The State of Things

14 10 2011

I’m completely out of coffee this morning. My loving hubby has offered to run out and grab me a cup, so I’m waiting for him to finish his workout first. Hahaha. At least I can smile about that, right? I’ve been depressed for some time, as I made the decision not to go for that expensive BS in Alternative Medicine that holds no great promise for a job to pay back 60K in student loans. Smart – I know. So I didn’t register for classes; the summer was simply not enough time to sort it out, since I didn’t take summer off last year and so have not had a break from school through a run of semesters: Spring, Summer, Fall, Spring. Whew! What was I thinking?

I’m breaking now, though, like it or not! And I didn’t like it one bit, at first. After starting on some herbal therapy, though, I’m having a different outlook. I still am not sure of the path I’ll end up taking, but I feel better, and am looking forward to finishing some unfinished projects in the weeks to come.

Those few weeks of public school at the end of the last academic year didn’t scare my daughter into staying home one more year – not that I wanted it to scare her, really – just hoped it’d be less than she’d hoped. So she’s back in this fall, and I am all alone again…without classes for myself! It’s been very hard. I’ve continued with the belly dancing, missing class a few times when I was way in the dumps. I’ve taken a quilt-as-you-go class and finished a small lap quilt with a great deal of satisfaction. I’ve loved quilts for as long as I can remember, putting them together for my babies when they were small, from the directions in books and just my own common sense – no masterpieces in the small collection, but they hold memories for me and for the kids, and they love them, despite the fact that they don’t show great skill. I’ve learned some very useful things now, and have the resources to take classes, and of course there’s the internet with its video tutorials and such to turn to – so this go at learning to quilt should prove to build real skill if I work at it. And I think I will.

We’re watching our children suffer the harms of growing up, offering advice and lots of hugs, wishing we could just make it all go away. Sometimes I really can understand why people join these eccentric communes and alternative societies, because what they are searching for is truth in people and real community. That never turns out well, so I guess I’ll keep treading water in suburbia.

I’ve always been a great patriot, but as much as I try to deny it, there’s less and less to be patriotic about. It makes me sad, what America has sunken to. History in schools is certainly not the same history I taught my kids from home. Now they focus on whether Alexander the Great was homosexual, which presidents had STDs, and label the Sons of Liberty as terrorists. It truly makes me want to vomit. Americans today are always asking what their country can do for them. Parents don’t parent any more – they send the kids to school all day and put them in activities that use up every evening so they don’t have to parent; by the time the day is done, they just plop them in bed. No wonder todays kids are angry, confused and expect everything to revolve around them and life to be easy. To make matters worse, God, who offers refuge, love, and guidance, has been shoved into a nice little box so as to not make us feel guilty for our choices or afraid of the consequences of our actions. No wonder this country is spinning out of control, and on a downward spiral at the same time. Honestly, I do feel like I don’t even belong in this time. I know that technically, I do, because God put me here, but it is impossible even to try to witness to people these days – Christians cannot tell people the truth, not just because they don’t want to hear it, which has always been the case, but because now, they are actually accused of being judgmental and closed-minded. They don’t realize that these are not Christians’ opinions – they’re God’s!

I try not to get all worked up, but when my children are bullied or hurt because they are conscientious and my husband abused because he has a good work ethic and Christians are labeled as fanatics when they speak of Godly values, it just makes me angry. What’s wrong with people?

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Still Searching

19 05 2011

With the semester ended and both my precious children on the public school treadmill, I have found myself at  home alone most days.  I’m not really sure what to think of it, yet, because it is truly a new experience.  I grew up the oldest of four – in that situation, you are never alone.  I left my parents’ home entering into marriage, and so have never lived alone.  Before we had children, I worked or went to school most of the day, so I was not alone then, either, as my husband also returned home at the end of the day.  When my children grew to be school-aged, I educated them myself.  But now, for the first time in my life, I am spending considerable amounts of time alone.

I guess I’ve made it sound like a bad thing, but that’s not my intention or my feeling about it.  The quiet is nice, and the freedom to choose what I do with my daily hours is nice, but I have not yet taken advantage of that.  For now, I tend to the housework at a slower pace than before, and sprinkle in some reading, Facebook and silent reflection over too many cups of coffee in the morning.  It’s good to think.

I nay have changed my mind about college.  Over the last year of classes, I have realized that I don’t think I’d like working in a clinical setting with patients who have been referred to a dietician.  So I looked into nutrition…thinking that I’d have a bigger impact there.  If I don’t enjoy teaching students who do not love to learn, why would I want to teach adults how to eat if they don’t really want to change?  But my work options with that degree aren’t that exciting, either.  What the heck do I want?  I really need to know in order to choose a path, but the truth is that I just don’t know.

Some days, I dream of running a little shop that offers some food…I love to cook, and offers nutritional counseling…I’d love to make it easier to decipher the whole nutritional realm for clueless Americans who’ve been confused by fads and commercials for too long, and offers some classes…in maybe cooking, nutrition, belly dancing, different kinds of art….  Isn’t that funny?  I’ve never heard of such a place, but all the things I love to do under one roof for others to discover, enjoy, and pay me to do them just sounds great!  Hahaha.  We all have a dream, right?

I’m looking also at a degree in Alternative Medicine.  It’s new, and so I’m not really grasping the work possibilities with such a degree, but the course list is the most interesting one I have ever seen.  Herbology, Nutrition and Aging, Chinese Medicine, Feng Shui, Acupuncture, Reflexology, Chiropractic, Stress Reduction, Dietary Influences on Disease, Naturopathy, Antioxidants, Detoxification…the list goes on.  What I am not sure about is what exactly I could do with it.  I am told that I’d have many options – that I could work at wellness centers, alternative medicine practices, spas and health centers, or continue my education to specialize in any of the disciplines and work for myself.  But I guess I’m afraid that those places are limited in number, and certainly not sure I want to obligate myself to continue beyond a Bachelor’s Degree.  Besides, I don’t know how much interest I really have in these things, and there’s really no way to know until you get to a point with it where you are either engrossed and desiring to know more, or getting glazed over with the feeling that you know enough to feel sure that you don’t want to know more.  What to do?

There are those days when I wonder why I am going to school at all.  I believe we should always try to better ourselves.  I am not convinced that formal education is the best way to do that – but what are my alternatives?  I guess I don’t know.

Several months ago, a friend invited me to try a belly dancing class.  I reluctantly agreed, and I have to say that it has been one of the most profound experiences I have ever had.  It is the new-found acceptance of myself and a renewed unapologetic declaration of  my views within myself that is making me spend so much time thinking.  I know what I think; I just don’t know what to do with it, yet.  It seems to me that I have always been unconventional – whether I was comfortable being so or not.  I am more in tune to that now than I have ever been, and for now, at least, I feel that I am completely over being uncomfortable with it.

I am very interested in natural approaches to wellness and healing, and a better way of living than the state of hurried, frazzled, stressed, non-stop lifestyle that most Americans find themselves in.  I have lived and experienced enough to know that we should slow down, foster relationships with those around us, as well as with our Creator, listen to our bodies, pace ourselves and prioritize.  But do I feel passionately about helping others learn to do that?  I’m just at the edge of discovering how to do so for myself.  Is the fact that it’s all new what makes it so interesting?  I just don’t know.

I took an extensive spiritual gifts survey through our church, and it indicated that my natural God-given gifts were for teaching and serving.  No big surprise to me or to those closest to me – but what I can do with those encompasses the world, it seems.  I can certainly narrow that down into the things that God would want people to learn, though – and a lot fits into that as well.  I believe that if we pray for our desires to become His, which I have done for years, that He will give us passions that line up with His plans for us.  And so, I shouldn’t feel so mixed up, I guess.  Then why do I?

Fear.  I am afraid of the debt I will acquire to educate myself.  I am afraid of being in a position in which I have to work to pay the debt, when as of now, work is a choice (that most people around me tell me they wish they had).  I am afraid I will not find work in the field, that I will not enjoy the work once I find it, or that I will get partially through the education and lose interest.  I don’t know exactly how many times in the Bible that God tells us not to fear, but it is many.  I just don’t trust myself.  And so I waver constantly.





Drive-Thru Summer

29 06 2010

It’s hard to believe that is was May when I last posted…not that I haven’t had plenty to say 😉  Summer feels like a Drive-thru!  Summer?  You mean that hot time of year?  I have managed to lay on a man-made lake beach for one day and hike for a couple of miles.  That’s it.  Now I did clean my house, plant a few veggies, and do a LOT of Algebra so far 🙂  I’m hoping I can glean some of what’s left of summer fun out of the next six weeks, and that Fall goes gloriously slow, since it’s my true favorite 🙂

I’ve completed that Algebra class, and have begun another.  I sorta kinda get it – but not always 😉  I’ve gotten much better at not complaining about it.  It doesn’t do any good, for one thing, and I’ve just resolved within myself that it is one of many things I must do, whether I like it or not, so I might as well just dig my heels in and do my best.

My Gracious God helped me come to that conclusion, actually (we can never really take credit for our ideas and attitudes, you know).  I was praying for strength and resolve when having a particularly hard time – not just with Algebra, but just with life.  As He sometimes does, God straightened me right out…no pampering the whining.  I opened my Bible and began to read, and was led to read Hebrews 12.  I had no idea what was in Hebrews 12, so I turned there and began to read.  Turns out it is about God disciplining those He loves.  Hmm.  Then I got to verses 12 and 13, and they jumped off the page at me.

“So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.  Mark out a straight path for your feet.  Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.”

Needless to say, I was instantly overwhelmed with shame for whining.  I am blessed well beyond what I deserve, and I became overwhelmed with that sense as well.  Sometimes we think that if we aren’t missionaries or preachers or something, that our calling has less impact in God’s plan to save the world, but that simply isn’t true at all.  Whatever our calling is at different stages in our lives, we should be grateful that He includes us in his work and that we are on his team in exactly the way in which we are needed at exactly the right time.

God is so good.