Flashback circa 2003

I created my first website in 2003, only to discover it was still OUT THERE this week.  So I decided to do some cut and paste to bring some of those fun reflections into my current media space.  No edits, no alterations:

My New England Adventure

I was jotting down some notes about life and progress and stuff and thought I would pass it along. It is very helpful to journal this way, I just wish I would do it more often. Please let me know how you are doing, especially some of you I haven’t heard from in a while. I’m beginning to think you have evaporated or SOMETHING.

CURRENT TRAVEL PLANS: I fly back to Seattle…Dec 20th Sat night. I’m soooooooooo ready to come back. It’s not the traveling or the hotel rooms or the being away from home. It’s just been a very stressful six weeks. I will be in Seattle: Sunday 21st, Monday 22nd Morning, and then drive down to Portland around noonish…I will be in Portland Tuesday night Dec 23rd for my birthday through Jan 2 (Unless I get sick or tired or stressed beyond measure). It will also depend upon who has time to visit or not and who has time for adventures. BUT MOST DEFINITELY give me a call at any time to talk or get together. ( I will have my cell, as always). I know holidays can be hectic, but I’d really like to connect with more of those of you in Portland that I have not be able to see the last couple of trips down.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE: For work, I have been working with a branch in Cranston, Rhode Island–About 20 minutes South of Providence, Rhode Island and 1 hour south of Boston, Massachusetts. This trip the weather interfered a little here and there. I wasn’t able to make it out to “THE CAPE” (in Massachusetts) as I wanted for the Christmas festivities due to my first ever “Nor’easter”. Then the pouring rain was called a “Sout’easter”, the rain I’m use to. It has been a trip and a half watching things quickly shift from fall/autumn colors to the “DRASTIC SHADES OF WINTER”. But I learned a lot and found New England quite charming on many different levels, but must confess there is A LOT more out here than just Martha Stewart should’s and suppose to’s.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–THANKSGIVING: I did make it to Plymouth Plantation and Plymouth Rock for Thanksgiving day. It was an AMAZING history lesson on the day of Thanksgiving, and I got stuck walking in the middle of a protest by our Native American friends. It’s good to hear the voice of the minority even if its shouting at you through a bull horn and surrounded by dozens of Massachusetts finest ( i.e. Police Officers).

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–BOSTON: My Dad came to visit for that weekend and it was tourist mania. We had dinner at the oldest restaurant–Union Oyster House. Then wandered around Downtown Boston for a while enjoying the lights and the INSANE roads that Boston has right now. Its CRAZY just CRAZY with all the construction down there. Its called THE BIG DIG a 20 yr highway project…What can I say, my Dad is a Discovery Channel nut so he shares with me ALL the knowledge. Also, in Boston we did the Fen way Park Tour which was definitely a Baseball fans dream tour. The absolute pinnacle was my Dad’s trip to the USS Constitution, where we got to go on board of the ship itself and then wander through the museum. Then I made him stay until they shot off the canon at the end of day.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–CONNECTICUT: On the Friday after Thanksgiving we got out of dodge to Connecticut…Mystic Seaport. Which is a great place. A couple of boats, a lighthouse, great little stores of old trades blacksmith, clam shack, time pieces, pub, etc. Course we also found my Dad’s nirvana…The Supermodel shack–Dozens of Tall Ship models put together over hours and hours of some of the most famous ships that have ever sailed. Then the dangerous wandering took place through the gift shop. We hit the all to East Coast FAMOUS “Foxwoods Casino” which definitely would have fit RIGHT in on the Vegas Strip.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–NEWPORT: We rounded out Sunday with a drive down to Newport, Rhode Island the Land of the richie riches–mansions that cost $35-45 just for a walking tour or to even drive through the circle driveway. The coast line is gorgeous, my dad and I got out of the car and wandered around the rocks and watched the waves crash and it was truly AMAZING to watch. I can really see WHY they are so proud of the coast, but I don’t know if I would go so far as to think that Rhode Island should be called “The Ocean State.” Now California, there is a state of 1/2 ocean. So who ever was handing out titles didn’t think too clearly about Rhode Island. The ocean is a blue sea and beautiful waves here in Newport and I can see how that would make me want to have a house here. But until I marry a “Gates, Trump, or Diesel” I won’t be seeing THAT kinda money anywhere but television. We also saw where the America’s Cup enthusiasts wander the streets and where the boats take up miles of space.

THE FOOD AROUND HERE: Every other block is an Italian restaurant almost as common as the Taco Bell’s in the NW. There is lots of seafood, steak, and variety, but Italian was definitely a dominating factor. Their pizza isn’t bad here ( I hate New York Pizza) but I’ve only had a slice or two from “THE PIZZA KING” gotta love the name. Also, there are actually hot dog restaurants you know WHOLE joints dedicated to JUST the sale of hot dogs, not hamburgers AND hot dogs, just hot dogs. It’s similar to how we have teriyaki fast food restaurants where there seems to be a little teriyaki joint in every strip mall. It’s truly amazing.
Did I mention the plague that is Dunkin’ Donuts around here? If I didn’t, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. Imagine all the McDonalds Locations and Starbucks locations in Seattle, you know how frequent they are, how their locations just seem to poke a dot the map? Well that’s how it is here with Dunkin Donuts, Honey Dew Donuts, Krispee Kreme, and Ma/Pa Donut shops…THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. In the Northwest it seems that Donut Shops are a dying breed, that you only go there if you are desperate for a cheap cup of coffee and don’t care about taste OR if you have that random gotta have a donut (Homer Simpson craving) in the middle of the night. NOPE not HERE. In New England and most of the East coast, Dunkin Donuts is rivaling Starbucks for the shear VOLUME of LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Not just the where, but the how many blocks between. I begin to believe that people give out directions based upon how many Dunkin Donuts you pass to get somewhere.
Next food revelation, I have fallen in love with Sushi all over again. I found a place here in Warwick, RI–Haruki Inn–that is just a great Japanese and Sushi restaurant. I’ve had sushi in the past but it either wasn’t fresh or wasn’t a flavor I like or the texture was just eh, no biggie. I am glad its near the hotel because whenever I feel like a certain type of light dinner, the sushi sounds great and always feels good going down and I feel healthy after eating it. Who would have thought that Sushi is a good comfort food.

DATING LIFE: No Comment – But seriously, there is no activity on the dating front. I don’t mean no prospects, I mean No activity. Still asking for direction on the best place to go socialize and meet people in my own age group, with similar ideas on life, and compatible life goals, etc but until I figure that out there won’t be any activity that I forecast.

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Beliefs equal Certainty

I hope I can, I think I can, I hope I can… begins many a conversation with myself when it comes to making changes to my life in a SIGNIFICANT way. While HOPE has often brought me a positive inspiration, I realize only HOPING for something is not a STRONG or COMMITTED as BELIEVING.

Today, this jolted me to attention:

A belief is nothing but an idea with a feeling of certainty…

So what have I felt CERTAIN about in life?  What are those things that I have walked into a room with confidence, clarity, and an UNWAVERING belief I knew, what I knew, what I KNEW?  The first thing that comes to mind is my work.  I have developed a confidence in my ability to train, teach, educate people.  So when asked to present, teach, train, speak in front of a group of people I may get the initial stage fright before the curtain comes up; but I KNOW I can do it and I’m EXCITED TO DO IT.  I know I’ll be good, and I KNOW I’ll enjoy it.

The next memory that rushes to mind is my most confident audition EEEEEEEVER!!! In High School, my senior year, we did Oklahoma! and our Drama teacher showed us the movie prior to the auditions.  It was in that viewing, that I saw the Aunt Eller character and in the core of who I am I said, “That one’s MINE!” And I worked as hard as I knew how to: prepare the audition, study the lines, practice singing, bring my personality into her character, be full of ENERGY, and PROJECT! PROJECT! PROOOOOOJECT!!!  And when I stepped on stage, I was so full of confidence I could touch each corner of the auditory with my voice.  I even forgot a few of the words during the song (Simon Cowell would NOT have been impressed), but I stayed in character and brought to life an aspect of Aunt Eller that the director had not seen in any of the other 8 callback actresses.  It was exhilarating, it was amazing, it was a belief I had developed, nurtured, produced in me so deep that even through my mistakes it didn’t deter my resolve.

Royal Family LogoThen I began to search my life for a more recent example, and I IMMEDIATELY pictured CAMP.  There is a Strange confidence that fills my soul when I think about doing camp and preparing for camp.  The confidence I have in regards to working with the kids.  I KNEW I was going to enjoy them, I KNEW I was going to focus all my efforts on doing it for the kids, I KNEW that this was my niche, strength, skill set, gifting, natural fit (however you want to put it), I BELIEVED: “I got this!”

Now most of the time, I was in constant prayer asking God for help, support, peace, wisdom, words, and ideas for how to survive.  But I don’t worry about Him not answering me.  He always gives me answers at CAMP, I feel his presence there and I am completely confident that success was right there within my grasp.  When the very next moment arrived, I would have the answers I needed. And this is the ONE place I am at peace that EVEN if it’s not perfect it’s not wrong.  Even when conflict arises and I didn’t do things perfectly, its ok because God knew and knows what’s next.  There was the general nervousness about the week, worrying about the new responsibilities (I was responsible for directing the drama) and whether I was gonna do it right, whether people were gonna like it, enjoy it, approve of it; but outside of that part of CAMP, my BELIEF that this would be a success was unwavering.

There truly is a shift in the inner most part of your being when you KNOW you are doing the right thing.  When you BELIEVE you are in the right place at the right time doing what you were created to do.  Insecurity has no place, worry seems to fade away, and negativity just seems absurd.  That is how I feel when I am AT Camp actually doing it.  I don’t just HOPE it will work out, I BELIEVE it will be amazing.  Of course, I work with a FANTASTIC team of people that allows me to flourish in my strengths and experiment with my ideas and support me in my imperfect moments.

So in my struggle with food, weight, exercise, new habits… How can I become certain about anything before I do it?  Need to create certainty for success.  Remembering my past does not equal my future. Actually view the success, feel the success, imagine the success.  What is it like to EXPECT that success?  How would I spend each day KNOWING I will have victory with my eating each day?  How would I feel if I BELIEVED I cannot fail, I am CONFIDENT that I will make good choices for myself to build a healthier life?

Is it Really Worth Getting Annoyed?

Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.  – Prov 12:16

Some days when I don’t know what to read, I go to the chapter in proverbs for the day of the month.  And today as with most days there is confirmed wisdom and subtle reminders of whom to live.  This one seemed to have a lightening bolt attached to it.  A jolting reminder with “Oh yeah!!!” qualities.  There was  a time not so long ago when I hear someone say, “People don’t MAKE you feel miserable, YOU make you feel miserable.” And with RADICAL fervent objection, I argued with myself and God about its truth.  Only to come to the all to startling realization… Yeah that’s true.

Why was I believing other people had the control or influence over me like that?  How was I allowing people to make me FEEL miserable?  And before I had even made it through the first day did I realize it began with the little annoyances.  I would start with the stupid drivers on the way to work, followed by the lazy people I worked with, interrupted by the selfish friends I had, and topped it off by the rude people I lived with.  (HORRIBLE overgeneralizations I agree as well, because life really isn’t that bad and people really aren’t that awful.)  But it was so easy to come to those beliefs just by a few actions that people said, did, expressed, or didn’t do in connection with my world that I would spiral down into a pit of anger and frustration without even blinking.

So what can I do? Surround myself with better people, change my outlook, move to another state to start fresh?  But what if I could CHOOSE to NOT let others frustrate me, not allow the things I don’t like bother me, or not feel people’s actions as an intentional affront to my goals. I didn’t think it was possible, I didn’t think it was changeable, I didn’t believe there was a way I could reprogram my mind and emotions… but I was wrong.

Upon reflection of my life I have noticed: I have changed a lot.  I have grown a lot.  I have overcome a lot.  And there was a huge credit to many people who coached me, taught me, mentored me… but what I have forgotten is that I let them in.  I let them change my way of thinking and operating.  I told myself I could do things differently, I could do things better, I could do things RIGHT.  So even though I may not have known HOW I did it… I did it all the same.

So this time I tried to change my mental thinking: whenever something would irritate me, I would talk myself out of being irritated.  Who knew words from the inside to the inside could be so powerful.  They could have such an effect.  That just telling myself this annoyance wasn’t really annoying me THAT bad, or that in the grand scheme of life what does it matter that I didn’t like how someone did that, or ever What does it matter to me that they are doing it WRONG?  Just to name a few of the mental challenges…

And amazingly enough it was fruitful.  I found my frustrations lessening, my annoyances reducing, and my stress level falling.  So this verse just reminded me that I can choose the way of the prudent and overlook insults.  I can choose the way of the wise and believe I can be changed from the inside out.  There is hope that growth still occurs, change is still possible… this dog can still learn a few tricks.

It’s Just a Summer Camp…

As I continue through my post camp ritual: camp tunes flowing through my mind, tears trickling down my face, and memories flying through my mind of the fastest camp week yet; I already miss my camp family. Their positive expressions, words of encouragement, exceptional focus, hard-working dedication, and accepting nature is something I wish I could take with me every where I go.

As with each day at camp, there are a variety of tasks, goals, missions, activities, issues, and emotions that accompany the schedule that keeps us moving from one day to the next.   But just today it began in a rush, mellowed to a picnic’s pace, sped up to the slide show, stepped through the debrief, and laughed its way through dinner.  As the adrenaline carried me home with thoughts that “Making it a Night on the Town” after dark was an actual possibility; I unloaded the car, organized the essentials, slid into an Epsom salt coma and began the process of coming down.  It never ceases to amaze me the feelings I experience after camp and the never-ending questions that follow as I internally react to every little sound or visual that reminds me of camp.

How does one begin to process the re-entry into every day life?  How does any part of what was left behind seem significant or worthy of attention after a hyper-intensely focused week where nothing mattered but the kids?  The little projects left behind seem unworthy of attention and all music, movie, and tv seem but mere distractions from the internal euphoria that has settled upon my spirit.  I want to keep this feeling, wallow in its peace, drink in its satisfaction of a job completed, a mission accomplished, a ministry well served.

Then the tears begin… over a simple commercial or a sad story line of a show, but I let them flow with no apology.  Something I would normally be embarrassed by, I lean in and embrace.  It is not a sorrowful sob that escapes me with pain and suffering.  Not really certain exactly what it is tied to; but knowing that at this moment a genuine raw emotion is making an appearance.  It is real, it is honest, it is true so I do not want to hide it, squish it, or deny its release.  I know I will return to life, work, boyfriend, and people looking to the future of the next task, next item, next to do; but today it is about reveling in the reality of what has happened.  Allowing myself to feel vulnerable and raw, knowing that these things are not bad, just not normal (for me); it is good.

It is part of God’s design to feel connected to people, to children, to His purposes and plans. To give of yourself, give your all, and then even just a little bit more… can leave an empty space.  So easy is it to feel the NEED to quickly fill that space with distractions (music, tv, food, people) and not just embrace it as a season of letting go; and embrace the peace of knowing the God will be the one to fill it with His love, grace, glory, and joy.  We need but wait on Him in his timing and method.

How do I share with those amazing people how much their example has inspired me and encouraged me?  How do I communicate a trust and loyalty to people I have been in concert with for mere days?  How do I take these experiences and memories and transform them into making me the person I am supposed to be?   Only by seeking God’s truth, His wisdom, His comfort, and His guidance for what lies ahead… For I know the plans I have for you, Says the Lord, plans for good and NOT for destruction. Plans for a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

You are one of the strongest women I know…

Was received as both a compliment and a contradiction quite some time ago. But this statement likes to make a reappearance in my brain from time to time to remind me it was said. To fill my emotions with the security I felt the day it was mentioned. To almost tawnt me into the ring of life with an “are you chicken?” kind of tone. I know there are times I exhibit strength. I know there are times I have been stronger than others. I know I have pushed through certain types of pain that would melt the average individual. But all this pales in comparison to the massive list, I have in my mind of the times I have been anything but strong. Where I have been weak, weaker, the weakest. I give in to what others want, I sacrifice a dream because of fear, I look the other way because I don’t want the hassle, or I am afraid of what people will say or think of my choice.  So in the picture of the tipping scales, most of the time, I do not SEE myself as STRONG. So when I come face to face with one of my battles, I hear the second part of the conversation:

“…Are you going to let THIS define you?  Are you going to let this one thing defeat you?  This is nothing, this is minor, this is such a minute part of life; I cannot believe for an instant you are not strong enough to overcome it, defeat it, master it.” 

And there is was… a statement of BELIEF in who I am as a person.  A statement that reminded me of how much BIGGER and HUGER I have made this whole food, exercise, weight issue in my life.  Why isn’t this as straight forward as every other challenge I have undertaken?  Why has this habit, lifestyle, perspective taken up sacred untouchable territory in my subconscious?

For me it is simple… because I allow it.  I have decided that there are enough excuses, reasons, allowances for me to be this way, eat this way, live this way that it is OK to given in, give up, throw in the towel at a moments amount of pain.  People will understand, its okay, sometimes its just too hard, life just can’t always be won.  Everyone has something they struggle with.  But I must say I am tired of this being MY THING… I am ready for a new challenge.  I am ready for God to reveal to me something ELSE in my character I can master and correct and improve.  So no more excuses, no more permission, no more reasons it is acceptable to give in.

Make decisions now for the outcomes you want later.  So I am making decisions now that will give me the outcome later… In the center of my decision making process is the fear of pain, embarrassment, rejection, humiliation.  And I have determined that it is better to hide behind the physical boundary of weight than to deal with the world without it.  I heal my pain with food, I reward my pleasure center with food, I hide away in my room away from life and activity for fear of the pain mistakes bring, judgement holds, and life distributes.  But that is not the life I want, that is not the life I can have, that is not the life I am meant to experience.

Only one way to change direction… change actions.  It is time to build character, strength training for the soul, kick that belief out of command central of my feelings, and do things that hurt.  Do things that will stretch my heart, mind, & soul to new places.  I’ve tried easy, I’ve tried grace, I’ve tried one step at a time; but now its time to take command of my life.  Tell my inner self it’s time to get in line soldier… because we are going to the high places, we are going to change our name, we are going to do as the Shepherd says because the time of living as Much Afraid is over…

Jr High Revisted… I Dare You!

I don’t know when it started… BUT SOMEWHERE in my life experiences; it became VERY VERY important to me to never let a challenge pass me by. To never back down when presented with an ultimatum, real or imagined. If my mind sensed the slightest inclination of the speaker to say something that I COULD NOT DO (either because I was too young, too old, too weak, too short, a woman, not experienced, etc), it was just as potent as those DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU threats you see in The Christmas Story. Mind you, no one actually said to me in just that way, or probably even meant it, but it is what my inner being HEARD. And when THAT happens, it is like a switch flips in me that begins the adrenaline pumping, vein pounding, attitude shifting determination that throws all other thoughts into minor insignificance.

There were moments while teaching Jr. High, when my resolve was so strong internally when it came to discipline and consequences with my students I felt like an impenetrable fortress. I had my days of caving in like any GOOD teacher would, but I also remember those days of standing with my arms mentally crossed displaying out-and-out defiance refusing to budge from the prescribed consequence for the next rule breaker.

I had such a moment at work the other day that reminded me of my teaching days. A co-worker was attempting to distract me because we did not agree on how I was working on a project. But they made the fatal mistake of saying they could “out annoy” me. It was in that moment I thought of one of my favorite interview answers (usually asked in reference to ability to handle difficult learners or my patience level): “I taught Jr. High, there isn’t much I can’t work through.” And there it was, the attitude of defiance. The dare beneath the surface… So I embraced it as such and tested myself. Could I genuinely out last this person, could I persevere through this juvenile taunting and annoying? And what do you know 2.5hrs later I DID!!! Now don’t get me wrong, this silly two-hour game tested my skills (and my patience) at getting work done despite being distracted, hurt, annoyed, frustrated, bewildered, bothered, etc, etc. But I was determined to not give in, I was determined to not let it stop me from what I was doing.

And just like that, I found something I thought I had lost. I rediscovered a part of me that I have been desperately missing. Although for miraculous reasons, did not realize was gone.  It is a part of me that has always been there, but for some life rationalizing reason, I locked it away hidden. But here it was, like brand new piece of jewelry I forgot I had.  And now that I have found it, it is not leaving my neck for any reason what so ever.  It’s mine and its shiny and I am going to keep it!!!

There it is!!! The Voice inside my Head is…

Is it amazing how one conversation with a Parent can change your ENTIRE perspective on the voices in your head?  I am currently in the never-ending debate between RENT or BUY.  I am not completely out of debt, but I am tired of moving, I am tired of sharing, and I am tired of getting 30-60 notices because someone wants to sell their HOUSE (that I am living in).  So I am kicking around the idea.  There are pros… there are cons… There is going to be money spent EITHER way.  But I started to get excited about the prospect of actually buying something… for ME.  NOW MIND YOU… I did say JUST getting excited about the prospect.  I haven’t looked at anything in person, I haven’t applied for loan approval, I am simply toying around the idea in my head like a young girl shopping for a new dress before the first day of school.  Does it fit? Do I REALLY like this color? Do I have the right shoes to go with it? Does it make my butt look too big?  But I digress….

When I shared just a fraction of a comment with my father about looking at buying a home; and without warning, without fail, without so much as a consideration I get THAT LOOK and those CAUTIONARY words that should seem so harmless, “…a house can be a burden, you have to take care of the yard, you don’t want to have to mow a yard do you? If something breaks your responsible…”   There must have been something on my face or maybe it was the way I started defending the fact that I LIKE MOWING THE LAWN (thanks to Dan’s gift of a faithful lawnmower) and working in the garden (and I Know how to hire a gardener).  When the all too late, but ever so vigilant retraction, “It’s not that I want to be negative….” BUT that’s EXACTLY what he was doing.  Raining on the parade, I wasn’t even HAVING YET!!!

And in the time it took me to drive home, I started to piece together years and years of conversations.  Phrase after Phrase of precautions, warnings, potential pitfalls that swarmed around my brain like pollen in the spring time.  Each and every phrase generating worry, doubt, fear, which then snowball into DISASTER!!! Yes I am a smidge dramatic, but then again so is my brain.  So these little comments that on paper could seem harmless and inconsequential start to completely derail me from a mere idea of something.

This is when I REALIZE… This is where they came from… This is the source of their existence… It is his comments throughout my life that have shaped a certain amount of how I do things almost out of habit.  Here I thought it was just my High – C, practical, fearful personality that was the creator of my cautiousness.  Here in living color and familial discussions, did I discover a significant piece of my WORRY.  I didn’t use to think I worried, I didn’t think I was fearful, I didn’t think I was holding myself back.  But in the last couple years, I have been seeing my life in a new light and there is Fear there I think… Worry… & trust issues.  I thought I was applying practical caution as someone who needs to take into consideration all the options before making a decision-that is going to be wrought with negative out comes anyway-but responsible well thought out decisions none-the-less.

But here it was, for the first time LOUD and CLEAR a part of what is holding me back.  The voice in my head giving me all the things to worry about before I even try.  I have seen the failure before I attempted, I FELT the rejection before I opened my mouth, I experienced the AGONY of defeat without the rewards of beginning the challenge.

So it is in this revelation that I propose a new perspective, a new voice per say: I am stronger than that, I am better than that, I am done lying low, I don’t need to play it safe, I am finished waiting to see, I am ready for a challenge, I can endure anything.  Well, almost anything, after all I don’t want to get my new dress dirty. 😉