Monday, March 29, 2010

The "No" Experiment

I am sick of being a "yes" woman. I'm one of those people you call if you need something, because I'll rearrange my schedule and/or priorities and come running. I give and give and give until I have nothing left for myself. I run on fumes (and chocolate). Today, I gave so much of myself that I am exhausted. And yet I came home at 4:00 pm and signed myself up to give some more. So it goes from me doing things out of the goodness of my heart to doing things because I feel guilty saying no when I know that it's POSSIBLE for me to do something for others, even if it isn't in my best interests. I feel guilty letting friends, family, or ANYONE down.

I was at WalMart today with a legally blind woman I gave a ride to so she could "buy canned goods." She left spending over $200, and less than a fourth of that was on canned goods. I helped her haul her booty up to her apartment and reluctantly gave her my phone number when she asked for it. I have no idea why I did that. I shouldn't have and definitely didn't need to. I spent over 3 hours with her when her request was for something that shouldn't have taken more than 20-30 minutes.

So people call and ask if I can help with this or that. I only say no if I have prior obligations or plans with someone else. If it only effects me and requires some small or great sacrifice on my part, I oblige them. And, like I'm doing right now, I end up fuming and cursing myself for saying yes. I go into the "service" activity with a terrible attitude and feeling more negative toward the person for asking me when I "know" he or she could have called someone else. In fact, sometimes I encourage people to do just that but end up feeling so guilty I call back and say, "Okay. I can do it," when I mentally, physically, and/or emotionally just shouldn't do it.

What is wrong with me?

One of my friends wrote something on Facebook that got me to venting (which I desperately need to do). She responded that I need to just say no. I told her that sometimes when I actually do say no, I feel as though the person I'm saying no to is trying to give me a guilt trip, so I feel the need to justify my no with all the reasons why I mean it. She told me not to give excuses and just say no.

So, I'm challenging myself. I have reasons, but April is an especially good month for me to say no, and it's just around the corner. For the whole month of April, I'm going to say no to those extra "little" requests from people. I'm not going to give reasons or excuses. I'm just going to say no. Even saying I'm going to do this petrifies me, so that just shows me how much I need to do it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Endings

It didn't seem all that long ago that I worried I'd never get married. I had failed relationship after failed relationship. It was especially difficult at times when I met someone I seemed to mesh well with but things just didn't work out. Or I thought I was a good match for someone who didn't feel the same way about me. Still, in their own timeframe, things worked out. Despite the challenges we had early on in our marriage, we are strong and deeply in love. I ran across this story I wrote about Joe on MySpace back in August of 2006 (I have changed it very slightly). Joe and I were still friends, but we weren't dating at the time, but I knew he was special anyway.


About 2 years ago, I started talking more one-on-one with someone. We'd met in an online community, and we found that we had a lot in common. Of course, he had interests that didn't really interest me, such as video games, Japanimation, and cars, but the way he talked about ANYTHING didn't bore me. He was an amazing listener, and I just always felt so at ease with him. I'd sit in my LoveSac with my webcam turned on and talk to him on the phone for hours. It'd feel like only minutes had gone by, and I gladly gave up a lot of sleep for that pleasure.

Before long, we arranged a meeting. I'd never been to Washington, so I decided I'd visit him and make it a nice excuse for a vacation, regardless of how things turned out (yes, I took precautions). My plane landed, and when I saw him at the airport, I wanted to puke on my shoes out of nervous anticipation.

The drive to his mother's house was nice, and she greeted me warmly with a delicious toasted turkey, avocado, and pesto sandwich (which I'd never had before but is now one of my favorites!). The three of us chatted, and then he showed me to the room where I would be sleeping (yes, I stayed at his mother's house).

The two of us continued to chat, and he pleasantly surprised me by telling me that he really wanted to kiss me. I believe "okay" was my delighted response, and so we did. It was magical. We kissed a bit and talked a bunch, and he eventually excused himself to make the drive to his place for the night as I settled in, already dreaming of him even though I was wide awake.

Over the course of my stay, we had the opportunity to kiss much more, fog up car windows, chat endlessly, enjoy the beauty of Washington, and enjoy each other's company. I met many of his family members. I mean siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, the whole nine yards. I felt like I'd found a place I could call home. I felt like I somehow belonged with the group of strangers who were not strange or intimidating at all to me (which is weird because I'm so shy at times that people just think I'm stuck up).

In thinking back over the course of that trip, there wasn't necessarily one favorite time we shared together. I mean, I really enjoyed exploring the science museum (geeky of me, but true), being held in his strong arms as I looked in awe at the view of Seattle's city lights below the Space Needle and then kissing him as we stood above the city, walking on the downtown city streets, driving through the parts of town where he grew up, hanging at a family birthday celebration, dancing to horrible music together, making out, dining at his favorite Teriyaki restaurant, listening to his mixed CDs in the car as we ventured from place to place, attending church together, and enjoying the sight, smell, and feel of Snoqualmie Falls together. I enjoyed every minute of my trip and still cherish those memories made during that time. As he dropped me off at the airport, he gave me a small "gift." Although it may be weird to many, it was and still is very cherished to me.

As I waited in the airport to board the plane back home, I wrote in my journal about our time together. I wrote about my feelings, my dreams, and the peace and joy I felt. I will never forget that weekend. Or that wonderful man. We still talk. I still adore him.

I guess this explains why I'm so optimistic about everything, despite all that I've experienced (or maybe because of it). I do believe in happy endings. I do believe that I can feel this way again in my life and build a wonderful life with a fabulous partner by my side every step of the way. I don't care if it's considered too "Hollywood" or unrealistic for some. It's out there. He's out there. We'll find each other, or I'll die trying. And I will NEVER, EVER feel the need to "settle."


I'm glad Joe finally came to his senses! I never did find anyone who compared to him or who made me feel the way I felt being around him or even talking to him from afar. Shortly after writing this, we reignited our relationship and it continued to grow and grow. He made a trip to Arizona to meet my family and to see me after all that time (it had been about 2 years since my trip to Washington) and proposed on the last day of his trip. And so when I left Arizona to move to Washington, I was a happily engaged woman and soon afterward married the love of my life. I love our story. And I love being in love with my best friend.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Does anyone still read my blog?

Sometimes I'm not sure if I should keep blogging here. I try to remember to update my online personal journal on a regular basis and sometimes struggle with that. A few weeks ago, I joined a and have been entering daily blogs there (mostly about my weight loss journey), so I have been neglecting this blog. But I looked back at some of my previous and admittedly kind of lame entries and noticed it doesn't appear that anyone has read them. Or maybe you did but thought they were so lame that you didn't comment.

I know I have some issues. This isn't a new realization on my part. But back when I was in grad school, I was quite active on the Love and Relationship chat boards on MySpace. I would leave for work around 5:30 in the morning and get home after 8:00 at night during my internship year. I lived alone. I was just a face in a sea of single adults at church. I didn't have any close friends outside of work, and the friends I was closest to at work ended up moving on to different positions anyway. Joe and I eventually reconnected during that year (I'd decided I was going to move to Washington after school ended and told him that), but I didn't have much of a social life. Sure, I'd try to squeeze in some time with friends on Saturdays when I wasn't busy with my internship and errands and wanting to relax, but I felt like I needed more social interaction than that. So MySpace kind of filled in the gaps, even if the friends I made on there are people I may very well never meet face to face. But I realized eventually that I was spending way too much time in my online reality and still missing out on human interaction. I eventually quit.

Then I realized I had done this before. Joe and I met on a networking site, after all. But when I left that site, most of the people I had met forgot about me. Some even hated me (because I attempted long distance relationships that didn't work out and flirted shamelessly and acted self-absorbed and childish) and slandered me.

Joe told me about a free online gaming site. A lot of the games appealed to me at first, but I found myself enjoying chatting with people more and spending a lot of time on there. Yet I want to interact more with people closer to my age (a lot of my "friends" on the site were several years younger than me, and some were in their early teens) and face-to-face. I closed out that account. SparkPeople has message boards, but I don't think I will have to worry too much about getting hooked on those and spending all day posting in there. At least, I hope I don't get hooked on those.

I have enjoyed the website so far. I've lost 7 pounds in 2 weeks. I am exercising more and eating less junk food (and smaller portions sometimes too). I am a visual learner, so having the numbers and graphs right in my face on there helps tremendously. Plus, I'm very competitive, and so I find myself pushing myself to get as many points as I can each day (you get little "trophies" for your profile with different levels of points). I'm really enjoying making this lifestyle change that for me is sustainable. Sometimes people have thrown me ideas that don't appeal at all, because I know it's not something I would stick with. But this doesn't seem so hard. And it's so organized! I LOVE being organized! I LOVE having everything in one place... support, an online food journal, a place to track measurements and workouts, and people like me! I belong to an infertility group where I can vent about how people around me are getting pregnant and having kids and somehow surrounding me (I swear I saw no less than 5 pregnant people in a recent trip to Target), reminding me of how inadequate, heartbroken, etc I feel.

So, I've been a little bit wrapped up in that the past few weeks. But I think that's okay. I'm thinking my obsessiveness about it will slowly die down a little bit and I remember that life isn't all about how much I weigh or how much I want to weigh.

For something else: Joe and I are celebrating our anniversary this week. We're going to be taking a mini vacation, for which I am very excited (especially since we're doing it on the cheap). For our anniversary gift, we picked up a blu-ray player yesterday. We love it so far. I'd purchased Discovery Channel's Planet Earth on blu-ray a while back because it was an AWESOME deal (and I've heard such great things about it), so we checked out the quality of that on our player for a few minutes yesterday after Joe set it up. He's been asking if we can watch more of that ever since. And we headed back to Best Buy (where he bought the player) and picked up a couple more blu-ray discs, which I know he wants to watch as soon as possible.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


When I started volunteering in February, I thought about learning how to drive a shuttle, but then I thought it wouldn't really be fair for me to get all that training and then only do it temporarily until I find a job, so I started volunteering to drive through Senior Services driving my own car. Still, I just got this information in an email and thought I'd post it in case anyone is looking for a volunteer opportunity or knows someone who might be interested.

Seniors in our communities urgently need your help! Senior Services Transportation Program operates shuttles in Des Moines-Normandy Park, Burien-Highline and Shoreline-Lake Forest Park. The Senior Shuttles take seniors to buy groceries, get to medical appointments and run other local errands. Because of a shortage in volunteers to drive the shuttle, routes are being canceled and many seniors are finding it harder than ever to get around. Volunteer to drive the Senior Shuttles and you’ll meet new people while helping seniors remain independent and in their own homes. Choose your weekly shifts and receive free training in defensive driving and passenger assistance. You do not need a special driver’s license and do no lifting or bearing of weight. Interested? Call Melissa at (206) 748-7588, email, or visit for more information.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


We had a great little reminder last night that we need to show gratitude more. I make a conscious effort to show gratitude, but I know I could be doing more, especially when it comes to certain people or certain areas in my life. When I think of trials I've been through over the past year, especially losing my job and having a miscarriage, my heart is saddened. I have a hard time thinking of how I can be grateful for these types of things. But then I remember Sunday's lesson on Abraham and Isaac and think that maybe part of the reason I've gone through certain trials is because I need to learn a little more about myself. Of course, through trials I have been grateful for friends who have been there for me, and I hope I have expressed my gratitude for them adequately. But I also know as a result of those trials that I can get through tough things in life BECAUSE of supports around me. I also know now that I'm stronger than I thought I was, and I know that when I need to, I turn to God instead of away from Him. Of course, I SHOULD turn to Him all the time, but it's easier for me to remember during trials. I know that when I do have kids, they won't have to question whether or not they were wanted or "accidents" or "mistakes" or the like. Despite my hesitation to do so, I know these experiences I have had are for my good, and for that I am grateful.

Friday, March 5, 2010


I noticed the first signs of spring growing in my yard this week. That doesn't mean it just started this week, but I can be slow sometimes. I've noticed more yellow, white, pink, purple and green as I've been driving around too. And there have been fewer rainy days. Plus, I can go outside without grabbing a coat. So I know spring is coming! I LOVE spring! It has always been my favorite time of year (not only because my birthday falls in the spring), but ever since I've moved to Washington, I have grown to love it even more! It is so beautiful here! I think I may actually mow the lawn tomorrow just to soak up some of the sun!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I know I'm not perfect...

Sometimes I want to go postal at church. When I'm trying to teach to a group of women and there are some being so disruptive/chatty (or I'm leading music or something and they're whispering while looking at me, which makes me feel uncomfortable and automatically defensive and negative toward them), I want to start lecturing them about common courtesy (I guess it's not so common) or screaming or something. When I hear or see kids being totally loud and obnoxious and parents do nothing about it, letting their kids cause a huge distraction to everyone around, I want to go up to the kids and parent them. When adults and kids are rude, disrespectful, irreverent (yeah, I know "kids will be kids", but they learn proper behavior when their parents take time to teach them, or they learn to follow their parents' terrible example), pushy, obnoxious, loud, etc I think of Jesus throwing the moneychangers out of the temple and wish someone with more authority than me would set them straight. I know, I know... I need to work on being more Christlike and patient and loving and all that, but I just think of how my parents would never (now or when I was a kid) treat church like it was just some social parlor or let us kids act like we did on days other than Sundays or outside the walls of the sacred buildings. What kind of example are we setting?