Saturday, February 28, 2009

Jack Dann in the house

I recently found this Jack Dann quote, “For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I'm surprised where the journey takes me.”

Sometimes I find myself wondering why I write. Why I enjoy it. Why it's something I find myself doing constantly. Growing up, I was always encouraged to read. Reading was something my mother really wanted my sisters and I to enjoy. It wasn't something that was pushed on us but it was strongly recommended. And I think that from my love of reading came my love of writing. I completely understand that for many many people, reading is just reading. They may absolutely love to read but that doesn't mean they love to write. But for me, they go hand in hand.

I have this unquenchable thirst for reading and writing.

Maybe that's why this whole period of unemployment is so hard for me. (“Wait, what?” you say...”shouldn't being unemployed give you plenty of time to read and write?”) Touche. However, I think the reason it is so hard is because I realize that as soon as I get a job, I will find myself with much less time to enjoy my two favorite pastimes. I mean, is it too much to ask to get paid to read and write?!

Anyways, I found that Jack Dann quote and thought it was quite appropriate for me. There's not a lot of people who read my blog. (And I'm okay with that). Even though I don't have hundreds of people reading what I say, I still feel like what I say makes a difference. And I'm perfectly content with the knowledge that it may just make a difference to me. Because, as Mr. Dann so perfectly said, every time I write, it's an exploration. But instead of being surprised “most of the time”, I am almost always surprised where the journey of my writing takes me.

I think that's why I write. To see where I end up.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

back to basics

I feel like I need to get back to the things that make me the happiest.

Playing the piano. Working out. Taking pictures. Eating healthy. Going to sleep at a decent hour. Waking up and getting started for the day. Going for walks. Writing. Playing basketball.

The list could go on and on, honestly. As time goes on and I seem to dwell more and more on being unemployed and all the negative things that have happened, I realized that life is what I make it. Cliche right? But true. While I may not have all control over getting a job, I do have control over my attitude and what I make of this exact part of my life that God has given me. There's a reason God has chosen for me to be unemployed right now. I have faith that I will get a job--at just the time God has planned.

So, for now...I'm going to focus on the things that made me happy when Phil was around (see here if you're confused) because, if you really think about it, those things should still make me happy. And maybe I've been so (I don't want to use the word 'depressed' because that has such horrible connotations with it) but maybe I've been bummed out (that works) because I haven't allowed myself to not only enjoy the things I used to love but actually do the things I love! I'm hoping that by getting back into the things that make me feel most alive, I'll be out of this slump, for lack of a better word, and back to my old self...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

So, first things first. I love the Ash Wednesday service. Outside of the Christmas Eve candlelit service, the Wednesday night Lent services are my favorite. And Ash Wednesday is the start of everything--and Pastor Hayes never disappoints with his sermons (like, ever, even on an average Sunday).

Tonight he started out talking about mirrors. His sermon tonight just fit. In terms of what I've been thinking and feeling lately, it just fit like a perfect glove. Back to the mirrors. Basically, what he said was mirrors have two sides to them. They have a positive effect on us because they allow us to make sure we won't go out in public and embarrass ourselves. We can check how we look, our make-up, to make sure we don't have anything in our teeth, etc. But it's not always the greatest invention in the world. Sometimes we look in the mirror and we see all the things that we think are wrong about us. We see all those extra pounds and feel like we need to diet. We see that we don't look as great in our favorite outfit as we thought we did. You get the idea. Then he said what we really need to be doing is looking into that mirror and asking if the person we are seeing is the person that God intended us to be. Are we fulfilling the potential He placed in us?

Lastly, he finished by reminding us that mirrors don't see everything. While they show us exactly what is in front of us and what we are now. They don't us show us who we will be, who we should be, and who we can be. It was a great lesson and really made me think about my past few posts. I was never really one for the whole "God-winks". I mean, I think I they're out there and I fully believe that other people have seen/felt them. But I just really hadn't felt them for myself. But I really think that there's a reason why I've been feeling like this lately. And there's a reason why God chose to speak through Pastor Hayes tonight--and have me really feel it.

Prayer changes those who pray.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

thing 2

...what to do with the rest of my life.

I wish i was one of those people who knew exactly what they wanted to be. But I don't. Do I like being a nanny? Yes. But, during this period of unemployment, I've come to the conclusion that i truly have no idea what I want to be. There are two things I've always felt destined to be. A mother and a writer. Well, I'm not a mother yet and I'm sure it's going to be at least a few years until I am. On to the second thing. I am a writer. I've been a writer for years...pretty much since I learned how to write. However, i want to take my writing and become an author. Don't get me wrong: I'm working on it. But it's not like a regular profession; writing a book takes a long time. And during that time, you don't get paid (unless of course you're a fabulous, already-established writer). Also, just because you write a book doesn't mean it's good. Even if it's good, that doesn't mean it will get published. And even if it gets published, that doesn't mean people will buy it. See where I'm going with this? Just because I WANT to be an author, that doesn't guarantee my success at it. And it doesn't guarantee that I can provide for myself (and my future family).

Again, see where I'm going with this? What do I do in the mean time?

Most people know exactly what they want to do when they're done with college. (In fact, most people know what they want to do--or at least have a pretty certain idea--by the time they enter college). And even if they don't get their dream job right away, they at least get a job they enjoy. This brings me back to square one. I really really enjoy being a nanny--I truly do. But I also have this dream where (before I become a mom of course) I work in an office with co-workers who are, ya know...adults. Maybe not even an office--but at least some type of business where I interact with adults vs. babies all day. Am I making any sense or does it seem like I'm contradicting myself since I said my biggest dream was to be a mom (and being a mom revolves around babies)?

I don't know. I do want to be a mom. And once I get married & have kids, God-willing, I would love to stay at home and be a mom. But since I'm not a mom now and won't be for awhile, I feel like the best place for me to be is at a job where I can interact with other adults. I don't know why but I feel like God is pushing me in that direction.

The problem that remains, however, is the only interviews I seem to be getting are for nanny positions. And while, at this point, i would take anything that was offered to me, I just feel like God is pulling me in a direction away from nannying. When I came home from school in December of 2007, I hadn't finished college. And truthfully, I didn't try as hard as I should have--and could have--to find a job. Looking back I realized I couldn't be upset at not finding a job because I wasn't putting my all into it. I was trying--just not hard enough.
And now that I am finished with school and am looking, the economy has only gotten ten times worse. And what's frustrating is that I AM trying very hard to find a job now. Not only have I been applying to literally hundreds of jobs a week, but I'm making phone calls, sending e-mails--it's just all to no avail. The bottom line is there are more qualified people out there. More experienced people out there who have lost their job and are looking as well.

It's just frustrating because I don't deserve a job more than the rest of the unemployment population. And I know other people have it worse and have been unemployed a lot longer. But, truthfully, saying that still doesn't make me feel any better.

I don't know exactly where I'm going with this. I started going in one direction and ended three miles from there. All I know is I'm frustrated and dejected. (too strong of a word?)

Rogers Hornsby said...

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."

I feel ya Rogers...

Monday, February 23, 2009

thing 1...

*disclaimer* This post might be all over the map because, even as I'm writing, I'm not entirely sure how to say what I want to say.

I have a genuinely happy demeanor. I smile a lot. I laugh more. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way but I can tell a HUGE difference in my happiness levels on days I smile and laugh more. (Do I sound completely weird yet?) The reason I say this is because I feel like, ever since Phil died, I haven't allowed myself to let go and just be completely happy. Don't get me wrong. I have fun. And I do consider myself happy (albeit, I'll admit I've been happier considering the current state of things--i.e. no job, new car to pay for--you get the idea). But generally, I'm "happy". I know that life itself is a great gift to be given. And I know that Phil doesn't want any of his friends or family to be unhappy--especially on his account. I also know that God has bigger plans for me than to dwell on this and let it affect my every day life. I think God has a wonderful combination that will allow me to love life and miss Phil at the same time. I just haven't quite figured out what that combination is yet.

Let me backstep a little bit and explain how I got to this point. There are days when i find myself happier than usual--days when I'm just really having a blast with family & friends. Those are the days that I find myself falling hard at the end of the night--missing Phil more than normal. It's like I feel guilty for being happy. I forget for a second that he's gone and let myself really have fun. And then I crash later because I miss him like crazy and wish he was there.

The thing is, I know he's the happiest of all of us because he's in Heaven. I know he's not hurting. I know he's smiling & laughing, having the time of his life eternity?? And I know he wants me to be the happiest I've ever been. I just don't know how to get there.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

when I'm bored, when I'm watching tv, when I can't sleep...even when I blog, I...


There it is. That's my downfall.

The two most important aspects to getting--and staying--healthy are: exercise and eating right. Well here's the deal. I don't have a problem with the exercise portion. In fact, I love working out. I feel really great and really confident in myself when I'm working out (endorphins anyone?) Seriously, the whole "when you work out, you just feel better" theory is actually true. When I leave the gym, I feel healthy. I feel in control of my body. I feel confident. I just feel happier, believe it or not.

However, when I'm not working out, I have that little tiny devil-Melanie sitting on my shoulder. And instead of just simply flicking the devil off my shoulder, I let it sit there. I hear myself thinking "well...I did just work out...why can't I have some chips?" Or "well as long as I only eat a little ice cream, it's okay." Or "ya know, I haven't been to Starbucks in a long time, why don't I go get a regular-sized exceptionally over-sized mocha?"

I find myself thinking that since I'm doing so good working out, why not treat myself to a little something? But I don't think it's really considered "treating yourself" if you happen to indulge on a regular basis. I'm being brutally honest--and truthfully, when it comes to my body and my weight, that's something I'm incredibly uncomfortable with. I mean, this is something a lot of people struggle with right? I know I'm not alone in this but sometimes I feel like I am.

On a daily basis, I've found myself praying for the strength to resist temptation. Kind of sounds pathetic doesn't it? "Hey God, please watch over my family, my friends. All the men and women serving our country, mothers and fathers who have lost their children, (and specific people I want to pray for that day). Also, why don't you go ahead and throw down some strength to stay away from the food?" I mean, it just doesn't sound right, does it?

But my goal in 2009 is to become healthier. Not to lose weight. Not to get skinny. Not to be a size 4. But to become healthier. I know that losing weight and, hopefully, a few pants sizes will come along with the territory of becoming healthier. But truthfully, I just want to be the healthiest person I can be-physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. And feeling great in the body God gave you can only help becoming a well-rounded, healthy-altogether person.

So. Don't ask me what the purpose of this blog was. Accountability? Responsibility? A million other things? How about "the start of the not bigger but better me"? Sounds good to me (but not so much the little devil-Melanie I just kicked off my shoulder).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I officially decided...

....what I'm going to write my book on!!

(Aren't you curious?!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

transfer of authority?

So...occasionally I find myself watching the show "17 Kids and Counting" (which should be 18 kids and counting now i think...) because I find their family really interesting...while it's personally not my style, I think they do a great job of raising their kids and, what can I say, I get hooked sometimes...

Anywho, getting to the point of my post title, the episode is on where the oldest kid, Josh, gets married. (Don't get me started on the whole 'not kissing to they're married thing--no sex, I kissing? I don't get it.) Anyways, they interviewed Anna's (his fiance/now wife) dad and he made a comment about how when your daughter gets married, the fathers authority over his daughter is now transferred to her husband. So, in effect, instead of her father holding authority over her, her husband does--and that's the way God intended it to be.

Could I disagree more?

I mean, does God truly say that not once in her entire life, does a woman have authority over herself?? Her father controls this authority until the day she gets married? I think the thing that bugged me the most was that people actually feel this way today. Has society not evolved? Does a woman really need a man to be in charge of her for her entire life?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for finding a man that wants to take care of me and I'm okay with letting him take care of me. But does that mean he holds all the authority? And does that mean that I can't take care of him back? I thought a marriage was supposed to be equal, right? At least that's the type of marriage I want. I want a marriage where I make decisions with my husband, together. I expect there will be days where my husband makes more decisions than me and vice versa. But it all evens out in the end. Or it should.

I don't know...I really feel like I'm not even getting my words out right so I'm going to stop...but just the way these families looked at marriage was really hard for me to swallow...

Monday, February 9, 2009

hat day

Did you ever find yourself--just every once in awhile--doing something completely spontaneous? Maybe with a friend you hadn't seen in a while. Or maybe with a friend you see every single day? Did you ever find yourself having the time of your life doing something completely ridiculous and just not caring what other people thought?

Oh and also, did you ever have a hat day during school??

Well I did. I actually did all of the above. Rachel (who just so happens to be one of my best friends in the entire world) and I finally got a chance to see each other! And the best thing about seeing Rae is that I know, no matter what we do, I will have the time of my life. We could have coffee--or sit on the couch and watch a movie--or quote Friends the entire time we're together--or go to the mall, buy ridiculous hats, and wear them--and I know that we're going to have fun.

It's kind of fun acting like you're 14 and don't have a care in the world every once in awhile. (But don't worry, we weren't obnoxious 14 year old wannabes!)

Enjoy the pics...they're pretty ridiculous!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

love all around

I just wrote a post about treating people the way you want to be treated, not saying things you shouldn't and saying things you should, being the bigger person, etc.

I'm not going to post it. There was more to it than just that and I feel like in the long run, I would regret posting it for everyone to see. I'm taking my own advice.

However, I do want to say that when you have the opportunity to hurt someone, whether they've hurt you before or not, don't do it. When you are wrong and have the opportunity to admit it, learn from it. When you are right, be nice about it. If you are about to say something to someone that you're going to regret later, first think about how you would feel if someone said that to you and then don't say it. Squash it. No one can or will judge you for thinking what you're thinking but people can and will judge you for saying what you're thinking. And most importantly, don't say things just because you're: frustrated, upset, mad, wrong, or because you just simply want to hurt the person that hurt you.

That's all. Just a little food for thought.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

curious george

For some reason, this video of Cole makes me laugh. Really hard.

Really really hard.