Posted in business, Emotions, Grace, Rant, White Knight

Still Waiting

I did it again.  

Here I am waiting for him to do what I think he should before I step out to do what know I should to do.  

I dance around minor issues waiting for him to take the lead and then I am frustrated when it’s not done or not done how I thought it ought.  Really all I want (ALL I want, ha!) is to be loved and appreciated for what I do well and supported where I am weak.  

Isn’t that all anyone wants? 

We are all striving for that same sweet spot.  That place where you are using and developing your gifts and talents, hopefully making a living while doing so, and then being surrounded by family and coworkers who understand what you love and do well and encourage you in it.  Can’t I have that?  That’s not too much to expect is it?

<sigh>

My current frustrations stem back 8 years and did not start with my husband.  He is simply next loved one in line who doesn’t seem to appreciate my gifts and talents.  And that sounds SO selfish and I feel so badly about myself for even thinking that but that doesn’t change the reality of it!  

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a shadow of woman who can’t stand up for herself buried in the kitchen slaving away without thanks.  I am a strong, independent, and skilled woman who has been stuck in a business where I have to work in areas I strongly dislike and go unpaid and unappreciated in areas I enjoy and am good at.  I can only pay the barest of attention my area of responsibility leading to half heart efforts and  rushed presentations.  No wonder my family doesn’t know how good I am.  They’ve never seen me give 100% to anything much less what I am good at and love doing.  I live my life at 50% most of the time.  How sad is that?!  We are called to live up to our fullest potential not languish in mediocrity.  And notice I said they don’t ‘seem’ to appreciate me.  My love language is also encouraging words so only hearing once in a blue moon how well I do something, does not a happy woman make.

When the ownership structure changed a year ago, I had hoped it would be my time to shine and grow.  There would only be two of us, I thought.  He’s my husband.  We’ve worked together almost the entire time we’ve know each other.  We’ve shared the same frustrations with how things were run under my parents leadership. We’ve commiserated over their treatment and lack of appreciation for all that we’ve done for the business.  I understand his gifts and talents.  This is it, I thought!  I will finally have someone on MY team.  We’re going to do this thing together.

And . . . still unappreciated and unpaid for almost everything I actually enjoy doing and even the necessary tasks suited to my major gifts and talents are low priority in my partner’s world. I have and continue to support his incredible personal growth over this last year of ownership. He has had an amazing year and truly come full circle.  His skills compliment mine almost exactly with us able to cover almost every business need between us.

I even understand where the frustration comes from on a sociological point of view.   I am a INTJ and he is a ESFP – complete opposites in how we process the world, how we interact with people, and how we find joy and renew our energy. (BTW – the INTJ personality type is one of the rarest and most interesting types – comprising only about 2% of the U.S. population. INTJ females are especially rare – just 0.8%.). 

I prefer solo and small group activities and need alone time to rest and renew.  

He is full of personality and gains energy from being a social butterfly. 

I think about what might happen and remain introspective while he focuses on the now and observes those around him. 

I am not overly sensitive to the feelings of others, valuing the process or goal more than the individual while he values his relationships and happiness of those around him above all. 

 And finally, I prefer clear rules and structure and closure while he relaxes and wants to keep his options open and wotk on the fly.

See what I mean!  

Our strengths are completely different and I watch us repetitively fall into that marriage trap.  You know the one. We all do it. Reality is, when you marry your complimentary opposite, you consciously have to keep yourself from resenting the strengths in your partner since they will usually be your weaknesses and nothing shows off your weaknesses better than the mirror that is your partner.  There is tremendous power in a relationship like this.  Not everyone gets the complete package between only two people.  There is also tremendous vulnerability in a relationship like this.  No one is a better mirror for what you’re not than your partner, especially one with such different strengths.  Sometimes the reflection is something we’d rather not see.  If you let your weakness and resentment of your partner’s strength control your relationship, you will spend your marriage trying to pull your partner down rather than helping build them up into the person they supposed to be.  This is what I observed between my Knight’s parents.  Their personality types are a half turn apart from us, yet they too are complete opposites.  But instead of the husband appreciating the incredible woman who was his wife and letting her strengths add to him, he spent his entire life repressing her so she couldn’t shine any brighter than him.  If he’d let her, if he’d believed she was on his team, if he’d loved and appreciated and built up his wife, she would have made his life joyous, fulfilled and blessed as she blesses everyone around her.  As it was, she put up with him for 40 years.  The best 40 years of his life that’s for sure.  He know exactly what he’s missing and the knowledge that he, and only he, is the one that drove her away.  She is an amazing woman DESPITE him not WITH him and certainly not BRCAUSE of him.

I don’t want that for my marriage.  I don’t want to be the one unappreciated nor do I want to be the one tearing down my partner so I feel better about myself.  I don’t want to be happy DESPITE that special someone.  So, what do I need to do?  I don’t know for sure.  I do know that if business can afford it, I should not be doing what I hate.  What’s the point of that?  After 8 years (and 1 just the two of us) we should have this figured out.  If the business can afford it and we can afford it personally, both areas of our life will only benefit from me immersing myself in work that I enjoy.  And he shouldn’t be my boss.  That’s not healthy for a marriage.  If the only way he can work is to control it all, let him.  He’s good at it.  And I can trust him to take care of both our customers and the bottom line.  Why am I even in the middle of that?  Why put myself in a position to resent him?

Now to get my uncommitted, social butterfly to PLAN this all out!  

Good luck

Posted in Church, Community, Emotions, Life's Lessons, White Knight, Worship

Waiting for No Man

I don’t know where that phrase comes from – I wait for no man.  A movie I am sure, but it suits my revelation and thoughts of the last eve.  Why am I waiting on anyone else to make me happy?  That’s my job!  Not my husband’s, not God’s, not my workplace’s.  In my head, I’ve putting too much pressure on my White Knight to be all that I think he can / should be thinking I would only be able to be all that I can be when he does.  This is not true.  I need to do my best at all times regardless of anyone else’s performance.  If I’m not doing what makes me happy, I need to be the one to change it not wait for some external source or grand calling.

If I’m frustrated about the lack of music in my life, I need to make time for worship and maybe learn a new instrument or two (like I’ve been saying for months / years).  Not wait until he gets off his butt and learns to play the guitar he bought two years ago.  

If I miss church, I need to make time to go even if we work Sunday morning there are options in the evening or early or on weekdays.  

If I miss dance, I need to make time for a class or at least alone time with some music and an empty room.  

If I am lonely, I need to make some friends instead of relying on him to be my everything.  

If I miss making a difference in my community, I need to step out and step up to the plate, not wait for him to have the energy/interest/drive to help a worthy organization.  

Stop making excuses Grace!  

You are your own person.  Take some responsibility for yourself and your own happiness.  He’s not holding you back.  He’s missing out on life, but so are you!  No more.  I wait for no man.

Posted in Emotions, Kids, Life's Lessons, Pregnancy

Priorities

It’s amazing how our priorities change as circumstances change. Last week, my most heartfelt prayer was that my placenta would move up and I could have the natural birth experience I wanted. Last Friday, as we rushed to the hospital, my prayer was for safety. “Just please keep him safe. Keep me safe. Just stop the bleeding and let everything be OK.” The non rushed actions of the hospital staff reassured us that the situation was not an emergency. As hours and then days passed in the hospital without a decision one way or the other, the prayer was to be able to go home. But what are our priorities really? When it comes right down to it, it’s still safety – safety and time. While I could go home and do my bed rest there, worst case scenario is 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes to get the baby out if my placenta ruptures before he suffocates. Aside from the clear danger to the baby, the severe blood lose for the mother carries its own set of risks. With a 30 minute drive from home to hospital, it was a no brainer. You don’t risk the life of your child if you have the choice and resources for it to be otherwise.

What I have is unpreventable and untreatable. It’s called Placenta Previa. It is when the placenta implants low within the uterus and blocks the cervix. It’s not uncommon, but most placentas migrate over time as the uterus grows and it is not an issue. Mine hasn’t and to top it all off, it is a complete previa condition. My placenta is essentially capping the cervix. Not only would a vaginal birth be impossible (he would have to literally push through the placenta to be born), but the position of the placenta is incredibly vulnerable to tearing. Any changes / growth of the uterus has the potential to tear and – worse case scenario – rupture the placenta. There is no way to move the placenta and no way to know what action may cause a tear. When I bled Friday, I was sitting down and opened the sliding door to our dessert refrigerator.

So . . . here I am – on hospital bed rest for three weeks. In three weeks, I will be 36 weeks along. We’ll test his lungs (the fun belly button shot) and if they are developed, schedule a C-section before any early labor signs kick in and instantly tear the placenta forcing an emergency C-section. We’ve had the steroid shots to jump start Baby’s lung development. Everything has been done to safe guard us both.

 It’s just a waiting game.

Posted in Church, Theories, Worship

Worship Through the Ages

The family and I spent several months searching for a new home church, since finding that the church I grew up in was too far away to maintain relationships. From a previous post you may remember the check list.

1) Good message
2) Good worship
3) Good people
4) People our age (preferably with kids the same age as ours)
5) Good children’s program

Rare is there all five characteristics in one church body and while I do understand no church is going to be like my old church, its hard to know when you find your new church home and when to move on.

Anyway . . . I think we’re there! Good Message. Good People. A Children’s Program. (A few) people our own age. Added bonus – my mother-in-law goes to church there too. The kids love going to church with their Grammie and she loves having us sit in the pew beside her. The only thing . . . the worship sucks! No offense. I have great hopes for the future. There is talent and new church leadership is sensitive to their shortcomings.

Worship is EXTREMELY important to me. I don’t have words to describe it. I also don’t have the words to communicate the feeling of nails on a chalkboard uninspired squawking on a stage labeled as worship creates either. It drives me nuts! I understand making a place in any worship service for yourself even with the driest songs and worst leadership, but I also recognize the distraction bad worship can be for the congregation. Instead of preparing the heart to hear the word I spend the time being irritated about what’s going on on stage while the congregation zones out. All that aside, I spend way too much time thinking during the service when I should be listening. This last Sunday I was thinking about the shelf life of songs, in particular, worship songs. Here’s the theory I came up with last Sunday.

I think there are very few songs that hold their power beyond the time in which they were written. This goes for songs of the world and songs of the church. The Beatles wrote a few songs that outlived their performance of them. “Amazing Grace” will always touch the heart. But, Lord knows, one hit wonders abound and last year’s hits are long gone. Even recent powerhouse worship songs like “Shout to the Lord” and “How Great is Our God” aren’t what they were the first ten times you heard them. I feel like most inspired worship music is given for specific times in the church body’s growth. God’s word is evolving as he gives new inspiration and breathes new life into the Word of God. He is not stagnant nor is our relationship with him. The same goes for worship music. New inspiration is given and new leaders and song writers step up each with their own skills and talents to be used. While there are a few universal messages that never lose their power, you don’t recycle sermons. Worship songs are endlessly replayed and recycled and rarely with the power and intention of the original writers and musicians. If you’re going to do an oldie but goodie, I feel like you should at least put a modern spin on it. I love what recent musicians have done with some of the classic hymns – adding a chorus to what is usually a bunch of wordy verses, playing with instrumentation and even the chords. Traditional Christmas songs are the best example of this. Wordy, traditional chords, no repetitive chorus, no emotional upswing just one feel the whole way thru. The list goes on. The words aren’t the problem for most of the traditional hymns. More often than not, they’re straight from the Psalms. The problem is you LISTEN to wordy songs, you don’t enter into worship with them!

I could continue to expound (or rant, if you will), but I think I have said enough for now.

Posted in business, prayers, Weddings

Near Wedding Disaster (i.e. giving thanks to God)

Weddings are supposed to be a jumping off point of a young couple’s life together. Whether traditional or trendy the couple (particularly the bride) is emotional vested in the ceremony and what the event means. Even the most minor of ‘hiccups’ on this special day could ruin an otherwise perfect experience. Who hasn’t seen or experienced a bridezilla moment at one point or another? It has always been my greatest fear to be the perpetrator who instigates one such bridezilla moment. Being a organized person and experienced in event planning, I would have liked to think that I think of everything and plan for every circumstance. Today, however, I was humbled.

A young couple who frequents the restaurant asked us to prepare a portion of their wedding reception menu. They would be taking care of the appetizers and one of the entrees. We would prepare and deliver two other entrees, the starch, the salad, the bread and dessert including a sheet cake for the cake cutting. Here’s the kicker. The couple wanted the meal delivered, hot and ready to serve to the Yachats Lions Club. Simple right?

Well it should have been. Earlier I had entered the town of Yachats into http://www.googlemap.com in order estimate milage for the couples reception estimate. It was 75 miles, an estimated hour and half drive. Today, I arrived at the restaurant with time to load everything as well as giving myself (at my husband’s suggestion) an extra half an hour drive time to deal with Saturday traffic on HWY 126. Just before leaving, I printed off exact directions to the reception site with the street address the bride had given me. But wait . . . these directions say it is TWO AND A HALF HOURS to the reception site! The Yachats Lions Club is apparently in Otterrock! Serveral more google map searches later, a frantic but fruitless look for a wedding party phone number, and a vague recollection of the bride mentioning something about Otterock, I rush out the door with said google map intructions in hand already forty-five minutes behind my new schedule.

As I speed along, I reasoned with myself. “Ok. I’m scheduled to arrive a half an hour before the ceremony. I’m only forty-five minutes behind. I’ll get there fifteen minutes into the ceremony and no one will notice I am late,” I thought. This reasoning alternated with “Oh God, please.” Please get this slow car out of my way. Please don’t let me miss my turn off again. Please make the road straighter so I can go faster. Things like that.

After a missed highway connection in Corvallis I arrive in Otterrock an hour later than the agreed upon delivery time and 344 4th street, Otterrock, Oregon is nowhere to be found. Not a single local knew of a 4th street OR a Lions Club in Otterrock. With my father talking me through a detailed google map description of Otterrock I arrive at 4th street and find myself on a deserted deadend road with no Yachat club in site. I have no choice but to disregard http://www.googlemaps.com and go with the logical assumption that the Yachats Lions Club is in Yachats (not Otterrock regardless of what google says) an hour away.

By this point, I had worried myself out. There was no way to make this better. “I’ve ruined this couples wedding,” I thought. Appetizers will be gone. People will be just waiting around for me to show up. The bride will be frantic. If one digruntled customer tells ten about their bad experience, what will 120 disappoined/impatient/streesed wedding guests do? Have I just ruined by business reputation forever? WHAT CAN I SAY TO MAKE THIS OK?

Two hours late for my delivery, I pull up at the reception site. I see assorted guests standing outside, most with a drink in hand. I take a deep breath and pray one quick prayer. It was a simple prayer. “Please, God” I prayed. “Give me the words to make this right and give me peace.”

First contact was nothing much. The two closest guys offer to help me carry. “Sure,” I said. In my mind I am thinking, “I could use all the help I can get!” We begin carrying cambros through the guests to the kitchen. I begin setting up the buffet while the guys continue to haul things in. Then the GROOM asks what he can do to help!

Miracle of miracles! No words were neccessary. Things hadn’t progress very far at all. The couple was still taking pictures. Appetizers were still out. The entree they were in charge of wasn’t even ready to put out yet! I tried to apologize for being late. Trying not to make excuses, I explain about the Otterrock address and found that they had seen the same thing online. (They, at least, had already had a physical experince with the reception site.) They ended up APOLOGIZING TO ME for the stress I had experienced! They love the restaurant. They stop by for brunch on their way to the coast everytime. They tell (and will be telling) everyone about us. I couldn’t have asked for (yet recieved) an easier situation than that. They let me know I can even be expecting a tip with return our equipment!

Now that’s an answer to pray!

Posted in Munchkins, Stepmother Moments

Munchkin Dictionary

We all carry on language patterns from our families – the old tomaeto vs tomauto debate. Kids have an additional language pattern which most grow out of. Most words in this language happen because young minds and mouths can’t pronounce the English words the rest of us use. I’ve noticed our Munchkins have a few words that have stuck around. But cutest by far . . . are all of their variations on MY name.

Tabafa
Tabfa
Taba – taba (slow)
Tabataba (fast)
Taba

Initially these variation were because they had a problem pronouncing the ‘th’ in my name as I was getting to know them (and dating their father). Now their precious variations on my name alleviate the awkward ‘what should they call me’ moments most stepmothers have to deal with. I hope they never lose them, but am sure they will reach a moment around puberty where they’ll feel the need to leave behind such childhood habits.

Posted in business, Emotions, Life's Lessons

Joys of Small Business (i.e. family, money, and time off)

Dear small businesses owners:

You have my condolences and my congratulations. I never understood before my own business venture the hardships and joys of owning and running your own business.

* The never ending worry about money, staffing, and maintaining excellent customer service.
* The satisfaction of a happy diner, a gushing thank you letter, a successful event and regulars.
* The disappointment of a bad dinner service, a slow week, or money down the drain.
* The freedom to make you own schedule, take an extra day off, or decide the course of your efforts.
* The ownership of each success and each failure.

A family run business has its own particular hardships and joys. Everything is personal and work always comes home with you. Everyone pitches in when the need arises, yet much remains unspoken. Every success is more meaningful. Every failure is more personal. Relationships affect every decision for the good and the bad. It can be a deal breaker or sealer.

Here’s to you who take on business ownership, 

Who make your own way, 

And work the long hours after everyone else has gone home.

I pray the best for you. 

I pray that you get ahead far enough to retire or pass on your legacy rather than working full time until you are 90. 

I pray for your health, that your body can withstand the hours, stress, and worry of owning a small business. 

I pray the best for all relationships and family members involved that all survive the trials of running a business and all come out unscathed on the other end and better for the experience.  

I understand now.

Posted in Life's Lessons, prayers, Rant

Grandparents (ie. breaking the curse)

This is re-post from last year which I removed to honor an uncle’s request, but it needs to said. I love you grandpa!

June, 2009
Tonight I said ‘goodbye’ to my grandparents for, what I believe is, the last time. My grandmother has burnt has last bridge with my parents and my grandparents will be leaving tomorrow to live on the east coast. They will be living with their last child.

My grandmother has a long and sordid history of alienating and/or disowning one or all of her four children. It’s a sad thing when the strongest memories I have of my grandmother are negative ones. It’s a sad thing to watch a woman at the end of her life make the same prideful mistakes she made before you were even born. A lifetime of illness and fragile health brought about from resentment and a hardened heart. How can a mother disown a daughter who left her family and business in distress to ‘rescue’ her – move her lock, stock, and barrel into her own home sacrificing her own family to care for her parents? I don’t understand it, but I watched it happen. In thinking about my grandmother, I have chalked her up to one of life’s lessons – one I need to learn from. So what can I learn from my grandmother’s lifetime of selfishness and self pity? OH, Let me count the ways!

1) Grow up. Mature with age and gain wisdom as you go. There’s nothing less attractive than an 80 year old woman with the emotional maturity of a junior higher.

2) Learn from your mistakes. Life may be a spiral, but every time you come around again, the hurdles should be easier.

3) Age gracefully. Bitterness poisons you from the inside out. If you want to live a long and healthy life – live a happy life not storing up offenses and spewing at those around you.

4) Be real. Life is to short to fake your way through it. Life should never be about putting on a smiling face and pretending the ugliness of the night before never happened.

5) Give without the expectation of receiving. Give for the joy of giving not the satisfaction of being recognized. No one should feel guilty for not writing a thank you note.

6) Love without conditions. What do you have to cling to at the end of your life, but the relationships you’ve built throughout the course of it? Destroy them and you will be a sad, bitter, lonely old woman with nothing but your pride to cling to.

My greatest hope is to not carry these lessons through to my kids. I have enough to learn from in my life without repeating the mistakes of my ancestors.

THIS IS MY PRAYER . . .
May my pride not blind me to my own shortcomings.
May I have the grace to admit when I am wrong, the humility to make amends
and the desire to do better.
May I remember that all we have take from this world into the next are the
relationships we cultivate.
May my desire for control not control me.
May I love unconditionally, give without hesitation, and live joyfully.

GROW up and LEARN from your mistakes, AGE gracefully, GIVE without expectations, and LOVE unconditionally. 

 Did I miss anything?

Posted in Emotions, Grace, Life's Lessons, White Knight

Life’s Lessons at 4 am

It’s ts never a good sign for me to be awake at 4 am. I am usually aware of my White Knight getting up in the morning to go to the gym, coming back and then going to work, but falling back asleep until 6:30 or so is rarely a problem for me. 

Unless, that is, I have something on my mind. 

 Most of us have those nights where we stare at the ceiling, unable to go to sleep because our brain won’t stop thinking. I get that in the morning as well where my brain is unable to relax and wakes me up bright and early to beginning running over the details again. A busy brain usually happens before a large event at the restaurant where details of how and when and who kept running through my head not allowing my to quiet mind and body.  In order to relax, I have to take the time to write out the details of the event to the letter to give my brain the reassurance that, “yes, the details are taken care of you can quit thinking about it now.”

Despite a large event tomorrow, this morning’s early rising has more to do with emotional and relational circumstances than work details running through my mind. These worries will not be set aside by writing out the details. I have to deal with the people involved as well as my own ‘vain imaginations’ on the subject. You know, life’s Lessons are rarely flattering to the participant. Instead these learning times followed by introspective thoughts reveal our pettiest and most selfish qualities. Not something a perfectionist likes to dwell on. Admitting the shortcomings in myself seems to be the hardest part. I like to be right and I really, really, REALLY don’t like to be wrong. Recognizing the problems and their solutions doesn’t mean I want to fix them.

If you are aware of a person’s desires / wants/ emotional needs are you obligated to go outside of your comfort zone to accommodate them? For instance, if you know someone’s love language is touch, yet you avoid hugging them as it makes you uncomfortable (i.e. – not your love language) is that selfishness? Probably. Accommodating them would come under the heading of ‘giving of yourself.’ It probably depends on the relationship and your desire to deepen the relationship or not. I notice my desire to accommodate my loved ones is directly related to how I am feeling about them at the time. When I am irritated at them, my patience level with their weaknesses has a lower threshold and I find myself deliberately NOT accommodating them. As if withholding something they want or need from me at the time will make ME feel better about them or myself? Am I punishing them for some veiled slight or long ago offense? Or am I punishing them for not recognizing MY desires / wants/ emotional needs and not accommodating me?

Its a hard thing to look in the mirror, judge yourself, and find yourself lacking – to know that you’re not as selfless as you want to be or others believe you to be. I would think God uses the stillness of the night and early morning to bring things to light that need our attention. Its probably the best time to get MY attention as I stuff my waking hours with all sorts of distractions. So here I am, up at 4 am and meditating on one of Life’s Lessons – serving others.

Posted in Community, Kids, Theater

Community Theater

My Knight and I just just finished up a weekend of performances with a local community theater company – Kaleidoscope. The play was truly a family affair with 4 married couples, cousins, mother and son, mother and daughter, sister and brother, sisters, and 2 father and daughter teams participating in the production. My Knight and I played the young couple in love forbidden to marry by a money-grubbing father who wanted the rich, elderly man of the town for a son-in-law instead. To avoid marriage, I promptly lose my voice and spend the whole play being ‘doctored’ by a variety of quacks. The play is appropriately title ‘Is there a doctor in the house?’ While I do have one duet with my White Knight (Lester) I spend most of the play sitting on a bench center stage and being extremely expressive while pretending to not be unable to speak. It was really quite funny. While the casting was quite appropriate, it was just funny that one of the more experienced singers sang less than anyone else and the dance major spent most of her time sitting on a bench being ‘doctored’ rather than participating in the assigned choreography.

Along the lines of family, we were able to bring the Munchkins with us to practices along with two of the other married couples who had young kids. The Munchkins could quote from the play and were often singing their favorite songs from the production. They still remember words for previous musical productions we’ve done with the same director.

I spent most of my time in the left corner of behind stage when not on stage as there was no crossover behind the curtains. The ladies and I had quite a few interesting conversations about men and such while we were stuck back there for the last week of rehearsals and the production. Great way to get to know people – isolate them and don’t give them anything to do other than talk and review lines!