Tuesday, January 12, 2010

good ol' days r gone ....

so remember i said a couple of days ago that my facebook fan page had disappeared along with all my facebook notes? well they never reappeared and so i had to reconstruct the fan page. which is fine.... but in the process i decided to reactivate my twitter account and then link the two and basically, i have decided that technology is just way too frustrating.

many years ago when i had a sewing business i was a beta tester for my local internet provider for websites. they wanted ordinary joes (or janes) like me to build their own websites. so i did. and it was quite nice and successful but it never had a shopping cart or a place to enter credit card info. however, it didn't need it because ppl could just email me from the clickable email link and lmk what they wanted and then send me their info. i'm sure it was frustrating to them -- maybe not so much -- idk. i could never do another website from scratch like that. i had an HTML Bible that i used to help me write the correct code for doing things like links, etc. and i've retained a bit of that and still own the book, so occasionally i can go back to research something i need to do on the blog. i really haven't used it much because the technology of places like facebook, twitter, and blogspot really doesn't require a whole lot of it.

but sometimes i want to do something and can't and its frustrating and makes me wish i'd taken a class at school or something. only they never offered this kind of stuff when i was in school because i went to school in the middle ages -- ha ha...

no really, i mean when i learned to touch type (now some of u r sitting there scratching ur heads wondering what touch typing is -- it is exactly as it sounds) we had typewriters (anyone remember those) and they weren't even electric (probably explains y i have carpel tunnel issues). one of the first jobs i had working as a secretary involved typing up psychological reports on an IBM magcard typewriter. "cutting and pasting" meant "programming" a stop in one card, so that it would eject the card at the right place so that u could insert the next card to put the "pasted" item on, then programming that card to eject so that u could put the first card back in and continue the printing out process. and heaven forbid if u mixed up the cards. it was not fun. prior to this technology, though, cutting and pasting truly meant -- cutting it out of one place and taping it into another and hoping when u went to the copy machine that the place where u taped it didn't leave a line on the copy. or it meant retyping the entire paper from beginning to end just to make sure things were in the right places. making "corrections" required u to either retype it, white it out with white-out (omygosh what was in that stuff) and basically, it was a pain.

the first "computer" i ever worked on was back in 1980 and it was an IBM displaywriter (would NOT be considered a computer by today's standards). the first computer i ever owned was a very very early Mac (see above photo of something similar to what i owned) that didn't even have a hard drive (don't ask). they make fish tanks out of them now and i believe there is one in the Smithsonian... when i moved to NH (eons ago) i worked at darmouth college and they were in the "computer age" but not what u would consider the computer age now, and u had to know certain code in order to get things to print out, move stuff around, etc., and we worked on machines called Diablos (u do know that's the word for devil in spanish don't u???). i'm sure they were aptly named because honestly, there were times when i truly felt like the devil was running the entire operation and i had no control over what was printed out. they did eventually move into the era of Macs and wasn't i a happy camper.

now we have computers that can print out DVDs and play music and make movies and mess around with photos and isn't it all so wonderful how easy we've made it? ha ha ....

i am pretty sure that in the grand scheme of things some things r easier to do than others, but some things r just more frustration than is necessary. gone r the days of taking a photo on a SLR film (what's that -- u can't even buy that stuff locally anymore) camera and taking it to the local photo shop (huh??) and having them process and print ur photos. coming home with a packet full of pictures and a sleeve full of negatives (what???) and if u needed more prints in different sizes u had to take the negatives back to the shop and wait for them to be printed (usually a couple of days to a week). now u take a photo with a digital camera, plug it into ur computer and bam u have instant pictures that u can print in all sorts of sizes and u get to print only the ones u like!! who'd have thunk it! but on one level its more frustrating because then u have to make sure u have a printer that has archival quality inks and papers and yeah let's not even go down this road.

sometimes i think we've just made more stress for ourselves by the continual upgrading of our technology. things that we thought would make our lives easier have just increased the need to "know more" about the technology behind it. and who has time for that -- idk. maybe i'm just waxing nostalgic for a simpler time ....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

a state of mind, not a state of circumstances

u know the poem "If" by rudyard kipling. u know how at the beginning it says: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you" -- well in the last several months i've been impressed that i need to keep my head -- or at least my thoughts -- in check even in the worst of circumstances. that my reality is NOT papa god's reality and that what i see about me isn't necessarily what or how it really is.

now this is easier said that done when most of ur life u've seen the glass as empty and never even half full. its a true test of will to "keep ur head" when the circumstances dictate something much more dire. its a real-learning of sorts. retraining ur brain to look at the crap and see that its not really crap. kinda like the king asking everybody to see him in his new clothes when he's really naked -- sometimes the naked just can't be imagined away.

i'm not asking u to imagine something away either or pretend it doesn't exist. what i am asking u to do is to try to see it in papa's reality. here's an example: i live in subsidized housing and sometimes its really not very pleasant here. the walls r thin and i can hear ppl screaming at their children on either side of me (which hurts my heart), and in the spring and summer there is a lot of conflict here between residents when their children get into scuffles. let's just say that some of the parents don't have very good communication skills beyond screaming. there has also been a lot of drug dealing and police calls, and well, u get the basic picture. now on the outer layer it looks like a really crappy place to live and i could sit around and wallow in self-pity over the fact that i have to live in a place like this. but what papa god has shown me is that compared to others, i have been quite blessed. i have a roof over my head, a warm bed to lie in at night, food on the table and a reason and ppl to pray about. and something that in the past would have put me down and kept me down for months (maybe even years) no longer does.

sure, sometimes i get frustrated and angry and yes, even sad, but the sadness never lasts long (like it used to) and i'm immediately reminded that what i see before me is not papa god's reality. that he is so much bigger than any issue that is laying in my lap and that i just need to let it go, put a smile on my face and move forward.

recently, i've had the pleasure of talking to two ppl i love dearly about their depression. one has made some unwise choices and is now suffering the consequences. they r miserable and i can see y. but i also see a way for them to get out of the mess they r in -- something they were having a hard time doing. it seems like when u get into the muck, there is very little room for actually seeing the path of escaping it. and i understand this really really well because of a lot of "messes" i have gotten myself into the past 53+ years.

the other person is just generally depressed because of things not going the way they had planned. other ppl's attitudes towards them is causing them grief and they rn't overly happy in their job, and they don't like where they r living, and u get the picture. i understand this area as well -- having been in all these circumstances. and having been like both of these ppl, i was depressed and miserable for ages. when ppl would ask me how i was i would tell them (even though they really didn't want to know) and could see the instant look of "oh my gosh i shouldn't have asked" come across their faces. some ppl -- those who have compassion -- would become miserable just from listing to my story. it bothered me that i was making someone else miserable just by telling them about my miserableness.

so a year ago, i made this conscious decision to just not tell ppl unless they really pressured me -- or i really trusted that they wouldn't become emotionally tied to my miserableness. because i couldn't handle seeing someone else upset. y should i make other ppl miserable just because i was. the other thing i vowed to do was to wear a smile on my face -- even though the world around me was crumbling, i knew that i was deeply loved and cared for by papa god and that was worth smiling about. the reality is that i was not alone in any of the muck, even the muck of my own making, and that the one being who was there for me and holding me and supporting me and providing for my needs was papa god -- and that warranted a smile. a big smile.

what started to come back to me was smiles -- and i found that those smiles bolstered mine even more. if someone wanted to really know about my circumstances, i would tell them, but i would always end it with the statement that i was well loved and blessed by papa god and that what i saw around me was not what papa saw and therefore i was making the conscious decision to see it through papa's eyes.

yes, sometimes i don't do that. sometimes i get down -- but what i have discovered is that the duration of the depression has been more than halved just because i've chosen to see the glass as overflowing from papa god and not as empty. i've made a change in my "state of mind" which then changes my perspective and reaction to my set of circumstances. its empowering and uplifting. and i know i couldn't do any of this without papa god's help and guidance. he's set me on this course and is there all along the way to help me when i stray off the path. he always reminds me -- even in the smallest of ways -- that he cares for me and is there blessing me. and that makes all the difference ....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

lessons learned from one small autistic boy ...

well, the holidays r almost over, and we're heading back to the routine. monday morning will bring rushing around to get ready and driving daughter to school and then i'm off to help a family with two small boys who have autism. i will help the boys get dressed and fed and off to school two or three mornings a week.

during the holidays, another friend and i took them to the local school yard where they could sled and play in the snow. the younger boy is milder in his autism, but the oldest boy (the one i'm really taking care of) has an extreme form -- so rare that only about 100 cases in the world have been diagnosed. he's a really sweet boy -- although he does have his moments. he doesn't speak, but he does have ways of communicating (some sign language and a book of pictures of things he likes). but even though he can't speak, he can show joy and sadness and pain and love. the last one is the one that always gets my heart. he will come and look at me and then hug me -- or he'll come up behind me when i'm not looking and give me a big hug. he's just so affectionate.

one day, after i first started helping them, when i was waiting for his paraeducator to come to the house to get him for school, he was sitting in the chair looking out the window and i was singing to him. he loves to listen to ppl sing and i like to sing worship music to him. at any rate, just at that moment i saw this glimpse of how god saw him -- as a little boy with so much potential and any thoughts i had of self-doubt about being able to work with him, went away. my heart broke, just like i knew papa god's had, over the fact that that potential might now be lost due to his disability and i started praying for him, his brother, and his family.

again, i am reminded that sometimes we need to look at others and see what god sees. sometimes that is difficult to do if we have been hurt or betrayed by that person.

recently i had a conversation with someone who had moved out of the area a while ago and came back for a visit. i saw them at church on two separate occasions and then later in the week talked to them in chat. i have to preface that the relationship i had had with this person before they moved away was sometimes difficult and hurtful, but, it was a relationship that had a good deal to do with where i am now in my walk with papa god, so there is still a good deal of love and appreciation in my heart for them.

during the conversation they were talking about how they saw me wearing my gray sweater on the two occasions we had seen each other recently. i said, "i'm sorry, i wasn't wearing my gray sweater -- i don't wear that sweater any more since it has a hole in the elbow of one sleeve." he was insistent that i had been wearing that same sweater and i was just as insistent that i had not and explained the two different outfits i had worn both times.

what struck me, and as i explained to him, was that sometimes we can't see past the "person who was" to the "person who is now". that the sweater was just a symbol of something deeper. like my father and brother can't see past the 5 year old little girl to the almost 54 year old woman i am now. there's an image there that we either can't or r unwilling to let go of to see the person who is now.

the great thing about papa god is that he sees us as to the ppl we will become -- the potential. he also sees us where we r all along the way, but it doesn't hinder him in any way to seeing the person we r to become. if we get words about us from papa god, we need to keep them present in our lives because it helps us to see ourselves as papa sees us. but i believe its even more important to listen to the words from papa god given to others so that we can see them as papa sees them. this gives us guidance then for encouraging them and supporting them so they can come into their full potential in papa god. even more than that -- it allows us to put aside any judgements we might have about someone based on their treatment of us and allow us to continue to love them and appreciate who they will become.

i have to admit that i haven't always been the best at this -- as a matter of fact when it comes to certain ppl (the ex for example), i have failed terribly. i continue to try to see him how papa sees him, but as of this writing i have been unsuccessful and therefore, allow all the hurt feelings and bitterness come into my heart when i have to deal with him. i'm a work in progress, i'm not perfect, and i know that at some point in my life, i will get past this and be able to see him as papa sees him. so i'm not professing perfection here, just suggesting a different way of looking at someone. and to think, it all began in earnest because of working with one small loving boy....