Thursday, February 21, 2008

pride is next, i guess...

well...i've been dealing with something for the last week and i'd like to talk it out because it is a source of unrest, and i'm tired. i've been trying to think about how to share this because it involves something a tiny bit personal and a little sensitive. if that will be awkward for you, don't bother reading any further.

so the last couple weeks i have been studying more in-depth on temptation and sin, and the different ways that satan goes about his plan of destroying God's children. and last week one of the lessons in particular dealt with the past. it described the very real possibility of satan using things from our past to gain a foothold on us today through temptations and sins related to those sins or moments of weakness or losses of innocence that have happened to us in our childhood or adolescence... as i read this, something in my heart became heavy and i thought that maybe God had something to say to me about it. so i read on, this time listening more intently with my spiritual ears, if we even really have such things, about how satan can use the tiniest things from our past to develop patterns of temptation and sin in our adult lives, and how we need to let God deal with our past and heal our wounds from the past so that those things will lose their power over us. Bingo. God wanted to heal me from the past...and so i hesitantly began to think about what has happened to me in my past that satan is using today.

well the truth is, i couldn't think of one single thing from my childhood that could be affecting me so deeply today. i thought and thought and simply drew a blank. so i thought, well maybe if i work backwards, i will think of something. and i began to try to think instead of the temptations that are prevalent in my life now. so two of the biggest temptations i came up with that i have struggled deeply with and continue to struggle with are 1) a tendency toward being prideful and 2) seeking unnecessary male attention. (wow, i just laid it all out there, didn't i?)...(don't judge me)

the thing about pride didn't really grab my attention so much as the other did. i felt like God really wanted to say something to me about it. so i began to listen. and as i evaluated my life, i allowed myself to admit that it's true, i have developed patterns of behavior over time that have been very damaging to me and my relationships with God and people. and i began to try to think of when these patterns could have begun to form, but i got nowhere because for as long as i can remember, even into my childhood, i have always preferred being with groups of males to being with groups of females. i have had one or two close girlfriends, yes, but they have been rare, and i have had to fight for those friendships because i have never allowed myself to be completely vulnerable to them...there always remained one or two walls up around my heart.

so i started to think, maybe something happened to me during my childhood. something that i need to heal from, but that happened so long ago, i have erased from my entire memory. and i didn't really want to take that thought any further, but i thought, it might be difficult for God to heal me of something i am unaware of. so i decided, i guess i need to ask God to make me aware of the moment or event or circumstance in my life that led to these behavior patterns. so i prayed that he would.

and i am not kidding you...the very same moment in which i prayed that prayer, i suddenly remembered so vividly a moment from when i was in pre-school. i mean, i must have been like four years old! and i remembered this one moment, when i tried for the first time to make friends at school. this was a big deal because i was super super shy as a girl..i didn't talk to anyone...ever! i was scared of everybody! so, i remember timidly approaching a group of girls during recess at pre-school. in my memory, there were five girls sitting in a circle on top of a picnic table and i asked if i could sit with them....the one girl who was "in charge" said yes and i sat next to her. she told everyone that if we were all going to be friends we had to know each other's secrets, which everyone seemed to agree with. so she decided that everybody in the circle had to show everybody else what kind of underwear they had on.

it's ridiculous that i'm telling you this.

well, i did not want to do that. i was terrified. this is not what i was signing up for. but everybody else did it. it was like a big joke to them, they were all laughing and having a great time, and i was petrified. but i couldn't leave. i was too scared. and then it was my turn. and i said i didn't want to. so this girl reached over and before i could react, she lifted up my skirt and showed all the other girls my underwear...

there is a four-year-old girl inside me right now that is horrified that i'm sharing this moment with you because it is the moment in which
she was most humiliated. she was so embarrassed, she got up and ran away and cried and cried and never told anyone what had happened.

and that was the last day i played with the girls on the playground. ever.

and so God led me through that moment that i had forgotten and tucked away deep in my heart, and i cried and cried last week when i remembered it all, and how it felt, and how terrified and embarrassed i was as that little girl. and i asked God to heal that spot in my heart...but the problem is that i have just ached over it since then. that's where the unrest part comes in. i don't have any idea what kind of healing process is supposed to be involved in getting over something that happened 22 years ago. i don't know what to do with this. i trust that God is the healer, not me. and i know He is good, and would not lead me into pain to leave me there. and i trust that He is already healing this hurt from so long ago. obviously a wound that has been left alone over so much time will also take time to be healed.

but i just wonder, what are the implications of this one little moment in my life? i mean, was this even the significant moment i was asking to see and be healed from? or was there something else? could such a tiny event be the cause of such destructive behavior patterns later in life? i don't know. and how do i apply this new-found information to my life now? how can the knowledge of this wound help me to change behavior that could potentially be harmful to me and my relationships with God and loved ones?

just some things i've been mulling over in the last week. any thoughts?

Monday, February 18, 2008

camera? check.

thanks, Nathan, for pointing me in the right direction. and thanks, paddy, for nothing. the PV-GS320 looks awesome. i compared it to a few other panasonics that i liked, like the PV-GS90 (which was on sale for $279 over at best buy and came with a free starter kit-tri pod, camera bag and lens cleaner kit) and a couple other cameras as well. the only thing i didn't really like about the GS320 is that the view-finder doesn't look like it can pull out and be angled which is a feature i like on cameras for when it's super sunny and glary outside (is glary a word?). but it's got a ton of other pretty sweet features, some stuff i've never even heard of before, so i decided to get over the view finder. i ordered it and i should have it in a week or so :-). now i'm just gonna go to best buy to see if i can get a cheap starter kit at their president's day sale...since the starter kit at was like six-hundred dollars and included way more things than i would ever use. ever. thanks again!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

please, Winkie??? :-)

well, i have a couple favors to ask...

the first is: can someone who knows more about video cameras than i do (pretty much anybody) tell me what kind of video camera i should be looking at purchasing for my upcoming trip to ecuador? i won't be doing anything super fancy with it, i guess. i'd just like to have a camera with decent sound quality and the ability to zoom in and out. i'll be using it to record video blogs, and some simple video projects here and there...stuff that i'll edit together and send back to dfcc every month or so. and assuming i get a nice refund on my taxes this year, i'd like to spend somewhere in the $300-$400 range. i would appreciate any help you can offer! thanks

the second favor i'd like to ask is: kevin, will you do my taxes for me? :-)

Monday, February 04, 2008

changing the world is easy

i don't know how many of you have worked, or are working, in a service industry. if you've ever worked in food service or customer service or retail, you probably know what a huge difference a smile or a kind word from a customer can make in your workday.

i love my job. i have loved my job since i was blessed with it in 2001. but sometimes (especially in the months surrounding the big holidays) it is very difficult to enjoy my job. it is draining to greet a new table with a genuine smile and a, "hi, folks, how are you today?" (yes, it is a job requirement to say "folks") and in response to hear, "give me a diet coke." i hope you don't think i'm exaggerating. it happens pretty often, actually. during my next few shifts, i think i'm going to tally how many tables actually answer my greeting with an appropriate response, however unfelt it may be, and how many tables just jump right in to what drink they want or what appetizer they want...or whatever seems to be more important than being nice.

it's even more disheartening when they can't even peel their eyes off their menu or their phone or whatever else they have in front of them long enough to make a tiny second of eye-contact with me as they make their demands. i don't think it's too much to ask for a little eye-contact, is it? i will give them the same eye-contact courtesy. i won't just frown and scribble on my little order book and walk away without glancing in their direction. i will smile and look them i the face as i pleasantly acknowledge their special requests and assure them that i will get the order right.

and you wouldn't think that it would be such a big deal, but the word "please" is like...incredible. the difference between, "give me a hickory burger. extra barbecue sauce. no tomato. no lettuce." and "i'd like a hickory burger with extra barbecue sauce. and may i have that without tomatoes or lettuce, please?" is like the difference between two other hugely different things. i don't even know how to begin to explain how important it is to just say please. and to ask for things rather than demand them. we live in such a culture of demand. and there is an attitude of entitlement that we seem to have as a people. that we deserve whatever we want. we are entitled to have it, simply because we want it or think we should have it. but you know...nobody is actually entitled to a burger with no lettuce or tomato.

the point is, it gets real old real fast when table after table, guest after guest treats me with incivility or rudeness or even indifference. it actually even hurts sometimes. and tonight was definitely a "no please" night. (that's what i call the nights when almost no one says please or thank you)...( happens a lot). so by the end of the evening, i was beat. just plain tired. and not from a lack of sleep or from being too busy. but from having the life sucked out of me by life-sucking people all night. it's sad, really.

and then.......

i walked up to greet my last table of the evening. just one guy. and i gave him a weak smile and a tired "hi, how are you tonight?" and do you know what he did? he looked at me. right at my face. and he smiled. and he said, "i'm great, thanks! i'm just waiting for a couple friends. they'll be here any minute. we're going to change the world!" and i laughed. like a genuine laugh. with that one smile and that bit of eye-contact and that one tiny exchange, he single-handedly removed all the baggage of the entire evening full of people i had already had to endure. what a gift. his friends showed up, they all were nice, they all said please and thank you (i got quite a few thank you's, actually) and every time i came to the table to check on them, they stopped their conversation to acknowledge me and smile. they made me enjoy my job. and in the end, they gave me a more-than-generous tip. they really made my night. and i'll tell you what...i overheard bits and pieces of conversation about real estate and websites and "the competition"...and while none of that interests me, and i have no idea what their plans are...i do believe they're going to change the world. they've already started changing it.

and so, i hope the next time your server walks up to your table with a weak smile and a tired greeting, you'll remember this story and try to change their world. it can be done with a smile, eye-contact, a please and thank you, and some genuine friendliness.

feels a little like leading a double life. just a little.

so i have a new blog now. an additional blog, rather (two, actually)...i'm not ditching this one. i still don't care whether i have something better to say or not, so i'm still going to say it all here. but seeing as how we published a couple blog addresses (, where people in the church can go to read updates about my ecuador planning and then the trip itself, i figured it might be better to have a separate blog. i imagine if people are looking to know what the trip looks like, they're probably not interested in my external hard drive or how much i enjoy the company of paddy.

i'm not sure how i feel about this additional blog idea yet. i have decided that i will continue to post regularly on this blog, and probably once every few weeks add an update about the trip to the other one, which i will just copy and paste to this one too. i i said, somebody looking to read about a mission trip is not interested in one of my friends at work trying to read english, right? and there's no sense in you having to read two separate blogs, right? so...there you go. just wanted to let you know, if you happened to be at dfcc this weekend, that you don't have to go looking at the other one if you're interested in ecuador updates, 'cause you'll get them all here too. kthx