Resolutions

It’s that time of year — we shake off the old and get ready for a new year.  We discuss our new year’s resolutions  — how we aspire to change or make ourselves better.  All of the athletic equipment goes on sale and health clubs have “no joining fees”.  Gym rats complain because come Monday, their “spot” will be taken by a newbie.  We resolve to get organized. 

Last year, a friend of mine said that New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to say that you aren’t good enough.  I decided to ditch the word “resolution” and call it a “commitment”.  I decided I would run a race every month in 2011.  I did great until I hurt my foot in July  — again — and just got frustrated.  And down on myself.  And feeling that I wasn’t good enough.

So, I’m here to call BS on resolutions and commitments and anything else that says “I’m not good enough”.  Instead of making commitments to lose weight, work out and get organized, etc….I think we should all look at the ways that we shine — and just resolve to do that more.  Don’t get me wrong…I think it’s fine to want to lose weight, get organized, better yourself.  But, don’t try to change who you are in pursuit of those things.  I have come to believe that until we are totally comfortable with who we are — our authentic self — then it’s nearly impossible to change the things that we want to change.

I have been asking myself some questions lately.  What do people like about me?  What do I get compliments on?  What do love doing?

People often comment on my smile.  I’m going to smile more.

People comment on my laugh.  I’m going to laugh more.

People feel welcome in my home.  And, I love having people in my home.  I’m going to have more parties.

I love to sing.  I’m going to sing more.  Not necessarily to perform.  Just around the house, in my car, wherever I am.

I love to take pictures.  My wonderful husband bought me my second Canon Rebel (because I *gasp* lost mine).  I’m going to take more pictures.  I might even take a class (well, I will take a class because I promised I would).

I love to write.  Maybe I’ll write more.  Maybe I’ll write about more things.  I don’t know and I’ve learned my lesson about making promises to update my blog on a regular basis.

I love to read.  I had forgotten that I love to read, but I do.  I might read more.

I love traveling and seeing new things.  I plan to continue to explore our new surroundings and spending quality time with my family.

I love to be spontaneous.  To just wake up in the morning and say, “hey, let’s go do this…”.  I love to be able to just invite people over at the last minute.  I want to do that more.

That’s a start.  I’m under no pressure to be something I’m not.  I’m just setting the bar higher on the things I love to do anyway.  Call it being more intentional.  If it has to be a resolution, it’s this simple:  I’m going to be the best me I can be. 

Happy New Year. 
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Hope

This morning, there is a family grieving the loss of their infant baby girl. Anna Joy was born with a major heart defect. Just like our son (although not the same defect). She immediately had to endure a surgery that could potentially save her life — until the next surgery. Just like our son. As I have read their blog over the past couple of weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the memories. I know what it’s like to see your baby hooked up to every contraption imagineable. I know what it’s like to watch helplessly as they are wheeled away to surgery. I know what it’s like to be in the hospital during the holidays. I know what it’s like to watch the doctors scratch their heads and declare that there is little more they can do for your baby. I know what it’s like to cry out to God, “Please don’t make me bury an infant”. What I don’t know is what it’s like to come home from the hospital without my baby. It’s times like this that I am overwhelmed with “survivor’s guilt”. I’ve experienced it other times as well as dear friends of mine have lost their children…and each time I wonder why. Why was their child taken and not mine? I remember finding very little comfort in well-meaning Christians telling me that God’s ways are perfect. In fact, it makes me mad. “NO!”, I want to scream. This is not perfect. Death is not perfect. The God I believe in is grieving along with me. This was not how it was meant to be. Creation, as God intended, has been broken.

I’m not saying that God’s ways are not perfect. As Christians, we believe that He works out all things for good (Romans 8:28). But, sometimes we cannot see the good, especially when we are in the midst of heartbreak. I once heard an analogy about a quilt. We see our lives as the front of the quilt, with just the patterns showing. But if we look under the backing, we would see all of the threads and knots that were needed to make the finished product. Still, not much consolation to a grieving parent.

And, then I remember Christmas. The day that we celebrate the birth of God’s son, who was to be the Savior of the world. Jesus was sent to right the wrongs and restore all things to perfection – to the way God intended them to be. To abolish death (2 Timothy 1:10) To give us eternal life so that we would never again have to grieve death (John 3:16).

Does any of this make it easier to grieve the death of a child? Absolutely not. But, it gives us hope. A reminder that there is light in darkness (John 1:15).

Please lift this family up in thought and prayer. Because as a friend put it, in comparison to this, we don’t actually have any problems. Light a candle tonight and say to the darkness, “we beg to differ” (Mary Jo Leddy).

And then listen to this song, written by a friend of ours, about the love, peace and joy that Jesus brings.

Wish you a merry Christmas – Aaron Spiro

Ronderful Rismastime!

Driving in the car this weekend, we were listening to the local 24 hour Christmas station. “Blue Christmas” came on and my son asked us to turn the channel. Upon being questioned as to why in the world he didn’t like Elvis, he replied: “Because he sounds like a mixture of Paul McCartney and Scooby Doo”.

Maybe it was funnier in person, but that is Life According to Jake.

December 16

This day has been significant throughout my life for a couple of reasons. First, it is the day my sister was born. She was my first sibling and I was 9 years old, so it was something I remember very clearly and was a special and exciting day. My life would never be the same (in a good way, of course). Happy Birthday, Sis.

Eleven years later, this date brought another life changing event. I had been doing a work study job at The Daily Evergreen. I answered phones, took classified ads and did various odd jobs around the main office. I got to know several people at the newspaper and even had gone to high school with one of them, so I was friendly with several of the staff members. But there was this one really cute guy that would walk by, and as big as I smiled at him, he never once paid attention to me. I also was an avid reader of the opinion column. A couple of people contributed to it that I really enjoyed reading. There was one person in particular that I found myself agreeing with all the time and thinking, “I really wish I knew this person”. Then one day, the cute guy came to check out a camera from the front desk. The office manager was talking to him and as he walked away, she said, “Thanks, Lloyd”. My head snapped around. That was him. The guy that I had so enjoyed reading in the newspaper was the same cute guy that I watched walk by my desk every day.

After that, I started really going out of my way to get his attention. Looking back, it was a little stalker-ish. The newspaper recieved a great many promotional CD’s for review and we had an auction one day. I didn’t care a bit about the auction, but decided to start bidding on all of the CD’s that he was bidding on. There was one in particular, Lloyd Cole that he kept bidding on. We were the only two bidding and eventually I ended up winning the CD. My plan was to strike up a conversation with him about it. That never really panned out. Ironically enough, the title of that CD is “Don’t Get Weird on me Babe” (which by the way, is a brilliant album that was probably a few years ahead of its time).

After that didn’t work, I just got bold. I figured out which bus he took and I would sit next to him (he never noticed). Instead of just smiling at him when he walked by, I just said a very enthusiast “hi!”. I’m sure he thought I was crazy. Finally, we started to have short conversations. One day, I woke up and got really cute for class. My roommate asked me why and I told her that this was the day Lloyd was going to ask me out. She looked at me with a little bit of skeptisim (okay, a lot…) and said, “Oh, the guy who doesn’t really know who you are?” Yeah. That’s him. “Okay”, she said…..”well, you look cute”.

When I got to work, he came by to check his mailbox. I noticed that he had taken a couple of basketball tickets out of his box. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “HI!!!!”
Him: “uh, hi….”
Me: “What are you doing tonight”?
Him: “uh….I’m going to a basketball game and then I have band practice”
Me: “Oh that is SO COOL. I haven’t been to a basketball game yet this year!!!!!!!!”
Him: Looking at the tickets….”uh….do you want to come?”
Me: “Well, let me call my roommate — we had plans tonight but I’m sure she won’t mind…”

Remember how I said he probably thought I was crazy? Well, he may have been on to something.

So, we went to the game. Afterward, we went to the Combine for coffee (which he made me pay for myself). We talked about things that never should have been talked about on a first “date” (religion, politics, etc). And, then I took him to band practice and went home. On the surface, it was largely uneventful. But, when I walked in the door, I told my roommate that I’d found the man I was going to marry. She asked me to please let my boyfriend know because he wouldn’t stop calling every 10 minutes. Oh yeah….I had forgotten about him. I had also forgotten to call my sister on her birthday.

It was another few months before we actually officially started dating. But, I always knew he was the one. Twenty years later, I still know it. He’s my best friend, my partner, my soul mate.

Oh, and we still have that Lloyd Cole CD.