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Today

Today I turned 27.

Normally – I hate my birthday.  Not so much the fact that I am having another birthday -but the whole spotlight on me -sort of makes me uncomfortable.  Getting older, being old -the whole package.  But today?  Today was pretty epic.

It was one of those all-around amazing days that left my heart feeling full and happy.  An almost guilty type happy -because the day has been that great.  The kind of day that fills you up with all the happy, bubbly feelings that leave you smiling.  A kind of day I wish I could bottle up so tightly and pull it out on grey days.

Mom went all out -as she does, to make me feel special.  With cake, balloons, presents and flowers.  We had lunch together -and rounded the afternoon out with a free coffee from Starbucks.  Nothing beats free!

There was a special package in the mail from my friend, a number of special messages and of course -a few Starbucks gift cards from mom and Amanda and co.

The evening was finished up with a free (yes, free!) steak dinner at a restaurant with a small group of good friends, mom and dad.  I can’t remember the last time I was out for my birthday with friends.  It’s always nice to spend time with family -but adding some really good friends to the mix made my heart happy.

It was a…wonderful day.

I didn’t win a million dollars -but cashed out in the friends and family department.

A big thank you to everyone who made my day special.  I really, really enjoyed it.

I’d say 27 is off to a good start.

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Intentional

When I was growing up, people had all the questions for me. Questions that, I suppose -gave them a gauge as to where I was in life. How grown up I was, how much growing up I had left to do. Questions that grew with me: What grade are you in? When do you graduate? Where are you going to college? Are you married? When are you getting married? Do you have kids? And the all to famous “Is that your husband?”

These questions used to annoy me -I couldn’t understand why people would ask such silly things. Why not ask me what I was interested in? What my hobbies were? What I liked to do in my spare time? It isn’t that I could answer these questions any better -just that they seemed more universal.

I then started to gauge myself by these questions…I never had an official graduation -I was home schooled, I finished school -there was no grand hooray -it simply was over. Time to move on. What’s next. I didn’t have a college lined up -I didn’t see the need to go as I didn’t know what I wanted to do and spending money on school to do something I didn’t even want to do seemed silly. I’m not married. I don’t know when I am getting married or if I am getting married!

Over the years I started to hate hanging out with people, their questions that I couldn’t answer would turn even the best social events into horrible times that I couldn’t enjoy. I began to make excuses. Hold myself back. Play the old “If only” games. I started to think that when I “get older” I would have all the answers to all the questions and suddenly I might just ‘fit in’ with ‘them’.

But the older I get, the more these questions make sense. They simply are questions. People asking something to try and get to know me. The only thing holding me back was myself. And so I have started to try and change my mindset. My answers. My perspective.

The other day a customer / friend was at the shop talking about how God is in control -of everything. While I know this, and knew this and believe this -it still was nice to hear her talk and be reminded that yes -He is. That as long as I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, and seeking His will -then whatever happens will be ok. I might not understand it -but He does, and that is all that matters.

My days don’t always go as I have planned them -and this often, ok usually always -upsets me. I am so focused on MY plans that I fail to realize (or remember) that my plans are not His plans and when things go off course -they are actually directly ON COURSE. If I could stop and remember this.

Intentional.

It is the word I have had in my mind to try and spur me on this year. It may or may not stick -I never know. But it seems to be a fitting word.

I sometimes look at other people and think that their lives are so much easier because they have A, B and C -and I seemed to have skipped ½ the alphabet and only have X Y and Z. That because I am ‘missing’ these key points in my life -that somehow I am doing it all wrong and in order to BE someone, I must accomplish the same things as everyone else. I must climb the ranks, I must do the things. I must have the answers to the questions and if my answers are different than everyone else’s then I am somehow less.

That because I haven’t gone to college and still have no earthly idea what I want to be when I grow up -that I am somehow held back. When really -I am not. I am here for a reason. I am here for a purpose. What that reason is and what that purpose is sometimes confuses me beyond belief. I sometimes cannot fathom why I should be here, doing this. But I am here…and I am doing this…and God knows…and as long as I seek Him -it will be ok.

I will be ok.

I want to live more intentionally. To be more present. To achieve great things, yes, but to remember that I am here -for a reason…and that is ok. I might not know the reason, I might not see the reason -but that is ok. If I can remember to seek God in all areas of my life, and follow His plans -I know things will be so much better.

Now…if only I could remember that.

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Red Alert

Last February before I headed off to Australia, I had my hair dyed red. Not full blown, raggedy Ann red, but red highlights. I loved my red hair. But it faded fast and within a good month, it was gone.

A few weeks ago I was looking in the mirror and noticed a handful of grey hairs. I pulled them and went about my business. Except a few days later -they had returned, and brought friends. I told myself it was where my hair had been bleached. I’m 26. I’m certainly not going grey yet.

A few days ago I made an appointment and went to put the red back in my hair. While I was there I asked if she could give me the skinny on my grey hair. She was silent for a good 30 minutes about the subject, then asked if I wanted to hear the truth.

I could have said no -but, well, I kind of already knew from that. She said I am going grey. GREY. Me. At 26. I told her I’d rather go red…and asked that she please cover it up.

Introducing, Red of 2016:

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Who knows, maybe I will just keep going red and ignore the fact that I am slowly (quickly?) getting old.  That works, right?

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2015 and Then Sum!

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful, And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful and relax an exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul healing, amazing, awful ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” – L.  R. Knost

I have been working to get a yearend wrap up post done for oh, ever since the year ended. But as life would have it –I haven’t been able to line up brain function and time to work in my favor. Instead I have only had time to think –because even if you don’t have time to do anything else, you always have time to think…and think I have.

2015, I know, was not a favorite for everyone. There were a lot of ups and downs and a lot that happened that for many people that made the year one that wasn’t good at all. I am not ignorant enough to believe that it was a good year for everyone –but for me, 2015 was one of my favorite years in history. Of course, it is easy to say that now that it is behind us. But regardless of the pits and downfalls of the year, it turned out to be a pretty great year.

Earlier today I read the quote I posted at the top and had to agree. That quote right there sums up 2015, and well, 2016 so far. We are in the middle of holding on through some of those moments. Even though we are only a short 12 days into the year, things have been somewhat tough. But back to 2015.

The year of my dreams. The thing that made it most awesome, I think can be contributed to the fact that I visited seven different countries this year. I went to one country twice. Did two international road trips. Hung out with some of my favorite people. Made new friends. Traveled with said friends. I also had layovers in an additional country that I didn’t include on my list, and of course –frequented the good Ol’ USA.   I have seen some flat out amazing places. Visited some awesome country and seen things that I never dreamed of seeing.

To sum the year up I would simply use words. Worse such as awesome. Or perhaps names. Names such as Singapore, Australia, England, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Italy (again!), France.

Then of course I had to sort through my billion and one pictures that I took this year, because even though hardly any of them are frame worthy, and a lot of them aren’t even mine –there are some awesome memories summed up in pictures. As I sorted I relieved moments and memories and finally had to narrow my choices down to those which made me feel something. Those pictures that aren’t frame worthy yet sum up the moments, the year, the memories so well that I can take myself back to the very moment and drink it in.

Here are just a few of those amazing, mundane, ordinary and routine images that sum 2015 up so well.

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I miss my red hair!
These peeps made my year too!
These peeps!

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This picture easily ranks as one of my favorites
This picture easily ranks as one of my favorites
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This one made the Christmas card
Oh, this picture.
Oh, this picture.
Yes, 2015 you were good to us
Yes, 2015 you were good to us
This guy is all about the laughing...
This guy is all about the laughing…

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This was from Italy the second time. Venice, to be exact. While the picture itself isn't the best -the location will always be etched into my mind.
This was from Italy the second time. Venice, to be exact. While the picture itself isn’t the best -the location will always be etched into my mind.
The Fam
The Fam

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Carousels were a big hit with me in 2015
Carousels were a big hit with me in 2015
Ireland, Fat Face and Shades all in one photo!
Ireland, FatFace Apparel and Shades all in one photo!

 

A "Man named Earl" lived in a castle that Morgan and I visited. To quote Morgan: "Earl probably died falling down these steps!"
A “Man named Earl” lived in a castle that Morgan and I visited. To quote Morgan: “Earl probably died falling down these steps!”

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Ah, 2015.  You were indeed, a wild ride.  I miss you already!