Thursday, September 20, 2012

World's Greatest Compliment EVER!

I'm wearing a dress I made a few weeks ago for the first time. I was feeling a little self-concious and not entirely sure if I loved it or not.

Um, a coworker just told me she liked it and asked IF I GOT MY DRESS AT ANTHROPOLOGIE!!!!!

Officially the world's greatest compliment.

And yes, I know I'm a weirdo. :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ya Ha & Hey Hey Friday!

I know I'm obviously biased and have no point of comparison :), but I have the greatest mom.

It's funny as for years I thought my mom and I were soooooooo different. But in reality, we're so very similar. We have the same Myers Briggs personality type and, while she doesn't think she's creative, she is. I mean, she was originally a fashion design major for goodness sake! And makes clothes that look like they stepped out of a store. And is a very creative idea generator which, to me, is the true definition of creativity...not just being artistic.

Anyway, on to my point. Much of how I am was shaped by my mom. Of course my dad, too, but today is about Momma. I've been intentionally building the practice of giving thanks and recognizing when things, big or small, are blessings from the Lord. My parents are big ones. I told someone to have a "Ya Ha and Hey Hey Friday!" earlier and thought about how much my mom has done for me and how eternally thankful I am for her. This trip down memory lane is really for me, and hopefully my mom.

Growing up, my mom was always coming up with ideas to make life a little more magical. Some of my favorites:

Fridays were coined "Ya Ha and Hey Hey Friday!" My parents were big on healthy living and we didn't eat a lot of processed food or sugar. But instead of making that a restriction type thing, my mom turned it around to a special thing that happened on Friday! So that day we got to eat sugar cereal, a Little Debbie in our lunch (though if there were two snacks in the package she still split them up between Adam and me :)), and dinner was "cook your own dinner night" in which A and I would typically create menus of our creations. The grossest I remember was cream cheese on an apple. Yuck. We also got to stay up late and watch TGIF...good ole Full House and Family Matters! This in and of itself was a big deal, too, as we were only allowed to watch an hour of TV (that included Nintendo time) a day, so Fridays we could watch more!

One day it was raining really hard, but no lighting/thunder. My mom told us to go ride our bikes through the puddles! I'm sure some parents would be fearful of pneumonia, but she knew we'd be fine and could quickly warm up. It was so fun.

In the summers, we'd go to the commissary with her (the grocery store on the military base). My mom would always find the weirdest foods in the store, read the ingredients to us, and then A would start a joke fest about it. I remember one time crying with laughter as A made some not-so-nice comments about head cheese and then was reprimanded by an elderly woman. It was hilarious. We also always got a treat if we were good at the commissary. As young kids this was typically the animal crackers in the box with the string. By high school (yep, still got treats then!), it was usually these mini pies they made in the bakery.

My mom was always big on leaving notes of encouragement as a surprise (this is where I get this from!). In our lunches, around the house, on the bathroom mirror, on my car when I was older, in the mail in college, or on every single outfit I had packed when I went on a trip. They weren't necessarily long, but sweet reminders of how we're loved and important.

When I was in middle school, we had a group of friends who we hung out with all.the.time and mostly at our house. During the summer, we had a funny routine. Each day we'd go to swim practice in the morning (me to competitive at 6am...brutal...everyone else to summer league), then after breakfast we'd congregate at our house and start to play games. My mom taught us how to play tripoly and we'd bet with pennies, or we'd play this old school 60s game called Masterpiece. We'd break for lunch and then head to the pool for the afternoon until dinner. After dinner we'd usually go back to the pool for a little while. Once it got darker, we'd head to our house and watch some of Nick at Nite's block party summer! Bewitched be-Wednesdays, Munster Mondays, Jeannie Thursdays...I don't remember Tuesday or Friday... After that, we'd hit the streets and either play this block game we created or kick the can. It was awesome.

There are sooooo many more memories and favorites, I'm pretty sure I could write a volume. At the crux of it, though, I am eternally thankful for my mom, the others-centered and encouragement mindset she has instilled in me, and the creativity and magical view on life she has taught me to live.

Love you Momma!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mr Darcy

This summer in Haiti my girls, Lauren, and I were talking about which fictional guy character in movies or books we'd want to date if they were real (bizarre, I know).

Hands down, Mr Darcy.

I just love Pride and Prejudice! It's also one book in which a movie is equally good (another is Little Women...the version with Wynona Ryder). I prefer the Keira Knightley version of P&P as the scenes are beautiful, the music is captivating, and I love how they cast everyone. And the Mr Darcy? Swoon worthy.

I also love You've Got Mail, the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks take on P&P. Books? Fall? New York? What's not to love?!? I haven't watched that one in a while...maybe I'll buy it as I don't have that one.

P&P is on TV now and I just had to stop for a few minutes. Best line?

You've bewitched me body and soul.

Enter swooning Sarah. :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Swirly

I’m often reading information about how to love and encourage all types of people. Part of this is due to my personality type, in which I whole-heartedly aim to be an encourager, a champion of people, and help them see and know their value (if you have interest, read about ENFJs here…it’s pretty much like reading a page out of my brain). 
 
But also because I’m in a place of leadership. In work and in student ministries. I want to be flexible with the people under my care and know that they all learn differently, and adjust my thinking, strategies, etc. to best care for and lead them. This is true with anyone, really, but particularly those I’m placed in leadership over.  
 
Recently (though it was written a while back), I read an article about right brain thinkers in a left brain world. It was interesting and something I’ve thought about a lot since reading it, particularly for myself as I swing toward the right brain side. I also remember this ad campaign by Mercedes that I think ran last year:
 

I’ve often been told in my life that I’m different. On one hand, being different is good. On the other, sometimes it feels like different = weird, too complicated, a mess.

I resonate a lot with artists, though I wouldn’t call myself one (though I love the arts). I think about the misunderstood souls of Beethoven, Van Gogh, Matisse, Fitzgerald, and even people I know personally who are artists. People appreciate the beauty they create, yet they’re often considered weirdos or crazy. I think perhaps they were just deep in their right-brainedness and creative minds.

In that article I referenced, one particular quote stands out to me: Right brains don't explain what they feel well and are misunderstood. They think of one thing, and say another because their brain has already moved on to another thought. Combine that with this relating to my personality: ENFJs tend to define their life's direction and priorities according to other people's needs, and may not be aware of their own needs. It's natural to their personality type that they will tend to place other people's needs above their own, but they need to stay aware of their own needs so that they don't sacrifice themselves in their drive to help others.

While these elements are generalizations and of course there are intricacies that often arise, I’m beginning to learn something about myself.

First, I am driven by others. I am willing to do anything to encourage, care for, and love others. I think this element of my personality is exacerbated by my heart for the Lord. I take so seriously his urging to love others in Christ and to walk through life in the Acts church. I pray continually for others and implore the Lord’s guidance in how I can love them as he does. My motivations in caring for and loving others are intrinsic, but also driven by my love for Christ. I most certainly do not do this perfectly, so I ask the Lord to help me and to help me know and see when I screw up and to help me humbly ask for forgiveness.

Secondly, I often feel things, but have no idea why or what to do with it. Along with being right brained and ENFJ, I’m also an external processor so truly process best by just talking things out. Unfortunately, this talking typically comes out in a very messy, all-over-the-place manner. I think this is exacerbated by the fact that I often see this world very differently so fear the crazy looks I’ve gotten in my life. I see it through the lens of a creative mind and one through other people.

These two learnings have come to a head recently for me, and I realized this morning when spending time with the Lord that I battle them as I feel this intense pressure to be orderly, neat, tidy, and wrapped-up in a perfectly designed package. I feel if I allowed the stream of consciousness or the swirl of colors and sounds to escape, I’ll probably overwhelm others and end up alone…which is challenging since I’m a people person and loneliness is my least favorite thing (yet one I battle often).

I told the Lord that I’m not entirely sure what to do with this, but that I want to release the pressure. I want to not be afraid to let the mess escape, as that picture above so beautifully depicts. I want to stop relenting to the pressure, be it internal pressure or external, to fit in a box. I want to stop being scared of what others think if I’m not in the box (again, challenging since I want to love people well) and just be the creative, wild, spontaneous, people-loving, musical person that he’s made me to be.

I’m not entirely sure how to do this, though. Prayerful the Lord, the most creative, people-loving, unique being ever, can help guide me.

For whatever reason, the Lord seems to have me on a path lately of learning how to be the person he created me to be. I'm definitely appreciative, but it is kinda weird as I'm not sure who I've been the last 31 years...