Category Archives: Thoughts

Fall Bucket List

As of Tuesday, September 23, it’s officially Fall. Once again, I’m reminded by the fact that time really does fly by. Just a second ago it turned into summer and I’m afraid that many of the traditional summer experiences have passed me by. Even the pool at our apartments is all of the sudden closed! Did I really go swimming only one time? C’est la vie… no sense in looking back, so onward we must go! You know that saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”? I think that must apply to many things in life, and taking advantage of the season while it’s here has got to be one of them. Before this Autumn season gets away from me, these are the things I refuse to miss out on. Autumn Leaves 1

Make time to find and play in a gargantuan pile of leaves. This was by far my favorite memory of last Fall. This needs to be a recurring tradition. 

 

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Make a scarf. My first DIY projects as a child involved crocheting scarves and it’s been far too long since I made a more current one. This year I plan to amend that. Maybe something along these lines?? (Source)

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Carve a Pumpkin. Last year I was working the 1-10 shift so I missed out on the family pumpkin carving night. Whether I make it to the family event, or I turn pumpkin carving into a fun date night for Jordan and I, it’s happening. And soon. I could totally see Jordan putting in all the meticulous detailed work to make something ridiculous like this AMAZING pumpkin.

 

Trio BarsRoast the seeds from said pumpkin and make trio bars. My sister in law made these scrumptious trio bars last year and it’s been on my list of projects ever since.
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Finish “The Lord of the Rings.” The movie series has long been one of my favorites, but quite embarrassingly, until now I’ve never gotten around to actually reading the books for myself. Jordan and I are already a decent way through the first book and I’m absolutely in love. Can’t believe that I’ve waited this long to sink my teeth into these books.

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Participate in our local Turkey Trot. I have a family full of runners and they run in this race every year. Although I usually run the mile at the Cable Bridge Run in the middle of December, I usually come up with some excuse not to run this one. Not this year though. Image Source

I have a feeling this is going to be a delightful season. 🙂

 

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Currently I’m …

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…reading the Lord of the Rings. Frodo and the crew just arrived in Rivendell and I’m dying to see what happens next! Okay, I have a pretty good idea of what happens next consider my obsession with the films, but I truly feel like I’m on a whole new adventure with this book. There are just so many details that paint a much larger picture than could possibly be told through a movie. I’m so anxious to read the next chapter!

watching “Revenge”… I had turned my nose up on this show initially, but was intrigued when I learned that it was loosely based on “The Count of Monte Cristo.” I gave it a try and although there is definitely a little cheese that comes along with this show, it has been a fun ride throughout the first season. I’m a little nervous for season 2 though as so many shows flop after the first season. Any suggestions for my next show??

…trying to fit more projects into a weekend than is humanly possible. I always seem to do this… I decide that I’m going to have a productive weekend and then give myself an insane list. I think I’ve managed to sink my teeth into about 1/3 of it. Sooner or later, I need to become a better judge of my time.

…eating nothing, however I’m seriously craving some sweets, so I think I might have to make a fried cinnamon/sugar tortilla. Mmmmmmmm….

…pinning more and more projects to add to my never ending list. Decoration ideas for when we move next, fashion ideas, sewing projects, and a gazillion tutorials.

…tweeting about the 2014 Gymnastics World Championship in Nanning, China this week! It’s the final event of the ever too short elite gymnastics season marking the halfway point between the Summer Olympic Games! … you could say I’m a bit of a fan 😉

…going to the Oregon Coast this weekend with Jordan’s family! This will end up being the big trip for the year, and I’m happy to be able to get away for a little bit and see the ocean. I do love long walks on the beach, so I’m very much looking forward to that.

…loving FOOTBALL!!!! Although first and foremost I’m a Seahawks fan, it’s been fun to keep up with the goings on with other teams in the NFL. They certainly aren’t going to let my team repeat as Superbowl champions without a fight. It’s been super fun to watch the match ups week to week. I’m officially hooked. 

…discovering all these pictures that I’ve taken in the last couple years that I forgot existed! I really need to do something with them so they’re not just sitting on my computer. Perhaps another project is on the horizon?

…enjoying the fact that I’ve gone running 3 times in the last week. I’m trying to train myself to turn to exercise when I’m stressed and it seems to be helping.

…thinking that I should probably make sure I don’t stay up too terribly late tonight. I’m such a night owl and I never seem to learn my lesson. Maybe tonight I’ll make a step in the right direction… maybe.

…feeling like nothing would make me happier than a nice hot bath. Um yes… that will be next on my list for sure.

…hoping to get a new position at work. I’ve applied to a couple seasonal positions at work which would get me a $3 raise, which I could most certainly use. Fingers crossed that I get the job!

…listening to “The Hours” movie soundtrack. Phillip Glass is teaching me to respect a more simplistic approach to music. It’s simply beautiful.

…starting to rethink the scarf that I’ve been working on today. Yeah, I think I better scrap what I’ve done so far. I’ve got to make something that I’m actually going to feel great about wearing, right?? Yep, it’s got to be perfect. Starting over.

Happy October 1st everyone!

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Still here.

I’ve been going through a bit of a struggle personally. I don’t mean to use this post as a way to just whine about my problems, more of a reminder to myself that I’m still here and have a voice. It seems to be my natural inclination during times like this to retreat into my head and keep to myself. This isolation technique doesn’t necessarily produce happy results. So here I am, with possibly nothing amazing to say, but I’m saying it all the same. I think it helps to get through the dreariness and despair by opening up more and sharing your voice. Thanks for listening. 🙂

Yesterday, I found this blog, “The One Minute Writer”. I think it’s such a lovely, low-pressure idea; to just spend one minute of your day writing/journaling. Today’s prompt was “Describe your life or current situation using exactly six words.” The first 6 words that come to mind are “I wish I was in school.”

Although I’m very happy that Jordan is doing so well in school to prepare for our future, it has brought on a fair amount of jealousy, which I haven’t exactly worked through. I’ve never been good at not comparing myself to others, and perhaps this is really the prime opportunity for me to learn that skill. But then again, it’s that comparison which is a chief motivator in our current arrangement for me to work and pay the bills, while Jordan works in school to pay the future bills.

I guess sometimes it feels like the current state of my life has precious little meaning and it sort of feels like I’ve lost my voice. Perhaps this partially comes from throwing out my voice in favor of projecting the voice of a giant corporation for 40 hours a week. Then I remember that my situation isn’t unique and certainly there are less cushy jobs than mine out there that other people manage to thrive in. Why is it such a struggle for me? Is it actually my job at all that’s bringing me down?

I see Jordan challenging himself through these difficult classes and I desperately long for that kind of stimulation. What wouldn’t I give to be able to drop all my responsibilities and pursue my education with everything that I have? The other day I was researching colleges that I’d love to attend and it was exciting for a moment, but then reality sunk in. I remembered that full-time education won’t really be an option for me for another 3 years, provided everything goes according to plan with Jordan’s education.

I’m willing to admit that perhaps there is some flawed logic in my thinking. Perhaps things aren’t all gloom and doom and I can find better opportunities now, rather than waiting 3 years. Maybe I’m just in a negative head space that I need to escape from. Perhaps there is a compromise that will work for me. I want to be able to see the opportunities that are presently available to me and make the most out of them, rather than viewing these next three years as some sort of prison sentence.

Regardless, I’m still here.

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The Influence of a Religious Upbringing

I was looking forward to Labor Day weekend so much. And not because I had super amazing plans or anything. I just had a massive list of things I wanted to get done. I ended up putting a pretty unrealistic expectation on myself, and I’m afraid that I wasn’t able to live up to it. But on the bright side, I have a relatively easy work week ahead of me, so I should be able to get plenty done despite my work obligations. 🙂

As I said the other day, I’m always up for a challenge. In fact, taking on challenges and setting goals for myself is a huge part of who I am. One of the bloggers I follow, Jenni, from Story of My Life has challenged her readers to a blogging challenge for the month of September. I loved her blogging challenge in May, so I’ve decided to take this one on as well.


Today’s prompt is to describe where or what you come from; the people, the places and/or the factors that make up who you are.

It’s funny… Just thinking about all the people and places and events in my life have some responsibility for shaping my character makes me want to have more control of my environment. It makes me want to choose more carefully the things that will continue to have an effect on me throughout my life. I think about the person that I want to be five years from now and it seems more important than ever to surround myself with the people, places and experiences that will help take me there.

It should probably be recognized as well that despite my attempts to control these things, I’ll be in for a surprise at the end of the day. Even looking back to just five years ago, I feel very distant from that person. I’ve grown in so many ways that I’m proud of and I hope to look back at this post five years from now with another new perspective on life.

I had originally planned on talking about many things that have contributed to my character, but I know you guys have actual lives and don’t have time for a novel, and frankly, neither do I! So today, I’m going to talk about one of the biggest influences in my life: the presence of religion. I grew up in a very strict Mormon household. As a youth, I struggled with the doctrine and so I made the painful choice to leave the church when I finally had the choice to do so as an adult. Since I left though, I have been looking for something to really replace it and haven’t been able to completely do so.
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So, my Mormon upbringing has been the foundation in my obsession for truth. The founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints started his journey by searching for truth and finding none among the religions available to him. One of the basic lessons of the church is to follow his example and to “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you.” So, since then I’ve been searching.

I started to obsess about the scripture and would elaborately compare Mormon scripture to basic scripture and would look for all the inconsistencies that I could find. I used to plan out a book that I wanted to write cataloging these inconsistencies. And then, the more I searched, the more I realized that the bible is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions to itself and in the end everyone just chooses what they want to believe in.

So my religious upbringing gave me the obsession to search for truth, and I’m left with the simple truth that I just don’t know. And that has been the most satisfying answer I could have come to. No longer am I threatened or challenged by religion. And I’m left with a deep respect for everyone’s choice to practice religion how they see fit. I feel extremely at peace with it.

It’s amazing what influences us. And ultimately, my obsession for finding my own spiritual truth is only a small portion of what makes me who I am. I’m excited to see how this influences me five years from now!

 

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Life of Pi

life of piWhat a beautiful film. Every scene was a work of art. But what made this film so special to me was that the story stayed with me long after the movie was over. I found myself exploring the different themes for days after and I’ve been truly touched by the meaning portrayed.

Of the many different special things to take away from this film, I find myself focused on the message of the importance of storytelling and how it can make life more beautiful, special, and worth living.

I used to struggle with my place in Christianity. I used to blog about this more, but I came to a place where I felt it wasn’t an appropriate topic for the internet. Religious discussion can often be controversial. I’m not really looking to offend anyone or change anyone else’s minds on the topic. I support each individual’s right to their own chosen form of religious expression.

Personally, I’ve lost my faith in Christianity and organized religion in general. I think this has been a long time coming, and I finally feel comfortable enough to acknowledge it. I’m not saying that I don’t believe in the existence of a god. What I’m saying is, I don’t know. And more than that, I don’t understand how anyone could possibly know. I believe that particular knowledge is beyond human understanding.

Okay, it may seem that I’ve gotten off topic, but hear me out. In “Life of Pi” the main character, Pi, is a practicing Christian, Muslim, and Hindu. And during the film, it was hinted that by listening to Pi’s story, we would find God. I must say, although the meaning behind the multiple religions wasn’t necessarily straightforward, I think it’s beautiful how these things were connected.

I think that the deeper meaning here is that like Pi’s story, the truth is often an ugly thing and it isn’t necessarily something that’s easy or great to live with. Pi used his story about the tiger as a way of coping with the terror that he endured. What I took away from the film is that despite the reality of no certainty of a god or an afterlife, it can help to cope with those things by believing in God and/or practicing religion.

I’ve done a little research on the topic, and it seems pretty consistent that those who actively practice religion are generally happier than those who don’t. I can’t say that this has changed anything that I believe, but I think it’s a beautiful sentiment. Only time will tell what, if any, impact this idea will have on me, but it’s an interesting thing to think about.

Aside from this, there are so many beautiful reasons to watch “Life of Pi.” This is definitely one I’ll want to watch over and over.

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Goodbye Word of Faith Center


I didn’t intend to make an ultimatum this week, but I felt I had no other choice. This all really started at a church connect group I went to where a petition to ban gay marriage was put in front of me and I wouldn’t sign it (you can read about that here). Basically, I believe that churches should never have  power over the government. When has that ever been a good thing in history?

Anyway, the following Sunday the same morning announcements appeared encouraging members to sign this petition. The Pastor, Ryan, gave a sermon on the power of one, what one person is capable of in Christ, and about not living your life in fear. I felt like he was just begging me to write him a letter about my concerns, so I did just that. Although I do disagree with him on the issue, I tried to be as respectful as possible while still getting the message across. Here it is:

 

Pastor Ryan Graves and the leadership of Word of Faith Center,                  May 27, 2012

After today’s message regarding the power of one and not letting your life be led by fear, I feel compelled to write this letter. In taking your advice, I am empowered to bring something of great importance to your attention.

Jesus Christ preached about loving all people. He wasn’t the kind of guy that only hung out with the “most righteous “, “well to do” or the “top level” of the church. He hung around the sinners and the lowliest of people. He taught us that there was no “elite” that salvation was intended for. He taught us that all men can be saved. That is exactly what I want. I want the tri-cities to get saved. I think that Word of Faith is in a very powerful position in that goal.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been very disturbed by the morning announcements inclusion of pushing political agenda to ban gay marriage. First of all, I believe in the separation of church and state and I have a hard time imagining Jesus making it his priority to get so involved in politics. The bible may be clear on its position of homosexuality, but it’s also clear on its position of a multitude of other sins. The only reason this particular sin of homosexuality is in your announcements, is because it’s a relevant controversial political topic.

I’d like to ask you to put yourself in the shoes of a gay person who wants to have God in their life and decides to attend church at Word of Faith center. They come in and enjoy the worship, feel God’s presence, then they sit down and are told right off the bat that this church is actively pursuing to deny them what they would consider one of their basic human rights. Instead of an invitation to come, repent, and live your life for God, it’s an invitation for them to leave. You may “love the sinner, hate the sin” but how on earth do you think that a gay person is going to even have the opportunity to see how much you love them when they are being blatantly discriminated against.

If you (the church) feels so compelled to push political agendas that go with bible teachings and to make it known that you intend to be a moral compass for the world and not just your own church, then I encourage you to push political agenda against every single sin that you can think of, to let your members know that they won’t be accepted in your church community unless all sin will cease and desist immediately.

Please, let’s do everything that we can to get EVERYONE saved. I’m not asking you to change your beliefs on this issue, just to be respectful and inviting to those whose beliefs and struggles are different and are in search of a life with God that you as a church can lead them to.

Thank you,

Karen Fritch

 

After writing this letter, I knew that however this was handled would be key in determining my future attendance. I wasn’t expecting to really change anyone’s heart with one letter, but I at least wanted to have a voice. I wanted to be heard by the leaders of this church. I didn’t get a response this week. He could have called me or sent me a letter back, but I got nothing. So, I honestly didn’t have much hope for the situation going into church today. I was already prepared to say my goodbyes, but I genuinely wanted to see if there was any chance I could still place any hope in this church.

I walked into church and the first thing I saw was a huge display with multiple petitions for banning gay marriage. I pretty much knew right then that I had my answer. But then I watched the announcements and there was nothing in them encouraging members to sign this petition. For a second, I was torn. Was this a half-hearted effort to take my suggestion?

My confusion ended very shortly after. Ryan announced to his congregation that he was starting a new series of sermons about married life. He continued on saying,”If any of you have questions about marriage, we’d love to hear from you and give you some biblical answers.” Then he said, “We’ll be defining marriage, cause SOME people wanna think it’s their basic human right.” The attitude he said this with was just disdainful.

It couldn’t have been any clearer. There was no coincidence. Ryan Graves was too personally offended by my letter and wasn’t secure enough to say something directly to me, so instead he answered me publicly with my own personal invitation to get out of his church for thinking differently from him. Apparently his message about the power of one and not letting your life be led by fear came with a disclaimer; you’re only encouraged to tap into this power if it aligns with what Ryan Graves believes.

Well, I refuse to be a part of a church where the only voice is that of the Pastor’s. And I certainly refuse to “pay tithes and offerings to God” when all that really is at Word of Faith Center, is paying Ryan’s salary. Granted, they do other charitable things with their money, but if I want to donate to those causes, I will without Ryan Graves taking his cut.

Where’s God in all this? That’s what I keep wondering. Was Ryan thinking that he was doing God’s will by publicly acknowledging and disdaining my letter? Ryan, you are not God and I DO NOT believe that you speak for him either. God wouldn’t have answered me this way.  So my journey with Word of Faith has ended, but my journey with God lives on.

 

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The Gay Issue

One thing that’s kept me away from church is the gay issue. It seems to me like so many religions out there are not loving at all toward the gay community. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me since a core christian principle is to love all people.

In deciding to go back to church, I’ve determined that I’m not going to let any church make me a mindless zombie to their cause. I can think for myself thank you very much. But, to maintain my church attendance, I decided to look the other way when it comes to things I disagree with.

That became a bit of an issue for  me this week…

For at least the past two Sundays during announcements they’ve encouraged church members to sign petitions for the proposition to preserve marriage between a man and a woman in the state of Washington. Each time I cringed a little, but let it pass.

Then last night at my “connect group”, the leader of the group got all excited and said she had this preserving marriage petition for us to sign. She handed it first to me while asking me to sign it. I got very uncomfortable because obviously I wasn’t going to be able to look the other way. I told her I wouldn’t sign it because in my opinion, allowing gay people to legally marry doesn’t affect the validity of my own marriage.

It seems to me like that’s what these bans on marriage are all about. Because even if you think that it’s a sin to be gay, why shouldn’t they have the right to make that lifetime commitment to their “sin”? If all sin is equal in the eyes of God, then why aren’t christians fighting to make all the other “sins” out there illegal?

When discussing the issue with a church friend, she explained to me that in their services the pastor has said “We don’t hate gay people, we love gay people. We hate the sin.” In publicly supporting this proposition they are targeting a single group of “sinners”. Why don’t they publicly target another group like say, drug addicts in their opening announcements?

Another thing I’m pretty sure all churches have in common (it’s a main focus of this church) is that they all want more members.  What do they honestly think is going to happen when a gay person comes to check out their church and in the very beginning of the service learns that this church is aiming to deny them what they would consider to be one of their basic human rights? Sounds like a big, fat, “Get the F*** out.” to me. And then how would gay people ever get the chance to see how much you claim to love them.

It’s so stupid. It pisses me off.

It is definitely making me question my resolve to continue going to this church. But I actually want to be going to church and what church out there isn’t going to have this exact same problem? It really sucks.

I know I still have so much I want to learn, but then I have to ask myself why would I want to continue to learn from a church that is this stupid when it comes to such an important issue. It definitely makes me feel hopeless about my ability to find the right church anywhere. Is there such a thing as a church that doesn’t discriminate against gay people?

And if I continue going, does that mean that through my actions I am supporting this discrimination?

What was really interesting to me about last night’s situation was that after I told her I wouldn’t sign the petition, she looked to the other girls in the room and they wouldn’t sign it either. She did NOTHING about it. I’m sure she thought she was being respectful or whatever, but it seems to me that if you’re that passionate about something that you’re going to ask people to sign a petition, (not to mention she’s doing it as our church leader) you should at least TRY and convince people why it’s the right cause to be backing. It’s like she’s saying to us,  “I don’t have an opinion or a passion for this cause, the church just said we should do it, so I am!”

And this is what I’m supposed to be aspiring to become in this church.

 

 

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Disclaimer

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Anyone who’s been reading/watching my blog knows that I’ve recently started going back to church. For so long I haven’t wanted to go to church because, let’s face it- churches have problems. For now I’ve decided to continue going to church despite these problems or things I disagree with because I do believe that the practice of going to church will help me grow. I’m sure the church itself will teach me some things as well.

However… church can still really piss me off! And I don’t know a better way to vent my frustrations than blogging. Yes, yes, you heard me right. I’m planning a lot of future posts to be about my frustrations with church. Yes- I still plan on going to church despite these frustrations. I know that going to church will help me grow in one way or another. I just feel like it will be easier for me to maintain the church going if I can at least be honest and open about the experience somewhere. I’m also sure that these posts won’t all be negative either. Already I’ve had some really positive experiences that I would love to share. 

I’m not writing these posts to offend anyone. I know that when it comes to religion, it can get personal and people can get easily offended. I’m also not writing them because I have no certainty in my own beliefs. I’m not looking for a different religion. I just want to figure out how to make mine work.

So if any of these things sound like things you don’t want to read about… please don’t. 🙂

 

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Community

This morning, in honoring my commitment, I dutifully went to church. On the way there though, I kept doubting my decision. Wondering to myself if this really is what I want. I know one thing for sure…. I can’t sit around and do nothing. Going to church is at least one step in the right direction.

There was a guest pastor there to lead worship and then deliver a message. Perhaps I was more open to listening today because of that. He spoke about having the peace of God in our lives… something that can’t be shaken no matter what stresses, tragedies, relationships or just whatever gets in your way during the week. I really appreciated the message.

At the end, he asked everyone to just close their eyes and pray to God. I prayed for that peace. He then asked members of the congregation who felt that they wanted to step out and make that commitment to live their lives for God to just stand, taking that extra leap of faith. Then something really beautiful happened. He asked the fellow members of the congregation to reach out and pray with these people who had just stood up.

I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for in a church, but I tell you right now that in that moment I found it. I felt a confirmation that I had just found what I’ve been seeking all along. A REAL community of God. I opened my eyes to look around and witnessed people praying for each other, hugging and crying, and I knew that this is what God wants. This is what the church is supposed to be about. People. I’m sure the designated church leadership was involved in this, but no one was being put above anyone else. Just God’s people, praying together.

The reality is that I probably won’t have this experience every week. But, it gives me a reason to keep going. For now at least. 🙂

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A Little Church Magic

It’s day 3 of my juice fast and it’s not been an easy day. More accurately, I had a great morning… followed by a frustrating afternoon. By the time we got to evening, I was quite literally begging Jordan to go out to eat so I could watch his every bite and eat vicariously through him. Oh my goodness… this is what it’s come to. I have my eyes on day 5…. I’m hoping it will be smooth sailing from there.

I’ve also been wanting to commit to a church for a long time, but I keep letting this little problem or that little problem get in the way. Today, I’ve decided I need to get over it and I’m going to start regularly going to church. I’m even going to sign up for an after church class next week. Should be a real kick in the pants.

And check out that adorable puppy! I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted a puppy more than I do right now….

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