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Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

I feel like I write these type of posts a lot, so if you still read them, either I am not alone in the world of figuring oneself out or you are really bored.

All of you who have been around awhile or read previous posts know that I am the type to constantly push myself. I always have a goal I am reaching for and always trying to arrange my life around those goals, working towards it. I think I’ve talked a few times before about discouragement and trying to figure out precisely what I want and all that. Well, one thing I don’t think I’ve really mentioned is my constant struggle for joy. Not to say I have been unhappy – I am quite happy- but you know that settled feeling in your soul that just says you are at peace, even if you are striving toward something? I haven’t had that except once in a great while in a very long time, and I’ve been trying to figure out why.

I have, relatively speaking, a perfect life. It hasn’t always been this way, as anyone who knows my past can attest to – and some people see my life now and tell me that I deserve it after all I’ve been through – I know better than that. I deserve nothing and am therefore grateful that for some reason God has seen fit to give me such a good life right now. I am also under no misconceptions that it will last forever. Why, then, do I have such difficulty settling and enjoying this current life instead of constantly looking and striving forward as though I’m waiting for something more before I can really enjoy the life I’ve been given?

I worked between 10 and 14 hours every day Sunday – Tuesday this week on an exercise down in Florida. Consequently, I was able to take most of Wednesday to relax on the beach before working another 12 hour day on Thursday. I found myself looking out over the ocean in a contemplative mood on the very subject I mentioned above. So, I decided to go for a walk and talk it out with God. This time, however, I decided not to just concentrate on the writing aspect or the job aspect or whatever other aspect – I decided it was time to go through my life in detail with God to ferret out the reason for my inability to be joyful instead of impatient in my current status of life.

As tempting as it is, I won’t bore you with all the ins and outs of the conversation – it was very minutia oriented, which, after all, turned out to be what I needed. God and I discussed what I thought I wanted out of life vs. what God wants out of my life, and then we talked through my writing life and whether I had the right point of view on it, my current job, why I wanted to go into Counterintelligence, and if I actually wanted to go into it, or if I just wanted the glory of saying I was a CI analyst, and where I was right now in life vs. where I thought I wanted to be.

Below are what I feel the conclusions of the conversation were:

  1. God may have a different plan for my life than I think He does and my being stuck on a certain career path could inhibit what He wants to do in my life. Though it is good to have goals in life, the issue comes in when you insist on those goals remaining the same.
  2. My thinking I cannot have a writing career unless I concentrate on it full-time is a product of fear and procrastination and assumes God cannot give me the capacity for more than one task at a time.
  3. It is possible – not for sure, but possible – that God gave me the desire to go into CI precisely to get me where I am today. I love my job, my company, my coworkers, and my job location – why am I so eager to move on? What happens if I concentrate on doing the best I can with where God currently has me instead of not giving it my all because I think it won’t get me where I think I want to go? God can use me in this current capacity and if I assume this isn’t where I need to be, I may miss what else He has planned for me.

Ultimately, and it can be difficult to put into words, but ultimately: Instead of striving forward constantly, I am making a goal to be happy where I am. I still have goals, but realize that God may have different goals for me. I am going to enjoy my current life and not feel guilty every time I am spending time with my husband instead of writing or feeling guilty for not working on writing an article because I don’t feel like it or not working on something CI related because I don’t want to. I am going to strive to be the best in my current capacity (which is, after all, a Senior Analyst, which is a huge part of what I wanted out of my career) and assume that, as He always does, God will clearly open a door when it is time for me to move on to something else He has planned for me. I am going to continue writing on a regular basis, but not feel guilty when I don’t have time for it because I am taking joy in the life God has currently granted me. I am going to assume that God will allow me to be published in His perfect timing, not mine.

Implementing the pattern of thought that it is not a sin for me to not constantly be doing something educational or working toward one of my goals has already done an incredible part in putting my heart at peace. Despite being sick, I enjoyed a very relaxing weekend at home with my husband, and read two books, without any guilty thoughts on needing to write or needing to practice Russian. I healed significantly faster than usual from my cold and did not wake up today with the thought that I didn’t want to go to work.

I want to be clear that I still think it is good and healthy to have goals you strive toward. The secret I am learning, with God’s help, is being at peace and joyful where you are while you work toward them, and being flexible enough to realize that God may direct those goals elsewhere and, for God, there is no time limit. He’ll bring you there when He knows you are ready.

We so often concentrate on the trials aspect of Philippians 4 and being content. For some of us, it is in times of plenty that we get lost.

Philippians 4:6-7, 12-13

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. . .  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

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Cruises and books

 

So, I am not going to use the excuse “busy” for not having written in awhile. Frankly, I simply kept forgetting and then, when I did remember, other things took priority. Which is how it should be, right? Life takes priority over internet?

We went on our (almost) annual cruise end of March and this time we took my parents with us. My parents have not been on a vacation together since their honeymoon, 32 years ago. They certainly have never been on a cruise. It was so much fun to watch their faces as we brought them around the ship and showed them all the different things they could do, see, and, especially, eat. It took my mom awhile to really realize she could order anything she wanted on the menu without paying for it. And after that, she drove the wait staff crazy. I was a little embarrassed, not going to lie, but totally worth it for her to have a dream vacation. My dad couldn’t leave the stateroom that much, due to his disability, but still said he had the best time of his life. My younger sister and her husband were with us as well, which was fun. All in all, however, it resulted in not much down time, cruise ship or not.  So I did not get nearly as much on my book done as I wished.

I have, however, gone on two work trips since, and worked steadily on editing PoP during those airplane rides. I would have gotten much further had I not decided to re-write most of the first part, which resulted in my currently only being on page 40 of about 120. The important thing, however, is that I am steadily working on it. I promised one of my friends, I would send her the edited portion on the 30th to review – I was supposed to send her the entire edited boo, but that is not going to happen. However, the promise did its job, which was to get me going on editing and now whenever I am at work, I find myself just contemplating how much I could be working on my book instead . . .

Speaking of work, I actually do have projects to get done, so will leave this update at that.

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I have been avoiding writing a New Year’s post. Why, you ask? I think a majority of you can already guess the why. I have been thinking back to last year’s goals and how I didn’t meet a single one of them and wondering why I try to make goals at all and feeling like a complete and utter failure. No, I didn’t finish my book, lose any weight, or make money writing. What exactly did I do with the last year?

Well, I traveled – a lot! – for work. I . . . didn’t GAIN weight, even if I didn’t lose it – and that is a first for me in several years. I wrote half of a different book, even if I didn’t finish the one I was working on yet. I wrote a lot more regularly, and it isn’t nearly as forced as it was at the start of last year. I have mentioned my love of writing to at least 5 people, which is 5 more than I have told in probably 10 years. And I realized that I don’t really care if I make money writing. I just want to write what I want to write. And I got several articles (granted, very non-fiction) published for my work. Does company/government publications count? I have decided they do. At least to an extent. It is far more than I have done in a long time.

So, after much deliberation, I have decided that although I met none of my goals last year, I TOOK STEPS toward meeting them, which, again, is more than I can say for previous years. So, I am going to chance it yet again:

  1. Lose 20 pounds (yes, I am making my goal less than last time. Trying to be more realistic here, people – stop judging me.)
  2. Finish the first draft of at least ONE of my books (no, I am not going to say which one, because I am going to write whatever I want to write, and I am cutting out the editing part because I already know how long that is going to take)
  3. Submit something for publication at least once every two months (yes, I am being easy on myself. And Writer’s Digest contests count.)
  4. Have a rudimentary knowledge of Russian by the end of the year (I did when I graduated and completely let it slip – so there is no reason I can’t have a basic knowledge of the language again in a year, right?)

I feel like I am letting myself off easy this year. But as most people know, there is always a secret hope that you will accomplish more than you set out to do. So I figure if I set my goals lower than I actually want, maybe I will actually reach them?

And my 15 minute break at work is up, so that is it for now! Breathe deeply with relief, everyone – you just barely missed an irrational outburst of the meaning behind goals, how I have changed over the past year(s), and who knows what else?

 

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This quote makes me smile. And the picture. Well, really, the quote and the picture together make me smile with happiness.

take-time-to-do-what-makes-you-happy-life-quotes-sayings-pictures

And it makes me feel much less guilty for spending a majority of my time last night on my counted cross-stitching project, while watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones and completely ignoring the wreck of a house and dinner dishes around me. Sometimes I have to remember, and my husband does a good job reminding me, that life is more than work and keeping the house clean. It includes taking time to do things like cross-stitching – and writing – and staring randomly out the window while daydreaming. Also, I look at the picture that girl is painting and think – that is what I want to do! Except, I want to paint that picture using words.

And that is my random thought for today.

“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Protected: A New Beginning

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So, my roommate and I, last night, randomly decided to go get whipped cream from the store. On the way out, we met up with some fellow classmates, making random comments and jokes. As we continued on, making a detour to the mail room, she made the comment, “I love college life. I just do.” That comment stuck with me. It had been a long time since I had thought of it that way. Freshmen year, all I thought, all the time, was how much I adored college and college life. This year, all I thought, all the time, was how I needed to get this over with and get out of here. And I realized, not for the first time, I admit, that my mindset was to just get through life, without pausing to enjoy what I had right where I was at. Yes, I wanted to move off campus, yes, I wanted to graduate, yes, I was tired of classes. But, ultimately, looking around, I have it pretty good. Tons of friends, an education, a gorgeous campus, random runs to the store for whipped cream. I decided it was time to start jotting down reasons to enjoy life. Still working on the list, as it seems a little hard to adjust my mind, but so far I have jotted down that:
With college comes opportunities like no other. New friends every year, learning that will stick with you (hopefully) for years to come, spontaneous trips, adventures, trips, opportunities you can actually take up.
People you will always remember. When it comes down to it, college will be filled with memories of the people there, not the research for that paper, or the hulu videos you watched to procrastinate on your homework.
When you walk outside and take a deep breath, and look around, no matter the weather, there is always some type of beauty in it. The trick is realizing that.
It is worth taking out time to do things you enjoy along with your homework. Life is to enjoy and live, not to rush through. Why rush to the end of life? Where did the hurry come in? Enjoy, but be responsible. Being responsible actually helps you enjoy life more, because you feel like you deserve a break when you do the fun things, and you feel like you’ve actually accomplished things.
Now is the time to say yes to opportunities. When will you ever again have so many opportunities you can accept?
The grocery store in town was closed. So we drove to the next town. At 11 PM. To get whipped cream. We turned the radio up, rocked out to it, bought the whipped cream, drove back to college, and spent the evening “working,” joking, and spraying whipped cream into our mouths.
Spontaneity, Seizing the moment, and all that jazz.

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Protected: A Night in the Rain

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