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Posts Tagged ‘Blessings’

I know it has been awhile since I have written. I just – haven’t had much to say. It has been really busy – although for the life of me, I couldn’t say what with. It isn’t like I have been working out or anything. Or even traveling that much. Life just happens. It’s actually a pretty quiet time at work right now, which is a nice change from the last few months. I actually find myself without anything to do sometimes! Other than taking the online FEMA Training courses – but who wants to do that? It is only noon, and I have already turned in a news article and meeting minutes – and, really, I should be sorting emails or doing that dratted old FEMA training course – but neither of those are really high priority, so I thought I would ramble on here instead. I really have my best friend Abby to thank for this post. She noted disappointedly to me yesterday that I hadn’t written in awhile. I am not sure this counts as writing, really, but here it is anyway. 😛

I hope you all had a wonderful July 4th! I certainly had a great weekend. Daniel and I went to the beach Friday. We left work early on Thursday, drove out to Virginia Beach, and got a hotel only like 20 minutes from the beachfront. Thanks to the crazy amount of Hilton honor points I have been collecting via my travel, we were able to stay in a Hilton Garden Inn King Suite with Whirlpool for a mere $75 + 12,00 Hilton points. Daniel has now forgiven me for all my travel.  According to AccuWeather.com, it was supposed to storm all day, and I was properly depressed about it. Daniel assured me that we could sit at a beachside restaurant and drink Margaritas all day if it rained, so that cheered me up some. And he took my hands and prayed that it would be sunny for me, despite my rebellious comment that it wouldn’t work because I had already prayed and the forecast had just gotten worse. I really don’t do well without having had warmth and sun in a while. And it seriously has been raining here almost nonstop for a couple weeks. That point aside, however, God decided to show me how much He loved me despite my stubborn belief He wouldn’t do anything about the weather, and even though the weatherman consistently maintained it was going to be  and rainy all day, we had an incredibly gorgeous sunny day from the time we woke up to the time we got into the car to drive home, whereupon it immediately clouded over and began to rain. How amazing is that? I apologized to God multiple times for my lack of faith. We both even got epically sunburned. Which was totally worth it.

Abby, thanks to her amazing “friends and family discount”, decided to fly out for the Fourth of July and visit me for a day! I was so excited! She ran a 5k Saturday morning, and then ran an additional race immediately after –  through the airport to get to her flight in time. She landed, we picked her up and went straight to a party, and enjoyed the beautiful DC Fireworks display from an incredible rooftop view. Man, I love having friends who have private rooftops – especially when they invite me to their party.
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It was raining most of the day, which surprised us, since we don’t really remember a fourth that was so rainy before. But Daniel mentioned it was probably due to the Supreme Court’s recent decision. And I think I agree with him  – I feel like God was crying for the people in the country He blessed us with, and how we are treating the independence He gave us by letting the country go to hell in a handbasket. I, too, am sad for this country and the decisions it has made, and am fearful of the repercussions that will come from it. I have many more thoughts in that score, but don’t feel like sobering this post up that much quite yet.

Oh, going back to the news article mentioned above, it was the first time I have been giving just a plain writing assignment! Most of the writing I have been doing has been documentation, based on previous templates. This time, I was asked to just write a news article on one of our exercises, focusing on the human interest angle – what people got out of it. So I used [minimal] creative license, and wrote the article. And to my delight, there were minimal edits before it was submitted to the newsletter for publication! I hope they accept it, and I hope that it paves the way for me to write more articles!

My sister’s wedding is in less than a month, and I feel so ill-prepared to sing the song she asked me to! I just feel like my voice isn’t quite right for the song, and haven’t sung enough in the last couple years to feel up to par. I really need to crack down on practicing!

Well, I have a 8 minutes so should probably sign off now. If you read this entire post, you are probably either too bored to do anything else, or also avoiding work. Have fun browsing for other stuff to read now! 🙂

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Like a lot of Americans, I suspect, I have difficulties making the most of my time. It is just so easy to plop on the couch after work, think to myself, I’ve worked hard today earning a paycheck, I deserve to sit here and watch a movie or Dick Van Dyke, or otherwise do nothing productive unless I have to. This attitude is suicide for my writing career/plans, since evening is really the only time I have to write, unless I want to get up super early, which is next to impossible for a night owl like me. But evening is also the only time for me to clean and decorate my house, cook food for both dinner and the next day, and spend time with friends (few as they are) and my husband. Not to mention working out, reading, cross-stitching, or the other myriad of things I either enjoy doing or want to enjoy doing. I am sorry, but 4 hours just is not enough time to fit everything in! (That assumes, inaccurately, that I go to bed at a reasonable time) So usually, instead, I get home, think of everything I either want to or should do, become overwhelmed, make dinner, and spend the rest of the evening on the couch doing none of it because I can’t decide on a priority. By the way, if any of you readers balance a home life (without kids) and a career and a passion for writing, feel free to share how you manage your time.

So, anyway, I realized recently, that with all of the travel I am going to be taking, I will have a lot of down time at airports and on flights and even time alone in the hotel room at night. Once I thought about it, I realized it was almost like God shouting at me – “Hey, look what I am doing for you! I am removing distractions, allowing you to get paid, and work on your writing at the same time!” Ooohhh. What more can a writer/introvert ask for than an hour to 3 hours on an airplane with headphones and writing supplies, and then complete solitude in a hotel room that night? Discipline, apparently. Until the realization of just how blessed I am to have this opportunity really hit me, I spent the time alone mostly watching TV – again.

But I am determined to make the most of my time for once. I just got back from a trip to Boston, and between the airplane and the hotel room, I wrote about 800 words in my book (terribly ill-written, but written nonetheless), almost caught up on my Writer’s Digest magazines, caught up on my email/facebook messages, and even had a little time for reading. I turned the tv on a couple times, and forced myself to turn it off soon after.  I didn’t do as well on the return flight, mostly because I had a middle seat and didn’t like the idea of my seatmates watching me try to type or write a sappy story. So I read instead. But still! I call that improvement! And I am going to continue to work to discipline myself and make the most of the time God has given me.

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Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

This verse – 2 Corinthians 12:7 has always stuck with me. I have often wondered, along with all the Bible scholars, what “thorn” Paul struggled with, agreeing that is likely was something physical. It is a difficult verse for me, because I have this thought that if you ask God to take something from you, He loves you, so why wouldn’t he? Why did Paul have to struggle with something? I know, I know – because when you are weak, then you are strong. But, it is still difficult for me, and I think it is because I relate to it. Well, to an extent – I feel almost silly posting about this, because it is so mild compared to the health struggles of so many other people – other people have diabetes, cancer, or other horrible diseases – it could be so much worse! But for me, it is my teeth. I have always had terrible teeth.

And satan certainly knows my weakness because as soon as I start feeling a new pain, or am (for the third time) told I have 12 more cavities, after having brushed and flossed faithfully for the 6 months since I was last at the dentist, or whatever it may  be, my faith falters. Yes, I am ashamed to admit it, but it is true – I cry out in both anger and fear to God, asking why I have yet another issue with my teeth.

For whatever reason, that is my biggest weak spot in my faith. So, you knew this was coming, I might need a root canal. The dentist won’t know for sure for a couple weeks, but it is quite possible since I have extreme sensitivity and pain in one of my teeth – one that already has a giant filling on it that is almost touching the nerve anyway. And, sure enough, my husband had to hold and comfort me as I became an emotional mess once I heard the possibility of a root canal. I instantly began wondering where God was when I needed him, and why I had to go through all this, and what the point was of taking care of my teeth if it didn’t work anyway, and how I was so close to being done with my invisalign trays and why did it happen now! And, as happens every time, this verse flashes through my head and I have this little fear/thought that this is my thorn in my side – my reminder that God is God, and I am human. That just because God is giving me a perfect life right now doesn’t mean it will always be perfect – there will always be struggles. It continues to be a faith test for me.

Yet, God is so kind – even now, there is the possibility that it is just a stronger than usual reaction to my new invisalign trays – he won’t know for a couple weeks whether i actually need a root canal – and I continue to pray that I don’t – because, really, who wants a root canal? But at the same time, considering the instant distress and anger I went through when my tooth became unbearably painful, I hardly think I deserve such mercy from God. But I am thankful for it anyway. And, again, compared to what other people go through, it is such a minor thing – all things in perspective, right? I think that God occasionally puts my mouth through intense pain just to remind me. And all too often, I think only of the first part of the verse – that Paul had a thorn in his side that God chose not to remove, and I forget the second part. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

So my goal is to remember that part of the verse – no matter what happens with my teeth. And keep things in perspective. As my husband reminded me, I still have all my teeth (assuming crowns count) thanks to amazing modern technology -a hundred years ago, I would have been in dentures by now!

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So yesterday was my birthday! Such a different birthday from last year! Last year was just miserable. Daniel and I both were sick, and Daniel didn’t seem to understand that just because I said we should wait to celebrate my birthday until we were well didn’t mean to ignore my birthday entirely, and I felt too sick to be understanding about the fact that he was feeling too sick to even try to fuss over my birthday. Yes, even in my mid-twenties, I can unfortunately be that petty. 😛 But that evening, despite not feeling well, he tried to make up for the necessarily low-key birthday I had had by bringing me out to coldstone creamery for ice-cream. We got the ice-cream, went back down to the parking garage – and the car wouldn’t start. We ate the cold ice cream in a cold parking garage, coughing constantly, while we waited for AAA, which, by the way, we had to sign up for on the spot because it turns out it had expired right before our wedding and we hadn’t remembered to renew . . . Oh, what a birthday that was! Of course, he brought me out for a very nice dinner two weeks late when we were finally well. 🙂

Yesterday, however, was delightful! Oh, I had to work all day, of course, but that was okay. 🙂 It is fun getting in the groove of things in my new job, and planning travel to different states! Daniel ran down to the little cafe in our apartment building to buy me an egg and cheese croissant sandwich for breakfast – my favorite breakfast sandwich that I rarely treat myself to – and that evening, Ben, Ashley, Daniel and I all went to Ruth Chris Steakhouse for happy hour. They have a surprisingly reasonable happy hour – and the waiter recommended this Cabernet Sauvignon that was just divine! Afterwards, we went back to the apartment and played games and ate ice cream cake! Ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, which has always been a wish of mine! It was soo good – I can’t wait to have more tonight! Screw the diet! 😀

Ben and Ashley gave me a lovely Thomas Kinkade calender, which was perfect both because I adore Thomas Kinkade and because I refused to buy a 2015 calendar on the moral grounds of it being too expensive for pieces of paper.  . .

Mom had sent gifts back with me from Christmas, so I opened those too, and she gave me a lovely tea mug that has a strainer that sits right in the mug so you can use loose leaves, and some beautiful gloves that still allow me to use my smartphone!

Daniel gave me his gifts later – he already presented me with a certificate to get a mani/pedi, but had two additional gifts. He told me to open the small one first, which ended up being a beautiful diamond necklace. But the second gift! That was what got a squeal out of me! It was a gorgeous quill pen and ink set, complete with several different types of nibs! I literally squealed with delight, as previously mentioned. I know it is incredibly odd for a girl to be more excited over a quill pen and ink than a diamond necklace – but can I help it that I am unusual? What I love most about this part of the story, however, is that my darling husband knew that I would like the quill pen more than the necklace which is why he saved it for last! How many husbands know something like that, I ask you??

Anyway, as if all that loveliness wasn’t enough (I am saying lovely a lot, aren’t I?), Daniel is bringing me to a bed and breakfast by Monticello next weekend as part of my birthday celebration.

What a lovely life God has blessed me with.

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As I sit in my lovely living room, the Jim Brickman station playing softly in the background, curtains drawn, a cup of tea (yes, in a teacup) and the beautifully lit Christmas tree in front of me, it feels more like early morning than almost 11:00 AM. Of course, the magic of the moment keeps being rudely interrupted by my need to blow my nose. Dratted colds. But that is the besides the point. The point is, my husband, during evening prayers last night, thanked God for several things over the last year that left me in a reflective mood even to this morning. God has so blessed me!

Last year, and even the year before, were full of fun and joy, and I welcome the year stretching before me with open arms. How different from the years before I met my husband, where years stretched before me with pain and trial, and the constant prayer that God would get me through. How it was worth going through those years to get to these happy ones! Years where I want for nothing, where I live in the capital of the free world, where I can afford, without any injury to myself, to send money to my family! This, this is what I dreamt about and prayed for all those years going through college, working three jobs, taking 18 credits, not eating because I couldn’t afford or didn’t have time for food, watching my bank account drop to $1.50 and praying for another babysitting job so I could make the next bill. Crying tears of joy in my car after that babysitting job did come through and God moved on them to give me a few extra dollars, which would allow me to just make my next car payment.

Oh, I am not bemoaning those years – by no means! Nor the years before, when I watched my family go through more suffering than any family should and worked to put food on the table for my family while my mom tried to find help for my dad’s dreadful chronic condition. No, I believe going through that is what made me into who I am, what gave me strength to work my way through the world and put myself through college and find a good job, what laid such a strong foundation for trusting Him, for knowing that no matter how bad things appeared, He always came through. So, for that, I am grateful. But for what He has now blessed me with, I am even more thankful -and so much more thankful than I would have known to be had I not gone though the trials first.

So, enough of my poetic reflections. 🙂 Highlights of my last year!

1. A free cruise to the bahamas!

2. The swim-up bar at the all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic (the trip for our first anniversary).

3. Paying off multiple credit cards!

4. Getting a job I love! (so far, at least! 🙂 )

5. Getting curtains for our new apartment!

6. Last night, seeing my American girl dolls, Felicity and Samantha, dressed in their Christmas best by the Christmas tree. Now how is that for a childhood dream come true?

As if you haven’t had enough of my rambling, I am not done yet. I did, for once, create goals for the New Year! And, for the first time in my life, I didn’t create them based off of everyone asking me if I was doing any New Year goals! I created them because I wanted to!

1. Lose 30 pounds. I have gained so much weight since meeting Daniel, which is probably due to actually eating, that it is now time to get back down to an ideal weight, though, per entreaties from friends and families and comments about how unhealthy I looked, I am not going to go back to the 120 I weighed when Daniel and I started dating. Instead I am aiming for a more natural 130.

2. Complete my novel A Picture of the Past. I mean complete as in, completed and edited – ready to be submitted to a publisher if I should so choose.

3. Make money writing. I know, I know, very general. Mostly goals should be quite narrow and easy to measure, but this one is different for me. The truth is, I don’t know what a reasonable number to put would be. What I want, is to begin submitting stories to contests and articles for freelance and see what happens, with the intention of giving myself an idea of how hard it would be to make a good living writing if I were to do it full-time. Not to say I am not grateful for the job I do have! I am! And I intend to work it for a minimum of a year, probably two! But that doesn’t change the fact that writing for a living has been my dream since I was 8 years old, and Daniel and I have discussed many times how feasible it would be to make it work. So I figure, if I can make any money writing while I work full time, maybe it will give me an idea of what to expect.

I feel like I should make a fourth goal, like a financial or other more responsible adult-ish goal, but I don’t really feel like it. Besides, Daniel and I already have our financial goals, set shortly after we married! And, with his recent raise, and my new job, it looks like we are back on track to meeting our goal of being completely debt free by the end of 2018! So I will leave it at that.

You will all be relieved to know that I am now done rambling and ready to release you back to your own New Year!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God bless us, every one!

American Girl Dolls

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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:

motivational inspirational love life quotes sayings poems poetry pic picture photo image friendship famous quotations proverbs

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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