Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I don't like confrontations. It's that simple. I really don't enjoy having difficult conversations with people regardless of whether I am the one being reprimanded or doing the correcting. With that being said, I much prefer a direct approach that brings the issue clearly to light than an around-the-world approach. Respect me enough to put issues out there clearly and I'll return the favor.

What brings this on? At the time of this writing, I have received three emails (all unrelated) addressing a variety of issues. One was calling me on the carpet for a situation; the others were expressing concern over situations that I am involved in (to lesser degrees, thankfully!).  The correctional email was actually a rather veiled threat that didn't name me specifically, but was clear given the examples included. Don't get me wrong....the reprimand is entirely warranted and a situation that I completely intend to rectify. It's just that now I have lost a lot of respect for the sender of said email. Rather than extending me the courtesy of just addressing the issue, I had to read between the lines and identify the problem.

Now that I've been sufficiently vague enough, managed to make it through the entire post without calling names, and started to find some humor in the situation that had me fuming when I sat down to write, I suppose it is now the appropriate time to end today's writing adventure.

PS - Normally this is the type of post that I would delete since it really doesn't address anything that will matter in the future (or to most of you reading this post). I'm going to depart from tradition and publish this amazing example of writing prowess. I'm sure I'll stumble across it again in a few years and rack my brain in a vain effort to recall what had me so worked up!  :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The end of the month is rapidly approaching and things are getting more busy with each passing day. Union University's Benjamin Britten Centennial Celebration will be held February 8-10. I am thrilled to be a part of the event, but things are getting hectic as the performance dates get closer. I suppose the best way to describe my feelings right now is with a picture.

There are days when I feel as though I have lots of responsibilities in the air and that I'm in control and keeping everything spinning. On other days, I watch something slip through the cracks and fear that everything is going to come crashing down around me. Thankfully, this intense season doesn't last for long.  When February 11 comes rolling around, expect to find me spending insane amounts of time in my bed, curled up under a blanket while I catch my breath.

Why does this happen? It's just the nature of my jobs. I have recurring responsibilities at each of the four positions. I've learned to balance them all fairly well and keep things running. Whenever one of them becomes more frantic -- whether it's due to the end of a production, the end of the term, a series of recitals, or a new ministry directive -- I have to shift things around to make everything work.  It keeps life interesting and allows me to participate in a lot of neat opportunities. It can also be a source of guilt when I feel as though I am short-changing some other area of my life.

So, for the next few weeks, I'd appreciate any extra prayers you want to offer for me. I've made arrangements to cover everything during the celebration and have made every effort to get out from behind the eight ball. If you see me looking frazzled, don't worry.  I'll be okay.....I'm just running around a little more than usual to keep all the plates spinning.  Things will return to their normal pace in a matter of weeks.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Is Faster Necessarily Better?

I have followed Oprah Winfrey for many years now. I always admired her willingness to tackle tough issues that some of her colleagues considered too hot to handle. When she created Oprah's Book Club, she started a sensation that got reluctant adult readers to explore the world of literature with new eyes. Now that her daily television show has ended, I was excited to see the Book Club re-invented as an online experience for book lovers.

One of my biggest personal complaints about reading is that I don't read as quickly as I would like. If a book is more than 250 pages, I can almost guarantee that it will take me longer than a week to get through it. When I received the latest email from Oprah's Book Club with an article entitled "6 Ways to Read Faster", I was intrigued. As I read on, I couldn't believe my eyes.

In a nutshell, "6 Ways to Read Faster" outlined the portions of a book to skip! Essentially, certain portions were considered unimportant, irrelevant, and a waste of time. I was mortified! As an artist, I find this idea insulting. The gifted craftsman who constructed the book carefully chose each word because of its significance and the imagery it generates.

Now the question becomes if speed (in reading or any other endeavor) is preferable to accuracy and integrity. In the world of reading, if the ideas presented on the page are not worth your full attention, I am certain that you can find something else that IS! Why would anyone want to waste their time reading material that is not applicable to them when shelves are lined with quality writing in all disciplines? I know that there are those of you who will argue that reading for pleasure doesn't demand the same type of attention as reading for knowledge. I respectfully disagree. In order to fully appreciate the tale the author is spinning, we must allow ourselves to be fully engulfed in the language and imagination that is being shared. Skipping portions is essentially taking a pair of scissors to the Mona Lisa and eliminating her famous smile because it is not significant!

I suppose I can come down from my soap box now....and dive back into the book I'm reading.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's in a Name?

I tend to avoid being in large groups with people I don't know. I enjoy meeting new people, but situations like these always result in embarrassment for me because I am absolutely HORRIBLE learning people's names. I hate feeling that I know a lot about a person but cannot remember what to call them. You can imagine how frustrating this is in work situations. I work for a church and need to know who people are; as a professor, calling a student by name communicates that I am interested in their progress and value them as an individual.

Our name shares with the world our identity. I was named after two ministers who were important in my parents' lives early in their faith journey -- Kennith Staggs and Terrell Bishop. While I rarely use my middle name, I am reminded of the role that faith has played in my life since the beginning. (It's a family joke that my name was originally going to be Barbara Beth since the doctors were expecting a little girl! Still, the influence of these two families were to be memorialized through my name.)

As we mature and develop, our names become synonymous with our reputation. Depending upon the circle where my name is mentioned, it may bring to mind thoughts of a gifted pianist, tough teacher, worship leader, or cherished fraternity brother. Those closest to me may also use nicknames for me -- terms of endearment (mostly) that are reminders of our shared connection. I take pride in most of my nicknames and laugh at the memories of how they came to be. While family members refer to me as "Kenbo" and "Uncle Ken", college friends will refer to me as "Ken-eye-eth" (spelled KennIth), "Kennith with an I" and "Grandma." So there's no mistake, there are also some not-so-complimentary nicknames as well; some of them (that I'm aware of, at least) include "Queen of Nag" and "Hitler." Despite the negative connotations, I still take a certain amount of pride in them.

As I continue to struggle to learn the names of my students this semester, I am reminded of how important it is that I know my own name as a child of God! My Heavenly Father calls me beloved.....more than a conqueror......redeemed......joint heir with Christ. How I long today to walk in a full understanding of who He says I am. I hope to live my life in a way that allows the name Kennith Freeman to invoke thoughts of compassion, kindness, and genuine love to those I meet. Along the way, I hope to develop deeper relationships with other people as we learn each other's names (no matter how slowly!) and develop a personal meaning for each other's name.

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

On this national holiday celebrating the life and contribution of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I had intended to remain silent on this blog. Raised in the South, I have learned of Dr. King's accomplishments and respected his commitment to equality for all. However, as a white man, I felt there was little I could add to the conversation.

Most of us are familiar with Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech delivered in Washington, D.C. It was in my minority literature class at Pepperdine University that I was first moved by what I consider an amazing piece of American letters:  Dr. King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963).  While the letter is rather lengthy -- a fact King himself admits at the document's conclusion -- it is well worth the time to read. Dr. King clearly points out the reasoning for his involvement in the non-violent protests that have occurred throughout the South. The title of today's post is one of my favorite quotes from this letter that is made all the more amazing as we realize it was written without the aid of reference materials to develop Dr. King's argument. These arguments were part of the very fiber of his being.

Since I'm not confident that many reading this blog will invest the time to read this important letter (sorry....I'm just being honest!), allow me to point out a portion that occurs as Dr. King is approaching the climax of the letter.  While written in 1963, I think that it is something that the Christian community of 2013 would do well to consider.  Here are Dr. King's powerful words:

There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

Powerful, profound, convicting words for us to consider as we think back over our nation's history while examining its current situation and praying for a better tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Rough Start......

I didn't think that getting keys to my classroom would be such a saga. I've been trying to obtain them for two days and still haven't had any success. It almost feels as though the "powers that be" are conspiring against me - LOL!

It all began Monday morning. My first class of the semester was scheduled to begin at 8am. I was expected to get keys last week at adjunct orientation (which is a total waste of time in my opinion since the content has been exactly the same for 6 semesters in a row), but was out of pocket due to a rehearsal I had previously committed to.  I didn't think it would be a big deal.....I showed up in the office at 7:30 to sign in for my keys. At 7:55, I finally had to ask a colleague to unlock the door to my classroom. The single person who can issue keys still had not arrived on campus by the end of my class.

My Tuesday class is in the evening. I realized that given the potential for ice and the fact that the lone authorized key agent was a day-time employee, I should probably head to campus to get the key. Before leaving my house at 10:30, I checked the college's website to make sure there was no announcement of plans to close early. I pull onto campus just before 11 and discover a ghost town, but the buildings are still unlocked. I go to the academic office to find the lights out and the doors sealed shut. As I return to my car, I learn that the campus was closed at 11am (the only way I knew what was going on was thanks to the plasma television -- educational funds hard at work -- flashing announcements).

Is it a big deal? Not really. Is it inconvenient?  Definitely. The beginning of a new semester is always that's nothing new. I understand why the keys are turned in at the end of each semester. Honestly, I'm really not's just been a rough start to another semester (that I really haven't been looking forward to) and it seems as though nothing is going smoothly yet. I guess I've just been thrown off-kilter by the ragged schedule that will be interrupted again with the MLK holiday on Monday. I just need a stable routine.......then I won't be so cranky in a few days.

Now I think I'm going to crawl back in bed (at 6pm) and see if rolling out on the OTHER side will improve what's left of my day.  Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Control Freak Craziness!

Controlling people grate on my nerves.  You know the type I'm talking about.....their idea is the only valid option.....if things aren't done as they had envisioned, it will be trashed (or in the least trash-talked). In my world, I find myself working with "control freaks" on a regular basis. Even though it drives me crazy, I've learned to let it roll off of my back -- most of the time, anyway.

Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that this passage from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky leapt off the page when I read it a few nights ago.

My sister tried to clarify things.  She said that by introducing me to all these great things, Mary Elizabeth gained a "superior position" that she wouldn't need if she was confident about herself.  She also said that people who try to control situations all the time are afraid that if they don't, nothing will work out the way they want.  (Chbosky, 106)
Isn't that interesting? Those who constantly pursue control are pursuing a "superior position" that is merely a perceived authority. It's not just a hunger for power; sometimes it can be an innate need to establish their own self-esteem. Perhaps that explains why so many artistic individuals are such controlling people. As we continuously create and allow the final product to be reviewed by our audience, a bit of our confidence dies with each negative review.

Did you notice that the controller is also constantly trying to introduce others to "great things." The assumption is that these ideas are brand new and could not have been conceived by anyone else. Perhaps a gentle reminder is in order here:  "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."  (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV) I don't have anything else to say on that matter.

Finally, there is a fear of releasing their control. Controlling people are certain that things will not work out if they do not keep a firm grip on the situation...and all of the people involved in it. In my experience, controlling people find themselves shouldering heavy loads because they won't allow anyone else to help and because those who are willing to help quickly run for the hills when the control becomes too oppressive.

I didn't expect to find a leadership lesson hidden in the pages of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but there it was. I definitely have some things to work on in relation to this issue personally. I also have a better understanding of some situations and can clearly identify the controlling aspects that most cause me to avoid working with these leaders.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Here's to Hoping

The last day of winter break is here. The spring term begins on Monday. It's been a good break and I've gotten some much needed rest. Still, I find myself in an unexpected situation. I'm actually hoping that my night class doesn't make this term!

The night class runs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 5:30-7:00 and currently has an enrollment of 4 students. As I recall, 8 students are required for the class to go forward. Why do I hope the class gets cancelled? There are a couple of reasons. First of all, I'm tired and the spring is going to be insanely busy! With the production of Noah's Flood at Union in a few weeks, I already know that I will be forced to miss 3 of my night classes -- a fact that is not going to thrill MSCC's administration. I have asked repeatedly that the section be returned to its original Monday evening schedule, but nothing has happened yet. As a performer, blocking out two nights each week makes scheduling interesting, especially when you consider that most of Union's performances occur on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings!

The other reason that I'm hoping for a semester off from this section is because I need the time. I'm managing all of my work load, but sometimes it gets to be a bit much. By the time the end of the term comes, I feel as though I'm meeting myself coming and going. Just a few months off from the crazy schedule would allow me to catch my breath, address some things in my own life that need my attention, and rest. The lost income will be unfortunate, but at the moment I think my sanity is worth the $1700 I'd miss. Plus, I've been contacted for a couple of short-term gigs that I would REALLY like to commit to this term. The only way that's possible is not having to teach the night class.

For the moment, I just keep watching and hoping. The last day to make changes to student schedules is Friday, January 18. I'll keep praying that students join the morning section (which is at a nice size) and trust that God is going to work everything out for my personal best this semester. He knows what I need.....I'll just trust Him! I'll keep you updated.

Here's to hoping, though......

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Teacher's Pet

I have been very fortunate over the years to have done relatively well in school. I tended to be a self-motivated learner and most subjects came easily to me (though I have always struggled in science and foreign languages). Since I made good grades and was normally a compliant student, I was often labeled as the teacher's pet; I'll admit that the title was normally true. As I'm preparing for a new semester of teaching, I have been thinking about the many teachers who have influenced me over the years. Some of them were influential in my choice to pursue a career in higher education because they were excellent teachers. Others shaped my views about the importance of mutual respect between teacher and student as well as giving me lessons in what NOT to do in my classroom. If I had to narrow  it down to just one person, I would have to say that the most influential teacher in my life was Ms. Pierce.

Ms. Pierce was my second grade teacher in the less-than-stellar Crawfordsville Elementary School. Despite the low quality of education that surrounded her, I remember Ms. Pierce's class as a place where her students were always expected to perform at their highest level at all times. It was in Ms. Pierce's class that I was introduced to many of the things that have shaped me throughout my life. One of my fondest memories is visiting the library and being encouraged to read anything that caught my interest.....even if I thought it was something too hard for me. Ms. Pierce became the first teacher to truly encourage me to read as though my life depended on it; she even told me that I could make solo trips to the library (with the hall pass, of course) if I finished reading my book before it was time for the class to visit. It was as a second grader that I was introduced to the magical world that awaited in books and I think I've had my nose in a good book ever since!

The months following Christmas were especially exciting for me. It was 1980 and the Olympic Games were being held in Lake Placid, New York. Ms. Pierce used this current event to teach geography, math, and reading. I remember learning about athletes from Germany, the USSR, and Canada. When the Games finally arrived, part of our homework assignments was to watch some of the television broadcast. I still remember our excitement as my classmates and I followed Eric Haydn's 5 gold medal speed skating victories. We learned about ice hockey and watched with amazement as the Miracle on Ice unfolded before our young eyes. Now that I am older, I realize the depth of Ms. Pierce's commitment to her students as she worked to make sure that there was room in the curriculum for this significant current event. It was in that second grade class in a small Arkansas town that I began to dream about seeing the world and believed it could be a reality for me.

Ms. Pierce was also influential in tearing down barriers of racism and sexism. In a largely African-American school, this gifted teacher was quick to explore differences between black and white students while helping us to realize that we had more in common than we realized. In a city that was racially divided, it was in that classroom that I truly began to make friends of all races who would be part of my educational journey for many years to come. Ms. Pierce was also adamant that her students understand that there was no job assigned solely to a man or a woman. In her class, we all learned to sew a pin cushion for our mother as we followed the recipe's directions to make no-bake cookies. Later, she led us in creating a simple box with wood, hammer and nails. (I still haven't perfected the art of driving a nail straight, but I definitely learned a lot about taking nails OUT of wood with the claw!)

I don't know where Ms. Pierce is these days. Over the years, my family and I lost touch with some of my most influential teachers. What would I say to her today? I'd simply have to say "thank you".....for developing the thirst for knowledge, the love for books, and the positive view of the classroom that has opened so many avenues of possibility to me over the years. Your influence continues today as I strive to pass on this same love of learning to another generation.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Resolve....

Now that we are a week into 2013, I'm finally ready to commit to my resolutions for the year. I guess I had to take things slowly and thoughtfully since making a public announcement makes me more accountable.  Some of these will be observable by everyone who knows me; the accomplishment of others will be things that only God and I will know.  Here's goes nothing......

  1. Increase my personal reading.  Some of you are probably aware that I maintain another blog, Reading for Me, that details my path towards recapturing reading for personal fulfillment and pleasure.  The ultimate goal is to read 52 books in a single calendar year.  2012 saw the greatest number of books in a single year with 32.  My goal is to read at least 33 books in 2013.....but hopefully more!  The most difficult time of year to maintain my reading is when school is in session. Although I love the sensation of holding a book in hand, I am attempting to use my iPad as my primary reading device.  I hope this will enable me to continue reading even when I only have a few moments to spare throughout the day.
  2. Lose 20 pounds.  This goal has caused me the most difficulty.  I want to set a goal that is achievable, but not too easy either.  In the summer of 2012, I began working with a personal trainer. With all of the ups and downs that the year brought, I have netted a total weight loss of 8 pounds.  Diet is a struggle when I'm on the road.....and keeping a consistent workout regiment is tough when I'm not at home.  To help with this process, I moved my gym membership today to Anytime Fitness;  Anytime also has a facility in Jackson, Tennessee.  Now I just have to get my mind in gear to workout when I'm working away from home.  You can follow my progress in my weight loss journey on my most sporadically published blog Just Have to Start Somewhere.
  3. Write on a more regular basis.  Seeing that I have four blogs, it should be clear to most people that I enjoy writing. I don't necessarily think I have anything of tremendous value to's just therapeutic to put my thoughts down and share with anyone that actually wants to read. Like my personal reading, I've struggled with maintaining a regular schedule when school is in session. I think I was trying to publish too regularly.  So I've changed my approach and am hoping for good things.  I intend to publish posts on Reading for Me and Just Have to Start Somewhere when regular schedule there.  This blog is the oldest of them all and the one that I think I owe the most writing I hope to write here 2 or 3 times each week.  I'm shooting for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  My professional blog is Collaborations and was dormant for much of 2012.  My goal is to have a new post on Thursday of each week.  You can be part of my success in this endeavor; your comments on the blog site reminds me that other people are reading them which motivates me to carry on.
  4. Schedule times of rest.  Most workers look forward to the weekend.  It's a couple of days to rest and revive their energy for the challenges that lie in the week ahead.  Since I'm piecing together several part-time jobs to make a living, my schedule rarely works out where I have entire days without any work.  I'm sensing the beginnings of burn-out and fatigue in my personal life and feel directed by God to correct the constant work-mode that I have maintained in the past year. Since taking a "Sabbath" day is not possible at this time, my goal is to allow myself to divide the "Sabbath" up throughout the week, finding chunks of time during the week that I can block out for rest and relaxation.  Since school hasn't started, finding these days of rest has been easy so far.  (I'm actually enjoying one today!)  Once the semester kicks off next year, I'll be looking for 8 hours (at least) each week to devote to me.  Given my mindset and work ethic, I know this will be a challenge for me.  I am committed to making it a priority, however.
  5. Spiritual growth.  This will be the resolution that I will keep most private for obvious reasons. I am not satisfied with my spiritual condition and I don't think that any growing Christian should ever be satisfied! As such, there are several things that God has placed on my heart to develop me into the man He has designed me to be. I'll be pursuing these quietly behind the scenes and I pray that they will display themselves in my life so others can see the light and love of my Savior.  I would appreciate your prayers throughout the year as I pursue a more intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father in the coming year.
That is what's motivating me as I step into the early days of 2013.  Now it's time to get going and see how I can make these resolutions reality!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Father Figures

I've been thinking about the concept of fathers this week. No need to worry....I don't have an announcement to make! As I have looked at our society, I see how important the role is. Is it feasible that some of the problems people face today is because they lacked a strong father figure in their own life? As I thought about the spiritual implications, it seems that our relationship with the Heavenly Father often reflects our interaction with our natural father. That puts a lot of responsibility on any man who plans to be called "father."

What are the responsibilities of a father? I'm not a father, so obviously I'm coming at this from the perspective of a child only. Here are some of the things that have been in my thoughts this week.

  • Example and Teacher. A father models many roles that will play out in their children's future life. Want to have a good guess about the type of man a girl will be drawn to and consider marrying? Look at her father.  How will a boy treat his future wife? He'll tend to follow the example of his father's interaction with his mother. Fathers also teach children the value of hard work and strength tempered with gentleness.
  • Protector. A child's sense of safety is often linked to the presence of Dad. A father is to protect his children from all threats -- whether they are real or imagined. A father who fails to protect his children through neglect or abuse is setting them up for difficulties in trusting others and believing that they are worthy of being safe. (As a side note, I personally feel that there are few crimes that are more heinous than abuse against a child in any form --- physical, emotional, or verbal. I believe these men are among the vilest creatures who deserve the maximum punishment allowed by our courts!)
  • Affirming. Sadly, it seems that this responsibility is often left solely to the mother. Moms naturally provide encouragement to their children as they rejoice over their successes and help them get up after failures. Children desperately want to hear from their father that he's proud of them. This means that the father must be attentive to the child's interest and be informed about how things work.  In other words, if your daughter is taking ballet lessons, it will go a long way if Dad knows the difference between a pirouette and a tutu!  
  • Involved. "Actions speak louder than words." While your child longs to hear that you are proud of them, she also wants to spend time with you. This can be intimidating for a father who doesn't share common interest with the child.....and as the years go on, the chasm becomes wider. From a child's perspective, it's actually pretty simple. Take your elementary student outside on a Saturday morning and build something together or wash the car. Unexpectedly have a special treat for your pre-teen when dropping them off for school. Plop down on the couch with your teen and challenge them to a video game. Your involvement opens lines of communication that will be a blessing to the child in years to come.
What happens if a child misses out on these aspects of their father? There are no absolute guarantees, but I do see some potential problems spiritually. Children with absent dads (either physically or emotionally) can experience difficulty relating to God the Father. Those who have received little affirmation from Dad sometimes find themselves working so hard to gain God's approval. When the natural father didn't care enough to be involved in the child's life, it can be hard to believe that God would ever be interested in what's going on with me. 

What do you think are some of the most important characteristics of a father? If they are absent in a child's life, what might be some of the future implications emotionally or spiritually? Men, is there a child in your sphere of influence who needs a father figure in their life?  If so, consider stepping up and being a positive influence in their life!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Can I Help?

Sometimes the simplest words convey the greatest meaning. On a particularly bad evening recently, a beloved friend asked the simple question "How can I help?" She is thousands of miles away. My problem doesn't directly effect her. Without even knowing what was going on, her immediate response was offering assistance. Four simple words turned my entire night around and allowed me to see that I wasn't in this alone.

I wonder how many stressful situations could be lightened for many people by just hearing this simple question. Of course, there is an additional requirement; when the way you can help is made clear, follow through if it is within your capabilities. I have no doubt that Andrea would have done anything within her power to help me; she's an amazing friend who has proven her commitment to me over and over.

I have stopped asking for help in many situations. Some people assume it's because I don't want help. Let me clearly put that theory to rest:  I want help.....I need help.....or else I wouldn't be asking. Why don't I ask then? Honestly, I get tired of being rejected. There's only so many times I can take asking for help and being told "no." I understand that we all have times in our life when things do not allow us to provide assistance to a friend. I also understand that these situations are generally the exception and not the rule. When you consistently tell me "no", I am hearing some unspoken messages:

  • I don't value you PERSONALLY worthy of the investment of my time.
  • I don't value your EFFORTS worthy of the investment of my time.
  • I can't be BOTHERED by your petty requests.
Sometimes when help is offered off the cuff, there is really nothing to be done because I've already handled it. That doesn't mean I don't want to be helped. Truthfully, I didn't expect any I just did what had to be done to get the job done. If I didn't do the work, I'd find myself frantically pushing at the last minute to make sure it got done.

Why is it so hard for me to accept help? I've been let down too many times. When you've been burned, disappointed, and rejected so much, it really becomes hard to trust.

For better or worse, whether you like the feelings and thoughts I've expressed's where I am at the moment and it's just me Livin' Life one day at a time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

2013 has arrived. As usual, the whole clan gathered at my parents' home for food and fellowship. We decided to stick with the tradition we began a few years ago of departing from tradition for the lunch menu.  Today's lunch featured garlic crusted chicken, potato salad, slaw, English peas and fettuccine Alfredo.

There were a few things that were a bit different from normal. I wasn't found in the kitchen very much today as I am still recovering from my run in with Dad's desk chair last week. The swelling has gone down a lot and the bruising is looking much better, but I still can't put much pressure on my left foot. I have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow morning to just make sure everything is healing as it should. (I had planned to see the doctor on Thursday of last week, but the office was closed for the week.  When I called on Monday morning, I was told I could either come in first thing on Wednesday or be worked into their busy appointment schedule. Since I wasn't in a ton of pain, I opted for a Wednesday appointment!)

What's ahead in 2013? Your guess is as good as mine! In keeping with my approach for the last few years, I'm using the entire week to formulate my resolutions. I like to have time to think and pray about them while making sure that the goals are realistic while not being too easy. I'm sure there will be something related to weight loss and another thing related to reading.  The thing that is really on my mind at the moment is coming up with a plan for regular times of rest. Since I'm not working a traditional job, I don't always get days off that are strictly for me. Most of the time, I have to leave home in order to get away from all the responsibilities. That's unhealthy and something that I have been convicted over personally. I've got to do something or I'm going to suffer incredible burnout soon. I don't know what the solution is -- and I know it's not going to be easy to work out -- but it's something that I am committing to do in 2013.  I'll be better for it if I do.