Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Making Sense of Things

So, what's my problem?

Well, that is the problem--it (my problem) is undefined or undefinable. It leaves one pondering perpetually and actually promotes the idea that some situations are not figureoutable. Some things are just the way they are- not logical, workable, or rooted in things that make sense.

I was sharing a dilemma regarding my family treating me poorly with my past boss sometime ago. After hearing me say, "I guess God is teaching me something here (not sure what)." She said, "Erin, sometimes shit just happens. You don't deserve this or have not brought it on yourself."

My old boss is a member of the clergy and she has a relatively sane approach to life. So this perspective threw me for a loop. I have always been able to cope with things by saying this mantra-"God must want me to learn something here". Now what? Where do I put this dilemma-- how do I make sense of it. I can't just leave it there not making any sense-- can I?

How does one achieve alignment, a sense of direction, achieve hope in this barren abyss?

Well intuitively I know the answer--Let go of it- even though it doesn't make sense yet. Be kind to myself-even though others are judging or putting me down. Trust that God is with me and he loves me --even though...... Accept that things don't always make sense.

From a very young age we try to make sense of things. Our brains work hard to understand the world around us. We pull bits of information from different places and can logically connect the dots. It is in our nature. I think that is why it is hard for me to let go in these situations. My brain believes there is an explaination or a solution or a common sensical answer that will put my mental energy at ease upon the knowing. Letting go requires a stop to all this working and a real decision to put it aside-- not easy stuff.

Here is an example of how our brain seeks to make sense of things, can you read it?

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. ceehiro.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I have been thinking a lot about my words and actions-- how they tumble out of me and what relationship they have to one another. I have found, that in my most recent past (years) my words and actions have been out of alignment. This of course, suggests some kind of conflict within me.

This circumstance both intrigues me and stymies me for I know that my happiness is directly related to how I manage this alignment.
So how do you align words and actions? At the time I say the words they seem good or actually are good but the follow through is hard.

It seems like either toning down the words to reflect the real deal or summoning up the will power to follow my inner wisdom is necessary.

I am tired of the exhaustion that comes from the constant back and forth. I want rest. I want to feel fulfilled.

Even though it is small, I have felt great alignment with my Lenten promise of giving up sugar. It has been difficult to keep this promise-- but each time I do, I feel good and feel like I have been true to myself. This is just one example. Now, I need to keep other promises I have made to myself. This is where I pray for strength.

The Concept of Should

There are days when I say I should do this or that and I just get depressed. I have this theory that if you say, "I should do that," it means you are not gonna do it. This communication style nudges me into a passive place. I also use this method when I need to beat myself up -- keeping me in a guilt cycle.

I have decided not to use that word while communication with myself. Luckily, I have a lick of sense and already learned not to use it with others :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Engaging Fun

I had the good fortune to be let out of work early to collect the kids while Barry is visiting family in South Carolina (his mom is in critical condition). Quinn, Kye and I were in wait mode anticipating the time to pick up Alea after tutoring. As I was looking around, noticing the turkey vulture up above, hearing birds singing songs and watching Kye swing, I decided to invite Kye to a jump on the trampoline. Kye was shocked that I was going to jump. He thought it was possible that I would watch him jump but exclaimed, "Your gonna jump Mom?!" as I straddled the netting to get in the inner net of the trampoline. I said, "Sure am!". Kye excitedly climbed up mischievously thinking that he was going to jump hard so it would make me go way high. We had a blast. Quinn joined in the fun adding gymnastics to his feats--doing things that I must admit, I dared not attempt.

As I pondered this experience afterward, I realized that I was engaging in play. For some of you, this may be an everyday occurrence, but for me it has been a long time coming. For the past couple of years, I have let my troubles carry me or weigh me down depending on the circumstances-- a sense of being on hold.

To be truthful, it has always been a bit of a challenge for me to truly play, I was given a lot of responsibility as a child and it has carried over into my adult life. Knowing this, I have purposely gotten jobs that require me to play as a matter of course. I also actively play with the kids, in addition to goofing off a little each day.

Now, I hope you don't get the wrong idea. I am a person who can have fun, tell silly jokes and relax. But somehow there has been a missing element. And today, I got a glimpse at what may be at the root of it.

You see, I am a very relationship oriented person. I enjoy and love people, and much of my happiness is derived by being with these folks-- doing whatever. But today, I got a taste of what it was like to do things motivated by me at my whim. I cannot even say that I would want to jump every day, but I wanted to jump, so I jumped today.

So, as I was doing dishes, I asked myself, "Erin, what would YOU do to have fun?". I came up with a short list of options and it is my hope to carry these out sometime soon:

1. Play games with adults-- love this-- everything from Win, Lose or Draw to Boggle, Murder Mystery parties to Mexican Train, card games to lawn bowling.

2. Go to the $1 movies (something light hearted).
3. See plays regularly.

4. Take walks downtown and bring camera.

5. Lay around on the hammock.

6. Play tennis with friends.

So if you are game for any of these items, let me know. I will be engaging in fun soon-- you could be there too!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Found Job! Will Travel!

Well, I am among the employed again! This comes as a great relief and I am so excited about this new opportunity. My job will be to drive this van from place to place and connect with individuals that need benefit services- things like taxes, childcare, medical and other benefits.
I want to thank everyone who sent leads about jobs, treated to lunch in order to get me out of the house and gave opportunities to earn a little cash during this time. Each of these acts of kindness were not unnoticed. I know I am surrounded by friends and those who love me.
We will be living on less during this next phase in life and I am encouraged that we can do so.
Road trip anyone? Just kidding-- this van is for official purposes only. :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I went to a lecture at the Columbus Mennonite Church here in Columbus. The lecture was given by David Kline, an Amish farmer from Holmes County here in Ohio. I was hoping to get some tidbits about how to garden better, simpler and more organically. David was a delightful speaker and very refreshing. I learned more about actual farming than gardening but it was still interesting.

As the lecture began, a member of the church was invited to come up and lead us in two songs. The first song was sung acapella and must have been in 5 part harmony. It was quite amazing and it did not appear that there were "special" singers in the group. In fact, when asked how many were not from the Amish/Mennonite tradition, most hands went up. Many folks came from the food co-op (Clintonville Community Market) or some other groups. The second song was Morning has Broken and I belted that one out (remembering my favorite artist-- Cat Stevens).

The lecture was interesting in terms of learning more about Amish culture. David had many jokes and many one liners that caught my attention. I could not capture them all but I wrote down a few:

  • Best health insurance is to eat food grown on fertile soil.

  • Plowing on a 75 degree day is pure pleasure-- it is almost sinful.

  • We grow the most wonderful oatmeal-- sometimes, I don't even cook it-- just eat it straight. If you want some, come by the farm -- I think it is 70 or 80 cents a pound.

  • Work is a privilege.

  • Always be careful about statistics. (Told a story about how it was reported in the paper that folks in Holmes county are less healthy. He knew that could not be true given that he knows that there is less incidence of heart attacks and other ailments. Turns out they said this in the paper because Holmes County has a low participation rate in health clubs).

David has written a book called (among others):

If interested you can read a review of the book here.

The big concept he shared at the lecture is that by having horses and cows that eat the hay, create manure, feed the soil -- all the while working the farm, you get the best yield and best product.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Making of Stonehenge

My Aunt Kathleen sent this video to me in an email. As St. Patrick's Day approaches I am reminded of my Celtic heritage and this video shares the mystery of moving heavy blocks for the creation of Stonehenge . There are other sites where large block stones are erected in Ireland, England and Scotland alike. Stonehenge is located in England.
I have often thought there is mystical energy at these sites. I visited one in Ireland that had an ancient wisdom about it. It has also been known to be a place of healing. And, I think it is downright beautiful.
I am fascinated by how things work and how to do things with simple tools; utilizing the simplest method. This video showcases both these qualities.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


So, I was a church today-- singing, praying, sharing the Catholic ways with the kids and all was fine until I get to the communion part. You know the part where we respond and say, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

You see, when I speak the absolute truth, I begin to cry. It is a direct signal for me to pay attention to what I just said and try to understand the meaning. I cried after I said these words. I am crying now as I write them.

I know that God does not see me as unworthy. It is my admission that I don't feel worthy and I know that he will heal me- there is no question there. Now will open up to him and let him do his work in me?

I have been on this healing journey lately and He is most definitely with me. He has been with me the whole time and I have been aware of Him there.

In the past (and when I say past, I mean my whole life) I have been afraid to be silent enough to hear Him. I was worried that if I actually listened to Him, He may ask me to do something beyond my capabilities. I kept the noise level in my life just enough that I could avoid Him if I chose and most times I went that route.

What is weird is that I have been able to hear Him lately and it is not scary at all. At times the message comes in a way I did not expect but the message is one of acknowledgement and assurance. Who doesn't need assurance?

In many ways I walk in absolute faith. I really know that everything is going to be OK. Those who know me best can attest to this. But in other ways I don't always walk in trust-- it has been a missing piece for me. Taking the risk to not only receive God's grace but listen to his call. That is my next opportunity.

He is in the process of healing me.

What the?!??!!

I don't know what is wrong with me, but as soon as I contemplate letting go of my blog, stuff keeps pouring out of me.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Made BLT sandwiches last night and my oldest son Quinn said, "Keep 'em comin' Mom". That is the nearest he has come to a compliment in awhile. I do most things without any expectation of accolades (except for demanding a polite thank you) but it is sure nice when one comes unprovoked.

He does this on occasion like him saying that his guitar was the best Christmas gift ever-- but most of his connections are more subtle. Today he said, "I started a new book Mom." That was a very indirect signal to let me know that I could get the same book from the library and read along with him. Having supersonic intuitive powers helps in this family-- luckily, I have the good fortune to have them.

Cooped Up

This is the chicken coop I would like to make. It is portable, sensible and may be easy enough to make construction wise. I have been wanting chickens (and their fresh eggs) for about a year now. A friend has some hens to give me and I just need a home for them. There are many fun designs out there but this one seems doable--even for the constructionally challenged. Other designs can be found at BackyardChickens.com.

Soon I will be posting a wish list if people have things lying around the house and are willing to part with them. Most of the list will entail materials for this project. So, if you have anything that could lend to the success of this endeavor leave a comment or email me. I believe in putting things into the universe and seeing where that takes you.......

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thunder, God and Bowling

I was looking through an old journal and I came across a notation of one of Kye's perspectives on the world.

Mom: "Kye did you hear the thunder last night?"

Kye: "My ears don't work when I am sleeping."

Mom: "Ah well, it was loud almost like God was bowling up there. It was so loud I bet he got a strike!"

Kye: "Yeah, because God IS like the oldest person."

Saving Blog

Of late, I have been considering ending my blog. I am not certain what I will do about that yet. But, I wanted to know if anyone knows how to save the content within the blog on your computer?-- A way to save posts, pictures, links etc. Any advice here would be helpful-- thanks!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


OK what is the cruel trick that Girl Scout Cookies come out at Lent time?

The interesting thing is that I am detecting the smallest amount of sugar in food. The other day I made a homemade pot pie. A lovely flaky crust, rice, chicken, loads of veggies. Yum! And, as I took each bite, I could taste the hint of sugar in the crust. Good stuff.
The Chariot

Thursday, March 5

The Chariot is the representation of victory and a reminder that, through dedication and perseverance, great obstacles can be overcome. This card indicates that you are in control of your destiny and that your will is strong. Your refusal to surrender is your great attribute at this time. You will soon find yourself in a difficult situation that requires you to be in complete control of your actions and confident in your abilities.
A friend on facebook has an application that gives you a tarot card reading. This is what came up for me. It has been a long time since my will has been strong and I have had a feeling of control in terms of my destiny, but I can honestly say, I am getting wind of that notion.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Don't You Hate it When....

Don't you hate it when:

A guy continues to pursue you even though you have subtly and not so subtly indicated that you are not interested. He tries to interest you in everything from outings to free pizza, offers to buy girl scout cookies or other ploys to connect. Now those of you who know me, know that I am very straight forward; a shoot from the hip kinda girl. I consider myself gentle but clear. There was a moment, that if he laid off, and gave things time I may have considered a friendship down the line. We may meet at a function or something- but now, it is just too awkward. I hate it when guys don't accept no. It puts me in the position of literally needing to be rude--not answering emails or phone calls to send an even clearer message. I hate when that happens (cause really I am a nice gal).

Don't you hate it when:

A driver traveling in the opposite lane of you motions for you to go, pressuring you to follow their lead?-- causing, if you do their bidding, a blockage in traffic. Their gestures are emphatic; they fully expect you to do what they are telling you to do. Now, I am no pansy, I can say no to the situation, but I don't even want to be in the position of telling them what to do in the process. Like saying, "No, you go ahead!" Why can't they wait for me to indicate to them what I need? There are times when a helping hand as you are circling the drain is a very welcome circumstance- go ahead and pull me out, but this does not smack of that. I hate it when people think they are being nice to you by forcing an issue and wonder why you are not grateful when you never asked for their "intervention".

Don't you hate it when:

You are the volunteer troop leader and you find yourself 10 minutes behind to an event, heart palpitating, saying a little prayer that it will all work out (and it does) and you show up to receive the scorn and consternation from another one of the mothers-- full fledged rolling of the eyes, stomping, angry tone-- no "are you OK?" or "Hey Erin, what is up?-- normally the troop mother is the early one." I hate it when people don't give people the benefit of the doubt. We are all busy people and things happen. I tend to beat myself up enough for the boatload of us, no need to pile on the criticism. I don't need that kind of negativity. This reminds me to not jump to conclusions about others.

The beautiful thing is that when I talk about these issues, a weight is lifted. I don't have a reason to hold on to my anger or dismay in these circumstances.

A Time of No

It has been an interesting period of my life these past 1-2 months. I find myself saying "no" a lot. The "no" has come in many forms:

1. I have said no to 3 jobs because they could not pay enough for me to make the mortgage.

2. I am saying no to friendships that are quasi friendships--you know the ones where you give more than they do. I need to be around others that give me energy and I am fortunate to have many friends that do just that.

3. I am filtering out distractions--making choices to avoid circumstances or situations that remind me of the past.

4. I am saying no to sugar and processed sugar foods-- did you know that Raisin Bran has 21 grams of sugar? My son Quinn pointed that one out as we were comparing cereals in the grocery isle(unfortunately, Captain Crunch has less- hmmm).

5. I am saying no to advances from the opposite sex, even though in some cases, they are
persistent-- I may blog more on this.

6. I have been saying no to the kid's constant requests for this and that. They don't quite understand how this whole layoff thing works- they just know that somehow mom makes it all work. I am sure we will be better/stronger for the little sacrifices we are making.

Even though this has been a time of no, it has also been a great time of welcome. I have two lunch dates with friends this week, enjoyed company with my Aunt Ginger last night, planning a get together with my APO buddies and engaged with a church after a long hiatus. I am quilting, learning to play the guitar, cleaning up the house-removing clutter and getting really clear about my budget. The really good thing is that my credit is rather good and I intend to keep it that way if I have the power to do so. In so many ways, it has been a time of "yes" too.

At the root of things, I have been asking, "Erin, what is it that you want?" I am capable of dealing with loads of negative stuff, but why do it if you don't have too? Why not choose the very best, most fun, most rewarding path?