Feelings of accomplishment through letting things go

I’ve made and followed up on several decisions today and I’m feeling rather powerful about it.

I decided to let go of Wake Up the Muse.  I started it ages ago thinking it would be a fun project to help me in my writing, while also encouraging others.  And it was fun for a while and I had a few other people join me in it.  But for the last while, probably almost a year, I haven’t tended to it like I feel like I ought to.  And not tending to it made me feel guilty.  Now, what’s the point of keeping something that I don’t feel like working on and feel guilty about whenever I think of it?  It’s not as useful as I thought it might be and it doesn’t have a significant following.  So I pulled the plug.  I put up a note saying that I’m stepping away from the project and I’m not going to worry about it any more.

Justin and I decided to hold off on chiropractic care for a while.  I emailed the office this morning and let them know that I wouldn’t be scheduling an appointment until we’d saved up the money that we would need to cover the care that they’re recommending.  We do plan to eventually go back and get things worked on, but not until we know we can afford to pay for it all and still take care of other expenses.

We also decided to go off this stupid wheat and dairy elimination diet.  While chatting last night I remembered the futility of the whole project (no matter the results, nothing is going to change) and the frustrations involved. After curling up in bed and talking about the foods that we really miss, I decided that I’d rather just not know and stop worrying about it and go back to life as normal.  It was interesting.  It was frustrating.  And I’m beyond ready to be done with the whole mess.  And eat chocolate.  Ice cream.  Cheese.  Bread.  Pasta.  Breaded chicken breast.  Birthday cake.  Pizza.

Of these three, the chiropractor is the only thing that I plan on going back to.  I’ve got other writing goals and projects and I think they’ll go further than the website.  Abandoning the elimination diet means I can get back to my normal diet and try to get back to logging my food and losing weight again, as soon as I kick this cold that leaves me too exhausted to exercise.

The chiropractor, though, seems like a really good idea.  My insurance will cover quite a lot of it, just not as much as we’d really need it to cover.  We’re looking at needing a good $1000 of our own money to cover the rest, at the very low end of the estimate.  And while the FSA will reimburse us for that amount, we didn’t stash away money with that expense in mind, so there’s not quite enough for that and all the other expected expenditures.  So, along with all our other savings and debt-reduction projects, I’m also going to start saving money away for us to take care of this.

Justin’s going to bring home pizza, milk, and Oreo cookies tonight, to celebrate the end of a stupid idea.  I’ve got several pages of writing sitting, waiting for review and edit.  And I’ll add a column on the budget spreadsheet to track chiropractic savings.

I’m wearing black, wide-legged pants that float a little when I walk, topped with a black turtleneck.  Over that, I’m wearing a lavender scarf/pashmina following one of the styles in Amy’s video reference.  I feel slender.  I feel stylish.  And I feel beautiful.

Also, my navel is looking really fantastic.  It was a little irritated this morning, but looks better now.  It’s already much better than it was just a couple days ago.  The piercing holes are not nearly as purple and it hasn’t been oozing at all.  And I’m pretty sure there’s no smell!  Now, if that’s not an improvement, I’m not sure what is.

TV makes me cry.

NCIS, the show that I love but only watch upstairs in the bedroom, which means I never actually save it on the DVR thing so am only able to watch it when I find it playing on real-time TV, is wonderful, but it makes me cry.  I’ve been watching it for a while and, because I only watch it when I find it, totally out of sequence and totally at random.  And I’ve seen two characters get killed.  And both times, even though I really haven’t spent a lot of time with these characters and haven’t seen their character developed in any sort of rational sequence and so really don’t know them very well at all, have made me absolutely cry like a little baby.  Quietly so I can watch the show, but with snot dripping down my face because, dang it!  They made Abby cry again!  And me!  And McGee is all sweet and Tony’s all angry and Gibbs is fierce and gonna avenge them.  And I just want to sit with Abby and her farting stuffed hippopotamus and cry!

This is how I know it’s a good show.

When Justin and I were working our way through Buffy, we hit the episode called “The Body” and if you’re at all familiar with the show you know why I’m bringing it up.  I bawled and bawled after that.  Like, sat on the couch shaking while Justin whispered comforting things in my ear bawled my eyes out.  And Whedon did that to me so many times–when Amber died, when Oz left, when Fred died, when Wash died in the movie, again and again and again.

Good TV.  But rough on me.

I have no idea where I’m headed with this.  Just that I got done with NCIS a few minutes ago and, after sniffing a few times, giving Justin a kiss and a hug, and poking at my computer a few minutes, I wanted to write about it.

It’s been an unpleasant couple of days.  We’ve been sick.  Not anything diagnosable or something we can medicate and just be done and over with, but this awful, lingering nastiness that just won’t shake.  Justin’s eye infection came back with a vengeance and he’s seen both our ophthalmologist and his internist about it.  They’re running more blood work to see what they can see, but until then, he’s putting in eye drops and wearing an eye patch when light gets too painful.  And taking Advil to deal with the headaches.  I’m eating cough drops and drinking tea trying to keep my voice and pull the cold out of my chest, so very tired most of the time.  I don’t want to talk about Valentine’s Day.

Still, things aren’t too bad.  Our insurance is fantastic.  One of the prescriptions we picked up on Saturday didn’t even have a copay.  We’re both still able to work.  Justin can even work from home, which is great.  My birthday is in a couple days and I’m completely avoiding the normal freak-out when I get all depressed and think that no one’s going to remember or care.  Yeah, I do that.  I’m pretty sure I mentioned it last year.

I took out my navel ring tonight.  I looked at it while in the ladies room at work earlier today and realized that it was bleeding.  Not from the piercing itself, which isn’t uncommon for me, but from a split in the skin behind the piercing.  It’s migrated forward leaving a funky little trail behind it and that trail had split and was bleeding.  It never really healed, though.  The piercing itself has always oozed and been, frankly, a little gross.  Kinda smelly.  I showed it to Justin and we agreed that it was probably best if I just took it out.  Let it heal up.  Get it done again later on if I want.

So I took it out.  Stiiiiiiinky!  Wow, I didn’t expect it to smell like that.  And then I soaked it little, peroxized it a little, put Neosporin on it.  It feels really weird.  I’ve had that little metal rod in my belly for how long now?  Just over three year I think.  Now it’s this hard little knot with little purple holes in my flabby, flabby belly.  Too much?  Sorry about that.  But I miss it a little!  It’s a good call, pulling it out and letting it heal up.  But it’s a little sad.  Gillian, Sara, and I all got those done and mine was the last one to come out.  I can’t remember if Sara got her’s done again or not.

Anyway.  I’m just in a weird mood, tired, not feeling great.  And it’s about 10:00 so I’m going to go take my vitamin and curl up in bed with my book for a while before falling asleep with the light on.  I’ll think of 5 Grace things in the morning.  And I’ll catch up with ya’ll again in the sunshine of tomorrow.

Good night!

Ugh. Enough with today already.

My emotions are sitting high to the surface today.  Not that they don’t usually.  People in my department can tell how I’m doing on a given day just by the way I walk through the hall.  I’m not especially good at keeping things down low.  I try.  And I’ve gotten better.  But let’s face it—I fail.

And I am cranky today.  What I really want to do is sit here and rant about all the things that are making me grumpy today.  I could go on and on.  Everything from this stupid wheat-free diet to Justin’s stupid doctor’s office making him call me instead of calling the insurance themselves to ask about the copay to my stupid navel bleeding *behind* the piercing but not *from* the piercing.  Believe me, you’re only hearing the tip of the irritation.  And my poor husband, who left his 10:15 doctor’s appointment in Savannah at 12:30 and who was still waiting at 3:30 to get his lab work finished at the clinic near home, keeps hearing me ranting and this awful tone while he’s exhausted and dealing with all that stupidness.  STOOOOOOOOOPID.

But you know what?  I’m not going to rant about my irritation.  I’m not going to list out all the things that are bothering me today.  Instead, I’m having another cup of coffee, just because I know I shouldn’t, with as much (wheat & dairy free) creamer and sugar as I like.  I’m sitting here enjoying my very sweet cup of coffee, enjoying the luxury of it, taking a moment away from my irritating work projects to write this to ya’ll.  I’m writing “ya’ll” because I like it and I don’t care if it makes me southern because, dang it all, I’ve lived in the south for more than 5 years now and I’m allowed that luxury.   I’m also allowed to put things “up” instead of “away” and I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense.

If I start saying “I might could do that,” though?  Smack me.

Where was I going?

I’m going to finish up a project that has nothing to do with my primary projects but is something that will help a coworker and is enjoyable.  I’m going to clean up a few things on my desk and get tidy.  I’m going to leave work promptly at 5:00 and go home.  I’m going to enjoy the thought that I’m taking a vacation day on Friday so I can sleep in on my birthday.  And I’m going to find, somewhere in this mess of a day, 5 things that I’m grateful for today.  Like coffee.  And pink soap.

And at the very end, I’m going to pull on comfortable pajamas, curl up in bed, and go to sleep, praying that tomorrow turns out better than today.  That I don’t wake up so tired to such a gloomy mood with so many stupid things to deal with.

My coffee cup’s empty.  Time to move on.

Becoming members of our church!

Sunday was a very exciting day for Justin and me.  Sunday we became members of Live Oak Christian Church.

When we moved to the area, we visited a handful of different churches trying to find one where we were both comfortable.  This is always a challenge, especially when one half of the couple grew up with a contemporary service and the other grew up traditional Lutheran.  There’s a pretty big gap in expectations when it comes to the service.  So it’s good when there’s at least one major requirement in mind for both halves of the couple—well-thought, intelligent Biblical teaching.

We visited a handful of churches near our new home and found ourselves returning again to Live Oak.  We were hesitant at first.  They meet in the high school.  The idea of this kind of weirded Justin out and I was worried about the stability of the church.  But we very much enjoyed the teaching and the people were very friendly.  It felt comfortable.  It felt like a place where we could stay.

We kept coming back to the church for a handful of months after that.  The pastor kept on giving good sermons.  The people stayed nice.  I started seeing ways that I could get involved.  We decided we’d go in January to the once-monthly Starting Point class to learn more about the specifics of the church.

There were five of us in the class, plus Pastor Michael made six.  And one of the first things he said was that Live Oak is a plant from a church in Savannah called Savannah Christian Church pastured by Cam Huxford.  The church where Justin and I had been attending before the move.  Suddenly everything made so much sense!  “No wonder it feels so comfortable!”

The rest of the class was a lot of fun.  We walked through the curriculum the pastor had prepared and asked as many questions as we liked.  The other people in the class were a lot of fun to chat with and the conversations were very interesting.  I knew when we got out to the car after the end of the class that I was perfectly happy to become a member of the church.  But I wasn’t sure about Justin.

Imagine my delight, then, when he turned to me in the car and told me that if I wanted him to, he’d become a member of this church with me.  “Even though you’d have to get rebaptized?” I asked.  The church insists on baptism by immersion and he had been baptized by sprinkling when he was 12.  “Even though,” he said.

I about hit the moon I was so excited!  I understand and accept that my faith is stronger than my husband’s, so it’s absolutely thrilling to hear him interested in getting involved in the church.  And something as serious as this?!  Just about knocks me over.

We talked about it a handful of times after that, about the implications and our thoughts about it and everything.  Finally the decision was set and we decided to talk with the pastor.  I made cookies the night before church, both because Justin and I wanted cookies, but also because at the end of the service the previous Sunday, there had been some discussions mentioned about the financial problems the church is facing.  It seemed like maybe the pastor could use some encouragement and cookies are so good at that.

Pastor Michael was surprised and happy to get the cookies.  And also happy to hear that we’d like to become members.  He said that we could do it the following Sunday at the same time as two other families who were coming forward to join.  We’d gone through the class, which was one of the requirements.  And after the service the next week, he was doing a baptism for one of the other families becoming members, so Justin could come at the same time for that.  We were surprised, having throught that we’d have much longer to wait, but also delighted to do it so soon.

The next Sunday, last Sunday, February 1st, 2009, at the end of the service, Pastor called us all down to the front of the church and introduced us to the congregation.  And that was it!  He asked us to stay up at the front so people could greet us, and we shook lots of hands as people walked out.  Lots of smiles, a couple hugs, lots of very happy welcoming.

After the service was the once-monthly Gathering where people bring food and sit around in the cafeteria chatting and munching on food.  Justin and I sat at a table and a handful of people came up and introduced themselves and sat to chat for a while.  I think I talked to more people that one morning that I have the entirety of the last six months.  So many friendly people to talk with!

We were some of the last people to leave since we were waiting for the pastor and all the rest of the staff who were coming to the baptism.  Since the church doesn’t have its own building, baptisms take place at all sorts of different places.  This time, the other family getting baptized lived in a housing community with a full athletic complex.  We followed the children’s pastor to the community and, wow.  It’s a beautiful place to live.  The homes are breathtaking and the lots are enormous and the property is wooded and beautiful.  It must be an expensive place to live.  The athletic complex has a huge pool outside and lots of weight-lifting machines and rooms for Pilates and aerobic classes.

And a spa.  Complete with a heated pool.  Not just a hot tub because those tend to be kind of small.  This thing was about five times the size of a hot tub.

We all crowded into the spa pool area, trying not to be too loud for the sake of the other people in the spa.  Pastor baptized the father of the other family, Mike.  Then his daughter and his son were both baptized by the children’s pastor and the youth pastor.  And then Justin went in and was baptized by Pastor Michael.  Poor Justin’s half-blind without his glasses and, lately, a light-sensitive eye infection in one eye that makes him keep that eye closed most of the time, so he couldn’t see me beaming at him and trying to take pictures.  The whole thing was very exciting to me.

We all stood around hugging and taking pictures for a little while until we couldn’t stand the heat in the room anymore.  The pastors and Justin went to change in the lockers in the fitness center, the other family ran home to change, and Mike, the father of the family living at the community, invited us all to stay for lunch at the restaurant next to the gym.  So about a dozen and a half of us went over and ate lunch together.

The food was really delicious and we got to get to know Mike and the youth pastor and his wife.  I think I could be friends with the youth pastor’s wife if it wasn’t that the church can’t afford to keep them on and they’re looking for a new church, probably in Indiana.

When we left, around 3:30 in the afternoon, Justin said that he’d never done that before.  I asked him what he meant.  He said he’d never been involved in a church group before.  He’d never been a member of a church before.  The whole thing was new to him.  I hadn’t really thought about it before, since the whole thing is so familiar to me.  I’ve always been involved in church groups and events like these.  And I’m so tickled to be able to share it with Justin now.

(Check the gallery for a few pictures of it all.)