Something New – #1

At the beginning of the year I said I was going to make this MY year and do more things for me. Try new things. And that’s exactly what I did tonight.

OK, show of hands, who knew that shooting guns at targets would be so much fun?! Not this girl! Don’t get me wrong, I was beyond pumped to go, I just didn’t think I’d enjoy myself as much as I did. I learned a lot too, probably because the guy I went with trains the friggin SWAT team. Seriously. No exaggeration. If I was gonna go shooting with anyone for the first time, I definitely went with the right person. 

I was proud of myself, and so was he. I was pretty accurate for my first time out and not as “girly” or timid as he thought I might be. Ha! Clearly he doesn’t know me very well yet. “Girly” and “timid” aren’t usually terms used when describing me.

The most “girly” thing I did all night was probably the fact that I like the .22 better than the .45. I could probably get used to the .45 but it was too intense for me tonight. I found myself involuntarily closing my eyes when I pulled the trigger. Not exactly something you want to make a practice of. And even though my friend Patrick likened the .22 to shooting spitballs out of a straw, I still preferred it. 

Dave “taunted” me with a little black Bond-esque gun that was between a .22 and .45 which would probably be a happy medium for me, but I couldn’t shoot it because he didn’t have any bullets for it. BOO! I really liked the way it looked. If I were to own a gun on chick factor, it’d be that one. 

When all was said and done, I could actually see this being a recreational sport for me. Nothing to do with self defense or safety at all. I just enjoyed myself tonight, plain and simple.

When you’re down to nothing…

Sometimes I question things that I say – or don’t say – to people throughout the day. I go over conversations in my head and think of how I could’ve said or done something differently that would maybe make a better outcome. I know I’m not the only one who does this, and if you say you don’t, you’re probably lying to yourself. And now me. How could you?!

The simple fact of the matter is that we all fail daily. Even when we try our best and think we’re doing great, in one way or another we fail. Pretty disheartening, huh? But that’s part of being human. We’re not perfect. The Lord is though, and He doesn’t fail – EVER.

I’m reminded of the song One Thing Remains. If you have 12 minutes to spare, click that link and take a look-see. If not, the chorus says “Your love never fails/It never gives up/It never runs out on me”. We can rest in that truth, because it’s not changing. Ever. No matter what you think.

While I was driving home tonight I was reminded of the verse Romans 8:28 which says

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

and I found comfort in it. No matter what I do, no matter how I fail, no matter how much I think I’ve screwed everything up, He’s going to turn it into something glorious! I’ve seen it time and time again in my life, yet I still have a hard time accepting it and understanding it. Go figure. I guess I’m pretty thick-headed.

Probably one of the biggest moments of this in my life happened about 5 years ago. I was in a VERY rough time in my life, every love I knew had left (some violently) and I felt like I had no one and nothing. I had stopped going to church because the guy I was dating at the time got offended (understandably so) and I took on that offense as well, but I hadn’t found Valley Shore yet so I basically had no spiritual support group.

Let me back up a bit. About 11 or 12 years ago I had this overwhelming feeling that I didn’t belong in my church anymore, that The Lord wanted me to leave. Not because anything bad was going on, but because He molded me there to fit me somewhere else. But having been at this church for about 17 years I had no idea what to do with that feeling, it terrified me. So I suppressed it and got involved with as many things as I could to make myself fit. Guess what, it didn’t work. And I didn’t wind up leaving for another 6 or 7 years. That’s a long time to be out of the will of God and covered in grace! MAN, am I’m thankful for grace!

Anyway, looking back I fully believe that The Lord allowed me to be in that toxic relationship for as long as I was and allowed the offense to come in because at that point He was out of options. He tried to tell me nicely to go, and I didn’t listen. Then I got burnt out every time I tried to be a part of something, still didn’t listen. It took heart-wrenching offense and grief in order for me to go where He was leading me.

And while 5 years ago I was convinced that I messed everything up and failed in ways I never thought possible, He turned it all around for good! My life is 1-million times better than I ever imagined and I have a stronger and more real relationship with the Maker of the universe. Pretty cool! Plus, I was able to start walking in my destiny! Something I was asked to NOT do previously! I literally had to be pushed out in order to get there.

So I know, that no matter what I say or what I do, in the end, The Lord sees the big picture and knows just where to place me and the things/people around me to make everything great again. I don’t have to worry about it!

Let’s be real…I’m going to worry about it haha

BUT if I keep reminding myself that He never fails and that He’ll make everything work together for my good, I can get through the day without running my car off the road. Ok, that was a bit drastic, but you know what I mean.

So be encouraged today. When you feel like you’re down to nothing…that’s when God is up to something. Wait it out, trust in Him, and brace yourself for the results. Chances are, it’ll blow your mind.

Dreams & Goals

I’m sitting here FINALLY able to watch some of The Olympics and I’m blown away by these people. I’m always pumped for The Olympics because it’s a reason for me to be excited about my country, but this year I’m really thinking about the actual people that are competing. ALL of the people, not just the ones from The States.

Most of these men and women have devoted their entire lives to training and prepping to compete in the Olympic games. Somewhere out there, there’s a 5 year old who wants to be the next Shawn White and they’re going to get up early, and possibly travel really far, to make that dream a reality – for the next 20 years. 20 years! Do you know what I wanted to do 20 years ago? Be a Girl Scout and play piano. I had one conversation with my parents about joining the Girl Scouts (never happened, I didn’t fight for it, and it doesn’t bother me at all) and I have almost completely lost my ability to read sheet music. I can rock chords like no one’s business though, so I’ve got that going for me.

These people are so inspiring! They saw something they wanted and they went for it with everything in them. Sure they fell, got hurt, maybe broke bones, had concussions, maybe someone even went into a coma! Who knows! And I’m confident they had to make hard decisions and miss out on a lot of things that most of us consider “must-haves” in childhood like prom and class trips. But to them it was all worth it, because they saw Olympic Gold and would settle for nothing less. CRAZY!

If we devoted a quarter of our time and efforts into our hopes and dreams that they do can you imagine where we’d be?

I know personally, sometimes I let those mishaps and roadblocks become bigger than they really are, and I let them slow me down or stop me altogether.

For example: running. This is a goal of mine this year. I will become a runner. But I’ve already hit a few road blocks. First, the weather turned on me and it’s been ENTIRELY too cold to run outside. So I have to drag my butt to the gym. The gym, mind you, that’s 5 minutes from my house, and I still have to drag myself kicking and screaming. I guess the good news is that I do it.

BUT I no longer have gym shoes, because I threw them out a couple days ago. Why, you ask? Because they sucked. My feet always went numb during cardio and last week I got a giant blister on my heel. So yeah, they’re done. I couldn’t take it anymore. Nike’s are not the shoe for me. Now I have to find time (and money) to go get my feet measured and get properly fitted for running shoes – something I’ve wanted to do, and now I have to. And who knows when that’ll be. Next week maybe? I don’t know…

What kinds of dreams and goals do you have? What’s stopping you? Are you going to sit back and let it or are you going to grab the reigns of your life back and press onward? 

Guys, if these men and women can devote their ENTIRE LIVES to riding a board face first down an ice track at ridiculous speeds and not dying, why can’t we devote ours to our dreams?

What makes their dreams better than ours? The answer, is nothing

“Surviving” Valentines Day

First of all, why do we single people feel that we need to “survive” this day? Why is it so awful? Girls walk around wearing black instead of red, they mope, they get angry when they see happy couples walking around hand-in-hand being all lovey-dovey with each other, and don’t even get me STARTED on how they react to the social media posts. Even if they don’t put it out there, they hate every single one of those “happy valentines day baby! i love you!”s.

Valentine’s Day is like salmon to me. I WANT to like it, I really do! But every time I try I’m disappointed.

Maybe it’s because of Hollywood with their movies like The Notebook. Everyone wants a love like Noah and Allie, right? I mean, look at these two! They’re adorable!

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But is this reality? Does this kind of love really exist? I once asked a guy I was dating if he thought this kind of love was real and if it was out there. He said yes. He was confident. Me on the other hand? My response was “I sure hope so, because if it doesn’t, I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.”

As much as I enjoy a good chick flick, since I am, in fact, a “chick”, they just really piss me off sometimes. I can’t watch them and think “this could happen to me” because when you get down to it, I just don’t think it will. At least not like Hollywood portrays it.

It’s not only Hollywood that has me cynical towards love and Valentine’s Day though. So without further ado, here are a few reasons why I don’t like this day:

1. I was never popular as a kid nor did I have the highest self-esteem (I don’t these days either, but I’ve always been able to hide it well). All those cards you get as a kid with the candy attached to it? I was always convinced that most people only gave them to me because their mom or dad said they had to get one for everyone in the class. Don’t get me wrong, I had my little group of friends and I knew they liked me and put an effort into picking out the best card for me, and I did the same for them, I was just very skeptical of the rest of the cards in my little mailbox on my desk.

2. One guy I dated, who will remain nameless because this is public (I’m really trying to be good here guys and not offend anyone, one day this will end, enjoy it while you can), HATED Valentine’s Day and EVERYTHING about it. Most guys I’ve dated have, actually. Why do I always find the angry ones? Ha! That’s a post for another time. MOVING ALONG! This guy would complain leading up to the day about how much it sucked and how it was a hallmark holiday and how he was required to buy me expensive roses even though I REPEATEDLY told him throughout the year that I’m not a huge fan of roses and that I prefer tulips or lilies. So he would buy me the roses and complain about it, and I would accept them graciously (because what girl doesn’t like flowers), but they never made me feel loved. They made me feel like I was a hassle and a nuisance. Guys, if you’re reading this and you feel this way about today PLEASE for the love of all females out there don’t make them feel like this. It doesn’t end well, I promise.

3. There have been a few times over the years (and more so these last 5) that I couldn’t really tell you if I was dating someone on February 14th or not. There was never a title, never a commitment. And people, this just makes it awkward for EVERYONE! There was one time that the guy liked me way more than I liked him but for the majority it’s been the other way around. And for the person who’s heart isn’t in it, that dinner/day/whatever becomes 24hrs of awkward stress. Do we go out to dinner? Do we acknowledge the day? Do we even talk? Maybe I should ignore them. Do I get them something? What if the gift is too much? What if it’s not enough? What if we do go out to dinner? What do I wear? Ok, girls probably are the only ones who worry about that last thing, but still! Any other day it wouldn’t matter at all. But because of the gravity of Valentine’s Day you feel obligated to define what you have with that person.

4. I really don’t need any more chocolate. Everyone has to have limits.

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Now, just so you don’t think I’m too cynical towards love, because I’m really trying to be good here and not let myself get into the “Singles Awareness Day” funk that I feel knocking on my door, there are some things that I enjoy and have enjoyed about this day.

1. I ALWAYS get a card from my grandmother with $1 in it. I can always count on Rose to remember me (even if she gets my birthday wrong).

2. After I graduated from high school I started dating my friend’s brother, Justin. (I’ll use his name because this is something GOOD haha) We were on and off for two years, but to this day he still holds the trophy for the best Valentine’s Day card in my book, and I still have it too! The front has a picture of a dog and it says “I like you so much…” and then you open it to see the dog’s tail wagging like crazy and it says “…my tail might fall right off my butt!” hahaha! And bonus points: he took the time to write more than his name on the inside! I don’t remember what he wrote exactly, but I know it was something sweet. He always did a good job at making me feel like I mattered.

3. Today I got a text from my dad wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day and telling me that he loves me. 🙂

4. I’ve been told I need to make sure I’m at church on Sunday because one of my goddaughter’s has something for me. I love when they give me stuff because there’s always so much thought and love behind it. Their parents are doing a great job raising those 3.

5. It’s an excuse for me to get more chocolate….but the next day, when it’s 50% off…because I really don’t have limits with chocolate. Who was I kidding?

But seriously guys, why do we need a day to remind us to tell people that we love them? Shouldn’t we be doing that every day? Shouldn’t we always love on people? Yes, it’s nice to have a day dedicated to love, but I think society puts too much weight on it. Maybe that’s just me being cynical and if I had someone to share today with that actually loved me I’d feel differently, but it’s my thoughts.

So with that, I’m going to eat my pizza that’s finally done and pass the crap out because I just had a ridiculously long week. But I’ll write about that tomorrow.

Cousister Day

OK, it’s been almost a week since I last wrote. Well, wrote here, which is only bad for you if you’re one of those people that lives for my updates. Sorry guys, trying to keep the innocent innocent is hard! Pretty sure it’s only a matter of time before I vent here and give too many details and offend someone. I’m doing my best.

Anyway, I’m traveling for work all this coming week (I leave at 4am tomorrow…that’s gonna suck) and have a LONG week of work ahead of me. Like, I’m pretty sure it’ll just be Monday afternoon that I’ll have “free”. But it’s worth it, so I’m not complaining. I’ll try and post some sort of update but I can’t guarantee anything.

So I made it a point to write this today before I go to bed. It’s not even 8pm and I’m ready to go to sleep, which is definitely a good thing. I’m so glad I didn’t take a nap today! 

I’m exhausted because I had quite the day yesterday, and then a CRAPPY nights sleep. See: 

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I usually average 85%-90% sleep quality, but last night was 61%, so I didn’t feel bad about being so tired this morning. (And for any of you wondering, this app is called Sleep Cycle and it tracks your sleeping patterns. Still not sure what I’m supposed to get out of it, but whatevs, it’s cool)

Yesterday was a blast though. I went to visit my Cousister (cousin/sister) Alex in Jersey. We had a day of Sara (we’re obsessed with Sara Barielles) and then we went to dinner with her boyfriend and some of their friends for their birthdays. His was on the 3rd and hers was on the 5th. Below are some pics from my day. 

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That’s us up in the corner. And our songbook lineup for the day. We’re not crazy, I promise!

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OK, maybe we’re KINDA crazy

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For those of you who aren’t friends with me on facebook, this is tradition. You’ll get used to it

 

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It’s a little hard to see, but that’d be a sangria tower. And it holds 100oz of liquid. Crazy? Yes, Crazy Delicious!

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Al and Chris with their GIANT cupcake (apparently everything is big at this place). And yes that’s a sparkler…

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…a sparkler that apparently is not intended for indoor use. Well done Boom Burger, well done

 

And I’ll leave you with this: I rocked my 90’s pop pandora station on the way home and discovered that I still know EVERY – SINGLE – LYRIC to Jumpin Jumpin. So there’s that. *slow clap for my brain*

 

It’s been a while…

I haven’t written in a few days, and for that I apologize. I have plenty to write about right now but to be honest, I need to sort out my feelings on things before I put them into words for all of creation to read. So before I go back to journaling and songwriting (which I’ve found to be a very useful tool) I’ll leave you with these couple things:

1. ShorelineNOW was on Saturday, and it was great. I was so blessed to be a part of it! Here are some pictures (Courtesy of Paul Wheeler and Bill Fish…thanks guys!)

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2. Super Bowl Sunday was, I can’t even put it into words. Exactly what I needed? My friends are the best. Not really any pictures from that, just a ton of hilarious tweets:

First, Meghan didn’t know who U2 was (hence my reaction here)Image

Then the internets took over, and were more entertaining than the commercials…

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Then JCPenny got drunk…

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And Evan Bolton FaceTimed in from Japan!!!

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OK, this was good for me. I’m not as angry anymore.