mindful monday: drama

Marc led a great discussion on the “drama triangle” and how to become “solutions focused,” rather than staying in the triangle.  The three roles that a person gets into when their in the drama triangle are either a victim, a blamer, or a rescuer.  The first one feels like there is no way out of a situation, the second blames either them self (rare) or others for the drama, and the third takes away options.  I love the openness of our group, that we can be real and raw in front of each other.  I volunteered to go through the exercise and it was nice to get some ideas and encouragement regarding the “drama” that I shared.  Another person got up and I think she benefited from the exercise as well.  I know I’ve said it many times, but I really love these group I consider my second family.  I am so thankful that God brought us together and allowed us to share so much of our lives.  We’re planning another guys/girls sleep over and I’m so excited.  Fortunately, our group generally stays out of the drama triangle. ;)

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mindful monday: memorial day

I’m so thankful for all the men and women who have and continue to serve our country.  Thank you for the sacrifices you make every day, I admire and cannot sufficiently thank you for all that you do.

mindful monday: bereavement

The day started off heavy when I found out a co-worker’s 18-year old daughter was murdered this weekend.  Obviously the co-worker did not come to work today.  My heart breaks for her and her husband.  We were just discussing her daughter’s graduation the other day and her plans to go to college.  I don’t know what to say, every standard sympathetic platitude does not even come close to comfort, is not able to hold any weight against the flood of emotion I’m sure this family is feeling.  I do think this article is a good thing to reflect on.  And prayer, definitely prayer for the family.

mindful monday: saturday

This Saturday is going to be intense.  I’m gonna try to fit in two huge yard sales, a graduation party, and a book club meeting.  All of it is going to be super fun and friend filled so I’ve been looking forward to it for a while now, counting down the weekends.  Anyway, nothing super spectacular for anyone but me, but it’s what I’m thinking about.

mindful monday: blarg

My life is great.  I have a wonderful husband, family, and community.  My job is a huge blessing, and I love what I do every day.  I just have felt kinda “meh” lately.  I’m not sure why.  I think part of it is that there’s been a slump in activity at work and so I spend my days waiting for the phone to ring to give me something to do.  A few weeks ago was jam packed with appointments and things were hopping, and now they have momentarily slowed down.  Also, people who are in school are talking about summer vacation and it’s making me long for a 3 month hiatus as well.  That is the one thing I appreciated about school, even if it costs a pretty penny and during the semester you don’t really get a break.  Ah well, I am very thankful for my circumstances, I have a lot to be thankful for every day.

mindful monday: worry

Jason led group in discussing worry as it pertains to Matthew 6:25-34.  Marc mentioned something he heard from someone else: “worrying is praying for something you don’t want.”  I think this is a unique and interesting way to look at worrying.  I can be somewhat of a worry wart, though I think I’ve gotten better about letting most things go.  I know that school was a huge contributing factor to my worrying and I’m thankful to find myself more at peace with the day to day things.  I know that God takes care of me every day but there are definitely moments that I need to remind myself that I am in His hands.  I don’t want to rob today of its beauty by worrying all the time.  Another point that Dave brought up is that when I worry, I take away from my faith experience, trying to control a situation when I just need to let go and allow God to do care for me.

mindful monday: family

I’ve been blessed by my families, both biological and chosen.  I love all the memories that I can flip through with both.  There are moments of uproarious laughter, deep conversation, hugging, crying, inside jokes, and threaded throughout it all, love.  I’m so blessed to have families that really love each other.  I’ve been given such rich examples of all kinds of love and I’m so thankful for all the beauty that has surrounded my life in my family.  I am a better person for knowing each member and I only hope I can be that much of a blessing to each of them.

mindful monday: generosity

We talked about generosity today in group, and one of the stories shared made me think of my own practices on that subject.  I’m not as generous as I probably should be.  In fact, I might be a little stingy and selfish.  Sometimes I don’t particularly mind this aspect of myself, other times, I see it as a glaring problem.  We have so many homeless that populate our town that it’s difficult to go out in public without at least seeing someone walking down the street who is obviously living the transient lifestyle.  So in a way there’s a numbing affect by living here.  But, there’s also a lot of people who are asking for someone to give and this is where I have a hard time.

There’s a particular spot, a very busy spot, that many people like to sit with their signs while cars wait for the light to change.  I don’t want to stare at the person, but I feel really weird ignoring them.  I’ve watched other people give and wonder why I’m not too.  There’s all kinds of arguments as to why someone should or shouldn’t give money.  My supervisor shared something that someone said to her once about giving money to the sign-holders: “If you need to know where your money is going, you probably shouldn’t be giving it.”  I do agree that we shouldn’t begrudge the person who is receiving the money, that a gift should be given with a cheerful heart, not one that resents and questions the motives and plans of the recipient.  But I think that way of thinking can also hinder the person’s ability to give, making it more of a crutch and an excuse to keep your own money.  I don’t know.  I’m just venting here, not really sure where I stand with the whole subject.  I do know that I should be giving of myself more often than I am.

mindful monday: gratitude

In group tonight we were talking about being thankful for where we are right now.  A couple from the group had visited some friends out of town and it really put the blessings of this area into perspective.  Seeing someone who’s living in the “rat race” and striving to keep up the expectation of having the new and best things, they realized how wonderful it is to live in a place where that isn’t the most important thing.  We each found value in the personal relationships we have, more than the amount of stuff we own.  It can be so easy to think of how nice it would be to have that or this thing, but we need to be reminded of what’s important in life and be thankful for the circumstances we find ourselves in now.

And those thoughts went right into reminding me, once again, how thankful I am for this place.  Even though I miss family and old friends, I’m thankful for this beautiful slice of heaven that we live in.  I’ve been thinking too about the affect living here has had on my life philosophy.  There’s a lot of emphasis on organic and leaving as little impact on the environment as possible.  I think I’ve always appreciated the earth and all the beauty it has to offer, and have been concerned with the wastefulness and disregard that many have for this beautiful place we’ve been given.  I want to care for the earth, this wonderful place God has blessed us with.  And living here has shown me how I might be respectful of the land and earth.  I’m thankful for living here and now.

mindful monday: home

They say that home is where your heart is.  Well, my home is in four distant places.  I had a dream the other night that I was back in the town where I grew up and was about to start a new job.  Jason and I were living with my parents but I was so excited to be near them again.  I was definitely sad to wake up.  But I also really love the community we have here (if you couldn’t tell) and the thought of leaving it behind is really not a pleasant one.  But we also really want to live closer to our families and it’s so tough.  Even if we moved to where my parents are we’d still be an hour and a half from Jason’s family, and vice versa.  Really, California just needs to shrink a little.  And Japan needs to come closer too.

mindful monday: roadtrips

We came back from Kansas in 25 hours.  The drive was less brutal than I thought it would be and I’m so glad we were able to make it out and see family.  It snowed for a few hours after we left and made travel slow, but we made it back before dinner time and I was able to make it up to Santa Rosa last night by 10.  Growing up we went on a lot of roadtrips cross-county.  It was really nice when all of us could drive and we would take shifts to break it up.  We once drove from Abilene, TX back home in 26 hours because we just wanted to get home.  I have so many fond memories of all the roadtrips we took together.  It’s sad to think this might be our last.

mindful monday: taxes

We tried to get our taxes done tonight.  We’re not quite finished but hopefully they’ll be done next week.  Here’s what’s silly about it.  We’re  using the VITA program, which we’ve used in the past, and they are phenomenal; I’m so thankful for the free service they offer and the awesome volunteers that they have.  I had gotten a brochure last year saying that calls could be made to set up appointments between December and March.  Well, I called in mid December and finally had someone contact me on December 26th as we were driving back from L.A.  I had wanted to do the efiling option but was told that they didn’t provide that service anymore.  I was also told that they actually weren’t making appointments until January and so I would be called back then.

January passed and I didn’t hear back from anyone so I finally called in February, but wasn’t able to get an appointment until today.  Well, when I relayed this to our tax preparer (super nice guy), he said that the person who called me had gotten another job before January and that’s why I never got a call back.  Silly me for trying to get my taxes done as soon as possible, but I’m glad it wasn’t just because the lady forgot.  Anyway, we hit a snag tonight and are supposed to call back next week to set up another appointment to finish our taxes.  Again, the volunteers were amazing and and are trying to get us the most out of the return as possible.  I’m thankful for them and all that they do.

mindful monday: cars

Our car’s been acting up (beyond the headlight going out last week).  We dropped it off at the shop this morning before work, but they couldn’t find anything wrong with it.  I was really hoping they could figure out what’s going on and therefore fix it.  Since the car was being a brat and not not working, I hope it starts behaving for good.  *sigh*  Car troubles are fun.

mindful monday: mourning

This week in Group we talked about fasting.  One of the types of fasting we seemed to be fascinated by was in the context of mourning.  We talked about how, in the US at least, it seems like two weeks is the “acceptable” amount of time to mourn before one is expected to go back to normal life.  But Jason pointed out that it takes much longer than that to really process the loss of someone.  And I do think it’s an awful shame that society expects a person to move on so quickly, to go back to routine when he or she loses someone near and dear.

Since I’ve moved here my dad and I have talked nearly every week.  This week we talked about Dave, a dear man from church who passed away while he was still so young.  He had been a helper in my 5/6th grade Wednesday night class.  His wife found a valentine I gave him and shared it with Dad.  I don’t remember writing it, but I am so touched that he would keep something that I made him.  I have very distinct memories of him helping me when we were doing writing activities in the class.  If I didn’t know how to spell something, he would kneel down next to my chair, take the pen in his hand, and write out the word using different spellings.  Together we would decide which one looked right.  Those memories bring tears to my eyes and I know I still mourn him, so many years later.

mindful monday: equality

I’ve been listening to the audiobook for The Help by Kathryn Stockett and reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer.  (Yes, the author of the awful Twilight series.  But unlike Twilight, this world is one she’s created on her own.  I’m reading it for the fourth or fifth time.)  Anyway, the theme in both is that of equality, at least that’s what I’m seeing.  Whatever the context, I think it’s an important topic.

I know I have my own prejudices, however much I don’t want to, and it causes me to treat people unequally.  I’ve seen myself being overly nice or sensitive to those I feel have been mistreated, like I’m compensating for what’s might have been done to them by others.  Jason and I talked about how this another kind of inequality, something that I need to work on.

When I was a child I remember feeling a very strong sense of anger and frustration at the unfairness of life.  If I ever thought one of my brother’s friends was being treated unfairly, I would do what I could to bring balance back to the situation.  I’ve always felt that there needed to be some kind of balance – however tenuous – in this world.  This is something that I strive for in my every day and I think it greatly influences this idea of equality.  Everyone should be given the chance to be and do something great.  Far be it for me to stand in their way.

mindful monday: freedom

I had today off because of President’s day.  I’m so thankful to have a job, but I really enjoy extra time at home.  I love being able to stay up  late and sleep in.  There’s nothing like ending a workweek with a three day weekend ahead.  The anticipation is so strong and the possibilities seem so endless.  I really love having a few days free from the responsibilities that await me at work.

mindful monday: parents

We spent the weekend with our parents.  Or rather I spent Saturday with both sets of parents while Jason was gaming.  It was a great time; we went on a 5 mile walk and enjoyed the gorgeous weather and each other’s company.  It’s so rare that our parents spend time together, though we see them separately a lot.  I’m so thankful to live close enough to both that we’re able to see them on a regular basis.  And I love that we all get along so well, I know I’m extremely blessed to have that.

mindful monday: partnership

I’ve been thinking this weekend about partnership, both the personal and professional kind.  It permeates so much of both sides of my life and I think it’s a subject worth dwelling on.

I am so thankful to be married, to have a partner who is committed to a life of togetherness.  Of course it’s not always easy and we don’t always agree on everything, but that’s okay.  I’m just grateful to have someone in my life who backs me up and who can share the high and low points of life.  I’m thankful to have a partner who is supportive and loving to me, even if he might not agree.  My reciprocating such behavior is definitely a work in progress.

I’m also thankful for the people in my professional life and the jobs that I’ve had who have shown me what a good partnership looks like.  I have very positive feelings about my co-workers and the outside entities I come in contact with.  I’m thankful to see how open communication and honest feedback have benefited me and the clients we all serve.  I feel blessed to work with the people that I do, and love seeing how our partnerships have made a difference in our community and individual lives.

mindful monday: stress

Because we saw Wicked on Friday I took the day off.  And then today I had training from 9-3 and so I had a lot that didn’t get done.  I really don’t like leaving things unfinished at the end of the day, but at least I have something to do this week.

I tend to be more prone to stress because I have so many things in my “internal checklist,” but generally I don’t feel too much pressure unless there’s a deadline.  I like having clear expectations and very defined goals, but I think I’m pretty good at time management and don’t like feeling pressured to complete something in a short amount of time.  Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind today.

mindful monday: mlk

Today, in the US, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and all that he did in the Civil Rights movement.  In grade school I memorized his “I Have a Dream” speech, something I want to do again.  As a nation we still have a long way to go, but I’m thankful for people like Martin Luther who stood up for justice, and whose lives still affect the way we see racism and equality.

mindful monday: prayer

Our Life Group is doing a study on the Sermon on the Mount and we just read about prayer (and we’ll look at the Lord’s Prayer next week).  Even though we spent the majority of our time talking about Highs and Lows (high/low of our week), I feel like we still had a meaningful discussion centered around prayer.  Erik asked us to consider Who we are talking to and how reflecting on His nature might change the way we pray.  I feel my prayers are often, as Alexis put it, “method” and rote, something where I have a checklist in my head and I need to make sure everything is covered before I say “amen.”  But when I consider Who I’m speaking to and, as Ruthie said, that He desires a relationship with me, one that includes conversation, that changes the flavor and motivation of my prayers.  I want to be in constant conversation with God and to always be building our relationship.

 

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Matthew 6:5-8

mindful monday: money

Money’s on the brain today.  First of all, we’ve been playing a game called “Cashflow” that our friend bought recently.  And I’ve been thinking about investing and saving and just money in general.  Plus, I’m about to get another raise at work and I’m excited to put that extra money to work in another Roth IRA.

I never want my life to revolve around or be consumed by money, but I think it’s important to be thoughtful and intentional with what God’s giving me.  I’m thankful to be so blessed and I want to be a good steward.  I’m also super thankful to have parents who modeled what being a good steward is and encouraged me to budget, balance a checkbook, and become more knowledgeable about money.  I feel like I started with a really good foundation.