Sunday, September 28, 2008

Acceptance and Rejection

This is going to be a serious one. Sans sarcasm.

Tonight in my small group we watched a recorded sermon by Pastor Andy Stanley. He made the statement that a major part of who we are as adults is defined by the degree to which we were accepted and rejected by the people in our lives. So true, isn't it? The sermon continued on the fact that we are called to accept others as Christ accepted us. That is no small task. This got me thinking. I consider myself a pretty accepting person most of the time. And I have been generally accepted by most people in my life. I was certainly accepted and supported by my family, without which I would not be where I am today.

There is one thing, however, I have struggled with in the past few years, and tonight a light bulb went off in my head as to why. There have been two people in recent years with whom I've had some negative experiences. I won't go into it, but I'll say that after months (and in one case years) of thinking, praying, wondering, and at times ruminating over the issues, I could not figure out why I couldn't just get over it. Tonight I realized: rejection. There is nothing quite like it. The hurt pride, the hurt feelings, the confusion, and the lack of closure that comes from rejection is a powerful thing. I was deeply privileged not to learn this lesson in my childhood and adolescence. Of course, everyone gets rejected to some degree, but when it comes in the form of an ended relationship and/or broken trust, it's a different situation. So now I have a clearer idea of why it's been so hard for me to move on in these two circumstances.

The purpose of this blog is a sort of cleansing. I think that the ways in which I have responded to these rejections have been the most common responses: anger, hurt, confusion, and a lot of blame. The ways I haven't responded are these: forgiveness and acceptance. The thing about accepting others like Christ accepts us is this: we don't deserve it. It was easy for me to reject those who have rejected me, but the fact is, no matter how often or how deeply I reject Jesus, He has never and will never reject me. His acceptance and forgiveness are abounding and unceasing.

I don't have a relationship with the two mentioned people anymore (by their choice) but for the sake of the cleansing, here is what I would like to say to them if I could:

I am sorry that something went wrong between us, and that it couldn't be repaired. I felt rejected by your actions, and whether you knew it or not, my response to that rejection was to be angry at you, and to blame you for everything that happened. That was childish of me, and I apologize. For the ways that I was hurt by you, I offer my wholehearted forgiveness. (You may not be seeking it, but it's important to me to offer it). And for anything that I may have done to hurt or offend you, I am deeply sorry. I hope that you are well, and I hope that you find peace, love, and acceptance from those in your life, and most importantly, from Christ Jesus.

And to those who have accepted and loved me unconditionally: an abounding thank you.

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." -Romans 15:7

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kayla's Visit

Hello, it's been awhile... I had a fantastic weekend with Kayla here. I got to do a bunch of touristy things that I hadn't done yet. Let me start by saying I did not take any of these pictures, I just thought it would make the entry more interesting, and I don't have any on my computer yet. So anyway, after I picked Kayla up at the airport we went over to the Nob Hill area and had lunch at a very cute kosher deli called Rose's.
Then we walked around the area, and down to Powell's Books, which is enormous, but we hung out in the Psychology section looking at books like Talk Back to Prozac, and where Kayla loudly exclaimed, "ooh! I found the trauma section!" I pretended I didn't know her.
That night we got dinner at a really gross buffet place near my house that I'll never go to again, but luckily we were extremely slap happy for one reason or another, so we found the whole experience hilarious. Then we went to see House Bunny, which was actually not as hilarious as our disturbing dinner experience, but it had it's moments. In the morning we went to the Saturday Market under the Burnside Bridge.
There was food, art, crafts, and music. Including a live porcelain doll and a man playing the guitar (quite well) with a hook. Yeah, a hook. Like the Captain. After that we went up to Washington Park (so beautiful)
and spent the afternoon at the Oregon Zoo.
Our favorite part was the Polar Bear, who was over a thousand pounds, and we got to watch him up close. His paws were the size of my head. Maybe bigger. This is him and the 2 others that live there:
We got dinner at the Hawthorne district at The Italian Joint, which was really cute and quite delicious. Sunday we went to church, and then spent the day shopping. Then we went to the Rose Quarter, which is enormous, and was almost completely packed.
It looks like this when there's a basketball game there: (Whoa)
I got to see my boyfriend again (the distance was killing us) and the rest of the dancers from So You Think You Can Dance.
They were amazing! The show was so much fun. Monday morning I had to drop Kayla off, and head to school. So, back to my new reality. Oh also, if you don't read my sister's blog, or know this information already, I am happy to announce that Kelly and Rob are having a baby girl, Elodie Grace Markley. (Pronounced L-uh-D) Unfortunately, she has to stay in the oven until February. But I can't wait to meet her! That's all for tonight. Thanks for a great visit Kayla!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Little Bit Of Me

The motto of the counseling program at Western is "a good counselor is a self-aware counselor." So, I'm going to be learning a lot about myself. So you get to learn a lot about me too! Lucky you. This blog is turning out a lot differently than I expected, but I'm greatly enjoying processing through things by writing in it. So here's what I learned about myself so far: (through rigorous testing otherwise known as "fill in the bubble") My spiritual gifts are Encouraging/Exhorting and Showing Mercy (the other gifts are Evangelism, Prophecy/Proclaiming, Teaching, Pastor/Shepherding, Serving/Ministry, Giving, Administration/Ruling).

Encouraging/Exhorting: Christians with the Gift of Exhortation find themselves encouraging others. They are compelled to give advice. As counselors, they seem to often have steps of action. While Prophets declare the truth and Teachers clarify the truth, Exhorters like to tell you what to do with the truth. They bless others with a strong sense of concern. Often looking to encourage others, they are sought out as counselors. People find Exhorters friendly, understanding and practical. They enjoy using their communication skills to share specific insights.

Showing Mercy: Christians with the Gift of Showing Mercy demonstrate genuine sensitivity to suffering. They are compelled to help people reduce pain. They are concerned more with the person than the reason for the suffering. Focusing on the feelings of those who hurt, Showers of Mercy strongly desire to minister by "being there" when people really need them. Sympathizing and/or empathizing are their specialties. While others may care more about why, what, when, or how, those with the Gift of Showing Mercy are interested in "who" needs tender loving care.

So, sounds like I chose the right field.

Under the Four Temperment Model of Human Behavior (the four being Dominating/Directing, Influencing/Inspiring, Competent/Compliant, and Stable/Submissive), my "behavioral blend" makes me a:

Steady Specialist: "S"s are stable and shy types. They do not like changes. They enjoy pleasing people and can consistently do the same job. Secure, non-threatening surroundings are important to them. They make the best friends because they are so forgiving. Other people sometimes take advantage of them. They need to be stronger and learn how to say "no" to a friend who wants them to do wrong. Talking in front of large crowds is difficult for them. They are motivated by sweet and sincere opportunities to help others.

I'd say that's pretty accurate.

So, the combination of my temperament and my spiritual gifts leads to the following description of my personality: Sensitive Type Christians with the Gift of Exhortation and Showing Mercy are most loving. They are sweet encouragers, always ready to help. They specialize in times of suffering, and they share simple and slow steps-of-action to help others. They often wait for others to ask for advice. They are not pushy. "S"-Exhorters can be too shy, and "S"-Showing Mercy types can be fooled by insincere cries for help. They may need to be more assertive and demanding with those who use their pain as excuses. They may need to share truth, rather than always listening. "S"-Exhorters are security-oriented encouragers. When people hurt, "S"-Showing Mercy types shine.

Everybody say, "aww." In closing, I would like to leave you with this inspiring and motivational video clip. Please enjoy. (You may want to pause the music at the bottom of the page to hear the video).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Rocky!

Today is Rocky Raccoon's first birthday. My sweet, spazzy, hilarious little Dachshund/Chihuahua/Jack Russell has been alive for 365 days. He makes me laugh every day, he can jump higher than a dog his size should, he is oh-so-loyal (and miserable without me) and he always has kisses to spare (sometimes inappropriately, but who's judging?) I am so grateful to have him and Penny Lane in my life when I have a hard day, or I'm feeling lonely, or when I just need a snuggle. So happy birthday to my little "Spazzy Pants," as I like to call him (even though he does not wear pants). Here are a few pictures of the day I brought him home and introduced him to Penny, and one recent one.
Checking each other out.
Penny was nervous to play at first - Rocky was all about it.
About 20 minutes after meeting each other - fast friends.
Me and the Spaz.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Christian Social Events are Like Piano Lessons

Are you curious? It's because, when it's time for me to go to both of them, I whine and cry, kick and scream (metaphorically, and only sometimes literally) and often require forces outside myself to get me there. However, once I'm there, I typically have a good time, and I leave feeling smarter, happier, and generally better about myself and life in general. (Except on the days when I couldn't get my alcoholic piano teacher to get off the couch and teach me... ha ha. But don't worry, it wasn't until years later looking back that I realized what had been going on. And she was always exceptionally fun when she was conscious). So, long story short, I've been to two this week, (church events, not piano lessons) and after the painful awkwardness passed, and the heart palpitations stopped, I actually had fun, and I think I may have met some people that could become (dare I say it?) friends. So yay for that. Stay tuned.

In other news, I started work today. Oh, the joy of the paycheck. I think the universe is trying to tell me something, because the first day back working with "normal" kids, one of the 3 kids that I spent the day with had cerebral palsy. So that was new and different, but the special needs side of things was not so new. :) The kids were sweet though, and we had a good day. My favorite part was this conversation with the 3 year old:

Him: "I want to play a game of real football."
Me: "How will we do that?" (Given that there are only 3 of us with fully functioning limbs).
Him: "Well, one person leans over like this, and the other person says 'hike' and gives it to the first person, and then the first person throws it to the third person, who runs down the field while the other people try to tackle him, and then he makes a touchdown. And somebody will drop-kick the ball. And then the Ducks will win. The Ducks always win!" (All said with a speech impediment in which r's and l's are w's).

So cute. My second favorite conversation:

Dad: "What does Daddy not like?"
Son: "Wasting."
Dad: "Right. And why does Daddy not like it?"
Son: "Because we can't afford it. We don't have a lot of money."
Dad: "Exactly."
(Incidentally, they appear to be doing just fine). His dad obviously has a different take on the whole "wasting is bad" lesson. No mention of children in 3rd world countries who have no food.

Well, that's all for today.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pretty Pictures

I promised pictures, and I don't have any from my own camera on my computer yet, so here are some from my last trip to Portland before I moved up here, with Adriana. I stole them from her myspace page. :) I will post more later, but enjoy.
Silliness in the Lloyd Center Mall
I was excited about the ice skating rink in the mall.
We went to A Chorus Line (see brochure).
Then drinks at Veritable Quandry.
Pioneer Square.
Urban Fondue: Great atmosphere and amazing cheese. :)
It had been a long day, but we still had a lovely evening!
The sky tram that we took.
View from the top.

It was a very fun trip, despite the exhausting house hunt and frequently getting lost. :) We had a lot of laughs, and it would not have been the same without her. Thanks Adriana! Miss you already!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sweet Sweet Victory

I have internet! In my apartment! I don't have to drive somewhere every day to check my e-mail! Praise God! So, I'll probably write often, because, well, I don't have a lot else going on. I have gotten ahead on my school reading, so that's good, and I'm still getting the apartment organized. And I will actually start working next week! Yay! For those of you who don't know, I got a job with a nanny agency, but I will probably doing temporary stuff for awhile (babysitting). I'm excited to be doing something though, and paychecks are good! Also, I'm officially accepted in the Counseling program, so thank goodness for that. Now I just have to get the finances worked out and I'll be good to go! (And some friends... I could use a few of those). Hopefully soon I'll get some more pictures posted, to make my blog a little more interesting. That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

School's in Session

So, today was my first day of school. I was definitely nervous, and I had no idea what grad students bring to class with them, so I just brought a notebook and pen, which worked out fine. Turns out grad students bring whatever they feel like bringing to class (backpacks, laptops, notebooks, lunchables...) What a concept. My classes were fabulous, I'm very excited about them. Before today I wasn't that excited about Legal and Ethical Issues (Mom, remember how I used to call your nightly t.v. show "Law and Boredom" ?) However, I think it will be good, since I really like the teacher (who is also my advisor, so that's nice) and she seems motivated to keep us awake for the 3 hour block each week. And she actually told a story today that made me cry. I was a bit mortified, actually, until I noticed a couple other girls dabbing their eyes. And the burly man sliently weeping in the corner helped too. ;) My second class, Discovering and Developing Your Ministry Potential was pretty neat. It's more learning about yourself than anything else, and let's face it, I love me. But in seriousness, I think it will be a very beneficial class, and I'm looking forward to it (and my future husband just might be in that class... once I've actually spoken to him, I'll let you know). Then I had my interview, which I had to run up the stairs to get to, and it was embarassing to find myself out of breath when I arrived, but they were very nice, and I thought I did ok. Also the fact that at the end they said "we'll give a positive report to the admissions committee" helped boost my confidence. So, a good day at Western.
In other news, I saw Adriana yesterday! She and her boyfriend were passing through on a road trip, and we got to hang out for a bit, so that was exciting. We tried to go to the Chinatown area, but the place we were going to eat was closed, and it turns out that area is a little shady (a few too many strip clubs for my liking) so we went to the tried and true Alphabet District, and had a lovely lunch. That was the last time I'll see her until (fingers crossed) I go to Spain next summer to visit her. But I'm really glad I got to see her once more before she leaves. Well, that's all I'll say for today. Stay classy, San Diego.