Sunday, February 28, 2010

You'll never walk alone

Random fact of the day: VeggieTales are alive and well in my house. Things I've re-learned this weekend include, but are not limited to: God is bigger than the boogey man, a thankful heart is a happy heart and God made you special and He loves you very much! (insert cheesy grin)

Hearing aids: I've been reflecting lately on how lonely it is inside these hearing aids. Not in a wah-wah, poor me, life is soooooooooo hard kind of way. Just in a let's face it, this is the way it is kind of way. Even when I'm around people, it's hard not to get wrapped up in my own thoughts because trying to keep up with everyone gets tiring. Can you imagine a world in which the only person you could rely on to be a source of entertainment, a conversation starter or a deep thought sharer was... you? And not being able to find the words to explain to people what that's like? It's just lonely sometimes. And I wish I had better words to explain it. I think if people really know what when on inside of someone's hearing aids, they might be quicker to help. More eager to include. So this is me doing my best to put it out there.

In other news: I know I ragged on the Winter Olympics earlier, but I found myself watching them over the last few weeks. I cheered when Shaun White won a gold. I cried when Joannie Rochette skated. I sat on the edge of my couch during men's speed skating. And I loved that millions across the country and around the world were doing the same thing.

I'm really not an athletic person. My idea of hiking involves a gym and an elliptical. Skiing is best left to the pros and ice skating conjures images of butt-ice contact. No thanks. But I was riveted by the Opening Ceremony and have been following a bit of the Closing Ceremony tonight. I love that even in hard times - in the midst of earthquakes and wars and racism and tsunamis and terrorism and a thousand other horros - we can put aside our differences long enough to play some games. To just shut it all out for a little bit and cheer and cry and celebrate together.

One of my new favorite Olympic commercials is that "You'll Never Walk Alone" one that P&G has done as part of its "Moms" series. (Lyrics here) Love it. I always mist up at the end. Partly because, come on, how can you not? Mom's-my-biggest-fan doesn't leave dry eyes often. And partly because isn't that something we all need to know? To press on when things are tough and maybe even scary? That there's a light at the end of the tunnel and that we'll never go through it alone?

The song isn't an overtly Christian one, but the last lines say it all:

Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone

As long as that hope is in Christ, we will never walk alone. Even when I'm at my loneliest, I'm never really alone. And there is a tremendous amount of relief wrapped up in that one little sentence that all the words in the world couldn't do it justice.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Deodorant. Use it. Love it. Embrace it.

Random fact of the day: The ONE day I end up sitting in the same pew with a gaggle of fine young men WILL be the same day I forget to put deodorant on. Reason #284 that I am single, folks.

Hearing aids: Balance. I am pondering and pondering how to achieve this. I do not want to be one of those people who loudly "demands" this service or "deserves" assistance. People, the world is full of souls who are hurting and need help in so many different ways. What makes me any better than them and how highly do I have to think of myself to expect everyone to fall all over themselves to give me a hand when they have their own things to deal with? So no, I don't want to be one of the voices clamoring for attention - I'd rather be one of the hands offering compassion to a hurting world, because I hurt right along with them.

So with that in mind, where's the balance between being honest and admitting when I need help with something and not speaking up because to do so would just be one more thing on a very busy person's to-do list? What do I do in a crowded situation? Do I ask for help? How should I feel if the answer is, "No, I'm sorry, we can't do that right now."? Do I take one for the team and get what I can out of it with limited resources? How do I bear that well?

I'm just one person. Who am I to ask the world to stop and give me a hand? At the end of the day, does it really matter whether I heard every single word of the conversation or just 60% of it? On the other hand, while I'm keeping my needs to myself in order to make everyone else comfortable, I am wondering, "Don't I matter, too?" It's an angry question and a poignant one. Sometimes, I grumble and scream, "What about ME?! When is it MY turn?! Why doesn't anyone ever think of ME?!" Other times, and this is the one I have a hard time explaining to people, I truly am wondering - do I matter enough for people to make adjustments for me? Unless you've lived in my shoes, it's difficult to express how all the itty bitty slights I experience throughout the day or week - people getting frustrated when I ask them to repeat something, forgetting to include me in the conversation or just flat out ignoring me to accommodate their own comfort zone - all adds up to, "You don't really matter. You're not worthy of my time." So once in a while, I do ask, "Do I matter, too? Am I enough a part of this friendship/church/conversation/group that you're willing to put your comfort aside long enough to help me feel like I belong?"

So where's the line? Where's the balance between needing to feel included and needing to put myself aside for the sake of the people around me? Oy. Community is a tricksy, tricksy thing!

In other news: Must. Get. Passport. I've got the travel bug. And I need a traveling companion(s)! Inquire within! I haven't seen much outside the Midwest. Never been to California, the Pacific Northwest or the deep South (Nawlins, anyone?!). Never been out of the country, either, but I'm currently sans passport. So I'm determined to at least see as much of the U.S. as I can this year, vacation days permitting, of course. So far I'm booked for Columbus, OH this spring and maybe Vegas this fall. I'm dreaming about San Fransisco, New Orleans, Seattle and Chicago. We shall see.

Never thought I'd say this, but I'm getting tired of TV. Yep, you heard it here first! Lost excluded, of course.

Peace out, boy scout!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Counting my blessings! Really!

Random fact of the day: I have to edit a lot of bridge columns at work. I can now tell you an awful lot about bridge except how to play it.

Hearing aids: One of my hearing aid batteries quit on me today and I didn't have any extras in my purse. It's not that big of a deal, really. Just annoying. It's like all the sound in one ear just gets cut off. Makes me feel off-balance. But it's different when I deliberately choose to not wear one hearing aid (usually because the earmold doesn't fit right or something). That doesn't bother me. Getting caught without spare batteries does. Weird, right?

I buy batteries in packages of 16. They usually cost something like $13, $14 per package. Not great, not horrible. I change my batteries maybe once every couple weeks, or once every week and a half or so. So I figure I use four batteries a month. So one package can last me several months.

A few weeks ago, I walked into Radio Shack to get more batteries (Radio Shack is my supplier, yo). They were marked as $2.99 each. I thought for sure it was a typo and they were really $12.99 each. NOPE. They REALLY were $3 apiece, so I bought six packages. YUP. That is like two years' worth of batteries for $24!!! WIN.

I've been thinking about hearing loss and relationships. I've blogged a bit about that before (here, here, here, and here ) but I don't really talk about the good things. There are good things and there are good friends and people who DO want to help. I think that often I just look at the ways that hearing people do relationships and how much easier they have it. When I look at my own life and realize it doesn't look like theirs - I don't function like they do, make friends like they do, etc - I assume I've failed. I think that others don't care because they don't interact with me the same way they interact with others.

But the thing I need to get is that's not true. I haven't failed. Just because people interact with me differently doesn't mean they don't care. It does mean they have to put a little more effort in and yes, I think that sometimes people who haven't gotten to know me are intimidated by that, but for every one like that, there are five who aren't. And yes there are times when people forget to speak clearly or they look away or get a little impatient, but how can I fault them for that? How can I expect them to remember everything all the time? How can I, when I'm human, too?

I'm so grateful for my church. They WANT to help me communicate and get plugged in and DON'T WANT to see me isolate myself and they recognize the dangers of doing so. We're learning together, I think, how to navigate this communication thing. I'm so thankful for my friends there - who pick up a notebook and jot notes for me. Without asking. For friends who know sign language and can clue me in from across the room. ;)

I'm thankful for my friends and family (who I totally take for granted) who love me for ME and chastise me for ME and tease me for ME and not for my hearing aids. And even the stuff about me they don't like - that doesn't have anything to do with my hearing aids but everything to do with who I am as a person. I love them for doing things like having a quiet side conversation with me at a crowded party. For cheerfully planning one-on-one activities, for texting instead of calling, for tagging along to movies that are 30 miles away.

I wouldn't trade my job for anything. Not because of the work itself but because of my bosses and co-workers. They so freely and naturally clue me in when it's apparent I've lost my place in the conversation. They choose the quiet part of the restaurant when we go out to eat. They let me know what I missed when we have company-wide meetings. They say things like, "If you ever need anything, let me know!" "What can we do to help?" "What if we tried this?"

Man, I've really got it good.

In other news: I'm going to pull a Seth Meyers and do my own version of "REALLY?!" (the clip I linked to isn't captioned, so please forgive me if there's any offensive content!)

Winter Olympics? Really? The Olympics for cold-blooded creatures who think they're too cool for normal sports? Also known as the Games That Remove All Hilarity From Thursday Night's Lineup. Really?

Google's Buzz - REALLY? What is this? Facebook for Google? Foogle? Twitter for Google? Twoolge? Worse yet, Facebook, Myspace AND Twitter for Google? I'd make up a word for that, but my keyboard might explode. Really.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Miscellany

Random fact of the day: I'm mildly worried around dogs. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm scared of them. I mean, I've dog sat before (Okay, just ONCE, but still). But I don't think I've ever been able to feel totally at ease around canines. I never had any pets growing up (except for the cat we eventually discovered I was allergic to and got rid of when I was nine) so I think I just never really figured out how to be cool around animals. Yes, even domesticated ones! Lame points = 1.62 million.

Hearing Aids: With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I've been thinking more about love and romance and all that gag-y stuff. I've never had a boyfriend and not really any prospects, either. I worry that guys are turned off by my weight and/or hearing aids. The weight, I can work on. The hearing aids, not so much. (There's no exercise program to regain your hearing! ;)) I wonder if guys look at me and think, "That'd be too much work." Repeating themselves. Not being able to enjoy the same things like going to concerts or big parties. Not being able to talk (easily) on the phone. Such little things but life is made of little things.

But then I remember that my life isn't my own, God has His own plans and if that includes marriage, then I can trust Him with those fears. And if He doesn't have marriage in mind for me, then all my worries are moot points anyway. ;)

In other news: I'm trying to read more and watch less TV. Lost notwithstanding. That one's a non-negotiable. ;)) My (short) reading list so far includes:

The Jewel of Gresham Green - Lawana Blackwell
Lip Reader - Shanna Groves
Relationships: A mess worth making - Tim Lane & Paul Tripp
Absolute Surrender - Andrew Murray
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God - John Piper and Justin Taylor, eds.

Progress is slow, but it sure beats watching every episode of King of Queens for the 473rd time. ;)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The one with the baby talk

Random fact of the day: Keeping chicken fried rice in the fridge too long results in the eggs tasting rubbery after a while. Gross.

Hearing aids: I think I talk really loud. But no one ever tells me if I do. I just noticed a few patrons eavesdropping on my conversation at brunch today, so I thought maybe I was accidentally yelling. Oops. I can't tell how loud or quiet I am. I just try to match the noise level that I hear (or think I hear). Kind of like how when I drive, I just go at whatever speed everyone else is. Because the speed limit posting is just a suggestion, really.

In other news: Every now and then I get baby fever. I'm really not one of those girls who won't be happy until she's married with children. I'm savoring every moment of my single life. But my hormones don't care and tend to attack without warning. So once in a while, I wistfully wander through the baby section at department stores and dream about the pitter-patter of little feet. Sometimes I think my arms physically ache to hold a little one. One time, on Friends (get used to me starting sentences like this, too), Chandler and Monica were being interviewed to adopt a pregnant woman's baby. There was a mixup and the woman thought they were a different couple. When she found out they had misled her, she wanted to wash her hands of them. Chandler tried to talk her into giving them one more chance:

"I really want a kid. And when that day finally comes, I'll learn how to be a good dad. But my wife, she's already there. She's a mother without a baby."

And so my stupid hormones make me feel like a mother without a baby. But after a couple weeks, it passes. And I think about the upcoming wedding in our family and I dream about nieces and nephews instead. (I was thisclose to buying a baby shirt today that said "I love my auntie!" on it, even though I've been told in no uncertain terms that there are no plans for babies anytime soon. WHATEVER.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This is why I'm still single

Random fact of the day: I figured out why I'm still single. You know how everyone and their mom is doing that doppleganger thing on Facebook? I was bored, so I went to to find out which celebrity I most resemble. The results were catastrophic, and very telling of my marital status. After all, what (straight) respectable male would want to be the father of this person's babies:

YUP. Apparently, my #1 celebrity match is Elton John. Who is not even in the same gender pool as me. Ah, well. The mystery as to why I have never, ever been on a date is finally solved, my dear Watson!

Hearing Aids: Oh man. If I ever forget how much I love J-Pipe, all you have to do is wave this little morsel under my brain. Even though it's about not wasting your cancer, I think most of the points apply to other illnesses and disabilities as well. The ones that stuck out to me the most:

1.) You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it was designed for you by God. (I am going through a season where I'm struggling to wrap my head around this. This part of my theology used to come so easily - we suffer because Jesus suffered. Creation groans as a woman in childbirth. The best is yet to come. I get it. But for this season, it would appear the Lord has some more He wants to show me because I can't seem to let it go. I've got to know more about this strange concept of suffering being good and not just allowed by God, but designed by God. Isn't that so not what the world would say? I marvel at that.)

3.) You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death. (Ok, hearing loss doesn't carry a mortality rate, but I think we will waste everything if we do not think about death and the life beyond this one)

5.) You will waste your cancer if you think that "beating" cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ. (I don't plan to "beat" my hearing loss. I can't. What I try to do instead is develop some sort of worldly platitude like, "I won't let this hearing loss get me down; I'm going to be awesome and prevail in spite of it. I'll show them." Whoever "them" is. But that's all wrong. None of that matters if I'm not cherishing Christ)

7.) You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection. (Oh, ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. This is what I do, oh, 99% of the time. So, ouch)

8.) You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope. (I've said that I don't think I have or will ever stop grieving on some level for losing my hearing. But that's wrong. It wasn't mine to begin with, it was God's, so how can I grieve for what was never mine? And I do have hope - in Christ. I look forward to the day when I can hear and join in with the multitude around the throne and proclaim, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.")

In other news: Honestly, I'm just here to kill time before Lost comes on. Before the final season of Lost comes on. Ohhhh, the anticipation is running rampant in these here parts!

I have a decision to make in the next few months... my lease is up in July but I have to give the leasing office an answer by May. Stay here for another year? Move back to the city? Stay in the same area but a different residence? Get a roommate or go it alone? Decisions, decisions. What kinds of living experiences have you had?