Sunday Reflection

I’ve been absent from writing for a long while and am starting to crave the release of writing through my thoughts and trying to make sense out of them. A LOT has changed in the past year or so. We got married, moved in together, blended a family, learned that one of our children is autistic and has sensory processing disorder, subsequently changed schools for her, went through a surgery to get pregnant, got pregnant (now 33 weeks), welcomed my husband’s parents and grandma in a move from CA to AZ, and forged through other tough decisions and realizations. We are doing really well considering how much we have been through. More on that another day.

What inspired me to write today was church service this morning. We have been going through a series called Plan B, which is based on the book by Pete Wilson. At the beginning of the series I thought…is anyone really still on Plan A…or B for that matter? I feel like I’m on plan Z and I’m only 32! I love what my life has become and I’m completely grateful to God for turning a very hard season in my life into something spectacular. But it is something I never imagined for myself growing up or even when I was in college. I knew I wanted a family and kids and a husband and some sort of career, but the way I got to this place was a very patch-worked path that was messy and unorganized.

We had the privilege to hear directly from Pete Wilson at church this morning. He said a few things I wanted to share and remember.

“The greatest illusion in life, is the illusion of control.”

This struck me because of its simplicity and obviousness (not sure that’s really a word), yet it’s something we forget on a daily basis. We have little to no control over the things that happen TO us. We do on the other hand have some control over how we view and react to circumstances, challenges, or successes. Some other things he said that I wrote in my journal:

“If nothing else good happens to you in your life ever, you STILL owe God everything.”

If we pray, and pray, and beg for help…. for a new job, or to keep a job, to change our finances, to repair relationships, or to save our children from hardships, or keep them safe…..and God does nothing to help us, we still owe Him our lives with faith and dedication to his glory. He gave His son to save us from our sins and so we would have the ability to spend eternity with Him. We owe Him, not the other way around.

“The hardest part is knowing God is completely capable of doing something but accepting that He sometimes chooses to do nothing to change the situation we are in.”

We’ve all been there, begging, asking for a sign, pleading and crying…..and wondering where He is. It shakes your faith to hear nothing and to feel no relief from pain, embarrassment, or crushed dreams. My plans and expectations have changed many times and when I think He isn’t listening and didn’t help…I look back weeks, months, years later and see that even though it wasn’t part of my plan, it was part of His. No one ever grows up and says I want to get married, then divorced, and have my family ripped apart and then go on to live in a blended family with more challenges than one could ever imagine. That’s not picture perfect, you don’t dream of struggling and going through heartbreak. But “..it” happens and God and make those terrible seasons in life worth it and has the ability to make life beautiful again.

Pete Wilson gave an example of when kids throw fits and fight and scream that they want the other parent to instead of the one they are with. The child doesn’t really want the other parent…they want what they think the other parent is going to give them. It’s like our conversations with God, we are begging for help, for more or less of something. More often than not we aren’t begging for more time and love from Him, when that is what we should be doing.

He asked a question that makes me question if my actions and choices conflict with what I believe to be true? How can I trust His plan more and release from the chains of my own? What is He asking of me and how can I say YES?

“What would you do if you were absolutely confident that God was with you?”

My answer…..a lot more.

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30 years …beware text heavy post.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the past 30 years of my life have played out. Some of it makes me really happy, proud, and excited. Some makes me sad, frustrated, and hopeful that I’ll never make those types of decisions again or be in that situation again.

I had a bucket list, I didn’t complete most of it. But I did replace it with some things that were way more important and long-lasting though. I had my baby boy. I met my soul mate. I’ve realized how important family is. Less seriously, I went camping a LOT. I no longer really know what’s happening on reality TV, which means I’m living my life. I started to believe in myself and delve into hobbies more.  

I also have been determining where I stand on issues, religion, politics and what influences me to make those decisions or opinions. It’s interesting to see my thought process change throughout my life but my core values always stayed true to the intent.

Case in point – I believe in a god. True statement. But my idea of god has changed dramatically, from my opinion that god is a religious entity, to a god that watches over us without religious affiliation. Similar to how I envision my grandma watching over me. I still think about her often even though I didn’t know her well in my life-time, maybe because I am her namesake? Anytime I see the clouds make a smiley face, I say “Hi Grandma” and I hope she helps me make better decisions. Or if I’m having a bad day, I usually talk to her. I don’t know if she hears me or even if she agrees with me, after all  I didn’t know her. But it helps to think she is listening for some reason.

I don’t believe in a judgmental god, nor one that is tied to a specific religion or people. My belief in that has changed as I used to think you had to be a certain religion and follow a set of rules to be “saved”. I no longer feel this way. I’ve come to terms with the fact that everyone experiences god differently. I used to get upset or judge people when they didn’t feel the same as I did. I love my idea of god, I fully experience this while practicing yoga, out in nature, when I see a good friend or family member really happy, or when I think of all the things that had to happen for me to bring Smiles into this world or the odds of finally seeing my soul mate. (I’ll explain “seeing” in another post).

30 years is a long time, not in the sense that I’m old but that in the first 30 years of life you go through so much change compared to your last half of life (hopefully this is only the first half). 30 years full of learning how to be, who to be, and what you want to be. I want to be a compassionate, loving, happy person who seeks to help people around me do the same. I’m not trying to be perfect, that’s boring, but if I try to be full of compassion and happy, then those around me will be too. I’ve learned that I don’t want to be friends with grumpy, life-sucking, fake, or unhappy people. I also don’t like feeling like I’m competing with people who are supposed to be friends, which is something I dealt with a lot. Sorry if you are one of those people.  I’ve learned that only people who want help or to be happy, will be, and those who don’t, don’t need to be around me or the people I love.

I’m learning how to communicate. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of shutting down and walking away from confrontation or a situation that may lead to confrontation. I’m learning (mostly with the help of Mr. 72) how to address problems and fix them, instead of letting them fester and get worse. I still don’t have this down but at least I recognize when I’m doing it.

I’ve learned (and am still learning) to relax as a mom. My son is a hand full; some days are better than others. I’ve realized that all the books, websites, and advice are only as good as the person receiving it. If the advice doesn’t work for you then throw it away. Every parent has to decide what works for them and their child. Do I still feel judged for not doing certain things or doing something a certain way, yes, but at the end of the day, if me and Smiles are happy and taken care of, that is all that matters. I think kids should be kids, there is enough time for them to be quiet, well-behaved, and clean when they are adults (although, when his actions affect someone else or his safety, then we will have a problem). I want Smiles to enjoy being a kid for as long as possible.

I’ve learned what true love is, what a soul mate is, and what it means to love someone faults and all. And in turn, what it feels like to be loved in the same way.

I’ve learned that I want a simple life. I want to be surrounded by kids, family, and a few good friends. I want a career I am passionate about and that allows me to be creative. I’ve learned that my parents are usually right. I’ve learned that only I can make judgments about me. I’ve learned that I have a lot of pet peeves.

But mostly, I’ve learned that I’m still growing into the person I want to be. I look forward to the next 30 years…spending time with Smiles, Mr. 72, family, and a few close friends. Thank you to all my family and friends who have supported me along the way and helped shape me into the person I am now. I am immensely grateful for the patience it must have taken to deal with a personality such as mine.

May 18 – 20, 2012

Teacher Career Fair

Playing cars with mom….this could go on for hours! Things Smiles says while playing, “awesome”, “wow”, “whoa”, “GO!”, “again?”, “no fit?” sometimes the cars get stuck on the track, lol

My favorite cousin and his baby girl.

Had such a good weekend! Saturday I went to a career fair for teachers and I was super nerous but it went well. More about that in a later lost, but at least I figured out what I want to do when I grow up!

Then after that on Saturday, the whole family and extended family came over to my parents house for a pool party and BBQ. Even Mr. 72 came with his girls. Smiles had a great time and got to eat a lot of yummy tortillas and got his first hair cut! This was also the first time Mr. 72 was meeting my extended family….they can be a rough crowd with potential additions to the family. LOL

Totally noteworthy: Mr. 72’s youngest ran up to me when they got out of the truck and jumped into my arms, I swear my heart melted!

Other noteworthy comments made:

  • Tio – “I like him” …this is big deal comnig from my uncle
  • Cousin – “Good job thinking with your brain this time…most girls end up in the same type of relationship they left, but not you, good job”. “I like him” (me, “why”) “because he showed up to a family event with his daughters and it could have been totally awkward, but he man’d up” …..very good point indeed
  • Tia – “I like your family” (me: “I like you too?”) “No, Mr. 72 and the girls, your new family” OMG….my Tia doesn’t really say that about anyone coming into the family!!
  • Ruth (she’s like an aunt) – “The kids already look alike, that works out” LOL true statement
  • Mr. 72 – “I want to be a part of your family” ….speechless, whenever you’re ready Mister

I wish I would have taken more pictures Saturday…it was just so much fun that I forgot…oh well.

Sunday I decided to go to church with Mr. 72 and his girls. This was an event for me. When we got out of the service we picked up the kiddos…I ran to get Smiles past all the other lolligagging parents, lol.Leaving and picking up Smiles from the day care center broke my heart. I cried when I picked him up because when he saw me, he cried and put out his arms for me to hold him. I think this will be good for him in the long run…he needs to play with other kids and learn how to share, etc. But this was hard…I’ve never left him with strangers before…no daycare, nothing. He’s only ever stayed with his GG (caregiver) or family. After we reunited as a group….Mr. 72’s oldest gave both me and him pictures she had drawn in class. It was so special to me that she thought about drawing one especially for me. So freakin sweet! It is now on my fridge 🙂

Our little “family” went to lunch after church, Paradise Bakery. It was kinda awesome how well me and Mr. 72 worked to make sure the kiddos didn’t go nutzo in public. We make a fabulous team if I don’t say so myself.

All-in-all, amazing weekend!

Narcissism and Church

loooong post, lol>

Today marks the first day I have been to church in a very long time. It’s been since 2001….not counting the time I went to church to see my niece get baptized. I’m not looking to believe something, I already have beliefs, but for other reasons, of which there are a few.

I like the feeling of community that a church can provide, gathered around other people whose intent it is to make themselves better and better the lives of those around them. I’m not going to get into what I believe or don’t believe because I feel that is up to each person to make up their own minds on the matter. It’s a very personal journey for most and a difficult one at that.

Another reason is that Mr. 72 attends church every Sunday without fail. Now this isn’t the main reason I decided to go but it is a reason. I do pray, a lot. Usually I walk around my house talking out loud and if people saw me doing this they would think I’m nutz but in reality I am talking to whoever may be listening (ancestors, god, whoever). I’m usually asking for help, or strength, or compassion. I don’t place myself into one religion entirely…I pull what I believe out of my own heart and then if that happens to be a part of an organized belief system, then so be it, great. But to the point, I want to be able to pray with Mr 72. This is something I think is very important to share with your life partner. I think he knows what my basic beliefs are, I think. There’s probably room for growth on that conversation. I want us to grow together and I don’t feel we can grow together without praying together. This aspect was totally forbidden in my last relationship and it failed, I believe that was a huge part of it.

When I pray, its more like meditation. Sometimes I say nothing at all and just quiet my mind and sit in stillness. I let whatever is going to happen or not happen, happen. I think this is why I am so drawn to yoga. Not just the physical practice but this is where I feel the most connected to the god I believe in. The pastor brought up a topic today about how society has become so narcissistic. I completely agree. So many people are willing to put themselves first before anyone else. Even some people who I wouldn’t classify as narcissistic have some definite narcissistic behaviors. I think this is an area for improvement for all human beings. Throughout his sermon I kept thinking….if only the congregation would go to yoga and study the practice, I think this concept is so easy to understand. I try my best everyday to not be someone I am ashamed of, to be someone who is giving, to be someone I would be proud to know. Maybe the pastor should have used the Bhagavad Gita to help explain his point. Nishkama Karma means Selfless Action, service without selfishness. It is kind of ironic that the first sermon I hear upon return to church is about the main belief I have, karma. 

karmaṇy evādhikāras te

mā phaleṣu kadācana

mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr

mā te sańgo ‘stv akarmaṇi

Translation: “You certainly have the right for perscribed activities but never at any time in their results. You should never be motivated by the results of the actions, nor should there be any attachment in not doing your perscribed activities.” (ref)

When I lost my job a few months ago, I left the anger go to karma. When I went through a divorce, I could only control my reactions and relied on karma to deal with the rest. I don’t get it right all the time, but I try, and that’s all someone can ask you to do.

The pastor posed the question of who our hero is….I’m sure the answer for most people there was Jesus, but mine was my dad. My dad has always been compassionate, giving, full of strength, and willing to give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it. (I’m pretty sure he has done this). He amazes me every day because he is capable of finding ways to help….anyone, even people he doesn’t like very much. My dad has worked very hard for the life he has now but has always managed to give whenever he could, even if all he had was just a dollar or some labor he could offer, if someone needed it. He is my hero and someone I aspire to be like. I remember something he said to me when I was in high school, “If you grew up in the same situation as someone else, raised by the same people, had the same experiences, you would be just like them”. Every time I judge someone or am rude or not as nice as I could be….I remember that, and it changes my attitude quickly. Compassion and empathy.

I enjoyed going to church, I didn’t agree with all of it but I don’t think you have to, nor do I think you should. I think it is the journey of every human being to question what they hear, take what works for them, and leave the rest.

The reason I was so hesitant to go to church was because of bringing Smiles. I’m not sure yet how I want to approach this subject with him. I don’t know how to explain what I would like him to believe and how to explain the different between going to church and his own personal beliefs. I rationalized that as of today, he doesn’t understand, but for an hour or so a week, he can play with other kids, enjoy some kindness from strangers, and hopefully make some friends. I plan of exposing him to everything and seeing where that journey takes him, as it might be different from my own.

I will be going back. I really did enjoy it. We will see where this journey takes us.

I Choose by Kelly Rae Roberts