Tuesday, January 31, 2012

As hilarious as that is, there's something about the watching a person sleep that is strangely comforting. Maybe it's the way their eyelids flutter while they're dreaming, or their perfectly paced breathing, or the way their lips move as if they're whispering something to the conscious world from their dream world. Or maybe it's the way you're reminded how lucky you are. While I spent a split-second thinking how weird it was that I was watching him, I quickly dismissed it as normal, curious behavior. I closed my eyes to match his, only to catch myself watching him again. I looked down at the bottom of the bed and caught my sweet puppy mirroring that same inquisitive stare toward me, and was convinced that we're all just a little curious. I could have taken a picture to memorialize the moment, but concluded that that would be the moment at which it became strange. Sigh. I'm very much at peace with the idea of ogling him forever. Last night he commented on the inevitable, destructive process of aging, earning himself a strategically placed compliment containing complete disregard for his concerns. You should know better than that, darling. You will always be beautiful.

As the ever-intimidating Hallmark holiday approaches, I find myself compelled to lean toward cliche ridiculousness, but I've settled on being original. Well, as original as this holiday permits. People who "hate" Valentine's Day typically go without that special someone, and therefore revere it as stupid, pointless, and a waste of money. Those who have seen and conquered and still hate it aren't doing it right. Angela Boone is the perfect example of doing it right.

I've had a few decent (and a few terrible) but no Valentine's Day that was extraordinarily distinctive. That being said, I wouldn't say I despise the holiday, despite the increased commercialization and demand for over-the-top displays of lust love. In my opinion, it's quite similar to Thanksgiving: we spend an entire week day being thankful for the opportunity to gorge ourselves on family traditions and fellowship, hoping that our cheer and thankfulness will last well into the winter holidays we celebrate. Regardless, I eat my fill (and your fill, too) and I try to remind myself that I should really work on being more thankful year-round. Valentine's Day is no different. It should be a day you devote to sweet nothings that you often overlook; even if you're just spending a few hours pampering yourself. We should spend the rest of the year doing the same, but let's face it: we're human, and we've got other things preoccupying us. Even without David, I don't need a man to show me how to best appreciate myself. I'm going to bake, cook dinner, and enjoy the reminder that on this February 14th, my life is absolutely wonderful.

In other news, God has a way of answering my prayers diligently; even if that means showing me the flaws in my decisions and desires. My financial situation sprang back up unexpectedly after I stopped worrying about it, and it was a much needed boost of confidence that He is fully aware of what He's doing. And things continue to look up. I am truly, very blessed. This week, we're hosting Bible Study at the McCartney Motel on all our glorious couches. I'm excited to be able to try out a new split pea & ham soup recipe that I've been craving. I haven't had good split pea soup since my neighbor made it for me in 4th grade. That and introduce me to my favorite movie, The 10th Kingdom. What a woman.

Look for Thursday's "Song" and Friday's "Nail Files" link-ups! They'll be a new addition to my blogging habits. Enjoy your week, friends :-D

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's YOUR song? (Link-Up!)

My blog buddy, Brittany @ My Life as a Sailor's Princess, has officially convinced me to follow Amber @ Goodnight Moon and her weekly song link-up. Every Thursday, from now on, will include my link-up, and my attempt to tie one (just one?!?) song to my mood, my life, or just something good. For anyone who wants to play along, grab the button on the side panel.

I've been feeling this song since I uploaded the album on my iPod. It's one of my favorite. While it has a solemn, dreary feel to it, it's got a good message. I won't say that my love for this band was the real reason I bought David the vinyl for Christmas, but I won't say it wasn't, either.

Enjoy your Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Falling short and making excuses: A semantical pick-me-up

Recent inactivity and laziness has caused me to make an attempt at holding myself accountable for things I really do want to do, but haven't yet. It's funny because I wrote this blog earlier this week, and decided to hold off publishing it, only to find out that David had written a similar one last night.

I've been inspired to invest in rudementary tasks to make it seem like I'm being productive.
Things to accomplish in 2012:
  1. Marry off my best friend (added bonus for keeping both of our sanities in tact)
  2. Re-habituate daily bible reading and study
  3. Get David to re-habituate, as well
  4. Renew my gym membership
  5. Sand, paint, and hang my palette shelf 
  6. Read every book on my wish list (a little more than ten)
  7. Start making my rag quilt
  8. Sew a new zipper on a dress I got at Goodwill a year ago that needed a new zipper before I bought it
  9. Finish crocheting David's blanket that I've been working on for an eternity
  10. Completely eliminate soda from my diet
  11. Get a passport
  12. Buy an iPhone and switch to a better carrier
  13. Pay off my newly acquired hospital debt (currently a little over $2000)
It's strange to think about how much I've changed in recent years. Once marred by sexual frivolity and lewdness, I've discovered that I've since lost my knack for vulgarity as I continue to nurture a relationship with Christ (which is actually counter-intuitive, given the remaining content of this post). I notice it every time something crass or indecent passes my lips; its foul nature staining them; revealing me as a fraud. It makes me feel naive and innocent; new and refreshed.

As a side note, this post has proven to be all over the place, my apologies.

My relationship with God has been on my heart for the last two weeks. I feel hypocritical and impulsive; like I've lost sight of my spiritual priorities. My fast was a complete and utter bust. Not to mention, discouraging. My spiritual man is weak; completely controlled by its flesh. I'm not reading my bible. I keep saying I'm going to get back into my routine, but I'm really only lying to myself. Even Maggs is back on the wagon while I just sit on the sideline. I'm not making time for God, but rather sliding God into my schedule (occasionally) when I'm done making time for myself, David, and school. And to top it all off, I'm having negative thoughts about people I don't even know. I've received multiple calls at work from strongly accented people who don't speak much English, and elderly who either can't hear me or insist that they have the right number (when, in fact, they do not). Most of the time, I'm rolling my eyes, tuning out the rant they're on, or trying to ignore the increase in my heart rate as I grow irritated at the wasted time. The cut to my heart usually comes after they say "Have a blessed day", or my favorite: "God bless you for being so kind". If only they knew what I was really thinking.

Also, contrary to my initial impression, I've found that being a student at Capella has done just as much for me as I've done in my courses. I recently analyzed my own psychosocial and moral development, only to discover that my childhood reflects one or two of the negative counter parts in Erik Erikson's theory of development (most notably, initiative versus guilt). Not that I'm complaining about it, it was simply an eye-opener. I've learned that my competitive streak most likely began with the birth of my younger brother, and the loss of attention that new baby syndrome brings. I may have conspired to shut my brother out and remain the apple of my parents' eyes; a shining protege showered by love and affection. It may even account for my brother's lack of self-expression or his general disinterest with life. I spent a good five minutes being racked with guilt at this possibility. If you go back far enough, you find the skeletons, apparently.

The only other thing on my mind as of late is my steep decrease in finances. Granted, it was of my own doing, and I gave someone(s) a sizable loan out of the goodness of my heart, but I'm starting to feel the effects of not being able to depend on that financial breathing room, so to speak. When I gave it, my intentions were true and genuine, but several times a day, I find myself bitter in knowing the debt will never be repaid. I didn't anticipate feeling any kind of regret for doing something that I believed had God's blessing. Does that make me a bad person? My heart is heavy. Also, my bank account statement is probably worth more than I actually have in my account, and that saddens me.

I'm out of money, out of energy, and out of excuses. I really just want to get back on my feet. I want to be spiritually refreshed. I want to be surrounded by God's love and let it leak out of me onto everyone I meet. I want to be less of a stumbling block and more of a helping hand. And I want to want it. Pray for me and stay blessed, friends.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Overwhelmed by Hunger.

Should curiosity beseech you, treat yourself to The Hunger Games. It would be selfish of me not to recommend this amazing book that I picked up this week and finished in less than 24 hours. While it had moments reminiscent of the Goblet of Fire, it was a quick, riveting read. The moment that I finished the book, I headed straight to Amazon to buy the next two. 

Other than that, I will be the first to admit my absolute and utter Daniel fast FAILURE. After a successful, water-filled Monday and a painful Tuesday, my migraine and my nausea had completely taken me over. I left work a little earlier than usual; barely able to keep my eyes open. By the time I walked through the door, I was in full zombie mode. I groaned (cried) all the way to my bedroom, shut the door, and fell face-first onto my cloud. David called and offered to make dinner, which, at that point, sounded much better than anything I was facing at that very moment. I tried to sleep. One hour. Two hours. Nothing. I woke up feeling even more nauseated and dizzy than I had before I laid down. I knew caffeine had been the culprit, and had ultimately gotten me where I was. So I made a quick cup of coffee and chugged it as fast as I could without burning the roof of my mouth. Still nothing. I took an Excedrin, two Vicodin, and drank some water. Again, nothing. I straggled to the couch, eating up his delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner: grain, meat, sauce, bread, something...anything. My nearly forgotten about hunger had certainly been quenched, but I was still dizzy; still a throbbing mess. 

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I felt much better. Decidedly, I knew I couldn't continue my fast the way I had been going on. Whether it's postponed or simply moderated, I'm not sure, but I've tried to continue eating fruits and vegetables, and drinking my water...and my cup of coffee, of course. 

Today, David and I made it to the much anticipated Jason's Deli for lunch. Simply wonderful. David and Jason, if you were wondering. Have I mentioned that I love this boy? I've noticed that I've had trouble sleeping over the past few days, as well. I'd like to attribute it to rarely sleeping alone. The past few days have contained a much too much empty bed. Thankfully, I've convinced David that his similar recent sleep trouble is related, and I currently find myself in good company. He's finally started up his blog again! Check it out here. It's got a fresh new look (you're welcome). I'm hoping that this means that he'll have the opportunity to guest blog for me sometime in the near future (thank you, Brittany, for this awesome idea!) Speaking of Brittany, I'm hoping she and I will be trading eachother's territory for a guest post, as well. 

Other things...Lynn and Mallory and I will be sharing Mallory's bathroom for the next few days while David works on the other bathroom. It's in need of some serious TLC and remodeling. Thank God for men who do manly work. Otherwise, that bathroom would stay this way forever. Oh! And I'm hoping to segue into the technologically-savvy world of Apple products (as if my iPod touch counted for nothing) by purchasing my very first iPhone. That's if I can find a feasible plan, or get together with someone else and their family plan. Being a Boost Mobile customer has spoiled me. I'm quite comfortable with my $53 a month for unlimited everything, thank you very much. It will be an eye-opening transition. Yay responsibility!

Good night, for now. Wish me well as I continue this strangely satisfying pseudo-fast. Check out David's blog, and read some of his ridiculously blessed life. If luck be the lady, he is my lady. Or...um? Ok. Good night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 2: Caffeine Withdrawals

There is nothing better than knowing you are wrapped in love; surrounded by God's blessings; enjoying each day with absolutely no inhibitions or regrets. While love is a constant, tumultuous presence in my life, I am so blessed to call him my David. Shh, don't tell him I said that. He likes to think he's his own David. ha.

I'm on Day 2 of my Daniel Fast. For those of you who had yet to join me for last January's fast, I'll catch you up to speed:

The king ordered the chief of his court to bring some of the talented, knowledgeable, male Israelites from the royal family to his service to teach the language and literature of the Babylonians. They would serve the king after three years of training. During this training, they were allotted a decent amount of pleasantries.

As one of the chosen, Daniel told his appointed guard that he would not defile himself with the king's food and wine. "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." (Daniel 1:12-13)

When the fast was over, they looked healthier and better nourished than any who ate the king's food.

Later in the book (Daniel 10), Daniel does another fast. It last for three weeks (21 days), in which he ate no meat, wine, bread, or choice foods. As a result, he receives a miraculous vision from God.

On this quest to grow closer to God, I have decided to brave a 21 day fast, with some modifications from both last year's fast and my intended fast for this year. First of all, for any who hadn't heard: I pulled a muscle along my spine last week. Very painful, very aggravating. I've stopped taking the painkillers and anti-inflammatory in accordance with the fast. It's been a rough day.

Last year, dairy was kept in my diet to supplement necessary medication. I also used the first three days to cleanse my body with only liquids, including water and fruit juices. This year, no dairy. And no fruit juices. Also, when I started fasting last year, I was caffeine-free. This year, not so much.

I recommend smaller fasts for those who have never fasted, or even the 10 day fast for those who are audacious.

So while my intentions were to food-fast for three days and consume nothing but water, I have gotten halfway through the second day with a 24 hour migraine as my unwelcomed passenger. Cue conclusion of food-fast. It was not my intention to hurt myself, rather I desired to discipline my body, and spend more time in prayer and in the Word. Next year, I'll be sure to prepare in advance for the caffeine withdrawals. For now, I'll get a head start on my fruits/vegetable/rice diet and settle down with Crazy Love.

Monday, January 2, 2012

And when we fall, and we will fall; let's fall forever entwined.

I found myself wishing for somewhere different than where I was; somewhere full of God; somewhere reminiscent of who I used to be. I found myself here.

Turns out, it was exactly where I needed to be.

I brought some paper to capture the moment; it's never the same when you try to write about a memory rather than painting the experience while you're in it. 

"My face is chapped from the crisp January air, but all I feel is freedom. There is something so satisfying about spontaneity--something that fills your entire soul with appreciation for life. I was almost afraid that I would miss the turn for my destination and head straight toward my not-so distant past. Painfully nostalgic memories kept my eyes glued for the sign. And now the alabaster sand is lingering so beautifully between my toes. It was nearly a year ago that I visited nearby. It was the last day of my Daniel Fast. I wanted this same feeling of liberation and weightlessness. But this time it's different; I'm different.

I'm calmer and less frustrated. I have fewer questions, and even fewer doubts. I'm in a better place; surrounded by pleasant uncertainty. On the drive, the music on the radio was muffled by chilly air rushing through my open windows. Oh to be a bird.

I brought my music only to discover that it was silence that I really yearned for. The sound of waves hitting the beach happens to be the sweetest soundtrack. The sun is flushing my face like a spotlight set on me. I can feel God here. My hands are icy, but the skin underneath my sweater is perfectly thermal. As I run my fingers across my neck, it feels phantom, yet strangely familiar.

Naturally, I had hoped for company, but now that I'm here, the allure of this vast ocean is all the company I can fathom. The evil thing about solitude, however, is getting lost in your own head. I find myself reflecting on my past; the many that I've hurt and the few that have caused me similar grief. Or my future: what--or more importantly, who--does it hold? Will I fulfill my dreams? Conquer my fears? Be content with the life He's blessed me with? Curiosity has always been my muse. It's the way that Satan controls me. I'm immersed in selfish thoughts and my love for the mortal existence, and I'm often focused on what I want rather than what He wants.

I want to be happy. I want to be faithful. I want to irreplaceable, desired, and emotionally overflowing. I want to feel God; know God. I want to love and be loved. I want satisfaction in a career that I know I've worked hard to get to; knowing it's exactly where I always wanted to be. I want marriage. I want sex. I want children. All, preferably, in that order.

But despite all that I want, I am able to revel in all that I am. I am blessed, talented, and forever young. I'm full of life and vitality; on a fast track to no where in particular. I love as hard as I can every single day, and in return, get loved to an unimaginable degree. I have everything I need. I have the comfort of absolutely wonderful, supportive friendships. I am alive. I am here. I am me.

I'm basking in the sunlight; feeling His praise embracing me; breathing in His glory and magnificence. I could stay on this beach forever; it's haunting beauty a daunting reminder of the longevity this life lacks. But soon I'll be home; re-immersed in familiarity and predictability. For now, though, I'll get lost in this scene; every moment fleeting with the daylight."

On my drive back, I blasted Mumford and Sons, and let Jason Reeves lull me toward a secret bayou I often keep hidden. For a second, I opened both my hands beside me and wished I was a bird. Fly, fly away from here. I laughed as the wind kissed my cheeks and tousled my hair.

I decided one last stop was in order. I finished my 11 day vacation the same way that I started it: with my feet nice and soft, and my toes beautifully painted. Now I'm waiting for David to get here. Tonight we're headed to Mom and Dad's for our first official date, not that he knows that.

I am a lucky girl. Lucky for this day, lucky for this boy, and lucky for this life.