Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Little Trip to Nashville

I'm wearing a pullover sweater today, which means I am teaching at the grad school this afternoon. I enjoy teaching and make sure to have a good video each time. I teach in three 45-50 minutes segments because it is better for the brain (and staying awake).

We are leaving after the class for Nashville where I will be co-presenting about Screamfree at the TN Association for Marriage and Family Therapists. I am really pumped about this! I love presenting when I am passionate about something.

If that is not exciting enough, we are staying with our friends Clay and Katie. They have a house a little north of town that we haven't seen yet. We can't wait to hang out with good friends for the weekend and just relax. It is rumored they have some farm animals, too!

AND, of course, Nashville means Maggiano's--a place full of great memories and great food. Although, we might be overdoing it since we ate there last month! Not a ravioli-loving chance!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lessons from a New Story

On November 10th of last year, I wrote about my new story. I’d like to give you some updates:

I refer to myself less as “my character” in favor of “myself.”

I’ve learned that there are natural highs and lows in life, and the lows tend to last shorter when I see them as lows and not as a failure to stay high.

Life has become more about wants than needs. I want my marriage, I want to be healthy, I want to watch ice dancing…

I need my marriage less, and want it more. It is easier to put my shoes in my closet when I want my marriage.

Less expectation out of life has led to more fulfillment in life. I completely did not see this one coming! It’s like when I don’t need or expect things to happen, spontaneity and change become possible. Plus, when we don’t expect things to happen, things outside of our expectations can finally happen—miracles, anyone? I have experienced miracles.

Many of my views and beliefs have been challenged, including God. Because of these challenges, I’m developing a much richer view of life, faith, and God.

I see choice where I used to see helplessness. I wasn’t quite ready for all the power, and I am learning to harness a little more of it each day.

Life is way too precious to waste it blaming others. What shapes each of us is much greater than us—our family histories, our varied experiences, how we were cared for when we were babies, etc. This thought destroyed a barrier between me and my parents.

If you are too close to the project, you are the project. Things unfold only when I stop trying to keep them folded up, especially emotional things.

Perception and awareness are the greatest tools I possess. Most of the changes I experience are not because of external changes, I just started looking at things in a different way. Waiting for things to change without making changes myself is my definition of entitlement. I’ve been dis-entitled!

I’ve been holding back love from the world by not loving myself. Loving myself happens to be one of the greatest things I can do for the world.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One of the Greatest Opportunities of All Time

We know what fear brings and how it clouds our judgments and beliefs. We know we fear things until we understand them better. We often fight fear and do whatever we can to eliminate it. Sometimes we realize we we're only fighting ourselves.

So here we stand… America is becoming increasingly Muslim in population. Islam is growing fast in the West. Does reading that put fear in you?

Here’s my biggest fear: I will continue to believe that Christians and Muslims can’t co-exist peacefully. I mean, take a good look at history, and you won't find a lot of hope. Christians and Muslims have fought and still fight over people in order to convert them to religions of peace. I propose that for peace to be possible in the future, co-existing is a basic step, and cooperation is essential.

Where we stand is at a point where we can make a decision about the future of peace in the world. Two of the world’s most influential religions coming together in a country founded on religious freedom. It is overwhelmingly exciting and scary at the same time. Why? Because two of the world’s most influential religions also struggle to find peace within themselves. The term extremist does not just apply to one religion.

Peace needs a revolution, and here is the greatest chance we’ve seen, at least in my time. We have two great religions with peace at their core and violence in their present and past. How Christians accept Islam, and vice-versa, has everything to do with the future of the world. Will it be a fight, or will it be the greatest act of reconciliation we’ve seen in modern times? Will we be armed because of the past, or armed by the past? Will we use oil to anoint or negotiate?

This concludes some light reading for your mid-week.

Friday, February 12, 2010

To make the journey and not fall deeply in love - well, you haven't lived a life at all.

Is this not the most romantic thing you've ever seen? Last night we were driving around & Ben dropped the "I didn't get you flowers for Valentine's Day" bomb. He then attempted to convince me that V-day has become a material venture & told me that if love is based on him getting me flowers for V-day, then he doesn't really love me we decided to have a loveless marriage. Then, we went to The Fresh Market & I picked out the flowers I wanted. Ben got a magnet.

Click here to read about our first V-day together as a married couple.

My mom thought something was horribly wrong when I did not post my usual Friday blog last week. I have been learning a lot of life lessons these past few weeks:
  • I should NOT read vampire books right before going to bed (I actually had a Twilight/LOST combo dream which put me over the edge)
  • I decided that it's ok to make big life decisions to do something good based on selfish reasons
  • Ben & I can destroy every room in a clean house in the course of a single day
  • I confirmed that we do in fact have the CUTEST puppy in the world regardless of how stinky she is
  • The gas light in our car is capable of completely changing our attitudes in the morning
Snow Days
Monday morning Ben & I rolled out of bed much too late & proceeded to get somewhat presentable for work. We were about to leave & Ben opened the back door to let Cali out. "Whoa baby, you need to come see this!" We were astonished to see 4" of beautiful, white snow covering our world! We both called our offices & sure enough it was an unexpected snow day.

Ben & I have very different views of snow days ...I love them more than chocolate & he mopes around & would rather be at work. Fortunately for me, Ben had been pretty stressed out at work & was able to enjoy spending the day doing donuts in parking lots, watching movies & reading our books like old people.

ScreamFree Review
Last week I had my 1-yr. official review & Ben had an impromptu 3-month review at work. Mine went well, I'm a good employee, do a great job, here's a raise, blah, blah, blah ...except for one minor issue. Apparently, some of my co-workers had made the observation to my boss that I have been on Facebook.

My ScreamFree response to this was, "Huh, I wish they would have said this to me because I would have told them to stop looking at my monitor & to get back to work." This relieved the tension & caused my boss to break out into a deep, rolling laugh. Ben thought this was a great response & applauded my effort to not triangle myself with my co-workers & my boss. What would our world be like if everyone only said positive things in the work environment?

I know that many more insightful & humorous things have happened to us in the past 2 wks, but this is your Friday tidbit. Happy Valentine's Day everyone - I hope you spend it with someone you love!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.

Did anyone miss my Friday blog? We were snowed, or rather iced, in. To sum up last week in words: loss, unbearable, hurt, admiration, sadness, laughter, love, growth, peace. I said goodbye to my grandpa, at least his physical body. His memory, energy & love will remain with me always. Between the funeral & the snow day, I somehow managed to work a 2-day work week ...I could really get used to this!
Our Life in Pictures
We continue to capture our lives on film with our awesome new camera. Ben took the above shot of me & I love how it turned out. We ordered a book on how to use our camera, so be on the lookout for some more creative shots. Thankfully, Panera was open Sat morning & we had a brainstorming session about The Million Miles Short Film Contest we plan on entering. I love telling stories through pictures & video, so telling OUR story will be like icing on the cake!

Cabin Fever at Its Finest
If you ever want to put your marriage to a test, try spending 3 entire days together iced in at home. I think we made it all the way to Friday afternoon (roughly 6 hrs.) before risking our lives on the icy roads just to get out of the house. We watched movies (The Invention of Lying, The Hurt Locker & District 9 which were all great), organized closets, fixed our running toilet, bought new toys with our x-mas money (I got a Shark Steam Mop & Ben got a Vizio Sound Bar) & hung out with friends that lived close by in order to keep our sanity intact.
End of an Era
This week, Ben will complete his supervision hours needed to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (a.k.a. the reason we have been in Memphis the past 2 yrs. after Ben finished his masters degree). Did I think this day would ever come? No. Would I have thought in a million years that we would want to stay in Memphis after Ben finished this? No. Is this a huge relief both financially and emotionally? Yes. Am I extremely proud of my amazing husband for going through this process so that he can be a better therapist? Yes!

Well, I can't blog about too much so that I'll have something left for Friday. Tomorrow is the premiere of the final season of LOST & I can't wait! Here's hoping that everyone has a fantastic week.