Saturday, December 03, 2011

Just a Moment, Please....

There are moments. Like this one.....

....When I am sitting in my comfy place, on my couch, or propped up in my bed....

....After I have just read a beautiful, or funny, or melancholy story....

....When my Charlie Brown-esque Christmas Tree isn't lit
(because, well, I have to redo the lights so that the plug-in
is not buried somewhere in the middle of the tree)....

....When I'm contemplating packing my bags for a trip to see
My Melissa, two weeks before I have to leave....

....When my face is hurting because I've been laughing....

....When I'm wearing my Goodwin t-shirt, and I'm reminded that I have friends, wonderful, best of the best friends, nestled in various places around the country....

....When the day I've been waiting for arrives.....

....When events are planned....

....I'm in the middle of a messy, creative project....

....I'm talking to Blanche....

....When fun secrets are in the air, along
with a bit of mystery and wonder....

....When I hear my favorite song on the radio....

....After a phone call....

....Looking through pictures....

....I just ignore the fear and take the jump....

....I have put pen to paper (or electronic ink? to screen?)....

....because it involves more laughing, and talking, and singing,
and dancing,
twirling, and LIVING....

....that I am reminded that I am so very, very blessed. And that life is good. And that God is great. And that it's not over. And that each day is a new chance to be more fabulous, and more amazing....

....when I make a choice to be happy, and at peace....

Lookin' forward to the journey- how about you come along?
“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” ~ Jean de La Fontaine

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Bird’s Eye... Strike that... A Camel’s Eye View

Fall is the perfect time of year.

I will give you spring, and summer and winter are all beautiful for a short season, but fall. Fall is perfect.

I love the leaves changing colors. The crisp, cool air. I love breaking out the sweaters for the first time, and the smell of a good fall fire in the air.

This year, my friends and I decided to take a trip to an Apple Orchard. Imagine my delight when I learned that they were offering camel rides, and anyone, I REPEAT ANYONE, was allowed to ride, for a mere five dollars. I turned to Karen, and probably squealed with delight, "KAREN, It's a camel ride! I've always wanted to ride a camel!" With a shrug and a head nod, Karen decided she was game, and more than willing to ride the camel with me.

I questioned the booth people carefully. "Anyone can ride?"
"Yes."
"Grown up people?"
"Yes."
"Me?"
"Yes."
"Two tickets, please."

Strangely, Karen's boyfriend wasn't as excited about the prospect of the two of us riding the camel, but we didn't let that stop us. We stood in line in between a toddler and an eight year old, (proudly I might add) as Todd stood far, far away.

There may have been a few quiet whispers between Karen and myself.

"Karen, there are no other "big" people in line for the camel ride. They all have kids."
"Don't worry Stephanie. No one here will ever see us again."
I nodded. She was right, and that was enough for me! (And, honestly, I wasn't gonna let anything stand in the way between me and the camel.)

It was over far too quickly. We took two laps around the big (well somewhat small-ish) ring. The camel owners were kind enough to stop the camel long enough for Todd to take a picture of Karen and I atop the camel (pictures to be disclosed at some point later in the future). All too soon my ride was over.

Next up, I need to find someone with an elephant.....



*A view from the top


Anyone know how to "strike-through" in the title?


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Shepherd and the Treasure

The shepherd was known to everyone in the town. The animals loved him, but so did the people. He was quiet and kind. He did not speak harshly. Even when someone was wrong, he would make it right. He would wrap his arms around him or her, and in his quiet, gentle way calm the storm.

A little girl lived in the town. Quiet and peaceful.

The little girl was stubborn. And, she was smart, but always underlying the "smart" was the stubborn. The fierceness and fieriness that comes when you are determined to do whatever it is you want to do. "I do it myself," she would say, and she would snatch her hand away, from the larger one offering assistance.

As she was playing outside one day, she came across a treasure. Never-mind the type of treasure, what it was, just know that it was a treasure. It was small, and it fit in the palm of her hand. It was sparkly and the most beautiful color. She knew immediately upon picking it up that she would never let it go. It would be with her always.

The shepherd saw her with the treasure, and he knew what she did not. He came beside her, and offered her a different treasure in place of the one she gripped so tightly. She would smile up at his kind face and say, No thank you shepherd. I have my own. He would smile, and pat her on the head and walk on.

What the shepherd knew, is what the little girl did not notice. That the treasure slowed her down. She still would play and sing and dance, but she moved slower, sang softer, danced less frequently. It was difficult, holding her treasure in her hand, and trying to move throughout the day. However, it was hers, and she could not put it down. Occasionally, as she was playing, she would feel a slight pain shooting through her hand and up her arm. She would examine the treasure, and sigh. Her treasure, though beautiful, had a sharp, cutting edge. Often as her treasure cut into her hand she would think about putting her treasure away, setting it aside, but she would shake her head no, and grip it more tightly. A treasure, after all, was worth the pain.

The shepherd would come by frequently, more and more often. Always with the same question, and she offered the same response.

The day came, however, when the pain in her hand could not be tolerated any longer. There was no playing. No singing. No dancing. Only silence. The little girl would sit with her arms crossed, gripping the treasure tightly. Her hand had begun to bleed. It was slow at first, but the sharp edge cut, and day after day it cut into the same wound that was trying to heal from her grip the day before. She loved her treasure. It was inexplicable the way she felt. The thought of setting her treasure down caused her more pain than the pain in her hand. Her mom and dad were wise. They would encourage her to put it down. She would shake her head, no. Her friends were kind, we'll take it from you, we will help you. She would walk away.

The shepherd would come by, and ask. Crying even still, she would look at him and say, "No shepherd. I love my treasure."

One morning, the little girl awoke. The day was no different than the day before. The sky was a gray, the pale gray that comes in the fall. Inside, however, the girl knew it was time. She needed to be free. She stood up. Put on her best dress and her shiny shoes, and walked outside and down a long path and to the river. She knew who she would find there, waiting for her, and she was right. The shepherd stood by the river, his eyes soft, his lips smiling.

She opened her hand, and with her other she grasped the treasure. She held it to the light, and examined it one last time. It was still beautiful, but instead of admiring the shine, she saw the edge. The sharp, and cutting edge. It was time. She walked to the shepherd, and stood beside him. He stretched out his hand, asking for her treasure, and she handed it to him. With her at his side, they walked to the edge and let the treasure fall into the water. The water swallowed her treasure whole, and swept it away.

The little girl sat right where she had stood, and cried sobbing tears. All the pain and frustration running down her face, and pouring out of heart. The shepherd sat down beside her, patting her head. Saying nothing, but waiting.

She opened her hand, and they stared at her wound. The deep, long cut that the treasure had made. He traced the wound with his finger. He then reached in to his satchel, and pulled out a different treasure. He held it to her, and this time she took it. It was magnificent, of the deepest, purest color. The light shined off it's surface. She smiled, and could hardly speak. This treasure was exquisite. Far outweighing the beauty of her old treasure. And it was smooth. No violent edges, nothing that would cause pain. "Oh it's beautiful," she whispered, and she tried to hand it back to him.

The shepherd smiled at her softly, and said, "Didn't you know? I've had this the whole time, just for you."

The little girl cried again. Not out of pain, but joy and peace.

Then, she started to dance.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Seeing

A while ago I wrote a note and sent it to me mum:

I have to say, I believe in God. I believe God has a purpose for my lfie. I really do. But, For my whole life I felt as though I didn't belong anywhere with anyone. For once, I finally did. It's taken me a while to really put to words how I am feeling, and why I am feeling what I do and today it hit me. I BELONGED with someone. I had someone that I went with, that I fit with. I was an "US." It was nice. It was like becomming a part of a whole, when before I was only a piece. Now I feel like only a piece again. I don't want to feel that way. I want to feel whole and good and well on my own. Now that I've acknowledged that, I need to start working on feeling that way.

In response I received this (from my wonderful Mum):

Even though you felt like you didn't belong, the fact is you did. You just didn't believe you did. You believed you had to be an US to be ANYTHING. The fact is you are important enough to be enough on your own. That does not mean that the desire to share your life with someone is a flaw. It is not. BUT to be a PART of someone else you have to be a WHOLE person on your own. The goal here is to try new things on your own. GO meet some new friends. God is who can make you whole because HE is that one that will always be there. ALWAYS...there is no person that will always be there no matter how hard they try or want to...God wants you to feel whole in Him because until you really understand that you will only be a piece no matter what.

Of course, it got me thinking. Why did I feel as though I had a purpose during the time I was in the relationship, but the moment it was over I didn't? My purpose all the time was the same. Ultimately to be a light. And to be the best daughter, sister, family member, friend, manager, emplyee, human I can be. My purpose has never changed. I just have not had clear vision my whole life.

Hopefully my vision is beginning to clear.


Monday, August 22, 2011

New Day Same Story

I decided to repost a post from three years ago. It summarizes a lot of how I'm feeling recently (aside from the fact that I'm NOT about to turn 30.)
Here goes:

This year I decided that since it was my last year in my 20s I needed to make some definite changes, not for anyone other than me. It's been quite the trip.


Everyone has a story right? A look at me, here I am story. Some stories are loud and in your face. Some are "girl/guy next door." There's teh sweet and the sour stories. The ones you wish you had never read, and the ones you wish you could never put down. And some, are quiet, every day, make the bed, fold the clothes, rise and shine, snow is falling, grab your umbrella, every day stories. And that, is me.


This is hard for me. To not fall into the dynamic, "Look at me! I'm amazingly amazing! I bring the hilarity to the hilarious!" type of crowd. Instead I fall into the everyday, like a whisper. A leaf falling. Marshmallows and scented candles. I have always thought it was other people's fault for missing me. For not seeing me. For forgetting my name, forgetting my face. But, really it's my own fault for not living in my own skin. Really living.


Someone told me that I try to please people to the point of sacrificing myself. With "WWJD" (What Would Jesus Do) ringing in my head, I decided a long time ago that I was going to sacrifice myself for other people. I decided that if nothing else, I am good at (well, memorizing large chunks of the Bible- woo- that's fun at a party) helping others. I can take care of other people better than I take care of myself. But then somehow over the years I got lost. Helping was no longer good enough; in addition to helping I had to make sure everyone else was happy. Then I changed from serving others to BECOMING for others, what those others wanted me to be. So I forgot. I forgot along the way who I was, and I never gave myself a chance.
Now, with the big 3-0 on the way, I have a lot of thinking to do. Tonight I went for a long walk, with the wind blowing by my face, chilling my nose, and I thought about how if I could be anyone person in the world who would I be. And, I've decided to be myself. I will admit, though, I'm a little afraid.

There are these things that are so very Stephanie- a little quirky and odd. I can't make right hand turns in any vehicle, and I always check the ceilings in new places for an escape in case of some type of invasion. (Because, the bathroom in JC Penny's is JUST where bank robbers would run??? -Nancy Drew did that to me.) And then any new book I open I always have to hold it close to my face and breath it in- I love the smell of new books. But these things are just small things. Things that I have been afraid of because they make me- me. And what if me being me isn't good enough?


At the same time that I am afraid, I also have this hope. There are these verses in the Bible that talks about how God made us, knows us and has a purpose for us. I had been thinking that perhaps He had forgotten about me in the middle of all the noise and all the hustle of the day, and that He might not seem me in between all the other people that shine a little brighter than me. But, I don't think He did after all. I think He made me me on purpose. I think He made me just "every day" so that I can have the chance to do all the things that other people might not get to do and really find it enjoyable. I get to be messy and silly so kids love me and want to hang. I get to over curbs (carefully- or you'll blow a tire), and I can laugh and think it's funny and have a good story to tell the next day. I get to find some kind of weird delight in taking a ride through the car wash while drinking my favorite beverage.

If you look for me, you will find me. I might be sitting in the back listening, (or talking if someone gives me an open ear-ha!) taking in the crowd. I very well could be trying to help make someone else's day better with some sort of a story involving me in some near death experience on some stairs. Maybe I'll be practicing one of my accents (okay, I really only have one), and there's the possibility that I will have some sort of chocolate in my mouth and a puzzle book in hand, but I most definitely will be learning who I am. I would ask for you to give me a chance, but everyone already has- it's time for me to give myself a chance.

I think this is probably the biggest adventure I'm about to go on- and I think it should be a pretty good ride.

One request though from all of you though: if you happen to ever see me wandering in the parking lot, come walk with me. It probably means that I forgot where I parked and could use some company while I scour the rows for my missing vehicle.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gray

I am about to be honest...
Generally I like to think of myself as an honest person, but this time I'm about to be painful OPEN and honest. Open being the operative word.

For over the last year and a half I have been dating someone. I do not tend to go too personal on here, because it's public, and my life is not. Recently, we broke up. For me, in that moment, life suddenly became shades of gray. I found that I had, within that time period of being an "us", forgotten all about the "me." It is difficult to remember what that is like. There are so many things that I enjoy doing, but I've forgotten all about them. There are so many things that I complete and I realize I'm waiting for someone on the other end to applaud for me and cheer for me. Now there is no applause or cheering. It's just my face and my voice. Quite honestly, it made me want to stop doing anything I've ever done and sit in a room with the lights off, in silence, shutting out the world.

The problem is, life doesn't stop. The world keeps rotating, and while I'm just sitting, life continues to happen all around me. People are LIVING. But I am not. Why am I writing all this? I don't really know. I have always found that writing is cathartic. Somehow putting pen to paper (or whatever you call when you are typing) puts things in order and sets things right. I need to be set right. For right now, I don't have much more to say. I'm sure I will be back, but for now I am going to be working on Me.

Always,

Thursday, May 05, 2011

My Favorites

Happy Mother's Day Mum!

I decided to link up an old post about the fabulous-ness of my mum and dad!

Love you!

Click here

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Maybe

I was an author. Of course, I was only eight, but still that's what I was.

When you are eight, the sky is the limit. Looking back now, I wish I had that same fortitude. The same belief that anything I wanted, I could have. That anything I put my hand to do, I would do it well.

At the end of my book, which I still have I have my ambitions written out. "One day I will be an author, a missionary and a teacher."

Maybe there's still time to be all three.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Butcher, a baker, a Fantastic Soup Maker...

My mom had given a particular cookbook to my brother. Of course, he was ecstatic and ready to try out one of the special recipes on anyone present. He chose to make a fantastic soup. My mom picked up the ingredients, and a creation was born!

Unfortunately, I was unable to witness or taste the creation, but my mom took pictures to make sure that I could post this big event online...





Not only is he a basketball champ, and a Special Olympic Track and Field champ, but he can make quite the stew! Good job Bub!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sticks and Stones...

March, oh dear March. You are almost over, and I clearly did not meet my blogging goal.

Clearly.

However, there is still today, and tomorrow, and the month of April. We will see what those days hold.

But for today, I will have to be satisfied with...everything.

I was feeling truly inspired in my mind to follow NaBloPoMo because this month was all about "Words." However, my inspiration (as already stated) did not move much past my mind.

Words are, in fact, powerful.
They have the ability to draw you in to a story, full of delicious descriptions, calling the reader to turn the page and dive in deeper.
Words are powerful.

They have the ability to bring tears to eyes as a result of good news, and sad news.
And, while they most certainly cannot break bones, they have been known to break me.

Words do have power when we give it to them. When we allow people to determine our value.

Today, again, I was reminded that there is only one voice that I need to listen to, and regardless of what I may or may not have done, the owner of this voice always loves me.

Psalm 139
1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

In A Word

Today is a two for one day.
This month I had determined I would participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). This encourages you to post one post every day.

Ahem. It's March 11th.
Obviously, 31 posts in the month of March did not happen.

As a result, I have made another goal. Post 20 times in the month of March.

Be watching- "In a Word".

I Hear Voices

The answer always come back: I. Am. Human.

But, maybe I should start from the beginning.

I have always heard voices in my head. Before all of you start nodding your heads in understanding, and saying, "Ohhhh, that explains everything," let me explain. I'm not talking about voices or even voices (like the country song) of friends, family, etc... (although periodically I do). The voices I hear are my own. My own negative, confused, anxious voices. They are hard to quiet.

What makes it most difficult is that fact that the voices are not rational; there is no reasoning with them.

What do they say?
  • You aren't good enough.
  • Your friends aren't really your friends.
  • They will leave you.
  • You will make large mistakes. They will not be able to be fixed.
I could continue, but you get the idea.

However, I'm tried of these voices. There are others I'd rather hear, One in particular. It's the louder voice of One who holds my entire life in my hands. And, as I try to make MY voices quiet, I want His voice to be louder.

His voice says:
  • You are wonderfully made.
  • I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.
  • I will forget and forgive any mistakes you have made.
  • Do not worry. DON'T WORRY. I will care for you.
  • I. Love. You.
This is my weakness. This is when I pray and pray and ask God to help me not be anxious and I ask Him WHY must I be anxious. Why must one day I wake up fine, and the next I find myself in a battle again. This is when I receive the answer that I am only human. And, while I have anxiety, others may have different difficulties.

Today is a new day. Today is a day when I am surrounded by positive people and positive light. Today is when I feel God's hand on my heart, and He is saying, "It's gonna be alright. I've got this."

Time for me to let Him.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

There's always a possiblity!

Check out one of my BFFUWD's pages on Facebook!
Just click LIKE.
See the great prizes that could be won!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday's Walk- A Ziplock of Pennies

In college my mom was faithful at sending two packages to me a year. One in the fall, and one in the "spring". I use spring loosely, because she would typically send it to me between my birthday and Valentine's Day.

I love surprises. Granted, the packages always contained a few specific items. Always cookies. Always supplies for school. Always some sort of food to hide away in my dorm room.

There were always the unexpected surprises. My dad would have the packages shipped from his warehouse. Since I would work there in the summers, I knew the people in the warehouse. They would be given the job of packaging it up and sending it out. Imagine my surprise when I received a package one time that had been foamed. By foamed, I don't mean those little foamy peanuts. I mean foam. That sprays out of a shower head thing into the box, and it's hot. And then it turns hard. It took several people several minutes to finally get that box open!

Turning 20 was what seemed to be a turning point. No more a "teenager", but one step closer to being adult. (Although sometimes I don't know now if I reached adulthood yet.) This particular package was full of additional surprises. Twenties. Not bills. But, twenties. Twenty paper clips. Twenty post it notes. Twenty hearts. And cleverly done too. A candle holder had hearts around the top. There was a heart necklace---- all added up to twenty.

BUT, one thing I still have now is a ziplock of pennies. Twenty pennies. Twenty pennies from the year I was born. AND, twenty pennies, one from each year of my life.

I love the memory.

So, each day, as you celebrate your life remember:
  • Life is precious.
  • Each day is full of memories.
  • Remember them.
  • Look for the good in everyone around you.
  • Forget the bad.
  • Send me a package. I'll give my my address. (kidding, kidding!)
Here's to another year!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Little Light

I am sporting a new Kindle. It is amazing! Sorry for the product placement, however, the fact that I now have hundreds, (no thousands, no MILLIONS) of books at my fingertips at any given second, makes me a little excited.

The possibilities are now endless:
  • Not only can I read three books at one time, I can have the three books with me at all times (or 10 or 20).
  • There are hundreds of free books available electronically. Books I may never have thought about buying before, well, they are free! (Yes, I could have gone to the library, but now, I don't have to leave the house!)
  • Word on the street- I can get books from libraries ! (I don't know if it's true, or easy or practical. But the thought is great!)
  • I have always wanted to be able to read ALL of the Nancy Drew books. NOW, I can. And, I don't have to worry about storage!
  • I've just over used the exclamation point way too many times! That's how excited I (still) am!
  • Don't you worry though, I haven't lost my love of a bookstore, and the way the pages smell, especially when they are brand new.

Few other notes:

January is moving along.
  • There's been a trip to Wicked (Broadway in Chicago!)
  • Completing a school term
  • Got a cold, fought a cold (and won!)
  • Did a few "crafty" projects
  • In the middle of reorganizing my kitchen
  • I may have just taken out the trash (ugh, trash) wearing brown boots, an oversized shirt from the Caribbean, my favorite red coat, and cropped pants. These pants, I realized tonight, are probably supposed to end at the bottom of the knee. Some days, however, (like today) I am challenged height wise, and the pants are more closer to my ankle.
  • I have these brown boots. They are too big (I didn't quite realize when I bought them), but they are so warm. My life is different now.
  • And, Blanche is growing. However, about Blanche, does anyone have any ideas about how to keep her warm. She's by the door which is colder of course, but it's where she can be by the light.
Alright world. I think I'm off to read.....um. Sleep. Yes, off to sleep.

Love to all,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Great in '08, Fine in '09, Better than it's been in '10....

Lookin' like heaven in Eleven....???? I'll have to work on it.

Needless to say, the new year has arrived. I've been working on remember to write out 2011 instead of 2010. (The challenges of January.) I've also been (forgive me snow lovers) praying for a nice easy winter. If you are on Facebook at all, you'll also note that I'm fighting a cold, fighting school and lovin' my new couch.

I thought it would be interesting to check out the last few years on my blog and see what I wrote for New Year's Eve since I started. Remarkably, I only found one that really referenced the new year.

I also linked up to my friend Jenilee's blog. She has a Wednesday's Walk. Seeing as I don't have a Mommy memory (since I'm not a mom yet) I decided to link up an old post about my favorite mom and dad!

Takin' on 2011,


(P.S. For those of you counting the days like I am, my birthday is in only 16!)