I could talk books all day long! Well, sometimes I could talk all day long on a lot of subjects. But this is definitely a favorite topic.

I haven’t read a book outside of the bible in ions. But I listen ALL. THE. TIME. I am in awe of the opportunities we have to access information and entertainment. It’s the ultimate juggle. Listening while I do housework, yardwork, putting on my makeup, making my bed, weeding the vinyl in my JoniTDesigns, working on a Juggle Source project, riding my bike, or taking a walk.

I sometimes use Audible, but mostly I use Overdrive through the library system. It’s a great way to preserve money. It does mean that sometimes I’m listening to two books at the same time, because if I don’t finish it within the 21 days it’s loaned to me, I have to request it again, and while I’m waiting, I’m on to another book.

Most of My All Time Favorites are books I have purchased and stay in my very small library.

Right now I’m listening to On Writing, by Stephen King, and Moneyland by Oliver Bullough.

My interests are all over the place, but mostly I gravitate toward non-fiction.

These are the books I’ve documented or remembered. They’re not in any particular order. I often forget to document them; I’m sure I’ve missed some.

I didn’t indicate the topics or why I like the books, so I’m happy to tell you if you want to ask. I love love love discussing books! Ironically, I’m not in a book club, largely because of time, but equally, because I have so many I want to read, and I don’t want to be limited to a book I’m required to read by the book club.

So, Happy Sunday, and Happy Reading, or Listening!

PS: Darn… I forgot to add the other book that MADE ME A READER!

“Don’t Stop the Carnival” by Herman Wouk.

Before I delve into Misunderstood, I want to give a brief progress report on self-employment. I laugh every time I say it. Like I’m saying, “Me and the Mrs.” or something so very unlike me that the words cause my head to swivel around to see who is speaking. But I like the sound of “self-employment”, more than I like, “unemployed.” I appreciated the bank rep with whom I worked. When I asked if my business credit card could be denied because I’m not employed, she said, “Oh, but you are. You’re self-employed!” She almost got a hug.

I’m getting closer to sharing my business concept publicly. I’m not trying to be mysterious. I share it with anyone I talk with. It’s just that publicly, like on the big Internet, is a whole other measure of sharing, and I want certain things to be in place, so when the flood of questions come in, I’m prepared.

Last week was a mix of many things. I was strategic about incorporating people into my day, which resolved the loneliness I was feeling by working at home without human connections. I went to an early morning bible study, rode my bike, and met a couple of friends for a walk. I also analyzed my LLC Operating Agreement and spoke with Legal Zoom tax and business attorneys. I opened a business bank account, worked on my business plan, and corresponded with an agent about commercial insurance, which I hope to finalize this week. I worked a really great one-day customer appreciation gig I got off of Craigslist. Within that, I learned (thanks to You Tube, again) to shuck oysters. When I agreed to do that in advance, I had no idea what shucking live oysters entailed. Live oysters come with other live things, like a little crab, barnacles and some other sort of wiggly thing. Ugh. But I powered through. I took a picture, but I’m not going to post it; I don’t even like looking at it.

MISUNDERSTOOD

I’ve decided that being misunderstood is responsible for many damaged relationships. I know a whole bunch of stories where people have shut down relationships because they weren’t able to communicate themselves well, someone didn’t communicate the whole story, a third party was neglectful in the way they told a story, or a person wasn’t even sure they knew how they felt, but how they were interpreted definitely was not the heart of what they intended. Maybe it was a missed text, a missed post, or two people were talking, but walking in opposite directions, and they just didn’t hear well. There are so many different scenarios that can lead to being misunderstood. If we were a forgiving people and naturally gave the benefit of the doubt to everyone, being misunderstood wouldn’t be a big deal. Unfortunately, we tend to be a cynical, critical bunch. Given that, we have to be mindful that we are human, and in our humanness, there is a high likelihood that we’ll be misunderstood, which is worth considering before we cut someone off, or add another brick to that wall we’re building.

When we react out of hurt or anger, our tendency is to layer bricks to what we believe is a wall of protection. In reality, it’s a wall of prevention: prevention from experiencing all the joy and happiness that awaits us. If we haven’t learned along the way how to contend with hurt, pain, and confusion, one hurt at a time, we pile them up. The wall gets to a point where it’s difficult to see beyond, or to remove any of the bricks, where pride is the binding mortar. 

I know I’ve been on the giving side of being misunderstood. I’ve miscommunicated, I’ve left someone out, or have been absorbed in my own life. Once I realized this, I could only hope to be forgiven, and I recognized the value in giving others a break.

I once hosted a party and forgot to include someone who is now one of my best friends. She was the wife of president of the youth football organization. I was inviting everyone. Everyone! But I forgot to include her in the email. Fortunately, she brought up the gathering. I was embarrassed and apologized profusely, but the explanation still fell short: I forgot her?! Very recently, I completely forgot another best friend’s birthday. In this case, I was grateful for Instagram, after I saw a post by her daughter. I was able to redeem myself because she’s that kind of friend. But what about the occasions where someone didn’t say something to me or I wasn’t reminded on social media, because I missed a post (which in my case is often). What happens when I’m just tired and don’t feel like giving an explanation to something, or extend an extra amount of effort toward someone? What if lounging in the sun and eating nachos is more appealing than answering the phone some days? That’s not likely, but what if?!

A misunderstanding can cause us to become slighted or offended, and even indignant. We can stack that wall, or we can step back and consider options that will make a way for us to see more clearly. As Christians we know that God is perfect love. God’s Spirit lives in us, and there is no fear in perfect love. Of what do we have to be afraid? What causes indignation? Fear of rejection, loss of status or reputation, questioning our worth and value? These are worthy considerations, yet as a Christian I seek not to be measured by the world’s judgement, but by God’s judgement of me. John 4:16-18 explains that perfect love casts out fear. When I trust in perfect love, my fears of loss and anger subside, and I can begin deconstructing walls… or maybe not building them to begin with. And I can be at peace with my fallibilities, and yours, too.

Whether it’s in a social, personal, or professional arena, addressing misunderstandings is worth the discomfort that accompanies making the effort towards clarity. At work one day I’d received a really negative reaction from a co-worker. I couldn’t imagine why she was so angry with me. I did my best to engage her so we could sort it out, but she would have nothing to do with it. I was grateful our supervisor called a meeting. She is so great about confronting hard issues and she has learned some skills that are pivotal in resolution. She began the meeting with all of us stating what we appreciate about the other. Beautiful! We all softened. Then my accusers (there was another who was in agreement with the first) stated their beef with me. Bam. A complete misunderstanding. I held back the tears and silently reminded myself that I was a professional. I was determined to avoid an emotional breakdown, yet there were obvious dead give aways on my face that signaled distress. When it was my turn to speak, I said, “I believe I’ve been misunderstood.” About the same time, my supervisor agreed and confessed a key piece of communication that she’d forgotten to provide to this portion of staff. Being unaware of this information, they were in the dark, and blamed me for something of which I wasn’t guilty. There were a couple of tears among all of us, but they were minimal, and happy. This could have gone a completely different direction had we not taken time for discovery.

Sometimes we don’t need discovery, but rather acceptance. Perhaps others are juggling things in their world, and we’re a ball that gets dropped. Maybe a friend is really good at looking like she’s got it all together, but in reality she has a child on her hip while she’s stirring gravy and helping her 2nd grader with math, wondering how she’s going to get her 8 year old to dance practice, and her husband is away on business. At this time in her life, it’s hard for her to wrap her head around her friend who needs her because she broke up with her boyfriend of 10 years. Maybe someone is struggling to keep themselves or their marriage together, and as a result they’re missing some cues from their children.  Sometimes, we need to look past a personality type that we don’t like. Even a personality type can be misunderstood. Scenarios like these happen ALL. THE. TIME.

I understand that not all rifts are a result of misunderstandings. But so many are! Our relationships are life giving and vital to our well being. This is one thousand times more true when this is your family. Paul says not to let the sun go down while we are still angry. Anger is real and at times justified. But if it’s fueling brokenness, especially in your family, you’ve let the sun go down on your anger, and it’s worth exploring a misunderstanding.

The biggest tragedy of all is this: Most of the walls we build are preventable. When we refuse to humble ourselves and to use our skills, of which most of us are capable, we rob not just ourselves of joy, but we rob everyone of joy. The wall builder and those who are on the other side of the wall are missing out. We miss the fullness of all God has to offer us now, in this life, experiencing the intimacies of one another today and the memories we will cherish once our loved ones are gone.

In other words: We miss you.

We are capable. We will reap huge rewards when we are courageous, confront awkward moments and sacrifice our pride. Let us be human. When Jesus was on the cross he said, “Forgive them Father; they know not what they do.” If only we could follow his humble and brave expression of love.

Forgive me, Father. For I also know not what I do.

It’s day 7, Sunday, the end of my first week of unemployment, or self employment. At the beginning of Week 2, I’m not sure what name it deserves.

I wish I had a map for this journey. Next to my OREGON map would be my INCOME WITH SERENITY AND FLEXIBILITY map. That’s where I want to go, but I haven’t seen that map. I think I have to navigate to this destination on my own (always with God in my pocket). If you’re following this blog, use caution not to take anything too seriously. I’m not sure which turns I’ll take, except to consider each intersection carefully, looking both ways before I cross the street.

An important part of this experience is to confer with wise and experienced people. Some of those people are friends who have a ton of knowledge and experience in owning their own business or consulting businesses. I talked at length with one friend last week who helped me identify some things that caused me to adjust my plan. As I sat down to begin and write out a business plan, knots began forming in my stomach, and I thought, “Dang. This is hard.” I began to question everything, and wondered if it’s possible to reach the destination I’m seeking.

I thought the same thing as I realized how lonely I feel during the day. I miss my co-workers and the camaraderie I had with them. When I was working, I longed for some breaks when I wasn’t interrupted and could focus for more than five minutes on a task. Now I long for an interruption after I’ve worked five minutes on a task. I want it all. I recognize the discipline needed to stay focused, the creativity it will take to feed my spirit with the energy I get from others, and that all of this has to be intentional in order to co-exist. I mentioned this aspect of working at home to my neighbor who is an at home dad. He said he finds that he spends a little more time talking with the cashiers at Safeway than he used to. Nothing against the Safeway cashiers. I’ve been going to the same Safeway for over 20 years and I would miss them if I moved. But I’m determined to be intentional and use my creativity that doesn’t include the Safeway cashiers. And yet… isn’t it just great to connect with people? I think I love them.

It’s just been a week, so I’m doing my best to grant myself a break. I’m in this weird place of knowing I’m in this season by choice and I’m on a mission, but I want to enjoy it, too. Like I’m heading down the road, but feel guilty when I stop for an ice cream cone. I want to write, but feel guilty if I do that, and read my bible, and make a dinner for a friend, get my hair done, and ride my bike. I want to free myself of those guilt emotions and find peace as I enjoy life and earn a living.

I’m working to sort out those emotions, but I recognize how easy it is to slip into patterns that I could regret. It’s been really hard to get myself to bed in time to get myself up around 5, the time I used to get up when I reported for work at 6:30. On days I rode my bike, I got up between 4:30 and 5. Because of that schedule I’ve earned an undeserved reputation of being a morning person and self disciplined. When one behaves so responsibly, it’s hard to convince anyone otherwise, but the truth is that I am not a morning person or self disciplined. I am determined, and that’s what drives me. I love to be up, so I guess I have to get up. Once I’m up, I love mornings and the solitude or productivity a morning gives me. I love to be productive, so I must get myself to bed. But I could watch TV, read, write, work on my t-shirt and party accessories business all night if there were no consequences to doing that.

WEEK ONE was getting my feet wet. WEEK TWO is stepping in a little deeper, with a little more knowledge, and committing myself to improved behaviors that will push me closer to: INCOME WITH SERENITY AND FLEXIBILITY.

Below is what I was able to achieve last week toward my business idea:

  • Discussed business idea with a few friends and listened to feedback.
    • This was invaluable. The business idea is the same, but I believe I’ve refined it after a couple conversations.
  • Met with graphic designer (friend) about logo idea.
  • Contacted insurance about commercial insurance for my business and car.
    • I think insurance will legitimatize my business and give customers assurance that their assets are protected. Also, since I’ll be using my car for business, it’s important that I am protected if something were to happen in the course of a work activity. I don’t want gaps in my insurance. Most auto insurance doesn’t cover personal vehicles when they’re used for work activities, and when people use their vehicles for business and only carry personal insurance, they’re putting themselves at risk.
  • Researched how to write a business plan and began writing it.
    • I Googled this and am going through each of the sections. The first is the Executive Summary. As I go through each section, I’m prompted to sort through and make decisions about each area, for example, pricing, scheduling, etc.
  • Researched and signed up for a scheduling system. I signed up for G Suite, but am not confident that’s the way to go.
  • Worked on design ideas for Christmas products for sales.
    • I worked in my Silhouette for some Christmas ideas to sell and worked on a product for a friend.
  • Worked a Nike Offsite event.
    • This was such a treat. The company with whom I worked was such a pleasure. From the collaboration and exploration of how to achieve the end goal to working with the personnel at the event. I got home around 11, and I used that late job to justify getting to bed late and getting up late. I’ll take anything I can get to justify a sleep in!
  • Exchanged emails with a friend for a Day Of wedding coordinator in August.
  • Purchased a Legal Zoom membership.
  • Spoke with attorney (referred to through Legal Zoom) about an LLC and trademarking my business name.
    • I learned that an LLC is the way I want to go because it will separate the business from my personal assets and protect me.

Some things I did that were not work related:

  • Read the bible.
    • This makes getting to bed early(ish) worth it. I’m at Job in a whole bible reading plan. I’m in year 2. Yikes. I loved the exchange between Job and Zaphor. Zaphor thinks he has the answers for Job, and when you read what he has to say, it seems Zaphor does have some good answers. But Job puts Zaphor in his place and tells him to mind his own business. What joy to see that people are people, in today’s world, and before Jesus’s time.
  • Made a Bday dinner for a friend.
    • So fun to make a meal for a friend and enjoy the process.
  • Yardwork, made a small dent in cleaning out Bridgette’s old bedroom, rode my bike, walked Winky, talked with friends on the phone, put up some fall decorations, went on a couple of walks with friends, took car in for service, got hair cut and colored, football game and food prep for the tailgate, and… drumroll please, went to Chick-Fil-A for the first time… and now I know. The chicken strips were so moist and succulent and the lemon slushy thing is to die for. They squeeze their lemons every day!

I gotta tell you. The work stuff I did is the stuff that gives me knots in my stomach. It’s like turning down a gravel road without street lights. The other stuff are things with which I’m familiar, so no knots. But knots and all, I’m not giving up. If it’s like anything else, the more I experience it, the less scary it will be. I’m counting on street lights in my future.

Now, on to Week 2!

To read about what got me here, read My Unexpected Season.

It was such a great mix of friends, family, work, personal tasks and ambitions, home maintenance, exercise, food, some tragedy (about Winky, but I’ll make that a separate post) etc. I made plans and I didn’t. I set my alarm and I didn’t. I did all these things, and there’s more I want to do! Like a great vacation spot that one leaves too soon, about this vacation I also say, ” I definitely want to come back some day.”

I don’t know what my favorite part was during my at home vacation (I guess it’s a staycation, but I’m so averse to trendy vernacular!). Every thing was so different from the daily demands of life, it was all awesome.

I created more products (but have to wait to share some of them) and continued exploration about the business side, which is not my favorite aspect of this side biz. I really love my new work space with my new stand up table my friend made for me. It’s making all the difference on my back, my mental state, and productivity.

Loving my work space.

A new product that I think is so cute!

I rode my bike a few times and once I stopped at Grand Central Bakery to eat their seasonal fruit coffee cake. It’s always between that and the brioche cinnamon roll, but when berries are in season, berries win. GCB isn’t an every day event, but I wasn’t on my way to work at 6:20 and I had just ridden my bike 10 miles, so I sat in a bakery and ate what I wanted in leisure. THIS IS VACATION!

I worked in the yard for hours, but not enough hours. I wacked, weeded, watered, moved and fertilized plants. I made a few bouquets for friends who could use some love. I worked in my friend’s yard and she treated me to steak and frites at Laurelhurst Market. I went to lunch with my former boss (she’ll appreciate me not using the word “old”) and I went to dinner with another friend and her husband. I went downtown spontaneously with a friend and split a lasagna at Piazza Italia, where it was fun to be served by an Italian waiter with a definite Italian accent. My friend and I talked about our lives over the last 6 months and then finished off our rendezvous with non dairy ice cream at Little Bean, a company that was created to change the world! I BBQed for myself and made some for my neighbors in exchange for some technology help. I visited with my sister and we ate pizza at Otto’s on Sandy Blvd. I experimented with my new Sea Beans I discovered at the McMinnville Farmer’s Market and made yummy salads.

This was only one victim of my hatchet session.

 

 

There are areas in my yard that I shake my head at, and then I look at this and am ok.

 

 

 

Sea Beans!

Yummy salad with sauteed Sea Beans, sauteed shitake mushrooms, power greens, red pepper, feta cheese, avacado, salt, pepper, and olive oil. 

Cilantro Chicken Marinade:
Cilantro, soy sauce, peanut oil, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes.

 

 

Cilantro chicken and roasted vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to Bradley’s church in Newberg and loved worshipping next to him. Jesus is the great redeemer and uniter of people, and in that moment of worship, I was more in love with my savior than I can express. The church is called Red Hills Foursquare Church and has a great energy. Somehow it’s comforting to discover he’s attending a Foursquare church, since Beaverton Foursquare is my home church, and was his when he was younger. We got to play Corn Hole and stand around and talk about nothing in particular with his friends. It was great. Bridgey’s been occupied for the last three weekends, so I’m looking forward to getting to see her soon, yet not soon enough.

Corn hole at church.

I called on neighbors to come take care of the biggest ugliest grossest spider that Emily (my friend’s daughter who lives with me) discovered in the bathtub. I’d sent out an SOS group text.  One neighbor came to remove the spider, put it in a jar, and gave it to his son. I was grateful for my neighbors who were willing to rescue me, because I honestly don’t think I can cope with a spider like this. I have new appreciation for my neighbors and may never move. I have a darling picture of my neighbor’s young son marveling at his new pet in the jar, but I can’t bring myself to post it. His son is cute, but I can’t look at a big spider, even in a photo.

A huge treat was to stay with two friends in a fancy yurt on private property. First we visited Rex Hill Winery. In a state where beer and wine are past times, too many other things are in competition for me, so it was lovely to sip, sit, and listen to the wine steward and talk with my friends under blue sky overlooking grapevines. Lunch was at Red Hills Market in Dundee where the salami in the sandwich was about a half a pound too much, but the Bloody Mary was perfect.

I think the bacon had a lot to do with this great drink.

We ate at Pura Vida in McMinnville for dinner, sat on top of the McMenamins rooftop for sunset, topped it off with lemon sorbet across the street, and headed back to our fancy yurt where we giggled our way to sleep.

I’m entering into a time of transition in my life that I won’t elaborate on right now, but the time was good to delve deeper into my side job and what I want to do. That sounds mysterious, yet it’s really just a time of determining where and what I want to do, and how to go about it. I was glad I was able to spend time taking further steps and contemplate some things. There’s more to do, so I’m hoping I keep my momentum. Writing, as it so often does, took a back seat, but I was able to also work on a writing project, and now I’m about to post!

Au revoir from Portland… I know that doesn’t make sense, but, saying it seems kind of like eating fruit coffee cake at 9am on a Tuesday.

PS: I am not a website programmer and I know the site is evidence of that. I hope you’ll bare with me and hopefully one day I will improve on that, too!

Swallowing AND chewing.

I’m often listening to God’s word these days. Mostly while I get ready in the morning, but if I haven’t made time for it then, I squeeze it in somehow, maybe when cutting back my flowers or taking a walk. It’s an amazing tool we have for which I can’t say enough. I feel the same way about YouTube, as it provides me with instructions about my side biz for which I’m incredibly grateful. I’d marry the inventor, I’m that crazy about him… oops, maybe it’s a her!

But today is my first 3 day weekend for the summer and I’m relishing the opportunity to read God’s word, going back over a passage and recording my thoughts as I discover a new finding or dig when I am confused.

Listening to the Bible sustains me. It keeps me mindful of God’s will and puts me in the right frame of mind for the day ahead. When I’m hit with frustrations or disappointments, God’s word is in and part of me.

Yet when I shut down the Holy Bible You Version app as I focus on my outfit for the day (which is not a multi-tasking event),  I want to know more, understand more.  But I’m up against the clock as I scramble to leave for the day and I’m left feeling like I’ve swallowed before I’ve chewed.

Matthew 4:4 says

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

I miss a whole lot of God’s words when I listen and don’t see them. This third day off is a game changer, and so is the nourishment of God’s word.

The summer school schedule is under way. WooHoo! It’s been 4 days since most of the staff left for the summer. It’s been 7 days since the kids left for the summer. It’s been 10 days since we held graduation, 11 days since graduation practice and senior breakfast, and it feels like a million days since my last day off (I’m including my side biz work). Last night I went to a friend’s house for dinner. This morning I slept until 7, tonight I’m having some friends over, and Sunday I’m going to breakfast with a friend after church. I’ll fit in my side biz, yard work, and I’ll fit in have tos that keep us afloat, like correspondence, bills, etc.  But three days off after the work demands of the last few months is like being given a snow day in June.

When you work at a high school, the end of the school year is like Christmas, New Year’s eve, and April 15th (tax day) all at once. The relatives are coming, the presents have to be wrapped, and there is a deadline that doesn’t budge without an unforgiving consequence. Students have earned a graduation ceremony worthy of celebrating their accomplishments, in many cases, one they didn’t believe they could achieve. On days when I’m being pulled in multiple directions, these kids and their families inspire (or motivate) me to press on. After dedicated work by the students, staff, families, and supports, graduation is the reward of all the tears, frustrations, and above all, commitment.

As the principal’s secretary, I’m surrounded by staff who are eager for their summer break. I truly am happy for them, I think. I love hearing about their pending adventures. But I feel a little like I’m sending them off on their European vacation while I stay home with the baby, because I’m the “man of the house now, and they know I’ll take good care of things.” 

But I have today off, it’s a Friday, and I’m luxuriating this morning with my bible, my doggie, a gratifying view of my back yard, I’m writing, and I have the anticipation of a “to do” list that includes things that will bring me lots of satisfaction.

Happy Summer!