Wednesday, April 2, 2014

{on my heart}


i feel delicate in the best way possible these days.  everything in life feels tender and beautiful and like too much, all at once.  i've cried every single day the past week for a variety of reasons...after hearing beautiful sad and happy songs...after reading beautiful words on beautiful blogs...after seeing pictures of mountains and worn maps and cups of coffee and romantic-looking clocks...

i am especially teary when it comes to Jesus.  Heaven is for Real did that to me.  it made Jesus feel even more personal in my every day moments, and these days, i just sit there and think of Him, and i want to bawl like a baby.  

it is all so good.  and i really like this version of myself.  the version that sees so much life and beauty in everything that there is hardly room for the bad.

part of it, i think, is the fact that Ethan is almost home.  i can feel myself slowly putting away the armor i've been donning for the past 6 months.  pulling off my helmet and shaking out the curls i've kept hidden underneath.  i can see home right up the hill now.  i am almost there.  almost safe.  it is so good.

but i am also sure that it is Jesus, too.  our spring is colder than i'd like it to be.  our January was warmer than this.  but around this time, around spring, every year, Jesus beckons forth new blossoms in me.  my roots are shaking off the icy ground, and coming to the surface for warmth and beauty.  that's how i feel now.

it never lasts, but i always pray it does.  i'll never stop praying for that.


i read the most beautiful blog yesterday...full of posts that stopped me in my tracks, left me breathless, made me cry.  and it made me want to never stop writing.

i struggle with this space a lot.  i struggle because everyone blogs these days.  i struggle because writing is something that always made me happy, and now i feel like i'm supposed to use it to make other people happy.  i struggle because writing is my way of making things make sense, of telling a story.  and i am always afraid that, somehow, this is a waste of time.  that maybe this story doesn't matter.  i struggle because other people share gorgeous pictures and host giveaways, while i just write about menial details.  but the truth is, every detail i write about is important to me.  what i wore yesterday, what i ate, what movie i watched...i write those things, not for anyone else, but for myself.  because each of those things represent a certain part in my story.  of how i felt in a particular moment.  they help me not to forget who i am, and where i've been.

people have asked me if i ever consider being an author and the truth is, "write a book" used to be on my bucket list, but i took that off a couple years ago.  i don't want to be an author anymore because that's too much pressure.  too much to worry about.  i just want to write without caring about relevance, meaning, popularity, whatever.  i want to write because i love writing.

truthfully i have always wanted my thing.  you know, the THING. the  one of my brothers has his guitar, the other has his drums, and my sister is takes gorgeous pictures, and can draw amazingly.

for a long time, i was always searching for MY thing.  and a couple months ago, i realized i had them all along: singing and writing.   and while i do well at both of those things, that is not why i do them.  i do them because they take me to that out-of-body place, where nothing else matters, and where everything magically makes sense.  i do them because they bring me peace.  i do them because they make me feel the most like myself.  but most of all, i do them because they make me feel WHOLE.

i always thought your THING had to be something you shared with the world.  but i realize now that it doesn't have to be like that.  in my case, my things are the things that i want to hold the closest to me.  in my early college years, a lot of people i knew got sheet music or music-related things tattooed on them.  i always felt like i was "supposed" to do that to show how much music meant to me.  but i never could, because i felt like getting a tattoo like that would actually lessen it.  that it would cheapen something that is so near and dear to my heart.  i imagine it being something like an artist who paints pictures, and then hangs them up on their own walls, or even stores them up in their attic, instead of putting them out there for sale.  the purpose of their painting is for no one else but themselves.

that is how i feel about singing.  it's also how i feel about writing.  so, even though this blog is public, i want to keep writing as if i'm that painter: all alone in my house, creating for no other reason other than it makes me feel happy, alive, and best of all, the most like myself.

"i am very pleased that you find joy with the piano.  This and carpentry are, in my opinion for your age, the best pursuits, better even than school.  Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those.  That is the way to learn the most,
that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don't notice that the time passes."
{--Albert Einstein}

Sunday, March 30, 2014

{stream of consciousness}

been thinking about life lately.  about how funny it is.  about connections with people.  about making a difference.  about finding yourself.  about purpose.  about beauty.  about God.

-- on a daily basis, i struggle with negativity.  i look for/expect the worst in people and situations.  i find myself being on the defense more often than not.  i am always prepared to do battle.  in some ways, i think it is a normal response to my environment.  the people i spend the most time with are my coworkers.  several of these people are consistently telling me how my life is, what i should do, how i should think.  that has worn me down so much over time that i can't help but be defensive.  i know their intentions are not at all malicious.  and i've tried sitting back and not fighting back and going along with them.  and that makes for peace, but it makes me feel as if i'm being stepped on all the time.  as if i'm allowing people to see me in a light that's not accurate.  and that makes me feel that the person i really am has no value.  i don't want THEM to put me in a box where i don't fit or belong.  so i fight back against their perceptions of me, and i don't like myself there, either.  it makes me feel hardened.  so, i struggle with being the balance of being vulnerable and feminine, while also being strong and upfront.  i'm not completely happy with either of those people.

-- of course, i'm not entirely negative about all my circumstances.  the thing i find myself being most positive about are my relationships with the people i love.  i think about my family and friends EVERY DAY, and i smile and pray over them and give thanks for having them in my life.  over the past couple years, i feel i have really grown into a place of freedom with all of my people, and that freedom only seems to be increasing with time.  even though most of my relationships are long-distance, i still love that i am still hugely part of their lives.  i love that Viktoria calls me to tell me about her pregnancy.  hearing about baby shower themes, and listing off names for boys and girls.  i love that i was just getting to know Yesenia when she was pregnant with Henry, and that, tomorrow, i'll be going to his 2nd birthday party.  i love that Ryan texts me and emails me about how he's really doing, and that Amberly sends me pictures of her hair, and the new nail polishes she just bought.  i love that Kyle calls me EVERY Friday, on his day off, to check in and talk.  i love that Kate calls me "just to say hi," and we end up talking for 3 hours.  i love that all of these people tell me they love me, and they miss me.  they miss ME?  i can't fathom it, but i LOVE it.  i love this ebb and flow of the relationships in my life.  it's so beautiful, and i wouldn't change any part of it.

i watched Under the Tuscan Sun recently, and the themes in the movie further indented these ideas in my heart.  relationships with each other...that is what matters.  sharing life and burdens and tears together...being open about struggles and faith and doubt...talking about dreams and encouraging each other in them...feeling that, at the end of the day, the people in my life are here to stay?  wow.  what an incredible gift.

going along with that same theme, i read this quote on Tumblr recently: "You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever." {--How I Met Your Mother}

it brought tears to my eyes to realize how true that is.  there are so many people who live in my past.  and they are all people who i thought would be in my present forever.  and i want to work hard to never let that happen again.  no more parting with people forever.  

-- i struggle with empty productivity.  i run around and do menial, meaningless things, and at the end of the day, i am always dissatisfied.  i am trying DESPERATELY to get out of that habit, and it's hard.  but i'm making a conscious effort to be more purposeful with my time, and to remember that i always have choices.

-- i want to stop worrying about TIME.  i don't do a lot of the things i truly desire to do because i worry about time.  i realized that i hadn't been blogging for a while because, every time i did, i was watching the clock, thinking about all the other things i "should" be doing.  i'm learning to stop that now.  no more watching the clock.  no more treating time as something to fight.  

that's hard for me because i feel it slipping by more and more these days.  but i found that trying to hold onto it doesn't slow it down anymore.  so, instead, i want to enjoy it.

-- other things i want to do: stop counting calories.  stop thinking about how much sugar is in the stuff i eat.  go makeup-less more often.  give more gifts.  stop feeling guilty about things that don't matter.  pray more.  stop apologizing for my wounds.

-- i've been realizing more and more these days that i don't really know who i am.  any time i ask myself that question, i come up with a blank.  i want to stop coming to MYSELF with that question, and start coming to GOD with that question.  i want to stop being my own, and start being His.

-- lastly, i've been thinking about Heaven is for Real a lot lately.  after having read that book, so many bits and pieces of it come to me during the day.  today, i am thinking about Jesus' "markers," (the wounds in His hands and feet), and i'm just reveling in them, and adoring Him.  

that's all my messy for today.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

{life lately}

life has been full lately.  in some ways, a little too full.  i have been running around like a crazy person doing a lot of unnecessary things.  and on Tuesday, i think my body said, "Enough," and i came home from work, went to sleep, and didn't wake up until work the next morning.  it felt awesome.

-- last Sunday was one of my favorite days. i was house-sitting in the morning.  i made bacon and took the dog for a long, morning walk.  the weather was chilly, so it gave me an excuse to wear my favorite pretty blue sweater.  after that, i watched Under the Tuscan Sun, in which i proceeded to cry all the way through.  i love the realness of that movie--how there's no real climax.  it's  and how people come in and out of it, and they hurt us and change us and grow us and love us, and all of it makes us better. 

after that, i headed home.  on the way, i picked up some daffodils, and i made pretty little bouquets in mason jars, with twine bows, for my roommates.  then, i made myself a HUGE white mocha, and prepared a delicious crockpot stew.  while the stew was simmering, i meal-prepped for the rest of the week.  then, i arranged the fake flowers i bought weeks ago in pretty little bouquets all around my room. it was therapeutic and beautiful.  in the evening, after the stew was ready, i watched Catching Fire for the umpteenth time.  it was seriously the best day ever. 

-- i bought a new vacuum and some pretty green Rachael Ray skillets, and i am super excited about both of them.  that's how you know you are getting old:)  this morning, i anxiously jumped out of bed to make bacon in my new skillets, and i am excited to use my new vacuum this afternoon;)

-- a week ago, i dyed my hair back to dark brown, which normally makes me feel more like myself.  but this time, the color felt too dark, too dismal, on me.  so i used this stuff, Color Oops, that i bought months ago, and put it on my hair.  it reversed it back to a reddish purpley color, except now all my highlights are showing.  so far, i love it.  that will probably change in a week, but for now, it feels brighter and happier and more spring-appropriate, and i love that, when i look in the mirror, i like what i see.

-- i also bought the prettiest eye shadow palette last weekend, which i ended up taking back.  i wore eye shadow every day this week, and every time i looked in the mirror, i didn't like myself very much.  i love make-up, but i am an all-natural kind of girl, so no more eye shadows for me.

-- i dropped my phone in a puddle a couple days ago, which infuriated me to no end. i was carrying too much stuff to the car, and i told myself i could manage.  no way, jose.  phone in a puddle next to the car.  i dried it out, put it in rice, and then tried putting it back together.  but when i turned it on, it sizzled and vibrated like crazy.  so, no more phone:( i was so sad because I LOVED that phone.  it was my favorite phone i've ever had.  but this has happened to me so many times, that i learned i'll forget about it soon enough.  onto the next phone...

-- i read Heaven is for Real last week.  the whole thing.  i am not much of a reader, but i stayed up late last Friday night, trying to finish it.  for those of you who don't know, the book is written by a dad whose 4-year-old son, Colton, went to heaven, and came back to tell about it.  it's a super easy read.  nothing particularly climactic happens.  but every step of the way, i found myself holding my breath.  and even a week later, i am still ruminating about the things he saw and felt in heaven.  i think my favorite part of the book was when he went with his pastor dad to visit a member of his church, an old man, at the hospital.  the man is taking dying, gasping breaths, and Colton goes over, takes his hand, and says, "It's going to be okay.  The first person you're going to see is Jesus."

i think about that line all the time now.  while sitting at work, and while driving, while standing in line at the grocery store... and, when i do, i have to use all of my strength to hold myself together.  it makes me cry every time.  i mean, really, what a GIFT that is.  God gives us this beautiful, messy life, but reminds us, in a million ways, this isn't it.  it's only the beginning.  and He will be there with us, and for us, through all of it.  and i haven't lost many people in my grandpa, really, and a sibling in my mama's tummy.  but gosh, how amazing is it that i'll get to share eternity with them?  that reminder also helps me in this time apart from my family.  i hate the fact that being 450 miles away means that i get to miss out on a lot of family moments and memories.  but i am reminded that i'll get forever with them after this life is over.   how am i so lucky to have God love me that much?  i don't know, but i don't think i could ever stop giving thanks.

-- my next reads, which i picked up from the library, are The Sociopath Next Door, and Jeff Bethke's "Jesus>Religion."  i haven't been much of a reader in years, but i am loving reading books these days.

-- i got to move desks at work, which is such a little thing, but it feels like i just got to move into a brand new apartment.  like everything is fresh and new, and ready for me to make myself at home.

-- i got to hang out with Angie twice this week: first on Wednesday, which was a total blast.  we got vegan food for dinner, then went to the mall and walked around for a couple hours, talking and laughing and trying on new make-up.  last night, we went out to a shopping center, and walked around there for a few hours.  i got the cutest black maxi dress and the PRETTIEST lacy pink dress (i've been wanting a pink dress FOREVER) that has a bow that ties in the back.  i also found this amazing black purse (i never buy purses), but i didn't want to buy it because i didn't want to spend any more money.  so, Angie INSISTED on buying it for me as a two-month early birthday present.  she is the sweetest.

after our shopping excursion, we went to Lucky Strike, a bar/bowling alley, where we got buffalo chicken + drinks, then played pool for a couple hours.  after awhile, the two guys at the pool table next to ours invited us to play with them.  it was boys vs. girls, and we ended up (barely) beating them.  it was a blast.

overall, i just love hanging out with Angie.  she is seriously one of the sweet, most positive, uplifting people i've ever met.  plus, she's just as goofy as i am, so i feel right at home when i hang out with her;)

-- i've been missing Tennessee lately.  i've had a blog about our visit from almost a year ago, just sitting in my drafts, waiting for me to go through and add pictures.  but when i came back from  Tennessee originally, i was so happy to be back in California. i literally wanted to kiss the ground when i landed in SoCal. and the best part was going to class that night, where my school overlooks the Pacific.  the sun was just setting, it was absolutely gorgeous, and i had to wonder how anyone could ever want to live anywhere else.  and while i still do love SoCal, i'm missing Tennessee.  i'm missing the rolling green hills, the smell of barbecue and cigarette smoke in the downtown area, and all the cute little towns and barns my mama and i would pass by on our drives.  i miss the country music playing in the hotel, and how every restaurant we went to had the best barbecue.  most of all, i miss the slow pace, and the homey feel of it.  i'd like to go back soon.

-- speaking of mama, that little lady and my bebe seester will be coming down to visit me in about a month<3 we have big plans to go to Disneyland and Temecula, and hopefully spend some time at the beach:)

-- and speaking of big plans...Ethan will be home SOON.  these last days have been dragging, but i'm trying not to care because he's almost HOME.

other than that, the rest of today will be for: vacuuming and laundry; a phone date with Ryan; homework; fresh fruit smoothies and laying in the sun; Explosions in the Sky and Andy McKee on repeat; worship; restfulness and thankfulness.