Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Who Am I and Who I Am

I've entered into new territory with my blog - I received my first "spam" comment, so I have enabled the word verification command. I apologize to all commenters for the added effort when commenting - think of it as a game that you will win every time! I thought about not enabling the word verification and potentially receiving lots more comments, but the reality is number of comments are not nearly as important as the people leaving the comments - (quality supercedes quanity.) My sister-in-law JoEllen warned me this day would come - and here it is.

At the end of my "Toilet Paper Shortage" post a few days ago, I foreshadowed this post topic. I had mentioned at the end of the post that though I do not view myself as a lazy person, the situations I had posted about proved otherwise. This statement got me thinking about how I view myself and how that compared to how other people view me. I would like to say that how other people view me is of no concern to me - however, I have at times been caught in the insecurity trap of worrying about how I am perceived by other people. For example, after being in a social situation (such as tonight - a ladies only campfire get-together at Kelley's which had two of my favorite things - camping food and fellowship) I find myself replaying conversations in my mind, what I said, what other people said in response, did I say anything that seemed funny at the time but inappropriate later? I was talking to my cousin Jaena tonight about this post topic, and we observed that men don't seem to brood over these types of questions. I can't ever remember Jason, after a social gathering, saying later at home, " I hope the guys liked me tonight. Don and Jim seemed a little quiet with me when we were watching the game."

There are certain personality characteristics that can either a positive or negative spin to them. I've even seen lists where a negative characteristic is reworded to have a positive connotation. For example, a bossy person is instead a leader. A stingy person turns into a good steward with money. People have said my three year old's stubborness and strong will is good - she will stand her ground when she is older and tempted by peer pressure. The problem is, how do we know which connotation is being applied to us by other people? I don't think many people set out to be overbearing, obnoxious, judgmental, or mean-spirited. Yet there are some people who in a social situation come across that way to me (noone reading this blog need worry - none of you are coming to mind :). My insecurity is not in how I view myself, but am I being viewed in a negative context by other people? I think there is a definite difference between a low self esteem and insecurity. Low self-esteem is when you are not happy with you, insecurity is when you are afraid other people aren't happy with you (these definitions are from the Wuertley dictionary - probably a bit of a generalization.)

Have you ever had a time when what you really meant to say or the outcome you meant to occur by your action came out totally wrong, and then you felt misunderstood and your character or intentions unfairly judged?

I feel myself getting worked up when this happens with my children. Elizabeth is a self-confident, assertive kid, and she often says exactly what she is thinking, and she has no problem expressing her desires. I've described her personality accurately, but with a positive spin. I could just as easily say Elizabeth is a cocky, self-centered, bossy kid who has no tact. Anna is a sweet, loving, mischevious, humorous kid, but I could instead say she is manipulative with her affection, ornery, and silly. I love Elizabeth and Anna more than words can say, and I wouldn't change a thing about either one of them, even though at times I would like to tweak their words and actions a little. But when they say or do something less than desirable in public, I worry about how that will influence the opinions of both my peers and theirs regarding their personality and character.

I think that is why it is so important for people to be a part of a community - not just family, but friends who know each other's true heart and desires for themselves and their family. My family is very blessed to be a part of such a community with members of our Sunday School Class, and I value our relationships with these families. I especially enjoy the nights like tonight - a chance to fellowship with other women, to connect, chat, share, LAUGH! For any members of our class who are reading this post, know how much you are a valuable part of our life, and how much we enjoy the relationships that have been formed over the last several years.

TRIATHLON TRAINING UPDATE - Today's plan had me biking for 45 minutes. Hint to first time triathlon trainees on the first bike day - do not take your two children who combined weigh 100 pounds in a bike trailer behind you. Not only is the added weight a killer, after about 35 minutes in such close quarters on a 90 degree day, they have had enough. Also, do not choose the Riverwalk as your first biking trail. The Riverwalk and the route to the Riverwalk from my house is 49% steep uphill, 49% steep downhill, and 2% flat. After 45 minutes, I went a whopping 4.6 miles (if you translate that into minutes it would take me for 16 miles, which is what we will do in the triathlon, that would be over 2 hours on the bike.) I am anxious to see how my mileage will change once I ride solo.


Anonymous Mom said...

Your phrase "true heart" is key here. True friends will know the "true heart" of a person. In addition, a person will have no problem in being trasnparent, and even vulnerable, around true friends with kindred "true hearts." I really enjoyed your post today. Keep up the good work on the triathlon.

July 20, 2006 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Shelli said...

I have become a faithful reader of a few blogs but decided I would not comment or start a blog of my own until things slowed down. However, your blog left me no other option but to comment. Our family feels very blessed to be a part of such a wonderful group. What a privilege to be surrounded by people who share common goals. We all want to help our children be all that God created them to be. I love how our friends, married and single alike, help with that awesome task. Thank you, Deb, for your friendship and for letting me share in this triathlon adventure. Let's just say I would rather run for an hour than swim for twenty minutes. I thought I was going to drown.

July 20, 2006 8:43 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

I have sat here contemplating how much to write in my comment. This could very easily be an entire post for me. Friendship (in some form or another) seems to be the topic of the hour. (see Cousin Kim's post) I must confess I was listening from afar to your conversation last night about Elizabeth and Haleigh. I turned to Kismet and said, we should tell her to look at us, it all works out in the end. :) Of course, Kismet has a much darker recollection of herself than I do. She'd like to think that she was the only one causing problems in our relationship as children but that is simply not the truth. Kismet and I are an example of two VERY different personalities who went through ALOT of fights (sometimes physical), arguments and our fair share of catiness. There were even whole years where I would say we weren't really friends, but in the end that "true heart" comes through. Kismet is a lifetime friend. During the times that we were fighting, there were other friends that I turned to that I thought were "true" friends. Today I wouldn't have the slightest idea what to say to them if I passed them on the street today. Elizabeth will make "true" friends and that doesn't mean that there won't be fights and appologies needed, but they will see her "true heart" and will forgive and she will do the same for them.

As for you, we all see you just as you are: A wonderful, funny (I've never thought inappropriate), competitive (but in a good way), generous woman. I'm lucky to call you friend!

July 20, 2006 9:04 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Shelli-I didn't check my comments until after I called you - I would have commented on your comment. Just to warn you, there are 3 steps in the blog world. Step 1 - Blog Stalking. Step 2 - Posting a comment. Step 3 - Starting your own blog. I'm glad you have entered step 2, and I am anxiously awaiting step 3. I am so glad you (and Jill) have decided to do the triathlon with me. I'm not sure I would have taken the plunge (sorry about the swim pun after our morning) without you joining me in this goal. I told Jill today that I didn't think any of us should be able to back out until the week before the race - if we still didn't feel like we were prepared at that time, then we could make that decision then. WE CAN DO IT! This is fulfilling a goal of mine, even though it is a short triathlon - I'm glad to share it with two good friends. And Kelley, your comments always lift my spirit just a little higher (no pressure on future comments)- thank you for your encouraging words! Mom, I'm glad you have been reading my blog, too. I know you've always wondered what went on in my mind!

July 20, 2006 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

I have to admit. I truly feel blessed to have such a solid core group of friends in the SS class (not just the ladies, but their spouses and children). I enjoy listening to all your child-rearing and family stories. I've learned so much over the last few years - not just biblical/spiritual growth, but also about relationships. I've done and said so many stupid things (yes, my mouth seems to run without thinking and processing first) and yet there are those "safe" kindred spirits that love me in spite of that. You don't get that just anywhere...even in the church. We definitely have something special here and I am grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of each of your families!!
And about training - you gals are an inspiration! I know that you can do it and I'm sure you'll have many cheering you on through the training and I plan to be there on the very day! YOU GO GIRLS!

July 20, 2006 10:53 AM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

I, too, love our class and the friendship we have been blessed with through it. You all are the reason we "came back" to CWC! we love you!

I can also totally relate to playing conversations over and wondering what people think of me. I would love to get to a place where only what God thinks of me matters...

I think that the interaction we all have is what I need on a more regular basis. Sunday School affords some interaction (almost a different type of comunity since the guys are there - no offense, guys). That's what prompted my idea for a weekly gathering of some sort. Not to beat a dead horse, but is anyone else still up for something?

July 20, 2006 2:51 PM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Yes! My original offer still stands, Jaena! We should have talked about it last night, but the evening got away from us.

July 20, 2006 3:19 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Kelley, any day of the week I can come over and sit on your patio or in your sunroom and eat "camp food" sounds great to me!!! (So count me in, Jaena.) I HATE THE WORD VERIFICATION THING!

July 20, 2006 3:42 PM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

Well, if your blog wasn't so popular, you wouldn't have people from all over the world trying to contact you! :)

Should we just try for Wednesday nights (since church and Clubhouse is not happening for the summer?) What time will Jason go for, Deb?

July 20, 2006 4:26 PM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Wednesday's work for me! :)

July 20, 2006 5:08 PM  

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