Saturday, May 31, 2014

what i do like to talk about...

so i like to find blogs and articles and send them to people.  this has multiple purposes.  one, i just like sharing things that are awesome.  recipes, cool apps, an unreasonable amount of pictures of my niece and get the idea.  two, when i resonate with the heart of the article/book/blog, sharing it is a way of sharing part of myself without having to come up with all the words on my own.  as an introvert, sometimes i just don't have enough words.  and three, sharing something important to my heart is a way to stimulate thoughts and conversation about real life stuff.

speaking of sharing, i hope you've been checking out mj's blog.  you can subscribe by email, so there's no reason not to!  just go here and do that quickly.  then come back.

ok welcome back.  :)

this blog i write is not about singleness.  it's not about introverts.  it's not about middle children.  it's about life--the stress, the mess, the grace, and the joy.  but because my life encompasses singleness, introversion, and middle children (ok, i don't write about being the middle child very often--it's probably more in the undertones.), i write about these things from time to time.

and let's face it.  it can be a struggle to be a single introverted middle child.  talk about the short end of the social stick, am i right?

so here's one of my shares: this week, i sent a link to this blog to a few people.  you'll notice it in mj's blog, too.  it has some great words, and i would love for you to read it.  it talks about singleness in a very real way.  what i love most about it is how continually inclines toward Jesus.  i think that's incredibly important when talking about anything that we are chewing on--matters of the heart that just don't sit or fit.  no matter where you're at or what you're feeling, learning to press into it.  search out God in it.

and i think it's helpful to talk about these things as they relate to the body.  it's difficult to be a single person in the church (thank you, Jesus, for my small group!), and it is easy to feel misunderstood or even forgotten.  but i think it's also tricky to articulate how we need the church to love us and care for us.  it's challenging at times to affirm in ourselves that we are not less-than because we do not have spouses.  it's hard hard hard to answer questions about why we are STILL single.  it's frustrating to carry the hope of being a wife and mother while also trying to live fully and authentically.

so we wait.  we pray.  we hope.  we cry.  and we wrestle with the questions.  we give ourselves to the process and to community.  we share, and we talk.

this is life.

Friday, May 23, 2014

being uncomfortable

a lot of things make me uncomfortable.  i mean, a LOT.  and since our instincts generally push us to find balance and comfort, i naturally want to avoid the uncomfortable things.  unfortunately for me, much of my discomfort comes from people.

so on a very regular basis, i am faced with the things that make me uncomfortable.  and i have choices in that.  i can push into the discomfort, or i can run away from it. 

i try to keep it really simple.  my purpose and passion are to love God and to love people. 

so when i am overwhelmed and uncomfortable, i just focus on that.  love God.  love people.  love God.  love people.  and once those truths have settled into my heart, i can think more clearly about how to do those things.

and i press into the discomfort.  i say yes to things that are hard fits.  i push myself to invest.  i do new things that stress me out.

you know what?  the Lord is very faithful and totally honors that.  despite the imperfect and messy way that i fumble through those hard things.  despite the awkward interaction.  despite my sin.  despite the fact that i feel out of place.  he brings blessing and encouragement and continues to grow and shape me. 

here's a recent example:

i got roped in to helping out with mission adventure (it's our version of vbs).  not just helping, but leading a team.  i am in charge of competitions.  we are challenging the kids to bring quarters in.  for every ten quarters ($2.50), a kid in india will have clean drinking water for a year.  (let that one sink in for a minute!)  so the kids will be in teams, and each night of mission adventure, the team with the highest percentage of quarters will get the travelling trophy and some candy.  and if all four teams meet the nightly goal, then our head pastor and children's pastor have to do funny/weird challenges.  so during the actual week of mission adventure, my job is pretty simple...count quarters, award the trophy, and make other adults do weird things.  awesome.  i can handle that.

but then i found out that i also had to create a character who would go into the classrooms on the sunday mornings leading up to mission adventure to tell the kids all about it and get them pumped up.  probably a bit unecessarily, i got extremely stressed out about this.  i felt pressed for time, rushed to work out details, and alone in the whole situation.

so i did something kind of unusual for me.  i shared how i was feeling with someone who had the ability to help.  and more structure was given to the situation, as well as encouragement and grace.  (i should note how thankful i am for the leadership in our church!)

so i created my character: wilhelmina argentina.  (but you can call me willy.)  i'm one weird animal!  i'm actually a morphing combo of animals...i have some monster feet, frog legs, chameleon arms and hair (i plan on changing the color every time), butterfly wings, and a tiger face. 

i got a mixed response from the kids at church.  the k-1 classroom thought i was pretty cool, but the 2nd-3rd grade classroom were a little skeptical.  so i wasn't sure if they even understood what i was doing or what i was trying to tell them.  and an older student told me that if i did this every week till mission adventure, the kids would get super bored.  so i felt a little discouraged.
but on tuesday, the children's pastor called me to share some really fun news.  two girls from the 2nd-3rd grade classroom went home and set up a lemonade stand to help the kids in India.  they raised $100 and are totally psyched to contribute during mission adventure.  so they heard the message, it got in their hearts, and they did something about it.  how cool is that?
this is what i am talking about.  when i press into things that are hard for me, the Lord moves and blesses.  he helped spark something in two little girls in indiana to care for 40 kids in india. that makes my heart explode.   
love God.  love people.  love God.  love people.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

she's even as good looking as a mailbox...

dear friends,

if you're not currently on top of your game, do yourselves a solid and start following  mj knows what's up.  she likes everything awesome in the world.  she has a great accent.  she plays hockey.  she's an exceptionally fun auntie.

by following her blog, you will get fresh fashion advice (for those of you who take it...we know how well it goes over for me), a veritable cookbook, breathtaking photography, thoughts of a faithful servant, sporting updates (brewers! brewers!), excellent book and music recommendations, and so much more!

do it. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

when i feel

it's scary for me to feel.  i don't do things in small measure...i'm either in or out.  so when i feel, i feel deeply.  that can make me feel off the edge and out of control at times. 

i think frustration can be one of the hardest emotions for me.  it makes me feel like a two year old when i go from chill to frustrated out of my brain in eleven seconds.  frustration is low level anger, right?  i'd rather just have some high level anger and be done with it.  because there's a rage period, and then it's over.

but frustration?

oy.  just so much oy.

frustration usually results when i am faced with a problem (sometimes a person) that i anticipated and did everything i could to avoid.  and then still have to deal with.

and it usually involves lots of extra work for me. 

see, i'm all about efficiency and creating models for myself--so once i do a great measure of hard work, i don't have to do it again for that same project.  and having to do the same thing over and over despite my best efforts at efficiency makes me go slowly insane. 

you heard it here first.  i am going slowly insane.  i'd sign and notarize it, but i am not legally allowed to notarize my own signature.