Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Fighting with my God Posted by Hello

"There's a hunger in my heart I will never give away" - Joseph Arthur Posted by Hello

I want to be a girl at play!

Here's an inspirational website to look through for all those who want to pursue their dreams (don't worry, it's not a girls only club)

Moving up in the world

I've been promoted! I'm now Lead Newstand Seller at B&N. It's full time, a $1 raise, a good benefits package, & I'll be working less nights/weekends (woo hoo!). B&N has the largest newstand in Holland & 70% of our sales are from the newstand so it's definitely more responsibility. When the district manager comes to the store to "check up on us" he goes straight to the newstand & to the kids section to see how we're doing. So there's some pressure there but it should definitely be a more interesting position than standing behind the customer service booth for 8 hour shifts. I actually feel pretty honored because supposedly there were others that were interested in the position (also from within) but the manager wanted to offer it to me first. It surprises me because I'm the newest one working there but I'm grateful too because we really need good benefits. It's been too long since we've gone to the dentist and Husband was telling me just the other day that his back tooth is hurting & he's known for quite awhile that he needs to get his wisdom teeth out. Plus, there's always the stress of a possible unplanned pregnancy with the kind of crummy benefits we have now that doesn't cover pregnancy, labor/delivery, etc... So all & all, it's a good move for our family. I know that's true & I am excited about the position but I have some concerns too...

What does this mean for my dreams to counsel? Does this mean that needs to be put on hold right now & if that's true, why? I don't understand. I went through all that schooling & more importantly, I have such passion & certainty that I want to be a therapist. It doesn't make sense. I'm feeling the pressure of getting into the counseling field & getting some years of experience under my belt before we have kids. It feels like that keeps getting pushed back & how much more will that be put on hold when we have kids? I want to be at home with our kids but I also want to counsel some evenings or other times when Husband or other family can be at home. I know I'm speaking about unborn children but we definitely hope it's in God's plan for us to have kids in a few years & I know that will drastically change every part of our life. Now seems to be the prime time to get counseling experience only it's not happening.
Today's my day off & I had planned on pursuing some counseling jobs & making some phone call to agencies in the area but now that I'm taking this Lead position at B&N I feel like what's the point? I need to take this job b/c we need the benefits.

Another thing I've been thinking about with this newstand job is the irony of it all. I'm going to be in charge of organizing & displaying the very images of so many of these magazines that I'm so against. (Sorry about the soapbox but here I go...) And it's not just all the varieties of pornography that B&N sells, which I'm certainly intensely against, but it's the majority of all the other magazines with scantily clad women on the covers & throughout the magazines no matter what they're selling. I'm not necessarily upset with those in the marketing departments that are using images of women to sell anything & everything. Ok, well, they do sicken me but the truth is they're in the business of sales & only giving us what we as a society ask for, seek out & encourage by the # of sales we make a day/week/month, etc. That's what saddens me. These airbrushed images is what our culture/society deems is beautiful & sexy & perfection. And I fall into it. I hate what power it has over me & how I feel about myself & my body. I hate how much power it has in my relationships with both men & women. How damaging it is to not only young girls & young boys but all women & men. We're all affected. We're all set up for disappointment & failure & unrealistic expectations because of this system. This is not ok with me! And yet, I'm in charge/responsible for the largest newstand in Holland.

What if, as a company, B&N took a stand against selling pornography in their newstands? They'd never do it, they make too much money off it. The magazines can only be sold if they're still in their wrapper & you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't be) at how many we throw away because they've been removed from wrapper & taken to a secluded spot in the store (too often to the kids section). It makes me sick to think that as a corporation, we'd never stop selling it. How can this be about money when so much of our souls & minds & bodies are at stake? And why stop at pornographic magazines? How about all the romance novels that so many women are addicted to & as such can have so much to do with escapism, fears of intimacy, & unrealistic portrayals of men & women, relationships & sex? And have you checked out some of the bookcovers in the teen section? It's maddening the images young women are called to live up to. And yes, I know that as Christians, we aren't supposed to be affected by these things. We're to be in the world but not of it. But I'm affected just by being in the world. I'm affected by walking down the street, going to the beach, working at B&N, by all the unsolicited, unwelcome, unwanted junk mail in my email inbox, etc., etc., etc. I could go on & on but I won't. This has turned out to be a really long post. Thanks for "listening". I guess I'm just wondering, can one woman, at one newstand in Holland, Michigan ever truly make a difference? It feels like a modern day David & Goliath story.
One last really cool thing... B&N carries the Mars Hill Review in their newstand! How random & how wonderful!! I was so excited to find out it's growing in its circulation! You can check out the website here... (www.marshillreview.com) to read more about it or come on into the store to read the latest issue. I always love to see a familiar face at work! Ok, no more, I have to end this post!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Deflated tires & garage sale clothes

I got a letter from Hope College today. It's been over a month since I applied for their Counseling Center therapist position. No matter how much I tried to follow up, I never was able to get very far in standing out from all the other hundreds of applicants. So anyway, the letter said exactly as I expected it to, "thanks for your interest, blah blah blah, we've decided to go with another applicant, blah blah blah". With each rejection & each struggle to get into the counseling field, I feel more & more deflated. Why does it have to be this hard? Why isn't there a place for me when I know I have so much to offer? When will someone give me a chance?
It’s ok at Barnes & Nobles but I’m feeling restless. This can’t be all there is for me. How depressed I would be if I had nothing more to look forward to then this. I feel so discontent, so incomplete, so held back at such a job as this. I have my M.A. in counseling & I’m working at the same job I worked at in Maryland 5 years ago. It doesn’t feel right. I want more. I want to counsel. I have so much more to offer than answering phones & finding books for customers. BN is another safety net for me. Yes, it’s good for me to be making money – even though it is only $6.50/hour. And it’s the best (& only) retail job I’d want to work at. But come on – I have my Masters & I’m working minimum wage! It’s actually not about the money. I’m thankful to be making some $ after a long dry spell of not being able to find any work. It’s more about what this kind of job is doing to my spirit, my creativity & the very livelihood of my heart. It feels like a deadening job to me. I want a job that makes me feel alive & is an outpouring of my creativity. I want to be able to use my gifts & grow & be challenged. I don’t want to just go thru the motions. I want to be in holy & sacred places with people – in their story, in their pain & struggle, in their growth & in their healing. I want to be involved in research & writing. God has created & developed within me gifts & passions & desires. They’re put on hold at BN. I’ve quickly grown bored at BN. But I’m not going to quit. I need a FT job to move into before I leave BN (don’t get nervous, Hubby). I do think it’s important for me to take notice of how I’m feeling though & the effect this job is having on me. I’m not meant to work at BN for the rest of my life. If I enjoyed it, there’d be no reason for me to move on.
Something that both my husband and I struggle with is moving into scary unknown places & it seems to be particularly revealing in the career arenas of our life. We’re not risking much at our present jobs. It’s easy to put our dream jobs on the backburner for something to pursue later. But I don’t want to wait until later (who knows when that will be). I know if a counseling position opened up for Husband he’d jump on it & say goodbye to the Java without a 2nd thought. But it’s just not happening for either of us so far. Do we need more courage, more trust, more leaps of faith, more utter dependence on God, more scary, risky steps into the unknown? Something has to push us out of our comfort zones. This is not the life I want to live. Life is so short & we only get one go at it. I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting time or missing out. I don’t want to be so hidden & unknown & “put on the shelf”.

I feel like those clothes hanging in my closet that I can’t fit into anymore.


A fact of life: people come & go in our lives. But do they ever really leave us? Sure, we may not be in touch for years; we may never see them again, but are they still with us? On our hearts, in our thoughts, locked within our bodies? What will it take to set them free, to set ourselves free? Do certain people stay with us despite an active present relationship because the relationship had no clear-cut ending or a lack of closure? Because it's still left undone despite years of disconnect? If you were given the opportunity to connect with people that are in your life no more, but were once an important part of your life, would you? What would you say that you always wished you could say? What if we could clear up the regrets we have in our life. What if we were blessed by someone in our past giving us their gift of forgiveness? What if we were more free to move into our present relationships with more authenticity and courage and vulnerability because we finally found closure from past relationships & past wounds that hold us back?

Perhaps God puts people on our mind and in our heart for a reason. Why are there people from my past, people I haven't been in touch with for 5 or 10 years, who I can't get out of my mind? And why today & yesterday and this past week have they so consumed my thoughts? I can't know for sure until I move forward and connect with these people. But how scary is that! How vulnerable that makes me feel. I don't know the response I'll get & I can't control that. That's the key word - control. The very thing I so need to let go of in so many aspects of my life.

Do people do this? Do they just call someone from their past out of the blue one day to say I'm sorry or how are you or I don't know why I'm calling but you've been on my mind? And if God has put these people on my mind for a particular reason, why couldn't He have put ME on the minds of these people so THEY would be the ones to make the first step? That would be so much easier! But I'm not necessarily called to what's easy. I need out of my comfort zones. It feels so dangerous but I know it could lead to great healing and freedom.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The beauty of reality

I found this on a website, written by a Dave Winer. Whoever you are, thank you for your words. I need to read this every day to remind myself...

About beauty in women

I had a flash of insight on a flight from Boston to Seattle last week on American Airlines. I picked up the inflight magazine and leafed through it. It had been a while since I had done that, as its been a while since I watched television. This time I noticed how incredibly polished all the pictures are, how devoid of humanity. In contrast to the pictures you see on weblogs, they are so perfect, but so lifeless. Then I considered the writing. It also is perfectly polished and totally soul-less. Now according to some these are the most beautiful photographs and writing, but to me they are the least beautiful.

I like photos taken by people with weblogs. I like weblog writing, rough and rambly, even angry and reckless. See, I think people expressing themselves honestly is where beauty comes from. We all need love, to be heard, appreciated, admired, cared for, but so few of us accept that we're entitled to it. We see our imperfections and want to erase them. But when I see an imperfection, I see something real, and to me that's beautiful. I'm not just saying that, I didn't feel that way when I was 24, but now that I'm 48, that's what's inside me. I don't love women for the attributes that the inflight magazines idealize, quite the opposite. I find the airbrushed, silicon-corrected bodies to be worse than ugly, they suck life out of all they come in contact with. Beauty is in the reality, in the expression of reality.

I don't really know why some women like to dress up, wear clothes that call attention to themselves, say silly things that I don't understand, spend hours getting ready to go out, cleaning everything and then cleaning again. I like that kind of stuff, but it kind of scares me. In a way I wish women were more like men. But on the other hand, I'm glad that they're not.

But please -- why does it bother so many women that some women like to be feminine, that this way of expressing themselves is threatening to them? They seem to confuse their girlishness with the idealized form of beauty. Hey, the women I love aren't like that. But get this, they aren't men either. They're different. And dammit I'm glad they are because that leaves me room to be who I am, a hairy guy with a big laugh. They can make more money than me, they can be smarter than me, and at the same time they can wear high heels and perfume and go out with their friends, and laugh a lot and watch Legally Blonde and think that's pretty good stuff. I watched The Godfather and felt that way. And we can go see Casablanca together and think that's it's great that there's more than one way to be, and feel safe that it's great to be who we are and nothing more and nothing less.

So many people need to hear this. The inflight magazine view of the world is a lie. Nothing is like that. Don't measure yourself against that. And do what you enjoy, and what you can do, and then and only then will you be beautiful. And don't worry so much about the little things, even the ones that seem really big. The things you think are imperfect are the things that make you so pretty.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Working girl

Finally! I got a job! I started at Barnes & Noble on Tuesday. So far the people I work with are great & it seems to be a fun place to work. Now that I have a job & am bringing in some income Husband and I can dream about the kind of counseling business we want & begin plugging away at making that a reality. Today we registered our counseling business name -- Sacred Space Counseling -- along with Husband's photography business -- Broken Glory Pictures. Now we're legit. That was easy. Now the hard part -- getting the word out that we're counselors & getting some clients...

We are celebrating our anniversary on Saturday. Not sure what we're doing... Husband has planned a surprise for me. I'm so blessed to have him as my hubby! I look forward to spending Saturday with him. I'm doing better about the whole no-longer-a-bride blues. I think it had to do more with feeling like I didn't have much going on in my life... didn't have a job, missing friends that are far away & not feeling as connected to people here as I'd like to. I know it takes time but it's been hard. Getting the BN job lifted my spirits greatly.

I'm excited about what God has in store for us. I dream big & have so many passions and desires & directions I want to go in but right now nothing is clear. I feel like time isa-wasting & I want to get this party started but who knows what's around the corner for us.

My nieces & nephew have arrived to do a lemonade stand... It's a hot one today. Summer has arrived. Stop by if you can. My niece makes a mean chocolate chip cookie & the lemonade is freshly squeezed.