Monday, April 22, 2013
My blog has moved to Wordpress because I hear it is a bit better than blogspot. So don't fret...just head on over to http://justalumpofclay.wordpress.com/. See you there!!
Friday, April 19, 2013
Since school has started I'm realizing that there's always something on the to-do list. There is always something I could be doing. I already think a million miles a minute so being in school has just added another million things to think about. I saw something that said a girl's brain is like looking at a browser window and there's 2,000 windows open. That's pretty much how I feel, all the time.
This is not conducive to rest and I have felt prodding in my spirit lately that I'm just missing something in my life, but would could it be when I am enjoying life, school is good, work is keeping me busy and all seems to be well? The word attune kept popping into my head during this time and when I actually took the time to stop this weekend and just sit in silence, lets just say, the walls came tumbling down.
Attune means, "To bring into a harmonious or responsive relationship." This means there's two things involved, you can't be attuned by yourself, it's in relationship with something else. I've noticed the last few months that I have just been going, I have been attune to so many things and in some ways becoming someone I did not recognize. I was surprised by my critical attitude, my negativity and my selfishness. I was attune to what others were feeling and what they were thinking of me and to this perception I have of this perfect person who should just do it all. I was attune to social media and the world outside of my own, which can be good, but for me it helped me block out other things.
When I finally sat in silence and thought about all that had gone on, I didn't like what I saw and really, it was exhausting. I had to ask myself who or what is that other thing I'm going to bring into a harmonious or responsive relationship with myself?
I choose for this to be Jesus and I so easily forget that. Being in tune with Jesus produces great things. It allows me to attune to love, joy, peace and selflessness.
It gives me a lens to see the world in which I know that I am meant to love people well and accept them for who they are. It gives me a lens to see the world in which we are all a part of this story here, where each and every person has worth and value. It gives me a lens to see that you cannot operate out of constantly trying to gain the approval of others. It gives me a lens to see that God's Kingdom is here and now and asking myself what I am doing to be a part of engaging in those relationships and activities that bring, even if just a little, hope and peace into this broken world.
(I wrote this a week or two ago, but didn't publish it because I felt like I didn't want people to know my struggles, but now two weeks later I want to share. I feel like every so often I have a "shed my skin" moment. Like how a snake sheds it's skin? I think God does that with me...a refining process that needs to happen so I'm brought back to what really matters and where the old goes away and the new comes. A refining process that reminds me what I really need to be attune to.)
Monday, March 25, 2013
It's a risk to show your true self to people. People may not like what they see, they may judge you, or they may disagree with your thoughts on an issue and you know...that's okay. It's exhausting and hard to be someone you're not. I've learned that the hard way. It's exhausting and hard to put a face on for all the different groups you're a part of and make sure you say the right things to the right people. I've learned that the hard way too. It's exhausting and hard to try and please everyone and make sure everyone else is always happy all the time. I've learned that the hard way too.
So...maybe I feel like it might be slightly therapeutic to confess to the world wide web some of these silly habits or things I like or my personal opinions, or maybe I'm just dumb for thinking anyone wants to read these confessions, but hey, it's my blog. I'll do what I want.
Confession #1: I have no self-control when it comes to certain things including but not limited to...buying music off Amazon and iTunes, watching TV shows, biting my fingernails (this goes in spurts), reading the celebrity stories on people.com, the inability to stop reading a good book and staying up until 3 in the morning, and eating popcorn (it's just addicting once you start, you can't stop, ya know?).
Confession #2: Because of confession #1. I have to limit the amount of TV shows I let myself get into to. I currently have two, The Vampire Diaries and Scandal...and catching up on Jimmy Fallon on Hulu sometimes, and New Girl sometimes, and The Voice since that's back on now, well...okay you see? No self-control. Remember when I said I only told certain people things about me? Watching The Vampire Diaries used to be one of them, but now I just don't really care. Put your judgey eyes on...yes I enjoy watching the dramatic love triangle of the beautiful people of Mystic Falls.
Confession #3: I honestly think I can be pretty funny. Not everyone knows I'm funny, but when someone acknowledges it, it makes my day. My mom even texted me the other day..."you have gotten funnier over the years." (I know she's my mom, but still.) But seriously...laughing and making people laugh is one of my most favorite things.
Confession #4: I keep a love list. It's on my phone and anytime I do something or something happens that I just stop and realize I love, I write it down. Then I think about why I loved it and what about it felt so life-giving. You should try it.
Confession #5: I keep old letters and notes of encouragement and read them randomly. When I'm having a bad day or not feeling the best about myself I pull out old notes that I've kept throughout the years to remind myself I'm loved and I don't need to have a pity party for myself.
Okay, enough transparency for today. These are pretty silly, but now you know. Maybe I'll make this a regular occurrence or maybe not. I'm on a roll with blogging at the moment, which probably means I have two papers to write, three books to read and a discussion post to make...
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Today I was reminded in a couple different ways that there are still good people in the world. I wouldn't say I've become cynical or even have the opinion that no one goes above and beyond for anyone anymore, but reminders of people's goodness are refreshing. For example...
I didn't have enough cash to pay for my stamps at the post office and I didn't want to put that little amount on a credit card. The post office worker told me not to worry about it and he would cover it for me.
I asked a classmate for help on creating something for a group project (he's in the other group) and not only did he say he would help...he gave step by step instructions and offered to video chat to explain it more in depth if I couldn't figure it out. He had no reason to answer my email or help me out, but he did. It might be bad that sometimes I'm shocked at how nice the people I've met in my program through Eastern are, but I've just been so impressed and blessed by the authenticity of my classmates and how genuine they all are.
At the bank, the teller greeted me by name and asked how I was doing and made sure I got a dum-dum, because she knows I love them. (some of you more cynical folk may say she was just doing her job and it's good for business...but I choose to believe her because of the joy and sincerity she expresses)
It makes me look at myself and ask if I've surprised anyone lately by the goodness and kindness I've shown them? Honestly, probably not. These days I think I can get so caught up in what I have to get done and the busyness of life, I rush past those around me. I'm so sorry for that. That's not who I am nor who I want to be.
Every day I want to do something that can restore someone's faith in the goodness of people, every day I want to go out of my way to do something I really "don't" have to do but do it because it's right and kind, every day I want to choose to not let the world rush by or go through the day without stopping to take notice of the people around me. Every day I want to end the day knowing I lived that day well.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
- Do I wear a jacket or is it warm enough to go without?
- Do I stay up late to do homework or get up early?
- Do I watch another episode on Netflix or go to bed?
- Do I make plans to meet someone for coffee this week or use that morning to do homework?
- Do I make dinner or go out to eat?
- Do I get up to go work out or keep sleeping?
Okay...you get the point and in case you wondered the type of choices that go through my head on a daily basis. Anyway...I've realized we have the power to choose so many things that we may not realize each day.
- Do I choose peace or worry?
- Do I choose cheerfulness or to be gloomy?
- Do I choose to treat each person I meet with kindness and affirmation or with indifference?
- Do I choose to put forth 100% effort into all I do or just half-ass my life?
- Do I choose to love each person that's in front of me or do I choose to look through them?
- Do I choose a positive outlook or a negative one?
- Do I choose joy each day?
I've forgotten how I can make these choices each day. Too many days I just blame on "being in a bad mood" or "I can't help but worry," but I can. Every day I probably don't make the best choice, but it's an intentional attitude that I'm trying to adopt.
Love is a choice, to be joyful is a choice, to have peace is a choice, to be intentional in your relationships with people is a choice.
We are responsible for our choices. I try to live each day being intentional about these choices. It's not always the easiest, but it's always worth it. What about you?
Monday, March 4, 2013
So...because I like lists and to keep this from going on and on here are the Top 10 things about my residency.
1. I felt like I was at adult summer camp some of the time. I stayed in a hostel with about 20+ people from the program, all the girls in one room and the guys in another. It was great.
2. I learned a lot. It was nice to actually sit in class when it's only been online. I realized how much more enjoyable sitting in class is when you're learning about something you care about and want to know. I also attended The Justice Conference and it was so great to be at that. It was refreshing and a breath of fresh air.
3. The people who make up this program are wonderful. Everyone I met was great and I was actually surprised at how nice and accepting everyone was. (maybe I just had low expectations, but it was a pleasant surprise). I met people who seemed to really care about others not because they have to, but because they chose to. I love that I have so many new friends.
4. It was exhausting and hard. I was with people pretty much 24/7 for 10 days. As much as I really do love people (see #3), for my more introverted self, being with people so much takes its toll. Also, being in class every day, living in community, in not always the most comfortable setting, in an unfamiliar city and going through all that it entailed for ten days was exhausting to say the least.
5. It was really fun. I loved being in a new city, being able to explore, meeting new people and hearing their stories, playing games, making dinner together, figuring out public transportation, being at The Justice Conference, good conversations, etc...
6. It was affirming. Since I started this program I felt like I was never quite sure what was going on and I wondered if I should really be doing it. Everyone I met was so reassuring and there's so much power in the words of "me too". It was so nice to hear others thoughts about the program. They were generous in their encouragement and now I don't feel like I'm traveling this journey alone.
7. I didn't eat a Philly Cheese steak. I know, I know...how could I not? Well just know I'll back like five times over the next two years so I'm sure I'll get a chance.
8. I felt so supported by family and friends. I appreciated the "thinking of you" and "can't wait to hear about it" messages from people. It's easy to feel alone and isolated these days, but that wasn't the case while I was gone. I'm also thankful to have a job that allows me the space to do this. It was hard being disconnected from everything for what seemed like for so long, but it just made it that much better to come back!
9. I'm now able to say I've been to five new states. Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And I can check off visiting Washington DC! I loved, loved, loved DC.
10. I'm just thankful to be on this journey. In the weariness, the fun, the learning, the good times, the frustrating times, I just know I am where I'm supposed to be. I've doubted it and there have been times I've thought, "Why the heck did I think this was a good idea!?!?" But, I have been more peaceful than I have been in a long time. I'm excited about learning. I'm figuring out how to balance all that's going on. My life is richer because of this experience...the new friends I made who shared their story with me and listened to mine and there was always a constant reminder that God is with us through it all.
Obviously, this isn't too deep and I could talk about it more, so feel free to ask. (A reminder that coffee dates are one of my favorite things) ;)
Peace and blessings.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
I have realized that although I have always had a hefty dose of hatred towards school, I really enjoy learning. I love knowing things and learning more. I've had to remind myself with these classes that I'm doing this because I want to do it, not because I have to. This is information I want to know and that will make me better. Not only better at my job, but also just a better me.
I finished up my first paper this weekend. After about every form of procrastination you can think of (I even cleaned...yikes!) I submitted all seven pages (I know that's really not that many) of my leadership development plan. For those of you that know me (and honestly that’s kind of a silly statement because the three of you that actually read this know me)...I enjoy things like this. I love any reason to become more self-aware and talk about strengths, weaknesses and goals hence I'm loving my leadership development class (well...for the most part).
I had to make goals for myself in this plan, based on a test I took that indicated my "weak" areas or as my professor calls them "my areas for growth". Those areas were basically centered around taking risks and adjusting to change. Lets be honest, this is not surprising. You will not see me being the first one to lead the change effort or being the first volunteer for a risky task, but I’m learning.
I’m learning that life is dynamic and change is inevitable. I can’t always control it, but I can control how I react to it. I’m learning risks can be good. I can’t be afraid to do something because I might fail. Sometimes you’ve gotta put yourself out there to really live and to accomplish your dreams and goals.
So…my lovely blog readers or the few of you that actually made it this far (thanks Mom) you have permission to ask me how I'm doing in these areas. Accountability is so important and putting these out there shows what I’m not good at (does that count as taking a risk?) and allows others to challenge me in those areas (which can result in change)…see I’m on my way to getting better already. J So bring on the, “Hey Abby, how are you doing with this?” or the “Hey lets go do this…you may not be good at it, but that’s okay.” or the “Hey that was a big change...how are you handling that?”
I am realizing I continue to grow and learn more about myself each day. I love this journey of life and in order to live it even more fully I think making goals to embrace change and to no longer fear risk is a step in the right direction.
Just a lump of clay
I really like to blog. Sometimes it's about what I'm learning, sometimes about what's going on in life, sometimes I share my heart, sometimes I share a funny story or video, and sometimes I complain. But it's me. I am me. I am just a lump of clay being molded daily by the One who holds my life in His hands.