July 30, 2013

You will always need this kind of defense in the world.

The book of Ephesians is a great discourse on how we should live in this world. Paul speaks about who we are to become, unity with other believers from different backgrounds, unity in our every day life, and from where the power to live this way comes. I focused on the verses found in 6:10-18 for my recent belt test and thought I would share with you what I dug from those verses.

 photo battles.jpg

July 23, 2013

Whose pace should we go by?

John 1:16
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Philippians 1:6
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

grace upon grace

We walked towards the park, him a thousand steps behind me. With each step we took the distance seemed to grow, as did my anger. My thoughts swirled around my head. I knew it was early, I knew he had just woken, but why did he push my buttons in such a way? Why must he insist on falling so far behind?

That was the little scenario that happened right before figurative lightning struck me from the sky. It seems I learn much during our walks. Not necessarily about him, but about myself.

I was pushing him hard. I walk fast anyway, and he wasn't fully awake yet. Why was I so against slowing down to his pace? Wouldn't that be showing love and kindness toward him? Was I so focused on getting exactly what I wanted that I would miss out on something else?

I did end up slowing down, and allowed him to set the pace from that point on. We continued to walk in silence, but my mind whirled with thoughts. I realized that so often I expect certain things from people, but they may just not be there yet. Sometimes I do it to myself as well. Why wasn't I ready to start selling my craft a year ago? Why can't I get in front of people and speak without feeling as if I need to throw up? I beat myself up all the time, and I do it to others as well. Not with my words, or actions, but my attitudes. It can be just as devastating.

As we continued around the park and headed back home he started taking notice of the birds, turtles, squirrels, sky, and he joked around a little and talked some. His pace quickened on the last mile home and I had a hard time keeping up with him. Not because I pushed him, or pulled him, or gave him dirty looks or said ugly things. Simply because he was ready to move quicker.

I gave him the space to grow in his own time and he did it.

Some things seem more urgent than a walking pace, but I have to wonder: how often do I cause more problems with my attitude and anger over unmet expectations? Maybe walking with someone, regardless of the situation, is better than getting angry because they aren't where I think they should be. Maybe love and support help a person along faster than anger and frustration. It seems to me it would.

So, I'm learning what it means to give others and myself grace upon grace, which has already come to us through Christ. And I'm remembering that it is God who works through each of us, not me. And I'm realizing that when I allow space for God to work, I'm a much happier person enjoying her life more than I ever thought I would be if they just "straightened up."

July 22, 2013

The embers from the fire, and how it's being blown into more of a flame.

So, when my non-incident occurred a fire was lit under my feet. I pushed the fire, and blew on it a little, and out came my blog series on self-defense, but I had changed the fire a little to do that series. Well, maybe only a little. You see, the fire that lit inside me when I was driving home with tears down my face was that I didn't want anyone ever to have to not be able to drive home. I knew that many people don't have non-incidents. Many have incidents.

The New York Times reported in December, 2011:
Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by an intimate partner. One in six women have been stalked, according to the report.
They were quoting from a government report titled the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey. But think about what it says for a moment. One in five women have been raped or experienced an attempted rape from someone they knew. Not in a year. Those women you love who are around you on a regular basis. Odds are 1 in 5 have had an incident in their life such as this. Sobering isn't it? And then there are those who have had a life time of this in being trafficked. It's heart breaking. And the victims aren't just females.

So, what can we do? What can I do? On the surface, not very much. I'm just a girl, wanting things to be different. And for a long time I would freeze when I thought about the battle that is out there, not even daring to talk about the embers of the fire. And then I saw the video of Jeanne and Melody speaking, where at the end they talk about human trafficking, and what Melody is doing. (You may have to register, but it and this video are free.) I didn't write Melody's words down, but what she said made such a difference for me. In summary, she stated that she was doing what she can to help the girls who have come out of the sex trade. She's encouraging them, and helping them in the ways she can. She doesn't help people escape from human trafficking because that's not what she can do, it's too dangerous. But there are others out there doing that. Her work is to help the girls not want to go back to it by giving them a legitimate way of making money, and helping them realize they are worth so much more than what they were led to believe.

And this is when it struck me. That fire that was lit so many months ago flared a little. The embers which secretly burned and I didn't speak about. What if we fought the battle on THIS SIDE of the war? What if we taught girls and boys their value, how to defend themselves, why it's important to do so, and how much they are truly loved? What if we gave them a reason to never ever believe the liars and thieves and cruel people who want to do nothing but use them?

Is it overwhelming? Yes! This battle is huge. But what if we all did what we could in our small little circle? Because even if a person doesn't fall prey to human trafficking, they may fall prey to evil people in their own lives.

So, this is my heart and my fire. And I don't know where it will go, or what all I can really do. But through this blog, my facebook page, and in my life as situations arise, my goal is to help us from falling victim as much as possible. My heart wants us to be stronger emotionally, spiritually, and physically. My goal is to look for ways to make that happen.

July 19, 2013

Sometimes it's more

When I woke him up he barely opened his eyes at first. I stood there looking at him expectantly, and when he remembered what I needed that morning he smiled. It was such a relief. Asking a favor, especially one which takes a person out of their normal routine, can be so difficult for me. His response helped me know that it was not a hardship, even if he was awake two hours early.

We climbed in the car and headed out to a nearby park. I liked my idea, but the carry through can be so hard sometimes. I told him I wanted him to have some creative license as well, after I told him how I envisioned things. I hoped he saw my belief in him and his ability. I hoped it would burrow deep in his heart because I knew he would do a good job. I wanted him to know it. I also told him I wished people weren't around, but the park was relatively quiet and we went to the area that didn't have a walking track near it. That helped.

We stayed within a smaller area than I thought we would, but different points of view gave different scenes, and that was the goal. Similar, but different. He took so many shots which allowed one good picture per item. I wanted to show scale. I wanted to allow people to see it worn. He did an awesome job helping me, encouraging me, and being there with me.

022preview

It's moments like these when relationships grow. When you think, this is my son of course we have a good relationship, but then you learn you can trust him in a new small way. With the camera, taking a picture, to help me out. And I was grateful I had the experience with him helping me. I'm grateful it was about more than just pictures.

July 12, 2013

Adjusting the belief in my goal

We had our self-defense class at church again. I didn't talk it up so much this time, honestly, because (1) I forgot about it and (2) I wasn't sure if I was going to go. At first I thought I might be busy that night, because I forgot, but it turned out the night was free. But then... I still had to decide to go.

You know what ran through my brain? The last class. Yes, where I taught the kiddos, and stumbled over myself, and was saved SAVED by the other instructors/members of KICS who swooped in and caught me when I was going down. I didn't want to do that again. I figured if I stayed home I wouldn't have to worry about it. But then... what about my goals?

I desperately want others to learn how to take care of themselves. I want to share what I am learning, and have others learn it. I want to help people be stronger, believe in themselves, and learn they are worth saving. And so I went to the class.

I didn't have to teach a large group, and, friends, that is huge. Instead I was part of the group on the adult side. When Mister Boozer paired everyone up, I helped one of the pairs, so it was basically one on one. When will I learn that this is how I do well? I still felt like throwing up right at first, but once I moved past that it went much better. I was able to help the two teenish aged girls I was working with in learning the techniques, understanding it's not about power, and stressed how important it was to be able to take care of themselves.

I was one of the first to leave and head to the car, of course, but on my way home I really thought about the class, how it went, and how I did. Now, I didn't get feedback from anyone, and I know I still have a lot to learn (I'm not even instructor level at class yet) but I saw some strong points that I could stand on, and some weak points which can grow more. But the important part for me, which was exciting, was understanding that the fire for this goal isn't quite as out as I thought it was. I'm feeling as if I can redress the topic again, and look at it with new eyes, and see what happens.

July 10, 2013

Adjusting the focus of my goals

I have always been sincere regarding wanting to live a life of gratitude. I have always grown frustrated when trying to make my list, trying to remember, trying to keep count. You see, I realized something within the past few weeks while my calendar sat quiet, even on the good days: it's not that I don't give enough attention to that for which I am grateful. Rather, I give too much attention to that which breaks my heart.

Pain is like the squeaky wheel, and we go through life trying to ignore it. But just like the squeaky wheel there comes a time where we just have to deal with it or explode. Too often we actually explode instead.

Monday I spoke about a physical pain I am having, but today I need to share about my heart.

feelit

McCall Erickson shared this on her facebook, as you can see, July 4th. You can also see my response to it as I shared it with my friends. Here's the thing, I KNOW if I move through the pain, fear, etc. that I will get through it. I also KNOW that if I ignore said pain, fear, etc. that it will stick with me. But I continually try to simply ignore it and hope it goes away. Unfortunately it doesn't. In fact, if I get quiet around here it's generally because I'm dealing with something and I don't want to get messy all over this space.

It's not that I don't want to live vulnerable or wholehearted, I think you know I do. But I don't want to say something out of anger, hurt, or fear that I would regret. I don't want to put something here that would possible cause hurt to someone else. I have done that before, don't get me wrong, but that's why I know I don't want to do it again.

Lately I have been mulling over some relationship issues which cause me great pain. My first reaction is to ignore it completely and pretend that it doesn't really bother me. After all, I am in the position of understanding that it doesn't matter to the other people, so why should I let it bother me? But here's the thing: it does. It so does.

After having to explain a certain relationship I began to wish I could make things better. I was wishing I could say the magic words and all would be well. But the problem is I don't live in Candy Land, nor Fairy World, and I am left with the reality of the relationship, which is as I explained it to the person I was talking. And it hurts. I don't fully understand why people make the choices they do sometimes. Sometimes I can come up with imaginings of why the choices are made, but there is no way for me to fix them. But I spend time considering, pondering, wishing, and wanting different when it simply wont ever happen that way.

Then after a few days have passed I finally break down, pull out my journal or get on my knees, and pour my heart out. I shed more tears, but healing rather than hurting. I take deep breathes which help me push through. I feel the pain, acknowledge it, and know that it is what it is, but I am what I am, and the two aren't the same.

Then, once I have embraced it, and dealt with it, I can release it and be able to get back to the gratitude.

You see, when I'm in the middle of ignoring what hurts it is ALL I CAN SEE. I want to see the birds, squirrels, and hear the laughter, but the pain is so loud and the hurt is all I feel. Until I can deal with it everything else is blocked out.

And so, I have realized that I have been giving too much time, attention, and myself to the things which bring me pain and hurt. So, it's time to deal with them, feel them, and then move on. It's not easy, but it is doable. And then I'll be able to focus on what I really want to focus on in this life.

July 9, 2013

An afternoon thinking and doing

I sat with the yarn flowing through my fingers as youngest sat in a chair reading. The quiet through the house allowed us to hear trains in the distance, chimes on the porch, and birds in the trees. I was counting stitches and considering the day when he asked me what was wrong.

"Nothing." I replied laughingly, "Why do you ask?"

He went on to explain I was making a multitude of faces while I crocheted and he didn't think it was because of the yarn I was dealing with.

"No, I guess not. I was thinking about dinner, and lemon bars, when Manda might get home, when your father would get home, the relationship between two people I worry about, the pattern I was using, your brother, laundry, the dog's nails, how momma is doing, what May is doing, and the book I got from the library."

He laughed and said he now understood the faces I was making.

I smiled and decided to give my brain and fingers a break. Getting up I moved to the kitchen and began taking out the ingredients needed for that night's dinner.

close yarn

July 2, 2013

The Competition

I saw her as people were starting to trickle in. She was on the other side of the gym practicing for the competition that would come within the hour. I was part of the same competition, different division, but I didn't practice. I was too nervous and worried about what others would think. Instead I sat with my friends and watched her as she went through the movements.

Her ear buds were in, and I would have liked to have known what type of music she played, as if it were some talisman to doing the forms well. Her kicks were high and balanced, her stances were low and defined. There was no hurry in her movements. Her punches and strikes were solid. I sat amazed as I watched her practice, and it came to no surprise to me that she won first in her division.

When we cross paths with people like this in whatever we do we have choices to make. My first reaction was one of inspiration. I wanted to do my forms as well as she did hers. Of course, when I got up there for my turn it didn't go so well. I took average scores home, and that made sense to me. I was nervous, scared, hated being in the spotlight, and I can't honestly tell you what I did. After the fact I considered maybe taekwondo simply isn't for me. I will never be like this girl who performed in such an outstanding manner, and I am starting way too old. But now I have fallen back into the middle ground. I may never be like her, but she isn't why I began this journey anyway. I started it because I wanted to do it, but I know I can do it better if I train and put my mind to it.

can do it

I've had to come to the same realization with everything I do. There will always be people out there who will be inspirational to me. They do what they do with finesse and talent, after a lot of hard work and practice I'm sure, but it has gone well for them. Simply because I am starting later at something, or not to their level, doesn't mean I should give up and quit, which at times I feel I should do. It's a choice, and a matter of determination and perseverance, and I may never get to where they are, but I will do the best that I can.

Be it taekwondo, writing, motherhood, creativity, running, cooking... whatever. We can't turn everything into a competition with others. There will always be someone bigger, better, and stronger. We can give it all we have and sometimes, when we are honest, we know that's more than we are currently giving. I walked away with two first place trophies from the competition. That's because I was the only person in my division. I can say, however, that I probably deserved one, and should have done better do deserve the other. There's my competition, there's my inspiration.

July 1, 2013

Before and After (in words)

I'm not sure how to explain it, to be honest. Thursday I finished the book and felt like I was on a high when I accomplished the cleaning and decluttering for that day. I literally giggled whenever I would walk by a finished area. Friday I had help, finished everything else (pictures in the post below), and then hit a crash head on. I wasn't depressed, but I just didn't feel... right. I'm simply not sure what happened. But I have to be honest with you. All those before and after pictures: most of them were the easy way out. I still have:
  • a mantel chock full of items
  • dresses I will never wear again
  • an attic full of old school work
  • stacked yearbooks in my closet
Those are just off the top of my head. Items I skipped, chose to ignore, or simply put off until later. The thing is, I really do not want to procrastinate, but some of these things are WAY harder than I thought they would be. Way harder.

decision making skills

The baby items I had left over from the boys had been put in sweet heart shaped boxes I decorated, lined, and then stuck on my top shelf. I didn't look at them, at all. Then my mother decluttered and I got to own my OWN pair of baby shoes. I didn't want to pass the shoes on to the boys, because really they wont use them with their own children, so I tossed those items. I did keep the blankets I made for each, and their favorite small stuffed animal, put them in a space bag oldest left, and now that is on my top shelf. Much smaller, and will be handed down to be used. I got rid of my own baby shoes as well.

Oh, I still have all the board games too. I straightened them up and made them look neater, but I will either get youngest to go through them with me, or I will wait until next year after he leaves and go through them myself. And I'll wait to get rid of the school work in the attic then as well.

A lot of what I did was moving things around. I did get rid of quite a bit of stuff though, but maybe the reason for the crash is I don't feel like I got rid of that much. The bookshelves in the dining room are now in oldest's room. He had a shelving unit which is now in the garage where I put much of what was in the storage utility closet. I got rid of some of the extra towels I had, and several blankets which I had not used in so very long. I got rid of a lot of crafting items, or combined them, and those storage boxes are now holding oldest's items which will stay here until he returns.

Take the U out of Clutter

I think the idea behind the book is really good. Yes, there are areas that get cluttered and messy because I am lazy and procrastinate. Those are the easy things to take care of. The ones with stories really need more time, at least for me. But then, we already admitted I was the emotional one. If you have issues with clutter and know you need help tackling them, regardless of how small or big the issues and clutter seems, pick the book up. I got it at the library, so it doesn't have to cost you a thing.

Before and After (In pictures)

My desk/table
my table my table
Under and beside the table
Under and next to my table Under and next to my table
Art bookshelves and corner
art bookshelf and corner art bookshelf and corner
Under the printer
under the printer under the printer
Clutter corner
clutter corner clutter corner
My shoes (now in the bin under the chair in the after picture)
shoes in front of my dresser shoes in front of dresser (no more)
Chair in my room
chair in my bedroom chair in bedroom
Bin in the closet
bin in the middle of the closet bin in the middle of the closet
Floor of my side of the closet
bottom of my side of the closet bottom of my side of the closet
Top of my side of the closet
top of my side of the closet top of my side of the closet
Storage bin in the bedroom
the storage chest in my room the storage chest in my room
My table in the family room
my table my table in family room
Under the stereo
under the stereo under the stereo
Linen closet
linen closet linen closet
The main catch all for the house
The main catch all to the house the main catch all to the house
What you see when you come in from the garage
What you see as soon as you walk in the house from the garage What you see as soon as you come in from the garage
Bottom of the storage utility closet
the bottom of the utility storage bottom of the utility storage closet
Top of the storage utility closet
top of utility closet top of utility storage closet
Bottom shelves of the storage utility closet
bottom shelves of utility closet bottom shelves of utility storage closet
Bottom of the coat closet
Bottom of hall closet bottom of hall closet
Top of the coat closet
Top of hall closet. top of hall closet
Shelves in the dining room
Lower shelf in the dining room shleves in dining room gone
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