Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year End Meme - 2008

It’s time for the end of the year meme!

I saw this a few weeks ago at Bleeding Espresso and I thought this would be a perfect way to wrap up 2008.
So here we go:

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? OH, so many things. Got a tattoo, went to Fort Lauderdale, met Donnie Wahlberg, lost 20 lbs., wrote 50,000 words in 30 days, became a youth group leader…we’ll stop there.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t really believe in “resolutions” but I make plans. I think I did fairly well this year, and I have LOTS of plans for 2009, you can read all about those here.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Hmm…one of my coworkers, but I’m not really close to her, I don’t think anyone else did though…

4. Did anyone close to you die? Friends of friends and relatives of friends mostly.

5. What countries did you visit? Didn’t leave the U.S. this year. Must remedy that next year.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? You know, I didn’t lack much this year…but, how about a few good dates? I could go for that.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? As far as “specific” dates, Thanksgiving weekend for the youth retreat, November 8 because that’s when I met Donnie Wahlberg and got my Donnie Hug (what?)…that’s it for “dates” though.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I don’t know that I’d call it an achievement as much as a personal step, but I’d say reconnecting with my faith. Also, writing those 50,000 words in 30 days is pretty amazing. And then there’s the 20 lb. weight loss. Oh, and actually getting that Donnie hug? Yeah, that was an achievement! Ha

9. What was your biggest failure? Hmm…nothing is jumping out at me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just the common cold and stuff

11. What was the best thing you bought? Besides my tattoo? Maybe the HDTV and HT Tivo, kind loving those. OH, no wait, I take it back, best things I bought were my tickets to see NKOTB…twice.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My mom’s for getting me to join Jenny Craig with her, so we could do the weight loss thing together.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Besides the obvious political and media ones? Yeah, those were mostly it.

14. Where did most of your money go? Toward cost of living expenses mostly. No fun.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? It seems I spent most of this year, or at least the second half of this year really, really excited about everything. The youth group stuff, my faith, my tattoo, the NKOTB reunion, taking a trip to visit “Traveller” in Ft. Lauderdale, my weight loss…yeah, it was a really exciting year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Well, it sort of goes without saying that any of the NKOTB new songs will, but besides those, that annoying Lady Gaga song “Dance” and Katie Perry’s “Hot and Cold”.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? Happier, thinner and richer (financially as well as spiritually).

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Travelling, writing and organization…I spent a lot of time overwhelmed and confused this year, I need to work on that.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Hmm…procrastinating. I REALLY need to stop doing that.

20. How did you spend Christmas? With my family, having the best time EVER.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Yes, but not romantic love. I fell in love with God and with my friends and with the youth who give me great hope for our future. Oh, right, and then there’s Donnie Wahlberg. ;-)

22. What was your favorite TV program? Hmm…You know, I watched a lot of tv, but I can’t say I watched anything that really excited me. I don’t think I have a favorite.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t believe in harboring hate toward people, so no.

24. What was the best book you read? I really didn’t read very much this year, and I really can’t even remember almost any books I read, so I definitely can’t pick a “best” book.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Just recently discovered Straight No Chaser (an accapella group) and I think they’re pretty amazing. Hmm…there was a lot of music in my life this past year actually.

26. What did you want and get? To get back in shape and look and feel good about my self-image.

27. What did you want and not get? A new car.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? I didn’t really watch a lot of movies either, and I can't think of one that stood out for me.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33, and I don’t remember what I did. Uh…not good. ;-)

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I really don’t know how I could answer this. This year was amazing, I can’t imagine asking for anything else.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Well, the first half of the year was “whatever fits that doesn’t make me cringe”. The second half was more of a “self-discovery” of what looks good again. I’ll be back in full “fashion diva” form now though.

32. What kept you sane? God, my faith family, my mom and the blog world.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Do I really need to tell you this one? AS if I haven't turned this whole meme into a NKOTB love fest already? Okay, here's Donnie in case you were wondering...standing MERE inches from me...sigh...

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Well, this was the year of the presidential election that will go down in history, so it was hard to not be politically stirred, wasn’t it?

35. Who did you miss? I missed my grandma a lot this year. There were just a lot of times that I really wanted to talk to her.

36. Who was the best new person you met? There were a few people I met at the end of 2007, but really got to know in 2008 that completely changed my life. I also “met” myself all over again in 2008, and you know what? I’m pretty awesome. Haha. But actual, real people that I met in 2008? It was really cool to meet Frances in person, she’s awesome. Also, my new boss and all the folks at my new job are pretty cool. And then there’s the youth.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Here's one: Lifehouse - Everything: You are the strength, that keeps me walking.You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.You are the light to my soul.You are my purpose...you're everything.How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
Let me know if you do the year end meme!

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not really a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. I just think they're sort of a joke. Every year people make this list of things they will accomplish in the coming year, as if January 1st holds some magical power that will make possible the completion of tasks we just couldn't seem to get it together to accomplish the year before.

And yet, for most people, by January 15th those "Resolutions" are already forgotten, shoved aside, postponed, or completely dismissed. And then we say "oh well, maybe next year". As if the other 350 days out of the year didn't even exist. What is that all about?

That being said, there is something inspiring about the idea that you can wipe the slate clean on all your failed projects and ideas and as of January 1, start off brand new.

In this past year I have undergone a pretty huge transformation myself, in more ways than one, so I've got to admit that this year I'm looking forward to making, and keeping, a few New Year's Resolutions. But I'm going to call them Goals, not Resolutions, because I just don't like that word.

So, without further ado, here are my 2009 New Year's Goals:

1. Finish the Novel I started for NaNoWriMo, edit it, and begin to earnestly research how I can go about submitting this thing to publishers.

2. Keep going with my current "decluttering" project. I started a few months ago to work on decluttering my life, and I want to keep this up. There is just too much "crap" in my life, and I need to get rid of those things I just don't need to keep around anymore. These things include not only that old coffee pot I haven't used in a year, or those pants I haven't worn since freshman year in college, but also files on my computer, so called "friends" who only drag me down, and self-imposed obligations that are helping noone, least of all myself.

3. Get organized. This one sort of follows with the previous one, but I spent too much of this year in a sort of chaos mode, so I really want to keep better track of my time and my stuff, so I have less chaos and more peace.

4. Get up half an hour earlier on weekdays. I'm really sick and tired of constantly running late in the mornings, so I need to change my routine so that I'm up at least 30 minutes earlier during the week. If this requires going to bed 30 minutes earlier as well, than so be it, but I really want to stop running late every morning.

5. Travel more. For several years now I had to put traveling on a shelf because my job was so overwhelming that the thought of taking time off only served to stress me out, which sort of defeated the purpose of taking a vacation. With this new job, I don't have that problem anymore. That little trip I took to Ft. Lauderdale last month woke up the "travel bug" and I've been bitten once again. So, in 2009, I plan to travel more.

6. Date. There, I said it. This is the year I will go on actual, real life dates. It's time folks, I'm getting out there.

And there you have it, my 6 main goals for the year. Other than that, my last, bonus one, is this:

7. Keep enjoying life, appreciating every day, and focusing on the important stuff, not stressing the little things.

What are your resolutions/goals??

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh What a Year!

Late December, 2008 and another year drawing slowly, no scratch that...speedingly furiously to a close.

2008 is soon to be gone in a blur, and 2009 will come sailing in, all flashes and confetti at it's tail.

With the new year, new beginnings, plans, dreams, and hopes. But what of 2008? What have we learned? What did we accomplish? How did we make it a year worth remembering?

I don't know about you personally, but for me, 2008 was a year of change, and I'm not even talking about that little thing that happened at the polls in November. I'm keeping this one closer to home, I'm talking about myself.

Everything changed for me in 2008. I lost my job early in the year, and was forced to change my comfort level, my daily routine, my “status quo”. What a blessing that turned out to be. I changed jobs, changed careers, and with that, changed my life.

I love my new job, love my shorter commute and the added hours to my day. A change of environment allowed me to take a closer look at myself and make more changes. My faith took a seat at the top of my priority list, and I gained new perspective on everything. I made new friendships, strengthened old ones, and even learned to let go of others. Surrounding myself with like-minded people afforded me the opportunity to get involved in activities that gave me great happiness and joy.

And then suddenly my own happiness, my own life, became something I wanted to pay attention to once again. So I began to take better care of myself. I started a weight loss program, joined a gym, and started taking care of both my internal and external well being. My physical and my spiritual self received a total make-over in 2008.

I changed drastically this year. Like a butterfly breaking out of the cocoon, I began my life anew in 2008.

I love where I am at the end of 2008 and can’t wait to see where 2009 will take me.

I leave 2008 behind with a bit of mixed feelings. Sad to see it go, for it was indeed a good year to me, but excited at the possibilities of the new year. Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Only The Good Friday

It's time for Only The Good Friday, but as my internet service is spotty at best today, I'm going to have to keep this one short.

So, short and sweet, here's the good:

Christmas was amazing, wonderful and beautiful. I am so blessed with the family and friends I have. I hope you all had a Christmas as blessed as mine was.

Now I sit at work, with our systems all out of wack, unable to actually do any work, and wishing I was home instead. Or out shopping the post Christmas sales. And yet, I'm smiling. Because this is exactly what the holidays are all about, the feeling of joy I've been filled with all week.

I'm not ready yet to let it go either, so tonight I'm heading out for a dinner celebration with a group of friends, and tomorrow I have breakfast plans with one friend and dinner plans with another.

Folks, here's my "GOOD" for today, a piece of what I think is good advice. Whatever it is you are doing this weekend, after the craziness of "Christmas" has passed, take a breath, and be thankful for the loved ones in your life. And then pick up the phone and call a friend you haven't spoken to in a while. Make lunch plans with that friend you just don't get together with enough. Or go visit that elderly relative you don't see as often as you should.

It's all fine and dandy to enjoy your gifts, those material possessions we all crave so much, but take the time to enjoy the people, because really, isn't that what it's all about?

Yeah yeah, I know, I'm all mushy today. Deal with it. ;-)

Merry Day After Christmas everyone! And go visit Shelley for the "Only The Good Friday" details.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa's Christmas Eve Prayer

Not much blogging from me lately, but that is only because I'm caught up in all the Christmas excitement. Too much going on, not enough time to write. I love Christmas, I love everything about Christmas, so I'm just enjoying this season to the fullest right now, with family, friends, and pretty much anyone who crosses my path.

But, today, on Christmas Eve, when the celebration begins for a lot of us, I wanted to share the following with you. I was searching for something, and this kept coming up, I'd never seen it before, but I love it.

Here you go:

Santa’s Christmas Eve Prayer

The sleigh was all packed, the reindeer were fed,
But Santa still knelt by the side of the bed.
"Dear Father, he prayed "Be with me tonight.
There's much work to do and my schedule is tight.
I must jump in my sleigh and streak through the sky,
Knowing full well that a reindeer can't fly.

I will visit each household before the first light,
I'll cover the world and all in one night.
With sleighbells a-ringing, I'll land on each roof,
Amid the soft clatter of each little hoof.

To get in the house is the difficult part,
So I'll slide down the chimney of each child's heart.
My sack will hold toys to grant all their wishes.
The supply will be endless like the loaves and the fishes.

I will fill all the stockings and not leave a track.
I'll eat every cookie that is left for my snack.
I can do all these things Lord, only through You,
I just need your blessing, then it's easy to do.

All this is to honor the birth of the One,
That was sent to redeem us, Your most Holy Son
So to all of my friends, least Your glory I rob,
Please Lord, remind them who gave me this job."

Warren D. Jennings
I hope you and your family and loved ones have a wonderful, safe, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Seriously, I need to know

So, here's the thing. When I said in this post, that I didn't really care whether or not Blue actually called me, after the random pick-up at the mall, I was being honest.

I really don't care either way. No, honestly, I don't. I'm way too busy right now anyway, and well, the thought of having to go on an actual date just yet scares the hell out of me, so, I'm good with some random pick-ups and no follow through for right now. Less stress for me, if you ask me.

Oh, right, and just in case you hadn't caught on yet, Blue never called. Even with the "three day rule" men seem to love to live by, he's let that window open and close. Truth be told, I sort of forgot all about him until my friend texted me this morning with a "any calls yet?"

Hmm...nope, not a one.

But again, I'm okay with this. As
Pamela so eloquently put it in her comment to my last post, "biting fingernails worrying about Karina flirting with the next Ted Bundy... shiver shiver shiver." He could have turned out to be a real weirdo, so no huge loss for me here. Also, as Frigga said, "I love getting the random ask-out". Seriously? Good for the ego.

That being said, however, I need to know. I need to know why it is that men will do something like put themselves out there, risk the embarrassment of potential rejection, to ask for your telephone number, and then not call. Seriously??

I mean, this is not anything new, and this is probably exactly why right after giving him my number I said "I don't even care if he never calls". Because I sort of already knew odds were he would not. Because, men? They do this. And we women? We expect this. It's just part of the age old dating phenomenon, isn't it?

But still, I just don't get it. Is it really just the thrill of the conquest? And if so, wouldn't it be an even bigger thrill to follow through? No? Perhaps not.

Hey, whatever the case, I'll take the boost to my ego knowing that I am again among the troves of women out there giving out their phone numbers and never getting that phone call.

I'm already doing better than I was doing this time last year.

But really, seriously...why bother guys?

Monday, December 15, 2008

And so it begins...All the Boys The Present Tense

Well, here it is...I'm going to give this dating thing a try in 2009. I said I would in 2008, and even had that ill-fated mystery date back in January, but then, well...obviously I had other things to work on before I put myself out there for the dating world to see.

But now, well, now I'm ready, and it's time.

I've lost almost 20 lbs, and with that weight loss, I've also been able to let go of a lot of my self-esteem issues. There are some that still remain, because well, that's just me being me, but I'm now able to walk with my head high, smile on my face, making eye contact with people.

I spent 2008 working on myself. My inner self, my spiritual self, and my physical self. I changed careers, I formed new friendships, I reconnected with old friends, and I made peace with ghosts from my past.

In a sense, it was boot camp, and now I'm ready to join the front lines.

I began to realize that I was ready to "hit the dating scene" when I found myself flirting with
Donnie Wahlberg as he autographed my wrist. I mean, if I can flirt with my teen crush, I can flirt with just about anyone, don't you think?

Then, a few weeks ago something happened that made me realize I am back in "dating form". Small thing. Silly thing. I got a crush. On someone from my past. Someone I hadn't seen in a long time. Someone I may never even see again for all I know. But he made me blush and giggle like a school girl. It was official, I had a crush on a real live, non-celebrity, he actually knows my name, man.

I didn't really share much with you about that crush because well, there isn't much to share. I honestly don't know if/when I'll see him again, and mostly, it wasn't about him. It was about me. About those feelings I hadn't felt in a really long time. And about the fact that I realized I missed those feelings.

A baby step. When you've been out of the dating scene as long as I have been, it's baby steps to get back in, you know?

And then this weekend, last night, another step.

I was out Christmas shopping, and it turns out Target was having a special on good looking guys. Who knew?

OH, you want details? I'll give you details.

I was walking toward Target, when I walked by an attractive man who smiled at me. New me, new rules, I made eye contact and smiled back, and went on my way. So then I’m in Target, in the electronics department and I see him there, which I thought was strange, because when I first saw him he was walking AWAY from Target, right? But, hey, whatever, I'm not reading too much into things, I'm busy shopping. But he walked by me once again, and I got the impression he wanted to say something, but then changed his mind. I continued to shop, but now I'm smiling because well, you just sort of know by then, you know? So, then the third time we walked by each other he goes “Excuse me,” and I was like “Yes?” and he goes “You’re beautiful”. And let me clarify that he said this not in a “yo baby yo” sleezy way, just in a very straightforward way, you know? So I was kind of taken aback but I said “Thank you” and he asked my name, then he tells me his (we'll call him Blue). Then he asked if I had a boyfriend and I said no and he goes “why not?” and I said “Don’t know, just don’t” and he was like “ok” (like cool, whatever). Then we chatted a little more, turns out he’s from the same town I live in, and then he goes “So, can I take you out or call you sometime?” and I hesitated only a bit and said “You can call me,” (because hey, what have I got to lose at this point, right?). So I gave him my number, and then we chatted for another few seconds and he looked at my hands (I had a ton of things in my hands/shopping) and said “Well, I won’t keep you, I’ll let you get back to your stuff, but I’ll definitely call you” and I said “definitely do”. And that was that.

I haven’t had that happen to me in a very long time, years, in fact, so it was pretty cool. Good for my ego, that’s for sure. Even if he doesn’t call, I’m good with that. And even if he does call, and turns out to be a total weirdo, I’m okay with that too, cuz I’m sort of already expecting that…you know? And who knows, he could actually turn out to be normal too. ;-)

He’s about 6 ft tall (I’d guess), probably around my age (guess again), dirty blonde hair and the most beautiful blue eyes. Good looking guy, not a pretty boy, but certainly attractive.

But again, this isn't so much about him as it is about me. If he calls, well, then of course I'll tell you all about it, and we'll see what happens. But this is about how I had forgotten what it felt like to be approached by an attractive stranger and be made to feel like a million bucks. I had forgotten that totally giddy feeling in your stomach when you walk away after just having given a man your phone number. I'd forgotten, most importantly, how much fun I used to have with dating.

See, I've been dreading getting back out there, but now? I'm kind of looking forward to it.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Only The Good Friday - The Birthday Edition

Well, today is Only The Good Friday, the creation of my blog-buddy Shelly over at This Eclectic Life. She's determined to spread a virus of good and positivity on Fridays throughout the blogosphere, and I'm determined to help.

Today, however, I've decided to dedicate the cause to celebrating the birthday of the BLOG QUEEN herself. Frances is the fearless leader of the SheWhoBlogs crew, and honestly folks, this lady is one cool chick! She blogs all over the place, and always has new ideas and new projects going on.

How in the world she manages to do all she does is beyond me, and then, she does it well.

And today is her 47th Birthday. I can tell you that because she's darn proud of it, as well she should be.

I had the pleasure of actually meeting Frances in person this past summer, and we got along FABULOUSLY. I'd share photos from our meeting with you, but neither of us was feeling particularly photogenic that day, so we have none. However, we had just about the cutest waiter EVER, so I'll share with you a photo of him.

Seriously, how cute is he? The name on his nametag was "Ikeypoo" because that's what his coworkers called him. Cute, right?

Anyway, I could tell you all sorts of lovely things about how amazing Frances is, but instead, I'm going to direct you to her many blogs so you can see for yourself:

BlogJem - Her main blog

Blogforth - Her creative writing blog

On The Go Blog - Her mobile blog

Photostroll - Her Photography blog

The Meme Section - Yes, her meme blog

SheWhoBlogs - A group blog for female bloggers, of which she is our leader and organizer

SheWhoDiets - Was once a blog, is now a "ning" group, for well, yes, female dieters/etc. She's also our leader and organizer there.

And I'm sure I'm probably missing something, but well...she's also got other projects in the works, so stay tuned.

Anyway, that's my Only The Good Friday Sharing for today. Get to know Frances (and join us at SheWhoBlogs) you won't regret it.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

And Also - Additional Thoughts

Pretty much immediately after hitting "publish" on this post yesterday, I had a number of additional thoughts.

Then I read some of my comments, and those sparked some more thoughts.

So, I figured, what the heck, I'll keep the conversation (monologue?) going.

First off, I have made the conscious decision to stop censoring myself here at Candid Karina...hello, the name of my blog is CANDID Karina. So, no more holding back, no more censoring, if I'm thinking it, and I want to write it...it's going up on the page.

So, if that means one day I talk God, and the next I talk shoes, and the very next I talk nonsense, well...that's just me being Candid.

Also, I should clarify something, not that I feel I need to explain myself, but you know, for clarity's sake. I am perfectly at peace with the person I am today. In fact, I like being a misfit. I get real pleasure out of the fact that I, along with my unique and varied group of friends, totally don't fit the "mold" of whatever it is society has deemed a "Christian" is supposed to look like. Not that there's anything wrong with fitting that mold (whatever that mold is), but I've always sort of prided myself on my differences, and that hasn't changed.

To be truthful, I really think that it is in embracing our uniqueness that we also embrace the true spirit of what it means to be a follower of Christ. I think Jesus would have enjoyed our company and felt right at home among us.

We are welcoming, and open, and able to see past those "labels". I think those are good things, all of them.

That being said, my buddy Frigga made a good point that it is the media who puts these labels out there, and perhaps I'm buying a bit too much into those labels (she didn't say that part, I did). Maybe I'm worrying too much about what I'm "supposed" to be, and also about what I have let others tell me "Christians" are supposed to be, so I myself am guilty of putting those expectations on others. So, in a sense, I'm doing exactly what I don't want done to me. It's time I let go of all of that, and just let it be. You know?

Also, about my comment on being politically liberal and a Christian all at once, Beckie said: "Why is politically liberal and praising God all in the same breath bad? That's one I have never understood". Exactly! I completely agree, and I've never quite understood that either, and that's, I think, where a lot of my hang-ups with religion have been in the past.

I battled organized religion for years, although I had a strong spiritual core, because I couldn't reconcile my political beliefs with those I was being told I was supposed to have by the church. But again, is it not the media playing exactly off those thoughts that creates the dissent between those two sides? So, in essence, wasn't I, again, letting the media control my behavior? I'm smarter than to let that happen.

I'm pretty sure I won't find a solution to all my questions any time soon. I've no doubt that I'll continue to disagree with somethings, while still believing wholeheartedly in others. And I'm confident that I've finally found a balance for myself in this.

I am, indeed, a misfit. But that doesn't change the strength with which I am experiencing my faith.

And, I may have my moments of insecurity, or doubt, or self-consciousness about what others think of me. But don't let that fool you into thinking I can be swayed from what I think of God. And don't think for one moment that having others disagree with how I practice my faith can make me step back from continuing to do it anyway.

Because take the human element out of the equation, and I'm left with one simple truth...I believe.

The End.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flaws and All

I’m dealing with a bit of a predicament right now. We’ll call it a split personality issue, if you will. I have always been more than one person in this 5’2” body of mine. There’s the person I am at work, and the person I am with my friends. There’s the person I am with family, and the person I am with strangers. There’s the person I am when I am all alone, and the one I am when I am with the man I love. There’s the person I am on-line and the one I am “In real life”. It’s not a conscious decision to be all these different people at these different times, and I don’t believe I’m the only one who suffers from this multiple personality disorder. It is what we do as humans, we adapt to the situation and people around us, do we not?

And overall, I don’t believe that this is actually a bad thing, as long as we stay true to our “core”. All of the people mentioned above have the basic vital things in common. I’m a good person who cares about others and never wants to purposefully (or even accidentally) hurt anyone else. I love my family and my friends, I love to write, and I love fashion, music and television. I’m independent and strong, and yet self-conscious and insecure at times. Those characteristics show through, I believe, regardless of which persona I’m exposing at any time. Because they are the true essence of who I am.

So, that is not my predicament.

My predicament is this. I am having an issue with my two VERY PERSONAL personalities which I expose to myself each day. Because lately, there’s been a merging of all the above personas into one. This is a good thing. I’m pretty much showing up the same regardless of my environment. A few tweaks here and there, but overall, what you see, is what you get, no matter who you are, it’s me. And I like that. I like that “the real me” is showing through all the facades. I’m knocking down the walls and just letting you see me as I am. Raw, unedited (or as unedited as a writer can allow herself to be), emotional and spiritual, and well materialistic. And therein lays my quandary.

Because this year I found faith in a way I’d never even known could exist for me. Somewhere along the line my faith became the center of my being. And from that, grows everything else around me. I find myself unafraid to speak it, to think it, to share it, to blog it. It is who I am after all, and if you like me for it, then fantastic, and if you don’t…well, such is life.

But there’s this other side of me. This other side is snarky, and sarcastic, and sometimes judgmental. This other side is still madly in love with shoes, and clothes and martinis and a good old fashioned nasty joke. The other side which also happens to be a misfit, not entirely fitting in the description of “the good Christian” whatever that is. This other side has just as many things to share and speak and blog about.

And so I ponder. If I write a post one day about how I saw God in group of teenagers Monday night, and the next day I tell you a tale of how I was giggling in a fitting room when I fit into a size 5 juniors skirt…will you get me? Can I be a holy roller and vain all at once? Is that possible? Is it acceptable, is it okay? Can I praise God and be politically liberal all in the same breath? Can this seemingly oxymoron that is me make sense in a black and white world?

Because it is me. In a realm of self-discovery, in my 30’s. Loving my life for the presence of God in it, but also still caught up in the daily minutia that makes me all too human.

And this duality has kept me from posting much these days. I begin to write something, and wonder if I should, I censor myself, I hold back. Whether because I think my readers might disappear if I talk God one more time, or because I think the other half will balk at my self-centeredness or my less than conservative beliefs.

So I say nothing.

But that’s not me, holding back, saying nothing. That’s not why I blog. I began blogging to share a bit of myself, if you read me then there must be something about “me” that you enjoy. So, I shouldn’t hold back, should I?

I don’t believe I should, I think I should stay true to myself, and allow myself to be who I am. Take me or leave me, but know me.

For the record, I don’t worry about what HE thinks. I’m a work in progress, but He loves me, flaws and all.

This video is easily my favorite Beyonce performance ever (I wasn't even a fan before I saw this) and this song is my current favorite song.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Major Points for me!

Okay look, I've got nothing creatively right now...nothing witty to say, nothing exceptional to share...there's LOTS going on, but the brain is occupied with all of it, and I can't really write coherent sentences today.

So you get this:

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 20.
What is your score? Get it here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Only the Good Friday - The One Where I Find The Spirit of Christmas

It is time once again for Shelly's "Only The Good Friday", the project to help good thoughts, good things, good cheer, throughout the interwebs.

And what better time to spread good tidings than Christmas time? Can you believe it is December 5th already? That means Christmas is MERELY 20 days away.

I don't know about you, but it completely snuck up on me this year. I have done exactly ZERO preparations, so I really need to get cracking. Usually by this time, I'm well on my way to being done shopping, and have usually had my decorations up for at least a week, if not longer. This year? Not so much.

But, I'm actually not at all stressed about this fact. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to decorating this weekend, and putting my list together, and hitting the stores. I'm breaking out the Christmas music, and the hot chocolate (shh, don't tell Jenny), and maybe taking a ride out to see some Christmas lights. All good things. I love this time of year.

I'm also looking forward to doing some good for others. You can help too.

What can you do?

Well, for starters, it appears that Toys for Tots is having a hard time reaching their necessary numbers this year. So, you can help. Look up your local Toys for Tots organization online, and find out where they have some drop-off locations. Then pick up and drop off an unrwrapped toy. They are especially in need of toys for newborns to 2 year olds. How easy it is to shop for a baby gift, and EVERYONE loves to buy baby gifts.

Other things you can do? Look up local Soup Kitchens and see if you can lend a helping hand. We're doing our monthly Community Kitchen with our youth group on December 20th. What a great way to start off Christmas week, don't you think?

When you hear that bell outside the stores, you know the one, the one that Santa is ringing by the Salvation Army bucket, instead of rolling your eyes and walking by, reach in your pocket, drop in a few coins. You won't miss them, they're just rattling around in the bottom of your purse anyway.

Here's a really easy, and completely FREE one: Smile at people. When everyone else is pushing and shoving and being bitten by the Scrooge bug out at the malls, just smile. Say hello, Merry Christmas, Have a Nice Day. You'll be amazed what wonders a smile can do.

Good things...Good Tidings to you! Let's keep the spirit alive this season, because isn't that what it's all about?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Through The Storm - A Book Review

Through The Storm – A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World – Lynne Spears with Lorilee Craker

I’ll admit it, along with everyone else, I was glued to my computer screen watching the footage and following the gossip of Britney Spears’ downward spiral. At the time, I was slightly addicted to a few of those “celebrity gossip” blogs, and I would faithfully check in every day, to see what craziness that girl had gotten up to while I’d been asleep the night before.

But, as much as I love celebrity gossip, I am also a sensitive person, and after a while, my heart ached for her. Something was obviously wrong with Britney, and she was obviously not getting the help she needed. All I kept thinking was where in the world was her mother in all this? Because my mom? She would have moved mountains to save me from the self-destruction Britney was imposing upon herself.

So, when I heard the rumor everyone else heard that Lynne would be writing a parenting book, I was outraged. THAT woman? She’s writing a parenting book? What the hell does she have to say about parenting? And then her youngest daughter Jamie Lynn got pregnant at 16. Well, then it just sort of became a joke, didn’t it? Lynne Spears, mother of the year.

And yet, I was curious, because there had to be more to the story.

So, when I was presented with the opportunity from
Thomas Nelson Publishers to read and review the real Lynn Spears book, I jumped on it.

For the record, this is not a “parenting” book. And no, this is also not a “tell all” about Britney book.

It is a mother’s book.

The story of a woman, a small town girl, a mother, a Christian, struggling to find her footing, again and again, in a world that threw more curveballs her way than the average person should ever have to deal with.

The story is told in a very personal way, and reads as if you are sitting with Lynne, having a cup of coffee and she’s recalling events from her life.

It is sweet, it is sad, it is even funny at times. There is anguish and pain, but there is also much joy, and pride. Pride for her family, her three beautiful children, who she obviously loves more than life itself. This is obvious. Her story is also surprisingly (to me, because I was unaware of her faith) an extremely spiritual one. I found myself more than once nodding with agreement and understanding at her words. There were also moments I found myself wiping tears from my eyes.

I’ll be honest, the book was not at all what I expected it to be, and I for one, was pleasantly surprised. I have new found respect for not only Lynne Spears, but for the entire Spears clan. I know I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, not for one minute. We’re quick to say that there’s a price to pay for fame, but sometimes we forget that “they” the rich and famous, are only human. And their families? They didn’t sign up for this, they’re just part of the machine that grinds them up, and spits them out.

And yes, if you are curious, you will learn a few more details about the whole Britney ordeal. But that is not what you will take away from this book.

Will this book keep me from following celebrity gossip? No. But it will remind me to think twice before I jump to judgment. To try and see the “story” behind the “story”. Because there is always more to the story.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Getting into the Spirit of Christmas

In case you were wondering, there are 22 days left till Christmas.

Wait, let me say that again...22 days.

Are you ready? Because I? Am so not ready.

Let me tell you how NOT ready I am. I haven't even THOUGHT about Christmas yet this year. With the youth retreat to prepare for the last two months, along with everything else I had going on, I couldn't even fathom adding thoughts of Christmas into the mix.

So, I postponed any Christmas related thoughts and tasks until "after the retreat". Well, folks, this week is "after the retreat", so I've had to finally face facts. I need to prepare.

And you know what? I'm giddy with excitement. I love Christmas. I love everything about Christmas. The decorations, the songs (don't tell anyone), the sappy movies, the shopping, giftwrapping, and especially gift giving, the parties, the family and friend time, the charity...all of it. I love it.

This year, especially, being in the spiritual place I'm at, I'm looking forward to enjoying this Holy-Day remembering exactly what it is that we celebrate on this day. Let's not forget what this season is all about.

So, today, as my body begins to recover a little more from this past weekend (and the utter lack of sleep all weekend long), I begin making lists. Lists of things I need to do, lists of gifts I need to buy, party lists, organizational lists, Christmas card lists...and this weekend, I break out the decorations and bring Christmas to my house.

I can't wait.

What are you excited for this season?