Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Confessions of a Recovering Introvert

I am rather a bit of an introvert. Most people that have met me would not believe that. It may seem like a contradiction to those that know me.  But if you are one of those that really knows me, you know how true this is. Or rather was.  I struggled getting to know people. I never knew what to say to start up a brand new conversation with a brand new person. I had a fear that if I was myself around new people, they wouldn't like me, or they would think I was weird or stupid or that I would never fit in. And my pride wouldn’t let me do that. Stupid pride.  And the most stupid part is that I’m a really friendly person. I’m a talker and I like people.  ;-)

I used to think that I couldn’t have too many friends because I would never have the time or energy to keep up with all of them or be able to truly connect so if I stuck to just a few close friends, I would be ok. I would be a better friend. Right? Wrong. This kind of mentality only kept me from getting to know some amazing people.  And I also found out that it worked in the opposite direction. If I didn't take the time to get to know someone personally, I found myself making judgements or presuppositions on who they were and their personalities before I even knew them. And it turned out, those judgments were wrong. Those people weren’t who I thought they were. 

As Christians, we’re called to live in community. To live in fellowship. We can’t really do that if we’re living with a ‘short-timer’ mentality. Relationships take work, especially building new ones. It can be hard and exhausting. I think if there’s one thing I've learned this past couple years it’s that no matter where you are or where you go, you have to dive in. Involve yourself. Make new friends. You never know who you’re going to get to meet, how you can serve them, show Christ, how you can bless or be blessed if you don’t take the time to get to know people. I don’t care if you’re only going to be there for 10 hours or 10 years. Get involved. Invest yourself; your energy; your emotions. Yes, there is the chance you’ll get hurt. You’ll be tired. You’ll mess up. But that’s part of life and part of loving. Love requires sacrifice and energy expended. It means taking risks of getting hurt, of people thinking you’re weird or stupid. The beauty of the situation is that if you’re living for Jesus, everyday seeking ways to serve and Glorify Him, you have nothing, NOTHING to lose. But you have everything to gain. God doesn't put limits on the number of friends we can make.  Isn't that amazing?

So I made a change. It’s not a change that comes overnight – at least for me. It was a conscientious move in a new direction. I took one step at a time. By walking up to that one new person at church (ok, so I did drag my best friend along for help and moral support) I started letting myself open up more and more. It took some time but it’s gradually gotten easier. I think I realized it most this past year when I was in school – where my classmates and I shed much sweat, tears, and yes, blood together – in a place where we were all working toward the same (or similar) goals – I couldn't help not to get to know people and get involved.  We depended on one another for moral support, sometimes physical and emotional support, study teams and success. Then there was this past summer when I was with my missions team in Poland. Getting thrown together with a group of 35+ people for two weeks where you only know about 10 of them well and in a country where all you know how to say “please” “thank-you” “excuse me” and “hello, my name is…” is something of a challenge for anyone I dare say. But those two weeks were some of the best in my life. I made new friends, a couple of whom I consider now to some of my besties and share so much in common with. I think that’s one of the most profound things the blood of Christ does: removing barriers and allowing us to live more fully in community with one another. Not only did my mentality on new friendships change but my current relationships changed too I think. I felt a more deep and precious love for my dearest of friends and a willingness to be even more of ‘myself’ with them , share struggles and sins with them, with no fear of their judgment or censure but assured even more of their support, love, and prayers.

I heard something by Tim Tebow recently that really inspired this post and pretty much sums up what I’m trying to do with my life: “When you die, there’s going to be a tombstone. It’s going to have your name, the year you were born and it’s going to have the day you die. In between, there’s going to be a dash. And that dash is going to represent everything that you did in your life, good and bad. That’s how you’re remembered. What do you want your dash to represent?"    

What do you want your dash to represent? I know that for me, mine is not going to be defined by retreating to the ‘safe’ spot inside myself where I avoid new connections and the work it involves. It’s going to be defined by opening my heart to others and sharing whatever I can of myself with them. My life may not be spectacular or full of amazing events that the world will see. In fact, to date, it’s quite ordinary. But I’m going to choose to live like it’s a less-than ordinary life, because as God’s child, my life is made new in Jesus and that makes me more than ordinary.  And it’s by small acts of faithfulness to His Holy Word that the world will see change.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Collection of Observations After Living In Canada for Two Months

  1. Speed limits on the highways are not really limits...they're more like 'guidelines'. The same applies to  parking spots, and handicapped parking spaces. 
  2. 80mph is not fast enough on the highway. Apparently. 
  3. Your windshield will have at least 2 large rock chips in it, if not a huge crack running the entire windshield
  4. Freezing nose hairs tickle
  5. People don't panic about driving in blizzard conditions or on ice
  6. I don't panic when driving in a blizzard or on ice anymore 
  7. Don't ever tease someone by yelling "Moose!!!" while they're driving. You might be joking, but the chances of it being true are actually surprisingly high
  8. I can't get lost in this town...this is a good thing. 
  9. I need a lot more practice snowboarding. 
  10. There is an art to shoveling one's driveway. I have yet to master it. 
  11. People don't know that a Vancouver outside of British Columbia exists...Canadians get very confused when you tell them you're from Vancouver, WA...good luck with that. 
  12. Do yourself a favor and stop before all logging truck roads. 
  13. After a week of -30* (or lower) weather,  4* feels warm and makes you want to break out the tank tops and shorts. Almost.
  14. If you're in the least bit pretty, people with stare at you when you go places. I realize this might sound a bit conceited but there have been times when people stare at me like I suddenly sprouted a second nose...
  15. Canadians are nice. Mostly.  ;-) 

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

The goodness of twice-baked potatoes made little easier and a little faster! A crowd pleaser - I made a double batch of this on Super-Bowl Sunday and there weren't any left-overs!

5-6 large potatoes or 8-10 medium potatoes
1 package cream cheese softened
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 sweet onion
1 Tbls fresh minced garlic
1 lb cooked bacon chopped
1 Tbls dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dried chives

Scrub Potatoes (don't peel) and chop into pieces. Boil until cooked through (should be soft when poked with a fork). Chop the onion finely and saute in 1 Tbls olive oil and 2 Tbls butter along with the garlic.
Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Add the chopped/crumbled bacon, sauteed onion and garlic. Make sure this mixture is well combined. Mash the potatoes with the remaining butter - don't mash too thoroughly, you want the potatoes a little 'chunky'. Add the cream cheese mixture. Spread into 9x13 greased baking dish and garnish with remaining cheddar cheese and sprinkle with dried chives. Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes. The edges should start to look a little bit crisp. Enjoy!

*This is my original recipe - took the basic idea of twice-baked and modified and added to it!* :-)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Modern Tech and Colors That Do Not Belong

(Ah... The wonders of modern technology! I'm blogging from my iPhone-so not sure how I'm going to be able to go back to a regular phone after this-can tell you right now- it ain't happenin' !)

Well, it finally happened. I did it. Something I swore I NEVER would do. And yes. I'm regretting it.

 I colored my hair with box coloring. But not just any coloring from a box - the WRONG color. Which I thought was the right color, but alas was grossly mistaken. I was simply trying to help my roots out...

 And now? I have orange roots.


Orange. The word that nothing else rhymes with.

Just. Orange.

I can hear all the hairdressers in my life lifting up their voices in anguish and rending their garments. Believe me, I am too.

And as part of my penance - here is a picture of it. *the grimace is born out of fear of judgement and shame*

See? Orange. 

I'm trying a home remedy to see if  I can tone it down a little, though at this point, I'm pretty sure I'm just gonna have to wait it out. *sigh* Oh wisdom? Why didst thou forsake me?