Just Lisa

I was at my therapy appointment (honestly, we all need a therapist) and I was talking about my future career options.   Basically, my uncertainty that I wanted to be just a fill in the blank.  And then my brilliant and amazing therapist (for real) told me to say it differently.   Not as an adverb, but as an adjective.  If you don’t know the difference (it took me a minute, too) here is the difference:

just |jəst|

adverb:  barely; by a little: I got here just after nine | inflation fell to just over 4 percent | I only just caught the train.

adjective: based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair: a just and democratic society | fighting for a just cause.

And in that simple (or incredibly wordy and weepy) exchange, I was no longer just anything and I was absolutely Just Lisa.  The air felt lighter and the pressure to have my career define my faith or my worth shifted away from what I do and focussed on who I am.

While I was on staff at a church, I had the amazing opportunity to work with people who are doing crazy great things in the world.  In a crazy turn of events, I was asked to write a blog for them about one the things I’m passionate about, justice and human trafficking.

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I can choose to be just Lisa, unsure, small, and barely able Lisa. Or I can choose to be Just Lisa, capable, smart and brave enough Lisa to share this post and my thoughts on things. A change in perspective (and semantics) can do amazing things.  What words do you use to define yourself? Do they minimize your abilities, or do they empower you to have an impact where you are?


Sparklers and Mortars and A Very Happy 4th of July

Nothing says summer like watermelon and the 4th of July!

Nothing says summer like watermelon and the 4th of July!

It’s July 2nd. I’m sure that there is something significant about this date somewhere. July 2nd is about the time that I begin planning my July 4th celebration. We still don’t know what we are doing and the pressure is higher since the 4th falls on the weekend. I should have been planning this weeks ago; sidling up to friends who have campers, cabins, lake houses.  But alas, I did not.  And I rarely do. Which is why 90% of my 4th of Julys are made up of mostly last minute moments.

If any of you are last minute people, LMP, (also know as Perceiver on the Myers Briggs), you know what I am talking about. This does not mean we don’t have fun. It means that the memories are less Instagram worthy and more America’s Funniest Home Video worthy.

For instance, when you are a LMP, you might end up deciding to just purchase your own fireworks to shoot off in the common area of the townhouse where you live so that your 3 year old’s sleep schedule doesn’t get interrupted. This shouldn’t be a big deal. Unless you are a last minute person who is married to a very excitable person, VEP, (also known as a sales persons dream).  Then, things get REAL.  Because you,LMP, send the VEP over the border to buy fireworks quickly for that evening.  VEP is living the dream because he is being sent to the land flowing with milk and honey, or in our case, beer, cheese, and illegal fireworks.  (For those of you not in the midwest, Minnesota doesn’t like to let normal folks set off large fireworks, you know because safety.)

In the world of a LMP, a very strange thing happens…GUILT.  I feel bad about being so last minute and it’s my fault we didn’t make plans.  And when VEP returns with many dollars worth of  illegal and large fireworks,  and the neighbors and kids cheer and rally around him, you go with the flow.  And pray that no one loses a hand. Or head.  It’s actually a very real possibility.

There is a slight chance that your VEP doesn’t follow directions and doesn’t actually know much about fireworks other than that they are SO loud, SO big, and SO illegal.   Which means SO AWESOME.

When a VEP encounters SO AWESOME, someone is going to come close to death. (I’ll tell you about Mexico in another post.)  My VEP set up the fireworks and went to town before dusk.  I tried to explain night and day to him, but we were halfway through the pile when we could finally see them in the sky.  I think we saw maybe 2 night sky fireworks when the inevitable happened.  A lighted firework tipped over.  Now, if this was a Minnesota legal firework, VEP would have been able to just tip it back up. But this was a SO loud, SO big and SO illegal firework. The only option that VEP had was to run.  And scream at all the sweet neighborhood children to do the same.  I swear it was slow motion.  The chaos. The screaming. The running. The BOOM.  That firework shot out of it’s container and like a bolt of lightening and disappeared behind the townhouses across from us. Thankfully, there was a neighbor outside grilling who was able to tell us where it went. Right next to his head.

I swear that if we had had cell phones that could video, we would have won some sort of prize.   But, it’s a last minute moment.  No video.  No photos.  Just a photographic memory of meeting new neighbors who have the ability to laugh when faced with their mortality.

You would think that I would learn, but I like a good adventure and I love those last minute moments.  Happy 4th of July y’all.  May we never take for granted our freedom and may we continue to fight for those who are denied theirs.