Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fighting for life


When I found out we were having a boy, one of my first thoughts was "OK God, you must have big plans for this one. I have no clue what I'm doing, so this is going to be all you!" 

I thought about what it would be like changing diapers and figuring out how to fix his hair. But I'll also need to consider how I'll teach him to honor and respect women, how to love people who are different than he is, how to behave with police and authorities. All this is vitally important... and incredibly daunting. And I'm tempted to be underwhelmed. But simply by the fact that this responsibility has been assigned to me, I know that God will equip me with the strength that is necessary. 

I will not succumb to fear, even despite the despair and devastation in our world. I will continue to walk in LOVE. I will be bold in my POSITIVITY. I will choose to have FAITH. And I will teach these things, along with many other truths, to my son.

This is how I will fight.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

I'm not an artist

I always wanted to be an artist. I strove to fit my skills and interests into a shape that might even slightly resemble one. But I've finally come to terms with the fact that I'm not an artist.

I'm not a painter. Though I see canvases all around me. 
I'm not a writer. Though I embrace words as a mighty tool.
I'm not a singer or musician or dancer. Though melodies move me every day of my life.

I've tried my hand at each of these arts without finding full satisfaction because I am not an artist.

What I am is a creator.
Painting with splashes of joy to enliven pale environments. 
Drawing with lines of communication to connect disjointed projects and organizations.
Scripting notes with love and encouragement in every situation I can. 
Jotting my signature on the lives of those who have influenced, inspired, and left their marks on me.
Orchestrating artists, experts in their own arts, whose parts combine to turn ideas into meaningful experiences. 
Starting a rhythm for others to contribute their voices to in a collaborative song.
Crafting a life that I am content with today and can be astonished by tomorrow.
Growing a new life that will far exceed my wildest imaginations.

A creator is who I was designed to be, built to be; who I am at my core. 
The Creator is who I am formed in the image of. So it should come as no surprise.

And I can't stop.
I won't stop.
Creating.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Love might be described as an emotion, but it is definitely not JUST an emotion. The emotional feeling of love often stirs us to action. To do things or say things that we might not otherwise. But if love is more than emotion, what stirs us to action when the feeling isn't there? For instance, why does it seem I have to wait until I miss someone or have a sentimental moment before reaching out to them? Love is also a choice. I truly believe that. But why do I only sometimes make the choice to love?

Right now, I'd say 25% of my love output (that is, actions done in love) is prompted by choice and the rest are prompted by feeling. Okay, so what is prompting those feelings that 75% of the time? Random thoughts that spur emotion? Reactions to something perceived? (I saw an old friend and was reminded to feel love for them.)  <== That seems like a big one. But why do I need to be reminded to love? If I'm operating in love, why would I stop?

It's like a being drinking fountain. Someone walks up to me and presses the right button and, in return, I bless them with an out-pouring of love. As soon as they stop pressing that button the love release valve closes and love goes back to being contained until someone else comes up and pushes the button. What a low-level way to operate in love.

Why not this: Why not be more like a lawn sprinkler? You turn on a sprinkler and let it do it's job: which is to water the entire area around it as far is it can reach, indiscriminately. So what would that mean? Anyone who happens to walk by gets showered with love - whether they were looking for it or not. By simply being in proximity, a person will be affected. There's no action needed on their part. They don't need to do or say anything to earn or warrant love. And the sprinkler? The sprinkler doesn't need a reminder nor is it waiting for a trigger. It is always spraying love.

I think this is the better way to love. I want this to be my way. And I won't turn off that sprinkler.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Emotions

I need to write this down and this seemed like a reasonable place to do it.

A couple weeks ago I got really, really sad. There was no direct reason I could point to for that sadness. But there it was. The word Depression had recently become frequently used regarding people that I know and love. And I wondered if I was experiencing it myself.

It was a Saturday. I had a long list of things I needed to accomplish that day (as dictated by me and my Checklist). I'd planned a party at our house for the next day and I had cleaning, cooking and prep work to do. And I didn't want to do any of it. I was frustrated and overwhelmed by everything I had to do. I was angry at myself for being lazy and wanting to shirk my responsibilities. But that didn't change the fact that I didn't want to do any of it, in fact. In fact, I didn't even want to get out of bed. I just wanted to cry. So I did.

I'm so blessed to have a husband, J, who supports and encourages me in everything I do. Even when what I'm doing is crying and not wanting to do anything. He reminded me that it was perfectly okay to cry and to feel that way. He encouraged me to take whatever time I needed to let myself do those things. Then he got up to make breakfast. <3

My sister happened to be spending the night and we were supposed to do some things. I texted her from my bed


She loves me too. :) She came up and we talked about some things that were on my mind. I explained to her my mood and cried some more. Then she told me, nearly word for word, what my husband had said. It was okay to be sad, okay to cry. Okay to not do anything today.

It seemed odd that I needed to be encouraged multiple times that these things are okay. Surely I knew that to be the case. But it was apparent that I had not believed it and allowed it to be true for myself.*

We watched some Steven Universe (I dig that show). And I finally felt up to getting out of bed. It was about 12:30pm. I was still "weepy" and not really ready to face the world.

That world sort of included my sister-in-law B, who lives with us (we're a very hospitable household). She was in the kitchen with J, and I went to great lengths to avoid eye-contact with her. That way I wouldn't have to answer any questions or explain that I didn't know why I was crying. But I realized that couldn't last forever and finally just confessed: So, this is what's up with me today, I'm probably gonna cry and that's pretty much all I know. She said, "Ok. I understand."

It was a huge weight off my shoulder. Now I was completely safe in my home.

However, I had made plans to visit my parents, plus I needed to take my sister back home. So I wouldn't be able to remain in my fortress. I sent a quick text message warn my mom of my mood and made my way into the world - like it was my first time ever.

I was nervous. Afraid that I wouldn't be able to control my emotions and I would start crying at my parents' house with no reason, explanation or excuse. Childhood memories and the stigma around crying flooded my mind and I worried that this would not be received well. But L. reminded me (again) that it was okay. So what if I did cry?

So what if I did cry?

I did cry. 

And it was okay. No one got angry at me. And I ended up having great conversation with my mom.

That night I was exhausted. I had pretty much done nothing by cry. And I was mostly okay with that (not something I would ever have said before). I went to bed early, cried a bit more, cuddled with my husband and fell asleep.

---

Sunday I woke up and managed to get out of bed without too much effort. That was a good sign.

I still felt tired. And I still felt sad. But I didn't feel the uncontrollable urge to cry. There were still a ton of things I was "supposed" to do. I had some motivation. So I picked a few thing that mattered and decided to be okay with not doing the rest. It was a surprisingly easy decision to make.

I went ahead with the party that day. I prepped, cooked, socialized, played hostess, and even enjoyed myself. It's who I am, so that felt nice. And then, I was done with the party. I felt tired and wanted to be alone in a quiet place. The nice thing about our friends (and hosting a party at home) is I could retreat to my room whenever I wanted. So I did. It was the first time I'd allowed myself to leave my own party. And it was perfectly okay.

---

Monday I woke up and had all my motivation, and most of my joy, back.

By Wednesday, I felt mostly back to "normal". It was then that I realized it had been 5 days since I'd last looked at my Checklist. This was the overwhelming list that not only reminded me what prep was needed for my party, but also dictates when I wash my hair and schedule dates with my best friend.  I had started using it for a good reason, but in this moment it dawned on me that the list had become a self-created thing of burden and stress. The thought prompted me to write this tweet: 


But the even bigger realization was that, for nearly a week now, I had not only not been living by that list, I was actually okay with that.

This was huge.
We'll see where I go from here...


Footnote
*The most recent lesson in my #StudyOnLove was that loving people is a way of being, not a checklist of doings. The thought occurred to me that this day was to serve as a lesson in being, as opposed to doing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

So much for the "Honeymoon Phase"

I recently celebrated 4 years of marriage to the best team mate a girl could ask for. Seriously, the amount of love that man pours out to me on a regular basis is simply astounding. In fact, if you spend any amount of time with me, you're likely to hear some story about something J did or said that rocked my world. (I've just got it like that).


Whenever I'm asked how long we've been married, the response I receive is almost always the same: "Oh, you're still newlyweds." Which just makes me think: "At what point do we get to graduate out of Newlywed Stage?" This topic came up during our anniversary camping trip (a tradition I rather enjoy, thank you). We discussed whether newlywed-ness was related to the perceived "Honeymoon Phase". Seasoned couples do tend to downplay the sappy emotions of the newlywed couple as having not yet awoken to reality. Am I right?

Then J, being the science-loving man that he is, broke down for me the chemistry of the "Honeymoon Phase" phenomenon. (Un)Fortunately for you, I can't/won't recall the details, but it involves pheromones, brain activity and the like. It was fascinating, trust me. But as he described these things and how he remembers them playing out for him, I had the thought (out loud), "Yeah, those things didn't really happen to me."

That's when J dropped the bomb, "I honestly think you didn't have a honeymoon phase". Say what?! Are you kidding me? I'm all about this guy! There are so many things that I ignore instead of being annoyed at - isn't that the definition of Honeymoon Phase? But when I thought about it, I quickly realized he was right. There wasn't a fantasy-like high that I would inevitably come down from. Leave it to me to be the one to just bypass the "norm." And you know, I'm okay with that.

So what do you call the stage after the Honeymoon Phase?... Wait, isn't that just Marriage? Then here's to marriage!

*Choose your own adventure*
<3 R.

Friday, August 15, 2014

GISHWHES Day 6: Run this town tonight

Thursday, August 7, 2014

If I thought Tuesday was busy, I certainly wasn't prepared for Thursday.

Thursday is the day I was to sing:
Have the proprietor of a crowded sports bar turn off all the televisions. Then, you must serenade the patrons with a song accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The video must show the proprietor turning off the TVs, and the patrons’ reactions as you (and a friend if you wish) sing the song. (30 sec edited)
Although I still needed an acoustic accompaniment...




But first! Jenny had gotten me artwork for the finished adoption posters for Bear and it was time to hang them.






















Here's to hoping he gets a home soon!

Today was also the day to record this:
Let's hear "Carry on My Wayward Son" on a giant pipe organ (antique preferred) in a cathedral or church, played by someone wearing a sock monkey hat. (30 sec)
My new friend Ryan of Burien School of Music would be handling that one for me. Here's how that went.




With that done, I needed a cat...

Food trucks are all the rage, but I think they tend to be a bit speciesist. Get a food truck to sell cat food. It must be on the menu and we must see a cat placing the order.
Well, I'd managed (quite easily, actually) to get a food truck to agree to add cat food to the menu, I just needed a cat that could leave that didn't have agoraphobia or any other crazy social issues... Damn those GISHWHES creators!! Finally, I had a willing cat. Then this happened:



Thanks Amy for playing along!

Next up! To the art gallery where the good folks over at Burien Arts Association agreed to let Jenny's masterpiece be a part of the opening reception of their August show.


The result? One patron who was kind enough to let me record him gave a serious discourse about the piece.




I then hightailed it over to 913 The Place Next Door, where I had a date with a table and a bar crowd. (Huge thank you to Tristan, for accompanying me on short notice and to Ryan for suggesting him)



(If enough people express a desire to see the whole thing, I'll clean up that video and post it).

And just in case that wasn't enough, the most epic event of the evening was yet to come...

Find an object that you’re holding onto for all the wrong reasons. Destroy it mightily.
Jenny, you are my hero.
Is that a Phantom of the Opera mask?
Why yes, it is.
Did I say epic?























I think that's all this day could handle!

Stay tuned for Day 7... the Final Day!

Read the first post of the series GISHWHES: The craziest week of my life

Thursday, August 14, 2014

GISHWHES Day 5: An epic climb

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The thing about GISHWHES is that some of the tasks, just aren't possible for every team. Case in point:
Table Mountain, South Africa; Mount Snowdon Wales; Mount Sinai, Egypt; Mt. Fuji, Japan; and Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania are epic peaks. Climb one of them. You must submit two images side by side, one of you in front of the mountain, and the second, with you at the summit, wearing the same clothes, holding up a sign that says: "Everything is easy when you GISHWHES!" (2 img side by side)
Granted, not all of the HaveSaltWillTravel team lives in the state of Washington, but we do all live in the United States - and none of us were currently visiting any of the countries with these epic peaks. One teammate had a friend who was vacationing in Fuji... but who knew whether that friend could - let alone would - climb the mountain for us. What I did know is I hike mountain trails. And I have a Mt. Si nearby (in case you didn't know, the Northwest has it all). :)


So at 8am, I was at the base of my own epic peak. (Perhaps the judges won't notice...)


At the base of Mt. Si(nai)
At the peak, 3 hours later





















Not bad, if I do say so myself.




On my way up the mountain, a friend I'd left a message with returned my call and gave me permission to borrow his sasquatch. More on that later...


Stay tuned for day 6...

Read the first post of the series GISHWHES: The craziest week of my life