Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Biggest Loser

I'm way behind....I realize this now.

Season 12 is the first season for me to watch The Biggest Loser.

I've been so impressed with the show that in the meantime I've been going back and watching all of Season 11 as well. I'm sure I'll work my way back and watch more seasons.

But there has been a switch to take place in my mind after watching this show.

I've never been happy with my weight. As far back as I can remember. Maybe even back to 7th or 8th grade. I don't think I've ever looked in a mirror and just been thrilled with what I've seen (except for maybe after my 3 week fast...and that's just not right.)

What I see in the mirror is SO different than what is actually truth.

In 2006 I became serious about working out. In college I worked out maybe 1 or 2 times a week- but nothing serious. In 2006 I became a gym rat. Every morning....in the evening....ALL THE TIME. 6 days a week.

Yet I never got to a place where I felt I looked good.

Both of my sisters are skinnier than me- and truth be told- they are the 2 measuring models I hold myself too. So that instantly creates a bit of drama every time I'm around my family and sisters. Because while I might not just outright tell them, there has always been an underlying tension when I'm around my sisters...whom I love DEARLY and would do anything for them.

But when I see my sisters- I see the measuring stick. And I never measure up.

When a sister calls and says "I've lost 15 lbs!!" or any type of thing- I instantly think "WHAT?!?!?!  HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!!?!? I do everything I can and that is NEVER a phone call I've been able to make. And then the 'measuring stick' gets more and more hard to measure up to.

I started watching the Biggest Loser Season 12 from episode 1 when girls were weighing in at 250, 270, 300, 315 pounds.

And to be very honest with you- looking at them on the scale....THAT is how I view myself when I look in the mirror. I see myself as a 250, 270, 300, 315 pound person. Now. I KNOW that's not truth- but that's what I see when I look in the mirror. It's not even CLOSE to the truth.

So to go through the progression of watching this season- I keep thinking to myself "DANG!!!! These girls look SO good!" as they are shedding pounds. And then I would think "wait. I weigh less than them. So if they look good at ____ weight....Why don't I think I look good at ____ weight which is still less than them?"

Yeah. It's messed up.

I go to the gym still. I run. I am in the gym 4 times a week- sometimes more. Sometimes less. I eat healthy. I have a juicer. I drink water. I make good food decisions.

I feel like after having watched Biggest Loser 11 and 12 some scales are being removed from my vision. When I look in the mirror- I'm starting to see myself for the size I really am. My mirrors in my apartment are NOT the crazy house mirrors. They are not adding 150 lbs, which I like to think they do.

I don't think I'm at a place where everything is all better, my self esteem is at an all time high- or I am completely at peace with my self and my body, but. I have to say. My vision is shifting.

Thank you, Biggest Loser.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Pitiful Story

Last week I made plans with a couple of co-workers for them to come over to my apartment for dinner. You people know me...I'm always hosting and cooking. And just because I live in a new state and city doesn't mean I still can't do that here.

sidenote***
(I'm well aware that a few of my coworkers might be reading this blog...and I'm well aware that this is going to make me sound pitiful...But i'm willing to risk that for the sake of my OTHER readers who care to know how i'm doing in Tally)

So last week when I made the plans I was stoked. My place was decorated for Christmas and what good are Christmas trees, beautiful decorations, and Christmas music without people to share it with?!?! I had a spot for 3 people at my table so I invited 3 people. (one is not a coworker- but family of one of the coworkers)

The plan was for them to come over on Thursday night.

Well. Wednesday afternoon/evening I began to feel the effects of food poisoning. I got home from the gym and felt miserable. Thursday morning I woke up feeling the same way....BUT. As I was about to email my boss to tell her I'd be out sick, I realized that if I were to be home 'sick' then my coworkers would NOT come over to my place for dinner!!!  And I knew I wasn't contagious sick and 'dont' be around me' sick....but just FOOD freaking POISONING sick....

So. I did what any crazy insane person would do. I went to work.
I don't know if many of you have ever had food poisoning but it is NOT fun. And to  be at WORK with food poisoning? Yeah, that's awful.

When I talked to my sister, Lisa, and explained WHY I was at work, she responded "Minda! That's just pitiful."

Yes, yes I know.

But it's not often I have people coming over to my apartment here in Tally and I didn't want to miss out.

SO. Got home from work on Thursday, made dinner, got the apartment all ready and had my coworkers over. I'd made appetizers, homemade soup, mini apple pies for dessert and had a great time.

But the moment that door shut on their way out, let me tell you. It was not pretty, folks. :-) (<-- i only put a smiley face there to make that sentence not seem so horrible.)

I went to bed and woke up Friday morning STILLLLLL feeling awful. I called in sick and stayed home. Like I SHOULD have done on Thursday.

So. I'm mostly back to normal today.

I think :-)

And to those who will see me this weekend or any time in the near future....I wasn't SICK so don't feel like you have to avoid me :-)
 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Opening a Conversation

I'd like to open a conversation with you.

I've read 2 articles recently that have got me thinking.

And a blog is one way to open a conversation that invites response, yes?

So here goes.

If you leave a comment- make sure to click the button that says "email follow up responses" so you can stay part of the convo. (I know, blogspot needs to get better about this, but for now- just click the box.)

Here is article number 1: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/digital-issue/53?page=66

Here is article number 2: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/27/why-young-christians-arent-waiting-anymore/

There is a new show coming up on TLC called something like "The Virgin Diaries" or something. I have to say. I've watched the preview clips and it is mortifying and embarrassing. If I were 15 and watching- I'd say "Find me the closest guy and let's get it on!" in attempts to not let that be my story. They have made the clips downright horrifying.

Yeah, I'm being honest here.

The statistics are mind-blowing in my opinion.

Are they crazy to you?

Are people still waiting? Are YOU still waiting? If you are married- was this important to you?

Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Up on the rooftop click click click?

While at home this past week for Thanksgiving, Dad and I decided to put up all the outside Christmas lights together. He pulled everything out of the shed, we laid it all out, and began the process.

Dad set the ladder against the roof and went up with the first strand of lights. Once up there, he asked me to go grab the leaf blower, an extension cord, and to climb on up to clear off the roof. I got all the necessary things and plugged in the leaf blower. As I climbed up the ladder, I might mention that my dad needs a new ladder. The ladder I crawled up is the most warped, bent, and scary ladder EVER.

I climbed up and turned on the blower. Being careful with the cord I started in one corner. As I moved across the roof I saw something begin to happen that I could not stop. I started screaming and yelling in hopes that what I was witnessing would somehow not be true.

But no. The screaming did not make it stop. The cord of my leaf blower had snagged around the ladder and when I moved- the ladder did too. And I watched it fall to the ground.

I turned off the leaf blower and just sat on the roof. Dad came around the corner and said "what's wrong?"

I said "did you not hear me screaming?!?!"

"No....what happened?"

Knowing that this information will not make my dad happy I slowly tell him to look at the ladder. As he looks he realizes it's not there. I explained what happened.

His face was incredulous. He said "You're kidding."

No, dad, I was not kidding. He keeps staring at me as though this is a joke. And rightfully so. No one wants to think that they might  be stuck on a roof.

The expression on his face made me start to laugh. And I mean, LAUGH. And when I say "LAUGH" i mean- I almost wet  my pants I was laughing so hard.

Dad asks "do you have your phone with you?"

Nope.

We both realize that we are stuck. We don't have neighbors. We don't have phones. And we don't have a ladder.

As I'm laughing dad is still standing with this look on his face that has me rolling.

Finally I say "we COULD try going through the window." We do have 2 windows on our roof that lead to my old room and Caralyn's old room.

Dad is able to get the screen off, open the window- and tells me "well you've gotta crawl through there cause I'm not!!!"

I crawl through, drop to the floor, and come around and set the ladder back up.

Point of the story- we were both fine- we weren't stuck for long- but after talking with dad later about it- he says the things going through HIS mind were ways he could lasso the cord from the leaf blower around the tree and drop down, using the cord to lasso the ladder back up....you know. He was trying to go all MacGyver on me. I'm so glad I was up there to just offer the most practical option of opening a window. :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

No place like....

I have thoroughly enjoyed living in Florida. REALLY. The town is quaint, my job is fabulous, and my apartment finally feels settled. The beach is close, the weather has been perfect, and overall, living in Florida has been great.


But can I please say I’m so glad to be at home in Paris, TX for this Thanksgiving break. After I’d already accepted the job and had started work, I found out that we were given the entire week of Thanksgiving off!!! Once I learned that- I knew for sure I’d be coming home. Mom and dad made sure of that!!

I know, I’ve only been away from Texas for 35 days and it’s probably too soon for a trip home, but after 35 days like my first 35 days in Tallahassee were, home was a great option.

But let’s back up a little bit.

63 days ago I was offered a job in Tallahassee.

59 days ago I accepted the job and turned in my two weeks notice.

51 days ago mom and I drove out for the first time.

41 days ago I started my new job (In San Fran, no less!)

And 35 days ago I moved to Tallahassee.

Well, let’s add one more in for good measure: 15 days ago- the movers arrived with all my stuff.

That has been a CUH-RAZY past 63 days. I think after all THAT craziness, a trip home was in order.

On my way to the airport yesterday I was thinking about the fact that in a few short hours I’d be getting hugs. Yes, hugs. I’m a hug person. I may or may not judge you on your ability to give a good hug! ;-) But that’s one thing that’s been lacking in Tallahassee. So while driving and thinking about the hugs I’d soon be giving/receiving- I couldn’t help but start to cry. I know that sounds overemotional but really. Living by myself is ok. But you just don’t realize how much you need physical touch until you move away and there is not many people around that you can just give a hug to without them thinking you’re a crazy.

I flew in last night to Dallas where dad picked me up and we made the drive back to Paris.

Excited to spend this Thanksgiving week with the parents and grateful I have the time off. I know good things are in store in this next season.

Oh yeah. And give someone a hug today. Even if THEY don’t need it…you probably do! ;-)

Monday, November 14, 2011

To the crooked...wait, what?!

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while, but just hadn’t felt it was completely formulated in my brain until this past weekend.


The night of my going away party, I had SO many friends share things with me that left me speechless, encouraged, honored, etc. I mean, really. I was blessed.

After the group prayed for me, my friend Benjamin came and shared a verse with me, shedding light on this particular verse that I’d never noticed before.

He read the verse to me, “To the faithful, you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked, you show yourself shrewd.”

During the time in which people were standing up and sharing words about me, the word ‘faithful’ came up almost every time. So I assumed Benjamin was going to highlight that portion of the verse. HA! Was I wrong. He then says “the part that stuck out to me was “but to the crooked, you show yourself shrewd.” Oooh dear Benjamin. You sure got me on that one! Haha :-) I was like “um, ok, explain?”

But what Benjamin was about to explain was nothing short of a sweet revelation from the Lord that I needed to hear.

He went on to eloquently explain that another term that could be used in place of the word ‘shrewd’ would be to ‘one up’ someone. Someone who is shrewd will be sharp and clever. So where the verse says ‘to the crooked, you show yourself shrewd’ could be read as “you wanna be crooked? He will “one-up” you. You will not get it past Him. He can’t be beat.”

Benjamin said (and I paraphrase) “with that in mind….Minda, if you think YOU are faithful (and you are!), know that He can…and WILL- ‘one-up’ you. He is more faithful. He will prove himself even more faithful that YOU could ever be.”

I LOVE that. I really do. LOVE that.

Such a sweet reminder (and reality check!) that my Jesus is not only Faithful, but He will far surpass the faithfulness of anyone. If I think I’M faithful- it’s GOOD news to know that He will always one-up me.

In addition, Benjamin, if I messed up relaying this message the way you meant for it to be relayed- please correct me... :-) But this is what I gleaned from your insight! :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

STAMP!

Yes, it's way past time for a new STAMP! edition. So here you go!

I have a new favorite fall/winter scent from Bath and Body Works. For the past 2 years, I've LOVED making my home smell like Bath and Body Works "Leaves" scent. Seriously. SOOOO good. But. This year. I've found a new favorite. My friends Ashley, Austen, and Shelby got a candle for me for my going away part and I've not only been burning this candle, but I've gone to get another one, purchased the wall flowers in this scent, and also the car scent.  I present to you "Marshmallow Fireside."

Item number two that gets my STAMP! of approval is a brand of shoes. I own 5 pairs of heels that are this particular brand. They are the most comfortable heels I own and can wear them all day without dying! :-) They not only are comfortable but I KNOW this brand. I know that I can always get the exact same size and not worry about if they will fit or not. LOVE them! I present to you: Madden Girl shoes. :-) They will always be found in a purple box. Enjoy!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekend at Party Pier

This weekend will mark 4 weeks of Florida living and I'd yet to see a beach. Figured I'd check that off my list this weekend as I had Friday off. Drove out to Saint George Island which is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Tallahassee. This morning I woke up, made pumpkin pancakes and coffee- then packed my bags. As I was driving- I had a serious "OH MY GOODNESS, Is this REALLLY my life?" moment. :-) The drive was spectacular. Stunning really. And then. I saw the water. I about had a heart attack. This was real. I DO officially live in Florida if I can drive an hour to go hang out at a beach for the day.

I do apologize for the quality of these pictures. But yeah. I got to the turn off which would take me on a bridge about 7 miles long which connected us to the island. Um. Let's read that sentence again. Yeah. I went to an island today! :-) It was pretty chilly this morning (low 40's) but knew it was to warm up. I went in my suit, shorts, and a t-shirt- and took along a fleece jacket. I kept the jacket on most of the morning but took it off later this afternoon when it warmed up a bit more. I spent about 6 hours today- by myself- on a beach. The beach was practically mine. NO ONE was on the beach. I read for a bit. I walked quite a ways. I just sat, staring at the water.

Oh yeah. And here's the jellyfish I saw. I wanted to touch it so bad but didn't know what side was 'safe' to touch. Didn't want to have a "Joey, Monica, Chandler" situation if you know what i mean. :-)

And this. This is where I was when the sun set over the water. I met up with Jaryn & Rynelle, along with their family for the remainder of the evening where we had dinner and watch episodes of Friends :-)
A good day, indeed.

I think I like Florida :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Settling In

Well I guess it's time for an update.

My stuff arrived Friday morning and my boss was gracious enough to give me the day off so I could start unpacking/settling in.

Where as in the past I tend to drag out the unpacking phase for as long as possible- this time I was ready to have it over and done with! I worked all day from 8am-10pm unpacking and moving furniture around.

Around 5:30ish- several guys from the church I've been visiting stopped by to help get a huge load of boxes/trash out to the dumpster for me. They live right around the corner from my place and one of them has a truck so I didn't feel TOO awful by asking! :-) Grateful for their help!!!

At around 7pm, Carl, Jennifer, and Ashley stopped by to hook up my washer/dryer. Their visit was MUCH appreciated as not only did they show up with drinks in hand, they helped me figure out the best way to arrange the furniture in the living room! After we moved furniture around pretty much every way imaginable- we settled on what we thought would be best. Carl was SO amazing to not only hook up the washer and dryer but to take care of other things around the apartment such as securing my locks on the doors, adjusting the laundry room doors, mounting the dustbuster on the wall in the laundry area, etc.

Saturday was spent unpacking more boxes as well and then I got out of my apartment for about 45 minutes to attend the Greek Food Festival that was taking place. Later that evening was the LSU/Bama football game. The church I've been visiting (Emerge Church) is being launched by a team of people from Louisiana who are all HUGE LSU fans. I went over to the pastors house to watch the game with a slew of people wearing purple! :-)

This coming weekend I have a long weekend (Friday I have off for Veteran's Day) and I'm planning to head to a Florida beach to celebrate my first month of Florida living. Colder temps are expected for the weekend so I'm planning to take a blanket, a hoodie, and lots of coffee with me as I sit on the beach. Desperately wishing I could call up a few people from Dallas (or Arizona for that matter) and say "come with me!"

But. Such is life.


Here's a pic of my mantle all dressed and ready for Fall!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Moving Fiasco

The movers are scheduled to be at my apartment today with all of my belongings. I plan to have my camera ready to take pictures of anything that looks damaged or broken.
For those who’ve followed me on Facebook/twitter, you know I’ve been waiting. They picked up my stuff on the 10th of October telling me it would be 7-10 business days before arrival. I was aware of that and totally ok! After they’d had my stuff in their possession 7 days, I thought I’d just give them a quick call to say “Hey, just checking in…Making sure everything is ok…and getting an update on where everything might be.

In no way was I pushy, aggressive, or demanding. Just wanted to check in.

I called the main number where I was prompted with either 4 options.

1. Customer Service

2. Sales

3. Billing

4. Dispatch

I selected option 1….I was given an answering machine. I didn’t leave a message at this point- tried the dispatch option next. Upon selecting #4 I was told “this number is not a working number.”

So at this point, I called the guy I’d originally talked to, Robert. He was in sales.

The response I got was “Ma’am, I don’ know where your stuff is. I’m in the sales department. You need to call dispatch.” I explained to him that particular option was not working on their phone system. He said “Well I cant do anything about that. You have to talk to dispatch.”

Ummm. Confusion.

So I just called the customer service line again and left a message.

24 hours passed and I’d not heard from them. Again. I was not worried about my stuff at this point. I knew it would take a bit of time. I just was trying to get ahold of someone.

So I called back the following day and spoke to Robert again and said (very respectfully) “Can you give me another number? I know you don’t have any information for me- and I’m ok with that, but could you give me another number to reach someone?” Exasperated, he replied “I Don’ know what to tell you! Call dispatch!”

I hung up and called my parents. This was unacceptable.

Mom and dad both tried to get information. My mom left a message on the Customer Service line and got a phone call at 9pm that night.

Robert proceeded to tell my mom “You Americans just want everything so fast and can’ wait for anything!”

Well, sir. If you don’t like serving Americans, you should probably not be working in America. In addition, I PAID you for the services.

Anywho. My mom explained that she was not expecting information from him! We don’t want to talk to him- we want to talk to dispatch, like he explained to us! But we needed to know how to get ahold of dispatch!

Robert continued to talk on and on…and ON to my mom.

Mom could tell Robert was getting a bit irritated with her and so she calmly suggested that she was going to get off the phone so as not to cause any more friction. At which point she concluded the call and hung up.

Robert called back IMMEDIATELY and DEMANDED that my mother apologize to him for hanging up on him.

People. This guy went crazy.

He also said to my mom “ I can make things bad for your daughter.”

Alarm bells and ringing LOUD AND CLEAR at this point.

We stop calling. We don’t want to do anything that would frustrate them.

In the meantime, I’m sleeping on an air mattress. I’m eating turkey sandwiches for lunch and dinner. I’m eating cereal for breakfast. I’m sitting on the floor drinking coffee in the morning. Just waiting for my stuff.

Saturday the 29th was the day they officially broke their own contract.

On Tuesday I finally talked to Tommy who said he’s a co-owner of the company. He said “your stuff left Texas on Sunday.”

If he’d informed me it was still in Texas- I’d started making plans to fly back to Texas and just drive my stuff out in a U-Haul.

Then later that day I get a phone call from the driver, Horacio, who told me he had my stuff in his possession and would be driving out soon. I said “Where are you at?” He said he was still in Dallas. I told Horacio that was a problem considering Tommy had told me my stuff left Texas on Sunday. I also informed him that he better do whatever he could do to get my stuff to me fast considering that everything on that truck is now considered ‘stolen goods’ considering they’d broken contract.

Upon hearing this, Horacio had one comment “Oh shit.”
Yes, sir, that is right.

So. Anyways. Horacio said to expect my stuff either Wednesday or Thursday. Today is Thursday and he said he will be at my place close to 4pm.
We’ll see.
BUT. So far. That is the moving fiasco.

Also on a sidenote- here are my thoughts regarding it all:

I am at the point where i know the devil is SO angry he couldn't sabotage God's plans to get me to Florida- so now- since he couldn't take that victory- he's trying to take the celebration of that victory away from me by causing this drama. But. I still, every morning, recount all that He has done to get me to where I am. There's no way in heck i'm allowing satan to take the celebration away from me. He may be trying- but still, I will celebrate and be glad.  My Jesus is faithful.

Now let's just pray all the stuff arrives with little or no damage. :-)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The tweets I never posted

This week I've gone to write several tweets and then stop myself. Don't want to lose followers on twitter just because I'm a debbie downer.

I just figured I'd keep a running tab of some of them here.

For my own personal blog purposes. You have the freedom to skip this post if you'd like :-)

(timeline on these will seem weird since some of them were from earlier in the week.)

-Watching the Rangers in the World Series is less than exciting while watching via ESPN Gamecast on my laptop.

-Going to the gym. Cause I'd rather not sit in an empty apartment.

-14th night in a row to sleep on an air mattress. SO over this.

-Morning coffee would be so much better if I didn't have to drink it standing up. #WantMyCouches

-Day 16 of sleeping on an air mattress. #EnoughSaid

-All my errands are done for the day in 1.5 hours. Guess I'll go back home to my air mattress.

-Did I mention all my $$ is tied up too? Yeah, had to switch banks & have yet to receive my new debit cards.  Waiting is the name of the game.

-Day 18 of sleeping on an air mattress.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A few picture updates:

So the weather my first week in Tally was cuh-razy. Here's a comparison to Dallas!

My first weekend in Tally, Carl and Jennifer took me to an FSU game! Here's me with my $10 shirt I sported:

And a picture inside the stadium!


The 2nd week in the office we packed up and moved due to growing out of the space. Here's the view from my new office from yesterday morning:


In addition, a view from the parking garage this morning!!! SPECTACULAR!


Also- due to just all the craziness of my move, the fact that the movers have not arrived...the fact I've been sleepin on an air mattress for 18 days....all of these things have started to take a toll on my body. Here's what my computer area looked like this week:


If you'd not heard yet- my movers have not yet arrived.

Still waiting.

Not feeling settled at ALL in Tally.

Ready for my belongings to arrive here.

Like, yesterday.

But all in all- my coworkers are awesome and have been so kind.
I'm becoming more and more familiar with the city. (Shouldn't take TOO long considering it's SOOOO Much smaller compared to Dallas.)

That's all for now :-)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Easy links to read the whole story.

For those who have any desire to read the entire story.....Here are the links in order from the beginning.

Arriving in Tally

One week ago today, I got up at 4:30 in the morning finished loading my car, and said goodbye to Texas.

The older I get, the faster time seems to go....but this week. Has been a REALLY long week. It feels like I made the drive a month ago!

Helen, one of my dearest friends and old roommate, made the trek with me on Saturday, October 15. My car was loaded down with all my hanging clothes, my keyboard, my kitchenAid mixer, AND my coffee pot. :-) Since I'd been in San Francisco all week, Helen had a travel bag packed full of snacks and drinks for the ride. We were on the road at 5:30 and began the long drive. We were 2 hours into the drive before we even stopped for coffee. Crazy, right?!?! Yes. But so fun. :-) We drove through Shreveport over to Jackson, Mississippi- then headed south from there to Mobile, Alabama. From Mobile, we jumped on I10 and headed East.

Oh. Also before leaving Texas, I'd meant to get my oil changed as it was past time and knew it would be wise to do so....BUT. With the craziness of everything else- I just didn't have time- so while in Mississippi- we stopped to have the oil changed.  The guys SERIOUSLY took MAYBE 10 minutes to change the oil. It was really bizarre. When I got to Tally- I took it to another walmart to explain the situation (light was still on) and asked them to check if it REALLY had been changed or just more oil added. They checked and said "Dang. Those rednecks were FAST cause it's been changed."*

Anywho- in the last several hours of the trip-just became silly. I'd been playing a video for Helen from the show "The Sing-Off" and she really liked the beatboxers.....so she attempted to beat box. And I recorded. Which she didn't know. :-) BUT She approved for me to put on Facebook once she found out- so I'll add it here in case you missed it.  Honestly- I was laughing so hard- so excuse my cackling in the background.



We stayed the first night with Carl and Jennifer and their family who live in Tallahassee and are related to my Aunt Mary.  I've met them maybe 3 times in my life (they are on my Aunt's side of the family...not the Corso side) and Jennifer was SO helpful when I was looking for an apartment. She works in law enforcement so was able to say don't live south of here....west of here....etc.  Anywho- we stayed with them the first night. On Sunday, Helen and I got up, showered, then headed out for the day. We found breakfast to eat outside, had coffee, and started exploring Tallahassee together. We drove by my apartment (to which I'd be getting the keys later that night) and then drove down by my new office.

We explored new grocery stores, parks, and just drove around a LOT that day. At 5pm- we went over to check out a church plant that will be launching soon. When I'd gone out with mom 2 weeks before- I met up with the pastor and his wife after having found them on Twitter. :-) They've been having info meetings and such- so I thought I'd take Helen along for moral support! Somehow it was brought up that I made homemade pasta....So not sure how THAT comes into conversation on my 1st day in town- but oh well. They know now!! :-) Closer to 7 we were going to stop and get dinner. We'd finally settled on a place to get food when the apartment called and said I could get my keys. (The offices were not open- but the girl working there that knew I was already in town said that when SHE got back in town that night she would call me, open up the offices, and let me get my keys....SO nice!!!)

Helen and I grabbed dinner to go- then headed over to get the keys and start unloading my VERY full car. Once unloaded, we made a pallet on the floor and crashed for the night. On Monday morning we got up, made coffee (remember I packed that coffee pot!) and headed out to get groceries. We spent the day checking out a few more places- then.....It was time.

I'd not allowed myself to even THINK about what was going to happen come 3:30pm on Monday. Up until this point- I'd just been having a BLAST hanging out with my friend. It had felt like a vacation and/or spontaneous trip. We got in the car as I was going to take Helen to the airport. I turn on the car and start to drive out of the parking lot when Helen asked me a question. I don't even know what the question was. All I know is that I could not talk.

Up until this point- I'd been wondering when it would hit me. The reality of what I was doing.

I had to wonder no more.  It had come.

I cried the entire way to the airport.  We didn't talk. Not cause I didn't WANT to. Because I couldn't get words to come out. We pull up to Tallahassee Regional Airport (an incredibly SMALL airport) and I park the car. I get out, walk around, and hug my friend. My friend who has walked with me and encouraged and challenged me through some crucial years. A friend that encourages me to love Jesus more. A friend that has played a huge role in my life and my ability to love people the way I do. Helen is Jesus with skin. Whenever I am around Helen- I KNOW that Jesus loves me. There is no doubt. So as I hugged her, I choked back more tears, said 'see ya later' then got in my car and drove off.

I wish I could tell you that I took a couple of deep breaths, put on my big girl panties, and set off with my head held high towards the adventure that awaits. But that's NOT what happened. I probably shouldn't have been driving with as hard as I was crying. Weeks worth of emotion, stress, anticipation....all hit. This was real.

On my way back to my apartment, Carl and Jennifer text me saying 'soup and salad for dinner...You're welcome to come!"

I text back "I'm an emotional mess. If you're ok with that- then I'll be there." Of course they were ok with it.

I got to my apartment, showered, cried, and well. Ok, let's be honest. I just cried all night.

I had several friends text me to see if I was ok or wanted to talk...I said "I'd love to talk but I can't even get words out because I'm crying so hard. Let's talk tomorrow!" :-)

Caralyn at one point messaged me  and said "You need to answer your phone."

So I called her.  I don't think she was prepared to hear me.

That night I curled up on the floor and slept knowing that in the morning I'd get to go to work with SUPER puffy eyes.

I didn't feel scared....or alone. I just felt sad. And far away.

Dallas has been my home for almost 10 years. I've made friendships that I know will be around forever. I know the feelings were normal. It's normal to feel the emotions that I did.

I'll end the post here, but I have to say- this week- the Lord has been SO kind to me. Every single night this week I had things going on. Dinners out, watching the Rangers with people....

While I was afraid that my first couple weeks would be me sitting at home alone wishing for people to hang out with- The exact opposite happened. I was out every single night...and EXCITED to get to be at home for an evening.

Only my Jesus could orchestrate such a week for me.

I know He is all over this move. I don't doubt that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

San Francisco

Well well well. Let me first say, I did NOT leave my heart in San Francisco. :-)  After the Starbucks incident, I got on the plane and was off! As life would have it, I sat next to a couple that were on their honeymoon.  And honeymooning, they were. When I arrived in SF, I went to hail my first taxi cab when I heard that prices were better if I did a shared cab ride. Um, yes. Dave Ramsey would approve- even if I wasn't the one paying for the cab! Being frugal with money other than my own. BAM.

So once I arrived- it was after dark and I missed seeing any part of the city. Arrived at the hotel and was left standing with my mouth gaping open. It was GORGEOUS!!!  I got to my room (a king sized room, I might add) and kinda did a happy dance. It was 7:30pm, I was exhausted, and I didn't have to be anywhere til 9am the following day.

I slept about 10 hours, got ready, stepped outside the hotel and went directly to my right where on the corner sat the lovely green sign advertising my happy drink. Yes, Starbucks was RIGHT there. I had a coffee, oatmeal, and began my day.

Got to meet the coworkers, and was thrown right into work. The next 96 hours were some of the craziest, sleep-deprived, but awesome hours. On Tuesday night Jeb took the team to dinner at a place called Restaurant LuLu and it was DIVINE. Delicious food. Seriously.

On Wednesday afternoon/early evening, I DID get out of the hotel for about 30 minutes and in that short time, I got to see the bay, a ferry, See's Candy shop, and a naked man. 

Yes. Yes I did. There  were a group of protesters out and about and yeah. A man...no towel, no sign to cover anything....completely nude. Walking around. I kept asking my co-worker, Clare, 'HOW CAN HE DO THAT!??!?!? Why is that LEGAL!?!?!?"

She was laughing at my complete shock...and yeah, I kinda was overwhelmed. I mean. Really. There were even police men standing around not doing anything about it.

Well. The next day at the conference- I'm talking with several news anchors and they'd asked me how I liked SF so far. I said "well, mostly I've been in the hotel the entire time, but I DID get out..." And i proceeded to share with them what I saw. They began laughing and the lady said "did you get a picture?!?!?

Um. Did I get a picture?!?! NO WAY! She said "you need to get a picture so you can go back home with stories." I proceeded to tell her that I have a blog that will for SURE be updated with stories but a picture would NOT be needed :-) Anywho- we talked for about 30 minutes while we were waiting for the Governor to be available for an interview. After about 30 minutes, I stepped out of the room for a moment, came back in and they said "forget the interview- we just want to leave the hotel and take you around SF!!!!"  :-)

Either way- the lady got her story, had to rush back (in her CRAZY amazing high heels she was wearing) and we said farewell. Well. 15 minutes later, Anna came back. In her heels. With her phone out and a HUGE grin. She said "I was several blocks away when I saw a naked man!!! I told him I needed to take his picture for a girl I just met so she could post it on her blog!!!" 

I'm so not kidding. Anna then emailed me this picture she'd taken. She was thrilled.

SOOOOOO. That's my SF naked man story.

The summit wrapped up (Melinda Gates spoke as well as Rupert Murdoch) and was a huge success. I wasn't kidding when I said sleep deprived. I was going to bed at 1 and 2am and waking up at 4:45am.

I left Friday at 4:30pm- arrived in Dallas at 10:50pm....and that sums up the conference week.

Up next....the move.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Last Weekend

So after the going away party- now that I knew movers would be coming to take my stuff to Florida, I knew how to pack. And let the chaos begin.

Saturday morning I woke up for an early breakfast with Laura for one last goodbye. Such a sweet time, but let's be honest. The ugly cry came. I sure do love that woman.

After breakfast, my friend Lauren came over to the apartment to help make some sense of all my stuff. What an INCREDIBLE blessing she was. Lauren...I know I said something multiple times, but SERIOUSLY. You helped out SO much! 

Saturday evening I went to my last service at Gateway, then in typical Gateway Saturday night church fashion, we got a group of friends together for dinner after.

After dinner, Ashley Movold asked me if we could go grab ice cream....um. DUH!!Yes please :-)  And let me tell you. The next 2 hours were some of the sweetest hours. We sat underneath an awning outside of Starbucks with our chocolate ice cream and chatted for a while. Sweet Ashley, that HONESTLY was one of my favorite moments in Dallas. What a perfect night.

Sunday morning I woke up and drove out to Aledo to meet up with THIS sweet family. Amy, you and your family deserve your own seperate blog post. I will do that in the near future, but man, oh man. You and your family have been such a breath of fresh air. You've been my escape when I needed to think. Your kids have loved me. YOU have loved me. From birthday parties, to baby dedications....There's not a moment in their lives that I would want to miss. Amy, your friendship has meant more to me than I could sum up in this blurb.  Know that i love you.

After meeting up with Amy, I drove to Dallas to say bye to my Fantasy football guys who were watching the Tampa Bay/49'ers game. I bawled the entire drive there. I kept it together while saying bye- then cried on my way home. I love that crew.

Thennnn. Back home for more packing.

I packed all evening- then around 9:30pm my friend Rachel came over with coffee to keep me going! I had less than 12 hours before movers were going to be there to take all my stuff!!! Went to bed around 1:30- then woke up at 6am to finish up. The movers were there at 8:45 on Monday morning- had my stuff wrapped and loaded up by 11, (in addition- cost $500 more than they said......dang it.) and then I raced off to the airport!!!

Got to the airport and basically sat in exhaustion waiting for my flight to San Francisco.

While waitin- I figured I should get coffee, got in line, and saw a DALLAS starbucks mug. Never before had I needed one. As I picked it up and handed it over to the cashier, I started bawling. The barista looked at me kinda funny, I said "sorry..." then walked away with my coffee and my Dallas mug.

And that, my friends is my last weekend in Dallas.

The San Francisco blog post is next. :-)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The goodbye party...

I have a feeling that if I keep waiting to find time to update the blog, I'll get so far behind and won't be able to update all that I want! So I'll break this up a bit and blog about it in pieces.

Let's back up a bit.

Friday night. My friends threw the most amazing 'going' away' party ever. To say that I was overwhelmed, honored, encouraged....well. That would just be understating how I felt. All day on Friday- I knew the party was coming and was well aware that I would most likely fall apart. The entire day- I had a sick feeling in my stomach and was just at a loss with how to deal with all the emotions and feelings I was experiencing.

As I pulled up to the party I received a phone call from my new boss saying they would pay a certain amount of money for my move- which would cover the movers. HOLY MOTHER! I was SOOOOOO freaking relieved. There were so many things that needed to happen in a matter of 3 days and I was, again, at a loss with how to deal.

Friday. 6:45pm. (2.5 days before I have to leave for San Francisco) I finally have information about how my belongings will be getting to Florida.

At the party....

Such sweet friends that prepared and planned.... a great setting, great food (well, I'm assuming it's great...I didn't have a second to eat any of it!) :-)...And an amazing crew of people. As I was watching people arrive- I looked out a window and my jaw DROPPED.  The couple I saw walking towards the room had stunned me. Chet and Debbie are from Paris and were part of my home church in East Texas. They drove in to attend the party and see me off!!! I was SO surprised....Chet and Debbie....that meant SOOO much to me!

As friends arrived, I continued to talk, mingle, and make my way around the room. After about an hour, Jen motioned everyone to gather around. She'd arranged for several Floridians that live in Dallas to share some things I need to know about living in Florida...including football teams to be aware of, Tim Tebow (mmmhmmm!) and how to run away from an alligator.

Then. The floor was opened up for people to share their thoughts or words of encouragement to me.
I couldn't begin to type out how honoring it was. For those of you who shared in the big group....again. Saying I was 'honored' sounds so weak in comparison to how my heart felt. There is NO doubt in my mind that I'm loved in Dallas.

For those who came to me after and privately shared with me, your words (and tears) meant the world to me.

As I was beginning to say bye to people- I'd not even processed the fact that I'd be saying bye to my parents this evening as well. Umm......was NOT prepared for that.

But mom and dad....I'm SO glad you were able to come and be a part of that evening. I hope you felt honored as well.

Overall, Friday night was a night I will remember for the rest of my life, I'm sure. There are cards, and letters that I received that evening that I've not yet opened. I wanted  to save them and open them once in Florida. So if you gave me a card....I am SO excited to open it :-) I'll do that soon!

To those who brought food, decorations, flowers....(Laura, Jen, Brooke, Raven....others?) Thanks for making the evening possible. My heart is grateful.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scoping out the Land

Saturday morning I woke up at 3:45am, brushed my teeth, and got in the car with  my mom to head to Tallahassee. Dad was up and had coffee ready for us, said a prayer, and we were on our way.

The drive: 14 hours.
The destination: Tallahassee, Florida.
The plan: find my new home.

The result: Lots of information....no home.

Sunday morning we woke up, took our time getting ready, then headed out around 9:45 to start driving around my new town. We drove first to my new office and planned to start our tour there. The office is right across the street from the state capitol with a small, but cute downtown area surrounding it. We started looking for breakfast and here is where the drama began. My mom, bless her heart, LOVES to experience new things. She likes finding that small little place that is new, out of the box, and 'fun.' We start to drive around looking for this place and I quickly realize that NOTHING I see is familiar. I see no familiar stores, no familiar coffee shops (AKA....STARBUCKS), no familiar ANYTHING. We get a bit turned around, finally find the place she's located on her phone, and I drive past and say "no way are we eating there."  The overwhelming feelings begins to settle in.  The "what the heck am I doing!!!" feeling. We pull off the road and I explain to mom in the least dramatic way possible at this moment "I need something familiar. I don't want to try something new and cute. I want something familiar. NOTHING around me makes sense. I need something that makes sense." (Ok, so tears were included.) So we look for an Einstein Bagels. Our GPS lady (whom I named Gretchen) takes us there and says "Your destination is on the right. You have arrived at your destination."  Only problem was....there was no Einstein. We were on the FSU side of town and we concluded that the Einstein must have been inside the campus. So we keep driving. Finally find a random bagel place, order our coffee and bagel and sit down. At this point it was 11:45.

We were hoping to have a bit more 'coffee and chill" time before hitting the pavement hard looking for apartments, but since we only had 1/2 day on Sunday to do so (most apartments are not open until noon on Sundays) we needed to get going. I won't bore you with the details of looking at place after place- but we did a LOT of that. Didn't find a place that just wow'd me with the apartment itself AND the price. Well, let me take that back. I did find once place that WOW'd me...including the hammock deck out by the pool, but the price wow'd me as well cause it was so high... :(  But oh well. Keep looking!

Sunday evening we grabbed dinner at a place called Moe's...(think chipotle/taco cabana) and headed back to the apartment to crash.

Monday morning I'd made plans to go by my new office to meet my new coworkers.

I left mom at the hotel and headed over to starbucks to grab coffee and read my bible...cause let's face it. I needed Jesus, in a BIG way. I needed him to do some big things on that day.

I drove to my new office and headed in to meet my new co-workers.

The office was beautiful. The people were friendly. The sigh of relief came.

I needed Monday morning. I needed it really bad. I needed to feel that sense of "this CAN be good."

The rest of the day was, again, spent looking at apartments. There was a HUGE difficulty in this process.

The trees.

Yes, the trees.

You can't see anything from the road. Everything is hidden. You can't just drive past, see an apartment complex and say "hey, let's look there!" That added to the frustration of the trip.

I finished up Monday evening by meeting up with a couple that lives in Tally and is planning to start an ARC church in the next 6 months. I'd started looking for a church the moment Tallahassee became an option for me. Was really disappointed to not really see much. :( I did see that a church was going to be planted but didn't know much more than that.  So what did I do? I got on Twitter to look it up. Found the pastor. Tweeted him to find out more, then was able to email and find out more about the church!

Another reason I LOVE Twitter.

Excited to learn more, meet their team, and see if this would be a good fit!

Headed back to the hotel, went to bed at around 11:30pm, only to wake up at 3:45am. Got on the road at 4am and drove straight through. Seriously. We knocked an hour off our time. Stopped only to get gas.

So that's the update.

Lots of decision to be made. Very little time.

If you think about it, pray for me. I could use it :--)

I'm still REALLLY excited about my new job. I'm confident that this is exactly where the Lord wants me. I just want to be brave but it's REALLY hard.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's Really Happening

I've turned in my 2 week notice.
I've announced it on twitter and facebook.
I'm going to Florida next week with my  mom to find a place to live.


This. Is. Really. Happening.

Last night was my 2nd to last service at Gateway Church (in person, anyways. Thanks goodness for live webcasts.)

The first song had some technical difficulties (which hardly EVER happens, but must admit, I REALLY love it when it DOES happen....reminds me that this church is normal.) ;-) and the first 2 notes of the 2nd song had played and I felt it. Yeah. I felt the tears start to surge up my tear ducts. There was nothing I could do. It was coming. The first waves of emotions/tears in regards to the big adventure I'm about to embark on.

This was the song that played to start off my night of tears...and if people can claim songs....Then I am claiming this one. It's my song. Seriously. Written for me. Listen. You'll understand.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Faithfulness, Part 6- My story.

I honestly did not plan for this blog series to turn out this way. I did not know that I'd be the finishing story.

If that's the case- I would have done this blog series several months ago! :-) But here it is. My story. That finally unfolded in the past week.

The Backstory:


I’ve been really excited about this particular blog post for 4 months now. I’m not joking. 4 months. And 4 months ago, I had no idea what this post would say- but I KNEW that it would be an account of God’s faithfulness. 3 months ago. I still didn’t know what this post would say. 2 months. 1 month. 3 weeks. 2 weeks. Yeah. 2 weeks ago- I was REALLLLLY excited for this blog post, but still had no idea what it would say. But again, I KNEW it would be an account of God’s faithfulness. 1 week ago. Still didn’t know. On Wednesday, September 14, 2011- God revealed to me in a most incredible way what this blog post would say. He revealed to me yet another piece of my story….Another account of His faithfulness to me.

Let’s back up a bit farther, yes?

You may remember back in May when I posted about having to move. Yeah, I moved 4 months ago. A new apartment, a new roommate, and lots of boxes. My lease had ended, as my roommate Hailey had gotten married. I’d made several different arrangements and plans kept falling through. 2 weeks before I was supposed to be out of my apartment, I still had no idea where I’d be moving to. Finally, I called my friend Rachel and asked if she wanted to be my roommate. I knew she was seriously dating someone, didn’t know what her timeline was- but knew she’d just taken a job 45 minutes away from where she’d previously been living. She said yes! I was really excited. We planned the move- made it happen- and 1 month later…..SURPRISE!!!! RACHEL GETS ENGAGED! (side note: I DID know when I moved in with Rachel that she’d be getting engaged soon and that our apartment life together would be short lived- but it DID give me another 4 months to figure out what I was going to do.)

So! That’s why I say- 4 months ago- I was crazy excited about this blog post. I knew, come October, I’d be making a move again….to where? I had no idea. With whom? Again, no idea. But what I did know was that I serve and love a God that has never failed to provide. Never. It may not always look like what I think it should- or what I imagined…But it’s ALWAYS been good. And always in His perfect timing.

So, when I moved in with Rachel in June- I started thinking about my Fall plans. I knew it was going to be a big change. The way the previous housing situations had fallen through…the way Rachel and I became roommates…it just seemed like a perfect setup for God to do something big in my life. I started to allow myself to dream a little bit. I’ll be honest, I don’t often allow myself to dream that often. Sometimes, to me, dreaming feels like setting myself up for disappointment. But either way. I began to think big.

I was thinking- come October- I wouldn’t be tied down to a lease. If I were going to have to move…Why not a big move? I even posted about it. Remember this post? Yeah, I started looking at the Carolinas. I have family there. It seemed like a great idea. Then someone mentioned Arizona. I began to consider that too. My sister lives there. Could be a good fit.

So- either way- I knew I had to move. From the moment I moved in with Rachel- I was prepared for this. I knew it was coming. So I began the out of state job hunt.

I probably applied for 40 different jobs…typed up just as many cover letters…went through a job search process that was pretty much foreign to me. All the while, trusting that God would provide. He would provide either the perfect living situation in Dallas or He would provide a job.

In the last 4 months, journal entry after journal entry has ended with these statements:

• I know you’re working for my good. I know it.

• Jesus, you are enough.

• Help my unbelief.

• I want to be where You want me to be, Jesus.

• I know you will come through.

• Your will, Lord. That’s all I know to pray.

• I know Your voice.

• I know an answer is coming.

• DO. YOUR. THING.

• I will have no fear.

• Swing wide the right doors.

• Those who seek the Lord lack NO GOOD THING.

• HELP MY UNBELIEF!

• Lord, you WILL provide.

• You are big.

• Your timing is perfect.

• Do what You do best, Jesus.

• Show off. Please.

• I know you love me.

• You. Are. Faithful.

• You are big. I know this.

• I hate Satan.

• Do your thing.

• You. Are. Good.

• You. Are. Good.

• You. Are. Good.

How it Happened:

So. In my job hunt, I was contacting friends like crazy asking if they happened to know anyone in South Carolina. One of those friends I asked was Grace. Grace is not from Texas and I know she has a huge community of friends that does NOT live in Texas. So I called her up to see if she had any connections in the SC. She said she had some things she could check into and that she’d get back to me.

Well, a month later (2 weeks ago) I get a phone call from Grace. She said “I know you’ve been looking at South Carolina, but would you be interested in Florida?”

(Also... In addition- I sent out an email 2 weeks ago to several friends asking for their 'Faithfulness' stories. I needed my faith to be encouraged...having no idea mine would so quickly follow)

I went on to get some details from her…It would be a social media job in Tallahassee. I went ahead and emailed with Grace’s contact person and got more information. Seemed like it would be an interesting job. And the opportunity to work remotely would be a huge benefit. So I sent in a proposal on Thursday evening (Sept 8) and just waited. That weekend I was talking to a friend and I just explained that while this may seem like a crazy job to apply for (um, considering I know ZERO people in Tallahassee), I really felt as though I needed to knock on every door the Lord placed in front of me. A couple days later, my little sister, who is looking to move to Portland asked me if I thought it was bad she was ONLY applying for jobs in Portland. Thinking about my previous conversation with my friend Laura, I said “Caralyn…kinda like where I am right now- I just feel as though I need to be open to whatever the Lord might want. If I ONLY apply in South Carolina- I am saying to the Lord ‘this is your box. Work within it’ and I don’t want to do that.”

I encouraged her that Monday night to just knock on lots of doors and trust the Lord to open the right one. That’s really all I could offer since that’s what I was in the middle of living out.

On Wednesday, things started to shift a little bit at work. Left a little early and headed to the gym to run off some steam. Tweeted as I left work “God, today would be a great day to so something BIG. Thanks.” I called mom and in angry tears said “HE HAS GOT TO DO SOMETHING!!!!” She responded “Minda, you’re in the 11th hour.” My response was a heart wrenching “Mom….it’s more like 11.5!!!”After my workout I went home and sat on my couch. Yes. Just sat there. I heard my phone make it’s “You’ve got Mail” noise. I opened it up to find an email from the Tallahassee job offering me a position.

I just stared. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t express any emotion. I just sat there. All I could say was “God, I knew you would do something. I knew it…..I Knew it…….I knew it.”

I called mom and dad with the info…Dad’s response was “Minda, I knew God answered prayers but didn’t know He answered tweets!”

With thumbs up from mom and dad….with a peace in my heart….with excitement of the unknown….with a stronger assurance that my God will provide….and in HIS perfect timing, I’ve accepted the job in Tallahassee Florida.

More details to come- but that is part of the story.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Faithfulness, Part 5- Christian

2 years ago, my community of friends at Gateway got a HUGE blessing when James and Christian Lee came around.  I'd tweeted one afternoon that I was wanting to get my rollerblades out of the closet and was looking to see if anyone I knew had blades to come with me.  James tweeted back to me and said "my wife Christian loves to rollerblade! We'll come meet you!"  And that's how I met Christian! We went blading that day around a park in Irving and when you've got plenty of time- that's a LOT of time for ME to ask questions. And asking questions, oh- how I DO love that. :-)

Christian is a woman that I have been SO encouraged to watch. She was one of the first married ladies in my current community and watching her relationship with James has been nothing short of inspiring. The way she honors her husband in speech and in action...The way she has made her house into a HOME...The way she loves Jesus.  She has navigated this season of marriage with ease and dignity. Last summer- when she'd let me know they were trying to get pregnant- I prayed for this baby like crazy. So- when I heard the news several months ago- to say I was excited would be a HUGE understatement... I'm SOOOOO flippin ready for "Baby Lee" to make her arrival!! Baby Lee, God is placing you into a home that is FAR beyond what most kids get. Your mom and dad love Jesus & love people.

Here's Christian's account of God's faithfulness in her life:

My life is fairly simple. I try not to buy things we don't need, I declutter often and I just simply love to live. James (my husband) and I often have talks about how both of us don't require a lot of "things" and just live with what we have. Of course, we splurge every now and again, but most of the time we just simply live. I say all of this to say, I think things are about to change! We are expecting Baby Lee in January. We are super excited but we are finding out she will require a lot of "things." I'm trying not to freak out about all the things that will just have to be out in the open and not neatly put away in its place. Babies require a lot...and I'm sure I haven't even thought about half of the things we are going to need. But I wouldn't trade any of this, the money we are going to spend, the extra pressures of being a parent, the baby stuff around the house because she is an answer to prayer :) (And Ms. Minda was part of all that praying!!)


Last fall, James started traveling every week from the middle of August until November. He would leave on Wednesday mornings and come back Sunday morning or afternoon. Knowing this was coming up, we started trying for our baby the beginning of last summer. In my mind we had 3 months to get the job done. If it didn't happen in those 3 months, then my life would just be ruined. Well, it didn't happen in those 3 months and it turns out, my life was not ruined. Imagine that! That season with James traveling was better than I could have imagined. Not because he was gone all the time, but because even though he was not physically with me, we still grew closer together. It's very hard to explain. Well, nevermind, it's not. God. That explains it!

We continued to try and I went through a lot of emotions and the devil really tried to attack me. I would get thoughts like "you aren't ready to be a parent" or "your body isn't good enough to carry a child" I'm so thankful that James was there to help me through all of those lies. He's so great at comforting me! We got lots of questions about if I was taking my temperature every morning, was I writing everything down in a calendar so I would know when it was "time" and many other questions. I did try these things but only for a short time and by short time I mean, maybe a month, if that. I felt like I was trying to be in control of the situation and honestly, I didn't want to be in control. I wanted it to happen when He wanted it to happen.


And He wanted it to happen this past May. Our prayers were answered. And it was the perfect timing. I have absolutely LOVED being pregnant. From maternity pants (my new favorite thing!) to feeling flutters in my tummy to seeing her yawn in a sonogram and so many other things. It has been the best 5 months so far and I know it will only get better in the months and years to come. She will be loved, she will be spoiled and she will have lots of stuff. And I'm totally ok with that! His timing is perfect. He. Is. Faithful.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Faithfulness, Part 4- Jennifer

Alrighty, peoples! Next up is my dear friend, Jennifer.  I met Jennifer back in 2008 and quickly realized that this woman is strong.  Her faith is strong. Her heart is strong. Her love for people is strong. This woman is an encourager. She will look you square in the face and call out giftings in your life. She will do whatever is within her to help call out the lies that the enemy might be feeding you. She speaks Truth. She speaks love. Jennifer is a stunning woman that exudes femininity.  And she is a woman of great faith.  Here is her story:

Time was running out. This was the last weekend before I had to sign a contract of some kind. I had been doing what I knew to do, but nothing was coming through. Weekend after weekend, day after day...nothing. I knew God had put this search on my heart, but didn't He know that this was cutting it a *little* close?

On Memorial Day 2010, I asked my dad out on a breakfast date. Conversation flowed over coffee and massive IHOP omelets. At some point, the conversation turned to what I was going to do when my time with my roommate, Laura, ended that October. I told Dad that I think God wanted me to look for a house. I had, after all, written that as one of my goals that year: Buy a house in November. I don't know why I picked November. It just suited. Dad was all on-board with that. He said, "Didn't you tell us that you wanted to buy a home after 2-3 years of living in DFW?" And the lightbulb in my memory went off - Yes, I had said that! Totally forgot about it, until that moment. So with his blessing, I started to walk with the Lord on a journey to find a home.

I would go into house after house, dreaming of what it could become. I didn't know what I could ask for in a first home. I didn't want to sound like a picky first-time home buyer. I just told my realtor that I wanted to live in Fort Worth, and if at all possible, I wanted wood floors and good windows. In my heart of hearts, though, I had a ton of ideas on what I'd like. I painted that picture in full detail: a mosaic backsplash in the kitchen, white cabinets, a gas stove, a roof that was in good shape, dark-stained hardwood floors, three bedrooms. The list went on! The Lord was the only person I told. I was grateful for whatever He gave me, so painting this picture was pure fun. My most secretest wish? A red door. A good red, not a cheap one. ;-)


Meanwhile, "normal life" was CUH-RAY-ZEEEEE! It was consumed with packing up Laura's and my apartment, painting it back with primer, scrubbing it down, moving into Laura's new house, helping her scrub and paint her new house, sewing a wedding dress for a friend somewhere in there, going to weddings, prepping for Laura's wedding, transitioning a brand new team at work, and doing regular everyday stuff to live. (My heart rate is increasing as I type. Excuse me while I hyperventilate!) I was tired and worn out. Time wasn't waiting for me.


There was one townhome that had been in the picture for awhile. Great price, just remodeled, hardwood floors, appliances that came with it...but for whatever reason, something didn't sit right with me. I figured that I needed to be more "open" lest I started missing the forest for the trees. Something had to happen that weekend to allow the month long processing time for escrow and such. I didn't know what to do. Desperate, I told the Lord, "Father, I have to find my house by this weekend to close in time. If You don't show me something besides this townhome, I'm going to assume that You want me to put in a bid on it." Wouldn't you know that it had sold the day before!

Ummmm......Lord? You there? I obviously have to keep looking. But how am I going to "know" what house is the right one? Did I miss it? In that moment, He whispered, "You will know it when you see it." Peace flooded my heart.


Back to Zillow.com I went. As I looked through the same houses I'd seen before, there was one that caught my eye. It was in Ft. Worth. Looked like it had a cute kitchen. The more I looked at the pictures, the more I thought, "Wow, this could be it!" I laughed, "But Lord, let's be honest...I've said that before." To which He replied, "You'll know it when you see it..."

That Friday, on the LAST possible weekend, I met my realtor at the house I saw on Zillow. Guess what it had? A red door! I opened that darling (not cheap, but really deep) red door to find the picture in my heart sitting in front of me. I'm talking the backsplash to the gas stove to the new roof to the shade of the wood floors, people! I turned to my realtor, saying, "This is my house." There wasn't a doubt in my mind.

The first night in my new home was full of emotion. Weary from the intensity of the past months, I fell to my knees and balled on the kitchen floor. I was overwhelmed and awed at the miracles He did to show Himself faithful on my behalf, many of which I haven't even mentioned in this post for the sake of length. It's fun to talk about a red door and all, but really, it's just icing on the cake. From the conversations He and I would have in the car, to the nights of crying out to Him for relief from life's stress, to the moment when He whispered sweet assurance to my heart, to watching Him perform literal miracles...walking with Him is the greatest joy. His faithfulness is the greatest adventure. Seems He likes settin' the stage for His glory! Just when I thought (and I thought it MANY times) He was cuttin' it too close, it turns out He was really setting up my circumstances so that there'd be no doubt in my mind that HE did it!

Oh, and remember how my goal was "Buy a house in November"? Well, because my closing date got pushed out twice, I closed November 5th! :-)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Faithfulness, Part 3- Osame

The next count of God's faithfulness comes from my friend, Osame. I met Osame while in college and were part of a small group together in which we started out each week by playing the game "Big Booty."  Don't know the game?  Don't ask. Either way- I got to know her more through that small group- but really began to connect with her when myself and 4 other girls began to meet up for a more connected/purposeful time of accountability and prayer. 7 years later, this girl is still one that I know I can call any time of day or night if I need something. Her heart for me is huge- but her heart for Jesus is even bigger. The past 5 years I've been able to witness her steadfastness to the Lord in a job/school transition that seemed insane. The whole time- trusting that God would come through. Trusting His heart for her was good. Here's her. She makes me want to Trust Him more and remain Faithful to His Word.


God's faithfulness in my life has never ceased to amaze me!  He has taught me how to wait on Him to perfect even the minor things.  I've learned that in the midst of the rain He is a shelter.  After five years of an unsatisfying career, I now have my "dream job" where each day is a new challenge and opportunity to lean on Him.  My Father has good things in store, but better than the blessing, I have been reassured of how much He really desires to bless me and use me to impact hurting people.  Trust God....even when you have to wait for the promise. :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Faithfulness, Part 2- Caralyn

Well. The next post on Faithfulness is coming from my little sister, Caralyn. And let me start of by saying- I've prayed for lots of people in my life. Lots. But when I pray for this girl...my baby sister....I can't help but tear up. Every time. Every morning when I sit on my couch- whenever Caralyn comes to mind, my heart is overwhelmed with emotion. Because if God has been faithful to anyone...it has been to her. If I know she's walking through something tough, I ACHE for her. If I know she's in a good place and happy- I get emotional. Because I'm so grateful for the Lord being BIG in her life. So, Caralyn, good or bad season of life, my heart is overwhelmed with emotion- because I love you so much. I cry when she's hurting. I cry when she's happy- because it makes me so happy to know she's happy. :-)

Here's her post. (side note- it starts off with a post she'd written a couple of months ago- then continues with the 'follow up') (side note #2- in addition. Should let you know when she sent this to me- I did the ugly cry. I mean...the REAL ugly cry. Was what I needed to read. Love you Caralyn)

God has not given me a spirit of fear.



God told me he would never leave me or forsake me.


He told me not to be anxious, because he would take care of me.


He takes hold of my hand and walks with me, and tells me not to fear, because he is with me, that he will help me.


He told me to be strong and courageous, that I should not be afraid for He is with me, and he is walking with me, and that he will never leave me nor forsake me.


He gave me peace. Not fear. Peace. He told me not to let my heart be troubled by fear.

I recognize the fear.


I'm calling out the fear. And I'm searching and praying for His perfect love.
'There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."


1John 4:18


Not gonna lie, the last sentence kinda makes me feel as though because I have fear, I'm not truly a believer, not really saved.

Because shouldn't I not have fear? Do I not have his perfect love? Do I have to work towards that?


Is that only when I get to heaven, or should I feel no fear now?

I didn't intend to end this on an inquisitory note."

I wrote this blog several months ago. I had recognized that I lived fearfully, and no longer wanted to do that. but at the end of my blog, I read a verse that made me feel... less than adequate as a believer. I thought that because I feared, I was not in Christ's love.

Not a surprising thought from the girl who is scared.
My life is about to go through some major upheavals. I'm finally finally finally graduating from college, I'm looking for a new job, I'm planning to move to Portland, Oregon, I'm going to start all over in finding friends, community, and my place in this world [MWS, anyone?]

I will also be very far away from both sisters and my parents. I will be far away from everything that has been familiar.
That starts to become panic inducing for me. What if I don't get a job? What if I have to stay in Tyler? What if I fail my boards? What if I don't make friends? What if? What if?

And I start to become afraid.
Recently, however, I listened to a sermon by Mark Driscoll called "Jesus and Anxiety". He spoke on a chapter in Luke, 12:22-34

22And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?

27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

32 "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The part that stuck out to me the most is where Jesus says, "Fear not."

He doesn't say it in a manner that, if I fear, I'm not part of him. He doesn't say it angrily. He says it softly. "Fear not, little flock."
He tells them to fear not, because he knows they fear.

Because he knows they will fear in the future.
Because fear resonates within all of our souls.

What if life doesn't go the way I planned? What if this happens? What if that happens? What if???
And Jesus just keeps telling us to "fear not".
Because he doesn't want me to be anxious or afraid.

Because even though I don't know the whole story, He does. And he has a beautiful, beautiful plan for me. A plan that doesn't want to harm me.

Because it brings him pleasure... GOOD pleasure, to give me the kingdom.

Because he takes care of the lilies, and the ravens, and the beasts of the field. And how much more will he take care of me, of so little faith?

Because he loves me.
Over and over and over he tells me through out the bible, "Fear not! For I am with you.

Fear not! For I am your shield.

Fear not! For I will bless you.

Fear Not! Do not be dismayed.

Fear not! I will come with a vengeance and come save you.

Fear Not! For I am the one who helps you.

Fear not! For I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.

Fear not! Do not be afraid!

Fear not! Peace be with you, be strong and of good courage!

Fear not! My spirit remains with you!
Fear not!

Because he knows that I become afraid. But he loves me, and he is with me, and he will keep me.
I'm letting the burden of my fears go today.. because I have considered the lilies. And they are lovely. And my Jesus loves me more than lilies.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Faithfulness, Part 1- Jaclyn

Last week, my friend Leticia sent out an email update sharing the mark of 1 year living in New York. As I read the email, I was reminded of different events that had taken place during her first year. Areas in which we'd pray to see the Lord move. Reading that email did something to my faith. It was as though it was a present-day part of the bible. Where I'd just been reading about Daniel, Moses, Joshua...I just picked up that morning reading about Leticia too. The Lord came through for her just as He'd come through for those in the Bible. Every area in which we'd prayed about had been answered.

This email from Leticia prompted me to ask a couple other friends to share a story of God's faithfulness in their life.  If reading stories of God's faithfulness could increase my faith even a little- then I needed to start reading LOTS of stories, as I'm in a place right now of needing to see Him move. And of course, I figured, if it encouraged me, who knows. Maybe someone reading this blog needs to have a couple of 'present-day' stories of God's faithfulness.

With that said, I introduce to you my friend Jaclyn. I've blogged about Jaclyn before because she is just incredible. This summer Jaclyn picked up and moved to DC to take a teaching job. A friend of almost 10 years, Jaclyn is the girl that makes me laugh more than anyone I know. Having 10 years of relationship equity with someone allows you to be comfortable with them and understand when and how to read between the lines during conversation. I pray for this woman every day and my life would not be the same without her. Here is an account of God's faithfulness to her in this season:

I have come to understand faithfulness through Love & Logic.

I am currently a middle school teacher. This is the beginning of my fifth year teaching, however, I am in a whole new ball game. Learning to understand and communicate with humans that are irrational and emotionally unstable is a challenge, to say the least. I have to implement a lot of Love & Logic, something I had heard about before, but never put into practice. The idea is that you empathize with children in disciplining them and deal with it in a logical way, such as not engaging in arguments.

A classic example might look like this:

Me: “Michael, stop kicking Camille’s chair.”
Michael: “I wasn’t even kicking her chair!!”
Me: “Yes you were. I saw the desk move!”
Michael: “That’s because she pushed her desk into mine!”


And so on and so forth. We don’t get anywhere. The whole class is now off-task. I probably don’t win that argument because we’d probably end up dropping it just to move on.

Logically, the conversation might go:

Me: “Michael, stop kicking Camille’s chair.”
Michael: “I wasn’t even kicking her chair!!”
Me: “What did I ask you to do?”
Michael: “But I wa…(cut off by me)”
Me: “What did I ask you to do?”
Michael: “Stop kicking her chair.”
Me: “Great, thank you!”


Anyway, all that to say, middle school kids don’t like to accept the critique the first go-round, even if they know they were doing it. Like most of us, it’s never their fault!

There has been an extended time recently (like say…the past nine months!?), when I didn’t understand why things were happening; why I couldn’t have what I was asking and praying for, for God’s sake! I thought I had been so faithful to what I was supposed to do and then it was gone. Like my students, I was demanding answers but wasn’t ready to hear the reason I was being “punished” because in my mind no reason was going to be good enough.

When this happens with my kids, I usually give them some time during the day and come back to them later and ask if they know why I did this or that or why I was disappointed in them. A lot of the time, they will be able to tell me the exact reason(s), but sometimes they are still angry and refuse to talk. With some of them, it takes a little while longer, and I just have to wait until they’re ready.

During this time in my life, the Lord knew that any answer He gave me wasn’t going to fix it. I wasn’t going to hear and be satisfied. I needed some cooling off time, and He patiently waited. Gradually, as I settled down and became more ready to talk rationally and listen, He began showing me small things here and there. I still pushed back at times (still do!), but I don’t look to Him anymore to see if He’s going to prove Himself. Instead, I look because He already has. He hasn’t changed from when I turned a deaf ear to now. Even when I wasn’t acknowledging Him, He acknowledged all of my words, my thoughts, my tears, my hurts. He empathizes. He loves. He was faithful to stay.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ladies of the Lake

I traveled this last week to the Carolinas with 5 other girlfriends.  My Aunt Mary and Uncle Steve opened up the lake house for us to enjoy for a long weekend!!


Was an incredibly relaxing trip as we had NO plans....no agenda.... The only plan we had was to be professional lake chillers. And that's what we did. Thanks so much for a FANTASTIC trip, friends! I'd travel with you again ;-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

-insert your own caption-

When reading my bible in the morning, there are a few things I love to do. I love to have a cup of coffee with me. I love the apartment to be cold. And I love to have a blanket. Oh. And I love to have fun pens with my journal.


Oftentimes when reading a story that makes me laugh, I will write “HAHAHA” next to that story. For instance, in 1 Kings- 22, King Ahab (a not-so-good- king) wanted someone to speak a word over him- but refused to have a particular (good!) prophet of the Lord come and give him a word. He said “I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad!” That just made me laugh. Because he WAS bad. And was doing bad things! (if you don’t find that funny, I’m sorry for making you read that).

Or. For instance. If there is something else that sticks out to me, I’ll write my thoughts. Again, another instance: In Proverbs 15- next to verse 17- you will see that I have written “I LOVE HELEN” next to it. Why? Well. That verse says “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.” My friend Helen is, basically, a vegetable lovin-yoga stretchin-happyhearted lady that loves Jesus. And she LOVES vegetables. And she loves people well. So that verse just makes me think of Helen every time I read it! :-)

But!

This week! I wrote something in my bible next to a story and the Lord quickly challenged me in what I’d written.

Check it out.

Was reading in Exodus this week. Moses led the people across the Red Sea. I blogged earlier about that. But after they crossed over, they were without water or food. Basically- there was a water source- but the water was bad. The people grumbled and Moses called on the Lord. The Lord gave instructions to Moses in how to make the water better- he did it- and voila! The water was better. Jump over 2 chapters- and the people have moved on and are camping out in a new location. Again. The same thing happens. The people grumbled because there was no water and Moses cries out to the Lord.

Ok. Here is where my pen was quick to write. I wrote “THIS FRUSTRATES ME SO MUCH! The Lord had JUST provided water for them and here they are grumbling again! Don’t they remember what He had JUST DONE?!!?”

Right after I wrote that sentence (in pen, mind you) in my bible, the Lord said to me “Minda…they still needed water. They were in a new place. They may have grumbled and complained- but that doesn’t change the fact that they still needed water.”

Insert silence.

Ugh.

This spoke to me in a couple of ways. First- I’m in a position in which I’m looking to move to South Carolina. And I have felt AWFUL looking for a new job. Seriously. I keep saying “Lord, I love my job- and you provided it in such an AMAZING way for me last year. I feel guilty even ASKING you for anything else.”

To that- He says- “You are going to be in a new place. You STILL need ‘water’….You needed ‘water’ last year- and in the new place you will be- you will STILL need ‘water’. I’ll provide.”

And 2nd. It just reminded me that I NEVER EVER want to be in a place in which I have forgotten what He has done for me in the past. Let me always bring to mind Your faithfulness before starting to worry, stress, or grumble and complain.

The one about Jaryn

The year was 2011. I needed a job and m y friend Grace was aware of this. I received a call from Grace and she said, “How do you fe...