Sunday, January 22, 2012

Food for Thought

I'm not quite sure where my mind is these days. I feel like all I ever think about is soccer, school, work, and sleep (in that order). I have all these ideas about how this semester is going to be different and it DEFINITELY will be but I also see some of the old habits setting in so I've got be careful. Motivation is key and if it doesn't come naturally I'll have to force myself to put the effort in. I'm not going to let another semester go down the drain because I just "didn't feel like trying anymore." Well at least I don't have to pencil in social time since I live with talkative girls where entertaining conversations and fun are only second to eating at our house.

- side note: I can't imagine what my body would look like if I ate this much but didn't work out 20+ hours a week. It's kind of a scary thought -

If someone were to ask me if I thought I was busy I don't know what I would say. I mean, I'm probably busier than most people my age but I definitely felt busier last year. Though I'm busy, I still feel in control of my time and on top of things but I feel it slipping though my schedule isn't really changing. We got a soccer coach after our last coach moved to a different program which may mean some minor changes in soccer but legally (per NCAA rules) we can't go up in hours for another few weeks. School is starting to pick up and become a bit more challenging but that's nothing new. So the only things left that could be the source of my stress and anxiety is work and lack of quality time with God.

Because I dislike posts without picutres: Here's a photo I worked on for a friend's birthday. She plays college volleyball and her sister asked that I use a photo,  her team colors, her name, and favorite verse (which is one of my favorites as well. I did my best and was pleased with the end result. Maybe I'll quit my day job and just take and edit pictures for a living :)
I work anywhere from 16-20+ hours on the weekends and tough it's tiring it is also rewarding. But there are certain aspects of the job that drive me crazy like how:
- the only time administration contacts me (or anyone else) is when they are begging us to work more hours. I don't mind filling in occasionally but coming in several hours early (4am) and leaving at 5:30pm is not what I had in mind for a part time job.
- the nursing home is WAY understaffed. Not only is it a lot of work, it's not fair to the residents who are paying to have the best care possible and I feel bad that I can't give them the personal attention they deserve (and are paying for).
-no matter how many hours you work you only get a 30 min break to eat. That's okay for people like me who typically work 8 hour shifts (though I usually eat more than once in 8 hours) but that's not okay for the  12 and 16 hour shifts that a lot of the nurses work. I don't know anyone that only eats once in 16 hours. Just saying :)
-As much as I LOVE working with most of the residents there are a few that know how to push my buttons and it takes every ounce of my patience to keep my composure. But I have a feeling if we weren't so busy our "patience reserve" may be functioning on more than just fumes.
-And lastly, my weekends are completely shot. There is little time to study and relax plus working Sundays keeps me from going to church which is something I desperately miss and need. I've considered requesting different hours but I'm doubtful that'd I'd get them.
*Despite all my opinions about my place of work I still feel it's a great job and rewarding I just know it's causing me some stress

Only time will tell where God wants me to be right now both physically and emotionally and I must trust that His plans are always greater than my own. It still seems that I'm where I'm meant to be and I must do my best to reflect His work in all areas of my life despite the difficulties.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

God Just Hears a Melody

I've been slightly more emotional lately and to those of you who don't know me, that means that I might actually share what's on my mind and even the emotions that go with the thoughts. My overemotional self comes off a bit differently everyday. Sometimes it means I cry and then feel fine and sometimes I'm just super aware of my emotions, it just depends :) . Today I was to the point of tears, not because I was stressed, but because my roommates were stressed and hurting. Let me explain.

My roommates play volleyball here at UW and, like our soccer spring training (off season technically), there is a lot of lifting and conditioning. Thankfully NCAA has a lot of rules on how many hours teams can meet to train with and without a coach in the off season but there are ways to get around. Coaches do things like forcing the players to set up their own training and making them "optional" (but they're definitely not). Then to get around the rules that make it illegal for the coaches to be with the team for more than so many hours a week the coaches just "stop by" for a few minutes during the afore mentioned optional trainings. DESPITE WHAT PEOPLE SAY, RULES ARE NOT ALWAYS MEANT TO BE BROKEN! So on top of the weights and conditioning that every team does these "optional" trainings end up making for more hours of training in the off season than in actual season. It's ILLEGAL, exhausting, and like my roommates, I'm tired of it.

Everyday my rommies come home they're stressed and nearly crying because they're expected to train more and more but since its labeled "optional" the coaches won't get in trouble with NCAA. The rules are meant to protect the players are getting bent and broken and no one but the players seem to care. I know where they're coming from because our coaches do the same thing and so does every other program but it doesn't make it any less exhausting physically or mentally. I'm tired of coming home after a long day only to hear my rommies expressing how broken their bodies and minds are but it's unavoidable. I know it's healthy to vent and BELIEVE ME I love being there for them but I wish there was a way for us to confront the problem either by bringing it up to the coaches or the athletic administration because we know the problems won't solve themselves. Our sports are becoming miserable not just challenging AND I just want to see them happy while enjoying college and volleyball and I want to be doing the same.

But we'll keep smiling and continue to use comic relief to keep us from breaking down :) We know it will get easier but for now we'll just keep pushing.

It's sad that I don't actually have a real picture of all my roommates or even just two of us just being normal
(this is karaoke night w/ some friends). The kneeling gangster is one of my roommates and I'm superman w/ an afro :)
I put in my headphones and found this song in one of my playlists and I realized that there is really only one thing I can do with ALL of this. Share it with God. He wants to hear my struggles. He wants to hold my heart as it breaks for my roommates. He wants to wipe their tears as they fall from my eyes. He wants to be my mind and body when mine are too sore to keep going. In fact, He's asking us to surrender these things to Him.

He says that we're BEAUTIFUL the mess we are and he hears our miseries as melodies because He loves that we're trusting Him with our brokeness. He is ENOUGH!

Better Than an Hallelujah ~Amy Grant (with emphasis added by me)

God loves a lullaby
In a mother's tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

God loves the drunkard's cry
The soldier's plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

The woman holding on for life
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

The tears of shame for what's been done
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Better than a church bell ringing
Better than a choir singing out, singing out

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Honest Thoughts

People who know me, know that I'm talkative and enjoy deep conversations but usually find out pretty quickly outgoing and talkative doesn't mean that I'm open. Honesty is something I've been working on for the past few years and am learning what it means to be honest with myself and others through open communication. I used to find some kind of pleasure in secrecy, half truths, and ultimately lies as they kept people from knowing what I was really thinking. Genius right?... No. Definitely not! I was unhappy, full of guilt and I nearly ruined every good relationship I ever had (though I still feel that way sometimes) So here's to being honest and confessing the sins as well as victories in my life (and any other random things that are on my mind)
I got myself a tripod and hands free shutter button
1. School began this week and I'm so happy that I've already started off much better than I did last semester. Minus one class (Medical Microbiology) that is four days of lecture and two labs a week my schedule is pretty mellow AND with one class on Monday and none on Friday I pretty much have a four day weekend every week (though two days will be spent working)

2. Soccer has also started back up, if you can even call it that. It's that time of year again where 6am trainings consists of only weight lifting and conditioning with some occasional "I didn't sign up for this kind of torture." But we break up into three different teams each week and the conditioning is an ongoing competition between the teams (relay races, one on one battles, and team building events). I must say it's 100 times better mentally than the conditioning last year though it's much more physical and challenging.
and these are some of the pictures that came of it (click on them)
3. Speaking of soccer we no longer have a coach. After a VERY successful season, Division I programs from all over were recruiting him to come coach and flip their program around like he did ours. So, needless to say, he left (and took both assistants with him) to a school in the Pac 12 and despite how hard it is that he left us, I know it was the best move for his family. Our strength and conditioning coach is taking over our team temporarily as the Athletic Directors are interviewing new coaches. They've narrowed it down to 20 coaches who've previously coached at DI schools out of 120 applicants (and that's the just for head coach). The way coaching works is the head coach gets hired an then he decides who his assistants will be. AND there's a chance that we might get a SHE not a he which would definitely be interesting.

*getting a little more personal*
4. My anxiety was RIDICULOUS over break. I didn't have much going on except work but sitting at home and just relaxing never quite felt like it should. My heart would race when I'd think about anything related to school or hanging out with people and I couldn't get it to stop unless I found an adequate distraction such as art, work, or sleeping :) With a regular schedule and my life getting back to normal it's definitely getting better and it's lovely.

5. I'M SORE!!!!! and if there's one thing that can put a kink in my day it's being sore. It means I worked hard and pushed myself but it also means that I dread any kind of movement. AND I have workouts tomorrow morning at 6am and let's just say that if anything requires movement of my legs I might break down and cry.

6. I'm really excited about a fresh start with school and soccer so much so that I almost can't wait to go to class and soccer (the "almost" is because of soccer). My goal is to get a 4.0 this semester. It's possible. It will be hard. I'm going to struggle at times. But I'm fully capable if I step it up. I need to start living and working for God again and not for men as Colossians 3:23 says because exhaustion only sets in when your rewards are eternal. I would really appreciate any prayers regarding motivation, strength, and trusting God (or anything else you might want to pray for).

7. To be honest I had a horrible last semester but I have hope that this one will be MUCH better. So far so good.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Let the Sun Set on 2011

I'm not huge fan of new years resolutions but I typically think of a few goals to get me excited about the new year. I had three goals last year: get into the Word, try hard at one thing every day, and cause less drama. I COMPLETELY forgot about my second goal, was off and on with the first, and I'm definitely causing less drama (but I still have a ways to go). So what I've decided to do this year is continue with these three goals but add one more. I my previous three goals encompass all areas of my life but the list was missing something important.

My one new goal for 2012 is to simply be me. I know it's cliche, but I'm tired of being someone I'm not and I finally care enough about myself to do myself this simple favor.

Today you are you.
That is truer than true.
There is no one alive
that is youer than YOU.
~Dr. Suess

So let the sun set on 2011 and bring on 2012!
Sunset over at the railroad tracks

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Let's See What Happens

I plan on posting more posts like this in the coming year. Posts where I begin with no particular idea in mind and digressing from the non-existant first idea is where the beauty is found. I imagine that my posts could end up being poetic and artistic or they could simply be my brain's way of processing my life. I realize this could mean being vulnerable or risk people judging how abstract my thoughts can be but I think I'm ready to do just that. And to get the full effect you should read it really fast... just kidding!

Being limited to what we can write, draw, say, and ultimately express, keeps us from connecting with one another. Time and time again I'm told that feelings shouldn't be given much power. They'll destroy any sense of security. They'll confuse even the most confident thinker. They'll make fluid talkers trip and stumble over every word while they give energy to the timid mind with a small voice. Feelings can enhance the relationship with God and destroy it all nearly in the same moment (Ask me. It's possible). They encourage desires to grab hold of every part of you and tear you in every which direction and yet the same feelings give you clarity and tell you to put your feet back on the ground. I've never heard of something so contradictory that it worked and, to some, even makes sense.

I can feel my heart beat faster in my chest but am I extremely happy or scared to death? I can see tears fall from your eyes and somehow I know whether they are tears of joy or sorrow. I think I know how some autistic people view the average population... in awe. Literal meanings are oxymorons and it's not fair to be the one that doesn't understand how to break them apart. Something as simple as a facial expression (which, I guess, is arguably complex) can turn a playground game of wiffle ball into The World Series or a neighborhood brawl.

The condition of being bipolar means, in short, a person who continues to experience extreme ups and downs. But I experience ups, downs, and outs but there's not a condition for that. I'm not bipolar but I do think comparing myself to a "normal" person makes me something other than that which they are. Which makes me think that "normal" is the most ambiguous and ultimately worst word in the dictionary because it evokes feelings that intensify insecurities without resolving any conflicts. FEELINGS. It's one word that can mean you "fit in" or "stand out" depending on the context and it's one word I hate. But I still want to be normal or at least feel normal.

Yet Christian books tell us to ignore feelings and dive into them at the same time -- I imagine a diver on the edge of the platform with one coach yelling, "dive in" and the other yelling, "go home" and we all know what most of us do. We dive into the pool just so that we can climb out and go home.— We dive into our feelings because some expert told us the only way to "fix" how you feel is to "explore" how we feel BUT the whole purpose of fixing our feelings is so that we only feel the good ones and learn to ignore the rest... I think I get it now. We should explore our feelings so that we learn which we allow to affect us more?

(Okay, last rant) In my opinion, and I'm no expert, we should simply let go of our feelings. Experience them in ALL their fullness, however good or bad they may be, and then let them go. But let's not let them go as if we never experienced them, but let them go as if you loved them or hated them respectively. That way, when they come again it's almost like you can experience them in more fullness than before and suck more life out of that one situation. BECAUSE if I've learned anything in the last few years it would be this: Being "real" (a.k.a. genuine, honest, human...) is hard unless you allow all your experiences to translate into real emotions and feel them as if you were watching some one else be ravished by the same demon or uplifted by the same guiding hand of God.

Hopefully I throughly confused all of you :) But I realized that this is how I think. I jump from topic to topic with the relation between them only visible to me. My "lightbulb" moments are usually small and insignificant until I feel that I've come full circle (even though no one else may feel that I have)... I believe we all think like this. We don't know how we came to understand something or learned to feel a certain way, we just do and that's the beauty in our differences. 

And believe it or not I actually feel as though this post makes sense and helped me come to some conclusions about what role feelings should have on my life :)