Living Life As a Woman In Ministry

Archive for the ‘Etiquette’ Category

What I Am Not

1-woman-leader-with-group-of-men

Perhaps, when you and other girls hear bossy, you can think of leadership. Perhaps, bossy could mean someone has an opinion and is comfortable sharing it with other people. Bossy could mean someone has a plan, that someone is bold. Bossy could mean that someone is the boss, a leader!~ Helen Drinan 

There is this movement to ban the word bossy. I’m not a fan. My second grade report card stated, “Susan is extremely bossy…” The grades were straight up good. I received the award for most outstanding student, most outstanding reader, most outstanding in math. Here’s what I remember about my second grade teacher. She spoke very broken English and it was very hard to understand her. I remember asking her to repeat herself many times. I was also a rule follower. She would make a rule and then when children weren’t following it, she’d become exasperated and yell and throw chalk, but never followed through on her point system. So I’d remind her. Someone had to. The black and white thinker that I am was already formed at this age. If you said that you’d take points away if we misbehaved, then I took you at your word and felt that you should.

Bossy doesn’t bother me. Female leaders are often deemed bossy but my thought is hey someone has to be the leader. I can get things done, I work very well with others. All that being said, when my mother read the teacher’s comment to me and asked me about it, she smirked. I think she’s always been understanding of the bossy girl that was born to her. I remember explaining the issues to her. She told me to try to get along with her. I do not remember the term bossy hurting my self esteem nor making me feel less than. I know myself and I know what I am not. I am not a usurper, meaning I don’t seize power,  and I am not emotional. When this teacher would yell and throw chalk I would just watch her and try to understand why she couldn’t take control of her class. I would raise my hand and ask why she didn’t use the point system and write our names on the board. Then she would break chalk on the chalkboard writing all of our names on the board. Obviously she wasn’t bossy.

Here is where the misunderstanding of the word comes in. Men are not called bossy and weak men are intimidated by a woman who know what she wants and knows how to lead. I would never be able to married to a weak man. He would not be an equal and it would be frustrating. My husband is an easy-going, super nice guy but he is anything but weak. Everything I do in our life is discussed with him and I get the okay before I move. E V E R Y T H I N G. Some things are discussed longer than others but ultimately his no is no and his no is honored. He is great about directing me. I am heard and he explains why an idea is a go or not. We work well together because he is a visionary but I am a detailer. So when he gives me an idea, I can make it happen.

Where women like me clash is with the personality of what I call the Bull in the China Shop kind of man. They run around barking orders, and puffing themselves up. They lead by bullying. Bossy and Bullies clash. This is why women in politics and female executives get such a bad rap for the most part. I’ll let that sit.

Getting rid of the word bossy will do absolutely nothing about personality types. We need to focus on directing those bossy second graders to greatness.

Something About Absence and A Heart

photo

I stopped writing at the end of November. Not just here on the blog but on my book as well.

Not that I had nothing to say. Only because life got in the way. 

Familiar kid problems and a medical issue and having to face some reality moments sent me to dig deep and rather than fight it out with my words this time, I decided to take it private and pray.

Because sometimes it’s just you and God.

The stillness is a good thing.

I stopped writing and I got off of social media because sometimes things have to change and you have to get focused on the change and create new habits and ideals.

I’m back online and of course I have tons of opinions about a lot of things because, well, I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. So check back on Monday I’m going to tell you about what’s been going on!

Parenting Isn’t Weak

198301_113211612182572_1588407087_n

The child was running around the clothing racks at a store, knocking down clothing and running into people. Oblivious mom was saying in a sing song voice that the clerk was going to “get” her child. The child would look over at the clerk and then proceed to run amok.

The teen who is having issues at home walks into church. I smile and greet them, only to hear the mother in a stern voice say, “Now! Tell Pastor Susan what you did and see if you still think it’s no big deal.”

So let me ask you a question: How secure, as a child, would you be to tell the store clerk that you lost your parent in the store and that you’re a little scared?

Then: How secure would you feel as a teen in our church to come and tell me something that was on your heart, if you thought I’d side with your parent?

When did we lose our heart as parents to our children? When did we lose the ability to handle situations ourselves? Why do we have this need to look good at any cost, including the well being of our children?

Words Have Power

tumblr_m3off1lvh41r7zvf6

In the scope of a week in my world:

1. Paula Deen gets fired for saying the N word 27 years ago.

2. I scan over an article, deem it worthy of sharing on FB, then as I am reading it out loud, I realize it is over the top in language and I plunge towards my computer to delete the message. Too late in those few minutes a bunch of people have read it and I am mortified. I apologize for it, but too late I’ve already been judged it for and it’s fair, and I accept the blame.

3. I see a picture of one of the church guys on FB. He’s dressed in a tux and sunglasses and someone has responded about the pimp in the picture. Never mind that he is a husband and a father of daughters. The same daughters that pimps would try to exploit if they had the chance.

We all make stupid mistakes.

In the case of Paula Deen I guess my question is has she changed? Is she sorry she got caught or is she more evolved? I will never know, I don’t run in her circles. I would want my sorry to mean something though.

I have never said the N word. I wasn’t brought up in her neck of the woods. In my vicinity it’s more about the spics, the wetbacks, and the coconuts. I’ve never said those words either but I’ve felt their sting before. More lately the words seem to be sexually powered rather than racially motivated. Pimp, ho, gangsta, biatch (which always catches my attention because of the spelling). I’ve also taken note of the people who say them. They tend to be ignorant.

“So what are ya?”, I was asked while in Texas.  Ok, I tend to be more than a little sarcastic, so I replied, “a woman, what do you mean what am I?” “I know that! I mean where ya from?”  “California, third generation. I’m American. Do you want to know if I’m a Latina? Yes I am.” “I know that! What kind?” As if it would matter, “Mexican.” And there it is, the little sneer that tells me that you think I’m less than you and where I wish Alex Trebek would show up on cue and show you I am not any more or less a person, but I more than likely have you beat in my world. I get the fervor over Paula Deen’s comment. It stings.

I also see life from her perspective. She was brought up in a place and time where there was an us and a them. I’m from the next generation and don’t feel that way.  I was born in a time after desegregation and so my friends were everyone. Our generation, those who weren’t ignorant, didn’t go around calling each other stereotypical names. It was too fresh and too raw. We knew better. That’s where my generation parts ways with the generation that comes after us. To call someone the N word, a pimp, a ho, gangsta, etc… is met with distain and offense on my part because I know what those words mean and I don’t think by making them seem cool changes the meaning of the word.  The generation after me glorifies sexualization and money no matter who you have to enslave to get there.  Suddenly being a pimp and selling women to get money seems like a cool way to make a living. Until it’s your daughter.

Words. They are powerful, they mark territory, people, and more importantly show who we are. Use them carefully. Weigh them out. Would you be okay if someone called you a profiling name and then said, “oh just kidding”? Let’s be smarter. I promise to be.

The Object Of My Affection

IMG_2297

In  a Human Sexuality class that I took in college we studied the topic of public displays of affection, or PDA. We determined to shelf what Western Civilization deems as normal, holding hands, a kiss. We discussed the topic of making out, grabbing each other’s butts or breasts, or grinding on the dance floor. What did it say about a person? How did it make those around them feel? What was the meaning behind it?

The discussion went along the vein of it makes others feel uncomfortable when a couple is groping at each other. Until that discussion I had never really thought about what it meant. Yes, it can be uncomfortable and very inappropriate to view someone’s private life on display in public but was there a meaning there?  Then the professor brought up a thought process that I had never considered. He proposed that the groping of each other in public is actually not for the sexual pleasure of the couple but rather a branding or peeing on territory. In other words, grabbing your girlfriend’s butt in public let’s everyone know he/she is your property. Grabbing her breast in public shows everyone what little respect you have for her and what little respect she has for herself. She becomes a willing object rather than a human being. Interestingly, along comes a study in 2010 by the University of Virginia called the  National Marriage Project, it showed that couples who engage in PDA are 1.5 times more likely to end in divorce. Why?  PDA is more about performing and looking good for others than putting the needs of your partner first.

Then there was the topic of hickeys. Sucking on someone’s neck until you bruise them. Interestingly if you bruise a woman or a child you could be charged with abuse, but bruising a neck has no such connotation until you think about it. What does it speak to the world about you? It plainly says that you are intimate. For a married couple that should be a given, for a single couple that says what? It also brands you as property. One male classmate actually shared that he gave hickeys as a sign to his friends that he had gotten somewhere with that girl. Interestingly, the guys in our class thought it was trashy for a women to have hickeys, but didn’t mind giving them. So they were saying in essence that they would devalue a woman if she devalued herself. I will never forget that discussion.

Ladies, we aren’t cows that need to be branded as someone’s property. I don’t need to make out  in public with my husband to prove our intimacy with each other. Time will prove if what we have between us is real or fake.

Have you ever thought about what it says to the world when you show up to work, school, church, or a friend’s house with a hickey? It means you are someone’s object. I am not some thing. I am someone. I am a daughter of a King. I am not one who considers that a small insignificant matter. I am not defined by any man’s perspective of me. I’ve been defined already.  I don’t know, I think we’ve fought too hard to get to where we are to cheapen ourselves and let the world know that we don’t consider ourselves much.

The Joy Of Service

Acts of service

I slept and dreamt that life was joy, I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold service was joy. ~ Rabindranath Tagore

There is something really great about service. In the deepest throws of depression it uplifts me. In the mundane day to day life, it brings excitement and purpose. In the busy hectic world in which I live, it slows it down to a pace outside of myself. I watch the expression of gratitude on the face of a recipient and it brings a feeling of gratitude to my heart. There is something wonderful in a life filled with service. What can you do to serve even one person this week? How did it make you feel?

If Only Relationships

ifonly

Don’t land me in one of those relationships where we’re always pecking at each other, disguising insults as jokes, rolling our eyes and “playfully” scrapping in front of our friends, hoping to lure them to our side of an argument they could not care less about. Those awful if only relationships: This marriage would be great if only  …   and you sense the if only list is a lot longer than either of them realizes. 

Flynn, Gillian (2012-06-05). Gone Girl: A Novel (p. 29). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Have we all not been the uncomfortable witness to this scene before? While on vacation I came across this couple where they professed undying love and showed constant annoyance while just kidding.  They sighed and bickered at each other each time they engaged in conversation, they sparred skillfully since it was nothing new to them, stabbing each other verbally, extracting the sword as if it was par for the course and laugh it off.  I sat and wondered if people realize how hard that is to watch? Do they know how uncomfortable it is for us who don’t want to play this game with them? If this is their public image, how absolutely awful must their private life be? 

One day the person wishing their If Only Relationship was something more will find their If Only Relationship is gone. Then the cry will be If Only they were here.

I am a firm believer that God will teach us daily lessons if we’ll pay attention and today my lesson was learned. Be grateful and kind to your spouse. Learn to forgive and let things go because if you don’t, you’ll end up like those two, trying to say what your heart is bitter about through public insults. 

I have to go and kiss my husband’s forehead and tell him that he is my ONLY and there is no IF about it. I accept him as he is!

Insulting

practicalpages.wordpress.com

I was thinking about an incident that happened in my life many, many years ago that tested my integrity and character. I had a friend whom I considered one of my closest friends. She began to entertain the idea of an affair with the husband of another friend of ours. They were clearly flirting and he was definitely hanging around way too much. I was honest and told her what I thought about the whole thing and my disapproval was made clear, fun killer that I am! She thanked me for my opinion but I didn’t change her mind. You can’t really be surprised at all that my friends tend to be strong willed right?

Early one morning she called me and said that she had told her husband she was with me the night before, when she hadn’t been, and if he were to ask me I was to confirm her story. She then proceeded to tell me what we had done the night before and why so our stories would match. I told her that I would not lie for her. She became angry with me and said she thought she could count on me as her friend. She tried the guilt card, “I thought we were friends?” “I’ve loved you like a sister, and if you were doing this, I would lie for you.” Oops, I realized she didn’t know me.

Actually, the truth of the matter was that she insulted me by thinking I was that kind of woman. You know the kind that would lie to a husband, who was also my friend? Yes, not happening. She thought she could make me complicit with her sin. Neither of which was true, thank God.

A friend doesn’t ask you to comply with her sin. If she’s woman enough to take on her sin, let her be woman enough to face the consequence. I’ve heard people tell me that they lied for their friend because they didn’t want to get involved or didn’t want their friend to be mad at them. This argument doesn’t hold water because the moment we lie, we become involved in the very thing we said we didn’t want to get caught up in.

Any time you are asked to lie for someone, don’t be flattered by what is perceived as bringing you into the inner circle. No! Be aware that they think you don’t have character, or at the very least that you and they are of the same character. They have insulted you on the highest level.

Her husband never asked me a thing and our friendship ended shortly after this incident. She ended up divorced and the man she cheated on reconciled with his wife. And that my friends, sadly enough, is also a typical story for another day.

I’m no different than you are. This was a test. I thank God that I passed the test but I know I’ve failed others along the way, that you thought were no brainers. Some things are merely traps for our soul. Be aware, be wise, be loyal to the right things in life and ask yourself how you’d like to be treated.

Very Good Read

I read this story by Ray Hollenbach and wanted to share it with you. How many of you know people who use the word not to help to gain control? How many of you know that Satan knows the word and often captures you with flattery? Sowing seeds of discord in any area, business, friendship, home or church let’s us see where hearts lie.

Will The Real Parent Please Stand Up 4

In our school district the school decided to hold the parents responsible for the truancy of their students. The outrage among the parents was incredible. How dare the school make the parent responsible? Wasn’t it the school’s problem to make sure their child was at school? See the real issue was the pointing of the fingers and the inability to take responsibility. I remember with a smile when my daughter Casey, who was the one to test the limits said, “What would you do if I ditched school?” I said, “I’d take time off of work and we’d go to school together. I’d be in every class with you and I’d sit with you at lunch and we’d be joined at the hip.” She looked at me and said seriously, “You’d do that too. I know it. How embarrassing!” My job as a parent was not to abdicate my responsibility to others but to accept the role and do it to the best of my ability. Was it going to hurt her self esteem to follow her around in school? Not as much as it was going to hurt her to think you can skirt your responsibilities.

In speaking to friends of mine who are teachers they say that they not only have to teach a child their normal academic lessons but they have teach morals as well. One friend told me that she has teach the students they can’t go through her purse, that they can’t call each others names, how to use silverware, that you can’t spit on each other, that you can’t steal from one another, and that you have to respect adults. She has had things stolen so she now leaves anything of value locked in her car. Doesn’t she have enough to do with making sure the children that are assigned to her can read, write and accomplish basic math skills?

Can I ask a silly question? What did the parents do for the first five years of life if these basic things weren’t taught? Did they interact with their children at all? Did they just figure out the school was going to do it?

What exactly is the parents’ role in today’s society?

OH! I know! Our job as parents is to buy Buford every single thing his heart desires, let him do whatever he wants, let him be as disrespectful as possible and let television be his babysitter as we do what is really important in life, live for ourselves. Because after all, what we want is the most important thing in life.

The consequences of those actions are here now and we won’t have to worry about Islamic terrorists destroying the American ideal. The disregard shown children today will come to roost in our homes. Sound extreme? Read the papers.

We need to get to a place where we care. A place where it isn’t a burden to parent our children. A place where we don’t live in fear that our children will be traumatized by the word NO. Gosh, I sound so old fashioned!

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 124 other followers