Saturday, 8 March 2014

How Competing and Comparing Wrecks Stuff

 Image Source: Pinterest

It's not much of a secret to anyone that spends time with me that I struggle with housekeeping. I'm not a neat freak - I'm far from it. I like things to look beautiful, that's the interior designer in me, but I've got no problem leaving my breakfast out on the table all day long, for the mere reason that I forget it's there - I'm way too busy thinking about how to rearrange the artworks on the walls, or what cushion I'll sew next, or how much better the room would look like if I changed the furniture around. Again. This year has been a couple of months of battling again my lack of cleanliness at times, and trying to do routines to help my home stay at a tidier level, complete with 10 emails a day from the FlyLady, and purchasing giant tomes on housekeeping.

Honestly, I do want to change. Sincerely, Sarah. 

I was driving around town recently thinking about all this and about the "people", who knows who they are, that have lovely clean homes where you could just pop in any old time and the floor wouldn't have crumbs and stuff would be put away. Where they've done their hair and their kids do what they are told. And I thought to myself "There's just no way I can compete with that."
It's a funny thought. Yet I realised that I often think it. "I can't compete". 
Which led me to think - why? Why do I feel that life is a competition? Why do I want to win at having the tidiest home, the most stylish living room, the most loved kids, the most laid-back attitude? (HA - can't have the last with the first ones by the way, EVER. FYI. I'm crazy.)

I've been thinking that particularly as women we either try to compete with other women, or we compare ourselves with other women - kind of both a different version of the same thing.

When I'm feeling like I have to Compete, I'm actually pushing another person down so that I can get above them. I'm wanting them to be less than, so I can be more than. I'm trying to make myself feel better by being better than someone else.
When I find myself Comparing, I'm pushing myself down. I'm making myself less, and making them more. I'm putting them on a pedestal, and I'm seeing only one side of them as a person. I'm putting a giant brick wall in-between her and I, destroying any hope for a decent relationship.

So I'm now trying to remember, when I find myself doing these things, to change the script. To write a different story.
Instead of Competing, I'm going to Champion. I will champion other women to be the best they can be. I will praise them, in front of them and to others. I will speak lovingly and generously about those things which I so admire in them. I will encourage them to be proud of who they are, their unique gifts, and who God made them to be.
Instead of Comparing, I'm going to Consider. I will consider that person, and her life, and her situation. I will see her as a whole person. Instead of comparing my clothes to her clothes, my hair to hers, my bible knowledge to hers, my home to hers, my kids to hers - I will consider her as a woman, wearing many different hats, and I will think about how I can care for her better. I will consider that while some areas of her life may appear to be wonderful, that there will be hurt and pain in her heart just as their is in mine. That she will need friends and relationships where she can be honest, just as I do. That there will be things in me that she may feel inadequate about if she chooses to compare, just as I do. Comparing gets me nowhere I want to go. The better path is that of grace, of love, and of mercy. And if I find myself comparing I want to catch myself, and choose instead to smile, look in her eyes, and ask her how she is, and choose to care about her answer.

I think that we try so hard sometimes to meet a certain standard, usually unattainable, and often fictional. We have an idea in our head of the "perfect" mother, or home, or attitude - not even perfect, sometimes it's just the "good" mother, home, or attitude - and we strive and strive to be this thing, without sometimes even considering whether that's right for us or not. We can be so busy - I know I can - looking to the left and the right checking out what everyone else is doing, that we forget to be present in our own life and to appreciate what we have.

The things that matter to me will not matter to other people. They'll have their own things that matter to them. We should be building our lives according to our values as individuals and as families, and thank goodness we aren't all the same - that would be terribly boring. I don't need to enforce my values on someone else, and likewise I don't need to feel threatened when I see someone doing well at something I haven't even got it in me to try.

Run your own race. Don't jump into someone else's lane and try to take over theirs. (A sporting analogy is kind of not really me, but Bianca Olthoff preached a wonderful message at the IF:Gathering conference about this and it has stuck with me.)

Here's to a year of Championing and Considering. May we really and truly know and understand Grace, for ourselves and for others.

xx Sarah

Currently reading: "Daring Greatly: how the Courage to be vulnerable transforms how we Live, Love, Parent and Lead" by Brene Brown. I just finished "Notes from a Blue Bike: The art of living intentionally in a chaotic world" by Tsh Oxenreider, and I can't recommend it highly enough - it's certainly influenced this post.

Currently listening to: "As sure as the Sun" by Ellie Holcomb. Be-a-u-tiful. The Joy the Baker podcast. The Art of Simple podcast.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Hello 2014! It's about time... and my One Word.

Hi everyone!

HUGE big long absence from me, I'm sorry not sorry, I've been busy having a lovely summer off and doing things like below:

We had a blissful holiday away camping this year. Shocking, I know. I highly recommend camping with another family with smallish kids, if you've got smallish kids. It really was a pleasure. It helps if they're lovely people too, which ours were. Hooray!

Since then it's been the hard work of settling back into life, and actually trying to do some things to make life run a bit more smoothly around here. These things take time, and to be honest I don't know how I will manage blogging and doing creative things alongside running a home and being a wife and mother. It's a juggling act and any hopes of blogging with any sort of regularity or scheduled timetable is probably unrealistic for me in this stage of life.

Last year my One Word for the year was Rest. (You can read about the whole One Word thing here, if you're interested - I'm too exhausted to explain it.) (Ha.) I needed that word. It was very, very good that I chose a word to fall back on, to focus me, to remind me of what and who I needed to be and do that year.

I feel like I learned a lot last year, and I have some regrets and some lessons I'd like to allow to change me. It was good to learn to rest. I needed to know that I did not need to have a social engagement on every single day of the week, morning and afternoon. It was excellent to cull that right back. It was good to learn to take holidays and be intentional about scheduling them in. It was good to not just say YES to everything I felt excited about, or had a heart for, and instead to say No, because saying No meant saying Yes to resting.

But the result of saying No a lot, and to staying home a lot, and to not being social, is that I did unintentionally cut myself off from people a little. I didn't make as much effort as I had hoped in some special friendships. There are people in my life who I wish I'd given a little more attention to, or made an attempt to sacrifice a bit of me time in order to have a bit of us time. I got a little lonely and isolated without intending to.

So in praying and pondering a word for this year, I'd like to announce:

Share.

Not in the social media sense. I hope that this one-word will not mean that I share what I eat for dinner every night on facebook. (It won't, don't worry)

In 2014 I'd like to let people in. To share my life with others. To share my heart. To share my faith. And to share what I have.

In practical terms so far this will hopefully mean having more people around the table for meals in my home; being more intentional about connecting with girlfriends I love and having meaningful conversation with them; continuing to be in my community in my kids schools and kindergarten, talking and listening and being myself; and being open to sharing the things that God lays on my heart to anyone who wants to listen or to whoever seems right.

This will take bravery and courage on my part. It will also take good boundaries and a good dose of Godly security in myself. It will take regular time with God to be full enough to be able to overflow for others. And it is important that I share first with my husband and children, the absolute most important people in my world.

How about anyone else? Did you choose a one-word?
(As an aside, I find it easier to comment on Blogger if I have a Gmail account and I'm signed in before I start to write. Otherwise for some weird and completely irritating reason, my comment disappears. I'm sorry it's not more user friendly. I may switch to another provider at some stage if I can get my head around it!)

xx Sarah

Currently reading: Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life - Shauna Niequist. An altar in the world - Barbara Brown Taylor. The In-between - Jeff Goins. Homestyle magazine.

Currently listening to: The Art of Simple Podcast, Home - Kim Walker and Skyler Smith.

Currently watching: Doctor Who Season 3, the new Big Bang Theory, NCIS season 4 and the new season, Kirsties Vintage Home.



Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Tuesdays Unwrapped #1


Tuesday is our busiest day. Swimming lessons, kindergarten pick ups and drop off's repeated twice more than usual. With December comes Christmas parties and shared lunches, and so my baby and my little three year old man had a more exciting day than usual yesterday.

I love to watch him. In the pool, unsure about being there without mum to cling to - his first time alone with just the other kids. He was so calm, standing next to another little buddy the same age and size as him. His buddy slapped his flutterboard and made a splash, my boy did the same. His buddy behaved well, my boy did the same - thank the Lord. 
And can I mention the utter JOY that appears on the face of a three year old boy when offered a lollipop at the end? Is there anything in life as an adult which gives us the same spontaneous delight? May we be granted more of those moments, may we be awake and alive to see them.

At the party it was all balls, running, more balls - no stopping for food, not for me thanks Mum. I'm far too busy having the time of my life. So I sat with his baby sister, playing with the puppets and making her laugh and laugh.
Oh my heart, baby giggles, have mercy.

As we get in the car he says "That was fun, mum!" The second time in two days. (the first time was after walking home with him on his bike, a near-death experience I will never, ever repeat!) I love hearing from his pure little rascally heart that he's had a good time. Too often parenting feels like a catalouge of disappointments, a list of things we couldn't do because we were tired, busy, grumpy. I'm thankful for being handed grace this week, in these moments of fun and laughter for my boy.


In the car on the way home his head bobs, bobs, bobs, until he gives in. I carry him, fast asleep, and lay him on the couch. Turn on Playschool for some background white noise. Watch him completely innocent, mouth slightly open, away to dreamland and exhaustion from a busy morning's work and play.

I can't keep up with his energy, his enthusiasm for life - his boundless curiosity and playfulness and outright mischief. He is a gift to me, a funny and loud and dirty ball of endless movement. And I surely do breathe an utterly exhausted sigh of Thank God when he's asleep, finally.

Today I write as part of Emily Freeman's "Tuesdays Unwrapped". In her words, we write about "Anything that causes you to pause and celebrate the moment. Not what will be or what is to come, but what is real and true this day: the messy, the lovely, and the unexpected. Share a photo, a story, or anything that offers a glimpse into your own journey of discovering the gifts in the midst of the ordinary."

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

What I'm into, November 2013 edition

November, what a month! My baby girl is ONE. One, people. She has brought our family so much joy. What a treasure.

Here's what I'm into this month, all categorised for those of you who are even remotely interested in how I spend my time:

Books
  • The Harry Potter Series, again. I am such a Potter nut. I love it. Whenever I just want to enjoy reading for the sake of reading, I end up back here. This latest bought started when I picked up the Chamber Of Secrets at a secondhand shop. Then I got Order of the Phoenix at the library book sale. And on it goes.  Don't knock it till you've tried it.
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I got this one out of the library upon the recommendation of Jen Hatmaker in Seven, and Shauna Niequist in Bread and Wine. It is great, but I was overly optimistic that I could get through a book like this. I will be getting it out to finish when on summer holiday next month.
  • Interupted by Jen Hatmaker. Enjoying, not yet finished. 
  • Reading Bread and Wine again on Kindle (By Shauna Niequist). I read this one in the flesh (Paper?!) when I bought it for a friend in April, so I am reading it now in a weird order, finding the bits I liked and the recipes I wanted to try. Roasted broccolli OH MY how you have changed my life. 
  • I started and finished Nice girls don't change the world by Lynne Hybels in the space of about a half hour. It's a small book, it's a life-changing book. I was leant it years ago by people who said "This reminds me of you". I felt exhausted at the thought of it. I thought the book would be telling me to stop being nice and start being domineering and bossy and forthright and to go out there and do Important Things. Turns out, most of the book is spent talking about being less busy doing all the things you think a "Nice" christian woman should do. I should have read this years ago. (There's that should word). If I had taken the messages to heart I could have saved myself a lot of stress. Anyway. I'm glad I read it and I will read it again and copy out passages. 
  • I started, optimisticly, A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren. I'm reading this one as it's one Sarah Bessey recommends. Sounds good so far and I'm hoping I can stick with it.
Movies & TV

Images via Caitlyn Murphy on Pinterest
  • Doctor Who - finally got my next disc - we are at the start of season 3. Poor Doctor, without Rose. *Sob* And can we STOP for a moment and talk about the 50th anniversary special?!?!? Seriously, on a superficial level - I want Rose's hair. On a non-superficial level, how dare my children all decide to cry and not sleep on this most auspicious night. I watched this in spurts - missed the start, watched the bits with the machine that goes DING, missed some more, caught Rose in the shed, missed the stuff with the bomb, saw the end. Then watched it through from the beginning recorded. There just aren't any words for how much I loved it. LOVED it.
  • New Girl on DVD, sometimes I love it and feel so happy when I watch it, sometimes I just feel like I want it to end. At the moment I'm in the just-want-it-to-end state. In fact, I returned my last DVD without finishing it because I was so Meh. Some other time I'll be in the right space for it. 
  • Les Miserables. Another finally moment, I missed this at the movies because of a new baby. I just adored it. I listened to the cassette tape as a child and teenager over and over religiously. I had never see the stage show. So it was amazing to see the songs and the storyline come to life in such a beautiful and heart-wrenching fashion. 
  • I would also like to make an unashamed kids+TV plug for Tiki Tour, on every morning at 6.30am. They are currently touring our country, which is so cool, as I am learning all sorts of fascinating things about small towns in the south island! I'm very keen on visiting Oamuru now. Steampunk capital of New Zealand. 
Magazines and publications
  • If you have someone in your family or a friend who is into IT or web design, apps and suchlike - I highly recommend Offfscreen magazine. They ship around the world and it is a beautiful publication. Incredibly inspiring and interesting for those who are all technical-like. (Not me, clearly, but my husband).
  • Sweet Paul magazine. I adore this magazine. Cooking and crafting and beautiful things. It is really easy to read online and even prints out beautifully. The best thing is the current Christmas Kids issue, available as an iPad version or as a PDF. So many amazing things. SO MANY. Get it! Print it out! You'll treasure it forever. (And for anyone obsessed with miniature things, like myself, check out the adorable feature below). 
  • Flow magazine and 101 Woonideeen from the Netherlands. My lucky lucky in-laws have been overseas trotting around Europe. They are forgiven for having such a good time because they send me magazines I ask them to find. Flow magazine has an International version too, in English, but they sent me the Dutch version, which I love. (I already have the international versions). And 101 Woonideeen is the most brilliant interiors magazine. I just love the Dutch and Scandinavian style. So many cool ideas. Again, not in English, but google translate to the rescue if you ever want to know what the words say. The pictures more than make up for it. 

Crafting & Making
  • New category to share the creative things I've been into each month. Excited much! I've been making ornaments from Mollie Makes magazine - the year before last's Christmas edition! They're cute. I want to design and make my own one year so thought trying out other peoples patterns would be a good way to learn.
  • I made these car seat pillows for my kids when we went on a road trip recently. They were good but Mister 3 was grumpy, pillow or no pillow. They took a lot of time and the pattern, which I was a good honest person and paid for from etsy, just wasn't as easy to find as I'd hope for $8 US. It needed photos and clearer steps. But I'm glad I tried it.
  • I've started the Modern Patchwork Ecourse from Rachel at Smile and Wave. I made the Stars in your Eyes pillow. I mucked up piecing it together which is annoying - got one bit upside down. But it still looks ok and as it's just for my home I'm living with it. I figure that the first time I do something, I'm learning, so mistakes are okay. 
  • Trying to finish off a cross stitch from Wee Little Stitches on Etsy. They are great, easy to follow, simple - but it just all takes time. I've been working on this one since March. I've just not sat down and put serious hours into it like it needs. Aiming to get it done by Christmas but would like it done before so I can choose some more for gifts. 
General Life Loveliness


 We have had some lovely times this spring, holidays with friends, a walk around the lake in baby season, and unexpected trips back up to our hometown. Meet Lola the lamb. I know. So precious.
My wee vegetable garden is thriving due to the act of planting Borage in it. Word to the wise - this plant grows, man. It's more than a metre tall and wide. But it's done great things for the rest of the plot. Does anyone need any silverbeet, by the way?

So enough from me, what are you into this month? I'm linking up with Leigh and the lovely people who know her. Check out everyone elses posts by clicking the button - you're sure to find some Christmas gift ideas!

xx Sarah

(I can't get the button to work, but link up with Leigh here)
What I'm Into Link Up Guidelines: - See more at: http://www.leighkramer.com/#sthash.4jIie8L2.dpuf

Monday, 2 December 2013

Real life is harder than you want it to be

Image Source: Pinterest, taken from Etsy

After last week's parenting post, I spent a lot of time thinking and feeling confused about how on earth to keep writing about this wonderful and incredibly hard thing called being a parent. A friend suggested that perhaps writing in a storytelling style keeps things from sounding braggy or boastful. Which was stressful because I definitely do not want to sound any of those things! And I think she is right, the posts I benefit from the most have been personal stories, admissions of failure, of confusion, of the struggles involved in motherhood. I have actually found the "10 steps to being a better parent" posts hard to swallow, with a very small amount of exceptions.
I struggle with storytelling, because on the one hand it's something I really really want to do. On the other hand, I feel that a lot of my history that informs my life isn't my story to tell. It would be an invasion of other peoples privacy. So how do I tell some of the story, without telling the whole story, while still being authentic. Vulnerability freaks.me.out. Yet I know that it is the path forward for me in a lot of areas of my life. Don't you just love how God does that. Humph.

So this week I'm just going to lay it bare a bit, by saying that good intentions are so often just that: good intentions. We can write lists, make plans, write family purpose statements, have beautiful "We say we're sorry, we hug, we love" artwork on our walls, get up each morning determined to not say one mean thing before breakfast - and how often does it all just go to pieces within a few minutes. Lots of times.
Because - sheesh! - it's so tiring being a parent! Sleep deprivation is a killer and when you are exhausted it's so hard to follow through on anything other than to just survive. For everyone to be breathing at the end of the day.
And you know what? I think we deserve a medal every single day by just managing that.
Out of bed, clothes on everyone, food in mouths (mothers always last, if at all), lunches, out the door on time, car seat tantrums, I-don't-like-shoes/those-pants/hats/sunscreen/jackets tantrums, sign-in's, working out what to feed everyone, laundry: dear sweet Jesus help me, work, did I do enough hours, does my brain even function anymore... and that's only by about 10am.

It. Is. HARD. Really, really hard. 

So if you feel like your brain is made of cotton wool? Me too.
Feel like just quitting sometimes but know that just ain't an option? Me too.
Feel like you can't just admit any of this because people give you that look or stop talking or there's an awkward silence where you wonder if they're going to report you to someone for admitting you're having a hard time? Me too. 
Feel like every other mum has it together? Me too.
Feel like it's groundhog day and you just cannot see an end to the repetition? Me too.
Feel like just going to bed for like a whole day and a whole night without talking to anyone or having anyone touch you or ask anything of you? Me too. (Let's face it, for longer than a day).

You're okay. I'm okay. Our kids are OKAY.
You love your kids, you're trying, you're being a real person and you're doing it, you're doing parenting, and you're awesome and amazing and a superstar for it.
Go and feel GOOD about yourself. Go and tell those condescending, bullying voices in your head to SHUT UP for once while you have a cup of something that's your favourite and a plate of something else that's your favourite.
Because you will always look back on this time and be amazed that you made it through. And you're going to make it through. And so am I. And our kids will be just fine. And there's no point worrying about the "what if's" because they steal our moments from us.

Love and grace and peace and happiness from me.

xx Sarah

Friday, 29 November 2013

For all the bleeding hearts


 Today I was driving down the main street of our small town, and it was busy and bustling in the pre-Christmas rush. I was stopped at a pedestrian crossing and felt a CLUNK against my car, to look behind me and see someone had backed into me coming out of their parking space, by not checking in front of them as well as behind. The poor guy was young and flustered and apologetic, I could tell he was probably driving his parents car and possibly fairly new at it and excited to have some freedom.
Oh man am I torn up about him.
I got his number, we called him, we talked to his parents. (And by We I mean my husband, because no way can I go there). They were all very pleasant. They were in the middle of planning somebody's funeral. Oh boy.
I keep remembering what it feels like to crash your parents car. The embarrassment and the regret, the guilt, the frustration - the awful dread of having to tell them about it and knowing you can't hide it.
That poor kid! I'm like, seriously, I want to send him flowers and apologise to him for being there for him to hit. Or something.
A super lovely friend on Facebook said "Good thing he banged into compassion". 
And I will say, it's a good thing I'm not hormonal or else I'd be crying like a small child.

I have a bleeding heart. I care. I care so much that many, many times in my life I have wished to be able to not care at all. To not feel. To not hurt. To just feel nothing. 
It's hard being a carer. It's hard not being able to just watch the news like a normal person without going to bed at night with the faces of the people on it in your mind as though they were living next door to you.

The month my son was born it was a terrible news season. There had been a horrific earthquake in my birth town, Christchurch, that had killed hundreds and displaced more. The Commonwealth games were all a shambles with stands falling down in India and lots of people stressing out. There had been another horrible accident in a mine which left 29 men trapped and presumed dead. It had been a bad farming season and there were pictures of truckloads of dead lambs. It was bad. It was a few days after my boy was born that I ended up in the room with the news on and some poor bloke was being interviewed (read:ambushed) by one of the current affairs shows about a whole street that hadn't had any sewerage systems for two weeks, or something. The poor old guy was crying, crying, on television - saying "We are working as hard as we can, we can't help everyone, we are trying to get to everything but there's just too much to do". I was sobbing. Sobbing about the poor man. Crying to my husband saying "Tell me he won't commit suicide. Tell me someone loves him. I hope he has a wife and some children who love him to give him a hug." Insert ugly cry here.
Funnily enough, when my daughter was born 2 years later, I banned the news from my home during the first month.

I can't seem to care fifty percent. It either has to be zero or a hundred. For it to be zero, I have to hide you from my Facebook news feed (way better than unfriending, FYI), and not talk to you, and not ask how you are or listen if anyone else talks about you. I just cannot seem to separate myself from other peoples stuff.
I've bought the "Boundaries" book and clearly I need to actually read more than two chapters of it. But also, I am an ENFP with mercy, exhortation and discernment as my spiritual gifts. Lethal combination. Absolute killer for heartache.

So here are my tips for any other bleeding hearts out there, from my time in the trenches. (Of course take my already prescribed tip first - don't watch the news when you're pregnant/just had baby/pre-menstrual).

Let your bleeding heart lead you to prayer
If you're a follower of Christ, then first I absolutely advise you to pray, pray for the person you're thinking about, pray for the situation. Cry and beg and intercede. Even for big world events, news items, strangers - I think we don't fully understand how God uses the prayers of his saints. And I think it is one of the only ways to feel understood and to feel peace when your heart is bleeding - to take that pain to the one who created you and who truly knows how you feel. 

Care but don't carry
I'm so not an expert at this. The saying, learnt through one of the very wise leaders of our church movement, is that you can take someone's backpack, unpack it for them and help them rearrange and organise it, but you can't put it on your own back and carry it yourself. They have to carry it. Don't carry a burden that isn't yours. Care about them, love them, listen. But find a way to switch off at the end of your time with them, to a certain extent. It's not your burden to carry. Carrying someone else's stuff as well as your own is too much. It's not cold, or uncaring, to give yourself a break.

Give yourself rest time alone
When I'm feeling overwhelmed by the problems of the world and the heavy stuff going on around me, I need to be alone. I love time with people. I love talking, I love connecting, I love heavy emotional friendship full of deep and meaningful discussions. But I have to then give myself time alone, or just with my husband and kids, to recharge and rest. When I've been at my most anxious and overwrought this space has lasted weeks. Take it. Don't deny it and keep trying to be everything to everyone. You'll crash and burn. You won't really be offering them the best of you. You'll be giving them the leftovers, you'll be scraping the bottom of the barrel. I know this because I've been there - believe me, please listen. Rest. Stop. Get used to quiet. Make friends with yourself.

Make sure you have friends who care the same way about you that you care about them.
What keeps me sane is the friendships I have with women who carry and worry about me the way I carry and worry about them. When it's reciprocated, it's healthier. (This is my theory anyway and I'm sticking with it). And when it's reciprocated, you both feel less pressure, and you both know it's okay to not be in each others pockets all the time. Friends that let you knock on their door and then download a huge emotional issue without a moments warning are the best thing in the world. And then those same friends are the ones with whom I have the most fun and feel the most comfortable with. I'm blessed to have these women in my life. They mean the world to me. There aren't many of them - this is about quality, not quantity.  Find the friendships that make you feel lighter when you leave them, not heavier. And try to be that friend to people you want to be closer to. 

So now I'm going to go switch off, get some sleep, and try to forget about the poor lad and his parents car. He'll be okay. I'll be his "first car crash" story. It could be worse.
And if anyone out there is in the "I-wish-I-could-not-care-anymore" space, just let me say that I hear you, I feel you, and You can get through this. You're not alone. You are loved by God, he created you, formed you, and has a purpose for your pain. One day we'll work out what it is. Love and peace to you on this November night.

xx Sarah

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Writing as Me

One of the things that I get anxious about in regards to writing, is the fear that people think I'm representing someone, or something, when I write. I worry that if I have an opinion on a subject, people may automatically assume that my husband holds the same opinion - that I speak for him, or for my family, or my church.

So I've been wanting to do a confessional of sorts, a disclaimer, to make it clear that my thoughts and words are entirely my own. All the posts here are my own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. They don't reflect my family, my husband, or my church. They are uniquely mine. (I think I may have just repeated the same thing often enough now to make my point...) And in order to become a better writer, I need to feel free to write as myself, without fear of offence or misunderstanding.

So in order to do so, and probably just because I'm paranoid, here are some true-for-now statements about myself that inform my perspective and my view of life, and therefore my writing. Some deep, some shallow, but most aren't things that people close with me will necessarily agree with.

In no order particularly:
Source: Pinterest. Illustrator: Caroline Hadilaksono.

1. I love Harry Potter. The books, not so much the movies. I don't think they are evil or lead kids into witchcraft. I read them again, and again, and again. The female characters are some of the best ever written, in terms of role-model quality, and for that reason alone if my children want to read them when they are older (over 11 years I think) I won't be stopping them. I will however use the books as aids to talk about the themes and ideas within and also the issue of the whole witch/wizard thing if needed. My closest family all disagree with me on this one, but there you go.

2. I don't believe hell is a place that God sends people. Just call me your friendly neighbourhood conditionalist. If you have never encountered the idea that this matter was ever up for discussion, check out Rachel Held Evan's Hell series here to learn more. This is not something I ever want to debate, as I don't know my theology well enough, it's not something I'll ever stand head-to-head with another Christian about and argue, it is just a belief of mine in my heart and a place where I feel peace. It is not a central issue to our salvation or our faith, I believe, but it is an issue with evangelism and our modern  evangelism approach. I will never, ever, use hell as an evangelism tool. I believe people should come to Christ for what he has to offer us while alive, for the fullness of joy he gives us, for his unconditional love - for many things - but not because they are afraid of hell.

3. I get overly anxious and worried and am afraid of lots of things. Part of this is post-natal, part of this is childhood, part of this is ENFP overcaring. Telling someone like me "just don't worry about it!" is not that helpful, FYI. Check out this from Buzzfeed: Comics that capture the frustration of anxiety disorders.

4. I don't like exercising. I don't like feeling hot. I hate sweating. And I hate pain. All bad things.

5. I don't force my kids to do what I say "Because I said so". Obedience is not first on my list of parenting values.

6. I would make an amazing Sister Maria. Come one someone, cast me.  You know you want to.

7. I'm not a night person or a morning person. I'm a sleep person. Which makes life with kids near impossible. If I had to choose I am probably more morning than night. But parenting means staying up later than you should just because no one is sitting next to you going "Muum, muuuum, muuuuuum."

8. I really struggle with/hate social media sometimes (a lot of the time). I feel like if I were not on Facebook then I would have no idea what was happening in my friends lives. Because most people don't call, text, or write letters or even emails anymore. They just share everything with their 384 "friends". I miss personal contact and I absolutely treasure the relationships I have with people who text me every so often to check in. I think I need to give what I want to get here too, I need to text and call people, I need to make an effort, if I want people to make one back. So I'm working on that.

9. I judge myself and my life by what I DO way too much. I often count myself as failing or not meeting some high and lofty standard. I need to change. I need to stop saying that I need to change. I need to start saying "I am okay, as I am. I am enough." It is easier to preach stuff to other people than accept it yourself, am I right?


10. I really like the movie "An American Tale 2: Fieval goes west." Don't judge. It's fantastic. Amazing songs. I watched this again and again as a child.

So there you go! That's me. Well, part of me. I represent myself, and I write because I love to. I am going to write here whether people read it or not, because writing helps my soul. And all of the above ten points are probably things that will change and evolve over time, because that is how life goes. Our experiences and our history shifts our perspective, and I am not afraid of that because growth is a good thing. I think I will always love Fieval though...

What about you? Anyone else got stuff they've been afraid to admit?

xx Sarah