Thursday, July 28, 2011

Whoa

One of my favorite writers of two of my favorite books is Shauna Niequist.  I cannot express how much I adore both Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and I am anxiously awaiting her third book which is set to be released next year.  If you're looking for lovely summer reading, go buy these books.  (In case any boys read my blog, I admit that they appeal more toward women...not that men wouldn't enjoy them, just probably not as much.)

Last night I was reading Shauna's blog and I found an old post about the Enneagram.  Have any of you heard of this?  Apparently it's a sort of personality classification system with roots in Catholicism.  Of course I was intrigued, so around 11:30pm, while the husband played a video game, I carefully read the nine different descriptions of personalities, determined to discover which category I fell into.  I was fascinated. 

If you're curious about which personality type you are, click here and read all about it.  It's also helpful if you can determine which category your close friends and family are so that you can better understand them.  Love this thing.  I'm a believer.

Once I started reading the description of #4, I actually said, "Whoa."  It was so right on!  Except the part about crying easily - I don't cry easily.  I read it to Sam without telling him what I was doing and he said, "This sounds like you."  He confirmed it again when I read the part about 4s being "stubborn and moody".  Hmm.  4s are also rather envious, so maybe I'm not a 4 after all.  I'm never envious. 

I wonder if 4s are also sarcastic and refuse to admit their faults?

As for me, I'm checking out an Enneagram book the next time I go to the library.  Yes I am.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Writing

Writing is so difficult.  So fun, so rewarding, so fulfilling.  But so difficult.

The problem is, writing is never done.  No matter how many times I reread something I've written, editing, cutting things, adding parts...still, the next time I read it, I think it's awful and find so many ways I could have improved it.

The solution?  Never let anyone actually read my writing.

Since I've already broken this rule...sadly...I'll just keep frustrating myself with my mistakes, in the hopes that the more I write the better I'll get.

Though I know I'll never be perfect.

Dang it.

I've written a ton today, in the hopes of providing you lovely readers with some thought-provoking, meaningful words that you will remember forever.  Failing miserably.  All my starts are unfinished, and I can't get anything to work.

Writing is hard.  Why do I love it so much?  I'm a glutton for punishment.

Well, here's a pretty picture of the clouds outside my window.  Maybe it can be a substitute for my lack of ability.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hanging out with the hubs

Sam and I got our shiny new Oregon licenses in the mail yesterday, complete with our new address.  That meant one thing - we could get our library cards!  Since Sam had the day off, that's what we did.  I had no idea what a happening place the library is in our sweet town!  I've decided I'll spend a lot of time there, because let's face it, can we ever read enough books?

My first check-out was Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  It's really hard for me to pick my favorite play/musical, and I don't know that I would say Les Mis is my favorite...but I hold it the closest to my heart.  My dad took my sisters and I to see the live version when I was eleven, after I listened to the soundtrack over and over and over.  That was when I first started dreaming of playing Eponine on Broadway.  (Still a dream...and no, I will not let that one go.)  I saw it again when I was sixteen.  The NBTC surprised Marci with a trip to see it in Bakersfield for her sixteenth birthday, complete with a limo ride all the way there and back and goodie bars for the ride home, made by yours truly.  (Heyyy mister!!! Hello to you!!!  Sorry, that's what we yelled out the limo to passers-by...back to Les Mis...)

My dear sweet husband, though a fan of musical theater himself (and a past performer - Nathan Detroit, anyone?), has never seen this glorious play.  Fortunately, it's playing soon in Portland, and yes, we are going.  It just so happens to be playing the same weekend as our anniversary and I got a birthday check when we were trying to decide whether or not we should go.  Obvious choice?  Go.

The due date for this 1260-page book is August 16th, which means I have to read 60 pages a day to finish it in time.  Doable?  Maybe, if I don't get distracted by other books.  I originally wanted to finish it by the time we see the play, which would mean I need to read over a hundred pages a day.  I told Sam I could do it.  He said I can't.  He also said we're not naming any future daughters Cosette or Eponine.  The bully.

And finally, on a completely unrelated note, it's always a good idea to clip a kitty's nails before giving kitty a bath.  File that under "Obvious things I learned the hard way".

And now we swim, since it's sunny and we can.  I like when the cute man has days off.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A new look, and also, I'm ridiculous

I changed the background on my blog.  Maybe you noticed, maybe not.  But I've loved the combination of yellow and gray ever since I was seventeen.  During my freshman year down at Long Beach State, I decorated my bedroom in shades of yellow and gray, but at the time it was not the popular thing to do.  In fact, I could hardly find anything yellow, little gray, and absolutely nothing of the two combined.  I resorted to spray painting my dresser and picture frames, and my friend Marci made me a bulletin board with yellow ribbons and gray stars.

Can I just say that now whenever I see things in stores that use these lovely colors, I feel a little bitter?  Why did it take so long for the decorating world to catch on?  Why couldn't people have realized the beauty of these colors in 2003 when I was looking for bedspreads and curtains?

Here's my current favorite yellow & gray piece.  It's an apron.  From Bree.  And yes, my chalkboard says, "Don't forget to make today awesome."



:)  I'm not really bitter.  I just like to tell Sam that I'm way ahead of the game, and that the things I like now will probably be popular in nine years.  And he rolls his eyes.  Like good husbands of ridiculous women should do.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I miss...

I found these pictures on my camera.  Just to be clear, I am really enjoying Salem so far and feel that Sam and I made the right choice in moving and that this is where we're supposed to be.  But, still, there are places and people I miss in Petaluma.

















Now to go explore Salem and discover just as many beautiful places and people...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Days

This is what has happened in my life the last few days...

I had a really radical interview with Starbucks.  The manager and I had the same color hair (mine is not natural...no big deal), we talked about difficulties in finding churches and working in the ministry, and she told me that one of the baristas wants to be friends with me.  This was a particularly fun coincidence because when I visited the store on Monday, this sweet girl helped me and I went home and told Sam, "I hope I get called for an interview because there's a girl that works there that I think I could be friends with!"  Nice to know she also had that friend-at-first-sight feeling. :)  Now I'll feel really lame if I don't get the job, since the interview went so well.  But, if that's the case, it just means God's got something different in mind.

I got a smartphone.  This means I've been spending way too much time trying to figure it out - I am oh so technically challenged - and cursing myself for becoming a "smartphone" user.  If any of you ever see me on it when I'm hanging out with you in person, slap me hard.  I really don't want to be that annoying...but they are soooo addicting, with so many apps.  Is it weird that the app I was most excited about was the dictionary one?

I've also been hanging out with this guy:

He's entertaining, and I get to watch him run around and throw balls and look at books when his parents are busy. Also, I tried to teach him how to say "Kimmy" and he responded with "Aqui," so I'm pretty certain we have a bilingual genius on our hands.

Finally, we were blessed to attend a really special, beautiful wedding last night.  Liz was a radiant bride, and it was so lovely to see evidence of her killer style all throughout the gorgeous decorations.  She was one of Sara's best friends and had asked her to be a bridesmaid, so Sara was incorporated into the ceremony in a very sweet and precious way.  A bouquet, a table filled with pictures of her, a jar of her favorite cookies (Oreos), and pictures of her in the slideshow all honored their friendship and Sara's memory.  We felt Sara's presence there, which was sweet, but it really made us wish she could've been there in person.  So many times we wish she could be here in person.  Still so painfully missed.

And that's all for tonight.  Blessings to you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Suffering Revisited

I really didn't want to write another blog about suffering.  I'd much rather have my blog be funny and lighthearted, like my writing tends to be when I'm in school.  But the reason I write is because I feel I must, and particularly when a subject comes up that I can't get out of my head - well, then I think I should probably write about it.  The problem with yesterday's post was that it got me to thinking that there might be people reading my blog who are suffering.  I tried to ignore that thought.  And then when I was reading this morning and trying to think of funny things to write in today's blog, I read Romans 5:3-5.

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us."

Crap.  The verse actually uses the word "suffering".  I tried to ignore that, too.  Then I read today's excerpt in my copy of Streams in the Desert, which included a poem.  I won't include the whole thing, but here's the part that stuck out to me:

"When is the time to trust?
  Is it when all is calm,
  When waves the victor's palm,
  And life is one glad psalm
    Of joy and praise?
No!  For the time to trust
  Is when the waves beat high,
  When storm clouds fill the sky,
  And prayer is one long cry,
    "Oh, help and save!"

At this point, I felt that if I kept trying to ignore that gnawing feeling, I just might get struck by lightning or something.  Since my hair already looks like I've experienced electric shock, I thought I should sit and write.

How can we be glad of suffering?  Yes, it produces perseverance, character, and hope.  So what?  When I'm suffering, I don't care about all those things.  Unfortunately, God does.  He wants me to persevere, to have strong character, and hope.  I know, I know, what a bully.  It's like those parents who don't give their children whatever they want because they don't want them to be spoiled or something...what kind of love is that?  (Okay, okay, so I can't get away from my sarcasm, no matter how serious my writing is supposed to be....)

"God is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

If you don't believe in God or have any interest in following Him, the above verse might not mean much to you.  But if you desire to be close to God, this verse presents a reason why we can actually be thankful for those times when we are broken-hearted or crushed in spirit - God is closer to us!  Don't get me wrong - God is also close when life is great and easy - but He is particularly close when it's not.  That's when He really gets to love you, to take care of you, to save you.  And He likes doing that.  I know it's silly, but I think Sam loves me even more when I'm going through a hard time because he gets to demonstrate his love and feel like he's taking care of me.  He feels needed.  I'm not a theologian, and I don't claim to know why God does what He does, but perhaps it's the same sort of idea.

Suffering also allows us to trust God even more.  Anyone can trust God when the sun is shining and birds are singing.  As the above poem suggests, the time to trust is during the storm - that's when true faith makes its appearance.  That's when you see if your faith is indeed just a house of cards, as my friend C.S. would say.

In the same way, if you trust and persevere during those storms, others will be blessed.  If you take the opportunity to learn from your suffering, you can be an example to others of how to stay strong and hopeful in the face of storms.  For instance, if I'm trying to lose weight, someone who is naturally skinny and doesn't even have to try is not my role model - I'm more inspired by someone who has worked hard to get fit.  When it's hard to be a selfless wife, someone who has an easy, problem-free marriage doesn't help me - my example would be a woman who has struggled through hard times and learned through them.  My precious mother-in-law undoubtedly encouraged hundreds through her writing during Sara's battle with cancer.  Her faith, her hope, her trust is far more inspiring than that of one who hasn't experienced that level of tragedy.  And maybe she inspired strength in other parents who were facing the same painful situation.

Suffering sucks.  It's as simple as that.  I wish suffering didn't exist, especially for those I love.  But for me, the knowledge that maybe someday God will use my suffering to encourage and bless someone else makes it easier to get through.

I don't know if that helps or not - or if any of you are actually suffering.  Maybe not.  Maybe I should have written a funny, silly blog today.  But just in case, I wanted to write.

Even if it was just to avoid that lightning strike.  It's Oregon, people...you can never be too sure.

:)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Suffering

When we are hurting, it's so easy to focus on ourselves.  We dwell on the pain, wonder why we have to experience difficulties, and get angry when it seems like we're the only ones suffering so much.  I apologize if you're not one who does this - perhaps I should change my wording to make this apply only to myself.  It's so easy for me to focus on myself when I'm hurting.  And I tend to forget that others are hurting, too.

I remember first comprehending this idea when I worked at Starbucks.  If I was having a bad day and was treated rudely by a customer, I was rather offended.  Sometimes I wanted to tell the customer exactly what I was going through that day, just so they would feel guilty for having made it worse.  And then once, in the middle of my inner vent (I never allowed myself to show my frustration to customers), it occurred to me that maybe this person was having a worse day than I was.  Sure, my boyfriend broke up with me and I thought my world was ending.  But maybe she was going through a divorce, or maybe her father died, or maybe she had recently received news that she had a terminal illness.  There was never any way to know for sure, and sometimes people are just bitter and rude.  But what if there was a reason, what if that person was hurting, more than I was?  It seemed like a good idea to assume that what they needed was not an equally offensive reply from me, but a kind smile, something that might offer them the slightest hope.

It happens in day-to-day life too, when I'm going through something particularly difficult and I don't hear from a friend.  I wonder why she's not reaching out, and think she must know what's going on, and why isn't she being there when I need her, and what kind of friend is she, anyway?  It doesn't often occur to me that she's experiencing her own pain, and can barely muster the strength she needs to get through her day, let alone shoulder some of my burden.

Facebook and blogs (yes, even mine) are evil players in this ridiculous game.  Few people actually advertise their difficulties for the world to see.  Rather, they show only the best, happiest times, convincing everyone else that their lives are nearly perfect.  So it may appear to me that everyone else has no trouble or problems and that I'm the only one who keeps getting knocked down.  But it's not truth.

We all hurt.  We all have hard things.  No one is exempt from pain in this life.  Some people have a harder time than others, and some are better at dealing with disappointments than others.  But before I start feeling angry about being the only one to face hard times, perhaps I need to remind myself that everyone is dealing with something, and that if I was fully aware of what others were dealing with, I'd be thankful for my own issues.  We go through seasons, and sometimes it's all sun and sometimes it's all rain, and sometimes I'm not aware when my friend is going through something unimaginable.  But to believe I'm the only one in a storm?  That's just ignorant.

I recently read, "If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back."  Seems true.  Perhaps we should start giving people the benefit of the doubt and open our eyes to their hurt and how we can help them, rather than growing in bitterness for our own misfortune.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A pep talk for myself...

I have a dear friend named Jacqueline who is easily one of my kindred spirits.  She deserves a post all her own, which will come soon, perhaps tomorrow.  Sweet Jacquie recently lent me a book, One Thousand Gifts.  I'm only three chapters in, but I'm really enjoying the message so far.  One Thousand Gifts was written by Ann Voskamp who has a blog here.  Though I adore Ann's blog, it was something I read on her bio page that really gave me hope.

She had a full-tuition scholarship to college and never finished.

I love it when I hear about people who are just like me.

I'm not saying I'll never finish school.  I really would love to finish someday, even if it takes me till I'm fifty.  I only have about nine classes left, so it's definitely possible, but now that I'm in Oregon, I probably won't be able to go back to school for at least another year.

I recognize the possibility that I may never finish, as much as I want to.  My life seems to have been one surprise after another, so I really have no idea what God has in mind next.

The truth is, my confidence was shattered when I signed that scholarship away; it felt as if I was signing my intelligence away with it.  I would no longer be known as a valedictorian.  I would forever be a "college dropout", the last label I ever imagined I would acquire.  I thought I was letting down all those teachers and educators who had poured so much into me, who I imagined were counting on me to make them proud by achieving great things.

I guess Ann's story gives me hope because it's a reminder that success does not depend on having a college degree.  Just because I gave up my scholarship doesn't mean I've lost all opportunities to do something significant with my life.  It's not as if I'm incapable of accomplishing something I can be proud of without a degree. 

It is a lie I have let myself believe for far too long.  I can't try anything until I have that piece of paper.  Well the truth is that that piece of paper doesn't equal brilliance or success.  Maybe one day I'll have it.  Maybe I won't. 

I'm not advocating dropping out of college.  I'm not saying college isn't important (though I firmly believe college is not for everyone, despite what high school guidance counselors would like you to believe).  I'm saying I don't want to put my happiness on hold anymore, or be afraid to try things I really want to do.

Slowly, slowly, I'm trying to piece it all back together and regain that fearlessness I used to enjoy, the belief that I really was capable of doing great things.

"Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds; those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops." Ecclesiastes 11:4

The weather may never be perfect, especially here in the northwest.  But that is one important thing I've learned in my short time here - if you wait until it stops raining to do something you want to do, you might be waiting a long time.

Maybe I just needed to leave sunny California to get a bit of grit, a bit of tenacity, to learn to go out in imperfect conditions and do whatever it is I want to do, with or without that degree.

And maybe you can relate, even if it's not the college thing.  Maybe you're waiting until you get married, or have kids, or have your dream job, or have tons of money, or more time, or lose ten pounds...

...nah, you're right, that just sounds silly.  No one waits for those things to be happy or feel accomplished.

It must be just me.

:)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time

If you have ever had the pleasure of living with me, or if I've let you into my circle of trust, you might know something about me and timers.  This is my beloved Pampered Chef timer.


I have a healthy relationship with my timer...or, I might use it a little too often...some people think I use it excessively...

I'm obsessed with my timer.

I can't pinpoint exactly when this obsession began.  I think it started somewhere in college, but I can't be sure.  I read some article for people who procrastinate (another thing I've been accused of that I think is utterly untrue), and the article suggested setting a timer when faced with a task you were avoiding.  So I started doing that with things like homework and cleaning - I'd set my timer for half an hour and promise myself that once my time was up I could take a break and do something more enjoyable.  It was a way I tricked myself into sitting down and actually starting whatever it was I didn't want to do.  More often than not, I settled into a groove and just kept at my task after my timer beeped.  I also used it for hobbies that often made me lose track of time.  For example, I only let myself play my guitar for half an hour before I did something more productive, or else I'd be playing all day.  I still use it for similar purposes.

The bottom line is that I use my timer for everything.  And it has gotten pretty ridiculous.  I have become somewhat obsessed with time, to a degree that makes me certain I'm somewhere on the obsessive compulsive spectrum.  Once my grandma, while living with me and my parents, said, "What do you think would happen if you stopped using your timer?" I was horrified by the thought, and was certain that releasing myself from the timer's grip would certainly make my world collapse.  That's when I realized that maybe I had a problem.

You see, I've discovered that this time fixation is related to control.  I really want to control my time and how I spend it, which has resulted in my being rather flustered whenever plans of how I spend my time are altered.  I've become pretty rigid, as if my whole day is ruined if something comes up that takes two hours of my day that I had planned for something else.

I'm trying (slowly but surely) to surrender this need for control.  Brian, the pastor that married Sam and me, told me that every morning he puts on his watch and is reminded to give his time to God that day.  I think I need to adopt a similar approach.  I truly want God to be in control of every aspect of my life, which includes the way I spend my time.  I want every minute spent to be glorifying to Him.  That means if someone needs me, I want to have a good attitude about giving up whatever I had planned for the sake of the other person.  I want to be useful to God, and if I have an iron grip on my time, it limits the ways He can use me. 

I'll probably still use my timer and try to make the most of my time; it really has helped with that procrastination issue.  The change I'm working toward is in my attitude.  I don't want to be resentful when my plans are hijacked - I want to look at it as an opportunity to be flexible and humble, recognizing that my time isn't more important than anyone else's.  It's a necessary change, one that I'm fairly certain will not come easily to me, but one that I'm willing to work for.

If any of you want to be mean, (ahem) or rather, help, you should call me on days when I have a lot going on and say you just need to talk for awhile.  You'll be able to see my progress in all this in how annoyed my voice sounds. :)  And my blogging time is now up.  Seriously.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Home sweet home

Last Saturday morning, Sam, Uncle David, two kitties and I departed Petaluma around 6:15am.  We pulled in to our new home of Salem around 4:45pm.  Yes, it was a long drive, and yes, I was very grumpy.  Sam and I got about two hours of sleep the night before (thanks to a busted air mattress that deflated and a sick Kimberly) so I was completely exhausted.  Kitties did really well during the whole drive though - they both slept the whole way.

Unfortunately, once we got to our new apartment, the kitties started to freak out.  So did I.  I don't know if any of you knew I was going to be living in Salem or not, but if you did, why didn't you tell me?  That was mean of all of you to keep it a secret.  I, for one, didn't realize I'd be living in Salem until we actually opened the door to our new, empty apartment.  And that's when I started wondering why no one actually took the time to convince me that I'd actually be living in another state.  Thanks for the heads-up, everyone.

Seriously though, there's something hard about walking into an empty apartment and suddenly calling it home.  Fortunately I married a man who likes to unpack immediately, so we quickly started pulling out our things and it slowly began to feel like home.  By the end of the night the cats were in heaven and I was actually excited about Oregon again.  Morty and Willow like having a ton more space to run around and play in...so do I.  I never realized how tiny our Petaluma apartment was until we got here and I was giddy about having counter tops and cupboards. 

Speaking of which, here are several things I will never take for granted ever again: a dishwasher, garbage disposal, indoor laundry, counters, and cupboards.  For those of you whose homes include these luxurious conveniences, I hope you realize how truly blessed you are.  We forget, living in this ridiculous country, how spoiled and rich we are in America.  So the next time you complain about having to do laundry or whine about not having enough money, remember that there are far worse conditions you could live in and that you're among the richest in the world.

Okay, let me get off my high horse...and...back to Salem.  I've started compiling a list of things that will take me a long time to get used to.  Here's what I have so far:

1. Having someone else pump my gas (I feel really awkward letting them do it for me.)
2. No sales tax (Wait, the price tag says $5.99 and it really is $5.99?!  Inconceivable!)
3. Overcast mornings do not necessarily mean I need to wear jeans and a sweatshirt (It's surprisingly warm even when it looks cold outside.  Yesterday I went to Sam's work in jeans and a sweatshirt and realized everyone else was in shorts and a t-shirt...and the California girl stuck out like a sore thumb.)
4. Overcast, rainy mornings might not translate into overcast rainy days (The past few days have started out as such, and then turn into beautiful sunny afternoons.)

But I can get used to anything.  Especially when I have this:

This is my beloved hammock chair.  Poor thing went into storage for the past three years, and my loving husband pulled it out for me and hung it on our back porch.  Thanks, husband.  Dear hammock chair, you, me, the Bible, and tea will have lots of dates from now on.  I promise.

Speaking of our porch, here's a couple pictures:
Sam's garden, not mine.  I have an aversion to growing plants.
And that's what I looked like on my 26th birthday.  That's the only picture you're getting of our place.  For those that want to see it, you have to come visit. :)  This is what I resort to to get people to come see me.  (Sneaky, aren't I?)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

f.a.m.i.l.y. (part II)

This is rather late, but I wanted to write a bit about my time with my family over the 4th of July holiday.  Sam & I got back from our time in Bodega Bay with his family and, after a couple hours at home, made the drive down to Porterville for a family reunion with my mom's side of the family.  Some pictures, of course:

This is almost half of the Roggie cousins.  Erin & Tereese didn't get the black/white/gray shirt memo.

And here we are with our spouses.

Me & my newest nephew, Nate.
Me & my sweet niece, Ashley Joy.

It was really great to be able to see everyone!  Erin & Seth even made it all the way from China, which was fun.  After the reunion we headed to Fresno with just my immediate family, where it was too hot to do anything but lay by the pool and read magazines.  Maybe that's why I like the heat so much - it justifies my lazy inclination to just lay by the pool all day. ;)

This is what the sun does to me.  Or it could be Joni.

I have no idea why I look so angry in the above picture, but I wanted to include it just for how awesome my dad looks in the background.  Like the Godfather or something.
Sam was the baby whisperer.  Whenever Nathan started crying, he held him and Nate relaxed.

Of course, Nathan also loves his own parents. :)

We also celebrated mine & Joni's birthdays (yes, another bday celebration - that's why getting married is fun, you get to celebrate with 2 families!) and here we are holding my mom's delicious peach pies.  You can't see it, but Joni has a "B" carved on hers for her future last name and I have an "S" on mine.
Here's the whole Wuth clan, including the newest little bean still growing in Becca's belly.  I like my family.  Below is a picture of my parents with their favorite people.
The rest are all just adorable pictures that will probably be boring for all of you, but that make me very happy.  It's easy to love being an aunt when you've got the most adorable nieces and nephews. :)


Samantha wearing my shoes...

Samantha thought Jill was too hairy, apparently...

Here's Nathan bonding with his second favorite aunt. ;)

She looks sweet and innocent...
...and then she splashes you.  It's ok, he probably deserved it. :)



Sorry, I know this post was pretty much all pictures.  We've been rather busy so my brain has been a little fried, meaning my inspiration is minimal.  As you can see, we're pretty worn out. :)

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