I love you

For years I’ve told my friends, usually females, that I love them. I say it for a few reasons: I actually do love them, I want them to know that, it feels good to say it.

So what do I mean by “love”?

love

love (Photo credit: Ju-x)

It’s kinda of a loaded word. We all want to be loved. But I suspect most people don’t really feel loved. Maybe we think too much of romantic love. Many of my friends are divorced and everyone has had their heart broken at some point. That reminds me that I actually know a women who was waiting at the altar for her groom and he never showed. He called later to apologize for his change of heart. But I digress.

I’m not sure we think much of brotherly love and how precious it is. So obviously I’m referring to brotherly love. And perhaps what I really mean is more like a warm fuzzy feeling plus appreciation. When I say it, it also implies that I’m here for that person. Then there is Godlike love, unconditional, an amazing concept that I’m not even gonna mess with here.

A member of my last team, a sensitive soul, started calling us his “work family”. After awhile he shortened it to “family.” Then he came up with the idea to say “I love you, man” as team-members on different shifts left. He noticed that some people weren’t comfortable with that (why?!), so he changed it to “love your show, man”. It caught on.

So what response do I most often get when I say “I love you”? Silence. Remember, I said this is what I say to friends. These are people I’ve known a minimum of 7 years. My longest friendship is 31 years. Over the years I think some have come to expect it. And many are able to respond in kind, although that was never what I was looking for.

Maybe it’s kinda like folks who can’t take a compliment graciously. Maybe folks struggle with feeling loveable? Well, I think that’s all the more reason to say it!

Dear readers, not sure if I did the subject justice, but it had been on my mind.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ju-x/

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A little lonely

A woman thinking

A woman thinking (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I felt a little lonely today. Not really sure why. However, that didn’t prompt me to go outside. Instead I took it to mean I needed to commune with God.

I continued my reading in 1 Corinthians. Read chapter 9. Prayed for some folks. Read a chapter of “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson. 

Hey, I heard him speak at my church on Thursday. His work is awesome! It is encouraging to see what the Lord will do with useable vessels.

I did a lot of computer research today: compared LLC setup companies, requirements to open a business bank account, basics of filing taxes, how to write an “elevator speech” and set up my business page on Facebook. Unfortunately, for some reason no one can see my business page on Facebook. sigh

I was serenaded by my YouTube playlists of Katie and Bryan Torwalt and Rebecca Ferguson.

Hmm, it was a very productive day. And sometimes one needs to be alone to research and plan.

www.markbatterson.com

Taking a deeper look

Cassatt Mary The Cup of Tea 1880

Cassatt Mary The Cup of Tea 1880 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well folks, allow me to update you on my journey.

My art work is progressing nicely. I tried drawing on black paper, rather than white and gosh, I think I like black paper more. The art seems to have more depth on the black background. I’m trying to build up a collection of 20 works that I feel very proud of. I’ve got about 13 at this point. I have a very critical eye. To provide some balance, I’m looking for an art buddy who can critique some of my work. Kinda scary, but I think I’m ready for that.

I’ve gotten back in the groove of writing my book! My goal is to write 500 words a day.  That doesn’t seem overwhelming. And if I stick to the schedule, I’ll be finished with the draft in 90 days.  That will be wonderful!

I read an article that said if we logged all we did in a day over a period of days, we would discover that we have a lot more free time than we thought. Another article talked about creating a daily log of what you do.  I think that would be very effective. I don’t think I’ll find a lot of free time, necessarily.  I think I’ll find wasted time! Well, I might try it. The next step would be to set a routine that helps me achieve my art, writing and spiritual goals.

I signed up to attend a women’s business lunch with a business coach as the speaker. The night before I felt myself becoming anxious.  I told my husband.  I don’t think he realized how serious I was. I couldn’t fall asleep. Then the next morning when it was time to get up, I really, really didn’t want to.  It wasn’t just that I was tired. It was a sense of dread. I said to myself, “Is this an anxiety attack?!”  I’ve experienced that dread several times over the years. I just thought I was being “weird.”   I think I have a high level of anxiety when I go some place new and when I have to drive someplace new.  But the real question I asked myself is why did I think I would be able to go? I signed up and paid for this lunch and started researching the speaker. Everything was peachy. Well, needless to say, my husband was not too pleased with me that day.

I told myself to shake it off.  I had signed up for a free marketing event a month ago and it would occur the week after I missed the lunch. Early the morning of the event I was easily able to talk myself out of going.   Next came the guilt and negative self-talk: “How are you going to promote a book if you can’t leave your house?? You’re wasting your time. You’re gonna fail.”  Then I said, “Wait, stop.  Just stop. Don’t say mean things to yourself.  You hit a rough patch, but you can talk with God and your therapist and figure out what’s really going on. And then you will overcome it.”

I think I have an idea of what’s going on. I think it has to do with a lack of a sense of self-worth. And some of the lack of self-worth comes from believing I still have to prove something, I still have to earn something. Instead of just operating in the fact that Jesus did it all. He shed His blood for me. He sent me the Comforter. My worth is without question. I have power. I have gifts. I’m ok!

I just need to relax, breath, repeat my positive affirmations, have a cup of tea…

Aware of the hurting

Did you scroll down and notice my SocialVibe badge for To Write Love on Her Arms? I discovered SocialVibe and TWLOHA by accident a few days ago.  My badge is not very useful right now because there are no activities for you to click on. But I went to TWLOHA’s website and joined the StreetTeam on FanCorps.com. There’s a good amount of news and activities on those two sites.

TWLOHA started in 2006 by a young man after reaching out to a friend in need.  TWLOHA is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  When you go to the website, check out the main page, vision and the story.  It will all start to make sense.  It was very moving for me.

My goal at this point in my life is to be hyper aware of the hurting people around me and then look for ways, large or small to assist them. One of the best ways, I believe, is to pray for them. Praying for someone takes my mind off myself.  I make myself pray for a person as soon as I recognize the need, or as soon as they ask me to.  Even more fun is just asking the person can I pray with them right there.

I call my husband a “do gooder.”  He’s the guy you ask to jump your car, take you to the airport or help you move.  And he does it all cheerfully.  I know I can go to him with any request to help someone physically or financially and he’ll do his best to make it happen. So he is a good partner to be in the blessing business with.

If you are struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury or suicide, my prayer for you is that you know that you really are valuable. (I need someone to read this blog!)  Seriously, get help. There really are caring people all around you.  If you suspect you know someone who is struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury or suicide, let them know you care and are watching.  Help them get help.

If you read TWLOHA’s story on the situation that drew the founder into making a commitment to the movement, you’ll be reminded that helping is not neat, quick, easy or fun. I’m very thankful for those friends that loved on me through the years. I was and can still be somewhat unpredictable, distant and annoying, but now I just blame it on being a temperamental artist.

http://www.twloha.com/

to write love on her arms

to write love on her arms (Photo credit: ashley rose,)

What’s real?

Process of perception, approach and framework ...

Process of perception, approach and framework of perception (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So one of the side effects of the drugs I’m taking for the depression is a decreased appetite. I can’t tell you how shocked I was to have the cravings just go away!  It really made me think about what is “real.”  Everyday we perceive things in certain ways. We decide if our boss not speaking as we walk by means she was really involved in her work or if it means she is very displeased with our work. We decide if the busybody 4 year old is precocious or ADD. We decide if that girlfriend/boyfriend breaking up with us means there was an issue with them or something wrong with us. We decide that “I’m just a high strung person.”  We decide, “I just love to eat. Everyone has their vice. I’m not hurting anyone.”

For the first time I was able to separate my cravings, my perceived weakness from “me.” Hmm, so that was a chemical imbalance and not who I am? Maybe so. Wow.

This year I’ve lost 30 pounds. Not just because of the medications. I decided to use the opportunity to finally lose the weight I picked up 20 years ago with my first child. So I have been watching my calories taken in and burnt with the help of a fancy little app called MyFitnessPal.  I’ve done a lot of walking. Early on this year, other than sleeping, walking was the only time I felt at peace.  I would walk for up to an hour. But I’d get blisters on the long walks. 😦

After twenty pounds, folks started to notice I had lost weight.  I admitted to a buddy that I knew I had lost weight, because neither my pants nor belts fit any more, but I couldn’t see it in the mirror. I would stare at myself naked in the mirror and I looked the same.  I remembered how anorexics look in the mirror and see a fat person. It occurred to me that perhaps what we look like is more in our brains than in the mirror. Again I had to think about what is “real.”  I had always thought of myself as fat and dressed in looser clothes. I called it being conservative and modest.

Well yesterday I slid into a pair of jeans sized in the single digits for the first time in my adult life. I gleefully bought them. I brought them home and asked my husband did he notice anything odd about them. (poor thing) He said, “Noooo. What?” I said “They are tiny! And I can fit them!”

When I looked in the mirror at myself, I could finally see that I was much smaller than I had been.

I believe I’ve learned about portion sizes and making informed decisions about what I eat which will keep me from blowing back up when I’m finally off the medication. But I’ve also been reminded and assured that the only things that are “real” or “true” are what my Lord has said in the Bible or to me personally.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8 & 9. NKJV

Those verses warrant deeper study as I put away the lies I’ve told myself and the one I’ve accepted from the world.

Hey, no better time than the present to study. See ya later!