Sunday, February 5, 2012

the real me

A few weeks ago, I was reading a blog post by Angela from Pickles on Pizza about being your genuine and authentic self. I really enjoyed reading it and it got me to thinking about my own life and how for several whole decades of my life I was less than genuine of a person. I was trying to fit in to an image that was really not me at all.
Let me start by saying that when I was 18 years old, after being a self proclaimed agnostic (didn't really even know what that meant, but I thought it meant I doubted that there was a God, but wasn't absolutely sure about it) I discovered that God was real and that I needed Him in my life. I read the Bible and felt that the words came alive and brought such joy to my heart.
I met my husband when I was in college in New York and we were married a year and a half later. Ray also shared the same faith that I had come to know, and believe me, marrying him was the best thing I ever did! He was then , and still is, my best friend, an awesome husband, father and grandpa. He played guitar at church on Sundays and as the years went on, he was ordained an associate pastor and we moved from NYC to Florida to help start a church.
Our two daughters had a blast growing up in church with all the social aspects and fun programs for kids. Ray was also youth Pastor and working with the group we had at the time was some of the best experiences ever.
I worked in the church office as a secretary at the time also, so we were at church for most days of the week.
The thing is, that when I was home at night or on our day off, I was a pretty grumpy gal. Not the whole time of course, but my patience was thin and my mind was always preoccupied with church things. In fact, I would say that my busy-ness took the place of a simple faith in God that is demonstrated by loving God first, then others second.
I conformed to a style of dressing that was the culture of the Bible belt, TV persona, which included suits, and conservative dresses and shoes. Dare I say, "Church Lady" kind of things? At one point I didn't even own a pair of jeans! gasp!!! How can that be??? I am a child of the 70s (my teen years of course) where jeans, plaid shirts and casual wear was my thing! One day Christina as a teen asked me why I didn't have any jeans and why did I wear such weird pants?
Eventually my husband and I started a church as head Pastors and we moved about 45 minutes north with our family. Church life can be a weird thing sometimes. And BTW, Pastors are probably some of the most insecure people around. Trust me, I know. People come to your church and you feel happy, they leave and you feel rejected. People are always sizing you up and blah blah blah.
I always felt an urge to do something creative and artistic during those years, but I was too burned out emotionally to do very much of anything when I was home but veg out.
Right before we moved from Florida to Alabama, we were meeting in a small storefront with a small group of people and I enjoyed the simplicity of it all. Not having to dress up for church or trying to impress anybody was more our speed. During that time I resurrected my art-ish ambitions as I began to relax and be more genuine of a person, but it wasn't until leaving Florida that my buried creativity began to really uncover.
You see, I don't believe that an administrative life is the life for me , or for my husband, for that matter. We are basically down to earth people. We don't need people's approval to be happy. We don't need to be important people. Just plain old fashioned , kind and friendly folks who express our faith by genuinely loving others.
As some of you know, moving here almost 4 years ago was hard, because of leaving Christina (Consider The Coffee)and her husband Suj and my grandson Kavi who was only one month old. It was hard for Christina too, and that is when we discovered ETSY and began online shops. Christina started a blog and encouraged me to start one and I was exposed to so much creativity that I thought I would explode. From joy that is. ETSY-land and BLOG-world helped guide me towards DIY-ing lots of things and totally getting into crocheting. I still love it and look forward to adding a new stitch or skill every so often. And I have met Angela and her husband Aubrey which was a total blast and we can't wait until they visit our area again in August!
Now I know that my blog or my craftiness doesn't stop world hunger or cause world peace, but if I can put a smile on someone's face sometime or share something that will encourage someone else to unleash their inner creativity then I am happy.
I am tired of the church sub-culture where every waking hour is spent in a building, where greeters hunt you down to get you to fill out a form with your name, phone # and address, where there is a forced greeting time where people mechanically shake your hand to "welcome" you while never looking directly at you, where they say things like "We at (fill in the blank) do this,,,or believe that...",and where you hear catch phrases that normal people don't say. I need real, live genuine,kind, loving and unassuming people.
That's why I enjoy reading other people's blogs where they share all kinds of things creative, peppered with real lives and emotions and experiences. I have gotten so much encouragement from reading posts of interesting people from across the globe. For that I am thankful.
Thank you so much for reading this and I hope I didn't bum anybody out but possibly brought you a chuckle or a moment of encouragement to brighten your day!


  1. My name is Steve Thompson and I "APPROVE" this message....(:>)


    Yes, very well said.

    Funny, I'm slow this morning. This being the first Email on my list this morning I just clicked on this page real quick and somewhere after reading a few paragraphs I said to my "sleepY" self, "Man this sounds like RAY and...... DOH!!! (:>)

    Of course at that point it felt like a Homer Simpson moment...DOH!!

    Yep, that "approval" thing is a CONSTANT reminder of who we are NOT....

    1. hehe! Thanks Steve! or should I say Homer! I guess I am a late bloomer with this being free-er stuff, but better late than never!

  2. Even though G.O. in Spring Hill was much more structured than what it finally morphed into as Love Outreach, you and Ray were always real. We never felt pressured by you guys at all. That is what actually attracted us to that church in the first place. Glad you are out from under the pressures though and relaxing and enjoying life. Love you guys and miss you a lot.

    1. Thanks Nancy! That is good to hear! And we are thankful to have made friends with you guys in Spring Hill! We love you!

  3. I am a couple of days late reading this but I really enjoyed it! I felt like I got to know you just a little bit better. I also feel like I am more like you than I thought. Aubrey and I were very involved in a church once and we were there for "door knocking" on Tuesday, church on Wednesday night, Sunday school on Sunday morning, Church on Sunday morning, then out to eat with "church people" and finished just in time to teach the youth on Sunday evening (yep, can you believe that was OUR job?!) and back to Church on Sunday night... We were there for every "special event" and on and on and on. I will at some point tell you more about it...but we started feeling like we were in a cult and it was so much pressure. Now, we do not go to church but feel more like the people we are supposed to be... (though I do have issues that I need to deal with LOL) We still love the Lord but don't feel like we have to put on a show, be someone we are not, or push others to believe what we believe....oh, it is such a long story! But, to sum it all up - I totally understand where you are coming from!!!

  4. Oh and just watched the video -- so true!! Really cute ;)

    1. wow! Now I know why we felt like we have known you forever! Seriously, we love the Lord and our kids do too, but we are so over the hyped church thing, so it is hard to find a place that doesn't stress us out. We rarely make it anywhere on Sundays! I really want to hear your story sometime!