Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the beauty and mess of relationships

Over the past 6 months my social life has expanded a great deal. I started a new job in September and Michael and I joined a community of believers in Octoberish - and there we joined a small group and started leading college ministry stuff. Since then we've met a whole lot of people and have begun quite a few new relationships. I LOVE relationships. I love connecting. Community. Meaningful conversation. Vulnerability. Relating. Reciprocating. Learning. Journeying. Relationships fill me. Fulfill me. Give me a joy like no other thing on this earth.

But they also stress me out.

Since they mean so so much to me...I tend to worry. I worry about what others think of me. If they like me as much as I like them. If I talk too much. If I talk too little. If I'm too eager. If I'm cool enough, smart enough, interesting enough. I worry about how I look...my clothes. Bleh, my clothes! Oh how I wish I could dress cooler. If I only had the quirky wardrobe of Zooey Deschanel...then I'd be the cool kid. But alas I'm stuck with my two worn, stained and faded pairs of jeans, and a collection of tshirts I've acquired from work events and thrift stores. I only have two or three shirts I consider fancy...and they aren't fancy. I worry. I want to know what others think of me. How do they see me? Do I offer anything? Do they gain anything whatsoever from my company?

There is a lot of mystery in my relationship with God. A LOT. I have a lot of questions...and I struggle with not knowing. Not knowing all of him. Not knowing the ins and outs of his plan, process, and history.

But this....this I know. He's already told me. He knows me. He knows ME more than any person on this earth. More than any friend that I have or any friend that I'm pursuing. And I can feel completely secure in my relationship with him. Completely secure. He does think I'm cool enough, smart enough, interesting enough. He sees me how I truly am....something I don't think I'm able to do...and he accepts me. He goes a step further...he desires me. He loves me. He wants to spend every moment with me. He wants to connect, converse, relate, reciprocate. He wants to fill me. Fulfill me. Wow...that is a breath of fresh air to me. THAT is good news.

I am so thankful for relationships. For the mess of them and the beauty of them. And I'm learning it's okay that there's mystery. A smart man once said, "it's suppose to be hard...the hard is what makes it great." (200 points to the person who can name this movie!) The character was talking about baseball no less, but I think this applies to most things in life, don't you? :) Relationships are hard and that is what makes them great. They challenge us. Shape us. Stretch us. A good relationship may cause hurt. But that hurt makes us who we are...it draws us closer to HIM. To the Creator. To the One who knows us completely. And loves us completely.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

my first kiss

Today I was reminiscing about my first kiss. Well my very first kiss happened at a church potluck when I was six. But that's not the one I was thinking about. This one occurred much later in life...when I was 21. Michael and I had been dating for a couple months. This inevitable kiss was beginning to cause some anxiety on my part and our dates were a mix of all kinds of feelings. I wanted to kiss him. My first kiss was something I had dreamed about since I was girl...laying in bed, listening to Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby," fantasizing about the perfect first kiss. But the fact that I was now 21 and it hadn't happened and that it was quickly approaching added pessure, anxiety, and nervousness. So much build up. What would it be like? What do I do? What if I'm horrible at it? At least two dates had passed in which Michael leaned in and I turned my head and gave him a cozy hug instead. I had probably already ruined any chance he'd try again anyway, I thought. Poor guy! Finally, we talked about it. I told him. "I've never kissed anyone and I'm super nervous about it. I'm just not ready yet." I remember like it was yesterday. We were standing by his car outside Barnes & Noble. Michael looked at me sweetly and told me we didn't have to yet...that he wouldn't kiss me until I was ready...to not worry about it when we're together. "I won't kiss you until you let me know you're ready." Ahhh pressure was off and it felt great. I felt at ease with him. Comfortable. Cared about. Safe. And all the sudden my fears began to dissipate and my desire to kiss him quickly increased. A few days later I was housesitting for a family at my church. Michael came over to watch a movie. We sat close on the couch and all I could think about was kissing him and how in the world I was going to let him know I was ready. As the movie played I played out numerous scenerios in my mind. Do I just lean over and kiss him? Do I lick my lips and wink? (haha can you imagine? horrible) Do I write a note and pass it to him under the covers? Do I write k-i-s-s across his knee with my finger? It was the last scene of the movie and butterflies were swarming. The credits began to roll and I just blurted out, "I'm ready! I'm ready to kiss." Michael laughed a little (in a sweet nonteasing way), said okay, and leaned in for the kiss. But it was met with nervous laughter. All I could do was laugh. He continued to try and I could not stop laughing. We were both laughing now and this kiss was not happening. Finally Michael looked at me and in a serious tone said, "I'm going to kiss you now." So he pinned me down on the couch and kissed me. It was wonderful. I wasn't horrible...I don't think. And next, we did what most people do...we went outside and jumped on the trampoline on that beautiful summer's night. It is one of my most fun and happiest memories.

I can't create that moment again. It's passed. If we tried to act it out again, it might be fun, but it won't be the same. But there is definitely something so comforting in remembering. Do you have movies or shows you watch over and over again? Not because they're that great but because they take you to a simpler time. They take you to a time that has already happened. Nothing is unknown, nothing is uncertain. Not just because you know the story but because you are reliving a time in your own life....when you first watched the movie. It's comforting. It's safe. It's known.

The past, unlike the present, isn't scary. You know you made it through. There are a lot of things in my life that are unknown. What's the next step for me vocationally? How do I use my degrees? Should I go back to school? How do we pay off our debt? When will I be able get my act together and lose this weight? When are we going to have a baby? Should I meet my weightloss goal before I get pregnant? Can we afford to have a baby? Do I work when we have a baby? (okay you're probably noticing a trend here ;)) Anyway - there's a lot of stuff. Stuff that overwhelms me. Makes things messy. Complicates things. Distracts me. Distracts me from my goals. Distracts me from sweet simple moments in my marriage. Don't get me wrong - it's important stuff. But it's just good to be intentional about the small stuff. To remember but also create. Keep creating joy-filled moments.

I discovered a blog post this morning that talks about creating those moments in your marriage - The 4 Minute Marriage Habit: How to make 2012 the year you fall madly in love all over again - by Ann Voskamp and it inspired me. Her posts always inspire me. If you're married I know you'll relate...read it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

this blog stinks

So I just realized something. I've been so frustrating with myself for my lack of motivation and consistency in the past few months. And even more frustrated about how every blog post I write is about how I'm not motivated and inconsistent. And I keep trying to analyze what's missing...what's changed...why am I struggling so much with this?! So I looked back at what was going on in my life when I started this thing and remembered that I had pretty much NOTHING going on in my life last January through May, and even after May, I only worked a temp job (to August). Last January we had just moved back to Birmingham and I was unemployed. I was in search for a job, felt purposeless, felt a bit lonely, and I was in dire need of something to work on, to challenge myself, to focus on, and inspire me! This blog and journey was exactly what I needed...not only physically but also emotionally. It was filling a void. So no wonder it was easy to write blog posts, research health and fitness and exercise daily. Besides job searching, I had nothing else to do!

It's only been since September that I've been working full-time at Habitat. Around the same time we became more involved in a local church, have gained more friends, moved into a new place. Lots of things have been going on since September. And that's really when my lapse began.

So...here's the deal....I'm obviously not very good at maintaining this blog while having multiple things going on in my life. I obviously struggle with consistency while having multiple things going on (as most people I'm sure). I'm not going to stop...but I'm just gonna say it...this blog stinks and may continue to stink. You're probably well aware of this but it makes me feel better to say it...to just go ahead and claim it. I may rarely have anything inspiring to say. I may rarely have anything to say. But I'm stickin around because I need this...if anything for accountability of the moving log. And hopefully along the way I'll have something cool to say here and there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vegan Tacos!

Since I've started the vegan thing I definitely haven't been consistent but I've eliminated a lot of animal products from my diet...which was the purpose. I've tried to do vegan (sometimes ends up being vegetarian - so hard to eliminate dairy 100%) during the week and on the weekend (or if I'm at someone's house/or holiday) I'm a little more flexible. Hopefully as time passes and I learn what vegan meals and snacks I like it will become more consistent! So, I thought I'd share a favorite with you today!

Vegan Tacos

Rice-a-Roni has some really good mexican rice. The rice combined with refried beans are the "meat" of the taco. Super filling and super yummy!

My sister introduced me to this dressing! It's kind of a creamy mustardy type dressing. I use it on tacos, sandwiches, salads, everything! There is vegan mayo and vegan sour cream (which I like!) but I was out of sour cream so this works great too!

So I combine the rice, beans, avocado, lettuce, tomato, salsa, dressing and vegan cheese and stuff it in a tortilla and I'm not missing the meat at all! It's so filling and so very yummy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

reinstating the moving log

So for the past couple months it's been pretty obvious that I've been absent & unmotivated. I've gone back and forth about putting this on hold for awhile or quitting all together. But I just can't. I CANNOT QUIT. I'm giving myself some grace and moving on. So, my first step is to reinstate the Moving Log. I haven't been exercising much lately, so when I actually do exercise I don't bother with even logging it...and then I don't have motivation to exercise because I'm not logging it anyway....thus throwing that vicious cycle in motion. So, the solution is simple (at least in theory ;) )...I need the motivation and accountability of the Moving Log. Today it begins! Moving Log reinstated!

Monday, November 14, 2011

absolutely nothing inspiring

It's been about a month since I've written a post! Aaaahhhh! I think about it almost everyday. I need to write something. I need to write something. But nothing comes. You see...I am an artist and I have the artist curse. Whatever I produce, whether it be a painting or a blog post needs to be profound. It needs to be inspired and inspiring. It needs to be a creative masterpiece. Perfect. (Everything I do is definitely not profound...but the pressure is there, and sometimes I let it get to me more than other times.) Lately...I have felt so uninspired. Several times a week Michael and I will have designated "creative time." We'll turn off the tv, put on some music, may even go somewhere, pull out our laptops, notebooks, sketchbooks, or whatever medium we're feeling and "be creative." Lately, I've stared at my screen, notebook, and otherwise....and nothing comes. And it is absolutely frustrating.

So here I am to say absolutely nothing inspiring....but I'm saying something!

I'm still chugging along on this weightloss journey. Exercise has been lacking but I'm doing fairly well with eating. I've continued to try the vegan thing. It mostly happens on the weekdays and on the weekends I'm a bit more flexible. I have not bought meat or dairy products at the grocery store in over a month and it's definitely nice on the budget. I haven't lost any more pounds. I've plateaued and I know the only way it's going to break is if I get back to exercising. Need to find my routine again!

Ah...I feel better now. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

small victory

Just thought I'd share a small victory...

Over the weekend it got a bit chilly and the early mornings required a jacket. So I pulled out our tub of jackets and coats. And I'm happy to report they fit much looser than last time I was wearing them! They were actually getting too tight last winter...now they fit perfectly! Also...I've said goodbye to large t-shirts...I'm now a medium. :)