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.