BACKGROUND

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Quiet Time

I've gotten about four hours of sleep. I went to bed at 2 a.m. last night (or would that be more appropriately called "this morning"?) and I got up at about 6:40 a.m. after tossing and turning for about 30 minutes. Do not ask why. I don't know. I'm really trying to get back to a better sleep/wake schedule. Tonight, I will be in bed by 11 p.m. I would go to bed earlier than that, but I have Bible Study tonight so I won't be home until 9 or so.

The upside to not being able to sleep is that I can have some quiet time this morning. I lit some candles and I am now sitting at my laptop composing this post and listening to the blessed silence. Life has been SO busy for me lately and I am feeling the strain of it so this is a much-needed breather.

On another note entirely, this last weekend Dear Husband (DH) and I went to visit my dad in San Antonio. Actually, my dad lives just outside San Antonio in a town called Castroville, but no one ever knows where that is, so it's better to just say San Antonio. DH was feeling a bit under the weather on Friday when we drove to SA. He had a scratchy throat and was tired. On Saturday, he slept until 3 p.m.! When he got up, he was REALLY feeling the ick.

He stayed home from work yesterday and slept until 5 p.m. and he will probably be home today as well. Poor baby:( I have been doing my wifely duty (no, not THAT one...get your mind out of the gutter) and feeding him soup and Sprite. I hope he feels better soon.


Anyway, while we were in San Antonio, we saw a play. Agatha Christie's Mousetrap was performed at the Harlequin Dinner Theatre on the base of Fort Sam Houston. We'd been to see a play there before with my dad. It's always a great experience. The acting is good, the food is good, and the price is great! If you're ever in SA, it's something to put on your list of things to do.

It's time to get ready for the gym now. But don't worry...I'll be back [insert Arnold Schwarzenegger voice here].

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sigh...



It's just been one of those weeks. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by things that should be underwhelming? This week, I started thinking about all the little things that I have to do and I just froze at even the thought of it. Nothing major is even on the list. Answer e-mail, clean the house...things like that. How sad is that?

I'm starting to believe Angel is right. I told her that she needed to be kind to herself since she was in the car accident and not expect too much from herself. The other day, I was telling her how worn out I am and she said "You know, you need to be kind to yourself too. You're carting me all over the place, which I know isn't easy, and you're looking for a job too. You have dogs and a marriage to nurture. You have a lot on your plate too."


She's right. I am worn out. It's amazing how much we expect of ourselves sometimes. I just got out of one of the worst places of employment I have EVER been in. It's ok to be gentle and kind to myself and not expect that I'm going to have energy and pep every single day. I'm eager to start working again (I do miss it) and I know that things will return to normal when I have a more balanced schedule again.

Anyway, this is just a reminder to all of you out there - be as good to yourself as you are to others. You deserve kindness too.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Lessons to be Learned


Around the start of each year, I reflect on the things I've learned in life up to this point. Every new year brings new lessons and occasionally revists some old ones that I haven't fully learned and that I need more practice with.

Here are some of the lessons I've learned:

Quitting gets a bad rap. There are things worth your blood, sweat, and tears and there are things that are not. Learn the difference.

Letting Go: Learning to let go is very, very difficult. I believe it's hardwired into humans to hold on as tight as we can to people, places, and jobs just to name a few things. Each time in my life that I've had to let go, I've found better things waiting for me.

Moving On: Moving on is different from letting go. Moving on means you've made peace with your past and your mistakes. You've owned your fault in a given situation, put your guilt to bed, and locked the door on it all. Always remember: Life is patiently waiting for you.


Heartbreak is like a broken bone. Given time, it will heal, but it always leaves the bone weaker than it might otherwise have been. If you break your elbow, you might not heal with the same range of motion you once had. Heartbreak is much the same. The fracture in your heart heals, but the next time it breaks, it hurts a little more and may not bounce back as fully as it once did. But, if you learn to let go and move on, you can regain the heart's "range of motion."

Dreams: Never be afraid to dream big. Bet on yourself and bet big! You really can have what you want in this life if you're willing to put the effort into it. People will try to dissuade you from your dreams, but their journey, their choices do not have to be yours.

Advice: Do not seek advice. Seek mentorship and guidance instead. What one person would do isn't necessairily right for your life and your circumstances. Mentors offer guidance in helping you make your choices, but ultimately it is up to you to decide the path of your life. Learn to rely on your intelligence and your ability to do what is right for you. There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Read Maya Angelou: She is the ultimate mentor. Her words speak to life's challenges and joys in a way that no other person has ever done. She will remind you of all that can be done in this world and all you can do in your life.

Love: Choose the right mate for you in life. If you've chosen the wrong mate, gently and kindly let them go so you can find the right person for you and they can do the same. True love is at the same time work, effortless, joy, and tears. But when you have more of the work and tears and less of the effortless and joy, there is something wrong and you must have the courage to shed light on what that is and do something about it. You can waste years of your life with the wrong person. There is nothing sadder than meeting the right person for you when you are attached to the wrong one already.

Courage: Face your demons. Monsters live in the dark. Turn on the light. Confront the things that bother you and cause you pain. Know that within you there is great courage to right the wrongs in your life. Do it.

Humor: Find humor in every situation, even the ones that don't seem at all funny. It will help you cope.

Friendship: Hold fast to your true friends and know who your true friends are. Often, the ones you think are friends really are not. Friends are the people you can call at 2 a.m. when life has come crushing down on you and you feel that taking another breath is just too much effort. They cry with you and they celebrate with you. They tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Give your energy to those who give you theirs. Let go of the rest.

Cope: The world is not coming to an end...learn to cope.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Please hold...



It's no wonder alcohol and drug abuse is prevalent within the legal profession. I think it starts in law school where, just to graduate, you have to jump through so many hoops that you resemble a lion at the circus. Then, once you are out of school and have passed the bar, you start dealing with consolidating your student loans and that is where the decline into complete substance abuse takes on speed...pardon the pun.


I was on the phone tonight with the people who handle my private student loans. I suppose I shouldn't say I was on the phone with the "people" who handle it because really, I was on the phone with the automated system. Once I made it through that tangled mess, I got a human on the phone (I know, a total miracle. Tomorrow, I plan to walk on water).

I asked for my payoff balance and she asked if I was going to pay it off today over the phone or if I needed some time to do so. UM...look lady, the loans are in the high five figures and I couldn't afford to spit on myself if I was on fire, so no I will not be paying it off over the phone. I just want the balance so I can give the correct amount to my consolidation company.

She said ok and then put me on hold. I was on hold for 20, yes count them TWO ZERO minutes. I listened to a mix of music from the past four decades, which included Gloria Estefan, Barry White, and a host of groups from the 80s. All good stuff, but I had better things to do with my time. Thank God for a cell phone with a hands-free ear piece. I was able to do some stuff with my computer while I was waiting.


After ABBA came on, I finally concluded that I was never going to get another human being on the phone again so I hung up. You know, it amazes me that if I was ever late with a payment, that company would send a SWAT team to my house the next day, but when I want some information from them, it's as if they've packed up and moved leaving no forwarding address. I can get NO help whatsoever when I need it. I can only hope that the company I am moving my loans to will be more forthcoming. It is possible considering the company that consolidated my federal loans has been nothing short of fantastic. Here's hoping...

In the meantime, I'm just glad that my vices are not alcohol and drugs, but rather chocolate and the treadmill. An odd combo to be sure, but it works for me. I really can't afford to be a drug addict anyway what with all the loans I have to pay.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ice, Ice Baby



Most people have the mistaken belief that Houston is always warm and sunny. Not so my friends, not so. Tonight, we are preparing for a arctic blast that is supposed to cause freezing rain and sleet tomorrow.

Houston has a strange weather system. In the summer it is humid, hot, and rainy. The fall hits around late November, early December, and then winter shows up in early January. Spring comes around March/April and summer weather hits in May. So...we have seasons, we just don't know when to expect them really.



In any case, I'm all bundled up and ready for the big freeze. I've got my comfy sweats, my comfy sweatshirt and my hot chocolate. Can't ask for more than that.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Dive From Clausen's Pier


"The Dive from Clausen's Pier" by Ann Packer is one of those novels that hooks you from the first word. You do not want to put it down and when you are made to do so by the responsibilities of life, you think of it until you can pick it up again.

The book chronicles the emotional evolution of Carrie Bell, a 23-year-old college graduate whose life since birth has revolved around the same town, the same best friend, the same group of friends, and the same boyfriend (now fiance), Mike. Carrie's feelings for Mike have drained away and yet, they drift along on the same path they've always been on.

On Memorial Day, Mike and Carrie make their annual trip to Clausen's Reservoir with all their friends. It is here that the direction of everyone's life will change. Mike dives off the pier into low-level water and breaks his neck rendering him a quadriplegic and rendering Carrie confused over her choices, confused over the question of how much we owe those we love.

The demons Carrie wrestles with and the questions she longs to find answers to are many of the same ones we've all encountered in our own lives in varying ways. This is an astonishing novel that will stay with you long after you finish the last page because you will see yourself and your own struggles in one or many of the characters presented. It leaves you asking questions about what you would have done in the same situation, what circumstances would cause you to choose one path over another. What do we do when the right thing seems so wrong for us?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

May you live in interesting times



"May you live in interesting times."


This is purported to be an old Chinese curse, the implication being that uninteresting times would be peaceful and tranquil. The origin of the phrase is actually unknown, but going with the possibility that it's an old Chinese curse, I put forth that it's actually a blessing. I've certainly been living in interesting times lately.

Right now, I'm on the precipice of great change. Getting out of my old job has made such a difference in my life, I feel like I can finally breathe deeply and fully. Today was a beautiful sunny day and I felt so alive, so full of hope for the future. There is so much to look forward to.

The same is true of my friend, Angel, who was fired from her job recently. It was an unfair dismissal to be sure and I say that not because she's my friend, but because our exits from our jobs, though I quit and she was fired, are actually linked. That is a story for another day.

In any case, Angel is optimistic about her future. She was recently in a bad car accident in which her car flipped onto the driver’s side. Two days after that, she was fired. We have spent this week getting her life back on track. She had her first physical therapy appointment today and we’ve discussed possible job ideas. Her hope for the future and her faith in God is inspiring. Both of us have been so blessed despite what some might consider negative events that have occurred this last week.

When I listened to God about quitting my job, I immediately felt such relief. Angel losing her job was also a blessing in many ways. I have learned that when God whispers to us, telling us what we need to do, we should do it without question…He will provide the answers.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Two Steps Forward...Don't Look Back!


Yesterday, I did something I've never done before. I quit my job with no notice and without having another one to go to. I'd been working at a small law firm practicing family law. For many reasons, the situation just wasn't working out. Something happened yesterday that made me realize it was time to move on, that staying was going to close more doors than it would open.


I feel absolutely liberated! It was the best possible decision I could have made. Even so, with every door we close there comes a mix of emotions. I will miss the clients I was working with and my co-workers whom I have grown accustomed to seeing each day. However, there are so many more positives than negatives to leaving.

One thing that has helped me traverse this new path is the support of my friends and family. I talked for almost three hours last night to my best friend Britt who gave me some very wise advice, as she always does. She said "Don't look back, you're on to a new adventure." That is so very true! We do have a tendency in this life to look at the closed door instead of seeing the open ones ahead. My parents are also fully supportive of my decision telling me they know I'm doing the absolute right thing.

My husband has been wonderful too. He encouraged me to do what I felt I needed to do with this situation. He's amazingly supportive of me and that means the world.

There can be no more fitting end to this blog than one of my favorite quotes: Jump and the net will appear.

Monday, January 1, 2007

It was...



"IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way..."

This opening passage from "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens perfectly describes this last year for me. In fact, I believe it's a wonderful description for every year of our life. Every year is filled with the best of times, the worst of times, wisdom, foolishness, belief, incredulity, light, darkness, hope and despair. There's Heaven and Hell, sometimes in equal parts, sometimes in disparate parts.

This year saw the birth of Cora Rose, the first child of our friends Jeff and Angel. Cora came into this world January 4, 2006 at 1 pound, 6 ounces and 11 inches long. She was little, but mighty. Her original due date was March 29. She was in the NICU on that day, but went home soon after. She spent a little over three months in the hospital. She's doing wonderfully now and we give thanks for that every single day.

This year also saw the birth of my career as an attorney. I never thought I would be a practicing lawyer. I enjoyed law school for the most part, but I felt I would use the education in an alternative career. Instead, I ended up doing the thing I feared most and realizing that I am stronger than I thought I was, that I can venture into the valley of my fear and come out the other side.

This year, my husband changed jobs and careers. He went from office machine repairman to computer forensics technician. He assists in investigating crimes people commit via computer and internet technology. He loves it and I love that he loves it. It's wonderful to see him so fulfilled by his career.

This year, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary (July 9). We had a wonderful time and I realized that we are more and more in love with each other every day. He is "the one" and that is reaffirmed every single day of our lives together.


This year, I made my weight loss goal. After 10.5 months of exercise and sensible eating, I lost 60 pounds and 8 sizes. I've never felt better in my life and I'm stronger than I've ever been as well. It's wonderful to be thin, but it's even better to be fit.

This year, my mother turned 60 and I made a surprise trip to my hometown of Brookings, Oregon to visit her and celebrate that milestone with her. It was a wonderful trip. I hadn't been there in 3 years and so much had changed and yet, remained the same. I saw things in a different light than I ever had before. It was a good lesson in the importance of revisiting your roots and knowing that you made good choices to move on.

We have been blessed this year. Even through the trials of life, I give thanks because I know the foundation of my life is rock solid. I have parents who love me, a husband who loves me, wonderful friends, and the wisdom to know that the hard times will pass and the good ones will stay forever in my memory.

Here's to 2006: Thanks for the memories!