A Time and Place for Everything

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015's Word

I forget exactly when I started choosing a word for each year. It was a few years ago, after I’d read a post on a blog I follow and the author chose a new word for each year. Something she wanted to focus on, something she wanted to change. It seemed like a pretty cool idea, and so I gave it a try. 2014’s word was “new” (funny, I thought that it was at least 2012, but this blog tells me otherwise!) and it seemed like 2015 was leaning towards the same. Because I can use the same word two years in a row, right? It seemed like that what was fitting when I thought about it, sought for what 2015’s “word” was. But even still, I knew that things don’t work like that. It’s when I completely empty out my mind, when I follow the notion of “now” that I pick out the slip that lets me compliment the person I wanted (if any old choir friends read this, they know what I mean). It’s the words that pop into my head unexpectedly, such as “Denise, cancer” when all of the youth at a summer camp I attended were told to ask God for a word or two and, as it turned out, the mother of a boy I knew, Denise, was battling cancer. Or guessing exactly the right number of something. So why would this be any different? Why wouldn’t my word just pop in my head as I was listening to a Taylor Swift mash up at 1:30 in the morning?
So what’s 2015’s word?
I want to be more present in all areas of my life.
I want to be wholeheartedly dedicated to all that it is I do.
I want to be with the ones who are right in front of me, not be on my phone.
I want to be healthier and exercise more.
I want to be more involved in the lives of my family members and friends.
I want to be closer to God, more aligned with his plans for my life.
I want to be not only content, but happy with everything that I have and am.

I’m incredibly excited for all that 2015 is going to be (didn’t even plan that one). I am aiming for it to include more time in this space here, but as I pursue other endeavors, I know this might sometimes take a back seat. We’ll just see what happens.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Even if your night is when the sun shines.

I'm done pretending. I'm done acting like my life is perfect, like I am totally okay 100% of the time. Because my life isn't perfect and I'm not always okay.
I have struggled for a very long time with a lot of self-loathing. Much of it is general, while there are also specifics. There are things, leadership positions, and people that I feel I will never be good enough for. Issues and insecurities I feel I will never be able to overcome. People I feel I will never be able to forgive.
I know now that this is not true. Of course, that doesn't mean that the bad thoughts, the sickly ideas of myself, the hatred towards myself and those who have hurt me, are all gone. They're not and there are days, I know, where I am going to have to tell myself from the moment I wake until the time I finally fall asleep that I am good enough.
That I can overcome.
That I can forgive.
It is so easy to allow lies to plant themselves in your life because the devil is a sly creature. He makes it so that all it takes is one allowance for yourself to think "nobody likes me". Because then every small mistake and every big hurt manages to anchor itself to that lie. It compounds and builds and expands until that lie becomes the reality that you are living life out of. But just like the original lie, the new reality is a false reality. Seems like an oxymoron - a false reality. The thing is, it's not false to the one living it.
There are days where every interaction, every thought, every word I speak feeds into the false reality that I will never be good enough. Those days are the toughest. They are the days where I feel the furthest from light, love, and the Lord. I tell myself, though, that the day will pass and it always does.
This, too, shall come to pass.
It shall come to pass. These struggles will pass. And even on the darkest days when it seems like they WON'T and they NEVER WILL BECAUSE I WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH AND I WILL NEVER GET PAST THIS, that promise is what gives me hope.
Goodness, too, gives me hope. Because even the bad days are steeped in good. It's such an interesting thing, to be filled with both joy and sorrow, but it is so amazing because it shows the two can co-exist. It is so easy to let go of the issues and the self-loathing for an hour, or two, or less and find myself surrounded by happiness. My happiness is my sisters, my family and my friends, an upbeat worship song, a funny joke, helping a stranger or a loved one, a random act of kindness, reading the Bible. My happiness is the Lord and the fact that He tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And so long as the happiness exists - which it forever will - I know that I can overcome the lies that have been planted in my heart. 'Fix a Heart', the song by Demi Lovato that I've been listening to as I'm writing this, says that "you can bandage the damage, but you never really can fix a heart". I call a false reality right there, because hearts, souls, lives? They can be fixed, or changed. Even the darkest of lies can be replaced with the brightest of truths.
Is my life perfect? Am I always okay? No. Not 100%. Some days are much, much better than others. But that does not mean I cannot get beyond where I am now, overcome the battles I find myself in. I have already overcome so much, but even more than that, I know the One who has overcome the world.
Take heart. Let His love lead you through the night.
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

My "One Word" for 2014

A few years ago, I discovered that there’s this thing people do at the beginning of each year where they choose a word they’d like to apply to that year. I thought it sounded like a pretty cool idea, so I jumped on the wagon, though more with a phrase – make things happen.
I believe that was at the beginning of 2012 and I can’t remember what (if anything) I chose for 2013, but I found my word for 2014 today.
Broad, simple, and easy to accomplish. I’ve got new resolutions for this year, such as working out more, eating healthier, and stop drinking pop. I’m looking forward to getting a new phone and slowly working towards a new wardrobe.
I’m looking forward to meeting new people, traveling to new places, and trying new things. Like doing laundry more than once a month/whenever I run out of underwear.
But I’m also working on being ready for a new kind of relationship. I’m sorting through issues from my past and trying to learn God’s take on self-worth and on healthy, Godly relationships. I have no idea when, or if, this new kind of relationship will happen (being single is totes magotes awesome right now), but this year is all about things new.
And with God, I’m ready to start new with Him, too. 2013 was not one I would put down in the “had a great relationship with God” section. I went to church every Sunday, spent time reaching out to students on and off campus, went on a trip to SDSU to do the same, saw friends give their lives to God, prayed, etc, etc. But I didn’t really read my Bible. In fact, I think that on my own, I’ve cracked my Bible maybe ten times in the past year. So it’s time for that to change.

I feel really good about my word for 2014. I’m excited to see how doors are opened and others are closed, how I grow closer to God and how He changes me more, and how amazing 2014 will be.

*This post is dedicated to Katie Wagner who, way back in 2011, inspired dozens by her brave soul and bright smile, and, in her death, showed thousands a new way to look at life.*
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Six Years

I’ve neglected this blog for far too long. Life has been insane, though. School started in August and went full steam ahead with SO much homework, projects, etc. We’re still working on the house, though the end is finally in sight. We just need to finish painting, get a little more organized, and take care of our front yard. It’s not bad by any means, the previous tenants just never trimmed any of the plants, so they’re a little overgrown.
But I digress. House and school is not (exactly) why I’m writing today. I’m writing because today, November eleventh, two thousand and thirteen marks six years. Six years ago today, on a slightly chilly Sunday morning, I arrived at my aunt’s house here in Arizona with my mom and sister and all of our things. I was sad and angry and I didn’t believe we’d stay more than a year – I hoped we wouldn’t stay more than that. I missed my school and my friends in Missouri and having already lived in AZ twice left a bad taste in my mouth. I started at a school down the street about a week after arriving and, from the get-go, hated it. We had to wear uniforms with our shirts tucked in and I got made fun of for carrying a purse (a big shock, since purses were all the rage at my old middle school). I desperately wanted to go back to Missouri, but it slowly became okay. I planned on still going back one day for college, but as I made friends and got adjusted to life here in Arizona, my wanting to go back lessened. Most days were spent with my then-best friend, Whitney, hanging out, watching movies like ‘Across the Universe’ and ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’. And Juno. Sometimes, I found myself still sad about having left Missouri, but it was mostly because of the plans I’d had for my life. I was all set to go to North Kansas City High School, enroll in the IB program, continue in choir, and become a teacher one day. Instead, I found myself getting ready to go to Glendale High School, home of the Cardinals.
My freshman year of high school marked a couple of big changes in my life. Whitney moved to another high school and, although we still hung out, we began to drift. Now, we’re Facebook friends and although I haven’t seen her in almost two years, she’ll always be the first friend I had out here. I soon became friends with Nikolina, who would hold the title of “best friend” for the next few years. In January of 2009, just over a year after moving to AZ, living with my aunt, bouncing between her house and apartments with my mom and sister, my mom was no longer able to take care of us, so my sister and I moved in with my aunt. For the first time ever, my sister and I each got our own room and we decorated it how we wanted. I was in choir, on the school tennis team and no longer dreaming of returning to Kansas City one day. I knew my life was in Arizona and, for the first time, began to hope we’d actually stay.
Sophomore year was a hard, hard year. I’d auditioned for – and gotten into – Vocal Ensemble (the highest choir at my school), but all of the girls hated me. I was ostracized and bullied because they mistook my shyness and quiet demeanor for being snobby and weird. In December, an argument (I won’t go into details because they aren’t important) led to me almost getting kicked out of my aunt’s house and getting taken out of Vocal Ensemble and dance for the next semester. I was extremely depressed and, in the midst of it all, my grandma, who had basically raised me the first four years of my life, was dying. I’ll never forget the day she died and when I heard the news. January 3rd, 2011, at about 3:00 in the afternoon, my mom (who was staying over because my aunt was in Kansas City) came into the fireplace room and simply told my sister and I that grandma had passed away. After that, I became extremely angry at God. I hated him. I hated that He’d allowed me to get taken out of my favorite classes and that He’d taken my grandma away. I refused to pray or acknowledge God in any way and, from the time I’d left school for winter break, had not cried. This lasted until January 13th, my 16th birthday, when I finally broke down and cried. Some sweet sixteen, huh? The next semester was hard. I was in classes I didn’t like, with people I didn’t know, and music, which had always been my source of comfort and happy place during hard times, was gone. I could barely go into the choir room without crying and I did cry when I went to the choir concerts that semester. I just felt so alone and so without happiness and hope that I did, for a time, contemplate suicide. But instead, I made a little calendar on a piece of paper and, every night, crossed off one more day until the hell would be over. And before I knew it, it was. It’s not to say, though, that sophomore year was without its blessings and fulfillment of dreams. I never thought I would have braces and yet, I got them that year. Second semester, one of my saving graces was the fact that I met my to-this-day best friend, Mallory, at youth group. She and I got along so well, so quickly and I am so thankful for God bringing her into my life because I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her. I visited ASU for the first time, after having decided I wanted to be a choir teacher, and began dreaming of the day I found myself there.
Junior year was, by far, the best year of high school I had. My sister had moved out of my aunt’s house, so it was just me. Being the only kid in the house stunk sometimes because, when I was in trouble, there was nobody to come along and mess up (and thus take the attention away from me). But when it didn’t stink, it was REALLY, REALLY awesome. I often had the house to myself to play music, read, write, etc. I was back in Vocal Ensemble and had a lot of friends. When I asked my aunt if I could throw a Christmas party for VE, she let me. I made invitations and cute “margaritas” made of candy, decorated the house, and we ate, played games, and had a Secret Santa gift exchange. I was doing well in school and life was good. The day after school let out, my aunt, cousin, her kids, and I left for Kansas City. We drove and spent a week there, having a reunion with the family before I drove out to Illinois with my sister and her baby to spend a week at one of my aunt’s and uncle’s. My aunt came and got me after that and it was sad, leaving my sister whom I hadn’t seen in about ten years, but it was also cool to spend two days in the city, going to Navy Pier and museums. We flew back to Arizona, which was my first time on a plane and I spent the rest of the summer doing summer homework and just being lazy.
Senior year. Looking back, it’s hard to measure how difficult senior year was. I don’t mean school wise, but life wise. Three days into senior year, I moved in with my mom and it was such a shock. I went from living with someone who could give me what I needed and/or wanted to someone who expected me to be able to provide for myself because she couldn’t. I was working, but convinced my mom to let me quit so I could do the two theatre shows that year. I did, like I promised, get a job mere days after the second show was over in April, and enjoyed it a lot. I worked with Mallory and a bunch of her friends. We were all the same age and a lot alike, so it made going to work fun. I was stressed – I was going to school every single day and working twenty hours a week, while also having to go (and pay for) grocery shopping, clean the house, do the laundry, and cook dinner when I was home. But none of that really mattered. I’d taken my SAT and ACT and gotten an 1860/28, had applied and been accepted to ASU, received a scholarship, and my aunt had started taking me to orthodontist appointments again. That summer, I worked and worked and, on August 17th, said goodbye to Glendale and headed out to Tempe with my things.
Freshman year, I moved in a day early and was appreciative of it. It got me on my own and gave me time to get situated before my roommate arrived. I met Allie, who I am still friends with, and had dinner with a girl living on my floor. Before I got to ASU, I’d been praying that God would lead me to a church. The second morning I was in my dorm, I was heading out to the bookstore when I got stopped by a girl who asked me if I wanted to take a survey for some free Gatorade. I seriously must have stared at her for forever. I was debating if I had enough time to take a survey and if I wanted a Gatorade. I finally decided to take the survey and saw it was just some simple check marks of what I was interested in. I checked off that I was interested in church, to which the girl responded that she belonged to a church and asked me if I would be interested in checking it out. I said yes and, the next day, found myself at Hope Christian Church. We went to eat at Smashburger after and I met a bunch of awesome girls including Sarah. I hit the ground running with Hope – getting involved quickly and deeply. My first roommate was not so awesome and, a month after school started, found myself in a new room down the hall with the best roommate ever (of that year). I became close with my CA and Peer Mentor, Casey and Allison, who served as role models, advice givers, listeners, and friends. Allison was, and is still, such a good person and friend and always willing to listen to me and help me figure things out. I became extremely good friends with Allie, Litzia, and Ann, and was constantly hanging out with them. For winter break, I went home to work, which sucked, but second semester quickly arrived. I rushed, accepted a bid to, pledged, and became an active member of Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority. Sarah and I became good friends and I found myself with an older ‘sister’ I could really look up to and get Godly advice from on pretty much any area of life. I auditioned for, but did not get into, the music school (though that was really first semester).
The summer between freshman and sophomore year, I moved back with my mom and boy, did that stink. I had gotten so used to my independence and only having to be concerned with myself and, suddenly, my mom expected me to contribute to a place I was never at. I basically worked all summer and slept at her place. Work was crappy, but I met two great girls, Nikki and Bailey, the latter of whom is like a little sister to me now. I was just counting down the days until August 1st (you can read about that in my last post).
Now, it’s sophomore year. School is harder, but it’s manageable. Living in a Hope house is seriously the best decision I’ve ever made, tied with the decision to go to ASU. I love my roommates and, for the first time almost ever, I look forward to go home every day. I can’t wait to go home most days. I’m growing and maturing by the day and I can see so clearly where I want to be six months, a year from now. Though auditioning for music school has been put on the back burner for now, I’m not disappointed. I am content to wait for what I want most in this life (when it comes to careers, at least). Sorority life is wonderful and I’ve found an amazing friend in Rachel. My line is growing and I love every single one of them. I miss my LOA sisters, especially Allison, but the times I get to see her are just that more special. I’m learning to deny myself what I want now so that I can have what I want later and, in all, life is good. For the first time in a long time, everything is going well across the board. I’m not saying I don’t have bad days, because I do. Just, in the grand scheme of things, those days don’t affect me as much as they used to.
I’ve been waiting for this part of my life since I was 12 years old. And if someone had told me six years ago that this is what my life would look like, I would’ve called them crazy and I would’ve tried to imagine how on earth that could happen.
But I don’t have to imagine. It’s here and it’s more than I could have ever asked for.
The time is six years. The place is Arizona. The everything is my life.

And I love it so.
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Friday, August 2, 2013


Yesterday was THE day.

Since May 8th, I’ve been counting down to August 1st – the day I would move back to Tempe – and yesterday was finally it.
It still hasn’t set in yet. Hasn’t really hit me that Tempe is now my permanent (for the next few years anyway) home, that this house I’m in will be mine for the next 12 months. I don’t have to go back to working at the mall, don’t have to live at my mother’s anymore. Once it does really set in, I’m sure I’m going to cry or something, because that’s just what I do, but they’ll be happy, relieved tears.
So, without further ado.
Yesterday I woke up at seven in the morning to get dressed, eat, and finish packing. I pretty much just shoved everything into my laundry bag, stacked it and my pillows with all my other things, and called it a day. I was over packing at that point.
After a couple of errands, I arrived at Bug's house, which is about half an hour drive away from mine. We stopped for coffee, then headed back to my place to start packing. Miraculously we managed to get ALL of my things including a mattress (and minus my bed frame materials) into my SUV and headed on our merry way to Tempe, which took about an hour drive. It was a fun drive – just talking and singing along to my iPod as Bug played DJ. We arrived at the house (which I hadn’t seen before that moment besides in pictures) and oh man.
The previous tenants left the place a MESS and left the landlord without enough time to hire a cleaner before we moved in. Luckily, one of my roommate’s dad has his own cleaning company and she is a boss cleaner, too. But because of the state of the house, everything of ours had to be put in the garage. Bug and I did so and, after cooling off, I gave my cousin a call, curious if I could come get the headboard of the bed frame they gave me. We got the green light, so Bug and I hopped back in the car to drive to Buckeye.
We were both absolutely starving not far into the drive, so after stopping in Tolleson for gas, we walked over to Waffle House – which, if you’ve never been there, is SO ghetto, but SO good. It ended up taking about two hours to drive from Tempe to Buckeye (and included Bug and I getting trapped/lost on the 303) and we arrived just in time to have a couple minutes to visit with my cousins and their kids. I got a kick out of the fact that Bug, at 17, is only slightly taller than my cousin’s 11-year-old son. Cousin’s husband threw the headboard in the back of my car and sprayed some WD-40 on the hinges of the section of back seats that wouldn’t go down. Bug and I said goodbye, then headed off back to my house to gather the rest of the bed frame and the box spring.
Once back at my house, Bug and I quickly concluded that if we could not get the second section of seats down, we would not be able to get everything in the car. We pushed and pulled and prodded and prayed and I was pushing, not even that hard, when suddenly I started falling forward. Why? Because the freaking seat went down!
Overjoyed, Bug and I loaded everything up and headed back out to Tempe. We unloaded into the garage before heading out AGAIN to take Bug home. At that point, it was 4 in the afternoon and we’d been moving for about seven hours. On all the trips in the car up to that point, we’d talked and listened to music, but this time was quiet and Bug took a cat nap. We got back to her house and she showed me around, since she’d just moved herself. We had some cake, talked to her family for a little bit, then said hasta la vista. Not gonna lie, I cried for a little bit in the car. It’s hard leaving friends, especially one that is so much like a little sister to you. But I plan on kidnapping her often to hang out.
Driving back to Tempe was much quicker than driving away from it, and after arriving, got right down to work making food for the 284183758530201 guys who were helping my other roommates (there’s six of us total) move their furniture, and us. Moving, eating, and hanging out lasted until just before ten pm and we were all in bed (on couches and futons and mattresses on the hardwood floors) not long after 11 and pretty much all passed out.
So now that’s where the house is. We have a lot of cleaning and redecorating ahead of us, but my roommates and I are all really looking forward to making this house into what we want it to be.
Yesterday came and went and now I have 364 days to enjoy what it brought.

The time is fall 2013, the place is the new house, and the everything is the life we’re going to have in it.
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

S.O.B (Shopping On a Budget)

I don’t know about you, but as a college girl, I’m on a major budget. I also LOVE shopping. (You can see why I have an issue with money.) I see pins on Pinterest all the time that link to lists of what claim to be “affordable” online stores akin to that of Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, etc.
Except, when did $30 shorts and $20 shirts become “affordable”? I can’t afford to spend $50 on two items and honestly, that seems a bit ridiculous. Why spend that much on two items when you can get multiple items for that amount, or less?
This is where my goal for this next year comes in: I never want to spend more than $20 on bottoms and shoes, $10 on tops, and $10 on accessories. Call me crazy, but it is possible – you just have to know where to look! For example, a couple weeks ago, I got a super cute shirt from Target for only $3.50. Sometimes, I am going to splurge on things I really want (like that time I spent $90 on a Steve Madden bag), but other than that, I’m going to stick to my guns and build the wardrobe I want affordably. I’m actually going to start making it a series on here - whenever I find something that matches criteria (it’s cute, I want it, and it’s cheap), I’ll share it!
I’m in the market for a new bag for the school year, so hopefully I’ll find something soon!

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Time for R&R

I had high hopes for today. After plans with one of my friends got canceled since she ditched me to go to California (just kidding, Bug. No hard feelings.), I decided that I’d use today to pack some more and get things together for moving – like laundry. I really need to do laundry. The mom I used to nanny for texted me last night asking if I could drop off the season passes I’d gotten her kids for a nearby water park before ten this morning, so I figured I’d get up, run over there, then come back and just have a productive day.
Except I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck.
Sore, I had an earache in both ears, and my eyes were drier than sandpaper. I dragged myself out to their house (and pretty much have no recollection of the drive over there. Scary, I know.) and was back in my bed by ten. I texted Bug, saying it had been a good choice for her to go to Cali, then totally zonked until one this afternoon. I could tell I was really sick because, when I am, I can’t stand being touched by anything. Even air blowing on me bugs me like nobody’s business.
So now, here I am at almost three in the afternoon, still in my pajamas and in bed. My room is a mess, nothing’s been done, and I really want to go back to sleep. I want to be productive, too, but it’s more the idea of it than actually doing it, because I have zero desire to get up. I’m even supposed to go pick up my check and schedule from work, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen.
The fact that I fell asleep at work yesterday should’ve been indicative of today and it kind of was, but I’m always in denial when I get sick. I used to never get sick and then I got the swine flu in 2010 and it completely shot my immune system. Bug and another friend both said, “It’s a sign you need rest!” and I know that, but I just don’t want to! I mean, I would love to have a restful day, but only after I get everything packed.
I’m just being stubborn. And silly.
But seriously! I move in five days! I have to get my rear in gear.

On an end note, I wrote a comment to one of the bloggers I follow and she posted about it!!! It was definitely a highlight of this cruddy day. Her blog is called The Wolfpack Princess – go follow it!
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