Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Changing my tack

At this point it's really becoming silly of me to expect that I can or am able to update this as much as I would like to. I can't tell you how many times I lay in bed and I come up with an entire post in my head but my eyes just won't cooperate to allow me to come to the computer and pound it out. It's frustrating, because I enjoy blogging and also because I usually forget what it was that I wanted to say by the time I do get to the computer, often days later.

But the main reason I don't blog hardly ever anymore: I don't have a desk job anymore. I don't spend hours 'working' at a computer that allows for me to piece a post together over the course of a day. I can't come into the computer/laundry room while Coen is up because he just loves messing with everything in here that he really shouldn't be messing with, especially the keyboard and super-especially after he managed to do some keyboard command that make my screen turn to a sideways view once!

I like sharing my little thoughts, epiphanies and opinions AND I like making them "real" by putting them onto "paper". Ah, well, maybe it's not meant to be. Or maybe, as I have been learning, I have to wriggle within the limits of my current life and so I have to sit down while he's napping to get this done. We'll see if this new tactic works.

Today I want to talk about a funny topic: my faith. To some people I'm sure I seem like some wacky liberal heathen with tattoos and not-so-very Christ-like ways. And that wouldn't be too far off the mark, in a way. But what I am only now beginning to show is what has also been true for a very long time: that I am a Christian who believes in a loving and just God. I was raised in the church and was burdened and blessed by having experienced many different kinds of churches - Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, Nazarene, United Methodist and non-Southern Baptist. It was tricky for the obvious reasons: am I saying trespassed, sinned or debtor in the Lord's Prayer? Some of the core messages would vary wildly; i.e. am I SINNER or am I FORGIVEN? (We're both really, but some denominations focus more on one than the other) It was also awesome because I have gotten such a great chance to pick my own version instead of having been raised only one way and possibly risk feeling obligated to stay in that one denomination.

Anyway, I am becoming more bold in my faith and it's been a pretty amazing journey to get here. Bittersweet, for sure. For much of my young-adulthood (late teens to late 20's) I put God on hold. No, really. In a quiet moment I had a little convo with Him and said, "I do believe in You but I am not going to follow You right now. I'm gonna do what I wanna do and I'll get back to You later." And that's exactly what I did. I was ASTOUNDINGLY selfish during that time. It wasn't that I didn't care about other people, but that I was so stuck in my own desires that it never even occurred to me that my actions and choices might be hurting others.

I was living a life of "better to regret what you've done than what what you didn't do" with the added belief that while I might learn some things the hard way, I wouldn't ever REALLY regret my choices. How silly & stupid youth can be. It's okay though: while I do regret how slow I was to figure some things out and how easily I gave myself away (in more ways than one), I am working on forgiving myself and trying to see the bigger picture of my foibles.

Wait. I shouldn't say "forgiving myself" so nonchalantly. It's real and hard process. Mostly for all of the classic reason why forgiveness is always a challenge: I don't feel I deserve it, I don't know how to do it, I don't know what it's supposed to look like when I'm done, etc. And what about the things I thought I'd forgiven myself for but that still creep into my mind lat eat night and eat away at my sanity and sleep? But see, here's exactly WHY I am beginning to realize that I am precisely where I need to be in my life and all of that has to do with my new "tack" of turning to God in all things!

Here's the BIG POINT that led me to make this post today:

IF I had not had SJS I wouldn't have met Megan Johnson. She received a forwarded mass-email prayer request from a friend who wrote, "this person is in Atlanta - maybe you can help out with this?" To which Megan replied (in thought) "yeah, right! there are 5 million people in metro Atlanta!" And to which that God-voice in her head said, "No, you CAN help with this person." Long story short: she found out we live only 1.1 miles from one another and the hospital I was in was only a quick trip down DeKalb Ave from her house. She came to pray over me in the hospital, she had people at her church pray for me, when I got home they brought us meals, she married Jon and me AND she was my main link into life after I was homebound by driving me to rehab appointments and also bugging/encouraging me to join two different bible study groups that I otherwise wouldn't have even known about and definitely wouldn't have stuck with had it not been for her persistence!

And now I am an active participant in her church's activities like the evening worship service, Last Call (great name, huh? we go out for pizza and beer afterwards!), the Women's Ministry Team, the past two Women's Retreats (which were wonderful experiences) and now Jon and I will be joining Clairmont Presbyterian soon! But wait, there's more! If ALL of those things had not happened, including and especially if I had not gotten sick, I would have probably never gotten to experience so many wonderful people and thing, much less the personal growth that has happened, including learning a HUGE lesson about forgiveness last weekend.

Namely, that Forgiveness and Reconciliation are two different things. Reconciliation is not truly possible without forgiveness but forgiveness can (and should always) happen regardless if reconciliation is possible (or a good idea). This lesson has freed me up for so many new possibilities! I am preparing myself to forgive myself knowing that I am free from the fear and burden of having to reconcile with my "old" self. (Note: I am STILL ME, the me I have always been at my core. I am just a better-edited version now)

This also frees me up to forgive so many other people whose "trespasses" against me, and the pain and resulting disappointment I have had a hard time letting go of, can finally be released. Wow, what relief! This means I can learn from the past hurts but that I don't have to be hung up on the notion that they have to make amends with me before I can move on. I don't have to be stuck in this ridiculous and festering limbo anymore.

So, to get all churchy on ya: if it weren't for God's amazing grace and the forgiveness He's given me despite my so-not-worthiness, I don't believe I'd be able to pass it on to those who may not be worthy in my eyes, but are in Jesus' eyes. Everybody wins! How freaking awesome is that?!?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Totally random things that have been going on in my life as told via copy and pasted FB posts...

...thinks I'm gonna actually do a half marathon (WALK - no running for these poor hips!) in Wisconsin in September to raise SJS awareness and to meet some other SJS survivors! How exciting/scary is that!?

Its probably ignorant bliss, but I probably won't really train beyond my regular walks. Although I should probably at least start tracking distances so I have an idea of what 13.1 miles really means!
I still have my European "we walk everywhere" spirit and I've walked the crap out of some places (Paris, Hamburg, L├╝beck, not to mention my own old stomping grounds of Stuttgart, Bad Canntatt & Asperg, etc. & more recently Atlanta & Savannah)

I've never done any kind of run/walk before. Does that matter? I'm looking at the info page for the 1/2 marathon and it doesn't make a lot of sense to me bc I don't know the lingo.


...has happy news, too: Coen has become a total snuggler, always hugging and kissing me now. For a long time I was "chopped liver" versus Jon who always got a standing ovation for entering the room, but now that Coen's learning that we aren't one combined person (me & Coen), he's seeing how awesome I am and he's showing his appreciation for my amazingness! ;)


...knows some RMWC alumnae won't like me for saying this, but I feel I must: While I understand & appreciate the main reason for boycotting the Reunion, I'm afraid you're not realizing that you're ultimately sabotaging US (& yourself) by forcing people to make a choice (therby a creating a rift) between places & people. I really, sincerely hope you'll reconsider & at least come to the Dell party on Saturday if you can.

It's not that I want to see the old place - I've actually been back already since the change and it was while classes were in session, so I saw the boys "in action" as it were. I want to see y'all's faces.
But, as you said, it your choice (of course) - but I couldn't not say something. It weighs so heavily on my heart.

Actually, there is an organized effort (more than one?) and I've read other people's status updates that use the word boycott, so I don't think I'm putting words into people's mouths.

I completely agree with you, Melissa Belitto. I didn't mean to sound so totally critical of the 'boycotters' - I really do know how they feel because I also am still very wounded by the choice to essentially close the school as we know it and more so by the way in which it was done. I felt they did nothing short of emotional blackmail with all of the threatening mailers they sent. Which, I mentioned directly to the board when I was at the alumna business meeting in Sep '08. (And was thanked for saying by some of the board members - which tells me that the whole proces,s and even those immediately involved in it, was torn and complex)

...will clarify: my comment was only directed towards those who've specifically said they're boycotting it &/or participating in what seem to be multiple "unofficial reunions" taking place that same weekend in Lburg, vs those who can't attend for other reasons. I respect & understand your reasoning but the result is inherently flawed bc it splits us up, missing the whole point of a reunion, which is my ONLY point.


...has wanted to adopt ever since I was a little girl. Now we're blessed with a child of our own & I still wish to do so. I'm starting to research adoption and everything that comes along with it, so I'd love to hear any stories you may have as being either an adopter or an adoptee (are those even the correct terms??). My ears are open!

Thanks everybody for all your support and contacts! Just so no one is getting too excited, we're probably still at least a year away from beginning the actual process. Right now we're just getting the lay of the land :) but all of this is super helpful!

Dear Heidi,
Congratulations on becoming a Mommy! It really is a blessing :)
Please take your time in gathering the info... we're still a ways out from making any major decisions, partly because we do have one child (a 15 month old) and we're just in a phase of looking at our options of how to add to our family.
I have always wanted to adopt, ever since I was a little girl, and that didn't go away, even after we had Coen. I have some minor health issues (bad joints, fibromyalgia, fatigue issues) that made Coen's birth a miracle and how the idea of being pregnant while chasing a toddler is very overwhelming, so that would be another benefit to adopting.
I do feel called to adopt a slightly older child (over a year old but probably not older than 2) and because we want to keep the birth order, we'll have to wait until Coen is a bit older.
Anyway, I really appreciate your offer to help and guide us but don't let me barge in as you settle in with your baby - so take your time!
Thank you,

Thank you for being so concerned - it's definitely not all roses and cakes out there! We do want to keep the birth order with Coen as the oldest and I've already thought about how old he might have to be in order for us to adopt an non-infant and have Coen be able to grasp and appreciate what is going on because this decision affects ALL of us (even other family members like aunts and grandparents). It would be selfish of me to think that Coen will just "get over it." I have watched many episode of the "Adoption Stories" series and other documentaries and the one that stood out to me most was one about a family that already had a son who was probably in his early teens (or just before) when they adopted a only slightly younger boy from Russia. The adopted boy had severe problems that were really putting a HUGE strain on each family member, not least of which was the bio son who said, "he gets all of my mother's attention because he has all these problems. It's like I don't exist!" And I could tell this wasn't just rivalry but real pain. I would never want to do that to Coen (or myself!).
I think we'll probably get a child who is older than 9 months but younger than 2 because I feel the babies can go to Moms who can't have their own. I can take a slightly older child who, as they age, will have less and less opportunity to be adopted. I kind of want to be that person that catches them before they completely fall through the cracks in the system. That's what I feel called to do.