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Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are evergreen trees such as pine or fir that are decorated with colored lights and, often, ornaments. Therefore, it may be appropriate for people who have evergreen trees in their yard to likewise decorate these trees with, say, colored lights. However, it is not appropriate for people to decorate a leaf-less oak or sycamore with colored lights (see dictionary: evergreen).

When an evergreen is decorated with lights, it reminds people of a Christmas tree. The lights are spaced between the needles, giving the tree a pleasant, decorative, ornamental effect. When a non-evergreen (e.g. oak or sycamore) is decorated with lights, it looks like a random string of lights strewn over leaf-less tree branches. Or, sometimes (especially later at night), it looks like a random string of lights strewn in the air. It does not have any recognizable shape and does not remind a person of Christmas. It just looks silly.

I’m no expert at decorating yards for Christmas, but I have seen a lot of Christmas lights during my lifetime. And I’m telling you: do NOT randomly string lights over the leaf-less branches of non-evergreen trees unless you can miraculously give some kind of Christmas-y or truly decorative/ornamental shape to it. Seriously. And even then, please give it some deep consideration.

This concludes this public service announcement. Thank you.

Thanksgiving 2011

On this day of gratitude, I wanted to write a bit about all the things I’m thankful for this year (not sure if I’ll get to all of them, but I’ll go as far as I can).

To start with, I made Thanksgiving dinner for the first time this year!  Yeah!  My friend lent me a roasting pan, and I cooked a turkey!  (Salt and garlic – mmmm).  I also made pie for the first time.  I’m grateful that I was able to buy food, that the food turned out, and that I invited a couple people over to share it with me (and that they came – and brought more food).

I’m thankful that I have a place to live.  I am extra blessed to have my own apartment.  It is warm, safe, and just the way I like it.

I am blessed with some great, amazing, remarkable, incredible people in my life.  Of course, that starts with my family.  I am blessed to have the relationships that I have with them.  I know that it is definitely something to be thankful for.  I am also thankful to have meaningful friendships here where I live, especially since I live pretty far from my family.  I am grateful for each person God has put in my life.  Some make me smile, some make me laugh out loud, some bring me comfort, some give me someone to talk to, and some challenge me and stretch me.  Many fill more than one role.

I love my job.  I work for a fantastic company and get to do what I love.  And I am able to make a living.  For that I am grateful.

I’m thankful that I am able to grow and fulfill goals and accomplishments.  The most recent is my book being published.  But I work on other things, too, in my personal as well as professional life.  I am grateful to have goals and to be able to accomplish them.

I’m grateful for a sense of humor.  It makes life awesome.

I’m grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I’m thankful for his role as my Savior and Redeemer.  I’m grateful to know His teachings.  I’m grateful that God is in my life.

I’m thankful for music.  I don’t even know what else to say about it, except that it is a huge part of my life.  I’m grateful that my life has been enriched in this way.  I’m thankful that I can both play AND enjoy music.

I’m thankful for my education – past, present, and future.

These are most of the major things, so I will end with saying that I am thankful for Thanksgiving!  It’s so great to have a day dedicated to thanks.  It is good to take opportunities to reflect on my blessings, and it’s nice when the opportunity is just plopped right in front of me.

I thank God for all of my blessings and most of all for my life.  I love it.

 

Singlehood vs. Marriage: An Analogy

I didn’t want to be the whiny, woe-is-me single girl always writing about being single, but since that IS my experience these days, that’s what I’m writing about anyway.  I’ll keep the whiny and woe-is-me to a minimum.  Plus, I was excited about this analogy and wanted to share it.

I want to include a few disclaimers before I begin.  To start with, I really do like hearing about how much a person loves his or her spouse.  Love in marriage is positive and good, and I do like to hear about it.  Besides, if I expect to be able to talk about my experience, being single, then it is only fair of me to listen to others talk about their experience, being married.  That’s how I see it.  It’s only when people start exuding the attitude of “this is the way it should be for everyone” or “you’re not a real person until you’re married” that I start getting a bad attitude.  Oh, and if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE kids.  So I like hearing stories about people’s kids, too.  Most of all, I want to make it clear that I have nothing against marriage.  Well, abusive relationships and the like have no place in marriage, so I am against that, but I am all FOR healthy marriage.  We like those.  They are good.

So:

To me, being single is like having lasagna every week for Sunday dinner… when the majority of the people around me always have pot roast for Sunday dinner (for the record, I have had pot roast many times, but for the sake of this analogy I’ll pretend I never have).  So, here I am eating lasagna, which is fantastic, but people around me keep telling me how much MORE fantastic pot roast is.  “You haven’t had Sunday dinner, it’s not a REAL Sunday dinner, until you’ve had pot roast,” they say.**  And that’s easy to imagine  as I see them enjoying their pot roast.  It looks good, it smells good, and I imagine that it is satisfying.  And I really would like to have pot roast someday.  But I still really like my lasagna.  It looks, smells, and tastes good, too, and it also fills me up.  I feel good when I eat lasagna.  I like lasagna.  But (seemingly) everyone else really loves pot roast.  “I remember lasagna,” they tell me, “but wait until you try pot roast.  It’s so much better.”  But remember that whether you’re eating lasagna or pot roast, it’s still Sunday dinner.  Life is still life, and the people eating Sunday dinner are the same people whether they’re eating lasagna or pot roast.  It’s just a slightly different experience.

**I imagine that couples without children have a similar experience:  “You don’t have carrots with your pot roast?  Well, it’s not pot roast without carrots.  You need carrots with your pot roast to make it complete.”  And so forth…

Anyway.

That’s as far as I have taken it.  I’m sure eventually I can make it deeper, take it different directions, find different applications.  Yep.  Eventually.  But this is all I have for now.  I guess the main point is that even though pot roast is wonderful to some people, that doesn’t mean that lasagna is bad.  It’s just something different to have for Sunday dinner.  So there you go.

Have a great Sunday dinner!

 

I am published!!!

About a year ago, I was given this great idea to write a children’s book called The Happy Apricots (you can read more about what happened here).  It took me awhile to get started, and then I didn’t have a story, then I started the blog, then a friend of mine approached me about seriously making this project real.  Well I started really writing the book back at the beginning of the summer, and as of now it is officially PUBLISHED!  If you want to see it and share in my happiness, take a look at my publisher’s website.  It will also be available on Amazon next week, and I will put both links somewhere on the blog here.

This is literally a dream come true.  Literally.  I mean, I have wanted to write and publish a book for as long as I can remember.  Plus the idea for this book came to me sort of as a vision.  So, literal fulfillment of a dream.  Yep.  I am SO EXCITED!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to my publisher and to everyone who fed me ideas and supported and encouraged me.

Follow your dreams, people!  It is amazing what can happen.  Amazing.  And tell me what happens when you do, because those are bound to be some great stories!

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Conversation with a gas pump

I had this “conversation” (text & buttons) while filling up my car on the way home today:

Gas pump:  Are you a Kroger Plus card holder?

Me:  Yes.

Pump:  Scan your shopper’s card.

Me:  [scans card]

Pump:  Use $.10 off/gallon reward?

Me:  Yes.

Pump:  Please prepay or insert card.

Me:  [inserts credit card and begins filling gas tank]

Pump:  Want a snack?

Me:  No.

Pump:  Bananas available… $.89!

I laughed SO very hard.  I could practically hear its tone of voice – “Sure, you SAY you don’t want a snack, but we have BANANAS!  I know you love bananas!  And they’re only $.89!  What a deal!  You REALLY want a snack, don’t you?  Come on, just have a banana!”  I don’t know if I’ve just never noticed a gas pump advertising like that before or what, but the whole thing struck me as really, really funny.  I laughed and smiled so much that the person filling up on the other side of the gas pump said hi.  Hmm, so there was some good done here.  Well done, gas pump, well done.

Another one… but different

So I had another dream the other night.  In some ways (read:  theme), it was similar the one I described here.  Here is what I can remember:

I was visiting my cousins at their house.  On the main level, it was a regular, modest house, just like their house now is.  Now, their current house has an unfinished basement.  In my dream, when we went downstairs there were some huge differences.  The first was that it was much, much, much bigger than it should have been for the size of the main level of the house.  The other was that it was kind of like a hotel down there, with several hallways of just bedrooms, almost dorm-like (only nice, like a hotel – but more homey).  The bedrooms all were in about 2 or 3 vertical hallways with a horizontal hallway at the head, where we came down the stairs.  When we turned left, we went down the hall a short distance and came to a door.  The door kind of looked like it would just go out to a garage or something.  And there was some kind of break between the hall and the door, kind of like it wasn’t attached to the house – I can’t remember exactly, just that I had to step over something.  Anyway, so I open the door, and there is this HUGE family room in there.  It’s like one of those big party rooms at a clubhouse or something.  There’s a big t.v., several really nice, big couches, a kitchen area with a counter, fridge, sink.  There was probably some game equipment, too, but I don’t remember for sure.  So, I go over to the couches and there is a random assortment of, I don’t know, probably 7 or 8 of our other cousins.  People who live far away, in all different cities & states.  There were some faces I recognized, and some of them I just knew they were my cousins but didn’t register exactly who they were.  But none of them were people I’ve spent a ton of time with before.  I haven’t really talked often or in depth with them in real life – these aren’t the cousins I’m “closest to.”  But of course I’m happy to see them, and we visit for a little bit.  It’s nice to spend time with them.  Oh, and there were people in all parts of the room.  I’m assuming they were family as well, but I’m not sure.  Anyway, so it’s time to go to bed, and we all head out to the super fancy bedrooms.  Thing is, they appear to all be taken.  For the rest of the dream, I’m just wandering from bedroom to bedroom, looking for a place to sleep.  I don’t seem to be distressed or bothered by it at all.  I’m just wandering around saying hi to everybody and seeing if there is an extra bed.

You may be asking, how is that dream similar to the one with the gang fight and the person falling off the building, and being chased around a warehouse?

Well, luckily I was not being chased or confronted in this dream.  But it still has the theme of looking for somewhere to sleep, somewhere to live, somewhere to BE.  Looking for a place to belong.  And what bothers me about this dream is that I couldn’t find it among my family.  And that, in my dream, this didn’t bother me.  But as I’ve been contemplating over the last couple days, it really isn’t setting well.  I mean, there were so many great places to sleep, but nowhere was working out.  I don’t know if it’s because there weren’t any beds (there were 2 or 3 beds in each room) or if the people weren’t comfortable with me being there, or if I wasn’t comfortable sharing a room with them.  Nobody said anything unkind or harsh or dismissive.  I can’t put my finger on what it was that had me moving from room to room.  I just wasn’t finding what I was looking for, I guess.  And that kind of bothers me, too.  I mean, what if it wasn’t that I wasn’t being accepted?  What if the real problem was that I just couldn’t be satisfied with what was provided?  I don’t know which it was.

So, anyway, that’s what’s on my mind today.

 

Adventure Update

I haven’t posted anything about this for awhile, so I thought I’d let you know that the plans ARE still in progress.  I have decided to skip Denver and hit the Philadelphia area instead, so here is my tentative order of cities, for now:  Philadelphia, Boston, somewhere near D.C., visit friends in Texas and Arizona, and then head up to Portland.  I had some minor financial setbacks and so will be heading out sometime next August instead of April or May.  But I’m okay with that.  I am freeing myself up to not be stuck on doing anything on a particular schedule (I do feel good about August, though).  This is a journey of self-discovery as much as external exploration, and so I’m just going to let things progress naturally and see what life brings me.  BRING IT, Life!

For now, I’m just working as hard as I can so that I can get the car, glasses, and dental bills paid off as soon as possible.  That way, I’ll have longer to save up.  I’m gradually getting most of my stuff either given away or sold.  I sold a bunch of books, CD’s and movies to Half-Price Books the other week.  I’ll probably take more in if they will buy CD’s with paper cases instead of the plastic jewel cases.  If not, I’ll be looking for another way to sell them.  I’ve donated a few things to friends and to Goodwill and will probably end up doing that with a few more things.  It kind of works out that I pushed my leave date back to the end of next summer.  This way, I can crash someone’s garage sale again to get rid of whatever little things I have left, plus the bigger things I’m using till then but will be getting rid of, like my desk, futon, bed frame, dresser, and air purifier.  I feel like I’ve made good progress on the “minimalizing” so far, though.  AND, I actually don’t feel like I’m depriving myself by not buying stuff.  I’ve been surprised by how good it feels, actually.  It’s kind of like an added freedom to literally not want stuff.  I go to the store for food and things I’m going to use, but I walk right past the decorating, electronics, books – all the stuff I used to always browse.  Maybe it feels so good because I know that by doing that, I’m one step closer to my goal.

The hardest thing has been my birds.  I’ve had them for a few years now.  I’m used to the sounds they make and to seeing them every time I get home.  I’m kind of attached to them.  But it will be necessary to find them a new home.  I just can’t take them with me.  But I haven’t been able to find someone to take them yet, either.  It’s not like giving away a cuddly cat or a playful dog.  Birds are a lot different.  Good thing I have a year!  I’m sure I’ll find someone.

As for money, I plan to save as much as I can so I’ll have a good cushion.  Then I’ll work temp jobs for food and any rent I’ll have, etc.  For housing, I plan to contact someone in the stake I’m headed to and ask them if they know anyone who is renting and what part of town is the safest/most convenient/etc.  Maybe they’ll know specific neighborhoods or apartment complexes to contact.  I also have friends who live in and/or know people in most of the cities I’m planning to visit, so they might know things, too.  Plus it will be good if I’m able to spend time with them while I’m there, as well.

Also, my book is almost done!  I have wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember, so this brings a huge sense of accomplishment with it.  Well, it will – as soon as I, you know, accomplish it.  But it is CLOSE!  I am going to the local authors’ fair at the FW library in November and WILL have copies of the book with me.  I am making this real!

I am VERY excited about this journey.  I feel it is necessary to my growth and important for me in all aspects of my life.  I have so many things to learn that this experience will be PERFECT for teaching.  But I am also heartbroken to be leaving people here in Indiana who have become such a big part of my life in the last few years.  It will be both a joyous and a painful separation, I am sure.  But I pray that anyone who might feel like I am a part of their life will be happy knowing that this is going to open doors for me and lead me to be a more complete person and perhaps a better friend.  That is one of my sincerest desires, to be able to share more love with people and be a more attentive, caring, interested, giving, supportive friend.  It sounds backwards that leaving my friends could possibly be a way to accomplish this.  I don’t know if it makes sense, either, but I do know that this is definitely the next step for me.  And if it will benefit me as a person, then it will benefit my friendships as well.  I’m excited to see what Life has in store!

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