Sunday, November 18, 2007


IPIP Test Results

Paulena, your most unique quality is that you're Conscientious and Caring

You are the kind of person others can depend on. You carefully analyze the information, but your feelings also weigh in on the decision. You're confident, artistic, passionate, competent, fun-loving, self-disciplined, and able to carry through with any plan you create. You respect others, but do not trust easily, keeping your inner circle small.

You are not afraid to consider an unpopular point of view, but your base for decision-making is well founded. You're also good at weighing the pros and cons of any situation and making sound, well-informed decisions.

Compared to others who are conscientious, you are unusually competent and highly motivated, knowing what to do when needed, and confident that you will do it well. You take time to weigh the facts and listen to your heart. Only 2.3% of all test takers have this unique combination of personality strengths. For a more in depth analysis, please click the link below.

Well, guess I've got them fooled- eh? lol These tests are always interesting...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On the Outside

Today I sit here relaxing and writing a blog on a day when I used to be parked in a pew at church with a smile pasted on my face. There was some genuine joy in me then, but in so many ways I was going through the motions. That whole scene masked a lot of pain. We ALL have it. Some people cope in ways considered "worldly", others cope by burying themselves in religion. I don't want to cope, I want to LIVE!

What a strange thing, life is.

For the most part I'm glad to be on the outside. There are days when I still feel torn. I'm a social person, so I miss the social aspect of the churchy life. I have a conscience, so the e-mails I have received from those "concerned about my salvation" since leaving the church do prick at me.

However, I am deeply spiritual and do not miss being dictated to as to how I should think, live, believe and worship. If the social aspect is the major draw and not the spiritual, then something is wrong in the big picture of religion. I think many people cling to religion because they like feeling they are "right" while everyone else is "wrong".

Hey- I DO care and that's what makes life so tough for me right now. I take time to consider things because I DO want to be the best I can be. I believe in God. Not so sure He believes in me. If He really is as powerful and caring as people say, surely He would've found a way to reach me by now? Not asking for something profound, but there is only silence. My faith hangs by a thread.

Staying busy numbs me. When I have down-time, I have to face the fact that I'm not exactly happy or fulfilled in my personal life. Make the most of it..... make the most of it.... push through and hold on to hope..... be honorable to my word. Keep telling myself to be thankful, that it could always be worse. But it could be better too and that's the torment of the unknown....

Being in your 30's is a lot like being a teenager again. You have lived long enough to have gained some wisdom, but still have many unanswered questions. At this point, I find myself asking "Is this it? Is THIS all there is to life, to love and success? To push through one hard time after another, to invest yourself in one dream, one relationship or career after another only to watch it come crashing down?"

Life is a process.... a journey.... but we're all seeking a destination. Many think they have already arrived- okay, more power to them! lol

And of course, I wonder if I am the only one who ever feels this way. Perhaps I'm losing out? Maybe life is incredibly good and I simply lack the ability to see that?? What is this ache, this hunger inside? It's been there all along and I have tried to mask it in so many ways. Proof to me that time does NOT heal all wounds. I am beyond cliches.

Perhaps it is the little girl in me who wanted so desperately to have parental love, support and security, but received so little. I don't know how to love halfway, but I have been loved that way. Not sure what to make of it. Could I recognize true love if I had/have it? Only time will tell...

When people say they care about you, but words or actions say differently, it is downright confusing. In the church, they call each other "brother" and "sister", but many have NO idea what being a family means. Overbearing criticism, trying to dictate or control someone else's life, shunning and gossiping about them is NOT love people, so you can take that WWJD bumper sticker off your car now. (I honestly think everyone does the best they can in life.) But to me, claiming to be Christ's follower is making a VERY big claim and ya better be able to back it up.

Growing up is tough. There are people who give both positive and negative predictions about your future when you are young. I was told I was bright, talented and promising by many, but just as many called me "white trash". Which is it? Should I even care??

If you allow other people to define you, there's the possibility that you will not like what you have become. So I've stepped out in an attempt to define myself. It's the scariest thing I've ever done, but in order to maintain my sense of being REAL it's a necessary step.

I realize that my choices, my attempts to find the answers may hurt or disappoint other people. This is NOT my intent. Everyone has the right to believe and live as they see fit. This has been true all along and I have been accepting of other people and their paths. Just didn't realize that freedom applied to MY life as well. I see it now...

We all affect each other- no matter what we do. I want my footsteps in life to leave as little damage as possible.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wise Sayings...

"Though rapture brings us delight, the weakness of our nature at first makes us afraid of it, and we need to be more resolute and courageous in life." ~ Saint Teresa of Ávila

"We do not stop playing because we get older. We get older because we stop playing." - Unknown

"It's just life. Not meant to be understood, just meant to be lived." - Dale Shepherd

"The way to a good life is not in playing it safe. At the end of our years, we should come skidding in sideways, hands in the air, body thoroughly worn out yelling, "Whoo-hooo, what a ride!" - Unknown

"Life does not favor the timid. Sooner or later we all must depart. Knowing this full well, we should not be resigned to fate, but go out as lions." - Unknown

These sayings totally ring true for me. Sometimes the things that would make us the happiest are those we fear the most. We cannot allow fear to rule our lives. I am still learning how to take necessary risks. To believe in one's self is not easy. There will always be nay-sayers, but time is short, embrace life to it's fullest!

Sometimes we do not feel we deserve happiness and deny ourselves the joy of many experiences. Some feel they are holier for this. Others refuse to expand their minds by considering other points of view. Is this really the best way? Why is it we can only seem to believe in a God that denies enjoyment? Is the idea of a God who created us to find pleasure in living TODAY so far fetched??

What then? I'm not saying act the fool or be stupid with your life. One must be wise about each undertaking. But moving ahead with little support and no guarantee of success when the odds are stacked against you is what separates the dogs from the pups.

People can say what they want about me, I'm not gonna stop playing. There's a part of me that will NEVER grow up and I'm okay with that. It's workin' for me and my kids think I'm a cool Mom for this very reason. These days I'm up for just about anything. Skating, skiing, dancing, dreaming, driving, racing. Heck, I may even go parachuting. If I can find some big guy I can trust to take me up, I may just go for a tandem jump out of a plane one of these days...

I grew up WAY too fast. I was strict and serious far too long. My new approach in life is to go for it 'til I'm all played out. Work? Oh YES and plenty of it, but ya gotta have fun in life. In order to have a strong sense of self, you must take the risk of being misunderstood. I'm NOT afraid anymore.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I Think...

I think what makes someone wise is not necessarily knowing all the answers. Greater wisdom is found in knowing how to ask a lot of intelligent questions.

I think the shortest path to healing is to try and give to someone else the very things you were never given. To invest in others what nobody invested in you. To see and develop potential in others that people failed to nurture in you. Help someone bring to life the very dream you may never come to realize for yourself.

I think that if you have ever been deeply in love- even if it was only once or a very long time ago, you should count yourself lucky. Cherish that memory and never let it go. There are many people who have never had a soulmate.

I think the best motivator is to speak kindly to someone and know how to truly listen.

I think words are one of the greatest gifts we possess. In times of joy or pain, words draw a picture of what the heart feels and opens a window, offering a glimpse into the deepest regions of the soul.

I think every woman should have the chance to comfort a man. Every man should know the feeling of being helpless in a womans arms. She is very powerful in this way.

I think God is in and with and surrounding us all. He is a powerful presence manifested through the power of love.

I think music is magic. It releases all that our words cannot express. Sadness, anger, gratitude and hope. I love instrumental music- it allows my heart to interpret what the composer was trying to say. Everyone should attend the symphony at least once.

I think life is lived best when one is familiar with a wide range of experiences and has considered a vast array of thoughts.

I think the most genuine prayer is silent and is comprised mostly of the wishes you have toward those you hold dear in your heart.

I think there are some wounds that will never heal in this lifetime. You may keep yourself distracted or learn to cope more efficiently. The sting may lesson a little as years go by. All it takes to re-open the wound is one statement from some unknowing or insensitive person, one nightmare and the pain is back.

I think you must be brave and try MANY things before you know what it is that you truly love most.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Promotion!

Yesterday we had a staff meeting at 1:00, during which an official from the Health Department came and informed us that due to many of the programs that have been implemented since I was hired, we qualify for an $8,000 grant from the state! They will be cutting us a check in the next few weeks!!

After that meeting, met with Barry & Bill who seem very pleased. My title has now been upgraded from a Coordinator to Fitness & Wellness Director. They are having new business cards made for me to reflect the change. Even though it won't affect my income very much, this is going to look SO good on any future resume. But, I couldn't ask for a better management team to work with. I don't see myself movin' on anytime soon... Love my job! It has enabled me to become the family breadwinner.

Hubby is still tired and only working part time while he's in school. I've been doing 10 hr days, some weekends and wearing a number of different hats at the 'W'. That doesn't leave much time for blogging. Walking away from the desk job at the YMCA was one of the best moves I've made in my life. I feel this current position has given me an opportunity to make a real difference for the poor and suffering in this community. It is very rewarding to be able to help in this way.

I'm so happy about this promotion, my head is spinning right now! Feel like celebrating fer sure, but it'll have to wait until this coming weekend. Once in a while, hard work DOES get recognized. ;o)

Now, if the blasted financing will go through so I can buy the house next door, life will be feeling a little more normal. I'd like nothing more than to be settled in before Christmas. Lots of changes on the horizon...

It's SNOWING- big beautiful flakes. It was like a magical wonderland driving home last night.

It was the best day I've had in a VERY long time...

Something has Changed...

For most of my life, I watched helplessly as one thing after another fell apart. The last 5 yrs were intense. I was tired- plain & simple. It's been one big roller-coaster ride since I was 5 yrs old. Not easy to cope when your parents divorce twice in 6 yrs- both re-marrying a year later. Lived in poverty much of my childhood. Try navigating that emotional mine-field without any real guidance. Or how 'bout raising 4 kids with no family around to help and a man who works 12-16 hr days for over a decade of your marriage? Any takers??

Dealing with the nonsense from a chemically imbalanced mother and an emotionally vacant father has been no picnic. Combine all that with feeling constant pressure from the church to force myself to be something I'm not. It was a huge burden to carry and pushed me toward the edge.

My husband ignored the warning signs at work- refused to look for any other kind of job and ended up fired with no back-up plan. We lost the farm and our beautiful house. I lost a growing music career, my ministry and 5 amazing friends. He ignored my pleas for time with him and all the warning signs in our marriage until I was fed up and ready to walk.

Some people up here felt sorry for us. Stayed in their boarding house 'til we could find jobs and a place to live. (an interesting experience all the way around) Jay worked as a cable installer for a while. Decided to go back to school and try a new direction. A friend eventually pulled some strings and helped him get a job as a medical equipment supplier with reasonable hours.

I found work almost immediately upon arrival. Resigned several months later, due to some wierdness that was going on. (Sorry, but drama in the workplace? I don't play that!) Applied for Front Desk job at the 'W', but when they looked over my resume they hired me in management. So here I am and despite the occasional frustrations, I'm lovin' it!!

So many big changes in rapid-fire succession left me numb & angry inside. I have literally moved all over the country with 4 small children in tow. I refuse to be bitter and don't want to burden other people with a bunch of whining. So I've worked through it all the best way I know how- express feelings in a blog and workout hard to handle the anger.

This week, something broke. Found myself sobbing for a good long time- just letting go... of my friends, my dreams, my culture and the life I was trying to have. It is what it is. Time to buck-up and deal with it. My worst fear all along is that I will end up being like my Mother. Divorced, alone, unemployed and pathetic- SO much drama. Unlike her, I'm not Bi-polar/Schizo- if I was, I'd stay on the medicine so I could function normally.

I'm educated and reasonably mature, can hold down a job for years at a time. I tend to make better choices. She always bailed the minute things got hard- no coping skills. That's NOT me. If I have any fault it's that I don't know when to let go. (I did let go of the YMCA though- yeah- that was a good move!)
Depression tried to bring me down- ain't happenin'- kicked that to the curb. So I've made my choice. Wasn't hard. Not like I had/have many other options. I want to be able to stick with the promise I made.

I've never known security or stability. Not sure I'd recognize it- even if it hit me in the face! Moved every 1-2 yrs my entire life- sometimes more than once a year. The constant changes meant I've never had any real sense of community. The church was a POOR substitute for having a real family. Guess the saying still holds true that blood is thicker than water. In other words, only your real family will love you like family. I simply had the misfortune of being born into a family that- for the most part, didn't give a darn. Scattered all across the country and rarely kept in touch or got together... Put myself out there for years trying to connect, but it made no difference. Movin' on...

The biggest mistake all along has been looking to other people (including my parents) for approval. In the midst of the chaos in my life, I've learned to respect myself. I like me- so ya better treat me right! Anyone negative or controlling can GO! (Partly why I'm no longer in church.) It's their God-given duty to get in your business, they want to change people. For all the self-righteous talk of love & charity, they will kick you when you're down. Been there, done that- too many times. Over it!! Yeah I forgive, but those wounds will always be there. (Thanks for the memories!)

Jay is still here. That's the closest thing to security I've known. He's been doing his "homework" and claims he is treating me better. He has apologized repeatedly for some of the poor decisions he made over the years and for neglecting our relationship. He's trying to change for the better. A strong woman needs a stronger man. Not being difficult- that's just the way it is!

Call me stupid, pathetic, say what you will. I still believe in him. Someday, despite the sheltered life he led growing up, he will be a strong, confident MAN who knows his own mind. (I hope) If I were to leave him now, it would shatter him and splinter the family we have made.
I've definitely done my share of thinking. Maybe I'm breaking through to the other side...

So, I fell asleep in his arms last night watching Football.