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It’s Official!

On Wednesday evening I received my first surprise of the week: my family came down for my graduation! My parents and 3 of my siblings flew down that morning in order to be here for my graduation and had me CONVINCED that they were not going to be able to make it. It was amazing! We spent the next two days hanging out and going to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It was the best surprise ever! Hubs even knew about it and didn’t tell me.

On Friday I checked my grades for this semester – 4 A’s and 1 A-. Not to shabby if I do say so myself.

On Saturday morning about 6:30 am, I discovered that I drank the water I talked about here. It’s pretty exciting and oh so hard to believe!

I graduated from WU on Saturday morning and had lunch with my family and my in-laws at the Cheesecake Factory in Orlando.Wade and Jamison came too, but had to leave early because of a film gig. We had to wait 90 minutes for a table but everyone was patient because I really wanted to celebrate there. It was a great to be with everyone.

On Sunday we went to RPC for church and shared our news with everyone. I think hubs told the entire congregation because he’s so excited. Afterward, we had lunch with some of our close friends to celebrate. It was great to catch up with them and celebrate together. Then we went grocery shopping for supplies for Mother’s Day dinner for my mother-in-law. We made her a three-course fondue meal and  it was quite tasty. We ate until we were ready to pop.

So how was your weekend?


Transparency 2.0

I promised myself I would be honest on here. I repeatedly told myself that this would be my arena to share the things I cannot easily verbalize. Who knew keeping my word to myself could be so hard? So here we go then…

I have 44 days until I graduate from Warner University. 44 days until I put on that drowning black gown, hideous hat, and walk down the aisle to accept a black leather folder with a piece of paper saying they will mail my real diploma to me. It took my 6 years to get here. You wanna know something, though? I’m not even excited. I try not to think about it. It doesn’t even really mean much to me.

Let me guess what you’re thinking: Why? After all these years, how could you not be super excited?

Why? I’ll tell you why I can’t think about this day without feeling like a sad, sappy mess. This big, monumental day when I should be celebrating loses its meaning when I remember that there is a high chance my parents won’t be able to be there. Don’t misunderstand me. I understand why they might not be able to make it and I’m not mad; it just makes me want to cry. It’s simply another reminder that they live oh so far away and it’s just another event that will pass without them being a part of it. If you know my folks, don’t talk to them about this. They already feel bad enough. I’m not writing this to cause more guilt or pain. I just needed to say it. I needed to deal with it because I have a tendency to just push it all down. So this is me dealing with it. They know I want them there. I know they want to be there. There’s still a chance they might be there, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

I’m going to tie another topic to this post that kind of connects. Last night I was part of a conversation that left me with a lot to think about. The three people I was talking to are all grandparents. They were bonding by talking about their frustrations with how their kids use their grandkids as pawns to get free babysitting out of these grandparents. I understood their frustration, but it still upset me. I might not be a parent yet or a grandparent, but I hate it when people live minutes away from their family and don’t know how to cherish it. I would kill to have my family close enough that I could even be a babysitting option. Instead of complaining about it all, I just wish they would at least be a little grateful to be able to see them on a regular basis. I see my niece twice a year. She’s already 4. I’ve missed every birthday, every pre-school play, and every hospital stay. I missed her first steps, her first words, and simply having the ability to play with her. I barely know her. If I had nothing else to do, I would gladly love to have the opportunity to babysit her.

Alright, there it is. That’s my transparency…well at least the start of it. There’s a lot more going on in my brain but I have to be able to mull it all over before I can share it.


Playing the Waiting Game

Rarely do I feel compelled to write about chapel. Normally, it’s not awful, but it’s usually not my thing. The worship’s decent but I have trouble focusing on God in huge groups of people, and sometimes the speakers are simply dreadful. For this week, though, WU did a great job picking the speaker for Spiritual Life Week. His name is Tommy Kyllonen aka Urban D from Crossover Church in Tampa. He’s not at all what I expected, but the theme for the week hits my heart in just the right way.

The theme for the week is “Dreams” and we’re following the story of Abram (aka Abraham) and his wife Sarai (aka Sarah). God told Abram to leave his home and go where he tells him to go. And Abram actually does it! He packs up and leaves at age 75. Leaves everything he knows and understand to follow God. That’s faith alright. God then promises to give them a son. Sarai was 65. Yikes.

The thing of it is, though, that God didn’t fulfill his promise right away. He had them wait 25 YEARS until they finally had a bouncing baby boy. Do the math. Yup, Abram was 100 and Sarai was 90. God must have a sense of humor.

That’s as far as we’ve gotten. We still have another chapel tomorrow to finish up. The focus of today was being in God’s waiting room and understanding that sometimes God may place a dream in your heart but it could take years to come to fruition. During that time, He’s preparing you to fulfill those dreams, but you have to remain faithful and trusting. That’s the hard part.

Here I am. Waiting. Hubs is waiting too. God’s placed huge dreams in our hearts but we cannot catch a glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel. I know it’s there. I know God’s here…somewhere. I feel let down though. I’ve seen things crumble before my eyes over the last few months. It’s making it  hard to trust this crazy unknown plan He’s got because I don’t understand what is around the corner. I’m hanging on, but barely. I just don’t understand it. A little clarity would be appreciated.

Welcome to my waiting room. I think I’m going to be here a while, but I guess I’m going to learn how to truly trust God in the process.

Random Movie Thoughts

I thought about calling this a review but it’s really not one. It’s more a mix between my thoughts of the movie and those of life.

What movie was it? P.S. I Love You.

Yes, I’m a little behind the curve but I finally watched it today. It was a beautifully crafted work of art that represented real life so well it was difficult to tell where the emotions displayed in the movie ended and my own began. I cried. Let me rephrase that – I bawled like a baby. About every 10 minutes, the levees broke and a fresh salty mess washed away what was left of my makeup. Why did I cry so much? Why? No, it’s not just because I’m some emotional sap. No, I wasn’t experiencing that special girly time of the month. I bawled like a baby because Hilary Swank portrayed my worst fear onscreen.

Yes, hubs dying terrifies me. He’s only 24. There’s lots of years when he could die between now and 80 (when he’s allowed to die). I’ve never been so dependent on another person in my adult life and now….if he was gone…I don’t know what I would do. I don’t think I could handle it. I would be a big, giant mess.

The movie was amazing. Go watch it if you haven’t. Just make sure you bring the tissues and a big bowl of ice cream to help with the crazy, never-ending tears.

It’s OK….

…to go to Racetrac simple because they have the best crushed ice.

…to take a 2 hour nap during the middle of the day just because you can.

…to watch a sappy movie because you feel like crying.

…to eat lunch in your car because you don’t like sitting alone with a bunch of people around.

…to brag because you’re married to an amazing man who takes you to chick-flicks for date night when you know he’d rather watch something else.

…to have a guilty pleasure of cheesy teenage dramas like The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

…to read a good fiction novel before you read your homework because let’s face it, the fiction novel is far more interesting most of the time.

…to check facebook on your phone 20 times a day like it’s an addictive habit or something.

…to convince hubs he wants to go to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast on the way to airport even though you both know you really like it best

…to have a milkshake for breakfast every now and again

…to have nothing better to do than blog on a Friday night.

So I was inspired by the column in Glamour magazine with the same title. What’s “ok” in your world?



That is what I want from 2011. I want it to be EPIC. I want it to be so jam-packed full of epicness that I don’t even know how to handle it all. Yes, I made that word up. Do I care? No.

I’ve spent a lot of my life playing it safe and not taking risks. Don’t get me wrong, some risks are just stupid to take. I will not jump out of an airplane. Skydiving is NOT on my agenda under the title of “Epic”.

I have always been scared to fail. Failure terrifies me. It stunts my growth as a person and causes me to stand stalk still when I should be moving forward. I am perfectly aware of this fault, and yet I have not seemed to surpass it. It eats at me. It haunts my dreams. It tries to make me eat the lima beans of life – bland nothingness. Ick.

My mantra for this year: “Even the failed pieces are essential.” This particular quote came from Rob Bell’s book Drops Like Stars. That sentence stole my breath the second my mind grasped its meaning. Failure is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it molds me into the person I have become or the person I need to be.

A lot is going to happen this year. To name a few:

May 2011 – On the 7th, I will graduate from WU with my bachelor’s!!!!!! (I know, finally!)

July 2011 – For one week, hubs and I are going with a team from our church to build houses in Honduras with Trash Mountain Project. Look them up. They’re pretty legit.

September 2011 – I will embark on a whole new journey known as cosmetology school. I haven’t decided where yet and I’m scared to death to even go at all. I don’t want to spend all this money on school and fail at it – which is why I have coined the aforementioned mantra. I’m going to do this. I need to try. I truly believe this is what God created me to do, but there is always the smallest smidgeon of doubt because I don’t want to fail.

So there it is, my dearest readers. My heart is bare. If you are the praying type, pray for wisdom and strength for me. If you aren’t, well then that’s ok too.


Back to Reality

Nineteen days after leaving for Minnesota, I arrived back in sunny Florida on Sunday. Even though I spent my vacation craving the balmy 70 degree weather, I’m desperately missing the single digits of Minnesota.

I moved away 5 1/2 years ago to go to college. You would think that I would be able to say goodbye to my family easier than the time before. It never works that way though. I miss them more and more each time I leave and have to say goodbye. I hate leaving them. I know I have my own life know and that I’m not a little kid but I still hate it. My 7-year-old sister has asked every year since she was 2 if I would come to her birthday party. I haven’t made it for 5 years. She turns 8 on January 22. I won’t be there again. I miss my brother’s hockey games and my middle sister’s band performances. I miss my niece’s birthday and her preschool performances. I miss everything. I don’t get to see them grow up. I don’t get to help my parents or my brother when they need help picking up kids or a babysitter. I just have to be 1800 miles away.

So here I am. In Florida. Crying like a little kid. I know I’ll be fine a week or two and that I will see them soon. I just love them so much you know. They are a part of who I am and who I always will be. So for today, I hate being back to reality.

A Lack of Creativity

So I’ve been pondering what to write about today. I could tell you that my cold is almost gone (YAY!), or that I’m still struggling to figure out my place in the church volunteer realm, or that Chris took me to Palace Pizza today because he loves me, or about all the blogs I’ve been reading about, or even about all the housework I’ve accomplished today. I could talk about anything of those at great length.

But I’m not.

Instead, I’m going to tell you about how I can’t seem to write more than a few sentences whenever I attempt any piece of fictional writing. I have three drafts of three different stories that just cause me to wrinkle my nose when I look at them. I’m at a loss. The fictional juices have dried up and I’m not sure how to make them come back. I miss writing fiction. I miss learning about my characters as I create them. I miss the blending of fact and fiction within my stories that allows me to release some type of bottled up emotion. I guess maybe it’s a good thing I’m having trouble tapping into that bottled up emotion. That means I’m letting go of my emotions instead of pushing them down and pretending like they don’t exist. One problem, though: I WANT TO WRITE FICTION. Ugh.

Thus is my problem that appears unsolvable at this moment.

Goodnight, good and faithful readers. I’m going to go dream up characters that I cannot seem to put into words.

100 Things

I borrowed this from another blog that I’ve started reading regularly known as “A Babbling Brunette”. She’s a wonderful writer and inspires me to do my absolute best to blog more often. I can’t say if it’ll stick or not, but I’m trying. No promises this month, though, because most of it will be spent in the snowy tundra of Minnesota with my family.

Anyway, here’s a list of 100 things about me:

1. The fact that I am already 24 has recently hit me and I am determined to make sure my next 24 years are even more adventure-filled than the first 24.

2. I’m an English major and a Biblical Studies minor. I will finally graduate in May 2011 with my bachelor’s degree from WU!!!!

3. I’m the oldest of 5 children, with my youngest sister being almost 8.

4. I love bright colors more than words can express.

5. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and I don’t know where I would be without him. I’m exceptionally proud of him.

6. What Not to Wear is my secret pleasure. I love watching people learn what fits their body style and seeing their self-esteem rise.

7. Christmas is amazing! I love the decorations, the giving of gifts, the spending time with family, the food, and the MN snow.

8. I don’t like a ton of chocolate. I know, I know. I like it in moderation, with just a smidge here and there.

9. Jane Austen holds the slot as my favorite writer of all time.

10. I hate doing dishes and folding laundry.

11. I find cooking to be enjoyable and would love to host dinner parties on a regular basis if time and money were not an option.

12. In July 2011, I will go on my very first mission trip to Honduras with Trash Mountain Project. Look them up. They’re amazing!

13. I love being crafty, especially with gifts, but I’m always nervous that the person won’t like it. Always.

14. I have the cutest niece EVER. Don’t even try to compare. You won’t win. She’s too cute.

15. I love the beach. The sand between my toes, the salt water smell in the air, the sun beating down on my tummy…it’s all heavenly. God would lounge at the beach I go to as well. I just know it.

16. Apple Cider was the best drink ever created during Fall.

17. My pinkie toes curl to the point where they look like someone chopped them in half.

18. Hugh Jackman is yummy. It’s ok. Chris knows. He understands.

19. I lived in Montana most of my life. I miss the mountains desperately, and the lack of humidity.

20. I hated high school. I was an awkward teenager with no style or sense. I’ve grown up a lot since then. I don’t really talk to anyone from high school either even though I go back there every year at Christmas to visit my family.

21. I have a very small window of comfort in the temperature department. I’m almost always cold, but can very quickly get too hot.

22. Palace Pizza in Bartow is scrumptious.

23. I have a fear of stickers. It’s irrational and weird, but don’t ever give me a sticker. We might stop being friends if you do. I’m serious.

24. Edy’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream is my favorite. I also love Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with chocolate syrup and lots of sprinkles.

25. I enjoy taking two pieces of fleece, laying them on top of one another, cutting the edges into strips and tying them in knots to make a blanket. I’ve probably made a total of 15 in the 7 years I’ve been making them. No, I don’t keep them all.

16. I love being married. I hated single life. It was lonely.

17. I’ve been lonely for the last 3 years. I mean miserably lonely. God just answered my prayers 3 months ago in the form of a friend.

18. I’m three years sober from cutting. I did it for 5 years before that. This has been an eight year struggle, but I’m going to make it.

19. I cannot wait to go to cosmetology school! I want to learn it all and then be able to do it all. It’s been my dream for a while, but I wanted to finish my bachelor’s degree first.

20. Chick-fil-a is super yummy. I love it.

21. Up until last month, I had three name options for our kids that don’t exist yet. Now, I’m back at the drawing board.

22. I’m super organized in school and when I was working, but at home, I have a tendency to be messy.

23. I love to sleep!

24. Our wedding colors were pink and blue. It was a beautiful July wedding. If I could do it over, I would move it to the beach.

25. I love writing, in case you hadn’t figured that out. Chris says I should write a book. I just don’t think I’m talented enough to pull it off.

26. With the multitude of women giving birth or getting pregnant at our church, I feel pressure to do the same. I know that it’s silly, but I feel like we should be reaching that stage of marriage too after 2 1/2 years, but that’s not the case. We are far from ready.

27. When I read other blogs, I feel like mine doesn’t meet the par and that I really have no idea what the heck I’m doing.

28. I need to stay off Facebook more. It’s quite an addictive distraction.

29. Milky Way is my favorite chocolate candy. Skittles are my favorite fruity candy.

30. I would love to lose 5-10 pounds, but I don’t seem to have to time or perseverance to pursue exercise on a regular basis.

31. I love my dog. He’s adorable.

32. My MacBook computer is awesome. I love it. It was the best birthday present I could’ve gotten 2 years ago. I’m not an Apple fanatic, though. I just love my computer.

33. Hypocritical people get under my skin more than anyone else.

34. I’m awfully clumsy in heels and prefer ballet flats.

35. My wedding ring is a size 4.75, which is pretty small. I have dainty, girly hands.

36. I’m a coffee addict. I’m hoping when I run out of coffee that instead of buying more, I can wean myself off of it. I hate being so attached it something.

37. I don’t really like talking on the phone that much. It loses its thrill quickly.

38. I will fight to the death for those I care about, but let people walk all over me without defending myself.

39. I don’t know how to swim.

40. I love hot showers on cold days when the bathroom is completely full of steam.

41. I’ve been getting migraines lately a few times a month. I’m on the verge of worrying about it.

42. I worry. A LOT. Jesus and I are working on that.

43. I have a teddy bear from when I was 2 named Sleepy Bear. If Chris is gone, I snuggle Sleepy Bear instead.

44. I’m nervous about what God might be calling me to do with my life.

45. One day, I want to go back to France with Chris and experience it all over again with the man I adore.

46. Despite how much I hate the snow after long periods of time, I love having a white Christmas.

47. My nephew is going to be a heartbreaker one day. He may only be two, but he’s a charmer already.

48. I’ve never gotten a ticket from a police officer.

49. I’ve been to more concerts in the last 2 years than I did in the 22 years before that.

50. Taking Back Sunday and Audio Adrenaline are my favorite bands of all time. Flyleaf is pretty amazing too.

51. I love gerber daisies and hate the smell of roses. I don’t know why. I think roses smell icky.

52. When a plan goes array, I get stressed. I don’t adjust well to new plans. I’m working on that.

53. I don’t like Chili’s. Their menu is mediocre at best. Just sayin.

54. I suck at doing daily devotionals. I keep trying, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get it right.

55. I love my Family Group, as you can tell from a previous post.

56. I’m really paranoid I’m going to say the same thing twice on this list. I keep worrying that I’ve already done it.

57. I’ve never been to a bar, and don’t really plan on going to one. It’s not really my scene.

58. I rarely remember my dreams after an hour of being awake.

59. I miss acrylic nails and I hope to have them again one day.

60. My heart’s too big. It breaks at the slightest thing and I truly wish I could solve the world’s problems. If someone I love is hurting, so am I. I can’t help it. Sometimes I wish I was stronger.

61. Blogging has been a wonderful use of my writing skills and my ability to be transparent.

62. I want to adopt some kids one day…and have some of my own too.

63. I hate being sick. Plus, I’m not a very nice sick person.

64. Sometimes when I sneeze, I pee a little. I don’t mean too. It just happens. And yes, it’s terribly, terribly embarrassing.

65. I have trouble studying for final exams. I feel as though if I don’t know it by the end of the semester, I’m not going to be able to cram it into my brain.

66. I love listening to music and singing to it in the car. Yes, I’m that weird person next to you at the red light singing her lungs out.

67. I want to go to a Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir concert one day. I think it would be a life-changing experience.

68. I want to go see Wicked on Broadway in New York…or Tampa.

69. Shoes and purses are my guilty pleasure. I buy them all the time when I have extra money.

70. I feel guilty for not working and only going taking classes at Warner.

71. I feel guilty about almost everything. Always.

72. I wish I could leave the Christmas tree up all year round and decorate it for every holiday.

73. I loooooooove MarioKart on Wii. It’s so much fun! Well, that is as long as I don’t play my brother-in-law. He’s too good at it.

74. Fruit Ninja on the iPhone/iPod touch is amazing! I borrow Jamison’s phone all the time so i can play it, and Wade downloaded it just so I could play it Sunday night while I was sick. 🙂

75. I love that Chris opens all the doors for me. I feel like such a lady.

76. I always wanted to wear one of those dresses from the Civil War era, like in “Gone With the Wind” with all the petticoats and things. I’m sure they were hard to walk in, but they’re so pretty!

77. I text all the time. I prefer it to talking on the phone.

78. I’m running out of ideas for this thing, so bear with me.

79. I’ve never sold a textbook back to the college. I’ve either kept them or given them to someone else.

80. I’m uber self-conscious. I wish I wasn’t.

81. I try to do something drastically different every time I get my hair done so that when I have clientele that do that, I can come up with ideas for them better.

82. I should be studying right now.

83. Oreos are only yummy if there is milk to dip them in and they are double-stuffed Oreos.

84. I moved to Florida five and a half years ago to go to college. I’m thankful I did because I met Chris and fell in love.

85. I wish I knew what was going to happen next in our lives. I hate the uncertainty of not knowing.

86. I’m scared I won’t be any good at cosmetology and that I’ve been dreaming about it for the last 3 years for nothing.

87. Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia is my favorite flavor of theirs.

88. My eyes hate makeup on them so I’m forced to go without. I hope to go to an eye doctor at some point and see what can be done. I’d like to at least have to option to wear it.

89. If I don’t eat, I’m crabby.

90. I love my Palm Pre Plus phone. It’s my very first smartphone, and I’m glad it is.

91. I love wearing bright colored ankle socks. They’re just so lively!

92. I really can’t believe I’ve said this much about myself. I’m feeling a little egotistical. Sorry if I’m coming across that way.

93. I take that back. I’m not sorry. It’s my blog. I can talk about me and it’s ok.

94. I wish my straight hair would have a little more “oomph” to it. It doesn’t like to do much of anything without a ton of product in it.

95. I loved my spiral-curly hair for my wedding.

96. I add hot chocolate mix to my coffee and french vanilla creamer.

97. I hate confrontation…which I forgot how to spell and how to use spellcheck. Yup. I did that.

98. I’m terribly shy in big crowds.

99. I don’t really eat leftovers. I’ve had to retrain myself in that department.

100. I feel inadequate in bible classes because I feel as though I don’t know very much about the Bible.

And I’m done! Enjoy all the notes about me!

The Pause Between Chapters…

Last night was the closing of the first chapter, but what a first chapter it was! It was filled with joy, nervousness, tears, connection, bonding, sharing, heartbreak, and most of all, love. Love covered every ounce of the chapter. I’m quite sad to see it end, but very excited to start the second chapter.

What am I talking about? Why, Family Group, of course!

What is “Family Group”? It’s the best thing ever and everyone should be a part of one in my opinion!

Family Group is RPC’s version of small groups, only better. This unique grouping of 10-12 people meet once a week in someone’s home and do a bible study together of some sort. We basically do life together. Because the pastor really can’t meet the emotional and physical needs of everyone in the church, that’s what the group is for. They’re the people you call when something happens or you need someone to pray for you. They are the people who will be there at the drop of a hat anytime and will support you through life’s difficulties.

That’s what my Family Group does. We’ve only had one semester together, but we’ve grown so close over that time period. We’ve laughed and shared our hurts and pains. We’ve bonded over good food and pray for those who couldn’t make it that night. It’s the one day I look forward to most and when it’s done, I cannot wait until next week. That’s what it’s all about.

Our semester is officially done and we’re taking a break until after the holidays. Our next meeting will by in January and I cannot wait! I’m not quite sure how I’m going to survive the next month, but I know what if I need any of them, all I have to do is call and all will be well again with the world.

So, Family Group members, I love you. I’ll miss you. I truly don’t know where I would be without you. Thank you for being there for me and hugging me through the tears and confessions. And those of you not in a Family Group – Go join one. In January when we have sign-ups. Don’t delay. It will truly wreck your world in an amazing way and you’ll never be the same again. You’ll feel that sense of belonging you’ve been longing for. So go.

P.S. Tara, stop crying. It’s ok. Promise. I know they’re happy tears. I love you too!

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