Saturday, December 31, 2011

30 while 30

Ok, so I totally am stealing this idea from my amazing friend Tara, who posted her list on her blog a little while ago. I was oringally going to wait and publish my 30 goals in a post on my 30th birthday, detailing all the things I'd like to accomplish in that year, but I'm going to cheat a little bit for two reasons. 1- it's NYE and I'm supposed to be coming up with resolutions anyway and 2- some of my goals I need to start ASAP. If I wait until I turn 30 in May, I will be that much further behind.... so I'm giving myself 17 months to accomplish these things and will revise the list as necessary....

1. Walk Riley at least 4 times a week
2. Go to a fitness class (like Zumba or belly dancing) at least once/week (I'm so not a gym person)
3. Finish reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation
4. Have quiet time at least 4 days a week
5. Increase my financial giving to the church
6. Read two books/month not related to school
7. Volunteer my time at Trinity with the youth group and women's ministries
8. Visit Miriam in Boston
9. Visit Bethy in Maine
10. Try one new recipe a month
11. Write at least two blog posts/month
12. Learn to drink/like beer
13. Increase my fruit and vegetable intake
14. Decrease my fats and oils intake (less desserts after dinner)
15. write one email/letter or make one phone call to a friend who lives out of state/month (mass emails do not count)
16. Take a real vacation (one that involves sitting poolside somewhere in the tropics)
17. Learn to make macaroons
18. Believe I'm worth it
19. Go talk to friends at school about non-school related items once/week
20. Curse less
21. Hang curtains in my bedroom
22. Grow in my relationship with God (learn to trust Him more and myself less)
23. Visit a museum in Houston every other month
24. Take 4 cooking classes @ Sur La Table
25. Pay off my credit cards
26. Take more deep breaths
27. Have friends over for dinner at least once/month
28. Buy myself fresh cut flowers for no reason
29. Visit the farmer's market
30. Be more spontaneous/open to new experiences

Great is Thy Faithfulness

As I was doing my quiet time on this New Year's Eve morning, I noticed some common themes between my life and that of the Israelites- God's infinite provision and compassion/mercy. Back in August, I decided that I was going to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In the past 4 months, I have only just made it through the first five books- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and barely begun Joshua. But already, there have been so many ways that the Lord has provided for his people. He provided Adam with a mate, He provided a sacrifice for Abraham to take the place of Isaac; He used Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery to provide for the family during the famine; He protected Moses from being killed by Pharoah; He plagued Egypt until Pharoah let His people go; He passed over the homes of the Israelites when the angel of death swept through the land; He parted the red sea so they could cross on dry land; He gave them commandments and created a covenant with his people, even specifying provision for the widow, the orphan and the poor; He fed them manna and quail in the desert for 40 years; He made water spring forth from a rock; He appeared as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night so that the Israelites would know He was present; He protected the spies who went into the promised land; He caused the Jordan river to stop flowing so the Israelites could cross; He destroyed Jericho only with the sound of shouting and trumpets; He gave over the cities of the promised land to His people so that they would be completely defeated (and I'm sure there are many more instances, these are just the ones that readily came to mind). Through everything, even their constant grumbling, complaining, unbelief and turning away from Him, God provided for His people because he loved them.

Of course, the biggest provision God ever made was sending His son Jesus as a perfect sacrifice for all of our sins. Through that sacrifice, God has provided a way for us to be forgiven, an everlasting and eternal relationship with Him and the assurance of a place in heaven. Despite all of our turning away, our grumbling, our complaining, and our sin, God has given us these things because He loves us. 

Romans 8:38-39 says "neither death nor life, angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to seperate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Just as God provided for the Israelites, God has provided for me in many amazing ways. Seeing as how 2011 is about to end, here is just a short list that represents a much more encompassing list of the ways God has provided for me in 2011.

1. He granted me strength and courage to walk away from a 4 year relationship that wasn't Godly, fulfilling. or pleasing to Him.

2. He blessed me with many friends to support me in my transition to singleness and who continue to support me on a daily basis.

3. He gave me opportunities to draw closer to Him and several coworkers through Bible Study

4. In February, He taught me about putting the needs of others first by giving me my sweet rescue puppy Riley.

5. He renewed my sense of community and belonging by granting me a church family here in Houston like that of my church family in Allentown

6. He has brought new friendships into my life that are helping to develop different aspects of myself

7. He has given me renewed hope

8. He has kept me safe in all of my travels

9. He has provided me training in communication skills and is allowing me to use those skills to help others via Stephen Ministry

10. He has kept me from giving into temptation

11. He has renewed and restored relationships with family members.

As I completed my quiet time, I was reminded of one of my favorite hymns... Great is Thy Faithfulness...

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever will be.

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Refrain

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Refrain

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Trust the process!!

Over and over again in my Stephen Ministry class, our leader has been saying "Trust the Process" in regards to being patient with out learning of all the necessary and required skills. As we were reviewing all this again on Tuesday night, God spoke directly to my heart, telling me that I need to "trust the process" in one particular aspect of my life. I have told more than a few people that I "just want to know" with regards to this issue.  I want things to happen yesterday- on my time and not God's. I want things to work out the way I want them to, not necesarily desiring God's best for me. I am learning, growing and enjoying my more regular quiet times with God to be sure. I am learning more about His character and His compassion to be sure.... but if I'm really honest with myself, part of me has started thinking that if I just start reading the Bible enough, or praying enough, or being good enough that God would reward me with one of the deepest desires of my heart, but at the same time, believing that I'm not quite good enough or loveable enough to deserve that desire. Author Fil Anderson says it this way, which really resonated with me: "my hopes for the future have been haunted by my blunders of the past. My desperate longing to get my life right has been dogged by the nagging fear that it will never happen, given the obvious fact that I am helplessly flawed."
Don't you just love when you read something or hear something in a song that puts your feelings into words better than you ever could?!

As I was reminded on Tuesday night, my role is not to always know or understand but to trust. Fil Anderson says "prayer is God's business and what is most necesary is my willingness to surrender to what God desires, trusting God with the results (apparent or otherwise). If I am wise, I'll wait on God and persist in prayer without being consumed or frustrated with thinking about what I might receive in reurn."  How easy to know, how difficult to practice!!!!

Gracious Father- you who did not even spare your own son that I might be redeemed now and in eternity, renew my hope and faith that I might trust you to bless me with only the best you have for me, instead of settling for something less. Remind me of your faithfulness in my doubt and be faifthful to complete the good work you began in me, even as my sin constantly gets in the way.

**** all quotes taken from Fil Anderson's book- Running on Empty, contemplative spirituality for over achievers.


I've always enjoyed being busy. I like to take on projects that make me feel needed and useful. Too often though, the busyness becomes overwhelming and I feel like I'm drowning. My friend Rachel from church lent me a book called Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers.  I Only 5 pages in and already I felt convicted; knowing that I need to let go of some things in order to have a more fulfilling relationship with the Lord. I need to learn to be still as Psalm 46:1 says- Be still and know that I am God."

Here are some quotes form the book that have helped me to put things in perspective...

P. 5- "I had perfected busyness but failed miserably at stillness"
P. 20- "the noise, busyness and hurry deliver nothing but a heart that's hard of hearing and a life of anxious longing, and weary disappointment."
P. 47- "with my mind, I can reason that God's love is true. But in day to day life, experiencing that God's love for the single thing that establishes, governs and maintains my personal worth is my greatest struggle...I must recognize that being 'the apple of God's eye' is not merely a nice idea, a worthy goal, or an inspirational thought. It's the one and only name by which God recognizes me and intends to relate to me. This kind of truth must make it's way into my heart if I'm to live in any meaningful and lasting degree of freedom."
P. 87- "Discipline means being intentional about preventing everything in my life from being filled up. The diligent watchfulness guards my soul from intrusions that crowd out God."
P. 96- "It's essential that I understand the health of my relationship with God is ultimately God's responsibility. My responsibility is providing space for solitute and silence so that God may attend to the needs of my soul. I'm just the innkeeper making room for the Guest."
P. 176- " Only when I'm listening to God's voice, and not my own, am I set free from having to prove to the world (or to myself) that I am worth loving, because God has already, repeatedly, affirmed his love for me."

Lord, help me to subtract all of the things out of my life that distract me from you. I want to serve you with my whole heart. Amen

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Let it Be

I'm always surprised at the way God speaks to me, especially when I'm not actively seeking him in prayer or when I don't even really seem to be listening. On Tuesday night, I was driving home from Stephen Ministry training class about 9:30. I was listening to Delilah on 99.1 as I always do- Thankfully she's here in TX too! I wasn't really paying attention to anything that was playing; instead I was thinking about a friend that I'm very concerned about. I was worrying and fretting and wondering what I could do to help or to make him understand how much he is valued. Out of nowhere, I turned my attention back to the radio, only to hear the song "Let it Be" by the Beatles. I was particularly struck by the chorus, "let it be, there will be an answer, let it be." With those 11 simple words, God reminded me that I am not in control of the situation, but He is and that it will be resolved according to His will. I immediately felt comforted. All this week, in addition to prayer when I feel anxious, I have been reminding myself to "let it be" and it has helped me tremendously. I pray that I may always be reminded of this simple truth.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dropping the Ball

This phrase has always had a negative connotation to me. It says that I haven't lived up to my responsibilities, that I've let someone down, or done something I shouldn't have. Generally it is something that I try to avoid.

Three weeks ago at Bible Study, Beth Moore put the phrase into a new context, one that I am trying to embrace for the rest of my life, starting with the next nine weeks of Bible Study. 

She told the story of her dog, a border collie, who is obsessed with her ball. She loves her ball so much that she drops the ball in her food dish and eats around it, she puts it in her water dish and drinks around it because she cannot bear to be parted from it. One day, she was chasing a bird or a squirrel or some other woodland creature and she cannot catch it because she won't put put down the ball, not to mention that holding on to it makes breathing a slow and awkward process.
   Beth then challenged us to "drop the ball", to lay down our obsessions and all the things that we are holding on to which prevent us from reaching our goal- being in a close relationship with Jesus. She then went on to say that Jesus already broke our chains when he died on the cross- the chains are not holding us, but rather for whatever reason, we are holding onto our chains instead of clinging to the cross. I have been sharing this story with practically everyone because it has resonated so deeply with me.
For me, dropping the ball means letting go of my obsession with getting married and being in a relationship. It means being genuinely happy for friends and family members who are engaged or married or are otherwise in happy and fulfilling relationships, even when I am not. It entails a daily choice of focusing on the blessings God has given me, instead of the ones he hasn't. It means trusting that God will work for His good in my life and believing that He will grant the desires of my heart if I seek Him first. Dropping my ball means not watching romantic comedies or listening to love songs obsessively, since they only serve as constant reminders of what I don't have and they make me sad. It means reading my Bible more and praying more- being in constant communication with God, regardless of my circumstance. It means letting go of my plans and my hopes and dreams.

Dropping the ball is a constant and daily struggle. I find little thoughts creeping in and I have to literally talk out loud to myself and scold myself in order to stop the jealous thoughts. I have to turn off the radio, or skip songs on my ipod. It is a conscious choice, something I must be acutely aware of at all times. Thus far, I have been far from perfect. I find myself dropping the ball for a short time, only to pick it back up again a while later. It is asking God for forgiveness and starting over again. One benefit is that it has drawn me closer to God- I am spending more time communicating with him (mostly asking for his constant help). I know I am growing and that good will come out of it, but it is soooooo hard!

 Your turn- What ball do you need to drop?


Growing up Lutheran, I have been hearing the benediction at the end of the church service for nearly thirty years. It always means that church is over. You sing the last hymn and you are on your way out into the world to do whatever you need to accomplish. In the last few weeks, benedictions have taken on a whole new significance to me. One Sunday a few weeks ago, I was sitting in church and listening to the familiar words that I've heard all my life:
"The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." ~Numbers 6:24-26
and it was as if I was hearing those words for the first time. They truly penetrated my heart in a way that they never have before. I knew that God was speaking directly to me. A benediction is meant to be a blessing as you depart from somewhere, but as I just read in this week's pre-class reading for Stephen Ministry, a benediction also proclaims that God has you in his care and is responsible for your well being. A benediction says that God is in charge. If you look at the benediction above, it is clear that God is in charge- you are the receiver of God's blessings, there is nothing you do except receive the things which he intends for you.

The more I think about benedictions, the more I think about how they are not just for the end of the church service... if I ever get married, I would like a benediction or two spoken at my wedding. They are words of  comfort and blessing and more meaningful than any other toast I could think of... they are reminders of the great blessings God has already given, as well as a promise for future enrichment. Generally, they come directly from God's word (the Bible), so you can't go wrong there! To my friends and family who are getting married in the next few months- you can definitely expect a benediction written out in your cards from me.
To all of you reading this blog, here is my benediction for you (from 2 Corinthians13:14):
      ~The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holsy Spirit be with you all.~


In both Stephen Ministry class and the Beth Moore Bible study that I'm attending on Revelation, we've been talking about the Hebrew word "shalom" which means peace be with you. For so long, I always thought that peace meant the absence of worry, uncertainity or fear, but as I've been studying more about the word, I've learned it is those things, but it also encompasses much more. When you say Shalom to someone, you are wishing them completeness and wholeness, not just a temporary relief from worry. What an incredibly powerful prayer for someone. Of course, that completeness/wholeness comes only when we accept Jesus and his healing grace because he is the giver of that peace that passes understanding. There is nothing we can do to achieve that peace on our own.

so to each of you reading this blog-Shalom.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Where does the time go?

So I just looked at the date of my last blog post and realized that more than two months have gone by since I last wrote! I wish I could say I was incredibly busy with exciting vacations or volunteering at an orphanage in Africa, but really it's just been a lot of keeping up with puppy antics (I wish I had a tenth of his energy), surviving the TX heat, getting prepared for back to school and technology support for the reading specialists. Not very exciting things I know. But you know what? more of life is comprised of the small moments than the big ones. My good friend Sarah from Muhlenberg has a blog that I read on a regular basis called the Glory of the Grind. In this blog, she captures a lot of the small moments in her life and in the life of her kids. Another friend, Katie, has a blog that she started to document her pregnancy with her son Santi and has continued even now that she has baby Gabe! Her post the other day was about taking the boys to story time at the library. I love that these girls are so vigilant about documenting daily life. We only have one life to live and if we are constantly waiting for the next big moment, we miss all the small moments that make life worth living.     As I've been diligently following their blogs, I think some of their attitude has rubbed off on me. I'm definitely much more aware of the little things that seem so inconsequential but mean so much, like when Riley sleeps through the night all curled up with his head resting on my knee, or the cool breeze that allowed us to go for a long walk/run today.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


For a long time, I have been thinking about the word friend and it's various connotations and implications. How is it that some friendships seem to bloom and continue to bloom with very little effort and others don't flower at all, despite the massive amount of work put into them? What does it mean to be a friend?
Psychologists say that a certain amount of friendship is determined by proximity, but my long distance friendships are strangely some of my easiest friendships to manage. Being so far away, I only get to see some of my Muhlenberg girls once or twice a year for a couple of hours; (sure we email or call sometimes and of course there is facebook and a blog or two to help keep us connected) you would think that those encounters would be awkward, but in fact just the opposite is true. We all somehow pick up right where we left off and it's like we have never been apart. No matter how long or short our time, we are able to laugh and talk about the major stuff happening in our lives. Maybe the limited time helps us to get down to the essentials so much more quickly instead of staying on the surface. The same is true for my Milford/Matamoras/Penn State friends- now that I'm in TX, the only time I get to see them once a year on our annual rafting trip. These friends mean so much to me that I schedule my summer visit to the East Coast around our rafting adventures! Sure, the group has changed as various members have gotten married or had kids or whatever, but our core is still there and it is wonderfully effortless and joyful to be with these people!
Perhaps long-distance friendships are in some ways easier, because you aren't around each other all the time; you aren't exposed to the daily contact that can sometimes cause hurt feelings, friction and tension among friends.
Despite my incredibly social nature, I will admit that sometimes it is very difficult for me to be a good friend. Being a type-A perfectionist, it is very easy for me to stress about all the things I need to get done and to put my to-do list ahead of my friends. To help combat this, I have started adding friends to my list and I put appointments with reminders in the calendar on my phone so that I remember to call them or email them or to meet with them face to face. If I have ever hurt you because I have not made time for you- I am sincerely sorry. It was not intentional. Please let me know so that I may apologize in person and we can move past things and become friends again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Make new friends...

Way back when I was a brownie, we learned a song that goes like this....

"make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold."

As I sit here and reflect on the events of birthday week, that song kept popping into my head. Old and new friends alike helped to make my 29th birthday one of the best ever! Starting last Wednesday with girl's dinner and lots of vino at Brix, continuing on Friday (my actual b-day) with hugs and well wishes from students in all grade levels, an early morning birthday Bonanza (complete with two really awesome tickets to see BON JOVI!!!!!) b-day lunch from panera and a cookie cake, over 75 facebook bday posts, snacks and Howling with the Kaiser girls on Friday night [plenty of dancing on the stage for me ;-) ], then creme brulee french toast brunch on Sunday after church, a two hour phone call with my best friend Beth who lives in Maine, all the way to today when I came home to find a package from Beth with all things nostalgic circa 2000-2004.

Friends near and far, thanks for making my birthday so awesome. I am sooo blessed to have you in my life. I really don't know what I'd do without you!

Monday, May 2, 2011


     Today, Leslie (my teaching partner and right hand woman) and I were working with a group of 5th graders who didn't pass reading TAKS. We were doing a lesson on character analysis and we were talking about how the characters change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story, which got me thinking about the broader implications of character analysis beyond fictional stories.
     As human beings, we generally have a hard time with change. Even if the change is desired or bring about more favorable circumstances, it still can be hard to deal with or take some getting used to. I am no exception to this rule. I think that I adapt pretty well to change, but that doesn't mean I always like it.
    For me, the most difficult changes to accept are the changes in relationships of all kinds, or the changes in people that then necessitate a change in the relationship. I think these changes are the most difficult to deal with because they are often the most unexpected. You're going about life, minding your business and then "WHAM" you get broadsided by a change that leaves you completely dumbfounded, wondering how you got there.
    As someone who has worked hard to not let her past dictate who she will become in the future, I can certainly appreciate that growth can bring about change! Thank goodness I am not the girl I was in High School! I have worked very hard to battle against destructive patterns and habits that are not healthy- physically or emotionally.  
     But I wonder- can a person change so drastically that you don't even recognize them? (I'm not talking about physical changes like dying your hair or losing 200 lbs) Or is the perceived change not really a change at all, but a reflection of a person's true character that you overlooked? Do we see what we want to see when it comes to other people and then are left feeling adrift when the rose colored glasses come off?
    6 months ago, I walked away from a 4 year romantic relationship. I still know it was the right decision, but as I go over the pieces and try to figure out what went wrong, I keep coming back to this idea of change. In the beginning of our relationship this guy was the ultimate pursuer/wooer. For the first 10 months, we lived 1,500 miles apart. He had the much more flexible work schedule, so he flew out to see me every 3 weeks. We would have these incredible weekends hanging out with each other or my friends and family. We would go to church together and despite his previous misgivings about religion and church, he would participate in the service and we would have some deep conversations about spirituality. Before I moved to Houston to be with him, He did a whole bunch of research on school districts that I should apply to and even visited several Lutheran churches and found one downtown that we could attend together. When I moved down here, there was definitely an adjustment period of learning to live in close proximity, but we both still tried really hard to make the relationship work. I changed my eating habits to accommodate more whole grains and vegetables (two of his favorite things); I even started cooking with flax seed! He slowly changed his work habits to work less/come home at a reasonable hour. Things were going pretty well, or so I thought. Then he stopped coming to church with me, he stopped wooing and pursuing me.  He stopped doing things that we had always enjoyed doing together. I tried to get him to acknowledge these changes and explain them, but he couldn't (verbal communication was not his strong suit- at least not in relationship matters). So then I stopped trying too because every time I put in an effort to change things (to make them better) he would not respond, acknowledge or reciprocate. The point of this story is not to assign him all the blame because I know there are mistakes that we both made and I certainly had my fair share of wrong turns. Yes, there were some red flags about the relationship that were always there that I ignored/chose not to see, but in general, I am completely dumbfounded when I think about the person that I met back in October 2006 and the utterly different person who I broke up with in November 2010.
I don't think I will ever get answers for the root cause of the 180 degree change in behavior or even some of the symptoms of it, which I guess confirms that we weren't meant to be, but it doesn't make the change any easier to swallow.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What are you worth?

Lately I've been thinking quite a bit about worth/value. How does something get assigned value? Who gets to decide value? I know that our perceived value or worth of something is based upon the laws of supply and demand. For example, if something is in high demand but low supply, the object's worth/value increases. The greater the imbalance between supply and demand, the higher the perceived value. Things can also have a high value based on our emotional attachment to them. Even things with a small monetary value can be our greatest treasures because of the emotions we attach to them. In fact, some of the things that have the highest value to me are letters, pictures and mementos. These things have little if any monetary value, but besides my dog, they are the things I would grab first if my house was on fire because of the relationships, emotions and feelings they represent.
But what about people? How do we place a value on a person? Why do we value some people more than others?  In this book called Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (a book I HIGHLY recommend btw), there is this one section where the author talks about his own realization of how the world thinks of people in economic terms... he talks about how human beings use terms such as "investing in relationships, relationships that can be bankrupt" etc. He then goes on to talk about how human beings generally place a higher value on those people/those relationships where we feel we are getting something in return. He talks about how the commandment to love others as we love ourselves is repeated so often in the Bible because we learn our worth/unworth from other people.
This concept of worth is something that I have struggled with all of my life. Growing up, I had several experiences where I learned that I was not worth very much. While I now know that those hurtful words were said out of frustration and anger and not necessarily the truth, it is those hurtful words that stick with me more than anything- The old adage that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is the furthest thing from the truth, at least in my experience! Despite all the evidence to the contrary, and all the other examples I have of people validating and honoring me- those examples of people seeing my worth, I still have internalized the idea that somehow I'm not worth very much. Why is it that the negative reviews are the ones we hold on to, even when the positive ones out number the bad 100 to 1?
 I think that is partly why I am an extreme people pleaser. I go out of my way to prove my worth/value to others by doing things for them or offering to help or whatever they need. I am the "yes" girl because I don't want anyone to think that I am without value.  Of course, I think that my people pleasing tendencies are also just a part of who I am, but  I think part of that is certainly tied to feeling valuable/wanted/needed.
Having grown up in the church, with several relatives who are Lutheran pastors, I know very well all the verses like Ephesians 2:8-10 " For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  I see my own sinful nature and I recognize that the above verses must be true in regards to my salvation- if it were up to my own works, nothing could measure up and I wouldn't even have a hope of salvation.  But I have a really hard time applying these verses to my personal relationship with God. I have a hard time understanding why He would value me. Again- I know all the scripture by heart about how God made us and knows us intimately and therefore values us, but the believing part is more difficult. This is one reason why I find it difficult to pray for myself. When I pray for others, I have no difficulty praying with boldness and specificity. I fully believe that God will grant the things that I ask- in fact so many times I have seen this to be true. But I have a really hard time praying for myself.  In His mercy, He has been revealing these false beliefs to me, through a Bible study about the life of King David, the Lord has been showing to me that He wants me to cry out to Him, to ask things of Him, and to seek Him first, and then he will grant the desires of my heart. I still haven't prayed with boldness and specificity for the deepest desire of my heart, but I'm learning to start with the little things, in hopes that as I learn this discipline that I might be able to trust everything to Him- in the mean time. I'm grateful that He is patient and that I have awesome friends who are willing to pray for me when I can't pray for myself.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Little Things

Reading over my past blog posts, I was struck by all the melancholy and frustration and sadness that was in them. While it's true that I am feeling all of those emotions and it's good to have an outlet for those emotions in this blog, I also know that I have many blessings in my life for which I need to be grateful... who knows- maybe it's the gorgeous sunshine or the happy endorphins released after a long walk with Riley, but tonight's post is simply an abridged list of things that make me smile, in no particular order

1. fresh cut flowers in full bloom, particularly Hyacinths and Lillies- makes me wish desperately that my favorite flower, lilacs could grow in TX.
2. Riley chewing on his rawhide bone
3. Riley running down the stairs and leaping up and down from the couch
4. long walks in the sunshine
5. naps!!!
6. Vampire novels
7. books in general
8. finger painting
9. coloring
10. old couples who still hold hands
11. ice cream
12. dark chocolate
13. Puppy snuggles
14. being needed
15. C-Lo Green's song- Forget you (actual title changed to make it family friendly)
16. the chicktionary and words with friends apps on my iphone
17. Paris
18. good food
19. clean sheets
20. cute pajamas
21. clothes fresh from the dryer
22. Fridays (the day of the week, not the restaurant)
23. new born babies
24. two hour phone calls with amazing friends who do a great job of making it seem like you don't live 3,000 miles apart
25. scented candles
26. chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven with a glass of milk
27. love ballads from GI
28. Edward Cullen
29. Eric Northman- Sheriff of Area 5
30. Pictures of Lexi from Denise
31. flip flops
32. church
33. quiet time
34. cran-raspberry juice
35. crepes
36. my siblings
37. crossword puzzles
38. my book nook
39. pedicures
40. cooking

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sound of Music

If you don't already know, Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies of all time. I have even been on the Sound of Music tour in Austria- so cool! First there's the whole WWII aspect, which fascinates me in general, and of course I love musicals, and I'm a sucker for a good love story (which is probably a big part of my problem). If you haven't seen it, you should stop reading this post and go watch it immediately!  I could watch this movie over and over again and I find myself often breaking out into random songs from this show. Lately a couple of lyrics have been stuck in my head from the song "16 going on 17". For those of you unfamiliar with the musical, here's a brief synopsis of the scene in which this song occurs--- Liesel is Captain Von Trapp's oldest daughter and she is in "love" with Rolf, the telegram delivery boy. One night, he shows up to deliver a telegram and Liesel sneaks out to meet up with him. This song is where Rolf first expresses his feelings for Liesel. It is one of my favorite scenes in the musical.

But lately I've been thinking especially about the first verse of the song, which goes like this--
    "You wait little girl, on an empty stage for fate to turn the light on,
     Your life little girl, is an empty page that men will want to write on"
                                                                        ~ Sound of Music by Rogers and Hammerstein

I guess I'm struck by how applicable I feel like these lyrics are to my own life.... except that I would have to change the title to "28 going on 29", which somehow sounds way more pathetic. I certainly feel as though I am waiting on an empty stage for fate to turn the light on (translation- waiting for fate to bring someone into my life who will turn the light on permanently). Thus far, there have been several candidates, but eventually the bulb burns out. In my rational brain, I know I am living my real life now and I have plenty of blessings to be thankful for, but in some irrational, girl part of my brain, I don't feel complete. I feel like I'm still waiting for fate to turn the light on. I mean, I'm not sitting idly at home with a thousand cats or anything. I'm out there- living my life in the mean time, always wondering when my light will be turned on.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Puppy Mama

A little less than a month ago, I decided to take the plunge and get a puppy. I've been wanting one for a while, but Jon was opposed to having one because of all the responsibility and "tied-downness" they bring with them. So being that I'm no longer with Jon, I went and got one. One Thursday night, I was having dinner with some friends from school who have a golden retriever and a Chihuahua. I was playing with the dogs and realized how badly I wanted one of my own (pretty much the same feeling I get when playing with someone else's kids). The next day, my very good friend Denise and I were talking and she suggested I go on to the AAR website (the shelter where she volunteers) and take a look at all the cute dogsthey had. Well, of course I fell in love with every single one of them, but with a brother and sister pair in particular. After several more conversations with Denise, we decided to go to the shelter on Monday after school. Unfortunately the female from the brother/sister pair had just been adopted that morning, so she was no longer available. I was planning on taking both of them so they could stay together and also so they would  have someone to play with, but I now think that God knew I would only be able to handle one puppy at a time, so everything worked out!
  So now I've got Riley- my handsome little boxer/ lab mix.
Thank goodness for Denise, Jen, Leslie, Michele and all my other friends who are also canine mamas for all their advice so far. I don't think I would have survived the first few nights without them. I mean, I know that puppies are A LOT of work, but much like I imagine it to be with actual motherhood, I don't think all the preparation, research or reading up on the subject in the world can prepare you for the actual thing! In all the stories that I've heard from my friends who are moms, I know that actual motherhood is way more intense, but I'm definitely noticing some similarities! The first being the lack of sleep. Those first few nights, I was getting up every few hours to let him out. I'm such a light sleeper that any little noise from him and I would go downstairs to check on him. Thankfully Riley is getting better about going in his crate and he doesn't cry all the time, but he definitely does not like it when we're apart. I'm still trying to figure out his cries, trying to discern whether they are cries of hunger, or loneliness or "I've got to go". Sometimes I think he cries just because he knows I will come get him.
  Another similarity- the constant sacrifice and putting someone else's needs/wants above your own. There are plenty of days when I would just like to hit the snooze button and stay in bed a few extra minutes, but I know that Riley is waiting for me to let him out of his crate and feed him breakfast, so I get up and tend to his needs. Or the days when I just want to sit on the couch like a bump on a log, but instead take Riley for an hour long walk because he has been cooped up all day. On the rare occasion that I have neglected to put Riley first, he is quick to express his disapproval--- like the time I ignored his whining to finish washing a dish and he peed on the carpet.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind all the work, because he is a big bundle of love. He loves unconditionally and is always excited to see me, even if I have just disciplined him for chewing on my shoes. I'm so glad to have him as a part of my family!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Lately, I cannot seem to get enough sleep! I go to bed probably earlier than I should and as soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm out like a light. But here's the problem- I sleep solidly, soundly for the first 4 hours, during which time it would take a lot to wake me up, and then after that, I can't seem to turn my brain off. I am an incredibly lucid dreamer and from about 2 am until right before my alarm goes off, I float into one dream after another. It's like someone is channel surfing in my brain, constantly flipping from one thing to the next. Some of the dreams are scary, some are strange and some are very ordinary. I know I'm dreaming, but I can't seem to fall back into deep, dreamless sleep. Did you know that your brain doesn't know the difference between dreaming and actually doing? So if you are running a marathon in your dreams, your brain is sending all kinds of chemicals throughout your body as if you were actually running a marathon... hence why you wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed! So yeah, this happens to me every night, although I'm rarely running a marathon in my dreams. Of course, I then am overcome by a wave of extreme tiredness right before my alarm goes off, but have to try and fight it because if I am woken up in the middle of a dream or deep sleep, my whole day is thrown off kilter. 
I'm sure that all the stress and things I'm dealing with in my personal life are affecting my sleep, but you would think it wouldn't be this severe.. I also try really hard not to eat anything an hour before bed so that digestion doesn't affect my sleep. I don't drink anything caffienated. I eat healthy, balanced meals.  I recently bought a new mattress and all new pillows specifically designed for side sleepers (which is the only way I can sleep). I really would like to get to the bottom of this sleep mess and get back to getting a full night of rest! It's getting to the point where I can't make it through my day without having a nap. It's pretty pathetic!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


    I have spent a significant amount of time in airports throughout my life-- from traveling overseas, to trips back and forth from Houston to the East Coast to visit friends and family. Generally, I enjoy them as they provide excellent people watching opportunities (one of my favorite things to do). They also hold the promise of exotic locales and depending on the airport, also the opportunity for some good eats.
    Recently, my parents were here visiting and as I pulled up to the curb to drop them off for their return flight to Philadelphia, I was struck by how sad airports are.  There was a couple in the car in front of me and as the wife got out to say good bye to her husband, she held him tightly, as if she didn't want to let him go. They embraced and kissed several times and then finally the husband left, while the wife stood there watching him go for several minutes. When I said good bye to my parents a few moments later, my mom started to cry and I made her leave before I started to cry too.
    This got me thinking back to November 2006-July 2007, when it seems like I was both anticipating and dreading every three week trip to the airport. Anticipating because every trip to the airport meant that I got to see Jon, my now ex-boyfriend and the reason I'm in Houston. He did the majority of the flying in our then long-distance relationship, so I would park the car and head to the closest point to the security checkpoint that was allowed so that I could see him before he even got to baggage claim. While I waited expectantly for him, I loved watching all the reunions taking place between family and friends who waited with me- soldiers and their families reunited, even if only for a weekend leave; wives picking up their husbands after a business trip; kids overjoyed to see a grand parent. All the signs, cards, balloons, cheering and tears of joy- it was so easy to get caught up in it all. It's really neat to be a part of those reunions, even as a bystander- the feelings of relief and joy and being complete are palpatable. There's something incredibly good for the soul about hugging a person as if you never want to let them go. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, watch the beginning 5 minutes of Love Actually and you'll get a good picture.
   But dreading also every trip to the airport, because it meant that Jon and I only had a short time together. Every hello was the beginning of our inevitable parting at the end of the weekend. While our car rides home from the airport were full of laughter and smiling, our car rides back to the airport were silent and somber. You'd think that saying good-bye at the airport would get easier, because you know what to expect since you've done it so many times, but let me assure you that it only gets harder and harder as that other person takes more and more of yourself with them. After Jon would walk into the terminal, I would often stand there for several minutes, simultaneously trying to will him to come running back like you see in the movies and watching other people saying good-bye. People clinging desperately to their loved ones; not wanting to let go, crying; kids trying to run after the person leaving or having a tantrum because they couldn't go along. The worst was always seeing uniformed men and women with their duffel bags saying good bye to their family or friends. You could see the anguish on the faces of those being left behind, wondering if this would be the last time they would ever see this person.
    Even in those happy reunions past the security check point or at the baggage claim, there's still sadness because you know there will be another business trip, or tour of duty, or goodbye.