Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You should know...

The pity party is over. At least I hope it doesn't sneak back up on me. Back to being Miss Optimism because I've heard what you put out into the universe, it comes back to you, plus it just sucks being in that kind of mood. So I'm getting off the pitty party train and picking up a ticket for the Optimism Express.

To jump start my way to the Optimism Express here's five things I have to be happy about:

1. It's a 4 day workweek!
2. The weather is beautiful!
3. I have some yummy wine from Trader Joes waiting for me at home
4. Got to sleep on fresh clean sheets last night
5. Only 1 more weekend until I get paid- finally!

Here's what you should really know about though. Over at April Showers, April is going to be having a whole bunch of giveaways during the month of April. Want an automatic entry for all of the giveaways? Go check out her blog today to find out how.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The kindness of strangers

This weekend I got a few more donations for my mission trip. As I was trying to calculate how much I had received so far, I realized that if I exclude the donations from my mom and my uncle, I have gotten more donations from people I have not met in real life than I have from people I do know in real life.

That is incredible! That people who only know my through this blog have stepped up to the plate to donate to my trip without having ever met me! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You guys are incredible!

After being amazed by this fact for an hour or so, I started to look at the other side of the coin. I had put way more work into trying to reach out to people I knew. I wrote hand-written letters and sent postcards I designed myself to almost everyone I had ever collected an address for. (It takes me about an hour to do 5 and I still have about 15 more left to do!) At that point on Friday only 2 people had responded.

These are people who I may have chatted with on a daily basis for years, people I had lived with, people I have been in their weddings and/or attended their numerous showers and/or bachelorette parties. These are people I have vacationed with. People I had partied with. Why was the response to my fundraising so low? Isn't this supposed to be what friends are for?

Being single, friends are all I have. The fact that I hadn't seen much response when I REALLY need others support (there is no way I will be able to make up much difference if I don't raise enough) really started to freak me out. What if I ever got hurt or sick. Who would take care of me? This lead to a little mini-meltdown.

I got so mad at myself because I have always put my friends first. If anyone ever needs anything I am there. If I start dating someone, rule #1 is they must get along with my friends. This has even torn apart some of my dating relationships because I am so fiercely loyal to my friends. I love them, but what did all this mean?

I really think the only people that will truly be there for you no matter what is your family. They are obligated to take care of you when you are sick. They are obligated to help you out. They will do whatever they can for you because you are family. Everyone else is so busy with their own families that helping a friend is really optional. They don't mean to be that way, but they are just so busy with their own families, that they forget or don't have any left over to help you. I would probably be the same way if I had a husband and kids.

I am hurt and disappointed and very discouraged.

Another thing that makes it hard to raise money is because people are like isn't Dubai one of the richest countries in the world? Why do they need a mission trip? We are not going there to serve the people of Dubai. We are going there to serve the missionaries that serve throughout Central Asia in some of the most dangerous environments in the world. They have given up their lives to make a difference in the lives of people half way around the world. Personally I will be helping recreate our Vacation Bible School for the missionary kids. These are kids that live in countries where no one looks like them, talks like them, or believes like them. This is one of the only times of the year that they get together with kids who are like them. I don't do kids, and now I am going to be thrown into a whole classroom full of them!? This is not a joy ride trip. This is going to be hard and even dangerous. We will be in a Muslim country. I just read an article the other day of a woman on a short term mission trip in Dubai being arrested for handing out Bibles. (Note to self: Do not give out ANYTHING!) I'm scared and part of me wishes I would have never signed up for this.

I only have 55 more days to raise $1520. It is stressing me out!! Sorry to go on and on about it, but it is all I can think about. It keeps me up at night.

To my friends that read this, please don't take offense to this. It is just the facts and how they made me feel. I still love you guys and if you are meaning to donate, but just haven't, now is the time. I need to have about $500 more before the end of the month, and at this rate, I don't see it happening. Even $5 would help. I don't know how I am ever going to get all the money I need for the trip, but I am hoping and praying that God shows me a way.

Friday, March 26, 2010

You know what happens when you make plans…

Last night I was on my way home from work thinking about my life and what is going on in it and praying to God to help me find my direction (in life, not to my house). It was dead quiet because of giving up radio for Lent, and all of a sudden this AWESOME plan came to me. It would make all the things that have happened leading up to this make sense and it would put me in the perfect position for the future and just seem to solve all my problems. (Well not all, but one major one that keeps me up at night.)

I was so excited at first because I had never even thought of this particular course of action and I mean really it would just be so perfect! But then I got scared. Because every time I seem to make plans for my life, they never seem to go the way I thought they would. There are so many unknowns in this situation and most of the decisions that would have to be made to make everything fall in to place are not up to me. What the heck does God want for me in this situation? I know what I want now, but I just wish I knew what He had up his sleeve with all this.

“For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:10-12

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

“Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.”
Proverbs 19:21

In a way I wish I would have never thought of this because I don’t want to get let down. I am trying not to think about it and let the cards fall where they may, but that is so hard to do. All I can do is wait. Wait and be prepared as things happen and make the right decisions when the time comes.

I know I am being vague in all of this, but so much is unknown right now. Changes are on the horizon though. I’ll keep you posted.

Have you ever had anything work out exactly the way you had hoped and planned it would?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Old Photo

I discovered this new iphone app yesterday through one of the blogs I read (this is how I seem to discover all kinds of great new things lately!). It is called Old Photo and it is only $.99 and so worth it.

Here are some photos I took yesterday with it:

I love great photos! I am defiantly putting "Take a photography class" on my next list.

P.S. Thank you SO SO much to all of you have donated to my mission trip! I never thought complete strangers would support me in this! I LOVE you guys so much! The next deadline to turn in money is April 24th and I need about $600 more before that date. Be praying for a good turn-out for my yard sale!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Growing Pains

You know how your nose and ears never stop growing? You've seen the old men with humungous, hairy ears and noses. Doesn't seem to be as bad as old women, but still. Your body is never complete and is always changing. The same goes for your soul and it isn't always comfortable.

Last night at Bible study we were talking about growth and how God is always growing you. I asked if they thought when we got old if we would ever get to stop growing and just be the complete person we were meant to be. I mean growing is exhausting sometimes. Learning, making mistakes, creating room in your heart and life for more and more is not always easy and sometimes I wish I could just retire from it all.

But you can't. Even when you are old and gray, you'll learn new things. The time when everything will be complete won't be until we meet Jesus. Not until his mission is complete. As long as you are here on Earth, your character and soul will always be growing just like your nose and ears.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Busy Bee

I have really been slacking on this blog. Life seems to have taken over and I just can't find the time to write as much. But believe me I read all your blogs. Most of the time it is on my phone, so it is hard to comment, but I'm still reading!

Anyway, here's a snapshot of what's been going on with me lately:

- I am having a yard sale for my trip on April 10th. This weekend I went through my coats, shoes, clothes, and books. You should see my dining room. It is already packed with things to be sold. I have also had some offers for donations of things to sell, but I am hesitant to go pick them up because I am running out of room and there are still 3 weeks until the yard sale. I've never done a yard sale before, but I am told you need to price stuff CHEAP. I am thinking all adult clothes I'll price at $2 ea. or 5/$5. All kids clothes $1 ea. or 10/$5. Shoes I might do for $10 each because they are all really cute and barely worn and I wouldn't mind keeping them. Books are going to be $2 for hardbacks and $1 for paperbacks. Coats and dresses I am pricing between $5-$20. What do ya'll think? Good pricing strategy? What would you like to find at a yard sale...I'm willing to sell pretty much anything but I don't know what people are looking for because I don't frequent yard sales.

- My friend has a stalker. It is a guy she used to date, but now he has turned into a psycho. She had to change all her phone numbers because he was calling 50+ times a day. Last week he showed up at her house. She called the cops. She got a restraining order, but now she has to go to court for a criminal stalking charge they have filed against him. Talk about drama! Girls be careful who you choose to date!

-I have almost reached the breaking point with my financial situation and something needs to give. Things are in the works, but I have no idea how this is all going to pan out. I am trying to leave it in God's hands and not stress. Hoping there will be some changes to report soon!

That's about it right now. I promise, promise I will try to post more!

Oh and have you seen Up in the Air? It was a great movie! Made me want to have a job where I traveled all the time. But having to fire people everyday? I'm too much of a softie for that!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I've showed you mine- show me yours!

I guess the movie "The Bucket List" made the idea of life lists famous. I decided to make one after reading "The Next Thing on my List" by Jill Smolinsky. It's stressful. But I am so glad I did it. It forces me to focus (somewhat). It pushes me to do things I would never do. And even if I don't accomplish everything on my list in the next five months, I will just push those over to the new 40 Before 40 List. It's my list, and I can make up the rules as I go!

I know I am not the only one with a "Life List". Do you have a 30 Before 30 list? A 25 Before 25? A 40 Before 40? or even just a list of things you want to do before you die?

I want to see! Enter the link to your list below. Tell your blog followers to check out your list and others over here.

And if you don't have a list, maybe this will inspire you to make one!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fun? in Fundraising? I don't think so.

First I want to say a HUGE GIGANTIC THANK YOU to Aisha for donating to my Mission Trip! You have NO IDEA how much it means to me and it came at just the perfect time.

This fund raising thing is tough. Actually I really hate it. I hate it because I hate asking for help. I hate it because I feel like I have no control over the situation. I hate it because I worry what people think of me when I tell them about the trip and expose my religion and beliefs to them. I hate it because it is a lot of work. It is worse than applying for jobs. I write these hand written letters to everyone I can think of and they go in to a black hole and I never hear anything back.

When I do get a donation, you should see me. I squeel and do a little happy dance and praise God because I am literally shocked everytime it happens.

The first donation I got was from complete strangers. I had entered a contest to win $50 to do something good on the Disturbed Christians blog. The guy who writes for it commented back and asked me to email him about my trip. They sent me $100! Talk about a great start.

The only people that feel super-obligated when it comes to this stuff are family members. My family came through in a big way. My uncle donated $300 to the trip and my mom donated $600!

Then came the donation from Aisha and over the weekend an old co-worker of mine made a donation!

So I continue writing letters to friends and co-workers and praying and thinking of other ways to raise funds, but it still scares the crap out of me because I have no idea how I am going to raise the other $1700. It is part of the whole process though. Working hard and trusting God to provide. Now I just have to work on erasing that little twinge of doubt that He will leave me hanging.

Editor's Note: I hope to get back to a more regular blogging schedule but work has been crazy and my free time is sucked to the bone. Bear with me...I promise to have some good stuff on here soon!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On being happy with yourself...

Last week I happened to catch Roger Ebert on Oprah. You know Roger Ebert as the movie critic, but did you know he had thyroid cancer? In his battle with thyroid cancer he has lost not only his voice, but his entire lower jaw. Just imagine yourself in that situation for a moment. Imagine never being able to eat or drink again- never having a slice of birthday cake, never crunching into a crisp apple, never sipping on homemade lemonade on a hot summer day.

Now add on top of that never being able to have a conversation again. I’m not a big talker. I’m shy and I know I have gone a whole day without talking to anyone before, but imagine going the rest of your life never being able to speak to someone again. I am a huge fan of the written word, but there is just something about having an actual conversation with someone that brings that to a whole other level. No matter how much you’d be able to communicate, never being able to speak again would be a pretty lonely place. Some Scottish programmers have developed for him a device that allows him to type his own words and the computer will translate them into his own voice. That is pretty cool, but he still has lost a lot.

Losing his jaw has also disfigured his face, although to me I thought it was endearing that he looks like he has a continual huge smile on his face. When Oprah asked him if he was going to have anymore surgery to correct it, he responded-

"I'm not going to talk or eat or drink again, so the surgery would only be to patch my face back together," he said. "I don't want to go through that. This is the way I look and my life is happy and productive, so why have any more surgery?"

It was basically like saying “This is me and I am ok with that”.

I got to thinking about if I could or would ever be able to say that about myself. I can’t. And I don’t know that I would ever be able to. I am the type of person who is always looking to improve myself. I don’t know that I will ever get to a point where I can say “This is me…the finished version of me…and I am happy with it.” I want to. I think it would be a great place to be. But I don’t know if I will ever get there.

What about you? Could you look in the mirror and consider everything you are (the good and the bad) and say to yourself “This is me and I am happy with it.”?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

TGIF! It has been a long crazy week. I'm so glad the weekend is here! I'm too busy to write whats in my head so here's another one of Lauren's Fill-in-the-Blank Friday for ya:

1. One thing I MUST do before I die is stay in a over water bungalow somewhere tropical. I wanted to say have my own family and be a mom, but so many other people said it and honestly I am afraid it will never happen for me.

2. I would rather eat ice cream than bugs any day.

3. If I could give my younger self one piece of advice it would be don't waste your time trying to change anyone, because they won't change. Either accept them or move on.

4. If I won the lottery tomorrow I'd buy a house on Lake James and a house in Raleigh and maybe something at the beach, travel to all the places I've ever wanted to go, quit my day job and be a part-time real estate agent.

5. The best surprise ever was when my dad got me a trampoline one random day when I was little. I loved the trampoline, but I loved even more that he got it for me and it was so unexpected.

6. My biggest fault is I suck at self-discipline.

7. My biggest strength is I'm easy to get along with.

Also check out the reviews I added on my Bookshelf Blog. I hope to add the "STori Telling" one later today, but if not, check back for that one on Monday.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


So I told you last week I had to tell you guys about something crazy that happened to me. It took me forever to write this because it was just such a crazy experience. Even now I think it was so much more than this story. I couldn't even fall asleep that night thinking about the craziness of it all. But here's the story...

Our small Bible study group has been meeting at the same apartment complex for over a year- different apartments, but all in the same complex. Last Tuesday was just like any other Tuesday. We were set to meet at 7, but this Tuesday a few girls couldn’t make it for various reasons. We thought about cancelling the meeting, but in the end decided to go ahead and have it since over half of us could make it.

After the meeting we all walked out to our cars and saw a huge yellow car boot on one of the girl’s tires along with a notice from a towing company on her window. We soon discover that ALL of us were unable to go home! Two girl’s cars had been towed and the other 3 of us had a boot on our cars!

Apparently in this apartment complex all the residents have stickers on the front windshields. None of the spaces were marked, but there were apparently spots specifically designated for visitors. Apparently there is a small sign when you come into the complex notifying you are the parking rules, but seriously none of us ever saw that? Somehow all of us managed to “break the rules” on the exact same night? Our group leader thought she had told us all. She felt horrible about the situation.

The tow truck guy said it would be $125 cash for each car that was booted and $250 for each car that was towed. We were all devastated. Some were quickly checking their bank accounts to see if they had enough to get their car back! We were trying to figure out a plan as to how we were going to get cash for the guy when all of our cars were immobile. Three of the girls jumped in the car with our group leader to head to the ATM armed with the debit cards and PIN numbers for the other 2 girls while they waited with her roommate and the tow truck guys.

“Can we at least get a group discount?...I mean we were at Bible study! We really did not know we were doing something wrong!” we asked holding up our Bibles.

“I know…I know the stickers on your cars. I used to go to the Summit. I know JD. I know what ya’ll are about”

Ummm…was this a good thing or a bad thing? We weren’t sure. But we gave him our best puppy dog eyes pleading for at least a price reduction.

“Ok, I’ll give you $25 off. $100 each.”

We were happy but as we stood there in the freezing cold we couldn’t help but wonder why this man no longer went to the Summit and why this had happened tonight and why we seemed to cross paths with him in this way.

So we asked “Why don’t you go to the Summit anymore?”

He told us about how he had gone through a really painful divorce and kind of got into a depression and couldn’t even work for 9 months. He told us how he started dating someone new but they just couldn’t seem to make it to church together on Sundays and how now with his work schedule he couldn’t make it there. We told him about the different service times. He told us how he thought his problems were bigger than anyone at the church could handle.

Luckily our group leader’s roommate is a part of the Celebrate Recovery ministry at the Summit. She started telling him all about it and where and when they met and how it could maybe help him through what was going on in his life. He seemed really interested.

About that time the other girls got back with the money. We started handing over our money wanting to cry because really we are all broke and could not afford this. But somehow it turned into laughter. We joked about how this was the most expensive Bible study ever and how we could come up with a really good slogan for the Summit’s Small Group campaign about it only costing you $100 to join our small group. We joked how we needed to get into the towing business because it seemed so lucrative. I mean this was such an unbelievable situation all we could do is laugh at it.

We even took a picture with the tow truck, car boots, and our Bibles.

News spread to the other girls who didn’t get to come via Facebook that night and we were seriously now all bonded by this unbelievable experience. We talked about how maybe this had happened because God needed us to speak truth into that man’s life. “Well” I joked, “God don’t make it cheap does he?”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Good Karma sent via USPS

A few weeks ago I signed up for Kaileen Elise's Good Karma Gift Swap. I've done one other swap before and loved it. Something about packages on your doorway from strangers is just the best!

I sent off my package to Laura filled with goodies to comfort, calm, celebrate and inspire creativity. You'll have to watch her blog to see what I sent.

I got my package from Kristen on Friday. It had been a long stressful day, so a package on my doorstop couldn't have been more perfect.

Here's what I got:

A lavender and grapefruit bodywash to calm. Some cute planters to plant some herbs or flowers in for comfort. Dinner Party invites (that I forgot in the picture but trust me they are super cute!) to inspire creativity. And some chocolate to celebrate! She even threw in some doggie cookies for Cam! Thank you Kristen for my great gifts!

Well on Sunday I was getting ready to go to bed and took some trash outside. When I came back in I saw the chocolate bar wrapper on the floor...empty. I had broken off one square that afternoon and left the rest on the counter for later. Apparently Cam snuck the chocolate bar off the counter and devoured it in the 5 minutes I was outside!

I kind of freaked out because I know chocolate is toxic for dogs. I was on the phone with a friend and she just told me to give him some pepto and he'd be fine. That made me relax a little. But then I posted about it on Facebook and some people started freaking me out- suggesting peroxide...um what? So I called my vet and they had a after hours number. I called that and told them the situation. They asked how much my dog weighed and how many ounces the chocolate bar was. The vet said it should be fine, that 3.5 oz. wasn't enough to poison a 50 lb. dog. But to watch out for vomiting and diareah over the next 24 hours. It was hard to sleep that night, but Cam ended up being fine.

I was kind of mad at him about eating my chocolate, but I probably didn't need it anyway. But for now I am holding the rest of the doggie cookies hostage.

By the way, I learned Kaileen is also from Raleigh! We might try to get together a little Raleigh blogger meet up sometime. Are any of you from Raleigh and interested in meeting up?