I turned around today. Not literally in a physical sense, but an ethereal sort of way to see where I have traveled from the past year and half. So many changes in my life that when I paused to take stock of them I shook my head and marveled at how change flew at me like a car on a video game screen. How had I maneuvered this massive amount of outward and inward change? What had I determined to do different in these days post-divorce? How was I living out my desires, my passions, my hunger to live totally different than the first half of my life? What had I done to face realities post-divorce, live free of baggage, celebrate who I really was, to let go of the past and walk forward, to truly trust God for what I lacked, what my soul longed for and be deliberate in each day? For the first time in my life I felt like myself, like the Lynn I was inside. It was a soul settling feeling and completely freeing to make choices based on me and not others or what I thought I needed to do to not rock the boat or put the universe into full orbital spin. I have always loved myself, who I was and moved through life with a sense of confidence but this was beyond that. I felt true to who I was without reservations. It was exhilarating, invigorating and energizing to live this way. Even in my dark periods post-divorce, I had a sense of coming into who I was and it created passion in my life. There is part of you when you get a divorce, even one that is needed, that wonders how you will find your way again. How you will let go of familiar and same and safe even if it was hard and painful to live that way. I wondered what my life would evolve into over time. I wanted time to move a bit faster and about the time I quit caring if it moved fast or slow or at all, it moved:)
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Let's be clear on one thing, my opinions are not necessarily endorsed by those of blogspot.com. In fact, my views and opinions probably aren't endorsed, backed or supported by the majority period. And in this case, not by the majority of sweatpant loving wearing people who roam the earth. I take a bit of an issue with sweatpants. I don't really like them:) Oh, don't get me wrong, I wear them to run in and the occasional lounge wear inside my home when comfort trumps fashion or I am hiding, relaxing or frigidly cold. Some years ago a phenomena took place in the world of sweatpants. No, no it wasn't the breakaway sweatpants for professional basketball players. No, it wasn't the onslaught of yoga pants that could double as palooza pants and were typically donned by middle aged gray haired mother earth women. It was the word emblazoned across the butt sweat pant hysteria that swept the nation. Now I realize I am a middle aged woman, and my goal is not necessarily to advertise my posterior (I'm merely trying to keep mine from falling into the ocean depths) to the known world. I do not want bright yellow or pink words such as "HOTTIE", "IN MOTION", "SEXY", or my all time favorite, "YOU COULD ADVERTISE HERE" anywhere near my hiney. This trend of butt printing was single handedly the greatest marketing ploy ever created to increase sweatpant sales and revive a dying screen printing industry in the continental US (I heard that in a game show once). There are several more reasons why I hate sweatpants. They scream a loud message (much like a dog whistle to dogs) that says, "I am either too fat to fit into regular pants or wearing pull up pants saves time that I can more fully contribute to society as a whole.":) When I was young there was not a lot of choices in style or color within the sweatpant family. It seems there was gym issued gray, a strange sort of navy blue and basic black. Color and fashion have collided with sweatpants these days. I especially like (sarcastic if you can't tell) those sweat suit outfits that women in their 70's wear - a bit of velour, glitter, and embroidery of a butterfly showcased against a bright Florida flamingo color. Yet another frightening display of sweatpants comes from men whose better body days are behind them. And, so is their crack which shows slightly as the gray "Hanes" sweats hang precariously low below their bellies. While in Hawaii a few years back we were driving through the center of the Big Island to Kona. We stopped at a park and sitting at a picnic bench were park workers taking a break. Facing the car was the rear end of a large Samoan man with sweatpants on. Ok, well they were partly on anyways! I couldn't stop laughing and actually snapped a picture after I zoomed in on the crack and flesh that poured out of the sweatpants. I haven't scrap booked that picture yet! So for all you sweat pant wearing folk out there, I salute you for your contribution and desire for a zipperless world where elastic rules.
How do we come to know certain things in life? I mean really, there is not enough classroom or instructional time to learn everything we need to know - to navigate with knowledge all of life. Sitting in my boss's office today we touched on this subject matter in relation to the information we both need to know to do what we do. There is though, no possible human way to know it all. There is just way too much stuff to possibly keep it all contained in the front of the mind filing cabinet. I've somewhat always adhered to a more laid back and free-spirited way of approaching situations of the unknown or those in the lacking knowledge category. It's simple for me - I learn something when I need to know how to do. Especially do I adopt that system of discovery when there is just too much to understand all at once. My boss and I agreed that we both utilize that attainment of knowledge system readily and it keeps us from being overwhelmed. I then thought about how we ultimately come to hold and know what we know. How do I know what I know? Who taught me all of it? How much was taught and how much was just caught by observing, being thrown in situations or by doing it wrong? Go further even than that. How do I know certain things clear through to my soul and spirit? How do I know I love someone? How do I know that God, even though at times silent, knows every square inch of my mind, heart, soul, spirit and body? How do I know that tomorrow the sun will come up? How do I know what direction to take in life? How do I know when something or someone is right for me - that it's my path specifically? How do I know how to navigate directions with little effort? How do I know how to engage other people and get them to open up to me? How do I know how to put up a light or fix a toilet? How do I know that there is a new season in my life? How do I know when it's time to leave a job, follow a dream, push myself, let go, grieve, trust my heart? There is a lot to know in life. There is a lot that comes through our lives that we have no reference point to, no directions we can follow, no manual or how-to. How do I know what I know? How do you know what you know? I love the line in the movie Rudy where Rudy goes to see Father Hesberg and asks him the tough questions of life. I love the Father's response, "I know one thing. There is a God and I am not him." I love that line. It's true. There is no way to know everything. And, there is no way to know how we collectively come to know knowledge or how to do things or how we sense things or how to navigate through life. I like that I don't have to know it all at once. I subscribe totally to situational how to knowedness. It allows me to travel lightly and constantly cycle in new information and knowledge as I need to know it. How did I know how to set a blog? I didn't, but learned it as it became important and necessary for me to do so. When I needed and wanted to know I researched and fiddled and figured it out. I asked my mom when I was a kid, "Mom, how will I know who to marry?" She replied, "You'll just know." I hated that response to my question at the time. All these years later I have come to know in learning, in knowledge, in careers, in relationships I do just know. Hunger, curiosity, desperation and desire are all reasons that drive me to know something. Then, what to do with what I know:)
If you've ever watched the show, "Malcolm In The Middle" you might know the theme song, "Boss of Me" by They Might Be Giants. I can identify with the words of the chorus....You're Not The Boss Of Me Now! Someone mentioned to me recently about my strong independent ways and whether they are a result of the life I had to live or my personality. Immediately my mind went to kindergarten. Unfortunately I would like to say that because of circumstances in my adult life, I became that way. It's not true or even remotely accurate though. What my life circumstances created was the ability to survive, even live and move forward, despite what was placed on my shoulders because of my strong and independent personality. I'm thankful looking back that God gave me that personality because without it, I don't know if I would have survived or been as relatively whole as I am (that might be subjective too!). There is no documentation to prove it, but I might have exited my mother's womb without a cry, possibly wide awake and wanting to do it myself:) When I got to kindergarten I had a clear sense of what should be and set to making it that way. There was a play kitchen in the classroom and during play time I commanded its space. I also commanded everyone who wanted to play in it:) I could read at age 4 so when I went to kindergarten and they passed out our first report card, I opened mine up and read all the teacher comments on conduct, etc. Reading the comments I noted that my teacher, Mrs. Holloway (a very proper, orderly and cool handed teacher), had written that I was sometimes bossy. What! Me? I can remember feeling a bit hurt by that at 5 years old and wondering why she would have said that. How was orchestrating a whole kitchen and the activities that occurred in it with such efficiency and excellence being bossy? Giving the report card to my parents I saw a smile cross both of their faces. There wasn't any scolding, or really conversation regarding what she wrote. I am thoroughly convinced that my parents, clearly seeing my personality bent, knew it would do no good. They merely smiled in acknowledgement and understanding of what Mrs. Holloway had said. On the day my parents dropped me off at college, my dad unsure of his emotions of losing his last daughter, on his exit from my dorm room stated, "Lynn, don't boss your roommate around.":) I have taken personality tests through the years, while a teenager and in my adult life either in a church setting or through corporate trainings. There is a similar thread in all the tests I have taken - independent and strong - choleric. There is a thread of strong, decisive, independently free spiritedness that propels most things that I do and who I am. It is what has allowed me to move forward when others would not have been able to. It is what allows me to live without fear totally crippling me despite circumstances that have been daunting at times. It is also what allows me to truly believe anything can be done - even if I don't know how to do it presently there is a way. BTW, on the kitchen thing - if you came to my house I would most definitely let you play with me in the kitchen and wouldn't even boss you around - now that's progress!!
Someone told me recently, "You must have had guys chasing you in high school as you are beautiful." I laughed and stated, "No! My sister Diane, yes. Me, no. I was a very late bloomer." In fact, to be honest, I bloomed probably around age 29-30. You know of my late physical development from my blog of my bust size in 7th grade at 27 inches. I really wasn't beautiful in high school, didn't have a full sense of who I was (although I doubt any teenager really does) and did not fully come into my own style until I was an adult. It took me some years to get my stride down. Age does not bother me in many ways. I love the fact that as I have aged I have gotten somewhat better looking (ok that is subjective but compared to 10th grade - YES!), more confident in who I am and what I bring to the world I am in-to those I love-to what I put my hand to, at how I view life and others, how I see God differently from a view of grace and love. I was not the girl who was ever nominated for homecoming queen (that would again be my sister Diane and possibly Jeanne too). I was not the girl who had a date every weekend (that would most definitely have been my sister Diane). I was a tomboy growing up and, in some regards, even though I am all woman, still am simple and unadorned without many accessories or much make-up. I am more comfortable in a pair of jeans than a dress and, too much time in front of a mirror gets on my nerves:) I thought about that this week in light of what that person commented to me about my appearance. It may have been a good thing I blossomed late in life. It caused me to concentrate on thinking and developing the inner Lynn which contributed to making me strong, free spirited and confident. I also lived in a marriage where rarely in twenty-five years did I hear the affirmation of "you're beautiful". Once again for those years I had to foster other things in my life. I've heard those words "you're beautiful" in recent years from different people in my life and, at times, total strangers. But, most recently I have been hearing it a great deal. It at first seemed foreign to my ears. Unbelievable that someone would really see me in that way. That they would see with their eyes what is beautiful to them and then express it. I suppose in large ways I see my physical appearance second to how I see my mind and spirit and, combined with being a late bloomer and not hearing physical affirmations for so many years, it totally amazes me to hear such words of "you're absolutely stunningly beautiful". That person who said that to me also said they wanted to keep saying it till I believed them. There is still some lingering unbelief:)
I just got done lifting weights for about 40 minutes. My philosophy probably differs from that of a trainer or weight lifter. I lift and do reps until I cannot raise my arm in that pattern one more time. Then usually I repeat the whole circuit at least 2 times. I'm just trying to exhaust the muscle (and myself!) and keep perpetual aging gravity at bay:) Today was no different as I lifted. My mind wandered purposefully to my overflowing heart of thankfulness that I could lift weights - that my body would allow me the energy and stamina to do it - that I could enjoy one of my loves . . . exercise. There was a time in my life where getting off the floor or getting dressed was all the mental and physical energy my body could maneuver. Yesterday I ran 4 miles. I am not overly fast. My goal is not to break records, but just to have the privilege of breathing the air, moving my legs and feeling the results of nature and exercise combined. There was a time in my life where I could not run. Never is there a day when I do any form of exercise that I do not thank God profusely for the ability and gift of it in my life. I am very cognizant each and every time I hold a weight, pedal a bike, run the miles, do crunches and push ups, or just walk without having to talk myself through it, of the blessing of movement and joy that it brings me. During those years that took away my ability to move freely, to push myself, to experience nature, or the exhaustion of physical exercise that leaves you with a feeling of unbridled joy & accomplishment, I struggled over the loss of that love in my life. This morning as I finished exhausting a muscle group, I had pure joy and contentment coursing through me. I also paused to thank God for the gift of movement and that I get to experience and participate in something that I love. I purposefully do not forget what it was like to not have the ability to participate in running, biking, lifting weights, walking, moving freely. Not forgetting makes having it all the more sweeter. I love when my legs or arms or abs burn and hurt - it's a reminder that I can and do!
One of my girlfriends and I decided to go to a day spa (courtesy of our bosses) for a massage. We were both looking forward to the massage experience together while enjoying each other's company and a rousing round of laughter woven in the day. I love massages and the body and mental relaxation that occurs. Deciding to meet each other at the spa, I arrived first. Sitting in the lobby waiting on my friend, they called my name. I expressed to them that I was waiting on my friend. The spa employee assured me that they would bring her back as soon as she got there. Not having ever been to this particular spa for a massage, I follow the employee down the very dark candlelit hallway where she hands me a robe and tells me to go into the dressing room and remove all my clothing (some of you non-massage people are already squirming to think of being buck naked on a table with a stranger rubbing oil on your skin and plying your muscles into soft puddles of goo!). I oblige her, as me and nudity (see post on ironing in the nude) co-exist quite easily together. She then leads me to a small room. Inside the room are two small love seats, subdued lighting and more candles with soft "Yanni" music playing in the background. "This," she says, "is the relaxation room where you can let your mind slow down and soak your feet in a warm basin of water." I'm feeling slightly uncomfortable at this point. Sitting across from me in this room is a man. To me it seems odd to be sitting in a room in darkness with a man I don't know, both us naked underneath the robes we are wearing. As I sit down on the loveseat I notice that this man is extremely tall. He had to be well over 6' tall. I, on the other hand, am 5'5". My eyes now fully adjusted to the dimly lit room, realize that the robes they have given us are no doubt a one size fits all type of deal (much like hospital gowns!). The robe on me literally wraps around me twice and comes down to mid-calf. This is not the case for the gentleman. His robe (seated) barely hits the middle of his thighs. I am now privy to seeing completely up his robe as his ginormous legs and angle in which he has to sit to get his feet into the basin, create a sort of telescope for me to clearly view his man parts. It is now all I can do to not start laughing out loud at the hilarity of the whole situation. Inside I am wondering where my friend is, why I am in this room with this man, why he cannot notice that his robe is too short or feel air on his nether regions. Ten more minutes pass and an employee finally returns to take "tall man in short robe" (the Indian name I have silently given him in my head while whimsically entertaining myself over the view) from the room. As he stands to leave he puts on the spa issued flip flops to follow her. I clasp my hand over my mouth as I note how short that robe is on him, but also that the spa issued flip flops must be one size for men and one size for women. His feet are also huge and his entire portion of his heel is not on the flip flop, but hanging strangely off the back. There was something rising from the depths of me that was going to burst forth in laughter at the sight of "tall man in short robe" exiting the room, robe barely covering his ass, flip flops that appear to be about 5 sizes to small and him carrying his glass of wine with him to the next room. As soon as the door shut behind them I broke out into laughter - the image of what I saw burned onto my retinas. I got way more than just a massage - WAY MORE!
I'm not a fan of the phrase, "How are you?". It is one of the many over used and under meant sentences we use in our culture. Think of the times you are in the bank, the gas station, a store in the mall, a restaurant, work, even at church and someone asks you, "How are you?". In Americanese it's paramount to saying "Hi". Flippantly it can roll off our tongues without a thought of really wanting to know how someone is. Have you ever tried to be gut wrenching honest when asked that question just to see how the questioner will respond (knowing they are really only expecting a good, great or ok response)? I've tried that a time or two to those who want to pose that question with what appears to be a great deal of non-caring insincerity. It has taken a few back:) It could just be my way of thinking, my desire to be purposeful in living life that causes me to NOT ask that question casually, but expectedly, wanting to know truly how the person is. My comeback to a response of "good or ok" is, "Really? What's making it good or what's making it merely ok?" That causes some to stop and realize that the question was asked in sincerity and that I do care. I've heard some amazing responses from that second question - confessions of truth, relief that they can be honest of how they are really feeling, comfort that someone took time to look a little further into their words and their world. There have been times I too have been asked that "how are you" question and I have responded, "Well, are you sure you really want to know?" :) I love questions. I'm sure it is directly linked to my questing mind and spirit, my love of people and my desire to leave someone better than I found them. There are big things in life that create huge tsunami's, but mostly I believe life is small waves - small touches that slowly over time impact others. Those small things like a sincere "how are you" give people value and make them feel that someone truly cares. Today as you move about your world and bump into others around you, why not try saying, "How are you?" with sincerity. It's actually quite an ice breaker which can open up a world of conversation and a way to touch the life of someone. BTW: How are you today?
I have played piano since I was about 7 years old. Being the third child of three girls I was expected to do what they did - take piano lessons. It was an era of raising kids where "finding your child's real self and fostering it" wasn't the theme of parenting. The theme of parenting was actually "teach discipline and responsibility through any and all avenues of pain, practice, responsibility and discipline". Piano lessons was that avenue for the Cherry girls. Actually I didn't mind taking piano lessons for 10 years (you'd think with that many years of lessons I would be like a concert pianist!) except for my piano teacher, Mrs. Hess. She would sometimes sing along with the music I was playing in this disturbing warbly old lady voice. Other times, she would grab my hands in frustration as invariably I did not follow the music exactly like it was written much of the time - I improvised a bit here and there:) I greatly hated much of the music she taught. But, the worst part of piano lessons was when it came time for either her recitals or the local piano contest. Both forums required memorization of the piece performed. I was horrible at that. I could play easily from music in front of me, but struggled to memorize an entire piece from Bach or Beethoven. I hated, and that is really not a strong enough word to describe what I felt, playing a piano solo from memory. At piano contest you were judged by a panel of judges on how well you played both in memorizing the piece perfectly and interpretation of dynamics, etc... Even as I type I can feel the dread that would come over me as they called my name from the judge's table. All eyes in the room tuned in on me as I walked across the room to hand the judges a copy of the music I was performing. Sitting down on the piano bench after slightly adjusting it to the right distance to fit my arm and upper body height, I started my "memorized" piece. Don't get me wrong, I played piano at church and school for choirs, vocal groups, etc, but HATED playing piano solos. I was an accompanist not a solo performer and knew it. I was operating outside of my giftedness and comfort level. My mind went blank sitting there. There was not one note that flashed upon my big screened Lynn mind. Panic ensued at a rate that caused the pumping of blood through my heart to make it feel as though it would burst from my non-existent chest. "Breathe, breathe, think Lynn, think!". I started in as the first measure unfolded on the screen in my mind but the measures were not coming on the screen fast enough. Oh no, between the conversation I was having, the inability to remember fully one measure to the next, all eyes staring at me, the judges furiously writing comments at the judge's table, my heart beating so loud and fast that those on the first row no doubt heard it. My legs, now independent from the rest of my body, began to take on this other earthly swaying all on their own. Oh, I don't mean they were moving in sync with the music I was playing - you know a sort of expression of feeling music and living in the moment. No, they were spasmodically swinging wildly from side to side as terror coursed through every vein in my body. It was as if all nervous thoughts, fears and energy collided into the muscles of my legs and like an alien, took over. I could instantly feel the stares intensify not only from my horrible job of reciting this piece from memory, but now from this out of body alien take-over of my legs. My only hope was just to get to the last measure and be put out of my misery as soon as possible. The last measure came up on my mind's screen and I, without much interpretation left in me, played the final note. I stood from the piano to a room of pity clapping and waited for the judge's final score (much like an Olympic skater who fell during their triple toe jump during their long program). Honestly I didn't care what I scored or if I even scored. I was relieved and horrified all at the same time. As the scores were posted on the wall outside of the room a few minutes later I didn't rush to check them. To this day I don't know what I scored on that piano palsy number I bumbled through. I can't imagine it was good though. It would be years and years later, during my then father-in-law's ordination service, when having to play a solo version of "The Lord's Prayer", the piano palsy legs returned. You would think while playing "The Lord's Prayer" that the Lord would deliver me from piano leg palsy, wouldn't you?
For those of you who tune into this blog you may have noticed it’s been silent for over a week. I took some well needed time off from regular life for a season. In doing so, I also took some time off from writing. I have gotten several emails stating that you all were wondering where I was and were missing reading what I think and write daily. Why, I don’t know! Right now I am on a plane flying home from Las Vegas. Oh yes, the city that never sleeps. I have been there before but it was under totally different circumstances. I played the slot machines a time or two and won $35.00. Big winner indeed:) Gambling just doesn’t really do much for me. I don’t quite see the point. I walked the strip, went to the malls, watched the droves of people, fought off street promoters, laughed hysterically, ate more food than I ever eat, enjoyed the company of friends, saw a show “Chriss Angel”-the magician (2 thumbs down on that show!), messed myself up with a three hour time difference, got very little sleep every day, relaxed my mind and my body, did something that has not been a part of my past, and I did it all spur of the moment. I laughed as my friend drove me to the airport after work, dropped me off and I headed off on an adventure of a lifetime. Once in flight I smiled again at how deliberate my thinking has been about wanting the second half of my life to be totally different than the first half. Well, I thought to myself, this is most definitely different- out of the ordinary. Actually I don’t really care for Las Vegas. I don’t love crowds or mindless activity. But, much like the “Seinfeld” episode where George Costanza decides to do everything opposite of what he normally does and finds success, so did I. For those of you who read this and know me, you are smiling and saying, “Lynn, only you would go to Vegas on a whim!” I feel in flight to this new life that I want. It’s an amazing feeling in my soul and spirit to just let loose - to quit trying to please everyone or live in the pattern that I have lived. This week has been such a spectacular experience in setting a new course, living richly, feeling passionate, seizing the moments. I am in extreme gratefulness to God for hearing my heart’s cry and delivering it in a way I would have never, ever imagined. I feel humbled and undeserving and yet awed at His generosity toward making my spirit be in flight. I was in Vegas baby! Vegas:)