Check out my other blog: Arugula Addict! I'll be writing about my journey to becoming a healthier person.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

To Thine Own Self Be True

Sometimes when I have too much to do, I end up doing nothing at all. Or maybe I just enjoy my weekends entirely too much, along with all the free time that comes with it!!! It took me till about 7 this evening to get my courage up to start tidying. That was after I'd taken 4 bags of "stuff" to the give-away and sorted through a bag of old papers. Now I can finally look around and be content that slowly, but surely, this place is becoming less cluttered! It really is freeing to have less stuff, ironic though that sounds.

Driving home yesterday after spending a day with friends, I was listening to Celine Dion in the background and thinking deep thoughts, as one tends to do on a 2-hour-long drive. At one point the song "When I remember LA" came on and it reminded me of the days I had spent in Lebanon, with the friends who were very close to me, and for a moment I reminisced and missed those times. I don't think I ever fully grieved the leaving-process, rapid as it was, and every now and then a deep sadness will come as I think of the ones I loved and the fun, crazy, and amazing times we shared.

I was happy back then. I was comfortable with myself, I was the leader of the pack, my sister and I created a popular group where before there was none, and I loved life. Oh sure, there were the usual teen awkward moments, the insecurities, the whole package. I wasn't one of the "cool" kids and always stood out just because I was a foreigner. But in the midst of all of that, I loved life. I loved the excitement of each new day, always eager to see what it would bring, and I believed amazing moments lay around every corner.

I'm different now. I suppose we all grow up, to a point, and we mature and settle down and learn how to talk in code so people think we're "all that" and we've got it all together. We put on a persona that others expect us to be and we read them to make sure we're getting it right. We create realities based on what we know and then try to live within those realities, only to find ourselves frustrated and angry. I've learned how to don the mask, but it hasn't made me happier. It's changed me.

I like to think I'm a survivor. Been through a lot, continuing to battle through more of the same, and not quite ready to give up the fight. Now, as I look back on where I've come from, I do see myself as a wiser, more mature woman than I was 11, 14 years ago. Yet I also feel like I've lost a piece of me along the way. The part of me that was full of life, that lived to enjoy the moment, that dared to dream and believed those dreams would one day come true.

There are very few who will understand as they read this, unless they too have found themselves moving through life, changing into someone they weren't sure they wanted to be. Or maybe everyone feels the same way, I'm not sure. On my drive home, though, I determined one thing. I want to be true to myself. I don't want to feel the need to pretend to be someone I am not. I want to be me, the person I was created to be.

I want to live life to its fullest and I want to discover the magic of fulfilled dreams once again. I want to experience the freedom to grow and learn. I want to understand the meaning of grace and unconditional love. I want to twirl around and around until I am so dizzy I can't see straight. . .to laugh so hard I cannot breathe. . .and to wake up every morning excited to greet the day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Ants Came Marching. . .

Yet another late night, or should I say early morning? Came home to find a little clump of ants sitting on my living room carpet. Not sure if they were having a summit or if they were cleaning up a crumb of something I'd dropped, but I carefully followed the trail till I found the floorboards where they were coming in at. I tried my favourite trick that worked last time and poured Soft Scrub all along the wall, blocking them off. Then I vacuumed and used a Kleenex to pick up any stray ants wandering about.

So far, the ants haven't marched back through!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Hmmm, having two blogs means I don't have as much time to invest in only one, but that's okay. I love journalling!

Been spending the past three hours digging through my past. Over ten years of emotional "gunk" and it has not been fun. :-( The only positive part of this is that I am realizing more and more that my choice to set up boundaries over the years was one of the best choices I could ever make.

I was chatting to a good friend the other day and he mentioned he'd been doing some research into why girls say there are no quality guys around these days. He surveyed a bunch of girls and asked them what they were looking for in a guy. A strong spiritual walk, genuineness/honesty, and consistency were the top three on their lists. I wholeheartedly agree.

I may not have grown up with a good father-role-model in my life, but one thing I have learned. I cannot tolerate hypocrisy. I will probably always struggle with that, because, like everyone else I know, I do things that I know I shouldn't. I am learning, though, that there is a difference between growing emotionally and hypocrisy. Someone who is growing emotionally recognizes they have areas they need to grow in and works on improving those areas. A hypocrite, however, lives their life in a different reality where they are unable to connect with others and they go around thinking the problem is with everyone else but themselves.

Each of us is on a journey towards wholeness. It is not just a journey of spiritual healing, it includes emotional healing also. For some of us, the journey may take a lifetime. . .

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Master This or Master That?

Okay, so now I'm facing a dilemna. Which to choose? But I'm guessing it really doesn't matter which, what matters is that I choose one!

Yesterday, I talked to Dr. Wilson on the phone and he told me I should go for a Masters in Higher Education and Administration. That has been something I've been looking at also, but I hadn't found something that gave me the title I was looking for.

Well, this afternoon I was surfing the web and an advert popped up for Kaplan University and I went to its website and discovered they have a Master of Science in Higher Education with an emphasis in College Administration and Leadership!!! It is kinda pricey but still a lot cheaper than programs I've been looking at. Total cost of $19,000 for tuition, all online, could be completed as quickly as 10 months but probably more realistic to take a couple of years.

So now the plan is to crunch some numbers and figure out whether I should double-major, focus on Psychology, or on Higher Education first. My favourite plan right now would be to do Higher Ed on the masters level and then Psychology on the doctoral level. Then I would have a really nice package of education to offer, along with training in yet another area.

So I'm excited and now I have to get to work to figure out what I'm going to do. I might still do some more research into Higher Ed masters programs also.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mixed Messages & What Are We Really Trying To Say?

Tonight (Tuesday) was the first night that I had the opportunity to attend the Week of Prayer with the presenter from Battlefield Hollywood. I ended up walking out 15 minutes before the scheduled end because I was uncomfortable with the footage that was being shown on the screen. Ordinarily it will take a lot for me to get up and walk out, as I am more tolerant than most. However, after seeing numerous clips, I was beginning to question why we were being shown what we were being told not to watch. Then a clip from the trailer of the hit movie Legion was presented and that was when I knew I had to leave. I was not the first to walk out, however, as three others had preceded me.

The evening began innocuously enough with a Scripture verse on the screen about wrestling with powers of darkness. I did not realize, however, that we would be required to actually do so in the next 30 minutes or so. After introducing his topic, the presenter began to focus on comic book heroes and to demonstrate how blasphemous they really were, as he compared them to Greek mythology and showed clips of screen writers who talked blatantly about their personal agendas. I did not have a problem with that. I did have a problem, however, with his choice of heroes to focus on, specifically Wonder Woman.

I’ve heard of Superman, Batman, and even Flash, but not of Wonder Woman. However, this evening I saw more than I would like to of Wonder Woman as screen shots flashed up showing her clad in nothing more than a swimsuit-type of armour. I question why it was necessary to show pictures of this scantily-clad female comic hero when we are aiming to create an atmosphere of purity on this campus. If our students come to a Week of Prayer where they are shown images that are not conducive to pure thoughts, I question the necessity of showing these pictures.

If that had been the only thing that evening, I would not have been as upset as I was when a clip from the Legion trailer was shown. The entire atmosphere of the clip, though, brief, was dark, intense, and full of evil. I understand the presenter's intent to convey that Hollywood is steeped in evil, but question why it is necessary that we have to bring that evil into our chapel and watch it on a huge screen.

I am well aware that the media dictates the direction of our morals. You cannot watch a TV show or movie today without violence and immorality pervading the script. It has become commonplace to show things that disturb our moral senses. However, if I’m in Walmart, for example, and I’m in the electronics section and a clip comes on from a movie similar to Legion, I choose to turn and look away. I do not have a taste for the evil and the dark side of Hollywood. While I understand that there may be some of our young people who are still questioning and growing and learning, I think it should be possible to give them adequate food for thought without requiring them to view images of an evil nature that will forever remain burned into their memory.

The argument is presented that the young people are watching these things, or that they have seen it in the past, and I don’t deny that. I recognize that it is necessary to expose and enlighten as to the media’s agenda, hidden and otherwise. I do think, however, that it is possible to do so without blatantly showing the clips being referred to. If everyone has seen Legion, for example, or they are aware of the movie, is it really necessary to show it again?

What about those who have not seen those types of movies? I know of those who have grown up in homes where they did not watch TV, or if they did, they watched documentaries and nature films. If they made a personal decision not to watch movies filled with violence and evil, why are they being required to watch them now, imprinting the images forever on their minds?

We’ve all heard that to truly know the genuine, you must study the genuine and not the counterfeit. I believe that if we want to teach our young people about what is good and right, we should do so by focusing on those things that will uplift the mind. Turning a Week of Prayer into a week of movie clips does not seem to be the way to do it. Why are we asking our students to make the choice not to watch TV and movies and then we require them to watch those very things for an hour every night? A Week of Prayer should be a time of reflection on Christ and not on Hollywood’s gory feasts. This is why tonight, I chose to get up and leave.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's The End Of The Rainbow!

Today was Blessing Day! I had so many awesome little things happen to me, things that happen and you just know that God is smiling down on you, that I decided I should just blog about them so I don't forget.

It all started with the Durango. I had to drive in to town for a work-related meeting and had to take the company car (that sounds quite fancy!). So. . .I ended up with the Durango, thankfully not the Crowne Victoria I had last time that I drove once around the Loop and absolutely refused to take on my long road trip! Anyhow, after I managed to figure out all the basics, like how to change gears up by the steering wheel, and got used to the feel of the huge lumbering thing, I realized I had a CD player in the car! So I quickly drove home and picked up a few of my fav CDs I hadn't listened to in ages. I got to enjoy Ray Boltz going down and Trey Lorenz coming back and it was absolutely marvelous.

The next neat thing was that I didn't have to go to downtown, a huge blessing because it's hard enough to drive in downtown traffic with your own car, let alone a dinosaur-sized chunk of metal that stops on a dime (and I mean a dime!) and drives at 70 like it's going 10. The seminar was in a building I'd been to about three years ago and it was right off the freeway so it was quite simple to get there.

The third blessing of the day was when I flew back in to town to see my dentist for my crown. I managed to wake up in the middle of the night Friday and I'd been dreaming that I had crunched down on my tooth and my crown broke. Well, surprisingly enough, when I woke up I realized I had indeed chipped a piece off! Thankfully I didn't swallow it!

So this afternoon I was rather apprehensive because I didn't know if the crown was under warranty (it's less than 6 months old) and if it would have to be replaced and if my tooth had been compromised. Ten minutes after Gloria, one of my favourite friendly dentists, had taken the first x-ray, my second friendly dentist, an Indian lady who is super sweet, smiled at me and said I was ready to go. All she did was polish the tooth smooth! It has a 5-year warranty (phew!), the tooth looked great, and I didn't need a replacement crown because thankfully I'd managed to break off a piece that wasn't vital to the existence and function of the crown.

The final blessing was a small one but super exciting to me. My dentist (the Indian lady) told me that I could crack a tooth if I bit down on candy or on a bone. Well, I informed her that I was a vegetarian so I wouldn't have to worry about biting down on a bone, and promised to stay away from candy, and then we had a little chat about being vegetarian. She asked me where I went out to eat at restaurants if I was vegetarian, and I rambled off about pizza and Fresh Choice and then went on to my favourite ethnic restaurants of Chinese and Indian and she smiled real big when I said I liked Indian food. She also said she'd tried being a vegetarian for a couple of years, but wasn't anymore. So now I'm wondering how to bring it up again next time and maybe I can give her a cookbook or a little magazine or something about health. I don't want to be annoying but I'd like to be encouraging if I can.

Well. . .those are my blessings for today. I'm eagerly looking forward to what tomorrow brings!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Taking Flight

I'm super stoked! Just finished purchasing my round-trip ticket to Amsterdam, leaving May 18 for just under 3 weeks!!! Very spur-of-the-moment. I wasn't going to go, but then I found an award ticket (so it just cost me $65 in taxes!) and I thought, I need a vacation, so in 15 minutes I booked it and now I have a ton of things to do to get ready.

Now I have to book an appointment at the US embassy in Amsterdam, get the paperwork taken care of by my lawyers, and figure out my schedule while I'm over there. I want to spend time with my family in the Netherlands, Wales, and England, and sure wish I was going over for a month. But I am happy with the time I do have. Just three months!!!

Oh yes, and I'll be having a 21 hour-layover in my favourite airport, MSP. Yay :-(

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Catch a Breath Before It Evaporates

Wow, didn't realize it had been so long since I'd last posted, over 10 days ago! Life has gotten hectic, as it tends to do, which is my excuse for not blogging a little more frequently. Of course, though, I'm finally starting to realize that life is never going to settle down. It will always be busy, the things that come rushing up to me and demand to be accomplished "right now" will keep cycling back around, and even if I had a full year of quiet time with absolutely nothing to do, it would probably not be enough. Maybe that's a reason to long for heaven. A land with no insignificant demands on our time, but rather eons to spend learning and growing and stretching our minds. Now that's something to look forward to!

Even this entry must be short as I'll have to dash back up home and pick up the rest of the family to go to the Slavic Church tonight for a choir fundraiser for the mission trip. I think it will be fun, something to do, at least!

Started the process of applying to an MA in Psychology online program from CalSouthern. It's not regionally accredited, only downside, but it's nationally accredited, affordable tuition and offers all the classes I need to sit for the boards and become a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in California. And since, at this point, I hope and plan to stay in California long enough to practice as an MFT and build up a good number of hours, it is probably a good enough program. As soon as my transcripts get there, I'll be able to start classes, with my target date being March 1 of this year. If the program is at the academic level that I'm looking for, I plan to complete my MA in Psychology in the next 2 to 2 1/2 years. I'm super excited!!! Finally being able to realize my dream, while still continuing to work. And if it doesn't work, oh well, I'll just have to save up my pennies and plan to go to Southern or a Christian university in about 3-5 years' time.

Michael is starting to drive now! He's doing quite a good job and I can't believe how quickly he's grown up. Today he drove me and my mom to church and back, on the side roads of course. He's very calm and yet quite assured as he zooms down the road and slips into tight parking spaces. We're all growing up, even as I try my best to hold on to the years but they insist on evaporating with the morning light. I was going through old pictures today, we had some great times back then. Family, college, friends. I miss those. . .

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Let Me Run On Your Head For 15 Minutes

Ever had one of those days when your head is pounding as a throbbing migraine takes control and all you want to do is curl up and sleep the pain away? You were probably quite irritable and snapped easily at anyone who dared ask how your day was going. I'm having one of those days. Or rather, evenings.

Because right now, someone is running about 11 miles per hour on the treadmill, which just so happens to be situated directly over my head. I think a migraine would be nicer.

I always wonder why someone would choose to bounce on a trampoline or run a treadmill when they could walk 30 steps out the door and be right on the Loop where they could run to their heart's content and never bother a soul. Oh well, at least so far people have been considerate and honoured the little sign that asks them to use the gym equipment between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm (and 10 am on Sunday mornings, my one day to sleep in!).
Argh! If I am ever rich, the first thing I will do is get my own house that doesn't have a single wall, ceiling, or floor attached to someone else's living space. I've spent most of my life in apartments and I can say with definite opinion that it really really stinks.