Dandelion, Big People Jobs and Devils, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Big-People Jobs and Devils

I need to find a woman named Sheila and say, hey, thanks for all the truisms. She came through again this week.

I was panicking over the fact that I still have absolutely no plan for my life and should probably come up with one. (This is a regular on my panic list.) I was contemplating applying for a big-people job (regular hours, regular pay, air conditioning, french manicures, benefits, etc.) but the potential place of employment is known for its bad politics and a chick that is simultaneously powerful,  power crazy, and just plain crazy.

I’m gabbing away to my friend, Jen, about this potential big-people, albeit disastrous job, and she quotes Sheila. (Sheila is Jen’s friend. We’ve never met, but I love how women know each without knowing each other because we’re friends with each other’s friends.)

Anyway, here’s Sheila’s quote. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

My, my.

That one fits right up there with the grass being greener. Oh, the applications.

Because the devils are mine. The one I know and the one I don’t know. They’re a part of myself that is just as cra cra as the power hungry chick, and they’ve had a recent field day with me over the big-people job and my reluctance to go for it.

  • You’re afraid of that woman. Yes, I am. Everyone is. It is right to be so.
  • You’re afraid of change. You betcha. I’ve had enough change in the last decade to, well, last.
  • You’re afraid you aren’t smart enough. I am smart, but smart enough? I don’t know. 
  • You’re afraid someone will find out you aren’t who you say you are. Surely to the Lord everyone already knows that, don’t they? 

I leave my devils to their conversation. It’s not a new one, anyway.

I decide I don’t want the job because, air conditioning and all that, I’m not ready for change. It’s good to have an actual reason when not going for french manicures and health insurance because the devils can make me doubt myself, cause me to wonder if my decisions are based on how the wind blows.

I give myself permission to skip the big-people job and go home, where I’m the only crazy woman in residence. I decide that conquering my devils is befriending my devils, both those known and those unknown. It’s like the monster in the closet. When you turn the light on, you discover it’s only your shadow.

 

 

BatWoman, Cinthia Milner,

To My Granddaughters: Go Be BatWoman!

My darling grandgirls: Go be BatWoman.

Let’s start with boys. It ain’t about the boys.

We live in an age where women have more freedom than they likely have ever had, and sadly, I’m watching girls (ages 18-21), make idiots of themselves over your uncle. These are college girls that are old enough to know better. I asked one girl if she’d ever heard of feminism. And, I don’t mean the kind of feminism that promotes freedom of sex for everybody and their brother.

I mean feminism where women learn to treat themselves with respect, and to invest in themselves.

I’ll quote my dad (your Biggie) here: “Don’t worry if the boy is going to choose you. Are you going to choose him?”

Your personalities are developing, and I’m watching you become these ultra-cool girls (one day women) with specific characteristics that make you, you. But, I’ve seen it happen a billion times. Around age 12, you’ll disappear, and what will take your place is a boy-crazed girl who will do whatever it takes to get the boys to notice her. That disappearing act, it lasts a really long time. Sometimes a few years, sometimes decades, sometimes forever. And, it’s hard to make a comeback from that. So, fight for yourself. Fight for your quirky, smart, silly, lovely selves to stay present and open to the world.

Don’t disappear.

You’re beautiful, smart, amazing and wonderfully made girls. Go be BatWoman!

That’s enough about the men.

go be batwoman

 

Now for the women in your lives. Pick great women to follow as role models and keep good girlfriends close.

Preferably women who have suffered and survived. Because you will suffer yourselves, that’s a given, and you’ll need the inspiration to keep going. But more importantly, pick women who are humble. Arrogance, pride, haughtiness–the whole diva mentality our culture promotes–it suits no one. Skip the Kardashians, and look to women like your mom, or my mom (Maurme).  Aim to be like them. Aim high.

I chose a woman at my church. She decided she would be silent no more. Women would participate in church. The pastor (male) agreed. They chose a Sunday and she served communion that day. Almost all the men ignored her. They would not receive communion from her–a woman. Twenty years later, I serve communion hand-in-hand with the men in my church, thanks to her. I never forget the road she forged for women in my tiny church.

See, that church is tiny. That community is tiny. That meant her friends and neighbors shunned her. But, she stood up anyway.

It isn’t always on a world level. It’s generally in your small world of friends and family, and girls that is hard.

And since I brought up Maurme, follow her example and cultivate good friends. She had such wonderful friends, and her life was so full because of them. Follow her example, and be a good friend. Choose your friends wisely. Don’t go for popularity, go for sincere. Go for the girl who’s got your back. Go for the girl you can call at 2 a.m. Go for the girl who doesn’t ditch you because she has a date. Go for the girl who would never utter the words, “I don’t have a lot of girlfriends because I really prefer a man’s company.” That girl. That girl is poison. Translated, all that means is, I like to flirt with men and prefer their attentions over trying to be a real friend. Avoid her. She’s the one who will seduce your boyfriend or husband. If you find a real friend, be a real friend to her. Be known for being a good friend.

You will need your girlfriends. Keep them close. Keep each other close. Never abandon your sisters.

go be batwoman

Find your passion.

Find something you love, and let that be your work. God created us for work. God gave us talents and skills. So, discover your’s, develop them, and use them. And, do not let dream-dashers destroy your dreams. There are so many dream-dashers in the world. Mostly, they’re people whose own dreams were dashed, and so now, they dash other’s dreams. Just skip telling those people anything about your dreams. You’ll end up second-guessing yourself. Instead surround yourself with cheerleaders. And, don’t forget to be a cheerleader for somebody. There is a center in the universe, and as much as you are the center of my universe, you are not the center of THE universe. Remember that.

You have an obligation that is hand-in-hand with your dreams. To help others.

There is a world out there, with women who don’t have what you have. They can’t study, drive, vote, own property, they are property. Remember while pursuing your dreams to find a way to help them pursue their’s.

And by the way, it’s okay to fail at your dreams, but it is not okay to never try.

Go be BatWoman.

Okay, I did a little man bashing, but really let’s do some real talk about men.

Let’s talk about the ones who are already a part of your life. How fortunate are you to have your dad? He adores you. He will protect you and guide you. Let him while he can. And, don’t forget the other men who love you, and will always be there to support you. Your uncles, your grandpas. Our society likes to make men look pretty stupid. Any sitcom will teach you that, but the men in your lives are awesome. You’ve been blessed with some of the best. Call on them for help when you need it. Anything from fixing your car, to making you laugh. They love you so dearly.

And then, when and if you’re ready for a relationship, remember how they treated you and expect no less.

BatWoman, Uncle and Niece, Cinthia Milner

Uncle and Niece

Finally, hold tight to Jesus. People will tell you he’s not real. But, your YaYa has been holding tight to him since she was 32, and she knows, he is real. Listen, sweeties. Life won’t be all candy and sisters, and Frozen and Star Wars and all the things you love. You will suffer and be broken.

Remember this, my darlings, your YaYa prayed for that very day when your suffering comes. She prayed that you would stand firm, and stand up under it. She prayed for that day while you were still in your Mama’s womb. Not that you would be protected from suffering, but that you would be fierce under it. You have strength you do not yet know about it, but it is there. Access it, and then give the glory to God. He has promised never to leave you, never to forsake you. Believe it.

Now go be BatWoman.

YaYa

 

Because Evidently, I Need Some Friends

I started a women’s Wednesday night class at church. I didn’t want too, but, well, EVERYONE says I need some friends. I don’t know what to think about that.

(A side note here, because my female friends that live far away from me–or at least far enough away–well be like, what? I thought we were friends. We are darlings, we are.  But when I moved 2 years ago, I moved to a town where I knew no one, and I still don’t. Hence the “go make friends from family.”)

So, I went, feeling a bit “ulterior motive-ish,” and scanning the room for potential candidates.

When the teacher did her icebreaker, and went person-to-person asking why we joined the leadership class, I came pretty darn close to saying, “Because evidently, I need some friends.” That seemed a bit TMI right off the bat, and possibly frightening for the ladies, so I mumbled something–blah, blah, blah–about leadership, while continuing my scan of possible new friends. I figure if I leave the class friendless, my family, and my one friend will kill me. They’re thinking I’m high maintenance at the moment. I’m thinking I’m high maintenance at the moment too, but hey, I’m not stressing over it. They are.

But, bonus! The class is interesting.

We started with this acronym VVMG.

  • Visions
  • Values
  • Mission
  • Goals

What’s your vision for your life (or ministry in this case)?
What do you value?
What is your mission in life?
What goals do you need to set to accomplish that mission?

I’ve been given the mission of finding a friend because my family values their evenings, and are tired of me interrupting them with the billionth phone call for a chat. The goal is simple: Pick a friend and don’t run her off.

I  learned that leaders should have these qualities: Honesty, integrity, purity (of motive and more) , and an integrated personality with an integrated life. This one was solid gold for me. Simply put, being the same person all the time. No chameleons or charlatans. The person we are becoming is the person we always are. It’s called authenticity. I have no idea if God wants to use me in a leadership role. I have little vision for my life beyond doing what’s next, and the only thing I value right now is an income. But, I desire to be authentic.

Jesus was authentic. He was a fully integrated human being. The only one ever, because he was perfect. Not perfect like a perfectionist (who are just annoying), but perfect in his humanity. He did not have to reconcile different aspects of himself or have some space to “find himself.” He simply was, is and always will be. If I have any vision at all, if I value anything, or have a goal, it is simply, to be.

I a mom, a writer, a gardener, a daughter, a sister, a horticulturist, (and evidently I need to be a friend soon) but mostly, I am Cinthia. It makes sense that you must start there in leadership, with just yourself and no pretense. I imagine it’s a good starting point for making friends, too.

 

 

Wow. My Cup Runneth Over.

Wow. I am hugely touched by all of you! So many of you reached out to me, letting me know that yesterday’s blog post spoke to you. You shared some of your truthful things with me, and one beautiful woman sent me her list of 7. I will always cherish that.

Here’s what I want to say to all of you: I love you. So very deeply.

Funny how that works, right?

We try so hard to be perfect, or at least, keep our flaws in check. We try to make sure no one finds out we’re crazy. (That’s my #8, truly terrified that I’m certifiably crazy.) Why? So, we’ll be loved.

But, life is one big dichotomy. We hoard our secrets close, and all that accomplishes is keeping people at arm’s distance. But, we tell our deepest fears, the things we don’t really like about ourselves, and it brings people closer. They lean in to hear us, because they hear themselves in our words. They have a list of 7 too.

But here’s what I’m not going to do.

I’m not going to say you’re wrong.

I’m not going to tell you that you’re brave when you said you were scared.

Instead, I’m going to honor what’s in your heart, and tell you that I’m afraid too.

But, let’s keep swimming. (Yeah, I love Finding Nemo.) I’ll swim with you. I’ll do the journey with you. And, I promise to be honest along the way, if you promise to be honest too. Because somehow, knowing I am not the only one with a list of 7 makes me feel stronger, a bit more sure, a little less crazy. It makes me think this life is do-able, after all. So thank you for that.

And here’s what else I promise you:

1. I promise not to pretend I have it all together.

2. I promise to be honest about my fears. (Like now, I’m almost 55, will I accomplish ANYTHING before I die. Does it even matter?)

3. I promise to encourage you, and please encourage me. Life is hard. Faith is hard. Sometimes, I hear a song about giving it all to Jesus (that Mandisa song), and all I can think is, exactly what does that look like? Will someone please tell me what that looks like? I just want to call her up and say, “Mandisa, what does that look like?” (And btw, Mandisa, you look fabulous with the weight loss. Really. Way to go, girl.)

4. Lastly, I promise to be your friend no matter what is on your list of 7.

I love you all. You are powerful, wonderful, devoted, godly women, who are living life fully. May I be like each of you. My cup runneth over.

PS I’d love to publish some of the lists of 7s (anonymously). If you’re up for it, send them to me. (It doesn’t have to be 7, it can be 2 or even 1). I think it would be great to see how similar we all are, how flawed and beautiful at the same time. You can send them to me privately, cinthiamilner@gmail.com, or do the hashtag thing, #listof7. and tweet it or instagram it, or whatever you do. (@CinthiaMilner)