Follow throughs.

The Purge will continue tomorrow.  Rain or shine.  I made a playlist that includes “I Will Survive”, “Get Up Offa That Thang”, and “It’s a Miracle” along with many other groovy/funky songs to keep me going.

This is one of the ways that I motivate myself.  If the music fits the mood, I might actually end up finishing the task.

Following through is difficult though, isn’t it?  This is going to be another one of those “maybe it’s just me, but…” moments.  Making promises is so easy.  I can do it in my head.  In fact, I usually do it on my 25 minute drive home from work.  I haven’t rollerbladed in a while.  I really should fit some physical activity in my day.  Gosh, I’m just so tired of sitting here at stoplights.  I wish I could run home!  Okay, when I get home, first thing I’m doing is rollerblading a good four miles.  

Then I get home and I ask what’s for dinner and don’t even consider following through.  Or maybe it flits across my mind, but the only thing I can think about is my low blood sugar.

I’m sure I disappoint other people as much as I disappoint myself.  Which gets me to thinking, why do I make promises that I don’t think I can keep?

Why, Ashley, why?  Is it a people pleasing thing?  Is it that I think I need to say the right things in a certain circumstance?

Oh, good grief, why don’t I always just say what I mean and mean what I say?  I mean, I try to, because I know the value and impact that words can have.  I guess, as with most things, it’s just choosing to be deliberate about it.  To actually enact what I think.

Amazing how I can firmly think one thing and act in a completely different way, isn’t it?  I hope I’m not alone in that.  Now, I will act upon my beliefs that sleep is important and that it’s best done at night by going to bed.

Promises, promises.

I’m just wondering today about promises and obligations towards those to whom I make them. Don’t worry, if I promised you something, I’m sure I’ve kept it unless the promise was made after 12am. I lose brain function shortly after midnight.
There’s a story behind all this:
On my flight back home from India, the second leg from Amsterdam to Minneapolis, I sat next to a woman who was probably about 80 years old. She was Iranian, and may have been one of the quickest and most volatile people I have ever sat next to on a plane. It was an experience to remember.
As I’m telling you all this, remind yourself – as I had to do many times during this flight – that she grew up in Iran and didn’t grow up in a western, suburban culture. So when I tell you that I would open my eyes, waking up from a nap during the long flight and she would be staring at me as though she’d been waiting for me to wake up, it might not be as weird as it sounds. She also put her feet up on her tray table (a flexible lady, for sure), demanded tea three times before takeoff (getting the same negative – and apologetic – response each time), taught me to play a card game where the rules kept changing (I don’t think either of us knew how to play), and vehemently insisted that I fill out her customs form for her. It was a slightly scary time.
But then again, she also told me I was beautiful. And that I had beautiful hair.
And she made me promise to never dye it.
I sputtered an, “oh-okay. I won’t.” in response to her demand. What else would I say? The woman had proven her tenacity and desire to have things her way.
I probably should have no problem dismissing this promise. Not that I was planning on dyeing my hair anyways, but I can let go of the promise I made to a woman I only knew for about seven or eight hours and will most likely never see again, right? I mean, this is a question of my hair. Mine. It will get gray eventually. I will want to dye it at some point in college, I’m sure. (not that it’ll be gray by then…)
Does it say something negative about me if I dismiss that hasty promise? Logic says no, but I still feel this nagging voice in my head, in an Iranian accent, telling me I need to keep my promise. It’s silly. And it probably wouldn’t hurt anything if I broke it. But how far do I go in breaking promises of I break that one?
Sometimes there aren’t answers right away. Sometimes, I just sit in the sun and wait for inspiration.

culture bonus, promises, and caffeine

I never spell caffeine right the first time.  I think that’s because I usually just ingest it and don’t think about how to spell it.  And if I’m writing about it, it probably means that I am hoping to get some into my system or I’ve had an overload of it.

Yesterday was a good example of an overload.

Coffee at breakfast – approximately 170 mg (at  my house, we make it STRONG!)

Tea while during homework and waiting for a phone call to tell me when I could begin my miracle babysitting job – about 50 mg

Dr. Pepper at 6’o clock while I’m babysitting/helping do behind-the-scenes work at a Pakistani fashion show – 28 mg

the black tea with lots of milk and sugar in it that someone brought me while I sat in the back room with a sleeping three-year-old – about 50 mg

That’s quite a bit of caffeine.  And let me tell you, it was all necessary.

Remember the promise of a 14-hour babysitting job that I had on Friday?  I was supposed to get a phone call about that around 10 am on Saturday.  So, when 10:00 came and went, I called one of two ladies who had called me on Friday.  There was much confusion and I was told a jumble of things “plane got in late last night…” “still definitely need you…” “call you when she wakes up…”

At this point I don’t know exactly whose child I’m watching since I’ve talked to three different people on the phone – one of whom thought my name was Sheila, who I eventually found out was the child’s mother… the least informed of the bunch – and none of them claim that it’s their little boy.

By 1:15, however, a plan was laid down.  Meet at an event center, watch child til around midnight, oh and can you be here by 2:00?

Yes, yes I can.

So I pack a bag with a book, a granola bar, an extra shirt just in case I need to look a little bit neater, my iPod, my phone, and my wallet.  After frenziedly looking up the address and snagging my keys and my dad’s GPS (affectionately named Balto, after the Alaskan sled dog), Audrey and I set out to meet our charge for the evening.

As I was going out the door, my dad said, “there’s a fashion show at this place tonight.  Maybe your employer’s a model!”

Oh, great.

Ten and a half hours later (I’ll do the math for you, it’s a little after midnight now), I park Audrey in our driveway and bring in my bag (including a much fuller wallet) to tell my parents about my great experience at this Pakistani fashion show, watching an adorable child, steaming beautifully designed Pakistani dresses (designed by the child’s mother…  she wasn’t a model, but rather a high-end designer) for some rather air-headed and snotty models, and packing up the dresses after the show was done.

 Everyone was friendly, everyone was amazed at the strange way that I got the job. (“so, how did you get hired?” “Oh, one of my friends referred me to a woman who the event planner’s mom knows.” “So you’ve never met this kid before?”  “Nope.”)

God is faithful.  He gave me a job from nice people who overpaid me and told me to look them up on Facebook because they love me.

On another note, I was thinking about all those passages in scripture that promise that someone won’t come to harm.  “the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night.” “The Lord will watch over your life.”  “so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”  “You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Great promises, one and all.  I started thinking, though, that in the context of my life today, those promises are not made to me.  They were made to David and the Israelites and other people, respectively.  They were a specific promise to a specific person for some reason.  I’m not saying that no promises in the Bible apply to me, but a lot of the ones that people quote as reasons why they won’t ever be harmed weren’t written for them.  Or me, for that matter.

It made me want to know those people better, you know, those who God promised kingdoms, victories, protections, children in old age.  It made me want to know what qualified them to receive promises from God, specific declarations of what He would do for them.

And be like them.

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. Psalm 18:30