How to Cope

It’s one thing to admit that you need to learn some coping skills.

It’s another thing to have at least an idea of what those skills might be.

It’s a completely different, altogether terrifying thing to have absolutely no clue what those coping skills are.

I’ve heard it said that identifying the problem is half the battle. But I don’t feel like I’m halfway to a solution. I feel like I’ve barely taken a step toward a solution.

Don’t care how much work is involved – just need to start working toward a solution.

Seeking Direction

I’ve started and deleted this post a number of times.  I try very hard to be diplomatic in the things I say here.  Sometimes I vent a bit but I try DESPERATELY never to name names or vent exceedingly personal things here when they can be better handled by a private journal or a face-to-face discussion with a specific person.  Sometimes this means that I have to go overboard to make it clear that particular post is not about any one person specifically.  Such is the case here – this is strictly about ME and a question I cannot seem to answer on my own.

I’m caught in a challenging place and I’m not sure how to handle it.  I’m hoping that by sharing it here I will have some clarity at the end or at least a better sense of “why”.  Who knows?  Someone who reads this may have a brilliant insight to share that will solve everything! (Hey – a girl can dream, can’t she?!)

Confucius has been credited with saying, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

I’ve always wondered about that saying.  I enjoyed moments in my jobs but can’t say that I have ever loved the jobs I’ve done.  With one exception – theater.  Nothing compares to the thrill of either getting up in front of an audience or spending weeks directing/choreographing a show and watching it come to life on opening night!  Unfortunately, I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up after I had already obtained a degree in another field.

At present I am holding down three part-time jobs, only one of them in the world of the performing arts (I absolutely love accompanying the FDSH choirs!).  I have the opportunity to volunteer my time with the color guard at the local high school as they work on their fall show and I am loving the chance to work with and get to know those young ladies!  But I went into it knowing it was a volunteer thing.

Stage Door Productions – a theater company specializing in small cast musicals with a summer youth theater program (and a dream of mine for 2 decades!) – is finally coming to life (our premiere event is in January 2014!) but no paycheck from that adventure (yet – the hope is to eventually change that).  But it’s something I’ve wanted to do for so many years that I have  to see it through now that I’ve been given the chance!

So here is the challenge – the things I MOST enjoy right now, the things that bring me the strongest sense of accomplishment, the things that most make me feel that I am functioning according to my basic design, do not offer a paycheck.  I’ve been taught to have a strong work ethic for as long as I can remember and feel obligated to give the best of my energy and efforts to those ventures that are providing a paycheck right now.  I want to provide financially and I don’t want to lose time with my family.  So how far do I go to help my dream take flight?  I am surrounded by AMAZING friends who have agreed to be on the Board of Directors for Stage Door.  It’s such a rush to have friends who not only encourage you to chase your dreams but who also come alongside you and make the chase their own.  But the dream is mine so I need to be a part of the process of getting this venture up and running.  Unfortunately, the part-time jobs sap so much of my energy that there isn’t much left at the end of the day!

It’s the eternal problem of the mom who works outside the home – how does a woman balance work, family, and home without completely giving up on her dreams?

Just a Word

I have been thinking quite a bit about words lately.  They can heal or hurt, build up or tear down, encourage or frustrate.

It’s easy for me to identify those times when others hurt me with their words.  But I tend to justify my own use of words as weapons. After all, . . .  oh, who am I kidding!  I’m certain my words have done damage to others.

In James 3, the tongue is described as a fire and a poison. But it is also called a fountain and a tree of life.  The key is to look for ways to speak life-giving words rather than letting all of the negative thoughts we think come spilling out unchecked.

I won’t give you the details just yet but I’ve been challenged to take some specific, deliberate action.  What I can tell you is this – I’ve often heard that it takes 21 days to stop or build a habit.  Therefore, this personal challenge is set to last for 21 days.  Ready, set, go!

I'm Issuing a Challenge to Myself

Am I the only one who is tired of all the polarizing issues that seem to be consuming every other inch of my Facebook news feed?!  People are digitally screaming at the top of their lungs to defend their political party, attack a particular business that has a stance they don’t agree with, scream against gun ownership of any kind . . . and the list goes on!  This doesn’t include the posts that are personal rants against specific, localized situations, gender bashing from both sides, etc.

My heart hurts.

Polarizing issues and their accompanying opinions have been around forever. Social networking just gives us the chance to throw our opinions in the faces of hundreds of people with just a few keystrokes!  Right now, someone wants to remind me that the right to free speech is guaranteed.  You would be right.  But whatever happened to civility?!  I’m not against a healthy, calm discussion over differing viewpoints and opinions but the ranting and cuss filled raving can stop any time now.

A number of my Facebook friends take the month of November to post one thing each day that they are thankful for but I can’t wait that long to see my Facebook feed looking a little more “positive”.  Especially considering this is an election year so the political posts will continue into the month of November!  I wonder what would happen if everyone I know on the social networks I frequent were to try, starting right now, to keep their status updates positive for just one month?  A week?  Could we even do it for a day?

 It’s so easy to get sucked in to the rhetoric, the bashing, the name-calling . . . so I’m challenging myself to do something different.  

For one week, I am going to focus on the following:

1.   Making sure to post status updates that are positive or that find the good in even a negative situation.

2.   Choose at least five Facebook friends each day that will get an encouraging note from me on their wall just because I can!

3.    Try and find at least three “feel-good” stories to share (as opposed to the “this’ll show ’em” type stories I see with such frequency!) or articles that are educational/informational.

This is my way of trying to keep a positive attitude in an online environment that seems to be so full of anger and venom right now.  Care to join me?