Happy Birthday to Me: A thought on being 27

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If you asked me a year ago (my 26th birthday) where I’d be on my 27th birthday, my answer would probably not be where I actually ended up.  Last year I was living in my grandfather’s house, so while I was technically living alone, I was not on my own.  I look back on the last year..well really on the last 6 months, and can’t believe what a whirlwind it has been.  Out of nowhere my best friend put a ring on my finger and whisked me away from Illinois to actually be on my own (well, on our own, as I’m only out here because of him), I found a voice teaching job and am now less than two months away from marrying the love of my life.  At this time last year did I think I’d end up here by now?  Not at all.

Erik and I were regularly talking about rings and someday getting engaged, but he had this “rule” about how we needed to live in the same state before we got engaged, just to make sure we worked as well no-distance as we did long distance.  As irritated as I was by this (as I didn’t see any way I was getting to where he was anytime in the future), I understood, and after much emotional fighting with myself, I decided to let go and let God choose the timing of things.  Man, do things get easier when you decide to do that.  Somehow, that rule got changed, my surprise proposal happened and the tornado happened, and now I’m definitely over the rainbow (yeah, I went there.  People who know me understand my Oz obsession).

I’m regularly blown away by how I got here: the dramatic and romantic way it happened, how it feels like we’ve always been together like this, and how baffled I am every time Erik and I tell our story to new people when we’re at socials and parties.  The way people regularly respond (shock, amazement, etc) reminds me of how awesomely blessed I am for having this relationship work the way it has.  Thank God for all of his blessings.

This is my first birthday away from my family (unless you count college, which was an hour away, so it doesn’t count in my mind), and it’s kind of weird knowing I’m not doing anything.  Not that we have done anything that spectacular the past few years (two years ago, right before we started dating, Erik was actually in town to see me and took me out for my birthday), but I’m still getting used to the whole not being around for normal life things that I’ve been around for the last 26 years.  Christmas will be even weirder. I’ve done the exact same thing every single year, and this year I’ll be in Florida with Erik’s family.  I’ll be able to wear a sundress if I want to.. that’s mind blowing.

I haven’t made a big deal about my birthday for awhile now.  I don’t really think it’s necessary.  I love getting a few nice presents and having an occasion to get the family to get together and go out, but I don’t need anything spectacular.  Even for my 21st birthday my friends and I went out to a bar, those of us that could drink had a drink, and I went back to the dorm to do homework.

Every year I do think about how big of a deal birthdays used to be, with themed parties and cakes and a wish list full of toys that get played with for a month or so before becoming another forgotten thing in the playroom. I vaguely remember these huge birthday parties.  I remember various Disney princess themed cakes (Belle and Ariel) and a Power Rangers birthday party (yeah, I was that girl), a spa sleepover party when I was 13, and after that I don’t recall what exactly was done for my birthdays.  One year in high school I had two friends spend the night and we watched movies.  I can’t even recall if I did anything for my 18th birthday.  Is that sad?

Instead, I use my birthday as an excuse to treat myself a little.  I’m expecting my Erin Condren Life Planner by the end of the week, and that was my big gift this year (thanks to my aunt), because I wanted it.  A planner!  Man that makes me feel old.  Tonight’s big exciting birthday plans: curl up on the couch with my wonderful fiancé and make him sit through “The Proposal” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Renolds.  One of my all time favorite feel good chick flicks.  Maybe we will even go out to dinner so I don’t have to cook..and you know what? That is enough.

The Lord has blessed me in SO many ways throughout my life, that merely getting to another birthday some days feels like a miracle in and of itself.  The fact that I am here, less than two months away from marrying my best friend, living life the way it has turned out is the icing on top of a pretty epic birthday cake.  I’ve always felt so far behind on things, and now I feel like I’m finally catching up.

I can’t wait to see what blessings the next year will bring.  Whatever they happen to be, I know they will be amazing with Erik by my side and our new life together ahead. God is good.

To those of you who have taken the time to read this and/or to wish me a happy birthday, thank you.  It is because of the friends and family I have that I am the woman I am today.

 

Be happy, my friends.

A Weekend With Me: Saturday

It was one of those mornings where 8 hours of sleep just didn’t feel like enough.  The snooze alarm and I meet frequently, though only once today.  I had a lot to accomplish today.

Just like yesterday I got up (dragged myself begrudgingly is more like it), made some tea and sat down for some quiet time with my prayer journal and God.  My thoughts today were on the phrase “Love is patient” but not talking about love between Erik and I (though we have had many lessons in that verse), but I thought about it in regards to my relationship with God.  With a task list of many things whirling through my head, it was very easy for me to sit down and have the mindset of this writing time as a task I should speed though, check off and move on.  ..which of course is the completely wrong approach.  It takes effort to sit and focus on a task such as heartfelt prayer; to get all of the “to dos” to quiet down for a second and give me time to spend with the Lord.  Things change when you don’t treat prayer as a chore, but more like having morning coffee with a close friend.  Enjoy the conversation.

 

Meal time!  Breakfast today was brought to me by Suja juice.  They’re organic, cold pressed juices that are really delicious and super nutritious.  Since juices count as Points I had to account for the nutrition info, despite the fact the only ingredients are organic fruits and veggies, so it cost 4 Points Plus.  I love everything about these juices except the price.  At $8 a bottle at Whole Foods, they’re definitely treated as a special way to spoil myself every so often.  I’d love to try their 3 day cleanse someday, when I actually have that kind of money to spend on something  like yummy juice.

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I went on a cleaning rampage making sure things were neat and dusted, including my bedroom (Erik’s room I don’t touch.  That he can deal with on his own..) so my man would have a beautiful apartment to come home to.  I wrote “Happy Sweetest Day” on our dry erase board, grabbed a south beach diet bar (we don’t follow the diet, but the nutritional content is impressive) and was out the door for my last visit to the various cat-filled apartments.  Frank was chatty as always.  He stood on the breakfast bar and started nibbling on my hairline playfully when I was paying more attention to my texts than to him.  He is a pretty awesome kitty.  Then I went to Katie’s to check up on the monsters, and she ended up coming home while I was there.  Kitty-sitting missions accomplished.  Now i am back to no fur babies to love on.  At least I get to go see my 4 dogs in less than a week.  I’m looking forward to some love from them.

I ran out of time to actually go to the gym (which I decided was okay since my ActiveLink sat satisfied at 50% already from my running around) so I went back to the apartment to get ready for my Weight Watchers Innovations event.  It’s the get together where the employees learn what new and exciting things are coming to the program.   While I was in the process of beautifying myself I got emails saying packages had come.  Turns out a package from home (including some Halloween decorations ) and my Bulu Box had arrived.  Expect my Bulu Box post within the next few days.

The receptionist at my Thursday meeting, Sharon, and the leader from today’s meetings were letting me tag along with them so I didn’t have to drive.  We went to an Embassy Suites where we enjoyed a late afternoon lunch and a presentation on whats to come.   Obviously I am not going to say anything about it here…sorry to those who thought I’d tell you. :-p

Check out the menu.  I wish every menu came like this, with the Points Plus values written right there.

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..now that I look at the pic I’m not entirely sure you can read that..

9 Points for the entire lunch/dinner, and that included dessert!

have I mentioned how nice it is to eat at Weight Watchers functions? 🙂

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(there was a salad too, but I forgot to take a pic of it)

After Innovations I came home to find Erik’s stuff, but no Erik.  Apparently he went out for a run which made for an anti-climatic arrival home, but eventually he came back.  We caught up with each other a bit and now he’s unpacking while I write my post.

The rest of the evening is going to be quite eventful: Curled up on the couch in sweats and the arms of my love, watching Pirates of the Caribbean (# 3 I think..) so we can continue to play the Lego version of the movie on Playstation.  See? Eventful! (I hope you can sense the sarcasm).  We’re nerds, we know it, and we aren’t afraid to show it :-p

Have a blessed Saturday evening my friends.  Stay warm, stay safe, and be happy!

A Weekend with Me: Friday

The sun was actually shining when I got out of bed this morning (at 9.  It’s my day off..might as well sleep in after being up til 2) for a change.  Of course, it didn’t last long, but as I went about my day  it came and went.

The best way to start the day is sitting down with a pen, my prayer journal, and God. I find that writing down my prayers gives me more satisfaction sometimes than just saying them.  It helps me to really focus in on what I’m doing and my bonding with God.  He deserves so much more than what I give him, so when I have the time in the morning, I do my best to spend some extra special conversation time with him.  The only journal I’ve ever actually completed was a prayer journal that I started when things started getting serious with Erik.  Look where that got me 🙂  God is so good!  I try to make sure He knows I appreciate Him.

When I have the time I like to catch up on reading some of the blogs I follow and watching some of my favorite Youtubers.  Then I went to visit one of my kitty-sitting jobs, Frank.  He welcomed me with lots of noise.  It was like he was trying to tell me all about his evening.  I couldn’t help but laugh at him.

Meal Time!  Trader Joe’s Fat Free Greek Yogurt in Strawberry.  I have tried the pumpkin and pomegranate yogurt by TJ’s as well, and it is a bit more tart than I’m used to. I will probably be sticking to my Yoplait. TJ’s yogurt was 3 Points Plus.

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One of the reasons I watch You Tube is to actually get inspired to do something.  Today’s project was a deep cleaning of all of my makeup brushes.  To get them really, truly clean, it just takes a few household products and a little bit of time.

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The creamy stuff in the bowl is a combo of about 2 parts Dawn to 1 part extra virgin olive oil.  I got the antibacterial soap because makeup brushes tend to be a zoo full of bacteria, which can cause acne (one of my big problems), so it’s better to take the little extra precaution.  The olive oil does two things; not only does it help condition the bristles, but the oil actually acts as an amazing makeup remover, especially on foundation and concealer brushes.  Oil cleanses for the face are all the rage right now, and this would be why.  I just dip the dirty brush into the bowl, run a little luke-warm water on it and swirl the brush on my hand.  Then, as I’m running it through the water I squeezed the brushes until the milky color was gone.  They are now sitting on a towel on my counter drying, and they look as clean as the day I got them.  This is the first time I tried the oil/soap combo method, and it will be the one I continue to use.

Snack Break!  1 cup of frozen strawberries, some water and a Weight Watchers Protein Smoothie (chocolate) for a 2 Points Plus snack with a 10g protein kick.  Delicious!

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After spending some time with the other kitties (Rosie actually cuddled for a minute today..that only took 5 days.. ), it was cleaning, which included a run to the recycling bin and garbage bin, which are located at opposite ends of the complex.  Today I didn’t mind because it was an extra walk, which means I’m closer to filling up my Active Link (success happened around 7:00pm).

Lunch: Progresso Light cheesy potato with bacon. 5 Points Plus for the entire can

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I started reading a new book on the Elliptical today (and no, it isn’t Wicked): Starbucked.  Obviously you can figure out what it’s about, but based on the intro (which was several pages) it sounds like it will be a very business oriented book.  Right off the bat it started talking about how Starbucks started the coffee house revolution and how opening two locations across the street from one another turned out to be an experimental success that explains why it isn’t surprising to find two or 3 locations right by each other.  Sounds like it will be interesting, especially to a Starbucks addict like myself. I am thankful that the library has ebook loans.

 

Today on LUSH’s website the Christmas tab showed up.  I got all excited, and in honor of Lush and their (unreasonably early) Christmas spirit, I took a bath (which I never do) to use up the last of my Lush bath bombs.  I still had some from two Christmases ago.  Yikes.  I don’t like to stay in the tub long, but it smelled nice and my skin was super soft, which are two things LUSH products are known for.

After one more visit to Frank I will be settling in for an evening of poking at Pinterest, other computer tasks and taking advantage of Netflix.

I did go to Whole Foods to find myself  a dinner, and I have to share this wickedly sinful looking, but not sinful combo I found.

 

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The whole pizza (yes, it has no cheese.  Still delicious) is only 4 Points Plus and (I splurged on Arctic Zero because I wanted to try it) the entire pint of ice cream is only 3 Points Plus.  Pizza and ice cream, 7 Points total.  Go ahead…misbehave a little 😉

That’s all for today, friends.  Tomorrow I have a Weight Watchers event where I learn what changes are coming to the program.  Very exciting stuff (hopefully!)

Sweet dreams!

 

 

A Thought on Forgiveness

Yesterday Erik and I were Skyping with his pastor from Florida for session two of pre-marital counseling.  It started with a discussion on giving and finances, which I’m sure usually takes longer with most couples, but since I’m marrying a finance man I am willing to let him manage our finances when we’re married; easy topic.  Then we started talking about making sure we know each other’s expectations, and after some discussion on that we got on the topic of forgiveness.

 

We all know that forgiveness is a really important thing for everyone.  At some point every person will have to forgive, and every person will do something for which they will need to be forgiven.  This should not be news to any of us. Pastor said that some of the most difficult words for a person to say are “Will you forgive me?” and I definitely do not disagree.  Those words hold an admittance of being wrong and it is quite likely an acknowledgment (both to the person and yourself) that you realize your wrongness has hurt that person in some way.  This puts us in a very uncomfortable and vulnerable  state, which humans hate. Never the less, it is crucial that we forgive and ask forgiveness.

As Christians, we ask the Lord for forgiveness often, and by his grace he forgives us all of our sins.  Why then is it so hard for humans to forgive other humans??  God has forgiven each and every one of us for something far worse than whatever you are holding against another person right now.  My “ah ha” moment during our session yesterday happened when Pastor called our attention to the words in the Lords prayer that I’ve said hundreds, maybe thousands of times in my life and gave this line a deeper meaning:

…Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…

 

AH HA!

Something I have always known but never really thought about.  The Lord will happily, graciously, and mercifully forgive us each and every one of our sins if we ask for it, as we forgive others.  We can not get away with sinning and getting forgiveness from God while refusing to forgive our family, friends, coworkers and whoever else has sinned against us.  That is not fair and that is not Christian.

Forgiveness and grace and things of the like have been things that Erik and I regularly are learning to practice with each other.  Posts like this are not me getting on a soap box and lecturing others to “be more like me” or declare my being better than the rest of you.  Quite the opposite actually.  I post things like this, and will continue to do so (both religious based and not) as almost a public declaration of “I just realized how I could be better and I wanted to put it out to the world to inspire you to do the same.”  When creating a goal, research shows that those who write it down are more likely to succeed, so I am not only writing it down, but putting it out there in front of the eyes of the world wide web.

Anyway, there’s my two cents for the day.  Forgive others as the Lord graciously forgives us.  Be happy 🙂

Happy Monday, friends.