Monthly Archives: August 2011

Follow Your Joy

Lately when I talk to people about things in my life they tell me to do what makes me happy, or to follow my heart. Which is great, but I’ve always been so aware of the opinions of those around me that I’m finding it difficult to separate what my heart truly wants from what those around me would prefer. I’m also not really convinced that I know what would make me happy. I have a short list of things that do actually make me happy or that I believe will make me happy if I get them.

1. Jack- he makes me smile at least once a day.
2. Sunshine- I can’t be bummed if it’s beautiful enough to sit outside and be warm.
3. A house with a yard- Then I could actually sit outside while Jack runs around and wears himself out.
4. A date- Not a boyfriend. Just a casual date.

I know that happiness should come from your heart or whatever. It shouldn’t come from money or houses or material things and generally it doesn’t for me. I’m not sitting around lamenting my life all the time. I try hard to be a positive, encouraging and uplifting person, even for myself. But this living situation is really getting to me. I try to be ok with the fact that I can hear the guys next door as they play video games, because they absolutely have to use their goddamned surround sound, but I can’t. I was not made for apartment living. So it’s difficult to be excited about going home when it’s a source of frustration.

I understand that even if I get the things I want, I know life is not suddenly going to be all butterflies and rainbows. I’ll still get sad, and that’s alright. I’ll still have some problems. I’ll still have a two year old, who just figured out that he can climb out of bed and play, instead of nap. It would just be nice to not dread going home, wondering if I’m going to have to fall asleep listening to a bass beat. It would be awesome to look forward to the evening not because I’ll get to knit without tiny fingers trying to help, but because I get to spend the evening with a boy at the movies or something.

I think what I wish most is that I could separate the feelings of others from my feelings to see what I really want. Do I really want to move out of state or do I really want to stay here? That is the big question of the month for me. Should I stay or should I go?

Home Sweet Home

Nearly every time I go to visit Southern California I have the most difficult time coming back. This was true even before Jordan died. I adore Southern California, the heat, the landscape, the familiarity, no matter how much it changes. I think there’s a simple explanation for this; California is in my blood. It’s home, even though my parents don’t live there any more. It’s where I was a kid, where I was innocent and where I learned about life and the world. I don’t think this is something that is isolated to just California.

I believe that if a person is born and raised for the majority of their life somewhere they are always going to have ties to it. Whether it’s through family, friends, or simply an attachment in the heart. Whenever your “home” is mentioned your mind drifts off for a moment as you think about your life there. You think of the people you knew, mistakes you made, moments of happiness and how you so desperately wanted to get out!

That is what makes me smile the most about this home sweet home thing. Some of us try so hard to leave and once we’re finally out for good it seems all we want to do is go back, again and again. The more we go back the harder it is to pull ourselves away. Is it because of the feelings of comfort that come from being home? Is it because when we see our friends from childhood we can act like kids again; be totally irresponsible and know that we won’t be judged?

It makes a person feel a bit divided, not that one of you is real and one is not. Maybe it just means you’re more honest in one place and more guarded in another. Maybe it’s not that drastic even, things are just different at home. I feel different when I’m in California, even when I bring Jack with me. I’m still myself, still Jack’s mom, but there’s something about me or in me that relaxes in California.

This is probably not true for everyone. Perhaps someone left home and really found them self out on the road or in a completely different city. Maybe going home is an obligation for them. But I know that for many people “home” is always calling their name. My mother talked about going back to Oregon for most of my life. She finally got to return about twoish years ago. She admits she does miss her friends in the desert but would never go back.

I have a sneaking suspicion that no matter where I go, I’m going to end up in California again, possibly even the desert itself. I don’t know how I know this or when it’s going to happen. But I’m pretty certain it will, because deep in my heart I am infected with the desert, it’s in my blood and you can’t deny blood.

God Calling

This last Sunday I was at my parents church, Madras Free Methodist Church. Pastor Rick talked about following God’s calling for your life, and getting ankle deep, then knee deep, the waist deep and so on until you’re in over your head. That got me thinking about my own life and the callings I’ve been following. What I wonder is how do you know it’s God calling? How do you know that the still small voice you’re hearing is God and not your own selfish desires? How can you tell the difference unless God makes a big spectacle of it?

I’ve heard a few people tell their stories of God calling them. Usually it’s not a big spectacle, they are just certain that they hear God calling them to this, that or the other thing. I’m not saying they didn’t hear it, it’s just something I’ve never understood and I’ll tell you why. I haven’t told this to a soul, so why don’t I just spill my spiritual guts here on the Internet. I can’t recall any time when I was absolutely certain that whatever I was choosing to do with my life was God calling me.

I have been a Christian my entire life. When I say “Christian” I mean that I believe in God, that Jesus was his son and died for my sins and I go to church. Once I got old enough I had questions and doubts, but I never lost my faith. I did rebel in High School and made a few poor choices, but I believe that was based on my lack of confidence in who I was.

The closest I ever came to loosing my faith and walking away from God was when Jordan died. Here I was following all the “rules,” and yet my husband was taken from me. I was left with a six month old son to raise on my own. Although I believe myself to be a strong person I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to survive on my own. I needed God, no matter how angry I was, I needed my faith.

To be clear, I haven’t been floating around aimlessly, doing nothing. I have had “feelings.” I knew from a young age I wanted to be a writer. I knew I was going to marry Jordan by our second real date. I knew I wanted to be the mother of his children. So I thought I was following God’s calling on my life even though I was never really sure I heard him say “be a writer, be a wife, be a mom.”

The thing is I also “knew” I wouldn’t be a widow at 29. I “knew” that Jack would have at least one more sibling (or three according to Jordan) and that those children would have an amazing, Godly man for a father.

So how could I have been so wrong about everything? Did I get the “calling” wrong, was I not listening in the least? Did I just do whatever I wanted and still have yet to find my calling? And if it was my calling to be a single widowed mom…what the hell kind of deal is that? How do you know it’s God calling you and not your own selfish plans or desires?

California Love

I was in California last week. And it was so much fun! I know if I moved there it would be less fun, I would still have the same problems and I would still get bored. I would also not be on vacation all the time. But at least I would be warm and the sun would shine.

I’ve been thinking about moving back to California. I think I’ve ultimately decided against it, because I don’t have as many friends there as I do in Seattle and the friends I do have there are spread out. The timing as far as my lease goes is also terrible. I’d have to move right after Christmas and two days before New Years. I think if I liked where I lived more I would be less inclined to leave. When I say “where I lived” I’m talking about my apartment. If I had neighbors that were nice and not creepy. Maybe if I had roommates. I need a better place to live, because I want to raise my son in a house with a yard. I don’t want going outside to always be going to the park. I’d like a little more space so I can get more separation of “kid space” from “grown up space.” I can’t have that anywhere unless I get roommates. It’s sort of weird to think about living with roommates again after not for so many years.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with apartment living. It really works for some people, but I don’t think I’m one of those people.

All I know is something’s gotta change soon or I’m going to California.