Part 4 of 23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert

Was a busy day yesterday and by the end of it I was OUT!  Sorry for the lack of posts.

Back to our list…

4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.

Does. It. Ever.

I don’t like selling and I don’t like being sold to.  Sometimes the honesty that comes out of my mouth does more harm than good, but I never have to worry about keeping up a pretense about myself.  What can I say, I was raised to be honest!

I have had the opportunity to be a part of business networking before and thankfully the crack-of-dawn meetings never worked with my schedule.  I had kids to take care of and a husband who left for work at zero-dark-thirty anyway.

Just the thought of putting on that fake smile and trying to “sell” myself gave me the creeps.

At the time, I was a studio and wedding photographer.  I had a decent amount of business and to have a ton more would have destroyed me.  Taking the photos is the easy part – it’s the hours of processing and taking/filling orders that is the hard part.

I worked so hard that, in my mind, my work should sell itself.  Ordering consults with clients I didn’t know prior to their were agonizing for me because it was full of small talk.  And I had no desire to “sell.”  What I offered I had and I didn’t want to have to convince someone into buying.  I just wanted them to fall in love with the photos, as I had, and that be all.

I really wished I could have had a salesperson to do all of that for me, but I was barely making enough for mad money, let alone an employee with a salary and taxes and blech!  I was perfectly content behind the camera rather than in front of my business.

Networking in other situations is tough, but I force myself to do it and usually there are great icebreaker activities that force me to talk.  Different church retreats and workshops I attend do this often and it really helps me.  Otherwise I’d be just sitting quietly where I am and I’d be OK with that.

Being an introvert is exhausting.  I hope some extroverts out there are finding this blog and understanding a little more about their more withdrawn counterparts. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Image Credit:  ArleenBradley.com

“How it is…and how it ought to be”

RUSH and God in the same post?  Borderline blasphemy from either side, perhaps?  Despite my three favorite (favoUrite?) Canadians being a “wee bit” on the atheist side of things, I, myself, find a lot of spirituality in their music.  Perhaps that’s what makes a good lyricist  – he sees things his way, but I can also see things my way. (FTR, no matter his stance on anything, Neil Peart is my hero. 🙂 )

Today was a disappointing day.  We’re going through some things in our personal lives that I won’t bore you with – pretty much because it’ll just sound like whining.  Our lives are not perfect, but they’re not awful, either.

I’ve said many times before to folks, the boys from The Great White North pretty much have a song for everything, and this situation is no exception.  “How It Is” came on while I was driving to pick up my boy from his Boy Scout meeting.

One thing you have to understand, the album Vapor Trails, from whence this song came, was born out a great trial in life Neil Peart had to deal with – the loss of his daughter in a terrible car accident and the loss of his wife to a broken heart nearly a year later.  See why I’d just be whining about my piddly problems?

I’m often bringing their music back around to my Christian way of thinking, and damn it if it’s not right.  This situation is how it is.  God’s trying to communicate with us here, and we have to be open to listen.  We didn’t get what we expected, but the answer didn’t change our immediate future – and what a blessing that really is.  It could have been worse, but it’s not.

So, I did my whining, asked God for the night to get over it, and I’m sure I’ll be better in the morning.

I do a much better job of putting things into perspective these days.  Earlier in our marriage, I would have lost sleep, given myself a stomachache or a headache, and dwelled on it for days.

Jesus said,Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG)

Once we take Jesus up on his offer to bear the weight of our burdens, we’re free.  What a friend, what a gift he offers up to us!  We give it all to him so we can deal with it in manageable bits – and the best part, he stays with us while we’re sorting it all out.

The disappointments in life are “how it is”, but Christ’s love and care for us is also “how it is”.  And that’s how it ought to be.

Image Credit: WeAreThatFamily.com

Part 3 of 23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert

What a weekend!  Trying to get back into the old routine of things and it’s rough.  I’m tired, have a mountain of laundry (despite the fact it was all done on Friday), and I’m trying to motivate myself to blog a little.  It’s already been a busy Monday with work and on-going private stuff.

Whew.  Let’s get to:

3. You often feel alone in a crowd.

This has a caveat or two with me.  There are some crowds that I’m perfectly content with and the big one is music concerts.  I’m a huge RUSH fan, and perhaps someday I’ll have posts devoted to nothing but that terrific Canadian trio, but despite the fact that crowd is a sea of strangers, I feel so at home and have the BEST time.  RUSH fans are quite unique and it’s such an inclusive atmosphere, you can’t help but fall deep into conversation with the person next to you.

The other is church.  We have a large congregation for this area and there are still people I don’t know on any given Sunday.  I feel safe enough to not feel alone.

I have a very hard time eating out alone or taking a time-out while running errands if I have to do so in a public place.  If I do have to eat out, I do my best to prepare with a book or something to keep me active so I’m not feeling so conspicuous (when in reality most people probably don’t even notice me).  I’m very end-goal oriented when it comes to a task that, unless it’s absolutely necessary, I just won’t allow myself to stop until the task is complete and I have to go home.

There are also times, in crowds with friends, where I feel a little lost and alone.  Most often it’s when I don’t have a lot of knowledge about the activity/interest.  I embarrass easily and I hate to come off looking like an idiot.  If I’m able, I’ll find out as much as possible before hand.

Winter, coupled with Seasonal Affective Disorder, there are times I feel pretty lost and alone when friends are out of town.  I know they’re still my friend and they’re just gone temporarily, but I feel some sort of connection has been severed until they get back.  It’s weird, but it’s an awful, lonely feeling.  I did find out my Vitamin D level was insufficient, bordering on deficient and it really helped – so if you find you’re feeling on the verge of depressed certain times in the year, have your doctor get to the bottom of it!  It made a huge difference for me.

On the quirky side, I’m not often one to follow a trend, so I’m kind of intentional about isolating myself.  Reality TV?  Nope.  The latest blockbuster movie?  Meh.  Anything fashion?  Funny!  The latest one-hit wonder on the radio?  Puh-leeze.  Even the TV shows I love that happen to be popular, I don’t even start watching until 4 or 5 seasons in.  I try to start a series from the original pilot airing, but usually it’s canceled mid-season or by the end of the first season.  I guess the truly good stuff continues because I haven’t jinxed it yet.  Ha!

Am I starting to sound like a complete freak of nature?  I hope not.  I have a feeling the folks that are checking up on me daily are doing a lot of nodding in agreement.

You’re not alone!  Would love for some of you to comment and tell me a little about how you deal with these situations I’m talking about. 🙂

Image Credit:  Flickr.com

I Survived the 30-Hour Famine!

OK, OK, OK! I was no where near dying, but after a decent night sleep after more than 24 hours with your youth group – that’s how I feel!

What a remarkable time – and to think, 112,000 other people were right there along with us around the world. At least 14 countries participated in the 30-Hour Famine this weekend.

As exhausting as it is, and while it’ll take me and my partner in crime in the Christian Ed department at least a week to get our bearings and regroup with the calendar, I can’t wait to see how we can make it even bigger next time.

The goal for me is MORE ADULTS! This is eye-opening, not only for the kids, but for the adults who get swept away in life-taken-for-granted.

Pray for us – we Christian Ed leaders and our group of kids, our church, all the others around the world who voluntarily went hungry for a while to gain some knowledge, and especially for all – past, present, and future – who have suffered hunger and were burdened with not knowing when or if there would ever be a next meal.

This problem is not God’s doing. This is why we NEED God.

Can I get an AMEN? 🙂

30-Hour Famine…25 hours in

Still feeling pretty great, aside from being very tired.  Body’s kind of sore from a lot of walking around, standing around, blah, blah, blah.

We had a fantastic time with our service projects today.  The first  was heading out to a rather busy intersection near the church with our “Honk for Hunger” signs and counted how many cars honked at us…over 200 for the day!  Last year it was around 120.

Then we came back to make simple sack lunches.  The kids made 27 lunches and we headed downtown to Central Park and handed them ALL out to 27 people who took us up on our offer.  We had so many people request we give the lunch to someone who needs one – the kids were discouraged, but soon realized how refreshing that honesty was from complete strangers.  We felt that all the people who took lunches truly needed something to eat and were very appreciative.  I think we all learned a lesson today.

We just finished up with a bit of downtime.  Now for the last game of the famine, some discussion and devotion, praise songs and then we’re off to break our fast (yay!) with some pizza and bowling!

I made it another year…and even more excited for the next 30-Hour Famine!

Image Credit: TheWellnessChoiceCenter.com

30-Hour Famine…17 hours in

It’s 7:00 AM.  We went to sleep somewhere around 1:00 AM.  I didn’t sleep much, if at all.  It was too quiet for this brain.  Not feeling all that hungry.  I only missed supper, which isn’t the first time.  I was able to skip home for a bit to shower and hydrate with the water necessary to take the meds I forgot to bring with me.  Doh!
The kids must have been super tired because once the lights were out, it was quiet (although, I did threaten their morning cracker if they weren’t!).  I’ll prefer to think they were just tuckered out.

It was a full evening – games, PowerPoint presentation, videos.  Lots of information thrown at these kids and they respond!  We have a great group of kids in this church and community; I’m so proud of them.

We have more games, a few service projects around the church and community, and what we’re all looking forward to – breaking the fast with a pizza party at our local bowling alley.

The harsh reality is, those who suffer from hunger can’t just break their fast.  This church does a great job collecting food for local food pantries year round.  My department, in particular, collected over 1,000 pounds of non-perishable items in a few months last year.  It’s an important mission to not forget those in our own communities who we would never imagine are hungry.  Our own school districts have homeless and un-/under-employed just a paycheck away from poverty.

Here are some facts we shared with the kids last night (straight from World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine):

Hunger Facts

The number of hungry people in the world may shock you. In fact, it should.

Fact #1

In 2012, more than 18,000 children younger than 5 died every day — most from preventable causes. It’s estimated that nearly 8,000 of these deaths were tied to hunger. That’s about one every 10 seconds.

Most of these kids died not from starvation, but from malnutrition — meaning too long without the right kind of food. Eating just enough to stay alive weakened their bodies so much that disease could strike the final blow.

hunger-facts-bus*Based on the most current United Nations data available during creation of 2015 Famine materials
**Based on an average bus capacity of 85 people

Fact #2

Worldwide, 842 million people — about 1 in 8 — are hungry.
That’s over 2.5 times the population of the United States.

hunger-us-map

Many families depend entirely on what they can grow, so they’re never more than one natural or manmade disaster away from hunger.

Fact #3

Nearly 1 in 5 people survive on less than $1.25 a day. And the poor spend most of their money (up to 80 percent of it) on food. How do you pay for shelter, school, healthcare, and clothes with what’s left? You don’t.

hunger-money

Related:
Just how big is this Famine army of hunger-fighting students?
What does extreme hunger actually do to your body?
So what is malnutrition, anyway? (This activity will bring it to life.)
Where do most hungry people live?
How the funds your group raises actually fight hunger.
People like you helped make big headway against hunger in 2014.

So, the next time you see Sally Struthers on TV, take her out of the equation and focus on what’s really important – making fun of her or making it a mission to help those she made the trip to see?  Do something – give to your food banks, donate money world-wide, take a mission trip and make a difference first hand.

SOMETHING is better than NOTHING.  AMEN!