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Monday, July 28, 2014

Blessings From Abroad

Howdy from the Dominican Republic! (I actually wrote this post last week before I left, but since I'm currently in DR, it works.) Thank you SO much to everyone who donated to my funds for going on this mission trip, for everyone who has sent up even a single prayer for us and for all your sweet emails/texts to wish us well! I don't even have the right words to tell you how excited I am to see how God really turns this into a life changing experience - for everyone involved!!
Earlier this week, I got to thinking about how things happen at JUST the right times in our lives. This is hard to see sometimes, especially in the midst of a tough season. But just in my own experience there are so many examples of how God was truly the one in control - even before I realized the power in that. One huge example, is for me to think about what would have happened if Skye and I hadn't called off our wedding? I don't think I would have ended up at OneLife Church, my heart probably wouldn't be so on fire for serving Jesus and I definitely wouldn't be sitting in the Dominican Republic on a mission trip right now. I couldn't see then that the past almost 2 years would take my life down this unexpected trajectory. But I felt deep down in my heart that God had something better. My story was meant to be so much more than just a broken engagement. I couldn't believe it everyday at the time, but on the really low days I always knew. Trusting in that can be so hard, but I'm living proof that it can be rewarding beyond your wildest dreams. Some people call it fate, karma or luck - but I don't believe in any of that. I chose to believe that God saw me through that season of change, and He continually promised me that better days were to come. Better days are here! It's pretty awesome to recognize God at work in all the big moments - but even more in the everyday little decisions in our lives.

Who knows maybe I have a future in mission work? I will definitely have the bug after this trip, I'm sure of it. I already have it and we aren't even home yet.
If my prayer warriors would continue to pray for us on this trip, I would really love that!
1. Pray for our hearts - that we will be open to letting God lead us into conversations and using us however He can. Pray that we truly believe & seek to make our one life make a difference.
2. Pray for a safe trip down & back home
3. Pray that He will use this experience to bring us closer to Him and ultimately we'll be able to tell stories of change - either in our lives or how we had influence over others.
4. Pray for this community we will be serving - we will be building a greenhouse for them to make their community more self-sustainable, and we will be helping them do a VBS program for all their young people (I can't wait to hug on some sweet babies!!!!).
5. And a selfish one, please pray about the weather. I am so worried that the heat indexes and high humidity with no air conditioning will distract my focus.
One of my favorite walls at my church - this idea is what our whole church is built upon.
Your support means the world to me, and it really keeps me going sometimes. THANK YOU! I can't wait to share stories of life change with you when I get home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Currently - July Edition

Listening - NEEDTOBREATHE new & old stuff
Eating - Can we just count everything? So much so that I had chips (plural) fall out of my sports bra the other day... yes I was wearing a sports bra for laying on the couch, eating chips and watching movies. That's about the extent of my sports bra usage right now.
Drinking - Milo's Zero Calorie Unsweet Tea is my FAVE!
Reading - I'm definitely on a reading kick right now. In the past 3 weeks I've finished:
-Serena by Ron Rash. I love me a good dark twisted crazy woman plot...not sure what that says about me. I'm looking forward to this movie and seeing JLaw play Serena. And there's always Bradley Cooper. (If you liked Gone Girl, I would recommend this - although the plot is much more straight forward).

-What Remains by Carole Radziwill. Carole is one of my favorite housewives so I had to read her memoir. It was a perfect combination of my love of RHONY & my Kennedy family obsession. Definitely a tear jerker though.
-Looking for Alaska by John Green. Apparently I just love all things John Green. This one will also be made into a movie soon, along with his other book Paper Towns. I like this one way better than Paper Towns, for what it's worth.
Feeling - CRAZY EXCITED about my mission trip! We leave on Friday and I can't believe that it's finally here! I'm anxious, excited, kinda nervous - just ready. I'm eager to see all the amazing things God is going to teach us while we are gone. A have a feeling a lesson in humility is coming up for me. Keep praying for us - for a safe trip, for our hearts to be open to how God can use us, for the people that we will have conversations with, for our mission!
Weather - Humidity is the devil, need I say more?
Wanting - An easy button. For relationships, to lose weight, for people in my life who I love and are hurting, to make everything fit together perfectly.

Watching - RHONJ is back y'all!!!! I'm so excited that Dina is back. My summer TV schedule is pretty lame other than Bravo. Hence my reading kick.


Monday, July 21, 2014

An Age Old Question

The other day at work we had a full out debate about a question people have been asking themselves for generations. Can boys & girls really be JUST friends? As in close friend, BFF type of relationship, with no other feelings involved?
I gotta say I've always been an advocate for opposite sex friendships. I can't think of a time in my life that I didn't have a male BFF. I just relate to guys - I like sports and beer and it's easy for me to transition into "one of the guys". For a girly girl, I feel like I'm pretty masculine as far as my emotions and outlooks on some things go.
With all that being said, when it came my turn to defend my position for YES there is such a place as JUST friends - I felt torn. I'm starting to think I've been wrong my whole life and it's not actually possible for men and women to be JUST friends on more than an acquaintance level. To be clear, I'm talking two completely single people. Not single girls being close to married/attached men or vice versa.
I've come to realize that I might have developed a slight issue with boundaries since I've been single. Actually before I was single. Maybe this happens to all of us (hopefully?) or maybe it's just me. But I am pretty dang good at blurring the lines of a friendship vs. more than friends situation - without actually managing to turn anything into an actual relationship. For the record, I don't think this is a positive thing AT ALL!! It creates messes, hurt feelings and sometimes even voids relationships. This has been on my heart so much lately, and I've spent some time reflecting on how I've ruined relationships.
Lots of variables come into play here, in my mind. And let's just have some real talk -
1. Ex-boyfriends of the serious nature. I'm not one who can be too chummy with my serious ex-boyfriends. There's just too much history and the dangerous enemy of nostalgia always sneaks in when you even entertain that idea. We broke up for good reasons, and let's not forget those. I have one who still loves me and one who hates my guts, but my feelings are firm on being friends with both of them. Not happening!
2. Ex-guys I've dated, term used loosely. Not talking on a serious level or for years. Whether it be off and on, or just a matter of months, or a handful of dates. These are tricky. I have a couple who I've kept in my back pocket for backup dates, but you know these things will never play out. These are guys you've been out with for the sole purpose of going on a date. You aren't REAL friends, but you don't really want to date them either.
3. Old friends. Then there's those guys that you've known since 1st grade. You're comfortable with them. You've probably kissed them a couple times throughout middle/high school and college. Maybe more. They are comfortable, they know your history, they get you. Oh, how comfortable makes it easy to open some doors that never need to be opened. And you can always say "we have always just been good friends". LIE.

If you are married or have been in a relationship for years, then you might turn your nose up at me, and this post. And that's fine. I remember very clearly having tunnel vision too when I didn't have to experience certain things. It's not your fault you haven't, and it's not a terrible thing that I have. I wish I was more innocent and hadn't made mistakes. But when I can look at the mistakes I've made and see a pattern and realize that I want to fix that problem, then that's progress.
I think it all comes down to healthy boundaries in relationships. Clearly, I don't know a lot about those, but I do know: I need positive male relationships in my life, and ones that I don't try to manipulate for my wants/needs. I need to work on being more intentional with my feelings and actions. I need to work on filling my heart more with God's love vs. seeking a man's attention. I need to mantra myself to death with not settling.
I read this and it really hit home with me. It brought tears to my eyes, even. Especially this:
How we treat men is how they are going to treat us back. Our actions speak volumes into a guy’s ear telling him exactly how we want to be treated. Flirting with every guy, or even just one guy, who you know is not the one for you is simply selfish. Some will say, “I just have a flirty personality.” I’m just going to be real here and say that notion is absolutely and totally ridiculous.
The truth hurts sometimes, and this is my truth. I'm 29 years old and it's time to stop playing games. I think I have a little self help to do in the boundaries department! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Unconventionally Thankful

Last week I was skimming through my blog roll and came across this post by Erin about being Quick To Say Thanks. I loved the idea and told her I was going to steal it and create my own list. Shutting down negativity in you life can be HARD. Every now and then, I just want to complain all the live long day, y'all. Even on those days when I am in that mood, I still have to deal with life. And the complaining just makes me irritable! But I do find that when I pause to notice the little things then I am much happier. Of course I am thankful for the "normal" things in my life - my family, friends, job, house, etc. - even though I often take them for granted too.

I wanted to focus more on the little unconventional things that make me smile! I have friends and family members who are going through hard trials right now and their struggles can offer me some perspective every now and then. I always want to take a little moment of my day to count my blessings - one by one.
The huge windows in my office. (totally stole this straight from E's list!) Back in December when I got my promotion at work, I upgraded offices. There are things I've wasted time complaining about this office, but the thing I adore about it is the big windows. There is nothing like natural sunlight streaming in to make me a happy girl.
The Pinterest Humor section. One word: lifesaver. These funnies have gotten me through some tough days. Days when it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed and make it work. Days when my life was a wreck. My best friend (who lives in a different state) would always tell me when I felt like I was going to cry to go to Pinterest Humor, and it worked! You can find me on Pinterest {here}.
Mexican Fridays. (you already know food was going to be included on this list somewhere) Every payday, my girls at work and I go to our favorite Mexican place. Working with people who are some of my closest friends in this world is one thing, but just taking that time at the end of the week to celebrate a) our paychecks, b) the close of another successful work week and c) each other is pretty great.
Books. It's no secret that I love to read. I'll read anything I can get my hands on. There's no feeling like getting lost in a good book. It's such a stress reliever to disappear from your own life and fall into someone else's. Plus, I'm still a library regular and the only ways books are better are when they are free!
Freebies. If you don't already know, you can sign up for daily emails that send you alerts when companies have free samples to distribute. and Freeflys are two of my favs. I've gotten so many beauty products to try this way ABSOLUTELY FREE. And it makes for exciting mail days. Freebies > Bills.
Mascara & Fingernail Polish. Because ANY day can be made instantly better with a dab of mascara and splash of color on your nails. When you look better, you feel better.
People Who Are Huggers. I spent a good portion of my life not really wanting people I didn't know all up in my personal space. These days, I'm pretty much a full blown hugger myself.
Cute Panties. Every girl knows that nothing makes you feel on top of your game like rocking some cute panties. Gives you an inner confidence boost to conquer the day.

Really cute, crazy talented, athletic high school boys. Before you go calling the cops to throw me into perv jail - don't panic. These boys just turn into my favorite athletes and I spent many hours of my life watching them, yelling at them and supporting their salaries.

Bloggers like Hannah. Hannah has got to be my soul sister. She just doesn't know it yet. The way this girl writes just connects with my heart and the depths of my bones. She inspires me, she gets my life, she relates to my deepest and most real struggles.