Thanks, Eve

My face is melting, and apparently, so are my insides.  I am currently experiencing what I believe to be my third hot flash.  The thermostat says that it is 68 degrees in here.  I am sitting still, wearing a tank top and shorts and melting from the inside out. 

I used to write as therapy, sort of, a personal get it off my chest thing.  I haven’t done that in a while, and I need to.  Initial disclaimer:  this is pretty personal, woman-centric, and more than anyone could possibly want to know.  Please, feel free to follow some of the links on the side to more mentally challenging posts and authors, to something more entertaining and easy to read.

Still here?  Great.  Welcome to my week of irritability.  It’s like walking on glass.  I’ve been constantly irritable for a week, at no one, nothing, just a generalized irritation.  I feel like every moment is on my last nerve.  Any small thing would just be that one little push.  This isn’t me; I’m not like this… ever.  I don’t like it.  I’m trying hard to control it, to not snap at people, to snap out of it.  Not working so well. 

Add that to the fact that I haven’t slept well in a few days.  I’ve been waking up soaked in sweat.  The air is on 64.  But I am sweating.  I’ve been having ridiculous dreams that I can’t remember.

There are changes in my libido.  Not good ones.  I’m not a fan of this. 

So I called my doctor.  I think he thinks I’m joking, that I want some anxiety medication.  I don’t.  I want to know what is going on and why my body is turning on me.  A few of the women I work with said it sounded hormonal, like I was going through perimenopause.  I had never heard that term.  The nurse asked today if I had other symptoms of it.  “What other symptoms?  I’m 36.  I’ve never thought about it, talked about it, researched it.  I don’t even know what it is.”

I know now.  I was walking Maddie and despite the beautiful night, I felt like someone lit a fire in my scalp, neck and chest.  I came inside and carefully typed p-e-r-i-m-e-n-o-p-a-u-s-e  into Google.  Googling symptoms is a bad idea, for the record. 

And now I’m sitting here in tears, morning the impending loss of reproductive danger, of youth, of the choice to have kids, of God knows what.  Estrogen probably.  I wonder if it comes in a frosted glass bottle that I could keep in the frig for just such moody occasions.  Poured in a martini glass with a couple of big olives as if it were some really adult cocktail.  No need for umbrellas or fruit here, this is the big league, the grown up table. 

As many times as I’ve joked that it was time to turn the (baby) factory into a playground because I didn’t want children, I wanted to be the one to make that choice.  I was not ready for that choice to be made for me yet.  I’ve read that it starts early sometimes in women who have not given birth.  It’s like a cruel joke a nature, “Aha, lady, you have not fulfilled your womanly childbearing duty, so now you lose it. ”  Puts a new spin on use it or lose it.  I’m having bloodwork done tomorrow to check hormone levels, but I don’t need a lab result to tell me what I already know. 

So the inferno in my neck and chest seems to have passed.  I’m still cranky, and at the same time a little sad now.  I feel like my uterus and ovaries and all their associated girly chemicals are going on an extended sabbatical.  I doubt they send postcards, but that’s what I get for cursing them once a month for 24 years.  I hear that at this point I should start taking calcium and be aware that my bone density will start to decrease.  Dear God, I’m becoming Sally Field.  I’ll need some Boniva, and to sit up straight.  You like me, you really really like me.  (Most of you are way way too young to remember that, which is why your bone density and periods are still status quo.)  Maybe Bobby and I can get two bathtubs in the backyard and we can sit in our respective clawfoot tubs on the lawn watching the sunset and holding hands planning our intimacy in advance.  I’m going to have to start taking a multivitamin.  I also read that I will be coming into my woman-power, the full bloom of my womanhood.  Pfft.  Horse crap.  What happens after full bloom, I ask you?  Wilting.  That’s what happens.  I can almost guarantee that said wilting is a direct result of the greenhouse effect that I had going on a few minutes ago.  

I’ll cope with this much better in the morning, I hope.  I may just be irritable, but for now, a glass of wine is in order.  I raise a toast to my girly bits, inside and out, and thank them for their hard work, dedication and countless surprises through the years.  God definitely has a sense of humor and irony.  Oh, and Eve, seriously, you and I are having some strong words when I get there.  An apple?  I’d understand it if it were a croissant tree, a European chocolate tree, a sushi tree, something.  But apples?  This is your fault.  Thanks.

What Am I Doing?

This question is frequently accompanied by a self-inflicted smack on the forehead.  I should have a dent there, but I don’t…yet… that I’m aware of.   So this is going to be somewhat discombobulated, train of thought, miscellaneous stuff.

  • I’m starting a Connect Group.  I’ll still be part of the one that I’m “in”; I’m just starting another one that I’ll lead.  Ish.  Lead-ish.  I’m not sure I’ll lead it forever or all by myself, or what it will morph into.  Word to the wise, and/or listening, don’t ever sit and say think, “Someone should (whatever).”  That someone will end up being you.  I completely think God snickers at this.  I believe that He plants that idea in our mind, lets it root around a bit, waits until we’ve bellyached enough that someone should do it,  then puts us in charge of it.  (Hence the reason I say nothing at all about children’s ministry stuff.)  So I’ve been feeling that someone should do a connect group for people that just don’t fit in another group.  I’ve said a few times that if someone doesn’t do a study about (whatever) that I would.  Heh.  I am.  Starting this Wednesday at The Nest at 8pm.  I have no idea who is coming, except one person.  I have no idea what I’m supposed to talk about.  I’m overwhelmed.  If God doesn’t get involved in this, I’m gonna look like an idiot.  I suppose that’s a good thing.
  • Some guy is coming to this blog and linking to others in my linky list and leaving argumentative comments challenging their beliefs and what they say about God.  A couple of people have asked him to engage in further conversation, but it appears he is uninterested in anything other than heckling.  It appears that this person’s path originates with my blog, this blog.  Which brings me to my thought.  Who is this person, and why does he do this?  If you truly believe something different from another person, why would you not be willing to engage them in a discussion about it?  Then I wonder, why has this person not commented here?  Is nothing I say challenging them?  Am I whitebread? 
  • What am I doing in my day to day job that matters?  For eternity?  For God?  Am I wasting time?  Should I be doing something else? Why do I feel drawn to other things – things that seem impossible, too far out there, and did I mention impossible?  I have no answers on this one, I’m still praying it out. 

This could be classified as the world’s longest Twitter.

When The Edges Touch

I have a friend who does not like her food to touch.  She even has plates with those separator things in them.  Needless to say, we tease her a lot about it and pose lots of questions about, “What if its potatoes and meatloaf?  Cereal and milk? Sausage and eggs?  Casseroles?”  Admittedly though, I’m not a fan of everything running together either.  Food or otherwise. 

When I think about it, I compartmentalize a lot.  I have mental file folders and boxes for things.  This person is a co-worker and they go in the work box.  This person is a neighbor and they go in that box.  This one is a friend, so she goes in that box, but not the work box.  This behavior is a home behavior and does not go in the work box. 

This may be the reason that I’m not good at keeping in touch with people.  The friends I had in Florida that were in the friend box were sort of renamed into the FLORIDA friends box when I moved to Georgia, which is different and separate from the Georgia friends box.  My husband andI had lunch one day with some of my Florida friends that was travelling near here.  It was really weird, but only for me.  When someone crosses from one box to another, or somehow ends up in more than one box, it makes me itch.

My aunt works at the same company I do.  It works, because we don’t work exactly together.  If we did, it would be all kinds of weird for me.  It’s not that I have anything to hide; I’m pretty open.  I’m basically the same person no matter what the box is, it is just one of my weird idiosyncracies. 

So the people are in file folders which are in boxes that are associated with relationships.  They are on shelves that are locations, in rows based on past, way way past and present.  I know.  I know.  I am so OCD.  Look on this as transparent self-revelation, people. 

Anyway, lately I’ve been thinking that keeping things so separated is not how things are supposed to be.  If I have nothing to hide, and if I am who I am all the time, why should there be these boxes and this separation?  I’m stewing on this, getting it all twisted in my head, wringing it around and I’m not much further along this road. 

It seems though that there is a lesson for me hidden in this somewhere.  I’ve had some close calls lately where the edges are starting to touch.  My gut reaction is uh uhh oohhh it’s gonna touch!!!  As if I’m waiting for a bomb to deploy, some awful chemical reaction or something.  Makes very little sense, I admit.  It makes me itchy, uncomfortable, as if I have to check all the connections and plugs and monitor the safety of all appendages. 

This is really ignorant, and at this point, I’m hovering over my delete key.  I’ve rolled my eyes exactly 11 times since I started typing this post; its that ridiculous.  So why is it so itchy when I think of my ex, when a friend from a long time ago emails, when I invite a neighbor to the church box, when a family member moves in on the work box? 

But I think what I’m supposed to see is that we are all connected, and that all of the edges are of my own creation.  You see, God is not a God of fences and separations.  He is not a God of exclusion, but of inclusion.  He is not a God particular areas or people, but of everything.  So what if this… what if God was to gather up all my edges in His hand and hold them in a bunch?  What if instead of keeping those edges safe He chose to use those edges to touch, heal, clean, and soothe every other edge that there is? 

What if instead of focusing on those edges and where He puts them I could focus on the fact that it’s His hand that has them all gathered up to start with?  Wouldn’t be half as itchy then.

Being Green

For those diehard readers blog visitors, you may notice that I’ve changed the theme.  Yes, I know that I’m not branching out to things terribly original, but instead am using the new WordPress “Spring” theme.  Well… I like it.  I like the green, the grass, but there’s more.

Obviously.  Or I wouldn’t feel the need to blog about it… since I haven’t blogged in months on end anyway.

Bobby and I just returned from our very first camping trip.  It was divine to be able to get away and spend time just doing nothing.  We had hours on end to read, to pray, to talk about and to God, to listen to Him.  We discussed Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love” that we’ve been reading in our Connect Group. 

I love that my husband appreciates different shades of green in nature as much as I do.  I love that we spent inordinate amounts of time discussing and counting and comparing the different greens of the trees and grasses, wondering what they would feel like to touch.  He knows the exact shade of grass that makes me want to be barefoot.  I know the exact bright green of trees that he loves.  Green is refreshing in nature, new life, spring and all that is symbolized there.

Green firewood = bad.  Not so great for campfires. 

But then I got to thinking about green wood.  How it bends but doesn’t break.  It’s pliable.  It is not easily destroyed by pressure or fire.  It’s alive.  Life and water flow through it to the leaves and it grows.  When wood isn’t green, sure, it is harder and some may say stronger.  But it becomes more brittle, easier to burn, and it doesn’t produce leaves.  Hardening happens though.  A whole tree doesn’t stay green.  The parts that are green are the new parts – the parts that have been pruned, cut back.

My prayer today is that God keeps me green. I want to be pliable and usable in His hands.  It’s the newness, the greenness of us that produces life, that God can use, not when we’ve become hardwood and aged.  The tough stuff is that it means He is going to have to keep pruning me, shaping me, cutting out the hardened crap to keep me producing for Him. 

How spiritually “green” are you?  Are you willing to let God prune you and cut out the stuff He needs to so that you can be green for Him?  Pray that God shows you what parts aren’t green anymore; then pray that He cuts them off so that new can grow.

Reflections

Okay, so I had a thought.  I’m walking Maddie this morning and just talking to God about how beautiful the moon is.  It was so bright, so clear.  If you’ve ever walked outside when there was a big, full moon on a super clear night, that’s where I was.  The moon seemed to have a luminescence that surrounded it, as if it were lighting up the atmosphere, seeping out into the air.  It lit up the street, the field where I was walking, so much that even the blades of grass had soft gray shadows.  The moon looked like one of those big, super bright construction lights.  I marvelled at just how much light it was providing.
 
Then it hit me.
 
The moon does not have its own light.  It is merely a reflection of the sun.  So this celestial body that is nothing more than dirt and minerals was providing this much light as nothing more than a reflection.
 
Christ is like the sun.  He is the Light of the world.  And we should be reflecting His light into the darkness.  We aren’t light in and of ourselves; we just reflect His light.  Just as the moon has phases, so do we.  There are times when we fully reflect His glory, and other times when it is partially obscured by some darkness, when the world covers us up and hides His light. 
 
I’ve done some studying of the effects of the full moon on nature.  The phases and strength of the moon determine the tides.  They influence animals and humans. 
 
We should be the same way.  We need to recognize that when we FULLY reflect the light of God, we have an incredible effect on the world around us.  The light casts out darkness all around us.  We have influence on people when we are fully reflecting His light; we have the power to draw people to Him like the tides.  How cool is that??
 
So think about it for a minute.  How’s your moon?  Are you fully reflecting the glory of God, or are you just a sliver?

Fantasy Draft

Have you ever played Fantasy Football?  You know the thing… where you draft players from the NFL for positions on your fantasy team.  You can pick the quarterback from Denver, the running back from Miami, the tight end from Arizona, defensive line from LA.  You get to pick what you consider to be the best fit for your personal fantasy football team.  Then there’s this weird method of scoring, and I have no idea how to do that, but that’s not the point.
 
Anyway… What if you could have a Fantasy Draft in various areas of your life?  What if you could pick whatever person in the world you wanted as a boss?  As a neighbor?  Last night I got to thinking about church.  We need someone over our Connect Kids.  We need someone whose passion is in line with our vision, who loves kids and that’s just their thing. 
 
In my very overactive imagination, I started imagining what it would be like to have a fantasy draft for church leadership.  Heh.  What if we could play God with it?  What if we could “call” people into leadership in various positions?  Not only that but also spiritually and mentally prepare them for it.  Would that not be cool?  I had all kinds of people picked out for various roles in Connect Rome.  I was stoked.
 
And then this morning as I was walking Maddie, I was thinking.  It was way way cold.  The stars were partially hidden, and it was still quite dark.  There were about 2 stars that I could see clearly.  I was thinking about the others and where they were, how bright those two that I could see were.  I thought of how I always look for those two particular stars.  I know where they are at that precise time, and I spot them.  Sure enough, they are there.  But where are the rest? 
 
So here’s the thing.  I can focus on something, but there is no way I can dream up the whole picture like God can.  I might be able to visualize one awesome star, maybe two.  But I am not God.  I cannot fill the entire sky with stars.  I can’t even see them.  I can’t see the big picture like He can.  I had to laugh to myself, which of course startled Maddie.  No matter how awesome I think my fantasy draft of church leaders is, it’s no where near as cool as what God has planned. 
 
It’s pretty comforting to know that the God of the universe is putting together my team.

Life Change & Maddie

Life changes so fast.  Sometimes it is welcome, others maybe not.  Sometimes we make that change, and other times, it happens to us.  Sometimes even though the changes are positive, they are hard. 
 
This is the reason for my prolonged silence here.  Life change.  Okay, so maybe that is a bit dramatic.  We got a dog. 
 
We adopted Maddie about a week and a half ago from Animal Control.  We believe she is a shih tzu / terrier mix of some sort.  She’s about a year and a half old and looks sort of like a white Benji with a couple brown spots.  She is precious and incredibly sweet.  And I’m all torn up inside.  Bobby dropped her off at the vet this morning to be spayed, and she will have to stay overnight.  I cannot imagine going home tonight and her not being there.  11 days and our world has changed. 
 
I have to get up earlier.  My schedule, and unfortunately most of my conversations, revolve around whether or not Maddie has gone “potty potty” and what level it was.  Is she eating.  What toys is she playing with.  What treats are her favorite.  What leash / collar / halter has she destroyed and how long did it take.  Fascinating stuff. 
 
It’s definitely good for me and Bobby.  I made excuses all over the place to not go to the gym, but I have no excuse not to walk Maddie.  She has to go out, has to walk, has to sniff until she finds an appropriately scented doggie toilet.  3 times a day we walk, up and down the street, over and over.  I know I’m wearing a rut into one side of the street.  Last night I even jogged.  Yeah, crazy stuff.  Jogged.  For a dog.  Because it seemed to make her happy, make her tail wag, make her jump all over me and shower me with kisses.  I’m a softie like that. 
 
For all the good, there are rough parts.  Adjusting the schedule, not sleeping as much, the expense, the suspension of our “normal” life, the worry, the frustration, not knowing.  I’m tired, very tired.  This is when I know that having a baby probably wouldn’t have been a good idea.  A dog wears me out. 
 
But then there are things like watching her tail wag when we come into the room, watching as she learns her name, puppy kisses.  And the best of all is when she lays her little head on my leg and does that sweet little sigh of contentment.  Ugh.  Gets you right here, you know, right in the heart.  So that’s where I’m at.   Waiting on Maddie to potty, cleaning up said poo, repairing a chewed leash, a torn up toy and showering her with lovin.  Good stuff.

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