Transform

Pain shifts me away from pride and I face the unknown. Uncertain, I embrace the darkness, except for it’s not dark, because there is a fire and it transforms and refines. Pain is the best part of being human. I change as humility allows the disposal of false beliefs. I become beautiful in the unknowing. Doubt births my faith: I no longer know, but I believe.

All kinds of love

I’ve been talking about the five love languages with my husband lately. We took the quizzes to figure out what our love languages were, but I didn’t particularly like the results. I would rather quality time than gifts, but I still want gifts.

I need all different types of love. I need physical affection and gifts and quality time and words of affirmation and acts of service. I don’t need one and not another; I need all of it. I want all of it.

And so I need to give in so many different ways. Dillon and I don’t particularly like gifts, but we exchanged Christmas gifts this year and loved it. If we never exchange gifts at all, then something feels a bit missing from our relationship.

I need to show all kinds of love to my children. I need to spend time with them. I need to talk with them. I need to help them out. And I need to hug and kiss them and tuck them into bed.

I don’t want to be fluent in one love language; I want to be fluent in all of them. Only then can I really give the love that I need to as a wife and a mother and a friend.

 

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Living, culture, faith

Intellect: burning, fueled by questions and answers and questions and doubt. The facts and the arguments and the proofs can burn so hot that they melt and change and reform. Refining when kept in control, but destroying when it attempts to answer everything.

Culture is the lens which we view everything and we are yelled at that we must get the culture right–culture that claims to be an argument between rights and wrongs that conflict and have nothing to do with actual right and wrong. Culture is framing and anchoring that makes the facts and the opinions shift around, dancing into something unrecognizably.

People didn’t use to smile like we do–but they cried, so sadness is more universal than laughter. We forget that we did not know. 

I don’t have answers.

Faith: is everything. A home that protects me if I refuse to burn it down. A fire that warms if I do not put it out. A plant that grows unless I cut it down. Safety and love and hope, but always a choice.

Deep rabbit holes of questions. I must understand more perspectives; I must know more answers. Simplicity is impossible and according to others, there are complications, addendums, footnotes to the beliefs I claim to have. 

Truth is truth and truth exists. But truth does not destroy that which is good. And that which is good is uncomplicated and simply good.

I am a combination of heuristics, pretending to be a being of reason and rationality when I am always working from habit, doing that which is comfortable, doing that which is safe. 

Faith is purpose behind heuristic, a choice without habit. Faith is me.

Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I was weed whacking my yard. I sometimes got a little stuck at looking right in front of me, and I found that I had to look up and around to make sure I was going in the right direction. That’s a bit like life: I can get stuck in the day-to-day that I can forget to make sure I’m heading in the right direction and not missing anything important. (Also, it does not do any good to conserve string. It just makes the process last longer.)

***

Finding happiness when life is hard is so much more satisfying than when life is easy

***

When I seek to serve others and live as God would have me, things make sense. When I seek popularity and status and likes and followers and shares, I only find confusion. I do not need success; I simply need God.

***

You don’t have to understand what Satan is trying to tell you.

 

 

 

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It’s not that complicated, except for it is

Everyone has been talking about racism lately. I have been listening and thinking, but I have largely been silent on the internet, though I have talked about it with others. I have felt unsure of what to write–and I don’t tend to just go along with what is trending. I want to be more genuine than that.

I talked with my kids and things seemed really simple: we need to treat people with kindness and fairness. People haven’t done that, and we need to do better.

But it isn’t all that simple. This is about police brutality right now. That’s where the conversation started. I support police reform–my husband was a law enforcement officer for a few years, and I witnessed problems with training, policies, and attitudes. Black lives matter, and there have been horrific and horrible acts, many of which do not make the news and do not ever find any justice or resolution.

But in all of that, there are some issues without clear solutions.

We need to learn to compromise and not maintain all-or-nothing thinking. Public policy is rooted in ethical assumptions that can be complicated–do we value freedom, equality, justice? What do we value most? What does freedom and equality and justice even mean? These are also important questions and we can’t skip over them, assuming that they have easy answers.

And there are many things missing in the conversation, such as gun control, education, the support of families, and building up better communities.

I don’t always have the right words, but not many people do. I feel uncomfortable in my own experience sometimes, uncertain that I have something to say that is helpful or relevant.

There are a lot of problems in the world, and we can’t fix everything at once. But we can just try to be a little better, and to support good causes, and to be compassionate to others even if they don’t agree with us on everything.

 

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Some ideas I’ve had

Sometimes I think a lot about ideas sometimes. Maybe some of these thoughts will be interesting. Maybe you won’t know what I’m talking about. Do you ever have random ideas that you don’t know what to do with?

***

When I’ve had some spiritual questions and thoughts and doubts, I’ve often thought that spiritual knowledge functions differently than rational knowledge. I can’t prove spiritual things through being rational, and if I reject spirituality based on rationality, then I have to throw out spirituality in general. The best way to seek spiritual knowledge is to ask God and to trust that answer.

***

Null hypotheses are sort of how we operate in life in general. We assume something to be true, and then we have to find enough evidence to convince ourselves we are wrong. We usually don’t set out to learn something; we set out to prove something. But sometimes we are wrong and need to reject the null.

***

So utilitarianism tries to maximize happiness, but you could have an ethical system that maximizes something else, like freedom or justice or something like that. And you could also have an ethical system were you could maximize ethics–so if a choice maximizes good choices, that would also be a good choice.

***

Money is really only an incentive for the utility it brings us right now instead of the utility it will bring us later. We save because of the security it brings us now. We say we save for the future, but we are really just saving for the future we are imagining in our own head, not the actual future that is unknown.

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Untitled

words headline lead sentence paragraph

search

make sense of jumbled pieces

words to fit the world together

google facebook new york times

trying to get past paywalls

what is happening

what will happen

millions of answers

no answer

sleeping searching

wake and shut it down.

words don’t exist

noise recedes

the pounding of needing to know fades

left with quiet

stillness

calm

find when I stop searching

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There is always light

Over the past few days, I have read article after article, trying to figure out how we can go back to normal. I read about different possibilities of what might happen and I want to know how this end. But we don’t go back to normal–we find a a new normal instead, something that we can’t wrap our minds around right now.

If we are always thinking about and looking to the the future, we can miss the good that is happening now. Yesterday, I did a video chat with all of my family members. I watched my kids as they played outside for ages. I watched a video of quarantined people in Italy making music on balconies. 

I realized that I don’t have to hope for a better future.

I can have hope for now.

If worst-case-scenario happens and it’s awful, you can tell your children you love them. You can serve in small ways. Worst-case-scenario will never be without hope and happiness somewhere.

There is no hole so deep and there is so circumstance that is too bleak that light cannot enter in some way.

No matter how hard life is, there is still good. Good is infinite and it never ends. Right in each moment, there is something good you can do. In despair, you can do something.

You don’t need to pause your life and wait for things to work out. You can live for now.

As long as you keep creating and loving, you can keep living.

No matter what is happening in life, you have the ability to create something. You have the ability to connect. You have the ability to help.

Music and art and words and laughter and growth and friendship are always there. That is where hope is.

The essence of our lives is not the convenience, but the innovation and the creativity.

If you want joy, create. Draw. Sing. Write. Make something. And then share it. Connect. And that creating and connecting can never go away.

The world won’t end. Because the best parts of life, family and people and learning and growing and being, those best parts can never, ever be taken away from us.

Take hope not in the end of trial, but in that fact that no matter the difficult circumstances, you can wake up, greet the sunrise, and live beautifully right in that moment.

Thoughts

  • I’ve always thought I had a problem spending too much time on the computer and that if I could just get better, I would overcome the problem and it would be gone. It was my problem, and I had to come up with a solution. But that’s not really how things work: computers and the internet and all of that can be distracting and addicting for everyone. It’s not my problem. It’s a problem that exists, and no matter I do, the problem will still exist. It’s not really a matter of overcoming it. I don’t need to feel guilty because computers are distracting. That’s not my fault. But I can do the best I can with what I have to work with.
  • Being really intelligent is when you can strip away the posturing and just have good and simple ideas without complicated phrasing and appeals to authority. Smart people don’t feel the need to sound smart, and often the simplest way to say something is the best.
  • Money is very tempting to use to quantify basically everything, but the numbers usually don’t tell us much. What is more important is service and caring for other people in small and significant ways, and that can’t be quantified.
  • The most important relationships are with our family.

 

 

Rejecting Productivity

I’m not great at this. I love being productive. I love getting so many things done in a day. And it sounds like a really good thing: learn and create and do and earn and work and work and work.

I love hard work. But productivity is this whole other thing. It’s the rate of output per unit. It’s being able to do so many things with the hours you have in your day. We celebrate it a lot. More is better (which is usually true in the study of economics, but they have it wrong because it’s not accurate for life).

I find myself basing my self-worth on my productivity levels. Which makes me sound like I’m sort of machine, some sort of statistic as I try to increase my output. But I’m not working for anyone, except for my family, and they really don’t care much about my output at all.

I have these ridiculous to-do lists and goals, and a lot of times, I do a lot. Right now, I’m homeschooling my kids, remodeling a house, and taking two college classes. And I do more too, because that’s life: I blog and I write and I read books and I cook and I clean and I drive a lot. I learn extra things, like R and data science. I’ve been scanning and sorting photographs from my grandparents. I visit friends. I redecorated some rooms a few weeks ago. I play the piano. I exercise. And there is so much that I put on my lists: transcribe, start a business, write a book, etc. etc. etc. Some people are impressed with how much I do, and that feels nice–but I don’t know if it’s the best direction to go in.

I often think about my life in terms of how much I’ve accomplished. I look back at certain times and think that I really didn’t do much because I wasn’t involved in a whole lot of major projects. But I am not necessarily a better person because of my goals and accomplishments. Some things that I really would like to do (go outside more) just don’t happen. I find myself overwhelmed and I shut down.

I have searched and watched and read about how to do more with the time that I have. But doing more just to do more really isn’t helpful. Being productive is not always the right thing to do.

There are meaningful things in my life, things that I love, that I don’t always have time for. And I want to change that.

I’m not sure how. This is more of a question, a beginning, and that’s okay. I hate giving up projects. There are so many things that are undone and so many things I want to do.

A part of me wants to really likes to define my life by how much I accomplished. But so many little things don’t matter very much at all. I need increased focus. I need to learn how to say no. And I need to not do things just to say that I did it, just to increase my output without any reason.

What do you think?