Monday, February 2, 2015

Seeking wisdom...

It has been a long time since I've written on this blog. I rarely write on any of my blogs now due to lack of time, but this morning, since we have a snow day from work, teaching, and school, I decided it was a good day to write a blog post.

This year our first quarter Sabbath School (similar to Sunday School) lessons are on Proverbs. The need for in-depth, serious wisdom for my life, my work, my everything has become so apparent to me that I find myself constantly asking God for wisdom.

Yesterday and today's lessons were taken from Proverbs 14, which contrasts the wise vs. the foolish.

Here's what it says about the fool:

  • the fool speaks proudly (Proverbs 14:3)
  • the fool mocks wisdom (Proverbs 14:6-9)
  • the fool is credulous (Proverbs 14:15)
  • the fool is impulsive (Proverbs 14: 16, 29)
  • the fool oppresses others (Proverbs 14:21, 31)
Here's what it says about the wise:
  • the wise speaks humbly (Proverbs 14:3)
  • the wise value learning and knowledge (Proverbs 14:6, 18)
  • the wise are cautious (Proverbs 14:15)
  • the wise are calm (Proverbs 14:29, 33)
  • the wise are compassionate and sensitive (Proverbs 14:21, 31)
These truths really spoke to me this morning. To be wise, I must speak humbly, value learning and knowledge, be cautious (taking time to respond, not react), remain calm (not easy for me), and be compassionate and sensitive. 

The first verse in Chapter 14 also speaks to me very personally as I mentioned in my blog post back on July 7, 2007 "Build or Tear Down." Since that time, I always try to view my decisions against this backdrop; am I building my house or tearing it down? 

I wish I could say that I'm always building my house and never tearing down, but that would not be completely honest. I make mistakes and sometimes I'm not cautious enough about the decisions I make. I want to build up my house, not tear down. I want to speak humbly, value learning and knowledge, be cautious (taking time to respond, not react), remain calm in the face of distressing circumstances, and be compassionate and sensitive. 

Thankfully, God has promised to give us wisdom if we ask for it and I'm definitely asking for it today and every day from now on. 


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Being humbled and refined...

This past year, 2011, I had several very humbling experiences. This year has started off with a few more. One area that I've always been able to pride myself on for the most part has been my work and my professionalism. This past year, my self-image took a significant blow when I ended up in a position that I wasn't able to do without training and I wasn't able to receive any training. And then spending the next five months looking for work only added to the loss of confidence in my skills and abilities that I had experienced. I knew I could still do a lot of wonderful things, but I no longer felt anyone believed me or that I was able to present it in such a way that they would believe me. Very humbling and frustrating position to be in.

I also had lost a relationship that I felt for the first time might actually go somewhere. Unfortunately, this was not a new experience. I have always struggled in my relationships with men. I never understood what they were looking for or what would make them want to have a relationship with me. I never had had a relationship last long enough for me to figure out what wasn't working or why the man would run. I had started to ask people, "What am I doing wrong?" "I need to know, because otherwise I'm going to continue to ruin every relationship before I even really have a chance to know whether or not I want the relationship." No one could tell me until this past summer when a friend of mine suggested I read a book that might help. She didn't know what I might be doing, but she thought the book might give me some clues. Well, I began to read the book and before I could finish it and find out, the relationship that meant so much to me was gone. I did finish reading the book and then I took an online class based on the book in September. I guess this was an area where I was just really, really dense, as it still took a direct, in my face, email from one of my online classmates to finally make me realize what I was doing that was pushing the men away. I was pushing them even when I didn't want to. It was all very interesting, but also quite painful, sad and humbling to me.

Along with being humbled in these two areas of my life, I came to recognize through the online class I took in September that I was filled with a lot of anger, frustration, and criticism for the men in my life. In particular for my brothers, but also for men over the years that had hurt me, not provided or protected for me even when it was their responsibility, and basically hadn't been the men they should have been. I started to realize that I had a "razor" deep inside me that was ready to come out and "cut" someone, particularly men, and that I needed to let go of that razor within me and allow God to remove the anger, the bitterness, the hurt I had experienced over the years and create within me a gentle and quiet spirit. Well, I'm here to say, this process of removing the razor within me and replacing it with a gentle and quiet spirit, the refining process, is NOT an easy or painless one. Some of the situations this past summer, fall, and now into winter, have pushed me to the limit in the this area and I have been very humbled to realize that I could so easily fall right back into anger and hatred towards others. Very humbling.

To be honest, I would have appreciated a break from the humbling and refining process this year, but it has become quite apparent that the lesson must go on. I've not really been "managed" at work in a long time. In the positions I've had over the past 10+ years, Production Manager and Instructional Designer, I've basically self-managed my time and projects, even though I had a "supervisor" or "manager." In my current situation, it's been a little bit different. I have some days where I somewhat self-manage, but at any point in time, my boss might and has stepped in and managed my time for me. Additionally, there have been a couple of times where my boss or my boss's boss has politely "put me back in my place" and reminded me that I'm not the "manager," Not in those exact words, mind you, but I understood my position in the end. I'm just the worker. Very humbling again.

And finally, today I experienced maybe the most humbling situation that I've ever experienced in my professional life. Communication has always been important to me and I enjoy working together with people and on teams to accomplish work. I like to participate and usually feel comfortable doing so. Occasionally, over the years, I might find myself interrupting someone accidentally and would apologize, but it wasn't the norm and I usually did very well at listening to others and taking part in a conversation in a positive manner. Since starting my current job this past October, I've noticed that I've interrupted others quite often, particularly my boss. I'm not sure why I've started this habit now, but it seems to be closely associated with some form of anxiety going on inside of me. Obviously, it's not a positive trait or behavior and it's one that I'm so trying to stop, particularly since I don't even know why I'm doing it. Today she called me on it, which was quite embarrassing. I felt soooo very frustrated with myself for allowing myself to manifest such behavior, when I don't think this has been the norm for me over the years. If it had been something I was doing all of the time, I expect someone would have called me on it before, particularly my boss and mentor from Improvisions/ImproMED, who I still consider a friend. I felt humbled again, and sad. I wish I could say that I would never do it again, but unfortunately, just having talked about it created enough anxiety in me about doing it that I turned around and accidentally did it again right away. Very humbling and once again I feel as if I'm going through the "refining" fire.

As I've said to God several times over the past year and again today, "I sure hope I come out of all of these refining fires as "fine gold," not just silver!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Emotionally sore today...

Today I'm feeling emotionally bruised and sore. My sister Marie from Tennessee came up to visit me and I was feeling so rough that I couldn't even enjoy the time with her, which made me sad. I feel raw and broken and need some time to back away from everything and everyone to heal.

Sometimes it's important to step back and away from everything and everyone to heal, to gain perspective, to better manage my own emotions, situations, and others' effect on my life. Taking the time to recognize where to draw the line with others so that you "don't drown while trying to save them from drowning." I've come close to "emotionally drowning" in the past two weeks and I recognize the need to heal and recover, so that is what I'm working on this afternoon.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum...(not really, I just have always liked that line and the play). Anyways, here's something that amused me somewhat this afternoon. Quite a while ago I had applied to the "Worldwide Who's Who" for the fun of it and for the networking and exposure factor. For several months now, I've been receiving calls from them to go through the interview process, but it has always seemed to be at the wrong time. Today, I received a call from one of their agents again, so I called her back. After going through the interview process to see if I would be eligible, which she determined I was (not sure of their criteria) she then explained the offer, which of course involved a significant amount of money. Although being on the "Worldwide Who's Who" list might have some usefulness, the funds are definitely not available in my budget, and even if they were, the thought occurred to me, "how important are you really, if you have to pay to be in the "Who's Who" list?" It's like paying to get yourself published. Sometimes it's worth it, but usually it's just an "ego boost" or "flattery." Of course, getting published, whether it's a book you wrote or being published on the "Who's Who" list can't be all that flattering if you are having to pay them to publish you! LOL! Not today, thank you! I can publish myself quite well on the Internet without their help and without much cost.

I guess what brought this up in my thoughts right now is that the agent kept offering the next lower offer and the next lower offer even though I had said each time, "I do not have any money right now to put towards such a thing and even if I did, I would want to wait and consider the purchase before going ahead with it." Finally, after three to four different offers from her, I said, "Listen, I have $30 left in my bank account today and unless it is absolutely a dire necessity, I'm not spending what little money I have left." "And secondly, I have no desire to be rude, but if you push me one more time, I'm going to get rude." With that warning, she graciously backed off and I graciously told her I hope she has a good afternoon. End of conversation. :)

So, there always comes a time when a person must "draw the line," whether it be with friends, family, colleagues, or strangers. It's important to have and maintain boundaries to stay emotionally and mentally healthy, along with respecting the boundaries of others. Learn to manage your own life in such a way that you do as little "spilling out" into other people's lives as possible. We all have times when we need help, when we need others; I was there this past summer during my period of unemployment, but my goal is to continue to grow in my ability to manage my own affairs in such a way that I don't spill-out onto other people's lives and drown them while they are trying to save me from drowning.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dearest Mommy...

A couple of months ago, one of my sisters had told me about a book (I don't remember the name of the book or author) and the steps to go through when confronting and forgiving others who have wronged you, even someone who had already died. She thought it would help me in confronting one of my brothers who currently lives with me. In truth, I had already confronted my brother, but I recognized it as a solution to confronting my Dad who is dead. I wrote a letter to him telling him how he had hurt me and what it had done to me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually and then I forgave him and asked forgiveness for my part, even if unrealized at the time, in the situation. Talk about a release. I felt the difference in my heart and the new freedom it had given me.

Well, yesterday afternoon, I came to realize that I still felt significant anger and bitterness towards my mother. This morning, it was time and I wrote a similar letter to my Mom, who also is dead.

I'm sharing the letter below and I hope that if you are reading it that you it may help you to forgive whomever you may need to forgive and/or it will help you to help someone else.

Dearest Mommy,

Yesterday I had a huge meltdown. I had been struggling with anger and irritation for several days and couldn't figure out where it was coming from.

When I had my meltdown yesterday, I realized that I had significant anger still towards you for several things. I hadn't ever really known what they were over the years, but an incident with a friend of mine brought the issue, or at least one of the issues, clearly to my mind. You disrespected my Dad, me, and everyone else, including yourself. You allowed other to disrespect me and you didn't protect me. I recognize you didn't understand, didn't know how to respect boundaries because no one had respected yours, but the lack of knowledge or ignorance does not negate the error, the sin, as I've learned, painfully learned, very recently.

Along with the disrespect you showed towards my Dad, others, and me, you didn't give me or show me your beauty. I don't know why, as I know you were a beautiful young woman and even a beauty or at least a good-looking woman most all of your life. You were an artist! If anyone could have shown, taught, given beauty, it could have been you, but instead you taught drab, dreary, ugly, chaotic yuckiness. You didn't teach me how to make a house a home. I had to try to learn everything through magazines and on my own, which has been horribly difficult. You gave up and gave in to the filth and drabness of your environment, instead of living above it. I so badly want to forgive you and let it all go. It has destroyed so much of my life and I don't want it to continue to do so. I do feel hurt by it all though. I desperately want to become and provide a


for my husband I still hope to have one day and grandchildren (since I'm too old to have children). And as much as I desire to be and make this, I don't know how because you didn't teach me.

Oh Mommy dearest, why didn't you teach me and my sisters? Why did you give up on beauty and hope? I'm sorry that life discouraged you so badly that you never fully recovered. I'm sorry you experienced such disappointment and hurt that you quit being the mother you could have been. I'm sorry that you were abused and disrespected in your childhood home and family, because even though you never told anyone, I'm sure you were. I'm sorry that you dealt with that all alone, because you had no knowledge of how to deal with it and what to do! I ask God to help me to forgive you and I pray that God will, has forgiven you!

Please forgive me too. Please forgive me for holding such anger and bitterness towards you for so many years. I want to be free of it all and be able to move forward. Please forgive me for rejecting you instead of reaching out to you to help you. I was too young at the beginning, but even when I got older, I didn't help you like I should have. I'm sorry. I blamed you for many things. Some, you were responsible for, and some you weren't! Some were Dad's fault. Please forgive me for falsely accusing you of things you didn't do, didn't cause. You weren't to blame for all the negative; Dad was responsible for some of it and then later I was responsible for my own.

Well, dearest Mommy, you've been dead now for 13 years. I hope I will see you on resurrection morning and be able to tell you I'm sorry and I love you in person. In the meantime, and even in that time, I leave your memory in the hands of God. I love you.

Your "sunshine," 


Monday, September 26, 2011

And the journey continues...

My life journey has been quite rocky and difficult this year and particularly in the past several months. After losing my job, being denied unemployment, and spending the next three months learning how to live on the bare minimum that others and DHS provides, frantically looking for work and still not finding anything, having a brother move into my house that really shouldn't have been moving in and now, still not having a job, still having a brother living with me that shouldn't be living with me and trying to understand and know what God wants me to do to go forward in my life, I find that I am having to take each day, moment by moment. I can only do what I can do and I am seeking God's will in everything I do, so I know eventually the answers will come.

In the meantime, I'm now back in school as of September 6, still working on my MA in Educational Technology, and I'm also taking an online class called Fascinating Womanhood. The class, and the book it is based on, is about "strengthening your marriage" and "enriching your life." I'm not married, but that is a status I would like to change and I feel that God brought me to the point where I would be open to learning the principles this book/class advocates.

The principles the book/class recommends to live by are not principles I learned growing up, nor are they principles that any of my friends would live by or recommend at this time, except for one of my friends, the friend who loaned me the book in hopes that it might would help me to better understand how I need to live my life. It's interesting, because the friend who loaned me the book has the best marriage of all of my friends and yet they all think she has it by luck. I do think she has a head start on many of us, because she grew up in a home where the parents were loving towards each other and didn't destroy each other like in some homes and including the Christian home I grew up in. She also has a husband who has developed his communication skills, his emotional and spiritual life much more than almost any man I've known before and these two factors make a huge difference. But, having said that, I believe that because she, whether knowingly or unknowingly lives the principles expounded upon in FW, they have a beautiful marriage. Is it perfect? No, but it's not luck and it's not even just because they are Christians, because the rate of divorce for Christian marriages is almost the same as non-Christians. It's learning how to treat each other, cultivating the warmth and love or as FW would say "celestial love" that should be part of every Christian marriage, and dare I say, all marriages?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Keep on keeping on...and still go above and beyond

One of the phrases in Al-Anon (and AA, NA, etc.) is "Keep on keeping on" and that is what I'm doing today. I can only go forward, which means I continue to submit my resume to possible jobs, I follow up on opportunities still in progress or unknown yet, and I continue to network, search, and do whatever I can to "drum-up" opportunities. I've never experienced such a situation before where I've looked for work, even been interviewed for work, and still don't have work, but I guess there is a first time for everything and this is the time economically when trying to find work is difficult. The companies that are hiring have many potential employees to choose from and although I feel I'm a strong candidate, I have a lot of experience, I'm professional, smart, and learn quickly, I may not be "standing out"  as well as I should or could and that is what I have to work on. I need to find a way to highlight my strengths and show the employers why they should hire me over the others. And this is where I will apply the "go above and beyond." To another day of trying to shine!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Encouraging words...

This morning I woke up with the feeling somewhat depressed and dreading the day. I felt discouraged at facing the same-ole-same-ole that has permeated the past three months. Also, I will be losing phone service tonight at midnight and I was going to have to call my car loan company to let them know that unless a miracle came about, I would not be making partial payment on Monday as I had hoped. Not fun things to wake up to.

Finally, 15 or 20 minutes later, I got up and made some coffee and went back to my bedroom to have my morning time with God. While journaling, I acknowledged that I was having a very difficult time facing the day and wasn't sure if I could accomplish anything. Oftentimes, when I feel like there isn't anything I can do to accomplish anything worthwhile, I will remind myself of a saying I received from a friend of mine long ago. "Today, I'll focus on what I can do, not on what I can't do." So, I wrote down, "What can I do"? And proceeded to list five or six things that I thought I probably could manage to do and needed to do or might be helpful to someone else. Here are the six, now seven things, I felt capable of accomplishing in spite of the current emotions and situation.

  1. I can take care of the bank account verification and send it to DHS.
  2. I can follow up on Phill's brother James for Aunt Margaret.
  3. I can call Santander (my car loan company) and let them know I won't be able to make payment, but I am still wanting to keep the car and expect that by the first of September, I will be able to bring my account current.
  4. I can call Verizon and at least them know that I won't have the payment as expected, but I will pay my account as soon as possible.
  5. I can figure out food for Sabbath lunch (this is an easy one, thankfully!)
  6. I can call to check on prices of my prescription medicines so as to find out where I should have them filled (JD is helping me to get them filled).
  7. I can write a note to Christa (still haven't done this, but will before end of day to then send tomorrow).
Armed with a focus on what I can do, I set out to at least accomplish those things.

One of the first things I did was to go to the bank to get the verification form filled out. Deb, the bank representative who started helping me, and I began talking some about my situation and the difficulties I have been and am now experiencing due to my unemployment and denial of unemployment. We talked about what jobs are out there and she mentioned a couple of places that I might want to consider applying to, as they oftentimes are hiring. She was very nice and treated me with respect, in spite of my financial status, and as much as I'm down on banks and their insensitivity to people who are struggling financially, I have to say she at least improved my feelings about some of the bank's employees.

During our conversation, Deb mentioned that she had gone through a rough time and still struggles with the effect of her husband having a sudden heart attack 19 months ago at the age of 55. It was a devastating shock to her and her life, as she had only worked part-time before, and of course now she was having to fully support herself. We talked about how to get through the rough times and how we just have to continue and do what we can until things turn around. It was a blessing and an encouragement. It also made me cry my heart out to God after leaving the bank, telling Him how tired and scared I was. But, it helped me to once again accept where I am at this moment in time and trust that as I continue to focus each day on what I can do, eventually things will turn around for me and I will be a stronger person for having gone through these events.

Thanks, Deb, for the encouraging words and I pray that God will comfort you as you have encouraged me.