Friday, February 27, 2015

Stop. Turn Around. Walk Away

In which I learn to lighten up a little.

Hold on just a sec while I catch my breath...

"Pant pant. 



 What a week. Month, actually.

I really, really wanted to write what would probably have been a long-winded blog post on how that emotional, thoughtful roller coaster of mine took a massive dip down for about three days, into extremely dark, cold, hopeless waters. I'm just starting to come up out of it, actually. Hence, one of the reasons I am catching my breath.

But today, I haven't time to write such a big post. The last month I've felt a connection to that poor little rabbit in Alice in Wonderland:

"I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date! Oh dear, oh dear, oh me oh my, there's no time, no time!" ...Or something like that. Reason number two for the above panting.

Instead, I wanted to share with you the importance of something.

You know how people say..."if something's not working, walk away for a while"?

If you run in to a creative road block, if you get frustrated, if you get discouraged, if it just seems like whatever it is you are working on, trying to accomplish, is failing, just stop. Go away from it. Read a book. Pray. Take a walk. Talk it out. Re-asses it from a different mood.

 I don't care if it's cooking dinner or a huge project or a life long pursuit or a craft or school or anything you are doing. If its driving you nuts, maybe shut it down for a minute.

 Put it from your mind completely for a while.

It never really clicked with me until this week how, just, absolutely important that is. I don't know if I can put it accurately into words, the feeling of I want to give up why do I even bother what's the point that happens when you have been trying perhaps a little too hard, or trying with the wrong mindset, to accomplish something.

When you get to that point, despite the whole keep going, don't give up thing, it's time to go play a board game or take a nap. Because although it may seem like procrastination, when you feel like putting an ax through your laptop and then throwing it out window as far as you can possibly chuck it, I don't think your going to do very well at whatever your trying to do well at. (That was me by the way, guys. My poor laptop was in very real danger. Funny how a piece of technology can drive you to hot, literal tears and a meltdown. Pathetic, I know.)

If it's really important and really needs to be done, you'll go back to it. If you let something upset you that much, that something is important to you and you'll want to return to it.  Later.

It always seemed to buzz past my ears when someone said that before. Look at the bigger picture, ask yourself why your doing it again, ask if its really worth throwing an adult temper tantrum over, and in my case, if this is helping or hindering your walk with God.

If it is worth throwing a fit over it, instead of throwing a fit, throw it in a corner for a while and come back later.

 Aaaand I think I just repeated a lesson that people have thrown out there a million times before. It's a tried and true method, though.

 And if your like me and this life lesson kind of glosses over your head every time you hear it, just trust me, one of these days, the full, deep meaning of "just walking away" is going to click and you will get it. Oh, man, will you get it.

Okay. I caught my breath a little. I'm off to get more stuff done and then get frustrated and take breaks from it. See ya. (She takes off running, a little puff of dust all that's left to show that she was ever here.)

Side note: February's Resolution was to only do Pinterest on Mondays. Ha. I can safely say I only pinned about one day a week. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Monday, February 23, 2015

This is Where I Thrive

In which I give you another quote. I am feeling quite poetic today. Deal with it.

Here's a jaw-dropper for you...I am female, therefore I am emotional.

No way, right? Betcha you never would have guessed.

My older sister told me a few weeks ago: "You know Jillian, I've been reading your blog, and you are really good at portraying feeling." (Thank you, sis, by the way. I treasure those little compliments)

And because I am emotional and so much of what I write has to do with all those feelings, I think it tends to look a little...mushy? Sappy? Melodramatic?

Sometimes I genuinely fear it's overdone. "Oh dear, am I being too sentimental? Will they think it's overkill?  Am I a literary drama queen?"

One of these days, I keep telling myself, I need to buckle down and seriously write some good, sound, theological arguments on all my beliefs on God and not make it so flowery and tender and, well...emotional. It needs to be all boxed together and organized, with a generous sprinkling of" therefores' " and "herebys' ". It might even need to seem a little boring and dry. It needs to be grown up and serious, and for Pete's sake, lose all the italic emphasis' on everything!

Sometimes I honestly think, "Why can't I write more like a well educated pastor in his fifties?" All calm arguments and logical articles on things. Besides the fact that, duh, a twenty year old female is about the farthest thing from a pastor in his fifties, I genuinely convice myself sometimes that that's what my writing style should be more like.

In a word, things should be a little more....stable.

But really...I just don't think that's going to happen. Sorry folks, but I believe I will always write from the emotional roller coaster of female viewpoint. (Ooh, another shocker, right?)

Maybe it's too emotional. Maybe it's too tender. Too feminine or overdone. Maybe a little immature, wide eyed, idealistic. Perhaps it does focus too much on love and happiness and wistful thinking.

But when that is who I am, how God created me, and where I am at, how can it be anything else?

 I'm not saying its right or wrong...maybe its right, maybe its very wrong.

It is what it is. God help me if that is not what it should be.

Every so slightly unrelated, I found a quote that perfectly sums up those feelings of the past few weeks that I have been writing about. Please. Enjoy.

"Sure. I'll make small talk. Discuss the ins and outs of a 'typical' day. Pass the time lightly. Say tiny things. I'm happy to tread surfaces with a smile, and will. Sometimes. Yet-when I look at you, I know there are layers.
Collections of ancient wisdom.
 Stories on stories. 
Core needs. 
 This is where I light up. This is where I thrive. You can't be caged up in a pool for long. Not when you are someone who wants oceans." -Victoria Erickson

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fragments of the Battle

In which are rather random and unorganized thoughts on the extraordinary life.

If you have read more than one or two of any of my past posts, you'll probably see a trend:

She wants to make a difference, she knows small changes, little things, are important. She knows she can't do that whole change the world thing on her own.

You wanna to know why I always seem to harp on this whole "change the world in little ways" thing? Drum roll...I struggle with the every day, with the small things. When something doesn't seem to have point, when it seems it's a waste of time, when I go out in the world, observe the people, driving in their cars, busy doing all their things, and its all material and I can't connect with them, it frustrates me. immensely.

Wait...we are talking about Jillian here, right? The girl who loves her little blessings and the simple life and the mundane tasks? The girl who does the normal things with joy and fulfillment? Who realizes that the everyday things at her fingertips are actually mind boggling? 

I thought all she wanted to do was write, read books, get married, and love people?

But you see, that's why she writes about the small stuff so much. Because she is trying, with Gods help, to embrace it.

I picture this: A woman who diligently does the extraordinary. All the the people she connects with, she touches in an unforgettable, fresh way, she leaves them with a slightly changed life. The type of person who, after you have a conversation with her, leaves behind traces of hope and strength the greatest of all...unconditional love.

She lives a life that is bustling with people, that sings of a job well done. Every thing she does, she throws herself into recklessly. She gives everything. She connects with people, does her level best to understand them. She realizes how blessed she is by God, how much God gave her, how much of a change God has made in her life, inward and outward. She lives those changes daily.  She decides she is willing to die for her family, if the need ever arose.

 Each moment is experienced to its fullest, dreams and thoughts are realized, blessings given and taken, joy comes from pain. Times of solemn reflection, even torturous, philosophical thoughts on God and Satan and the world and how everything relates. An ever passionate feeling, always excited for the amazing things that are going to come.  Everything she does has a purpose, has a goal to make improvement, somewhere on earth. She wants to burn bright, burn strong, stand out, give others everything. It is a life that could be set to This type of music.

Why can't I be an extraordinary girl in a broken world? Why can't I live the epic saga of life?
I fear boredom. I fear getting tired of this life, of the people in it. That is selfish. I do not want to be that selfish, so consequently, I should  afraid of the mundane, right? Because I should not be thinking of myself.

I know, even though I does not like it, that the way to live extraordinarily is to live the ordinary. To run the errands and babysit the kids and clean the house...even though it seems so... material. So tiresome. Pointless. Repetitive. But it has it's place, it's purpose. Perhaps that purpose is solely to be content with what I have.

I realize I am not special in this area. We all crave grandness. Why else do we, as humans, gobble up stories and movies and music that play with and pull on our emotions, and always wish for life to be more, well, grand? (On a side note, is it not grand that we have such a full and deep range of emotions?)

"...I'll struggle on, inspired that God has called me to this life -- not even this life in particular but to life in general. The life of creativity, of love, of beauty, of holiness -- and all of that at a high price of discipline". Bailey, MHJ

Monday, February 16, 2015

Commission: Transform

In which I give you one of my favorite things.

 Time for a little math: 
Jillian+weekend+busy+sick=No blog post.

 Technically, that's not altogether true because this is a blog post...but it's something I promised myself I would not do too often...stick up a favorite quote and not write anything original.

 I was going to list all the things I have on my plate right now, but that seemed...kind of like a teenagers Facebook post where they are trying to complain/brag at the same time. Ick (Inwardly gags).  May it never be. (Too late. I now realize that's what last Mondays post had in it. Sorry. No really, I apologize.)

 You might be seeing a few of these "unoriginal" little posts over the next few weeks. But really, this is a beautiful quote,and although its missing any references to God or the christian life, the great commission is what I have in mind when I read it. I pray it inspires you like it does me:

People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I've noticed something about people who make a difference in the world. They hold to the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, treat one wound. They aren't determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they  are satisfied with small changes

Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world. People who want to make a difference get frustrated along the way but if they have a particularly stressful day, they don't quite, they keep going. Given their accomplishments, most of them are shockingly normal and the way they spend each day can be quite mundane. 

They don't teach grand lessons that suddenly enlighten entire communities, they teach small lessons that can bring incremental improvement to one man or woman, boy or girl. They don't do anything to call attention to themselves, they simply pay attention to the everyday needs of others if its only one person

They bring change in ways most people will never read about or applaud. And because of the way these changers wired, they wouldn't think about living their lives any other way. 

Beth Clark, Kisses From Katie

Friday, February 13, 2015

Single And...Well, Sorry

In which, trying to find joy in my solitude, I struggle.
 (Written in the shadow of Valentines day. No, of course it's not a coincidence. Pfft. Don't be silly)

So funny thing: I wrote this resolve about being really happy and single.

I said I was so grateful that I was not married.

After I wrote that, it was as if God gave a knowing nod of His head and said: "Okay, lets test that one. Are you really happy and single?" 

It probably hasn't helped that I have been reading C.S Lewis' "A Grief Observed", a book of his thoughts after his beloved wife died of cancer. It is an absolutely beautiful picture of two people whose minds met, whose souls touched, whose intellects sparked each-other, and they experienced the merging of two christian souls, a connection far beyond the physical. (Do go read it. It's very sad but it is worth it)

 Lewis wrote many analogies of what it felt like to have her gone: A ship without it's starboard side, a man with his leg cut off, who continually feels the phantom pain, an entire half of who he was, something that had locked together and merged with him, ripped away. He questioned his own belief in the sovereignty and goodness of God.

Perhaps it is a silly fantasy of mine, but I felt like I could relate to Lewis. I simply stand on the other side of that problem... I have not connected with whoever my soul mate is yet. I don't feel whole. Somethings not complete. I am missing a huge key piece of what my life is going to be. Some days, that phantom pain of something I have not even known yet, really screams at me.

So am I chugging along, waiting for that other human being, whoever he is, to come and merge with me, to feel whole?

 Or, is this me, coming closer to being content with Gods love alone?

But if God created me to be a married person, to become someones other half, than is it not as it should be, to feel incomplete?
(You know, right? In Genesis? it was it not good that man was alone? So of course it's not good for woman to be alone either. Duh*)

Perhaps, then, I should just try to shelve this longing, instead of trying to get rid of it, shelve it up high and as out of reach as humanly possible, until the time is right and I can pull it out, and enjoy it in all its fullness. Can I tuck it away for now? 

I turn once more to my handy notebook filled with past thoughts:

"In a recent conversation with a wise older man, he told me how his son is a mountain guide. His son will take people into the mountains, into the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, they get snowed in, stuck, up in the wilderness. Some people get very worried and they feel like they have to get back to civilization at the time they set in there minds. Everything becomes an emergency, stressful, filled with anxiety. 

Others, they look around and see it as an adventure, something to sit back and watch, enjoying each new and unexpected thing. They see the problems as challenges to take on and overcome. The urgent emergency became a grand adventure to wonder at and have good memories of. 

The man who was telling me this story was talking in regards to my being single. I loved this, and it has come to my mind multiple times since then. 

As I think about all the things little, big, important, all the enjoyable and the terrible, it comes to mind:

An adventure, Jillian. Enjoy every single minute."

Even the struggles I have with vast and ridiculous self consciousness, the aching to be one with someone else, the ups and downs, the overwhelming desire to tell myself I am just not good enough to do anything, dealing with the mundane things in life, and all the times I question myself and  my God, they are a challenge that sharpens me, not just a depressing problem to deal with.

*It sounds like I am contradicting my last post on singleness, right? In no way. I still hold to everything I stated, more then ever. But I had to be honest about the struggle. This is my challenge right now. This is my adventure. How will it end? The saga will continue, I'm sure. Happy Valentines day, by the way.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Obsession With Sounds

In which I make my first attempt at being a teacher.

Being the overachieving little lady that I am,

 I decided to start a blog twice a week, make new years resolutions, work part time, take self defense classes twice a week, take violin lessons,  AND do three six week online college courses on music from Berklee college of music in Boston.

So I'm getting two things done at once today.  This is the assignment from week 1 of the "Introduction To Music Production" course. I briefly (I was required to keep it under five minutes) overview some basics of sound and audio. The purpose is to teach others, and through teaching, learn more myself.

So here it is.

 Please...enjoy. Learn a little something new today.

This was my very first time putting together a presentation like this, so I figured it out as I went along. I have to say, it was actually easier than I thought it would be. I am anticipating feedback from my fellow classmates soon.

I am enjoying it all, although sometimes I do feel like I have no idea what I am doing.

I LOVE music, though, and with this I hope to greatly expand my musical world, opportunities, and experiences.

And on that note (pun intended) I leave you to go start week 2 of said classes.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ladies and Gents, We Are Now In Overdrive

In which, I go too fast.

Once upon a time, in the year 2014, there was a blondie who got extremely bored.

And I mean like depressed, life is pointless, don't care anymore, what's wrong with me, bored.

Life was empty. Stupidly, she turned to overinflated, commercial, material stuff. Clothes and "toys" and technology and literal...stuff. Things. Objects. She didn't even know why.

She lost the passionate fire to further Gods kingdom, and she really, really wanted that flame back. She couldn't get the sparkly eyed self she used to be back. She wanted her current self to slide back into the the excited person she used to be, only two or three years before.

So, that blustery December of '14, she decided to start thinking again. She dusted off the old mind machine, and started writing and reading. She started loving people, began to get excited again.

Then, the ideas started pouring in.

Oh, man, I need to do a study about that. Short story, I've got an idea for a good short story. No, make that five short stories. Hmmm, I could stand to do a self examination on post, I gotta write a blog post about that. Whoa...I love people. Life changed. Man, I need to read the whole Bible like, today. Ooh, a novel, I'm gonna write a novel. I have such a cool idea for this novel! No, no, make that a trilogy. Three books. I have to write three books. Questions, I got questions. About life and the Bible and beliefs and history and science and love and prayer and God and...



She went into overdrive mode, thinking about concepts and ideas and stories and philosophies. Dreams and plans a resolutions came at her, rapid fire. 

It felt like too much to organize. Her own head couldn't  handle her own head. She couldn't stop. It was like a conveyer belt in a chocolate factory...those sweet thoughts were getting by her too quickly, so she grabbed them, stuffed them anywhere she could on her person, and tried to hold on to them for later.

But, she wouldn't have it any other way. She refuses to back to the way it was before. She just needs to learn how to slow down a little.

Have you guys ever seen that famous chocolate factory scene? Watch it. Just. Watch it. I am Lucy. I am so Lucy. My brain is that silly conveyer belt with the chocolate. At first, " Oh, I got this. This is fun." Then, "too much, just grab it, stuff it in!" I cracked myself up. So stinkin' accurate.

Monday, February 2, 2015

When We Feel Like Going Insane

In which we find hope, relief, maybe even contentment and joy, on the bad days.

I learned a new term recently: Facefloor. Like facepalm only, times fifty, and just...way more accurate. 

That feeling when your day/week/month/year okay life... has been too frustrating or people too hurtful and your brain-won't-rest-and-you're-bored-but-there's-too-much-to-do-and-its-all-hopeless-and-muddled. There is, simultaneously, too much to think about and not enough to occupy your mind. And it's driving you nuts and  you don't know how to cope.

Or maybe I'm the only one who gets that slightly crazed, I'm gonna scream feeling where you wish you were doing great things, lack the drive to do them, but feel like life is completely empty and pointless unless you are living every minute to its full potential, running around doing everything you can to change all the bad and put more good into the world. Because, hello, I'm a Christian and I've got to do my part to carry out the great commission or else I will be a total failure as a redeemed human being.

 There are opportunities...people who are asking you for time and help...but it's really complicated and you don't know what to say or do most of the time. So the ending desire is, as stated, to just put your face to the floor. Or bang it against a wall, letting said face stay there. And groan and whimper like a little puppy. And then, if you're like me, probably cry.

Aaaaaand then get mad at yourself for having a selfish little pity party.

It's kinda brutal, guys.

So, over this weekend, I have made a list on how I get relief from the labyrinth of my own troubled thoughts, to quiet that worrisome fire...and maybe even be calm again.

There is, perhaps, better ways to go about doing this. It may not have the same effect on other people as they do on me. Hey, it might not even be all that wise.

I could probably do an extensive study in the Bible for times like this. I fact I probably should. Then I get to thinking about all the subjects I really ought to delve into scripture with and schoooom...I'm off into that whirlwind thinking maze again. Too much, too much to process...

But this is what I came up with. This is what soothes my soul. Take it or leave it. Use it or laugh at it. I don't care. It's patched together. It's not going to fix my life. It's not a remedy for all problems. There is more to it. If I had months to work this out, I would probably come up with more studied, profound ways to deal with my own issues. In fact, I might just do that months from now.  I will most likely look back at this particular post and wonder what on earth I was trying to get across.

This also doubles as another reasons for Eucharisteo entry. This particular list just has a specific focus today. Here goes:

26. The very ability to look around and be thankful for blessings, Be they large or very small. It is a blessing in and of itself.  It is, perhaps, difficult to do at times...

27...Last Thursday I was out doing errands with my Mum, sitting in the car worrying, thinking, mulling over people, possible situations, past hurts, future problems. But stop. The sky was crystal clear blue, and it was sunny and unusually warm. That sun was reflecting off the snow on the mountains, making it such a brilliant day. Which got me to thinking...

28. How truly awesome it is. Little atoms, the electrons and neutrons floating around...

29...Each one is a microscopic building block for air and snow and the sun's heat.

30. How we have the ozone layer, protecting us from harm, but letting through the light that we need...

31. Millions of factors making the sky that glorious blue.

32. And there are billions and billions of these things going on, those atoms connecting, stacking, exchanging, moving. I can't even wrap my head around all that constant, bustling activity and infinite order, on a global scale...much less a galactic one.

33. It's all bursting, swelling with life and discoveries. It's noisy and busy and chaotic yet organized.

34.  And I am minuscule. I am a tiny, little, fragmented part of it all. I understand so little of it all. But I have the ability to understand that I can't understand it all. (did you hear that? That was my mind exploding)

35. This post...and especially this quote from it: "..This is about more than thankfulness—this is about finding delight in things that ride the edge of awful and awesome (like the first snowfall). If you’ve got the choice to hate it or love it, try loving it."

36. Realizing that we do not have to always feel sublimely happy or perfectly at peace. It is an unachievable thing, to be the perfect christian, who is always on a spiritual high and always ready with an answer for every conceivable question about their faith, who always knows how to help a friend who is hurting or struggling with something. Sometimes, so it seems, we have got to just slog through it all the best we can, holding on to God and His word with a white-knuckled death grip.

37. Remembering that since we are so minuscule, the world is not going to end when we go nuts. Granted, our world may seem like it is going to fall to pieces some days...shredded apart by discouragement and sin and grief and misery and hurt and I-could-keep-going...but life goes on. Come out the better person after it all. Easier said then done, I know. Trust me, I know.

38. The ability to sometimes, shut down all these stressful thoughts, fold up the crazy mind-map, and just focus on something simple. Like a movie. Or a board game. Or a walk outside. A book.  Hallelujah amen praise the Lord for the capacity to just zone out. You have no idea.

39. Of course, reading my Bible is always a blessing. I can find scriptures, perhaps ones that I did not expect, that put my mind at rest. Like Titus 3:4-7.

40. Having My hope in God, and not in man.