Daily Life

This season

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Today feels like fall in Wisconsin. It’s barely in the 60s (Fahrenheit, for all my non-U.S. friends who may be reading this), which means I’m chilly and already crabby that summer will be officially over shortly. The kids are back in school soon or already are, which means all my teacher family and friends have crazy schedules again, and I’m terribly selfish and don’t like sharing them and their attention.

Summer is a season; it comes in a glorious burst with highs (vacations! sitting outside in shorts and t-shirts! festivals!) and lows (see above paragraph) and “meh” days, and before you know it, the calendar says September and the season is over.

While I’ve been enjoying summer, I’ve also been in the midst of a very different season for the past two or so months. This season has maybe been the most raw, beautiful, difficult, beautifully-in-over-my-head of my entire life.

This season has had days where I feel like my soul was parched and dry, wilting within me, and then there have been days where I feel I could burst from thankfulness and joy.

I don’t remember the last time I was this exposed, digging into issues with God that I didn’t even realize had been things bubbling up inside my heart all this time. It’s taken 27 years, but I feel as though I’m finally digging into who He wants me to be in Him and who He’s created me to be. It’s been a really rich time of discovering myself, flaws and all.

It all started while I was on my mission trip to Costa Rica. I could feel Him stirring up something, something new, in my soul. What that “something” is I don’t fully know yet, though. I just have little glimpses of it for now.

So I ended the trip on this high, ready to follow God in whatever, the great unknown. I was ready to shed everything holding me back and just do it. Watch out world, I was comin’ for ya.

And then, I re-entered my “normal life.”

It’s no secret (at least not to my immediate family) that I do not handle re-entry into the U.S. well after a mission trip. I’m basically as ungraceful about it as I could possibly be–and by that I mean I’m often incredibly self-centered and don’t extend the grace to my family and others the way I should.

After about a week or so of wallowing in self-pity (it was not pretty), I finally realized: I don’t like this. I came face-to-face with all the ugliness inside of me that was threatening to choke out all my joy and gratitude for my life in the States. I had a very distinct moment where I saw that I had one of two choices to make: strive after God and seek what He was trying to show me through all of my ups and downs, or I could turn and walk away from basically everything, particularly my relationship with Him.

I had to decide to fight for my relationship with Jesus. Whatever it took (and takes), I didn’t want to waste any time by NOT following and striving to grow in Him.

I had to and have to surrender.

I had to and have to learn to be faithful in what He’s given me now (Luke 16:10).

I had to and have to be willing to tackle the good and bad in my life.

I had to and have to spend time with Him daily.

I had to and have to open myself up and ask for accountability.

One of the most incredible things from this season of my life has been seeing who He’s divinely arranged for me to encounter. On top of the existing important, special people in my life, He’s brought in teammates from Costa Rica, people from my church, a friend from college whom I hadn’t seen in years, a friend I regrettably didn’t spend much time with when I was living in Texas, etc., to show me that He cares. He loves me so much to bless me with all these incredible people who daily send me encouraging texts, pray for me and keep me going when I just want to cry.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned (and still am learning) from this season, it’s this:

He is so faithful. SO FAITHFUL. 

It’s so easy to take that fact for granted when things are normal and fine. Sometimes you (or at least I) need up to be down and down to become up to realize and fully appreciate His steadfastness. He’s never wavered in His love for me. I see His goodness continually in my life, and it would be crazy to take all the “random happenings” in my life and call them coincidences.

Because whether this season lasts for a long time or ends tomorrow, whether He reveals to me what this stirring is soon or far in the distance, He is still good.

And seasons may come and go, but He always remains the same.

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Progress

Just wanted to do a quick update on my healthier eating/workout journey. First, let me just say that everyone has been tremendously supportive, and I cannot thank you all enough for that. I’ve received so many “get it, girl!” texts, Facebook messages and in-person compliments that I am just beside myself. When you’re making a decision day after day to live better, you need support.

A few more things I’ve realized in the past few weeks:

  • Three meals a day are no good. Before I started this, I had three meals a day. ANDDDD also a snack whenever I was hungry. We’re talking vending machine bags of chips and Pop Tarts. Then I realized (after several friends informed me) that I couldn’t keep that up. So now I plan to eat 5-6 times a day. Here’s a look at my day now: Breakfast: I have a breakfast bar as soon as I get into work; Mid-breakfast: generally a Greek yogurt; Lunch: I’m pretty boring with this, so it’s usually just a sandwich, Baked Lay’s and string cheese; Mid-afternoon: a sweet something; Dinner: this is always varied, but fish and chicken are generally my go-tos; Evening snack: sometimes I have some calories left, sometimes I don’t, so this is always flexible as well.
  • Have someone check up on you. Like I said before, the encouragement is a huge thing. A friend from college offered to check in on me, and now she’s the person I text whenever I know I NEED to hit the gym, but have no desire to. I tell her a time to check in on me, then she does. It’s simple, but it works. I hate not following through, so now I do it. And she usually texts me a photo of Ryan Gosling as a reward after, so that works.
  • It gets hard. I’ve had difficult days. Days I wanted to give this all up. Days I did not go to the gym. Weekends I went out of town and didn’t make the best choices with food. But you know what? I kept reminding myself of the photo I posted above. And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to wait until Monday or the next day or anything to get back on track. You can do it now. That’s what I force myself to do. Now. Not later. Now.
  • You’ll find yourself. I KNOW. Corny. But it’s so true. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am finding how far I can go, what I’m capable of, so forth. Every time I complete a workout, that’s more than the two-months-ago Molly would have accomplished. I’m so much stronger than I gave myself credit for. For the first time in a LONG time, I feel a strong confidence coming from within me. Because I CAN do it. And I will.
  • People are awesome. Like I said above, encouragement is the #1 key to me continuing down this path. And I’ve been so wonderfully surprised to find my blog posts/Facebook statuses are actually meaning something to other people, when originally they were just to keep me going/accountable. People have told me I’m an inspiration to them, which blows my mind. I am humbled. But those words just motivate me to work harder.
  • I’ve lost 13 lbs. so far! So very exciting.

If any of you are also motivated to exercise/eat better, just let me know if you need me to check in on you. I’d be thrilled to pass on the encouraging words.

Daily Life

Progress

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Daily Life, explanation, Funny stuff, Uncategorized

2013, I’ve got big plans for you

So here we are. We all made it to 2013. And for the first time probably ever, I’m PUMPED about getting to a new year. A fresh slate, new opportunities, all that jazz. Normally I hit New Year’s Eve and am a bit depressed because I hate letting go of Christmas and admitting the holidays are basically over. But this year I was ready and excited.

And the reason why? Here’s a quick look at why 2013 should be a great year. Why I’m motivated. Why I’m optimistic. I don’t like calling all these things “resolutions,” because I feel like that gives them a title that makes them easy to toss away once I’m bored with them. So they’re not resolutions; they are aspirations. Goals. Things I will MAKE happen.

* I’m working out. This is HUGE for me. I’ve always hateddddddd working out, mostly because I hate attempting to make the commitment and then failing at it after awhile. But recently my mom really pushed for us all to sign up for a family gym membership so we could all get healthy together. And I was really, really resisting it. Didn’t want to fail again. Didn’t want to pretend that I was excited about this. But then the flip switched in my head when my friend Christyn asked me to be a bridesmaid in her April wedding. Suddenly, it all made sense. Of COURSE I want to look good in that dress. Of course I want to be healthier. So I’ve hit the gym five times in the past week. And I actually LIKE going. It’s a crazy world we live in.

* I’m going to run/walk a 5K in September. It’s going to happen. And it’s not just any 5K I’m prepping for–it’s the coolest.

* I’m going to a bridesmaid. And I’m waaaayyyy excited about that.

* On a similar note, I’m making a return trip to Brownsville! You didn’t think it’d be that easy to get rid of me, did you?

* I’m also hoping for a return trip to South Carolina sometime this year. It’s been way too long since I saw my college friends. There’s also hopefully going to be a Collegian (my college’s newspaper) reunion, too. Because those people are the people I miss the most, basically.

* Alissa should come to visit. My former college roommate, Alissa, has promised a visit sometime this year. Which means I’ll have someone to share a closet with for a week. She’s the best.

* I’m going to get my finances under control. I basically have been winging it financially for waaaayyyy too long. 2013 is the year to change all that.

* I’m going to read more. My goal is to make it through five non-fiction and five fiction books this year. That may sound like a piddly mark, but that’d be BIG for me. I read all day at work, cut me a bit of slack!

And that basically sums it all up. If any of you have workout, budgeting, etc. tips, let me know in the comments!

I’ll leave you with this bit of inspiration which also helped me hit the gym.
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Daily Life

Dentists and other awfulness

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Attribution: Spaarnestad Photo, via Nationaal Archief. (The girl in the back shares my fear of dentists.)

Today I went to the dentist. Really, the only good thing for me about going to the dentist is being done with the dentist and then not having to go for another six months.

Lots of people say, “Oh, it’s not a big deal.” And while I have never had a cavity, it is still a traumatic, awful experience for me. Let’s break down all the reasons why dentists are the worst/why I don’t get them:

1) They always make you feel awful, no matter what. “Someone’s not flossing much, huh?”, “Do you sleep with your mouth open?”, “I make so much more money than you do.” OK, they never say that one out loud, but I’m sure they think it inside.
2) The noises those instruments make! I think a horrible inventor decided one day to make a high-powered polisher, but then cackled evilly and decided to make the polisher in a way so it makes the most high-pitched noise possible. That way, the inventor thought, they’ll be miserable AND think their teeth are being sawed through!
3) The in-office flossing could be used to torture suspects into confessions, I’m sure of it. The military just hasn’t realized that yet.
4) The taste of latex gloves in your mouth has to be one of the worst. No questions asked.
5) Correct me if I’m wrong, but teeth scraping is possibly the only thing we’re subject to listen to as it works its magic. Antibiotics? Don’t hear those disintegrating in your stomach as they go to attack that infection. Ice packs? Don’t have to listen as it takes down the swelling from your bruised knee or whatever. But the scraping of the teeth has to be the worst. I’m convinced my teeth are chipping apart as they go.
6) The bib. First, it makes you feel like a baby again. Second, having to see everything from your mouth that they wiped off on it during your appointment? Gag me.

That’s the short list. Dentists are icky.

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Daily Life

Little Red Riding Hood highlights and haircuts

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Unintentionally, this blog post is all about hair. Don’t hate me for it.

The above photo is what happened post-barbecue with friends last night. True to our group’s spirit, spontaneity happened and Albert ended up getting his hair buzzed off by Jovan, then Jovan got his buzzed by Eunice. While all that craziness was happening, Mel and I were in the other room watching wedding dance videos, as David and Mel’s wedding is a whole three weeks away! And because it’s fun.

Today was my turn for one of my favorite activities in the world: getting my hair done. A little bit of pampering, girl talk, and a new look at the end of it all is always a great way to spend a few hours.

A little history on my haircut tendencies: I am always spontaneous and up for anything when it come to my hair, so I used to just walk into a random Supercuts hours after deciding I was sick of my hair. I would Google “hairstyles,” print a photo out, and march in with it. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a haircut I’ve received, honestly.

But then I found my twin in my hair dresser here. She is beyond fantastic and takes a vision I have and turns it into something even better. I had red highlights put in last time I visited her, so today it was time to bring them back, much to our excitment (and my mom’s possible long-distance chagrin). She decided she’d give me “Little Red Riding Hood” highlights, which just sounded cool. Below is the end result. The streak of good haircuts and colors continues!

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