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I Didn’t Think They Were THAT Big…

Published September 8, 2014 by ia84

So, after church this past Sunday, I found myself in a conversation with the most adorable, eloquent, 3 year old girl I know.  The conversation started simply enough with her telling me about how she had learned about Jesus and monkeys in Sunday school, but then it took an interesting turn.  And, of course, I have to share what followed with the entire world, because it is absolutely hilarious…

Clara*: My mom has those big things.  Where did you get your big things?

Me (really confused):  What big things?

Clara (pointing at my chest): Those big things.

Me (realizing what she’s referring to): Um…Well…those are something grown-up girls get.  You’ll have them when you grow up.

(As the words came out of my mouth, I suddenly got worried that I may have said too much, and traumatized her).

Clara: No, I won’t.  I’m gonna be a mermaid, and they only have little things.

And then I excused myself because I was cracking up, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to explain to her why I found all of this to be so incredibly funny.

*Her name is changed to protect her and her awesomeness, but anyone who goes to my church can probably guess immediately who I was talking to.

Oh Look, A Bandwagon…

Published August 13, 2014 by ia84

Growing up, my life was surrounded by death.  I’ve mentioned before that I grew up a pastor’s kid.   The first church my dad was a pastor in, was also the church the town mortician attended.  This meant my dad officiated A LOT of funerals.  In the four years we were at that church, I attended more funerals than most people will ever have opportunity to attend.  Then, when I was in junior high and high school, I regularly went to play Taps at veteran funerals.  (The perk of living in the middle of nowhere and being a trumpet player).  All of these experiences had a bit of weird impact on how I deal with death.  Mainly, funerals don’t freak me out, and death doesn’t terrify me.  I will admit that I can tend to be a bit callous about death.  It’s not intentional.  I have a very dark sense of humor, and on occasion I have cracked jokes that are in terrible taste, sometimes relating to death/dead people.  (Nothing beyond PG, but definitely in poor taste).

Most deaths don’t get much reaction from me.  People live, people die, more people are born.  It’s the circle of life…

Yeah, I went there…

The point is, death has been such a large part of my life, I tend to just accept it as something that happens.  When people die, I feel sympathy for their friends and family members they leave behind, but I’m afraid that sometimes I don’t feel very much beyond this about the dead person…

And yes, I do realize how horrible that makes me seem.

So, I was surprised by how sad I felt when I heard that Robin Williams had committed suicide.  I can count on one hand the amount of celebrities whose deaths have really made genuinely sad (Jim Henson, Charles Schultz, and Mr. Rogers, in case you’re wondering).

It would be very easy to sit here and judge him for selfishly giving into an “easy” out.  It would be easy to be angry that he willingly gave up a future, when there are millions who wish they could live for just one more day.

It would be easy, but it wouldn’t be right or fair.  I’m reminded of what Tolkien wrote, ““Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

I pray for those who are struggling with depression and who will witness this and think suicide might be their best plan.  As someone who’s been down that road, I can honestly say life does get better.

My heart aches for his family.  I grieve the laughs that will never be, and the talent that has been silenced.

The Saddest Ramen Ever

Published February 13, 2014 by ia84

My earliest memory is from January 28, 1986.  Since I was just over a year old, I’m sure you’re wondering how I remember what day it was.  Well, to be honest, I had to look the date up;  if you look the date up, you’ll find it’s the day the Challenger exploded.  Yup, my earliest memory is watching that tragedy.  It’s just as clear in my mind today as the day it happened.  We were living in Denver so my dad could attend seminary.  The church we went to/led music in, allowed us to live in the cottage next door to the church.  There was a daycare at the church, and they invited mom to bring me over so we could watch the Challenger lift-off with the daycare kids.  Clearly, the teachers had no idea (no one did) of what was going to happen.  The explosion happened, and there was this general scramble of panicked teachers trying to get the tv turned off, before we kids were scarred anymore than we already were.

Fast forward a few months to my next earliest memory (it was shortly before I was 2).  I’m sitting at home, it’s evening, and the atmosphere at the dinner table is uncomfortable.  I remember we were all eating Ramen, and I remember being incredibly sad about it.  However, I also remember feeling that I had learned my lesson.  So, what led up to the sad Ramen eating?

Well, as I mentioned at the beginning, dad was going to school.  Even though he worked whenever he wasn’t in class, we were pretty much broke.  Mom’s the budgeting queen, and to this end, she scrimped and saved so we could do something special.  We got to go to Chick-Fil-A.  We hardly ever got to go, and it was a family favorite.

We were standing in line, and for some reason I decided to throw a temper tantrum.  I’ve always been strong-willed, and my parents gave me an opportunity to decide to behave.  They told me that I could either stop and I would be able to have my chicken nuggets, or if I didn’t stop we would go home where there would be no chicken nuggets.  I decided to test their resolve and the boundary they’d established, and the tantrum continued.

And we got out of line, went home, and ate Ramen instead of chicken nuggets.

Now, I’m sure there are people reading this that are thinking that my parents were horrible people because they did this when I was so little.  I disagree.  I think my parents were completely right in their actions.  I was an intelligent kid (even when I was really little), and looking back on it, I know I completely understood what was going on.  By following through, on what they said would happen, I learned that they would do exactly what they said.  No empty threats, no, “If you don’t stop that, I’m going to count to ten,” which would be followed up by, “C’mon, stop it.  I’m going to count to ten again.”  By following through, I learned that my parents knew I was a manipulative little brat, and I was not going to get away with things.

So, what effect did that day have?  I never misbehaved in public again (you can ask my parents if you don’t believe me).   Mom and dad were able to take me to nice places, and not worry about my behavior.  It was common for other restaurant patrons to come up and compliment and thank my parents for doing a good job with me.  Not only that, but we had people pay for our meals more than once because they were so impressed.

Growing up, my parents were my cheerleaders, my support system, but most importantly, they were my parents and not my friends.  When I grew up they remained all the above listed things, and they became my friends.

This Is It!

Published April 28, 2013 by ia84

Deep breaths.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

It’s going to be okay.  Honest.

12 hours from now, it will all be over.  This performance that we’ve been working towards since January will be presented in the morning. Normally, I’m a little nervous, but this time I’m having a full on Tangled moment.

That’s right, hand me a frying pan and I’d totally be Rapunzel right now.

Okay, so the reason for all the nerves is this.  This is the first performance that I’ve been in the director’s chair for.  I’ve directed songs before, but I’ve never been in charge of a full performance.  What we will be presenting in the morning is actually a concept I came up with about 15 years ago.  Up until now, there’s just not been a good time to do it.  Starting in January, our church started working through The Story.  Basically, this book is the Reader’s Digest version of the Bible.  By the end of the year, we will have done a condensed walk through the Bible.  Well, the performance we’re doing, presents different Bible stories (starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation) with a twist.  It fits perfectly with The Story.

I’ve learned so much in putting this performance together.  It’s been kind of overwhelming.  I’ve learned tons about being a leader vs a dictator.  I’ve also learned quite a bit about the young men and women who make up our team.  I’ve found that they’re hard working, fantastic young adults!  I’m so incredibly proud of them.  This is by far the biggest, most intense performance we’ve ever done, and they’ve stepped up to the challenge.

I know that there will probably be moments where a sign gets missed or lip sync is off, but I honestly believe it’s going to be a good, God-honoring performance.  At the end of the day, it’s not about me (which is a tough lesson for someone who’s as selfish as I am), or even about the team.  It’s about presenting the message of the Bible.

So, I’m going to try to get some sleep, and pray that this will be a fun and fantastic performance!

Also, I just have to share what our stage looks like…

This is the view from the front.  There’s actually a whole other side wing that juts out that I couldn’t get in the straight on picture.  Hence the side view.

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To give you a idea of how tall this thing is, the lowest point is about 4 feet tall.  We have to stand on super tall ladders to reach the top when putting this together.

Okay, now I’m going to try to get sleep…

 

No Touchy!

Published March 4, 2013 by ia84

Last week I was talking with a friend, and they mentioned an acquaintance who was struggling with something.  My friend kept telling me that this other person had bad stuff in their past, as an explanation for why this person is the way they are.  Of course, this got me to thinking.  Don’t we all have bad stuff in our past?  Sure, my bad stuff may seem like nothing to you and vice versa, but at the end of the day, we all have things that have happened to us that have turned us into the people we are.  When I was growing up, my mom would always tell me that I could either get bitter or better based on things that happened.  Out of everything my mom has taught me, this has probably been the thing that has stuck with me the most.

The thing is, I’m a processor.  Whenever something happens to me, I need time to process the situation.  Now, depending on the event, my processing time may be anywhere from a few hours, to a few days, to several years.  I’ve been processing something that happened years ago, and the conversation with my friend last week, kickstarted my brain back into functioning mode.  I’ve been debating all weekend whether or not to write about this.  I finally came to the conclusion that the things that I have buried in my life are only going to harm me as long as I chose not to face them and keep them buried inside.  There’s freedom in talking about things.  Because I don’t want to get sued, I’m not going to write out all details (like names or dates).  Suffice it to say, what I’m about to talk about happened several years ago, and I have more fingers on my hands than people who know about this.

When I was growing up as a pastor’s kid, every Sunday I almost always found myself standing at the back of the church with my parents after service.  We would greet the congregation as they filed out heading for their cars and their lunches.  Part of this ritual involved having my hand shaken, and getting hugs from nearly everyone who passed through.  I never gave much thought to this practice, it was just what we did.

One Sunday, as people were passing through, one of the guys (he was probably in his late 20’s) gave me this hug, and for the first time in my life I got seriously creeped out by a guy.  I brushed it off, and told myself it was nothing.

Except it wasn’t.

The next few weeks, every Sunday this guy would make a bee-line for me, and give me a hug that was just a bit over the line and intimate.  One week, I tried hiding behind my parents, but not make it obvious I was.  Unfortunately, that didn’t dissuade him.

Finally, after about a month of this, things came to a head.  I came up with a plan to avoid this guy.  As the service ended one Sunday, and we were walking to the back of the sanctuary, I asked my dad if I could have his keys so I could go to his office.  He fished them out, and I quickly made my exit.  My plan was to lock myself in his office and hide until everyone had left.  I had just stuck the key in the door when I heard someone say my name, and by instinct I turned.  There stood the guy.  “I didn’t get my hug.” he said.  He then proceeded to push me into the place where the door met door frame and give me this hug that to this day makes my skin crawl.  Now, other, smarter, more savvy kids would’ve fought and gone running.  I was in such shock I just stood there frozen with a brain that wouldn’t work, at all.  Just then, this guy’s brother-in-law walked in, and I was released.  Creepy guy took off, and I finished unlocking the office door, ran in and shut and locked myself in.

Not long after that creepy guy and his wife stopped being around so much, and I didn’t get any more awful hugs.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why my parents didn’t do something.  Truthfully, they didn’t know until a few years ago, long after all this happened.  I never said one word about what happened, and mostly blocked it from my memory.  I was certain that I must have been a bad person to have something like that happen.  I was certain it was all my fault.  I no longer believe it was my fault.   I’m not the naive innocent little thing now that I was then.  I now realize that this guy had problems, and I just happened to be someone he set his sights on.

I really thought I had pretty much dealt with this.  Then, this last week, I started thinking about the fact that even though nothing truly “bad” happened (although, I firmly believe if his brother-in-law hadn’t walked in something bad would’ve happened), this quick moment changed a lot in my life.  I really shut down emotionally.  I used to be this person who cared about other people and wanted to help and take care of them.  I was definitely an extrovert.  Following the hug, I slowly became more and more internalized, and now I’m a full-blown introvert.  I struggle to force myself to be around people.  The biggest change, though, is this:

No, I’ve not been turned into a llama.  I do, however, have major issues with being touched.  There are 10 people (this isn’t an exaggeration, I can count them all on my fingers, no toes needed) I know that I am willing to let touch me without wanting to physically push them away and then go and shower.  What I find alarming is the fact that as much as I want a guy in my life, the idea of being touched terrifies me (and let’s face it, physical touch is part of relationships).  I’ve also come to realize that much as I hate how heavy I am, I’ve not mentally been into losing the weight.  Sure, I’ve given it a good go, but my mind has never been connected with the program.  I think I’ve been using my fat as a defense.  While there are guys who don’t mind fat girls, most guys avoid them.  Being avoided because I’m fat means that I’m not going to get touched.

I’m sick of this.  I’m horrified that I’ve let someone else’s issues have such an invasive effect on my life.  He was a slimy sleazo, and yet his actions have had more influence over me than I thought possible.  I refuse to let him win anymore.  I’m tuned in now.  I’m worth more than I’ve chosen to believe, and it’s past time for this weight to come off.