Archive for October, 2014

Counting Blessings

It is a cold, dreary day outside, and I woke with the depressed feeling of knowing it was time to trudge off to work once more, where I can expect at least four emails telling me what I did wrong this time. In case you didn’t notice, I don’t take criticism very well. I know, I know – it is a part of the job, and a part of making a deliverable client-worthy – but, I still feel like an utter failure if I see so much as one red mark on a comma I forgot. Something I am working through with God. Sometimes I can handle it better than other days. And some days – I just feel like if I am given one more correction, I will just melt into the floor and never return. So, as I sit in my little cubicle, and try to get up the courage and energy to get my day started, when all I really want is to curl up in bed with hot chocolate and book and watch the rain drip down the sill, I began, as I usually do in these moods, ruminating on where I am in life, and why I haven’t found a job I actually like going to yet. I do believe there is a job out there for everyone – something you are made to do, that you actually don’t mind going to – but some days, I wonder how you are ever supposed to find that job?

As I often do, when I am feeling down, I was browsing random quotes in hopes of hitting one that would so exactly fit what I was feeling that I would feel better. Well, I hit this one:

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Aaand – felt convicted. I know it is natural to feel down in the dumps sometimes, or to get emotional or restless, or whatever it is I am getting, but, I also know I have so many blessings in my life that I tend to just skip over when I am down. I know that my first reaction should be to go to God in prayer and ask Him to help me through hard days, but I find myself shying away from that – partially, I think, because a tiny part of me likes being angsty. It does make such better posts, doesn’t it? But, that aside, it HAS been a long time since I have looked at all the blessings I have in my life. So, this is me, trying to be joyful even when I am down, and learning to count my blessings even when I am stuck in a little cubicle doing a job I hate.

Five blessings:

1. That I even HAVE a job.

2. That I have a husband who never loses patience with me even when I am moody, and will hold me without making me talk or buy me flowers and chocolates just to make me feel better.

3. That I have an adorable little apartment to go back to every night.

4. That I have money to visit family for the holidays.

5. That I can see the beautiful world around me, including the rain pouring over the countryside, unlike the poor blind man on the metro today, who still seemed kind and cheerful despite that.


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Today is one of those days. Where nothing seems quite right, and you are out of temper though you cannot quite describe why. I feel randomly emotional, and melancholy, and altogether have a longing for something I cannot explain.

Today is one of those days. I do not want to be in a city, surrounded by people. I am sick of people pushing at my backside when I do not walk quickly enough for them, of rushing up and down the escalators, running to catch a train, being scared of being trampled to death if I dare pause near a doorway, stairway, escalator, or even on a sidewalk.

Today is one of those days. I have a sudden wish for a walk through a forest, the sounds of birds instead of construction, the lovely, lonely view of forest or an ocean or a mountain, or even just beautiful sky. I want to sit on the edge of a cliff and “just feel a prayer.” I don’t want to hear chattering voices behind me, constantly aware of the click of heels or boots rapidly approaching behind me and wondering if they are going to ride me all the way to my destination or deign to go around me.

Today is one of those days. I just want to drink in the scent of lovely flowers and trees and nature without drinking someone’s cigarette smoke in with it. I want to sit in utter silence as long as i want to without feeling like someone is waiting for me to move out of their way. I want to get lost in thought with only the wind to interrupt me. I don’t want to think about the monotony of work, or how I am going to receive criticism on every deliverable I submit no matter how hard I work on it, or how many long hours I need to work just to have enough PTO to go somewhere for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I want the beauty of nature, the warmth of the sun, an unrealistic book, and the solitude of a forest path to take it away from me.

Today – is just one of those days.

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So, we had company over for dinner again tonight –  I know – what can I say? We love entertaining! We pulled out our good china – a wedding gift – and my great-grandparent’s silver, as we do every time we have company. We both firmly believe good china and silver is meant to be used whenever possible! Our lovely china pattern looks like this, for those of my friends who live out of state and have never seen it:

I made a new recipe called Southwestern Stuffed Chicken Breasts, which was just delicious! I think I shall try making it with Pepper Jack cheese next time to give a little more of a bite. It had chopped green chilies in it, but those cooked down into only a little bit of spice. And I used store bought crescent rolls since I didn’t have enough time to make my own, salad, of course, and made banana cream pie for dessert. Much to my delight, everything turned out great! I have this habit of experimenting with main dishes whenever I have company over. The banana cream pie, of course, I have been making since I was like 14, but the stuffed chicken breasts were new! I have never known a Taste of Home recipe to fail me, however. I adore Taste of Home, and it is my go-to website/cookbook.

I talked to my older sister on the phone while I was cleaning the apartment, and she mentioned someone had gifted her with a Taste of Home BAKING cookbook. Like, nothing but baking! Totally going on my Amazon wishlist!

Anyway – Sunday was quite relaxing and we may have slept in too late to go to church, so we watched a service online instead. 😛 Sigh. Too bad it is Monday tomorrow.

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A Breakthrough

An amazing and unprecedented thing happened to me day before yesterday. I woke up, and, later in the day, my mind naturally turned to writing. As you all know, I have had lots of angst around it in the last several months, and trying to “get the spark and passion back” etc. But, as I thought about making time that night to write, my mind didn’t instantly turn anxious. Instead I felt this immense calm and a measured certainty that when I picked up my pen or my laptop, I could put out anything I wanted. It was an amazing calm, something  haven’t experienced in a long while. And sure enough, when I picked up my laptop later, I just – started writing. granted, I wrote only a paragraph of a short story – but it wasn’t for lack of inspiration – just for lack of time. And since then, I have felt an unquenchable thirst to write. Of course, life being life, I haven’t had much – but I am marveling at the very fact that I feel like I CAN write again. I have some internal fear of course that the more I think about it – and even giving expression to it here – will make everything dry up again – but – I am determined to keep the calm while it lasts. And that quote keeps coming to mind – the one that says if you question everything you write, you will never get better because you won’t practice? I forget where I read it. But – it feels good to be able to pick up a pen – and just write.


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Rain and Cars

So, Daniel (my husband) and I discovered something quite disturbing tonight. We were out of rum! You know what that meant? After a frustrating day at work, I COULDN’T HAVE A RUM & COKE? This had to be remedied. Accordingly, after a dinner of salad and pasta with sauce and homemade rolls, we danced our way down to the car to hit ABC before it closed.

After a harrowing drive to the liquor store – it is quite rainy and NO ONE in the Virginia area knows how to drive in the rain – one bottle of rum, bottle of vodka, and bottle of Seagram’s 7 honey whisky later (purchased, not drank), we triumphantly returned to the car, jumped in, and – nothing. Nada. Well – not quite nada. There was a loud clicking noise as we turned the key. But not even an engine turn-over. We looked at each other. Are you freaking kidding me? We just paid to get both the battery and alternator replaced 8 months ago! After a kindly man stopped despite the rain and jumped the car for us, we went straight for the car repair place that had replaced the battery and alternator for us 8 months ago. Well, not quite straight – despite the rather weak sound of the engine and the fear it was going to die at any moment, we made an essential stop for McDonald’s ice-cream. But THEN we made straight for the car shop.

Thankfully they were still open and had availability for us – the connection was apparently loose, and the battery pretty much dead, so they couldn’t even test it. They told us to take it for a half hour drive and bring it back so they could test it. We did so. Good thing we love driving together! Something about the open (more or less) road, and occasional near death experiences of cars randomly slamming on their brakes in front of us because a raindrop hit their passenger side window, always has an exhilarating effect on us. So, despite our plans for the evening being ruined (okay, fine – we didn’t even have plans for the evening, other than making a Shutterfly album with our wedding photos), we were actually pretty cheerful and enjoying the little adventure life had thrown our way.

So anyway, they tested the car, discovered it needed a new battery AND a new alternator because apparently both the ones they installed 8 months ago were bad. They replaced the battery tonight, and we are bringing it back tomorrow to get the alternator put in. Thankfully, everything is under warranty and we shouldn’t have to pay for much. It was a fun deviation from our normal routine – and I am just thankful it happened tonight instead of when we were actually headed someplace with a deadline.

Here we are, two hours later, finally enjoying that rum & coke at home. And, yes, putting together the shutterfly album. Life is good.

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So, I decided to actually do something today rather than mooning about, thinking about how I wished I was writing again. So, I signed up for Writer’s Digest, dug through and pulled out several old pages of long ago story titles and ideas, and reread them, and then I pulled out Gail Carson Levine’s Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly, read through the next chapter, and did her writing exercise – which was to sit down and write out 12 ideas for stories no matter how dumb they seemed. Just write them as quickly as possible. To my complete shock, I discovered I actually did have some new stories tucked inside of me. I was almost scared to keep writing for fear the creative juice that appeared to be flowing through my pen would suddenly get clotted. But I did, and though not all the ideas are exactly worthy of anything more than a trash chute, some fairly good ideas did come forth, a few of which I will share below:

2 – a woman ends up caring for an elderly man in a nursing home and spends her evenings listening to his old wartime and love stories. Hearing everything he went through for his one true love ends up saving her marriage.

3 – A commonplace construction worker is injured in a worksite accident and is paralyzed from the waist down. He discovers his unique talent for painting and reconstructs his life around it.

7 – A drifter goes from door to door asking for work and completely changes the lives of those he stays with by changing their perspective on life.

8 – A woman is caught in a fairytale world, living out someone else’s life, and learns that even fairytales come fraught with difficulties.

Anyway – as a follow through, I took an excerpt for a potential story I wrote over 10 years ago, typed it up, and then rewrote it. It is available on my blog here: Once Upon a Story.

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