Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday was perfect. We had family lunch at my parents’ house and most of my mom’s extended family was able to come. Everyone was laughing and talking over each other and cracking jokes and my uncle kept singing show tunes at random times.
We read the “How to Cook a Turkey” articles in the local paper where elementary school children write down how to cook a turkey. My favorite was the one that said you put pineapple and blueberries on it, then you put pepperoni and cheese on it, and then you put ice cream and bologna on it. It sounds absolutely disgusting, but the creativity was hilarious!
Levi was able to come to the family dinner, too. This was his first Thanksgiving back in the States (he was in Lebanon for two years for missions), and I was very thankful that he chose to spend the day with us. After the extended family left, we curled up in the chair together and took naps and watched movies (Elf and The Goonies). 
I’m planning on going to his family Thanksgiving tomorrow. I’m very exciting about it since it will be the first time I’ve met most of his family. It’ll be a fun day, I’m sure. 
Today, I am doing some catch-up work, recovering from the overeating yesterday, and basically having a beautiful day. There is so much in my life to be thankful for right now, and I usually try to remember that. But it’s been difficult in the past couple weeks what with being so busy and stressed about my career and all the new work and uncertainty lately. But God is good.
My dad was talking yesterday about how blessed our family is. We’ve been through a lot this year. My uncle was diagnosed with cancer and almost died from complications with the chemo, but he is now in remission and is doing very well. My brother-in-law’s sister was killed a few weeks ago, and the family is still grieving over that. My dad lost his job a few months back and hasn’t been able to find any work. I am basically unemployed, and my mom is having to work significant overtime each week to make everything run smoothly around the house.
But we still have our family. And our house. And enough to eat. And we are constantly overwhelmed by the amount of grace and peace that God has been pouring out on us every day. And all the “Happy Things” lists in the world could never communicate how good my life is right now and how many blessings I experience every day. 
I hope each and every one of you have an absolutely wonderful holiday season, and I hope that you too can experience some peace and blessings in the next few months. 
Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Make Something Beautiful

       Lots of things have been happening recently. And lots of thoughts have been bopping around in my head. My brain has started to feel kinda cluttered up recently with everything that I'm trying to keep up there, and I haven't been taking time to keep all my thoughts organized. So this post is cathartic in a way so that I can clear my head a little and put things in their place.

1. I'm basically unemployed right now. I've applied for so many jobs, and I'm not even getting acknowledgments from most of the places I've sent resumes to. It's very discouraging, but I keep applying to whatever I can find that I qualify for and that I can even remotely see myself doing. I have been doing some contract work here and there, and I have a few projects lined up for the next couple months. But I miss a steady paycheck, and I miss stability.

2. I have a case of the travel bug really terribly right now. I went to California back in August (first time to the west coast), and I fell in love. And I want to go back so badly! I especially want to go back to San Francisco and be able to spend more than just a few hours there. The view from the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset simply took my breath away and left me speechless. I can't wait to stand there again. I also made a few new friends when I was in Cali, and I would love to be able to see them again and build a stronger, deeper friendship.

3. It's difficult being 27 and living back at home. It makes me feel like I've failed at life somewhere. It's very disconcerting and disappointing. Don't get me wrong; I dearly love my parents, and I love being able to spend so much time with them. But I'm also closing in on 30 and wanting to get my life and my career and hopefully a future family of my own happening soon. (And if my Pinterest boards are any indication, I'm also wanting my own place so I can decorate the crap out of it!!)

4. Because of being unemployed for almost 6 months now and because of those above-mentioned feelings of failure, I've been questioning a lot of my life choices recently. I wonder if I pursued the wrong degree, if I went to the wrong school, if I didn't push hard enough in school, etc. I regret some of the relationships in the past I've had with people and some of the friendships that I ruined because of my pride and my lack of empathy. I truly am sorry for that. A lot has happened in the last 10 months or so to make me take a very harsh look at myself, weigh my own character, and come up lacking. It's discouraging to see me making the same bad decisions that I made years ago and not breaking so easily from destructive cycles.

5. But, the good news is that I am seeing some small changes happening in my self in the past few months. It's too early for me to declare that I have learned my lessons and that I have changed, but there are some positive things happening. And I can only thank God for those. Because I'm a pretty nasty human being when we get down to it. My thoughts and my heart can be so hard and cold sometimes. But thank God for His grace and His mercy when I don't deserve it, and thank God for every good and perfect gift that He gives me despite my own filthiness.

6. Overall, despite the current disappointments, my life is good. Very good. And I have been doing lots of fun things and hanging out with some AMAZING people. Hopefully I will get some life motivation and direction soon. I'm ready to be passionate about life again and be excited to make things happen. And to make something beautiful. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dove-grey sunset

I sat on my front porch and watched the sunset this evening. Nothing explosive or overtly magnificent - just soft and quiet. The sky began its getting-ready-for-bed as a pretty, soft blue with high streaks of glowing white clouds and slowly muted to cotton-candy blues and pinks and then continued to fade to a gentle dove grey around the edges with a darker blue-grey at the highest part of the sky. All the birds and other animals started their busy scuttering about getting their houses in order for the night. Squirrels tossed acorns down from the treetops, birds flitted from branch to branch trying to find the most comfortable spot, and crickets and tree frogs tuned up their instruments getting ready for their soft night-music. 
I sat there… on my top step… wanting to be quiet, just listening and watching, and I slowly felt that quiet sit down next to me and get comfortable. And I sat there - not wanting to miss a single color fade or a single birdsong. And after the light started to wane and the bats started to wing out and the first star started to delicately twinkle from above me, I took a slow, deep breathe and let the worry and troubles of the day fall off me. And the quiet replaced the left-over empty spaces with peace.
And I stood up and walked back inside the house - back to the bright lightbulbs and the noise of the tv, and the dirty dishes. And I carried that quiet and that peace right into the bright house and breathed in the calm that followed. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stubborn Determination

I've started jogging.

I've always thought about jogging and running and being able to go long distances without stopping, but it's never gotten past a thought. In my mind, there was no reason to run unless you were running AWAY from something - like... a bear, a crazy stalker, etc . Even though I've had numerous dreams in the past (and more numerous in the recent past) where I am running just to be running, I've never made myself get out there and "Just Do It." I think this is mostly because I "hate" running. But the more I started thinking about it, and the more I've been longing for some sort of challenge in my life, I've come to the realization that running might be the challenge I need. Since I "hate" it, and since I always stubbornly want to do what I am not naturally bent to, I think I'll be more likely to keep at this to prove a point to myself that I CAN do something and do it well, even if I dislike it.

My first week of running is now behind me. And I'll be honest, the first day... I believed I was going to pass out and die. Or at least throw up. Every muscle in my body hurt, and my insides felt like they were going to EXPLODE! I ended up having to sit down for a few minutes just to be able to make it back home. But, I did it! I ran/walked a mile in 16:56 minutes. You may look at that time and think it's an atrocious time, but I am ridiculously proud of it! That's almost 17 minutes being outside and being active and moving this body instead of sitting on the couch or at a desk or in my bed. It pushed me to keep going and push through the ache and pain. (Also, I'd like to point out that I  think my route is extra hard since it's basically a trail run on a dirt road with lots of hills, uneven ground, and gravel!) 

Since that first run, I've been running 4 more times, and my best time has been 14:30 for a mile. IMPROVEMENT! I ran/jogged/walked this morning, and I didn't make it as far as I wanted and had some tension in one of my ankles that made it difficult to keep going, but I still did it.

I'd like to think that I can already see some improvement in my muscle tone in my legs and hips, but that's probably just wishful thinking. And I've already learned what to eat and NOT to eat before I run. (I made the mistake of eating a bowl of cereal about 30 minutes before my very first run. BAD idea! I stick with some water and half a banana or half a granola bar now.) I know that as I keep this up, not only will I start to see changes in how my body looks, I'll also be healthier, stronger, and more determined!

A friend of mine is wanting to start walking/jogging, too, so we're going to start working together soon. And I'm setting goals for myself as well to help me stay focused. This fall, I want to be able to run a 5k, and by the end of 2013, I want to be able to seriously consider running a half marathon!

All it takes is a little motivation to get out of bed in the morning and not talk myself out of it before I even get started. ;)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

5 Happy Things for Today

  1. Long heart-to-heart talks with my Momma
  2. Cheerwine at breakfast
  3. Ordering a McDonald’s Happy Meal for myself at age 27 just to get the Strawberry Shortcake toy
  4. Finding the perfect embroidered white shirt on sale
  5. Laughing and singing in the car with my family
You know, I’m recognizing that I have a pretty great life. Nothing is ideal, and nothing is meeting my “expectations.” But you know what? Expectations are just that… expectations. You can’t live life based on expectations. You have to live life based upon the here and the now, muddling through all the messy, awful stuff to see the joy and beauty in the small things. Accepting whatever comes your way with grace and with peace. Learning to love others as Christ loves… not expecting anything in return and definitely not thinking about what “I” can get from it. 
Think about it. We cannot change our circumstances. We cannot change our past mistakes. We cannot change the fact that pain and heartache ARE going to come into our lives. What we CAN control is how we respond to all the bad things and how we respond to people when they hurt us.
I, for one, am going to choose to open myself up and take it ALL in - the good, the excellent, the bad, the terrible, all of it. I accept it as a gift. And it is. Because it is part of life.
And life is a gift. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Making Me Feel

Recently I have been struggling with the type of person that I have become. I do not acknowledge my emotions, and I insist on being logical and reasonable over being the dirty "e" word - emotional.

And it is starting to cause problems in my relationships and in the way I treat myself and approach problems.

And it's time to stop.

I am naturally a very emotional person. I feel things very strongly, and I am naturally a very passionate person. But something has changed in the past few years, and I continuously shove down my emotions and try to push away people who get "too close" to me.

It's incredibly unhealthy, and it's crippling me.

So I'm changing. I've been talking to a friend of mine who is very intuitive and is able to help me see myself clearly. So step 1 is well on it's way. I've also started trying to find inspiration online to help myself look at things more emotionally and learn to process emotions in a healthy way.

Here's some of the awesome quotes I've seen around:

"The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." - Caroline Myss

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." - Socrates

"The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them." - Ernest Hemingway

"Fear does not stop death. It stops life." - Unknown

Monday, March 19, 2012

Planning for Summer!

This summer is (hopefully) going to bring a LOT of changes in my life:

  • New job (still looking, but I know something will come open)
  • Getting my own apartment again
  • Decorating said apartment
  • Traveling some
I've also been thinking about some new hobbies that I would like to start:
  • Photography (need to get a camera other than a point and shoot)
  • Dancing (I very much want to learn salsa!)
  • Cooking more. (I know how to cook, but I rarely do it. And I have soooo many recipes pinned to my Food Obsession board on Pinterest!
  • Running (I know. I know. I hate running. I really do. But I always dream that I am running, and I know I would get a rockin' and in-shape body if I would do it!)
  • Writing (I need to get back into this. Either writing fiction, poetry, or research article. I don't care. I just need to write!)
And those are just the things I can think of off the top of my head.

What about you? What are you looking forward to this summer? And what new things would you like to learn?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Winter Blues

It's been a strange few weeks. Stressful in some ways, completely unremarkable in others. Had to go to the doctor last week for a hormone imbalance, and the prescription I'm on now is "working," but I'm in a pretty bad mood because of it. I'm tired of feeling tired, so hopefully I'll get all this crap worked out soon. I'm tired of trying to be positive about everything.I really dislike winter. And I dislike having so little privacy and space of my own right now.

Started my job search this past week as well. This current job ends probably in May, so I'm trying to get something lined up before then. It's a little discouraging to see how the job market looks. I think I'm going to have to just get face time with potential employers and convince them that they need me, even if they don't have a position open at the time. ;) I need to get more energy and positivity before I can put myself in that mindset though. Whew!

I've been making little crafty things every now and then. But crafting is an expensive hobby! haha! Especially when I'm having to rebuild my craft supply stash.

This past year was really hard in so many ways, and I'm ready for some happiness. I know that you make your own happiness in many ways, but I don't quite know the secret right now. If you have any tips, let me know.

I know this is a random post, but it is what it is.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Look! I have a doppleganger!

I’ve always tried to find someone that I look like and have never been able to find anyone that I thought was close enought to me. However, a friend of mine mentioned that I look like the British tv actress and singer, Martine McCutcheon.

Well, you be the judge.

This is me…

And this is Martine McCutcheon…

Close enough for me! I now have a doppleganger!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

New year, fresh start.

2011 brought lots of changes to my life.

I ended a 3.5 year relationship. I started a new relationship. I graduated law school, studied for the GA bar exam, started my new job, passed the bar exam, was sworn in to the court system, ended a relationship (on good terms! no worries!), began re-energizing my relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ, and re-learned that I love crafting.

It's been a busy year to say the least.

But I feel like I am making some extremely positive changes, and I feel more excited about life than I have been for a while. The sky is my limit! haha!

I've been thinking about what my New Year's resolutions are. And I've also been thinking about the concept of resolutions in general. Most people say they don't make resolutions because they always break them. Well, making a resolution means that you are resolving to do something. We resolve to do things all the time. So why is it so hard to make New Year's resolutions and actually keep them? Maybe we shoot too high. Maybe we don't take it seriously. Maybe we expect that we are going to fail, so we don't give it as much effort from the beginning as we should.

Now, if any of you know me at all, you know that I am a very stubborn person. Once I make up my mind that I want something or I am going to do a certain thing, I usually follow through. So, this year, I have made resolutions. Not any of those weak "do better, try harder" types of resolutions. I have resolved my stubborn will to accomplish these three things. (Just three! Not too difficult!)

  1. Lose 20 lbs by July. I've slowly inched up the scale for the past few years. It's time to make a lifestyle change. I resolve to be healthy.
  2. Stop putting off learning new things. I've been saying for years that I want to learn to sing, I want to learn to fluently speak a foreign language, or I want to take up piano playing again. My resolution is to stop saying these in future tense. When I want to learn to do something, I don't put it off. I start learning it THEN.
  3. Live every day as if the only thing that matters is to be closer to God. I let school and relationships get in the way of that so many times in the past. God deserves more than a couple minutes a day from me. He deserves my all. So, I resolve to take every step as a step towards intimacy with God. If something is leading me away from time with Him, then I stop that activity. I've already been on my way to getting back to where I need to be with Him, and I can't wait to see where this journey takes me in the future.
So. That's my plan for this year. I'm excited!

Did you make resolutions? What did you decide?