Candid Karina











Hi everyone!

So, I’m just going to ignore the fact that I’m the world’s worst blogger, and take the title of this blog post to heart… TODAY is my best day, so here we go.

My friend Michelle is hosting a wonderful giveaway at her blog, and I am so excited to share it with all (three) of you. Check it out:

Today is Your Best Day! Really – it is if you are in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Roy Lessin, Day Spring co-founder and senior writer, just released a wonderful book to help all of us see that today IS our best day regardless of our circumstances. There are over 60 life-changing devotions.

The introduction tells the true story of a couple who read the book together six times during a terminal illness. The book had an enormous effect on Jim’s last days and he shared it with over 400 families before he joined Jesus in heaven. Since then, his wife Linda has given away 5000 copies to others and asks that we join her in sharing the inspiring words with other in need of HOPE.

I’m inviting you to join me in exploring the truths outlined in Lessin’s book and creating a Visual Prayer of Praise and participating in the Today is Your Best Day give-away.

You can download your own digital copy of the book and find out more about participating in the giveaway at MichellePendergrass.com http://michellependergrass.com/?p=3273

I do hope you will stop by her blog and check it out. And then come on back here and share with me your visual prayer.



{February 8, 2012}   Moments and Memories

I had this dream last night, and in it, I was with The Soulmate.  You can read our full story in that link, but I’ll give you the cliffs notes version:  The Soulmate is an ex-boyfriend of mine.  He was a great guy, and we had a wonderful relationship.  He treated me better than any man ever had or ever has since.  He was sweet, and caring, and loving, and sexy and funny, and fun.  From him I learned, truly, what it meant to be loved, and how I should expect to be treated by a man.  I truly loved this man.

Unfortunately, as I’ve learned more than once in life, sometimes love just isn’t enough.  The Soulmate came into my life damaged and carrying a complete set of baggage, with the bonus free carry-on bag. As much as he loved me, he couldn’t let go of his past long enough to plan his future.  We broke up.  He broke my heart (in probably the most selfless and giving way anyone has ever broken someone else’s heart) and set me free.

This all happened a very long time ago, and I haven’t spoken to or heard about him since.  I have more than once wished for him happiness.  I truly hope he’s found love with someone else, and has allowed himself to heal from his wounds and move on.

My wounds have healed.  My heart, reshaped, but mended.  The memories stored away, only to resurface in small glimpses.  But not very often at all lately.  I can’t remember the last time I thought of him.

Until last night, when, for some unknown reason, he surfaced in my dream.  Prominently.  I don’t remember the specific details, but I remember that it was more a walk through my memories than an actual dream.  In my sleep I relived aspects of our relationship.  And I awoke feeling nostalgic, and wishing I could revisit those feeling again.

Left wondering where he is now.  Wondering what if…wondering why life has this way of playing mind tricks on you.

I have made peace with this piece of my romantic history.  I have, in fact, been able to take an objective look back and realize that as much as there was love, there were also cracks..faults…issues that we eventually would never have been able to survive, even without his baggage.

And yet…today my heart lays heavy in my chest.  And I miss him.  So many years later.

Guess I know exactly what Adelle is singing about here: 

 



This post started in my head as a thought for a Facebook status update.  But there was just so much more to say.  So, I’ll start by stating a disclaimer:  My friends are amazing.  I love my friends.  My friends are caring and thoughtful and I believe, honestly only want good things for me.  This post is written in good humor, no anger or hard feelings behind it.  Take it for what it is, an informative post to help you discern when maybe, just maybe, you’re forgetting what it was like when you were me…

  1. Just because I’m single it does not mean that every other single person out there is “perfect” for me.  Being “single” is not, in itself, the solitary quality to bring two people together.  PLEASE take into account our lifestyles, our interests, our personalities.  And then, take a step outside of your non-single status and ask yourself this question “Would I, if I were single, HONESTLY consider dating this person myself?”  Because odds are, if we are friends, we have these things (lifestyles, interests, personalities) in common…and if you wouldn’t date them…why should I?
  2. Please don’t introduce me to and/or try to set me up with and/or suggest to me as a potential, EVERY SINGLE PERSON you know.  Please refer back to number one.  Filter your choices, present me with the ones you can actually see potential in. If you honestly believe you’ve met someone I just must meet, then by all means, make it happen!  But come armed with the reasons why you feel I will want to meet or get to know this person.  If you’re not in the habit of introducing me to, or trying to set me up with EVERY single guy you meet, I’ll listen when you have a suggestion for me.
  3. If I want you to set me up with someone you know…I will tell you.  I promise.  If I want you to help me meet people, I will tell you.  If I want to know if you have any single friends, I will ask you.  If I have an interest in someone you might know a little better than I do, I will ask you to introduce us.  If I consider you my friend, I will trust you to do what is best for me, and to let me know if you feel this person could be a good match for me.  Once again, please refer back to number 1.  That person being single?  NOT SUFFICIENT information to determine our compatibility.   And trust me, the other person will feel the same way, just knowing I’m single won’t be sufficient, or, if he’s right for me, it shouldn’t be.  He should want to know something about me besides my relationship status.  But trust me to come to you.
  4. If I confide in you that I am feeling lonely, this does not mean that I feel this way all the time.  I am not asking you to feel sorry for me.  I am not asking you to fix me up. (Please refer to number three here).  I am not asking you to suggest ways to find a husband.  I don’t need you to refer me to an online dating site.  I am not asking you to figure out a way to cure me of my singleness.  Being single is not a disease.  I will have my days when I’d rather not be single.  I’m pretty sure you have your days when you’d rather not be married.  When you come to me, on those days when your husband is annoying the living daylights out of you, I don’t direct you to a divorce attorney’s website, do I?  Let me confide in you, be my friend, listen, and understand that whatever our relationship status is, we have good days and bad days, we have days we LOVE our status, and days we might come really close to hating it…
  5. I love that you want me to be happy and in love.  TRULY I do.  It means the world to me that you want that happiness for me.  I appreciate your thoughts on this.  I appreciate how much you care.  And I appreciate when you want to get involved to help me get there.  I hope that I tell you these things.  I hope that I let you know when I feel these thoughts and actions are welcome.  Because sometimes, they are.  But please try to remember that as my friend you should also want me to be happy now.  When I’m single.  Please don’t focus all your energy on what I don’t have.  Notice all that I do have.  Notice the life I’m living today.  Help me to enjoy this part as well.
  6. Yes, I have thought about online dating.  IF and when I decide I want to do that, I will.  I am WELL AWARE it exists.  Stop pushing me to do it.  If it ever feels right for me, I’ll go there.  I’m just going to say this one more time to make sure there’s no misunderstanding here: STOP TELLING ME TO TRY ONLINE DATING.  Thank you.
  7. You are right; I don’t know what it’s like to have to deal with a husband’s personality, demands, schedule, etc. I do not know what it’s like to have to deal with your child’s temper tantrums or insanely hyper active school activities.  Telling me I am “so lucky” to not have any of those obligations is both rude and hurtful.  There are days, when I’d give everything to have them.  Also, throwing those things in my face, telling me my life is so much easier and less stressful because I don’t have a family to care for, doesn’t just make it seem like you find my life less valuable than yours, it is completely inaccurate.  My commitments, my interests, my activities are just as valid.  My relationships, although they may not be maternal or romantic, are just as significant to my survival.  I treat my friendships as my family, I treat my plans with them as you would dinner with your husband.  THEY MATTER.
  8. On this same vein, making me feel guilty because I don’t have to provide financially for children, or am not supporting the habits and interests of a husband as well as my own is also a completely null argument.  I am supporting my household on a single income.  I pay ALL of the bills, not just some of the bills.  If I don’t want to spend most of my time alone, I am required to go out and spend money on activities and dinners and whatever social situation I can place myself in, so I’m not at home, alone on a Friday night.  And let’s not forget that it is with my solitary income that I am paying for all of my non-single friends’ events, childrens’ birthday party gifts, baby shower gifts, wedding gifts, Christmas presents, (where I’m usually buying individual gifts for all members of your family), etc. etc.  Please let me make this clear, I am not complaining.  I enjoy celebrating life events with all of my friends.  Don’t even feel guilty for inviting me to a gift giving occasion…shopping for presents is an honest joy to me.  Just remember that financially, we’re all in the same boat.  I may have less financial “obligations” according to your world.  But, you may have less according to mine.  Let’s call this one even and remember not to quibble about money.
  9. When you tell me that it should be easy to keep my house in order, since I’m the only one living there, remember two things: ONE: you have obviously not yet met my two cats.  And Two: Keep in mind, that I have to move that television all by myself, to have to figure out where the closest mechanic is, how to replace a broken light fixture alone, to do all the dishes, all the laundry, all the cleaning, all the cooking, and all the breadwinning.  There is no one at my house to open that stubborn pickle jar.  For every time your husband leaves his socks outside the hamper, there’s a pickle jar for me.  But when all is said and done, you love your husband, and you’ll take the socks!  I feel the same about my life.
  10. Here is the most important one: I want to be able to discuss my singledom with you, and I want you to be able to discuss your relationship with me.  I want us to not be afraid to share our trials and tribulations, as friends do.  But I don’t want to feel judged, pressured, or like you think I need to do something to change my situation.  I don’t want to make you feel any of those things about your relationship either.  Unless you are in an incredibly unhealthy relationship.  And even then, I might give advice…but only if you ask me for it.  If I ask you, or if you feel I am unhappy, well, then none of the above really apply, feel free to call me out on it.

And before anyone asks, no, this isn’t about you.  Not completely anyway.  I’ve taken bits and pieces of everything I’ve experienced in my long time as “the single friend” and pieced them all together.  If you take this entire post personally…maybe we should talk. But this isn’t about any ONE of you directly or indirectly…

And now, in closing, I challenge you to this:  What do you, my non-single friends, wish your single friends would remember?  After all, turnabout is fair play, right?



{January 24, 2012}   Back To School…or not.

Yesterday, I accompanied a friend of mine, who is returning back to school as an adult, to the local community college bookstore, so she could pick up 2 text books.

 

I graduated college 15 years ago (gulp), and haven’t taken a single college course since.  I have more than once considered going back to school for a graduate degree.  Very recently I started really considering doing this, and have spent some time indulging my “what if” scenarios.

 

I haven’t quite figured out what graduate degree program I’m inclined to return for, so, until I figure that out, I’m still in the “thinking about it” stage.  I’m in no rush.  I have a great job, and if I decided to never go back to school again, that would be just fine.  I don’t NEED a graduate degree.

 

But I think I might want one.

 

So, I’m thinking about it.

 

But, back to the bookstore.

 

Initially, as we walked in, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia.  Oh, how I remembered those days, the first few days of class, when everyone rushed to the bookstore between classes, searching for the last “used” book on the shelf, standing in endlessly long lines…only to pay out a small (not so small) fortune for a book you might, perhaps, open twice during the semester.

 

AH…college book prices.

 

No, I don’t miss that.  The wave of nostalgia quickly turned into a wave of nausea, as I recalled the struggle, every semester, to come up with the cash to pay for the books I would need to use in the already paid for (dearly) classes I was taking.

 

As I stood in that bookstore with my friend yesterday, and looked at the two TINY books she was required to pay.  And looked at her total… $160.  FOR TWO BOOKS.  I found myself getting so angry.

 

These books?  What material are they made of that makes them so valuable?  How does a 100 page “booklet” warrant a $70 price tag (for the USED version)?  Does it hold the secrets of the universe within its pages?

 

And this is a community college, not even a private university, an ivy league school.  I can’t even begin to imagine the cost of those books.

 

I remind you, I haven’t been in school in 15 years.  I remember the cost of books being ridiculous then, and I suppose with inflation and the like, in comparison, the prices are much the same.  But, I couldn’t then, and I certainly can’t now, wrap my brain around these prices.

 

Higher education is already so expensive.  The cost of college books baffles me.

 

And I find myself questioning (not for the first time) how this is legal.

 

And then, to add insult to injury, you take this $100 book, at the end of your semester, and sell it back to the bookstore, and maybe they give you $15 for it.  Maybe they give you $5.  And then they slap a “used” sticker on it, and turn around and sell it for $65.

 

Again…how is this legal?  Why is this accepted common practice?

 

I’m baffled.

 

And I’m thinking perhaps Grad school can wait…I’m not sure I’m prepared to waste my hard earned cash on a bunch of text books just yet…

 

Maybe I can find a photography class instead.  I’ll happily spend that money on a new camera…

 

 



{January 23, 2012}   Settling Down…
Would you “Settle” for Mr. or Mrs. Not-So-Right if your only other option was to remain single for life?
YES – 31.25%
NO – 68.75%
Read more: Should you settle or remain single? http://mix1041.radio.com/2012/01/18/should-you-settle-or-remain-single/#ixzz1k9fotIrs

I came across the above survey recently, and I’ve got to admit, I’m kind of stunned at the percentages.

 
Over 30% of people say they would rather “Settle” with the wrong person than be single?
 
WOW!
 
I mean…I suppose this shouldn’t entirely come as a shock to me.  After all, I know people who have done just that.  I have so called “friends” who have basically let one that they married who they are married to because it was about time they got married.  They were at that age.  It was the next “expected” move in their life.  They had been together long enough that it was what was supposed to happen.  Or my favorite: “I am not getting any younger, and I want kids”.
 
Maybe I’m idealistic then, but I think “but what of love?”  What about knowing that this thing, this commitment, is for life, and therefore, you want to be SURE before you take that step?  I know there are no guarantees in life, and I certainly know that marriage is not exactly known for being fail proof…
 
But to go into it already knowing you are “settling” for less than what you feel is right?  To agree to spend your life with someone you are not entirely sure about simply because the alternative is to be on your own?
 
It baffles me.
 
And maybe it is because I am single, and have been for the better part of my adult life, that I can look at this from the perspective of the other 60ish percentage.  But…I just can’t imagine committing my future to someone who will only be one 3rd or one 4th, instead of one half of what is meant to be.
 
Because, on my own?  I am at 100%.  I give my all, I do it all, I embrace it all, I LIVE it all.  On my own, my life is filled with 100% of the joy and one 100% of the pain.  On my own, I have my successes and my failures, and I own them both.  On my own, although alone, and even, sometimes, a bit lonely, I am true to myself. 
 
Whenever (if ever) I take that step to commit my life to someone else, I don’t expect them to elevate me to 150%.  But I also don’t expect them to deflate me to 80 or 70…or less than 50%…
 
It is a partnership.  One, in my eyes, founded on love, faith, and yes, hard work.  But most of all, it needs to be founded on a mutual understanding of truth.  The truth that both halves, already at their highest on their own, can then together create a new 100%.  Mix 100% water, with 100% coffee beans, and what you have is a 100% delicious cup of coffee…neither takes away from the other, but in fact, creates a WHOLE new…well…WHOLE.
 
Different, maybe even better…but definitely not less than..or why would we bother?
 
Why would we settle for anything less?
 
I won’t.  I can’t.
 
So, until then, I guess it’ll be just me.


{January 19, 2012}   On Dating…

For the record, just to catch you all up, since this blog is making it’s SLOW return from a sleeping beauty like slumber the last year or so, I am, in fact, still single.

And although my relationship status has not changed, my attitude about dating has.

For quite a long time now, I have been on this self-imposed dating hiatus. I needed a break from men. And then, it seemed, I just didn’t realize how that break turned into a way of life. Being single suited me.

Or perhaps, it was just easier than the pain of finding happiness within myself, before I could find it with someone else.

But in the last several years, I have grown. A LOT.

I have dedicated tremendous time and energy into looking deep within, and transforming myself into the person I was meant to be.

I have, in the process, experienced both pain and joy greater than I thought possible.

I have, mentally, spritually AND physically, transformed myself.

And now I find myself, on the other side of this transformation (although, truly, it is an ongoing thing), prepared to admit that I am ready to share my life with someone.

Which is all well and good. Until I start looking at my options.

OH….the dating game. Nope, I didn’t miss this part of it.

I won’t bore you with the details, but lately I have found myself in a series of potential relationships, only to discover that the dreaded “man-child” seems to be the norm amongst single men in their 30’s today.

Somewhere along the way, this new breed of man, who can’t seem to decide if he wants to be in or out of a relationship, has developed.

I get the feeling I’m not the only one coming across these guys…you know the type, don’t you? One minute they are all over the idea of getting to know you, and then they disappear for weeks at a time. Only to resurface with a vengeance, making “mixed signals” the biggest understatement of the year.

And I’m not the type of girl to expect a man to do “all the work”…I’m so not against asking a man out for coffee…but this neither here nor there? It’s exhausting.

And I know relationships are hard…but shouldn’t the beginning stages be the easiest part? Shouldn’t that be the time when all is hearts and stars in your eyes??

So, here I am. Single. In my 30’s. Willing to give it an honest shot. And completely and utterly perplexed as to how to go about it next…

This should make for some good blogging at least.



{January 6, 2012}   One Year – One Word

Focus.

Main emphasis, area of concern, concentrated quality, sharpness of vision, center, spotlight, heart.

FOCUS.

I lack focus.

My biggest trouble in being productive has always, without question, been my inability to focus on any one thing at a time.

What I do not lack, is passion.

I am deeply passionate about many things. Writing, music, reading, travel, running, dancing, nature, photography, family, friends, shopping, food, technology, movies…you get the picture.

I truly love life and everything it has to offer, so, when I find a new interest, meet a new person, I go all in.

Until I find another just as interesting thing. Then I add that to my life, and now, I’m split in two. And then I find another, and now it’s three, and another…

And there you see my life. SO many passions occupying my mind and heart, how can I possibly FOCUS on any one thing?

So I find myself involved in EVERYTHING, but never completing anything. Never really sticking to anything long enough to see results.

Maybe that’s a bit harsh…I stick to things…I’ve been running for over a year now, and I set a goal to run a 10k on Thanksgiving, and I met that goal. I stick to my friends, am loyal to the end, never deserting any of them…

But, I’m scattered. I have all these goals, and I have a hard time really focusing on getting stuff done.

And I want to. I really do.

So, this year, in 2012, my word is FOCUS.

One day at a time, one project at a time, I will FOCUS and see where that takes me.

And I’m throwing in a bonus word, because well…imagine if I just focused on ONE word?? Unheard of.

But this one is a must…LOVE.

All things 2012 will be centered around LOVE.

The love of friends, the love of family, the love of life, the love of my neighbors and strangers, Christ’s love. ALL LOVE.

And maybe with a bit of FOCUS, I’ll even be able to find some romantic love.

See what I did there?



Here we are in 2012, a New Year full of new promises and hope.

But before I jump in, I thought I’d take a second to look back and review how I did on my 2011 Goals for the year.

I don’t make resolutions, I stopped doing so years ago.  Now, I have goals.

Here are my 2011 Goals (and how I did on each):

Goals for 2011

1. WRITE. I’m not even going to attempt to fool myself into thinking I can “finish that novel”…but I’m going to set a goal for myself that I WRITE. That I spend some quality time with my novel, with my characters, with my brand new netbook purchased solely for that purpose. Included in this writing goal is also my blog, and a few other writing projects I have in the works…

– FAIL. BIG FAT FAIL. Sigh…. lol

2. Run a 10K. Yep, I did that…I put that out there. Because well…why not? After all, I thought running in general was an impossibility for me, and then, in 2010, I ran my first 5k. I’m starting off the year, quite literally, running a 5k on New Year’s Day…so a big goal for 2011 is to run, run, run…all year run, build up my stamina, increase my pace, and run a 10k. I’m shooting for the Turkey Trot I did as a 5k in 2010…there’s a 10k option, so…why not?

-DONE AND DONE!!!🙂 AND I reached my goal of doing it in under 1:20.

3. Continue to stay healthy. Going along with the 10K goal is my goal to keep working out regularly, and to work on my diet. By diet I don’t mean “lose weight crash diet”, I mean daily eating habits. I need to change my lazy habits of just grabbing whatever is handy, which leads me to poor choices sometimes. I need to plan meals, and educate myself better on what I should be eating, and what I should not…

– I’m going to call this one a success. I haven’t exactly been “the best” with my diet, but I’ve done mostly okay with that part, and I’ve been HARDCORE at the gym since June, at my new gym, and I even have muscle definition, which wasn’t even in my goal for the year.😉 I managed to maintain my weight all year, except for the extra “muscle weight” I put on…🙂

4. Find a church. I have faith. I have an amazing faith family, friends, community. I have regular faith sharing meetings with friends, where we worship and we pray and we share. But I don’t have a church. I won’t get into all the details behind why I can’t go to the church that has been my church for decades…let’s just say that the priest and the services don’t give me the nutrition my faith requires and leave it at that. But this means I am without a place to worship on Sundays. Sometimes, during the week, I will attend lunch time services at a church within walking distance from my work. Once a month I attend a church service in Boston on Friday night geared toward young adults (20’s and 30’s) which I LOVE. But I have yet to find a place where I feel welcome and fulfilled on Sunday mornings. And I need to. I want to. I must.

– I think I can call this one a success as well. I haven’t “officially” joined my new parish, but I have a place I go to mass on Sundays that feels like “home”…🙂

5. Do something new every month. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, because I’ve been doing a little bit of this the last few months. Doing things I’ve never thought I could do. Doing things I just have never gotten around to doing. Trying new things, or experiencing things everyone seems to have done, but I for some reason, have not. This includes silly things such as watching movies that are “Classics” but I’ve never seen (A Charlie Brown Christmas, for example, which I watched for the first time ever the other night), to more serious tasks (such as that 10k), to everything in between…ice skating, skiing perhaps, flying a kite…the possibilities are endless.

– well, I really don’t know if I did this “officially”, but I think I might have…I was very busy this year, and I made sure to stay active, to try new things, to challenge myself and to LIVE life…so I’m going to call it a success.

6. Travel to Europe. Okay, so this one is a bit of a cheat, because I have a trip to Portugal pretty much planned in October. I have friends from here getting married there, and a group of us are planning on traveling together to their wedding. But my goal is to turn this trip into a lengthier stay, and hopping over to Spain, France, England, Italy…pretty much any other country I can make it to on the airfare across the ocean. Now I just need to find a willing travel companion, and…well…the funds.

– BOO!!!😦 Fail. Not only did I not travel to Europe, I didn’t travel ANYWHERE this year. BUT…my brother got married and I was in his wedding, so…there’s that… ;-p

7. Be more charitable. This doesn’t necessarily mean financially, although that too. But I’m thinking more along the lines of trying to live the talk…do more for others, give of my time, be more a part of this world we live in, in a giving, unselfish, charitable way.

– YES.🙂 I think I definitely did this. I really worked hard at being more giving and loving all year, and I signed up to sponsor a little girl in the Philippines and I ended the year with giving my family personalized “donation promises” for Christmas. Meaning, each family/couple got a card from me with a charity that I picked according to their personalities and stuff, which I will donate to during different months next year on their behalf.🙂

8. Spend more time with my little sister. She turns 18 this coming year, and I feel that with our busy schedules, we don’t spend as much time together as we used to. It’s perfectly understandable, but I have to make more of an effort to be present in her world. I’m the constant she needs, the positive influence she has, and I have to remember that and make more of an effort.

– This one was hard. Not for lack of trying, and we did really well in the beginning of the year, with our cooking dates, but then she got really serious about school, and busy as an 18 year old will get, so we haven’t spent as much time together as I’d like…but we’ve had some great moments in our relationship this year…

9. Cook more. As I said in a post last week, I don’t cook often, but I plan to do that more this year, in fact, I plan to attempt a new recipe once a week…

– Like the last one, I started off great at the beginning of the year, but but they summer, it all fell apart. lol

10. Fall In Love. What? Eventually this is going to happen. I’m going to add to this one this year…fall in love with someone who will love me back. Date more. Continue to be open, and trust that the right one will come along…and have fun in the process.

– Well… at least I met someone with whom that potential is still present. So far we still haven’t gotten past the “talking” stage…but at least i’m out there…so…yeah…there’s always 2012.

Speaking of 2012, here are my goals for 2012:

1. Write for at least 2 hours a week. My plan is to dedicate an evening each week to go sit somewhere and write. I’m going to call it class, and stick to it as if attendance were being marked by a teacher. I’m thinking Thursday nights for the “January semester”. ;-p The writing can be blogging, or working on my book, or whatever…as long as I’m writing.

2. Do pull-ups. Prior to last year I had ZERO upper body strength. I couldn’t do a single push up. I can now do 6 in a row…not a lot, but it’s a start. I also have a lot more upper body strength. However, I still cannot do a pull-up to save my life. I’ve never been able to, and I remember that being the thing I failed in fitness tests in school. I got a pull-up bar for Christmas. This year, I WILL be doing pull-ups.

3. Change my diet. This one is that constant struggle, but I eat like crap. I’m working too hard at the gym to eat the way I do. So, this is not “go on a diet”, it is “change my diet”…change certain elements, focus on eating healthier options, etc.

4. TRAVEL. 2011 was a big fat disappointment in terms of travel. So I need to travel more in 2012. That’s all there is to it.🙂

5. Simplify. Keep going with my goal to declutter and do away with all the excess “stuff” in my life. this means not only material things, but activities, people, stress, etc. All that “extra” that takes away from the important things in life.

6. Date. I’m changing it from “fall in love” which was said sort of as in jest last year, to a more real “date”. I need to get out and date this year. Enough said.

7. Be more charitable. I’m repeating this one from last year, because it’s a good one. I’m far too blessed to be greedy and selfish, I need to give back. As much as possible, as often as possible.

8. Become more involved in my new church. Last year my goal was to find a church that felt like home. I did that. now I need to become more involved.

And…I think that’s it.



{December 31, 2011}   2011, I bid thee farewell…

2011.

What a year.

What an adventure.

What a life.

Another year comes to a close, and all I can say is “Amen”.

It seems every year time goes by faster and faster, and I’m just running to keep up with it.  Life is hectic, and busy, and crazy and chaotic.

And yet…

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My life is crazy, and amazing, and blessed.

2011 was a year of growth, changes, and learning experiences.

I made new friends who would become like family.  I made it a point to spend more time with friends and family, with those I love and treasure.  My baby brother got married, gaining me a new sister.  I challenged myself physically, joined a new gym that would change the way I look at exercise, and would change my body in ways I never imagined.  I opened my heart and soul to God in ways I never before had, and He blessed me endlessly (and continues to do so).  In 2011, I LIVED.

Bring on 2012, I can’t wait to experience all a new year brings with it.  New hope, new challenges, new opportunities.

Happy New Year everyone.



 

As I mentioned last week in this post, I was given a pair of tickets to attend the Women of Faith Conference in Hartford, CT this past weekend.

What I couldn’t remember last week was exactly “where” I’d scored the tickets.  Don’t judge me, I do A LOT of stuff online and sometimes, I forget where I did what. (insert winky face).  But I need to take this opportunity to thank Booksneeze for the tickets, because I now REMEMBER they were the ones to provide me with the tickets, and I can’t even begin to express my gratitude.  Truly, and honestly.  WOW.  I’ll be forever grateful.

With that being said, where do I begin to tell you about my experience this past weekend?  How do I take such a life changing experience and put it into words?  And how I can I possibly take two full days worth of life lessons and inspiration and cram it all into one blog post?

The answer is simple.  I can’t.  So I’m not even going to try.

No, I don’t mean I’m not going to write about the experience.  OF COURSE I AM.  What I mean is…it’s going to take more than one post.  I need to give each item the attention it deserves.  So, please do come back in the next week or two, because I have SO MUCH to share with you!

For today, I’ll give you the basics.

 

Me and Sue

I invited my friend Sue to come down with me and on the two hour drive down we had a great heart to heart about where we both are in our lives, and the things we are both searching for individually.  Our aches and pains, and our thrills and joys.  Sue is just recently on her path back to God, so I was incredibly excited to share this experience with her.

We checked into our hotel Thursday night, and after a late dinner, settled in to rest up for the following day.

Friday morning we were up bright and early and headed over to the convention center.  After a short wait for the doors to open, we were let into the arena, and found seats close to the stage for the first session of the conference (which was general admission seating).

We spent Friday listening to the Women of Faith Worship Team sing songs of praise (and boy can they SING), and Sheila Walsh and Dr. Henry Cloud share their knowledge, wisdom, humor and life experience.  I’ll get into more detail in future posts about what each of these speakers had to say and how deeply each of them affected me, but for now let’s just say that just the Friday morning/afternoon session alone would have been a sufficiently life changing experience for me.

Both Sue and I got SO MUCH from these two speakers that we walked away at the close of the morning session knowing exactly why God had brought us there, and excited for the rest of the weekend.

After a dinner break, during which we dined at a great little spot in downtown Hartford called “Zula”, we headed back to the convention center for the evening’s program.

"The Porch"

This was actually the “official” start of the Conference, and we were introduced to all the women who would be speaking the next day.  They were: Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper, Nicole Johnson, Luci Swindoll and Angie Smith.  That night we were treated to a “drama” performance by Nicole Johnson (which was really more of a poignant comedy) and a comedy routine by Ken Davis (who is ABSOLUTELY hilarious).  And finally, Natalie Grant took the stage to sing.  I love Natalie Grant and we did enjoy a few of her songs, but I have to admit, we were EXHAUSTED by the end of the evening, so we did sneak out a little bit early, to beat the traffic out of Hartford (and the parking garage) and head back to our hotel.

I hear we missed some serious planking action though, and for that, I am sorry.😦 I mean, seriously..these ladies can party!😉

Saturday morning we were right back to the convention center bright and early.  We had heard that Sheila Walsh (and the rest of the ladies) would be doing book signings that morning, and we were determined to meet Sheila.  So, with our books in hand, we made it in time to get in line for Sheila. It was an absolute pleasure to meet and chat with her, she is seriously an inspiration and an amazing lady.  My friend Sue shared with Sheila that she has never had a role model before, but Sheila had just become her first…there might have been tears.

Chatting With Sheila

 

 

We spent the rest of the day listening to all of the ladies above sharing their stories.  There were DEFINITELY tears.  And laughter.

I also signed up to sponsor a little girl from the Philipines named Grace, through the World of Vision program.

And then there was Mary Mary.  I’ve known their music for a long time, and I’ve always been sort of a casual fan.  But when they took that stage, they made me an INSTANT fan.   A lifetime fan.  Not only are they incredibly talented, but they also shared quite a bit of their faith, their story, their hearts.  It was one of my favorite parts of the conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the time we left on Saturday afternoon for the 2 hour drive home, we were absolutely filled with the spirit, with inspiration, with hope and with love.

The entire conference was amazing, the women were incredible inspirations, the atmosphere was one of love and acceptance and joy.  In a room filled with ten thousand women and the only “catty” behavior I witnessed was from the security lady who bit my friend’s head off when she saw a bottle of water in her bag (which was innocently left in there).😉

I have decided that not only am I attending again next year, but I am determined to bring a WHOLE GROUP of ladies with me.  This must be shared with everyone I know and love.

There is SO MUCH MORE to tell.

Like I said, this post is just the basics.  Just a taste of what’s to come.  I’m still processing, still trying to get all my thoughts together.  But come on back…my next post will dig deeper into the speakers and how they moved me.  And there will be more pictures!🙂

Thank you again to Booksneeze.  Truly, there are no words for how grateful I am.



et cetera
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