Monday, February 22, 2010

African Friends and the Rich Folks

I'm reading this book, African Friends and Money Matters and I love it. I alluded to it in my last entry when I write about African ways of doing things and how much more relational they are and how much more they value community. It was a valuable lesson I learned while in Mozambique and the sole reason I agreed to the recent roommate thing. I am not in need of having someone share my expenses, as much as I am in need to learn to live life with others and not be so incredibly selfish. I have no patience. I love living alone. I love "me time". I love it all too much. I love my peace and I love my quiet and I love my life and I am rarely lonely.  Sometimes I do need help around here and there is the choking hazard thing, but for the most part my life is wonderful. Yet, how can I face a life of missions or any true life if I can't live with others around me, taking up my time and space? I really need to learn a life of sacrifice. I don't want to become a hermit and not know how to handle noise or how to share. I am so incredibly spoiled. And this is coming from the girl who had a puppy for one day. 24 hours. I took him back because he kept looking at me and following me around and it drove me insane. And yes, I am laughing as I write this. 
 I am loving African Friends and contemplating what I can learn from their culture and make it a part of mine. Meanwhile, I am worn slap out. I am in a new season of all sorts of new things and honestly I look at myself in the mirror these days and ask, "Who are you?". Recently, I felt like God was telling me to get busy. I was living a very quiet, selfish life. I have a wonderful job, and many hours on my hands in the evenings to do whatever I choose and weekends free to go wherever I'd like. I trained for a half-marathon with all that time last year and wound up running 3 of them and loved every minute of it. I dedicated a year to just coming home and running. After being in Africa this summer I began to re-evaluate things and wanted to set some priorities. I decided to enroll in 2nd Year of Bethel School and was assigned my own personal life coach. He and I sat down and started mapping out goals and discussing dreams and it became apparent to me that I needed to get busy. My daily routine of living a selfish life of loving on myself and doing whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it and making no sacrifice or investments in others was not the route I wanted to continue to take. I wanted to be able to invest in all sorts of things and wanted to start to take action and go after it and not let life just happen to me, but me happen to life. I stumbled upon this little second job. It has turned out to be much bigger of a time investment that I anticipated. I work all the time. Between the two jobs and Bethel School, I am never home and I am absolutely exhausted. I have not one single day to myself. My feet hurt. I don't anticipate this going on for forever, so I have complained very little. Also, it has been extremely benefical in supplementing my income and I now have this new little account to fund all sorts of dreams. What I didn't anticipate were all the side effects.
I work in a country club. The first night when the first woman, who was about my age, asked me for something to drink, I honestly looked at her with the expression, "Who, me?". My whole life I have been on the other side. I am the one in evening attire, placing my order and anticipating fast service. It has been YEARS since I have waited on any one else in any way. And to have this woman in her Diane von Furstenberg ask me for a glass of Pinot, threw me off. I had this huge conversation with myself...."you have to go and get it and bring it to her and smile at her and be nice and you can't take a sip". Oh my. "You are not invited to the table. They don't want you to sit down and talk to them. You are a waitress". Who me? "Yes, you. Girl in the necktie and starched white shirt. Go get the woman her wine". "Excuse me, miss". MISS!!!! I am your age, dude. As a matter of fact I kinda know you. You  are a lobbyist, like 36. You're friends with some of my friends. Actually, we all went to a dinner together last year at Rathbun's. Oh, please don't recognize me. Whew. He didn't. And don't call me Miss". Needless to say you can see how this has rocked my little world. Serving others. In a necktie. And a name tag. Yesterday, I actually got to go outside down by the tennis courts and monitor a group drinking beer from plastic cups. Some kinda regulation thing and alcohol laws or something or another. All the women were in their cute little tennis outfits and they completely ignored me. I wanted to say, "I have that Tory Burch sweater". But I didn't say anything. I just stood there thinking, "this stinks". I started referencing them all as "the rich folks" to myself of course, and I just classify them all together. I know this is not right. I should see them for the individuals who they are, but it is so much fun to just call them "the rich folks" and make judgments about their predictable behavior. Yet I reckon I only do it because they make me feel so utterly invisible sometimes. I honestly have all the validation I need and I am so incredibly happy and life is good and jokes on them for not getting to have an exchange with the most amazing human being on the planet, so I am still able to strut my stuff and be happy and just have conversations with them in my head and comment back to their conversation about their weekend at Serenbe or Sea Island vacation and put in my two cents on the pimiento cheese sandwiches at the Bakery at Serenbe or the Georgia Sea Grille on St. Simon's. Then it suddenly hits me. I do this too. I don't see people at all. I order my drink and expect to just get it. I special order my food and just say "thanks", but I really don't always mean it. I don't think for one minute how little that poor girl makes or what her day has been like or anything. Oh no. This is not good. This is one of the reasons I am here. I need to learn to be sympathetic. I need to learn patience. I need to learn to love and see people's hearts, not handbags. I want to have compassion on everybody and truly SEE others and not be accused of ignoring anyone. And even though I crack myself up with the imaginary conversations I have with "the rich folks" I need to always remember what being invisible feels like. This has been a great lesson for me. I want to see beyond the Tory Burch and see their hearts, their humanness and learn to serve that Pinot with a smile that is genuine. I am trying. It is not easy. It is actually very, very hard. God has totally set me up.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

here i go again

so neglected this little blog lately. i miss it. it misses me. it is all i can do these days to get out of bed in the morning. i am so sleepy, the act of talking on the phone exhausts me. i am eating poorly, by that i mean cottage cheese and wheat thins and peanut butter and rice cakes. my laundry pile is embarrassing. i am actually sitting in my living room in total darkness because none of the lamps are plugged in because i am rearranging furniture. i shoulda drawn out all the pieces to scale and figured it out on paper. but no. that's too left brained for me. i just start pushing furniture. you cannot push furniture in sock feet. did you know that? it's a fact. you have to do it barefooted. i bought a new chair for $25 at the Nearly New Store which led to the purchase of 13 yards of fabric. i shipped it and a poor sketch of the chair off to Mama Deane to have her sweet little missionary lady make me a slip cover for it. it is way ugly at the moment. mixed in with my pottery barn assortment and antique auction furniture. i can't figure out where to squeeze it in. i got it because i think i am getting a roommate and i needed an additional seating area for when we are both here and living life, we don't have to do so knee to knee. yes, a roommate. i am petrified. i am a spoiled brat. i have always lived alone. well, college, but that doesn't count and i didn't cope so well with that either. i was great until holly got married and left me with that total stranger roommate and things went down hill. but then i found laura and we did have fun in that hot little house with that awful, thin, cheap, cheap carpet. but here i am 32 years old, about to share life with another human being. mornings, evenings, weekends, cleaning, cooking, resting, worshipping, eating. with someone else watching. eeek. part of me embraces this. another soul to come home to. someone to kill the bugs, wash the dishes or even just talk to me while i do. but part of me is F-reaking. she is gonna see how weird i am?! yikes. she is gonna see what an awful grouch i am in the mornings. she is gonna know that i wear the same hoodie every single solitary night and i really don't wash it very often. she is gonna see that i never check the mailbox or take out the trash and sometimes i let that little black ring surface just above the toilet water. eeek yikes. none of this was even what i came here to say and now i am going to be up another hour freaking. no. i am not. God told me He was sending her to help me. so He will be all in this and this will be glorious. ahhhh.
now. so i am in the living room and furniture is all over the place and it kinda bothers me but kinda not and i think i will just let it be a big mess in here for tonight. i am learning to let some things go. i pray that this roommate experience will be one where i have someone to help share the load and life will be easier. it is supposed to be this way anyway. we were created for community and to share and work together, not be all alone. our Western mindset is all wrong in praising independence and solidarity. the Africans have it right, community is everything. friendship is everything. we cannot survive without each other. so i am throwing up my hands and saying, "help". i am beating my head up against a brick wall and for what? opinions of others? not really. i got over that a long time ago. not everything has to be perfect. who is even gonna see this living room tonight, this week or even this month? just me. i have this insane "performance" thing that puts pressure on me to have things in order and to be done a certain way. and i am not even good at it. so i am giving up. i will get rid of the ring in the toilet and i think i may go start a load of laundry, because i like the ebb and flow of keeping things clean, tidy and in order, but not because i feel pressure to maintain.
God doesn't expect performance of any kind. He likes to just "be". i love to just "be". i am very, very good at it. if you ever hang out with me you will see me master it perfectly. i am not one to have huge long excited conversations, i like to just hang out with you. even in utter silence. just be. just come and sit. smile. nod. glance. hang. sip. taste. hug. then leave. this is how my earthly father and i communicate. he grunts, raises his eyebrows. nods. smiles. nods. grunts. scratches his chin. very few words are exchanged between us.
all this rambling to say. i am back. i hope and pray. life is slowly becoming more normal. more routine. and so many exciting things are happening that i cannot NOT share them. God is doing something massive in my life and i want to record it here so you can walk it out with me. all ten of you. i need your help. i need my community. my network. one of you little followers just offered to do my taxes. and that simple little act makes me feel not so alone. i relinquish my independence and cry HELP. plus i really need that check ASAP. i need to be held accountable. i need to be checked up on. especially since i live alone! i could totally choke on my rice cake and die and no one would know. so if i don't post me...if i don't answer try facebook, if no response...911.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

art. sound. outlet.

This is a little promo of the music workshop I went to last week. So excited about all that I learned and cannot wait to do, see and experience so much more of all this. Sitting in my wobbly chair, at the cheap cheap keyboard, banging out melodies in the living room...Much fun.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just what AM I doing?

Christine wants an update! Hello, Love. I don't like to force entries because then they are not any good. They are not creative or inspired. But I can try...

I recently stumbled upon this group of women who sing and write songs and I am inspired. Their music was given to me years ago by Shannon Fisher, in copied Sharpie marked CD format and I played them over and over in the Volvo and in my little boom box in my little, little condo in the ATL back in the day. When I bought Catherine an iPod shuffle for Christmas one year, the songs were new and the iPod arrived a little early so I put these artists on it and the shuffle in my pocket and carried them everywhere I went for a month, jogging and grocery shopping, and me...humming. They are on my iPod too and still go with me all over the place. I even had it on the alarm setting to wake me up each morning, but soon started to loathe any song I had to wake up to and now just rise to Blackberry Notifier ChiGong instead. Volume: Low. 7:33AM. 5 Minute Snooze Option. But I can remember where and when I heard these songs for the first time and I can go back to the hardwood floors in that tiny, tiny condo and I feel something. Those songs were raw. They were singing about a God they knew and loved and trusted. It wasn't about religion, but an encounter and a lifestyle and a relationship. All I knew what that I felt better with those lyrics in my head than the lies that I seemed to keep believing. They sang about Hope and Freedom and I didn't really have a clue as to what all that was about. And if you have read anything I have ever written, I am still trying to figure all that out. But I just knew that these girls were on to something good and I wanted what they had and they became a daily part of my routine and they taught me how to worship and led me into encounters with God. And all those encounters led to new discovery, real dreams and lofty dreams and writing and creativity and expression and so much.

So long story short one of these artist was playing at a church nearby and I was so not gonna go, but randomly had the night off and happened to be home and so I made myself just go. It was a tiny little place with no one really there and it was raining and I was on empty and out in the middle of nowhere, but they had hot tea! So I went to the back to get some and saw the keyboard player and said hello. We started talking and turns out she is incredibly amazing and super talented and was in the ATL this week to teach a music course. My heart is to create music that leads others to encounters like I had. Whether it is by my hands, my voice, digitially enhanced or just my lyrics, it is my heart to create music.  So I am going!

And we are doing stuff like this:
and this:
And I haven't a clue, but I am a quick learner. Sorta. But stoked nonetheless. I need a MacBook Pro immediately. Dad? Anyone?