Wednesday, February 29, 2012

in making changes in my life lately, I've had a few moments of fear. and in those moments, I found myself asking a lot of "what if's".

it's almost a smidge ironic that these changes have occurred so close to me turning 25.

what does this year of my life hold? what if I've made the wrong choice? what if I can't handle the choices I've made? what if I can't do my job? what if I let everyone down? what if everything changes? what if nothing changes?

...and then a wonderful and inspiring e-mail showed up in my inbox...coincidence? well...we know how I feel about that.

this is a part of a story from this site (which will send you e-mails if you want, clearly).

holley talks about her attempt to face a fear: cleaning the dryer vent.

she confesses how she got so flustered when imagining the monster dust bunny that might come out of that vent, she fell right over. here are the wise thoughts that followed:

Because my life is one big analogy, I found myself pondering the dust bunny as I laid in bed that night. While my skinny jeans got covered in fluff, no real harm was done. I just felt like I'd been attacked by a killer rabbit. My reaction didn't match the reality.

It's often the same way with fear. What we imagine is often far worse than what comes to be. And even if it does happen, we discover we're more resilient than we ever knew (and God is more faithful too). But the only way to find that out is to stare fear in the face and let it explode all over of us is needed. Not what we fear but the fear itself--which many times turns out to be worse.

What are you really afraid of?
And if that happened, then what?
And what about after that?

Keep going until you've gone all the way down the pipe of your fear and pulled every little bit back out. Then hold it in your hands and see if you've got a killer rabbit or a dust bunny. You might even find yourself laughing a bit about what you thought was in there.

The secret is not letting all of that fear grow in the dark.

Then stand up, wipe off your skinny jeans, hand it all to God and go out there and change the world...

thanks holley. I needed to hear that.

I'm a worrier and my dad would always try to reason with me growing up. what's the worst that could happen? he'd ask. and honestly, even though sometimes the worst that could happen seemed crummy, it never seemed life-altering. or at least life-ending. at the end of the day, truth was still truth, and all was still well. forever.

health factoid: don't eat polar bear liver, in case you were wanting to try it. apparently it has toxic doses of vitamin a. no good.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. I don't know what my life might look like in a week or  month. I guess, technically, nobody does.

normally this would freak me out. and I won't lie, it has a bit recently. it comes in waves...but oddly at the moment I have a strange peace. and I know that's actually not odd. or coincidental.

a peace that passes understanding is one of His gifts to us. another gift He has blessed me with are truths from His faithful servants.

here are a few words/prayers that have spoken to my heart this week from wise, Spirit-led people...
  • my job does not have to necessarily utilize my spiritual gifts.
  • God has taught me the difference between ministering to people and ministry.
  • may the Lord of all wisdom who knows the path of your life give you peace, discernment, and confidence.
  • He is guiding you. even when you don't have clarity. He is there.
  • the decision you make will be the one you need to make because you have the spirit within you that is directing your way.
I'm also learning that no one can make a decision for you. everyone probably has different opinions on what you should do, but you can't listen to them all. you have to live with the decisions you make, not anyone else.

health tip...I started watching "food matters" yesterday in a class and found it incredibly interesting (not sure I agree 100% with all that was said, but interesting). in this documentary, an old adage was reiterated with are what you eat.

sometimes I don't think about this. I think that food is just what I feel like eating at the time. but really, this food powers our bodies and sustains life. what kind of fuel are you giving it?

I went home and ate some veggies. dern health classes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

love and flowers

every year since I can remember, my parents have doted on me on valentine's day. when I was younger, I'd come down for breakfast to find a card and chocolates, or a cd, or a cheesy stuffed animal at my chair. in college, I'd get a care package that contained a great deal of chocolate (my mother knows me all too well...and my study habits) and a note about what a fabulous daughter I am. they know how to make a girl feel loved.

even in my adult life, the past two years have been accompanied by flowers and chocolates sent to my place of work.

this year, though, the postal worker brought flowers and I looked in shock when I saw they were, indeed, NOT for me.

mom, dad? don't you love me anymore?

well, obviously I know that "no flowers" does not equate with "no love". but I got to thinking about the concept of this...about how much I love to get flowers at work...and I realized something.

I want to prove to others that I am loved.

not having a boyfriend or fiance' or husband this year really hadn't bothered me (if you've ever been single for an extended period of time, you know that you go through times of caring a whole lot and times of not caring a whole lot).

until those flowers came and they weren't for me.

because when you work in a place where EVERYONE has a significant other/fiance'/spouse, you start to realize that some of them think you're lame. that you don't have a life, or that something is wrong with you.

or maybe I just project these ideas onto those people. either way, to me, flowers tell others that I am not unloved.

pretty silly, I know.

then I got to thinking about love. how lucky I have been. ohhh I know, everyone says they have the best people in their life. but I know the truth. I have the best.

I have been loved well by some pretty stellar people. I'm talking about love as a choice. love that isn't exactly easy.

the kind of love that gets me choked up. the kind that makes me sit and stare in disbelief. the kind of love that knows me. that knows all my garbage. all the things about me that make me shudder. the things I really dislike about myself. the ugly parts.

I have been beyond blessed by people who know all of this, and yet, stay by my side.

no judgment or grudges or weird looks. just love.

that kind of love is a taste of Jesus' love on earth.

and so, on this cheesy holiday dedicated to love, I'd just like to remember this love. and challenge myself to love more like this.

and also, to share love with a heart-shaped pizza from papa john's. because everyone knows that nothing says love like that.

Restaurant LocatorSpecial OffersOrder NowShare the Love! Get a Heart-shaped thin crust pizza with one topping and a Cinnapie for $15! Use promo code TVAL12. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW.

no, I am not getting commission from papa john's for this. just cracked me up.

happy cheesy hallmark holiday - I hope this day finds you feeling loved!

Friday, February 10, 2012

pointing to the answer

wednesday I rushed off to class from work, my mind whirling with thoughts of the future, different paths, and decisions. I prayed He'd help me make the right choice. He'd give me a sign in those classes for sure, I thought.

I sat through food prep waiting for that passion to stir. and even though I enjoyed class, I don't get super fired up about food safety.

no closer to feeling as though I knew what to do, I trudged on to religion.

it's funny how God works.

that professor could start a revival at an atheist convention, pretty sure. that man gets me fired up. in the way that makes me want to rush home and read scripture. apply that scripture to my life. treat everyone like Jesus would. change the world.

he spent the class talking about the Bible. talking about how Jesus changes lives. how people are converted - not typically from preaching or teaching, but from life experiences where God's work is evident. and then they read about Jesus. and their lives are transformed.

he talked about a lot of other stuff that convicted me. inspired me. gutted me. gave me a lot to think about, and a lot to take action on. but none of that action involved the specific life choice that I was thinking about.

it just all pointed back to HIM.

funny how when I was begging Him for a sign, for an answer, for help, He pointed me to Himself. He is the answer.

spend time with me. let your life be transformed by me. right now, that's what you need to focus on.


sometimes God's answers are not what I expect to hear. or are not what I want to hear. but certainly they are what I need to hear.

last night I read this in romans 4...

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

against all hope...and yet...being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

I think I could learn a thing or ten from father abraham.

health tip: provided by my wise sister. rest is important. get some. take time to "sharpen the saw". hard advice to take, but she's right.

happy friday!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What’s hard is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.

this is haunting me today. bouncing around in my brain and making me want to crawl under my desk in the fetal position.

when faced with tough life choices, do you ever want to revert back to being a 6 year-old? makes me think of that john mayer song...oh make me a red cape...I wanna be superman (or woman, rather).

whatever happened to my, whatever happened to my lunch box?
when came the day that it got thrown away and don't you think I should've had some say in that decision?

preach, john, preach!

big life decision advice....go!

health factoid: don't buy bulging cans/containers at the grocery store. chances are, they are contaminated with clostridium botulinum. you probably knew, that, though. also, don't feed infants under the age of 1 honey. it contains spores that these young'ens don't have immunity to yet.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

do everything better and other revelations

I have a fan-freaking-tabulous friend who sends me chapters from a book I really cannot wait to read. and re-read. and write quotes on my mirrors. and my forehead. hails, you are correct. shauna niequist and I...we're kindred spirits. thanks for sending me words of wisdom at precisely the moment I need them. here are a few tidbits from this chapter called things I don't do...

And this is what Denise told me: she said it’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.

I don't have much to say about this except it gave me food for thought. rejuvenated me a smidge. made me want to give up a little less.

then shauna starts talking about how she's a list maker. how she makes to-do lists every day. and boy, can I relate...

At one point, I kept adding to the list, more and more items, more and more sweeping in their scope, until I added this line: DO EVERYTHING BETTER. It was, at the time, a pretty appropriate way to capture how I felt about my life and myself fairly often.

I read this and thought...yes! I feel this way ALL the time. I'm totally adding this to my list. thanks shauna!

it sounds like it should be the new nike slogan. I can just see a picture of a girl running in her sports bra and toned abs, looking all concentrated and determined with DO.EVERYTHING.BETTER. underneath it. can't you?

BUT, then I kept reading.

It also explains why I tended to get so tired I’d cry without knowing why, why my life sometimes felt like I was running on a hamster wheel, and why I searched the faces of calmer, more grounded women for a secret they all knew that I didn’t. This is how I got to that fragmented, brittle, lonely place: DO EVERYTHING BETTER.

The three together, DO EVERYTHING BETTER, are a super-charged triple threat, capturing in three words the mania of modern life, the anti-spirit, anti-spiritual, soul-shriveling garbage that infects and compromises our lives.

She was right. Deciding what I wanted wasn’t that hard. But deciding what I’m willing to give up for those things is like yoga for your superego, stretching and pushing and ultimately healing that nasty little person inside of you who exists only for what people think.

and shauna proceeded to make a list of things she does do and then a list that most of us never make. a list that is by no means popular, and may seem counter-productive to many. a list of things she doesn't do.

I'm thinking that's a hard list to make. and she admitted it certainly was for her. because, as she mentions, not being able to do everything, and having things that you don't do, can make us believe that we are weak. that we are less than so-and-so. but she is right - doing everything better is really just exhausting. draining. pointless. and mythical.  

I'm going to make a things I don't do list. it's going to be hard, but I've already thought of a few. things I don't like to admit, or things I put on my do better list. no more. here are some things I don't do:

I don't decorate or find cute items to put in my apartment. it's just not me. nor is it a talent of mine.

I don't do crafts/make cute items that could be used to decorate (see above).

I don't cook (for now. I think this is a season thing, because I want t, but I just don't have the time to do it now).

I don't accesorize well or keep up with fashion. if I could wear a t-shirt and jeans and flip flops every day, I'd be just fine with that. for now, I'll just let my friends help with this one when I want to look nice.

I don't get manicures and pedicures. if I paint my toes regularly, we're lucky. if I paint my finger nails, expect me to be trying to pick the remainder of the patches off a few weeks later.

I'm sure there are more, but I'm new at this. I want to be good at everything, and for a long time, I thought that the above made me a pretty cruddy female. but I feel a little freer now.

are there things you don't do?

It’s brutal, making the list of Things I Don’t Do, especially for someone like me, who refuses most of the time to acknowledge that there is, in fact, a limit to her personal ability to get things done. But I’ve discovered that the list sets me free. I have it written in black and white, sitting on my desk, and when I’m tempted to go rogue and bake muffins because all the other moms do, I come back to both lists, and I remind myself about the important things: that time is finite, as is energy. And that one day I’ll stand before God and account for what I did with my life. There is work that is only mine to do: a child that is ours to raise, stories that are mine to tell, friends that are mine to walk with. The grandest seduction of all is the myth that DOING EVERYTHING BETTER gets us where we want to be. It gets us somewhere, certainly, but not anywhere worth being.

-shauna niequist

Monday, February 6, 2012


today I was feeling pretty perky. and then out of nowhere, a big ol' fat change slapped me in the face.

I'll start with a confession: I became emotionally attached to a co-worker.

no, no, no, not like that. a friend. but a fabulous friend.

warning: if you don't want me to become emotionally unstable when you tell me you're leaving (not just our lovely little office, but the city and state, as well), try not to be so awesome. k?

the thing about change is, I've been trying to accept it and even, maybe, befriend it. but I realized today that I like change on my terms. I'll work on accepting you, change, if I get to choose you.

it doesn't seem fair that other people should get to make their own choices that don't revolve around me. sheesh. what are they thinking? helloooo?

ya know what's tough? when something really stellar happens for another person and it takes that person away from you. because then it means your tears are selfish.

the preacher who spoke at my amazing grandmother's funeral said it. she said it so well and so clear. so honest. so true.

our tears are for us, aren't they?

well, yes. yes they were. because my grandmother wasn't happy here anymore. she was so ill and confused and ready to go home. and that's where she was when I was here on earth crying. saying she was happier would be an understatement. so yes, those tears...they were for me.

and the same is true for these tears. this change is good for my dear friend. she'll be in the same city as the one she loves. she won't have to spend hours in the car every weekend. won't have to spend tons of money on gas. won't have to spend time apart from her future hubby.

but she won't be here. and thus, I am sad. because she isn't here to laugh with me when the work day seems to be going longer than necessary. when I'm having a frustrated moment, she won't be here to make me smile. when the final twilight movie comes out, she won't be here to wear the awesome edward shirt I got her and see the midnight showing.

but I swear I'm happy for her.

situations like these are why they have the word bittersweet.

but I'm starting to learn to be grateful for the memories and lessons learned from people, rather than mourn that things have changed.

so I will remember funny IMs, deep life discussions, mixed CDs, auburn football games, wine and nachos with a smile. and I will be thankful for who she is. a truly fabulous person.

how do you guys handle good-byes? mine typically involve a lot of tears, but I'm a sap like that.

health tip: did you know that hamburger color does not necessarily indicate that it is has been cooked properly? I sure didn't. but I just learned that 1 in 4 hamburgers that are NOT pink in the middle have NOT been cooked to the correct temperature (155 F).

and because this e-mail made me giggle, I thought I'd share...

because the building that houses the office of spiritual life has been "visited" by a skunk, the office will be closed until wednesday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

saying "no"

any oklahoma fans out there? in the musical, there's a song sung by my favorite character, ado annie, called "I'm just a girl who cain't say no". while her context of the song is a smidge different than what I'm talking about, sometimes I think this song could be my mantra.

however, lately I have been saying no quite a lot. and I hate it.

because I really really want to say yes.

I want to say yes to bridal showers. I want to say yes to dinners with friends. I want to say yes to going to the Y. I want to say yes to catching up with friends and calling people when I know they are having a rough time.

but I've been saying no. and it's kind of miserable. and I don't have any words of wisdom about this. no solutions or grand things I feel like have been revealed to me. just a lack of energy, lots of studying/school work and a desire to sleep.

so...I pose these questions:

do you think saying no ever gets easier?

does anyone have wise words for saying no when you want to say yes?

what about saying no when you actually do want to say no, but don't want to let someone down?

for reals. insight=appreciated.

andddd because o chem has to have some kind of humor, or it would have no redeeming qualities...

a text from one of my favorites:

U will NOT fail. you are going to make alkenes your biotch (I felt so bad typing that word, but it seemed appropriate).

and leaving class yesterday...

professor: your test is thursday. study hard. I'll be here at 3 for those who want to start early. and I'll stay until...well...until it's time for margaritas!

maybe he's not so bad after all.