Tag Archives: friends

Faith

I think about being a parent.  I think about it about as much as I plan my wedding in my head.  I’m pretty cliched when it comes to that, so I think you will understand that it’s a lot and a half.

I worry about the kids I don’t have yet.  My biggest worry is that they will be unkind.  I also worry that they’ll hate me and make poor choices that punish themselves in hopes to punish me and my spouse.

I worry about the grandparents.  What they’ll think about my way of doing things to bring up that child.

My final worry is their faith.  By no means is this a complete list of my worries and fears, but this one is both the last and one of the greatest.  I put it at the bottom of the list because I haven’t figured out my own.  I am not religious.  I don’t believe that Jesus is my savior.  Or any of the other profits.  I hate to call myself agnostic, but then again, I’m not sure what else I would be categorized as.  I’m a person who is okay, good even, with labels, so I’m okay with one not sticking to me right now.  I’ll let the faith label slide.

So, today, I want to post what my faith feels like right now, and what I hope to teach my unborn children.

Faith, from my perspective, is severely influenced.  I’ve thought so since I was in the 4th grade.  I remember have the conversation with my friend Kendra Lee who went to a non-denominational church.  I had attended church with her, as I had with quite a few friends growing up.  It was fun and had games and prizes and a movie and a puppet show – far from my experience with my family, both branches of which were Catholic.  I asked her during a sleep over, when I was in 4th grade, how she could claim that Jesus was the one and only savior?  Her faith was unwavering, which is normal in the heart of a child.  I asked her, what if a man in China, who was Buddhist, or whatever (I wasn’t sure) but something other than Christian, was raised Buddhist, married, had a wife and children, which he raised Buddhist.  He was a good man, hard working, loving, kind, charitable, and did all he could to be a good person.  What if this person was never introduced to Christ?  Or, even if he was, does he automatically go to Hell for not knowing, or not believing?  Her answer was a resounding YES.

And I lost what inkling of faith I had in Jesus Christ.  I felt stirrings of faith, usually when I attended COW or Church On Wednesdays with my friends in High School – usually with the songs.  For whatever reason, those cheesy Christian rock/pop-esque songs spoke to me, I would feel joy as they praised Him.  I would sing along – it’s never been difficult for me to pick up a tune and lyrics – and it felt like praise to something larger than myself.  But it would die out once the Youth Pastor began to speak about spreading “The Word.”  It has always felt arrogant to me, to preach that yours is the one true way. How the heck do WE know?  Isn’t it POSSIBLE that God would present themselves as different things to different cultures?  Really, that’s never been something you’ve pondered?  Isn’t it POSSIBLE that the humans who relayed this message, who wrote these stories, were trying to steer people to the light, by any means necessary?  In the United States, politicians are known to base their decisions on faith.  Take, for example, the Representative who based his Pro-Life position on his faith.  I respect his faith, but not his decision to impose it on his constituents, because here we have a democracy held up by a republic, and therefore your decisions should be based on creating policies that are beyond your personal faith.  But, when the religions were being created, there was no such separation.  In many countries there still isn’t.  So, to say that my God is right and your God is wrong and to believe in them, or to not believe in mine, means you are punished for all time, I’m sorry, but I can’t stand by that.

It also felt arrogant to pretend I had a personal relationship with God.  At heart I am a humble, to the point of destructive, person.  Why would He do good things for me, just because I asked? This is why, when I prayed, I prayed either for good weather (for my family’s annual trip to Valley Fair (like Six Flags but in MN, so therefore more awesome)) or for my brother.  As a big sister I have always worried about my younger brother.  School, social life, dealing with parents, it always seemed harder for him.  He was sensitive, growing up, and I wanted to protect him.  I wanted God to protect him, to show him the way, to be strong when he couldn’t, and to help him stay safe, to open up to the love his family had for him.  I felt that if I were praying for someone else, then those might get rewarded.  I still feel that it’s selfish to pray for myself.  So, if I do pray, you can bet it will be for you rather than me.  There are a lot of self-esteem issues wrapped up in that, not being able to hope good things for yourself and all of that, but I still find it to be a noble task.

So where does this bring me?  I truly believe that had I stayed with and married Steve, I would probably have found my love for Catholicism.  Being that I love Matt, I find myself going down a different path.  He has made me question, sometimes VERY unwillingly (with much yelling and heartache,) what it would be to have faith in something that’s not a THING.  That’s not a higher POWER.  In, I guess, a design, or lack there of, of the universe.  I don’t know that he’s 100% chaos theory bound, but something to that tune.  I, personally, have always believed in a soul.  There is something so beyond impulses and equations and happenstance – coincidence cannot be all that there is.  But I have started to entertain the theory that maybe our being, or immortal being, is our energy.  As if our memory, built by those we know and love and touch and even pass by in the street, becomes manifest after our physical body is gone.  And though those people cannot remember us forever, our influence, butterfly effect on the rest of history, keeps that memory going.  That combined with the stuff that is US that is not our guts may very well live in a heaven of those before us, watching the lives of others grow and die for eternity.  Because energy never actually leaves.

All of this, the forays into Christianity, into science, the roots of my liberalism to allow for those around me to live and love and create and do good in their own way, makes me wonder if I will ever have something I can put in front of my children and say, this is the way, this is the path to be a good and wonderful person.  Right now, that path is broad, and I truly don’t know if I will ever walk a straight and narrow, or zigzag along it’s breadth.

My dear, sweet, unborns: Be kind.  Be strong. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in those things that make you giddy and happy beyond belief, like music and kisses and summer skies. Have faith that things will be okay.  Do not regret your errors, for they are your retroactive destiny: all of your decisions create a path before you.  You do not gain the good things without suffering.  I do not get to be with Matt without making some poor decisions in my past.  But I look at the path that brought me here, and I am grateful for all the good and bad choices that brought me to him.  My children will be born of that retroactive destiny as well.  Their gender, their upbringing, will all depend on what was before.  So, dear ones, please understand that bad choices can lead to good ends.  But, above all else, know that

You.

Are.

Loved.

Knowing this will get you through your trials. Believe in that and you will find your mountains climbable.  Because knowing you are loved will lead to self love, and love to others.  That’s just the nature of it.

To end on a fun note:

Because you gotta have faith 🙂

 

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Filed under happiness abounds, Music, Personal Musings, ugh! feelings . . .

Stuck in my head EVERY. MORNING.

I was trying to think of things I could write about today, like, the crazy dreams I’ve been having (Ex: my throat was super sore from being sick and it made it into my dream that this meant I was turning into an assassin)  Or the fact that I wasn’t able to walk to the train stop this morning due to icky weather conditions.  But, instead, I decide to write about the thing that is stuck in my head: “Some Nights” by Fun.  Seriously, EVERY. MORNING.  And it’s always the end of the bridge when they layer “oh come on . . . oh come on . . . oh come on . . . OH COME ON!!!!!” and in my head this last one goes on forever because that’s how I sing it in the car.  Oddly enough, I don’t hate this song, which I should, because it’s been stuck there for at least a couple months.  Instead, I get happy.  It doesn’t necessarily motivate me or anything, but I do just get a moment’s rush as I hear the drums slam in again.  I am such a sucker for that moment in a song when it goes acapella and then the instruments come in again to drive to the end. Every time. Any song. It’s always awesome.

Also, does it say something about me, or anyone, what songs get stuck in their head?  My boyfriend’s go-to song stuck in his head is “Come On Eileen.”  After 6 months of that it is damn annoying.  I mean, it’s so fun! They have overalls, and say things like “tulu-rei-aye” or however you spell it.  Did you know they’re a band again? Here’s the song if you don’t know it:

For my boyfriend, Matt, this brings him back to hanging out with his best friends from college.  One of the girls in the group put together a video/slide show of them hanging out at a cabin the one summer and had “Come on Eileen” as part of the soundtrack.  He loves those guys so much – they have a dream of living in a commune together with a restaurant and a sustainable garden = life time friends.

Another friend of mine has had “Africa” by Toto stuck in his head for what he says has been like, 6 years.  Don’t know why though:

Other than this song being EPIC.  Seriously, I want Matt to bless some rains for me, anywhere.  (Side note: if he knew that he’d do it because he’s awesome and wonderful:) )

If anyone would be willing to post a comment, I’d love to know what has been stuck in your head, and if you love it or hate it.

Also, I walked a total of 5.3 miles yesterday and did a full grocery run at Aldi that came to only $78.00 – I freakin’ love Aldi, you have NO IDEA.  Those were the most exciting things about my day yesterday, I’m so . . . cool . . .

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Filed under Fitness, Music, Personal Musings

Things About Me

***This was also from my “other” blog, posted originally on feb. 24th, 2013***

I’d like to say a few things about myself.  Here are some negative things:

I scream.  I yell and curse and say “fuck” a lot when I’m mad.  I get really crazy rage feeling like I’m bursting at the seams with emotion, all of them shades of hate and anger.  I lash out at those I love.  Maybe because I’m trying to push them away.  Maybe because I know they’ll still love me.  Either way, it’s no fun for either of us, and it’s not fair. It’s mean and scary and hateful.

I do not like myself.  I am the exact opposite of the #1 fan when it comes to me.  I have a hard time saying nice things about myself without sarcasm or immediately negating it in the next sentence.  For example: “Yeah, I think I’m a pretty good writer. I mean sometimes. Well, no, not at all, I pretty much suck, but, whatevs.”

I stress eat.  I don’t know if it’s like binge eating or anything that you could really diagnose, but I definitely eat when I feel anything bad or sad or even when I get sick and I’m not hungry, I eat.  This TOTALLY helps my weight and therefore, my self esteem.

Here are some positive things:

K, having a hard time with this one.

Okay, I’m super loyal to my friends and family.  This past weekend I went home to see them all since my parents had come to visit me in St. Louis (I’m from Minnesota originally.) I got so stressed out trying to fit in a decent amount of time with everyone I overreacted to something and ended up crying in front of my friend.  If I could I would have spent four days with just one of them.  I felt like I couldn’t really devote enough time to anyone, but I think they all knew how much I loved being there.

I am somewhat talented in a few things, like writing and crocheting and playing trombone and singing.  I have a B.A. in Music, which is about as useful as a B.A. in English (think “Avenue Q”) but hey, at least it’s a good conversation starter.

I’m GREAT at social situations.  Sometimes I can be overly aggressive depending on the circumstances in which i meet people, but I’ve worked hard at just being pleasant and not letting my out-going nature get out of hand.  Usually it gets that way when I’m either over-confident or nervous, so I just try to keep myself in check and try not to talk too much ( I talk a. lot.) So, usually, I come off as nice and kinda funny and fun.

I’m just putting this out there. I’d like to try and be honest somewhere where it doesn’t necessarily matter.  Also, if anyone else is looking to relate to someone who is not that great, but trying to be better, why not me?  I’m going to try to write every day, but I’m not sure if that will stick.  Hopefully it does.

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“It’s not the getting, it’s not the giving, it’s the love”*

I know many out there find the holidays to merely be a distraction from the hum-drums of everyday life.  I know that the commercialism of Christmas and the length of the season is utterly ridiculous, stretching always closer to the goal of the industry: to make it a year round shopping event.  I mean, I know many Christmas songs urge us to keep the season of giving in our hearts all year through, but I don’t know that they meant having super-early-bird-sale-extravaganza for 9 months of the year.

But, ultimately, I know that the Holidays are the best excuse for those living far from home to reconnect with the ones we love.  I am not a religious person, and I’m not sure I should even really be celebrating Christmas, but for me it is a tradition that brings joy and laughter and family and friends into my household and always yields much kindness and love.  This year is no exception as many of my family members went above and beyond to make sure I still was able to participate.  Back in August I realized I had really screwed the pooch when my boss told me I had run out of vacation time.  This is my first year in the new job and, really, my first grown up job, so I didn’t really get what a “pro-rated 2 weeks of vacation” meant.  When it came down to it, it meant no Christmas vacation.  I called my mom in tears letting her know I had screwed up so badly.  In BESTMOMEVER fashion she told me it would all be okay.

And it was.  Way to go BESTMOMEVER!!

Because she is lucky to be flanked by BESTDAD and BESTBRO.  BESTBRO really bent over backward to make sure all four of us were together as he sacrificed shifts at his delivery job to join my mom and dad in a trip down to StL.

This, however, wasn’t the end of the awesome that was my Christmas this year.  We usually spend Christmas with my mom’s family and when we asked those of them in Minnesota if they would come out to my parents house the Saturday before to celebrate they all obliged.  They had jobs and kids and other things numerous to compete with, but they changed their plans just so we could all spend the holiday together.

I left StL Friday night after work on a plane and then got to spend Saturday with my extended family in MN.  My nuclear family then drove back down to StL to make sure I was with family on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.  The Eve part of this was crucial as the four of us have always spent it together, and we have a very specific dinner which has changed in minuscule ways over the years.  My brother and I staunchly stick to this traditional dinner of steak, lobster (for Mom and Bro), french fries, peas, button mushrooms, crescent rolls, and french silk pie.  Weird? No. It’s AWESOME.  And, with it, came the tradition of much laughter and merriment as the four of us sat around the same table for the first time in probably a year to the day.  George Winston’s “December” played in the background, and candles lit the meal, and even though we were in a hotel room (a pretty swank hotel room I must say) it was home.

If you know what I mean by this, you’re a lucky person.  I know I am.  I may even say that it was a small miracle, with all the pieces falling into place just so, and just at the last minute.  Because my brother was able to take time off and get shifts covered, and I was able to come up the Friday before, and my parents both had the time, and neither my brother nor I have kids and do have understanding significant others, and all those things meant that we four could be together.  It feels like it may be the last time in awhile.

But I know it won’t be the last.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and may the true spirit of the Holiday, love and family, be present in your homes.

*Bonus if you know what this is from!

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A Poem for the End of the World

The girl who feared the end of the world lost her fear.  She gave into the Happiness and lived day to day.  She had friends and family and someone to grow old with.  She no longer worried about not being able to picture her future.

Who can truly picture the unknown?

 

And then the World Ended.

 

And she didn’t get married.

And she didn’t have children.

And she didn’t travel the world.

And she didn’t see her mom one more time.

And she didn’t go back to school to be a teacher.

And . . .

And . . .

And . . .

 

She floated in the vast expanse of nothing that we call, or did call, the Universe.

But it wasn’t the Universe anymore because no one was there to name it.

 

Well, she *thought*, if the Universe is no longer, then neither are the things I wanted to do.  That’s a *relief*.

 

At least I wasn’t crazy was happy.

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“Bleak House” Read-A-Long

 

One of my favorite blogs to keep up with is Sophisticated Dorkiness written by my friend Kim.  I have had the privilege of being friends with Kim since we were about 12 but I rarely get to see her being that she lives in North-West Minnesota and I live in South-East Missouri.  So, when she posted about doing a read-a-long I thought it would be a great way to connect with her and try to tackle Dickens, my Mt. Everest as far as authors are concerned.  Now, Kim reads a LOT (her Goodreads widget has a goal of 100 books for 2012 whereas mine has 26.  She’s listened to/read 97, I’ve listened to/read 22) but I think the playing field will be leveled a bit it with “Bleak House” being 800 pages or so and, again, being Dickens.   Kim shared this through a Bloggess she follows Jenny Loves to read, and if as a fellow blogger you’d like to read-a-long as well follow the link, and leave me a holla’ holla’ in the comments!

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Filed under BOOKS!

It’s Like I Never Left

PRE-SCRIPT: This post was started last week right after Boof and Mindy’s wedding on 8/18/12.

“Changeless”

by: Carbon Leaf

Call my friends to share some wine
To share some laughs, and last goodbyes
My photographs of these years
Will make me laugh through the tears

What are the odds, what are the odds?
This ends and we don’t meet again
What are the odds, What are the odds?
That I will miss your smile

Take awhile! Take awhile! Take care and
Fly away and see the world
Take awhile! Take awhile! Take time and
If you need rest, I’ll keep your nest
Changeless

Let fondness be our souvenir
To keep it warm, we’ll keep it near
Otherwise with no heart to recall…
A memory’s just a memory after all
I will not leave this pulse alone
Though it may take the long way home
I will not wait until the end
For my applause for you my friend

What are the odds, what are the odds?
This ends and we don’t meet again
What are the odds, what are the odds?
This ends and we won’t meet again
What are the odds, What are the odds?
That I have missed your smile

Take awhile! Take awhile! Take care and
Fly away and see the world
Take awhile! Take awhile! Take time and
If you need rest, I’ll keep your nest
Changeless

Went home to Minnesota for the third time this summer this past weekend and had an AMAZING TIME.

I write “home to Minnesota” and it gives me pause, because it’s not where I live, yet, this feeling of home was felt over and over as I was able to spend some quality time with all of my “groups” – 1) Family 2) High School Original Sixer’s (and Brandon:)) 3) UofM Friends 4) MN Brass (in no order or ranking, bty.)

I think my friend Mandi said it best when she told me it feels like I (me, KJ) never left.  And I think that’s the best signifier of where your “home” space is.  It’s not that you don’t change, or the scenery doesn’t change, it’s the mutual warmth and love and friendship that is “changeless.”   The carbon leaf song says the nest will stay changeless, but let’s say we take the word “nest” more literally, like a bird’s nest.  They build new ones each year.  It’s in relatively the same place, but it’s always different and yet it’s still home.  Anyone who has ever gone through the standard rites of passage in the U.S. knows this, so I won’t analyze this any further, rather, I’d like to apply this to my very eventful weekend/summer.

Thankfully my family has had only two BIG things happen this year, both positive, both resulting in my parents being true empty-nesters.  I moved away on August 28th, 2011 to live with Matt.  My brother, Daniel, moved in with his girlfriend Anna this past May 2012.  The rest of the changes were smaller but still significant only because my “nest” now looks and feels different though still very much the same.  My brother got a job delivering for Jimmy Johns and got my parents a giant flat screen tv for Christmas, their first one.  Because of his job he needed a more reliable car, so got a different Saturn which is a pale blue-silvery color and we finally said goodbye to Hermie the Hermaphrodite (our dark green Saturn ’96 which he and I both learned to drive in and was owned by all four of our family members at one point or another.)  My parents also both ended up getting new-used cars and I have Fiona, my brand new Ford Fiesta.  My mom has pretty much cleaned out what my brother calls “the shrine” which is my bedroom, buying a nice lamp and a box spring for the bed so it can be the “guest bedroom.” My leftover books and boxed up childhood toys just give the room character 🙂  My brother’s room now has new shelves for my mom to put things for her on the side baking business “Annabelle’s Oven,” which my dad built for her.

My family time and MN Brass time overlapping is far from different for me.  I was lucky to be able to see the Sounds of Minnesota show, just in time for MN Brass’s performance which was pretty cool.  That is the ONLY show I saw and the only one I will see live this summer.  While I was there I ran into old friends and many hugs were shared.  I mean, I couldn’t turn around practically without hugging someone, which was a great feeling.  I got to see some Pawlentys (related to the former governor, but biggest difference is that they aren’t douchebags) and Byrnes and Freidls and Whitakers.  I also got to play “big sister” to my girl Jana and make sure her boyfriend with the long hair was an okay kid and not scum.  My little Jana is really the one that changed, and will keep changing, but somehow she is so wonderfully in touch with those who she sees as family, no matter the time spent apart I see her and it’s a homecoming.  I don’t know what I did to deserve the the devotion.  From any of them.

I was able to, albeit briefly, see three of my original six girls:  Courtney, accompanied of course by my favorite Brandon, Natalie and Emily.  I always wish it was longer but we make good use of our time.  Because I have been close with these ladies for so long I like seeing how we’ve all changed and grown.  And what’s great is that I feel we’ve allowed for the growth – friendship elasticity.  But I also know that we’ve molded each other, helped set along a path, if only by being there for one another.  Two of them are now on the path to motherhood and I couldn’t be more excited!!  It will be interesting/amazing to watch them go through this next phase and learn from them and just watch them develop into moms.  I wish I could be there with them but I know we will all be honorary “aunts” to each others kids, creating space in our “nests” for them.

Finally, the Wedding of BOOF & MINDY.  First and foremost: it was super fun and pretty and cool and awesome.  The bride was beautiful and the groom charming and clever 😉  No but for real, the best part of weddings is seeing your friends, again, move into a new phase of their life, and how it brings people together.  I came from St. Louis, others came from farther or nearer, but all dropped any obligations we may have to make sure to be apart of their day.  THAT is family, THAT is friendship.  That is chickens coming home to roost.  And Mandi was right: I was gone a year, really?  Because it could have been that I stepped into the other room for awhile.  I gossiped with Becky, my co-conspirator and go-to gal, I did my hair with Mandi, I got “hello-bitch’d” by Joe, I danced the night away with Austin flinging me around, I laughed at inappropriate times with Gina, I was a dinosaur with Lucas, and with Katie, I had touching and funny and outrageous moments with all of them, including even a bonebabe picture with the new “bone wife” Mindy.  This could’ve happened last year, or the year before, or next year, and I can only hope if I ever get married it will happen again.

As it was my last chance to see Austin face to face I had said the only “real” goodbye to him.  And even that isn’t forever and ever.  Because eventually we will see each other again, maybe somewhere far away, maybe back in Minnesota, but where ever it is, it’ll be home.  And that’s what’s important.  Maybe next time I see ANY of these wonderful people it will be too long and maybe it will be awkward, at first, and maybe some things that I would like to change will stay the same, but they won’t have, not really.  I don’t care about being “stuck” in a role, I don’t care about who may have slighted who when and how and why, I care that you’re here now, and you’ve been here before, and you’ve been here when it counts.

So, if I could say one thing (because this post isn’t long enough) I hope EVERYONE I know GOES FORTH into the great unknown, whether it be starting something, or starting over, or leaving, or quitting, or joining, or traveling – make sure it’s a positive change and a way to move forward and onward.  Do it without fear of being lost or left behind because,  as my “experiment” has shown (moving to StL and not coming home for almost a year to see my friends (saw family at Christmas)) your loved ones will be there, wherever “there” is, when you get back, and will LOVE YOU for who you are now, then, and always.

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