, I'm hesitant because I don't really feel worthy to be awarding awards to people who are clearly higher up on the Blogworld ladder. Does that make sense??? It's a funny little place, this Blogworld...

But, in receiving my award, let me perform my due-diligence in Blogworld, which I am more than happy to do:

I got this sweet award from Meg at Just Another Manic Mommy. What a wonderful, strong mom. I've enjoyed following her journey a bit. Anyhow, she gave me this award:
The 'rules' to accepting this are as follows:
1.) acknowledge the person who gave it to me (see Meg, above)
2.) list 10 items that make me happy
3.) award it to 10 other bloggers.

Then, my good friend Chocolate Lover at "A Chocolate Lover's Confession" sent over this one to me. She is another bride-to-be, a big encouragement and I have learned so much from her. I also like the idea of friends in Blogworld. Sometimes it can feel intimidating, so this is especially meaningful to me:
The rules for this one is to list 5 Things I Love to Do and pass this on to 5 other bloggers.

I am going to cheat just a little bit. I will do the 10 Things that Make Me Happy and the 5 Things I Love to Do.

And then, I would like to pass on both of these awards to 10 bloggers (instead of 10 and 5). Since I am doing 2 awards to 10 bloggers, I think I am doing more than the rules call for - 20 awards! Is that allowed? Don't know if the 'blog-police' will come after me, but I'll risk it.

And to you bloggers who get the award, you can receive it any way you like. You can just enjoy it, pass it on, follow the 'rules' - or not. No blog-police will come after you. Promise.

So, without further ado...

10 Things that Make Me Happy

10.) I am happy to write the 10 Things that Make Me Happy! I plan to do some 'Top Ten' stuff on my blog up-and-coming, so it is good practice!

9.) My fiancee - he drives me a crazy a good percent of the time, but he makes my life very full and happy.

8.) Finally finding time to go to the gym today

7.) Thinking about Winter Break in 2 weeks!

6.) Our new house - we are so blessed!

5.) My bridal shower this weekend (please pray it doesn't snow!)

4.) Sitting with my nephew watching The Office

3.) has become a new favorite hobby - and the cool people I have met in Blogworld.

2.) My family - they are my support and my rock.

And the number 1 thing that makes me happy is:
1.) My security in Jesus. When all else fails, He never will.

5 Things I Love to Do

5.) Sleep

4.) Sleep ( I love to do it that much)

3.) Listen to worship music

2.) Have meaningful conversations

1.) Travel

Award it to 10 other bloggers

That is the easy, fun part. I have met so many great bloggers here.

1. To Nicolasa at"Low Expectations" - a teacher and a wonderfully authentic and beautiful person.

2. To Kathryn at "Singing in the Rain"- A great sister in God who has a lot of wisdom and a lot of great connections to great resources, too (Did I mention she was great? lol)

3. To Diana at "The Girl Creative" -She is my little sister and to her I owe any and all blogging success! She is the craftiest girl I know and I am so proud of her and her crafty niche. She has over 200 followers! Go, girl!

4. To Paloma at "The Coffee Shop"- A sweet friend who always has an encouraging word and a caring spirit.

5. To Janet at "Out of the Extraordinary" - A genuine, spiritual, honest girl who has given me a lot to think about with her honest posts.

6. To Jen at "After the Alter" - A great writer documenting beyond the wedding day - all things life-related. Always an interesting read!

7. To Jessica at "Adjusting to the World" - Already a good friend and spiritual encouragement!

8. To Kate at "Newlywed and Unemployed" - Always a good read! I have appreciated her straight-forwardness and willing to share her life stories.

9. To Crystal at "Into the Wings" - A true kindred spirit! I have genuinely appreciated her encouragement and dedication to the Lord.

10. To Holly at "504 Main" - A totally hip mom and person, with always something fun and useful and interesting to read!

OK - so, there it is...and I'm passing the love - yours to do what you will. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just Breathe

I actually need to remind myself to do that sometimes. Slow down. Inhale. Now, exhale (sometimes I need to remind myself to do that, too).

It has been a marathon week/weekend. We had midterms last week (for English teachers, it is the week from Satan. Our NYS comprehensive test for juniors is actually a six-hour test. Yes, you heard me right. S.I.X. H.O.U.R.S. Absolutely ridiculous). Anyway, we also closed on our house last week, had to clean out James' apartment and then start moving him into the house.

Phone calls to get the water turned on, the electric turned on, the cable turned on (Optimum-Triple-Play, baby!), the old phone turned off, the oil delivered. Running around to move furniture, shop for furniture, transport furniture...running to the store to get cleaning supplies, extension cords, groceries - and trying to feed ourselves in the process (I am so over take-out!).

Whew! Deep breath - in...out...

Running to church for Christian Education Sunday (I would have been so tempted to skip if not for that! But teachers needed to be there), few more grading of midterms over the weekend, and it was back to work today.

I am s.h.o.t.

The blessings of God to us during this are truly overwhelming - truly - , but you want to know what the sad part is? I keep finding myself saying, "I can't wait until all this is over."

Is that terrible?

This is such an exciting time of my life...really, it is...but it feels overwhelming, feels like a lot. I am trying to savor all of these wonderful things, but I am wondering if I can even keep up. I cross one thing off my mental list, and three others pop up in its place.

So, that's why I need to remind myself to just breathe. In. Out. It is going by so fast, and I don't want to miss it.

Be in the moment. One thing, one step, one breath at a time.

I remember reading a book by John Ortberg [God is Closer Than You Think], and he posed the question (I am paraphrasing and I hope I'm not butchering it):

"What is the greatest moment of your life?"

After such a leading question, he goes on to say that right now, this very moment, is the greatest moment of your life, because it is the only moment you have. That's it. Right now. So, right now is is what I make of it. Will it be great, or will I wish it away? What a waste of a potentially great moment.

So, with all that is up and coming, I am going to try to just breathe. Take each moment as it comes. And try to experience each moment as the greatest moment of my life.

Just breathe. It will be OK. It might even be great.