Sunday, July 31, 2011

The care and feeding of introverts

I am an introvert. I am SUCH an introvert. (Hello classic ISFJ) The older I get and the more I learn about what it truly means to be an introvert (beyond the superficial, erroneous definition of just being "shy"), the more I feel like I understand how to make my professional and personal lives work better for my personality type.

Someone who I used to know once said, upon my noting that I was an introvert, "What?! No you're not. You like people!" To say he didn't "get it" would be a vast understatement.

When I was a kid I was shy, but I first really observed my introvertism in that being with groups of people or unknown people wears me out. Even if I'm enjoying it. It's not a matter of enjoyment, just a matter of what energizes me vs. exhausts me. I realize now that if I'm going to be in a situation like that, I have to make sure to schedule in down time to balance it out.

I saw the article on the right about the care of introverts. It made me smile, but also really struck me how true it is! There is a great deal of comfort that comes with knowing you're not alone and/or crazy for your personality traits.

I am intensely private. Ironic, since I work in a job that involves a lot of research in sharing your life online. And more ironic, considering I'm posting this in a very public forum of the world wide web.

I need time to process through things. I don't go well from one task to another with no warning. It's just amazing how well this hit it on the head.

Are there any other introverts in the house? I think introverts tend to do well in online communications because it allows them to both be alone AND interact with others. Are you an extrovert who doesn't understand introverts? Let's virtually hug it out, peeps.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

January 2007

Do you ever look back in your life and realize that there was a time that significantly changed the way you see the world? I recently realized that one of these times for me was in January 2007.

To give a little background, a short year before, I'd survived my own major medical crisis. As soon as the doctor gave me the go ahead, I left and spent 6 months in Brazil. In November 2006, I moved back to the US confused and finally processing what had happened the prior two years.

In January 2007, two of my dear friends were due to have their first child. They were really my closest friends to have a child first, so this was all new and exciting. I anxiously awaited news of the birth, and still remember the dread that filled me from bottom to top when I got the news that something bad had happened. I remember trying to process through and plan a trip to Oklahoma to be there when my friends buried their baby. But, after weeks and months of fighting, Ben made it. :) Today he is a happy and healthy 4 year old who is joy. But I'll never forget the dread and pain of that time. Something deep inside me changed, and it felt like growing up in the most painful way.

A couple of weeks after Ben's birth, I heard the news that one of my classmates from OC serving as a missionary in Uganda and died there. I didn't know him well, but having lived for ~2 years as a vocational minister abroad my heart broke for the family and loved ones of Adam Langford. His funeral was one of the most poignant, painful days as I saw so many of my college friends gather to bury this young man, far before his time. I know some people say funerals should be a celebration of life, but they are also places to pour out your grief when it hurts. And that is what happened.

I can't tell you definitively what changed for me during this month. I know I was changed. I know that loss and suffering felt more keen than ever before. But I also learning about healing. About grieving. And about living.

Some of my friends have told me that my health crises was a time like this for them. Isn't it interesting what grows us? And what we let grow us? In the words of St. Bono of Dublin, "The heart that hurts is the heart that beats."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life with migraines

Many of you know that I overcame some major health problems about 6 years ago. Can you believe it was 6 years ago? :) I have a lot to be thankful for, and I remind myself of that often.

That said, and as years go by, I remain keenly aware of the deep connection between mind, body, and soul.

For the past 4 years, I've gotten migraines. Before I started getting them, I just thought they were bad headaches. But wow, they are a full mind/body attack, and I really, really hate them.

No one knows definitively what causes migraines, but there are tons of theories, which probably all have some measure of validity. Stress, hormones, foods (onions and aspartame?), spinal misalignment. I personally think stress has a lot to do with mine, but also having lights flashed in my eyes.

I usually get auras pre-migraine (though not always), and actually consider myself lucky to get them. If you don't know, an aura is some kind of symptomatic tell that occurs before a migraine. For me, I think of them as the heads up that a migraine is either likely to occur or is imminent. If I can take my medicine early during an aura, then the pain of the headache is dramatically lessened.

The crazy part of of auras for me is the visualizations. Mine involve circular, flashing bands of light. This is a visualization I created. :) It starts as a wide circle in my field of vision, then closes in to right where I'm looking. I can see the aura most strongly when I'm looking at a screen of some kind- TV or computer.

Anyway, after the aura wears off is when it gets bad. Let's say I've taken my medicine (God bless you Excedrin Migraine) in time. Then I get a very dull headache, all of the energy drains out of my body, I become extremely sensitive to light and sound, and very nauseous. I also get very, very confused. That is probably the most frustrating part.

If I don't take my medicine in time, then it feels like an ice pick being driven through my eyeball straight through my skull. So... bad. And every other symptom is intensified- especially nausea.

I can usually function after an hour or two if I take my medicine, but if not, then I'm really wasted for the rest of the day. Medicine or no, I still feel exhausted and as though I've been hit by a truck.

It's a strange thing. Migraines are so much more than headaches. They make me think of mini-strokes, honestly. It's a scary thing to feel like you're losing control. It's such a neurological disorder, and hopefully great strides will be made in research and treatment.

Do any of you guys get migraines? What is your preferred treatment? What do you think causes them? Any strange symptoms?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pretty as a picture- You are what you eat

Lately I've been trying to think of ways to add more veggies into my diet. Eating fresh fruits is easy for me, but veggies have been a mental roadblock. Sure I'll throw spinach on my sandwich or whatever, but I needed to be intentional about including them as often as possible.

I've been going out to the farmer's market on Saturdays to get more inspiration. This weekend I got a seriously beautiful haul!

I noticed last week when I bought even a few items that having beautiful food makes me want to cook meals worthy of them. So yesterday I started grilling some of my goodies. I was struck by how beautiful it was! So I took a picture.

Then I thought, "At least once a day, I should have a beautiful meal that is worth photographing."

I don't actually want to be a food blogger or anything like that (the world has more than enough), but I really like the premise, even if it's just for my eyes. Is that candy bar beautiful? A handful of broken chips? A boring can of coke?

But how about bright and lovely fruits and veggies? Yes! Even if it's just a photo in my mind's eye.

Surround yourself with beauty- heck- even eat it up!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Not yo mama's fairy tale

Last night I finally watched Tangled, Disney's new spin on the Rapunzel fairy tale. It was the first Disney fairy tale I'd seen in quite a while. I was struck by modern take on the story and how clearly it reflected changes in culture from when Snow White first released.

The major thing I noticed was the interaction between the boy and the girl. To my recollection, Flynn (the male lead in Tangled), never actually saves Rapunzel. In fact, she saves herself and him, in spite of all his bumbling and bad intentions. Even when Flynn dashes in to save the day, he is injured and removed from the fight immediately, and she saves him. The happy ending is not their wedding, but an addendum that they got married a few years down the line.

I'm a pretty progressive person, and I definitely don't believe fairy tales are real, but it's just so interesting to see the progression from prince charming as savior to man as a loveable doofus, in spite of himself.

Many Christians are involved in the John Eldredge movement, which says that men and women have divinely seeded archetypes of gender roles, echoed in fairy tales. I have conflicted feelings. At one point I totally bought in to it, at another I was totally against it, and now I'm somewhere in the middle. My question is that if our storytelling makes this shift in a large cultural context, will that impact what the children of today expect from their romantic relationships?

Of course there are pros and cons to both, and ultimately there's probably not any movie from which you should base your expectations for life and love. And deep down I have a feeling that girls will still want to be swept off their feet, but hopefully they will also know their own strength and beauty with or without their prince. :)

*Interestingly enough (or probably not), I actually wrote a paper on this exact topic in my college film class comparing Cinderella to Ever After.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Estate Sale Pro Tips and Finds

Those who know me well or follow me on twitter know that I am a bit of an estate saler. I love going and looking at all the stuff. Props to good friend Auvrey for introducing me to this sport years ago!

A lot of people seem interested in estate saling, but many have questions, so I thought I'd give you some of my tips and tricks for the estate sale world.

Tip one- Good fuel

Ok this isn't necessary, but my Saturday morning routine involves getting a treat from Prairie Thunder Baking Company. My current faves are the chocolate croissant and the blueberry peach danish.

Okay but for real.

Where do you find out where estate sales are?

You might find this hard to believe, but long ago and far away, there were these things called newspapers that had classified ads. That's still where I look- the online version.

If you're in OKC, I'll even link you to it! The Oklahoman Classified- Estate Sales. They only list per the actual day it is.

Types of estate sales

There are a few types of estate sales. These are my own classification, nothing official. The bottom line difference between a garage sale and an estate sale is that the estate sale items are charged tax.

Estate sales are daunting for the family. I've never been through it myself, but I have seen enough that I think it's safe to say.

Because of this, some people bring in professional firms to hold their estate sales. They price the items, advertise, run the sale the actual days, and handle the tax stuff. If you are a shopper, these types of sales have pros and cons. PRO- no traumatized family members to deal with, items are usually priced to move, overall a better experience. CONS- Many times items are slightly overpriced because they have a better understanding of what items are worth, but they're still not retail prices.

Sometimes, families hold their own estate sales. I think this is a good idea if you have someone in the family who can emotionally disconnect from the experience and has a good idea of the end goal. Do you want to get rid of everything? Do you want to make a lot of money? Those two questions are important and can drastically change pricing. Some of the WORST estate sales I've been to have been family run. Sometimes the children are too emotionally connected to the items. Sometimes the person is there themselves, and that makes it even worse. One sale I went to, the entire family was wearing shirts with pictures of the deceased on it. Not a good idea.


Let me give you some major tips. If you ever need kitchen items, go to an estate sale. Cheap and easy. Same for tools, books, linens (although I do not use used linens to sleep on or bathe with). You can really stock up.

On Sundays, estate sales are slashing prices by at least half, usually. They want to get rid of stuff. Granted, the selection is lower, but the prices are drastically lower.

If you like DIY projects, estate sales give you great materials to work with.

Bargain! Bundle items (ex, get more than $10 worth of stuff and ask if you can have it all for $10)


A lot of people find the concept of estate sales creepy. I've often heard it called "dead people stuff." Okay, so here's my take. One, a lot of estate sales are not actually for deceased people. Many times they're for people downsizing or moving into assisted living.

Beyond that, I just got over it. I will admit the first couple of months I went, I'd get pretty sad going through peoples' houses. But then I decided I was giving their items new life, and helping the family out by buying it. It's an odd type of recycling, in a way.


Okay, here are some of my favorite finds from the past few weeks.

This coat is beautiful! Lovely embroidery all over it, and only $4. It's not an every day, all year long item, but I think will look rockin' in the fall.

I have a weakness for old suitcases. This one is beautiful, although in damaged condition. I love the fabric on the inside. I have some ideas for making it into an end table. $1

I found these bead strands for $.25 each, and the pin (from ~1900) was $4. I put them together and they're a beautiful summer accessory.

One of my favorite books, with the beautiful original artwork. I think $.50

I just thought this was funny. It's worth clicking on the 2nd image and reading the description of the suggested game. :) Maybe $1?

This is actually from Habitat for Humanity's Renovation Station. I also like to go there every few weeks. They have great spare parts like this window, which are just ripe for DIY (do it yourself) project ideas. In fact, I have 2 of these and have some fun ideas in mind...

Well there ya go! If you have any more questions, let me know!