Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012.

It's December 19th. I don't anticipate having this posted until I come back from Charlotte but I figured I'd make an effort to at least start writing due to the anticipation of a crazy, photo-filled next few weeks. My trip to SoFla was much better than I imagined it could be. The highlight of my trip included making cookies (I've already devoured most of them), watching Naked Lunch (well...half of it anyway), and getting the ever-incredible annual Santa picture with Zack. The drive was brutal, though. I remember it to be more fun than it's been my last few trips. I suppose that has a lot to do with kicking bad habits. Now the drive is monotonous and solemn. Especially when I'm by myself.

This year has been an excellent year for gift giving and gift receiving. I think I managed to get everyone practical gifts that need not be regifted inconspicuously. After driving home from my parents' house (and Lynn finally got home from work), we sat down with Brandon to open his gifts. The glee and excitement of Brandon's gift unwrapping was too much for our impressionable Christmas spirits to bear. We ended up going back on our original plan and having Christmas early. It was wonderful! I love the look on a person's face when they rip open the wrapping paper (or, in our case, unwrap so slowly that the anticipation kills us all) and let loose a giddy scream of appreciation. And I've gotten exactly what I wished for. My two Davids have certainly splurged! My Keurig and iPod touch (with FaceTime!) will be great additions to 2012.

One of my favorite gifts that I gave this year was also a gift for me: a ticket to my very first pro-hockey game. While I wanted to get tickets to a Colorado game for David, the whole living-here-on-the-east-coast thing was a little bit of a road block. So we're headed to Tampa to see the Lightning. My little brother, Alex, is apparently a ballin' hockey goalie, so I'm excited to have the opportunity to get into the sport. Appropriate time for ego-boosting pictures:

Being an awesome goalie runs in the family.

Alexander Husarenko (on the right)
It's December 30th. My last trip to Charlotte just before Thanksgiving was undeniably spectacular. This past week was a similarly special mix of princess play time, great food, screaming kids, consignment shopping, chilly weather, cold feet, football, corn hole, and post-Christmas merriment.

Leo was a sad sap to see me leave. I really hate to leave him for so long, but I trusted Lynn and Mallory with my favorite puppy. Jess and Vince's dog, Riley, made a decent temporary substitute. My Leo is still the best ever, though. And I was greeted with such a warm homecoming when I got back. 

Pretend-time with the girls was quite magical. I think David was both the princess AND the prince this week. He wears his ascot well. He's pretty perfect.

Charlotte is also home to my absolute favorite restaurant: P.F. Changs! We had some delicious tofu lettuce wraps and Cantonese duck before heading back to the house for our belated Christmas celebration.  

It was nice to have a family-type Christmas. Screaming kids instead of screaming adults: somehow it bodes well. 

This gift was by far my most successful pinterest attempt. 
Wine cork and canvas monogram letter.

 Wednesday, I went to my very first bowl game (the Belk Bowl)! It happened to be my second football game ever (the first being FSU vs. UF....31-7!!). It was great to see NC State kick butt and bring in the win, despite the freezing weather.

 I've decided that Charlotte is eligible for a spot in my top five places to live once I'm through in Tallahassee. The cost of living is a little high, but it's beauty and quiet city-scene are enthralling. 

Jess suggested a little cafe called Zada Jane. It happened to be an excellent choice. We hit up this quaint little eatery before hitting the road home. 

Please note the spelling and grammar of this gas pump notice.

pl. pay in side
cash and
outside no work
thank yoy
  He was definitely pooped. It was a wonderfully exhausting week, but I'm glad to be home. Did I mention that this man is amazing?

And an Emi-Ari photo dump:

And last but not least, I think I've come to the conclusion that new years resolutions are pointless. I set goals and don't accomplish them, and when the next new year comes around, I set the same resolutions that continue to cycle onto following years. If anything, my resolution will be to strive to be the best person I can be each and every day, according to God. Whatever that entails will be what I try to do (emphasis on try). I'm tired of setting unrealistic goals that I never accomplish, and eventually feel guilty for not working toward.

Things to look forward to this year:
  • My 21 day Daniel Fast (1.16)
  • Dad's birthday weekend in Orlando (2.4-5)
  • Lightning vs. Capitals hockey game (2.18)
  • Lauren's bachelorette party and bridal shower
  • Lauren's wedding week (4.16-20)
  • 22nd birthday aka a super awesome vaca with DB! (5.27)
  • Imminent death (12.12)
It's January 31st. Today, I've gotten all of my errands done, made some returns, and got my oiled changed. Sometime today, I have to start finish a 6 page paper. Tomorrow my mother turns 43 (Happy birthday, mom!). Next Saturday, David and I have our first day of soccer games. I hope everyone celebrated a wonderful Hanukkah and/or Christmas, and a splendid ringing-in of this glorious new year. May God bless you in 2012.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Survey says: "This book is a bunch of crap."

It's funny how comfortable you are about certain things when you are surrounded by friends, but when it comes to your significant other, you're bemused by the idea of having certain conversations about certain semi-hilarious bodily functions. It reminds me of a friend I had in high school who refused to believe that women had need for, and therefore, did not partake in, gross bodily functions. Those were the days. I suppose I've just been blessed with extremely extroverted partners. There's no surprises here!

In the midst of poop-talk, I've been shopping and gift wrapping my behind off. Only four more gifts to buy before my Christmas shopping is officially complete (not including some materials I need to buy in order to finish some projects I'm working on). What's nice is that our Christmas tree is looking full; full of decorations; flooded by presents. I can't wait until Christmas Eve/Day. Forget the presents (although exciting). I'm looking forward to one of my first [quiet] Christmases away from home. I'll be spending it with some of my favorite people, eating delicious food, and thanking the Lord for sending His only Son to die for my sins. I'm so blessed!

The first week of school was a success! I've finished my first assignment and discussion post with A's...not that it wasn't expected.*wiggly eyebrows* I'm feeling slightly motivated; a foreign concept. I think this was encouraged after witnessing the past two weeks of David's course deadlines. I can't afford to get behind, and I see how stressful it can become. If my degree could be like 5% stressful and 95% learning, I'd really appreciate it. Doubtful, but I'm praying for it anyway.

Speaking of praying (this really was a failed attempt at a decent segue), someone I work with said that she couldn't imagine that anyone I dated could be more conservative than I am (as if to say that I made David sound like a conservative?). When I asked for a little more clarification, she commented on the fact that she often sees me reading bible verses; therefore conservative (as if she knows anything about David and his antics?). I really despise blatant ignorance. Being a Christian makes me faithful, not a right-wing. Also, I've never spoken to you about my boyfriend, stalker. Sigh.


In an attempt to justify never visiting (or trying not to, anyhow), I've decided to take a semi spur-of-the-moment trip (I didn't plan it, which means I didn't warn anyone about it, which means it will probably be a disaster) down to South Florida this upcoming weekend. I'm apologizing in advance for not planning to spend any time with anyone. I plan on getting the annual Santa picture taken with my ever-enthusiastic brother, galavanting down Gabriel Lane with my pseudo boyfriend (the other David--or as he likes to think: the ONLY David), and avoiding my mother's delicious sugar cookies. Maybe I'll watch Teen Mom, and get caught up on the news. Additionally, I ask you all to please pray for my parents and their current situation; I keep asking God to intervene and soften their hearts. The added prayers will certainly make a difference.

The only other thing I've been consumed by is crocheting David's blanket. I'm at a point where I think I need a bigger bag to carry it all in. I was hoping to have it all done by the time we went to Charlotte, but that probably won't happen. Plus, what would I have to do on the drive up there if I did finish it? My subconscious has got my back. On the other hand, it'd be nice to finish it and be toasty warm rather than having my toes freeze off. This weekend in SoFla will also yield me some extra time to work on it.

This week, I realized that I only have a little over a month until I begin my Daniel fast. I can't believe it's already been a year! I'll have been writing this blog for one year on January 16th. Thank you to all of my followers, new and old, who have journeyed with me and my strange life without inhibition. It's been a super ridiculous year!

I'm still trying to come up with a positive new year resolution that is reasonably (and realistically) attainable.

So far:
Maybe having a better, stronger relationship with God.
Maybe increasing the amount of money and time I give to charity.
Maybe decreasing the amount of money I spend on material things.
Maybe determining how much of my bible I should finish, and actually doing it.
Maybe meditating daily.
Maybe getting the McCartney Motel organized (for once).
Maybe finding a better job (but probably not).
Maybe building more DIYs from Pinterest.
Maybe dieting better.
Maybe losing weight.

We'll see. Stay blessed.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside!

Welcome to December 2011, people. Only a little over one more calendar year before the much anticipated end of days. Please see Matthew 24:36.

I love the holiday season despite its ever-predictable progression. Every year it follows the same pattern no matter what you've planned, where you end up, or who you spend it with. The details are irrelevant. It begins with Thanksgiving; the otherwise rare sense of community and coalescence that we cherish and enjoy; the sudden urge to become a copious altruist; the time of year you can actually watch the numbers in your savings account gradually decreasing to zero. We gorge ourselves in devilishly delicious food and the occasional nap before embarking on the holiday past time known infamously as post-Thanksgiving decorating. And somewhere between food and decorating lies the gateway to an endless pool of shopping bags and receipt collecting. Decorating for the holiday usually doesn't come in droves, either. You'll bring out boxes and bags full of festoon new and old, shake the dust off you faux fir tree, and plug in last year's lights to make sure they're all still lit. I usually scowl in aggravation when I notice that a light is out in the middle of the strand; leaving me with only half a strand of lit lights. I should have expected such; this is also part of the predictable nature of the holiday season. You find yourself adding the Christmas music station to your dashboard presets, and humming or whistling this morning's song all day long. Not soon after it begins, you break out the claymation DVDs and plan when your friends and family will be over to watch them all. Eventually, the urge to cook and bake and reminisce about holidays passed consumes you, and you're lost in a whirl of Santa hats, cookies, pies, chocolate, and glitter.

This year is developing the same way. I spent Thanksgiving with David and his wonderful family: complete with great homemade dishes and a little football, followed by an unavoidable, yet revered night with Mallory and Brandon. I was left missing Maggs while she was figuratively lost in the middle of the Atlantic, but apparently I suffer from separation anxiety, so it's to be expected. I did happen, however, to break my own tradition for the first time since it began in 2002. It is quite commonplace for me to enjoy the essence of transient presence on a frequent basis, but nine years ago I made a habit out of dedicating my Thanksgiving to the city's homeless community. I started in my own kitchen by organizing plates of my family's leftovers, and delivering them in high-traffic areas for transients. Gradually, it progressed to volunteer work in soup kitchens, outreach events, and church-sponsored Thanksgiving spreads. Dejectedly, I was too wrapped up in my own gleeful Thanksgiving- before and after- to even remember that I was about to break tradition. Now, I'm fused to a miserable medley of listlessness and regret. Instead of serving God and His children, I was selfishly consumed in preparations for Christmas, and Black Friday shopping. Being an avid servant never even crossed my mind. Admittedly, it hadn't even crossed my mind until I started reflecting on the concept of holiday ordinance for this blog post.

Baby It's Cold Outside has been stuck in my head for a few days now. It may have something to do with the fact that it was a shocking 28 degrees in Tallahassee this morning, and in the 40's since Monday. The song had previously been a jumble of words that I never really took the time to learn; I'm usually just humming along. But I'm ready this year. And I'm finally bothered by the fact that my iPod is still in disrepair. I can't listen to my favorites on repeat. I'm stuck with one of maybe two Christmas radio stations in Tallahassee. You'd think a Genius would be able to get that iPod fixed in a timely manner (if he can even find it in his room at this point). I'm waiting, David Kossin!

Speaking of it being cold outside, I was walking down the stairs from the fourth floor at work, and thoughts of the Titantic (encouraged by a Brogan Museum venture last week) flooded my mind (pun certainly intended). The further I walked down, the more bone chilling the air in the concrete and steel stairwell became. I actually got a chill underneath my sweater. I could only imagine how much colder it was for the third class passengers in the below freezing waters of the Atlantic.

Beyond that, I'll be here in Tallahassee for the rest of the year. I start my first class of my masters this coming Monday. It'll be my only class until the beginning of January. Some APA research preparedness class, if I'm not mistaken. I feel like I've taken an entire semester worth of these kind of classes, so I expect to knock it out quickly. The only downside is that APA papers are graded for consistent accuracy, so no mistake can be overlooked. I'm still waiting for my second textbook. The next few weeks will be spent half-assing doing assignments and gift-making. That, and being fashionably late for a handful of holiday parties. I plan on becoming a modern Betty Crocker, as well. Mostly because one of my favorite things to do around Christmas has always been decorating sugar cookies. Sugar cookies, chocolate covered pretzel rods, lebkuchen (secret family recipe!), and pfeffernusse are in my immediate future.

I pray safe travels for everyone this month, and a season full of memories. Stay blessed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Nothing is ours except time."

The past two days have been so full of introspection and self-righting that I've become an exhausted shell of myself. Satan has even pervaded my dreams; entrenching me in night terrors that have since been uncommon. It's a familiar tactic of his that I should be used to; just when I think my faith is strong, he sees my weaknesses. On Monday night, God unmasked some internal deception that had been cloaking my shortcomings, and it was the final crack in my armor. Like stilt pilings, the wave of startling emotion was swiftly swept away, and the foundation crumbled fantastically beneath me; misconstrued beliefs and seemingly unimportant concepts immediately catechized.

Often, there are times that you take a step back to question things that you've said or done. And there is that exact moment subsequent to the retrospection that enables you to interpret what course of action should follow. In my case, the retrospection brought guilt that only tears could verbalize. But He saw my heart. He saw the lies, the misunderstanding, and the false justification I had been allowing Satan to feed me. And this is where accountability comes in. It is not often that my faith and my beliefs are questioned. But when they were, my judgment was unclouded and faults were ablaze. I'm currently attempting to work a different angle and rediscover what I truly want for my future. Things don't need to be the same as they have been all of my life. I've been conforming to modern compulsions and expectations that are simply ridiculous, and blatantly against what He wants for me. Changes are forthcoming. And perfectly coinciding with this Thanksgiving holiday.

Christmas 2010
In other news, I unleashed the Christmas spirit on my room last night. It's now a lustrous chaos of lights, glitter, and childhood knick knacks. I'm contemplating doing more, but the more that goes up, the less likely I am to ever take it down. Last year's Christmas tree and lights didn't come down until July of this year. Plus, I still have three canvases to create and hang. I'm quickly running out of wall space.

I will say, though, that I will be enjoying two very quiet holidays here in Tallahassee as opposed to driving home to South Florida. Family will be missed, but I'm anticipating the absence of entropy and disarray. It's been too long since I've actually (and completely) enjoyed a holiday. That and I can afford to do some Christmas shopping if I'm not saving up to travel. It's a decent win-win.

Only just under two more weeks until my schedule is radically altered to accommodate my class schedule. I'll have to be in before 3 am every night (who am I kidding?), spend less time crocheting/reading/watching Arrested Development (I can certainly just do all that at work), and more time actually caring about school (a stretch).

Stay blessed and embark on a very crucial opportunity to give thanks for all that He has done for you tomorrow. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life goes on with fragile normalcy.

I feel slightly anxious; slightly captivated. I'm a mess of creative genius trying to outdo myself for the hundredth time. The past few weeks have been somewhat of a blur, and I sincerely apologize for the lack of update.

After just getting back from North Carolina- family, fun, marriage, kids, love, and comfort food- I'm a glass half full of emotion. Mostly due to the changes I've gone through over the past few months, and the emptiness that a failed engagement has left. Not that I'm regretting, or reconsidering any of the decisions made, but marriage and family-making excitement is now the last thing on my mind. I miss the way it used to drain me. I miss the possibilities. "The more distressing the memory, the more persistent it's presence." Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants. But that's neither here nor there. The day goes on.

My trip was breathtakingly quaint. Everything about NC was beautiful; riveting. I was lucky enough to spend time with a wonderful family that welcomed me into their equally wonderful homes. And quite frankly, it was one of the best family get togethers I've had the pleasure of being involved in in a very long time. The love was so powerful; perfectly picturesque.

I'm currently in a place that I always enjoy being: independent, creatively motivated, and very much head over feet. Not to mention, I'm in a state of peaceful repose that accompanies patience in its finest hour. I picked up crocheting today as an outlet for both perpetual boredom and the propensity toward keeping my hands busy. I'm about to pick up scrapbooking to capture some of the excitement that goes on in my life. Plus, these skills will come in handy when I finally get down to Christmas shopping/creating. I've already got most of my list planned out, but there are still a few people on the list that need deciding. The decorating starts next week. Very exciting!

Mallory moved [back] into the house while mon petit chou and I were in Charlotte. I'm enjoying the constant companionship. I think it will be even more rare that the house is unoccupied. In fact, I think we're about to have a full house shy of ten people here this weekend. I sometimes worry about the increased electric bill, the lack of food, and the clutter that guests bring, but I think my need for interaction trumps that of my own paltry concerns.

That's about as much update as I've got in me to share. Stay blessed, friends.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Fantasticism of Focus

While perusing the internet for Domestic Violence updates and news (October is DV Awareness Month), I stumbled upon and diddled around on her site before finding something she calls a "Gratitude Journal". According to her, gratitude "turns what as have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude make sense of our past bring peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow". A little over a year ago, I was able to use my (favorite) gift to voice how important it is to be thankful for every single thing that happens in your life. See it here: Intrigued by such a prospect, I've decided to make a list of the things I am grateful for.

Faith and Fellowship
There is no explanation for the life I came from before I [truly] found God. It's true that I believed, but establishing a relationship with Him didn't come until much, much later. I had been swept up by drugs and alcohol, perverse behavior, and for a lack of a better phrase: perceived badassness. Today, I'm much more calm and reserved, but I still have my moments (those of which Justin hated...and attempted to eradicate without success). In addition to being so undeniably faithful, He has given me so many wonderful friends that have encouraged and molded my faith. While it's true most of the friends I have come to know are going along their own path--I rarely get to see them--it doesn't change the fact that the time that we did spend together was wonderful. My keenness for isolation doesn't help much either. But I'm working on it.

Food and Fitness
I think that everyone can attest to my love for food. I'm incredibly picky, and I know what I like. While there is much more in this world that I'd like to taste, there are flavors and combinations that I absolutely can't get enough of. And when it's good, it's good. I'm so glad God has given me the ability to enjoy food the way I do. That being said, I've been recently grateful for my newly acquired gym membership at the YMCA. Forty pounds heavier today than I was a year ago is not somewhere I'd like to be, but stress, stress eating, having friends with terrible eating habits, and lack of exercise has really taken it's toll on my body. So I'm doing what I can to eat smaller portions, RE-eliminate fast food from my diet, and gym it up at least three times a week. When it gets a little cooler, I'll be riding my bike more!

Friends and Family
There isn't much that needs to be said about friends and family that I don't talk about in nearly every blog. I have the BEST friends that have really been there through everything. I always talk about my "best friend" so and so, but it's really because I can't have just one. While it's good to have a few close friends, I have so many people in my life that have seen me at my very best and very worst, but have never let anything come between us. They will offer me a place to sleep, feed me when I'm hungry, and lend me clothes when I have nothing I want to wear in my own closet. Those are people you never want out of your life. For real. I love you guys.

Fun and Fall-Outs
The concept of "falling out" is relatively new to me. I couldn't find a suitable urban dictionary definition, but my understanding of it has been parallel to the idea of nearly passing out, or crying, because you're laughing so hard. I'm grateful for my strange sense of humor, and the ability to laugh at myself (and to join others who are laughing at me). I'm enjoying this new "not-taking-everything-too-seriously" attitude. Life is too short.

Film and Fantasy
It pains me to admit it, but recently I agreed to watch Star Wars Episode IV, V, and VI. It was....interesting. To my surprise, it wasn't as terrible as my preconceived notion made it out to be. Forget it being a riveting action/adventure movie; it was pretty comedic. Movies from the 70's are unintentionally hilarious! It reminds of Last House on the Left (the original). I'd always thought that I've seen a pretty good variety of films- both blockbuster and foreign- but it wasn't until moving in with Maggs that I've broadened that movie watching horizon. My reading list, however, is somewhat short. While it's true that I'm still in the process of reading a few different books at the moment, I've been reading a lot less than usual. I have about 10 books in my queue, but I feel like I'm not getting the most out of the books that are out there. I've just reread The Giver and Gathering Blue, but I'm starting to think that having a Kindle has decreased the amount I read in a given week. Dance with Dragons and The Five People You Meet in Heaven are among the current reads. But I need more! My desire for new words and new plots is fervent; I feel slightly desolate without it.

Flirting with Free Will
This one is a little more general than the other categories, but I knew I needed something to be generally thankful about. Free will is something that I've recently come to control and admonish. Previously, I had used the concept of free will to justify my actions and behaviors that weren't quite acceptable, or even normal. If I could do it, I would do it. These days, however, I rarely utilize that strategy, and base my decisions more often on the ends rather than the means. Today, I found myself making a pro and con list about a decision that needed to be made....and I made it! I never do that! I've been living a life based on illegitimate decision-making skills, and choosing paths based on how they would benefit me in my current situation. But I'm thankful for the ability to discern between what I can do and what I should do.

As an update for those who crave the nitty gritty in my life, you'll be tickled to know that I'm incredibly happy. There's no drama to share; no bullshit to explain. I'm just....perfect. And not the overly, obnoxious "perfect" where I'm head over feet in my idea of "love", or falsely inspired by something new. I've discovered that by letting go of my inhibitions, as well as my expectations, I can experience a content state of mind I don't believe I've felt in a while. I'm planning broadly for my future, and not around anyone else's. And for those who haven't heard, I'm starting on my master's degree this December. Every decision I've made up to this point has been for this very moment, and I'm utterly humbled to say that I'm thankful for my God who has led me to it. Be blessed, friends.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Wish Sandwich....

I'm apologizing in advance for the length of this post. Suggestion? Make sure you've got some free time before you commit.

Aside from simply confessing about my wonderfully nostalgic coffee date, I'd like to share some wisdom I've recently picked up from Ms. Angela Boone. The first is the term "moobies", or as I'm going to call them from now on: "moobs". I can honestly say that despite having come across this idea throughout the duration of my young-adult life, I have never heard either of these words spoken out loud. It's plain and simply "man-boobs". While the term "man-boobs" has a particularly negative connotation, and is generally not an appealing combination of words, the term "moobies" has a slightly more playful undertone. Plus, it's aesthetically pleasing to my ears. It definitely sounds like something I'd like to snuggle with on a rainy day, or something you'd see on Sesame Street (#notapedo). Who doesn't like the idea of cuddling up to your favorite "moobies"? Go ahead and try your tongue to it (let me just set that straight--to the word). It will provide endless personal enjoyment.

The second thing she revealed to me (though a little distant in the timeline at the moment) is her Valentine's Day ritual. Historically, this Hallmark holiday has been exploited to allow couples to "show" how much they love eachother by endorsing the excessive purchase of candy, cards, flowers, sex toys, and stuffed animals. Personally, I think this day is a joke, and showing your love and affection should be a 365 day/year thing. Every day should be full of love, even if it's only between you and God. I found out that Angela's yearly rituals definitely reflect how I feel about this. Every V-Day, she goes out and buys her own chocolate, flowers, and a cute teddy. She even goes as far as buying herself a card, writing a motivating message to herself, and signing her name. Then, she'll go out and treat herself to a day of complete relaxation: put on her favorite outfit, get her hair done, get a mani/pedi, and just enjoy being in love with herself. My honest, gut reaction to this was "wow, ridiculous". But the more she talked about it, the more sense it made to me. My man might not know what I want, but I sure as hell know how to please me. What an insane concept! Ladies! Forget expecting your man to live up to a cliche, disingenuous past time and start using this day to remind yourself how truly beautiful and wonderful you really are. While it sounds arrogant, how can you really love anyone else if you're unable to love yourself? Think about it.

Also, I made a mental note to relay Dennis Rainey's "Non-Negotiables". He and his wife are the co-authors of Moments with You, a couple's devotional. Dennis concedes that these "non-negotiables" are true simply because He is true, and I feel it blog-worthy enough to share with everyone.
  • Seek God, not sin. Seek good and not evil, so that you may live. Amos 5:14
    • Despite being genuine in our walk with God, our lives are filled with constant temptation to fall away and "live in the moment". We experience things on the daily that test our faith and appear to be a more attractive option--things that are usually down the wrong path. While it's true that there is a lot about being a faithful and loyal servant that gives you that warm feeling inside, there is also a lot that requires discipline, avoidance, and control--most of which you must fight yourself on to be in accordance with His will. In the end, you will either use temptation (by not falling into it) to push you closer to salvation, or let sin destroy you. It is not negotiable.
  • Fear God, not men. The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil. Proverbs 19:23
    • Human nature dictates the way we interpret social cues and the way we trend. I sometimes(though usually less than other people) care more about what everyone else will think of me rather than what God will think of me. True enough, my adolescence would have been a lot different had I gone by this non-negotiable. My carefree lifestyle, however, makes me just as guilty as the next person. I don't care what other people think of what I do, but I find myself in situations where I'm not thinking about His expectations of me either. It is not men who decide our fate, but our Father in Heaven.
  • Love God, not the world. Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. John 2:15-17
    • This is one of my very favorite non-negotiables. While things are nice, flashy, expensive, and tend to display your SES, I find useless new things to be a terrible waste. What I do want to address is the idea that love is among worldly affections/possessions. While it's true that some worldly emotions that are closely (and often mistakenly) related to love, to love someone with a righteous, God-inspired love is by far the most cogent gift you could give and share with another person. I don't feel that it's "of this world" to want to be preoccupied with someone you love; especially if it's being built on a Christian foundation.
  • Believe God, not the deceiver. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
    • Often, there lies a personal controversy that your mind must use the Spirit to address: the difference between temptation and a blessing. I blog about this all the time, as does my favorite blogger, Cara-Marie ( It is so difficult to discern between good and evil, as evil knows exactly what you're looking for. Luckily for believers, we are given the gift of discernment when we accept the Spirit through baptism. However, like any gift, everything is subjective and vulnerable to worldly influence; especially if you're living on a sandy foundation. Generally, worldly people attack Christianity first and foremost by mentioning the inconsistancies in the Bible. While there is no doubting that those inconsistancies are there, God's words are supreme. Those of man (i.e. ideas left up to worldly interpretation) are not. No matter what the world, or evil, tries to dictate to you, know that His truths are absolute.
  • Obey God, not your appetites. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
    • This non-negotiable is by far the most difficult for me to abide by. From food to addiction to anger to lust- and everything in between- I've always had a difficult time quenching my appetite for satisfaction. I want to feel good all the time! I want to enjoy the greatest tastes and smells (those who know me know how true this is) and feelings. But what is most important is that we apply our love for Him by avoiding the desires of the flesh. Rainey says that obedience to God demands two things: courage and faithfulness. If we have faith that He will satisfy the things we need, it will be easier to have the courage to say no to the things we want.
  • Serve God, not self. Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here I am. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8
    • Slavery is a word that, when used in a negative connotation, can instill fear, sadness, anger, and countless detrimental emotions. Used to describe your relationship with Him, however, one will experience a completely different set of emotions. As Christians, we are slaves to our God, the Almighty master and ruler. Even that sounds somewhat negative to the skeptics and non-believers! But I'll have you know that I am a humbled, grateful servant to my Lord; as are my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. How else would you compare yourself to an All-Seeing, All-Knowing God? His wisdom goes way beyond that of which we can even fathom to be possible; there is no other way! If you can surrender everything into His hands, you will find that you never really had any control to begin with. Except then you'll have the discipline to follow His Will for you.
  • Worship God, not comfort. Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18
    • I have experienced this concept again and again; be it on my own, or vicariously through other people. There is something to be said about suffering and those who go through it. Like most of these points, I'm completely guilty of seeking comfort before seeking God! There are few people who can honestly look suffering in the face and spit fearlessly. As a Christian, you hear "Give it to God" a lot. You also hear "Faith, not fear". What it comes down to is that the only thing you can do is praise God for everything you do have rather than what you don't. You should also keep in mind that His plan is not necessarily our plan, and go about your life faithfully. Easier said than done. I'm guilty of rebounding after a bad breakup (which always leads to a string of regret--Hurt people hurt people), overwhelming my friends and family with my pain (which always leads to awkward and depressing companionship), and physically numbing my pain (which always leads to....well....everything terrible). You (I) find yourself (myself) in a situation that has become irrational and spiraling out of control. Without seeking Him first, you (I) continuously make bad decisions in an attempt to rectify the initial situation. When your light appears to be going out, the first thing you do is think "Forget God, I need to find a flashlight", rather than praying for a resolution. Be steadfast, people! 
    This weekend felt almost surreal. Lauren, Tyler, David, and I all headed up to Morganton, GA to enjoy an incredible three-story cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I can't say I've been to a prettier destination at this point; though November in Tennessee is a close second. We didn't get outside Tallahassee city limits until after 6 and I was already exhausted. I suppose I can blame that on falling asleep around 1 on Friday morning and hearing my alarm go off at 5:45am, a few hours later. I was so busy getting ready for the trip that I didn't even get to nap on my lunch. Thankfully, Redline was there to save my life. There's something about Redline that always reminds me of Jenna. Maybe it's because we used to chase our addy with a Redline; drinking it like just another soda.

    I can attest to the jitters and the racing heart, but it was more important that we arrived alive. I made sure to save half for the drive home. :-P

    The ride up gave me a lot to think about. David and I talked about my decision to decline my grad school acceptance, to which he encouraged me to strive to do what it is I really want to do. I expressed my concerns about the possibility of becoming too wrapped up in my dreams as a clinical behavior specialist, and that I didn't want it to consume me. What I really meant to say was that while I want to have a job (for monetary gain and social stimulation), I want to have a life as well. I want to have a family, and a marriage full of love and vitality, fun and adventure. I didn't think it appropriate to have that conversation yet, though. It is, however, still on my mind (I may or may not be considering getting my MSW online). The thing I hated about the idea of being a student after graduation was the looming prospect of not being able to work and go to school. Really, having to go to work and school and not being able to have a social life/get any sleep. 

    Update: I have a habit of writing and editing posts over several days, and this issue with school has finally been resolved! This morning, I actually registered with Capella University out of Minnesota in their Masters program for Mental Health Counseling. I start in December! Pretty ridiculous!

    After getting lost (briefly), being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in Atlanta (one mile in an hour!), and driving in circles up and down windy (and foggy!) roads with only the high beams as a source of light, we finally made it to the cabin. It was a sweet reunion with my best friend of 9 years. The 50 degree weather didn't hurt, either.

    For all those who think of country life as slow and "behind the times", I can definitely say that they've one-upped Publix, Winn-Dixie, and the Walmarts of Florida. This bumpkin town had few stores (and about as many people), but low and behold, their grocery store had a Barnes and Noble-like section to sit and enjoy the newspaper, a winery, a movie rental section, and a Starbucks! Their shopping carts even had a little holder for our coffee while we shopped.

    Though it was a struggle, we managed to get up, pick up our groceries, shower, make breakfast, AND be out of the house by 10 to head over to Blanche Manor. The view from our cabin, from the car, from the mountain atop trail horses; it was all simply breathtaking. Not to mention, enjoying the serenity of such a charming area with someone so wonderful was pretty whimsical.

    The most exciting (and subsequently depressing) news of the weekend came Saturday night after we had settled in from a (felt like) 2 hour commute to the saddest/wimpiest waterfall (if you can even call it that) that I've ever seen in my life. Ms. Lauren Elizabeth McLeod is now the soon-to-be Mrs. Lauren Elizabeth Camus. Ty made a wonderful storybook-scrapbook filled with five years of memories that ended with "Will You Marry Me?" and her ring. Luckily, I anticipated the moment, and got it all on camera; tears and all (you know it's real when the girl starts crying). The next morning, however, we realized that somehow, someway, it had gotten deleted.

    Not without Apples to Apples, an out-door fire, and midnight S'mores on our Harry Potter wands, we finished off our adventure on Sunday by sleeping in (I woke up at 9!!), packing the car, and heading out to downtown Blue Ridge to check out the antique shops and adorable boutiques. If you're into affordable ($5 per jar) homemade jams, let me know! We stumbled upon some irresistible jams and jellies. And they ship!

    Though I didn't want to leave, I was happy to finally get home and reunite with my puppy (who was happy to see everyone else BUT me), and get back to my (too-empty) tempurpedic mattress. I can honestly say that this weekend couldn't have been more perfect, or have come at a more perfect time.

    Things I've learned in the past week:
    • I love the country, even though I'm a city girl at heart. Good people, good food, and great pictures.
    • For some reason, there's only certain people I can eat and not get sick around lately. 
    • Caramel Apple jam is my new favorite dessert. However, I've eaten it all and don't want to pay $10 to ship another jar.   
    • I need-not want-more sleep.
    • I'm enjoying trying foods I usually wouldn't (except for cheese grits--terrible decision every time).
    • A wish sandwich is when you have two slices of bread and you WISH you had some meat.
    • I need to stop relying on my phone to get me where I need to go. A two hour 55 mph scenic byway is not what I asked for when I clicked on "Fastest Route". 
    • Sunday Night Karaoke at Tomahawk is my new favorite hangout. 
    • I love my life.
    • I desperately need new tires. But first I need more money.
    • I adore you, David Hindman.

      Wednesday, October 5, 2011

      Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.

      Why doesn't anyone want to Geocache with me? David Kossin is enjoying this scavenger game without me. Oh and before I forget, I've decided to start on Twitter (again); mostly due to the fact that my job is boring. (Let's get real, I get paid to tweet and blog and play free cell.) Find me at: GodStrongGirl. Also, if anyone was wondering, my mother has since decided to give me the car. That reminds me, I should probably go ahead and dismiss the case.

      I wasn't really planning on blogging until after I came back from Georgia. I didn't know where this weekend was going to take me, and I didn't really want to assume what things were going on if they weren't really going on. At this point though, I think it's safe to say that what I'm feeling is real, and I don't think I'm alone in it. It's really a matter of when. While it's true that this (though vague) may come as a surprise (or maybe not), I'm excited about where it's going, and hopeful about the prospects.

      If there's anything that I've learned this week, it's a) the power of prayer and b) the power of addressing a sensitive issue. As always, prayer has a way of both empowering and comforting you when you need someone to confide in. I found myself praying a lot more than usual this week. Praying for hope, strength, words, and patience. I'm not one of those who believe in keeping "patience" off the prayer list just because He will test your patience rather than grant it. I certainly needed it, and needed to know that the Spirit would calm me. And it did. I feel renewed in my whatever-it-is, and the tightening around my throat has relaxed, so to speak. It's refreshing, and I'm falling deeper into it every day. The most important part, though, is keeping my walls up. God is helping me guard my heart, just in case.

      As for addressing an issue, I can't stress enough the importance of communication in any relationship; whether intimate or platonic. I've both suffered the consequences of not doing so, as well as the pleasure of giving advice about communication just this week. While there may be a level of uncomfortability and dread when it comes to confronting a person or an issue, there are few greater victories than that of the relief that washes over you when the air is finally cleared. I'd like to especially thank McLeod, Kossin, Brown, and Clapso for reaching out to me this week. It was much much needed.

      In the past week, I've come to the conclusion that my spiritual life is lacking. Not in Scripture, or in Spirit, but in fellowship. It's weird to walk into a church and not seek the love and presence of a church family. While I do miss those at Meridian, I know that the change was much needed. I would have gone on the Girls' beach trip had it not been for the money I knew I'd be spending on this weekend's trip. In fact, tonight I'm going to be headed to the store to start on my grocery list.

      This weekend, he and I (if you know, then you know) are headed to Blue Ridge with Lauren and Tyler, and another couple, Skylar and Carlos. Having another couple join us was a last minute thing, but I figure that it can only add to the fun, as well as save me some money (always a fan). This vacation will be the relaxation and lightheartedness that I've desperately needed for months now. No expectations, no pressure, and probably (hopefully) no cell phone reception. I'm sure the girls (especially Ms. McLeod and her photography skills-- will be bringing their cameras. There's nothing more picturesque than being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by lush woods in the country's most quintessential getaway. Look for an update in the early part of next week for pictures!

      Hope everyone is having a swell, stress-free week. Stay Blessed.

      Monday, September 26, 2011

      Don't let your past steal your present.

      Well it's happened: The presumed. The inevitable. The expected. The euphoria of newness has swept me up with such intensity that I'm feeling deliciously dizzy. There's something to be said about pheromones. My knowledge of the human body tells me that we can't detect them. My experience of it, however, is much different. He smells much different than I remembered the last time I laid next to him. It's not the room. It's not his cologne. But I smell it. I smell you. David Kossin tells me that you can smell it when you finally open yourself up to smell it. Apparently I used to have the same smell when he was in love with me. Well, not quite the same smell, but my own smell. Now that I've started to smell it, I'm letting it intoxicate me. 

      Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass;
      it's about learning to dance in the rain.
      Vivian Greene
      I don't know how we ended up here. Don't get me wrong, I remember every single second, every single breath, and every single feeling, but disbelief has me questioning my perception of imagination and reality.
      I'm excited, nervous, ecstatic, frustrated, and curious all at once. I've found myself being cautious and patient; open and earnest; ardent and creative. I'm feeling pain that I've never felt before, and it's alluringly preverse. Ask me what you want to ask me. Just be sure you want the answer.

      I finally enrolled for a membership at the YMCA. I know that this relief will be good for recent stress, as well as current frustrations. I also have two incredibly relaxing getaways to look forward to: neither of which I have expectations for, but it'll be nice to have that time to grow in something that is still slightly juvenile-not that that is a bad thing. 

      I still find myself in the rain;
      But it feels good to find myself.
      The wind continues to whip through my hair;
      But it reminds me of your hands.
      Rain drops gently kiss my face;
      And I like the way you taste.
      Suffice to say, I'm enjoying the rain.

      Thursday, September 22, 2011

      Questions and Dress Code

      Why am I cleaning the house?
      Because I like the way it smells when it's clean. Also because it makes me anxious when it's dirty.
      Why am I making my bed?
      I really don't have a logical answer. I think making the bed is pointless. I need to kick this habit.
      Why can't I eat without feeling nauseous?
      I'm beginning to think it depends on who I eat around.
      Why doesn't Maggs love me like she used to?
      Because I'm being a crappy friend, and I want to apologize for being selfish.
      Why do I feel so giddy and anxious?
      Probably because new things are happening. Lots of changes. Lots of verve.
      Why do I keep looking at my phone?
      I tell myself I'm not waiting on anything. Maybe it's just a nervous habit.
      Why am I always so tired?
      Because I stay up too late. Not that I've been minding it.
      Where is Daniel Bell?
      He reminds me of Carmen Sandiego.
      Why is my smile so big?
      If you only knew.
      When is it alright to talk about my smile?
      This one is really just rhetorical. Sorry for getting your hopes up.

      Quickly and completely unrelated: I love when my ribs hurt.

      I always laugh when someone asks me if something they have on is within the dress code here at the Hotline. Most of the time it's because I'm always getting in trouble for violating it. Either there's too much chest (I'm not going to dress like a grandma just because my chest happens to be bigger than yours) or too much leg (apparently long shorts don't count as capris). In high school, I constantly violated it because I really didn't care much for the restrictions. I pretty much did what I wanted (including, but not limited to, missing nearly an entire semester of school because I didn't feel like going). Also because I had plenty to gain from dressing the way I did (not that it was street-walker level, but it wasn't conservative by any means). Mon petit chou would probably say it's because I just have no respect for rules in general. Which is partially true. I wouldn't say that about all of them...I'm just not a fan of stupid rules. I've been thinking a lot about my inability to abide by them. I'm a rebel at heart, but need to live by society's boundaries in order to flourish. It's not fair that I can't wear cute dresses because it calls attention to my assets. I'm working on it.

      In other news, I've managed to wake up nearly everyday this week with a smile on my face, more pep in my step, and a lighter heart. I'm sure this has a lot to do with the good-habit setting, and new excitement in my life; all of which I praise God for every day. He has showed me so much! I was fingerprinting two new workers at the Hotline; both of which were from the South Florida area, and went to high schools near mine. The first girl I fingerprinted was around the same age as me, and we started talking about why Tallahassee was bearable for me. My answer? God! I started talking about Meridian Woods and Capital City Christian, and she was ecstatic. We exchanged numbers, and she's hoping to find a church home. God is so good! The more I immerse myself in the Word, the more often I see Him shining through every aspect of my life.  I've got such great companions to walk with in my Faith, and I'm so very grateful that He's given me good company. Oh, and take some time to check out some of the pages on the top of the site; I'm still hashing out some of the kinks, but the prayer request section is up and running, and I'm excited to get your requests up.

      Monday, September 19, 2011

      Is it not crazy enough to be true? Or is it true because it's crazy enough?

      Simplicity is something I'm not quite familiar with. Adele has made recent transitions a lot easier to express in my own head. Pure, raw anger, sadness, frustration, vulnerability, and uncertainty. But for the past few days, I've been stripping the wallpaper in my head and in my heart. There's something about white walls that is vaguely comforting. It's fresh, new, and eagerly waiting to be my canvas. I feel I've been so consumed with complication that I'm panicking at the idea of everything being so simple.

      I don't know why I'm scared; I've been here before. 
      Every feeling, every word; I've imagined it all.
      You'll never know if you never try 
      to forget your past and simply be mine.

      There's something about the unknown that always manages to get it's hold on me before I gather up my courage, close my eyes, and walk over that threshold. You're creeping up in my dreams, and I'm fighting it. I don't know why I'm nervous about change. And frankly, it's not change that I'm worried about; it's the fluidity of the change that is foreign to me. Now that I am finally able to see my life for what it is- and what it was- I know that I've been accepting simplicity as though it were the road not taken: overgrown, unkempt, and less traveled.

      The readers who have been with me since January know about my struggle with blessings. I'm [still] constantly questioning whether something in my life is a blessing from Him or a temptation of sin. I believe that both forces are currently battling inside me for recognition, but I've found myself standing with someone who is stronger than I am; with more diligent convictions. The temptations left up to me by the devil are experiencing a counter-attack that I, myself, am also fighting, but the change in demeanor seems to be therapeutic. It's a calming process, ridding complication from my life. I'm no longer faced with the "ifs" or "whys" that have since brought about far too little honesty and far too much doubt. I feel myself opening up to Truth and looking for true signs of His presence in my life.

      You really are something. In a matter of days, you've unintentionally begun to transform me and my abstract beliefs. I want to be better for you, so that you can be better for me. I'm feeling less restless and a lot more focused. This strangely exciting concept has me wanting to spend more time with you because you forge in me a new patience, a natural goodness, and a refreshing honesty that I've been gravely lacking. You make it simple.

      I let it fall, my heart
      And as it fell, you rose to claim it

      I'm also currently exploring a new place for my faith. Though it's only been two weeks, the simplicity of change has lifted the air of dread from around me. I can feel a renewed love in the music, and let it resound from the inside out without inhibitions. I've recently finished the Book of Mark, and moved on to 1 Corinthians. Already, this book is proving to be guidance in the right place, at the right time. It's so wonderful to feel the love of God for someone like me: rotten, immoral, and imperfect. Or at least who I used to be. He has allowed me to follow Him as a loyal servant! And in return, I become more like His Son and less like myself: steadfast, enduring, and composed. I am so blessed to know discernment. I pray that I will continue to grow in Him, in "this" (whatever that means), and in everything He's promised to us. Bisous.

      Thursday, September 15, 2011

      The Art of the Compliment

      There's nothing like getting a compliment first thing in the morning. Using compliments to spread God's love is something I've been consciously attempting to do each and every day. It's hard to do when I'm sitting at my desk, but when I'm up at the front desk, I see hundreds of people every day. Today, my compliment was "You always look so fly" to one of the women here at the Hotline. Because let's face it, she be lookin so good (lol).

      Compliments are little gifts of love. They are not asked for or demanded. They tell a person they are worthy of notice. They are powerful gifts. But compliments work only if they are sincere reflections of what we think and if they are given freely and not coerced. Compliments backfire if they are not genuine. And faux flattery is usually highly transparent. A false compliment makes the speaker untrustworthy; it raises suspicions about motives. And that can undermine a whole relationship. -Psychology Today; The Art of the Compliment

      I find that a lot of the things people say are fueled by an underlying motive to attain selfish ends to the mean. A man might say to a woman, "That dress looks great!" while all he can really think about is how much better it'd look on the floor. A woman might say to another woman, "I love your jeans!" when all she can really think about is how jealous she is that she wouldn't look as good in them. The concept of giving a genuine compliment is far from our prefrontal, not-so-discrete cortex. You're a window, and we see right through you! We need to stop using compliments to portray an insincere or hallow attempt at praise and admire things about those around us that are truly worthy of praise.

      Compliments need to be purposeful and specific. They don't serve the same purpose when they're accidental (...awkward!!) and simple. "Everyone here is friendly" is not as personal as reaching out to someone and saying, "You are just so friendly". We need to get on a different level with the people we walk by everyday, whether we know them or not. We should want to want to see them smile. We should also consciously desire to recognize those small changes and improvements in our friends and family. Who better to compliment and acknowledge than the millions that He loves?

      This morning, Kelly and Zhao from the professional/political firm that advocates for the Hotline came up to me to compliment my new glasses and eye makeup. It was strange that they would notice those kinds of things because I hardly ever see them, and hadn't seen them for a few weeks. We have over 300 people who work here, but the compliment slid over me like a warm blanket. It was so personal. So genuine.

      I once heard that the likelihood of a person committing suicide decreases significantly if someone else takes notice of them during the time that suicide is being highly considered. It makes sense! If you'd have only stayed a minute longer to hold the door for the person behind you, or taken the time to really pick your head up and say "hello" to someone when you pass them in the hallway at work, I think we'd find that we would all be a little happier. The person on the receiving end of the compliment feels wholeheartedly acknowledged; recognized- and they'll keep improving. The person giving the compliment revels in the idea of spreading His adoration for human kindness. And the more often you give them, the more often you receive them. Everyone wants to pay the compliment forward, and we end up with a continuous flow of genuine love. 

      A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
      Proverbs 26:28

      Don't be shy or disingenuous in your compliments. We have an opportunity to start loving our brothers and sisters with a different perspective! Rather, keep your compliment skills fresh and new. People want to be noticed; christian and non-christian alike. Start opening your eyes to the beauty He's created, and use a discerning tongue to help guide a new style. It only takes 21 days to create a habit. Get into the habit of making those around feel good. You'll be glad that you did.

      Monday, September 12, 2011

      "It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not."

      I'd like to begin by saying that things are crazy right now. I'm not even sure "crazy" quite covers it. While I don't really care what people think about me and the decisions I make, there are a few things I'd like to clear up:

      • My relationship with Justin is over. Yesterday, today, and forever. The only reason you need is that things got way out of control, and I'm capable, as an adult, to make that decision.
      • I'm not currently in a new relationship, as some people would have it believed. What you don't witness with your eyes, don't witness with your mouth.
      • I love my church family, but I'm experiencing some internal conflicts about Meridian Woods. If I don't show up to things, it's not because I'm upset or lost in anguish or falling from God, I just need some time to reorganize my thoughts and find out what He wants for me. Thank you, in advance, for being patient with me and understanding if I need space.
      • Don't classify me unless you're going to put it into one of these categories: independent, strong, faithful, reckless, loyal, or brutally honest.
      The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work which exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. We all (most of us) get caught up in the excitement and "newness" that gossip and theatrics bring to us rather than considering who it will hurt, or how it will make us look as an individual. Rarely do we think twice before we open our mouths to spread rumors, or my favorite: things we believe to be true. But by that time, we're already sucked into something we had no business getting involved in. If you're desperate for half-truths or fickle, immature cliches, write a book. I might even read it. Just stay the hell out of my life.

      I think that's as much rant as I can muster. Happy Monday.

      Tuesday, September 6, 2011

      How do polar bears know their noses are black?

      My heart is beating quickly today. My mouth is dry. My myoclonic seizures are worse than usual.
      There's so much that's happened lately that I'm not quite sure where to start...maybe with the awesome news that I added another piercing to my long list. Except I suppose that it's less of an addition and more of a substitution. Lose the tongue ring and add the nose ring. In my opinion though, you can barely see the stud considering a) it's so small and b) I have a freckly nose. But once the 6 week constraint has passed, I can get a shiny, new, non surgical steel stud. I do have to say that I didn't think the stud would be so awkward in my nose. But then again, nothing is ever as it seems.

      I always forget why I appreciate my job here at the Hotline. (And not just because I have a job.) People are so honest! The open-mindedness is truly something I value and look forward to when I come to work. Though I'd like to be busier every now and then, I love the people here. I had a conversation this morning about faith and religion and openness with someone who thinks highly of faith, but not necessarily about the stigmas, judgement, and false pretenses that get buried beneath the foggy facade people call "organized religion".

      How do you stay so honest and understanding and still hold firm to Christianity?  You're intelligent and openminded and avoid being fixated on a singular perspective. That just doesn't happen.

      It's a good day when people who have only known you for a few months (and only pass you in the hall or come by to fix your computer) pick up on things like your devotion to God, and your desire to know and understand. I can honestly say that this has to be the best compliment I've gotten in a long time! While I attribute a lot of it to growing up, hardly making the best choices, and running around with a lot of (ironically brilliant) hooligans; I also praise God for giving me a wise eye toward the beauty and diversity of human nature. Though I pride myself on being open and brutal, yet caring and accepting, it's not everyday that those in your circle verbally substantiate the life you are trying to lead.

      Less than a week ago, I encountered a blow to my ego that, simultaneously, reminded me of who I am and the woman I'm becoming. In the past, I may have reacted out of character or taken it further than need be. But last week, I evaluated the issue and decided it wasn't worth getting worked up about. In fact, while others were more upset about it than I was, I realized that I had made the right choice by letting the issue clear up and dissolve with time. I had avoided the time-bomb that Satan was trying to sow, and it quickly passed with minimal attention. God is so good when you let Him carry your burdens.

      I'm personally thankful for all of the changes, though difficult, that have come and gone, and those still that need resolution. Though I see more decisions that need to made, I forsee an array of wonder and spiritual fulfillment ahead. But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:25

      Thursday, September 1, 2011

      Quaffable, but uh... far from transcendent.

      Last night was my last night reading Matthew. And it has been such a great experience! I've come to realize that Matthew's testimony is incredibly practical and applicable to our lives. Thanks to, (and the help of JB's research) I've been able to clearly organize my personal retreat with the first of four gospels.
      First, it establishes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah that was prophesized throughout the Old Testament.
      • The Lord will raise up for you a prophet like me among yourselves, from your own kinsmen. You are to pay attention to him. Deuteronomy 18:15
      • I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kinsmen. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I order him. Deuteronomy 18:18
      • And he shall set up a banner for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Isaiah 11:12
      • When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. Hosea 11:1
      • But he was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the diciplining that makes us whole fell on him, and by his bruises we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
      And that's just to name a few! Jesus' coming fulfills the prophesy, despite the unpopular belief of the time.

      Second, it proves that Jesus was the Son of God, whom He claimed to be through living a sinless and perfect life. 1 Peter 2:22 confirms it! He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. This was also prophesized: He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth (Isaiah 53:9).

      Third, the Gospel records Jesus performing miracles over nature (calming the storm; Mat. 8:23-27), healing people (curing the servant; Mat. 8:5-13) and raising the dead (Jairus's daughter; Mat. 9:18-19). When you think about it, it's pretty awesome to imagine being a witness of Christ's power! How  many people do you know that can calm furious waves (you know what I mean if you've ever been deep-sea fishing)? Or bring your loved ones back to life (Chris Angel doesn't count!)? And forget about the thousands of people He healed....this was no mind-trick! These people were the most diseased and outcasted; not simply your run-of-the-mill headcases. It's really no surprise that He was feared and revered. I can't honestly say I would have acted differently.

      Fourth, Jesus personally gives over 200 (circus fire!) real lessons of how God desires people to live, respond through challenging circumstances, and make choices regarding their future for eternity.

      These lessons include:
      • Having faith (9:29)
      • Dealing with fear (8:26)
      • God answering prayers (8:2)
      • The promise of salvation (10:22)
      • Obeying God (15:19)
      • Loving your neighbor (19:19)
      • Sacrificing (20:22)
      • Resolving legal issues (5:25)
      • How to give to others (6:2)
      • Forgiving others that sin against you (6:14)
      • Resisting temptation (4:2)
      • Being a hypocrite (23:28)
      • Acknowledging Christ (10:32)
      • The image of Heaven and Hell (13:49,50)
      He drops the Beatitudes like they're hot, and teaches us the boundaries of anger, divorce, adultery, and the unnecessary (and common) act of making promises. He directs us how to pray, fast, worry (or not to, in this case!), and live for Him with a happy, satisfied heart. He even lays down my personal favorite: do unto others as you would have done to you (Matthew 7:12).

      This Jesus guy was insane (the good kind of crazy)! He walks right into our lives and does His best to pull us to the finish line when we're feeling that our100 meters of testimony is much too far. I recommend Matthew to everyone; believers and non-believers alike. If we could all live a little more like the guidelines in this gospel, we'd find that life is honest and pure, and be that much closer to the Kingdom.

      Monday, August 29, 2011

      He'll never forsake you. Don't be afraid.

      Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalms 1:24

      To quickly and painlessly confirm the rumors: yes, Justin and I are separated. No, I'm not okay about it. And if you really want to know, I don't have a problem telling you why I feel the way I feel about where we were, where we are, and where we're going. But I'm not going to blog about it. There's plenty of that going on over here:

      Now that that's out of the way...

      I need that three day weekend to hurry up and get here. I don't think I've been this tired in so long. There is no doubt that I am emotionally and physically drained. I want to do something "fun" and "exciting" this weekend, but I fear I'll be stuck in bed, sleeping away my stay-cation. I take a nap almost everyday and yet I still find myself shut-eye at my desk in the morning as if I were back in high school. Fortunately, this week has been a blur of movie previews and presentations of releases that have come and gone: Death Race, Garden State, The Invention of Lying, Four Christmas', Rent, All Dogs Go To Heaven, and a few others I can't seem to remember.

      Apparently school starts today. Or is it tomorrow? ... School starts this week for the college kids. It's pretty cool to say that now that I'm graduated. Even cooler not to have to go back. I've heard a few of my friends give mixed opinions about being graduated and day dreaming about their return to school. I hated school. In fact, I've always hated school, so I don't think that is any surprise to my readers. The monotony, the homework, the boring lectures, the ESSAYS, the reading assignments that I could have skimmed instead of read, the studying for tests I would never pass, taking a test for information we definitely didn't have the time to learn in class, fighting for a parking spot, the long walk to the other side of campus because I couldn't find a parking spot, not having internet while I'm trying to get on facebook instead of listen to the lecture.....I can't imagine going back. There are some days that I consider reapplying for graduate school, but then I remember that it's a waste of time.
      Valentine's Day 2008

      On the bright side, (my) David--not to be confused with David "Don't interrupt my story" Hindman-- will be here in 25 days! I'm so very excited to have been able to see both of my boys this summer. Now if only Lauren would get her behind up here, I'd feel a lot better.

      I've also been seriously contemplating another life course. I love that I have a job; a job that I like, in a comfortably close field that I majored in. Despite liking my job, I don't love it. And I feel like my talents and passion is being wasted sitting at an office desk, occasionally answering my phone, and becoming a filing fiend and a copy-machine expert. I am highly considering signing up to do mission work for a Church of Christ ministry. Somewhere outside the US. Somewhere I can be engulfed in a culture not my own. Somewhere I can witness a child's walk with Christ. Somewhere I can spread the Word. Peace Corps was an option until I found out that they're not exactly a Christian-friendly organization. In my opinion, getting fired for talking about Jesus is not somewhere I'd like to be. And though I'm going to continue to pray on this, I'm also going to wait until Lauren gets married. I can't miss my best friend's wedding (movie reference not intended)! I've asked for prayers of discernment, but please pray that I will not make a hasty or unwise decision, but that I will allow my will to be His will.

      Also! Last night was my very last night reading Matthew. After a few days of recap and reflection, I'll be on my way to Mark. So exciting! I hope all of you are taking time out of your schedules to get lost in His Word. Bisous!