Friday, February 6, 2015

Dreamy Thoughts

Or, more accurately, "Thoughts on Dreams."  As in, a bunch of random thoughts on dreams that don't exactly go together, except they are on the same subject.

I'm a dreamer; my husband is a realist.  Maybe I've always known this, but I feel like this is a new revelation about me.  I feel like it is something I have suppressed for years and years, because my husband is a realist.  Who wants to dream dreams when you know someone will just tell you how unrealistic they are?  He's never done it on purpose, but in the name of peace keeping I've kept my dreams to myself all this time because I know what he'll say.  Well, no more.  We discussed this fact today, and I told him just to go with it when I start dreaming.  I don't think my dreams are crazy, and I also know they are just dreams.  I like to think of myself as a realistic dreamer, enjoying the process of dreaming while knowing the practicality of the situations.

I don't really want all my dreams to come true.  If I did, I would work for them. I would scrap and fight and never die.  But I think I don't really want to be a hard-core gardener or learn how to compost.  Because I don't like the smell of mud.  But the thought of being a hard-core gardener and living on acreage is still a dreamy dream of mine.  I have other dreams too, but the more I think about them and how they would come to fruition, I think that maybe I don't really want them to come true after all.  But I like dreaming about them.  Or maybe I just read too many books.

Hebrews 11:13 - "All these people died still believing what God had promised them.  They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.  They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth."  This verse comes smack in the middle of the Heroes of Faith chapter, where you read stories about all the greats and the faith they had.  But this verse has stuck to me like the macaroni noodles stick to the seat of my todder's pants.  They had more than dreams; they had promises.  And they were content with that, even if they never saw it's fruition.  So why do I think that I'm entitled to see the very best outcomes of my dreams?  I'm not entitled to anything.  This place isn't even my home.  But the American Dream is that you can have everything your heart desires, as long as you work for it.  But I'm not so sure that's a Biblical view.  But I actually find this verse freeing.  I can dream dreams, but I don't have to worry about making them come true.  Maybe they will.  Maybe they won't.  Maybe someday I'll dream a dream that I'm so excited about that I just have to figure out how to make it work.  But these dreams are not my prize.  Eternity is.

No witty conclusion here.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Those "Don't Ever Say" Lists Probably Aren't Effective

You know the ones.

"10 Things To Never Say to Introverts"

"Things Christians Should Never Say"

"508 Things You Should Never Say To a Stay-At-Home/Working/Homeschooling/Short-Haired/Hungry Mom"

These are all fictitious, of course, but you know the articles and blog posts I'm talking about.  You could find one right now, if you wanted.  Just go to Google and start to type in "things to never say to" and see what pops up.

Not only are they completely overdone at this point, but I believe they are completely NOT doing what people hope they do.  People hope that these types of articles will cause others to treat them in the way that they want to be treated.  But I doubt they are being read by the people who they think need to read them.  These types of articles are only read by subgroup of people who the article is about, and used to reinforce the perceived injustice they feel from other people.

Whenever I see these things shared, they are shared by the introvert/non-Christian/stay-at-home mom.  Never by the person who has one of these people in their life.  Frankly, it's passive-aggressive.

First of all, I've come to the realization that no social battle will ever be won on the internet.  The internet is too impersonal, and these issues are ONLY personal.  There are too many ways to find only the viewpoint you are looking for, so if you're trying to push for change and someone doesn't agree with you, then they are probably not going to even read your post.  Or they'll read it and reference five other posts that support their side.  So it's a waste.

Second, it is almost directly opposed to the Golden Rule.  In Matthew 7:12, we find Jesus saying, "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you" not "Tell others how you want to be treated."  The action always starts with us, not with us telling others what to do.  Basically, we're not the boss of other people.  And articles like these scream, "treat ME better!"

I'd like to think that someday I'll get to the point where if someone says something to me that is hurtful, then I'll be grown-up enough to talk to them about it, rather than finding an article online and posting it to my Facebook wall, hoping the offending party will read it and feel contrite.  I'd also like to get to the point where if someone says something to me that is hurtful, I'll quickly try to think of where they might be coming from and realize that they weren't trying to be hurtful.  In fact, they were trying to be supportive, even though they said the completely wrong thing.

I'm guilty of this kind of passive-aggressiveness.  Especially when I was pregnant.  Often now that I'm a mom.  And maybe even with this post.

But I don't think those articles work any more.  And I'd like to see them disappear in 2015.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Area I Refuse To Simplify

It's the third day of 2015, and I feel like I'm behind the game.  I should have had my goals for the year neatly mapped out by 9:00pm on December 31st so I'd be ready to go the next day when the calendar became fresh and new.  It's not like I didn't want to have my goal set out; I just am having a hard time pulling them together.  I will, mind you, but I decided to not be bound by the calendar.

Blogs are fun to read this time of year.  They're chock full of ideas of goals and plans, as all the wonderful people who write them are more on the ball than I am, and have their lives ready to go.  I suppose another side of the coin is finding ideas and goals that you know without a doubt you absolutely do not want any part of.

This blog post popped up in my news feed.  I like the blog in general, and the title of the post is compelling this time of year: "Making Facebook Interactions More Purposeful."  I think we all want that, right?  We know how clouded and half-hearted social media has become.  The lovely author needed to create more boundaries in her life, so she deleted 500 people from her friends list.  The post explains her reasoning and how she did it, and is very informative. 

But while I do understand the heart of her post, I absolutely do not agree with the method.  Here's the thing: yes, your Facebook profile is probably filled with mostly people you do not interact with on a regular basis.  But whether you want it to or not, deleting someone from your friend list is a very clear signal that says "Your life is not worth my time." 

A few months ago I was in Target and I saw an old MOPS friend across the way.  What did I do? I turned down the other aisle to avoid her.  Because a few months before that I had thought about her and realized I hadn't seen any Facebook activity from her in awhile.  I bopped over to her page, only to find out that she had unfriended me.  So when I saw her in person I felt extremely awkward with the knowledge that either I offended her somehow or she just deemed my activities not worth her time.  Hence the passive-aggressive avoidance act.

The author of the post mentioned how it had taken her a long time to pull the trigger on deleting so many people because she didn't want to hurt people's feelings, but then decided that wasn't a good enough reason.  But I think people's feelings should always matter.  Especially in the world of Facebook, where if you are trying to clean up your news feed, then you have the option of simply unfollowing people, rather than completely cutting them off.  They may not mean that much to you, but perhaps you mean a whole lot more to them, whether they show it or not.  And that knife could go a whole lot deeper than you meant it to when they realize that you've shut them out without so much as a word why. 

I've unfriended people before.  I regret it now.  It pains me to think that maybe one day they were looking for me and very obviously saw that I closed them out.  I know from experience that that realization causes pain, no matter how close you were at one time.  And it's not enough to just say to them, "It wasn't personal!  I was just trying to clean things up!  And you didn't make the cut!" 

I will never simplify my friends list.  I reserve the right to unfollow someone, but I always want to leave that door open, so if they need me, I'm here.  I think I would only unfriend someone if they were actively doing things to do me harm, but thankfully I haven't had to deal with that yet.

Obviously everyone will do what is best for themselves.  But I challenge you to always consider someone's feelings, and find every avenue possible to handle something before resorting to something as clear as unfriending them.  Because once that door is closed, it may not be easily opened.  And people matter.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Freedom

Dear Me (or You, if you need it to!),

The Internet is full of it.  Full of everything, full of nothing.  Everyone has their ideas and opinions and for some reason we thought it would be good to put all those ideas and opinions in one place where everyone can access them at all hours of the day.  Do you have an opinion about something?  Good news: you can find a number of articles and blog posts to back you up. 

There are also a number of articles and blog posts that will point out how very wrong you are, so beware when scoping out things.  I know that these are the ones that bring you down.  That make you feel like everything you've ever believed and everything you've ever researched could only be believed by a stupid person. 

But you have a brain.  You have survived this long, and were doing great before you read that article that said you were doing it wrong.  I know you didn't mean to read it.  Some well-meaning friend posted it on Facebook, and since you like your friend you felt you should read what spoke to them so clearly.  But it didn't bring life to you the way it brought life to them, and that's okay.  For some reason, God created us with different ideas and opinions and ways of doing things.  I think it's because He ultimately wants us to trust in Him and not in our great human wisdom.  Maybe.  But that's the world we live in.

So I'm here today to give you permission to not read the things that bring you down.  If you don't have any interest or desire to homeschool, then for heaven's sake, DO NOT read the articles entitled "How Much I Love Homeschooling" or "Why I Sent My Daughter to Public School And Regret That Decision Every Day."  If you don't want to eat vegan or paleo, please don't click on links written by vegans and paleo-eaters that declare how you should be dead right now because you don't eat vegan or paleo.  Only read if you are looking to change something about your life or are uncomfortable with the way things are going for you now.

Simple, right?  Just don't read it.  You do not have to.  If you understand the basic idea of something and have chosen to do something else, you do not have to be compelling to read every single reason that someone thinks they have the ultimate wisdom on the topic.  Just be obedient to the Lord, pray and ask Him what to do, read your Bible, and feel confident in your decision.

Also, don't take it personally if not everyone thinks that every word out of your mouth is solid gold.  No need to argue.  Just do what you need to do.

Sincerely,
Me

Thanks for joining me for 31 Days of Half Baked Ideas!  I'm amazed you stuck it out with me this long  Missed any?  Catch up here!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

How To Beat Me At Never Have I Ever

I'm pretty good at Never Have I Ever, mostly because I never really do anything.  The point of the game is to say things you've never done, and if someone has done that then they lose a point (or an M&M or whatever it is you are playing with.)  But here are a few ways you can beat me at this game, because I've actually done these things:

1. Given birth to three girls
2. Completed a 4-year degree at an out-of-state college
3. Lived in four different states (Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and Louisiana)
4. Been to four different foreign countries (Mexico, Canada, Jamaica, Italy)
5. Been to Disneyland/Sea World/Legoland
6. Been to Alaska
7. Made money selling crocheted beard hats
8. Eaten massive amounts of crawfish in one sitting
9. Gotten a speeding ticket
10. Been Christmas caroling in Italy
11. Saw Phantom of the Opera in New York City
12. Been pranked repeatedly and unmercilessly with a very large bra by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law
13. Made homemade jambalaya from scratch

When I look at this list, I don't feel quite so lame.  (But still mostly lame, because I can't think of much more beyond this list.)

Click here for more half-baked ideas!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Things in College That I Took For Granted

Spring Break, 2002, Sophomore Year
While I've come to a few new conclusions about college, I cannot deny that there were some amazing, life changing things that happened for me there.  But it has taken me these 10 years away from it to fully realize that there were some things that I totally took for granted.  And if I could do it all over again I would purpose to cherish my time in that parenthesis of life.

The Meal Plan
Everyone loves to joke about the state of cafeteria food.  But I had three years where my meals were prepared for me.  And if I didn't like the entree, I could hit up the salad bar or the sandwich bar (or the cereal or waffle maker, but I was in an I Don't Like Breakfast Food phase in college.)  We chafed at the idea of having someone decide our meals, but boy, do I wish for it now.  I would happily eat whatever anyone planned for me, just as long as I didn't have to do it day in and day out like I do now.

The Natural Friendship Maker
Living in a dorm with a bunch of other girls, going to the some of the same classes and eating all your meals together naturally creates solid friendships.  I love my college friends deeply, but I'm not sure I truly appreciated how unique this friendship-making opportunity was.  I had no idea that it would be so much harder to make and maintain friendships out here in the real world, where each woman has their own life to manage, and can't just drop by your room at 10:00 on Thursday night for Popcorn Hour to connect. 

The Work Load
Academic schedules can be grueling, and piling on a job can be tough.  But those two things were all I had to worry about in college.  I was fed, I was housed, and I was still under the umbrella of my parents and dorm leaders.  It felt like a lot at the time, but sometimes I wish that's all I had to worry about.

I look back and cherish these things now.  I wish I had had the maturity to cherish them in the moment.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Things From My Childhood I Force Upon My Children

I am fully aware that my generation is trying to hold on to our childhoods as long as possible.  And perhaps one of the ways we do that is by forcing things from our childhood on our children.  Did our parents do this?  I can't remember.  Or maybe the kids don't know, and it just becomes part of their childhood.  Maybe it's not forcing so much as passing on traditions.


The biggest thing I have done is make my kids listen to The Music Machine.  It's so fun to listen to this, not only because it's nostalgic, but because of how obviously it was recorded in the late 70s.  But I still love the message and the music, so my girls are learning the songs by heart too.

I also employ the tactic my mother used on me: forcing them to play outside.  Most of the time they love it outside, but sometimes they just don't want to go and I really need them to.  So I kick them out and set a timer and tell them they don't have to play, but they do have to sit out there until the timer goes off.

The other day I found a couple boxes of a natural cocoa rice crispy cereal on mega sale.  I loved that stuff as a kid.  The girls were not so impressed.  I still can't figure out why, but they were happy when both boxes were gone.  It must have been a texture thing, because I had a couple of bowls myself and they were delicious.

The girls will have their own memories of things that are classic 2014.  But sprinkled in will always be a part of my childhood.  I like to think that it is a privilege of parenthood.

Click here for more half baked ideas!






P.S.  Can you tell we're coming to the end of this 31 Days challenge?  Can you sense the writer's fatigue?  Sorry about that!  No promises that it will get better, but thanks for sticking with me!