Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Grateful Month

In my experience, November is a dreary month. The days become shorter, workloads become heavier and the impending holidays begin to build stress before they even arrive. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way in November. This year, I decided to tackle the problem via Twitter: each day I had to post one thing for which I was grateful.

If you follow my Twitter (and occasionally, my Facebook) profile, you probably noticed what I was doing. Some days, it was hard to choose only one thing to appreciate—from my salvation to a sunset, the whole world can seem to be a personal gift just for me sometimes. Other days, of course, it was very difficult to find anything that I enjoyed.

Thankfully, November is almost over and we’re hurtling toward Christmas. My holiday decorations are up and my thankfulness exercise is over. Maybe I’ll do it again next year; maybe you’ll want to try it, too. So here (largely intact) is the complete list of my tweets. I hope you get as much encouragement out of reading them as I did writing them!

This month I was grateful for…
  1. a great orthopedic specialist
  2. the right to vote... something I wouldn't have been allowed to do 100 years ago!
  3. Mountain Dew's caffeinated goodness
  4. my iPod. It makes cleaning so much more enjoyable!
  5. PowerPoint
  6. Fernando!
  7. sunshine
  8. psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19)
  9. whoever invented the caramel macchiato
  10. my awesome girl friends who are totally there for me when I need them <3 you ladies!
  11. our veterans and all my friends who are protecting our country--thanks for doing what I could not!
  12. the Pittsburgh Penguins
  13. my awesome, Gospel-preaching church!
  14. Christmas music
  15. fire drills
  16. a hair stylist who actually knows what she's doing for a change!
  17. my boss's sense of humor ;)
  18. Burn Notice with the boys
  19. online shopping... getting everything set for Christmas!
  20. Saturday mornings when I can sleep in
  21. books--I would be lost without them!
  22. my new winter coat
  23. beautiful sunsets, especially that particularly gorgeous shade of pink
  24. the bagpipes in my soul, even if they do occasionally bring tears to my eyes
  25. my crazy messed up family... it's how I know I belong ;)
  26. endless salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden
  27. SNOW
  28. being able to sleep in my own bed tonight
  29. jazzzzzz
  30. all you wonderful readers of my blog! Especially those of you who give me feedback :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gentle Drooling

This morning at work, I was chatting with a coworker out by the front desk when something terrible happened. A little boy came crawling over to me, then climbed up into my arms. He gave me the cutest baby smile ever and leaned his head on my shoulder, grabbing a fistful of my hair. I didn’t want to ever put him down, but another part of me wanted to drop him and run.

Obviously, I eventually had to put him down. I left the room very quickly after that. I hate it when kids do that to me. They can drool all over me and break my heart at the same time. There’s just something about a happy child that makes me actually hope. Maybe it’s because I remember being as blissfully unaware of the world as they are, or maybe it’s because they may in fact see a better world.

Their innocent trust and joy turns children into warm beacons when I hold them. They make me want children of my own. Not now, of course, but maybe eventually. Still, the moment little Gentle reached up to for help, biology took over and for that instant the mother in me would have done anything to take care of him. His big brown eyes stared right into my soul, devastating me.

Babies remind me of the childlike faith I should have. Growing up can rob us of that precious simplicity, teaching us instead how cruel the world can be so that we build walls to keep it all out. Holding that little boy for a few minutes allowed me glimpse of unspoiled humanity: how we should be, rather than how we are. So, thanks Gentle—for both the encouragement and the drool you left on my sweater.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Epic Idiocy

It’s raining and it’s a Tuesday. According to Taylor Swift, that means something romantic is about to happen! So… yeah, still waiting (although the technically the day isn’t over yet). Taking tragic love advice from Taylor probably isn’t a good idea—possibly fabulous hair advice, but only if you don’t mind being perceived as a dumb blonde.

In honor of all their epically fatal ideas, I’ve compiled a short list of people whose advice you should never take…

Just so the idiots don’t get all the attention today, here are some people who give surprisingly enlightened advice:

Where do you find inspiration in everyday life? It’s important to cultivate relationships with wise friends who know what they’re talking about. Books are great, but a lot of times it takes a person to help us work through their concepts until they’re applicable to the mess of real life. So many times, my friends’ advice has kept me from ending up on the idiot list—thank you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Ain't A Fairytale

For quite some time, I have been in denial about a certain trend in my life, namely, my lack of any romantic success. For every disappointment, I’ve managed to come up with an excuse. It has seemed as though a justification of the failure would preclude it being scored as a Loss—maybe even a Win, or at least a Tie. This excuse-making has reached ridiculous proportions and it is time to end it.

Looking around, I see so many amazing women who are in their 30s, 40s, and up, and are still single. I’m certainly no better than any of them. If these awesome women are still unmarried, what chance do I have? I’m not a princess and this is most definitely not a fairytale. I’m just me. I’m okay with that, even if that means I’ll just be alone. I don’t want to be, but maybe I’m meant to be on my own anyway.

It’s exhausting to always end up overlooked, forgotten and outright rejected. A girl can only take so much failure before she feels like she should just go ahead and remove herself from the gene pool entirely. My self-confidence has been consistently trashed for the past several weeks, months, even years. No more. I am officially quitting. I will not be bitter or cynical (or dabble in lesbianism); I will simply stop dreaming and accept reality.

If the fairytale has come true for you, wonderful! Cherish it, protect it! For myself, I have to stop expecting dreams to come true. I have to stop waking up every day, hoping that day might be the day I’m finally swept off my feet. I need to stop looking out my window for Prince Charming and just go right on being fabulous all by myself. If someone wants me, he’ll have to come find me because I am done waiting for something that might never happen.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Giants in the Land

One of my friends and I were recently talking about the story in Numbers 13-14 when God’s people refused to enter the Promised Land because there were giants there. That conversation has stuck with me and has seemed particularly applicable to my own life lately. “Overwhelmed” doesn’t even begin to describe how I’ve been feeling. In the book of Numbers, only two of the twelve spies said, “come on, we can take these guys!” Everyone else was so scared that they wanted to go back to slavery in Egypt!

Something that has really helped me face the giants in my life has been naming them: Finances, Insecurity, Synovial Chondromatosis, the Detroit Red Wings, etc. Having identified the obstacles, it’s easier for me to deal with them. We all know the name of the most famous giant ever, Goliath. When David had to deal with him, he did so in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.

Having been thoroughly convicted of what I should do with my giants, I have been trying very hard to do it. What I’m discovering is that sometimes, even when you’re trying to do the right thing, things don’t always work out the way you think they should. Elijah definitely experienced this when he went and did according to the word of the LORD… and lived by the brook Cherith… the ravens brought him bread and meat… and he drank from the brook… and THE BROOK DRIED UP!

Both Elijah and I are probably thinking something very similar as we watch our brooks dry up, something along the lines of “SERIOUSLY?!” Now, I realize that I’m mixing my biblical metaphors here, but let me just say that when you’ve determined to fight those giants (come hell or high water!) and your brook dries up, it’s beyond discouraging. I’m not trying to equate myself with Joshua and Caleb, or David, or Elijah, but then again, weren't they just ordinary people with extraordinary faith?

Who says I can’t have awesome faith like theirs, the kind that can move giant mountains? All I am trying to say is that it’s not as easy as it looks on paper. You expect adversity in such a venture, but what you don’t expect is a lack of support. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who has ever had the rug pulled out from under them: Elijah’s brook dried up, David’s brothers didn’t believe in him, and the whole nation told Joshua and Caleb they were crazy—it looks like I’m in good company!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just Do It

Tomorrow is Election Day.

“No, it’s not,” you may say. “It’s only 2010. The next elections aren’t until 2012, assuming the world doesn’t end that year.”

Wrong! The next elections are tomorrow. Would I lie to you?

Tomorrow’s elections are generally referred to as “mid-term,” because they take place about halfway through the current president’s term of office. It’s basically our chance to give him a performance evaluation. Personally, I didn’t think it could get worse than his campaign—I was wrong. I actually liked him better when all I ever heard was “hope” and “change.” In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot of that optimism going around these days.

Hopefully, tomorrow will let Obama and his cohorts know exactly what we think. There are several important races here in Pennsylvania, including a senate seat and the governor’s job. I’m just excited to finally be rid of Fast Eddie! If all goes well, the balance of power in both the House and the Senate will change hands and pave the way for even greater change in 2012.

Maybe you haven’t seen them, but the campaign commercials Obama has been producing about Republicans trying to ruin the country really got me worked up. He wants us to get out and vote for progress? My pleasure! I think it’s horribly inappropriate for a sitting president to publicly slander the opposition party, anyway. A little decorum, please, Mr. President.

Make sure you remember to get to the polls tomorrow! I’ll go on my lunch break, but you can go before work, after work, or whenever… just do it! Maybe you think your vote doesn’t really matter—and it sure won’t if you don’t cast it! Staying home just lets everyone else decide for you. If you don’t vote, you're not allowed to complain about the government. So go vote already!