Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Why do I do the things I do?

 I had a moment earlier this year when I started to seriously question if what I do matters. Around this same time, our friend Todd challenged Calvin and me with this question, "If you couldn't put it on Social Media, would you still do it?" This conversation was multi-faceted - we applied it to mission opportunities and church service as well as things we do with our families and friends. Together, these two thoughts merged into over a month of questioning why I do what I do and if what I do is worth anything. This naturally morphed into wondering - if what I do DOES matter...why?

I do have a friend who tolerates these internal struggles and that friend is always quick to remind me that I'm perfect the way God made me, that I matter to the people who love me, that others are inspired and encouraged by how I lean on God through my struggles, and that I really do have a lot going for me. Friends who love you always see the best in you. Everyone needs that friend. I'm thankful.

I started asking myself things like

"Why do I write?"  I've felt like I "should" write again, but didn't really want to. I felt pressured to write again, but I'm not sure why. 

"Why do I paint?" I've felt like I "should" get some paint workshops going. Both sets of parents have requested paintings. I just haven't felt inspired to paint. Again, I felt pressured to, and I'm not sure why.

"Why do I want to play piano?" I feel guilty for dropping piano lessons. It got hard and I quit. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to do it- so I quit. So I wrestled with whether or not I "should" continue- do I want to or do I just feel like I "should"?

Finally, I sat with "Would I still enjoy any of  things I do if I couldn't post my successes it on social media and get all the praise? Do I actually enjoy painting, writing, teaching, and planning ladies events...    or do I just enjoy the praise I receive when these things turn out well?

At this same time I was overwhelmed with social media. I followed too many people and was just overwhelmed by all the information in my news feeds and timelines. So I got off of IG and FB all together. I still have the accounts, but have removed them from constant view. The results of this have been interesting... but that is a post for another day.

So - why do I write? I started this blog for me. Initially to work through the growing pangs of being a new preacher wife. Then I was diagnosed with cancer and the blog morphed into working through that. Then I had a small following and I got all caught up in the visitor numbers and trying to get comments and... well that was just a mess.  I started trying to write about things that people would respond to. That didn't work for me. It made writing a burden. Then I was diagnosed with cancer a second time and i didn't have as much to say. As always is the case, I truly wish I had recorded that journey as faithfully as I  did the first. Oh Well. Then cancer was over and... well what do you write about that compares to cancer? Then depression came to the forefront and I attempted suicide... and I worked through a lot of that. Then covid and elections and Trump and Biden and facemasks and vaccines and blah blah blah...

        So - I'm writing for me. Not worried about followers or comments. Don't care if no one ever reads it. I'm writing for me. This is my place to work thru - whatever I need to work thru. My thoughts, my opinions, my words. IF by chance things happen that allow me to share encouragement with someone, then great. but for the most part, I'm just blabbering about whatever is going on in my head. I enjoy writing. I have lots of words to use. So yeah, I'll write with or without the praise.

Now - Why do I paint? I used to love it. It used to be so much fun. I really enjoyed the whole process of getting images out of my head and onto canvas.  Then I started doing paint workshops and in the process of this got really sensitive about whether or not people "liked" the things I painted. People started asking me to paint things for them and USUALLY that worked out well... but there was 1 person I couldn't satisfy. Then there was another request that I couldn't do to MY satisfaction. Then a few of my workshops didn't make. Annnd I stopped painting.

        So - I think I'm going to adopt the same attitude about painting as I have about writing. I'm going to paint for me. Just paint what I like and what I think is cute or pretty or amazing or challenging or whatever. I'm not going to post anything on FB or IG. There are craft shows scheduled for this fall and Christmas season, so I may just do those. I don't know. I DO know that I am just going to paint for now. I don't know how that's gonna work out. I guess that's okay. I think I will enjoy it and will be proud of what i paint without other people telling me whether or not it's "good enough." Time will tell.

Piano is a different animal all together. Why do I want to play? I love piano. I have a whole piano playlist on Pandora. I want to be able to sit down and play - for me - just because the music makes me happy. Calvin asked me if I wanted to take lessons and play keyboard at the church. I started lessons and loved it. Then it got hard and all I could do was imagine trying to play for the church and messing it all up. I put a lot of pressure on myself to excel... and maybe I'm just not excellent on Piano. Maybe I'm just a middle of the road piano tinkerer. Maybe I just need to play for myself. That's okay, 

Goodness! Maybe that's what all this is about! I want to be excellent. I WANT to be the best. I mean - not THE best. I want to be excellent though. I want the things I do to be liked. I want the things I do to be impressive. I DO live for the "atta girl".

I need to be okay with just being okay. 

That's what this all boils down to. 

Well, That worked out easier than I anticipated.

Going forward, I'm going to do the things I enjoy simply because I enjoy doing them. That includes writing, painting, piano, crochet, ladies' ministry, mission work, church service, hangin out with the kiddos and the Preacher and whatever else comes along.



Friday, July 23, 2021

 All the news is still about the Pandemic. Covid 19 has been the hot topic since March of last year. Currently, the Delta Variant is top of mind. Izzy, Brian, and I just got over it. I'm actually in quarantine for several more days, but am on the mend. Yes, I am fully vaccinated - got the virus anyway. Had to get the Monoclony Antibody Infusion to start getting better. I was really, really sick.

I'm truly tired of Covid and all the canceling of everything. I understand better now that I've had it - and was so very sick with it. It is maddening that we are vaccinated and still getting sick. I don't know if this is ever going to end.

But I didn't come back to the blog after 18 months to talk about Covid.

So much has happened. Brian and Tayler got Married in August of last year and are expecting a son in October of this year. SOOOO exciting!!!!!! Izzy got her license and her first job. She was staying an extra week at Camp Livingstones to be a Counselor In Training when she got Covid. She is amazing and so willing to be used by God. She struggles to find her place; she doesn't have a strong group of Christian peers like Brian did and that makes life harder for her. She does well despite the influence from friends who are not driven in the same ways she is.

School is going to start soon for Izzy - Junior year. I'm hoping that she is able to actually go to school "in person" all year.

That's all the big news.

Things have been rocky for me since summer of 2017. The job change I made in 2019 removed the stigma I felt that I had at Community with the people who walked the cancer valley with me and who also walked the depression valley with me. Whether it is true or not, I felt that those who knew me best there saw me as permanently broken. I didn't think that I would ever recover from my suicide attempt so long as I was there with them.

Truth is - I WAS broken. I was still very broken even in 2019. I'm sure this will be sorted out over and over again until I don't have to deal with depression anymore, but, for now, I'll just say that it's taken 4 years and a job change to get to be able to say that I'm okay most days. 

And most days I am okay.

I still have really bad days... but no longer have really bad weeks...or months. 

Most days are neutral. Get up, go to work, go home. Repeat. Mix in some church. Sprinkle in time with friends here and there. 

Then I have amazing days when I am SO thankful to be here. I am so thankful to be able to see Brian and Tayler get married and start their life together. I am so thankful to be able to see Izzy grow into a young woman. I'm thankful to be in a place in my marriage where we have found a peaceful pattern. Sometimes it's these big things, and sometimes it's the perfect song on the radio with the sun shining just right against  perfect puffy white clouds in a brilliant blue sky; all that matters is that I realize - often - how much I'd be missing if my life ended in 2017 and am SO thankful to be here.

That's enough for today.


Thursday, December 31, 2020

100 things 2020

100 things from 2020

  1. Grocery was out of CABBAGE & BLACK EYE PEAS for New Year's day!!
  2. Australia on fire!
  3. Iranian General Soleimani killed in a drone strike
  4. Renasant continues to be a good move
  6. Boys went to Israel
  7. Pulled up the kitchen floor while they were gone
  8. Virus outbreak in China
  9.  Bernie Sanders
  10. Joe Biden
  11. Elizabeth Warren
  12. Trump
  13. Corona Virus spread from China to Italy and Europe.
  14. "my" room
  15. Corona Virus  - now "Covid 19"
  16. Corona virus believed to have started in a seafood market in Wuhan China
  17. Shingles on my face
  18. Jackson and Flowood MS flood from Pearl River. Highest flood stage since 'the easter flood"
  19. Corona Virus memes
  20. Megan Markle and Prince Harry leave the royal family to live "normal" lives
  21. Iran launches ballistic missiles at 2 military bases in Iraq, injuring American Soldiers
  22. Impeachment for Trump begins mid January
  23. Corona in USA - Washington State - January 20
  24. Jan 23 - Wuhan China on lockdown quarantine
  25. Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gig killed in a helicopter crash - January 26
  26. United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union
  27. Iowa Caucus results delayed "quality control" issues - gonna be a crazy election year for sure!
  28. Tornado hits Nashville March 2
  29. Mary Higgins Clarke Died
  30. Boy Scouts file bankruptcy
  31. Paint Night benefit for Tayler Carpenter
  32. Beginning to see signs of menopause
  33. US Senate acquits Trump  on articles of impeachment
  34. Kirk Douglas Died
  35. HarveyWeinstein convicted of 3rd degree rape and 1st degree criminal sexual act! 
  36. Elizabeth Warren drops out of presidential race
  37. Italy shut down - like seriously SHUT DOWN! People cant leave their houses
  38. March 11 - WHO declares the Coronavirus a pandemic (more than 100 countries have the virus)
  39. Spring break road trip w Iz
  40. Giant City State Park, Il
  41. Fried Chicken! Oh my goodness!
  42. Reelfoot Lake
  43. March 13 - Trump declares National Emergency 
  44. College campuses closed - online classes only
  45. Schools closed for 2 weeks plus spring break (3 week total) mid- march
  46. NO TOILET PAPER - like seriously none... anywhere!
  47.  "Wash yo Hands"
  48. Empty grocery stores- really- they are EMPTY
  49. Spain on Lockdown quarantine
  50. March 16 Fed drops rate 2,997 points worst drop since 1987
  51. Earthquake in Salt Lake City UT
  52. Restrict gatherings to less than 250 people
  53. Corona Virus Mississippi
  54. March 24 - Summer Olympics (Tokyo) postponed until July 23 2021
  55. India on Lock down
  56. 1/3 of the worlds population has the virus
  57. Oil war between Russia and Saudi Arabia
  58. NBA Cancelled
  59. Pro baseball cancelled
  60. April 1 - first asymptomatic cases of the virus confirmed
  61. "Social Distancing"
  62. Churches opting to not meet
  63. restrict gatherings to less than 50 people
  64. EBOLA- - first new cases in the congo - major setback for efforts to end the outbreak started in August 2018
  65. 2020 Tour De France postponed until August
  66. Restrict gatherings to less than 10 people
  67. Business closing concrete and mortar stores (going to online only)
  68. Fed drops Rate another 1 full basis point
  69. Stock market volatility
  70. Bernie Sanders drops out of Presidential race
  71. Joe Biden the Democratic Nominee for 2020
  72. New York has the highest # of corona virus cases of any country in the world
  73. Schools out for the rest of the school year.
  74. Restaurants, Salons, Gyms, nail places closed
  75. Gov Tate Reeves mandates "Shelter in place" order. 
  76. Bankers are deemed "essential workers"
  77. Rumors of mandatory masks when in public
  78. PPP loans
  79. lots of overtime for bankers working thru the PPP loan program
  80. Unemployment bonus making it difficult for businesses to keep their staff on payroll
  81. 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in a single month due to Cocvid19 lockdowns - worst unemployment since the Great Depression
  82. Canada has mass shooting - kills 17
  83. Oil prices fall to NEGATIVE numbers!
  84. Rumors of mandatory vaccine
  85. Pentagon releases 3 videos of "unidentified aerial phenomena" seriously? UFOs now??? Are you KIDDING ME???
  86. Rumors of "ID 2020" 
  87. Facebook Live weeknight devotion/Bible studies
  88. ASTEROID 2 km wide makes close approach to earth. (UFO? and now ASTEROIDS?)
  89. "Drive in" church
  90. NASA selects companies to build next generation lunar lander to carry American Astronauts to the moon by 2024
  91. Rumors of meat shortage
  92. Murder hornets
  93. Virtual Paint class via Facebook Live
  94. Early start to Hurricane season
  95. Started meeting in the Fellowship Hall for church in June. Following Social Distancing Guidelines
  96. Keeping a list of church attendees so that we can contain an outbreak if someone in our church gets sick
  97. MAY 26 - protests and riots break out over the killing of GEORGE FLOYD by a police officer
  98. Black Lives Matter
  99. Derek Chauvin charged with 3rd degree murder in the death of George Floyd
  100. May 30- first crewed spacecraft to take off from american soil since 2011
  101. More Americans killed by Corona than died in the Vietnam Conflict - end of May
  102. June 1 - 6 new Ebola cases in the Congo - renewed outbreak - 5 deaths reported
  103. Trump labels ANTIFA a terrorist organization
  104. "Black out Tuesday" on social media - June 2
  105. June 6 - anti racism rallies and protests against police brutality in cities around the world
  106. Riots. looting, and all kinds of craziness in all the big cities
  107. Dems call for de-funding police
  108. some areas of large cities declared "no police zones"
  109. Camp Living Stones
  110. "CHAZ" in Seattle Washington - 
  111. Minneapolis City Council votes unanimously to disband the police department and replace it with a "community safety department" - was overturned by the city charter
  112. Protesters in Nashville declare a "Nashville autonomous zone" on capital grounds.
  113. face masks mandatory in some places, suggested in all places
  114. Sahara dust cloud reaches the Gulf of Mexico in June
  115. rumors of the Police Union calling a walk out in July
  116. some bank lobbies (including renasant) still closed in June
  117. Some restaurants still not opening their dining rooms in June. those that are must only seat 50% capacity
  118. 18-30 year olds  - drs finding blood clots in their lungs post Corona Virus 
  119. Trump admin requests that a federal judge block the release of the book "the room where it happened" a memoir of John Bolton's time as National Security Advisor in the trump white house
  120. its ONLY JUNE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!