Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The power of touch

I was in MN for a week earlier this month and it was a spectacular week.  I got to reconnect with my girls in a way that just being on the phone can't accomplish.  Since then I have been thinking a lot about the power of human touch.  Being in MN and able to hug and cuddle the people who I miss so much when we are apart reminded me of just how important physical touch actually is. 

Jodi's baby Wally was born the end of August.  I got to spend hours with him cuddled on my chest.  That time holding him made me fall in love with him.  It's funny too because it isn't like there is any personality connection with him being so tiny and young.  It literally was simply the skin on skin contact that made the connection.

Maybe it's because of the five love languages (If you haven't read Gary Chapman's book please do) touch is one of my most strongly felt, but when I don't have the physical contact with people who I love I feel empty.  My tank got very filled during my week in MN.

It's been felt in my new relationship as well.  Our schedules have been a bit difficult to match up at times recently.  It's been better since my return from MN but time in the same space was at a premium for a while there and looming separation was always around the corner.  It's been good in some ways - we definitely know how to communicate with each other at this point and that can be tricky in some relationships - but when that sharing of space and the creation of memories that goes with that is missing I get antsy.  The effort that RG has made to get together even for a brief moment recently has not been missed by me.

Heading into basketball season again I think about the positive influence touch can have on the kiddos on my team.  I guarantee the power of a high five or a pat on the back is not missed by the kids I'm coaching even if they aren't to a place in their maturity to recognize the impact.  You never know what a kid's home life is like.  Are mom and/or dad hugging them or giving them positive touch?  Is there a possibility of abusive touch?  Do siblings roughhouse together creating a touch that actually can be positive as well?  What can I do through touch (and time, attention, etc) to give a child a positive experience while they are in my charge?

I guess I see the power of touch almost as much when I think about the purposeful lack of touch.  That choice can be as devastating as the extension of touch can be positive.  I know when I am upset about something I will feel myself choose to physically withdraw.  It's a statement that I can make and has an impact on me just by doing so even if it doesn't have an impact on the person to whom I'm trying to make the statement. 

The song Magic by Colbie Caillat came on the radio yesterday and I realized that this song is all about touch.  The first line is "You've got magic inside your fingertips.  It's leaking out all over my skin." Uh duh.  I'm not sure why I didn't connect to the song sooner.  I've only listened to her album about a million times.  Sometimes though a song has to hit you at the right moment in the right situation to have the impact it's meant to have.  I have listened to it with new ears about 10 times since yesterday.  It's been a while since I've put any music on here so I thought I'd share it with you today.  The video isn't anything but I really love this version of the song.  I hope you enjoy it.

PS - watch out Seattle friends: I'm coming your way and I'm looking for some good hugs! :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ursa

Back in July I was asked to audition for a band called Ursa.  It is a group made up of two guitar players, a bass player, drummer, (now) two female vocalists and (brand new as of this week) a keyboard player.  Sarah used to tell me I missed my calling and should have been a rock star.  I decided this might be a chance to become that in a very small way.  So I auditioned and was asked to join the band.  So far we have had three gigs since I came on board.  They are slowly starting to trust me to lead some songs so at our next gig in December my vocals should be more highlighted.  It's an interesting group of people who have some real talent and I enjoy rehearsing with them every week.  They keep me humble but also give sufficient compliments and comedic relief to make it fun.  It can be hard, work especially just being confident that I have enough talent to be on the stage entertaining people with covers of very famous and popular classic rock tunes, but I wouldn't give it up for anything at this point.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Living relaxed in God's grace

I am not perfect.  I know this comes as a shock to so many of you (haha) but let me tell you - my "perfection-meter" is well below the halfway point.  I try.  I try really hard.  I'm careful to treat people with respect and kindness whenever I can but even being careful I fail.  I attempt to make moral decisions and I fail.  I attempt to do what I know God expects of me but sometimes that darn sin sneaks in.  I lust, I stretch the truth, I covet, I act with disrespect, I use unwholesome talk - the list is long.  The great thing though is that I firmly believe perfection isn't the goal but rather the striving for perfection is the goal.  We are going to screw it all up on occasion even when we try our hardest not to.  That's where grace comes into our lives.

My devotional today hit this square on.  I don't want to get to a point where I am too reliant on grace.  We can't forget we are called to live like Christ and to be making steps to that ultimate goal but I know I haven't been perfected yet.  I'm still very much a work in progress.

"As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. He knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:13-14 GN)


God understands you completely. He's fully aware of your humanity. He knows your faults, fears, failures, and frustrations. He doesn't expect you to be Superman or Superwoman.

If you’re a parent, do you love your children at every stage of their development, or are you waiting until they're mature to love them?

The point is, God loves you at every stage of your development, so you don't have to have unresolved guilt and unrealistic expectations. Listen:

There is nothing you will ever do that will make God love you more than he does right now.

There is nothing you will ever do that will make God love you less than he does right now.

God’s love is unconditional. It's not based on what you do or don't do.

I like to think of it like this: I have three kids. All of them had to learn to walk, and all three of them went through the same process: They'd take a step; they'd stumble. They’d get up, take two steps, then stumble. They’d get up and take a couple steps and fall again.

As their father, what was my reaction? Did I scold them? "What are you doing stumbling? You're a Warren. Warrens don't stumble! You can do better than that." Of course not! How silly! But a lot of us think that's how God treats us. We think that every time we stumble, God says, “Get up! What are you doing, you dummy?”

The Bible teaches us that, “There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 TEV). What does that mean? Let's say I take a card and write every single thing I've ever done wrong on it — all my sins, faults, mistakes, all the skeletons in my closet, all the shameful acts and thoughts and memories and temptations. Then I put the card in a book and close it. You can’t see the card anymore; you can only see the book. That’s the way God sees us when Jesus is in our lives. He no longer sees our sin; he sees Jesus at work in our lives.

When you come to Christ and say, “God, here’s my life. Everything I’ve ever done wrong, every time I've ever made a mistake, all those stupid things I've done. I want to put my life in Jesus Christ,” Jesus wraps you with his love. God looks at Jesus and sees that Jesus is perfect; he doesn't see your sin. That's what it means to relax in God's grace.
The most comforting news I have heard today is right there at the end: "Jesus wraps you with his love.  God looks at Jesus and sees that Jesus is perfect; he doesn't see your sin.  That's what it means to relax in God's grace." How wonderful to be wrapped in the love of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Adventures in dating

I'm 34 years old. I shouldn't have to write a post about the annoyances of the dating world. I know I'm not alone in that but boy, what a pain. I hate dating. Every first date feels a bit like an interview (even the good ones) and then the follow up of - "Do we get together again?" "Did I say anything stupid (actually in my case that's usually how MUCH did I say that was stupid)?" "Am I even interested in seeing him again?" And of course the dreaded "he wants to see me again and I have no desire so how do I break it to him?" It's enough to make you want to just hide under a rock.


I think you are supposed to date in your 20s when your energy is higher and your schedule is a bit lighter and more malleable. I've been asked if I can set things up spontaneously. HA! I can be spontaneous two weeks from now when I actually have some time on my calendar, but there is a potential that might fill up so it really will be three weeks from now and perhaps the same will happen again. I wish I was the type of person who could go to dinner tonight because the spirit moved me but I'm not. I've been single to long to leave my schedule to chance. That's a quick road to loneliness.

I recently was reluctantly (actually not a strong enough word) talked into going on match.com. Ick. It's almost embarrassing to admit it. As Pete has said, it feels so inorganic to use online dating. If I hadn't been talked into it by some of my lovely neighbors, who were tired of hearing the frustrations I felt over the only person I saw as a possible match and who didn't even live in my time zone, there is no way on my own I would have taken the plunge, but take the plunge I have.

It's been rough meeting people in Spokane who are eligible bachelors. I have a lot of friends who I care for a ton but no one who has turned my head romantically in town for a long time. So I dutifully started looking at Match on occasion. People started emailing me and I made a commitment to respond and to also reach out when I saw someone who seemed to be interesting. I have met guys who wanted to know how I felt about the fact they have a large pot growing operation (but it's medicinal for his mom and he is legally allowed to do it....), been contacted by many who seem to not have read my profile well enough to know that "atheist" is probably not a religious position that is going to work for me, gone on dates with men who were so nice and funny and fun to be with but who also I wasn't attracted to and I've also gone out with men who I wanted to see the next day.

To my greatest surprise I guess you could cautiously say I'm currently "dating" someone who I met on Match. RG was actually my first Match date. I didn't want to go. I had woken up in the morning and not given a second thought to the date and what I was wearing. It was a midday date on a weekday and I had just been yelled at for about 15 minutes by an angry client. From his picture I didn't think I would be attracted to him at all. I walked over to where we were meeting distracted and annoyed that I was taking the time out of my day that would end up just being a waste of time. I had to wait for him a few minutes to get to the coffee shop so I was checking my email and texting Erin when a couple people walked in. I looked at them, a guy and a girl, and checked them off as neither of them being RG (one for being a woman and one for not looking like the guy on Match) but then it turned out the man actually WAS him. My first thought was "Oh crap. He's hot."

I took a deep breath and plunged in. I figured he'd be a creep. He wasn't. I figured he be lazy. He wasn't. I figured his faith would be weak. It wasn't.

I figured we would have nothing in common. We have plenty in common, but not too much. I figured he'd have baggage. He does. I figured we would disagree on major philosophies. We do to some extent but not in a bad way.

He fell out of his chair during that first date as he tried to adjust a sock or something. My heart melted a lot when that happened. If he does that stuff then I don't have to worry about it when I do - because I do. A lot.

I walked out of the date and immediately texted Erin - "ok. he was really nice." I wanted to see him again but I also knew I was going to let him be the one to pursue. I didn't have enough of an investment to put myself out there. He said he wanted to see me again but "knowing guys" that was just a phrase you say. Three days later he reached out again. Of course, three days later. Just when I was getting to my annoyed "stupid three day rule" stage. I hate the three day rule. It's pointless. I don't know that he was necessarily going by that but it sure felt like it. So we talked about going hiking or something active and outside to take advantage of the end of the summer but nothing set in stone and then I heard nothing.

Crickets.

For over a week.

In the meantime I went out with a few people but no one who I really wanted to see again. I wrote RG off. It was frustrating but again, I had no skin in the game at that point so I knew I had to just let it go. But then, of course, he called. I say of course because I already spoiled the punch line by letting you know we were still dating. It would be really annoying if I was telling you all of this detail and it wasn't RG I was still seeing.

What sort of blogger do you think I am!? Playing with your emotions like that. Sheesh.

Anyway, so we had a nice visit on the phone and went out for dinner a couple days later. And it was a nice dinner and a walk through Manitou Park after. And I wanted to see him again the next day. We joked about playing hooky but please see above about my ability to be spontaneous.

Since then I've communicated with him most days. We are going out again tonight. It's still extremely new and we have some stuff to figure out obviously. The kids, while not a deal breaker for me, create a tougher situation with time and my feelings of "priority" and I'm sure there are other things that will come up as we begin to get to know each other at a deeper level. It's the reason why I say "you could CAUTIOUSLY say I'm dating someone." My birthday is coming up in about a month and I have HORRIBLE luck with dating relationships around my birthday. It's a bit of a jinx.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to find things fall apart completely in the next month.

But then again, maybe they won't.  Maybe online dating won't be so pointless afterall.