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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

(With thanks and apologies to Tina Turner for the title.  J)

The last couple of coaching conversations with Coach Jim have centered around revisiting/revamping/revising/reworking my goals.

When I started a year or so ago I had three goals originally and fairly quickly added a fourth.

The first three were pretty basic—one relates to my health, one relates to being more of an optimist (though I don’t really use the word optimist to describe myself—I told Jim it felt a little like calling myself a Republican—it just felt like something that would never be true!  ;-)), the third one relates to my emotions.

As it had been many moons since I had really looked at my goals they were probably over-due for some revisions.  I’ve made a number of changes in the past year and have progressed to the point where the goals as written weren’t really “big” enough for what I now want to do.

It was nice being able to go in and tweak them as needed!  It helped me see I have indeed made progress.  Who knew??  (Well…..I suppose everyone close to me knew…..I was probably the only one holding onto an old picture of myself.  LOL!)

The fourth goal kinda stumped me.  It originally read:

“I perceive myself as positively as others see me.  I am comfortable with myself and my emotions.  I allow myself to be vulnerable when appropriate and allow others to serve me or take care of me when necessary.”

A year ago it was a huge struggle for me to put even that much into writing.  It felt like a huge leap. 

I see it from a different perspective now.  It seems overly restrictive.  It seems somehow limiting.  It seems….well…it seems small.

While I haven’t achieved (for lack of a better word) this goal—oh heck no, I’m still far from it — I want more.  I’m not satisfied with that as my goal—I want something more all encompassing.

You know how from Einstein forward physicists (or at least some physicists) have been working to develop a unified field theory?  (You don’t?  Well check this out.  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/everything.html)  They are searching for a single theory to tie two incredibly diverse fields/areas/whatevers of physics together.  They are searching for something bigger.  (Which, if you believe string theory may be an answer, ironically turns out to be something super small.  J)

I found myself wanting something similar.  No….not a string!  One unifying goal.  One goal for the big picture.  One goal that the other, more specific, goals fall under.  Something to tie everything together with a nice bright piece of ribbon—or string if you care to stay with the physics analogy.  Grin!

And I couldn’t quite come up with anything.  Actively thinking about it didn’t give me visible progress.  Letting it “stew” in the back of my mind was equally unproductive.  Trying to write about it produced lots of blank space on the page.

Hey!  I know!  I’ll talk with Coach Jim about it!  Cool…….maybe an actual out-loud conversation will help my brain find what I’m looking for. 

So I did.

Almost two weeks later I still don’t have my fourth goal fully developed.  AND I’m perfectly okay with that.  Talking with Jim helped me find the direction I want to go with my “unifying” goal.

As you can probably see from the original fourth goal, I don’t feel like I have an accurate view of myself.  I can tell you 3.2 million things I do wrong, or areas that “need” improvement.  But ask me something I do that I’m proud of?  Something I do well?  Yeah……not much material for those questions.  My vision of myself, my perception, is skewed.  I know that and it doesn’t sit well with me.

So originally I wanted to see myself as I am.  Flaws and all.

And now I realize that isn’t quite enough.  I want more.

I want to be comfortable with who I am.  I want to accept myself.

And that still isn’t quite enough.  I still want more.  The “unifying” goal is bigger than that.

So as I talked with Jim about all of this our conversation kept taking twists and turns…..which is normal and really cool!  It felt like the more I talked the more I realized that what I was saying wasn’t big enough.  It wasn’t hitting home. 

I talked about wanting to be kind to myself.

That wasn’t quite right.  So Jim kept asking, what else?  What other words?  What is bigger?

Hmmmmm….okay….I dunno….gentleness?  I want to be gentle with myself?

While that is true (I typically am harsher on myself than anyone else would ever be….long stories there….I’ll spare you the details.), it still wasn’t resonating with me.  Kind I felt I could claim—I could put that into a goal.  It wasn’t what I was looking for though.  I wanted more.  Gentleness didn’t sit well.  That seemed to feel like I wouldn’t hold myself accountable—that I would let myself “get away” with too much.  That wasn’t working.

Jim kept asking, what else?  What is bigger?

Hmmmmmmmmm……I don’t have a clue Jim!  Okay Spudise….keep going…..keep searching….keep tossing the nets wide and into new waters…..

Think.  Think.  Think. 

 

Pooh thinking

 

 

 

 

Okay….what encompasses kindness and aspects of gentleness and still allows me to hold myself accountable for the stuff I need to be accountable.  There’s got to be a word.  There’s got to be a concept.  Keep working your way through this.  Keep going.  What does that unknown concept look like in others?  What allows you to extend grace and at the same time hold other people accountable?

Whomp.  (How’s that for onomatopoeia???  ;-))  Right upside the head.  It hit me.

And it scared the livin daylight out of me!  Seriously.  It scared me.  I knew if I didn’t start talking immediately I’d chicken out.  So I started talking.    

“Blah…blah…blah….blah…I can’t even believe I’m about to say this Jim….it’s love.  Love is bigger than kindness and gentleness.  Love.  That’s what I’m looking for.  I want to be able to say ‘I love me.’ and not burst into tears at the thought.  Blah….blah….blah….”

(The “blah…”part is me stalling by the way.  J)

If this caught Jim a fraction as off-guard as it caught me he probably fell over and hit his head.  Seriously.  Self-love is NOT a topic I have ever wanted to discuss.  The mere mention of it a year ago had me in tears.  Jim asked me at one point if I could say “I love me.” which caused me to promptly burst into tears.

Could I speak the words?  Sure I could.  Speaking the words is easy.  Speaking them and meaning them?  Nope.  Couldn’t do that.  And speaking them without meaning them felt wrong—it felt like cheating—it felt like it was going against everything I had committed to when I decided to work with Jim.  I had committed to being honest.  I had committed to being open and not hiding.  And saying “I love me” when I clearly didn’t “love me” would be lying.  And I wasn’t about to lie.  I could NOT say the words and have any sincerity behind them.  I could not say them and have any truth in the statement.  So I chose not to say them.

The tears didn’t come from a physical inability to speak simple words.  The tears and drama (not that I would EVER admit to being even slightly dramatic ;-)) came from knowing and feeling that I couldn’t honestly say them. 

And here we are…..a scant year later….and I’m the one bringing it back into the conversation.  How bizarre is that?!

“Do you know what you just said Spudsie?”  Jim asked.

“Yeah…..blah…blah…blah…” Desperately trying to avoid talking about it.  Maybe if I just keep talking he’ll let me off the hook. 

Snort!  Fat chance with that Spudsie!  J

Jim kept talking about what a huge change that was from a year ago.  The more he talked the more I wanted to get away from it.  I just wasn’t ready to dive into it.  It’s still a brand new thought.  I didn’t want to think about the implications just yet.  Fortunately Jim’s really, really , REALLY terrific at saying things in a gentle way so that I can hear them for at least a fraction of a second.

Frankly I don’t really remember much of the coaching conversation after that point.  And we ended early because Jim could clearly tell I wasn’t really able to move forward at that point. That I’d hit my “maximum progress” point for the day.

So we talked about books for a few minutes.  And I LOVE talking about books!!  LOL!

Where am I now?  In terms of having a “formal” goal on paper….I’m no further than I was 2 weeks ago.  And that’s okay for now.  I’m still trying to be comfortable with the thought.  (And please, no Yoda quotes about “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  Grin!) 

So my starting point for my “unifying” goal is “I love me.”  I want to give it more definition…I want to give it measurableness (is that even a word??? Spell-check certainly doesn’t think so!)  I want to be able to define a little more what that looks like.  Okay…okay… I want to be able to begin to define what that looks like.  When you have nothing I suppose defining it “a little more” isn’t very precise.  LOL.

Goal number four.  The unifying goal.  I love me.

Can I do it?  I don’t know.  Maybe?  I think so.

And that’s a good place to begin.

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Here’s a song to get everyone in the mood for Thanksgiving.

“Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire
Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn,
So get those stakes up higher
There’s a thousand pretty women waitin’ out there
And they’re all livin’ devil may care
And I’m just the devil with love to spare
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas

How I wish that there were more
Than the twenty-four hours in the day
‘Cause even if there were forty more
I wouldn’t sleep a minute away
Oh, there’s black jack and poker and the roulette wheel
A fortune won and lost on every deal
All you need’s a strong heart and a nerve of steel
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas with you neon flashin’
And your one armbandits crashin’
All those hopes down the drain
Viva Las Vegas turnin’ day into nighttime
Turnin’ night into daytime
If you see it once
You’ll never be the same again

I’m gonna keep on the run
I’m gonna have me some fun
If it costs me my very last dime
If I wind up broke up well
I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time
I’m gonna give it everything I’ve got
Lady luck please let the dice stay hot
Let me shoot a seven with every shot
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas,Viva Las Vegas

Viva, Viva Las Vegas”

What?  What??  That doesn’t get everybody in the mood for Thanksgiving?? 

????????

Oh!  I think I understand…….this song gets me in the mood for Thanksgiving this year. J

Mr. Spuds and I are getting ready to leave for vacation this week.  We are packing and prepping.  Wanna guess where we are going?  Yup!  We are “running away” to Las Vegas to eat dinner on Thanksgiving at Bouchon.  Yuuuummmmmmmmmm!  I’m drooling just thinking about it.

So clearly it won’t be a “traditional” Thanksgiving for us.  We are trying something different.  It should be tons of fun!  Lots of good food while we are there, a good show, a great spa facility (I actually packed 4 days worth of work-out clothes for vacation!!), a great room.  Ahhhh….good times.

So, since I won’t be around to post a note on Thanksgiving I thought I would mention (perhaps a little early) what I’m thankful for this year.  

God.  I’m thankful for God.  Do I need to expand on that?  LOL!  There’s so much he does that I’m thankful for….I could probably blog for pages and pages.  I am especially thankful for his very clear presence in my life this past year.  He’s always around.  I know that.  This year I’ve been able to see him more often, more clearly.  I am thankful for his gentle guidance.  For his mercy and grace—something I need to learn to extend to myself.  I’m thankful he continues to extend it to me even though I try to reject it.  Thanks God.  You rock!!!

Mr. Spuds.  I have the best husband on the planet!!  (Even though he does make fun of me knowing what the Vulcan IDIC symbol is.  J)  He has been so supportive of me…….well…ever since I’ve known him.  His patience is amazing.  He allows me to be me.  Even when I’m trying to change, he still lets me be me.  He encourages me in so many ways.  He’s my rock on earth.  He keeps me centered and grounded—even when I feel like I’m lost, when I look at him I know I am loved and treasured and know I am where I belong. 

Family.  My family is amazing.  I love them all and am so thankful for their love, support and examples.  They are some of the most remarkable amazing people you could ever meet. 

I am so thankful for my mom’s example of dedication and commitment and protection.  She sacrificed some of her emotional safety to try and protect me and my siblings.  I didn’t recognize that at the time, but she put herself in harm’s way to try and stem some of the abuse that was headed my way, and my siblings’ way.  She couldn’t divert all of it, but every bit she could turn aside gave us a better chance.  She’s stayed with my dad through some of the toughest time I can imagine.  If Mr. Spuds treated me the way she’s been treated, I’m not so sure I would have stuck around.  But my mom?  She’s committed.  She’s in this for the long haul.  She’s worked to improve her marriage from within the marriage.  What an awesome example she is!

I’m so thankful for my dad’s example of a completely generous spirit and heart.  He’s not a perfect person—who is?  I often wonder how unhappy he must have been (and may still be) in the core of his being.  It must have been an excruciating pain for someone with the compassionate heart he has to lash out at those he loves the most.  His heart longs to give everything he can and to help everyone he meets.  His wry sense of humor is hilarious!  (At least it is to me! Must have inherited that from him.  LOL!)  I am very thankful he is my father.

Coaches.  This is a new category this year.  “Coaches?  As in plural?  Spudsie, do you need more than one coach??”  Oh yeah.  Coaches.  Plural.  More than one.  Oh, I have only one “official” coach—Coach Jim.  But I’m realizing that I have seemingly countless people in my life who are coaching me in one way or another.  People who are guiding me—some without even realizing it. 

Friends, co-workers, strangers, all kinds of people are setting examples of how to make deliberate choices.  Showing me how to be more of what I want to be.  People who encourage me.  People who pray for me.  People who listen to me, who read my ramblings here.  People who are interested in my life and who look for ways to encourage me.  Friends from all over the country—some who have never met me in real life.  I am so thankful for each and every one of them as they help coach me through life. 

And of course my “official” coach—Coach Jim.  I am so thankful he’s been willing to help me, willing to work with me.  Willing to continue to be patient with me (much more patient than I am with myself).  I’m thankful he’s always willing to say the same thing 83 different times and 24 different ways until I finally understand it.  Without his patience and gentle guidance and calm example I’m not sure I’d have made any progress.  When I find myself getting frustrated with myself in our conversations I stop and remind myself “Hey Spudsie, listen to Jim.  Listen to his tone.  Is there ANY frustration with you in his voice?  Is there any hint of irritation?  Nope.  Then let go of yours.  Just be in the conversation.  Leave the assessments on the sidelines.”  I’m thankful for Jim and the effort he puts into working with me.  Because of his efforts I’m really excited and curious to see where I’ll be at this time next year!

I’m thankful for my health.  I’m thankful for my employment.  I’m thankful for my home.  I’m thankful for my yard.  I’m thankful for my turtles (even when they try to bite me!).  There is so much I’m thankful for this year. 

And for the first time in a long time, I’m thankful for me.  I’m thankful for who I am.  For who I am working to become.  Not that I’m perfect, or finished, or where I want to be.  It’s just that I’m beginning to realize that Spudsie, just as she is, is kinda cool.  And I’m thankful for that.  And for everyone who’s helped me get here. 

For all of this (and more) I give thanks.

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So I was talking with Coach Jim this morning (more on that later) and he observed, “You haven’t written much on your blog this week.”  Or something like that.

“Yeah Jim, I was sick half of last week and didn’t really have the energy to write much.”

That’s what I said out loud.  What I thought was……well…..let’s just say it was an overreaction.  Totally defensive.

“What?  A potato can’t have an off week?!  Blogging is something I do for me—whenever I feel like it.  Whenever I want to.  It’s not a requirement.  It’s something I enjoy doing when I chose to do it.  Besides, I posted quite the insightful post on Friday night if-I-do-say-so-myself!  And my gratitude journal’s been pretty active.  Whadda ya mean I’ve been quiet?!”

Ummmm…..overreacting much there Spudsie?  LOL!  J

The astute reader will note that Jim simply made an observation.  And internally I reacted as though he’d made an assessment.  (Evidently I was not being an astute listener.)  Clearly someone was making an assessment about my lack of writing.  It wasn’t Jim.  It was ME!

True, I was sick part of last week.  And my brain didn’t work very well those 3 or 4 days.  Beyond that I still hadn’t taken much time to write.  And clearly I’ve been aware of that and feeling a little guilty. 

I’ve had tons of stuff floating through my head.  I’ve started a dozen blog entries in my head.  The words have never made their way to e-paper.  And that’s because I’ve been actively avoiding writing.  I have something new that I keep saying I want to start.  And truth be told, I DO want to start working on it.  And at the same time it frightens me a little bit.  I want to tackle some deeper stuff (that will probably never be posted publically….at least not in an unexpurgated form) that’s packed full of emotional baggage.  And that’s a little frightening to me.  Even though I’m totally in control of the process (which is comforting to the control freak in me!) I’m still not sure how it will play out.  What the end result will be.  Will it help me?  How painful will it be emotionally?

And the more I put it off, the more daunting it becomes.  So as soon as I’m done with this piece, I’m going to start it.  (Any bets on how long I’ll work on this to avoid the new stuff??  LOL!)

In the meantime…..here are some bits and pieces, some odds ‘n ends that are floating around my head, begging to be let out.

Church.  Mr. Spuds and I have been visiting a new church.  I’ve mentioned it a few times lately.  I really enjoy it.  And typically on Sunday afternoons I want to come home and write about the sermon.  I haven’t been doing that as often as I’d like to, so I’m going to try to change that in the future.  The sermons are really, really good!  Tom’s delivery is terrific, open and authentic.  And the material is easily accessible—or at least it is to my brain.  It makes me think.  I love that!

The last few weeks have been about marriage.  How to build a stronger one.  How to improve the one you have.  How to enjoy your marriage.  I’ve been really encouraged by the lessons.  I feel (and I believe Mr. Spuds would agree with me) that my marriage to Mr. Spuds is awesome!  We don’t really fight—sometimes we grumble at each other, and I can be a bear (to put it mildly) to be around when I have a migraine—yet overall we get along remarkably well.  He’s my best friend and I love spending time with him.  I know he loves me—there’s no question in my mind that he will love me always.  (He and I both think of love as a decision as well as an emotion.)  It’s a very safe, secure place to be.  And I treasure it.

Given my nature, I tend to listen to sermons to learn where I need to improve, where I need to change.  Or on really down days, to learn what I’m doing wrong.  This series of sermons has been wonderful because I’ve been able to see this is an area where I’m doing good!  And I walked away each week encouraged.  Yay!

More odds ‘n ends…..

Coach Jim often mentions in his newsletters (may I interrupt myself here for just a moment?  His monthly Happiness newsletters are awesome!  I know once a month, every month, something will appear in my e-mail inbox full of positivity and happiness and concrete, practical ways to make changes to help me choose happiness.  It rocks!!!  If you’re curious here’s a link to the archived newsletters.  Seriously…check it out!  It’s the only newsletter I read without exception every month—several times.)….where was I ?  Oh yeah……

Coach Jim often mentions in his newsletters how helpful it can be to simply change your perspective.  To look at things from a different angle.  Literally.  Travel a different route to work.  Sit in a different spot in the company cafeteria.  Visit a different church. You get the idea.  His suggestion is spot on!  It’s so easy for me to get into a “rut,” into a routine (even a “good” one) that I can lose sight of other possibilities.

Mr. Spuds and I had decided to visit other churches before the last newsletter where Jim mentioned changing perspectives.  That newsletter arrived the week before we actually went to a different church.  At the time I remember thinking, “Too funny!  I’ve already planned to visit another church.  Wonder if anything will jump out at me now that I’m thinking about it with a Happiness mind frame?”

And several things have.  Some of them immediately.  And some of them over time.  I hadn’t even realized what I was missing in the church Mr. Spuds and I had regularly attended for 8 years.  Yet the first week we visited the new church, BAM!, it was obvious what had been eating away at me.  Pretty cool stuff! 

 More perspective odds ‘n ends….

Without even realizing it I’ve settled into a routine of a time and place for conversations with Coach Jim.  We typically talk on a Monday evening around 5pm-ish.  (Go ahead and laugh Jim…..I know you want to.  J There’s nothing “ish” about the time I call. If the clock says 5pm you KNOW your phone will be ringing. LOL!)  And I typically close myself in the room where I’m currently writing.

The space is a fairly emotional space for me.  Recently it’s been all good emotions.  Hmmm…that’s not exactly right.  Some of the stuff I write about is really difficult and emotionally challenging.  But this chair is the one space where I’ve been able to repeatedly work through the painful emotions and move on to calm.  So it’s got good karma right now. 

Of course it’s also the place where I recline and hold my head in my arms and pray to God Almighty that the migraine I’m feeling will pass.  But somehow that energy’s been replaced with a much more upbeat, encouraging energy from writing.  And from talking with Jim.

Am I rambling?  Yeah…probably.  Regardless, the physical space I’m in when typically talking with Jim is emotional.  It’s the place where I’ve practiced (more than any place else) accessing different emotions and exploring them. 

Our schedules didn’t match up to talk today at 5pm-ish.  So instead we talked this morning.  And I decided since I would have the house to myself I would sit at the kitchen table when I talked with him.  An emotionally neutral space.  A different perspective.

It was pretty cool!   Until today I hadn’t realized how much emotional stuff I’ve dealt with in this chair.  I hadn’t realized what a warm, fuzzy cocoon of emotional exploration it had become.  Until I stepped away from it I didn’t see it.

Sometimes I don’t see the most powerful tools in my life because I’ve looked at them the same way for so long.  I don’t realize they have changed, morphed, evolved.  Looking at things from a new perspective is an amazing tool. 

Guess that’s another one I can add to my tool belt!

tool-belt

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An open prayer to God

Hi God.  It’s me again, Spudsie.  I need some help.  Again. 

You know Mr. Spuds and I have been visiting a new church recently.  And I LOVE the authenticity I’ve seen there.  And I’m feeling really compelled to get more involved.  Yet I’m hesitating.

Is this the right place for Mr. Spuds and me?  (Did you locate it so close to us that we couldn’t help but find it eventually??  J )  I know no church is perfect.  And I also know there are a lot of churches that wouldn’t be right for us because of the theology/doctrine/teachings/etc. 

This one feels right so far.  You know how hesitant I am to trust my feelings—so I find myself looking for concrete things to back up my “gut.” 

Do they believe in the Bible?  Yep.  Do they believe it is the perfect word of You?  Yep.

Do they believe their goal (individual and corporate) is to bring other people into a relationship with You?  Yep. 

Do they believe in being open about who they are and what their struggles are?  Yep.

Do they hold the same basic tenets of faith that I believe are essential to knowing You and leading others to a relationship with You?  Yep….well…..mostly….well….I don’t know.  There is one slight sticking point here.

Here’s where I’m stuck.  You know I was raised attending a Church of Christ which taught the “six steps to Salvation” of “hear the word of God, believe the word of God, repent of your sins, confess your sins to God, be baptized, and live a life faithful to God.”  (Otherwise known as the single word “hearbelieverepentconfessandlivefaithfully.)

You’ve worked on me over the years.  You’ve helped me grow to a point where I understand that no work (or works) on my part can earn my salvation.  It’s a gift from YOU!  Freely given if I choose to accept it.  And in understanding that I’ve become convicted that baptism is an outward sign of an inward faith.  That baptism is NOT what saves me.  Your grace saves me.  Your love saves me.  You save me.  Not something I do, or have done to me.

Yet I’ve continued to attend churches that practice baptizing people at the same time they confess You.  At the same time they invite you into their lives.  And I suppose I continued to assume (without giving it much thought) that at the point of baptism You entered their heart, their lives.

But that doesn’t match baptism being an outward sign of an inward faith does it?

This new church offers baptisms several times a year.  AFTER people have invited You into their lives.  After they have accepted You as their Savior.  They teach that people are saved by You entering their lives.  Period.  That You are there even without a baptism.

And I’m struggling with that.

Are You asking me to grow?  Gently nudging me to see if I really believe baptism is an outward sign of an inward faith?  “Okay Spudsie.  Let’s see what you really think.” 

I need some help here.

Often in the past when I’ve heard things preached or taught that “sounded” reasonable but went against what You have said in the Bible I felt the “wrongness” in my gut.  My throat would tighten.  My stomach would be in knots.  I would have a fight or flight type of response.  And I’ve always listened to that.  And taken the teachings back to the Bible and been able to clearly see where the teaching didn’t agree with Your word.  

I don’t feel any of that panic with this question of “delayed” baptism.  This church teaches that baptism is still a very important, very special, very sacred action.  (But You already knew that!)  They simply teach salvation in a way different from what I’ve lived with for so many years.  I’m having problems trying to determine if my discomfort with the teaching is because of my formative years of “baptism is necessary for salvation” sermons.  Or is it something bigger than that?

So I’m asking for help in this area.  (Along with all of the other areas You are already helping me.  Thank You!!)  If this isn’t the right church for Mr. Spuds and I, I need You to make it super clear.  (Preferably a sign in the parking lot reading “Spudsie—this isn’t the right church for you!”  That would be really clear!  LOL!)  I know Your timing is always perfect, so I ask this next part humbly.  If you could make it super clear, super soon I would really, really appreciate it.  You know how hard it is for me to open up to people.  And I think I want to get involved with and open up to some of the people at this church.  So (again, asked in all humility) if this isn’t the right place for Mr. Spuds and I please make it very clear to me very soon.

I’ll continue to wrestle with this issue.  I simply wanted to take a few minutes and ask You for some specific help.  If You want me to grow and are using this as a way to help me, I appreciate it.  You’re being incredibly gently.  Thanks!! 

If I’m feeling drawn to this church for reasons that have more to do with me than with You, please open my eyes and show me that. 

If this is where Mr. Spuds and I should be, please help me feel that “peace that passeth all understanding”  (You know in my heart I’m a King James kind of gal!) when I’m in situations that encourage me to open up to people.  Help me feel that same sense of safety I feel when I’m talking with Jim.  Provide that protection for me.  And help me to recognize it.

Whew!  That’s quite the laundry list of requests isn’t it?  One last one, if I may.

Please take all of this stuff in my heart that I cannot even begin to articulate at all and give me what I need to grow.  As gently as You can.

I love You.   

Your devoted and struggling Potato,

Spudsie

Amen

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Yeah….I know.  10AM hardly qualifies as “early” morning!!  😉

So Obama won last night.  I was happy.  And sad.  (Kinda like a sweet and sour emotional stir fry. ;-))

Why sad?  I really missed seeing Tim Russert on MSNBC’s coverage.  His enthusiasm really cannot be replaced.  It was unique to him.  He beamed whenever he talked about politics.  And that energy isn’t on this earth any more.  And that makes me sad.

And I’m sad for John McCain.  I wish we had a political system that wasn’t by default adversarial.  McCain and Obama are both remarkable men.  And remarkable leaders.  I wish there was a  way for them BOTH to have won.  A way for them to bring their stregnths together to lead our nation.  But our system doesn’t work that way.  I hope John McCain continues to be honored and respected and looked-up to for the amazing leader he is.

First thing this morning none of these thoughts were running through my head though.

What was I thinking about?  I was thinking about an early morning 14 years ago.  Waking up after a night of more cat-napping than sleeping.  Leaving a house in Florida in one set of clothes and changing into another set of clothes a couple of hours later.  Of walking down a path way and joining Mr. Spuds.

Did I mention the set of clothes I changed into was a beautiful bead-filled white dress?  🙂

Yep.  14 years ago today I became Mrs. Spuds.  Mr. Spuds and I got married!

It’s been better than anything I could have imagined!!!  I love Mr. Spuds.  I love being married to him.  I love how he helps me see a point of view different from my own.  He helps me grow.  He loves me.  And I love him!  I cannot imagine my life without him.  He’s simply the best!!!

Love trumps politics any day.  You just can’t find more happiness than that!

Happy anniversary Mr. Spuds.  I luv ya!!!

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Have you ever had a time where you were just going along, minding your own business, thinking one way when WHAM!  Out of seemingly nowhere life tosses something at you that completely shifts your way of thinking?  Completely shifts your focus?

I’ve just had one of those experiences.

In fact it hit me hard enough that it woke me up at 1:30 AM and I found myself unable to go back to sleep.  So I’m sitting here at 2AM writing.  (It should be interesting to see how cogent any of this ends up being—given that I’m working on so little sleep!  J)

Life’s been extra good to me recently.  I’ve recognized that I’ve made some progress on the personal stuff I’ve been working on.  Work has said I’m doing well.  God’s sending people into my life to give me really good feedback and exciting new experiences.  I’ve felt lighter lately—the weight of the world at least temporarily removed from my shoulders.   (And I’m sure shedding 13 pounds of weight has helped with the lighter feeling.  LOL!) 

Yesterday morning someone did something unexpectedly kind for me.  No need to go into details—just know it was kind and I found it to be very encouraging.  That small act of kindness combined with several other things had me literally grinning through most of the day yesterday.

And given the national politics of yesterday and the plummeting action of the stock market, grinning is pretty impressive.  The company I work for manages investments for our clients—so the stock market upheaval will potentially have a direct impact on my company and possibly on my livelihood.  But I didn’t feel any of the weight of that yesterday.  I recognized its potential impact, yet it didn’t add one ounce of true stress to my day. 

I was too busy grinning!

I recognized this was a new and different behavior for me, and was really enjoying it.  I kept thinking maybe I was making progress.  (And I still think I am.)  Maybe I can actually choose different reactions.  Maybe I’m starting to make the changes I want to make.

Are you noticing something here?  It’s all focused on me.

Every bit of it.

So I’m be-bopping through my evening.  Complimented Mr. Spuds on a wonderful dinner.  (I don’t cook—trust me, this is in the best interest of everyone involved!)  Tried to offer encouraging words to a friend going through a tough time.  Tried to keep in touch with another couple of friends.  Checked out the activity on my blog.  Checked out the Internet in general—what’s going on in the world (besides economic doom!) that ‘s interesting to me?

That’s when (out of seemingly nowhere) life stopped me in my tracks by showing me a few of the details of someone else’s life.

I won’t go into specifics here because it’s not my story to share.  And the impact this person’s words had on me is what’s keeping me awake, is what’s behind my 2AM ramblings.  Their story, important in its own right, is not what I’m choosing to focus on.

I knew this person (we’ll call him Edmund) had experienced a really painful event in his family’s life in the past decade.  Since I haven’t known Edmund for a decade, I know the Edmund family went through this only because it was mentioned once in passing.  But that one mention stuck with me.  “Wow!  How’d the family get through that?  How did they manage?  I cannot imagine going through something like that and coming out of it so positive.  I’m really curious but it’s not my place to ask.”

I do that a lot—I’m curious about something someone says in passing but feel it’s not “my place” to ask about it.  I fear stirring up painful memories, or causing pain to those I care about.  I want to ask what I can do to help, but am pretty certain there isn’t anything I can do.  And assume if the person wants to talk about it they will.  And if they don’t, they won’t.

So I’ve known for a couple of years that Edmund and his family have gone through a super tough time.  And offered up a prayer or two along the way when it weighed on me.  Yet never really asked about it.  Again, I felt it wasn’t my place. 

So yesterday, again seemingly out of nowhere, I found out some of the details.  On a day when I’ve been totally self centered (not in an altogether bad way)—when I’ve been so wrapped up thinking about myself, my life, my day, my changes.  God decided that’s it’s time to get my attention and to remind me again, “It’s not all about you Spudsie.”

Here’s what I feel like I heard God say to me today.

“Spudsie, I think it’s great you are making these changes.  I’m delighted you are beginning to see things differently, are beginning to feel lighter.  Keep on working on you.  At the same time you should never forget you aren’t the only potato in the world.  I love all the potatoes I’ve made.  And you need to love them too.  You need to think about them in addition to thinking about yourself.  Some of the potatoes out there—they are going through some of the worst stuff imaginable at the same time you are so happy.  Don’t forget about them.  It’s not all about you.  As much as I love you, it’s not all about you.”

And since we all know that if you don’t listen to the gentle taps God gives you on the shoulder he’ll keep trying to get your attention.  And if you don’t give it to him, he’ll resort to using a two by four to wake you up.  And I’ve learned that I prefer to listen to his gentle taps and avoid the two by four whenever possible!

So I’m trying to make sure I “get” this lesson.

The work I’m doing on making changes is good.  I need to keep doing it.

At the same time, I need to remember there is a world of people beyond the end of my nose.  I’m not alone in this world.  People aren’t here simply to meet my needs.  (Keep repeating this Spudsie……people aren’t here simply to meet my needs.)  They are going through “stuff” of their own.  And I need to be just as interested in being involved in their lives, in being an encouragement to them as they are to me.

It’s not all about the potato.  It’s all about the potato living in community with those I care about.  And those I don’t yet know.  (And even those I don’t really like.  Yikes!)

And it’s about letting people know I care about them—not to make myself feel better, but because they deserve to know how important they are.

Soooooo…….

Stephanie, Ann, Erica, Amy, Brenda, Brenda, Christina, Darci, Bob, Kim, Chris, Glenda, Heather, Diva, Ellen, Karne, Jane, Julie, Kari, Leslie, Liz, Lisa, Jill, Pat, Roz, Belle, Aubre, Tom, Jeff, Jeff, John, Leah, Matt, Carissa, Lindsey, Dave, Cori, Jim, Dennis, Nancy, Darren, Kenya, Natalie, Dave, Dave, Nancy, Jack, Brad, Chad, Kari, Steve, Theresa, Don, Brian, Ken, John, Dianna, Art, Susan, Dave, Celina…….listen up, I have something to say to each one of you.

I love you.  I love each and every one of you.  Each one of you are important to me in a different and meaningful way.  I don’t want a day to go by without knowing that I’ve told you how important you are to me.  You are the most amazing group of people.  I am so blessed to have you in my life.  Thank you for sharing a part of your life (big or small, open-ended or limited, frequent or occasional contact only) with me.  My life is truly richer for it. 

Life is precious.  Time is limited.  I want each of you to know how I feel about you.

And since most of you don’t even know this blog exists, it looks like I’ll be taking some time in the near future to share that with you.  I look forward to it!

I’ve you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be hugged by a potato—this is it!  ((((((((((HUGS))))))))))

And Edmund (if you read this and recognize yourself) thank you for being more open with your life’s story than I could ever imagine being.  I’m fairly certain you do so by conscious choice, and I can’t imagine it’s always easy to do.  Please know it is greatly appreciated and impactful.

Phew.  It’s now 3AM.  I hope this makes sense.  I’m going back to bed to see if I can drift off to sleep again.  J

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Beautiful One I Adore

 

Now that I’ve started this blog I find myself wanting to add to it daily.  As Yoda might say, “Unexpected this is.”  I imagined I’d add ramblings one a week or so.  Yet I can’t seem to stop writing!  Every day something triggers the thought, “Hey I could blog about this” or “Hmmmm…I should write this stuff down.”

As part of my every-Friday-there-will-be-NO-exceptions ritual I call in an order to a local Thai restaurant.  It’s the same order every week.  Pad Thai chicken, hot, and a Thai iced tea.  In fact I’m so predictable they now recognize my voice when I phone in my order.  “Hi Spudsie!  Same order?”  I love it!  (In fact I actually drive past another Thai place to get to this one.  I love that they know my voice!  🙂)

So on the drive home, with the wonderful Pad Thai aroma filling my car, the clouds in the sky promising perfect curl-up-with-a-good-book kind of afternoon, and I find myself completely content with life.  I’m smiling.  I’m happy.  And I’m singing.

(Yeah….that’s right.  I was singing.  Go ahead and insert you’re best “singing potato” joke here.  I’ll wait.)

 

(Still waiting.)

 

 

 

Okay.  Back to my story.  (Hey… a couple of those jokes were really good!  🙂)  I find myself singing along with Jeremy Camp as he sings “Beautiful One” on the radio.

The song is an amazing love song to God.  It speaks of God’s love, His power, His might, His mercy, His beauty.  Truly, it is quite a love song.

I’m singing along fully intent on praising God and I find my mind has wandered.

(Side note:  My mind wandering is NOT unusual.  Coach Jim keeps reminding me that it’s a good thing in many ways—it allows me to multi-task and be really productive.  I have to keep reminding myself of that.  🙂)

Where was I?  Oh yeah….my mind wandering.  😉  But this wasn’t the typical, “Ooooooooh, shiny!” type of wandering.

Instead of thinking of God while singing these lyrics, I found myself thinking of my husband.

Beautiful one I love
Beautiful one I adore
Beautiful one my soul must sing.

And you opened my eyes to your wonders anew
You captured my heart with this love
Because nothing on earth is as beautiful as you.”

It may sound odd, but the lyrics capture perfectly how I feel about Mr. Spuds.  (Who will probably turn 18 shades of bright red if he ever reads this.  Olive juice baby! 🙂)

He is truly an amazing and beautiful man.  I know…I know….men typically aren’t described as beautiful.  But why not?!  He is such a beautiful person—with an amazing heart, endless love and support for me, and the patience of a saint! 

I’ve said before that my faith is very important to me.  One of the things I struggle with is feeling God’s love for me.  Oh, I know intellectually He loves me.  I just have a hard time feeling it at times.  The Bible often describes God and His love for us as a father’s love.  And I struggle with that.  It doesn’t help as much as I’d like it to.

But Mr. Spuds has really helped me understand and feel God’s love.  He’s the first person who I really felt loved (and loves) me for me.  Not because he MUST love me.  Not because he HAS to love me.  Simply because he chooses to love me.  Loves me with and because of my flaws…my imperfections…my oddness.  He doesn’t love me in spite of them.  He simply loves me.  And loves them because they are part of me.

As I’m on this journey to learn to chose happiness I find myself wondering if the journey will change who I am.  And wondering if Mr. Spuds will continue to love the changed me.

Though the changes I’ve made to date are relatively small, Mr. Spuds has been really excited about them.  He’s been encouraging and praised me for choosing different reactions, for deciding when it’s important enough to speak my mind, for being proactive with my health.  And with his positive reactions and encouragement I find it a little easier to try to make more changes, to make bigger deliberate decisions. 

And any man who can love me, who can provide a safe enviornment for me, who can encourage and inspire me  to change is clearly beautiful.  And is one I adore.

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