Overwhelmed by Goodness

Monday, March 26, 2012

Totally feeling God's faithfulness in action today.  Not sure what's coming, but know that it is good and that He is faithful.  

Is Facebook really that healthy?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.

Sometimes I think it's great. It's a great way to stay in touch with people from college, with friends who live in another country, and a way to reconnect with long lost friends. It's fun to see what people are up to, to post pictures of special events, to create an event to get people together; it's definitely a boredom filler.

But is it really a good or healthy thing? Stalking people (not in a full blown creepy way- just the typical Facebook way) by looking at pictures of friends you aren't even connected with anymore... that is really what a lot of people do on Facebook isn't it? I know I am guilty! Especially now that I have an iPhone. If I'm bored, or sitting waiting for someone to meet me at a coffee shop, why not fill the time checking out the News Feed on Facebook? But really- WHY? Half of the people's pictures that I am looking at, I haven't talked to in years. Some of them I really have never talked to- I don't really know why I am even connected with them.

With my frustration against Facebook today- it is really easy for me to see all the negative impacts that it could have on people's lives. At this point, I should probably admit that there was a dumb incident that is the reason for this rant against Facebook... it frustrates me to even mention it because it makes me realize the impact that I have allowed a social-network to have on me. Long story short- I realized that someone had de-friended me.

[Honestly- I don't even know why it bothers me. We were never really actual friends. She always had some strange issue with me, I could never figure it out. It was a high school thing; even some of my girl friends knew that she didn't like me. I tried to just shrug it off, realize that not everyone in life is going to be my number one fan and let it go. But I'm a person with feelings, so of course it still didn't feel nice.]

Going back to Facebook- this whole dumb incident made me think about the negative effects that this social network can have on people. I would be really interested to know if there is a statistic about how Facebook affects depression or body image or self esteem. I can only imagine that each of these would be affected negatively right? You see all these pictures of beautiful people online, doesn't it make you wish that you looked like that? Or had that specific outfit. What if you friend request someone and they don't accept? Or you ask someone to hang out, they say they can't and then you realize they were hanging out with other people? How about middle schoolers, or teenagers who are so affected by peer pressure or what their friends do. This cannot be a healthy thing for them can it? You can basically see what everyone else is doing, which means you can see what you're left out from- who is "not your friend", what boys are giving what girls more attention... and so on.

I am doing a body image seminar with a friend for a middle school ministry at a church next weekend, and thinking about that seminar and this dumb situation with Facebook just made me think that there's got to be some link to people having skewed body images, or self esteem as a result of this website. I consider myself a pretty secure, confident person- I am happy with who I am physically, I have great friends, feel like I'm pretty nice (I'm human, I can be mean too) and overall I'm in pretty good spirits. If a dumb "de-friending" situation can cause me to be shaken a bit, feeling a little dejected, a bit unloved and questioning why this "friend" has chosen to "end our relationship"- then how significantly does this affect an insecure, unstable, young girl who is still trying to figure out who she is and very much affected by what people think of her??

I know I can't fix this problem. And I know that not everything is bad about Facebook. Does it mean I am going to jump ship and close my account? Honestly, probably not. But does it make me second guess the benefits of the site, and the role I allow it to have in my daily life? Absolutely. I can control how I much I am impacted by it, by limiting how much I go on, or how much I let myself become caught up in it, or obsessed with seeing what other people are doing. I just hope that others can do the same, that they can find their identity and security in who they really are and not let a social-network tell them otherwise.

Job Picky-ness

Friday, March 23, 2012

I am in an interesting place right now in life. I feel like I say that over and over again on this blog- but it's where I am so- yeah. Right now I am finding myself in a predicament that I just can't seem to figure out. Here's the scoop: I am unemployed- used to work at a church with the college ministry. They were restructuring, my position was eliminated. That was 3 months before my wedding. Essentially, it worked out perfectly for wedding planning. I replaced my full-time job with planning full-time for my wedding. It was a HUGE blessing and totally on God's time table, not mine. Now it has been just about 7 months since I have been unemployed, 4 months since the wedding- and I feel like I am JUST wrapping my mind around the idea of figuring my new life out. With all the craziness of the wedding, holidays, adjusting to living with a boy, being a married woman, all those things- I feel like I am just now processing the loss of my beloved job and trying to figure out where I am headed. My head seems to be finally clearing in some ways, but I am still not sure what the picture is that lies ahead of me.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately- and have been more hopeful that I am on the brink of a revelation or that God is working to help me figure out my next steps. I am excited about this, but cautious because I still don't know where I am going. That's the hard thing about being faithful. Isn't it our job to just keep plodding forward, honoring God as we go, even if we don't know where we are going? That's tricky. I know that I love working with people- I miss interacting with college students and people at the church on a daily basis. Being able to process a bit more, I have a better understanding of what I did really enjoy and feel like I can put my finger on what type of job I am looking for at this point. And that's what brings us to my Job Picky-ness dilemma.

I have been presented with an opportunity to take a temp job working for my dad's company. His assistant/secretary is going on maternity leave- and my dad has offered for me to take the position. Practically, this is a really awesome option. I am familiar with the company- have filled in for her once before (just for a week, barely even worth mentioning, but still...) and would have the confidence of knowing that if I need help- it's my dad, so he'll help me figure things out. That's all awesome... BUT- it's SO not the kind of job that I would pick out for myself. Nothing against the position itself- it is a great job- I admire the work that my dad does, he is great at it. But I am just not a "sit in the office, 8:00-5:00, emails, phone calls, barely any person-to-person interaction (besides my dad and his partner when they happen to actually be in the office, not at meetings or calls)" sort of person. Could I handle the job? Absolutely. I'd like to think that I can handle anything that is put in front of me, with a little training and determination. So what is holding me back? It's temporary- it's not like I'm signing up for a life sentence of working somewhere that doesn't necessarily roll my socks up and down...

I have been trying to pinpoint what it is that is holding me back- and I this is the best that I can come up with. I have really high expectations for myself- I want to be doing something that really fits ME and who I am and who God has called me to be. I feel like I haven't quite found where He wants me to be- and so I have been waiting. Well if I take this position- won't it be putting my "waiting" on hold? Will it be interfering with continuing to pursue the thoughts of- okay God what do you want me to do? If I take this job- it will be putting everything else on hold until August when I am finished with it. Am I okay with this? I feel like I am finally making progress in figuring out what God is putting on my heart, potentially what I am being called to do next- and now I am thinking of putting it on hold again? This is what makes me hesitate.

I was talking with a friend about how different our generation is from other generations. My parents age- they seem to take whatever job they can- working towards whatever their dream job might be in the future. Our generation- we seem to wait; to be picky about finding something that truly fits right away from the get-go. We want that perfect fit, dream job from the start. Which is better? I don't know. I think the way our generation does things can work- but it can't just be waiting in the sense of, "ugh i can't figure it out, I'm just gonna do nothing till something lands in my lap." It has to be proactive waiting- being intentional about finding what's right- looking for new opportunities. Being faithful, plodding forward- even when the way is unclear.

So my big question is- what does plodding forward look like for me right now? I know I don't know the end picture, and I am content with that (for the moment). But is plodding forward for me supposed to be continuing to proactively wait for what seems to be the right fit? Or do I take the opportunity that is being handed to me and hope that revelation happens in the midst of this temporary position. Decision-making is hard. It is definitely something I struggle with. Maybe I strive too hard to make the perfect decision, when really I just need to keep walking, look for the open doors, and avoid the ones that are closed. Until the picture becomes clear- I will just keep moving forward waiting for a little bird to land on my shoulder and tell me what to do. That works right?

Faithfully obedient...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Going from a job working at a church with the College Ministry- and feeling challenged almost daily by different thoughts or discussions- it has been a change, being in my own little world absorbed mainly by own thinking. I have discovered over the past few weeks, that I really miss thinking in a way that challenges me. That may seem weird- but I really do miss challenging discussions or questions that make you think before you can just shoot out an automated response. Upon realization that this is something I have been missing in my life, I have decided to try to make sure I am challenging myself to think this way.

Along with being challenged almost everyday, another aspect I miss about working at a church, is having my main focus being on the Lord- not just in my personal life, but in everything that I am doing. I realize that this should be the truth no matter what we are doing in life- but it made it so much easier to be focused on the Lord having ministry as my vocation. In my new place in life, I am not as surrounded by it; therefore, I have a greater need to push myself to keep the Lord on my mind fully. 

Combining those two things together- being more intentional with my focus and challenging my brain to think- it has been a good exercise to really ask myself tough questions as I am reading scripture. It so easy to just read the scripture, because I feel I should, and then shut the Bible, go about my day and not even remember or be challenged by what I've read. That is what I am trying to get away from.

Let me skip to what I've been thinking about today. Here's the passage I read that jumped out at me:
"So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today- to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine, and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied." Deut. 11:13-15
A lot of times, I wonder if we make life too difficult. It seems like God is constantly telling us- simply love me- and live according to that love. When it's put that way, it seems so simple. Doesn't it? And yet we humans (aka sinners) complicate things so much with our allovertheplaceness [good word right?]. In this passage, the promise proclaimed is that "if you faithfully obey the commands...then I will send rain"- basically if you are faithful, then I will bless you. The question that plagued me, and that I don't yet have an answer to is- when we feel like life isn't going the way we feel it should, is it because we aren't being faithful?

Strangeness of life

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Here I am sitting outside on a beautiful 64 degrees and sunny filled day in March - I have my iced vanilla latte in one hand and my latest read "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" in the other. Its pretty much a perfect set up. As I sit here with my feet up and soaking up the sun probably getting my first sunburn of the season, I've decided to take a break from my reading and observe my surroundings.

I'm at a coffee shop with the lake basically across the road. The sun is shining with a light breeze just enough to keep from sweating in my jeans and a tshirt. To the right of me are two young girls probably in college eating lunch in their trendiness. To the left of me are many groups of 2s enjoying the sun eating lunch and chatting. And then there are the few others like me- sitting on their own, observing, relaxing, reading or what have you.

Looking around and seeing all these people going about their lives with who knows what kind of schedule, it makes me think about how interesting life is. From students to young professionals, to the hippy trendy artist to the maybe retired or the stay at home mom or the random newlywed, newly unemployed 20 something who is just trying to find inspiration to figure out what's next ( that's me)- everyone's life is so different.

So here I am yet again asking myself "what am I doing with my life?" Theres a few things I do know. Overall I have nothing to complain about. God is good, I have a wonderful husband, my family rocks and I'm healthy. I have a good education under my belt, I'm determined and can do anything I put my mind to. I got a job straight out of college that may have very well been my dream job. I worked there for 3 years, the church went through "restructuring" and so here I sit wondering whether I am going to find another position that truly fits me like (for the most part) my last one did. It's weird to think that my 'dream job' may have came and went already. And yet, is that really a good way to think? I know that God has something great in store for me, but what it is? No idea.

I've decided in some ways that I'm pretty much in a state of waiting. Waiting for what or for how long- I am not sure. But waiting seems to be what I'm left with at the moment until I feel the guidance to pursue what's next. It's days like today, sitting in the beautiful sunshine surrounded by other people who may or may not be in the same boat as me wondering what's next, that I feel content, at peace, and hopeful.

So that's where I'll be today. Thankful for all that's good in my life and hopeful for what's to come. It's weird how much a nice day can affect your perspective; get outside and join me today in hope.

Nail Fun

Monday, March 12, 2012

So I have to admit that I am a sucker for painting my nails.  I'm not a super girly, prissy, high-maintenance girl, I assure you.  I just have fun painting my nails.  As I was painting them the other day, I wondered to myself "who came up with painting your nails?"  I mean really, isn't it a little strange?  So I decided to look it up. Check out what I found out- thank you to Wikipedia.  

The Incas decorated their fingernails with pictures of eagles, but it is unclear how the practice of coloring nails progressed following these beginnings. Portraits from the 17th and 18th centuries include shiny nails.[1]

By the turn of the 19th century, nails were tinted with scented red oils, and polished or buffed with a chamois cloth, rather than simply polished. English and US 19th century cookbooks had directions for making nail paints. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, women pursued a polished rather than painted look by massaging tinted powders and creams into their nails, then buffing them shiny.[2] One such polishing product sold around this time was Graf's Hyglo nail polish paste.[2] Some women during this period painted their nails with clear, glossy varnish applied with a camel-hair brush.[2] When automobile paint was created around 1920, it inspired the introduction of colored nail glosses.[2]

Interesting, right?  Well thank you Incas- if you are in fact responsible, because it is definitely something that I enjoy taking part in.  I think I have always loved painting my nails since I was little.  I remember painting my nails all sorts of colors- sometimes each finger was a different color and also had a different design on it.  As you grow up, it's not quite as cool to do different designs (or so I thought) so I went with the solid colors.  But now, I feel like the trends have changed and doing different designs on your nails are not just for pre-teens anymore!  I started noticing this when the whole "paint your ring fingernail a different color" thing started becoming popular.  [I would also like to know who came up with this crazy idea?] At first I was like, okay- that's weird.  But now I have totally jumped on the bandwagon- It's fun!  Maybe because it reminds me of when I was younger and put way more effort into making a cool unique design on my nails, but either way- I'm digging it.  

Now that I have joined the world of Pinterest- it's like fun nail designs are all over the place.  I was a bit skeptical about Pinterest prior to joining but now I am thankful because it definitely sparks all kinds of creativity; from making yummy meals, to awesome diy projects, and now to pretty nails!  I have a board on my Pinterest (check out my Pinterest page!) labeled Nails I Need, where I have pinned some of the designs I find intriguing.  I look forward to finding more Nail inspirations and trying them out!  It may not be crafting in a typical sense, but it's another way of pushing myself to be more creative right?

Here are a few of the designs that I have done.  I am thinking one up in honor of St. Patty's day (mainly because I have a minty/turquoise green that I've been wanting to use.  So stay tuned- and check back for more of my creations in the future :)

Essie brand nail polishes- not sure of the pink,
but the sparkly is the Essie luxe effects nail polish.

This is the same Essie brand luxe effect sparkle,
and OPI Lincoln Park after Dark (has a slight purple tint to it).

This nail art was inspired by thebeautydepartment.com
Check them out, they have tons of great nail, hair, and other beauty tips.

I [heart] Zumba

Thursday, March 1, 2012

All of you skeptics out there who have yet to try Zumba, it's about time you jump on this train. I have been doing Zumba since it first started hitting gyms around the area- and I am still in love with it.  Not only is it a great workout that is both a cardio and strengthening exercise class- but it teaches you a bit of latin dance and in my opinion, makes you feel awesome when you're done. 

I just went to the gym tonight, and I was reminded about how much I love going to group workout classes.  It is totally invigorating!  For whatever reason over the past few months, I have been super lazy in my efforts to making it to the gym.  I would still Zumba on my Wii from time to time, but there is nothing like being in a room with a ton of other women shaking your stuff, getting in shape.  But there's one thing that makes a world of a difference in having a good Zumba experience; that is a good instructor.  I have been to classes with some not so good instructors and I have been to classes with the best instructors- and it seriously makes a difference for everything; how much you sweat, how quickly you catch on to the routines, and how much fun you have.  

The Thursday class at the YMCA where I go has one of the best instructors I have ever seen. She is so energetic [she herself has lost of 100 lbs. from doing Zumba!], puts together awesome playlists, and gets everyone excited and engaged with the workout.  Her class is so popular that people are literally about 2 feet away from each other.  There were about 130 people in class tonight (that's my rough estimate of course)- needless to say, the class was packed.  

One last tidbit about my Zumba experience.  I am a big advocate for several reasons. It is such a fun way to workout- it is exciting to go to class and burn some calories.  Also, I am a fan of latin dance.  I love Salsa dancing!  A huge reason that I feel like I can handle myself to a reasonable degree at the Salsa club is because I learned some of the moves (Salsa, merengue, cha cha, etc.) in Zumba.  [Again it highly depends on how good your instructor is.]  This may sound dumb, but doing Zumba can actually make you feel sexy.  Go ahead, think I'm nuts, call me crazy- but I before doing Zumba I didn't think my body could move in some of those ways! :)  

So what I'm saying is, try it out.  Don't be afraid to do the moves the wrong way, be facing the wrong direction, or kicking when everyone else is jumping.  Trust me, I've been there. I still do things wrong- sometimes my arms are going the wrong direction or I end up hitting someone cause I'm not coordinated enough to add an arm motion.  Just laugh it off because it's a blast and totally worth it in the end.  So get up off your duff and try it.  [You'd think I was on an infomercial or something.  Nope, just a happy Zumba-er encouraging you to give it a go.]

Peace. Love. Zumba. 
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