Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Preppy Decade... Or Looking Back as an Individual

For me personally this decade has been full of changes, and I'm definitely showing my age with this one. I graduated high school, moved away for college, and graduated college. I applied to medical school once, and was wait listed. Applied again, and was wait listed. Applied a third time and have been accepted. I learned to be persistent in reaching for my dreams, but I also learned to be flexible, to live in the moment even though I felt there was a bigger future ahead of me. 

I enjoyed and faced the end of two long term relationships in this decade. My heart broke, and I felt as though my world would end, and then I picked myself up brushed myself off and moved forward.

I moved from Wyoming, to Arkansas, to New York, to Florida, to Texas. I went from a small town girl, to a member of the workforce in Manhattan. I have worked as a receptionist, an academic assistant, a health club supervisor, a server, a cocktail waitress, an executive assistant for a stock firm, a merchandising development assistant for an interior designer, a dental practice manager, and now a client relations and marketing specialist for a technology firm. Each of the places I have lived, and each of the jobs I have held has shaped me and grown me into the person I am today.

I have taken on student loans, totaled a car, lost an appendix, bought my first car on my own, paid off my car, paid off a major amount of debt, had to replace my first vehicle and buy my second car on my own. 

I have trained for a marathon three times and never actually ran one. I have been faithful about exercising and health. I have been unfaithful about exercising and health. 

I have made bad decisions, and good decisions. I have learned to budget and manage my finances. I have learned to pay off debt, and understand how my credit rating works. I have learned how deep my inner strength runs. I have learned that I am resilient, that I will find a way to work through even the hardest challenges.

I have felt ashamed of myself, felt isolated from the church, and my relationship with the Lord. I have been reminded that I can never stray so far that God won't still love me. I have been restored in my faith, and brought close to my Savior again. I have remembered that without faith, I am only partially whole.

Wow... this decade as been full of a lot. A lot of heartache and loneliness, but also a lot of Joy and accomplishment. I have gone from being a young girl, to being a woman. From being a child to being an adult. Thinking back to what I would have wanted for myself when I was in high school ... I don't know that I would have ever imagined things to be this way. I had dreamt of making it to the big city, but never actually thought I would. I had dreamt of making it into medical school, but had no idea how taxing that journey would be, or how amazing it would feel when I finally got the acceptance letter. There are things I said I would never do, that I've done... and been ashamed of. But the reality is that I've learned not to lose myself in those moments. Those times when I've the very worst version of myself, are not the end all and be all of my existence, just a momentary stop on this journey forward. Overall, I think the high school me would be proud of the person I am today. She'd be shocked at what it took to get me here (and I'm glad I didn't know then, how hard some things in my future would be), but she would, and I do feel a great sense of accomplishment in who I've become and what I've done in the past decade.

I'm thankful that I've learned in new and amazing ways that God is faithful always standing by my side. He's gracious and forgiving, and that He always has a plan. I'm also glad that I've learned that I don't need to see His plan, but I just need to trust and to be faithful daily and His plan becomes apparent. I know that seems like it is common sense, but it's taken me a decade to learn it!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Back as a Citizen...

Everyone says they're cliche, but I love the practice of making New Years Resolutions. For me it's part of goal setting, and a reminder to keep aiming to be the person I most want to be in life. I often miss the mark, but none the less I'm still aiming!

So for me the process of New Years Resolutions begins with looking back. And as this year is not just the close of a year, but also the close of a decade I really want to look back and think about where I've been and whether or not I'm the person I thought I would be. 

For all of us this decade has brought great tragedy. The terrorist attacks of 9-11, the tsunami, the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Chinese earthquake, years long drought in Africa and many more. But it's also been a decade of great advancement. Much progress has been made in the world wide battle against HIV, we have seen the strength of a nation standing together and supporting those families that lost loved ones, we have pulled together to help with international and domestic relief efforts, and we have reached out and helped our neighbors as they have lost jobs and homes. We've started to grow our own produce, and save money, and plan more conservatively for the financial future.

At the end of this decade, I'm proud of us. Proud of us as citizens of America, and proud of us as global citizens. Yes, there are areas for improvement, but I often see my fellow Americans reaching out and doing the right thing. I have been amazed to see activists across the world push for social justice. To see the best and brightest students from my university become teachers in foreign countries, Doctors who practice medicine internationally, provide education and job services to break the cycle of prostitution in India, become lawyers fighting for human rights with International Justice Mission, to work in orphanages in Africa. I feel so honored and so privileged to know such giving people personally, and to be inspired by their choices throughout the years.

As you prepare for the New Year, what are some things that have made you proud of your fellow citizens?

*I have tried to link each photo to where it came from, if I pulled a photo from your blog and didn't link back please let me know and I'll be happy to correct my mistake!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time to Re-Focus

By this time I have all my Christmas shopping done, most of my gifts wrapped, and all the shopping done for my winter wardrobe (it finally fell below 50 here in Austin, so I of course ran out and bought armfuls of sweaters and coats -- and somehow didn't buy gloves but that's another story altogether).

I'm feeling a little inundated with posts about "What I want for Christmas" or "What I'm buying so and so for Christmas." I personally have stretched, and strained, and over reached my budget for the month... and as often happens after the buying blizzard is over... I'm forcing myself to sit back and think about what really matters...

I'm thankful that I'm healthy, and happy, and have opportunities on the horizon. What a wonderful Savior I serve. What other King would leave his thrown, and his riches, and his Glory to become "the Least of These" for me? As the season has progressed I've quietly (and admittedly inconsistently) celebrated the advent, the Christian season of watchful waiting for the Savior who has come once before and will come again.

I'm relieved that the sum of my life is not all I own, or all that I can buy, but rather all that I am, and hopefully a reflection of the One who created me.

Tonight I'm going to pour a glass of wine, sit by my fire (unless of course its 65 like it was yesterday) surrounded by the PBF, our three loving dogs and my beautiful Christmas Tree. These quiet moments of beauty and rest are the things I enjoy the most about the Christmas Season. The reminder each year that there was One who came for you and me, who loves each of us more than we could ever imagine. That the love we share with one another is a small example of how much He Loves Us! 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I love my ecosphere

Today, I really wish I wasn't at work... Somehow knowing that this week is a short week, is making it seem particularly punishing. Knowing that in just a few days I will be on my way to Arkansas to spend my very first Christmas at the PBF's family home (can you believe we've been together 4 1/2 years and we've never spent Christmas together with his family?) is making each minute spent on the 27th floor feel like an hour. 

So instead of working today, I'm sitting at my desk staring at my ecosphere. What is an ecosphere you ask? It's a self contained environment. My ecosphere has two crustaceans, some algae, and a small piece of coral. All it needs is moderate light, and it grows and functions all on it's own. 

As silly as it sounds I love watching my little crustaceans swim around on my desk. I love how beautiful this small piece of nature is. 

I'm always brought to a place of awe and wonder as I think about how perfectly each of these things works together to create a self-contained little environment. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blogger's Block

Hello, blog world... this is my brief post to say hello! Merry Christmas! 

And yes I am still alive....

So much has happened between now and thanksgiving, that I'm afraid I have too much to write about... 

I'm not quite sure where to start... so I'm procrastinating!

I hope everyone has a blessed holiday filled with Laughter, Joy and Family!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Skagen Watches...

Readers I'm having a shopping breakdown... okay not really but still a mini crisis...

I'm thinking of buying my sister a watch for Christmas, and this lovely Skagen watch happens to be on sale on editors closet (you can get an invitation by clicking the button on the right hand side of my blog). I fell in love with this one for my sister:

And for the sake of honesty I'm also considering buying one for myself, they are at 75% off retail price.

However, I also like this one from another website that is a similar price, but is it too masculine?

Then of course, I'm tempted to buy some for myself, I mean they are just soo cheap... but really I already have two watches.... do I need four? Aackk.... I want them, but don't need them... but I sure do want to buy them....

So readers, should I splurge and by myself two new watches? and do we like the plain black watch or the one with embellishments more?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giveaway winner!

Hurray, it's time to announce my giveaway winners...

Here's the process of how the winner was selected:

For everyone who entered I dropped by your blog, and you got one entry per day that you mentioned my giveaway on your blog. Everyone also got one entry for commenting on which card they liked best from the MDCardsandGifts Etsy store.

I typed all the entries into the random list generator at and....

Gena is the winner! Gena I don't have access to your profile so I hope you see this! Drop by the MDCardsandGifts Etsy store and let them know what you want! If you don't respond by Friday December 4th, then the award passes onto KAG, so stay close KAG!

For those of you in Austin, MDCardsandGifts will be at the Georgetown Christmas Stroll in Georgetown this Saturday, December 5th, they will be one of the booths that backs up to the courthouse! Drop by and say hello!