August 30, 2013

When you get stopped in the middle of the day by a tear.

I have been doing Kat's blog boot camp this week, and I am still needing to watch today's video and go through the homework. It has been good. It has made me think ahead. It has made me look to see where I really am and where I would like to go.

This morning I wrote out my to do list noting which ones were must do's and should do's. I didn't add any could's or don'ts. But things happen, for my day didn't turn out like I thought it would.

I ran errands, checked out parks, and made cup cakes after I picked up the liners.
But I didn't expect for the lone tear to run down my cheek as I read Ann Voskamp's post today. And for such a myriad of reasons. Not all pretty.

Oh, there's the missing of the man, let's face it he's a man, who is so far away.
Or the struggle with the man child who is still here.
I'm grateful for them both, and for the girl who grew into my heart not out of my body.
I'm thankful for the man who walks beside me through changes, and different seasons, and stays.
I'm grateful for the plans of this coming weekend and the next month.
But there's also the envy and frustration and weakness.
The questioning and comparing and doubting.
And those are just ugly but they are there too.

It is in these moments I wonder about everything. All the decisions I have made in this past week of boot camp, was it me just imagining? Did I really hear right? Why can't I be like Mary? Why can't I just trust and move forward? But I have these moments where I am weak and I think it wont make a difference and I realize that no matter what I think, plan, do, or decide I will always be "flying unfinished" as I attempt whatever is before me. I will never actually be *there*.

And if this was you saying it to me do you want to know what I would want to say?

it is okay  

So, now let's all get up from the little pep-talk and remember the day may not end as we planned it but it still ends as it should.

August 29, 2013

The after shot of coffee cups.

Do you remember how I said my next project was this:next project

well, here is the after!!
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Now, it's not that I just want to show my after off to you, I actually learned something doing this project. Or maybe relearned it. When I took all the cups off the shelves and onto the table it was fairly easy to know which ones would stay. I had really worked myself up about it, as had Captain to be quite honest. Well, as much as you can work yourself up about coffee cups. But we had procrastinated taking care of this declutter spot because it overwhelmed us, both logistically and emotionally. But when we actually dug in and did it we spent maybe 10 minutes each, and everything seemed to shout go or stay. So, if you have a project you are putting off, maybe it's not quite as bad as you think. (But even if it is, if you never get started on it, it will never get done!)

Now the sad news. I am out of regular coffee. Shocker, I know. I'm so thankful for the keurig this morning.

August 28, 2013

Defenses need to be in place for all of you.

You are an amazing creature created by God. There is more to you than a single thought, action, or moment. You are multi-faceted in everything about you. So there is no way only one defense system can work for you.

Let me rephrase the above: you are heart, body, soul, and mind and each of these areas needs protection.

August 27, 2013

Another step towards the dream....

012Last Saturday something happened I only once dreamed of. I mentioned to you how I used to imagine I could take care of my family if something happened, but I never took steps to really know how to do such. When I began taekwondo it was not an easy start.

It was the second class, and nothing happened. This is important for you to understand. No one said anything to me, no one looked at me funny, no one did a thing against me. Did I start the class before I was emotionally ready? Possibly. But it was the second time I had shown up, I had just purchased my gis and I was trying to figure out where I should be during the class time. People are allowed to start at any time so there isn't always a beginner class. They work hard to fit us in, and teach us at our level. I had been working with the children, because there were no other white belt adults at that time, but that day they wanted the kids on their own. Please see that for any normal individual there is not a thing wrong with this. What would any other person have done? Gone over to the lower ranking adults and worked with them. Or at least asked someone where I should go.

But here's the thing. My heart was still hurt from not fitting in and being excluded. My mind told me I didn't fit in and I didn't belong. The crazy voices told me I was trying to do something that was beyond me. But I could not leave the building. My son was there for his class, so I had to stay. Instead of moving towards the group of adults I slowly went to the stands. Then I went to the upstairs track and walked. And cried. I tried not to, but I did. For the entire hour.

What was I crying about? Not taekwondo, because nothing happened there. But feelings from the past and heartbreak that wasn't healed that had nothing to do with stances, forms, or kicks. It simply overwhelmed me that day and I couldn't keep it in anymore. The imagined feeling of not fitting in brought back everything when I really didn't.

A friend talked to me at the end of class, and the next time taekwondo rolled around I showed up again in my gis ready to work. I would find out where I was to go and I was determined to not make a mess of me again.

Please know I did. You should have seen me learn how to spar! But that is another story for another time.

1173801_10201270870448277_62288764_n The point is, sometimes when we start new things old things can get in the way. Old heartbreaks and emotions show themselves when you are vulnerable in a new way. It's okay. The point is to not let it hold you down. Get up, and try again. I did, and now I am a blue belt. (Belt rank: white, gold, orange, green, blue, brown 1-4, black 1-10). The blue belt is where I get to start to learn to be an instructor, which also lends itself to teaching self-defense to people. But it only happened because I didn't let my emotional break down set me back.



Oh, and because I have an AMAZING taekwondo family who have pushed me, encouraged me, and supported me all the way!

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Thanks to John and Ron for all the pictures!

August 22, 2013

The self-defense technique you absolutely need to know.

I have learned several self-defense moves in my taekwondo class at KICS. It's part of each belt rank, and I'm so grateful to know them. The thing is, out of all I have learned there is one that I use most often and one that you can learn without ever stepping foot into a self-defense class. That is simply listening to my gut.

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August 21, 2013

A little project done with the mom!

Last week our storm buddies move. Yes, our neighbors relocated to a place they loved and were hoping for, and I'm so glad for them. The last day they were moving items out they let me know that if I wanted anything they left I could take it. I thought that was very sweet of them. I really don't have a lot of room inside the house, so I didn't give it much thought. Then, on my way to taekwondo last Saturday, it hit me: the old wooden bench they left on the side of the house. Oh yes, I wanted that. Captain wasn't too sure, my mom was excited, and on Tuesday we got to work. Here's what the original looked like.

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Mom and I took the entire thing apart. As it was missing most of its screws it didn't take long to have everything laying on the garage floor. Our first item of business was to go to the store and pick up replacement screws, sandpaper/sander, paints, stain, brushes, and rust remover. The first day we sanded and stained the boards and cleaned the iron. Nothing was too hard, or a lot of work, and it was fun doing it with mom. The second day we taped the tarp to the side of the house and painted the iron. Now, I knew I wanted turquoise, and Captain really wasn't sure about that, but I just knew it would look great. Mom was more than generous and great, and as we waited for the paint to dry we put in flowers in the front flower bed. Remember those moss rose I place in spring. They didn't quite make it to the end of Summer. Then, we put it all together screwing everything in place. And here is the final result.

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I don't think I can quite explain how happy this makes me, and how much I smile when I see it, and how often I plan to drink coffee in this spot. The sun is coming up later these days, so even after I write it wont me miserable hot out there. It's lovely. Here's a few shots of how the porch looks and part of my garden area.

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And Captain and youngest both seem to be quite happy with the end results. Now, you should know another project was preempted by this one, and so next week I get to clean out this mess.

next project

WHO needs this many coffee mugs???? Apparently me.

August 20, 2013

Let go of the friendships which will never be

Yesterday I had decided I was going to write this morning about what to do when people don't like you. Every once in a while you cross paths with someone and apparently your vibes don't mix with their vibes regardless of what you have in common, friends you have in common, or how similar you are. I have had this experience a variety of times, one very recently. And sometimes your heart hurts because it seems it shouldn't be that way. You don't understand why even pleasant conversation is avoided and you are ignored. Sometimes you worry about what you may have done to cause them to behave this way. Sometimes you stress over making things right. And of course by "right" I mean that a friendship blossoms and you become bestest of friends with this person forever more.

Then I read something last night which struck my heart right where it was:

compel us
- Mary DeMuth, The Wall Around Your Heart

When I started this book I thought I knew exactly what walls would need to come tumbling, and while those are being dealt with the ones that are most striking to me are the walls I didn't even know were there. I have been angry, tearful, heartbroken, and frustrated over things I have read. Not because I didn't agree with the book, but because they hit me right where I live. But I didn't know I was living there.

In regards to the friendships which never come to be, this is what I suggest my friend: let it be. Be kind. Be loving. Be gentle. Forgive them for not finding you fascinating. But let it be.

I wont lie. I have spent a lot of time wondering why I didn't mesh with other people I thought could have become really good friends. I have ached over it. I have wondered what I did wrong, and how I could have made it better. And while I had learned to let some people go, I had not learned to let the thinking process go. As I said, just recently I felt that way again which was why this topic was even on the agenda for the blog.

But not anymore. I have decided that I will no longer worry why a friendship didn't mesh, but just accept that it didn't. Because while you are focused on what could have been and why it wasn't so and how to make it work, you are missing out on what is and how that can grow.

August 15, 2013

How to stay safe at a conference

In this world and time we go to conferences of whatever type without a second thought. Whether it's business, leisure, personal, or a combination of all three, we fly or drive across the nation to an unfamiliar place to meet with people we may or may not know. And we have a blast.

But I want you to take six small things into consideration the next time you go to a conference. These are things I did, wish I did, or saw to do while I was at Declare. They do not encompass everything you can do to stay safe. And please let me say, the Dallas Marriott where we stayed was a lovely hotel in a nice upscale area. These thoughts do not depend on being in an "unsafe" area, nor do they need fear to do them, but they are simply tips to keep yourself a little safer.

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1. Before you get to the hotel find someone who will agree to be available for a daily check-in. This will remind you there is life outside the conference, and allow those outside the conference to know you are okay. If that phone call doesn't come or isn't answered they will know to call the front desk because you let them know where you were staying and what the number of the hotel is.

2. Have someone you know at the conference you can check in with. I realized if I didn't show up for a meal no one would notice because there were so many people at the conference. Everyone would assume I was eating with someone else. It doesn't have to be a big deal, but especially if you are going to network and meet new people have one person you see each meal, or ever few hours just to say, "HI! I'm alive and learning so much. You?"

3. When you are walking around the rest of the hotel take your name tag off or turn it around. Declare gave us great name tags to wear while we were at the conference. I had hoped they would because my memory isn't what it used to be. However, the guy two doors down from you who you cross in the hall does not need to know your name.

4. Have a regular path between your room and the conference others know about. I failed at this big time. I took the stairs but no one knew until the end of the last day. Every time I stepped into the stairwell it crossed my mind to let someone know but I never did. Thankfully I didn't regret that decision. I should have just stayed with the elevator. Not because it's safer, but because that was the regular mode of transportation.

5. If you are in an elevator and the person who gets in sets alarms off in your head, step out. Do not worry about being polite, do not excuse yourself, do not say a thing. It is better for you to wait for the next elevator than stay in a small box with someone you feel uncomfortable with, no matter how many floors you are traveling.

6.  Become familiar with the location around the hotel before you arrive. The majority of the conference will be within the hotel, but you do have to get there and you may need to go out in the area for a meal or two. Google maps allows you to see the street view and know exactly what things look like. You don't want to get lost or look confused and ask the wrong person for help. Gain as much information as you can so you don't have to ask where a restaurant or gas station is located.

Each conference will have their own agendas, people, and safety precautions. These six are simply a few things you can think about to be smart about where you are. The odds are no one will come to harm, and everything will be fine regardless of what you do. But these six tips require very little work, time or thought in order to make sure you go home safely.

August 14, 2013

God worked on me this past weekend.

There came a moment last weekend... wait. That isn't necessarily true. There came a hundred moments in a time of two days that blended with a gazillion moments that came before which set my heart, changed my mind, and opened my eyes.

Have you ever experienced that? It's not that I was wandering before I went to Declare. Things seemed to be falling in place for me particularly well, actually. But there were still some open gaps, and some mixed thinking, and I really didn't expect that to change after 24 hours. But I underestimated what God can do when we step out.

You see, it truly was stepping out for me. Not just going to the conference but talking to people. I made an effort to talk to lots of people I did not know. I took opportunities which were like climbing Mt. Everest. I know I looked like little girl lost at times, but I was an adventurer, a pilgrim, a scout, and a researcher inside.

What did God do for me at Declare? He positioned me in such a place where:
  • I was allowed to see focus for my writing. He showed me who I could write for here at the blog, how I could continue my study, where it can go in the future, and what topic I could write about more often.
  • I realized that wanting others to read my writing isn't necessarily about fame and fortune. It's more about the fact that God has given me something I want everyone to hear, and so the further my reach the more who can hear it.
  • I was shown that believing in myself can make a difference in the smallest of things, but if I don't believe in what I am saying and what I am doing then why should anyone else.
Oh, it would be easy for me to fall prey to negative thinking and "woe is me" attitude. It IS easy for me to fall prey to that. But having these realizations come straight up against that. When the voice says, "Your writing doesn't make sense" I see the focus. When the voice says "Not enough people read what you write" I know God is in control of the results. When the voice says "You don't matter" I know it's a lie. And this is what God helped firm up for me this past weekend.

I know I still have moments of panic, fear, and feeling unworthy but I'm growing, and those moments are fewer and further between. But this weekend is one I can look back on and know that God grew me in extraordinary ways.

I'm sharing this story over at Declare linking up with them about what God did during the conference. Please go on over and see what others are saying about how God touched them in those 24 hours as well.

August 12, 2013

Conference thoughts for the girl on the edge.

Last weekend I went to my very first blogging conference. I know they have been going on for a few years, but this is the first one I went to for a variety of reasons. I wanted to share my experience, and while it's true it relates only to this conference specifically, I'm betting what I share here is fairly general for all conferences. So, if you don't feel like you quite fit in or belong, but there's a conference you keep thinking about, I'm going to tell you why you should go.

1. If you don't think you should go because you don't know anyone...

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I get this as a legitimate excuse, but it's still an excuse. I knew 2 people well before I went to this conference. I was scared out of my mind and stared at the crowd of people wondering how I was ever going to fit in. Being an introvert and shy on top of that the mixer hour made me want to go back to my room. But I stayed where the people were, and guess what happened!? Someone came up and talked to me. And I had a conversation. Which led to another conversation. And while I didn't know a lot of people before hand, I know a handful better now, and I would have missed out on knowing these girls had I not gone to Declare.

2. If you think your blog doesn't really fit in anywhere...

Friends, I have been blogging for 10 years or so, and I get this. I do. I have floated out here on the peripheral of blogdom for a long time. There is part of me that is okay with that, but when the question came up, "What do you blog about?" it was hard. "Everything under the sun," didn't seem to cut it, so I began listing things instead. Guess what happened!? In the process of my listing, almost every time the listener would stop me on one specific topic, or their eyebrows would lift when I mentioned it, or an entire conversation would come out of it. And they were excited. And I got even more excited. And now I think my blog has more direction coming to it. Not that different of a direction, but more focused. I don't know how long it would have taken me to get to that point had I not gone to Declare.

3. If you think you would rather die than talk to a stranger...

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I get it. Like I said, I'm an introvert with a side helping of shy. It's hard for me. My big step was walking down the sponsor hall and back. No, I didn't talk to anyone the first time, but that was huge for me. By the last free time, however, I knew it was now or never and guess what happened?! Not only did I speak to a few sponsors about their items, and come away with some amazing opportunities, but I also spoke to a few women at the conference I had spoken to online. It was hard. Some went better than others, but I did it, I tried, I spoke, and I didn't die. I felt a little empowered and stronger, and God allowed that to happen because I went to Declare.

4. If you are worried you are going to make a fool of yourself...

This is a hard one. So bare with me....

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There she sat in the large high backed chair and no one was around her. She was checking her phone, so it was an excuse to just say it and move on. I truly began to feel as if I had been stalking her, and I didn't want her to start getting scared of me. So I slowly walked up, pardoned a moment of her time, and began babbling all over myself. I may have drooled. I told her how much I enjoyed her writing, how long I have been reading her blog, mostly lurking, and thanked her for everything she was sharing online and at the conference. While speaking another keynote speaker stepped into the picture and sat at the large high backed chair next to her. I knew it was time to exit, but I just was having problems doing so. "Thanks, I'll go now." I took a step away, and then side stepped back. "I just knew if I didn't say something to you, then it would mean I was a true stalker." As we all laughed, (and guess what happened.....) I curtsied and then walked away.
Did you catch that?? I curtsied in front of Mary Demuth and Jeff Goins. Oh good Lord in heavens, I guess they needed a laugh. I did it as I was leaving so I just kept going, and I heard them laugh behind me and thought, "Well, that's that." I didn't think I would become instant friends with her, I hope I didn't scare her, but I pretty well made a fool of myself and survived. So, whatever you do at the conference you go to, I bet you don't curtsy. So, see, you can't do worse than I have already done at Declare.

5. If you're scared people will group up into friend groups and you will be alone...

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I'm going to be honest with you. THIS WILL HAPPEN. It happens mostly after the conference is done and people don't want to say goodbye. I hung around thinking maybe I could talk with someone then, staying in public spaces long after I wanted to just to try it out, and I didn't talk to anyone. But you know what, that was okay. It really really was. This was time for friends long apart to share that last bit of news, thoughts, and love and I can not take that from them. It would have been awkward had I tried to butt into one of the circles, and I do know my limits. But guess what happened? I went back to my room, and thought about all the wonderful people I met and things I had learned because I went to Declare.

So, I'm not saying go to every conference imaginable. I may only be able to do this one ever, though I hope I can go to this one next year. Who knows, after a year of talking and sharing with people I met there when I go I'll have more necks to comfortably hug as well as get to know even more people. Do you want to go to a conference but feel as if you just aren't in the "in" enough?? Go anyway. The women will help you be brave with their love, God will give you strength, and you will walk away with so much more than you can ever imagine.

August 6, 2013

Dear mama friend,

I just had to drop a note. You have been reading the blogs of mama's with little ones, and you have been watching them encourage each other and support one another. Sometimes you think it's too late, don't you. I understand, because sometimes I think that myself.

They are grown or nearly there. There is no more cuddle on the couch when you watch Sesame Street. You remember Veggie Tales fondly, but it's not the same anymore. You feel as if you are growing out of the role of "mama" but let me tell you something important: you never will.

Yes, life changes and relationships change. You eventually stop changing diapers, helping with homework, making meals, and holding hands while going to the park to swing for hours. But you will do different things you never imagined. Planning weddings, giving advice as they start out on their own, helping them find their first place - and many many more. Our name is the same, our goal is the same, we just go about it differently now.

Sometimes we mourn the fact that our little ones are not so little anymore, even while we know it is as it should be and we wouldn't want it any other way. Sometimes we get caught in the circle of wishing we had done things differently or wishing we had just one more shot to get it right. I understand.

But hear me, mama friend.

You did the best you could when your babes were babes. You loved them and took care of them. You survived and so did they. We all have moments we wish we could do over, but instead of being shamed by them be glad you now see them. Be glad you have grown from that point. Be glad for all the moments still coming where you will react differently because you are not that person anymore. And be glad, my friend, for all the times you have in your heart of hugs, kisses, laughter, time, and peace. Focus on them. Remember them.

No, we are no longer mamas of babes. Our babes are grown or nearly will be. But you will always be a mama. So stop looking back at where we were, and start moving forward into the new stage. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Experience it. And make more memories to store in your heart for another day.
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