Frog Blog

On Seeing the Good

Being in a relationship is bringing out the best and the worst of me. Last week Chris and I were at my place with our respective take-out meals, sitting down to watch some of the latest shows on Hulu.

As I take a bite of my delicious chicken club wrap from Morning Due Café, I find a chunk of bone amongst the meat. My first reaction is “No way! How disgusting,” which of course I yell out for him to hear in the kitchen. I’m thinking, “I can’t believe I end up with a bone. It figures”.

To my complete and utter surprise, what is Chris’s first and immediate reaction? “Wow, it must be really fresh!”

Talk about a complete and unexpected response. My jaw drops with this comment and I feel once again like the ultimate critic put in my place.

For those of us less optimistic than Chris, why is it so hard to see the good in things?

I wish I knew the answer to this question, but I can tell you that I continue to learn about acceptance and appreciation from being with this man who has an innate ability to see both the good in people and in things.

My frog parts were definitely brought to the surface with this example. Consider this experiment: in the next week, when something little (or seemingly little) happens that you normally perceive as negative or an annoyance, notice your reaction. Then, see if you can turn it around by choosing a different response. A do-over, if you will.

In the case of my chicken bone, maybe next time I try something like “Wow, I am so lucky to have such fresh meat on my sandwich”, or perhaps a more realistic baby-step would be: “thank God I found it before putting it in my mouth.”

Wedding Soup

On a business trip to NY in the 100 degree humidity, my female college friend and I happened upon a Turkish restaurant. We sat down in pure exhaustion with our three bags from TJ Maxx. Yunus, our adorable waiter, pulled out a chair just for our bags and I knew we had landed at the right place. A man, providing a chair for our shopping bags? Now, that is a gentleman. I love this place already. Who cares what the food is like?

We ordered a three-course meal and decided to split it. Starting with eggplant salad and lentil soup. We weren’t planning to complain, but he asked how the soup was and it must have been the silent pause combined with the look on our faces that caused him to suggest he bring the Wedding Soup instead. Intrigued, we said “yes, bring on the wedding soup.”

As soon as the soup arrived, we took one look, then hesistantly, yet hopefully, tried a spoonful. Simultaneously, we agreed it was worse than the lentil soup, and although didn’t say anything, it was truly obvious we didn’t like it. Yunus felt terrible and took it sadly back to the kitchen.

Here we are, both in our 40’s, single and never married, but wanting to be, rejecting Wedding Soup! What is WRONG with us?! Is this symbolism for something greater? If handed a marriage proposal, would we reject it, just as easily? I’m thinking not, but we couldn’t help but get a good laugh out of it all. We chose instead to revel in the lavishing attention and free food offered us due to our dislike of their soups.

What are you rejecting today? What can you say “yes” to, that would enhance your life today? I said yes to a chair for shopping bags, and yes to free food, which both (I think) made Yunus feel helpful and gave him an opportunity to make up for the unsatisfactory soup.

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Stop Striving. Relax instead.

Why do we do it? Always striving for something different, better, faster, cheaper. I am an expert at being an optimizer (a term I stole from Michele Lisenbury Christensen), but I am also rarely content. This is probably the #1 thing I am working on right now. As Chris (my boyfriend) said, “always looking for the upgrade".

Once I booked myself on two different flights that left within 45 minutes of each other. I kept running back and forth between the gates, that were about a soccer field’s distance away from each other. In my fury to make sure I left soonest AND got the best seat, I ended up losing out altogether, since one overrode the other and I ended up in a middle seat on the plane that left later anyway. My striving attempt for the ideal scenario often leaves me frustrated, annoyed, and for sure disappointed.

Of course, there are benefits to my optimizing or I wouldn't do it (sometimes I really do create the ideal scenario where everything works out!), but often in the end it leaves me feeling exasperated. I can be so focused on the ideal that I expect everyone to join with me in moving mountains for my goal. If they don’t, I become impatient and unkind. I usually don’t like myself very much during these times.

What about you? How are you striving? What could you do to relax this week?

My hope is that you find peace. I’m working on it, too. One day at a time.

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Grateful in the bad times

I love life! Most of the time. But lots of times it sucks, too. When I am in a dark place, as a discipline, I do my best to be grateful for that place. God says we are to thank him for trials, but sometimes I think He was nuts to say that. Yet, I trust Him and have found that being grateful for the hard times actually shifts your mindset. It takes the energy away from the darkness or the problem at hand and shifts it to God, who is greater than any problem we have. Certainly, I want to be careful here and recognize that your drink being messed up at Starbucks (although a bummer!) isn’t the same as a bad break-up, for example. But, in my experience, I have found that usually good comes from things that started out bad. Or at the very least, there are silver linings in every dark cloud.

For example, one of the hardest times of my life was when the love of my life didn’t choose me. I was heartbroken. It took a long time to heal. Yet, that time forced me to muster up my internal strength to go on. It was worth it. In face, some of the sweetest times I’ve had with God were during that time of agony. He’s got a plan. He knows what He’s doing.

Are you Addicted?

I know I am. Or should I say “was”. It’s very exciting to watch growth happen in yourself, especially when you’ve spent so much time investing in it! I’m referring to being addicted to attention. Especially from men. Don’t get me wrong, I still love attention. From anybody, for that matter!

But I’ve come a long way. And you can, too. I remember the addiction pulling me in like a magnet – particularly to men that weren't healthy for me. The crazy one who asked me to marry him before we even met, the ex-con, the disappearing one after saying how extraordinary I was.

I was hooked. The irony is how logical you can KNOW it is to walk away, yet walking away is the last thing I did. I felt wonderful when they were with me – when they doted on me; lavished me with compliments and physical affection. But at some point, you realize it’s just momentary. It doesn’t last. When you compromise yourself (likes, dislikes) in the end, it’s NOT WORTH IT. I always wondered why I felt so empty when I wasn’t with them. I was desperate for their attention, but it never satisfied after I left their presence.

How do you go from being addicted to being emotionally satisfied? It’s not an easy process, but you start by asking yourself, “Am I more dependent on my need to have this guy give me attention than I am on honoring the actual need?” The need is healthy, but the way we get it met may not be. Start there first.

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