Friday, January 13, 2017

How I Really Feel

It's been over a year since I've blogged. It's been years since I've been faithful at blogging or journaling either one. I do, however, still have a desire. It just gets lost in the nothingness sometimes. I very often have a thought or an opinion I want to share, yet I very often decide to let it pass without sharing it. This week, though, a little interaction on social media has crept back into my mind a few times. So I want to address it. It concerns "how I really feel."

I wrote a post on Facebook the other day that said:
How do you set your tv to automatically mute every time someone starts to quote a certain type of tweet? Or even better switch to your favorite Pandora station when the political talk starts and then go back to regular programming when the coast is clear?
One of my friends, God bless him, replied:
Sweetie, I think you'll be listening predominantly to Pandora for the next few years if this is how you really feel. P.S. You're not alone; I'll be doing the same thing! 
What really got me was the phrase, "...if this is how you really feel." Which made me question if that was, indeed, how I really felt. I really do cringe every single time someone quotes a tweet from Donald Trump. I actually cringe just writing his name. I cringe when I see him, or hear him, or see or hear his spokespeople. I cringe when someone refers to him or reports what crazy thing he said or did today. I cringe when people talk nicely about him, or when they talk about him at all.

How I really feel is: I wish I could watch the news like a normal, concerned, involved citizen, without having to hear or see one single thing that involves that man. And since he is the new center of the political world, that means I can't watch or hear one single thing about politics that won't eventually involve him.

So, no, I really don't want Pandora to automatically switch on as soon as political talk starts. I just wish political talk didn't have to involve the-one-who-shall-not-be-named. It gives me an icky, ashamed-to-be-an-American feeling. Not ashamed so much as embarrassed. I'm embarrassed on behalf of us. Many of us can honestly show you are palms and say, "It wasn't me!" But we're guilty by association. So, there. That's how I really feel.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Binging

For the past couple of months, there have been news reports and advertisements about binge eating. It's a diagnosis now... one you can take a pill to help alleviate. If only there were a pill to stop binge watching TV! Ever since I purchased a smart TV for my 40th birthday and canceled my Uverse, I've taken to watching entire seasons of TV shows - without commercials, mind you - on Netflix and Amazon. This means that a great many hours of the past year have been literally wasted. I enjoy the shows, but I'm getting nothing done. There are no commercials for me to just run in the other room and change the laundry or put dishes in the dishwasher or clean the toilet. And so, entire weekends are lost. But it's kind of nice too. Just really not healthy!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Marking Time

How is it that a year can pass with little or no thought? My busy, busy job makes my mind swim at times. So when I'm not at work, I feel the need for blankness. Absence of thought or purpose. Time passing without fanfare.

When I look at my blog, I feel a great loss. The year that's passed has been an amazing one, and yet my absence of thought is greatly apparent on my blog. Some might think my blank blog is evidence that I don't have thoughts or experiences to share. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, I've had a great number of experience in the past year. And I've had some time for reflection too.

I spent a good bit of time after I returned from Latvia getting involved in our ministries there. Planning, communicating, meeting and sharing. I went to Tennessee for the Friends of Latvia meeting, and became the FOL Secretary. I built a website and implemented an electronic news platform.

I had a great struggle in June as I turned 40 and tried to decide how I felt about it. I still haven't articulated a philosophy. Many tell me that I don't need one, but it's something I ruminate about. I need a mindset to keep me centered.

I spent my 40th birthday in the airport, waiting on a flight to Chicago that was delayed, canceled, etc. The next few days, Kef and I did important things. Whether they were big or little, the time was important. It was good to be together. And we didn't argue once (that I can recall).

I spent time researching the Crater and Rae and Caldwell families, and still have more to learn.

Work has been hectic and difficult. We've had a lot of change, which makes for many challenges. Our staff is in flux, and our ministries seem to be marking time until the "what's next" begins. Our attendance has been down as people try to decide where and whether they fit. We're at a crossroads with growth, and our only option is moving forward in faith. It all makes me weary, but I persevere... as we all do.

Interestingly, today I feel almost verbatim like I felt a year ago... on August 27, 2013. My dogs are my joy. My home is my refuge. Every day, I'm ready to be there and stay there. And when I get there, I'll likely ignore my blog as I've done for the past year. I'll likely sit on the patio and watch the dogs chase butterflies and squirrels. I'll probably snack and watch tv and put a puzzle together and read a book and play a game and draw a tangle.

But I probably won't take time to write. As much as I love to do it, I'll probably wait another year and wonder where all my lofty thoughts went and why I didn't record them while they were fresh.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

One God

As I sat in worship at FUMC Colleyville this morning, I reflected on the past seven weeks. I have worshiped more consistently every week over this time that I've been out of town than I have when I've been at home. I just thought I'd put some of my thoughts down on blog...

Seven weeks ago, I was being commissioned to go on a mission trip. The next couple of Sundays were spent worshiping with the Czech, expatriates and Latvians. Then I came home and worshiped with FUMC Grapevine's Spanish-speaking congregation. The following week I was in worship at a Cumberland Presbyterian church in rural Tennessee, followed the next week by a vibrant Methodist Church in Maryville, TN.

Visiting other churches has really made me think about what we demand in our worship experiences. Are we focused on God, or on the experiences and styles we like or don't like? In the eight congregations I've encountered in the past seven weeks, I've found that they all have one thing in common: faith. Whether their worship is simple or reverent or vibrant... slow or fast... traditional or contemporary or blended... the opportunity to connect with God was available for all. And the people in the pews are faithful and committed.

The only barrier to worship seems to be your own mentality. If you'll be fully present, open and willing, then worship happens regardless of the music or surroundings or people sitting beside you. I hope that I've learned something about myself and about the church in the past few weeks. What I hope more than anything is that I'll be able to find some peace about my own struggle to reconcile work with church... especially since they're one and the same.
















Friday, September 6, 2013

First Mission

As I prepare to go on my first mission trip, there are a lot of things on my mind. On the one hand, I'm excited about the trip... about seeing new places and learning about a different culture. But I have some fears too. What if I don't connect on an emotional level with the ministries we visit? What if we go exploring and decide that we don't think we should add this as another Village ministry? What if I don't have a spiritual experience there? What if I don't feel what other people feel when they go on a mission trip?

I have so many things to get done before we leave that I haven't had time to really spend much time preparing myself mentally or spiritually. It's probably for the best that I don't have more time to worry and fret over the little things. I'm really hoping that by the time we leave I'll have some peace and be able to openly accept and experience everything that's ahead of us.

And as for the fears... I just have to trust that whatever happens on this trip is what is meant to be. I may have to make a concerted effort to open my heart and mind to the possibilities. I hope it's not as hard as I think it will be.