Wherein I Call Myself an A-hole, then Contemplate Clients

::let me start by saying that this post has some language-ish, that google image searching “trite sayings” is a GOLD MINE (trite saying intended) and that this person says kind of what I’m saying and is also funny, but has more language. and i stole some of her images.::

it's not my fault that lolcatz are so useful

Launching into story…now:

Waiting for my friend to respond via text on whether or not we could skype was getting rdiculous, and didn’t involve enough neurotic forms of communication, so I emailed my apology.

“You weren’t being trite, I was being an a-hole.”

“i was being an a-hole.” Oh, such true words. Much oftener than I mention them. I want to believe that I am kind. That I am patient and graceful and that my insights are thoughtful, thought-provoking, and useful. I want to believe that I believe all of that yet remain beatifully, stoically humble. The problem with all of that is it is FALSE AS PAM ANDERSONS BREASTICLES*.

The other day I was told “you aren’t necessary.” ::EXPLOSION OF THE PRIDEBOMB:: And without getting into the background, I have to say that for the point this girl (not someone im close to, but someone who can speak in to my life)was making, she was right. I am not necessary. I am used by God’s grace, but God doesn’t need me. (Now, as part of the body of Christ, the church, the body needs me to be properly functioning in order for the whole body to properly function, but that’s not what we were talking about.)

So anyway, in reference to being not necessary, and other things from the above interaction, I was hurting and a friend, knowing basically that I’d been told something true but that I didn’t particularly like, wrote me a sweet, encouraging message. And then signed it with something to the effect of “Keep your head up and keep trucking along, God will use this too!”

INSERT CAT SCRATCH NOISES HERE. CLAWS OUT!! “please don’t pastor me like that. you’re better than trite wrap-ups….” Wow, did I say that? Way to go, Valle, nice job on the being “slow to speak and quick to listen.” (i have that backward but whatevsies)

Insert record-scratching noise in my brain, here.

Insert “wait-a-minute-i-was-just-learning-about-this” here.

For a while in one of my classes, I’ve heard people mention that the trite (even if you believe them) maxims such as “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” or “God has a plan for this.” or yes, even, “It’ll all work out in the end.” Are, if ill-timed, NOT helpful, but in fact hurtful. Instead of encouraging (which, if we assume the best of people, is what is meant) these sayings are hindering. They, at the wrong time, can cut people off, seem to say “I hear that you’re hurting. But it will get better, so let’s not have any more of this talking about it.”

I have to admit, i didn’t get it. An optimist at heart, I thought my classmates needed to lighten up a little, expect the best of people, understand that they meant well and in a little while, these sayings will bring comfort.

And a VERY WISE friend of mine once mentioned that in the dire straights of life, the absolute pits, that’s when she wants to hear the promises of God to cling to and remember. So I was like, “people need to hear this stuff, y’all. They’ll thank you later.”

But, people do not always need to hear this stuff at every moment. There is a time to say “God has a plan for this.” But in the middle of a break down or some innocent wanderings about the greater implications of a lesser idea may not be that time. And if you say it at the wrong time, you may not be thanked for it later….you might be hated for it always. Which, FTR, is not a great statement to be made of a helping professional.

VOMBOMB (that's a contraction of vomit and bomb, just in cases you wondered)

So while I’m sorry that I was a cat-scratch-fever-a-hole to my friend who meant only to relate and comfort, I’m glad I learned this distinction – the distinction between words that are true and speak truth, and words that are true and cut off healing. The distinction is, often, just timing.

Now, determining that timing, that I’ve yet to learn.

*not that i don’t l.o.v.e. me some animal-caring-for, admits-her-faults-and-can-laugh-about-it Pam Anderson.

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Bubba and Belle

if I really think about it, if I really look at them, my brother and sister who are moving across the country and across the world, i tear up.

my heart, unbridled by TRUTH and giving in to perception, cries out along with my eyes. No.

No! Please, please don’t leave. Please don’t go away. I love you, I want you here, I want you near me.

I’ve done it again. I’ve grown attached to people. The deep veins of familial ties never truly established in blood have etched themselves in through these people, this spiritual family. They have become part of my daily routine.

They have become part of my heart.

I was not, at first, quiet about this displeasure. Especially with Bubba. With my Belle, I had more time. I knew this was her plan from the moment I met her. We’ve had years now to grow together and love and as I have supported her, i have, not thinking what it would really mean to not have her (or, in more faithful moments, believing that “what it would be like” is God’s plan – infinitely better than any alternative). So with my Belle, as the date has approached, I’ve kept myself (ever so slightly) in check with the (out loud) “OHMYGOSH DON’T LEAVE ME,”-s.

But Bubba up and made this decision OUT OF EFF…REAKING NOWHERE. (Not true. I’ve known he was thinking about it for months but literally REFUSED TO THINK (or even pray other than a randomly thrown up “oh god, tell him and make it clear….but mostly make it clear that he should stay but i mean, whatever you want, im just sayin..”) about it.

And long story short in a month, they’ll both be gone.

My sweet neighbor who I love and visit and spend time with and who is, as many have pointed out, a special friend, a brother-from-another-mother who plays with me so well that other people will miss our interactions, HE IS LEAVING.

My beautiful gypsy sister, the one who is so different from me, but SO GOOD AT LOVING ME, will be HALFWAY across the dang world and WHO  will i call to come over and have sparkling grape juice and strawberries with my while i scurry about cleaning my apartment and over-analyzing whatever is on my mind and with WHOM will i go on movie dates with my pink glittery flask (a gift from my bubby, the biological brother, the other Valle-felon) if my Belle in in TURKEY. Where the last time i was there, they kept trying to abscond with my passport and squinty-eyed at me even though I don’t have the evil eyes.

(that was a tangent. if those last few sentences didn’t make sense to you it’s only because they don’t make sense.)

This is not supposed to be a rant. this is supposed to be about not ranting.

i’ll ‘splain tomorrow. if i can pick myself out of the “what will i do without bubba and belle” despair.

The Blessing of Unrequited (shadows)

As you may have expected, people have been asking me how I’m doing since that little “in love with someone who wants someone else.” fiasco. (which you can see more about here, here, and here.)

And honestly: I’m OKAY.

See? Cute outfit. I must be okay. ;)

I mean, i’m probably better than okay. I don’t feel any differently about him, but I am trying every day to be faithful with whatever is in front of me. And you know what’s NOT in front of me? That man.

But what is still in front of me is my God and His goodness. And one of my favorite things about God is that since His glory is the point of everything, I can count on everything to teach me something about His glory. Circular references can be the bomb sometimes.

And I am so grateful that my feelings are what they are.

I am grateful that I have no control over this strong, abiding, i-know-will-go-away-when-God-sees-fit, beyond-all-sense love.

Not because it shows me how I should love God,

but because it shows me how God loves me.

And that man not loving me* shows me a lot about how I love God.

I hope this can make sense.

I didn’t choose to want this man. In fact, I fought it like CRAZY. Until I just knew. KNEW  that I couldn’t fight it anymore. There wasn’t anything I could do to change it. And like he told me again and again, the man didn’t change in any way to make me want him. He didn’t measure up (not that he had some failing to cover) or win my affection with his goodness. He didn’t suddenly warrant my love in some way that changed for those feelings to resurge SO STRONGLY. It just happened and I knew it wouldn’t un-happen.

But he didn’t want me.

It reminds me of the love of God. Except he CAN and DOES choose to love us. To love ME in a way that isn’t EVER going to un-happen. He loves me not because I measured up or won his attention with my worthiness. He loves me no matter what I do.

And so often, I just don’t want him. I choose other things (and here the analogy breaks down because I choose far less worthy things. Q didn’t choose anything less worthy, just different).

See I love the way I feel about that man, and even the way he feels about me, because it points me again and again to the greatest love story, told on Calvary with an empty cross and an empty grave. It reminds me that the strongest love I’ll ever understand (which no, i don’t think i’ve experienced yet) on this earth

Will still only be a vain shadow of the love God has for me.

It points me back to how grateful I am for this unmerited gift. This thing I could never earn. This thing beyond words and understanding.

The blessing of an unrequited love all wrapped up in the love I could never hope to match. The love of the Father and King and Lover of my soul.

How have past loves taught you about His great love?

*not romantically, anyway. He’s still a kind, sweet creature. Just one exercising his privilege to prefer another. I can malign no one this choice. Please no, “he’s so {anything}.” comments about him not wanting me. ;)

Mrs Dubs

I just found out that the mother of my first love has cancer.

Which made me think of two things: First, that I will start to pray for this woman who deserves a thank you for putting up with my rowdy teenage angst while I dated her son. And second, about her son:

The man I loved back in high school.

i was going for sassy, but came out angry. the matching fauxhawks we AFTER we broke up!

Tall. Brown hair. Hazel eyes. Grew his beard out for me. Played every instrument he touched. Yeah, you can imagine how 15 year old me felt about 16 year old him.

Though years, states, and circumstances have separated us, and though I smile back on every memory I have of the man(the boy, back then!) I don’t feel any unresolved business between us. We had a rough break up, we went different places in the world and in our lives, and eventually we just… were okay, I guess. I mean it took a lot more drama than that but it’s sweet to look back and remember that during a time I was sure I wouldn’t make it (it really was a ROUGH break up, now that I think about it) God carried me through. What at the time was THE most important thing in my life is now something I have to search to remember.

God’s mercies are new every morning, and after 8 years of new mornings, it’s difficult to truly recall what pain that time was. But I wanted to remember for a minute because it wasn’t the last time I felt that way.

And there will be times in the future when I feel it again.

When what I think is THE most important thing in the world suddenly becomes no longer part of my world.

And I will hurt.

And I will cry.

And I will be sure that I am not strong enough to handle this.

And I won’t be.

But God always will.

If you pray, please take a moment to pray for Mrs. W and her family.  As she faces a treatment plan she cannot afford and a sickness she cannot fight on her own, I know they will all appreciate the strength and peace of the Lord.

What is Important?

::ohmygoshsoold. Look what I found!::

 

I’m writing this post in early December.

It’s late at night and looking at the situation in which I find myself, I think it is just as likely that when this publishes, a million days from now, that I will be dating Hoyt as that I won’t.

Anyway, part of what I wanted to do with my six-months-turned-three-months of singleness was to discover what really was important to me in a relationship. That way, I could know, could say, “Hey, if this is what you’re offering, okay, let’s give it a try. But if not, I know what I want and this isn’t it.”

And you know what? I surprised myself.

Because I’ve figured for a while that the only important thing to look for in a man was that he love and follow Jesus.  But that’s just not true for me. It’s the MOST important thing, but not the only one. God made me the way I am for a reason and for the right person, the way I am will be a blessing! So, for me to be in a romantic relationship with someone, I’ve realized I need some things without which I’m just not going to flourish. And it’s been hard for me to admit, but I know it’s true, and I’m trying to believe it’s okay. Like:

Affection and attraction. Some people need exercise to keep from going crazy. Some need alone time. I need affection. And I get plenty, I’m well loved. I’m always with kids and I’m around women who like hugs so I get my fill. But If I’m going to be with someone, this person is going to need to be really in to me. I don’t have the energy otherwise. I could go on and explain but right now I don’t want to. I’m just going to say that when it comes to this, I’m needy.

Along with that comes the fact that I need to play. To engage on a deep, intentional level. And often. Interact with me!

Pianoanna is like the opposite of me. She is the lowest maintenance wife I’ve ever met. She and her husband absolutely love one another, but they just don’t spend all their time doing lovey-dovey things. They do sometimes, but they’re chill. And that works for them. (It works WELL for them, they’ve got a STRONG relationship)

But I want lovey dovey! And no amount of DESIRE to be practical is going to change that.

It is important to me to go out and do things. I’m really bad at this on my own but if a relationship is going to carry the weight required of the step up from friendship, it’s just got to have better yields too. That’s just science. ;) I want to actually go on DATEs with someone if we’re dating.

That’s all of the surprising/hard-to-admit stuff for now.  Tonight I’m fighting the fight to know and believe that God is enough and that he’s in this, and I’m just giving him a chance to teach me what he wants to, and it doesn’t have to be scary. And if it ends, because Hoyt doesn’t have the time to pay me attention or just ends up not-that-into-me, that’s fine too! God will not stop being the big strong loving God that He is.

Just cause they're on my mind...these guys are important.

Strawberry Kisses

before I knew i was a gluten-sickie (meaning i eat gluten and get sick, but haven’t been diagnosed as intolerant. ppl get snippy over these things), i didn’t much like food.

i mean i liked it

and i ate too much,

but i got sick all the time and readily considered that if i could take a pill or something instead of eating, even if that meant i never got to eat again, i’d do it!

life is better, knowing what food to avoid so that I can enjoy what i do have.

like strawberries. i can eat strawberries and i ENJOY them.  especially when they’re really ripe. on the verge of going bad (but not there yet) still firm, super sweet,

and if you add a glass of the right ::ahem:: grape juice – mercy, i’m over the moon for these little fruits!

I consider (lots of things when i drink grape juice;)  that a good kiss ought often (like, in romantic settings) to be like a good strawberry. had at the proper time,  a point at which not having it would be a waste, and having had it before would be to have a lesser thing.

it ought, perhaps, to have the same firmness. like something you can bite into, consume, a kiss ought not be merely lips touching (after all, can not a kiss on the cheek or neck or hand be just as rapturous, though different?) but an experience to be breathed in, to be tasted.

i bought my first "lip stain" yesterday.

anyway my point is i like strawberries and i like kisses and i like my kisses like i like my strawberries:

sweet.

Tradish

Are you a fan or a not-fan of the abbreves people make?

As in presh instead of precious

or perf instead of perfect

or, abbreve instead of abbreviate, for that matter.

Maybe it’s not something that happens a lot where you are, but my people do it all.the.time. Maybe it’s a phase. Anyway, none of that is ACTUALLY the point but as someone who once met a man named “Steven” and proceeded instead to call him “steamboat” for the next seven years, I’d just like to get a gauge on what the rest of the world considers cute colloquial charm and what they instead deem as just ridiculous. Or, in my case, ridic. ;)

But the ACTUAL point of this post is to give one of those more traditional updates. I’m going to try my hardest to make perfectly plain sense (and not Palin sense, as I just typed accidentally, because I don’t ever want to live in Alaska) but we’ll see how far that takes us.

purely because i never used this photo before. this was in february, i believe.

School: In case you missed it, I’m pursuing an M.A. in Professional Counseling. I expect to graduate between August of 2013 and May of 2014. It’s a very long Master’s program. (61 hours, max 9 hours per semester, 6 hours per summer). After my first two semesters, I have a 3.8 GPA.  I hate that I only had a 4.0 for one semester, but that’s just because I’m prideful. There is nothing wrong with a 3.8. I’m learning a lot and will be in school this summer learning more, even though it will cost me time in the sunshine. The fact that I can say that with a smile is a miracle in itself.

i realize these photos don't at all match up, but i just thought this one was funny, and also hadn't been used.

Social: I am NOT dating anyone. Back in April I went through a break up so emotionally wrought that I actually flinch/shudder whenever I see the man I was dating. Sometimes things just hurt more than you can explain. Sorry, i’d be more poetic, but i’m trying to just be clear so the people who don’t see me that often can know what’s going on. My friendships are growing, though, and it seems just about every day I find myself thinking, “I have more amazing friends than i can count. How can one girl be so loved?” But i am kinda touch deprived (my own fault. After the break up, I got a little gun shy about being touched. Weird reaction, I know).

on the way home from TN during spring break. it's like spiritual. ;)

Spiritual: I’ve totally dropped the REAP plan but do still make time to read the Bible almost every day. I’ve even started reading a chapter of John every morning when I wake up to help me actually get out of bed (as opposed to twitter or google reader. My phone has all of those options). I’m journaling more again (I probably always journaled more than “average” but I’m actually getting back up to “normal” for me.

getting less and less related

Shackled: My felony accusation is still pending. Yes, you read that right. I was accused of a felony, and found out a year later (about 2 months ago) when someone stole from my wallet and then I got arrested. My bail cost more than I make in a year. Yes, you read that right as well. It was an odd night. Not my best, not my worst, and a funny story that I’ll type up someday. Anyway,I didn’t do what I was accused of and even have proof  (police and auto insurance records) to prove I didn’t, but I still have to have a lawyer present those things. I wish I could say I’ve proven faithful through it, but the truth is it’s wearing on me more than I realize. My stutter has presented twice in the past week. I’m learning a LOT through it, stuff that could go up in that spiritual section above, but i lack the right words to describe it now, so maybe I’ll tell you about it later.

i. love. my. bubs!! he does NOT love me taking his pic.

Sibling, etc: Family stuff is just as crazy as it normally is. People fighting, medical issues, surprise funsies, and facebook shenanigans. Par for the course on our insane, multi-cultural, never-boring course.

20 points if you can figure out what I'm doing here.

What else might you want to know? This fall I start working at The Austin Stone Counseling Center (a job with an hourly pay NOT involoving fundraising). So I’ll still be working for the church in the sense that I’ll be working at their Counseling Center. But it’s a more 9-5 m-f job. And I’ll still be in school full time. And I’ll move SOMEwhere at some point after the 1st of August, which is still exciting if for no other reason than I’ll be just shy of a year in the same place. The longest i’ve been anywhere since 2002. I’ve been working out more (meaning at all), and enjoy going to the gym 2-4 times a week to get in some quick time on the elliptical. Which is really a result of me taking self-care more seriously.

Questions? Questions? No?

Insomnia/Falling in the Toilet/I’m a Klingon

You see this face?

THIS face

THIS is the face of a girl who just fell in her dang toilet.

I’ve been talking lately about love. How the love songs I’m hearing and the engagment stories I get to be a part of and the weddings i go to and heck, even the friend’s-future-spouses I pray for just make my heart happy. But you know the point at which all this crap (and i totally say this with a smile on my face) gets old? The point at which your roommate’s fiance leaves the toilet seat up!

a girl's hiney oughta be SAFE in her own home!

I’M LOOKING AT YOU, CAPITÀN!

Oh, and you see this braid?

i like the natural poses

yeah, I finally learned how to do that little lauren conrad braid in a way that stays (i.e i’m not messing with my bangs all day). Except I scrunch up my forehead a lot. So I can’t tell if it’s totes adorbs…

alien look enhanced with hair down

or if I look like I’m half klingon.

he's so saucy.

oh my holy hottness, y'all. Try not to stumble.

so it’s equally likely i’ll wear one all the time or never again. Except for tomorrow. cause I don’t want to wash my hair.

anyway, i have to wake up for FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS of class in the morning, enbeedee. Just can’t sleep so it seemed like a good time for a photo shoot.

Spring Break w Daddy (Lucky #7 was true)

I know this is late, but I spent a little of Spring Break with Daddy.

I spent 24 hours driving to and back from Tennessee and 36 hours IN Tennessee. 8 of which I slept. What? Don’t hate. Here are some of the pics from my adventure.

great beard of zeus....er...i mean...daddy!

Daddy had a half sleeve before they were cool. because he kept having to cover things up. ;)

the lexington version of "gluten free" dinner

"her momma must be real pretty..." his friends all said,

"cause she don't get that from you"

as you can see, we frequented the most happenin' spots

my **charming** bedside decor

and yes, i did go with the full hope of spending a whole trip not going to the hospital with a relative.

and no, even thoght it was only 36 hours, this was NOT that trip. ;) i mean, I am grateful it was picking someone UP from the hospital rather than having to take them TO it.

Anyway. I love my daddy. And I think there are a lot of really fun things to do in Tennessee. But truth be told, I tucker out REALLY easily when left to my own devices with no company. It’s not that there aren’t adventures to be had, it’s just that I want adventures to be shared. And Daddy can’t get around very well, or for very long. Since the longest I’ve known the man to sleep in one sitting is two hours,  and that’s really a stretch, he tuckers out WITH too much company. So, I’m REALLY hoping the next time i go visit i can bring someone. I wouldn’t have guessed it, but having someone with actually helps me pay more attention to my family and stay there longer.

so, that’s what I meant by a travel buddy. not those silly neck pillow things. goodness, I don’t need neck support to DRIVE!

#9 true, with mixed review

a while back, an old friend was mean to mean.

very mean.

they meant to be mean and I’ve found that a person determined to be mean can do quite a bit of damage.

this person spewed venemous pain at me, then told me things other  people said about me (or claimed they did) that were also mean.

battle meanness with cuteness. and kitten butt.

The next day i woke up and fully expected to feel awful. That’s how things usually hit me. Emotional stuff, anyway. I make it through the day-of with relative calm and proper adjustment, but the next day I’m a mess. So day after the mean-fest, i was so surprised when I was

okay.

I wasn’t mourning. I wasn’t replaying words in my head. I wasn’t running from the Lord or in a puddle on the floor. When I looked in the mirror, I saw someone I wanted to be. And when I looked at old pics on my blog (I was trying to figure out where something was on an old post) and thought,

“Oh my gosh. she’s pretty. And she looks fun. I think i would want to be friends with that girl.” All about me. For a few moments, a few days, I had this over arching peace that I am who I am and that girl is a great girl to be. I saw myself (just a small fraction of) how God sees me. And it was

gooooooood.  fresh pot of coffee good. Just got a massage good. deep passionate kiss and nap in the sunshine good.

i was all like "i feel good about me!'

Now that was supposed to be the whole post, how God’s mighty hand was on me and is changing me and sanctifying me and making me less of a drama queen (except still dramatic in the fun ways, you know, like entertaining at parties) AND ALL OF THAT IS TRUE, but just this week it became not-the-end of the story.

Because this week I ended up on the phone with the meanie who then told me they’d been not telling the whole truth about the situation to (thankfully very few who even knew we aren’t friends anymore) ppl who asked. And that not-the-whole-truth was that we are not friends anymore because I am too demanding and they couldn’t keep up. Which is true, they claimed, since I “demanded” they not be mean to me. And they wouldn’t stop being mean.

hard to think too much of man's power when you see displays of God's

ANYWAY. This revelation that not only would a friend turned whatever, (not enemy but not friend anymore) would

a)be mean to me on purpose
b)think it’s not that big of a deal and
c) then tell others mean things abt me

just did it. I finally felt all the hurt, betrayal, and pain I think I would have the first time.

I mean, i’ve had friends be mean to me before. In quite similar situations. (We’re all jacked up, people. I’ve BEEN this meanie, too). But this time, there was a twist. Now I was also hurting over things they claimed others said.

just cause i was seriously in awe

It all came around to the other day, when I was feeling eaten-up inside and had to go talk to one of the accused, who by GOD’S GOOD GRACE just-so-happened to be around. (convo slightly edited for sanity and love)
“Uhm, can you help me?”
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“::awkward pause::  Someone told me something mean you said about me. I’m not sure it’s true, but it really hurt, and I don’t know any way to address the situation other than to just ask you. Are you mad at me or have I done anything that you’re upset about?”

Face was shocked and concerned.

“No. Not at all, not that I remember. I’m so sorry. I mean, sometimes I make jokes I probably shouldn’t.”
“Hey, so do I. But you’re not mad at me or anything?”
“No. Can you tell me what it is? I’d like to know so I can see if I remember.”
“Uhm….they said you said _______.”
“Oh Ritz. I did NOT mean that. This was said before, this was said after, it was just a couple of ppl sitting around and joking. And I am sorry I said it, and I’m SO sorry it got back to you and hurt you.”
“Well, I forgive you. I understand. It makes a LOT more sense in that situation and I would’ve said the same thing if I were you. Thanks for explaining.”
“Yeah, thanks for pulling me aside to talk to me.”

And after that, it was WAY easier to bounce back.

I don’t know why prayer, meditation, and bible weren’t enough to lift my spirit of the heaviness it had before, but I do know this: God wants the body to work in harmony. Not with some disjointed little piece secretly hurt by but not addressing another. So if it took discomfort for Him to get me to fix it, he’ll allow me the discomfort it takes to get me where I need to be in order to be who I need to be. My day was much more worshipful and I could concentrate much better on the Lord after all this.

these flowers were not for me. but i still loved them.

I know that sometimes, God may call us to simply let love cover a multitude of sins. Sometimes that’s the right way to heal. But sometimes it’s not. There are lots of options for how things can work out. I’m so glad I don’t have to figure it out, but can trust the Lord to make known to me the path of life. The )(sometimes) pull-a-person-aside, forgive-my-former-friends, move-on-and-worship-Jesus way.