Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Taking it all in strides

Well it's been 24 hours since I decided to change my perspective on life and I already have another piece of reflection.

I realize it is not enough just to take a deep breathe and accept things that don't go according to my expectations. I also need to appreciate things and people for how and who they are.

For instance, I was super frustrated with unexpected traffic yesterday, and was not provided with words of encouragement but rather asked if I would get there in time to leave for the game. I told myself not to be upset with said person, but then recognized that I needed to appreciate where he was coming from. It wasn't that he didn't care that I was in traffic, but I was already running late to get to the game and he loves his soccer games.

I'm not sure if that all makes sense, but I'm just realizing that taking things in stride also involves appreciating things where they are at.

With that, I also had a realization this morning. Despite all the smaller things in life that are continually going "wrong," I am sort of living the dream. I have always wanted to live outside of Arizona--on my own from my family, doing things on my own, paying bills, grocery shopping, the whole nine yards. I have successfully done that for the past year. I am pursuing a career that I am absolutely passionate about and have a knack for, which are two things that people cannot often say together about their careers. Although I am not near my family (a catch 22 of my dream life), I am still close enough with them, they are all healthy, and I even get to be involved in birthday parties via video chat. I have a great place to live, a job to keep myself busy (and pay the bills of course), and time to bake all sorts of goodies. This is glass half full, folks. I have quite the dream life and I need to start remembering that a bit more.

I can't forget to mention one important piece. I met someone new. A new boy who I have been too scared to talk about with many people for fear of hearing "isn't it too soon?" To be honest with you though, I am finally convinced that it is not too soon after the past week or so. I was under the impression that I was too much of a mess to be able to give anything good into a new relationship. Through many not easy conversations, I've finally been convinced that I'm wrong.

And let me tell you. This boy is cute...maybe even smokin' hot. He pushes me when I need to be pushed and reminds me that I am worth the fight. I did not expect this in the least and definitely dug my heels in the sand telling him and everyone that I wasn't sure this was the best idea for right now. But then I just couldn't get enough of him. He makes me smile and laugh uncontrollably. I have honestly had some of the best weekends of my life this summer--and I do not say that lightly. I could gush about this for quite a while, but wouldn't want to make ya'll jealous. I'll leave you with the fact that I am really happy and things are so good.

Seattle is 70 degrees today and I am going to happy hour with boy and friends after work. Even with the boy I nanny throwing things at me and yelling that I am evil--this day cannot be ruined. Here's to looking at life as glass half full.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Perfectionism is such an interesting vice. It is one of those strength-weaknesses that you spout in an interview. Well you see, I am very detail-oriented which ensures high quality work, but sometimes I get caught up in wanting things to be perfect instead of moving on.

I often value perfectionism—I tell myself that it helps me strive toward being the best version of myself or doing my best work on a project. You know, if you are striving toward perfection then you’re trying your hardest. Sounds like a pretty rational thought process, right?

Today, I had a revelation that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Who knew it would be such a slippery slope.

When I take a look at nearly every stressor, relational argument, or self-criticism—they all revolve around perfection. I either expect perfection in others or myself and it is quite demoralizing on all accounts. I can never win in the game of perfection, and neither can anyone else for that matter. This is definitely something I have realized before on a smaller scale, but I am beginning to comprehend the negative attributes of perfectionism now more than ever.

I have all these expectations for people, which I think is a pretty normal thing…right? Expectations come from all sorts of places and they are okay to have as long as you cut people some slack when they don’t meet your every expectation. This is where the ugly perfectionism runs in to wreak havoc.

For instance, say I expect someone to arrive at 6:30. He said he would leave his house in a half hour, which would be around 6. Add about 20 minutes driving time (because I am feeling nice) and a few minutes for slack (feeling extra nice) and call it 6:30. You follow me? Then when said person arrives at 6:50—I can’t figure out what went wrong and feel frustrated. {I promise this scenario is hypothetical….ha…I wish}

When you tie perfectionism up with my love for planning, you get scenarios such as the above story quite often. I expect perfection according to my expectations. And goodness gracious—how incredibly ugly is that scenario? {Wouldn’t you all just love to date me? Sounds fun, right?}

Lately, I have been feeling like nothing is happening according to plan—jobs, health, relationships, living situations, car problems, dinner menus, baked goods, arrival times, and everything else under the sun (or more like under the clouds because we don’t get sun in Seattle). I can handle one or two things, but am feeling a big overwhelmed over here. I hit a wall yesterday wondering when it was going to stop. All I wanted was a rejuvenating summer, but the lemons just keep coming. I knew this was a perspective problem. I had to be positive in order to come out on top, but had no idea how I would muster the motivation to snap into positive land just one more time. The idea of it feels exhausting in and of itself.

I finally realized this morning that I am expecting my definition of perfection in every aspect of my life, which is slowly but surely tearing me down. The joke is on me--it is my own perspective that is eating me alive, not all of life's stressors. That is something I can definitely handle.

This has been eating at me for a while. I have always wanted to be a more easy going person, but could never figure out how to grasp that perspective. I think I found the path toward that today. I am going to slowly but steadily begin to accept the perspective that things will fall where they may and I need to take it all in stride. Sounds simple enough, but I am well aware it is an uphill battle slashing out perfectionism. Nonetheless, I am excited and hopeful.

Except for the fact that I probably won’t do this perfectly either. Darn it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another creation

I am the worst at follow through. I wanted to post all my homemade Christmas gifts for the world to see and I failed on 2 occasions.

1. Didn't actually post them (well only 2 of them)
2. Didn't actually take pictures of all of them

I am just glad all my projects were actually finished in time for Christmas. Two were finished at about 1 am Christmas morning.... Procrastination at its finest.

One gift I particularly loved making was for my sister, Jen. I am thoroughly obsessed with my niece, Jaylen, my sister's now 3-year-old munchkin. She is the best. No questions asked. For Christmas 2009, I gave Jen a decorated wooden block of pictures of JJ from throughout her first year and a half of life. This past Christmas I decided I am going to make it a tradition and decorate a block every year of Jaylen pictures from the past year. We'll see how long this tradition actually lasts--I feel like Jaylen will think it is creepy once she reaches about age 12.

Here are pictures of the creation!

Can't you imagine how cute all these blocks will look together in a few years? I can't wait.

Life is funny

For about the past month now, I have been wading around with this cloud over my head.

My wonderful dermatologist decided to throw out to me that I might have PCOS.

Her: "OH! You might have PCOS which is common in people with chronic acne...(words trail off as I begin to process what in the world she just said)"
Me: "PC..what? what?"
Her: "Oh PCOS, you know, that's Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome {oh, of course}--it's pretty common in women but it's just a possibility. You should talk to your gynecologist {Yeah we're besties, I'll shoot her a text}. So...I'm thinking we should try acctuane. {...yeah over my dad's dead body}"
Me: (in my head because she won't stop talking) "Cysts? What even is that exactly? In my ovaries? What does that mean? Wait accutane? WTF! Sure lady, sign me up."

{please catch the severe sarcasm...The background on miss dermatologist is a whole other story not worth mentioning. Moral of her story: she sucks.}

What is PCOS you ask? Look it up here. Sounds like a lot of fun, right?

So this began a month ago. I have had this looming cloud of possible PCOS without many answers from doctors, but just an excessive waiting game. Just when life got good again. Just when I am literally having the best weekends of my life. Life is funny. It couldn't let me just enjoy myself, but had to throw a curve ball. I guess I should be so fortunate that this {possible} bomb dropped in a particularly happy time in my life. That's just the way things go. But let me tell you one thing, I wouldn't change my summer for a second {and that's a story for another post}.

Well, one gyno visit and one hormone blood test later and we have reached today. The day for a pelvic ultrasound. An ultrasound? Aren't those for pregnant ladies? Yes, I thought the same thing. So they just rub the goo and little camera thing across your stomach, right? Again, that sounds like what I imagined walking into the hospital this morning. But oh no...they have to poke and prod your insides too. No big deal... Why did no one warn me about this? Why is the only info I have about PCOS still from webMD? {apart from my lack of asking questions due to shock}. I {supposedly} find out the results tomorrow, but reflecting on the way things have gone I doubt that will be the case. I would like to wave my white flag and let someone else win the waiting game. I'm definitely over it.

After my exam today I decided to celebrate. No more pity parties. I have come to realize that I am very thankful that no matter what the results are (PCOS or not) that it is not a death sentence in the least. As my level-headed sister put it "medical science will have (my) back." Who knew those words would be so comforting.

In order to celebrate, I bought a delectable breakfast sandwich from Homegrown along with a delicious coffee. Since the sun was just beginning to peak through the clouds, I went and sat at Kerry Park which overlooks the Seattle skyline. {Like so}

I consumed my sandwich, basked in the sun, sipped my coffee, and leisurely read The Poisonwood Bible {which I just began last night and am already enthralled}. I sat for about an hour watching the tourists roll in and out--snapping pictures from every angle and with every combination of fellow travelers. I also am going to bake, do laundry and probably go for a run--all some of my favorite things. After all these wonderful activities, I get to end the day reading at the park while sharing dinner with one of my favorite people. As much as I hated the thought of today, it might have just turned it into one of the best days of summer.

Today is a pleasant {and much needed} reminder that life is good. So incredibly good.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

She ran ahead where there were no paths.

Well it has been awhile. Summer has technically begun with being out of school and work, but Seattle is 58 degrees and raining today. I am not loving that fact and would even put up with 100 degrees in Arizona with a smile on my face.

You won't believe what happened. I didn't get to run my half marathon. I was supposed to pick up my race number and check in the day before the race. Guess when I realized that? 10 pm on Friday night as I was getting ready to go to bed. I saw in beautiful red words "no race number pick up on race day." After some tears, life went on. I need to get back to running again because I really miss it.

I feel like I have a lot to say right now, but am not sure how to put it all into words. I am in a much different place in my life than I was a month ago. I am learning a lot about myself and am happier than I have been in a long time. I feel like I am really living life and truly feel alive. I've never described myself as feeling alive, but that word accurately describes me right now. I am living by the quote below:

I am also doing more doing instead of trying. Instead of trying to improve ______, I am just doing it. I am not sure if that even makes sense, but I'll report back later with specifics. I will also finish my 9th grade series that began below. I've had a hard time putting the last section into words. Moral of this post: I am really happy. Really happy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

9th grade: The days and weeks after State

You will want to read this first--9th grade: The day before State-- as this post is the 2nd part of a 3 part series.

I obviously made it through. Our jr. high cheer squad won 3rd…I think? Maybe even 4th…? Funny how things that were so important at one point—are clearly not important in the long run. My co-ed club cheer squad probably got 1st…? At that point in time AZ Heat was the #1 competitive cheer program in the state, so we usually won by sheer difficulty of our routines. That sounds arrogant, but I say that to say that I could’ve performed pretty poorly and we probably would have still won…no thanks to me at all.

The next week also consisted of a lot of tears. A lot of hard conversations. A few mixed CDs of sad songs that reminded me of my friend who had died {I still have these}. A nearly unbearable viewing. A funeral I wasn’t allowed to go to {Parents wouldn’t let me miss school and didn’t think it was right to let me wallow in that sadness anymore…probably for the better}.

Following Ryan’s suicide, I was introduced to new terms and ideas. Ryan had a chemical imbalance in his brain and they were trying new medication. Medications for this type of issue can have detrimental side effects—like pushing someone into deeper depression. I learned that what looked perfect on the outside of families is often not what it seems.

Every family has its issues and shortcomings. Things are not always what they seem. People are not always what they seem. People are not always as happy as they may seem. The idea that I could have done more as a friend to Ryan has not left me—even 8 years later.

I began to fear keeping anything to myself. I promised not to keep my negative thoughts to myself for fear I’d become depressed and then shut down and then not want to talk to anyone and maybe get so deep and dark that I’d want to commit suicide. I was terrified that would happen to me. I now realize this is irrational, but that’s just where I was at during that time.

I became an oversharer who gave everything in relationships with people. I gave up things at a split second if anyone needed me and stayed up way too late at night (when I should’ve done homework) to help friends solve their problems. I relied on others so much for my emotional wellbeing and expected people to know what to do with it. As you can imagine, this fed into a handful of difficult relationships, broken hearts, and lots of confusion. This process continued to change me in one way or another over the next few months and years.

Monday, May 30, 2011

An Understatement

To say I had a much-needed weekend away with my best friend would be quite an understatement. I had THE best weekend—relaxed, restored, and happy. One of my best friends from high school, Rachel, lives in Bakersfield with her husband and in-laws. When I was anticipating this weekend, many people gave me their unwelcomed opinion of “Bakersfield? What are you going to do there?”

I arrived Friday at noon and we headed to an infamous hot dog stand in LA. Hot dogs are without a doubt one of my favorite foods, so already an excellent start. We then proceeded to shop, shop, shop at The Grove shopping center in LA. We hit up Nordstrom, J Crew, Anthropologie, Victoria’s Secret, and the list goes on. I am not someone who loves shopping or does it when I am upset or anything like that. But the mix of the California sun, shopping for fun clothes, and most importantly the company of a long time best friend and I couldn’t tell you the last time I felt so happy.

Rachel and I became friends my junior year of high school through our mutual love of One Tree Hill. She owns all the seasons and from time to time we have been known to have marathons of our favorite show. Of course, we did a little of that this weekend as well. At the beginning of one of the episodes one of the characters said this quote:

"Sometimes pain becomes such a huge part of your life that you expect it to always be there…because you can't remember a time in your life when it wasn't. But then one day you feel something else-something that feels wrong, only because it's so unfamiliar. And in that moment you realize…you're happy."

It is totally cheesy and from a dramatic TV show, but it struck me. On Friday, I kept telling Rachel how happy I was. I literally felt high on something because I couldn’t stop smiling and felt more confident than I’d felt in so long. I was totally surprised by my own happiness and it was fabulous.

We didn’t do a whole lot this weekend but watch shows together, see a movie, and eat good food…but it was the greatest. Time with a best friend is so underestimated. It was just the healing I needed as I’m headed into an extremely stressful week. I feel {almost} stress free and excited about what’s next! Thank you for the much-needed weekend, Rachel. I’m so glad we’re still friends after all these years and can pick up like we hadn’t skipped a beat.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

9th grade: The day before State

I remember 9th grade fondly. Here I was: a co-captain of my freshman cheer squad, a cheerleader at a national champion cheer club {you can laugh to yourself, it’s okay}, sitting with all the football players at lunch (they were even my close friends and great friends at that), getting straight A’s in advanced classes, great group of fun girl friends who would be there through anything, with a wonderful and supportive family. Ninth grade looked like a phenomenal year and anyone looking at it from the outside would probably think I had it all.

But there is one day I will never forget that has changed me forever. It has changed the way I treat relationships, the way I view my family, the way I deal with a crisis, the way I share about my emotions.

It was the day before the state cheer competition—both of my squads were competing. {I hesitate to mention cheer for fear of not being taken seriously, but just go with me.} I hopped in my mom’s car after our last practice at AZ Heat (the club cheer) and we headed to my next practice for my freshman cheer squad. This was the first year our Jr. high had ever competed in a competition. My squad had worked SO hard to put together a stellar, competitive routine. Point being: this was a big deal and a highly stressful time. I casually picked up my phone to check a voicemail from my best friend thinking it was concerning our upcoming cheer practice. I was focused on the state competition ahead and could not wait to see how all our hard work paid off.

The voicemail began and I couldn’t understand her. She was crying and shaky and I listened to it 3 times before deciphering what she said. I can still visualize that exact moment 8 years later.

Bottom line, one of our guy friends had committed suicide. One of the most friendly, intelligent, happy, loving guys I had ever met was gone. And let me tell you—I don’t use “most friendly” or “happy” lightly in a “that’s what you say about people who died” kind of way. He is still hands-down one of the friendliest and happiest guys I have ever known.

My mind was blown. I had to pull it together for the next two days because I was responsible for rallying my jr. high cheer squad to do our BEST performance at state. It was my idea for us to compete, so the competition weighed heavily on me. I also had to somehow land a standing back flip for my club cheer squad that I had yet to land in practice. Endless hours of practice had gone in to these next 2 days. These things seemed so petty with this glaring news, but some things just have to be done. Life couldn’t stop. Life couldn’t pause and people were counting on me.

I have never truly shared how this day or event has changed my life. {And yes, my life was changed more than just the stress of making it through a state cheer competition.} I plan to share a least one {if not two} more posts about this life-changing and life-giving event. Thanks for joining me as I unpack this event that is still difficult to talk about.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A window into my mind

Lately my life has consisted of endless reflection. Why did I say that? Why did I do that? Why did things turn out in this way? I ask those questions out of curious introspection—not out of sadness or regret.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to self-analyze. I love to figure out exactly why I would have acted a certain way or would have said a certain thing. I like to figure out what past experiences and current life stressors drive my thoughts and actions. Talk to me a week after any “life crisis” I may have told you about and I will have a detailed explanation (possibly a myriad of interconnected explanations) for why things turned out the way they did and what I am going to do to heal, process, and change those outcomes in the future.

This might all sound fine and dandy, but let me let you in on a secret. This is exhausting.
I do come at all these things with the perspective that everything happens for a reason to better prepare me for the future. However, with a handful of super stressful, heartbreaking, and life changing events happening within a month of each other (sometimes even a week of each other) over the past few months of my life—I am exhausted. I am sick of analyzing. I am sick of venting all of my worries onto my roommates (and anyone who happens to be within 10 feet of me). It is getting a little silly if you ask me. I am sick of losing sleep and sick of the anxiety.

So what’s next you ask? I called someone. I scheduled an appointment with a trusted Seattle counselor. I have not gone crazy, folks. I have always spouted off that everyone would benefit from some healthy time talking to a certified counselor or therapist. I am finally following my own advice and seeking someone’s insight other than my own.

My psychology background is screaming at me to make some sense of my scattered, sleepless thoughts. I cannot wait to talk to someone and have her point out different parts of my negative lines of reasoning. I cannot wait to have someone stop me and say “you are wrong.” Yes, mom and dad, I am actually excited to have someone tell me I am wrong. Maybe I have gone crazy.

Despite what I know about psychologists through studying psychology in undergrad, I still have my misconceptions about Freudian psychoanalysis and talking about my “daddy issues.” These are the misconceptions that have kept me from chatting with a counselor before now. I am choosing to set aside my prejudice and choosing to move forward.

Either way, I feel healthy. Too exhausted to continue introspection on my own, but healthy nonetheless. That is something I am proud of and am so thankful for that bit of peace.
On another note—this next week marks my last week of my first year (out of 2) of graduate school! Holy smokes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Small update

So, turns out I am not going to Spain. Supposedly the family found someone else? Weird deal, but whatever. I'm back in contact with the nanny agency I worked for last summer--A Nanny for U--and I'm hoping to get a close to full time nanny job this summer.

Seattle in the summer should be beautiful and I'm excited to actually get out and explore way more than I did last summer.

I ran 8 miles yesterday, but it took me close to 2 hours. Blah. I set my face too quickly for the first 4 miles and had to walk a lot of the 4th mile because I was in a lot of pain. This is why you train, I guess. Now I know I have to run 10 min and walk 1 min NOT run 12 min and walk one min. Next week will be 10 miles and I'm nervous and excited about it!

I am going to LA in 2 weeks to visit one of my best friends, Rachel Kartchner Clyde, and I am super excited to get out of the cold rain and into beautiful southern California!!!

Hoorah! I am looking forward to this 4 day work week. We have the EEU Annual Auction on Saturday which is a HUUUUUGE deal, so we have school closed on Friday (and a half day on Monday) to prepare for the auction and then clean up from the auction. It should be grand! Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Brothers & Sisters

I have been watching a lot of this show on Netflix {since I finished the entire series of Grey's...}:

I have seen this show off and on in the past because my parents used to save it on the DVR. I love watching shows that are simply about family dynamics. (ex: 7th Heaven, Parenthood, ect) I love love love that beyond all their drama in their own lives, the Walkers (the main family in this show) always have each other's backs, always love each other, and always spend time together. My crazy family is so much like them. We all have drastically different lifestyles, but love each other all the same.

One person who is particularly like someone in my family is this woman:

Nora Walker (Sally Fields character in this show) is a more neurotic and more intense version of my own mother. She is the glue that holds the family together. She is always planning family get togethers, making sure everyone is doing okay, putting out the fires of our arguments, and constantly doing everything she can for us. I laugh to myself as I watch her children roll their eyes at some of the things she does for them or when they tell her to just stop. At times things may seem too much (like always cleaning our rooms), but she does those things because she loves her kids and just wants to make life easier for them however she can. This is exactly my wonderful mother. This show has single-handedly made me realize I have a future in Arizona.

...which actually sort of bums me out. You all might be surprised to hear this, but I have absolutely fallen in love with the city of Seattle. I love all the trees and the coffee and the places to run. I love that it is hard to find a parking spot and that there are too many hills to count because that is just part of life here. I love Seattle for all it has to offer. I love that everyone owns a brightly colored raincoat and a pair of rain boots. I love this city and would absolutely love to settle down and maintain a life here. I just could never do that at the expense of not seeing my family. I do not particularly love all. It's hot, not very pretty, kind of a bubble, not very diverse, ect ect.

But watching the Walkers randomly pop in to each other's houses, all showing up at the hospital when a child is hurt, attending countless family events together--all of those things without a doubt overshadow my love for Seattle. I still plan to buckle down here in Seattle and live life here as much as possible because I don't know where and when God will move me out of this city. Lately, my mind has become very open to any new opportunities that come my way.

I am in such an exciting place in my life where I do not yet have obligations that hold me to a certain schedule or lifestyle. I am excited to dig deeper in my relationship with Christ this summer as I get to know myself again and learn who He made me to be. I do not have enough time to do young life right now, so I plan to get involved in the high school ministry at my church up here because I miss ministering to high school kids so so much. The psychology part of me misses listening to the hurts and joys in the lives of high school kids and providing the needed guidance, support, and love to these kids. Now to finishing up that cover letter that has been looming over my head for a few weeks...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Music heals a heart

Music has definitely been a huge part of my life lately. This song by Sarah Barellis
that I talked about before describes exactly how I've been feeling. Being a serial
dater, I've had a lot of broken hearts and hard break ups in my day, but this is 
still like nothing I have ever felt before. I've definitely been living the cliche'
line of "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." Here I come to keep getting

No words, my tears won't make any room for more 
And it don't hurt like anything I've ever felt before 
This is no broken heart, no familiar scars 
This territory goes uncharted...  

Just me in a room sunk down in a house in a town 
And I don't breathe 
Though I never meant to let it get away from me 
Now I'm too much to hold, 
everybody has to get their hands on gold 
And I want uncharted 

Stuck under the ceiling I made, 
I can't help the feeling...  
I'm going down Follow if you want, 
I won't just hang around 
Like you'll show me where to go 
I'm already out of foolproof ideas 
So don't ask me how to get started 
It's all uncharted 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

It's All Uncharted

Here is another collection of gifts I made for Christmas. I forget where I even found the idea of mod-podging book pages onto canvas, but I loved the idea and have zillions of ideas of other pieces of art I can make with this simple medium.

The first piece was for my sister, Alyssa. She has been involved in theatre all her life, so the drama faces seemed like a good fit. They were a pain to trace, glue, and glitter. I was determined to use the purple glitter (her favorite color). The book pages were from Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist--the first play my sister and I ever acted in together. Super sentimental, right? {Poor lighting in my room lead to not the clearest pictures...I need to work on that}

The next piece is for my sister-in-law, Cheryl and my beautiful baby niece, Brynn. The book was called the Tao of Pooh, which I thought was clever and fun. I just mod-podged on some letters I cut from scrapbook paper and tied the bow to make it a bit more feminine!

Just downloaded some new music today that I'm pretty excited about. Mumford & Sons, Sara Bareilles, Alexi Murdoch, & some Missy Higgins -- semi random selection.

I also just got back from a 3 mile run! I am super excited that I can now run 3 miles in the time I was running 2 miles before. Add in the elevation factor and I am getting a rockin' work out. Hoorah! I told myself that once I can run 5 miles 3 times a week...I can spend some cash on cool work out clothing and maybe new shoes. I think I should set up some sort of weekly reinforcement schedule....hmmm love this idea.

Have I mentioned yet that I might spend my summer in Spain as a live-in au pair for a Spanish family? We're still in the works of emailing and figuring things out, but I am getting super excited. The family lives 2 miles from the beach and has two little boys--oh it would be grand!

Another exciting note...MY PARENTS COME NEXT WEEK!!!! April 16 - 24 and I couldn't be more excited. I have created an extensive "things to do" list and cannot wait to eat delicious food and explore more of Seattle. I am keeping my fingers crossed for little to no rain. I think my mom is getting pretty worried about the rain--it is not at all like the pouring rain often shown on Grey's Anatomy. It barely pours like that. If anyone has any "must do" Seattle ideas, please let me know!

{My mood has clearly improved. I am guessing it is predominately from the endorphins I received from running...don't be too fooled.}

The good days are slowly balancing out the bad. The future seems very "uncharted"--a term I'm stealing from a Sara Bareilles song I just downloaded. Not sure where I will live in the fall, what I will be doing this summer, where I will be working next year. For someone who loves clear cut plans, it's honestly pretty scary. I am trying to embrace the adventure of it and stay positive. I have lots of options for each unknown, which is quite exciting and quite the gift.

As Sara B. says in her "Uncharted" song--I am out of foolproof ideas, so don't ask me how to get started. One day at a I come!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beautiful disaster

The title of this blog describes my past month. March was a beautiful disaster. I sit here and wonder where the entire month even went.

I did a lot of things I'd never done before--the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Let's start with some of the good: I have actually committed to running! WOO! I can consistently run 2 miles without stopping. I am having a lot of fun playing around with my strides, pace, and duration of running without stopping. I have begun to run in my neighborhood more which has zillions of hills. I can confidently face them without stopping or turning around. My stride slows significantly, but it's such an exhilarating challenge. I actually just got back from a 2.25 mile run and I ran probably 2 miles of it. Hoorah. I love pushing past the pain in my legs and running to the beat of my music as I reflect on the chaos I've created in my life. I even got in a 4 mile run somewhere along the way. Now when I begin to run I instantly feel on pace and happy--it is fantastic.

Two weeks ago was my UW spring break, but I still had 8-4 work at the EEU. I lived that spring break like a freshman in college. Fill in the blanks as to what you think that would look like. I am going to spare the embarrassing details. That Friday at work my coworkers were astonished by my stories. One even mentioned he was a bit worried--which is a lot coming from him. However, another coworker pulled me aside that morning and told me that it was okay that I was a mess right now. That is was okay that I was letting loose and finding myself again.

Oh. my. goodness.

He had no idea how that truth would literally set me free. At that point I began to stop searching for some crazy outlet to hide the pain I was feeling. Of course, the next week consisted of lots of crying--which I hadn't allowed myself to do yet. There has been lots of crying. Lots of realizing I am losing my best friend and then having to search for my breath again because the thought of that is so heartbreaking? devastating? unfathomable? All of those words don't quite hit the mark of the emotion, but you get the point. I'm finally showing the world the real hurt that is going on inside.

{Did everyone just think I was coping really well? I'm not sure but I've felt super alone over here.} I assume the fact that I have been laughing it all off the past few weeks and making a fool of myself that everyone just thought I was okay. It is also not easy for me to come to people for emotional help or advice. I love to be the person people go to, but prefer to cry alone.

Anyway, you can see that I am still very much processing what is going on in my life. The next step to all of this processing is going to be messy. When life is so entwined with someone else's, the teasing apart of each life is painful. Oh and to top that off, I got hives this week for the first time in my life. Had a small outbreak yesterday, some more this morning, and then more during class tonight. Freakin' fabulous. What's next?

On another happy note, I have made huge strides with my kids a school--I just love them so much. I have also really screwed up with kids at school by making a wrong decision or a wrong direction, so I've learned a lot in that realm as well during the month of March. I just began a new quarter at UW--my last quarter of my 1st year of graduate school!

Overall, there are some good days and some really bad days, but life continues. At church on Sunday, Pastor Richard talked about renouncing the lies and turning toward the truths. I am just beginning to unfold all the lies I have let seep into my life and have made me view aspects of myself and my life in a different way. My roommates and a few new close friends have been amazing support in helping me see the truth. More to come. Join me again soon!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

As promised.

I talked incessantly about the Christmas gifts I made my family, but never shared them. I didn't get pictures of all of them, but I do have pictures of many of them.

One of my favorite gifts I made was a diaper and/or wipes case for my sister-in-law who just had a baby girl at the end of December. I found a tutorial for this project here and after much frustration (and some help from Kevin's mom) here is my masterpiece! {Please excuse the poor picture quality}

I even made my first fabric flower. I was attempting to make a ruffle to place across the entire top of the flap, but the flower worked too.

I am not someone who sews. I actually haven't sewn a thing since my 7th grade home ec class (until this past november). Now I am in love with sewing and inheriting my mom's old machine!

Anyway, this diaper case was even more exciting because I "repurposed" an old skirt of mine. The skirt was my absolute favorite but the elastic had given out. I had high hopes of saving the skirt by just taking some inches off the elastic, but I learned you need to make better measuring plans before you start cutting things apart...

Over the next few days I will continue to post all of my creations I made for Christmas. Hopefully that will cheer this place up a bit!

Stupid flu.

Ugh. I was super inspired and had all of these wonderful things to blog about. I was pumped about running and pumped about my meal plan...

But life always always always has other plans for you.

Monday night I slept from 7:30 pm to 6:30 am. Yes...11 hours. That's when I knew something was up. Tuesday at school was okay, but I had this killer cough. All my coworkers would stare at me in worry. Tuesday night I couldn't keep my eyes open and it was only 8 pm. My body feels hot...what is a fever again? My body aches so has to be the running.

Sure enough when Wednesday morning came around, I knew I had to call in sick.

And goodness gracious, let me tell you, this is NOT the week to call in sick at my job. Some crazy things are going on in my wonderful classroom right now and my staff could really use an extra set of hands.

Instead, I have been in bed for about 48 hours.

I am officially sick of Greys Anatomy. I have finished the series of Friday Night Lights. And I have taken 2 bathes and 2 showers because I don't know what else to do. My meal plan has gone to waste (maybe it'll still be okay next week?) and I'm bummed I've missed days of running (still strongly considering the Seattle rock n' roll 1/2 marathon June 25).

Ugh. Life always has other plans. Is this God trying to stop me from yet again trying to take control of my own life? Most likely. I'm kind of a control freak. I get it already.

I get it.

Okay, okay. I obviously don't get it. At all. Here's to all of you out there who are currently waving your white flag. I'm right there with ya.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I don't know what I want

So don't ask me. Cause I'm still trying to figure it out. Don't know what's down this road. I'm just walking. Trying to see through the rain coming down. I'm just a girl, trying to find a place in this world. {Thank you, Tay Swift}

As you can see from that rambling of a post yesterday, I have a lot of thoughts rolling through my mind and lots of change coming my way. I hope you join me on this journey as I begin to explore running, dive into deeper relationships with my kiddos at school as I seek to give them the best education possible, and as I try to figure out how I got to where I am.

I had a beautiful run through Magnolia yesterday. I live at the bottom of Queen Anne hill, but babysat this weekend on the other side of Magnolia near the water and found a spot I am in love with. The area over near the water reminds me of places I would spend time with in Australia and I absolutely fell in love.

I ran as the rain fell on my head and Taylor Swift sang in my ear. I found a little nook to walk out on the cliff and look over the Puget Sound. It was such a perfect movie-moment. I cleared my mind and concentrated on my breathing as Taylor Swift kept singing,

"Never wanted this, never wanna see you hurt.
Every little bump in the road I tried to swerve.
But people are people,
And sometimes it doesn’t work out,
Nothing we say is gonna save us from the fall out."
- Breathe

I couldn't believe how those silly words fit what I was feeling so perfectly. I have been trying to swerve away from the difficult decisions in my life. And this past week I have been excessively trying to talk, talk, talk, and fix the mess I made in order to save it all from falling apart.

I realize this is a lot of inside information into the confusion of my mind, but this is therapeutic for me. I am fully embracing the concept of giving things time to process. As I quieted my mind, {desperately cried out to Jesus that I was done taking control}, I know I am being told to slow down and wait. Something that is my BIGGEST weakness. I plan to blog a lot as I continue this process and begin to live in my biggest weakness. I plan to focus on running, my new meal plan, and on becoming a better teacher.

Join me if you please. But caution, the oversharing is no where close to over. You've been warned.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I just became a runner.

I went on a run today for the first time in a long time and I am officially calling myself a runner. To those of you who have been dedicated to this sport for a long time, I'm sorry if this offends you that I am taking on this title after one day, but hear me out...

I have never gone on a run in my life and felt like I never wanted to stop or like it was refreshing or like I wanted to do it again and again and again. I just went on the best run of my life and I am calling myself a runner because it is officially something I want to do every day (as often as I can). I feel exhausted and refreshed and bustling with energy (which is a huge deal to me right now).

To be fair, I am also a quitter and a mess.

I am a quitter because I don't push myself beyond my limits in things that I am not confident that I am good at. I push in relationships, push with my kids at school, push on my school work. I give up on most other things. Take running for example, I run a little bit one time about once every other month. During that run, I always slow down and convince myself that running is just not for me. I quit.

For those that know me, you are probably thinking "you don't give up, you take risks, ect ect" But let me promise you, I am a quitter and just hide it really really well by my incessant "busy" schedule.

Next, we have the "I am a mess" statement to clarify. Take a stethoscope into my thoughts or listen to a story about my past week and you will be more than satisfied with that label on my life. I have made such an ugly, sticky mess this week of the relationships in my life. I am now single and officially trying to stop picking up the pieces. Why? (You ask) Why am I stopping? Oh, that would be because I pushed and pushed to fix my relationships and made them a bigger mess in the process.

I am reaching the end of one of the hardest weeks in my life and I am still breathing. (which is a success I would like either a gold star or maybe a smelly sticker for, please?) Although this has been one of the hardest weeks emotionally and personally, this has also been one of the sweetest weeks with my kids at school. I have been hyper-focused at interacting with my kiddos at school in effort to force my mind to stop thinking {I literally didn't take my 1/2 hour break all week because I didn't want to I said - I'm a mess}.

From all this rambling, I will leave you with a beautiful story of one of my sweetest moments this week. Ralph (name changed for confidentiality) is a 6-year old child in my kindergarten class. Ralph is known around school for his shrieking (cry/yell/shout) he often does in the hallways when he does not get what he wants or cannot communicate exactly what he wanted--yes, the WHOLE school can hear. Anyway, one day at the end of playcourt, as I turned around to help another child exit the playground, Ralph--in full force--took both fists and hit me in the back because I had removed a toy from his hands before he was ready. After taking some time to recompose, the day continued.

Later, during free choice time, I was determined to ignore Ralph because his hit actually hurt and had damaged my trust for him and our relationship. I was in charge of "floating" around the classroom to make sure kids were engaged and getting along, when Ralph walked up to me with picnic basket in hand..."Do you want to go on a picnic?" he asked in his cartoon-like voice. I wanted to say no, I wanted to tell him how I really felt, I wanted to tell him I couldn't take it anymore. But, in my kindergarten-teacher-has-it-all-together voice, I sighed, "Of course." And he proceeded with, "Okay, follow me!" We enjoyed a beautiful picnic together as we lounged on our sides on the comfy grass (aka: gross carpet). We ended up having to clean up because (in Ralph's words) it was smelling like rain.

That's grace, folks. The adult in me was ready to ignore, be angry, and carry around the weight of the hurt relationship. Meanwhile, this beautiful child was over it and ready to move on with life and enjoy our relationship again. Thank you, Ralph, for teaching me to let go and move on.

Oh, and also...thank you for the delicious plastic pineapple. I had a delightful picnic.