How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.--Stephen Covey

Thursday, March 31, 2011

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #9

Life Lesson #9:

The most important sex organ is the brain.

I am going to let this one speak for itself. And I will leave you with an excerpt from the book:

"The writers of it [the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous] must have had a sense of humor, because the sex advice starts on page 69. The book advises one to take a personal inventory, to look at resentments and fears, but also at one's sex life, what worked and what didn't. Then create a sane and sound ideal between you and God about what is right for you alone.

"I needed to trust God with my sexuality. I had to look at sex as a gift that springs from a God who made me with desires and longings and passions. I needed to know and believe that God was creative enough to deign men who would not abuse or abandon me in a relationship.

"Sex had to be part of a larger, whole relationship.

"... 'Sex is up here.' It's not about performing for each other. It's not your job to please anyone. 'Not that much of sex is about having an orgasm,' ... 'That's the icing. All the other ingredients make up the cake. ..." (Brett, pp. 45-46). 

What does this Life Lesson mean to you? What does it say to you? Do you see sex in this way?

Excerpt from:     Brett, Regina. God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours. New York: Grand Central, 2010.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wholey Moley

Jake and I are into the 30s for our wedding countdown. (Really, it's just 39, but still! 39 more days!? Where has the last 19 months gone!?)

Wholey moley!!

I mean, it's just creeping right up on us. I feel like I have sooooooooo much to do still this month. I have a few things crossed off the list, and a good handful of things are things that just have to be ordered, but I am seriously feeling the pressure to get things done.

Originally, Jake and I were going to do our own centerpieces. But honestly, I'm pretty much done with all things wedding related. I'm not done in the sense that things are complete. But I am just ready to be married and done with all the wedding planning. I loved planning our wedding. And I'm lucky that Jake has been a huge help through it all and really involved. But, I am ready to not have to look at wedding magazines or websites or anything else for a really long time (like, when I'm helping my own kids plan their wedding(s)). I mean, by the time Jake and I get married we will have been engaged for 20-months. And, although I was in grad school and was very focused on my studies, I will admit that wedding planning sometimes seeped into my life while in grad school. I mean, we had to get an idea of how much everything was going to cost so we could plan for all that!!

Anyway, our wedding is going to be awesome. And beautiful. And it's going to be the most amazing day of mine and Jake's lives. We are both looking forward to spending it with our friends and family and partying the evening away.

Other than wedding stuff, Jake and I really have nothing big going on. We went on a date night last night for some yummy sushi and really got to spend some time together. I can't wait to start my new job and really be able to make my own schedule--I honestly thought that we were not going to make it since I didn't get off of work until 8:30pm. Granted, I don't tell the family when I want to leave early since I don't have to be to work until like 2:30pm so I can't really complain, but still. Jake and I never do date nights anymore because my work schedule is so unpredictable and I work so late.

I really should start taking pictures of things while we are out and about...

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #8

Life Lesson #8:

It's okay to get angry with God. He can take it.

I don't have much to say about this one. I've had a few moments where I have been upset with God because I wasn't getting my way or I felt like he wasn't helping me. But months later (in most cases) I have learned that it is because He has a plan for me and I can't control the lessons he is throwing at me.

The key thing here: I wasn't getting my way. I had to stop doing that and thinking like that. I am not in control of my life. And guess what, when I stop trying to control my life and just let God guide me, great things happen.

You need examples? Here you go, here is mine:

After graduating last May with my MSW degree, I was having a hard time finding a job. Seriously, I was applying for at least 20-30 jobs a week. No interviews. Nothing. I spent 4.5 months after graduation (that doesn't include the months before graduation) applying for jobs and searching for something. When I threw my hands up in the air and asked God for guidance--I landed a job. It wasn't in my field and I was just nannying, but I got a job. 

Have you ever been angry with God? What was your experience? Did you still feel God present in your life? What about if/when you let God guide you?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #7

Life Lesson #7:

Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

Okay. I don't know about you, but I hate crying in front of people. First off, crying can get ugly (yes, I said it) and second, it shows that you are vulnerable. And I only let the people closest to me see me at my most vulnerable. Mostly this is Jake.

Sometimes I just need a good cry. Alone. This usually involves a nice soak in the bathtub and a glass of wine. And then everything is right in the world again.

Sometimes though, I need a good cry with Jake holding me. And everything is really great in the world again.

Seriously. I had a mental breakdown the other night when Jake and I were going to bed. It's a combination of nerves and everything changing all at once. A new job? Getting married? Planning all this at once? I know God has great plans for me and He knows that I can do it, but I feel so gosh darn weak sometimes. And it's hard to stay sane trying to get everything together for the wedding and keeping the household together and working. Add changing jobs in the middle of all that and you've got a mental breakdown just stewing. And why is it that during wedding planning, especially the last couple months that you start to fight more with your spouse-to-be?? I know it's just the stress and nerves and everything else that goes along with that. But knowing that doesn't make it easier or shield us from taking our stress out on each other.

Anyway, the mental breakdown really helped. And it helped to have Jake there to hold me and listen and just talk through it. Oh and it was an ugly cry too :p

Oh. And I cry every. single. week. during The Biggest Loser. And during most other shows I watch when things get emotional. I'm an emotional person... I am sure I will be a hot mess at our wedding...

I have no questions for this one. Thoughts??

Monday, March 28, 2011

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #6

Life Lesson #6:

You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Need I explain this one?

I honestly think that agreeing to disagree can be one of the saving factors in any relationship. If you can learn to understand and accept that you and someone else will not always agree on something, then you not only will have a strong relationship but you will also be a much wiser and stronger person. Jake and I agree on mostly everything, but every now and then something comes up and instead of arguing about it until we're both majorly ticked off at each other, we agree on the whole concept of agreeing to disagree. And guess what? You'd be amazed at how much this can save you from having a complete relationship meltdown.

Come across someone that has to push their point and push their point and keep on pushing even after you have given up on trying to disagree? Well, they are just looking for an argument. And they haven't quite gotten the whole concept of agreeing to disagree and that people have different viewpoints. They don't mean it to be rude and mean, they just want to make sure they are heard and their point is understood. Simply try not to argue and if you can, walk away. Keep telling/asking them that you can agree to disagree. Seriously. It's not worth losing a friend. Or losing sleep. Or not talking for hours/days/months.

And then there is compromise. The secret ingredient in relationships--especially the most important relationships in your life (like your hubby, wife, girlfriend, etc.). It's really quite simple. You pick the restaurant, he/she picks the movie. You pick out the couch, he/she gets to pick out the recliner (because every man needs one. Or so I've been told...). It's going to be more difficult to compromise on the larger things--like where to live, which house you are going to buy, how many kids you are going to have. But compromise will save your relationship and make things a lot more enjoyable. Trust me on this.

What have you learned about agreeing to disagree? What are some compromises that you have made?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

... and so have my allergies.

I swear to you I wouldn't normally complain about them but they are awful this year. I don't know if it's because at this time last year it wasn't nearly this warm yet or if it's just because I'm one of those types of people that as I get older I get allergies. Growing up, I never had allergies. No, that was my brother--for heaven's sake the poor guy would break out in hives if someone just mowed the grass!! I think it's Georgia. I hear the good 'ole GA is one of the worst places to live if you have allergies. And, believe it or not, every year since I moved here, my allergies have progressively getting worse.

So... early spring + Georgia + high allergen counts in the air + getting older and developing allergies =  one miserable girl.

And I do take an allergy pill each day. I'm pushing through though. I will not let itchy eyes, a runny nose and a morning allergy-induced cough get me down.

Wholey moley!! I do love spring though!! Everything is blooming and the trees are starting to become green again and it's getting me super excited about the wedding. Yea, did I mention that it is 43 days away. I mean, we're almost a month away here!! Eek. ::insert freak out here:: I am going to be soooooooo busy for the next month getting everything together. It's insane and unbelievable to me that it's finally here (almost). It's literally right around the corner.

Jake is just as excited about me :) This is what I love about him (among many other things!)--he is just as excited about getting married as me. And he is so gosh darn cute about it. Randomly he'll ask me what the countdown is at. And I'll look at him and go "Oh, I don't know. I haven't checked in a couple days. Let me look." And this is where we both know that I really do know what the countdown is at. And it never fails to amaze us at the number that we are at.

Anyway, I'm not linking up to anyone this week but I am going to write 5 things that I am thankful for. So here goes:

  1. The wedding being paid off. Yes, at the end of this month, it will be completely paid off. Well, except for hair and make-up. These love-birds are not going into debt to get married!!
  2. A new job!! I am excited that I can finally put this on here. I am officially going to be a social worker in the field!! Woohoo. It only took me almost a year to find a job in social work [Isn't that reassuring to all the new social work graduates out there??]
  3. My body. If you know me, you know I am not a runner at all. I complain if I have to do it. But this week I had a bit of a flashback to junior high/high school (9th grade was at the junior high school but was considered high school)--I was in gym class and we were required to run around the track at school. Seriously, it's a quarter mile. Anyone should be able to run that, right?? Ha, not me. I couldn't even make it around the first bend. (trust me, I am not proud to be writing this right now.) I have no idea where the flashback came from, but I got it in my head that I was going to run that quarter mile at the gym. So, I got on the treadmill and ran a quarter mile. I know that isn't much, but it was a lot for me. I can get on the elliptical and do about 2 miles in 20-30 minutes. But running is a whole other story. I am going to continue it until I can ran half a mile, and then 3/4 of a mile, and then a whole mile. My body is strong and can do it. Eventually.
  4. Waking up to love notes on the mirror in our bathroom <3 How sweet is my fiance?
  5. Spring. Yea, we have a love-hate relationship. I love spring. It feels fresh and new and brighter. And my favorite flower starts popping up [the tulip if any of you were wondering]. Plus warmer weather. yes, please. Allergies, not so much. But I will survive.
Alright. I am signing off for now. I have a pilemountain of sheets to wash at work. Have I mentioned how much I am going to love not taking care of two households?!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #5

Life Lesson #5:

Pay off your credit cards every month.

::groans:: Why did I have to learn this one the hard way?? Thankfully, Jake and I have been able to not use a credit card in almost 4 years but man, it's been hard. And on top of that, we're taking those 4-years to get our finances in order and begin to really pay them off. We were young and dumb about our credit/finances and most of our credit card charges weren't even big ticket items (think couch, furniture, shopping sprees). No, they were bills or grocery trips or "emergencies". Never again. Never. Never. Never. Jake and I are paying for our wedding in cash (which is pretty much unheard of!) and we are trying to work down our credit card debt so we have nothing and then can start using them responsibly. Then all we will have is student loans. And in the next couple years, a home loan. And guess what, we will live by the "if you can't pay for it now, you can wait for it/save up for it/don't get it" mentality. And I bet we will be a lot happier than having things on credit. I cringe every time I think about the debt we are carrying. I wouldn't have done that when I was younger and dumber. At least we are learning from our mistakes!! I go back to Life Lesson #2 -- When in doubt, just take the next right step. And that is what we are doing.

::high five::

Did you have to learn about credit the hard way and how to manage it responsibly? Or did money/credit-smarts get passed down to you?

Friday, March 18, 2011

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #4

Life Lesson #4:

Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

Okay. This one I definitely don't have down. I can goof off and laugh with the best of 'em. But not only do I take myself so seriously, I take life so seriously too. I guess it's from years of being "perfect"... or at least trying to be perfect. During high school and college, if I had to erase or smudge something out on a piece of note paper, I would choose to get a new piece of paper and restart. Or I would rewrite them later. Or, as computers got more popular, I chose to type them up later. See where this is going? I even do it now with my to-do list. Or grocery list. Exhausting, I tell you. Still to this day I strive for perfection. With planning the wedding I am still trying to make it perfect. I mean, who doesn't want their wedding day to be perfect?! It's hard to give up the perfection. To me, it's organization and order that feeds into my perfection. Careful planning and thought goes into just about everything. But I am trying. Seriously. But it's hard.

Do you take yourself so seriously? Do you have advice for this "serious" girl? What was some of the best advice you received to get out of taking things so seriously?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #3

Life Lesson #3:

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Can I get an Amen?? Seriously. It took me a long time to figure this one out. Or maybe not considering that I'm in my mid-twenties. But those that I hated, yea, they could have cared less about what I thought or how I felt about them. But then I realized that I had to let go of all that hate because it was keeping me trapped in a cycle of self-hate. I mean, we all know the saying "You can't love anyone else until you love yourself" and although I knew I loved Jake, I had to let go of the hate in order to really, truly love myself and be able to give my all (love, trust, being) to Jake. It was hard. It didn't happen over night. And there are still times that I test those ugly waters of hating someone--but the only one I am hurting is myself. The energy that I spend hating someone else could be spent loving. So instead of hating, I choose to love the other person. I choose to pray for them instead.  And you know what, it works. And I am happier. And I feel free. Who knew that hatred and loathing could cause one to walk around with such a heavy load on their heart?

What is your experience with choosing to love or pray for someone instead of hating? How did you get to that point in your life? Did it take you years?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #2

I am sorry that I have been a horrible blogger as of late. I promise to try to get better at it but with all the wedding planning, I've been taking my "me-time" very seriously. Which basically means that I've been lazy when I can be :P I know it doesn't take much to get on here and write up a blog post, but I just haven't really been feeling it. On top of wedding planning, Jake and I are trying to find a house/townhome/home to rent after the wedding (yes, fate has put us in the position of needing to find a place to live after our apartment lease is up around the same time as the wedding--talk about adding more stress to my plate...). Anyway, we think that we have found the perfect place, but we are praying about it and asking for God's guidance in our decision.

Here are our requirements:
- a garage
- a yard (preferably fenced in for Diesel)
- 3 bedrooms
- somewhere that will allow us to bring our pets (which is a lot harder than you think!! People don't want pets in the homes they are renting out)
- somewhere in the same-ish (yea, I just said that) area that we live in now

Yea. You may be wondering why we aren't buying a house instead. Welp, we just wouldn't qualify for a loan right now and on top of that, we don't have anything for a down-payment. So, here we are, looking for a place to rent with all the home qualities that we would look for if we were buying a house. Right now we're just taking everything with baby steps and hoping that God helps us find a home that is perfect for us.

Did I mention that invitations went out? Yep. Monday. And we've already got 5 RSVPs. Can it stay this easy?? Probably not. Jake and I will still probably have to hunt down people to see if they are coming or not, but right now we are hoping that it's a piece of cake. Actually, I'm praying that it is!! Getting close to the 50-day mark!! As it gets closer I keep getting more excited. I mean, I didn't think that it was even possible to be more excited than I already was. But I am :)

Anyway, on to Life Lesson #2.

When in doubt, just take the next right step.

Oy vey. We all have had moments of regrets. Actually, I personally don't believe in regrets. I believe in mistakes and the power of learning from those mistakes and moving forward. Which I think is what Regina Brett is talking about here. I wanted to lose the 30lbs (and then some) that I gained back in grad school. What did I do? I joined a local gym and actually started to use my membership regularly. And guess what, eating right followed shortly behind that. And then guess what, I am losing 1 stinking pound at a time. It's not a race, right? It's all about being healthy and treating the body that God gave me with respect, right? That is what this journey is about for me. So, when in doubt, just take the next right step. For me, this was joining a gym that I love (who actually says that!?) and actually using it. And then everything else sort of fell into place after that.

How about you? Tell me what Life Lesson #2 means to you.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Good-bye dear, sweet weekend.

So I failed to update the last couple days. It was partially busy-ness and partially laziness. It's been an exhausting weekend and I think my body is fighting something off which is making me even more tired--I think that the weather going from being beautiful to cold and rainy is causing my sinuses/allergies to go nutso. We'll see. I don't want to get sick as I just can't slow down right now...

This week the bridesmaid dresses came in. And oh boy, they are beautiful. I am glad that I went with a lighter color green--I know that if I went with a darker color green I would have been super unhappy about it and regretted it. But the color I went with matches our invitations and it is a great spring color. I went with 2 of my bridesmaids on Saturday to pick up their dresses :) They are all going to be gorgeous!!

Also, I had to pick up paper to print out the maps that I designed for the wedding. Regular paper just wasn't cutting it so I had to get some thicker paper. I am so proud of the way they turned out. I printed them and Jake cut them down. I'm getting together with some girlfriends this weekend to put the invitations together and mailed out by next Monday. I mean, seriously, can you believe that!? It is already that time!!

Tuesday will be the 2-month mark. If it's possible to get even more excited as each day passes, that is how I am feeling. And I know Jake is feeling the same way--we keep looking at each other and saying, "omg, we are getting married soon". We have that giddy smile on our faces when we say it and sometimes I even add in a little "eek" or squeal of excitement.

I know, we're dorks. But that is okay :)

This weekend consisted of random things--me babysitting, Jake steam cleaning the carpets, breakfast with my girlfriends (the "breakfast club") and bible study. It was a pretty packed weekend and I am ready for bed. Tomorrow, I promise, I will update with Life Lessons #2-5 for you all since I was busy all weekend. Until then, goodnight and sweet dreams!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #1

Yesterday I had to venture into the library for several reasons...

1. To drop off books that I read/didn't read but were due back.
2. To renew a book that I am currently reading and another that I plan on reading.
3. Because I lost my library card, I can't just renew them online :-/

As you walk into our local library, there is a shelving unit that has various notable books on it. I think they are supposed to be inspirational books, but most of the time the books that are up there make no sort of pattern to me. Anyway, the first book I saw was God Never Blinks: 50 Life Lessons for Life's Little Detours by Regina Brett. I though, "ooooooo, I love books like this" and decided to grab it and check it out.

Some of you may have gotten the Life Lessons as a forwarded email. I know I probably have, but I honestly can't remember. I mean, I've had an email address since I was like... 14? I don't even know. But I've had one for forever

I've decided to share each of the life lessons with all of my readers for 50 days. But I really suggest that you get the book--after each Life Lesson Regina Brett explains the Life Lesson with a story from her life. It's really inspirational and really easy to read.

So, here goes:

Life Lesson #1

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

That my friends, is so true. Life isn't fair in so many different ways--cancer, death, financial struggles, relational problems, difficult decisions need to be made, etc. All summer I moped about trying to find a job. I graduated with my Master of Social Work degree and was eager [still am!!] to get into the field. However, with very little experience in social work aside from my internships, I was having a hard time finding a job. All summer I kept thinking that it wasn't fair--especially as my peers kept landing jobs and I was stuck behind (that is how I felt, still do sometimes). But you know what, I know that God has great plans for me and this is part of my learning. I know that when the time is right, a great job will fall into my hands and I will be able to do great things with it. But until then, I have to keep remembering that although life isn't fair, it's still good. I have a job, a great fiance [whom I am marrying in a short 66 days!!], a roof over my head, food on the table every day, great friends and family, and I am healthy and happy. I mean, it took me a long time to realize this, but my life is perfect the way it is. God intended for me to be at this place at this very moment in my life and I shouldn't ask for anything more because it will come to me when I am ready.

::triumphant sigh::

I got deep for a little while there. Bear with me, 49 more days and Life Lessons to go :)

Darn you Allergies

I never had allergies until I moved to Georgia. Or maybe I never noticed them until I moved to Georgia--either way, spring is a pretty miserable time for me. Especially as all the trees start blooming. I am one hot mess today--itchy, watery eyes, little bit of nasal drippage (okay, I'm sure you wanted to know that!) and just generally feeling a bit blah. Here is a little allergy report for today so you can see why I am miserable:

However, with all my allergy moaning and groaning -- spring is definitely my favorite time of the year. The grass is starting to green up and the trees are starting to bloom, especially the flowery ones. And on top of that, spring means that the wedding is that much closer. Jake and I are getting overly excited as things come together -- my dress is in, the bridesmaid dresses are in, the suits are picked out, invitations will go out March 12th, projects are coming together (as ideas in my head...) and our menu is all picked out. PLUS, I will have my first bridal shower on April 2nd in Florida with all my Florida family :) Totally excited about that!!

So, have I told you that I took a spinning class at the gym? OMG. I love it.

I'm not normally a class person for working out, but I think that I am addicted to spinning. It is hard and challenging and exhausting (and my booty hurts a bit from the seat--but I hear that will pass) and makes me sweat and work harder than anything else I do at the gym. And that's a goodgreat thing!! Definitely am trying to make a spin class a couple days a week--at least until I find a regular job with regular hours. As much as I would miss going to the gym whenever in the morning, I really miss spending time with Jake in the evenings and having control over my own life. Someday I will explain.

I haven't lost any weight (okay, I've lost like maybe 3lbs) since really starting to work out in September/November, but I have noticed a different in my body. I am toner and I have more energy and I just feel stronger. I would love to see the weight coming off too--but my problem is not eating right all the time for that to happen. I've really got to get serious and start counting calories (actually, start really following Weight Watchers) and then I am sure that I will start seeing the pounds come off. But really, I had a coming to Jesus moment at the gym a couple weeks ago that I am not necessarily doing this to lose the weight but to be healthy. If I am healthy and strong, then my chances for genetic things like breast cancer and diabetes and other things go down. I'll get to my goal weight eventually... I just have to have that coming to Jesus moment about food now too.

Anyway, more later. I must go pick up one of the kids from his after-school activity. ::sigh:: I want my own family; not a pseudo family. In due time...
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