Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Faith Shaker, or Faith Maker?

Today has been a rough day for me. If it was just one of those random crummy days, I probably wouldn’t write about it on a blog, but today was different. Today I realized once again, just how fragile life is and how truly grateful I am to be alive and surrounded by those who genuinely care about me. Today I was reminded of the all-to-frequently overlooked fact that despite what many of us think, none of us call the shots down here. God is in control. He always has been and will continue to be – regardless of what our personal preferences are.

I know this all sounds a bit “off” and perhaps kinda random. Admittedly, I’m a little out of sorts. It’s just that… well…the thing is, that my sister-in-law Jolene was diagnosed with breast cancer this morning. At best she will need a mastectomy. At worst…well, I can’t even think about that right now. Many of you know how close we are and that I rarely ever refer to her as my sister “in law.” She has been my closest girlfriend for over a decade and I decided long ago that the whole “in law” thing didn’t do our relationship justice. I grew up with two older brothers, so Jolene is the closest thing I’ve ever known to having a flesh and blood sister. To hear this kind of news about HER – my girl…well, it’s a bitter pill to say the least.

I’ve known for a while now that she has been going through some testing for a lump she found in her breast, and last week when she received some preliminary abnormal results, I must admit, I feared the worst. So today, for all of us (my whole family) to have our worst fears confirmed…well, let’s just say it’s been pretty hard on us. None of us quite as much as Jolene of course, but the enormity of the situation is just starting to sink in for me personally. To tell the truth, I think I’ve been in shock most of the day. I know in my head how very serious this is and yet at the same time, I just don’t want to believe it. Why her? Why now? I mean, she’s my age for crying out loud! She’s got two little boys to take care of. She can’t be sick! She’s Jolene! She’s friggin’ indestructible! I mean, I’m a tough chick and all, but that girl puts me to shame. I’ve had some pretty dark days in my life and she has always been there with me – selflessly caring for me, crying with me, encouraging me, and bringing me through to the other side. She’s an amazing wife and mother and the depth of her character runs deeper than most people I’ve ever met. The love that she has for her children and her family is absolutely unmatched. She is self-sacrificing, kind, and generous; and yet God is still allowing this to happen to her. Why? I just can’t understand that!

I can’t pretend to know what God has in store. The bible says His ways are not our ways. I do hope and pray that He will heal her and restore her health so that she can be there for her children and her husband. And I know her well enough to know that if that means she has to sacrifice a boob or two, she won’t hesitate to do that to make sure that she’s there for them. Her faith is strong, and she knows God has a plan.

There will be much more testing in the next few weeks and she is scheduled for her mastectomy in early December. She is standing at the foot of a very BIG mountain right now, and I’m sure at times it will seem insurmountable to her. Please pray for her and her family as we all know that this will be one of the toughest (if not THE toughest) challenges she will ever have to face. But she definitely won’t have to face it alone. We’re here for you, sister! I love you! Boobs or no boobs, you'll always be my girl!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Miss Understood

My friend Mel and I were talking several weeks ago, and she told me about this Color Code deal that is going around. Basically it’s kind of a personality test sorta thing, but instead of saying “I’m a Type A Personality” or whatever, it assigns a color to your personality instead. It claims to be the best tool on the market today in this arena because it is based on human motivations (why you do what you do) rather than on human behaviors (what you do). So being the curious kitty that I am, I decided to give it a Google and check it out.

I found a website that let me take their “little” test (about a jillion questions – give or take), and at the end of it, the results came back. Turns out, I’m “a BLUE.” It didn’t mean anything to me at the time, cuz blue is just a color. (There were also red, yellow and white.) So I think to myself, “well whatever, this is probably a bunch of crap, but we’ll read on and see what it says.” Imagine my surprise when the results were right on the money! I think my jaw literally dropped when I read what they had to say about me – well, about my kind of personality anyways.

So for those of you who were always wondering what makes me tick and why I do the things that I do, here’s a little peek inside my little blue existence – straight from the results page.

“The Core Motivation that drives you through life is "Intimacy". It is important to note that this does not mean sexual intimacy. BLUES need connection - the sharing of rich, deep emotions that bind people together. As a BLUE, you will often sacrifice a great deal of time, effort, and/or personal convenience to develop and maintain meaningful relationships throughout your life. (Wow! That’s so true!)
BLUES seek opportunities to genuinely connect with others, and need to be understood and appreciated, especially by their partner. (Holy cow! How do they know that?!) Everything you do as a BLUE has to be quality-based, or you won't do it at all. You are incredibly loyal to friends, employers, employees, and above all to your significant other. Whatever or whomever you commit to is your sole (and soul) focus. As a BLUE, you love to serve and will give freely of yourself in order to nurture the lives of others. (Whooooa! I do do that!)
BLUES have distinct preferences and are the most controlling of the four personalities, although they may not acknowledge (or even realize) the fact. (Uhh. Really? Crap.) Your code of ethics is remarkably strong and you expect others (not only your partner and those closest to you, but everyone) to live honest, committed lives as well. You enjoy sharing meaningful moments in conversation with your partner as well as remembering special life events (e.g. birthdays and anniversaries). (That last part should resonate with you, Mel! Ha ha!) It went on to list several attributes about me. Evidently, I’m also analytical, committed, compassionate, dedicated, deliberate, dependable, emotional, loyal, nurturing, seek quality, respectful, sincere, thoughtful, and well-mannered. While I will freely admit that I am loyal, sincere, emotional and committed, I’m sure I’ve had my moments with that other stuff. ;) But I gotta tell ya, that all pretty much sums me up! Crazy!

So I’ve gotta give it to the Color Code people. They pretty much know what they’re talkin’ about! And the very fact that I’m putting this up here for everyone to read is proof of that (because evidently I have "a need" to be understood by people).

My boyfriend and I had a minor conflict yesterday and over the course of the evening as we were ironing out the wrinkles of that, he said to me, “I’m not upset, I just don’t understand you.” At the time I blew it off and said, “That’s okay hon, I don’t understand you, either.” :) My thought was that I’m a girl, he’s a guy – do any of us understand each other? But considering the fact that his words are still echoing in my mind today, it must have (subconsciously) really bothered me, right? So I just so happened to re-read my Color Code diagnosis today and lo and behold! Guess who needs to be understood – especially by their partner?! THIS girl! Dang it! What a pain! And not only THAT, but I’ve discovered that in addition to me needing to be understood, it totally bugs me to not understand HIM (or others that I’m close to), either! What a pickle!

I guess the easy thing to do would be for me to just decide to do the half-hearted attempt and just be content to not really know how he ticks and vice versa. But evidently, it’s not in my nature to do anything half-hearted. (sigh) Oh, the growing pains of a new relationship. Not always the most fun, but sometimes the most important.