Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I have been reading a lot about perfectionism lately.  It comes up in my counseling practice all the time and I have been accused of being one a time or two (whether by myself or somebody else).  As with most human problems, this area was identified and quickly pathologized.  And now, years later, there has been some pull back and studiers of perfectionism are saying their are adaptive and maladaptive forms of perfectionism:

Adaptive: driven, goal-directed, yet able to celebrate goals even when they are not fully completed.  Perhaps, these are even the most hopeful of people.  Idealistic, but accepting.
Maladaptive: only see what is not completed.  Unrealistic expectations and difficulty, well...adapting.  Prone towards depression.  Idealistic, and judging.

Hmmmmm...I think i will shoot for the first.

Accepting What Is...

I am pretty much strongly opposed to anything that smacks of giving up.  It is my personality.  It is how I was raised.  And most of the time, it serves me well.  I'm pretty tenacious and go after what I want.  Like, the long distance runner type; not the sprinter.

But, sometimes, it does not serve me well.  Like today.  I feel a bit guilty.  I called in sick for a shift at work.  I woke up early this morning and I had a bit of fever.  (Perhaps more later on Lizzy's tragic health problems; like even when they seem basic).  I went to the doctor this week and the antibiotics have not quite kicked in.   I know they will sometime today.  And actually, I could be working; feeling bad is relative and I could push through.  ...thus goes my thinking, my feeling...

Being the pusher througher, it is hard to know when to just accept what is.  What is.  This is: a sick day.  The call has been made.  So, even though it is not "that bad," I will stay in my PJs and write a blog, (afterall, I'm not puking my guts out).  And when the fever does break...well, maybe I will take a light stroll.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Like to Go to Church

One of the earliest songs I learned went like this, "I like to go to church.  I like to go to church.  I love the happy songs we sing, I like to go to church."  And I really did!  And I really still do. 

I have been going to church since I was in my grandmother's womb, (YES! that is biologically and historically accurate.  I can explain if you want me to...), so there is a lot I could say here.  And it is not all roses and sunshine...or "happy songs."  But today, I felt nostalgic and thankful for many warm memories and Sunday traditions that flooded my memory:

- My dad was responsible for weekend breakfasts most of the time.  Pancakes on Saturday and donuts or Pillsbury orange rolls on Sunday.  Those orange rolls still take me right back to Sunday mornings.
-  We used to listen to Casey Kasum's top 40 on the way to church and on the way home.  On the way there the songs were, ummmmm.... not very good; many unrecognizable.  But on the way home we were listening to the top 10 and it was awesome.  A lot of time we sat in the car to listen for #1!
- In "big church," (that is what we called the main worship service), my mom often held my hand.  And sometimes I held my brothers and sister's hands too.  Even when we were teenagers.  No - we did not do this at movies or baseball games.  Just in big church.
- Dad always had lifesavers in his pocket for big church.  My favorite was/is butter rum.  The other options were the fruity kind or wintergreen.  He normally had two options.  I think my parents started them as a pacifying technique to ween us from the nursery to big church, but I still count on Dad having them today.
- Two words: Golden Corral.  And it was okay to have dessert first or only dessert. 
- One word that follows those two words: NAP.
- And my final memory, was about youth choir.  I have so many fond memories of youth choir.  We used to sing most Sunday night services.  I mean, it sounds so dorky, and I have not even heard mention of one in ten years, but it was fantastic.  And we had a blast!  There is something about the combination of community and learned music and adolescence that is so formative.  If I had it in me, I might just start one at my church.  Maybe I will convince my musician husband one day. 

A Liberal Feminist Goes to a Southern Baptist Church

Imagine the gray-haired, Southern Baptist, church goers shock and surprise if I stood up as a five year old and said, "Now, I don't know it yet, but one day,  I will be somewhat of a liberal feminist."  This is especially funny for me to think about as a recovering people-pleaser and natural rule follower.  But, mysteriously, internally, something like this was forming from a very young age.  

Now, I am not even sure I am a feminist, (I'm a bit afraid of the images that category will conjure up in people), or really that liberal - that is all relative I suppose.  But I am convinced that the historical accounts of Jesus make him an advocate and even a revolutionary for woman's value, life, and rights.  And I am saddened that the Christian church is more often seen as, and sometimes are truly contributers to, the opposite of that. 

I suppose the five year old Lizzy could have added one more thing to her self-proclamation, "But don't worry, in the process of becoming a liberal feminist,  I will also become, (or it will be because I am becoming), more and more enamored with Jesus."

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Balance, balance"

One of my favorite girls in the whole wide world is Maggie Lawrence.  She is my nine year old niece.  When she was not even three I found my self near the top of a very elaborate, very tall playground structure with her.  She led us up, up, and up.

Suddenly she paused for a moment and looked back at me.

"Phew, this is very high, Maggie!"

With her classic straight face and steady stare she replied, "Mm-hm," and paused for a second, two, three...

Not even a half a beat later, she abruptly moved on to the swinging rope bridge that we would traverse to the next tower.  Fears relieved; confidence regained. 

As we continued, though, I heard a little voice saying quietly to herself, "Baaaaaalance, baaaaaaaalance,"  until we reached the other side. 

I hear Maggie's sweet, childlike self-talk in my head these days as I take my next steps, "Baaaaaalance, baaaaaaaalance."  The next tower is in sight.