Home Day 3: Know Thyself

Has it already been 3 days?  Yes, indeed.  3 days.  Well, it certainly has been a great 3 days.

Today was so much fun as I got to go to work with my mom and participate in her companies Santa to a Senior program where I got to gift wrap and prepare gift bags for some 1,155 seniors who are needy and who may not have received a gift from anyone.  It was lots of fun.  And then I made dinner, taco soup, for my family which is always a super fun time for me.  I got to throw myself into Christmas shopping today, another fun thing for me.

But today though was pretty unique because a couple times today I was reminded about the things that make me tick and traits that I have, some of which brings lots of joy and can be cute (!), or drive others crazy.  But even being reminded of who I am makes for a great time.  Know thyself right?

So let’s review my day:

  • As I was helping with Santa to a Senior, I found that I was overwhelmingly organized and system’s oriented.  I wanted a plan to knock out the gifts and knock them out quick and effectively.  And I did  I immediately got into a plan where I filled gifts one by one with one product at a time and even bypassed the instructions for the volunteers to make the system better.  But others, my goodness!  I knocked out 300 gifts in 20 minutes, but there were some others who were filing gifts randomly with the 7 parts needed and it took them almost 2 and a half hours with crazy disorganization to get some 400 bags taken care of. It came down to my personality of order and planning- I like making a plan or a system for any task and completing it well, and when others don’t, I almost become useless and lost and unable to help out because I can’t figure out where to start the help.  Some like the disorganization, but I have such a distaste for it that others think I am lazy!  But instead I am helpless without a plan or system!  Yikes!  But some people actually appreciate me for that plan and order, because I often pull it off with a laidback attitude.  But I will get out of sorts and frustrated without, easily!
  • I love giving gifts!!!!!!!!!! I can’t help but buy gifts for people because I really love the opportunity to give something to people, whether it be Santa to a Senior or even buying Christmas gifts for family and to-be-family.  Giving is a love language for me.  I can spend hours at a store walking through and thinking of the possibilities, the gifts that could be great gag gifts, great gifts of laughter, gifts of joy or significance.  It’s fun to me.  But it can be indecisive and it is often a home for my perfectionism.  I love special moments so I will plan on a gift that fits a moment or that achieves a very specific image or situation or moment in my mind (my fiancee knows this all too well just from an ice skating expedition).  So when my gifts don’t meet the moment, or if the vision I have in mind with the gift doesn’t quite pan out, I get disappointed and will become a little moody.  Or if the gift I really want isn’t there, I get frustrated and become insufferable with any other possibility or option.  But my gifts are usually good, significant, and about right, and it makes me feel incredible and feel that I am communicating how much I love someone.  In other words, it brings me great joy!
  • Joy matters to me.  Joy comes in moments or in small things that most people look over.  Today, it was the smile of a fellow volunteer, the laugh of my fiancee on the phone, choosing gifts and getting a laugh from my funny imagination with those gifts, making a meal for people, or waking up early to tell someone half a nation away good morning.  These little things bring me joy.  And what I also was reminded of today was how I do not believe joy is the absence of sorrow.  The chance to tell people about my job brings great joy, even though the job is not without sorrow.  And as people share their feelings about the tragedy last week, I am reminded that my and our joy is not without sorrow, nor does the joy fade as soon as sorrow shows up on the radar.  For me, joy comes in the small moments that makes the evils, the pains, the frustrations of life, even the major tragedies, become only temporary realities.
  • I can be ambivalent when people need me to be decisive or strongly opinionated.    I am so good at being PC or being gentle that I often don’t let anyone know what I want or even if I have an opinion.  Ambivalence.  I don’t mind.  Whatever makes you happy.  It helps when I am a professional caregiver in a hospital where the task at hand is listening and compassion.  Not when I am trying to take on responsibilities with a family, or when my family is trying to do something for me that I want to do.  Part of this is growing in becoming inclusive of others in my life (especially as I am committing to life with someone else) and making decisions together.  But part of it is also letting myself be responsible and be heard.  It is a responsible thing to let others know where I stand, albeit gently and kindly.  It can be a non-issue, even unnoticeable, but other times it can be annoying or even frustrating and awful.  With my family there are moments where I remove myself by not sharing my opinion and end up making things worse.  It didn’t happen today, but I was reminded in my interactions with others that I am way too non-committal in way too many situations.
  • Playing games matter to me.  I love games.  I spent almost two hours looking at board games and card games at Target, Walmart and another store today.  Crazy!  And to one extent, I am competitive, but I just love to play!!!!!  Play is where I get plenty of joy and where I get to enjoy my community of friends and family.  Awesome!  Boggle, Settlers, Nertz, Apples to Apples, cards, Phase 10, Yahtzee…omg!!!!  Awesome.

You know, being home is awesome.  Being home always brings me, and also for many of you, back to some realities that can point us to how we have matured, how we have grown, and also to who we are and how we will always be the same.  And that is fun to me.  Home and family contains identity, past and present and future.

So, it continues to be a great week at home with family.  And I promise you, it will get even better!

Home Day 2

Today has been a pretty good day.  After a full night’s rest (which in and of itself is tongue in cheek), I was able to be quite productive and enjoy myself:

  • I joined my mother for church at New Day Christian Fellowship.  A very unique experience I must say.  The church did not have any bible class, meets in an elementary school, has a worship band, let women lead worship and sing solos, and even had a fun interpretive dance.  Oh, and they had a part of the service where they had the church members leave the service to prayer walk through the elementary school.  By far, they were an enthusiastic church and that mattered.  And I can’t say I have ever seen my family more interested and engaged in a worship service.
  • I got to watch football.  Seriously, I have watched all of 30 minutes max of football this year and so watching Denver beat up on Baltimore was like getting IV’s of caffeine or some kind of weird calming drug.  So fun!!!!!!
  • My mother celebrated her birthday on December 4 and my brother’s mother-in-law’s birthday is December 18.  So we celebrated both of them today at my brother Josh’s house.  Josh and Jacqui made great beer can chicken, mashed potatoes, beans, and some ridiculously good chocolate creme pie and banana creme pie.  Of course, I can’t help but mention the play time with my 4 year old nephew Will, whose first request hen he saw me this evening was “spin me!!!” (I  must say here that this play time with Will could only pluck my heart strings in wanting to play with my to-be step son and one of the great loves of my life at this point.  I miss A quite a bit and even though I will have an awfully wonderful time this Christmas with family, I am genuinely missing having his presence around and letting him continue to see that I intend to love him in every way I possibly can and more.  Watching my brother try to be and also be a good father to his 4yr old genuinely makes me want to learn to be a good father, if only just to try (and not be good at it sometimes) and become a lifelong presence of love and care and support for him. Okay, enough tear jerking for now.)
  • As a finale for the day, I got to see my Uncle Mike, Aunt Linda, cousins Christopher, Amanda and from a different family Ryan.  These are fun people and I love spending time with them (even though I talked with someone else special half of their stay!).  We got to laugh at some TV show that I don’t know about and I got to hear cousins talking about their lives- new boyfriend, getting much taller…oh all the fun!!!!
  • P.S. Got to finish the night a second time watching a trippy new Three Musketeers  with lots of crazy effects like airships and ladies named “Milady”.  Seriously!

It’s good to be home.  And it will get even better I believe.

Home Sweet Home

Being around family is great.  At least it can be.  And I am loving it right now!  (Except for the fact that I was so sleepless over the last couple nights staying up late and getting excited for home both because of family and the fiancee coming home- that I feel awfully tired and sore as though I just finished a 24hour shift or two in a row- but its still fun to be home!)

I got the good fortune of coming home for 2 weeks this year for Christmas, and it is just plain awesome as I get to talk about my fiancee, talk to my parents about their jobs and their joys, and have fun with my brothers talking about girls, work, family and lots of sports.

It is a place of comfort.  It is a place where I feel at home.  I can’t tell you how much fun it is to just sit and play Yahtzee, or sit and watch basketball with my brother Joe and talk about all the ridiculous and crazy and unbelievable things in the sports world, or play with my nephew Will, or joke with my dad about being my old man.  Through the year I miss the opportunity to see my family face to face, and so when I come home I try to get it all in, like drinking from a fire hose.

And I can’t wait for my time at home to get even better.  Looking forward to Santa for a Senior with mom, golf with the bros, Christmas Eve with lots of family, introducing my fiancee E to family, teaching E to play Ticket to Ride or Settlers of Catan (and playing with family), driving to the mountains to sled and play with snow, a pre-end of the the world thanks to the Mayans party with my good friends, lights at the Mission Inn, and of course my first Christmas morning with my new family, my fiancee!

Damn its good to be home!