Friday, January 17, 2014

Nerdy

Check out the photo I found on Pinterest below (Don’t you just love Pinterest?).  I have a whole board that celebrates nerds.  Nerd hasn’t always been an embraceable term, though.  When I was growing up, to be called a nerd was pretty disparaging.  I took it upon myself to do the eighth-grade essay-hack and looked up the word on Dictionary.com.  Even though I knew there would be unfavorable points, I was shocked at number one: “a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.” Wow. Number two is slightly less insulting: “an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit.”   The kindest sentiment and seeming only saving grace was from the proverbial mother advising her girl to be kind to the nerds, since they will be rich one day.

nerdsThankfully, our progressive society has cultivated a more enlightened perspective on the formerly beleaguered nerd.  New definitions have popped up, some I much prefer over others. This picture is my most favorite definition.  I find it to be inspiringly beautiful and liberating.  Fantastic, yes?

I have to say, my entire family is a collection of nerds.  Our bookshelves and DVD collections would betray us if we were ever trying to mask it.  Our shelves sag under books exploring apologetics, science fiction, fantasy and trivia. We own every superhero movie ever made (well, maybe not, but it sure seems like it).  My daughter has had to devise a new laugh just to express her near inexpressible joy at her various ‘nonsocial hobbies and pursuits.’  My son practically vibrates when he can nitpick the techno-babble of his favorite shows.  An example is when, in episode 4 of Doctor Who, “Aliens of London,” news crews announce a crashed UFO, my son is quick to point out that the ship is in fact identified, and very much not flying, so it is pretty much just an O.  This tickles him to no end.

I posted on Facebook earlier this week how my husband and kids got into a rather detailed discussion about the differences between zombies and mummies.  Much to my surprise, my sister and niece both popped in to enhance the conversation!  I can’t escape! 

But, when I look at it from the perspective of the quote above, I must wonder. What could be better than being surrounded by nerds?  I want to be enthusiastic about life!  How boring to be too cool to really get into the things that might excite you.  With that as an alternative, give me a life-full of nerds any day!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Don’t Stop Learning

I’m kind of a nerd.  I like words a lot.  iPhone 4 pictures 944Grammar jokes tickle me to an extreme.  It is embarrassing, really. I own and wear this shirt.  And I laugh every time I read it.  I am that big of  a nerd. 

 

I think most people have pet peeves.  I think nerds have their own set of pet peeves.  Or maybe not.  Maybe it is just me.  Either way, this is my nerdy pet peeve.  “You use big words. Stop it! I don't want to learn them. I want to be simple. Not high falutin’”

I get this more than I like.  And I obey.  I try to use words that are less exact because I don’t want to get yelled at for using a more beautiful and precise word that the hear-er may not know or like.  But on the inside….

 
So, you are done learning ?!?!?
But you are alive!  Why?  I can think of two options.   First, you have more to learn and there is a possibility that you might need to acquire new words to allow for and to express more mature or broader thoughts, ideas and concepts. The other option is that you truly have no more to learn beyond what you absorbed in high school and you are here only to apportion your prodigious and amaranthine knowledge on the world. Those big scary words that you don’t like to use aren’t words that you don’t know; you just like to be approachable to the bourgeois class.  You are a magnanimous philanthrope !

I know it would be wrong for me to try to judge which of these options is reality in your individual case, so I’ll leave it to you.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Running

There is this fantastic little smart phone app for which I am so thankful. It tacks your running, walking or cylcling miles and donates money per mile to charities of your choice.  It means a lot to me to find a way to give to organizations while I meet my personal goals. On hard days, Charity Miles is the only thing that gets me out the door.
March 9, 2012 I decided I needed to get healthy. I was facing increasingly serious health issues because of my weight; the most devastating was the invisible problem of depression. So I got moving. By September I lost 75 pounds and regained my sense of self, renewed health and energy, plus an uncontainable joy and enthusiasm for life that I thought was gone forever.
But I have a new problem that is really an old problem. When I was 14, I started fainting. I have a dual diagnosis of extremely low blood pressure and an autonomic nervous disorder. Both cause me to faint, and the weight loss lowered my blood pressure to such an extreme that I was fainting nearly every day.
It hasn't been easy to find the perfect balance of medicine, exercise and living a 'normal' life.

It has all been worth it to discover this new self. I am an "I can" person now. For almost two decades I "I can't"-Ed myself through life. I hid and escaped in fear and embarrassment. I gained weight and further disabled myself.

That has changed.  I am better now.  I can.  I can do so much more than I ever thought. Unfortunately I had a major set back in December and I feel as though I am clawing myself back to what I had.

Running is SO HARD!!  With my blood pressure, it risks fainting and drop in my core temp, and my joints just started protesting recently. But I am learning that so hard isn't too hard. I am learning that obstacles aren't barriers. And I am learning that just because I look ridiculous doing it, doesn't mean I can’t do it. like being able, even if I look like an idiot and have no class or flair. :)

Here’s a good laugh on the same vein.  I may not look as awesome as I think I do, but it truly isn’t reason enough to quit! I can’t figure out how to give proper credit to this picture.  I can’t find the original website or anything.

3627a02cb2b20d26fd277b72c1d18031

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A bit snotty

I had a lady fuss at me a while ago because I fussed at her.  Isn’t that the way with things?  I complained about not getting enough time with her.  She told me I had no right to put such demands on her.  I was making trouble.  She insisted that real friends can go weeks and months without seeing each other and still be friends.  Why was I being so difficult?

So, I was a good girl.  I let it go.  No more fussing from me.  No more audacious demands.  I help my tongue and resumed my proper station.  But this is what I thought on the inside.

You think you can stick a pin in me and expect I'll be there when you have time for or need of me. You call this a great friendship because everything is just the same after long  stretches of neglect. Yep. It's the same, all right. We live absent any interdependence or any real need to know what's going on in one another's life.  That isn't friendship. That isn't family. That's a nice acquaintanceship and you can have it.

So, that isn’t very nice, but there is something to my opinion.  I think there are two kinds of friends.  There are the ones I like to call camp pals.  These are the ones described in all the cute ecards that talk about great friends who can spend tons of time apart, but when they reunite, they pick up right where they left off.  I see people romanticize this notion in our society, these occasional friends who can give you a much needed belly laugh.  I have quite a few of these friends myself and I adore them and thank God for them.  But they are vacation or retreat friends.  You drop out of real life to reconnect.  The phrase often used to describe them actually reveals a lot: ‘like no time has passed.’  The friendship isn’t about growth or maturity.  When you get together, it is a great time to stop striving so hard and just be a kid again.  You might talk about your life and trials with this person, but it is just talk. You need the other type of friend if you want a companion who will go through those trials with you.

34ee550f3b59ea896d636ec5fb4e89ceThat other type of friend is the roadside walker, the day-to-day companion.  This one knows about the daily grind—the good, bad and boring.  This friend inconveniences herself to keep up with you, and joins you in the things that keep you from meeting more regularly with your camp pal.  You don’t drop everything to take a break from life to be with the roadside walker; on the contrary, you pick up each other’s lives together and carry on.  You don’t have to get yourself together before you can spend time with this person.  She comes without judgment and you just keep on keeping on.

Sometimes a friend can migrate from camp pal to roadside walker, or vice versa.  When a roadside walker becomes a camp pal, it is often because of a geographical move or a major change in lifestyle.  There is a sense that if you were still able, the camp pal would revert to road walker in an instant.  My problems arose because I let my feelings get hurt when a companion friend I saw four or five times a week decided we were going to be camp pals who had no plans to see one another at all.  I guess I have to learn to be a little more ‘cool’ about such things. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Marriage

Marriage is a beautiful thing.  I see it as an expression of the relationship that Christ desires with the church.  It is a marvelous mystery.

The thing about marriage is its exclusivity; intimacy that includes sexuality, but extends far beyond it.  I do things with my husband I do with no one else. Repeatedly doing things with only him has developed a whole encyclopedia of non-verbal communication. It is a marvelous mystery.

My body.  I see flaws.  But my husband sees perfection. I will never be in a magazine or on a movie screen. According to any standard, I am flawed. I can expertly send myself into a spiral that rivals those of  any self-respecting/loathing American woman by just looking at this lame-ass body of mine.  But when my body is in Brian's arms, joined to his in friendship and love, it is perfect.  It is a marvelous mystery.

I am thankful for my married life.  This is a time where we have a lot of anniversaries, celebrating the day we met, our first date, that kind of thing.  Our wedding anniversary is right around the corner.  Our first year together was this crazy, unadvisable whirlwind of leaning on one another.  I don’t know how we survived it.  It is a marvelous mystery.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bucket List

Our bucket list is not something we have given a whole lot of thought.  But the thought that we have given has been fun.  I rmember the first time I heard the phrase kicked the bucket.  I was at my grandparents’ house visiting my dad’s family and we were watching It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  My dad had to explain it all to me.  Fast forward a few decades and I got to watch The Bucket List with my husband.  Now making bucket lists of our own seem like the next fun step.  I tend toward the serious, but enjoyed the lightheartedness of this activity with our family. I wrote these as they were called out.


I want to go to a play
Madi wants to go to Paris
Max wants to write a book
I want to travel the US
Brian wants to star in a play
Madi wants to be a famous dancer
Madi wants to own a zoo
I want to run a race
Madi wants to write a play and perform in it
Madi wants three children
Brian wants at least four grand kids
I want chickens
Madi wants to shoot a gun and bow
Brian wants to hang-glide
Brian wants to go to Hawaii
Max wants to be on a silly game show
Brian wants to be on a silly game show
Madi wants to go on amazing race
Madi wants to hang glide
Madi wants to sky dive
Madi wants to bungee jump
Madi wants to own a lot of pets

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cussing

My sweet girl has a friend who cusses.  She asked what I thought about it.  This isn’t the first time we have talked about this particular topic.  In fact, I remember when my kids were little wee things and they were playing a game of Go Fish together.  My darling angel girl at a whole two years old was sweetly repeating the same phrase each time she had to go, fish.  We kept listening to try to figure out what she was saying when, in horror, we realized she was practically chirping, ‘damn it.’  What?!?!  Why?  Who says that?  And so began our first sit-down together.

We have talked about all the whys of cussing.  And we have underlined our emphatic desire that they never react to someone else cussing.  Our basic stance is that we prefer to keep their mouths clean (the Bible teaches us to not use coarse language and we have friends who are deeply offended by it) but we want them authentic.  Don't put on a mask just to avoid getting caught by us.  If they want to say a ‘bad’ word, however, they will face any and all consequences, including anything that may come their way from the parents of friends. If they are old enough to choose offensive words, then they have to be old enough to deal with the responses.

I cuss.
I'm not supposed to.
But I do.
Sometimes I cuss in anger.  Sometimes I cuss because I think the word actually receives less power and attention than what we give it when we perform acrobatics to convey the word without actually saying it. Sometimes that becomes ridiculously silly and I prefer to avoid it.  Sometimes I cuss because it is the vocabulary word that best expresses my meaning.

 

Matthew 12:25, 36, 37 NASB

"And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.""

That’s certainly something to think about.  I don’t know that it refers only to cuss words.  I think our more careless words are ones that are of the dismissive or gossip variety. We will be accountable for these.

Then there is this.  I am reading a book called The Twenty-Piece Shuffle: Why the Poor and Rich Need Each Other by Greg Paul.  In it he tells about his church.  He belongs to a church that includes homeless and addicts along with the wealthy and middle class.  He tells about one day when a new suburban couple came to visit.  The church meets in a circle and they were praying with the author positioned so he could see the faces of the new family and the tortured addict who was currently praying.  This man was pouring his heart out in anguish. At the end, he punctuated the prayer with an unprintable word.  The author shares how he watched the reactions of the new family. 

The adults kept heads bowed, eyes closed and faces serene.  The two little girls popped up heads, popped open eyes.  Seeing no other reactions in the gathering, they quickly resumed the ‘proper praying position.’  The author shares that he figured that was the last time they’d ever see that fine family.  Not so.  They are active members of that body and had been for three years when the author finally asked the lady if she remembered her first visit.  Of course she did.  And she remembered the man’s anguished prayer.  And she remembered that word he used.  What did she think?  She said she knew she was home!  From the book:

She continued on to speak of her deep hunger for “unmitigated reality”—the possibility of being thoroughly honest about her own internal needs and battles and of receiving the gift of such honesty from others. She longed to break bread and drink wine, she said, for true communion, the knowledge that “we”—some undefined group of pilgrims—were walking the same road in unity with each other, a unity found in and leading to Christ himself. Her middle-class (that is, wealthy) church and life experience, where every messy thing is so carefully contained, every surface so diligently polished, had left her with a sense of discontentment, of empty wandering. She wanted to get her hands on Jesus.

Maybe this is another reason why I cuss.  Because it is real.  If I think it, I say it.  I don’t advocate such an unfiltered life.  It is hard on relationships and very hard on one’s reputation.  People often don’t care to hear everything I am thinking.  But there are a cherished few who do.  They want to know, because they actually love me.  Not what I do, or how I am, but me.  All of me.  And they bother to journey this life towards Jesus with me.  Not polished and shined.  We have not arrived.  But striving and real.  So, sometimes I cuss…