Saturday, June 28, 2008

Only 13 out of the 29 Dimensions of Compatibility

Before Carter left tonight, we pondered potential titles for this post, and this was his best suggestion. If you've seen the numerous e-harmony ads, it should make sense. After making what feels like a good effort, Carter and I have realized that we're just not matching up in enough of the 29 dimensions of compatibility.

I've had some reservations that I thought might be resolved with time as our relationship and feelings grew, but after more conversation we're realized that our personalities and preferences and strengths and weaknesses are just not lining up in a way that allow us to relationally thrive.

And if that sentence sounds really formal and analytical and without emotion...well in some ways that has been one of my struggles. We can both be overly analytical and intellectual, and somehow the way we fit together has resulted in what feels like a lack of emotional and romantic connection to have been dating seven months (I cannot believe it's been that long). My friend Chasie actually brought this concern up two weeks ago (that I didn't seem that excited about Carter and that she worried that Carter and I didn't share the playfulness and silliness that she enjoys with me), and I am so grateful to her for being bold enough to express her concerns. I love having friends like her, and I'm thankful that my brother-in-law and sister shared their thoughts about this same issue with me (even if I ignored it the first three times:).

On the upside, this has been the most mutual break-up I have ever experienced, and while I know I'll miss Carter, I am glad this is resolved and that I can quit thinking about it.

p.s. I'm grateful for the respectful and kind way Carter and I handled this break-up. There is so much I respect about Carter, and the way he handled this only reinforces my belief that he's a great person.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"First when there's nothing, but a slow glowing dream..."

As a child (or as an adult, I won't tell), have any of you taped up your feet and ran in place a la Jennifer Beals? Yes, Flashdance, a movie about a welder/stripper was a defining part of my childhood. In my parents' defense, I only watched a VHS recording of the television-version, which omitted nudity and swearing....and I learned about hope, dancing, ripped out shoulder tops, and perseverance.

This year I've befriended several people under the age of 25, so in order to share these life lessons with them, we're having a Flashdance viewing tomorrow night (I'll guard their youthful eyes from the inappropriate scenes since you cannot buy the "clean" version I was raised watching). I'll be rocking the side ponytail and going on a manhunt (speaking of which, Flashdance has a great soundtrack too).

p.s. I'm grateful for laughter. If you want to see a funny spoof of Flashdance, check out this link.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You Know Your Friends Love You....

when you come home to this birthday creation:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It Makes Me Happy That....

I received my first birthday card yesterday from a blogger who I've never even met in person. Ella was also one of the first people to financially support the mission/volunteer work that I'm doing this year.

Aaron and Sarah are using their unique gifts to serve in Bosnia this week.

The three students we took to the mini-water park on Monday expressed their thanks and used good manners the entire time. That might not seem like a big deal, but it's fairly common for our students to not use common courtesies; plus it's exciting when you can see progress.

On Tuesday a coworker gave me a sweet card and a Starbucks gift card for no reason. And when I used the card this morning at my local Starbucks, I saw three people I know.

My mom is making a homemade cake for me this weekend, and she's paying for me to go to the spa on Monday (my birthday). And my sister is sweet enough to plan a birthday dinner for me and invite my best friend and her family. I also get to see Carter this Sunday.

Last night I had an impromptu walking and Whole Foods date with my sweet friend Chasie, and as usual we had great conversation.

p.s. I'm grateful to witness my great aunt finding comfort in the Lord as she grieves the death of her younger sister and best friend.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Is My Value in My (im)Perfection?

My commitment to the Young Adult Volunteer program will be over at the end of next month, and the summer is already flying by. I have loved my time at Preston Taylor Ministries . and just being a part of such a meaningful ministry. In addition to the opportunity to help children learn and share my faith with them, I have been blessed by the work environment at PTM.

It has been incredible and a totally new experience to work in an open and honest environment that feels safe and makes it easier to acknowledge our weaknesses, sinfulness, and struggles with each other. I've left staff meetings surprised by what we've shared--sometimes expressing frustrations with each other in a way that I've never heard but that is so productive and healthy. I've learned a lot about relationships and communication and realized that I never want to work anywhere and pretend to be or want something I'm not.

But as much as I say I don't want to pretend, I found myself doing just that at the beginning of my time at PTM. My boss was really excited to have me on staff, and he began delegating pretty quickly. And I soon discovered that I could not do all of the work he had given me and only work the 35 hours that my program calls for (which is in addition to other program responsibilities). But it felt almost impossible to say that despite the fact that one of my goals this year was to develop better work/life boundaries. The idea of going to my boss and asking for deadline extensions or explaining that I couldn't do all of the work almost seemed out of my realm of possible options.

During my first evaluation my boss shared wonderful and affirming feedback with me, but then we started talking about why I don't come to him when I need more time for assignments I just couldn't stop crying. My boss asked a few questions and made a comment, pointing out that it seemed that I might find my value in my perfection. He asked me "If you're only valuable when you're perfect, what does that say about your Creator?"

As I reflected on that question and why I'd rather work all night long than admit I can't finish something by the given deadline or ask for help, I realized that some of the issues at my last job may not have been the job insomuch as they were my issues. My belief that I'm only valuable when I'm perfect was pervading yet another area of my life. I am grateful to have a boss that went beyond the surface issue to help me find the root cause--and to remind me that my value has absolutely nothing to do with my (im)perfection. I've had to remind myself of that truth often as I say "no" to things and strive to create balance in my life. It's hard to imagine finding another boss who would invest so much in me, creating an environment that surely gives God reason to smile as we do life together in a way that enables us to serve Him and each other better. This year has been such a gift; it's hard to believe it's almost over.

p.s. I'm grateful for cold water, shade, sunglasses, swimming pools, sleeveless shirts, ponytails, and ice cream.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Thank you for all of the feedback on my "vacation" conflict; it has been so helpful. I love reading and hearing different perspectives and find it to be valuable to my processing. I've learned so much in the past few weeks; I've learned a lot about myself and how I handle interpersonal conflict. One thing I've realized is that interpersonal conflict consumes me too entirely. I hate unresolved matters and obsess about them until I work it out in my head. And while it's good to work through things, it's not helpful to let those issues take precedence over God and comprise 50% of my thoughts. Although Carter is often on my mind, I didn't find it comfortable to be thinking about him so much (even if it was largely negative as I was building my mental case against the relationship).

So long story short: Carter and I had several long, productive conversations about our misunderstandings in D.C. We talked about how they made us feel, what we each could have done differently, and how we'd like to handle this issue in the future. And as I reflected on my response to the small misunderstandings, I realized how disproportionate my response was to the situation.

For example, on our way to church on Sunday we got lost, and Carter was frustrated. I thought his frustration was an overreaction, and I didn't like how tense things felt. And it totally reminded me of how my home felt growing up. It reminded me of how my step-father would get angry and how tense things felt so much of the time--and how my mom would avoid conflict because of that. And all I could think about is how I couldn't handle a marriage or a home like that. I completely forgot that I didn't tell Carter how I felt, that he makes a big effort to hear me out and resolve conflict and see things from my perspective, and that he's not my step-father.

A counselor told me that "emotional learning" is the hardest to unlearn--and that my response to Carter's frustration is a result of the emotional learning that took place during my childhood. She explained that I probably felt helpless as a child in that environment, which probably added to the intensity of my response to Carter's two minutes of frustration.

It's funny; I thought May would be a great month for Carter and me since we'd spend so much time together, and I'd hope I'd have a clearer picture of how I feel about him. And I do. It's just not come about in the fun and easy way I expected:) Thanks again for all of the words of advice. You guys are great.

p.s. I'm thankful for clarity....and that I may have the answer to what is next vocationally as my time as a volunteer in Nashville ends on July 31.
p.p.s. Here's a few of my photos from D.C. Ha.