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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Something's Got to Give - or - Glass Overflowing

I have been very stressed lately which has led me to be depressed. I'm feeling much better today, but unless something changes, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before something else comes along to push me over the edge. The metaphor I used earlier is that your body can handle so much crap at a time. It's like you have a glass, and obligations and problems are water that gets poured into it. Well, you can take a pretty good bit of crap, and you can even continue to live your life when the glass is full. But when the glass fills up, even the smallest little thing added in will cause it to overflow, and you will blow up. It can be with anger, tears, etc. You just can't take much more.

I have been going along lately with a glass that is full or very close to it 100% of the time. As a result, even the slightest thing will cause me to pretty much cry uncontrollably. That has got to stop. I've either got to take some things out of the glass, make the glass bigger, or preferrably both.

So to take some things out of the glass, I've thought about all of the things I do (school, work at two jobs, church, hanging out with friends, a boyfriend, clubs, etc.) and decided that one of them needed to go. Based on my preferences and my feelings about which one would be the most effective to remove, I've decided that in January (at the start of the spring semester) I am going to resign from the SGA. I'll finish out my current semester, finish the new SGA website, etc. But after that I have to stop. It's way more than I expected: weekly meetings which are always filled with something big, office hours, being an interim committee chair, holding student body surveys, and on it goes. I really like being a part of the SGA and I really like having an impact on what's happening on campus, but I just need to drop something. Maybe I'll run again next year if things clear up a bit.

As far as making the glass bigger, I need to do some stress relief. I have been dabbling in yoga with my Wii Fit, and I think I'm gonna start taking that a little more seriously. A little more yoga, a little more aerobics, just to get the blood flowing and take out some built-up energy. I'm also gonna start singing and dancing again, which I used to do all the time but have stopped for some reason. Those things always make me happy. And more sleep. I certainly don't get enough sleep at night (I don't have time to), so I'm gonna start taking a nap for a few hours every couple of days. I'm also gonna start spending more time with my friends, even if I'm just chatting with them online, so I don't feel so isolated and lonely. I want to be around people who love me, so I need to make an effort to be around them more.

So yeah, there's that. Prayers are appreciated!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Things I Want to Teach my Future Children

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don't neglect your mother's instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.

- Proverbs 1:8-9 (New Living Translation)


These are some of the values, beliefs, morals, etc. that I would like to instill in my children should I have any someday. And with that "should I have any" statement, I would like to also say that I have considered not having children at all. I have the strong urge to someday be a wife and mother, but I also don't want to bring children into the world if the world starts to really suck. On the verge of a nuclear war, for example, I would probably have my tubes tied. But assuming the world doesn't go to pot in my lifetime, here's what I would like to teach them.


Love God and love people.

"'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

- Luke 10:27 (New Living Translation)


Love God as much as you can humanly love Him, and show others the love that He has shown you. The world would be much better off if everyone would just love each other instead of hating each other.


Love your enemies.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."

- Matthew 5:43-45 (New International Version)


Showing someone love, compassion, and kindness can diffuse a tense situation. You can keep yourself out of alot of trouble and save yourself alot of grief by loving your enemies. It's also a way of witnessing Christ's love to them.


Love your country.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

- Psalm 33:12 (New King James Version)


Pray that our nation will always be one nation under God. Pray that we will continue to enjoy our religious freedoms (and all of our other freedoms) here in America. Pray that God will bless America. Love your country and try to make it a better place to be. Take pride in what is great about this nation.


Family is everything.

But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.

- 1 Timothy 5:8 (New Living Translation)


Love and respect your family above all others. Take care of your family. Stick with your family through good times and bad. Pay it forward, with the expectation that you will eventually need your family for something yourself. Honor your parents, cherish your siblings, respect your grandparents. Keep your extended family as close as possible. When times get really tough, your family is all you have, so make sure that those relationships are positive and strong.


Pray for everyone.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

- 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (New Living Translation)


Pray that your leaders will have the guidance from God to lead, pray that your teachers will have the guidance from God to teach, pray for the protection of soldiers and police and firefighters, pray for healing for the sick, pray for financial help for the poor, and pray for blessings on everyone you meet. Prayer is simple but powerful, and you should sprinkle a little prayer around everywhere you go.


Human beings are made by God, and every life is sacred.

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."

- Jeremiah 1:5 (New Living Translation)


Each individual person was created, known, and loved by God in the womb. God continues to love and watch over every person until their death. Every single person is special and beautiful in His eyes. We were not put on this Earth to harm other people. (Actually, we were put on this Earth to worship God.) Because of this, any action that would cause intentional harm to another human being is wrong. This includes everything from assault to abortion to murder to name-calling. Also because of this, we should treat other human beings with dignity and respect. Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


Sex is for marriage.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

- 1 Corinthians 6:18 (New International Version)


Not only is it scriptural and moral to wait until marriage for sex - it's also physically and emotionally healthy. You can't get an STD or an unwanted pregnancy if you're not having sex. It also saves you the emotional scars of having past sexual relations with a person you're no longer with, and it empowers you to share more intimacy with the person you will one day marry.


Behave yourself always.

Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning.

- 1 Corinthians 15:34a (New Living Translation)


Obey your parents, grandparents, teachers, etc. If you know something is wrong or against the rules, don't do it. If you were told not to do something, don't do it. If you know something is right or needs to be done, do it. If you were told to do something, do it correctly and promptly. Behave appropriately in every situation, and mind your manners.


Be optimistic.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

- Romans 8:28 (New Living Translation)


God is in control, and everything will be OK. A positive outlook can relieve stress and even improve a person's overall success in life. An optimistic person is a cheerful person, and cheerfulness often accompanies happiness.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What I Would Like to See Done in America

Here are just some of the things that I would like to see done in America. This is change I can believe in.

TORT REFORM
For those of you who don't know what tort reform is, I've lifted the Wikipedia definition for a quick and dirty explanation.


Tort reform refers to the idea of changing the rules applicable to the law of tort. Tort deals with compensation for wrongs and harm done by one party to another's person, property or other protected interests (e.g. reputation, under libel and slander laws). The most contentious area of tort, and the area on which tort reform advocates focus is personal injury. The levels of compensation for accidents vary greatly between different jurisdictions, but there has been a general upward trend in the awards for compensation. The ideas for reform vary greatly between different jurisdictions also, and inevitably depend on the rules and practices of the country.


Basically, one of the reasons healthcare and prescription drugs are so expensive is that the companies responsible for making you healthy are having to set aside very large amounts of money to settle massive lawsuits being brought against them on all sides by people who were harmed by medical mistakes. Where do you think that money is coming from? That's right: your pocket. Tort reformers want limits set on the amout you can sue for, depending on your injury. Say, for example, you can only get $150,000 for the loss of a finger; $250,000 for the loss of a hand, etc. No matter what you try or how compelling your lawyer may be, you'd only be able to get that maximum amount. In that case, healthcare companies would be free to lower their lawsuit savings accounts and lower the cost of healthcare - no socialization required.

EDUCATION REFORM
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you that our education system needs some work. Here are some of the things I'd like to see done in education.


  • Raises for teachers - a higher paid worker is usually a happier, more productive worker. Not only that, but higher wages would attract people with higher degrees and more specialized knowledge to the teaching career. Better teachers means a higher quality education for our children. Not to mention that our teachers need to be rewarded for the service they provide to our country.
  • Support for homeschooling - perhaps a way to reduce the crowding in classrooms would be to loosen restrictions on homeschooling and private tutoring and encourage parents who would chose this option were it not for current restrictions to take advantage of the new system.
  • Higher funding across the board - not only in elementary schools, but all the way up through college, we need more funding in our schools. More funding means better supplies, better books, better facilities, and those teacher raises I was talking about earlier.
  • The revitalization of recess - studies have shown that children need recess in order to help them learn better. Children are not computers, and they cannot be made to sit at a desk all day long processing information. Not only that, the more exercise children get, the less likely they are to be obese. That goes right back around to healthcare. Prevention via exercise is free. Please let our children take advantage of it.
  • Early focus on behavior and manners - children should be taught basic behavior and manners at a very young age. A child barely old enough to read should be able to understand that violence is wrong, sharing is important, cursing is inappropriate (especially at that age), you should obey your parents and teachers, etc. I would like to see less violence and bullying in schools, and I would like to see instances of it punished more severely than it has been in the past.
  • No Child Left Behind fixed or removed - currently teachers are more worried about teaching the standardized test than they are about teaching class material. No Child Left Behind means well, but it's fatally flawed. It sets unrealistic if not unreachable goals for schools and then punishes them when they can't meet those goals. We should be empowering our students and teachers, not punishing them.

ABORTION ILLEGALIZED
Life is sacred and should not be taken away. Life begins at the point of conception. Abortion is murder. It is an absolute travesty and I cannot believe we have let it go on in this country for so long. It needs to end - NOW - period.

ECONOMY STRENGTHENED
I don't know what's going to fix this recession. All I can say is that raising taxes certainly won't do it. We need to see tax breaks, no new taxes, and possibly another stimulus package. Start putting money back into the pockets of hard-working Americans, and they will start spending it again. Once we get the cash flowing again, things will start to get better.

BETTER FOREIGN RELATIONS
This has nothing to do with the wars. This is concerning countries with which we are currently at peace - no matter how stable that "peace" may be. We need to get more countries on our side - more countries to like us. Let's face it, most of the world hates America. Maybe we can get that to change.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Who Am I?

I hate the person I have become lately.

I used to be so nice to everybody, I never talked bad about anyone, I never put my foot in my mouth. I used to be a strong, secure woman. I used to never get jealous in my relationships. I used to know exactly what I wanted and what I needed to do to get it. I used to put my all into absolutely everything I did. I used to be an overachiever.

Now I can be pretty mean sometimes, I say bad things about people - even behind their backs, and I put my foot in my mouth all the time. I don't feel so strong or secure anymore. I get jealous over Matt all the time. I don't know what I want anymore - I just have a vague notion, and no real plan for getting it. I don't put my all into anything anymore - I don't work as hard at work or school anymore, and I recently dropped a class for the first time in my college career.

I'm not the woman I want to be, which is the woman I was.

The worst part is, I feel like I can't help it. I don't know how I got here or how to get back. I don't WANT to be mean and jealous and lazy! I want to be nice and happy and ambitious and an overachiever! I want to be a strong, passionate woman who people want to be around! I want to be myself again!

I'm trying to devise a plan to get back to my normal self. For starters, prayer would be greatly appreciated as it is greatly needed. Other than that, all I've got is to try to remember what it was like to be the person I wanted to be. Try to remember the way I thought, the things I said, the feelings I experienced, the people who were important to me, and whatever it was that inspired me to be an overachiever. Once I've got a good grasp on how I used to be the person I wanted to be, I'll start doing things to make myself become that person again.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nothing to Worry About

"The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?"
- Psalm 27:1 (New Living Translation)

With my Junior year of college starting tomorrow, I have alot to think about. I'm not excited about my classes getting harder and more in-depth. I'm not excited about my class scheduling options getting fewer. I'm not excited about having to start on my Senior Demo Project (think of it as a graduation thesis on crack) in just 12 short months, especially considering I have NO IDEA what I want to do for it.

It's an interesting realization to come to that I'm halfway through with college. As in, I have 21 months of pre-real-world life left to live. It's exciting, but I also worry alot about whether or not I'm gonna get a job, an apartment, a husband, a real life, etc. On top of that, I don't want to give up the college atmosphere. I am addicted to college life, and I am convinced that it is the only way to live, haha. And I'm definitely gonna miss all of my friends when I graduate. Once in the real world, it gets exponentially harder to keep in touch.

But with all of that and more going on in my life, I know that I'm OK. God is bigger than anything and everything, and He is on my side. I'm not gonna be afraid of any obstacle or enemy that comes my way. I am gonna trust in God to care for me and fulfill my needs. I am not gonna worry about anything. As long as I stick with God, I have nothing to worry about.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Let Go and Let God

"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." - Proverbs 16:9

You would think I would eventually take hold of that. But I am by nature a very organized person, and I have a bad (is it bad?) habit of planning EVERYTHING. I have plans for what I want to name my potential future children and ideas about where I want to send them to school. I'm not even married yet! I don't even know if God WANTS me to be married yet! More often than not I make those plans without consulting God about them first, or consulting God then moving forward without waiting for an answer.

This verse has been very manifest in my life lately. I am trying to teach myself to "let go and let God," but at the same time I am trying to plan for my future. I get so impatient that I go ahead and make my own plans without God. Of course, He always nixes those. You think by now I'd learn to be a little more patient. I need to learn to wait on God's timing and follow God's plan. For one, He definitely knows what's better for me. He can see how things will turn out, and He has my best interests in mind.

Another point I get from this verse is that God is in control. No matter what we decide to do, we ultimately wind up in God's plan. It's kind of comforting, actually.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Depressed and Anxious

I have not been myself the past 3 months or so. I have been relatively depressed. I have felt more insecure than I ever have in my life. I have been having anxiety and panic attacks alot, and I have been really paranoid. Unfortunately for my boyfriend Matt, most of this has been directed at our relationship. I am paranoid that he's gonna cheat on me or leave me, I have anxiety and/or panic attacks when I think he's avoiding me or cheating on me or trying to break up with me or that something bad has happened to him, etc. I have been really jealous over him, and I have never been jealous before in any of my past relationships. I thought that traumatic and stressful life events had shaken me to the core and that I would just get over it with time, but 3 months is enough.

A couple days ago, I went on WebMD.com. I took a Depression Symptoms quiz and it said that I am "Higher Risk," and may be at risk for major depression. I took a "Life change stress test," which put me in the high end of Moderate (orange) on the stress scale. I read an article on panic disorder, and it turns out I have all the symptoms of panic attacks. I have apparently been having panic attacks. The article I read also said that "Panic disorder most often begins during late adolescence and early adulthood. It is twice as common in women as in men."

Then I read one about Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and it sounds just like me. "Generalized anxiety disorder or GAD is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can't stop worrying about health, money, family, work or school. In people with GAD, the worry often is unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear and dread. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the person's thinking that it interferes with daily functioning, including work, school, social activities and relationships." After it listed some other symptoms it said "In addition, people with GAD often have other anxiety disorders (such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias), suffer from depression, and/or abuse drugs or alcohol."

So as it turns out, there's a good chance I'm sick. That's the reason I've been messing up so bad in our relationship. I've been paranoid and anxious and depressed, and there could be a medical reason for it.

The good news is that (1) I recognized it early enough that treatment has a better chance of actually curing me, and (2) this is the hardest part and now it's over.

I have read about some home treatment options for these things. They are pretty doable, actually. Things like stop drinking caffeine, stop eating too much chocolate, exercise everyday, eat a healthier diet, ask for help with homework/work/chores, do things that reduce stress like calm breathing and meditation, maintain your relationships with friends and family, and seek support after a bad experience (talk it out with someone who cares).

I'm gonna try out these home remedies, and I have asked my boyfriend (and he asked out friends) for support. I'm hoping that with all of that stuff put together I can work up enough will power to get over whatever's left of it after the remedies I mentioned have had the chance to do their job. After a month or two, if I'm still not better or at least improving, I'm gonna go see a doctor about it.

So if you're reading this, please send a prayer my way. I could use it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I miss God

It's about to rain, and I like that. When the weather is still and grey like this, I like to think deep thoughts. I do this alot.

I've started to realize that I really miss God. Last night I listened to some worship music, read a few verses from the New Testament that I had highlighted in my Bible, and prayed for an array of things. It felt really good. It was like going to lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in ages. I miss being close to God. I hate it when it gets to the point that I feel like I'm just going through the motions, so I get bummed out and eventually I quit even going through the motions.

God, if You're reading this, I'm ready to come back again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

DJ Chili D. is Perfect for Me

After a month and a half, it's still sort of sinking in that I'm really dating Matt. He pretty much rocks. He's always surprising me with how awesome he is. He's cool, funny, smart, interesting, sensitive (and yet manly at the same time which I LOVE), sexy, adorable, sweet, original, creative, gentlemanly, patient, attentive, loyal, kind, helpful, caring, and loving. (I feel like I'm leaving something out, lol.) We understand each other, we know each other, and we still love each other anyway. Neither of us wants to change a thing about the other one, but both of us want to better ourselves since we've started dating. We are totally supportive of each other in everything, and we always encourage each other instead of tearing each other down. I love everything about Matt and I really want this relationship to work and last. And one of the greatest things about Matt is that he feels the same way. We are perfect for each other!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Matt

So, as of March 30 I have a new boyfriend! His name is Matt and he is awesome and great and perfect! Yay!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Coping Mechanism

This is something I'm doing to help me get over my break up with Anthony, which I'm taking a little bit harder than I originally thought. This exercise has helped me feel a whole lot better though, and I think I'm a very good deal closer to being over the pain and heartbreak completely and reaching a place where I can be friends with Anthony again - talking on a regular basis, visiting each others' houses every couple months, hanging out with friends on a weekend or two. I would like to be at that place with him, as I want him in my life but don't think I could be romantically involved with him again.

So here are the contents of the note: Things I Won't Miss About Anthony, Things I'm Angry at Anthony For, Five Incidents When I Knew it Wasn't Working For Us, Things I Wanted that Anthony Couldn't Give Me, Things I Would Have Changed if I Could Have, Things That I Did Like/Will Miss About Anthony, and Things I Appreciate Anthony For.

Anthony: I hope you read this with an open mind. It will seem a little harsh at times, but it is just my way of working through my feelings. Don't think that I hate you, because I don't, and I am very anxious to get to a place where we are truly best friends. If there is anything in this note that upsets you, please talk to me about it. Feel free to write something like this of your own if you want.

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THINGS I WON'T MISS ABOUT ANTHONY

1. His lack of ambition
2. His seeming inability to graduate from college
3. His inability to plan ahead
4. The way he needs guidance to get anything done
5. His cowardice
6. His defeatist attitude
7. His indifference to his health (and his poor health outlook)
8. His jealousy/trust issues
9. His oversensitivity
10. The way I always had to be "the man" of the relationship
11. His low to non-existant sex drive (not that we were having sex, but still...)
12. His unreadiness to get married
13. His laziness
14. His poor money management skills
15. The way he kisses up to his mom sometimes
16. His inability/unwillingness to change and resistance to change in general
17. His immaturity
18. His extreme shyness (I'm shy, but he's borderline ridiculous!)
19. Our differing views about why church is important
20. The way he seemed like he was never happy (and now I know that's apparently my fault)

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THINGS I'M ANGRY AT ANTHONY FOR

1. His hypocrisy in being the one to break up with me when I had tried twice to break up with him and once to suggest a "break," and stopped short all 3 times because he got upset. He didn't seem very worried about hurting my feelings.

2. The fact that he was too much of a coward to break up with me in person, so he did it over the phone.

3. The fact that he broke up with me just when I was trying my hardest to fix things between us.

4. The fact that he blindsided me with it and didn't give me ANY advanced warning.

5. The fact that he didn't give me a chance to fix things like I had given him back in November (and the fact that he put forth little to no effort to that effect).

6. The way he suddenly stopped loving me.

7. The fact that this is the first time he has ever taken charge or control of our relationship, and now it's over.

8. The fact that the first time I found out he didn't like going to the movies was when he changed his Facebook profile after the break up. He kept secrets from me after 3 years together! WHY?!

9. The fact that he did this so nonchalantly, without a tear and felt relieved.

10. The fact that he lied about wanting to go to Disney World with me this May, probably among many other similar lies he's told me.

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FIVE INCIDENTS WHEN I KNEW IT WASN'T WORKING

In order of appearance:

1. When he proposed and I said yes probably 90% to keep from hurting him.
2. When I gradually realized that I didn't love him (romantically) anymore.
3. When I realized that - even given the means to do so - he wouldn't do necessary things (like buy a new car or go to the doctor about the ingrown toenail he's had since BEFORE WE STARTED DATING!)
4. When I realized that I would graduate from college before he would.
5. When I realized that I had begun to think of him as immature and ignorant - in short I began to resent him for a while around November of 2007.

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THINGS I WANTED THAT ANTHONY COULDN'T GIVE ME

1. The option of someday being a stay-at-home mom if I wanted to
2. The opportunity to feel like a woman - in the relationship and in the bedroom
3. Emotional stability
4. A husband I could be proud of in his accomplishments
6. Happiness (it's sad but true - happy as friends, miserable as lovers)

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THINGS I WOULD HAVE CHANGED IF I COULD HAVE

1. I would have kept us closer to God
2. I would make him more mature
3. I would make him more confident
4. I would give him TONS of ambition
5. I would improve his health outlook
6. I would have given us more in common (we had loads already, but still...)
7. I would have kept our passion burning
8. I would give him a higher sex drive
9. I would have made him graduate and get a career in 2007
10. I would have made him "the man" of the relationship

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THINGS THAT I DID LIKE/WILL MISS ABOUT ANTHONY

1. The things we had in common
2. The way we used to love each other so deeply
3. The way he made me laugh
4. The hard times he helped me through
5. His sweet, sensitive, understanding personality
6. His attentiveness to me
7. The way he treated me SO good
8. The way he always felt like I was too good for him (I wasn't, but still...)
9. The way I was able to unconditionally trust him (until the break up...)
10. All of the fond memories

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THINGS THAT I APPRECIATE ANTHONY FOR

1. Helping me grow and mature
2. Making me happy (at least for a time)
3. Helping me to feel better about myself
4. Helping me learn what true love is
5. Being my best friend

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Thanks for the memories, Anthony. Now let's be friends.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

So...I'm Single

As what would have been our 3 year anniversary (April 10) approaches, tonight for what has been a long time coming Anthony and I had a frank discussion about our relationship and our feelings towards each other. Some of my very closest friends know that I had been considering breaking our engagement for some time now, but tonight Anthony expressed to me that he was worried that we were going down the wrong path. We discussed it maturely and calmly and mutually decided that we are going to take a break and date other people. This break may or may not be permanent, but it looks more than likely permanent. Here are our reasons for separating:

1. We feel that we don't love each other anymore romantically
2. We both feel that I have changed and am not the person I was 3 years ago
3. We feel that we have rushed ourselves a bit
4. Anthony is not ready to get married
5. All the small differences that get in the way piled up

We are both fine and are perfectly content to still be friends. Neither of us have regrets about the time we spent together, and we feel that we each taught each other valuable life lessons.

If you're wondering how I'm doing: I'm a little shellshocked, as can be imagined, but I'm not depressed or anything like that. I hate being single though, so I'm sure that will take a toll on me soon enough and I'll be ready for a boyfriend again pretty soon.

So yeah, there's that.