Sunday, July 16, 2017

MIsanthropic Musings

In his sermon today, our Rector, Greg Jones, mused about how in seminary he didn't lose his faith in God, but his faith in people was somewhat diminished. And I must say, I know what he means. I have been extremely fortunate in my life experiences. I've met far more friends than enemies. I've been validated far more often than I've been betrayed. And the majority of my traumas have been not related to people.
I know lots of people. I know women who have left abusive relationships. I know people who have been kicked out of their religious communities. I know people who have never been taught that they are beautiful and beloved. As I told a friend recently, "you've met a lot of jerks."
People are awful, but they are also wonderful. You can't ever give up on relationships, even if you have met a lot of jerks, because despite all the awful, there's so much wonderful. Maybe awe-full is the right word. It's awe-inspiring how a person can be the best thing since sliced bread in one instant, and rotten demonspit the next instant. I'm describing myself as well as others.
I'm 42 years old and I have some of the most amazing men and women in my circle of friends and acquaintances. Overall, I have far more good than bad. That's by design. I don't tolerate toxic people. I pray for them. I try to love them. But I don't keep them in close proximity.
So yes, people are kind of horrible. They are definitely THE problem. The beautiful (and scary) thing is that people are also amazing. People are THE solution.

Monday, June 26, 2017

What God Has Done For Me

Our rector, Robert Fruehwirth, challenged us to craft one sentence to describe how God has impacted us personally. I’ve been pondering that. God has done so much in my life, it’s difficult to boil it all down into one sentence. I had my first experience with God when I was just 9 years old. Ever since then, my relationship with God has been as real and powerful to me as my relationships with people. God got me through the horrors of junior high. God kept me sane during the stresses of high school and college. God patiently guided me to end my engagement to a man I would’ve been desperately unhappy with as a husband. In my mid-20’s, God guided me through the complete dissolution of my persona and ego, and brought me forth as a different and much happier person. God has guided my career path step by step, speaking in the inaudible and unmistakable voice, fulfilling the promise in Isaiah to always be at my right hand, telling me where to go. God gave me a miracle when I was 30. I have sought wisdom, and God has answered, just as promised in James. Not that I’m some kind of wise guru, but I do have much greater insight than I would without my faith.

But throughout it all, God has been guiding me into one powerful fruit of the Spirit: love. 

Love for my enemies. Love for tyrants, oppressors, abusers. Love for perpetual victims, back-stabbers, and gossipers. And not that whole “love the sinner, hate the sin,” kind of love either. More of a “there but for the grace of God go I” kind of love. A love that acknowledges and understands that I am a tyrant, an oppressor, an abuser, a perpetual victim, a back-stabber, a gossip. A love that is deep enough to forgive myself each day and step back into God’s grace.

So what has God done for me? God has given me the strength and humility to love each and every life on this planet.

A post like this is always a risk. I feel timid to share it. Because everyone who knows me knows a time that I have NOT been loving. I am not perfect, and I have not loved all others as myself. And I haven’t always loved myself either. I don’t post this to be holier than thou, because I’m not. On the other hand, I want to share this, because the ability to love each and every person in the world is a great gift. It’s painful. It’s difficult. It’s heart breaking. And it constantly forces me to confront my own sinfulness. Sometimes I go too far and get taken advantage of. Sometimes I set a bad boundary, and hurt someone else. The only thing that makes it bearable is God’s grace. I know that every second, I can repent and turn to God and be washed clean. And that I will have the strength from that grace and forgiveness to turn and ask for forgiveness.

So, what has God done for you?

Friday, June 23, 2017

My Summer Fix!

Well, Stitch Fix has done it again! They sent me another fabulous Fix that captures my style perfectly.
Stitch Fix is a shopping service that sends you 5 items of clothing (including shoes and accessories) once a month, once a quarter, or whenever you schedule a Fix. You tell them your style preferences and sizes, and pay a $20 styling fee for each Fix. That fee is applied to the price of whatever you keep, so if you send everything back, you only pay $20. All shipping is free. In addition, they brilliantly give you a 25% discount off the total price if you purchase all 5 items. And don’t worry about being pregnant or plus sized, or male. They serve all humans!

My last Fix was very pretty, but I ended up only keeping two items. For this fix I was hoping for some dresses, especially a maxi dress, and I got exactly that.

First, the Loveappella Aleicia Knit Maxi Dress.

This dress is everything a summer dress should be. 

It feels like wearing a nightgown. It has short sleeves and is floor length, which makes it a great option for days when you haven't shaved in a while. And I love the color and pattern, especially the paisley at the the bottom. I predict that I will wear this dress way too often for true fashion. Price $74, size Medium

Second, the Collective Concepts Suri Dress.

This blue floral dress is so much fun! 

I’m not a fan of the hi-low hemline, but this hemline is more like a shirt tail, being slightly shorter at the sides. I like that it has that modern effect of the uneven hemline without being so trendy. Plus it flares out when I spin, and when I wear it, I want to spin! I think it needs a belt, and was surprised that it didn’t come with a belt or even belt loops. I tried four different belts with it. Which one do you think is the best? Price $78, size Medium.

Third, a gorgeous Renee C Elvira Lace Pencil Skirt. 

I love me a good pencil skirt, and this one is delightfully stretchy. Plus the blue lace overlay is beautiful and elegant without being stuffy. I am wearing the waist a bit higher than I normally do, because I like the hem of my skirts to fall just beneath my knee. I paired it with a white sleeveless top which I tucked in, although normally I don’t tuck. For hanging out I can add my Kelly green cardigan, and for more formal events I can wear my pretty white lace blazer. Definitely another keeper. Price $54, size Medium.

I also got two blouses which I like, but I’m not sure if I LOVE them.

The first blouse is a Black Tape Carliton Reversible Blouse in black, size Medium, $54. I must confess, I don’t see how this is reversible. When I turn it inside out, the tag shows on the back. Should I be turning it back to front? Also, this shirt means no bra. I could wear a strapless bra, but I find those uncomfortable and not flattering. Ever since breastfeeding, I need some lift, y’all. I’m torn on the whole non bra thing. I like to be "free" when I’m doing hot gardening work in the summer. But out in public? The saving grace is that this is a black top, so it’s not super obvious that I’m letting it all hang out. And the neckline is high enough that when I lean forward there isn’t any indecent exposure.

The second blouse is a feminine Brixon Ivy Alessandria Crochet Bib Lace Top, size Medium, $54. It has a built in undershirt with nice snaps to hold the undershirt straps in place. I have a good sense for how this will work because I have another Brixon Ivy shirt with built in undershirt. This blouse is a bit lower cut than I normally go for, but I added a pretty turquoise necklace and I think it looks good. The lace is soft and very elastic. It will dress up shorts very nicely, and it’s a good piece for the summer because it covers my arms when I’m in an AC icebox.

So, what to keep and what to send back!

The two dresses and the skirt are 100% keepers. That brings my subtotal to $206, less the styling fee of $20, for a total of $186. I really like the white lace blouse, which brings the total to $230. But if I keep the black blouse too, then I’ll get a discount. The subtotal would be $314, minus the 25% discount of $78.50 and the styling fee of $20, for a grand total of $215.50. In other words, if I keep both blouses, I spend less money! I’m definitely leaning towards keeping all 5. The black blouse is a little out of my comfort zone, but it’s good to try new things!

So, do you need a Fix now? Use my referral link!

Also, if I did decide to return anything, I would simply put it inside the provided mailing bag and place it in my mailbox. Simple!