Losing 

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Over my life—I have experience with losing. I played on last place softball teams for years and was the daughter of a strict substitute teacher who taught my own classes. I also have already lost both my parents (before the age of 30) and have felt the agony of rejection of the popular crowd.
As I write this blog on November 9th—I want to reflect on things I Have learned in losing over the years. While this probably advertises my vote (which I am not ashamed of) …it’s still valuable for any side of the political fence.


1) Losing Sucks: yes—admit it. Cry about it, mourn, have a moment of silence. It is painful to be let down especially when you are from a higher place. But that’s okay. You need to feel it. Keeping it bundled inside only allows for it to boil inside you until you explode with anger or overreact with a lack of safety. For us today as a nation—many are scared for their lives because they lost. It’s okay to feel that … for ahead comes the unknown and the fact that you have to support someone or something you don’t agree with. Or you don’t support it and have to work on fighting it. But always remember to take the time for yourself to digest what is going on emotionally, physically, psychologically, spiritual, etc. but how you react is what you teach others.

2) Keeping doing what you feel is right: I know this sounds ridiculous when you have been defeated but it is good and justice and right that withstand the test of time. My mom used to say if I do the right thing eventually I would be rewarded. I had my bike stolen from my supposed “friend” in the neighborhood and I was let down by a coach in softball for not showing up to the All-Star voting and therefore losing my spot on a team I should have been on. But eventually I got my bike back and made the All Star Softball team my last year I played in rec league. The right will come out or the negative will at least be forgotten or made unimportant. I think this is very applicable with this election because while change is scary—we need hope that our country and its governing process will recover (and hopefully see positive reform for the people without all of us killing each other first.)

And if you need to look at a cute baby or puppy pictures for an hour to feel good again, that’s okay too

3) Try to support the winning side “goodies.”: Many times in softball, a game is lost simply because someone played better. Even with “dirty” methods. But nevertheless, they won. And it is your job even as a loser to cross that field, shake hands and say “good game.” It’s good sportsmanship. And many times the team did a lot of good things. This is also true for all losing. I was bullied as a kid—as in threatened with a knife while walking home from school because I was “fat” and because my mom was too strict. But this kid had a dying parent and struggled as we got older. I always made sure I checked in with his family. I also was contacted as an adult by that kid who stole my bike as a child on facebook. He apologized for all the “stupid” things he did and we remained cordial friends. I was also friends with some of my ex-boyfriends because we were able to be adult about our situations after properly mourning our loss and move on. It doesn’t work for everyone and I understand sometimes this is very hard and takes time to find positives from bad situations. It is not to be entered lightly either. I don’t expect to see people running out to support others who represented things they were opposed to. But it is still a good thing to do. Looking for good in others brings you to common ground. 

UPDATE: As I read this post about a week later…I feel again glad something bigger is speaking through me. I have seen some horrible things this week from across the country in addition to trying to keep my eyes and ears open for what is really going to happen.

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Don’t Give Up on God, part 2

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So how do we deal with God and bad stuff?

Well– I do not believe God is at fault for evil. Well, maybe in the fact that He created things and His creation is doing evil but I do not directly believe He is responsible. I do believe creation was almost “let loose” and as a result God took a risk and evil came about. At first. And as humans grew and continued evil just kept going.

So let’s look at an example…

My dad died when I was 14. I could have easily blamed God. Or I could look at the fact that my dad has medical problems and sometimes our human bodies give out. Is it God’s fault? no. Is it his fault that He didn’t save him? No. While God has saving power–I love thinking God let’s us experience life instead of saving our butts like a helicopter parent. We’re not babies…So instead of sulking around about my dad being gone I try to take my experience and share knowledge where I can.  What about those killed innocently or abruptly? I still don’t blame God. Blame is not at the source of everything that is wrong. Sometimes things just happen. I have several friends who have miscarried or lost their children. In no good faith would I ever say that someone was to blame. And sadly–those babies died. It sucks. Honestly I would rather speak truth in a moment of sadness than point fingers. And help my friends move through their sadness with better life.

I also want to talk about prayers. A lot of people ask for prayers from God when those they love are sick or dying. And when those people die a lot of people say God didn’t listen to their prayers. It’s where blaming God stems from. Realistically speaking–if you’re going to a friend to speak to them about a problem you have-you’re not going to them to validate what you already think. That’s not real help…that’s just a stamp of approval. I would like to think God is more than that.  You’re going to a friend so they can listen and help where they know best. That’s how I feel God listens to prayers. So sometimes He helps and sometimes He listens. And maybe he uses that moment as a teaching moment (cause he’s a Teacher) or maybe he uses its as a miraculous moment.  Or maybe God just sits there and says “I know-its sucks-and I’m here.” My mom survived stage 4 cancer for 15 years. Was this an answer to my prayer?-I’m not sure. On some platform yes because she outlived my college graduation when she was worried about living past my jr high graduation.  But I wouldn’t have wanted my mom to have to suffer the way she did.  That was not easy and she ended up dying before I got married or had kids. Trust me–i can’t get through some music when i’m looking at my son and thinking of my parents. But than again I felt blessed for every day I had with her instead of being frustrated that her health suffered and I lost my dad.

 

I always tell people that if the image of God is not something you like–then change your image of God. I know for some that means he disappears complete or that he multiples–but for me it means God does not have to fit into one church’s specific image or concept of Him. As I said–my belief in God includes science, includes bad things happening to good people and includes generosity and love for others–logically as I can see it and with heart and feeling. It also allows for others to have their own beliefs and supports that humans have their own brains.

Don’t Give up on God, pt 1

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Now that I have a new kiddo in my life–I have begun to think seriously about my thoughts, beliefs and actions and how I want to introduce those to my child.  Grant it I have always been interested in what people believe in–it just matters to me now what I’m going to do with that information. So almost as a conversion story (because I really don’t have one from growing up in the church), I thought I would lay down some of my thoughts about God.

First– I have a strong belief in a higher deity. It is next to impossible for me to conceptualize there being no God. I don’t say that to put down my atheist friends… but to emphasize where my thoughts come from. The structure and order of the universe makes it easier for me to see something or some one in charge.  I admit others see it as scientific order but I personally accept that science can exist within the belief of God.  It is also easy for me to conceptualize that someone or someThing has got it all together and I don’t because most of the time–I don’t have it together. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, you name it.  So that not only covers a Supreme Being but also my belief covers original sin or the idea that we’re sinful beings. It doesn’t mean we’re not good-it just means we have the ability to be not good on a fairly regular basis. Personally I think humanity is bad to each other because we’re lazy. It’s harder to think of others. Anyways.. these beliefs put me into the monotheistic judeo-christian bubble without defining anything about Jesus.  

Second– I have a strong sense of God being a Creator… I mean in the deepest sense of the word. He has authority over creation–ALL of it. Even the sun, the moon, the stars. I believe evolution can exist with God. Why not? God could create evolution, couldn’t he? I mean, humans found it and since humans don’t have their shit together half the time its not impossible for God to create it, right? God could create it and destroy it (just like humans do…) I also believe God is all powerful, all knowing, omnipotent… and that’s hard to grasp one’s mind around. In fact, its impossible because humanity’s minds only reach so far. 10% supposedly 🙂 So the whole idea of imagining us using more of our brain is not only scientifically fascinating but could also point to God.  Believing in God as Creator also indicates that I believe God is over evil.  God could create evil based on my thoughts. (My friend who was messianic explained this concept is not hard for the Jewish faith but for some reason is extremely hard for Christians.) However I do not believe He does.  Just because He has the ability doesn’t mean he exercises that power. God has to limit Himself if He is Creator and over all creation.  Since I try following the Bible–I also believe God can do harmful things (battles, killing people, etc.)  But God is also Good and Loving. And my Christian beliefs hold strong to that.

So next thought–can God change? No, I do not believe God in his character has changed. But can He have a multitude of methods as his disposal?-Yep, sure, definitely. And can I not understand his full character?-yep right again. Again I point to if humans can do these and God created them, then He has to be able to do these things and have authority over it. But it still doesn’t mean we’ve seen all of God’s character.  It just means he has the ability to. I believe that God is good–why? Well, again that’s where I get into my Christian faith. For the craziness I believe that God sent a man to die and rise again so all could be saved. Hallelujah! Heaven knows I’m screwed up and now you’re telling me God did something for me without me having to do anything so I can be closer to Him, my Creator? Awesome! Rock!–Let’s do it.

A lot of Christians have minimized their view of God. They make him out to be a big guy in the sky or someone who makes everyone but perfect people go to Hell. I do not claim either of these things. Unfortunately (despite my love for monty python), I do not believe God looks like an old dude running things from up above. In fact, I don’t believe Heaven is above or Hell is below. They are places and not here and that’s all I’ve got. Why do people assume their above or below.  That’s a medieval concept by Dante by the way.  Biblically speaking–heaven is where God is all the time and Hell is where He is not. Plain and simple. Location?–not as important.

Now here’s the hard part–God can be a Judge. He created everything so he has authority over it. So in my mind I believe he can say what’s right and wrong about it. Like the inventor of a machine or writer of a book. Let me heavily stress that because he is a Judge– that DOES NOT make me someone who knows that judgment or how to dispense it. According to the Bible (and basic common sense), I should be nice to people…I’m called to love them. (yeah, John 3:16… ugh I hate using cliche bible verses to explain things.) I know what’s right and wrong not solely because God told me but maybe because He created me in his image as good and I have an internal sense of good and and not good.  Adam and Eve knew only good until they chose not good. So humanity can choose good naturally.  Please do not think dualistic here. I can’t stand when we make either/or conversations out of both/and/all/in/around topics. Again the medieval/renaissance concept of the justice scales as the sole explanation of the world and how we live in it is not the original Jewish concept of God & the world, let alone addresses the entirety of the world.  Balance, peace and equality are not always two sided.

So I hope I gave you some new thoughts on God. I find so much hope in my faith. I also do not let the negative people in my faith or the close-minded ones dictate my beliefs. I hope others can learn to be open-minded as I am trying to be 😀

 

Politics Puzzled

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As the election gradually approaches, I thought it may be appropriate to post about some politics. Typically I am not super involved in discussions online about this topic. However, this year, it appears to be a much more important issue.

 

Politics has never excited me–mostly because I refuse to play the political games most politicians play.  Personally– I believe parties are a waste of time and categories.  I would like to just vote for one person for president, one person for VP and so on. Like when you were in grade school. Everyone campaigned individually and whoever got the most votes won for each position. Grant it sometimes it was a popularity contest–but some times people got voted in because the majority thought they could seriously do a good job. Yes-it would be long process. Maybe November/Voting would be taken more seriously. Yes-it might mean that people of different backgrounds & ideals would have to work together. But I get sick and tired of the junk thrown around on TV & online confusing me and trying to get me to choose who to elect. Our government needs to work together to strength our country and build relationships domestically AND foreign while striving to provide and protect us. (there are political positions I take against several topics related to these statements but I will leave that out of the conversation for now.)

Also– I want to vote for honest people. I don’t even know if that exists anymore. IT sucks–because I literally stare at the ballot dazed, saddened and utterly confused. I feel like the people who would do a good job in government offices either can get through the red tape or can’t finance it themselves because of the current affairs of politics. Watch any political movie or TV show like West Wing, The American President or even Designated Survivor. This show displays very well what happens when the “political game” or club of Washington DC is wiped out (dramatically of course) and a simple honest man who just wanted to help people gets thrown into the Lions Den (per se.) It’s almost reality TV. Seriously. I vote because 1) I want a say and 2) it matters. I don’t want to vote because 1) I hate the choices and 2) I hate the process.

So unfortunately it is these two opinions I have about politics that make 2016 a VERY hard year for me. I thought I knew who I wanted and what I supported. But everything has been turned sideways each time I turn on the TV. I refuse to vote for someone because I was told to vote for them (huge supporter of making a good decision when voting…) and I just can’t keep up with the junk that is appearing about the candidates. IT’s harder seeing friends choose to support certain people or propositions knowing they are probably just choosing the lesser of the two evils. South Park nailed it–again. Good luck America–we’re going to need it this election year.

What children do to You

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So I am gradually welcoming myself back to the land of the living. Since the birth of Austin–it has been a whirlwind of learning his habits, his necessities and his milestones while trying to keep my head somewhere in the range of my body (because expecting it to be even slightly screwed on somewhere is a joke at this point.) is a miracle.

I will say that I have a learned a lot from having a child. So here I will leave you with little tidbits I have learned so far (remember first time mother who DOES NOT know what the hell she’s doing sometimes.)

  1. Make you Aware whether it be an oversensitivity to every sound and image in and around your home and community, i can definitely say that over the past few months my ears, eyes and thoughts have been tuning into everything Austin. The TV is always too loud, the lights too bright, the details too shocking. And while I would like to think some of these things don’t affect him– in reality all nurturing affects the nurtured in some way. I just know I want to give him the best environment to thrive in the best way. And yet-at the same time love him for every ounce that he is–or will be–or whatever. It’s a crazy thought when I go thru “how do I tell him about such and such” or “what do I say when he asks about that?” I know i’ll figure it out or at least admit I can’t and try to be the best mother to my son. That’s all one can ask for.
  2. Secret Code parenting and babies have secret codes. Smiley faces with tongues sticking out and goggly eyes are not always happy signals but sometimes presents down below. There is clearly a language between little baby mothers for when I was at Disneyland–the three week old baby mother and myself (7 week old austin) could look at each other without saying a word and knew where we each were–sleepless & exhausted with hungry but joyful kids.  Maybe its because our children are closer in age… but even the older children parents know what is going on and its a comfort to know you’re not alone. Actually–its a bigger comfort to know that you aren’t the only one who has gone thru sleepless nights, disgusting cleanups (either of food or something else) or even a stressed out/tantrum kiddo.  My biggest accomplishment as a mom: admitting I do not have my shit together–at all.
  3. Being Prepared is not just a Lion King song Luckily I haven’t run into this too often… but i will say when you’re without formula, without a diaper, without a blanket–even at this age can be daunting. You get creative and crafty — and I swear its only going to get worse in having a small human being.
  4. In the End–All of Life is worth it! No matter how many poopy diapers I change or spit up shirts i wash– it will all be worth it in the end. I keep telling myself this because there are moments I want to cry and just press pause for a few minutes so I can breathe or sleep or eat. Luckily my husband, friends and family are all really good about redirecting my focus to the right locations. That God does good things (insert all applicable bible verses here about surviving life’s challenges) and that in the end watching my child grow will be all worth it. It’s a crazy thought to realize I brought a tiny human into the world and that it will be my responsibility to take care of him. And to be a parent means you would do anything for your child–whether it be starve & suffer or celebrate and share.

Dear Austin–I can’t wait to see what life has in store for you! Remember I will always be your mommie (from 1-100) and will always seek for you the good in life. 

Maternity Leave

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So begins the countdown for maternity leave. Our first child has a little less than 2 months while its kind of scary and exciting–I am definitely getting close to more doctors appointments (3-4x/week) and trying to get rest.

So as my leave approaches, my OCD-persona has started to kick in trying to figure out a schedule that will keep my brain going but not stress me out. So I decided I’m going to make a “home school” for myself so I can spend some time each day readings/writing and learning something so I don’t get mental bored. Or tired of the TV. Or sucked into a whole show like Game of Thrones for three weeks or something.. (Not saying those are entirely bad…) plus being diabetic a schedule such as this will keep me on track with eating and sugar monitoring.

So, here it goes:

Between 7a-9am: wake up, doing morning tests and have breakfast (what’s nice is I won’t feel rushed and can make whatever I want but at the same time need to be ready.I only have one appointment during this hour so it will free up my day for other things and keep me on track.

9a-12pm: religious studies. Yeah, I know most people are like “what the hell?” but-what I mean by this is get out my Greek and Hebrew and get back into my theological studies topics. I have several doctors appointments during these hours, including “sitting” appointments where I can do some reading.I also might go searching for audio books and alternative methods of learning during this time.

11a-2pm; lunch, more monitoring and general relaxing. This will be the most flexible time since I have appointments during these hours and will have need the time to eat. Also, t is possible Shawn will have lunch himself so we shall see what’s going on.

1pm-4pm:Book Stuff. Either spending an hour writing in my book or reading our book group’s choice for the month. Trust me–I will have plenty to do. I wanted flexibility here too because of my appointments (I have several at 1:15-2pm)

evenings: spending time with shawn and working on meals. That’s pretty much not going to change.

 

Now I know you previous on leave mothers are laughing and giggling–knowing I may never get to any of this depending on my appointments and my level of energy. I  may clean one day instead… in spurts of 20-30 minutes and take several breaks as we need to do some deep cleaning around the house. I also need to finish Kiddo’s room. I might spending 2-3 days just working on laundry. And I do NOT plan on stressing myself out so if one day I do nothing–that’s perfect fine too. I’ve realized getting too stressed out is not a good idea.

But’s its nice to be optimistic, right? 😀

Calling it Out By Name

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For several weeks, I have struggled with a certain “current affairs ” topic trying to define what has made me so frustrated and upset. While some may figure out what I’m talking about–I prefer to keep it nameless. However, I finally figured out what term describes what I’m frustrated about. And let me tell you–its a true blessing to be able to define something that’s bothering you.

IT’S EXPLOITATION

Yes, the one thing that has bothered me is the exploitation of this current event. Actually–this bothers me in most places and probably why it extremely bothered me in this case. Maybe its because I personally don’t want to be exploited and do not like other people being exploited.  Maybe its because consumerism is basically the exploitation of things to try & attempt to get the masses to buy more and that is frustrating that companies don’t put people & their concerns or real needs first.

Anyways. naming this has seriously been a relief. In fact, I was able to understand my frustrations and work towards letting it go– a.k.a. listening to U2’s “Bad” help me unbottle my frustrations and “let it go!” (in not the frozen terms.)