Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Evaluating Relationships

I've been thinking a lot lately about the people in my life. It seems like no matter how hard I try, I can't keep up with all the relationships I'd like to. Over the past few months, I've been trying to determine why certain people are part of it, why others aren't, and how it has shaped who I am versus who I was six months, a year, five years ago.

When I was in high school, I didn't have a young adult mentor or any positive adult influences in my life outside of my family. I didn't go to church youth group because no one from Waukee really went to Hope (can you believe that!!). My biggest influences were my peers and the media. While I was fortunate to have a pretty solid group of friends who stayed away from the drugs, drinking, and partying, I still made a few poor choices, as we all do, due to the activities my friends were engaged in. While many people probably thought of me as a leader (good grades, pageants, singing success, etc.), I was a follower through-and-through.

Now fast-forward a decade (YIKES!). The picture looks different, but I think the pattern is still there. I'm a people-pleaser, and I have this crazy need to "help" people. But what I've begun to see is that in my quest to "help" people, be there for people, influence people positively, I've neglected to surround myself with people who do all those things for me. As a result I've become bogged down, worn out, and poorly-influenced by all the muck. At some point, "helping" people starts to hurt who you are if you don't counter it with people who do for you what you are trying to do for others.

Sometimes, it even causes me to let certain people walk all over me. My ideas/activities/thoughts change with the relationships I am building. But instead of changing who I am for other people, the relationships I have should simply spur me to be a better version of who I was created to be. This is true, whether you are a leader or a follower, or both.

I know we all like to think we have things figured out. We know who we are, we have our beliefs, or values, our convictions. But where did we get those? Wasn't it from the influence of other people? 

I've found this to be more true than anything else when it comes to relationships: the way we think/act/behave/become is a direct result of the company we keep. Good or bad. 

It doesn't matter if it's a casual friendship, a new dating partner, a childhood friend, or a long-time marriage....both people in any relationship should add to each others' lives, positively influence each other, and make time for the other person. If any of those things aren't happening on the other person's end, they aren't going to just all of a sudden change (at least not long-term). If they aren't happening on your end, then it's time to step up, or determine that the season for that friendship/relationship has come to an end. Don't let yourself be dragged down by someone, don't change for someone, who isn't adding to your life. Just the same, don't hang on to people who you feel add value to your life if you aren't willing to add to theirs Relationship is a two-way street, and being influenced negatively, even if it seems harmless, can cause you to look in the mirror one day and wonder who is looking back at you.

So while I'm trying to make more time for the people in my life who steer me and encourage me to be better/do better, whose life directions build me up,  and who really WANT to be there, I will challenge you to ask yourself these questions: 

Who is influencing your life the most? Have you been a better version of yourself since that person/those people started influencing you?

Are you sugar-coating an unhealthy or stagnant friendship out of fear?

How can you surround yourself in good relationships?

If you have impacted me positively, I hope you know who you are, and I hope you know I'm grateful :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Garden - Fail #1

I planted some seeds April 1st, and by April 10, a few rogue zucchini and summer squash plants were busting out of their tiny peet pods. So, I transplanted them. It was 80+ degrees out, I took everything out to the driveway, and began placing the plants in styrofoam cups. Just like last year, we rigged up a light under the workbench in the garage, and that is where all the seedlings will grow into big, strong plants before being moved to the garden.

BUT, it was so darn nice out, I thought it wouldn't hurt to leave them outside for just a BIT. True, they were really young plants, but it wasn't a big deal, right??

I probably should have thought about the wind. And the fact that even though the cups were all in a sturdy cardboard box, said wind was still quite, well....WINDY.

I finished my transplanting, I laid down on the drive to enjoy the sunshine, and WHOOSH....one gust of wind and all my hard work, all my little seedlings, were overturned and dumped over. MAJOR FAIL.

I think two of the six or so plants survived. I remember when I started planting the seeds thinking "gee, why do I really need to plant so many of each vegetable?" Well, I think I answered my own question: because of stupid, rookie mistakes I will inevitably make along the way.

So round two of the garden has begun....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Masters of Our Own Sandcastles

:: Masters of our own Sandcastles ::

So here we are, yet another day I wait for you.
Up in my tower, another half an hour...or two.
Day by day the plans, you promised to make.
The tide rolls through but they, can't possibly break.

Down we fall, a graceful crumble. People left to stare and stumble.
Nothing here to prove this ever existed.

We are all masters of our own sandcastles,
Playing king and queen of reality.
One by one, we build them up high, reaching up to the sky.

It's not your fault, you couldn't come last night, so when?
On my knees, working from the ground, again.
Clouds looming in the sky, still I turn my blindest eye.
If you see what is at stake, it won't be that way tonight.

Down we fall, and nothing lingers.
People like to point their fingers.
Nothing left to prove this ever existed.

We are all masters of our own sandcastles,
Playing king and queen of reality.
One by one, we build them up high, reaching up to the sky.

The waves crash in.
And wash away the foundation.
We start again.
Clinging to the memory of remember when.

We are all masters of our own sandcastles,
Playing king and queen of reality.
One by one, we built them up high, then they fell from the sky.

I pick my shovel up, and turn around.
My feet sinking on, this shifting ground.
A handful of sand,
A scattered dream that maybe tonight....