Back in the Closet With You!

Oh I know what you are thinking, but I’m talking about that person that came out of their closet for a brief trip to the confessional. Everyone has a closet. Some are nice and neatly organized, everything labeled and sorted, and others…. their closets threaten to bury them when opened. So whether you take care of the stuff in your closet on a regular basis or let it get shut away until it becomes a threat to your health… get in there and make some choices about what kind of stuff you are keeping.

I’ve been a collector and clutter queen. I prefer to refer to those traits as “preservationist”, but no matter what I call it, there are some broken things that will never get fixed, and that I don’t have the skills to restore. I hate to throw those things out, but there is only so much space in my closet. Some people get buried by their indecision and their desire to “save” everything. I am sadly deciding that I am coming to the brink of that brook… perhaps not all have Caesar’s future changing mark, but perhaps that is what I fear the most… throwing out something that I will deeply regret in the future, that cannot be undone. And my closet becomes my Rubicon.

Eventually, everything must be faced, if not by us… then by our descendants. Now that is a thought that ought to create a pause, a “Selah”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~no, this was not a post about literal closets~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Returning to True Confessional

I used to use my personal blog for a lot of true confessions back in the day. The day when I was one of the few to have a “blog”, not many I met even knew what blogging was. I was also anonymous. Although always using my real first name, I doubt that anyone who knew me read anything I wrote… and I liked that. I ‘ve never allowed certain information to be published when I thought it might hurt someone to have it public… but I had quite a bit of my own heart exposed at times.

Little of that is in my writing now. I’ve intersected the public and the personal and that can make for a real risk when you speak of things that might change, but if written are given a certain permanency. In real life I am extremely edited. Probably no one who knows me thinks so, but it is true from my interior perspective. Part of that “over responsible” trait that I’ve been trying to be free of in the past five years or so… ever since beginning to see it and understand how unhealthy it is.

Well, I’m going to try to move across that trapeze wire of being publicly private.
Continue reading Returning to True Confessional

It’s Not About Tequila

At least not for me, it isn’t.
So, I was reading about the worm at the bottom of the tequila bottle because the Third Tribe sent me there. (I joined them this year because of just what the tequila post was really about). It isn’t just because I would like to somehow turn my garden site into an itty business, but because I want my blogging to have meaning, and purpose. And I want to feel I am making headway with my writing and let it at least break even in paying for itself instead of borrowing from the family budget ( somewhat like the government “borrows” from the Social Security funds.)

So, yes, honestly… I would like the affiliate relationships with Amazon and Google, etc, to help me with the hosting for my garden site, the premium templates, and all the other things that were once free on the net, but have become more necessary to pay for in creating a better quality output.

I once did everything free, both on my side of it and other’s side of it. It isn’t that I don’t still, but the realities are that everyone has to make a living. Oh forget this detour- I really wanted to talk about avoidance.

What This Was Really About
The Worm Post began describing the trough I often find myself in, not just in blogging, but in life.

It goes like this:

sometimes people love what you’ve got, love you, and shower you with roses and orders and blog comments and 83% organic dark chocolate.

And sometimes? Sometimes, not so much.

Sometimes it’s dead quiet out there and you feel a tad exposed. You troll Twitter and everyone’s tweets are so peppy, all about how great their businesses are doing, you start to feel a tad bad. The story line, “What was I thinking?” starts sucking you in.

I get sucked into that dark pit more than I like to say. I get sucked into it as a Christian. Sometimes because of the type of Christian I am. I wonder how much of us is what we make ourselves, not because we are so powerful at it, but because of how helpless we are to really see facts. We labor under false assumptions and vague presumptions we pick up along the way of life. Not blaming anybody, it just seems that we humans are very prone to this.

So I followed the post through to the “assessment”. That is what I call the analysis + resolution of pinpointing these problems.

Like I said, I don’t have a history with tequila, but when we got to this point *__________ (fill in your favorite avoidance technique here), I knew we were talking about me and where I go ( I tend to do avoidance technique #Surfing the Internet until your butt goes numb and your heart grows stiff)

These avoidance techniques are what I call “Shadow Comforts,” things we turn to for fulfillment, but which don’t really fill us up.

Ouch. sounds like the Preacher talking to the Sinner, here, right? So how come I identify?
The “Nifty Tips” all sound like things that could work on any battle with depression, etc., but I reduce it down to get rest, develop awareness, get perspective.
I will be translating that into my lifestyle context, and leave it to to you take what you want for yourself.

A Note For Making Your Dreams Come True

From twitter came a link to Star Gardener’s post, which concludes:

But I am ready now.
It has been my experience that we teach others what we want (need) to learn. Life just works out that way … I am an advocate. That is the common thread woven within the fabric of my life. And if I can be an advocate for others, I know I can do it for myself! (Especially with a little help from my friends!)

This reminded me of something from a former New Year’s resolution idea, making a personal mission statement. I have had problems tagging myself in the way Star Gardner has. I want to , but either past history or fear of other’s perceptions get in my way. I’m not a fearful person on the whole, at least not in ways that many others are fearful. My own brand shows up in the most debilitating way: I lock up in paralyzed inability to move . Neither forward nor backward, I hover in a a holding pattern that wastes time and energy while not accomplishing anything. I hate it when I find myself there. So I have often felt that this idea of a personal mission statement would be a useful way to approach such barriers. Getting your eyes on something beyond your present circumstance.

Star Gardener calls herself an advocate, and that distills a great deal of direction into one label. I sometimes look at how I arranged my life and what I value and I call myself “a nurturer”. But then I look at myself and how others respond to me, and feel I am not very nurturing by nature. You see my Identity conflict? So I have what I want to be,”a nurturer” and I have my set of characteristics. Do we want the impossible, or are we tied in place by voices that have defined us…voices that had no perception of who we really were? I am inclined to see it as the latter case. If only because I think we have dreams inside us that are meant to be lived and attained, We are not meant for a constant state of conflicted and frustrated hopes and dreams. We are destined for failures; we only make or allow failure. And we can make and allow for success just as well.

The things we most need are:

  • worthwhile goals
  • support from others in our lives
  • clear vision

I haven’t specifically mentioned God in any of this. I believe God is implied in every moral value, “worthwhile”, and needed circumstance, but our filter is a-kilter. We might see God as advocating something He has never approved, or we might see Him as always thwarting our dreams. Neither of those things are true. Why do we have such a a hard time understanding that God’s very nature is good and doing good to His creation? Why do we see correction as “bad”?

I see I have entered the area of thought where this could go on for a long time, and I don’t mean to do that today.

I mean to look at identifying the iconic motif of my own life and using it to achieve my goals. Even at this late juncture of life.

I mean to try to see clearly what it is that I most try to “teach” others, and get busy on mastering that myself. I want my dreams to come true in this lifetime. I want my children’s dreams to come true. I want to see God’s dreams come true. What you say you didn’t know God had dreams? Well, I think He does and my confidence is that He has the ability to make His dreams come true, and mine too… and my children’s as well…. and yours, too.

But we all still have some discovery to do, and that is what I look forward to in the coming year: a year of clear discovery.

winter thoughts
winter thoughts

Testing Truth: Do You Believe A Lie?

This is one of the things that is roiling around in my life. We think we know the answer, but what if there are indications that perhaps we don’t have as strong a hold on gauging the truth as what we thought? This comes home to us in many ways in modern life. Maybe it was always so through the ages, but not having “been there”, I’m satisfied to just comment on us, today.

I’ve been challenged by God to question some of my basic premises. But instead of delving right into that I want to leave you readers with something to cogitate a bit about. Seth Godin has a book on Marketing that has been repackaged with a new title “All Marketers Are Liars”. In it he deals with how we often operate in terms of what we believe to be true. No wonder he says “I’ve seen this book in campaign headquarters and carried around at evangelical conferences.” Yes, that’s you, Evangelical…. or you, observer of Evangelical. Interesting that we market the gospel, but we market ourselves in this age of ubiquitous new media, so I suppose that is not too hard to grasp.

So, what are the thinking points I’d like for us consider from Godin’s thoughts, for now?

Seth:

You believe things that aren’t true.
Let me say that a different way: many things that are true are true because you believe them.
…Here’s the first half of the simple summary: We believe what we want to believe, and once we believe something, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth.

…Here’s the second part of the summary: When you are busy telling stories to people who want to hear them, you’ll be tempted to tell stories that just don’t hold up. Lies. Deceptions.


“What’s your story?”
“Will the people who need to hear this story believe it?”
“Is it true?”
…When you find a story that works, live that story, make it true, authentic and subject to scrutiny.”

OK, that is a powerful big bite to chew on.
If I talk about Big T truth, then I am talking about a standard that does not change according to circumstance or what we want to believe about it, but for most of us we rarely operate in the confines of Big T truth (maybe we ought to, more). Most of us are trying to swim or sink inside the truths that are more fluid, like who we are, and what we believe about how we should behave, or how we ought to relate, or even as big as how we ought to live our lives.

Feel free to comment… and I’ll be taking the conversation into what this looks like in my own life and heart right now.
It will take me further down the road of Imposters and Inner Critics, but with a spiritual touring car.

If you want that book by Seth Godin, get it here – but that isn’t the main point of this post.

Clear Direction > Home

I wrote recently on the Woman’s Bible Study that I have started to attend for the summer. You also might remember that I am in fellowship in a new church plant (read: small church). One thing that happens in a small, new church is the search for direction in the vision and the emphasis of the message and activities. It starts out in a certain place, but the dynamics of people, circumstances, and unseen factors creates change and focus. Sometimes it is choppy, sometimes it builds in momentum, but whenever changes and moves are at work, patterns often emerge. Right now, there is a pattern I see, not only for myself, but in a larger perspective.

Years back, in fact not just once, but several times, there was a momentum of sentiment and decision to move “homeward”. There was at one time even a catch phrase for this: Cocooning. That had to do with an attempt to recenter activity and a reaction to the economy of the time. Sometimes we are forced to center on our homelife when our finances are tight. But apart from the economy at this time, there is a supernatural move that I intuit.
A sense of “home” in building closer relationship, and moving closer together as a group. It is in an overall sense: closer intimacy with the Lord, closer vulnerability and transparency as Believers- in both personal and public ways; closer relationships that demand a real effort at resolving conflict.

I’m finding that when we respond half-heartedly, perhaps as we were used to in the past, the cards quickly tumble: there are no houses of cards in this new direction towards home. It is apparent to me that the older societal move that resulted in “being home alone” has further refined to a new recognition of our interdependency and emotional need of the “other”.

How does this relate to my time spent in a Woman’s Bible Study? It is no longer only what I get out of it, whether in new insights or camaraderie. It is how we move together, closing the spaces between us that make our interactions artificial. It is how we interrelate in meeting needs of our own, each other, our family, our fellowship…. and creating something new for the community outside our own to interact with. Sort of social networking in a Real Life sense. Maybe I can get some insights in how social networking is changing our online emphasis for clues on how this works as we bring it into our physical lives and relationships. Where it is more about building relationship than a top down “talking to”… becoming a “talk with” conversation. More about who we are, than who I am.

Maybe this is necessary to break down the stereotyping, the mistakes of the past, and the ineffectual way we have gotten used to living with each other. For me personally, I have two main goals for my time spent in the study: one is to help my daughters grow in their Christian walk as we attend it together, another is to move the spaces between myself (mostly made by me) and other women to more closely live intersected lives. I can’t foretell how successful this will be, only that this is a needed direction. Going home with a purpose and an open heart.

Can young women get a sense of who they are as women without some modeling in a social sense? That is, can we as women in the mature generation continue to be disconnected and “finding ourselves”, and expect to relay anything but the most garbled communication of what it means to be a woman?

I need to catch up now on doing the lesson in the Esther study book…. later, friends. If I get more clarity you will be the first to hear. On the meantime, anyone have thoughts on this… or is there something you discern in the patterns you see surfacing around you? Love to hear about it.

Me and My Walls

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down. … ”
Mending Wall, Robert Frost

I am of the group who finds expression in this poetic definition of negotiating life and its communications. I like less walls… but I find they are necessary at times to others if not to myself and that most people love their walls without thinking to whom they give offense. We construct them so easily and with so little forethought.

Then we wonder why we always have to repair them or … in worst cases… move them or watch them fall. Walls tell a boundary where mutual consideration does not exist. Walls are for shutting out the intruders and keeping insiders secure. Walls are building my castle and arming it well.
And then I think of that Sting song… another poetic expression which identifies the emotions I hold:
“As I returned across the fields Id known
I recognized the walls that I once made
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines Id laid

And if I built this fortress around your heart
Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a bridge
For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire”

What Happened?

Ok, Ilona. You used to blog about issues; you used to blog about politics and the state of Christianity as you know it; you used to blog with more opinions and rants….what happened to that?

Glad you asked dear reader (what is left of the readers, and perhaps the singular is apt), I’ve been thinking about that myself.

First, what happened to the politics? They are still here somewhere. I am still of the conservative persuasion, generally, but the turn the political landscape took… with hardly anything but the most banal Bush bashing and then the Obama worship countered with adolescent liberal-baiting took shape …. and I simply took the outerbelt. Neither the high road, in which no one was interested in the political spectrum, nor the low road…. I have just skirted politics pretty much altogether for awhile. For one thing, I wanted to see what direction the country would actually light out upon as President Obama began his administration. Talk to me about that later this year.

I talk about the economy here and there, but let’s face it: no one really knows what is going on with that. I occasionally harp on the obvious: take personal fiscal responsibility, decrease personal debt, live within means, be frugal for fun, and try to build community and help each other out to the degree you find possible. Common sense.

What happened to church issues and religion?
Well, that isn’t going away… I’m in this discipleship thing of following Jesus for life. I have had to take some real assessments and reconsiderations of my understanding of things. I tend to be quiet and not resurface with opining on that until I’ve sorted things out and they make sense of some kind. That method is as important as perceived outcome has become more important. Machiavellian politics have no place in the Christian faith.

Truthfully, I have had an awful lot to work out in my personal life the last few years, and sometimes it has taken the wind out of my sails when it comes to this type of blogging. I’ve mixed my personal and publicly viewed online life and that creates inner conflicts in what is said and how it is said. I’m working on finding my voice in the things that I find important now.

Still experimenting with projects… as noted in announcing that I will try a podcast here soon again. I downloaded the newest version of Audacity 1.3 Beta and it took awhile to get it working with Vista. I think I can get it to record…so now we just wait until I can put together my first recording.

So that is the update on where things are at with the blog, TrueGrit. I can’t blame people for dropping me off their blogrolls…not lots has been happening except the template change. And some people don’t care about that at all. We’ll see how things roll after I get back from my out of town trip later this month. I’d love to rewrite some of my older posts, I think the topics were worth thinking about, but my writing should be edited and the thought re-organized. So,essentially, the blog needs to take a new direction and I’ve been trying to decide on how that should come about.

Any thoughts or opinions out there are welcome. Leave me some input,please, if you don’t mind.

Eye Surgery Coming Up

I haven’t made the appointment, but I was told, gravely, that I must get some surgery on my right eye. I have already had two SLT‘s that did not take care of the problem, along with one trial of a new medication which also was not sufficiently capable of taking down the pressure. And I have suffered some vision loss in that eye.

I know I need the new surgery, but without insurance I will need to pay $3,000.00 for the thing to get done. That sound you hear? me gulping. So I have postponed setting up the appointment until I can save up some cash to cover this. Not complaining, but trying to sort it out and face up to it.

The procedure I’m looking at getting is a new type called Canaloplasty. It sounds like the best option, and I hope I can get some good results from it once I actually make the appointment and get it done. It might affect my blogging ability at that time since there can be a long (period of several weeks is possible). If that surgery doesn’t work, then they switch to trabeculectomy, which is possible when they start out with the planned canaloplasty.

2009 Appearing Through The Fog

No one knows the future. God knows, but He is not telling us everything, just some important things for those who have ears to hear- to use the words of Jesus.

I often see the future in terms of a foggy landscape, I can sort of make out shapes here and there, things become clearer as I approach them. Some seeming to appear suddenly (although that is only my perception of them). At times God clears the view, but mostly I keep my eyes on the guiding lines of the road and look for landmarks to tell me whether I’ve been this way before. I look for pathways.

In all that, I also set goals for my journey. Some of those are short term, some long views, but they regularly change. Perhaps a better word is “divert”, as they detour in different ways. Sometimes I pay attention to the road and sometimes to the horizon, but I tend to not follow the guy in front of me, and not go with the herd. Sometimes I feel I am out on the road alone, which I mostly like.

I’ve read different things about setting the plans for the trip into a form that will get me to my destination. I do care about arriving at a certain destination, so ( for me) making plans is a good idea. I thought I would jot a few thoughts about that process.

Resolutions

It is almost a cliche to insist that “no one keeps resolutions”. Because of all the negative remarks about resolutions I started to think more about their definition. We tend to call two different things “resolutions” but only one is accurate in the use of the word. Resolution is a resolve, a determined act of the will. At the turn of the year we tend to apply it to “desires”. I think that is what leads to the skeptical view of resolutions. Sure we all want to lose weight or quit smoking or become financially solvent. I mean generally speaking we want variations on the idea of being what we deem “better”. That doesn’t mean we have engaged our will in a resolved way, though.

Continue reading 2009 Appearing Through The Fog