Monday, December 30, 2013

10 Myths About Introverts

I must be an introvert. This was a revelation to me. Jylle and I were just talking about this. Just because someone is gregarious and friendly doesn't make her an extrovert. I can identify with all ten of these myths, a list compiled by Carl King Creative. Jylle directed me to Adam Young's blog, which is where I copied this:

I recently stumbled across a blog written by Carl King about the phenomenon known as the introverted human being and it struck a major chord with me. After each bullet, I felt like standing up and shouting "YESSSSSSSSS!" at the top of my lungs because these points (made by author Marti Laney, Psy.D) are total home runs. As an extreme introvert, this is like sweet manna from heaven.

Owl City Blog
I was lucky enough to discover a book called, The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World), by Marti Laney, Psy.D. I feel like someone has written an encyclopedia entry on a rare race of people to which I belong. Not only has it explained many of my eccentricities, it helps me to redefine my entire life in a new and positive context.

Sure, anyone who knows me would say, “Duh! Why did it take you so long to realize you’re an Introvert?” It’s not that simple. The problem is that labeling someone as an Introvert is a very shallow assessment, full of common misconceptions. It’s more complex than that. (Since Carl King is talking about it, it has to be.)

A section of Laney’s book maps out the human brain and explains how neuro-transmitters follow different dominant paths in the nervous systems of Introverts and Extroverts. If the science behind the book is correct, it turns out that Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. Extroverts also have a shorter pathway and less blood-flow to the brain. The messages of an Extrovert’s nervous system mostly bypass the Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which is where a large portion of contemplation takes place.

Unfortunately, according to the book, only about 25% of people are Introverts. There are even fewer that are as extreme as I am. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings, since society doesn’t have very much experience with my people. (I love being able to say that.)

So here are a few common misconceptions about Introverts (I put this list together myself, some of them are things I actually believed):

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

It can be terribly destructive for an Introvert to deny themselves in order to get along in an Extrovert-Dominant World. Like other minorities, Introverts can end up hating themselves and others because of the differences. If you think you are an Introvert, I recommend you research the topic and seek out other Introverts to compare notes. The burden is not entirely on Introverts to try and become “normal.” Extroverts need to recognize and respect us, and we also need to respect ourselves.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How Grand You Are...

     On my way back to the house from the barn, I glimpsed the last glint of sunset glow. You did that for me...? It was spectacular. The clouds showed themselves in magnificent display of Your majesty and power. Indeed, the Heavens declare Your glory! Even in the twilight, the immensity of Your imagination is demonstrated on a canvas the size of my world. Your fingers raked and fluffed the sky-field of clouds. It looked like a ginormous hand fan creasing the horizon, the center of which held the echo of sun. You did that for me… Joy-tears trickled, and my insides grew a happy thousandfold.
     I barely know You. But You know me and how to delight. I’m in love with this journey into Your heart, and it only keeps getting better because that’s how You do. I love this fraction I do know, and I thrill to something else—in my deeps, there is no unknowledge of You. Where Your Spirit abides in me, You live, the All of You.
     Thank You for this evening’s show, a silent symphony of divine grandeur. The colors and pattern resonate within me like the last fading notes of a tune piercingly sweet, and I hum Your artist song to myself in gratitude and wonder.
     Thank You, Daddy. XO

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Saturday, November 02, 2013

My Happy Place

I had a lumbar MRI done yesterday. I've had an MRI before, so I thought I'd be fine. I became a little dubious though when several people asked if I'd be all right. A few times of that and you can get concerned.

They covered me with a warm blanket and tucked it around my waist and legs. I put in my earplugs and closed my eyes. I opened them for a split second and realized how closed in I was, so I squinched them shut and tried to relax.

I went to my Happy Place. For me, that's being the lamb in this picture. It's where I'm safe, wanted, and loved. I silently recited some of my favorite comforting Bible verses and prayed. One line that kept coming to me is from Psalm 16, "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places." The imaging took about 20 minutes, and I was more relaxed at the end than I was at the start. The jackhammer noises and the close quarters didn't bother me, but I feel like they very easily could have if not for His Presence.

His Presence is something I'm practicing and so need. When people are around, I tend to forget He's here. A girl at Wal-Mart stopped to ask me where the hair products are. I pointed and gave her directions, and she just left without thanking me. I'm always surprised by lack of courtesy and quietly murmured "You're welcome" to myself before I remembered that He was right there with me. I quickly asked Him to bless her, to reveal Himself to her. I went on with my shopping with a hope and a love for this complete stranger. I do hope she finds her own Happy Place.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Get Service

I just watched a four-minute video on youtube called "Get Service". This young man is seemingly on his way to work. A voiceover has him complaining about one thing after another. While waiting for his coffee order, a black man with sunglasses shows up and wordlessly hands a glasses case to him with the words "Get Service" on it. He puts them on, and suddenly he sees labels across everyone. One lady's reads "Avoids relationships for fear of pain." One man's is "Has never known true friendship." Everyone has a label with his/her struggle. He kind of freaks as he thinks, "What am I supposed to do? How can I do anything about that?"

The point is that we can't help everyone, but there are people we can help. He befriends a little boy from in his neighborhood who "just needs someone to care." I have time to care. I just need to do it more often. Good wake-up call.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Autumnal Lovelies

These brown-eyed Susan beauties (or whatever they are) lend such a cheerfulness to the gardens. I owe my thanks to Glenice for them. They're easy keepers and launch into full bloom at a time when the rest of my flowers are either fading or long gone. They're on both sides of the walk, and despite my efforts to keep them contained within the boundaries of the concrete on one side and a picket fence on the other, some always find a way to impose themselves on the beaten path. That green, creeping blob near the bottom right is parsley. They learned their  imposition from these flower chums.

One of the things I love about an autumn sunset is the subtleties of the evening air. There's a bit of something akin to mist in it that's absent in summer's clarity. I love the rare times I'm able to catch one of the animals in it.

This was taken of my horse in the oat field just before sunset. My camera died, so I only have my cell phone for pictures, meaning I have to take them in the light. I stand by what I said about sunset in the fall, but I just can't show you what I see right now. Still a decent picture though, don't you think?

Another thing I love about this season is harvesting herbs. Parsley is a biennial, and I didn't know it the first season I planted it, but it reseeds itself aplenteous. I forgive its imposing sin in the gardens. I dry it between paper towels in the microwave so it retains its pretty green and just keep refilling this old Costco container. The brownish layer on the bottom is from last year's crop. Tastes the same, but looks so much different.

Off to enjoy the rest of this lovely autumn day. I wish you a magical one!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Coffee Quest. Well, it was really for food...

It was Visit Dad day, so I spent some time with him after having sipped on 12 lovely ounces of pumpkin spice coffee on my way. 'Tis the season. eeYUM.

I picked up Ryan at school afterward. There were three cafes that he and Jylle have told me about, so I let him choose. We went to Coeur on North Monroe, and I saw immediately upon entering that there was no "real food." What?! It was 1:00, and I needed sustenance. We decided to split a cappuccino because I've never experienced a real one, and he said they make one of the best he's ever had. We would go to one of the other shops later.

It was a thing of beauty, and I learned not only the reason for the spoon, but the best way to first taste a cappuccino for its quality. (The apple was a gift from Ryan, which he got from a prof at school who keeps giving them out, which I found ironic, given that he's going to be a doctor. Let me know if you're not with me on this.)

Fun, intelligent, thought-provoking company, my Ryan is.

We headed to Indaba on West Broadway, a place Jylle scorns for its lack of every flavor except for four, which are all made in-house. They don't have pumpkin spice. Okay, I can deal with that. But mint! I don't care if you make it yourself, you can find a way to make a mint hot chocolate! It was a really fun place, but--déjà vu--they didn't have any real food either. We decided to go to the third place, promising that we'd come back to Indaba another day at an earlier time. He said to try their lemon vanilla, a specialty drink of which they seem pretty proud.

Chairs is on West Indiana, a place neither of us had ever visited. I knew they had real food because Jylle told me the sandwich she got was deluxe. Yes! This place is modern funky, with yes, a variety of different kinds of chairs.

We split a grilled Tillamook cheese sandwich on Dave's Killer Bread with a bowl of tomato basil soup. It was a small serving and pricey at $8 for the gluten-free version, but it hit the spot, and we drank a camel's share of cucumber water whilst taking in a generous share of good conversation.

For dessert, we made a trek to Trader Joe's to pick up Amy's birthday present so it could be as fresh as possible. The flowers were all arranged and the gifts hidden by the time she got home from work. I had the unexpected opportunity to give her a hug and her gifts--score!

I had a lion's share of coffee, good company, and now, sweet memories. eeYUM!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

I Can Do Manly Man Stuff. Sorta.

It was a nice day, and I was tired of being inside. I heard the furnace come on, and that motivated me to want to bring in some wood. We are WAY behind schedule in that department, having zero amounts of wood in the shed. That means bringing it in from the forest. But hey, I'm a sturdy country girl, used to hard work and long hours. I marched right outside and started up the quad to survey the terrain and locate the whereabouts of said wood. Survey complete, I headed to the barn to hitch up the cart.

One tire was completely flat. I made a mental note to take care of that. I loaded the cart with wood and after about 50 yards, I looked back like a good farmer does to make sure everything's okay. There was a long black skid trail behind one tire. Yep, totally spaced pumping up that tire. I unloaded the wood and examined the damage. The tire had come off the rim completely on the outside.

Back to the house for tools. Back to the woods with tools. Cannot get this thing back on to save my life. What would Kev do? The only thing holding the wheel on was a cotter pin. I managed to get it off, making note of how it all went together. Back to the house to see if I could find more manly tools to maybe hammer it back on or something. Just when I had called it quits and walked back in the house, I saw the computer. Google.

First forum had quite a few suggestions. Spread some sort of slimy, goopy stuff around the rim. Use a mixture of soap and water. Get an inner tube. Buy a solid wheel. Try baby powder. Now that's what I'm talkin' about. It read:

Any handling of smaller tires and tubes goes far easier with a light application of plain ol' cheapo drugstore brand BABY POWDER. Just dust it on the tube and spread it around with your hands, takes the stickiness off the tube and the tube will expand more evenly inside the tire at low pressures.

I spread it around the tire and rim, slapped on the air compressor valve, and voila--inflated tire! Just popped it right back onto the rim. Back in business. Ended up getting two loads because the tire was starting to lose air again, and I had to get ready for a big date anyway.

It's a wee bummer that the inflation didn't last, but ah well. It's nice to know there are resources on the web for all kinds of needs. Makes a day's work a little easier for a manly man. Or his willing wife.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another Summer Adios

 Summer is a season we look forward to maybe more than people in warmer climates. Our winters often feel like they last a good six months. Another lovely summer has come and gone, and I wanted to remember some of it in pictures.

Amy's graduation from Montana State kicked off our summer, even though it was in May. We stayed at a cheesy little motel, circa 1940. We just needed a place to sleep, and it did what it was supposed to. Amy's folks treated us to a hearty lunch at Ted's Montana Grill, and I tried a buffalo burger, which was very tasty. They ordered platters of grilled shrimp too that I can't seem to duplicate at home.

Cassie's graduation was in June. She is a darling girl we have come to love and invest in emotionally. She rocks at whatever she does and is one of the most talented people I know. She's going to college in Minnesota with her Jordanian husband. I miss her.

Ryan and Amy were married in Bozeman on Sunday, June 16. It was a stellar day on so many levels. The hotel, the C'mon Inn, was fantastic--seven hot tubs, a pool, a hot breakfast bar, all in lodge decor. Friends and family made the long trek, and their expense of time and money to show their love and support was genuinely humbling. They took communion and washed each other's feet, which was heartbreakingly beautiful. Our mother-son dance was to Rascal Flatts' "My Wish", and I loved every second of it. It was truly a glorious day.

The kitchen in our rental was in dire need of a makeover, so that was our June project. I sanded and painted the second hand cabinets, and painted the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. Can't seem to find a picture of the finished product, so you're welcome to use your imagination.

This is the last picture I took of my cat. I let him out onto the deck one night, nothing unusual, but the last few times I did that, the thought niggled, This may be the last time I do this. It was actually the answer to a literal prayer that he just simply not come back someday. There was definitely something wrong with him. He was losing weight, extremely vocal, and whenever he used the litter box, the smell was absolutely horrid. Our other cat, Goober, had the same symptoms and withered slowly, eventually dying in the garage. I didn't want that for Leonardo or for us. It was a great grace for everyone. Cheers to you, big kitty.

My niece, Hannah, was married in Idaho at the end of June to her Tyler. The ceremony had fun, novelty, beauty, and worship, and the food was fantastic. I'm so glad we were able to make such a truly meaningful occasion. We wish them a long and happy Ever After.

Eden, Tyler, Emma, and Zane

My niece, Jeny, and her family came for a week from the Tri-Cities. The kids love it here, and they spent hours with the animals, especially the horses. They brought three dinners with them, all really delish. Kev took advantage of Mike's knowledge and experience with barbecuing and learned so much. Mike helped him decide on the right grill, and we enjoyed dinners of chicken, pork, and venison.

Kev's lifetime friend, Mark, came with his wife, Alli, which absolutely made Kev's summer. They went horseback riding, but Mark rode the quad. They were gone for quite a while, and Alli had a great time. They stayed the night, and Kev was so happy. It made him feel really good that they would take the time to come see us. It was a lot of fun.

Kev goes up to Tonasket once in a while to help out our friend, Mark, on their ranch. I made it this summer, and we stayed two nights. Tina took me into town where I meandered around the farmer's market. I bought a tamale and some tomatoes and just enjoyed the diversion. I took some pictures of their little colt, a newborn they named Moonshine after he was born on a moonless night (him being a little light on an otherwise dark night). I think Kev has a man crush on Mark in that guy way. He just really admires him, and they enjoy each other's company. I don't mind the bromance.

Caprese with a balsamic reduction

I planted SO many basil seeds, so now I have a TON. I didn't know it was possible to ever have too much basil, but I'm thinking half of this will do for next year. They almost died as starts though. Something ravaged them out on the deck where I was hardening them. I threw some kind of insecticide powder on them and kept them out of the sun, where they slowly came around and then thrived. I've given away as much as I've used and dried, but there's still so much. At least it's one those horrible deer won't eat. They've eaten all my tomatoes, and the voles annihilated the carrots. Vile creatures.

We bought two heifers last year from our Tonasket friends and named them Normal and Abigail. Normal finally had her first calf on September 9. She's leggier than the Lowlines, but Normal is a Hereford, so that's not odd. She's frisky and energetic, and I named her Annie after the one of Stillar fame since it was born on her birthday.

Exactly one week after Annie was born, Lily had her third calf, which Jylle named Howie.  Howie Cow-y. He's been slow to grow as energetic as Annie, but he's coming around. Lowlines have short legs and big eyes, and this one is so cute! I have to remember not to fall in love with him though because he's going to market eventually. Hmph.

Jewelee treated us to pumpkin donuts at Greenbluff, something we only recently discovered. And what a delectable discovery! Glenice bought a humongous cinnamon roll to share, and I contributed a Belgian waffle with huckleberry ice cream. Rosie and I got coffee, which was just delicious, and I'm not a huge coffee fan. We watched the donuts as they plopped into a channel of oil oil, drifted down to the flipper, then plunked into a slowly turning bowl of cinnamon sugar. We went peach picking afterward and came upon The Fermented Forest. The storm from the previous week did so much damage to the trees at Yaryan's orchard, and the smell of rotting fruit filled the air. Three of us ended up buying a box after enjoying the experience of picking. Next month we want to get together to make our own pumpkin donuts, so I hope that works out.

Tina, Rosie, and I went to Glenice's last week to make soap. We somehow missed doing that last year, and we all wanted to try again. The first batch we made has lavender and lard and smells fabulous. The second and third batches have olive and coconut oils, but the citrus is taking forever to harden. The cucumber melon and the cinnamon coffee turned out fine though. Last time I tied a strip of frayed burlap to each bar with some jute and a tag with a label and gave them as Christmas gifts.

It's officially autumn now, my favorite season with its mild temperatures, abundance of fresh produce, and absence of snow. One season melts into another before I know it, just like in life. I was a little girl last year. I was a sweet bride six months ago. I was a young mom last week. Today I have an empty nest, and I'm about to turn 53. The seasons change. I change. I'm thankful for my God Who never does. I'm thankful for the cycles and the reminders of a better Hope. I'm thankful for some lovely summer memories and all the people who made it so great. And I am thankful for you, wherever you are. xo

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Same Coin

Yesterday holds both pleasure and pain for me.

Lydia turned 26 yesterday, and I was still buoyed by my long conversation with her the day before. We spanned the gamut of subjects, and I was really happy that she called. She wanted to say how grateful she is for having our whole family welcome, accept, and embrace her. "Not everyone has that," she told me. She was in tears, and I was so touched that I started crying too because we have the same gratitude for her and her family that she has for us. She also let me know on her birthday that her present  from us had arrived safely and just in time, not the day late that I thought it would. Celebrating Lydia's life is a pleasure.

Ryan and Jylle came home today, and we were just sitting around talking when Ryan announced that Brennan Manning passed away. I was shocked, saddened, and suddenly had a hundred questions. I wanted to know what killed him, where he'd been living, if he'd suffered, if he'd been working on a book. I couldn't believe that the man who moved me with his raw honesty and stalwart stance on God's amazing love and grace was now perfectly Abba's child. No more books. No more speaking engagements. No more voice. I only felt loss. My first reaction was not joy at his being in Heaven and finished with his race but a magnification of the silence we've had from him these last few years. 

I did a little research and found that his health had been failing for a long time, he had neurological issues and was almost totally blind, his New Jersey home became uninhabitable after Hurricane Sandy, he was uninsured, his caregiver was a gift from God, and he wrote his memoirs in a last book called All is Grace, which I downloaded from the library and will start today.

There are now two things that are special about April 12. Pleasure and pain. Life and death. Two sides of the same coin on this journey. I close with one of my all-time favorite quotes of his:

“The splendor of a human heart that trusts it is loved unconditionally gives God more pleasure than Westminster Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven’s 'Ninth Symphony', Van Gogh’s 'Sunflowers', the sight of 10,000 butterflies in flight, or the scent of a million orchids in bloom. Trust is our gift back to God, and he finds it so enchanting that Jesus died for love of it.”