Saturday, December 25, 2004

My Christmas Dilemna

Every year I face the same problem... and this year might have been the worst yet. I, like so many people, come from a divided household. My mom is a Christian and my dad is not. But more than just not being a Christian he is anti-christian and anything that has to do with "going to church". We fight often about this subject, but never is it more heartwrenching and hurtful than at Christmas.

Every year on Christmas eve I have a choice to make. Will I stay home and not go to church, keeping my father happy and keeping the family together, avoiding a huge fight and probably having good bonding time. Or, will I go to church like I want to and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.

I'd really love to hear some others thoughts on this problem. Am I being a hypocrite and not standing up for my faith if I chose to stay home on Christmas Eve? Am I ruining my chances of being a witness by hurting my relationship with my father? Is the service worth all the threats, attacks, and tears? Am I a "bad" Christian if I'm not in church when we celebrate the birth of Christ? Which father am I supposed to be loyal to? My earthly father? My Heavenly Father? Or is it a question of loyalty and disloyalty?

Let me know what you think, and later I'll tell you what I chose and how it worked out.

Friday, December 24, 2004

A Much Needed Rest

I need to either post more often, or I need to think less. I'm afraid that every time I sit down to write I'm going to write a book, because I have just so many things going on in my head. Or maybe the deal is that I just need to be more selective in what needs to be shared. :)

I did not work today... it was such a wonderful feeling. It was the first day off I had had in almost two weeks. The second day off in...almost a month. I like my jobs, really I do... well, most of the time anyway. But really, a break is so nice. I was able to do some things that I never get to do... go to the bank, eat lunch, I even watched two movies!

Probably the best thing about my day off though was that I had the chance to spend some time with my youngest brother. We've always been close and he got married this past summer so we don't see much of each other anymore. I still feel like he's a little kid so much of the time, but I know that I have to start looking at him as an adult. Do you suppose that I'll ever get to that point where I don't feel like I need to take care of him and protect him? He's my baby brother, it's my job isn't it? Or is it his wife's job now?

So much for a thought provoking post... again however, there are just so many thoughts, it's hard to know which one to run with. I'll run with a new one tomorrow, and it will be much more thought provoking, I'm sure of it!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Love, Invention, and Broadway Musicals...

My previous post said that I had two things on my mind... obviously I couldn't think of a segway... well, that and I thought it might be in poor taste to post a dissertation-sized thought this early in the game :) So, each thought meandering through my brain gets its own space to work itself out in... I think it's only fair.

"Do I want you because you're wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you?
Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream or are you really as wonderful as you seem?"
(it's better when you hear it!)

Such are the thoughts of both Cinderella and Prince Charming as they dance in the garden at the ball. I have always loved this song, have always loved this musical (See all that you'd want to know about it here). Tonight as I was watching it however, those same words that regularly bring a wistfully romantic smile to my face instead started me to examining my life. I know, I know... waxing philosophical to a broadway show, and a fairy tale at that... but really, hear me out.

I wonder how often our feelings are like the fears expressed by Cinderella and the Prince. Their love turned out to be real, but I wonder how often we find ourselves on the other side of that scenario. Do we want them because they are wonderful, or are they wonderful because we want them? I don't really think this is a chicken and egg deal... one definitely came first and it makes a world of difference which one it is.

Let's imagine for a moment that we have a girl and a boy. The boy appears to be sweet, kind, loving, and charming... a real prince ;) The girl finds herself falling for this boy. Now the question is, is the boy really kind, loving, and charming? Or does he only appear that way because that is the way that the girl wants him to be?

Could it be that we set our sights on something and build it up to this wonderful status, simply because we have set our sights on it? That it really does not meet those qualifications at all? And then, once we have set our sights on it (or him, or her), and then built it up, that we commit ourselves to obtaining it and lose sight of the fact that it really isn't what we wanted in the first place. It is only after we have cycled through that we can look back and see that we were in love with our own invention, not the person (or thing) that we once thought.

I suppose that all of this makes me sound very cynical in the love department, and I suppose that at times I am, get burned enough times and you're going to be afraid of fire right? But really, I don't think that's where this is coming from... simply a revelation, thoughts beginning to spin in my head. If it's true, that we often fall in love with our own inventions, then it makes so many things so much clearer...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Straight Lines, Pretty Paper, and My Struggle To Find Balance...

I have had two things on my mind today, completely unrelated. Now the problem arises, do I make them two separate posts or do I find a creative way to segway from one to the other?

This morning I helped my mom wrap Christmas presents for her Sunday school class. I love wrapping presents, mostly because I love making things beautiful. When we had finished I sat back in my chair to survey our handiwork. As I looked things kept jumping out at me. Was it the pretty paper? Was it the tidy wrapping job we did? No, a resounding no. Instead what I saw was the places where the pattern on the paper didn't quite match at the seam. I saw places where the tape was placed on crooked, I saw uneven seams, folded or torn paper. I saw imperfection. I could not look beyond the "mistakes" that I had made and see the big picture, see how excited the children would be to receive presents.

Unfortunately this is a pattern that seems to be establishing itself in my life and my personality. I have mentioned before that I have perfectionistic tendancies. Even as I write this I am struggling... seething really, because this is the second time I've written this post, the first was lost in some cyper-blip that served only to try my patience and give an excellent example of my problem. Am I concerned about the time that I invested in writing (and re-writing) this? No. The thing that drives me crazy is that I know I will not be able to reproduce the exact wording that I had before... flawed reproductions... a bane to the existence of perfectionists everywhere

What I want to know is how does one go from being a carefree, self confident child to a (gasp!) adult who sees her worth as dependent on straight lines, perfect seams, nice handwriting, matching colors, flawless powerpoint and so many other eternally insignificant things? Where in the process of life did I begin to think that these things mattered so much? I know that the bible charges us to "be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt. 5:48), but somehow I don't really think that that kind of perfection is what Matthew was trying to instill in us.

It is deceptively simple for me, as I sit here thinking and writing, to say that those things don't matter. But still that is only writing and thinking, when the rubber hits the road and I am called upon to do any of those little tasks the perfectionist in me will promptly rear its ugly head. However, there is a little fear there as well, fear of moving so far to the left that I would say that these things don't matter at all and I would let them all fall by the wayside. We are to be striving for excellence in all that we do, are we not? Especially where it concerns serving the Lord or His people. Here the question remains, where do we draw that tenuous line between unhealthy perfectionism that obsesses over the details and striving for excellence that will show our best before the Lord?

I fear that this is something that I will struggle with all of my life.. perfection, excellence, pride, humility, apathy... where is the balance, how do you achieve it, how do you know you are there, and how could you possibly stay there?

Friday, December 17, 2004

A Little Bit of Bacon...

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is one of my favorite games, so I had to include it on here somewhere. I added the tagboard box today for just that purpose: a little bit of Bacon. I'm hoping we can get a little challenge going on. Someone suggest a name and then someone else can meet the challenge and find their Bacon connection. Then they make the next suggestion. For example the first name might be Owen Wilson... he's in Zoolander with Ben Stiller, who is in There's Something About Mary with Matt Dillon, who is in Wild Things with... Kevin Bacon. Troy and Justin, this is especially for you. Justin, even if it is just you and I we can play for hours. Troy, maybe this is the trivia AND staying in touch that we talked about. That's what Connections is all about... staying connected.

Not quite as easy as I thought...

I'm trying to fix up my blog all pretty like, like some of the other blogs I've seen, but really it isn't as easy as I thought. I don't know if it is so much that I don't know what I'm doing, or if I'm just doing the wrong thing. Hopefully I'll get it figured out soon. I didn't want to send anyone my link before it was presentable you know... it's the perfectionist in me I guess. I wouldn't want to present a less than flawless image you know... :)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

So, this is it...

I'm biting the bullet, joining the crowd, and doing what everyone else is doing. I've started a blog. This blog is the result of a growing blog reading addiction started by Matthew. At first I read out of curiosity, then I read out of habit, now I read because I feel connected. The more I read the more I saw potential for staying in touch, something I aspire to, but I'm not very good at. I love so many people in so many places it is hard to keep up with them all... but I'm hoping that with a blog I can at least keep people updated a little... and make some connections.