Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Beginning - Hello 2013!

Everybody gets super excited when the time comes for a new year to roll around. At least, that's what it seems like anyway. It's a chance to start over... to write a new chapter in your book... and to grow in new ways. I don't think that I've ever been more excited for a new year than I am about 2013. Everything will be completely different in this year....I'm newly married, I'm in a new state, a new town, a new church. We're making new friends, I'm looking for a new job, we're in a new home. It's all new. In fact... everything is so new that it's a little scary, and makes me homesick for Georgia. However, I know that the Lord has us here for a reason... I feel it down deep in my bones. It's going to be a year for us to remember, that's for sure. I'm excited!

I'm excited to write the pages of this journey called marriage. I'm excited to learn how to be a wonderful wife... caring for, loving, and respecting my husband. I'm excited to learn how to make a home. I'm excited to meet new people and to see where I will end up in the job market. Will I go back to corporate TV or will I work in a more domestic small town position? Will we be disciplined in our endeavors to get out of debt and live like no one else? Will we go on a vacation? Will we get a dog? Will we see our families often? Will we keep in touch with our old friends? Will we stay in Virginia? Will we move? So much can happen in a year!

It's really exciting... no matter what happens!  I'm ready for it, because I know that God has a plan and a hope for my future. I know that he works everything together for my good. I know that if I have faith as small as a mustard seed... mountains can be moved. And I know that His mercies are new EVERY morning... not just once every new year. What's even more cool though about this year... I get the chance to walk through it with my husband. We get to experience and live this year of life and the rest of our lives together. So... BRING IT ON! Let's do this baby! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ice Cream and Disney Movies

It’s a Monday evening. I’m sitting here watching Pete’s Dragon because Disney movies make me happy. It’s about 7:45, so Jon should be calling me in about 45 minutes. I’m really excited to hear from him. Yesterday, Jon’s mom and I left Jon in West Virginia. Today he started his new job as the Graphics Designer for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. For those that know my fiancĂ©, know how much this means to him. Before Jon met me, hiking was his passion. And it still is to a certain extent. Jon has hiked the entire Appalachian Trial that extends from Georgia to Maine (like 2500 miles, I think). Jon has also hiked the Colorado Trail (500 miles) and the Olympic National Forest Trail in the Pacific Northwest. (I think that’s the name of it anyway)… regardless, my future husband has walked across America, and he LOVES it! So this job working with the Appalachian Trail is his man cave! Ha! I imagine that every dude would love for their job to be their man cave. I’m so proud for him and am so excited he gets a taste of what it’s like to live out his dream career. However, because Jon took this job… he had to move to West Virginia, which means he will be up there for the last half of our Engagement. This is extremely tough for us, because although we haven’t lived together, Jon and I have seen each other every single day (with the exception of just a few days) since we started dating. Being apart for a long period of time is torture… but I’m confident that the Lord is going to teach us both something during this season. However, right now… it’s pretty tough. Yesterday when Jon and I were saying goodbye to each other, he picked me up and started running down the street with me. He wasn’t ready for me to get in the car and leave. And then when I finally got in the car with his mom for our final goodbye… that was so tough. I had cried myself to sleep the night before and the waterworks were starting again. It was so hard to let go of Jon … I had to force myself to undo my embrace around his chest. When we pulled away, Jon started running after the car and I poked my head out the window to watch him fade in the distance. After I couldn’t see him anymore, I just cried and cried. Jon’s mom warned me that she probably wouldn’t cry when we left Jon (because she was use to him going away for long periods of time with his hiking), but I think our love for each other got to her because she cried with me. Come to find out, that Jon sat down on the curb and cried after we drove out of site. He’ll probably not like that I said that, but that just shows you how strong of a love we have for each other. I can’t believe that I’m with a man like Jon. In fact, I didn’t know that men like Jon existed. He’s respectful, he’s kind, he loves with the strongest genuine love that I’ve ever felt before, he looks at my eyes, he tells me I’m beautiful at random times during the day, he says “I love you” so much that he asked me if he was saying it too much, ha! I’ve never met a man like Jon before. He love Jesus with all of his heart, and he’s “waiting” for marriage with me (which is super tough! But definitely possible!). He prays with me every night, he takes me on spontaneous trips, and kisses me each time I get anywhere near his lips. Oh my goodness… my man is so amazing! I can’t sing his praises enough, he makes me want to be a better person. We have so many inside jokes and phrases, and we’re so goofy with each other. Ha! We feel like we’ve lived a lifetime (in a good way) together just by how open we are in our communication. Last week, we ended our pre-marriage counseling… and that was the best thing we ever did for our relationship. So many hard issues were surfaced, and we were able to talk through them instead of fighting through them later when they arose in our marriage. We were able to talk through the tough situations that could play out during our marriage. Jon and I had some disagreements and some little bickers… but nothing major. It was all healthy stuff that has helped us learn more about each other and to grow our love in the direction that God wants it to grow. Another thing I love about Jon… he doesn’t yell. He is the most patience, kind-hearted, slow-tempered man that I have ever seen and he never raises his voice to me or to anyone. Jon looks like Jesus on a daily basis… and he even looks like Jesus in this season of our life. Jesus has gone before Christians to prepare us a place in Heaven. And Jon has gone before me to West Virginia to prepare us a place to live once we’re married. The bible encourages us to strive to be like Jesus, and Jon is definitely doing that. He has made sacrifices so we can save money and afford for me to quit my job once we’re married so I can move too. It was really hard to leave Jon without a place to stay and living out of his car, but if anyone can do it.. it’s my Ulitmate Man’s Man! He’s the closest to Chuck Norris that I’ve ever seen… in fact, he could one up Chuck! I’m so thankful that I have a man that’s willing to live out in the woods for the next four months, and getting up early to use the health club showers to be clean for work… just so he can save money for me to live with him once we become husband and wife. So these are some of the reason’s why it’s so hard to leave him or be apart from him. I’m convinced that we have one of those loves that they make movies of … one of those loves that our future children will be sharing stories about. I’m praying that the Lord would protect that love and allow it to grow and that Jon will be protected in every way possible. I have faith that this season will be one that will inspire couples. So that makes me feel a little better. In the meantime, I’ll go back to eating my ice cream and watching my Disney movie as I anxiously await for the phone to ring so I can talk to my honey :) Ah... I really can't wait until we're married!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just Thinking....

"Opportunities are never lost. Someone takes the ones you miss."

I believe this quote wholeheartedly. Therefore, I'm trying my hardest to soak up and rock out every opportunity that's presented! My grandpa says, "Can't never could do anything." I use to really hate when he'd tell my sister and I that, because it was generally when we were whining about having to clean something or straighten something up. Ha! But now that I'm older, I've realized that the only way to make things happen for yourself is to get up and do things yourself. Things REALLY aren't going to be handed to you. *gasp!*

I'm really lucky that I had a Daddy who constantly planted the yearning inside me to make something of myself. He would always talk about how it takes hard work and the drive to apply yourself to achieve the things you want to achieve.

I have crazy high hopes and goals that, to some, might seem unreachable... but I don't see it that way at all. Everything CAN be reached... but Daddy was right - It DOES take hard work. Crazy hard work. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. Sometimes I get really worn out and sometimes I feel like I don't have much of a social life anymore... but I just keep praying, and I know that God is going to use it all. I believe with all my heart that I'm going to be where I want to be one day... .and that helps me get through my "Character Building Years." I'm so thankful for these years too... because I'm having to humble myself in so many different ways. I wish my life was glamorous right now... but it's not at all. My apartment is still pretty much bare of furniture, my refrigerator has about three things in it, my car is missing three hub caps (lol!), I don't own any technology that starts with the lowercase "i", and I'm always faced with the decision of buying super cute shoes or eating dinner for the next two nights. The shoes generally win.

Dad was right... Life is about working your butt off to make things happen for yourself and the sacrifices you may have to make to seize opportunities. I'm so happy. I'm so happy things are the way they are right now. Granted, some days I may complain, but I know that I'm still smack dab in the center of the Lord's will for my life. He promises that everything happens for the good and He has a plan and a hope for my future. I'm so fortunate that I've learned early that money isn't everything... joy and happiness come from somewhere that you can feel... but isn't tangible at all. It's in the attitudes that you choose for your day and the attitudes you choose for others. I'd rather have the joy of building REAL friendships with people instead of the motive to step on them to advance. I'd rather do things the right way and work harder... than do things the wrong way because it might seem easier.

Chances are ALWAYS worth taking. Every Opportunity is ALWAYS worth pursuing. When it's all said and done... we're either going to succeed or we're going to fail. But failure is just a new beginning, because then...the joy in the journey starts all over again.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Time to Start Stirring Things Up!

I am a very loyal and committed person. When I do things I do them whole-heartedly and with every bit of passion that I have inside me. When I love people, I love them with a strong, genuine affection that embroiders itself into my heart. This is why goodbyes are not my strong suits. I have a hard time letting go of past memories because at some point or another they have made a huge impact on my heart. So I cling to them and cherish them…. but I don’t like living off of memories. I like making memories.

This morning's church service reminded me that lately, that’s all I’ve been doing…living off of memories instead of making them. I’ve been clinging to what isn’t there anymore to avoid having to start anew. Starting over is hard. It’s hard to get out and make things happen. It takes work to get to know people, time, and energy. I’ve had some of the best friends ever and when we all had to move on it was so hard to let go. I told myself that I wasn’t going to let myself make friends like that again until I finally got settled and could stay put to where nobody would have to say goodbye. I tried my best to close myself off to others when I had short term stays in different towns, but that didn’t really work. It was hard to not love people. So…I made more friends and held onto them…and once again when it was time to move on…it hurt.

So here I am. I’ve been in Atlanta for 10 months now and have yet to get settled. I still have unpacked boxes in my apartment, I still haven’t committed to a church home, a bible study, or any type of small group. I still haven’t allowed myself to get close to people…. All because I’ve trained my heart to stay closed. NOW…I’m finally in the place that I feel I’m going to stay at for a while (because I’m praying for my job to prosper) and I just can’t bring myself to let go and finally settle. I’ve been moving and moving and moving for six years, so yeah… it’s understandable to be afraid to dive in and get involved because I’m scared I’m gonna have to pack up and leave again. But this time I don’t. I don’t have to go anywhere. I can finally commit again. I can make new friends and let them into my life. I can pursue fully what God has planned for me. I can start making things happen right here where I'm at, because this is where I've been called and by letting fear rule in my heart...I'm missing out on the best days of my life. It's time to stop being safe and making excuses.... it's time to stop going out of town to live my life as if it were someplace's time to start shakin' things up right here in Atlanta. Granted I had absolutely no intentions of ever living in Atlanta.... but God had different plans.... and He has put me here, so now I need to open my heart and embrace it and I'm sooooo ready to do that. Living a life that's based on what use to be... is stopping me from living a life based on what could be.

So here I am Lord, I'm ready to start living out life here in Fayette and Fulton county. I am ready to start getting involved again and meeting people an stirring things up. I'm ready to start taking better care of myself and embracing the fullness of life... and that includes the people that are only in it for a season. I declare that I will not be scared of being hurt, because happiness and sadness are apart of the bigger picture.

So here are my early New Year's Resolution (I guess, since it's so close to 2011)
*I am going to start working out in the mornings before work again.
*I am going to start attending the same church regularly (and stop church hopping)
*I am going to sign up for a Women's Bible Study that starts in January
*I am going to get involved in a co-ed small group and start meeting new people and opening up life for brand new adventures...and brand new friendships filled with true compassion.

Well there it is....I've shared way more information than I wanted....but it's true. I have to stop living as if this season of life and it's location is temporary. So what if it is? The fullness comes from soaking it up. I'm about to do that.... in more ways than one.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Character Building Years

Ah yes…. The Character Building years


The years of early adulthood where you learn that the key to survival is simply to survive. It’s the years of sacrificing your wants for your needs…. or sometimes your needs for your wants. It’s the years of car payments, eating Indian style on the floor because you don’t have furniture while you watch the same movies over and over again because you don’t have cable. It’s the years of sitting in the parking lot of McDonalds to use their free Wi-Fi so that you can log onto the internet to pay a bill because you don’t have the money for the stamp to mail in your check or the gas to drive directly to the place. Then you pray that the site really is secure so you don’t have to deal with identity theft. Not that they would have much to steal anyway. It’s packing everything that you own into a small little car and going to the next adventure because God says so. It’s sleeping in your car on long trips, because you’re exhausted and can’t afford a hotel room. It's living on a dream and doing what it takes to make your dream a reality.

Along with that… it’s the years of learning who you are. There’s a lot of trial and error of who you want to be in life. It’s making up your mind and changing your mind. It’s dreaming of where you’ll be in five years when you’re (hopefully) out of the character building years. It’s a lot of living in the moments and absorbing the innocence of beginnings. Just the same…it’s living out of the moments and planning for the future. Daydreaming takes up a lot of your time. You have a vision of your future and you're doing everything you can to get there.

But the best thing about the character building years is what you learn. You learn that money really isn’t everything. You learn that being with people is one of the best medicines to a lonely heart. Friends come in and out your life. You lose touch with old friends and gain touch with new friends. You find yourself turning to God for everything, and you rely of Him for directing your next steps. You learn that humility is one of the best things to keep your heart genuine and getting everything that you want is over rated. You learn to love what you have and to cling to what you love. Pride goes out the window in the character building years. You have to swallow it down without any water. There are many things that you need help with, and you have no choice but to graciously accept an offer from someone who lends it….then immediately brainstorming of the way that you want to bless them back for helping you. It’s giving and taking. It's encouraging others when they're's listening to others when you're discouraged.

It’s the years of making mental notes of all the paying it forward that you’ll be doing once you’re finally able to stand on your own two feet. These years inspire you to want to be that person who helps other people, because of all the people who have helped you. It’s training for understanding how others feel, because you’ve been there. They’re years of embarrassing moments, lots of laughing at yourself, and just knowing that you’re living in the moments that you’ll one day tell your grandchildren about. It’s the years of being molded by the Refiner’s fire, and then being the vessel that sails in the wide open waters and reaches the destination. It's loving life and EVERYTHING that comes with it. I wouldn’t change these years for anything, they’re a part of my life and who I am and who I’m going to be. These are the years that truly build your character.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Open Wounds

A week ago I was in a chaotic type of accident. It is really complicated to try and explain, but it left my legs all bruised, scraped, and wounded. Too, I got this crazy gash on my finger that-oddly-never bled, but it hurt like crazy. My knees, however, that's a different story. The wounds on my knees were pretty deep, and I'm still in recovery with having to change my bandages twice a day.My legs have become such an eyesore to me. I get so upset when I change my bandages, because I fear that the open wounds are going to eventually close up into ugly scars.

The physical wounds on my legs aren't the only open wounds that I've received this year. My heart has been pierced so many times in the past few months, it is still recovering and will occasionally bleed through the bandage that covers it. There have been several moments where I felt as if I were smack dab in the middle of some crazy Lifetime movie just praying for the channel to change. Instead of the channel changing though, it seemed as if I only got brief commercials that would allow me to breathe for a moment, but then I'd be right back in the movie with another twist of events. much as it felt like a movie... it wasn't a movie. It was reality. The difference between reality and a movie, though, is the ending is still being written.

I could choose to sink down into the depression of my pain or I could choose a "bring-it-on" type of attitude. I am a true believer in stories...good stories. I know that every moment has the potential to be a good story. I know that God works everything for the good, and I happen to believe that the "good" is referring to the "good" story that will be told from crazy life events. The thing with a good story is it has the potential of being told, and if it's told right... it can inspire somebody else.

If I were to wallow in the blows of life, I'd be so full of misery I wouldn't know what to do with myself. But take the alternative and to swallow hard, to wipe the tears (but still carry a box of Kleenex) and to face the things that break our hearts head on is so much more beneficial. Pain is always going to be around. It's always going to come unexpectedly, and it's only goal is to make us fall completely apart. BUT...we don't have to fall apart. We can face the biggest tragedies of our life and still walk away in tact with only a few open wounds. Of course those wounds may still bleed through the bandages months later, but I'd much rather be healing from an open wound, with the possibility of a scar....rather than trying to mend the broken pieces that could shatter again in an instant. After all, a scar can be a beautiful thing if the story is told right. :)

Hmmm....come to think of it, my legs don't look all that bad after all. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Good Things Happen to Good People :)

I just have to tell this story.... my heart is just so touched right now.

Today I went for dinner with one of my BFF's to Applebees. I took exactly enough cash that I knew would get me through the evening. I had it all budgeted out and everything.

Well, when we go to pay, I pay with the cash that I had and waited for the change to leave the tip. I credit myself as a good tipper. Meaning I will leave you a nice tip regardless of the service... but if I have a waiter or waitress that is awesome and wonderful... I will tip them above average. I don't know... even if I don't have a lot of money, I just have this overwhelming urge to leave good tips. I've never been a waitress, but I have worked in a restaurant, and I guess I just know what it means to them...being on their feet all day, serving, and having to work really hard for someone to come in and not leave them a dime. It's just not right.

Anyway...back to tonight... I had paid for my meal, and when the girl came back to give me my change... I realized that I only had a dollar returned. I totally mis-calculated. I was soooo upset, because this particular waitress was outstanding. In my opinion, she did such a great job...too, I felt like we could have been friends. So I asked my friend, Christina, if she had any cash... all she had was a dollar. I just didn't feel that two dollars was enough.

So I flagged the waitress over, and I told her what was going on.....I literally felt like a horrible person. I told her that she did such a FANTASTIC job, but I only had two dollars to give to her. She was so gracious and she assured me that it was "okay." However, I said... no it's not.... you deserve more of a tip...and I offered for her to take it off my debit card. However, she couldn't take anything off my debit card without a purchase. But truth be told... I didn't have it on my debit card to give to her... that's why I paid in cash. I then asked her how often she worked there, and she said she only came on the weekend...because she went to school during the week. That made me feel even worse, because I know how it feels to be in school and living completely on the edge with 10 cents to your name.

Anyway, she kept telling me it was alright, and I kept telling her that it wasn't... and told her that I almost wanted to ask her for her PO Box #. Haha! She probably thought I was psycho... but you just don't understand how bad I felt. Here I was about to leave a $2 tip for this girl who went over the call of duty to make our meal wonderful. I then did the desperate thing... I dumped out my change purse on the table... that maybe had 46cents altogether. Haha!

Anyway, I was leaving her a nice note (because that's just the kind of person I am...a note writer) and as I was leaving her a note... I see something flying at me in my peripheral vision... I look up and there is money flying at me. This random guy walked up to our table... pulled some money out of his wallet, and tossed it down on our table and walked away before I could even utter "thank you."

It was such a blessing, so I flagged the waitress back and I told her what happened. She was just laughing and completly blessed... and I told her that the guy had just come out of nowhere... and I told her that it was totally God blessing her. She quickly agreed and we had a huggy bonding moment. It was so sweet. My heart was so happy and blessed... I could have cried. It just meant that much to me.

So I finished writing my note and I concluded it with that verse in Luke 6.... "give and it will be given to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap."

It's the chain of love....