Tuesday, March 29, 2011

14. What do I love to practice?

Some psychologists believe that no one is born with any particular talent and that all skill is gained through practice. Studies have shown that masters are simply people who've practiced a skill intensely for 10,000 hours or more. That requires loving -- not liking, loving -- what you do. If you really want to excel, go where you're passionate enough to practice.

I don't know that I buy in to this. I think there are people with skill. There are also people with good attitudes and passion about that particular skill.

I don't know that I've found exactly the 'it' for me. I do appreciate helping people understand themselves better. Encouraging someone to live in the freedom of who he/she really is meant to be.

I'm thinking about going into counseling, perhaps life coaching. I dunno...

Part of it is that I'm pretty even keeled. Not alot of passion resides in me. Wonder what that says...

13. Am I the only one struggling not to {fart} during {yoga}?

I felt profoundly liberated when this issue was raised on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update." Not everyone does yoga, but SNL reminded me that everyone dreads committing some sort of gaffe. Substitute your greatest shame-fear: crying at work, belching in church, throwing up on the prime minister of Japan. Then know you aren't alone. Everyone worries about such faux pas, and many have committed them (well, maybe not the throwing up on PMs). Accepting this is a bold step toward mental health and a just society.

I think I accepted this a few times in my life. In high school, I did a few things to stand out on purpose, perhaps to hide the accidental faux pas that would inevitably occur. I used to fall down on purpose in public places...the mall, the sidewalk, ice skating rinks. I also would let a friend mess my hair up and go the rest of the school day with it messed up. And, I relearned this in college when I fell asleep in history class only to be woken up by the sound of my own head hitting the desk and landing in the pile of drool that had collected. Yep, I was that girl.

Guess I have fairly decent mental health based on this, huh?

Monday, March 28, 2011

more questions to answer

In the mood to blog, I guess. But thought I'd mix it up with other questions besides the one from that article. Found this on another blog I read:

:: no matter what mood i'm in, i can always go for a: large ice cream cone

:: my favorite go-to outfit would have to be: i think actually what I'm wearing right now: ann taylor navy casual pants and a tank top and long sleeve shirt (land's end) on top

:: a good source of inspiration is: the ocean

:: am so glad my parents taught me: detail life stuff like laundry and boiling water, but also bigger life stuff like right vs. wrong and loving others

:: a song i like to dance to is: I don't really dance, but if I did, Walking on Sunshine

:: i wish everyone knew about: manners, how to merge, hagen daz coffee ice cream, how college sports are way better than the pros...i think i could go on and on here

:: the best thing in my makeup bag is: clinique lipstick (current favorite: Double Fudge)

:: my dream spring break vacation spot is: goodness I wish I had Spring Breaks still! my favorite one that I actually took was to Paris. where I'd go if I ever had another Spring Break, probably Figi or something like that. Real possible answer: San Diego again. Gosh I loved that place.

:: this may be a surprise, but i am passionate about: Prairie Home Companion

:: a favorite book that changed me for the better: I Am the Cheese

:: one of my pet peeves is: People starting a sentence with the phrase 'Needless to Say'

:: my favorite daily ritual would have to be: reading Bible stories to Jack and singing to him before bedtime.

:: i am trying to be better at: being slow to speak, quick to listen

:: the most recent rad thing i found online was: I don't know if I have an answer...

:: i can't live without: obvious sarcastic answer: oxygen. first thing that came to mind: ice cream. more substantial, real, cheesy, trite answer: Shawn

12. What potential memories am I bartering, and is the profit worth the price?

I once read a story about a world where people sold memories the way we can sell plasma. The protagonist was an addict who'd pawned many memories for drugs but had sworn never to sell his memory of falling in love. His addiction won. Afterward he was unaware of his loss, lacking the memory he'd sold. But for the reader, the trade-off was ghastly to contemplate. Every time you choose social acceptance over your heart's desires, or financial gain over ethics, or your comfort zone over the adventure you were born to experience, you're making a similar deal. Don't.

The one I'm most likely to succumb to is the comfort zone over adventure. I'm hoping to jump into adventure in the near future, though. Well...having Jack was definitely a jump into adventure. Goodness what a change a baby brings!

But we're hopefully going to move into San Francisco sometime soon...maybe by the end of July. God's been prompting Shawn to do this for a while now. We've just been waiting for the right timing. So we're still praying about that timing. But I'm really looking forward to the change. It'll be scary and different and hard in some regards, but I really think it will be worth it for the experience, the memories, but mostly to live out the story that God has planned for us.

11. Where am I wrong?

This might well be the most powerful question on our list -- as Socrates believed, we gain our first measure of intelligence when we first admit our own ignorance. Your ego wants you to avoid noticing where you may have bad information or unworkable ideas. But you'll gain far more capability and respect by asking where you're wrong than by insisting you're right.

So I know I'm going slowly with these questions. And I thought a few times about quitting half-way and just blogging about life, but I just reread the rest of the questions, and I think it's worth finishing. I'm going to try and do one a day until I'm finished with them.

So this one is hard. Hard, I say. Goodness. Me, wrong? Just kidding. Kind of. Sometimes it's really hard for me to admit my wrongness. One of my favorite introductions to a sentence is 'In my humble, yet accurate opinion...'

But, it is good. I got put in my place just last week (well, I'm sure it's happened more recently than that, but this particular instance was hard for me to swallow and really got to me). I got haughty about not missing church. And put someone else in her place for missing church when I wasn't going to miss. But then we ended up missing church, and making everyone else miss church, too (we were meeting at our place). It stung. I haven't asked forgiveness from that person to whom I was fairly (and publicly) rude. But I have repented to God.

One way I'm realizing (again) to be 'less wrong' is to be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen.

Here's to not necessarily being less wrong, but quicker to realize my ability to be wrong and to be quiet more often.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

10. What's so funny?

Adults tend to put this question to children in a homicidal-sounding snarl, which is probably why as you grew up, your laughter rate dropped from 400 times a day (for toddlers) to the grown-up daily average of 15. Regain your youth by laughing at every possible situation. Then, please, tell us what's funny -- about everyday life, about human nature, even about pain and fear. We'll pay you anything.

Here's another one I think I have down fairly well. I love to laugh. And now that Jack is around, it's even easier.

Sometimes I laugh irreverently, which makes it even funnier to me. Just today, in chapel, I almost lost it. Now I can't even remember what I was laughing about, but I thought it hilarious at the time.

And a student called today and he had me laughing hard because he's paying someone to do what he's supposed to do. The way he said it just had me in stitches.

I'm not sure about finding pain and fear funny. Although, Shawn gets a kick out of scaring the crap out of me. He hides below the bed after he turns the lights out. And I know he's there, but I don't know where exactly and he jumps up and it scares me. And he thinks it's the funniest thing EVER.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

9. How much junk could a chic chick chuck if a chic chick could chuck junk?

I believe this question was originally posed by Lao Tzu, who also wrote, "To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something." Face it: You'd be better off without some of your relationships, many of your possessions, and most of your thoughts. Chuck your chic-chick junk, chic chick. Enlightenment awaits.

I love this question because I feel like I do this really well...with stuff anyway.

Having just helped my mom go through three generations of stuff, I feel quite enlightened! We went through tons of stuff and kept only the really meaningful stuff. I had a few boxes of my own and threw away even more stuff.

Never thought about purging some of my thoughts, though. I'm going to ruminate on that a bit in the next few days.

Having my new paradigm and my guiding principles from the Best Year Yet exercise has helped replace some negative thoughts, but I think this idea of valuing all people will be another thought to replace some negative thoughts about people I don't like.

8. What is my body telling me?

As I often say, my mind is a two-bit whore -- by which I mean that my self-justifying brain, like any self-justifying brain, will happily absorb beliefs based on biases, ego gratification, magical thinking, or just plain error. The body knows better. It's a wise, capable creature. It recoils from what's bad for us, and leans into what's good. Let it.

At this specific point in time, my body is telling me I need water. So down the hall I will walk, with mug in hand, to the water fountain.

Thirst, be prepared to be quenched.

The end.

7. Are {vegans} better people?

Again, it doesn't have to be vegans; the brackets are for you to fill in. Substitute the virtue squad that makes you feel worst about yourself, the one you'll never have the discipline to join, whether it's ultra-marathoners or mothers who never raise their voices. Whatever group you're asking about, the answer to this question is no.

I've been really trying to work on not comparing myself, especially since Jack's been around.

But even more so most recently, I just got back from South Carolina. My mom thinks I hate the South. It's not true. For whatever reason, I knew by age 12 that I wouldn't live there forever. And that's not 'normal.' Especially in small Southern towns, people stick around. And they live next door to their other family members. And they get married right out of high school. And they have children right after that.

So I'm thinking about how I present where I'm from, how I took away the chance of spending more time with my family, how much my grandparents would have loved Jack. How I'm so who I am because of both of them.

And how it goes both ways: that I'm not better than others and others aren't better than I. We're all different. And God made it that way, I think, on purpose.

I want to be someone who values all people.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Best Year Yet, Month One

So I realized I said I'd give a monthly update on my 10 goals for the year.

Here goes:

I have one new recipe under my belt (it was chicken pesto and a different kind of salad, BUT I also made bacon chocolate chip cookies).

Shawn and I haven't done so great at reading Scripture together. We may have done two weeks of the goal so far.

Loving reading the Bible stories with Jack before bedtime. I'm on par with this goal.

I've sung 15 or so hymns to Jack so far, so I'm a little behind.

No e-mails to friends, yet.

The praying for my supervisor and a friend are going well because I've written it down on my calendar at work.

I had a meeting with the pres. about the group for work. He's thinking on it.

Haven't done anything towards the goal of sharing the redemption story. Boo.

Still working on memorizing Psalm 25:5.

Have definitely been meditating on persevering, letting go and trusting. Have had to remind myself about my value and that Hope doesn't disappoint.

Can't believe it's March 1.

6. How do I want to be different because I lived in this world?

In small ways or large, your life will change the world -- and in small ways or large, the world will change you. What experiences do you want to have during your brief sojourn here? Make a list. Make a vision board. Make a promise. This won't control your future, but it will shape it.

I want to visit a country in Africa with my family. I want that to make me different by coming into contact with more of God's creation and realizing how much more this world is than my little corner.

I want to learn from the homeless about true humility, simplicity in living, and caring for others in a real way.

I want to be more child-like in my curiosity and my love for others by hanging out with Jack more.

Getting Back Into It

Back to where I left off with the 20 questions:

5. How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it?

Your existence is already a factor in world history -- now, what sort of factor do you want it to be? Maybe you know you're here to create worldwide prosperity, a beautiful family, or one really excellent bagel. If your impressions are more vague, keep asking this question. Eventually you'll glimpse clearer outlines of your destiny. Live by design, not by accident.

I want the world to be filled with a little more laughter, with a little more encouragement, a little more hope. More specifically, my laughter, my encouragement and my brand of hope. Which, to say, is my take on God's hope. Since He's a God of hope, and He's Creator, it's really His that has been infused in me and it comes out Loren-colored. But it's hope all the same, or I'd like to think so, anyway.

And the world is different because of my bringing Jack into the world. That still blows my mind daily. But it's kind of cool, too.

My mom just wrote about how people are forgotten after two generations. But I like to think they're not because they've passed on who they are to others. I am who I am because of my grandmother, my mother, my dad, my sister, and a good number of friends and other influencers I wouldn't necessarily call friends.

I need to steer in the direction of making the world different by fighting for just causes and for justice itself for things that matter. That's my next big to-do...