Thursday, January 26, 2017

That one time I got a little political (and danced!)...

I didn't go to the women's march this last weekend.  I had a lot of friends that did (men, women, straight, gay, transgender, black, white, Jewish, Christian) and I have some friends that have expressed why they didn't and wouldn't want to go.  I heard people ask what it was really about in the first place, and I imagine with so many different people there, it meant different things for different people.  Still, I can respect that so many people let their voices be heard and did so peacefully, at least here in KC, and from what I could see from my marching friends in Denver and Washington.  Was everyone kind?  I know they weren't.  But remember all of those different people there? One person's story is not another's and one person's behavior doesn't always reflect a whole group.  This is true for everyone.  Those in favor of the march, those opposed, and those indifferent.

I'm a person that doesn't really subscribe to any one political belief.  I'm somewhere in the middle and can't figure out where or if I really want to belong to a certain category of politics.  I know that I care about people, and also care about freedom.  I think fiscal responsibility is a good thing, but I also think that what is fiscally responsible for individuals or families may not be what's best for a whole group of people, say an entire state or country.  I like peace, those that listen, and those that stand up for what they think is right.  I will not deny that my experiences living abroad have shaped my view on globalization and that I care what my friends and others abroad think and care about.  I don't believe compromise is a dirty word.  Because of what I do for a living, I care about health care, education, and support for those with special needs.  I believe in life and the quality of life: of infants, toddlers, children, teens, adults, mothers, fathers, the elderly, criminals, the sick, the lonely, the poor, the rich, the oppressed, natives, immigrants, the misunderstood, the weak, and the strong.  Everyone is someone worth fighting for (but sometimes I have to remind myself of that), and no one experience is exactly like another.  Just because something hasn't affected me personally doesn't mean it ceases to be a problem for those that it affects, and it doesn't mean that others shouldn't have a choice or a voice when it comes to what is best for them.  I care about facts and science very much, but I know that feelings can be a bigger driving force at times. Clear communication is important, and I care very much about how well systems/organizations work.  I'm conservative when it comes to my own personal choices but liberal when it comes to others.  I hope and pray that I can become more liberal in love, grace, and compassion while being disciplined, self-aware, and seeking wisdom and discernment.

As for what I did do this weekend: on Saturday we served the people of greater KC by participating in Faithwork through our church.  Micah and I packed boxes of needed household goods selected by families that are trying to get a new start in the community.  That afternoon, after going to a celebration lunch for some missions partners, I went to Walgreens to pick up my birth control prescription, which under my current insurance plan, is free.  I got to drive my car some, but also took public transportation.  I got to spend time in a house that we own.  I walked by myself freely all the way through downtown Kansas City, and didn't feel afraid, wasn't accosted, or questioned by anyone.  I have the internet and a computer I can type this on.  As far as I know, this post won't be censored.  I am privileged.  I have opportunities.  Not everyone has the same as I.  Some of these opportunities I worked for, but some of them were given to me through no work of my own.  Hashtag recognize.

On a lighter note, I'm having fun working on a song with my friend David, I have a coffee date with a friend planned for next week, and I have another song-writing friend lined up to work with in February.  Fun stuff :)  My friends David, Justin, and others (aka Smokey James and the Avalanche) also submitted a video/song for the NPR Tiny Desk Contest.  You can find that above or find my idea for a response video here (where the dancing comes in).  Please, please, please, consider making your own #thisismyavalanche dance response video.  I've gotten some likes and laughs on mine but it was meant to inspire others to dance to Love's Curse as well.  DO IT!  You'll be glad you did!

Another fun note?  This is my 100th blog post on this site.  It's taken years and a lot of time off to get there, but it's happened.  Happy 100th, blog.  And happy day to you, readers.  Get to dancin' (or commenting if you so choose!).

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

one, little, big, giant thing

I'm a Speech-Language Pathologist and I work with kids.  I get to hear some pretty hilarious stuff on a daily basis as a result.  Today, I got to hear about why a girl's sister didn't get proposed to on NYE because she "passed out when she got home" that night.  Huh.  Informative.  I also got to listen to a young girl explain a trip she just took, which included "one, little, big, giant thing" (her words).  As funny as that phrase was, and how accurately it describes that young person, I realized that it was a pretty good description of how I blow things out of proportion.

I first came to understand that I worry excessively about time when I first lived in Thailand.  I went from working full-time to not having a job, being single to being married, and living in the U.S. to living abroad.  I had a lot of newness in my life, but the not-working part may have been the hardest part looking back.  After a while I would find myself panicking mid-day that I didn't have the house all clean or the groceries bought and I was afraid I wasn't going to have it done by the time Micah got home from work.  I honestly spent hours worrying when I either could've just done the work already or at least calmed down and realized that I had plenty of time.  I was trying to live up to imaginary expectations that I had set for myself and I was convinced I wasn't going to live up to them.  To top it all off, I was fine.  Every day.  I had plenty of time.  Every day.  And I would forget that.  Every day.

Fast forward to now, and I still forget.  I may not always have the anxiety I did then, but sometimes that one, little thing becomes and big, giant thing and I panic that I can't get everything done I need to do.  It was days like today that I'm reminded yet again that I will have enough time for what needs to happen today.  And tomorrow, and the next day.  I was worried that I wouldn't have enough time to get my house cleaned and food cooked for a friend to come over tomorrow night.  So, I cooked/prepared some food this morning before I left for work in a hurry.  When I was busy worrying (and working) today though, a commitment I thought I'd have tonight got switched to Thursday.  This gave me a whole night of time.  Plus, I found out I get to leave work a half-hour earlier than typical tomorrow.  Already more time for tomorrow too.

Speaking of tomorrow, I'm getting my hair cut during my break at work, and I get to start trying my hand at co-writing some of those songs I set a goal for (with said friend coming for dinner).  I may be really bad at this, but I've got to start somewhere.  And who knows?  Maybe this song will turn into one, little, big, giant thing.

My flowers from last week have died, but my dreams have not.  Intentionally :)  Of course, I was really bad at caring for those flowers.  Irises suck up water quickly - I had no idea.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Bought Myself Flowers feat. Salt 'N' Pepa (feat. En Vogue)

The other morning I looked down to see how many steps I had on my Fitbit, and I had 711.  When 711 doesn't make me think of the numerous 7-Elevens in Bangkok, it makes me think of Salt 'N' Pepa (feat. En Vogue)'s tune Whatta Man.  I'll let you recall the bit about 7-Eleven from the song.


I'll wait.

Start singing...

 "like 7-Eleven and yes it's me that he's always choosin', with him I'm never losin' and he knows that my name is not Susan."  That song.  You remember it.  No one's ever mistaken my name for Susan, though.  SHAYlin, Shuh-LINN, Shaylene, Shannon, and of course Shao-lin, but not Susan.  It's one thing not to know or remember how to pronounce my name, but Shannon?  I didn't just add extra sounds and letters into my name for fun.  Shannon's a perfectly fine name, but that's not what I said. Good times.

Anyhow, I mention that because I enjoyed brushing my teeth to that song that morning. Intentionally. I've done a bit better about this intentional thing since my last post, but of course it probably helps that there's been less laundry and road trips since then.  In an effort to try and do something new every day, it's been more about intentionally making every day different.  That's involved (among several other things), trying to plan out my continuing education for the year, creating a new Facebook group (for another work goal I have this year), getting new tires for my car (it appears as if this will be a snowy winter), and today?  buying myself flowers at Trader Joe's.  They make me smile.

One of the coolest things that's happened though is that I prayed for a person who I've been too critical about.  On the same day I prayed, I had several positive interactions with that person and my outlook softened.  Tangible answers.  Pretty cool.

Next week I get to start trying to write music with a friend, I've reiterated my book reading goal to a few other people (which means it's going to happen, right?), and I've gotten to give a coffee-loving friend a Starbucks gift card.  I've also just gotten things done.  A big part of that is my effort to not be on my phone once I've laid down in bed, and not to check my phone at all until after being awake for 30 minutes (and out of bed).  When I'm not preoccupied with emails and Facebook posts that can wait, I get the dishes done.  I floss my teeth.  I make Micah lunch for the day.  I stop worrying and mentally complaining about things as much.  I realize the world still goes on without me immediately knowing what happened during our nighttime hours.  Try it.  I recommend it.

How are you living with purpose/intention?  How can I encourage you?  Do I need to buy you flowers?  What is your favorite Salt 'N' Pepa or En Vogue song?  Who would you "feat." if you were in a band?  Did you notice my "feat." within a "feat." title?  All important questions.  Well, all questions.  You can answer them in a comment :)

Monday, January 02, 2017

Trying this ol' thing again

I used to blog a fair amount, say 10 years ago.  I even had another blog about my adventures in Thailand for a brief minute.  I look back and laugh at it now.  Mostly because I used to be funny.  You can read all of it in my archives there, and here.  It will probably scare those of you that didn't know me when.  This being said, I've at least for now decided to start it up again.  This time, with a purpose.  I'm sure I'll still be hilarious though, right?

A friend asked me a few days ago how she could support me and/or pray for me this year, and after thinking about it, I decided she could support me by asking me how I'm doing at being intentional.  I want to be intentional about doing new things, embracing change, loving people, serving people, creating, and trying to follow Jesus.  Lofty goals, and 2 days into 2017, I'm already failing.  #needsomegrace  I'll explain my shortcomings, but I also thought I'd share my sub-goals for this year.  Not resolutions, but some things I'd like to do under the umbrella of being intentional.

1. Read at least 3 books that I already own/have but have never read.  What kind of person owns books they've never read?  Me.
2. Co-write some songs.  Everything I've written in the last few years has been solo.  I'm grateful that I've built up a body of work, but I want to learn how to write with different voices.  Who wants to join me?!
3. Try or do something new every day.
4. Listen to and if possible, begin audio recording people's stories.  All kinds.
5. Have lunch/tea with someone fun at least once a month.
6.  Give something to someone(s) at least once a week.  Tangible items, time, service, money, whatever.
7.  Pray for others more than myself.

Ways I've succeeded in this?  Yesterday (Jan. 1st), I drank my first cup of Fruity Black Tea with Bergamot Oil from Kim.  It was really good and I look forward to having many more cups!  Today (Jan. 2nd), I wore my new LulaRoe leggings for the first time, listened to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours album while I worked out (the combination was new), ate some of a cheeseball my coworker Kara made, and I wrote this post.

Ways I've failed already?  Yesterday, Micah decided we'd drive home from OKC via Tulsa and up through Missouri (instead of through Kansas).  I should've embraced it as something "new."  I, however, had a bad attitude when driving through Joplin, Missouri and it took me a while to get out of my funk (Micah can attest to this).  Today?  Micah did some loads of laundry while I was at work.  Instead of being grateful, I got critical about some technicalities when everything was perfectly fine.  Not so intentionally loving, eh?  Being married is like holding up a mirror, y'all.

This is going to be an interesting year!  Join me!  What do you want to be intentional about?