Saturday, January 26

Keeping Up With The Joneses

     Ok, you've become a kid again and you just can't wait to be 5, 10, 13, 16, 21, etc. (Do you look forward to birthdays as much when you get past 21? I think yes and Jon thinks no...) Anyway, you can't wait to wear make-up like "Susie" or shoot hoops as good as "Jimmy". You're dying to be old enough to get a car like "Roger" and attend the same college as "Brittany". We all wanted or still want to be like someone or to be doing something that the "Joneses" are doing like getting married, starting an orphanage, or traveling the world. There's always someone else's life we look at and dream about. Maybe they have the perfect family, make more money, have cooler friends, or are seemingly closer to Jesus than you are. But, there's something we've all got to realize and that is, we will never be the Joneses if we are trying to keep up with the Joneses.
     You've got a purpose and a specific life to live. There's no point in trying to live someone else's life or living in your own past/future. I keep realizing over and over and over again, throughout eight months and one day of marriage, how important it is to live inside each moment and turn them all into something special.
     The other day I was looking back at pictures on my phone of me and Jon and I can't believe how many memories and laughs and jokes we've already shared! We've gotten married, visited Jamaica, moved a few times, had countless dates, some anniversaries, gone ice skating on a lake, had our first Christmas, surprised each other with gifts, taken walks, sang songs, attempted to make homemade salt and vinegar potato chips, and more! It inspires me to think back to those sweet times and know we made the most of each second. And that we are still making the choice to live as if there is no tomorrow. It's a daily choice to really listen and consider someone else's opinions. It's a choice to go on walks and be happy and read books and have ice cream dates. I believe it's important to celebrate your marriage and your spouse, to look to your own family for inspiration and direction, to enjoy the gifts God has given you personally.
     Who cares about the Joneses?! Let's make a commitment to be the Joneses! Make your life, family, job, or school the one you look up to, the one you desire.
     Let's celebrate!

Wednesday, January 23

Algae Free for Me

     Lately I've been realizing how much of a country girl I really am. I spent most of my childhood living on five acres in a suburb of a suburb. It took thirty minutes to get to Wal-Mart, twenty for church, and fifteen to the nearest gas station. Our little "town" had one stoplight, a movie rental store, Italian restaurant, and county jail/post office. On July 4th, 4-H made up most of the parade. ;)
     On a whole I loved living there but I didn't (and still don't) really appreciate living in the middle of nowhere and I don't quite have a knack for country life. So when I say I'm a country girl I just mean it in the way that I think and do things. For instance, every time somebody turns on a garbage disposal I still freak out and think "Oh no! They didn't clear all the food out first! It's going to get cloooggedd!! NNnnNooOOOo!" Or when we were growing up we joked half seriously about using only three squares of toilet paper per wipe and to this day, believe it or not!, I still use only three squares. It is almost unfathomable to me how city people don't need a whole weekend to do their outside chores. No one knows what a crick (creek) is and they don't save their egg cartons to give back to the neighbors who raise the chickens.
     Talk about a whole new world! Whew, it's incredible! Jon has been helping me adjust and loosen up a little bit so I now run eggs and bread crumbs through the disposal and I don't have a spasm if that extra half of a square goes into the toilet. But this has all got me thinking about how much change we go through in life that requires adaptation.
     As individuals we change, our environment changes, the people we know change...etc. Without change we would never grow, never become the individuals we were meant to be. I remember thinking one time how I wished everything in my life would just stay the same forever. Then before I could turn around twice everything had changed and I felt like I was stumbling around in the dark searching for a way to adapt and get my head above water again. My only comfort and stability was God. He's the one thing that is ever constant. We can go through a move, have children grow and leave the house, start a new hobby, get a salary cut, lose a best friend, have constant car trouble, or start a family and we will have a chance to develop and grow or shrivel up and die.
     Right now I want you to picture a pond of water in a meadow. It has green trees and lush grass with wild flowers growing around it. Birds are swooping down from a clear blue sky to grab insects dancing on the water. A deer comes for a drink and scares away the little frog family sunning themselves on a log. You have been absorbing all the beauty and serenity from a distance, but now you move forward. As you take a closer look at the pond you notice there is no sun glittering on the water, in fact, as you lean over, you notice it reflects nothing at all. The water is vile and smells retched with some sort of slimy fungus growing on it. This pond is stagnant.
     My mom always used to ask me what happened to water if it was never moving, never "growing" or "expanding". Well of course it becomes stagnant. And then she would say that that is kind of what happens to us if we are never learning or growing. We would become stagnant like the pond if nothing ever reached in and caused a stirring every once in a while. We need the wind to blow to keep the "algae" away otherwise how are we to reflect the Son?
     So keep your head up and don't be afraid to laugh in the face of change. It's ok to enjoy life while the wind is blowing.
     Live. Laugh. Love.

Friday, January 11

Geography Goof

We started out talking about something going on at the White House and Jon happened to ask me if I knew whether the White House was in Washington State or D.C. and well... the rest is history. ;)

"Hm, you know, I've never really thought about that, but my gut tells me it's in Washington State."
*slight grin* "Now, are you sure? I would hate for you to be wrong about this."
"Well considering D.C. is on the East Coast in Connecticut somewhere and gets hit by tsunamis all the time, I'm still gonna have to go with Washington State."
*burst out laughing* "Nope! It's in D.C.! Haha, Babe, how do you not know this?!
"What?! How come no one ever told me! When people say 'the President will be flying down' I always imagined he came from Washington State!"
"Lol, no he comes from D.C. Now, do you know what D.C. stands for? *eyebrow raise*
"Uuuhhhhh... direct...court? *sheepish grin*
"No, good guess though. It means District of Columbia."
*gasp!* "Colombia is in the U.S.?! That's so unethical!"
"Colombia is a country in South America."
"Like Mexico?"
"Well kinda. Mexico is a part of North America so its kinda the same. Do you know any geography at all haha? What's the capitol of Alaska?
"Wow ok, what about Missouri?"
"Uh, I only know the important ones like Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, Oklahoma, New York, and... France."
"You're kidding! What about countries or continents, do you know any of those?"
"There are seven seas!"
"You have to know this stuff! Ok, uh, what continent is Japan part of?"
"Lol nope. What if I were to say they are Asian?"
"Oh! Oh! I know! Asia!"
"Good! What about Hong Kong?"
"This is worse than I thought. Ok, I'm gonna throw a hard one at you. Have you ever heard of Liverpool?"
"Oh please! Come on, Babe, seriously... Don't make stuff up on me."
"Lovely, I would never joke with you about geography because you are already so lost that there's no way the damage could be undone."

There are few things I can blame on being homeschooled but horrible geography skills is definitely one of them. ;) Not my fault!

Tuesday, January 8

Our New Year!

     I had one of the best Christmases ever this year! It was my first Christmas as a married woman and my first Christmas splitting time between two families and traditions but I loved every minute of it! Jon and I flew into Albuquerque and went straight to Garcia's, a Mexican food restaurant, because Colorado is definitely lacking in the green and red chile department. Plus, it was on our list of favorite restaurants that we absolutely had to eat at while in New Mexico. Man, you seriously never know you miss something 'til you don't have it anymore!                                                                                       It was great to see both of our families and catch up on life. We went shopping, hung out downtown, and took my sister's senior portraits. Jon tried chicherones for the first time and we played the family tradition games like "Catch Phrase", "Spoons", "BS", and "Four on a Couch" with everyone.                                                                            For Christmas I surprised Jon with some metal ice cubes that keep your drink cool without watering it down and also a long board! He had no idea about the long board because I bought and shipped it without him even knowing, so when I pulled a huge box out of the closet it was quite the surprise! I loved seeing the shock and joy on his face as he opened it up and proclaimed it "one of the best Christmas presents ever!" He got me a Nook Reader, a diamond earring and necklace set, bathroom scents, and then we came together and bought an Apple laptop to share!                              When it was time to leave there were definitely some tears shed. I had to laugh because I never used to cry but now that I've gotten older the word "goodbye" just sends me into hysterics! (Trust me, it was a good thing you weren't there lol) I guess sentiment really does come with age.                                                                                                                    On the way home I was thinking about this past year and all that has happened in my life; I am just blown away! 2012 began as amazing and ended as incredible. I've matured a lot in the past twelve months and I'm glad that it was my year to transform into a true adult and live in the real world. This was my year to grow in character and also enjoy some of the greatest blessings I will ever receive. This was my year to get homesick, to marry my best friend and become a wife, to visit a different country, and spread my wings and fly. This was my year to really develop me.                            New Years was a little quiet for my taste, but it was good and here we all are, once again, trying to remember to write '13 instead of '12 and telling everyone "Next year I'll be 22!" (even though I'm only 20 right now. See if you can figure that one out) ;)                                                                                Anyway I've decided I don't really believe in new year resolutions because I don't think I know one person that actually keeps those commitments. Besides, I think its good to reevaluate life (i.e. how you're doing, is there anything you should do differently, habits to make or break) on a more frequent basis, but I do like thinking about the upcoming year as a whole and what I think the new year will bring.                            Now a few years ago, a friend and I decided we were each going to come up with three words that we believed were going to describe the general outcome and overall feel that this certain new year would bring. Basically, we came up with what we thought the next year was going to be like. We started thinking of words like fun, exciting, growing, adventurous, full of surprises, challenging, and things like that. Well, I thought long and hard about my three words because they were going to be written down in The Journal to look at a year from then to see how well I had guessed. Before I go on I have to explain that The Journal is very sacred and if something makes it into the journal (whew!) you know its got to be good! So, after careful consideration my three words were stretching, life-changing, and interesting. I admit, after that year, I swore I was never going to do that again! But who knew that I'd jinx myself with only three little words, but I did and it was the hardest, most devastating year of my life! I had the worst experience with men, lost my best friend, got "let go" (twice), spent my 18th birthday alone (except for one special friend), moved away from home, and a whole bunch of other things. Everything bad that could have happened did happen, oh but trust me when I tell you it was very interesting year. I was definitely stretched and my life was forever changed!                                                                                                           Well this year, I decided to give it another go because maybe with Jon I would have better luck. So we talked and we came up with two words for this year. They are successful and rewarding. Sounds much better doesn't it. ;) We just bought our first new-to-us car this week so we are off to a great start! And in all honesty we really do feel that that is how this year is going to turn out for us.
       I want to challenge you to come up with a word (or a few) that you think is going to sum up this next year for you. You can even expand and make it something you would like to develop in yourself during the next year.  One year my word was my own name. I had learned that it meant "Strong in Virtue" and I wanted to really find out what that meant for me as a person.
If you do this feel free to keep it to yourself or share but know that this can be challenging, for sure, but it does yield great results if you let it. Good or bad, we are not defined by circumstances, but by how we react to them and the life we create in spite of them.

Happy New Year!