Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I am not my parents

I grew up (and still live) in a small town.  Yo Momma moved to this small town with her parents when she was 6 or so.  Papa Bear moved to the small town when he was 28, started teaching and quickly became known.  I grew up being known as "Brittany, the daughter of...".  Though I was the first child, I was not the most popular child.  Soon I became known as "Brittany, the sister of...".  That's what happens when you are a shy person, not good at sports in this small town.

Growing up in this small town I never expected to be known for myself, except around my friends.  I told myself it didn't matter but it did.  I told myself that I was okay being known as the daughter or sister of...but there were times when it got old.  Really old.  Then, one day it changed. 

I remember the day that Papa Bear came home and looked at me and said "It happened.  I introduced myself to someone and they said 'You're Brittany's Dad!' ".  There was a poetic justice in that and freedom.  I was no longer just someones daughter or sister, I was me.  The best thing, was that I wasn't riding the coat tails of my family members, I had struck out on my own and was just me.

I was reading an blog post today about someone who is in the spotlight a lot because of their last name.  It's a famous last name because of this person's Dad.  The Dad is respected, well liked and when The Dad speaks, people listen.  The child has ridden The Dad's coat tails a bit to get where they are and is trying to emulate The Dad but it's not working.  The child is not The Dad and though the media keeps trying to make the child, The Dad, more and more it's clear, the child is really not The Dad.

That whole thing started me thinking about those in the media who have been thrown into the spotlight because of their famous parents.  In a way, it doesn't seem fair that we expect the child of the famous parents to be just as eloquent or charismatic or good as the parent.  In another way, it seems really awful when the child tries to work off of their famous name to become famous themselves.  Especially as time goes on and it becomes crystal clear that the child isn't as lovable as the parents, yet they continually try to work off that name or are given more opportunities to speak out because of their famous parents name.  The child is not the parents.

If people looked at Papa Bear, who was the sports guy and a PE teacher, and thought "gosh, his children will be extremely fit and athletic people", well they would be right with one of those children but not the other.  I am not my Dad.  If people looked at Yo Momma, the outgoing people person, and thought "gosh, her children must be outgoing people as well", well, again, they would be right with one of those children but not the other.  I am not my Mom. 

I am the introverted, curvy (ha!), non-athletic, perfectly me child of my parents but I am not my parents.  I don't always think like them, I don't always agree with them and I am most definitely not them.  I have their last name but I am me.  I don't want to be "famous in a small town" because of my last name but because of who I am, what I have accomplished and what I am good at.  Actually, I don't really want to be famous at all, that's a lot of pressure.  I just want to be me.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

6 week makeover

About 8 weeks ago I was dealing with a body issue that has flared up a lot over the last 12 months.  In an effort to not over share, that's about as far as I'll go.  This particular issue is helped by the consumption of water, so I left the doctors office 8 weeks ago and drove straight to the water store and bought myself a pink reusable water bottle.  That water bottle has been my constant companion these last 8 weeks.  I've taken it everywhere with me.  It's one of the first things that I grab in the morning and the last thing I reach for at night before turning out the light.  So far, that pink water bottle has done its job...I've stayed hydrated.

I've heard that it takes about 6 weeks to change/adapt/get used to a new pattern or way of doing something.  6 weeks seems like such a long time and yet is relatively short when you start thinking about it.  I know from many experiences that after about 6 weeks on any diet, I would stop constantly thinking about food.  Those 6 weeks seemed like an eternity every time (and there have been many times, unfortunately).  My 8 weeks with my pink water bottle has gotten me into a new habit and started to edge out old ones.  I've found that my heartburn has disappeared the more water I drink as I've had less soda at night.  I've also found that I'm spending a little less money on beverages than I did before.  Though I still like my daily Nonfat, with whip, White Chocolate Mocha's or Diet Pepsi, thank you very much.  My 8 week habit is a good habit.

If it takes approximately 6 weeks for something to become a habit, then it seems like Lent was set up for such a purpose.  I've had a love/hate relationship with the whole idea of giving up something for Lent for a long time.  In Youth Group Days, I would discuss the reasons for Lent with the group and we would all share what we were giving up...except for the years when I encouraged them to do something new, like read their Bible's every day or pray or help other people or something that would get their focus off of them and onto Christ.  Inevitably there was always the one who would give up chocolate for Lent and then loudly let us know  The meaning behind Lent always seemed to get lost in challenge of surviving the 6 weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

The last few years I've not made any changes.  I thought about it this year.  I thought about giving up something for Lent and realized that I still have some issues there.  Years of feeling frustration with the "fad-ish-ness" of Lent (yes, I may have made up a word, deal) are still on my shoulders.  It just feels like another ritual of religion that has lost it's meaning and that makes me sad.  Lent feels like one more thing I do because of my faith and that's just not okay.

So maybe, for the next 6 weeks, I'll spend time not giving something up but seeking after something that has been lost in the shuffle of living as a believer in Christ and working in the church.  Maybe, for the next 6 weeks, I'll spend time with my Creator, looking for that spark, that energy, that vibrant belief that disappeared quietly along the way, buried beneath the load of rhetoric and dogma that is the church and not of Christ.  And maybe, in 6 weeks I will find myself reaching for God the first thing in the morning, the last thing and night and all the hours in between with new life, new energy and a renewed thirst. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today was...

It's a beautiful February day in Northern California.  There are somethings that should not be said in the same sentence.  "Beautiful", "February" and "day" are some.  We are WAY below our rainfall average this year, as is pretty much the whole state.  Lil Bro is in the ski industry.  He finally got to start work 2 full months after his original start date.  Not good.  But that's not why I posted.

I took advantage of this beautiful February day.  First I had my weekly chiropractic appointment.  Then I stopped into get my toes done.  Yay!  The people at the nail salon asked me to make sure my friends knew that they were the only "F." Nail Salon in town.  Turns out that one of their employees quit after two months and is opening up a shop in town with a similar name at their old shop site!  People amaze me.  So spread the word!  "F." Nail Salon has changed locations!  The people at their old shop are imposter's!

I went from there to coffee with Jeffy and LN.  LN brought me mini-oranges with my name on them. 

LN and Jeffy were Mississippi buddies.  When packing lunches in Mississippi I would always put a banana in the group lunch sack with my name on it.  It reminded me of Mississippi.

Speaking of Mississippi, as we were sitting in the sun Ben sends me this picture and text "I forget, how do you eat these?" 
He's been sending me pics all week long as Mardi Gras has been in full swing.  I told him to stop sending me pictures.  I want to be there too!

Then I made Creative Guy take this pic with me as I took him to the office from his after school program.

A beautiful day does deserve the top down on the race car. (And it saved me from the "toxic toots" of Creative Guy.  We had quite the conversation about this bodily function and the need to have the top up on the car so I could smell them.  He is all boy.)  He was much better when I took the picture without him knowing. And before you "yell" at me for using my phone in the car, we were at a complete and total stop and I wasn't talking on the phone.

It was a good day...though the wrong day to forget to put on my SPF 30 moisturizer.  *Sigh*

Hope your day was beautiful too!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I was going to let this day just pass quietly, without much fanfare or blog-fare and then I read a post by another blogger.  He writes about church stuff and today's post had to do with single people in church.  He meant it as funny, I know.  He meant it to be something to laugh about and look at the church and say "what are we thinking?".  For many people, it was funny.  For me, well, it just made me sad.

I've done this back and forth struggle thing with being single (and if you read the book "Single Minded" written by me and three other women, you will see that firsthand).  When I was in High School I dreamed of the day when I would be married with children (it looked nothing like that awful TV show from the late 80's BTW).  I knew by the time I turned 25 that I would be happily settled down with the love of my life and on the way towards becoming a mom.  25 was a few years back.  It never happened.

For many years I was just fine being single.  I had a vibrant job, was content to be a second "mom" type to many youth and knew without a doubt that I wouldn't have been able to be married with kids and doing the job I was doing to the fullest extent with which I threw myself into the job.  Some days it was hard.  I will never, ever forget falling apart upon learning that the first of my cousin's was going to have a baby.  Nor will I forget that feeling of being happy for that same cousin and devastated for myself when she got engaged.  That selfish feeling was awful.

Yet what I was feeling was real.  Over the years that same feeling has come and gone.  I've prayed, oh how I have prayed, for God to take the desire away.  I didn't ask for this to be my life.  I am following God, this is the life I got.  I really, really want to be perfectly happy and content and yet, I'm not.  Well meaning church folk have said some of the exact things that the blogger said today:  "Don't you WANT to be married?  Why don't you go to a bar?  How about a match maker site?  You'll never meet anyone in this town (IE, the perfect Christian guy)."
The blog was meant to be funny.  To many it was.  For me, it was a reminder that I'm still single and it's not my choice.  I'll continue to smile and be happy for those friends newly engaged.  I'll continue to ooh and aah and cuddle babies.  I'll continue to pray, remind myself that I'm not alone in the world, that others desire the same thing...and a part of my heart will continue to be selfish and sad for me.

I know that marriage and parenthood isn't all peaches and cream.  I know that it's difficult and I know that some of my friends who are both are a little envious of my singleness.  The problem isn't with my head knowledge, it's with my heart knowledge.  My heart longs for something has yet happen, may never happen and that is my reality this Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Drumroll please...

The pins and needles are now in the past...I officially have a job.  Administrative Assistant for the local District office of Rotary International.  It's a brand new job--they haven't hired anyone before--brand new office, brand new experience.  I'm excited.  Beyond excited.  Everything about this job just seems to fit me.  I know that God is in these details.

I'm also planning.  My commute has just doubled from my current one-day-a-week job and quadrupled (maybe even increased six-fold in mileage) from my former job.  I've spent the evening looking at the public transportation options, estimating my gas costs and trying to figure out how much it would cost to take said public transportation.  Not as easy as I thought it would be to figure some of that out but it's a good, anticipatory challenge.

I'm also working on a post that I'm a little terrified of writing.  I try to stay away from topics that get people worked up, but my brain is working overtime on a particular subject.  Stay tuned!

Friday, February 3, 2012


If you had asked me Wednesday morning about my Tuesday night job interview, I would have told you that it went fine.  I left the interview knowing I had been true to me but not really sure how well that came across.

Wednesday @ noon you would have seen me doing my version of the happy dance after receiving an email requesting a 2nd interview.

This morning at 11:37am, you might have seen me restrained and trying really hard not to jump up and down in glee in the middle of a sedated neighborhood of offices and homes.  I went into the beautiful old victorian house-turned office expecting a 2nd interview...I came out with a job offer.

Pending references, I have a new job.  A new job that I'm excited about.  I'm gonna hold off on sharing too much right now.

More to come...

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Yesterday afternoon, I picked up Creative Guy from the after school program at former church.  I pulled into the parking lot, turned off the car and turned around to clear off the stuff from Creative Guy's seat in the back.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this flash of movement and then heard a sound.  I looked up to see Meg dancing outside my car window, saying something like "I run all the way over here to see her and she isn't even looking my way."  Sorry Meg.  Nice to know I have friends who run to meet me.  :)

Creative Guy runs over to meet me too.  That's always good for a heart melting moment.  Yesterday, as we were driving away our conversation went a little like this:

Me:  How was Snack Time?

CG:  Good.  We had a special snack.

Me:  Oh, what was it?

CG:  Chicken nuggets...I was really hoping there would be hot chocolate.

Me:  Yeah, hot chocolate would be pretty special.

CG:  (sighing)  That would be paradise.

Me:  ??  What would be paradise?

CG:  Having hot chocolate.  Watching a movie.  Eating my favorite foods.

Me:  What are your favorite foods?

CG:  Bacon and yogurt.  Oh and little pizza's with small bacon bits.

Me:  So eating bacon, yogurt, little pizza's with small bacon bits, watching movies and drinking hot chocolate would be paradise?

CG:  Yeah...I have two birthday parties to go to this weekend.

Oh how I love this boy.