Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm a Pansy!

Yep, that's right I said it. I am brutal when it comes to getting things done, but when it comes to possibly hurting someone's feelings, I run.

I've been going to the gym for a while now, since January. I've really enjoyed it and my swim class (YMCA). At the initial sign up, we were given personal training sessions that were seriously discounted. Marc thought it would be a good idea to sign me up.

Prior to beginning the personal training sessions, I was paired up with a trainer and went to the assessment. Now, I try not to make snap judgments about people, but sometimes I just know if I mesh with you right away or not. After about twenty minutes, I realized that I didn't really jive with this chick. I thought it was me at first and decided to keep moving.

Time for the first class. I went and really disliked it. She was a little too negative for me and I needed more encouragment. I know I'm weak. I know. Isn't that why I am here afterall? I don't really need you to keep telling me that. Next thing I know, I cannot walk for four days and I feel terrible about myself. Bleah.

Time for the second class. I feel sick. I don't want to go. I don't want to hear about how I suck. I waffle for two weeks over it. "I'm going." Wait. "No, I'm not." So, I chicken out and cancel. Then, I want to avoid the gym because she might be there. Not good.

Finally, after numerous conversations with Marc, I grew a pair and told her that I wanted to rotate through the trainers so that I can get "different perspectives." Honestly, I am hoping for someone a little bit nicer!

Why is that I am so concerned about her feelings when she wasn't concerned about mine?

Tonight, I'm meeting another trainer. I'm closing my eyes and hoping for the best. Yes, Mr. Trainer, I'm going to need you to hold my hand and tell me I'm doing a good job. Don't make me HATE going. PLEASE!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Listen Up!

Yahoo! It is Friday! The sun is shining. It really is just beautiful outside. I don't know where to start. There is so much to do and so much I WANT to do. Hmmm...the pull.

I took little Maddy to the vet the day before and before going, I had yet ANOTHER chat with Sydney about how to behave in public. Then, very sternly, I told her that she would be spending the afternoon in her room if she misbehaved while we were out.

So, off we went to the vet's office. Poor little Maddy was shaking like a little leaf and Syd wanted to be in charge of holding the leash. She's quite good at it now so, I let her after we got inside. The fun began. "Sit here, please. I will fill out this quick form and I will find you an activity." I said very nicely. Ha! Not! Before I knew it, Syd was egging her brother up a very tall flight of stairs, which I am guessing led to their administrative offices. Who knows? So, I collect the dog, Nathan and the giggling Sydney and we start over.

After a few minutes, we were joined by another little patient. The kids rushed over to ask if they could pet the puppy and after the Owners agreed, they plopped up next to them, one on each side and reached across. This elderly couple, thankfully, didn't mind that my kids were essentially in their laps. So, I just let them.

After a while we were called into the exam room. I had to pry Madison out from under a pew bench. Yes, the vet has pews. It is 'St. Francis Animal Hospital' and I thought it was cute. We go inside and the vet tech came in, weighed Madison, etc. Then, Syd announces that she needs to go potty. Of course, little ones have the BEST timing when it comes to such things. I turned to the vet tech and she nodded that it was okay. So, out I went with Syd and Nate in tow.

I'm not sure what happened in the bathroom. I put her in the one toilet bathroom and reminded her of the checklist and waited outside the door. Whatever happened in those two minutes must have been amazing because she literally came out bouncing and quite loud. Oh boy. Here we go.

Back to the exam room we went. I'm sorry to say that I only caught every third word the vet tech was saying because Sydney started yelling and hitting her brother in an effort to retrieve her colored pencil. "Excuse me." I said politely to the tech and then turned around with the Mommy Face. You know the one. The one that conveys a very serious message without saying a word. Eyes got big and a hush came over the two. Whew! After an apology, the tech went back to ya da ya da ya da and yes, that is what it sounded like to me because I could hear the previously stifled disagreement start to gurgle again and I was holding my breath.

Before I could turn this time, I heard the click of a door knob. Sydney and Nathan had called a temporary truce and decided they needed to leave the exam room to play with any animals that might be in the waiting room. Madison, of course, took the opportunity to leap off the exam table and try to make a grand escape. Is this the part where I melt into the floor? No. Unfortunately, I haven't learned that trick yet, but I've been practicing a lot lately.

Sydney's shenanigans continued through the exam and were escalated during checkout. I had to do the boneless kid drag. Yes, you know the one where you say, "Go here" and they refuse. So, you take their hand in an effort to assist them to your desired location. Nope! Then they crumble to the floor and you find yourself dragging the child in the direction while they scream bloody murder that you are hurting them. *Sigh* Yes, this was our first visit to this vet. I'm sure we made a loverly impression.

So, I kept my cool until we got to the car. I knew that opening my mouth would only make things worse. I buckled Syd into her seat and calmly said, "I hope that was worth it." She looked befuddled. In fact I think I got a straight "DUH" face reaction. I explained that she had behaved outrageously, had numerous warnings and now, rather than go visit Grandma Sebrina's new dog, she was going to spend an afternoon in her room. She didn't look bothered, at the moment.

So, I called my mom and explained that we would have to pass on the afternoon visit because I had serious mommy business to attend to that afternoon. I took the kids home, fed them lunch and then excused Sydney to her room. She went reluctantly.

The first hour or so she was quiet and then, the pleas started. I responded with a flat "Nope." So the afternoon continued with Sydney making pleas for her release, but I made her stay in her room until her father came home, which was sadly about six hours. He was quite late that night. On one hand, I felt terrible. I had never intended that, but I was afraid to let her out because I was worried it might be perceived as a give in. So, I stuck to my word.

As soon as Marc's key turned in the door, she raced downstairs. She was sooo excited and went promptly to the dinner table. I asked if she had fun and she gave me a very emphatic "Uh-uh." So, we'll see what happens. I think we will head out today at some point for a test.

I truly hope it worked because I'm sooooooo tired of being embarrassed everywhere I go. This is a fairly small place. I see the same people when I go places. I don't want people cringing whenever they see us coming. Ya know?

On that note, I'm signing off. Here's to peaceful trips to the grocery store. Yes, even something that simple would make me happy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One Book Down

Okay, so I went to the library last week and hunted for a few books that were recommended. Oddly enough, they only had one of the four and I grabbed that one and put another on "order" from the other library.

I started my journey with 'The Irresistable Revolution' by Shane Claiborne. I picked the book up on a Thursday afternoon and was halfway through it by bedtime. I was fascinated by this man, his life, his beliefs and his work. I was so inspired by his excitement and I could just feel his emotion jumping off the pages. When I finished the book the next day, I was excited and confused all at the same time. By the way, who knew I could read so quickly or that I had so many moments to sneak in reading. I literally was standing over a pot, stirring and reading. Crazy!

I was hoping for a "how to" or instructions somewhere in his book, but they weren't there. Not exactly. The most prominent messages I got from the novel were: 1) God can be found in everything; 2) small things done with great love is how change happens; and 3) if you don't fit in, find your own place. I know I couldn't make the changes he's made in his life and I did think about how I could serve my community. A few ideas came to mind, but nothing shouted at me. Not yet at least.

This is going to be harder than I thought. I really just wanted the answer to fall in my lap. Obviously, I knew it wasn't going to be that easy, which is why I've put it off for so long. So, I am moving ahead.

Jess G. brought a few books to my home, one happens to be one that I requested from the other library. Lee Strobel's 'The Case for Christ' is on my nightstand right now. I read the first bit last night, but found I was so exhausted I couldn't get very far. I also noticed that, so far, there are many biblical references and biblical discussions that I don't understand because I haven't studied the Bible and am unfamiliar with it. I'm wondering if it might be a good idea to pull my Bible out (Yes, I have one! A dear friend gave it to me when I got married and despite my views, I've held onto it all these years. Maybe I knew I would pick it up someday). If anyone has read the book, throw me your opinion. I find the Bible quite intimidating, for many reasons, and am not sure if it would help to read the referenced parts. I have gotten quite a bit just from inference.

Well, I'm off to hit the hay.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Finding My Way

I waffled about putting this on the Web for all to see, but ultimately decided to go for it. After all, this blog is primarily for my benefit and it is nice to look back and see how things have changed or what has happened. I'm hoping that somehow it will help make it easier.

I come from a mixed religious background. I was taken to Sunday school in the Methodist church when I was younger. My grandparents made the decision to leave the Methodist church and join an Episcopal church and were there for quite some time. There was also visits to Baptist and Pentecostal churches during those early years. At the time, I primarily remember wearing dresses and prancing through the church clicking the heels of my patent leather shoes. The "Word of God" went over my head and sacrament was more a snack to me than anything else.

After we moved the Fredericksburg to live with Tom, I went to church with friends, whatever church they attended. I spent more time in an Episcopal church, but also visited St. Patrick's Catholic Church, a Presbyterian church and an AME church (quite an assortment). For the most part, if I am being honest, going to the various churches was a way to be social with my friends. On the other hand, I started questioning things around me and found that I was obsessed with mortality and what happens in the afterlife or if there is one. My mother would be happy to tell you stories, very happy. :)

I thought, at the time, I believed in God. Slowly I started to question things even more until I didn't know what was what. At this point in my life, I find that I am not only skeptical that a God exists, but I also have many issues with religion in general. I can get into that later. For now, let's just say, "Jess isn't buying it."

When I was pregnant with Sydney, I started thinking about all the things I wanted to teach her, what kind of woman I wanted her to be and how to get her there. Some decisions are easy. I want her to be healthy. So, I will teach her to eat well and enjoy the delicious, but unhealthy, things in moderation. We'll teach her to play and be active. She'll go to the doctor regularly and we'll teach her that shots are uncomfortable, but only for a second. Check, check, check. Next, we focused on education and other similar subjects.

Then, we were faced with faith and I was stumped. What do we do about that? How do I steer a child in any particular direction when I don't know which way to go? I decided that I would just teach her to be a kind, accepting and loving individual. Yes, I skipped over faith. I swept it under the rug.

Fast forward almost five years. Now, we not only have Sydney, but Nathan also. In general, I'm very happy with the way we are raising them. We have our struggles like everyone else, but as far as the basics go, we are happy with the steps we have taken. The bump under the carpet, however, is getting larger. I'm finding that I am walking around it on a regular basis. Sydney has started questioning things (i.e. death, heaven, etc.) and I'm finding that stickers aren't an effective distraction anymore. So, I now find myself faced with figuring out where I stand so that I can guide my children. Oh boy. Here we go.

Let me start by stating that, if you've bothered to read this far, I may say something to offend you. I apologize in advance. This is essentially my thought process and is not meant to hurt anyone. I'm just trying to get things organized and put away. Sometimes it is a messy process.

At first glance, I find religion hypocritical. For example, "It isn't my place to judge." How many times have I heard this expression? Unfortunately, I find more judgment among folks who have religion than others. I try very hard not to judge, but I'm guilty of it too.

One of my favorites, "It's God's Plan." First, I thought we had free will. Second, how am I to believe that the horrific things that happen around me, and to people I care about, are "God's plan?" It is terrible to me. We shouldn't worry thought right because "God will never give you more than you can handle." Until he does.

"All other religions are wrong." Well, that is just arrogant. How do you know?

There are others, but you get the point. I just don't get it.

At this point, I want to start my own religion. I want to study all religion, pick and choose what I want and move on. Why can't I just teach my children that you should be a kind, accepting and loving individual? Why can't being a good person be enough? I've heard that some believe that you can be an exemplary individual, but if you aren't baptised. Too bad. You are going to Hell. Seriously? Come on. That just seems nonsensical.

Despite the above, I believe there is something greater. What? I don't know. I want to believe in something. People seem to get so much comfort from their beliefs. I'd like to believe that this isn't it and I don't want to lead my children into nothingness, unless that is what I firmly believe. Actually, I'd just like to lead them on a path where they can make their own decisions.

I spent a lot of the last week polling friends. What do you think about this? Why do you feel this way? I've gotten a lot of good feedback. I went to the library yesterday and put out a request for The Case for Christ and Jess G led me to the Conversion Diary. I poked around a bit found her Finding God in 5 Steps. Okay, what the heck? I'll give it a try.

Step 1: Seek Humility First

Now that is a very tall order. I didn't think so at first, but then I read this.

Mike explains that "Humility is not the trait of thinking of self as being of less worth. Humility is not thinking of self at all, whether good or bad. Humility is thinking of others and seeking their advancement."

From this article, I've gotten that I need to:

1. Not think about myself

On the surface, I would think this one is fairly easy, but I am sure I will find I am more selfish than I think.

2. Not bad mouth anyone

I'd like to say that I don't do this, but I do. Hmm...does thinking something not nice count? If so, I'm probably in really big trouble. No really, I'm not that bad.

Okay, so I will spend the next few days working on those. Step 2 is to drop cynicism. IPES! That is going to be a tough one. Baby steps.

I had one friend tell me to pray on this situation, which sounded funny to me. Pray? I talk to myself or the "Great Beyond" when things are particularly crappy. I thought I would give it a go. Another friend told me to meditate, listen.

I went up to bed last night and thought, this is a good time. The only quiet time of the day in my house. I climbed into bed and started thinking/praying. Then, I decided to meditate. Before I knew it, Nathan was waking me up. Oops. I fell asleep. Hmm..I suppose I will figure it out. I'm going to try to work on it though.

I have a lot of work to do to figure things out. I just hope I can sort things out.