Thursday, November 26, 2009

Grattitude--short list

I'm grateful . . .

-that I left a closed system community (church) in order to reach for my dreams

-that I bit the bullet and attended Christine Kane's "Unstoppable Power of Intention" retreat

-that I have a lovely house

-that I have a comfy bed to sleep in each night

-for new and intentional friends

-that I'm starting to believe in myself

-that I have a new and newly installed dishwasher!

-that I feel financially secure

-for my spouse

-to see the beautiful sunset on the drive home from a family Thanksgiving get-together

Saturday, October 31, 2009

the Monster Dash

I ran my first 5K race (the Monster Dash) today. Well, I ran and walked some. It was pretty chilly to start with, and there was also some fairly strong wind. Despite it all, I still was very pleased with my time.

I met my goals and intentions of (1) have fun, (2) finish under an hour (3) don't finish last (4) pay attention to the beautiful surroundings.

Number 4 was wonderful. We actually had sun with clouds, but it was the perfect dazzling mix. I kept peeking out at the sky over the lake that we ran around. It was so beautiful. It was fun to see lots of people dressed up in costumes, as well as people and their dogs dressed in costumes.

I'm not quite sure running a 5K was on my bucket list, but still I can say "5K run," CHECK! I guess I've finally made my debut into the world of running. We'll see how the rest of Fall and Winter goes, and how serious I become about it.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

5K here I come!

So I've been running with my community ed class and on my own for the past 5 weeks--and I finally took the plunge. I signed up to run my very first 5K race.

On Halloween is a Monster Dash with full marathon, half marathon, 10 mile, 5K, and 5K-9 (run with your dog) races. I will be debuting my 'running' skills in the 5K, along with several other women from my running class.

I have been practicing and running 3 miles or more for the past week, and I am happy with my time. I'm not fast by any means, but I am constantly moving, and most importantly:


Not everyone has the guts and stick-to-it perseverance to do this. I'm excited. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I did it again!

Yep, it's Tuesday. This means I go running in the morning. Fortunately it was not raining when I went out for my run today (though it started raining later this afternoon).

What I did again was go traipsing around my neighborhood, exploring new roads and getting mildly turned around. This was all fine and dandy. Good news in fact. It happened because I completed my planned running route faster than I anticipated! I needed to keep running for longer time, so I kept exploring a new part of my neighborhood.

Today I set the intention before leaving the house "I intend to have fun while running." I had to keep reminding myself a few times, AND I succeeded! I enjoyed myself and think I even developed a rythm. I was outside enjoying the fall weather, the pretty flowers and trees that are changing, as well as the last chance at sunlight we will see in 3 or 4 days (due to rain). It was great! I amazed myself. I just need to remember "it doesn't matter!"

Saturday, October 10, 2009


There was snow on the ground this morning. Yep, already.

It looks like Fall hit us last week with all the rain, and we might already be on our way to winter.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And it doesn't matter!

So I'm in a 6 week "Women's Intro to Running" community education class. I really needed to run this moring, and it was pouring rain. The rain got me a bit worked up, but I remembered what my instructor taught us last week--

"But it doesn't matter!"

If you feel tired and don't want to run, just say to yourself "but it doesn't matter!" If it's cold outside, "but it doesn't matter!" If you go running with you child and you know he or she will run way faster than you "It doesn't matter!"

I had to use it this morning. And I was victorious! It was raining, and I still went out. I ran/walked 2 miles--hooray for me!

Puzzle finished

I finished my puzzle last Saturday. Granted, there were about 2 weeks where I didn't even touch it. Choir started up again, my writing class started, and I'm also in a short, 6 week running class. My free time has been busy.

But I enjoyed finishing that puzzle. While I already bought another one (it was only $3.50) I think I may put this one together again. It is fun the second time around as well, because I can do it even faster.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Starting a puzzle!

I started working on a new 1000 piece puzzle on the 7th (two days ago). I've already made quite a bit of progress, though I'm missing one border piece. I'm just posting about when I started this puzzle, because a while back I finished a different 1000 piece puzzle. That puzzle probably took a month or more to finish it, and it wasn't even fun! I wish I had made note of when I started, so I would know how long it took me.

The last puzzle I completed did not have a full picture of the puzzle on the front cover--only the back and of course it was shrunk down some too, to make room for the other writing they had on the back. The picture on the back was not clear, and there were sections that were just black/grey.

It was my first puzzle with 1000 pieces, and I almost didn't know where to start. Of course you always start with the frame, and I was able to work on sections, but putting the pieces together that were just black smear on the picture, yet were varying shades of grey and purples on the pieces--that was just a bit maddening. I eventually had to put it together piece by piece by matching the SHAPE of the puzzle pieces. I got it done, and it felt a bit triumphant, but only because it was so blasted hard!

After that experience I decided I will only get puzzles with clear pictures of what it's supposed to look like, AND have a bit more 'brighter' colors. The one I'm working on now has some gorgeous sunlight flooding over mountains, and patches of flowers near and far. I'm making progress, AND I'm having FUN, too!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I did it again!

I have been going for walks the past few weeks on my days off of work. I have been exploring my still relatively new-to-me neighborhood. Last week I went for a walk to learn where the 'nearby' park and lake were located. My 20 minute walk turned into about 40+ minutes as I came out of the path somewhere and had to walk around a bit until I figured out where I was.

And, I did it again today!

Today I walked for close to an hour, which is ok and what I ultimately had wanted to do. It was also alright in the fact that I brought a small bottle of water with me today. I knew the general direction of my house, but there a lots of small short and windy roads that I don't yet know how they fully connect to one another. (Lots of roads ending in Ct, Trl, Dr, Ln, stuff like that which indicates a mess of spaghetti for roads.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I got talking with another woman at my gym today. It was nice to share our experiences of how we each came to realize that we don't need to be self-conscious while we're there. It took me a few times at the gym before it dawned on me--'No one cares what I am doing. They each have their own goals, and I've got mine. There is no need to compare myself to anyone.' It was very freeing to realize this.

This woman shared a similar view, and stated she was attracted to this particular gym because it doesn't have an 'intimidating' environment. I agreed!

I find this funny because yesterday I was sharing with a co-worker about my workout on Saturday, which was my last appointment with a personal trainer. This co-worked commented he never really got into weight lifting because it seemed like a thing 'jocks' do. (I understood him completely. This type of thinking would lead to an intimidating environment.)

After my conversation with the woman at the gym, and reflecting on my co-workers comment, I realized that stereotypes are just that, stereotypical, and they will never change unless you challenge them.

Perhaps in high school you may have thought only 'jocks' worked out on weight machines. Now that I am 10+ years beyond high school, I realize I have a lot in common with the people at my gym who use the weight-lifting machines. We all want to be healthy and feel in good shape. Some may really be into building muscle. I see guys like that. I don't focus on them. I see a lot more men and women who are committed to their health and perhaps are looking to lose some weight. That is why I go-I want to feel healthy and get my body in shape. It just feels good.

So, don't be afraid. Take a bold step and challenge your stereotypes. Especially if they were formed years ago. Life changes a lot!

Things I saw on the drive to work yesterday...

-A gorgeous huge rainbow! When I stopped at the light to get a better look at it, it was already gone.

-A man who was texting on a cell phone in the middle of bumper-to-bumper stop and go traffic. This is my assumption, because he kept looking up and then back down, I presume texting or fiddling somehow with his phone or some device in his lap. I live in a state where is it illegal to text while driving.

-A woman applying mascara while driving her car. This was in the 50+mph part of the highway.

-A gorgeous silver Audi A4.

At least the start and finish of my commute were beautiful and inspiring!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Letting go of more

So, after attending The Unstoppable Power of Intention retreat, (and being reduced to working 3 days a week) I've gone on a decluttering spree again. It feels great!

I've cleared out 2 closets and turned them into storage spaces for items only to do with the specific intent of that room. (i.e. craft stuff is now in my crafting room closet, officey things are now in my office closet.)

I've also been working on decluttering the storage room in our basement. It is a disaster and it smells stank (like clutter) too! I got rid of several things. Old blankets and valences I would never use, my wedding dress, books, old dishes and more.

When I cleared out my crafting things, I realized I could part with all my construction paper--I donated it to the nearby elementary school. I called to see if they could use it, (along with a few other supplies) and the lady welcomed the donation!

I took books over to Half Price Books to see if I could get any money for them, and dropped a collection off at "iSoldit" an ebay selling facility. (It saves me the time and trouble of submitting it on ebay).

I've gotten rid of more than 50 lbs. of stuff, a little money for some books, a great feeling for donating to the school, and lots more SPACE and mental clarity for getting rid of things I no longer love or need! Yay!

Brushing your teeth with intention

Today's post is about something very personal--the dentist.

A few weeks ago I noticed I was having some temperature sensitivites on a few of my teeth. I knew I needed to see a dentist. I knew that even before my teeth were acting up. It took that fear factor to motivate me to actually go visit one. It has probably been a few years since I last visited a dentist. I have moved, and had to find a 'new' one.

I called to schedule an appointment, and the were able to get me in the very next day--ideal! Less time for my anxiety to build.

I went for a routine cleaning and brought a small beany baby stuffed animal along. I know my anxiety at the dentist's office, and have found it helpful to have a small furry/beany/fluffy object/toy for my hands to focus on. I set an intention before I headed in the office as well. I intended to be relaxed and keep returning to my body.

I did well. I kept focusing on the beans in my beanie baby toy, and I kept noticing by body tensed up, so I would consciously relax. (How many times? I didn't keep count). All went well until the dentist found a tiny cavity! My heart sank.

I got to watch an instructional video on how to brush your teeth. It was nice. Of course I knew many of the points it mentioned, but it was still nice to get a refresher. It also pointed out one or two things that I wasn't aware of, one of which probably was directly related to my tiny cavity.

I now brush my teeth with intention. I pay attention to how and where I brush, trying to make sure I cover all areas. And you know what? I don't do this out of fear of getting more cavities. I do it because I realized, brushing my teeth leaves me with a feeling of luxury. Not on a grandious scale, but it feels luxurious nevertheless.

I even floss occasionally now. The lady cleaning my teeth said that soft plaque starts calcifying or hardening in about 48 hours. Thus, if I could floss every other day, that would be great. So that's about what I do. (Trust me, I'm not going to over do it on the flossing!)

Last night I was trying to hurry and get to bed. I decided to floss anyway. Not perfectly. But still sortof floss. It really doesn't have to take that much time. An imperfect attempt at flossing is better than doing nothing at all! And it left me with a feeling of luxury.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm a 9!

No, not on a scale of one to ten. Of the Enneagram personality types, I am a 9. I have historically been operating from the unhealthy realm of 9 so much that I scored myself higher on 6 than I did on 9! (When 9's are unhealthy and/or stressed they act like 6's.)

The Enneagram is a personality type profile that does MUCH more than tell you 'you're like this and that's it'. It is very flexible yet very thorough. I am amazed at what I am learning, and realizing "ok, that makes sense. Allright, that explains a LOT" (about how I have been living my life up to this point).

It explains the identity crisis I went through when I got married, the identity crisis I had when I left the LDS church, the identity crisis that I am no longer in. I'm not in crisis. I am on a quest to uncover the deeper true me that as a 9, often was buried for the sake of peace and not rocking the boat.

Not only does the Enneagram talk about your personality traits, but it also talks about ways to uncover and move beyond your ego talking and grow to a more powerful and spiritual you. I highly reccommend that you check out this book about it:

The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types, by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

I learned about this at Christine Kane's retreat. I'm still learning from it, so the retreat must have been a success! I'm still in touch with several of the women from the retreat, and enjoying their encouragement as well as sharing it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Most recent homeowner toys

Most recent new homeowner acquistions: (1) a fire pit, and (2) a saw blade attachement for our weed whacker.

Put into use: Today

Mulch melodrama

Yesterday I felt like a cowboy, due to the smell factor. We have over a half acre of land, which produces at times, a lot of grass clippings when we mow the lawn. So far, we have dumped the extra clippings (or leaves from last fall) into our wooded area in the back yard.

Recently we've been looking into composting, and/or some other way to use/get rid of the grass clippings. Rather than composting, we decided to put those clippings and leaves back on the lawn and turn them into mulch (very fine particles of natural organic matter). We bought a mulching blade for our lawn mower and shoveled all the previously cut grass out of the woods, and strewed it over the lawn, and then ran over it with the mulching blade and let it fall back to the ground (to provide nutrients to the lawn).

Well, it has been a while since we last dumped the grass clippings, and between that and the dead leaves--it was a compost heap without the borders. It was hot, humid, buggy, and it STANK!

We dumped the leaves & grass on the lawn and I was spreading it out. It reminded me of the smell of manure, and I felt a bit like a farm hand-shoveling (crap) around to fertilize the crops or something. But I still felt a bit proud. I hope this helps the lawn out a lot! (and the smell has gone away now that we turned it all into itty bits of mulch and dried out.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fun with dandelions

Ok, so as still new home owners, Spousie and I are trying to take care of our large lawn which had been neglected for at least a year. Dandelions are one of the things we are trying to purge from the lawn area. Besides spraying with dandelion weed killer, Spousie has delevoped a keen knack for "popping out" the dandelions.

Spousie uses the dandelion weed tool that is approximately a foot long and looks like a screw driver, except there are 2 nubby prongs instead of the screwdriver head. Spousie can use this tool and poke it into the ground and with a quick flip of the wrist--the dandelion root is snapped and up comes the plant sometimes with a spray of dirt.

I think this is hilarious! Spousie tried to teach me how to do this, but I lack the wrist coordination to snap it up fast enough. I love watching Spousie do this! I laugh so hard. Finally I got a clue and started trying to catch the weeds as they flew up and sometimes across the yard. Sometimes Spousie can get some real height on those things.

So if you happen to have a large crop of dandelions-I suggest this game. See who can master the art of popping them out of the ground, and let the others see who can catch the most!

(It's times like this that make me wish I had a digital camera to take a video!)

Lessons from bird poop

A while back I left my car outside overnight (i.e. not parked in the garage as usual). When I hopped in my car to drive to work the next morning, I noticed a blob of bird poop had splattered on my driver side window. Fortunately it didn't block my view of the rear view mirror, or I might have needed to take care of it immediately. But it posed no immediate hazard.

So I left it there for a while. I let it serve as a reminder of a simple lesson for me: If it's crap-let it go!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Anniversary? well, happy some holiday!

Wow! I guess I started this blog a year ago today. That only dawned on me because I realized it is "Happy March Day!" day. And I remember that that was my first post. So...

Happy Anniversary! and also, Happy March Day to you!

I realize I haven't done a lot with this blog, but I'm ok with that. I've had a chance to write a few things, and begin exploring others. I will usually start a post, but then realize I want to go on and on about the topic, and that's not quite the design of a blog. I guess if I discipline myself to write more often, blogging may serve to improve my writing. (I'll have to be brief and to the point. I also do a lot of revision before posting to try to make sure my point is clear and easily understood.) Maybe I'll post more this next year. We'll see!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Choir chuckles

Ok, so during choir we sang our Jesus-y churchy songs in preparation for a performance at a church this Sunday. I think I will brave it. As we were practicing one song, a gal made a comment I couldn't understand at first. Someone else asked her to repeat herself, and she said (something like this) "I've never heard a worship song so 'hymned down' before. I'm expecting the guitar and drums etc."

Well, I'm glad I wasn't the only one laughing after hearing that. But I was probably laughing for a different reason. Everyone's point of view is so different. I thought her comment was funny because in my former religion, I would have thought of this song as to 'jazzy' to be performed in a church service.

Yeah, not lots of fun with guitars and drums in the Mormon Sunday services. Not even brass instruments (my fav)! Things have got to be pretty sedate for Sacrament service. No exhuberant joy because of grace and mercy. Grace and mercy don't exist in Mormon theology. Well, ok, they do. "After all that you can do" which is never enough, so mercy and grace don't kick in. hmmmm.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Moral decision about Choir performance

Ok. So I wasn't able to attend a choir event this pask week that was held during the day. This means I evaded/avoided having to sing the Jesus-y songs. But I think we are slated to sing at a chapel next week. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get out of this one.

Here's the deal: Do I go ahead and sing the stuff, even though I don't believe it? Seems a bit 'no harm no foul', right? But maybe my Mormon training is kicking in.

As a teen, I was pretty pious and I didn't even like to dance at church dances to songs that had 'questionable' lyrics (i.e. lyrics that implied immorality, etc. Not that there were supposed to be songs playing like that). As an adult I sang in a larger Mormon choir. We would occasionally change a few lyrics of songs to make them fit with Mormon theology. (one example: "All Creatures of Our God and King")

So, do I just go along and sing with the whole choir and enjoy the mixed agony I will feel as we sing all the floofy feel good stuff? OR do I skip it because I do not want to perpetuate a belief in the "I'm so glad you [Jesus] came to save us" bit. Another lyric we sing is something about he came "my debt to pay." And the musical emphasis is on my debt to pay.

Please understand me. I am a debtor only to my credit union for the mortgage on my house, the United States Federal Government for repaying my student loans, and to the credit card company IF I happen to purchase something this month, which I pay off in full every month (so I'm not really in debt to the credit card company). Jesus can't pay any of these debts for me. Wouldn't that be sweet if he could. But please, reality check! Not gonna happen!

So do I sing along, or not? Why does this have to become a moral issue? Oh, I know! Mormon training! Everything is a moral battle between good and evil. ;)

But I know that more deeply, it will affect me on an emotional level. Part of me thinks I need to move forward and confront those feelings, rather than just avoiding them. Growth occurs through moving forward through things, right? Hmmm. I'll see how I feel singing that stuff tomorrow night.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Minor perks in a down economy

Yes, it is very disheartening to hear about thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands of layoffs occuring. But I realized one tiny perk, too.

My commute has been taking less time. I have enjoyed this slightly shortened drive time for the past week or two and thought "What is going on? Why are there so few people on the road?"

Then it dawned on me. People are losing their jobs, and/or are altering their work schedules. This truly may not be the reason, and it's a very tiny personal perk when so many around me seem troubled, but I'm counting my blessings, regardless of the real reason! Shorter commute=happier me!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Weird Choir Experience

So I joined a local women's choir. It has been really fun to sing with a group again, and start getting to know a few people. The only downside is that we are singing 50's music which is all heartthrob and "I can't live without my guy!" type music. As I thought about it a bit more, I realize that almost everyone touches on the love theme in music (though maybe not always from such a co-dependent or lop-sided perspective. Thank goodness society has made a little progress!)

Well, the other night we sang some 'churchy' songs. Ok, songs of a religious-themed nature. One was called "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High". Of course, growing up Mormon, I had never heard this before (or any of them for that matter.)

I freely admit it was weird singing songs about Jesus and saying "Lord, I lift your name on high" when I don't believe in that (the "Lord") anymore. I wonder if the 'weirdy' feeling was more from my Mormon background. I would have felt weird being Mormon and singing that song. Now it's even more weird.

But I'll also admit to feeling emotion. I felt the good vibe-what I might have termed earlier in my life as 'the Holy Ghost'-or goosebumps a few times. (But I had goosebumps when we were singing "Fiddler on the Roof" too.) I think any good music can do that. I also felt some pangs and even had a tear in my eyes as I sang "I'm so glad You're in my life". I'm not quite sure what the emotion was. Not really regret, but perhaps sorrow for missing having an imaginary friend that's all-powerful, all-knowing, and loves me.

So it was a somewhat awkward, weird experience singing a Jesus-y song in a church basement when I consider myself an atheist and ex-Mormon. Oh well. Life can be weirder. I'll report about that when it happens!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why is faith good?

Spousie & I watched the movie "Religulous" this past weekend. It was great. I had to pause it at one point I was laughing so hard; then I had to rewind it to catch what I had missed. It's filmed documentary style, portraying comedian/talk-show host/social & political commentator/author Bill Maher. He was exploring religious extremism.

He said some really good things. I had to watch parts of it again to get them verbatim.

The following struck me really profoundly:

"But why is faith good? Why is believing in something without evidence good?" -Bill Maher, in Religulous

As a Mormon, this question would never have crossed my mind. And I never would have had an answer either. Which means it's a really good question. It challenges your assumptions about life. Why is faith good? It seems like such a widely held belief that it is just assumed that faith is good.

This causes me to think and begin to question, what other things or thoughts are so common that we don't question them? For example, I think of Caroline Myss asking "Why is sacrifice good?" in her CD "Your Power to Create". That was very eye opening for me. I'll have to comment on that in another post.

But, faith, why is it good? I don't think there is a real reason except for generational and historical experience saying that it is so. I think there is a difference between (a) having faith (usually implying faith in God) and (b) trusting in yourself. The first, faith in God or a god is trusting something external to yourself, whether it's the Holy Spirit, revelation, or the people/pastors/religious leaders of your church. Trusting in yourself is very different. As a Mormon, I didn't trust myself. And I was taught not to trust myself. I was taught to trust my priesthood leaders. (oh the signs of a cult!)

And I'm sure you've heard that lovely catchy cliche, "It's better to have blind faith that to be blind." I heard it on my mission. Nowadays I would challenge anyone who said that-because youu're still blind after all!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

December Confessions

Ok, so here's why I didn't write much in November and December. True, I was trying to crank out a draft manuscript for my writing class. I also had discovered a website from which you can watch a lot of movies or tv shows online.

My spouse introduced me to "Firefly" and I was hooked. Yes, I can say I'm a fan of Sci-fi, and this was probably the best I have seen EVER. There are only 14 episodes, but the gang got reunited and created a movie "Serenity" (the name of the ship).

Obviously, we were good enough this year that Santa got us a copy of the movie. (Spousie had already bought the series, better quality for our 12 foot screen rather than on a 22 inch computer screen). I watched the movie at least 3 times (probably all that long weekend) and more. I am telling you, this is good.

Sci-fi without all the high-falutiness. They are cowboys on a spaceship. Go check it out. The characters, concept, it's all great. The best I have ever seen. That's why I keep watching it over and over. Trying to glean more, and understand why it's so dang good.

Letting go of more physical clutter

Back to some "I let it go!" stories about physical clutter. I was thinking about this package of wooden skewers that I bought, hoping to make shish-kabobs. How long have I had them? through 2 moves! Out they went!

I've gotten rid of 20-50 lbs of old papers and old catalogs at work. I almost have my cubicle cltter-free! Almost! Paper comes in faster than I can get it out. But I am working on it. Having a messy desk, like I currently do, drives me crazy. I am asked to keep a lot of things, but I sure chuck stuff when I can!

I now have a desk organizer-type object for my desk. I currently am needing to print off a lot of things, and hold on to them for a day or two. In an effort to stay organized and prevent stacks of paper on my desk I ordered this object that holds papers/files vertically. While it is big and a bit clunky, I still love the fact that I'll be able to keep my papers vertical rather than horizontal! I also grabbed the clothes out of my closet that I need to drop off at Goodwill or Saver's when I get a chance.

Happy letting go and getting rid of stuff!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Commuter Kindness - Share the Love

As I've been driving to work this week, I've really been trying to focus on being KIND. I noticed I was getting too serious about my commute (i.e. stressed while driving). I don't want to be the type of driver that rides the bumper of the car in front of me, for the mere fact that I couldn't stand to have anyone pull in front of me.

So this week I've focused on being a kind driver. I've noticed other drivers being kind, and I want to continue and grow that feeling. I've been a little more gracious about letting others pull in front of me when they signal they need to change lanes, and I even got a wave of thanks in return once. It made my day.

I've had a very trying week at work. I realized how fortunate I have been that there hasn't been snow to add an hour or more to my commute (which is already 20 minutes longer that I care to drive). With that thought, I really tried to focus on being kind during my commute and driving around town. There's already too much stress and tension in the world. I don't need to add to my own levels, or contribute to it in the world. I'm trying to share kindness instead.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Danger of Absolutist Thinking

Ok. Last post I talked about absolutist thinking. In the following days I found 2 examples (unfortunately, both were religion/God-based) that set me off and have me writing trying to explain why Absolutist thinking can be a bad and potentially (very) dangerous thing.

First example: I was getting the oil changed in my car. In the waiting room I heard an ad on the tv that said something like, "The only real way to effect change in your life is to accept God's will for you. Contact Pastor Blah Blah Blah to learn how." Oh really! The only way to make change in my life. Well, that's nice for Pastor Blah Blah Blah. He can make money because through him, I can access God, and that's the only way to create change in my life.
Huh. Turning away from trying to live out God's will for me has actually been the largest change factor in my life.

Second example (later that same morning): I read an article in my local paper where they were talking up this new program called "Every Man's Battle for Purity". I guess I was put off more by the picture they used and how they wrote about the issue.

The picture is of a military camoflauge colored T-shirt (with a dog tag, to entice you to join their boot camp). On it, under the words "Every Man's Battle for Purity" is the phrase "Live Pure or Die".

Ok. I about puked when I read that. Not really, but I seriously swallowed hard and maybe almost choked. Maybe it's a gut reaction from growing up having thoughts like that repeated so often that I accepted them as truth. But, HELL!!! Live pure, or DIE??? Who defines "pure"? It sounds like one of those words with an absolutist ring to it: Pure--either you are or you aren't. If you aren't--well, I guess you might as well kill yourself. This is Shit! Sorry to be so blunt--but I've heard such things growing up Mormon. 'It's better to die than to lose your virtue.' I'm waking up and realizing that we live in a very TOXIC society that keeps sending out very mixed messages that are absolutist in tone, and are very unforgiving and brutle.

I'm not saying there can't be a time, place, target audience and purpose for this. I am not in favor of pornography, and I know there are millions of guys addicted to it. I guess part of why I was upset reading the article was that it didn't mention numbers, or the cost socially, financially, etc. that "impurity" causes our society. It was written based on a lot of assumptions that I guess the author assumed were widespread.

I also don't like the fact that it's a military theme. They need to use the term "battle" because then it sounds important, like there is a victory to be achieved. Purity (as I understood the article), meant sexual purity. I don't think sexual purity is an "achievement" or victory. It is something you deal with and face your whole life. And I also don't like the fact that "all men" (Every man's battle) need to be included in this war. Some men don't have this problem.

Don't we have enough wars going on? Maybe this is what that scripture was talking about "there would be wars and rumours of wars". Please. When are we going to hear some healthy (i.e non-absolutist, non-judgemental) messages in our society, especially about sex?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Absolutist thinking

Last night I had a 'shower epiphany'. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should either shower more often, or take longer showers. Be sure to let your mind wander rather than focus on scrubbing every grain of dirt out from between your toes, or obsessing about cleaning behind your ears.) It was a simple realization, but still kind of profound.

If you believe in sin, then you think in absolutist terms. (At least some of the time.)

Let me explain my line of reasoning. If you believe in sin, then you likely believe that you are a sinner. You likely believe that you need a savior to remove your sins. This is probably because you believe God is sinless, and if you sin (or have sinned) then you cannot dwell in God's presence, because God cannot tolerate sin or abide sin's presence (I'll have to find the scripture on that one. I'm not sure if it's biblical or book of Mormon stuff).

So if you believe in sin, and that God is sinless and cannot tolerate sin in the slightest, then either you're "in" or you're "out". Absolutist. There is no middle ground. You can't be a psuedo-sinner. You are or you aren't. That's why you believe in the need for a savior--to overcome the absolute of being sinful or having sins, to become absolutely sinless, and thus able dwell in God's presence. (I won't go into a discussion about "in God's presence" meaning in this life or the next.)

Hmmm. Makes sense to me. Maybe it's more Mormon-type philosophy I'm thinking of regarding God and sinlessness and how God and sin can't co-exist. But that's my background. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Feliz dia de los Reyes!

Ok, so I haven't lived in Spain for more than 9 years (it will be 10 this July!) but I still remember this holiday. Today is "el dia de los Reyes" in Spain. In English it would be translated, "the day of the Kings" which I guess in other Christian terminology is Epiphany, or the day that the 3 kings were supposed to have arrived to visit the baby Jesus and deliver their gifts. (This is where the 12 days of Christmas comes from--after Christmas day, not the 12 days before it! But I digress.)

So, I kindof like holidays. This was a fun one in Spain. I saw a huge parade with dragons and all sorts of things, loud music, and this was typically the day when people exchanged presents. I was told that it was a bigger holiday (in regards to gift-giving) than even Christmas.

So-enjoy the holiday, what's left of it. Maybe my gift to you was that I finally started blogging again! :^)

Word of the Year

Wow! Has it really been so long? October? Well, I had fun finishing up my writing class, and in December, putting in extra hours (to now total 40/week) at work.

Speaking of work, we had a work team meeting a few weeks back where we went off-site (which was nice just to get away; changes of scenery are important and necessary for me). We spent time digging through magazines and cutting out pictures and words so we each could create what is called (according to Christing Kane ) a "vision board". On this vision board are pictures, words, symbols (whatever!) that represent things I would like to do, accomplish, be, or have. It could be called a 'goal mural' or lots of other things.

Over New Year's break I started to assemble and sort my pictures further. I only had 8.5 x 11 inches of space, yet I had 3 or more square feet of stuff cut out. The space limitation was nice to force me to prioritize what are the things most important to me to be, do, accomplish, have this year. (Yes, that's more Christine Kane speak for those who are familiar with her work.) I slapped it together and in the middle is my "Word of the Year". Christine Kane advocates that rather than make a new year's resolution (which people often fail at or forget after a time period), to instead choose a word to focus on throughout the year. I like this approach.

My word for 2009 is: STRETCH!

My plan is to stretch my mind, my body, (as in exercise, or at least move and make my body stretch just a little bit!), my income earning capacitiy, my budget, my comfort zone, my writing abilities, etc!

I had originally been mulling over the word "complete" to remind myself that I am whole and without defect as-is, as well as to help me work on the 'get things finished' aspect of the word. But then somehow I thought of the word STRETCH, which is more inspiring and expansive. It allows, encourages, and nudges me to grow. And with a word like "Stretch" things don't have to be big deals. They can be little deals that allow me to strech my comfort zone, and grow in small ways that in time, lead to cumulative big things.

So I'm trying to stretch my body (did some yoga tonight [loved it!] which is on my vision board) and I am trying to write a little something every day. This may take forms as type-written stuff heading towards my memoir, short stories, articles for work e-newletters, blogging, or just hand-written journal writing. But I'm trying to engage in a little bit of that creative writing zone each day.

So we'll see when the next post pops up!