Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Check. Check. Check check.

I am totally an obsessive doer. As such, I like checklists and goals.
My current job: PERFECT. (Especially because I work from home) My job benefits me, but also benefits those who manage me, because every day I work off an electronic "to-do" list. I actually am able to check "COMPLETE," when I'm done with any given particular task. Ba-da-bam. Just what I like.

Even in my home life, I am a lister. I take pride in crossing off tasks on my lists. Occasionally, I write down things I may have already completed, just so that I can … cross them off.

What I am not certain about is when exactly worrying became a "doing" activity, right up there with cleaning, vacuuming, project-ing, planning, and somehow also a replacement for praying.

I pace. When I worked in an office, I would get into an empty elevator, and walk in circles. I'll fuss with my hair, I'll bite my lip. I'll clean and reorganize, redecorate, paint a wall… all in an effort to stay busy and be productive.

Then, the lights go out. The mind night light pops on and the wheels start a-turnin'. Was that a noise? Or lightning?
Was that a car door? Did I turn off the stove? Where's Nelson?

Earlier tonight I spoke with a friend and told a story about my basement at home. (Home (parents'  home, not Pearl home.)) I was around sixth grade, and it was the summer, and I had been roller skating in the basement- yes, I already know I'm cool.  I decided it was time to walk upstairs. Only I didn't just walk. Instead I imagined someone chasing after me, running faster and faster… so I quickly ran faster and faster up the stairs (keep in mind, this was a game I often played) I reached the top, turned the corner, and was knocked to the floor when I was smashed in the head with a heavy object! I may have hollered. To be honest, I threw my hands over my head, threw myself against the wall, and sank to the floor... and I screamed like they pay big money in Hollywood if you can scream-scream. Was my imagination that good? Did I actually dream up and create a real-life intruder who decided to run upstairs after me?

Nope. It just so happened that the hallway light fixture fell from the ceiling and bashed me in the head in the exact moment I was running underneath it.

Coincidence. Yes. I think so…
Although, if I had not let my imagination, crazy mind go wild, I would not have been running like a maniac through the house. Very possible that the light fixture would not have come loose at the moment I was below it. Would not have hit me on the head.
In the middle of my crazy "game," I ran into danger- or really danger hit me over the head. (No worries, I was totally fine.)

In a doers life, we like to be productive. I know I'm not alone.

The trouble is at some point there are items that cannot be completed with a check mark.
John is here with me for a few days. Although he is the same whether with me, or home, I am a crazy monitoring fool when I have him. I watch him. Make him look at me in the face so I can look at his eyes. I make him sit if he looks shaky, sleep if he seems tired. Doing. That's what I am is doing.

I also worry. Worry which becomes an obsession. Worry prevents sleep. Causes ulcers. Worry results in a fully lit house and high electric bill. Worry is not doing. It undos the work we want to do.

Here tonight, on the morning of New Year's Eve, I am setting my mind to the productive doer I want to be. Time is precious. We can hold on trying to grip minutes and hold them tightly, but we cannot. I cannot. I cannot spend seconds, minutes, hours worrying in 2014. I have things to do.

In 2014, I will work on being the Stephanie who takes moments of concern in order to pray. I will be the one who asks for wisdom to know the difference between reality and imagined. I will not be the sleep-deprived-Psycho-wild-haired-smelling-like-a-banchee-Stephanie, screaming through the house.
And, I think I'll save my wild imagination for stories that I put on paper.

Tomorrow will wait. Let's conquer today in a way that will amaze them all.

"Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."

~Corrie Ten Boom

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tied up with a Bow

Christmas 2013 is over.
The last few weeks involved lots of family, cleaning and surprises.

Pearl and I hosted our first Christmas family meal. As all of us were were casually adorned (I was in some new fancy jammies) we ate on my newest fine China (literally straight from China) and we drank sweet tea from the fanciest of goblets.

Then just as quickly, it was over. Family gone. Secrets over. Then I realize 2013 is quickly coming to a close.

Growing up, my parents had a hard and fast rule when it came to Christmas presents. You peek, you get nothing. You find, it all goes back. As a people pleaser, and an ambitious be-gooder, I believed them. We could never even pick up the presents and give a shake. To make matters worse, they would not even be labeled with our names. There was no way to know what present belonged with whom until Christmas morning and they were passed out.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the anticipation, the looking forward-to, surprises. I love surprises. Even now, I'm usually one of the last to finish opening, as I love watching other people and seeing the surprise, and excitement on their faces.

This year was no different. It came too slowly and then sped away.

This year is going by too fast. Too quick. As excited as I am about tomorrow, I'm reluctant to leave today. I don't know about tomorrow. I don't know what is going to happen in 2014.  No idea. But, I think that while the Christmas trees are being packed away, there are quite a few surprises headed my way. Kinda exciting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Can ya Dig It

I had a record player. It had been a Christmas present that I had received sometime during the elementary school years. I loved it. It only made sense that come time for college, I’d pack it up and bring it with.

I was alone with my record player. Others (including my roommate) had moved on to the new fangled multi-disc cd players. My music-playing machine didn’t make it out of the box when I arrived at school. Instead it slid quietly under my bed where it stayed. Until my first break, when it inconspicuously made it way back to the safety of home.

We all have secrets about ourselves. Some things appear to others when we don’t realize anyone is watching. Other things we tuck away so carefully that only those who stay around the longest and watch the closest could even hope to find out. For me, there are things that I kept secret even from myself.  

There are a few people that I have met over the years, more than a few actually, who knew who they were, with no question. It would be the way that they walked, or how they embraced details about themselves, that gave it away. They would shrug off uncertainty because those things that made them them, did not cause them embarrassment.

These things about myself, the things that others wear so proudly, I have tried to hide them. Random comments? I could be queen. I was highly embarrassed about this, but now, try to beat me.

And yes, I can talk a long time. I have a lot of words to say.  I would try to tuck them away, but now try to stop me.

I really love laughing. Really laughing, and I try to as often as possible.

I’m obsessed with owls, little birdies and elephants. I use a scale involving the words: like, love, awesome, totally, and absolutely when explaining how I feel about things. And yes, I make up my own words and use them on a regular basis. Oh and the word, “Seriously,” well, I should have a t-shirt made that says, “seriously,” so that I could just point to it as needed. Because, seriously? I say it all the time.

So in the life and times of Stephanie, as I attempt to find my groove, the groove that so many others seem to just have, I have learned a few things. About myself. And I'm pretty okay about it.

I squeeze the toothpaste bottle from the middle, (I cannot be stopped) and I love collecting interesting notebooks and wearing multiple layers and scarves, even mid summer.

What I know now, even more in my quest to my groove, is that wrapped up in my apparent quirkiness, eclectic-ness, and eccentricities, I am a bit retro. If only I had a record player.

And maybe I’ve been closer to my groove than I ever thought. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Eating My Cake and Wanting the Bakery

Nelson Rutherford Beene Davis Hunter.
Right now he is outside my door mewing. It's pitiful. Being nocturnal, in the early am hours he turns into psycho kitten.  Normally, he spends his days and nights in the lower level of my house, and the stairway. However, my brother is sleeping on the couch, and has had little sleep since little Nelson used John's head as a scratch post.

I'll keep him in the stairway.  With his toys, food, light, etc…… And then the crying started. 
My Auntie, in the guest room, saw my face as I heard Nelson giving his pitiful cry. 

"He's fine. I know he's fine. But it's quite terrible." 

"Oh, let him up here. I'll keep him." 

Under the condition that she would vanquish him to the stairway if needed, I agreed, and shut my door. He was happy. For a minute. He had an extra room to explore. Then. Then he saw my closed door and the unhappy cry began.  

Here, I think we are offering a kindness, but he takes the extra, and he still wants more.

We are most certainly talking about Nelson. Not me. 

I do not stare longingly at things others want, coveting it for myself. Why would I? I have everything I could ever need. 

Or. Am I like the girl on the commercial, "We want more and more and more." 

Half of us watch this commercial laughing, all the while we nod in agreement knowing she's so right. 
I demand. "They" supply.

I personally have a problem because the things I want most, I cannot buy in a store. What do I do as a result? I buy anyways. Apparently I hope that I find something that fills the hole that otherwise is empty and aching. 

I buy. 
I often return. 
I buy again. 

I chase down *things,* stuff, items and trinkets to fill my space. 
I empty my pockets, crowd my home, and at the end of the day, have a heart that will still ache. 

It's Christmas time. The season of giving and rejoicing and remembering. Families gather. We eat. We play. We sing.   

Most of the time I am happy*. The true, honest, joyful happy. Most of the time I hold onto hope that I will one day find what I truly want.  (Husband to be claimed; aisle three. Adorable children for sale! Freckles included!) 

What do I do in the meantime? It's an honest question. One I've heard many others ask. Oftentimes the question isn't spoken out loud, but it's there. What do I do to fill the hole, the void, the want

We wait. 
We wait.
We look to hope. We cling to hope. 
In doing so, we remind ourselves, God reminds us, that we are not alone. 
That He has plans bigger than what we can imagine. 
We stop looking inward, and we start looking upward, and outward.

Tonight, I have challenged myself again to remember that while so many have so much, there are many who have so little. 

Eating the cake is usually quite nice. 
                   Wanting the whole bakery? I'd need a tailor. 

Send flowers to someone. 
Write a love note. 
Wash a car. 
Smile in Walmart. 
Say please and thank you. 

Be Thankful. 

Shine your Light.