Karma, I’m The Chameleon

I’m not sure when it happened, when I stopped believing.  No, not really stopped believing, more like not feeling it, not feeling the entity known as “God”.  It’s been awhile now, I was just afraid to put it down in writing, to actually get outside of my head and acknowledge it.  Afraid of repercussions, perhaps?  Afraid of that bolt of lightning coming down from the sky?  Afraid to admit to my family and friends that this life-long Lutheran, this zealous church-goer/church-dragger no longer believes in a higher entity? Yeah, that last one is pretty much spot on.

It started with my break from the church we were currently attending.  I was super-involved in the church life- Sunday School, Youth Group, Council, Book Club- even heading up the major redesign and renovations to the interior sanctuary.  Throughout my life, I’ve always been involved in church stuff, mostly with kids.  My parents were involved, therefore I got involved.  Not so much my kids, but that’s their decision- I brought them up in the church from Baptism through Confirmation, after that they were on their own.  And not one of them looked back.  In retrospect, I should have taken their lead.

Anyway, yeah, I was super involved.  After attending for almost 16 years,  I got close to the Pastor and to some extent, his wife.  I babysat their birds (one of which died almost immediately when they brought it home, oops), I redesigned their kitchen (pro-bono, of course), we acted in plays together, we travelled to Youth Events across the country together, he commandeered my mother’s funeral.  I confided in my spiritual advisor on many occasions and I thought we should have been considered friends, or at least close in the service of the Lord.

I should have known better.  I never learn.  I’ve thought the same of half a dozen people in my life and the end result was never good.

There were little things that started to piss me off- things we (the Youth Group) would do that would be ignored, or forgotten.  Attempts to pin down dates or plan trips or events would never be acknowledged.  Things would be done behind my back, planned with someone else.  Look, I can take a hint- I’m incredibly perceptive- if one doesn’t want my help just sit me down and talk to me.  Don’t go behind my back in front of my face.

And don’t…do not…insult my child.  Do not insinuate that she did not work on her Confirmation project.  If you know me, or know my family you would understand our work ethic.  We do not do things to get over, or take short cuts.  We give our all and if you asked us to do something and gave my daughter permission to use it as a project you don’t get to speculate whether or not she did it.  And you should not speculate or insinuate in front of the other Confirmands and their families at the official dinner the lack of my daughter’s role in her project.

Yes, I understood he was sick and maybe not himself.  I tried to cut him some slack, I really did.  But right after she was Confirmed, I stopped going to church.

I was hurt, but this next part was truly the icing on the butthurt cake…

I stopped going to church and not one person- not the pastor, not the secretary, not the council, not my neighbors, not my friends who also go to that church- not one of them called me up and asked my why.  Not one of them said “Hey, we miss you.  Come on back.”  Not one of them texted, emailed or Facebooked me.  Months went by and my tithing amount was being taken out of my account.  I emailed the secretary (also my friend) and asked for the form to stop donating.  Not one word was said when the form was sent.  Still, no outreach.  After all that time, after all I did, I felt that no one cared enough to want me back.

Was I hurt? Beyond belief.  Was I mad? Oh, hell yes. Did I get over it?  After many years, yes.  Only two people knew why I drifted off and now I’m finally able to type it out without alternating crying with cursing. Time heals sadness and anger.

I’ve been to a few churches since then, trying them on, see if they and I were a good fit.  Warily, I sang the songs and listened to the sermons and tried not to read the brochures where they were looking for volunteers.  I liked the Holy Roller/Rock Music church I went with my friend to a few times but the last time I went I felt something else other than the LOVE they were fervently preaching.  It took about a year for me to realize it was disbelief.

Agnostic? Atheist? Neither of these actually describe what I think I believe.  I do believe we’re all connected some way.  There are too many instances of Synchronicity in my life to argue otherwise.  And there may be a force at the center of that big web of inter-connectedness, but I don’t feel we should be worshipping it, or praying to it (and why are we still saying “God Bless You” when someone sneezes?  It’s an expulsion of  body fluids!)  I believe in Jesus Christ- the person- and I believe he did die for “our” sins and because he loved “us”.  His message to me is to be kind to my fellow persons, live a clean, good life and do good works.  Do I need a god-figure to tell me to do that?  Do I need a preacher to remind me of that?  Karma plays a big role in my belief these days- rattle that web between you and I and what goes out will definitely come back.  Good and/or bad.

Maybe I’m Buddhist, I don’t know.  Let me meditate on that.

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Catharsis

There wasn’t any cooking today. Today was a day of purging and expulsion.  Of cleaning and scouring. Of cleansing.

Ever since I saw my first episode of Tiny House Nation, I’ve been obsessed with minimizing my life (and building a tiny house).   Around the same time Beena expressed an interest in having a yard sale.  Perfect timing.  I started going through drawers, closets and attics.  If it had never been used or if there were duplicates of any one thing, it went into a box.  If it didn’t fit AT THIS TIME or, being realistic, I was never planning on fixing or making it, it went into a box.  If I felt I could reasonably live without it, it went into a box.

I was ruthless.  Out went six pairs of nail clippers.  Out went eight tote bags.  Out went a full set of Margarita glasses.  I practically halved my personal stuff and gained tons of space in my closets and drawers.  It felt wonderful.

Unfortunately, the weather the past several weeks prevented us from having that yard sale.  Now all this stuff is sitting in my basement, waiting for the spring.  I got depressed every time I went into the basement, which has its own special kind of crap crammed in.  Now it had a multitude of boxes to add to the messy mix.

The girls pitched in today and helped me pack and stack the boxes in a tidy corner of the basement.  They cleaned out the game cabinet and convinced me to get rid of some stuff I was hanging on to “just in case”.  Even though the crap was still in the house, it was neat and boxed up, ready to be sold.  It felt good.

I dropped a bag off at the church- a ton of baskets for the shut-ins, some angels my mom made years ago and some flower pins we once sold on Mother’s Day as well as floor plans of the various projects I worked on for the parsonage, the church office and the church itself.  Giving these little things away was more therapeutic than culling the clothes from my closet.  Knowing my time with this church has completed left me feeling light and clear-headed.  The anger has dissipated and I’m ready to merge onto the next spiritual highway and see where that takes me.

Seeing me run up and down two flights of stairs all day must have made MR take pity on me because he offered to take me out for dinner.  And honestly, that burger didn’t taste half as good as some of the things I cooked this week.

(Why would anyone have seven pairs of nail clippers?)

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
so dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

I had to learn this poem by Robert Frost in Junior High School. Then, when I read “The Outsiders” I came across it again. I think it’s a fitting poem for how I’m feeling right now. September came and FLEW by, and I feel like I didn’t, once again, get what I wanted to accomplish done. I had such high hopes for this month and here it is the last day and my good intentions sank to grief.
So I continue into October with the projects that I didn’t get to in September.
To recap from here:
  • I didn’t get to St. Andrew’s renovation. The weekend I wanted to do it, MR went bear hunting. Then I got a migraine. So hopefully this weekend the last two pieces will be glued in.
  • I’m going to work on St. A’s website this weekend. My deadline for giving Pastor a template is Monday.
  • I finished the ceiling in the hallway…BUT…when I took the blue tape off the wall, it took pieces of the finished wall paint with it. So now I have to touch that up. ETA- tomorrow (Thursday.) After that it’s sanding the stairway wall and steps.
  • My alteration pile yielded me 3 pairs of capri pants, a fitted shirt and a new skirt. Still left to do are two backpacks that ripped and two pairs of Z-girl’s pants to be shortened.
  • The sewing room has been organized but not cleaned. There are piles stacked everywhere- I have to invest in more bins. I did clean out the closet and was able to store more crap in there.
  • I have not touched my credit report for fear of blowing up my PC. How would I explain that to my boss?

So here I am again. I’ll be trying to make these things work out in the next week or so. Then it’s clear sailing through my 101 in 1001 goals.

Unless i get kidnapped by aliens.

NaBloPoMo #26- September is Anti-Procrastination Month!

Okay, so I’m caught up on my NaBloPoMo. I really fell apart, physically. But thanks to those who reminded me that I was behind. So kind, so kind.

So we’re winding down August. Holy crap, where did the month go? Pre-camping was spent planning for camping, then post-camping was spent being sick. Throw the craft sale in there (which I WILL blog about) and August has just been used up.

I was thinking about September and how this month always felt like the beginning of a new year. As a kid, I always looked forward to September- a new grade in school, new cartoon lineup, new clothes, new supplies. January never felt like a new year- it was always September.

This September I have a lot to look forward to as well as a lot to be thankful for. Zombiegirl is going into the 5th grade. She’s also starting on her Travel Soccer team. We’re celebrating our 12th Wedding Anniversary. My favorite season starts. 9/9/09 occurs (I always love those dates…) In honor of this September, I wanted to start anew, too, and finish specific things I’ve started. So I label September Anti-Procrastination Month. At least in my little world.

The things I want to get done in September are:

  • Finish St. Andrew’s renovation. This takes all of two pieces of wood, but I’ve been putting it off then forgetting about it. ‘K, this is also a good idea for a blog post- my renovation efforts of the church.
  • Update St. Andrew’s website. Will try to be a weekly thing, but I have to start it.
  • Finish the upstairs hallway painting. I have a small piece left on the ceiling- what is my problem? Why can’t I finish this??? Once I finish, I can start blaming MR for not finishing the balustrades, bathroom, etc! Throw the ball back into his court.
  • Do three things on my 101 in 1001 days list, specifically #15, #40, and #46.

Seven things. That’s not a big deal, right? Completing these seven things will clear the way for the rest of the things I have to do without feeling guilty. Such small things, but they weigh heavy on my soul.

If I can complete these the first week of September, I’ll add more. Not making any promises to myself, though. We’ll see. Procrastination IS my middle name.

A Few Things Before My Life Gets Back on Track

I start work on Monday. I had three nice weeks of unemployment. No, I really only had six days of unemployment. The rest of the three weeks I was off courtesy of UBS. They escorted me out of the building on April 23rd, but my last day of employment was May 7th.

I start my new/old job with Cushman & Wakefield. Doing what I was doing and where I was doing it when UBS fired me. My boss called me the other day (after I was home for two weeks- whatever!) and asked me if I was going to be coming back bitter. Why would I be bitter? I recieved 33 weeks severence, four weeks paid vacation, got three weeks off and still got a job after all that. Not bitter- bittersweet. I’m going to miss putting Zombiegirl on the bus in the morning, being there for her when she gets home and doing homework with her in the afternoons. But I have to bring home the bacon.

Mmmmm. Bacon. Only had it once while I was home.

I wanted to blog alot while I was off, but I was too damn busy. Here’s a recap and some updates:

  • Killer the Fish seems to have made a complete recovery. He’s no longer swimming upside down, or hanging out on the bottom of the bowl. It was like he had a mini stroke for awhile. He’s active now, swimming around like normal. Thank God. We almost flushed him twice.
  • My hallway upstairs, which is the size of a room since we raised the ceiling after it collapsed on the kids and Lola, is almost finished. I can taste it. Pictures will go up on the blog next week. It makes me happy to go up there.
  • Zombiegirl’s room is being painted. It’s a most awesome blue. I should be finished with it next week also.
  • My man Parker‘s Dad and Zombiegirl’s soccer coach, Jason, hurt his leg showing the girls a follow-through at soccer practice yesterday. And ended up in the ER. This put a damper on our night-the girls were supposed to go out drinking. Oh well, as long as he’s not seriously hurt. He seems to get hurt alot. He screwed up his hand last Memorial Day weekend at our house in Riverhead cheating at tug-of-war! Get well soon, Jason!
  • I’ve planted my vegetables, herbs and flowers I got at Z-girl’s school and the St. Andrew’s Youth Group plant sale. I’m now growing Mint, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, Eggplant, Peppers, Peas and Tomatoes. We’ve planted Chamomille and Cilantro from seed and they’re just starting to come up! If you know where I live, you’ll know I have very little sun on our property. I was out there every hour on the hour evaluating my sun situation. We get about 5-6 hours of full spring sun in the morning, and dappled sun after that. Hopefully that will be enough for our little plants to grow. I’m planting more herbs from seed today.
  • I’m the new webmaster for St. Andrew’s church! I’m learning as I’m going. Rob got me a copy of Microsoft’s Sharepoint (ha!) Designer and I’ve successfully copied from the already established webiste onto Designer by .ftp. I’m fiddling around with some layouts and changes- all advice is welcome! I’ll link when we’re up and running. Go me!
  • Mother’s Day was hard. I suffered two losses recently which made celebrating this holiday tough. Thankfully, my wonderful sister-in-law Paula had us over to her house to celebrate my niece Lily’s 2nd birthday. My other SIL Laura, my MIL Johanna and Paula’s MIL Gerry all celebrated being mothers/grandmothers/godmothers/aunts. My other niece Samantha and nephew Raymond made me forget my woes for a little while. (I really have to blog about these kids- they are adorable!) So a really nice party and really great gifts from my family made this Mother’s Day bearable. Thanks guys!
  • I got my bike fixed. And got one of those holders added to the back. MR then put saddlebags on the back for me to tote stuff back and forth- to the library, Stop N Shop or church. I’m going to try to either walk or ride whenever going anywhere in the neighborhood.

I enjoyed being a SAHM for awhile, but it’s back to the real world. The daily grind. The treadmill. I’ve downloaded a lot of songs onto my iPod so that the commute will be bearable. Now if I can figure out something to make WORK bearable.