Saturday, March 28, 2020

Lent... and failure....

Social media is what I was supposed to give up for Lent.  I did really good... until Corona hit us....and then it has been difficult.  I have tried my best to stay off of it and not worry about what is going on too much except for reading my news email that I get every morning.  But honestly in this time where we have to stay away from each other, social media is the best connection we have... besides Face Time and Zoom.

So... I am going to admit my failure and go back to social media.  But I am going to try to limit myself, because I don't need all that crazy constantly bombarding my thoughts!

I was able to spend more time with God during my break away... and have been able to create and read a lot more....

So... here's to halfway meeting my goal... staying off social media as much as I can... and focusing on the good things that are happening all around me!

May we be intentional with connecting to each other, letting people know they are loved, and listening to what they need from us!

Working from home... almost week 3!

Monday will start almost 3 weeks of working from home.  How crazy is it that this is life right now?  I am still amazed by all that is happening in our country and the world.  It is hard to take in, and even harder to understand how we are at this point.  Sometimes I feel like this is all just a big hoax, and in a couple weeks someone is going to jump out and say... "just kidding."  Then other times the weight of how many people are sick and dying gets the best of me.  My empathic heart cries out.  I don't want fear, death, sickness to rule our hearts and our lives.  But unfortunately so many of us are letting it.  I get it the fear of the unknown can stop us in our tracks, and make us very afraid.

But I have to believe that there is something greater out there... that is what I cling to.  The hope that when this is all over, when we go back to hugging and being around each other again.  That we will have a greater understanding for the things that are meaningful.  We will have a greater appreciation for moments with friends.  I'm not a hugger.. but I can't wait to hug people.

As I gear up to work from home, for yet another week I am thankful for the time that I have had to be away from the office.  I think it will help me appreciate it more.  I am also thankful for the moments that have allowed me to connect with people via zoom....

This is a weird time in our world....  let's all be kind and be there for each other.  Hoping this all ends very soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Book #11 of 2020 The Strays

The Strays
Emily Bitto

This book wasn't on any reading lists, I just simply liked the cover and picked it up from the library.  It was an interesting book.  What I took from it was a story about family.  The weird ways that a family works together, and sometimes how people that you don't expect to be family become yours.  Also, we always think the grass is greener on the other side, don't we.  We are always comparing ourselves, and not understanding that each perspective is a little bit different.  My sisters and I had the same childhood experiences pretty much, but we remember things differently.  Some events we went to, or activities we had I remember so vividly while they don't stick out for my sisters at all.

I liked this book, because it was an easy read, for the most part.  It also wasn't your typical story.  There was a little bit of love dabbled in here and there, but that wasn't the premise of the book.

Sometimes our lives take turns that we aren't expecting.  We think that we are going to have certain connections forever and then something happens and we no longer have those connections.  That's what this book made me think about.  Friendship, truth, and how we all just want to belong somewhere.

Silver Linings in a World of Chaos

Most people know that I teach online early in the mornings.  It has been slow for a bit, and so I just have to be okay with the few bookings that I get and hope that the students are good, and all that jazz.
Last fall I had a student that I had for a few months as a regular.  I dreaded every time I would teach her.  She never wanted to participate, she was always in a bad mood, and she would do awful things during class.  One class she spit at the screen, another she tried to hit me by hitting the screen.  Things like that.  You can imagine how frustrating that is, and frankly it feels like a big old waste of time.  I would call for help in the middle of my class.  I would submit tickets, and nothing seemed to work.  Her parents would continue to book me, and I would continue to have awful classes with her.  Finally towards December, they stopped booking with me.  It was a huge relief.

Fast forward to last week... and guess who is back on my schedule?  Ha! That girl!  Oh boy!  The first couple of classes weren't awful, but they also weren't super fun.  Then I asked someone to pray with me about these classes, and teaching her.  I know that some of you reading this might not believe in the power of prayer, but I fully believe that me reaching out and also praying myself resulted in the class I had today.  It was wonderful.  We laughed, she participated, and there was a connection made.  I had pretty much given up on being able to connect with this student.  I had put her in the category that I would never be able to have a good class with her, but you know what?  God had other plans.

I feel like with the chaos of the world right now, this is my silver lining.  I am thankful that I got a second chance with this girl to be able to connect and teach her.  Now I don't know what next week's classes will bring, but I sure am thankful that there's hope.

It is not always wise to let someone back in to your life, but here recently I have really been able to see how some of the best friendships I have right now are because of forgiveness and second chances.  The world is so chaotic, and we are all in need of friends, connection and good conversation now more than ever before.  Let's see those silver linings, because they are out there if we look for them!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Coronavirus and what it means to me

I'm trying to stay off social media these days.  First of all because I gave it up for Lent, and second of all because every time I get on social media there seems to be more panic and chaos.  It is such a trying time right now for the world.  In many ways I am writing this post, to have something to remember.  To remember that on a daily basis more and more things were closing.  To remember what it was like to be told I needed to work from home.  To remember when bars, casinos, schools, churches and restaurants were told to close down.  I want to remember.  Because when we get through all of this, I want to be able to look back and see just how it all worked out.

Right now there are so many unknowns.  For myself I don't feel too much worry.  But looking at our world right now, I just can't help but wonder how this is going to impact us all in the long run.  I am lucky, my work is continuing to pay us our normal hours, and I can work from home.  There are not a lot of hourly people that get that privilege.  But so many businesses are going to be in trouble because of this.

So... it does at times make me question God, and my faith.  But then at other times it makes me feel Him even more.  Just so many ups and downs right now.

A lot of solitude.... and I feel like that is going to be good.  I want to take the time to just pray and journal.  Take the time to ask for answers to things that I have been thinking about, and then wait to hear.  Taking time to just turn off everything... all the noise that interrupts my day, and just be.

So... for now I am waiting just like the rest of the world to see how all this plays out, but I am thankful to have faith in a God that is in control.

Book #10 of 2020 American Dirt

American Dirt
by Jeanine Cummins

This book was excellent.  When I started reading it I actually wasn't sure that I was going to like it, but the more I got into the story, the more I really just felt like I was there watching and feeling all these events take place.  Sometimes it amazes me the amount of people that I know that really and truly do not even try to understand  what other people go through.  The journey they must take to get to a place where they are free.  Especially people that are supposed to be all about loving others.  They are the first ones to say that this person should just go back to where they came from, without even trying to understand the story.  There is nothing that makes me more special than someone that was born somewhere else.  I could have easily been born in a village in South America.  You know?  Like why as Americans do we feel so entitled, and so much better than people around the world?  We aren't.  God didn't set us apart.  He didn't give Americans more talents and wisdom.  We are literally made of the same things as anyone else around the world.  Yet for some reason we cease to see this.

American Dirt gave me this tiny glimpse into a long, hard journey.  A journey I will never have to know.  My life will never be in danger so much that I have to flee this country.  I will never have to climb on top of a train and journey thousands of miles just to not get raped.

The strength and resilience of these characters helped me to understand a little bit more about our human hearts.  We all need connections.  We all long to be people that belong somewhere.  We all long for safety.

I'm thankful for this book and this story!

Recommend 10/10!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Being an Aunt

God and I once again had it out on my way home from Kentucky this past Thursday.  For 7 days this past week I was able to spend time with my sister and her daughters in Kentucky.  We were also joined later on in the week by my mom and other sister.  I went to help out and watch my little 9 month old niece while my sister was at work.  I loved it.  I got up early before my classes started, made breakfast for everyone, taught my classes and then saw everyone off to school/work, except for K.  We hung out a couple of days, and I will say that I didn't fully realize the love that she made me realize.  It is not that my other nieces and nephews are special because they totally are.... it is just I haven't watched any of them for longer than an hour or two at a time.  There is something different about spending huge chunks of time with a little human being.  I got to know her.  And it was this amazing thing... I got to understand her little personality that is beginning to blossom.  I got to see what frustrates her, what makes her happy.  I got to see the beginning stages of her wanting to take those steps.  And my heart learned a little piece of what it means to be full.  God and I had a conversation because I wanted him to know that I would have been a really good mom.  I would have loved those kids, I would have built them up, I would have encouraged them every single chance that I got.  I feel like just when I become okay with not being a mom,  something like this happens where I get a tiny glimpse of what it would be like.  Because although I am super exhausted... I loved every single second of waking up at 4:30 am, making breakfast, teaching classes and then spending the day/evening with my nieces.  It filled me up.

Tonight I was talking with a friend and he said something about how it probably made me not want kids after this week... and I honestly just don't feel that way.  I still would like to have kids, but I know that I am not.  It isn't that I feel like I am giving up on God, or that dream.  It is that I kind of deep down inside of me know that I am not going to be a mom.  Maybe a step-mom one day... which I know is no where near the same thing... but I don't think that I will get to hold a baby in my arms, and see it grow up....  it just doesn't seem to be in the cards for me.

So.. I will continue to be called aunt.  I will continue to know that the love I give to my nieces and nephews will touch their lives in ways that their parents can't.  I will be the fun, adventurous aunt.  The one that offers to take them for a weekend, and hang out with them, doing all kinds of grand adventures.

But my heart still breaks for the roles that I have yet been unable to fill... wife and mom... those are two things that I will forever hold in my heart... maybe one day I will get to... but maybe I never will.  No matter what comes I will cherish the roles I get to fill, and be thankful for the love held in each.