I'll blog more details about the trip later -
but for now here's my weekend in pictures!
Monday, December 24, 2007
I'll blog more details about the trip later -
Friday, December 21, 2007
I'm in a rediculously giddy mood today lol so I'm going to drown my blog in happy videos =) But they're great and make you feel good.. so watch them!!
Love, Joy, Peace & Hope
One of the things in the books I've read that really stands out to me is the power of words. The power of their effect not only on others when spoken by you, but the effect that self spoken words have. I've struggled for as long as I can remember with depression, I've never really persued medical treatment or taken medication. I've gone to therapy here and there, but I've always been one of those people who believed that admitting I didn't have total and complete control over my life and my emotions was the same as admitting failure. And as a perfectionist with a mild case of OCD (obessive compulsive disorder) failure was not an option.
What I've come to realize is that no one is ever completely in control. We like to feel that we are, we like to give the impression to others, and to ourselves that we are, but in reality having everything totally, completely "under control" isn't entirely possible. What we CAN have under control though is our own response.. to the things we do have under control, the things we "think" we have under control, and the things we have absolutely no control over at all. As an intelligent, emotionally motivated human being I CAN control how and even IF I allow things to directly effect myself, my feelings, my mood and my life. There's a section in the book I'm reading now, "Friendship with God", that says that one of the ways to achieve true mastery over life - is to decide HOW you will react to a circumstance BEFORE it occurs.
For someone who's unexplainably more often sad that not, and always wishing she "could feel different" that's earth shattering. If what the speaker is saying in this book is real.. and possible, then everytime I've been sad, upset, hurt, angry, and any other emotion that I've felt as a reaction to something that's occurred in my life or something I felt someone "did" to me, I could have simply CHOSEN to feel another way. I know it's one thing to hear something like that.. you think sure.. that's easier said than done. No one WANTS to be angry, or hurt, or sad.. Everyone would CHOOSE to be happy and joyful all the time if they could... right? I mean wouldn't they?
Crazy as it may sound.. I'm thinking.. no.. more often than not they wouldn't. Why? Well because if we didn't feel hurt and angry when our boyfriend, husband, wife, cheated on us then we wouldn't have any "right" to say mean things to them, or to talk bad about them to our family, or expect other people to not like them because we were angry and hurt. I personally am not guilty of this one example - I went the extreme in the opposite direction actually - I simply accepted that what had happened happened, forgave him and went blindly on for many more months thinking things would work out, but it was the first example that came to mind. Something the key speaker in "Friendship with God" says is that as people, humans, a culture, a society in general we thrive on drama. Any kind of drama. He said this so I'm angry drama. She did that so I'm hurt drama. That friend wasn't there the way I thought they should be, so I'll never forgive them drama. The senarios are endless. And the more I think about it.. entirely too true.
I've always says that I hate drama, I moved 1100 miles away from my family so I could have a nice, quiet, peaceful, drama free life, and for the most part I did. I, like many others had relationship problems, and friendship problems, job problems, money problems, etc. And I got angry, sad, hurt, indignant.. you name it I've felt it. Most of us have. But think about it.. how much simpler would live have been if we'd chosen, instead of getting all riled up about something that happened - we'd stopped, taken stock of what had happened, considered the possible why's, who's, what's, where's etc of the event then said - Ok.. it is what it is, now it was what it is, and I'm moving on. Well that's what I'm deciding to do from here on out. That's my number one New Year's Resolution. Every morning when I get up I will say "I AM happy, I AM full of joy, I AM thankful for my life, my health & my intelligence, I AM BLESSED and I WILL remain that way regardless of what today brings my way." It sounds so rediculously easy doesn't it? To just DECIDE to be happy and full of joy. No Matter What. Well it's exactly what I intend to do.. and I'll let ya know how it goes along the way! =)
The video is something I found this morning while looking for a Christmas ecard I could post on here and my MySpace.. It's very simple and very deep.. and very how I plan to start my new year.. except that I'm not waiting until January 1 to do it... I'm starting Now.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
New Orleans was a blast.. I'm waiting for my mom to e-mail the hundred or so photos I took and I'll write a follow up blog detailing all the interesting stuff we saw, and let me tell you, interesting doesn't even begin to describe some of the things we came across. I hadn't been to New Orleans since I was a small child. My grandparents took my cousin and I to the Audubon Zoo there when I was about 7 or 8. For some reason though I was completely unaware of just what Bourbon Street was all about.. but I'll save that for the My trip to NOLA blog.
I think today is just about the halcyon meanderings of my over stimulated brain. The off switch in the thinking part of my brain.. it's broken. Sunday I was talking to my mom and step-mom about sleep deprivation and they were talking about things they'd taken to help them sleep when they were stressed, or upset, or were for whatever random reason having trouble sleeping. I explained that I'd tried, Ambian, Rozeram (sp?), Lunesta, and about every over the counter sleep aid available with no success. My mom asks, "Is it your mind?". Then she suggested some Xanax or Valium as possible remedies. Gotta love my mom. My brain just never seems to shut off, never stops, never zones off into outer space thinking about absolutely nothing. I lack the ability to enjoy thought nothingness. I've recently begun reading about and practicing meditation before bed. It helps some, but I imagine it will take quite some time and practice before I can get to the level where I can really think about nothing. I'm not giving up hope though!! I will be able to be empty headed!! I'm determined lol. That sounds ridiculous. But trust me, if you've ever suffered from sleep deprivation, empty headedness sounds like a small slice of heaven on earth.
I go to bed usually between 9:30 and 10:30. I usually fall asleep between 11 and 12am. Then I usually wake up around 2, 4, 5:30, and finally I get out of bed at 6:20am. Sometimes I'm lucky and only wake up at 2 and 4. But it's very very rare that I sleep through the night. It's a very draining thing, exhaustion. It makes small things seem much bigger than they are, it makes it hard to concentrate and makes you much more susceptible to being annoyed and agitated by things than you usually would. I'm normally a pretty laid back person who doesn't let most things get to me. Waiting a long time in line at the store - makes most people angry, me.. eh I'll get to the checkout when I get there. Getting irate and talking about how slow and inefficient the checkout clerk is isn't going to get me there any faster and will only raise my blood pressure in the process, so why bother letting it bother me.
But lately I've been in a pretty consistent state of agitatedness. I know that's not a word, cut me some slack. I'm trying to make this interesting here. I'm pretty sure it's a result of the combination and build up of events since my wreck. Spending the holiday alone sucked.. a lot. Riding the bus for the past month.. well while it started out interesting and educational.. I'm over it now. I want my car back. I missed my bus yesterday morning and had to wait for the next bus an hour later. Then when I got to the mall for the connecting bus at 8:45am the sign said the bus I needed to get to my office didn't come till 10am. Grr, Argh, Ugh.. So I called my boss and he had Michael (the tech support guy) come get me.
I'm appreciative that I have the bus to get to and from work, I really am, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for the people who have been riding it for years. It's just not working for me anymore. Standing outside in 32 degree weather for 20-30 mins 4 times a day, then walking a half mile in that same weather wears on you.. FAST. I drove a car in Michigan for 4 winters with no heat. I would literally have to put my feet in front of a space heater when I got to work in the mornings for 10-20 minutes until I could feel my toes. I have a new car now.. WITH heat.. I don't want to be cold again.
Then I feel guilty.. there are people living outside in this weather, with no home, no coat, no job, no so many of the things I'm blessed to have. What right do I have to complain?! I know in my soul that everything that happens in life - however sucky it seems at the time - happens to give you an experience that will benefit you later in life. I just get tired sometimes. Other people seem to have life so easy. Great jobs they love, great husbands or wives, children, wonderfully happy close families. I've always been blessed with the ability to get by, I've always had just enough experience at a previous job to get me into a new job sometimes even in a completely different field and I know that so many things in my life have been blessings that have and are preparing me for some greater purpose. I get that.. I really do. I just wish sometimes I could have an easier purpose that didn't require going through so much stuff to get ready for. I honestly have no idea what my greater purpose is. I've been thinking about that a lot lately.
Neale Donald Walsch wrote a book called "Friendship with God" that I'm reading now. Great book.. I highly recommend it. But in the book Neale talks about how, looking back, he sees that all of the events of his life - the relationship he had with his parents, jobs he had, hardships he endured - all were training and education for the bigger and most important purpose he was intended for. He'd had jobs in radio, journalism, education.. even in a couple of different churches, and when he realized what it was he truly wanted to do, he saw that all of those different jobs and experiences had given him what he needed to accomplish his dreams. So I started thinking about all the things I've been through, all the different kinds of jobs I've had, and I've had more than a few.
I've been a babysitter, clerk at a grocery store, photographer, hair & makeup artist, veterinarian technician, phlebotomist, legal secretary, direct care worker in a group home, waitress, leasing administrator and receptionist. I've worked at a video store, coffee shop, movie theater, women's clothing shop, trained as an emergency responder and disaster relief worker and organized from the ground up the opening of an office for a non-profit organization. To be only 32 I have the experience and skills knowledge of someone almost twice my age. I've done a lot, seen a lot, been a lot. But for the life of me I can't imagine what thing, what goal, what purpose all of those things together add up to.
I know that I love children, I know that I have a heart for the poor and suffering. I know that I LOVE knowledge and educating myself. I know that I love photography and nature and children and animals. I know that I want to go back to school, fall in love again, get married, be a mother, share the things that are important to me with others and make a difference in the world. But I don't like being around people, I suck at socializing and small talk, I wish in the deepest part of my soul that I had a different relationship with my family then feel guilty for being unable to totally love and accept them as they are. Most families have a "black sheep" in them, well I'm the "white sheep" in mine. I'm the only family member who's never drank, smoked, done drugs, or waited until I was older than 16 to have sex. I care about the environment, I try to educate my self and be informed about what's going on in the world and what I can do to help, when something interests me I make an effort to research it and learn what I can. I made the decision to stop eating meat based on research I did, because I wanted to know more about what was best for me, my body and the effect my decisions made on the world around me. I stopped being content to just live in my little bubble and remain oblivious to anything outside the 4 walls of my life. Because of that I don't "fit in". It makes me sad that I feel I need to fit in with my own family, but I guess I should be used to it, I've never been like or felt connected with most of the people in my family. That hasn't changed in 32 years.
I'm adopting in 2 years and am still deciding between Vietnam or Africa as the country I want to adopt first from. Do you want to hear something really sad? I'm afraid to adopt a child from Africa because there are people in my family who are racist and I'm terrified they'd say something even unintentionally that may one day make my child feel uncomfortable. How horrible is it, that that is even a thought I have to entertain in deciding where my child comes from. I wish with every fiber of my being that I had the kind of family that I could count on to be a support group, that would join together with me and rejoice and celebrate me bringing a child into my life from another culture, but that's not the kind of relationship I have with my family. Most of them would say it's my fault, that I distance myself from them, and to an extent they're right, but it's because the majority of my family live lives that involve values and lifestyles that I really don't feel comfortable being around. They don't think like I do.. about life, respecting people's privacy (once you tell one person in my family something everyone knows), caring about how the decisions they make effect the planet and people around them, about anything really. And it's just really hard feeling comfortable when you're the square peg surrounded by a bunch of round holes. Do any of you feel that way? Like you've spent your entire life in a family you have absolutely nothing in common with?
When I was younger it hurt a lot to be so different. I was angry, all the time and at everyone. As I get older it just fills me with a deep sadness that I'll never know the kind of love and closeness and acceptance other people feel with their families. I've gotten a bit closer with my mom as I've gotten older and more forgiving than I was when I was younger, but this weekend I realized that I still and may never have the traditional "mother-daughter" type of relationship with her that I'd like. Saturday night at the company Christmas party we were having dinner and my mom was talking to some people across the table and I looked over and saw everything in her mouth. She was chewing and talking at the same time and I realized that everyone else could see the same thing I saw, and I was embarrassed. I nudged her and said something under my breath about not talking with her mouth full. And in the back of my mind I wondered, how is it that I ended up so incredibly different in every aspect of my being than anyone in my family. My mom is a very friendly, loving outgoing person. She loves to meet people and talk to them and hear about their lives. And apparently having a mouth full of food just wasn't something that occurred to her to let impede her conversation.
I know it's a culture, my family is from the south, the deep south. They are ALL southerners through and through. I'm not, never have been. I don't "do" southern. I like the city, and activity and culture and a somewhat more refined lifestyle. I felt horrible about correcting my mom, yet I couldn't stop myself from doing it. It was like I was outside myself watching myself be mortified that someone my realize my mom had no table manners. And it's not that she doesn't! Most people probably wouldn't have even noticed, but I did. In the book I mentioned earlier it talks about the true meaning of love, and what REAL love is. TRUE love is loving someone with no requirement, without needing anything from them, or expecting anything from them in return for loving them. Real love is allowing someone to be who they are, whoever that is, and in whatever way being who they are occurs. I read this part on the bus on my way home yesterday and it hit me that by chastising my mom about her table manners, I was in essence not allowing her to be who she was. I was not really, truly loving her. Don't get me wrong, I love my mother. It's taken me many years and some emotional therapy sessions to get to where I was able to, but I do love her.
Then I wondered, have I ever really truly loved anyone? Has anyone ever really truly loved me? Someone has always expected something from me, or required something of me. Have any of us ever really truly loved anyone? I don't think most of us even know what really truly loving someone is. Most of us have been shown that in order to be loved, accepted by those we want to be loved and accepted by we have to do or be a certain way. We have to be good obedient children so our parents will love us. We have to excel in school to be someone our parents can be proud of. We need to have a good education and a good job and a spouse and children and nice house and new car to be worth something according to society. Sigh.. It's funny in a not so funny way. I've always been the kind of person who refused to change so I could "fit in". I may not be popular or part of the crowd or have all the friends but I would be me. I never felt the effects of "peer pressure". I never felt the need to do something, anything because everyone else was doing it. And I'm thankful. Being that way has kept me from going through many things that my peers went through. I never experienced problems with drugs or alcohol or being promiscuous. I never got wild and crazy so I could join in the parties and have all the "fun" my classmates and friends were having. I also spent a very lonely isolated childhood.
That isolation and loneliness has followed me throughout my pre-teen, teen and young adult years. It surrounds me even now. Yet I have no idea how to change it, I don't know how to BE anything but who I am. And who I am is the little girl who refused to drink because she remembers her mom having to pick up her pawpaw from behind the convenience store because he was passed out drunk. I am the child who saw that her parents thought spending money on cigarettes and skoal and magazine subscriptions was more important than being aware how much it would have meant to me to have more than 2 pair of shoes for most of my life, what it would have meant to have a class ring, or a dress so I could go to prom, even if I didn't have a date. The girl who was too embarrassed to have friends over because my mom ran around the house in her underwear and paid more attention to her soap operas than me or my siblings. I'm not saying I had bad parents, I just think maybe they didn't know any better. Most people carry their parenting skills down from their experiences of being parented. So maybe they did the best they knew how. It just wasn't the best I needed from them.
I'm going to wrap this up for now.. I know it's not an ideal ending or stopping place but I'm at work and some of this stuff is still pretty hard to talk about... and as much as I like to think I've put it all past me, the fact that it still effects me so much tells me that there are many things in my life that still need to be properly dealt with. I think that is a big reason I decided to start blogging actively.. I don't want to be the parent who passes baggage from their childhood onto their child. I want to be free of the hurts and damage I suffered so I don't inflict the same type of trama on my child. I want to be the best mom I can be. I want to be the mom I always wished I had...
Friday, December 14, 2007
This morning I got on the bus like usual... sat down like usual.. and pulled out my book to begin reading.... like usual.
What occurred next was decidedly UNusual.. at least to me lol.
The seats on the bus are situated in different directions in different areas of the bus. At the front of the bus are a row of 4 seats on each side situated along the sides of the bus. So you're not facing forward but rather sideways facing the people across from you. Right behind those are 2 rows of two seats on either side that ARE facing forwrad. So you're sitting perpendicular to the guy next to you if you're in the last seat on the sideways row. (Just in case someone doesn't know - perpendicular means in the shape of a T or in a shape forming right angles).
So I'm sitting in the last seat in the front row, and there is a man sitting in the outside seat of the first row of forward facing seats. He's probably ehh mid to late 40's maybe early 50's. And he's crunching the heck out of something. He'll pull something out of his pocket - bite it and then set something on the seat next to him. I just assume it's sunflower seeds.. until I keep hearing this really LOUD crunch. So while reading my book I slide my gaze to my right to see what he's putting on the seat next to him. It's PECAN Shells.. the man is cracking pecans WITH HIS TEETH, picking out the nuts then putting the shells on the seat next to him. I think um ew. So I ask the guy a couple of seats next to me (in the other direction) to hand me one of the little plastic white trash bags they keep at the front of the bus. I quietly, without saying anything pass it to the nut cruncher to my right.
Ah boy - I should have just let him keep putting the shells on the seat and hoped some poor sod didn't have the misfortune to sit on a piece of shell with a sharp edge later in the day! Because evidentally handing him a plastic bag translated into "let's chat". I didn't even look at him when I passed the bag rather kept my nose firmly in the pages of my book!
"Hi" he says. "Hello", I reply. "Ju have a husband?", he asks. (Yes that really was the second thing out of his mouth and from the accent I'm assuming he was hispanic, although he looked pretty white to me - who can tell these days?!). "No I'm not married".. "Are ju looking for a husband?". uh... uhh... I smile...uhh..."I'm waiting for the right man", I say, hoping that by bringing my book yet closer to my face I can hint nicely that I'm more interested in reading than chatting.
"Ju have just met him".
I try really hard not to laugh. I mean to totally crack up at the surreality of the moment. Picture this coming, not from a dark, handsome exotic latino like eh Mark Consuelos for example but rather a very balding Ricardo Montalban.
Now picture me back to uhh.. uhhh. smile. uhh..uhhh....
I said something along the lines of I'm waiting for God to bring me the right man for me... to which he replies something.. I dunno.. but I heard in the middle of it that he was waiting for God too.. I finally smiled and buried my nose so far in my book there was no way anyone could have failed to get that I was REALLLLY interested in what I was reading.
So he asks..."Ju like to read a lot eh?". "Yes", I say, ""I've read 3 books in the last 2 weeks". (flip pages in book and appear to concentrate feverishly).
He finally must have realized that I just really wasn't up for an impromto meeting of my future husband.. at least not this particular day and he went back to cracking and crunching his pecans...
I hope he has better luck on his next proposal.. maybe it will be met with slightly better reception and excitement.. who's to say you can't meet the man or woman of your dreams amidst bus smog and pecan shells.
Love and blessings to you all!!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
NEW YORK - One hundred million pennies for your thoughts on the latest display in Rockefeller Center. New York first lady Silda Wall Spitzer joined hundreds of public school children on Monday to unveil a mass of $1 million in pennies collected for charity. The display, called the Penny Harvest Field, includes an estimated 100 million pennies — plus a few nickels, dimes and quarters that slipped in by mistake.
The exhibit, 30 feet by 165 feet, as long as a city block, is the culmination of the nonprofit organization Common Cents' 17th annual Penny Harvest, a national educational program designed to teach children about their value as contributors to society. Hundreds of thousands of city students from more than 800 schools spent the weeks between Oct. 22 and Thanksgiving going door to door and collecting the pennies, which will be donated to organizations of their choice for causes such as protecting the environment and helping the elderly.
The exhibit was designed by architect James Polshek and will be on display in Rockefeller Center, near the famous Christmas tree, through the end of the year.
Monday, December 03, 2007
- I'm a lot stronger and more resourceful that I thought.
- As much as it hurts that I don't have a closer relationship with my family - the relationship I don't have has left me with an overabundance of love to give to the child I'll soon have.
- I'm not reliant on having a car to take care of myself and do the things I need to do - doing things might not be as convenient - but they can be done
- I really do have a passion for photography and seeing the beauty and simplistic complexities so visible in the world if you just LOOK.
- I am NOT a victim of circumstance. Even though things may not always happen the way I think I'd like them to - I can always choose to turn things around and to my benefit.
- I've been wanting for the longest time to get up earlier in the morning to start walking before work but have always been to tired - now I'm used to getting up 40 mins earlier to catch the bus - how coincidental is that.. lol
- The relationship with my friend who always seems to be so damn negative had a purpose - and now that I've realized it's purpose I can move on.
- That the past is truly the past and it's time I let it go. What was "meant to be" was evidentally only "meant to be" for the time it was and something new and better will come along once I wholly and completely LET GO of what I've been holding on to.
- It's ok for people you love to move on and be happy without you. You served a purpose in their life the same way they did in yours. They just realized your purpose sooner than you realized theirs.. it's ok to be happy it didn't work.
- It's ok to love MYSELF - and I shouldn't let what other people say or think effect me or hurt me the way I do. I know my heart - GOD knows my heart and we both know I'm ok just the way I am.
- I have a long history of behavior based on events that have happened to me in my past - and to change that I'm going to have to face those things head on, acknowledge they happened, admit they only have power to hurt me if I let them and MOVE ON to becoming the person I know that I am inside and choose to be.
Some of these things had absolutely nothing to do with my accident directly, yet all of them are realizations I've come to since and as a result of the changes in my life the accident caused. There are many more too, but I know this is already pretty long so I'm going to wrap it up soon..
Last night I went through my phone and deleted all of the numbers of people who had been a part of my life, but who I am no longer in regular contact with as well as people I am in regular contact with but no longer need to be. They all served a purpose and that purpose has been realized. I went on my computer and deleted old pictures I'd kept of my friend with the bad attitude and other friends - memories of the times we had together. Conversations that messenger had autologged - back when I used it.. The pictures - the laughs in the conversations - the love those friendships brought will always be safe in my memory and I no longer need to hold on to physical momentos of those times past.
I've started reading up on meditation and possitive self-affirmations. I taped to my bathroom mirror a piece of paper with the following statements:
I love you. I appreciate you.
I forgive you of any mistakes you have ever made. Today is a NEW day. The past is gone.
I choose to begin anew, better, wiser, kinder than before.
I choose the path of excellence bcause I am unlimited in how wonderful and productive and creative I can be.
I treat others as I want to be treated.
I respect the rights of others, and I choose to respect myself. I am grateful for my life, my health, and my intelligence
On my refrigerator:
Every day and in every way I am getting better and better; I am becoming more and more
I am peace. I am love. I am joy
Health and wealth are my birthright, success my tool, kindness my standard.
I am beautiful and loved RIGHT NOW, for I accept and express the goodness which resides within me.
Every morning when I get up - while I'm making my breakfast I read the ones on the fridge.. while I'm brushing my teeth I read the ones on the bathroom mirror.. and by doing so I'm making the conscious decision to alter my life to fit these statements. We all can be the person we feel we are inside. We all can make the decision right here, right now to STOP letting the past events of our lives - and the present ones effect the life we live, the way we act, the way we think of ourselves.. and the way we react to how others think about us. We can choose to be the very best us we can be. Imagine the greatest version of the grandest vision you can about the person you'd choose to be if you had a choice - THEN CHOOSE TO BE THAT PERSON.
Love and Blessings...