Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lessons to Learn

Real Simple The Magazine 
I really need a new book, but I have no idea what I want to read!
Watching: Don't ask why but Mulan
"Preserve Me" by Jordan Johnson

This weekend was hard for me. Which was weird because I feel like it shouldn't have been. I mean nothing completely world wrecking happened to me, it was no different then life as I have come to know it... and yet it was. I thought I was going to have another stroke on Friday night. It was awful. Then my coworker lost her dad while we were at work. And that was gut-wrenching to watch. Which caused me to go to bed extremely early and wake up in the middle of the night to a Facebook message that prompted a conversation I was not planning on having. In case you didn't already know, if you can't ask the question when most people are conscious you shouldn't ask it when you should be sleeping. It's just plain and simple.

I think the thing that had me hung up the most is my coworker's dad dying though. I mean after being faced with my own mortality, any time I encounter it now it is earth shattering! Because I feel like I know what they are going through, yet at the same time I haven't the clue. So I let my frustration out to God. "Why?!?! Why would you do this Abba Daddy? Why is death still in the world? When will you come back and save your children from this mess? From the heartache they are in? From the filth they are forced to wallow in?!?!?! Daddy I am so ready to be done with all this brokenness!" Now, don't get me wrong, I know that death was a consequence of sin entering the world; but it just seems to be endless. When will we stop paying for sin? Again, I know the answer, when there is no more sin. But it is just so grotesque to me. I even sought friends who were pastors, asking them for this unforeseeable answer. Knowing that all they could tell me was rhetoric and truth I already knew from being a church brat. So I took to the kitchen, took to my weights, took to music and then crashed into my bed at eight o'clock on a Saturday night. Lamest twenty-three year old ever!!! But it was a fitful sleep and I woke up several times through out the night, at point for three hours.

So this morning, still in my funk, I went searching for something to soothe me, something to calm my aching spirit. What do I find? verse of the day: John 16:33 'But take heart! I have overcome the world'. It was such a simple message but one thing rang true for me out of it- I was heard. God knew and understood my frustration, but He would always win out in the end. And I found myself so overwhelmed by this. Because I went searching with arms high and heart abandoned, looking for my answers in Him. I RECEIVED.

I have been learning a lot about giving and receiving lately. Up until a year ago I was awful at both. And then I learned how beautiful it was to give, to give until it hurt. To give until I had given everything I had to offer, until I had given my best. But receiving is still a process lesson. It's hard and uncomfortable. I've seen it being the giver and I am definitely seeing it as people try to give to me. But Receiving 101: Have empty hands and an open heart, even when you want to come with all the baggage. Even when you know receiving is going to humble you. God gives nothing but GOOD gifts to His children, why not put yourself in a position to receive?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Survey

I stole this off another blog I found and thought I would give it a go. However, It's taken me hours to finish because I got interrupted by these two really cute kids. You might know them as Kya and Drew. The loves of my life and my niece and nephew. Oh to be young at Christmas.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
I am an odd duck in that I only liked egg nog when I was a kid. I hate it now! I love my caramel hot chocolate from Land-O-Lakes!!! With some whip cream and caramel sauce!

2. Does Santa wrap the presents or put them under the tree?
I don't understand this question... under the tree?

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
When I was a kid we only used colored lights on our tree. Then they also went blinking. But since we moved and I am now an "adult" we have white lights on the tree with jewel tone ornaments.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No. I think mistletoe is lame! If you love them you shouldn't need mistletoe to tell you to kiss!

5. When do you hang up your decorations?
When I was in junior high my brother lived in CA and he brought his then girlfriend home. So we decided to decorate while they were here. It was Thanksgiving weekend. And it became our tradition. And that girlfriend, she's my sister-in-law and mother of my niece and nephew!

6. What is your favorite Christmas dish (excluding dessert)?
Does jello count as dessert? Because if it doesn't it would be my grandma's jello. I miss her making it, but now my mom makes it for me on the holidays.  If not, I have started this thing where the Christmas meal has to be red, white, and green... So I have been making cheese filled pasta with pesto!!!

 7. Favorite Christmas memory as a child?
When I was four years old, I was forced among many children to sing a song for my Sunday school teacher. I was chosen out of my whole class to sing a solo for one of our songs we (the small ones) would perform. It was my first experience on stage. I didn't have a clue what it would mean then. But it changed my childhood. And in case you were wondering, I sang "Away in a Manger". First song I learned by heart! ;-)

8. What is on your Christmas wish list?
Little things. Tights. Eye liner. A loofah with handle.

9. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve?
Nope. It's sacreligious!

10. How do you decorate your tree?
With white lights, jeweled tone bobbles, hallmark ornaments, and a star.

11. Snow. Love it or dread it?
LOVED it until this year!!
12. Real tree or fake tree?
Real trees!!! Fake ones don't smell the same!!!!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I don't know that I have a favorite gift. My favorite this year was seeing two of my favorite people from Atlanta for a few days a few weeks ago.

14. What is the most important thing about Christmas for you?
Spending it with my family. Sometimes the best we can do is be together virtually, but we always spend an hr or more together!

15. What is your favorite Christmas dessert?
My mom's Oreo cheesecake!

16. What is your favorite Holiday tradition?
When I was a kid, we used to get a specialty ornament every year to commemorate the year. It was fun as we got older to decorate the tree to see how we grew up. I have started the tradition with my niece and nephew. They were so excited for their ornaments even though it was a surprise!

17. What tops your tree?
We switch it up all the time. We always had a star when I was a kid. Then at one point we switched to an angel. Now we are back to a star, but it's much simpler than the light up ones we had as a kid!

18. Do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving! It's an opportunity for others to feel loved and known. Also for them to know that you have listened.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Don't know if it's a Christmas song per say, but Handel's Messiah Hallelujah Chorus. It ended all the Christmas Choral shows in my high school since my brother and sister were in choir. I've been singing it all week!

20. Candy Canes.  Yum or Yuck?
I like them. But they are one of those things you have to be in the mood for, because they take some time to eat. I do however like Hershey's Peppermint Kisses!

21. Favorite Christmas movie?
White Christmas! My mother has made me watch it so many times, I have it memorized!
22. What do you leave for Santa?
Um nothing, I stopped believing in Santa the person at 5! But his spirit will always live on!!!

23. Do you have a Christmas Morning Tradition?
Open presents and then eat breakfast?

24. Do you prefer to shop online or at the mall?
I like to shop in store. I am always afraid online shopping will not be what I want or arrive on time!

25. Christmas Letter or Card.
I am a grinch when it comes to this. I would much rather have a letter. Because frankly unless you've got cute kids or you are putting money in it... what am I going to do with the Christmas card after I've opened it?

Well, there you have it. My version of Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone. And thank you Jesus. I still celebrate the day you were born to die.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


The days coming up make me feel like I am holding my breath...

What's happening? I don't know.

I need the quality time; but right now I need it with someone sitting right next to me who I can reach my hand out and touch. I'm an aching kind of lonely right now. It courses through my whole body.

It's almost Christmas, a Christmas I almost didn't have. And my heart is beating out of my chest for contact.

All I want is music that haunts you since all my loved ones are so far away.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


 "This day is a journey."
 The Five Love Languages, Singles Edition by Gary Chapman
Disney's A Christmas Carol
"Home" performed by Michael Buble with Blake Shelton

Another Christmas day will come and go away and I've got so far to go
And I want to go home
Many surrounded by strangers and Christmas lights, shouldn't feel so alone
But I want to go home, God I miss you ya know

I know when Facebook switched to timelines many people did not like them, in fact they griped and complained. I didn't like it at first either, but now I love what it represents. It is a literal picture of your life. Photos of your growth and change and excitement. Things that stirred you enough to share. The what's on your minds cataloged in chronological order and the favorite's highlighted. This week I scrolled through my timeline... and but together a list of dates that will at one point become an epilogue to this journey. Things happen in the blink of an eye... and then they are over.

Here we are just weeks away from the new year, and I find myself reflective on the current one. It's hard to believe all I have faced this year. All that I have overcome! This week I found myself pouring over my goals for the year. I was overwhelmed.

This year alone I have gotten a new STEADY job, with almost double the pay and benefits. I purchased my car outright without going into debt. Maintained most of my weight loss and did my best to stay on a regular workout schedule. I have sought counseling to deal with my past. Had four different doctors appointments in one week.  Had teeth removed. Had blood work, urine analysis, CT scans, and MRI's. Had a "stroke". Was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Had a craniotomy. Was on hiatus for a month. Had to stop working out for four months. Gained up to sixteen pounds post op. And now finally months later, I am back to "normal". Or at least as normal as I'm going to get!

It has been quite the year. And I am glad it is almost over. But I am thankful for the lessons it has taught me, the strength is has given me. I will never be the same after the year I have had. 

It's amazing how much can happen in a year. At how fast a year can go. At how strong you can be when you have no choice. And how much peace He can give when you have run out of places to turn. 
"This very moment an adventure."
Rebecca Pavlenko