Love Actually

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All during the month of February, I’ve focused on the word “love.”  It is the month of Valentine’s Day after all.  I’ve posted quotes on Facebook and Instagram all about showing the love.  I’ve focused my efforts on giving love, whether in service to others or learning to love myself a little better.  I’ve really tried to see the face of God in every person I’ve met or crossed paths with in one way or another.  I’ve even tried to love Donald Trump.  Ok…  So, I’m totally lying about that one.  Sorry.  I’m only human.  I’ve tried to smile more, engage strangers, look for ways to offer kindness and service, live out my faith in my day to day life.

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Well…I was doing really good till the last two days of February.  On February 27th, it all went to hell.  Where you will probably find me…  with my grocery cart of anger and bitterness.  There are two places where I’ve found myself to be at my most vulnerable to react negatively – the grocery store and behind the wheel of my car.  If I’m going to present the worst version of myself, it usually happens in one of those scenarios.  Patience, love, kindness and sanity – all completely thrown out the window when I either enter the swish swish doors of my local grocer or when I slip behind the wheel of my car. I don’t know what happens to me.  It’s almost an out of body experience, I see myself behaving badly but appear powerless to stop it.

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It was a Monday, which should have been my first clue not to leave the house, but did I listen? Nope.  I dropped my husband off at the train station, and decided to stop by the store on the way home to just grab a few things, less than 5, it would take no time at all.  I’d zip in, then zip out.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Right?  Wrong.  First, I talked myself into popping into the easiest grocery store from a navigation/proximity perspective.  After all, I only needed like maybe 5 things, 6 tops.  This is my least favorite location of this particular chain.  It smells funny.  I dislike the layout and parking is always bad.  I knew better than to stop here.  I should have gone just a teensy bit out of my way and perhaps none of this would have happened and I could have closed the month of February feeling as if I’d at least adequately mimicked a good person, full of love, generosity of spirit and a heart bursting with kindness and compassion.

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Might seem a tad dramatic, but you understand my point.  So, I grab my few items and walk immediately to the “speedy checkout” line.  There are two people ahead of me.  The lady checking out is an employee buying some gummy bears and the girl in front of me, has maybe 22 items (even though the sign says 20 or less…but that’s okay, I’m choosing to let it go, if only I’d kept up that mantra).  As it turns out, the employee is buying 2 things of candy, apparently paying for them separately.  She is talking animatedly with the cashier, like they have all the time in the world.  I can feel the tiny pinpricks of annoyance.  I force myself to smile (which was probably more of a grimace really).  Her second transaction gets messed up.  Sigh.  More laughing and talking.  I’m thinking she eats that package of gummy bears faster than she paid for them.  My mood is deteriorating at lightning speed.  I can feel myself deconstructing, my good intentions paving that road to hell.  A road that will be paved before she finishes paying for these damn gummy bears.  At this point, my mask of tolerance has slipped and probably something like this has been left in its place…

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Naturally, she chooses this moment to turn around and look behind her (yeah color me speechless, you aren’t the only one in this line!)  She grabs another candy bar (which I ungraciously think she doesn’t really need…) and includes it with the gummy purchase.  Finally!  She is done.  She turns around and hands the candy bar to the girl in front of me (who has been on her cell phone the whole time probably tweeting complaints about the amount of time this lady is taking btw) and thanks her for being patient, then shoots me a dirty look.  I feel a tiny bit of remorse for my impatience.  Ok, not really.  The slight just makes me more agitated and annoyed.

The girl ahead of me is super speedy (God bless her).  Then it’s finally my turn.  Hours later.  I unload all my items, grab my purse and step toward the cashier when he does the thing that completely sends me over the edge.  He actually beckons to the guy behind me and says, “hey since you only have one thing, I’ll check you out real quick.”

OH NO HE DIDN’T.

THIS IS SO NOT HAPPENING.

I mean, yes, he only had one thing but I was next in line and I had been waiting longer.  He just got there!  Sure, there have been times, when I’m not in a hurry, that I’ve let people with fewer items step ahead of me, but that’s been MY choice.  I can’t even find words.  I’m just standing there with my mouth hanging open.  Incredulous.  When my brain catches up to the scene playing out in front of me, my face turns from shocked bewilderment to something that I’m pretty sure looks like this –

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He ignores my death stare and sharp breaths that would rival Darth Vader’s.  I know my face is bright red, I can actually feel the rage.  I’m so pissed off.  The only thing that saved him and me was the fact I was too angry to even speak.  I just stared him down.  I didn’t even acknowledge the guy buying his yellow stupid ball; although, in hindsight, why would he accept!  I would have at least made sure it was okay with the person waiting in front of me that I was cutting off!  I can feel myself getting mad all over again, just reliving it here. This is why I would never carry a gun.  I know my limitations.  Yes, I was that angry.  I was in a hurry to get home.  It had been a long day, and I only needed 6 THINGS!  SIX!  I jerked my items off the turnstile and threw them in my cart, finding every possible passive aggressive form of anger I could use against this seemingly unaffected cashier.  To his credit, my anger and eye shooting daggers didn’t seem to phase him in the least.  When nonverbal communication doesn’t work to affectively notify the object of my ire that I’m angry, I result to muttering under my breath.  Which I began to do now.  I think he just thought I was crazy.  Yeah yeah…don’t say it.  I know.

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The next morning, against my better judgment, I go to the same store, different location.  I needed binders and school supplies and it was too early for Staples and Target was too far.  There were no checkout lines open, so I had to use the self-checkout option.  Not a big deal.  I’m pro.  As I scan each item and drop into a bag, I get an error message.

“Unexpected item in the bagging area.”

This happened after each item.

EACH.

ITEM.

I had 6 binders, tab dividers, coffee, orange juice and apple juice, a journal and a spiral.

By the 3rd item, I could feel it happening again.  I get to the 4th binder and it won’t ring up.  It says the barcode is invalid.  At this point, the cashier is practically standing on top of me because she keeps having to enter her code after I scan each item.  She attempts to scan it, even though she just watched me do it, and same error message.  She attempts to manually type in the code.  THREE TIMES.  Same error message.

Then.

She walks away.  WITH MY BINDER.  Saying nothing.

I’m all like…um excuse me?  I need that?

She responds, “the code is wrong.”

Ummm.  Yeah.  I got that part.  But I say, “well, I have another one, the same size…?”

She responds, “different brand.”

Are you freaking kidding me?  They are like 50 cents.  Ok so there are literally 5 employees just standing around talking, maybe she was going to ask one of them to go pick up another binder for me?

Nope.

She walked over (with my binder under her arm) and helped another customer.  Shaking my head, I rang up the rest of my purchases.  Getting an error message each time about the unexpected bagging.  At this point, my jaw is clenched, my hands fisted.  It’s taking everything I have not to erupt.  She clears my errors from her main terminal, not walking back towards me.  So she’s not completely clueless.  After I ring everything up, but the binder in question, I look over at her again.

She’s still holding my binder.

I say, “Umm… I didn’t put that into my cart for looks, I kinda need it?  Can you send someone to get another one, or can I leave my stuff here?”

Her response.

“It won’t scan.”

OMG

I’m done.  I’m need to get out of here. Screw the binder.  I will make one out of lasagna noodles and string!

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The month wasn’t a complete bust.  As a family, we spent one early Sunday morning in service to the homeless population in our downtown area with an organization that faithfully serves this marginalized portion of our society, feeding them physically, spiritually and emotionally.  It’s one of our favorite missions, and a time to truly live outside yourself and your own unique set of circumstances and learn the value of loving and helping others and the true definition of grace.  It’s a reminder to those who serve how much you have to be thankful for in your life.  A humbling experience that reminds each of us how precarious life can be and by the grace of God how much we are loved.

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In reflecting on my behavior in those two incidents, I am reminded of the hours spent in service to others that cold Sunday morning.  I’m brought low by my negativity, my poor behavior, my impatience with others, my anger and my selfishness.  I spent that last day of February in quiet reflection and prayer.  Thankful, that God’s grace has been bestowed upon me.  Reminded that although I will always be perfectly imperfect, made in His image, I’ve been afforded His grace, love and forgiveness, unconditionally and forever and that it is always within my power to extend that same love, forgiveness and grace to others, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.  It’s probably a lesson I will have to learn anew each day as I live out my faith as a flawed and fragile human being.

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I woke up on this new day, March 1st, with the promise of spring in the air, feeling renewed and refreshed.  During this season of Lent, I wanted to give up something meaningful, something possibly life-changing.  Not chocolate or social media or carbs.  I wanted to do something really hard, something that would require daily (heck even hourly) purposeful intention.

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I’m giving up…

IMPATIENCE

True story.  I might have to take up drinking.

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If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice and I really need to work on this. It’s probably my worst vice and leads to many others.  Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it.

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I’ll leave you with this Irish Blessing ❤

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Disaster, Thy Name Is Me

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Did you ever put your foot in your mouth and then instead of pulling it out, put it in deeper? Were you able to ‘fix’ it or was the situation a complete disaster?

It was submitted by: http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

I know everyone who actually knows me and just read my secret subject got a very good laugh.  I know I chuckled.  I mean, if putting your foot in your mouth was an Olympic sport, I’d be gold medaling all over the place.  I’m the Simone Biles of awkward foot eating.

Where to even begin.

For those of you who don’t know me well or personally, I’ll start with an introduction of sorts.  I am actually extremely shy and introverted.  My spirit animal is probably a hermit crab.  If I didn’t have to interact, I probably wouldn’t.  I’m better over social media than in person as a general rule.  I always feel awkward.  I suffer from chronic verbal diarrhea.  It’s horrible.  I’m worse around other women and specifically mom’s.  I feel more comfortable with men, but usually am still super awkward or say super inappropriate things.  I really shouldn’t be allowed out of the house, which would be fine by me honestly.

I revert to self-deprecation and humor in hopes of covering up my extreme social awkwardness and foot gorging behavior, but sometimes that really just makes everything worse.  My poor husband…  I feel like he follows me around with a pooper scooper, just shoveling and cleaning up the social disaster that is his wife.  I think if he could muzzle me at times he would, and I wouldn’t blame him one bit.  I mean, I tease and say he finds these qualities of mine, endearing or even lovable, but I’m mostly trying to convince myself.  I’ve always felt I was the counter balance to his more taciturn and serious demeanor.  I’m the Lucy to his Ricky. The Jerry (Seinfeld) to his George.  The Pooh to his Piglet. The Jerry (Lewis) to his Dean.  Okay…maybe not.  But you understand what I’m trying to convey.  Hopefully.

As I mentioned, I feel the most awkward when talking to other women, especially other mother’s.  I don’t know why, probably insecurity.  I feel that if they spend too long talking to me they will see what a fraud I am and how I totally don’t have this motherhood thing down and I’m completely faking it 99% of the time.  I feel as a general rule that everyone is doing the whole parenting thing way better than me, and being complimented on my parenting makes me extremely uncomfortable and I often resort to making embarrassing comments or inappropriate jokes.  I can’t really think of specific examples, I feel as if in parts my entire life is a series of blooper reels on repeat and in slow motion being regurgitated for the entire world to mock.  I know it seems ridiculous, I have great kids, why shouldn’t I get some of the credit, but honestly I really think they are awesome in spite of my parenting skills or lack thereof.

My biggest problem, the way I see it, is that I perpetually feel like a 14 year old girl on the inside.  That mechanism people have that stops them from saying certain things in front of certain people, yeah I think mine is defective or broken.  I say a little prayer or mantra if you will before going anywhere that usually goes something like this:

Please don’t let me say anything stupid today.  Don’t let me forget to make eye contact and smile.  Not a crazy I’m probably going to boil a pet bunny on your stove later kinda smile, just a normal, nice how are you smile.  Don’t bring up sex, poop or private body parts.  Instead of thinking ahead of a witty comeback, actually listen to the person speaking to you, like really listen.  Do: If someone attempts a hug, just hug them back and be grateful they want to love on you. Don’t: If someone attempts a hug, launch into a 5 minute diatribe on how uncomfortable and awkward hugging makes you feel ending in a rather maniacal laugh and claiming you have to run to the loo (I never say loo except in my head because it sounds more sophisticated) because you haven’t pooped in 3 days. Just BE normal.  Be kind.  Be nice.  Again, because it needs repeating, BE NORMAL.  Breathe.  Don’t forget to breathe. You got this girl!

For example, over Thanksgiving, I met my husband at work for the staff luncheon.  He works in a church.  At the beginning, we get in this huge line, and everyone holds hands, to pray before we feast.  I’m not a big fan of touching, unless it’s my husband or kids, so I was pretty proud of the fact that I picked the end of the line and only had to hold my husband’s hand, avoiding any potential awkwardness.  At some point, I realize everyone is looking at me and then pointedly looking over to the left of me.  I’m confused.  I offer up a blank stare, then I look to my left and realize, our line is supposed to be a circle.  The other end of this line that I have to bridge to make the circle is our Senior Pastor, essentially, my husband’s boss.  I thought I only groaned and said “oh no” in my head, but no… I voiced this objection with my out loud speaking voice.  Everyone chuckled,  out of awkwardness I’m sure, and I seriously wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole.  It’s not that I didn’t want to hold his hand, I’m just not a fan of hand holding in general.  What if my palms were sweaty, or unusually dry and had I even washed my hands, had he?  I’m pretty sure I licked my finger like 2 seconds ago, will he notice? I picked my ear earlier, I mean personally preferable over a nose pick but still…and not with the same ear picking finger.  I don’t think.  I’m pretty sure it was a different finger.  I think my hands are sweaty now.  Did I really just say no?  Why do I leave the house? WHY? He probably doesn’t even remember this incident, but it’s haunted my mortifying nightmares for weeks.  If I haven’t felt stupid in a day, it’s probably only because I haven’t left the house and talked to anyone.

The other thing I do when I’m nervous or talking to people I don’t know that well, or even people I do know well is that I ramble…or babble incoherently, however you want to phrase it.  This is especially true with someone that I really want to like me or someone I want to impress.  You should hear me in job interviews…oh the horror.  I get nervous and worry about not sounding intelligent or witty so I just open my mouth and holy highway of verbal vomit someone please stop me I can’t help myself make it stop punch me in the face right now please.  I probably need to be medicated.  For reals.  You are now probably thinking, omg she’s NOT medicated?!?!?  Nope.  I’m not.  I’m free-ballin’ this crazy thing called life 😀

I’ve always used humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanism.  It’s hard for me to relax in social situations so I’m pretty much guaranteed to use my foot as an all day sucker.  I have to work really hard to appear more extraverted than I actually am.  It’s just the way I’m wired.  My hope is that people will in general find me endearing and humorous and spend the majority of the time laughing with me and not at me.  I hope they understand my heart is usually in the right place and I never intentionally mean to offend.  It’s much easier for me to share and be open in the social media arena than it is in one on one situations.  I’ll post pics of my weight loss journey all over Facebook and Instagram, but when I see someone who liked or commented on my photo, my inner 14 year old girl is screaming “OMG THEY SAW ME IN A SPORTS BRA AND YOGA PANTS WITH MY BACK FAT HANGING OVER AND MY BOOBS SWINGING LOW AND SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT!!!!”  RUN!  HIDE!  DO NOT ENGAGE!  WARNING!

I’m not sure I did a great job of answering my secret subject this week, but I’ll wrap up by saying, I’m basically a walking social disaster, but I hope you’ll love me anyway ❤

And pray for my husband.

Especially that.  I’m exhausting.

Have a wonderful and blessed Friday!

xoxo

Baking In A Tornado                    http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy        http://dinoheromommy.com/

Spatulas on Parade                     http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver      http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                  http://thelieberfamily.com

Confessions of a part time working mom    http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Never Ever Give Up Hope                 http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Climaxed                                     http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace                     http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                     http://www.southernbellecharm.com