Sunday, January 31, 2010
[I made this poster - click to enlarge]
All our kids are now in double digits in age, and in another year the two youngest will officially be teenagers. But we're already getting glimpses of attitude from them, and our soon-to-be 14-year-old can display it in full force like only a teenager can. No one's flipped the finger at Les or me - yet...at least, not to our faces. I am sure there's probably been a few aimed at us through a freshly stomped through and slammed door. But there have been some total glare wars, refusing to do something just to prove a point, knowing full well there will be consequences.
I know it's all a normal part of the growing up process, leading to them becoming independent from us. But I don't respond to it very well. I find myself being exactly the parental cliché, right down to saying, "Don't talk to me that way, young lady!" Oh, God. We really are doomed to becoming our parents, aren't we? Worse, I see it and think back and I don't wonder if I was ever that bad - I know I was. Mom, Dad - Sorry!
Anyway, it's an interesting process to watch, and I am sure as our middlest enters high school next fall (yikes!) it will accelerate. I am hoping I can find some approach that lessens my negative reactions to it so I can deal with it constructively.
Friday, January 29, 2010
[I am going to keep this generic, because it happens quite often in different scenarios. So don't think I'm talking about you. Although maybe I am! :o)]
You know what bothers me? When someone says, "I think x is a great idea and I think we really need to do x," all the while looking meaningfully at you and meaning, "I think x is a great idea and I think you need to do x." I've recently had a couple of people push an idea that when it came time to take some responsibility and make it a reality were suddenly saying how busy they were and couldn't help, but really, someone (i.e., me) should still run with it. Um, thanks for that idea. I'll get back to you.
The world is full of great ideas - it isn't hard to come up with them, really. The difference is between those who can only think them and those who can make them a reality. An apocryphal Bill Gates quote says, "Shipping is a feature - sometimes it's the only feature that counts." (Yes, I know Joel Spolsky said it last fall, but I've heard that quote for at least ten years, and I believe longer than that, so I'm sticking with Bill). Often it doesn't even have to be a great idea - it just has to be executed. Let's call it "idea entrepreneurialism."
So please, pledge to not be an idea rat. If your idea's worth doing, it should be worth doing by you. Sure, you can ask for help, but don't just toss ideas out there and hope someone else will have the gumption to make them a reality. Let's quit using the word "we," shall we?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Erin has started a blog series on introverts in church based on her reading of the book Introverts in the Church: Finding our Place in an Extroverted Culture. In the first post she asks the question:
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?That is to say, do you think people are introverts because they have low self-esteem, or do people have low self-esteem because they are introverts?
I objected in a comment that I don't think all introverts necessarily have low self-esteem and she has since clarified that point. So I thought I would weigh in on the more general matter of being a Christian and an introvert (An "intro-Christian?" A "Christintro?")
My thinking on being an introvert has been strongly shaped and clarified by this classic article in Atlantic Monthly. Briefly put, introversion has nothing to do with being shy or having low self-esteem. Instead, Jonathan Rausch defines introverts as people who spend energy from being around other people, and extroverts as people who get energy from being around other people. Note that introverts can even like being around others, but only in moderated doses and then they have to go "hole up" to "recharge." This resonates as true for me and other introverts, and also for those extroverts I know. That's why after even a fantastic and fun day with friends or family I am exhausted and want to spend some "me" time to unwind.
That said, I think introverts are then at a natural disadvantage in a church environment. Why? Because we all know (or are supposed to know) that "church is other people" (this introvert's attempt at a play on words). And that we're all supposed to be "involved" in church, to be with those other people, to have relationships with them, to love them and spend time with them. Which is all well and good - but it is also exhausting to an introvert, while it's invigorating to the extro-Christians. Which is why the latter always seem to end up "running the show," so to speak.
Any introverts with families are already running at an energy deficit, 'cause it's hard to get away from people living in your own house. Then you have work. Then you have family and friends. And then you have church. Just the service can wear me out sometimes. Add into that the "expected" added participation in committees, boards (just got asked to join another one), get-togethers, etc., and it makes an introvert like me want to run and hide. Not because anyone there is bad, not because "the cause" is bad, simply because it is overwhelming and sucks psychic energy away.
And that's where I think the resulting feelings of low self-esteem around being an intro-Christian comes from. Knowing that we're supposed to immerse ourselves in "the body of Christ" as manifested in our church and either doing so and resenting the energy suck it requires, or just avoiding it all and then feeling guilty about that (which is how it plays out with me). If one believes (as I do) that being an introvert is something we are born with, then it's not something we can just "buck up" and get over. People, even people we love, are always going to be a drain, and that means if we commit ourselves fully to them, as we do with our family and friends, and as we're supposed to do with our church, then that makes even less time in the week to get the much needed alone-time to recharge. And introverts who don't recharge enough get very moody and depressed. At least this one does.
Does that make sense?
Monday, January 11, 2010
I made this up out of my head yesterday and it turned out really good, so decided to record it here.
There was a recent sale on sirloin pork roasts (the kind with the netting around them) for $1.79/lb. Given that I consider any protein under $2/lb a good deal when feeding six I picked up two three pound roasts. Yesterday I cooked them in the crock pot. One roast went on the table and was gone by the end of dinner (everybody had at least seconds, which is a notable event) , the other is in the fridge waiting to be shredded and used for carnitas-style fillings during Mexican night this week (mmm...carnitas).
- 5-6 lb pork roast (two of the smaller netted ones would be good - you want the netting because they get so tender they shred with a fork, so getting them out of the crock pot could otherwise be an issue)
- 1-2 small apples, sliced into 1/8" slices
- 10-15 slices of fresh ginger (I'm on a ginger kick recently - more about that later)
- 1 can chicken broth
Arrange apple slices in bottom of crock pot. Spread ginger slices on top of them. Put pork roasts on top of both and pour in the can of stock. Cook on low in crock pot for 10 hours.
Note: The remaining broth sure smelled good so I put it in the blender (apple, ginger and all) and blended it up and have frozen it for use in stuffing, rice or what not. We'll see how that turns out.