Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, you will not be missed

If my BFF Juli were here she would say it like this, "Goodbye 2010, and don't let the screen door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!" But she always manages to say it much funnier than I can, so just imagine she said it and not me.

But goodbye 2010, I will not miss you. This has been hands-down the most difficult and depressing year of my life. From unemployment, to the roller coaster of emotions that comes with job interviews that never pan out, to the completely horrid experience that was Arkansas, the financial misery that comes with no job, my grandmother having a stroke, to my parents leaving the country, my brother serving in Afghanistan and Africa, and more, no, I will not miss this year at all.

I tried in more ways than one to stay happy. In many respects this was a beautiful year where I was able to do things that mattered to me, such as serve in Haiti, help out at my grandmother's bedside, help friends just by being with them, and spend an entire month focused on service in-depth.

I have enjoyed living near my family again and getting to know everyone better. Before this I was just a cousin who came to visit. I knew everyone and loved them. But now I know them much differently and more personally, as I interact with them much closer and on a nearly daily basis. And it is truly their kindness and support that has really gotten me through the last six months.

I remember when I first arrived in Roanoke back in July. I was given a job at church and discussions were started about an event taking place in February. I politely nodded and listened, but quite frankly didn't care. I couldn't even begin to fathom that I would still be living here come February. I was very certain that I would not!

It has been the year my social life came to a screeching halt, thanks to living in socially destitute places for 9 months of this year, and spending nearly 1 month in another country. Arkansas was a disaster socially. Roanoke would be far much worse, except at least here I have cousins to visit. (Have I mentioned how I am the only single woman under 55 and above 25 in my entire stake (a stake being 6 congregations)? And how I think there is exactly 1 single male I am not related to in this stake? Seriously, my lack of a social life is hardly my fault.)

One of the hardest parts of the year was learning to be happy for other. Here I am stuck in this complicated spot, and my friends were just moving up and beyond me. Great things were happening to other people, but things just kept getting worse for me. It was very hard at first to be happy for others and to be supportive. It is very hard to hear of promotions, new opportunities, even money made, when you've just had your 5th job interview with no response. But learning to be happy for others was probably the best thing that happened to me. It didn't take the pain away from my problems, but I could still be happy in spite of my problems. Learning to focus more on others, and not get bogged down in my own problems too long made all the difference.

This has been a year of gratitude, and learning to be grateful for what I have. I haven't been sick. I have had unbelievably tight finances, but I have survived. I have helped others. I have served others. I have a free place to live. I haven't fallen victim to depression. I found my creative side again. Good things have happened.

But no, I won't miss this year. I say bring on 2011! There are many great things on the horizon for this next year, and I can't wait to get to them! If all goes to plan my post next new years will be from a Peace Corps site a jillion miles from here. And that would be a wonderful thing.

I'm not one for setting new years resolutions. (Why should a solar cycle effect my decisions and activities? I've never understood that.) But if I did set goals and resolutions based on solar cycles, my goal for 2011 would be this- to just be better than 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

City Girl, Country Girl on Trailer Homes

Not the house from the story, but a very good replica.

I was born and raised just outside of Washington, DC. I'm a Northern Virginia girl to the core. I came from a place where when my sister and I were little girls, our parents would wrap us up in blankets, put us in the "way back" of our Ford station wagon, and my mom would drive my dad to the nearest Metro stop (for my DC friends- we lived in Fairfax City, and the nearest stop at the time was Ballston). Subways, freeways, and going to museums was always just a way of life for me. What can I say? I was born a City Girl.
But every summer my mom would pack us two little girls up, and off we went to my grandparents' house in Mississippi. Sometimes we drove, sometimes we took the train (but we never ever flew. Those were back in the days where my mom just did.not.fly.ever.).
We'd spend our summer days visiting the old folks, going to cemeteries, setting off fireworks (which were legal year round), living in fear of the snakes under the house, learning to shoot BB guns in the yard, helping Grandpa burn the trash (possibly one of the most exciting events of my summer days- we had a large trash pit where you burned your trash. No county waste management out in the boondocks!), going down to the grocery store where you never had to pay, cause they put everything on your tab, and watching a LOT of tv.
The TV was all satellite, and really amused me. The commercials were from all over Alabama, Mississippi, and even as far as New Orleans (about 3 hours away). The commercials were so strange to me. They were some for houses that only cost $20,000 and could be towed anywhere. To my Northern Virginia ears this was incredible stuff. And there were car commercials for car dealers four hours away! I used to wonder how people would get all the way to those dealerships if they didn't have a car yet. And there were a lot of really long commercials that ended in "Praise Jesus!" But it turns out those weren't commercials at all. Those were actual TV shows. And people sent them money. Bizarre.
It was the commercials for the mobile/trailer homes that really intrigued me. My suburban lifestyle had not yet exposed me to such concepts. Houses on wheels. It was an extraordinary concept. I even went to see if our house had wheels under it. (Our house, like all homes in that part of the world, are not flush to the ground, and are actually elevated a few feet. So I really could look under it, Except I was terrified of the supposed snakes and bobcats that lived under there.) But sadly, our house did not have wheels.
Then one day as we were driving back from town I saw it. A real live trailer house! It was up on bricks, but I could still see the wheels under it. I was enthralled by this concept- a house you could pick up and take anywhere with you. Think of all the cool places you could go if your house had wheels! Every day when we drove past I looked for this house. I was just certain that one day it would be gone. I had big dreams for the people inside that trailer. Someday they were going to fly the coop and go see the world in their house on wheels.
But alas, one day I learned the truth about trailer homes. They are nowhere near as glamorous as my little head had imagined them. My little heart was broken.
So today one thing lead to another, and I found myself playing with Google Maps Street View. And sure enough I found myself looking at our little town in MS. I started on Main St, and worked Peg Man down the road towards our house, looking for familiar sites. And there it was- the trailer house, wheels and all. It is still there nearly 30 years later. It made me a little nostalgic.
And a little sad. I was still hoping it would get up and go see the world someday.



(this also explains my lifelong fascination with RV vacations)

Movies!

As happens every Christmas season, I have managed to watch a LOT of movies over the past few weeks. So let's have a little recap and review!



True Grit-
LOVED it! It is Coen Brothers all the way. If you can handle Coen Brothers, I highly recommend it! The question being, can you say that when you go to see a Coen Brothers movie that it was what you expected? If remakes can be nominated for Oscars, Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, and the girl who plays the lead- Hailee Steinfeld, will be serious contenders in their categories. And may I just say, as a recent convert to the Hunger Games series, Hailee Steinfeld totally has my vote for Katniss. And I really don't get the fuss over Josh Brolin in this film. Sure he was good- for the whole 2 minutes of screen time he got.

How Do You Know-
I really had much, much higher hopes for a movie starring some of my most very favorite actors- Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson. How do you know when you are watching a lame movie? When the movie requires a predictable, unexpected birth at the climax of the movie for jokes. And for crying out loud, can someone actually make a movie set in DC that vaguely resembles DC?

Tron 3D-
I would have to say if you are going to go see this movie, that you have to see it in 3D. Because seeing it for the plot would be a total waste of time. Pay the extra $4 for the 3D, because the special effects are very fun and impressive.

Daniel Deronda-
Saw this BBC mini-series on Netflix Instant. If you are like me and all classic romances on BBC float your boat, you are going to love this one. This one has skyrocketed to the top of my favorites list. Hugh Dancy is very good in this movie!

Letters to God-
Another Netflix Instant offering. If you are in the mood for a good, clean, family friendly, makes you cry a thousand times, movie about childhood cancer, where you have to suspend your disbelief about a mailman who is on a first name basis with everyone on his temporary route, then I highly recommend it. I must give a shout-out to my Due West boys and Jason Deere, their producer, who have a song on the soundtrack for this movie. I looked up the film because of them, but watched it when I noticed it is one of the most watched movies on Netflix in my town.

Holiday-
I loved this old classic starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. It is showing for free on Hulu right now.


Easy A-
Got this for free from Amazon Video, and I want my money back.





Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Write, write, writing away!

I've been busy writing again! Thanks for putting up with all of my self-promotions!

How to do dating right (Meridian) - I know there is something rather amusing and ironic about me giving dating advice. But nonetheless, here it is.

Jobs by Erin - I've created a new blog with job postings, and some day when I get to it, job seeking advice. Bookmark this page to find the most recent job listings I'm recruiting for! (Don't forget the $500 referral bonus ends on December 31. Get your resumes in now!)

And for the Examiner, I've written about LDS Family Home Evenings (did you know the Church has a website for it now?), CityDeals (and how it saves you money), and another restaurant in Roanoke. I probably won't be writing much more for the Examiner. They have made some content rule changes that work against the incentives of the writers.

And over at my other blog, Cutting Back and Going Green, I have new deals, organic cooking, eco-diamonds, how Coca-cola is saving lives, and information on yoga!

Christmas was lovely!

Our non-traditional Christmas was really enjoyable. Little Sister Steph and I checked into the Hotel Roanoke on Christmas Eve. Our parents are far, far away, and our other siblings live on the other side of the country. So it was just the two of us out for a fun and different want of spending the holiday. The hotel room was a gift from our parents (purchased at an incredibly great discounted price. Seriously, our dinner cost more than the hotel room!)

Here's just a few images from the weekend!
The Hotel Roanoke on Friday night before the snow. 

The outside entrance after the snow on Saturday morning. 

 
It's not Southern Virginia without a hokie somewhere. If you don't know what a hokie is, chances are you're not from Virginia.

Same hokie, looking much colder. Our hotel room was just above the hokie. He was very shiny all night.


The hotel was hosting a Christmas tree contest. There were 25 beautifully decorated trees throughout the hotel. Naturally, we posed in front of several of them. This "angel tree" was by far my favorite.

Sisters is fancy shoes



Little Steph in front of the main lobby tree. 


The hotel may have had 25 trees throughout it, but our room didn't have one. (There were several families spotted sitting in the lobby by the big tree opening presents though.) So without a tree, we put our presents under the big window.



White Christmas at the Hotel Roanoke

After our fun at the hotel, there were still dinners with cousins, and the annual cousins Christmas movie outing. All in all, it was a very lovely weekend. The 3 days in a row of overwhelmingly delicious mashed potatoes were worth the 4 lbs gained! I love a good green bean casserole, but I think I'm good for another year. But I just might miss the pie. And room service.

Monday, December 27, 2010

For Christmas I got a Nook Color. I actually got to pick it out and start using it two weeks before Christmas. (And then got all of the fun accessories on Christmas Day). I have read 6 books since getting my Nook. Have I mentioned that I LOVE my Nook?!?!
If you are considering getting a Nook, go do it! They are so worth it! My favorite part is that when I think, "Oh, I'd like to read that!" it takes about 60 seconds to look it up in the Nook online store, buy it, and download it. Seriously, from the moment of thought to actually owning the book is less than 1 minute.

Mmm... bacon and 40% off at IHOP



40% off IHOP at CityDeals people! You pay $12, get a gift card for $20. Not too shabby!
(Not available in all locations, but it is available in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana and California)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More amusing conversations with children

Some of the conversational gems from the Christmas weekend!
Stephanie's self-portrait


Stephanie (sister, age 21): I feel like a fat sow! I ate a whole box of chocolate covered turtle doves!


Lexi (cousin, age 5): Erin, are you old enough to get married?
Me: Yes, but I have to meet a nice boy first.
Lexi: Do you know Stephen? (her brother-in-law, married to my cousin, standing about 5 ft away)
Me: yes, but Stephen is married already!
Lexi: Oh, (long pause) how about Remington (her brother, age 15, also standing about 5 ft away)?
Me: Well, Remmy is my cousin. I can't marry my cousin.
Lexi: You can't marry cousins?
Me: Nope!
Lexi (head hangs down sadly in disappointment): Oh. (pause) Let's go play a game!



Different day. Same Lexi. Outside, walking through the snow, a good 20 feet from her house.This joke will only make sense if you were raised Mormon.
Lexi: We're walking, and walking, and walking, and walking, and walking, like the Primary children.
Me: You mean the pioneer children?
Lexi gives me a look of discipline and shakes her head no.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Christmas, Y'all!



I hope you enjoy your Christmas weekend! Merry Christmas to you and your family!
We here in Roanoke are looking forward to a very White Christmas with a potential of 6-12 inches of snow coming this weekend. I'd be a little worried about pipes freezing, or getting snowed in, but my sister Steph and I will be celebrating the holiday in a lovely little suite here (a gift from our folks). Because nothing says Christmas like a 5 star hotel, a hot tub, and in-room massages. It may not be a traditional Christmas, but it ain't a bad alternative!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oh BBC how I love thee (and then sometimes don't)


Not too long ago I saw the movie the Young Victoria for the first time. I LOVED it. It is beautifully scripted, acted, shot, etc. It is the story of how Queen Victoria became a queen at a young age, and came to marry Prince Albert. It is a romantic love story.
In fact, the whole movie is about the love story. Their romance is the entire premise of the movie.
So you can only imagine my complete and utter surprise when I discovered the BBC mini-series, "Victoria and Albert." The entire premise of this movie is their relationship, and how they weren't in love!
In one movie there is a poignant scene where Albert tells Victoria how he loves her and encourages her to propose to him. (Apparently queens must do the asking. It is improper for someone to propose to a queen. Go figure.) In the other movie, Albert is fearing that she might ask him.
Considering their love, or lack thereof, is the entire focal point of both movies, you would think they would be a little more inline with each other, instead of completely opposite.
What you do find in both movies are scenes about how the fires are set in the palace. And that the Victoria's first real act as queen was to move her mother out of the bedroom they shared. One must conclude that these two events were very well documented. And that their relationship was not.
Of course both actresses portraying Queen Victoria were beautiful. And Prince Albert was quite handsome. In real life? Not so much. But you can see that distinct royal family nose has been around for quite some time!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The day I identified with Barbra Streisand


Last night I watched the movie "The Way We Were" for the first time. There's a few things you should know here before I continue. In my family there is no one single actress more reviled than Barbra Streisand. While one or two of us may admit to liking a few of her songs, no one in our family will ever admit to liking her acting. And if you are the paternal member of our family you will openly discuss how unattractive she is every time her name is mentioned or her music is played.
So really, is it of any surprise that I had not yet seen this particular movie?
The movie itself was incredibly... annoying? I guess I just couldn't get past my politics enough to ever feel sympathetic to a communist party supporter*. Not to mention my personal issues with the lack of good strong female role models in them. This was just another movie where a strong headed woman had to change herself to get a man. And then when she went back to being herself, she lost him! I hate movies (and all other forms of media and stories) that do that!
Also, I will not apologize for spoilers for a movie that is older than I am.
Today I got up and about my business and before long found myself neck deep in a political debate with someone (or multiple someone's as the case may be). And suddenly it hit me. I'm K-k-k-katie. I am just like the Katie from the movie (minus the love for Stalin). I identified with her a little too well. Hot-headed, opinionated, and unable to separate me from my beliefs- I freaking identified with Barbra Streisand. Just shoot me now!
And whatever you do, don't tell my dad! He might disown me for such language!



*Also Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand were both well into their 40s and trying to act and act like college students. MAJOR FAIL. Completely unbelievable. However, on top of all that absurdity, I just found it completely implausible that a man as attractive as Redford (even at his matured age) would ever be with a woman that looked like her. Especially with the shorter/younger hair. It was horrid! And don't get me started on the soundtrack to the movie. Painful. Just painful.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Car Accident Story

Almost what the car I hit looks like. I can't find an exact image.


I was in a very minor car accident today. A truly unforgettable, funny, minor car accident. The story goes like this-
Got my first commission check from Phase 3 Recruiting! YEAH ME!!!
Rush off to the bank to deposit the check! (if the story ended here, I would be posting a happy dance today, but alas)
Kept myself from doing a happy dance in the bank.
Went to library.
While leaving the library, backed into a car.
Even after hearing the loud crunch, I couldn't see the car. Even twisted around completely in my seat, I couldn't see the car. The front end of it was so low that I couldn't see it out of my back window. There was an SUV next to me, blocking the view of the taller part of the car.
Got out of car to see the damage. Driver of the other car gets out and asks if I recognize him. I don't.
He takes his hat off and smiles. I still don't recognize him. He's an older man with white hair and a mustache. And a handicapped placard in his car.
Thankfully the damage to his car is incredibly minor. You have to run your hand over it and stand in just the right light to see it. Phew!
The man says, "I'm Brother Hoffman! You're Sister McBride, right? Erin McBride?"
He knows my parents and is in my ward. Oh thank heavens all the bad words stayed in my head, and didn't fall out of my mouth when I hit the car!
"I guess we need to exchange insurance information. I was going to set my grandson up with you, but it turns out you are older than you look."
From there we really did exchange insurance information, and I found out his grandson is 10 years younger than me.
Leave it to me to finally get paid, and then get in a car accident less than 10 minutes later. And then to hit a man from my own ward at that. And not just any man, but an elderly man who knows my name.
Unfreakingreal.


(Sidenote- following the car accident I found myself in a conversation with my own brother who couldn't understand something I was saying thanks to my Maryland/Potomac accent, and inability to say "yoo" and "oh" sounds like most people.)

It has officially been one of THOSE days!

Daydream Believer

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas blues

I was doing so good fighting off the annual case of the holiday blues. But try as I may they have arrived. And they are here in full force.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nook, Hunger Games, and Angry Birds


Angry Birds- if you don't get it, you don't get it. To those of you who get it I ask- do you ever feel guilty, like you are killing innocent little (albeit angry and vengeful) birds? I never feel bad about the grunting little pigs, but when it takes me twenty times to master a level, I do start to feel guilty about the birds.

Nook- I got to "open" a Christmas present early. And by that I mean I went to the store with Santa Mom to pick out the present. Originally the plan was to wait until Christmas morning to open the Nook. But since I had just finished the first book in the Hunger Games series (in paperback), and was absolutely dying to read the second book, the Nook was opened. I started book 1 on Saturday, and finished Book 3 on Wednesday. I didn't get much sleep all week, but I don't regret it! I LOVED the whole series. Actually, all but the last 20 pages of book 3. Team Peeta! (For other fan girls out there I offer you this- my first choice for Peeta, and my choice for Peeta who I admit is too old to play Peeta, but I still think he'd be perfectly cast.)
Also, can I just tell you how freaking amazing a Nook Color is? I LOVE MY NEW TOY!!! If you are considering one of these as a gift for you or someone else- trust me! Get it! I LOVE IT!
I love my Nook Color so much that I will even give you this link to get one-
NOOKcolor with Wi-Fi for just $249 plus Free Shipping -  Buy Now!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

You find out who your friends are

December 16 – Friendship How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?



Are you sick and tired of me talking about unemployment over and over again? I'm sure you are, because heaven knows I am! Nonetheless, here we go again.
"You find out who your friends are..."
I have watched my friends go through some very important challenges this year. One went back to school, another started her own company, another was laid off, two friends had children get diagnosed with cancer, another found herself in a very difficult personal situation, some got married, others adopted children, one had reason to seriously contemplate divorce, some had new babies, and on and on. No one friend had it worse or more difficult than the others. But an overwhelming number of my friends were faced with huge challenges.
Many times I felt so useless and helpless for them. My funds were so tight (living off of less than $900/mo for the majority of the year) I wasn't able to give as much as I wanted to. I couldn't afford to travel. I felt very useless and worthless. But I gave as much of my time as I could. I gave myself as much as I could.
My friends were there for me so many times that I can't count how many nights I cried from gratitude. I was truly blessed with wonderful friends. In spite of the difficulties they faced, they still continued to care for me and my problems as well.
It is always a little awkward to say that I was grateful for my friends' challenges. Many of them went through things I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But in some respects I was grateful for the opportunity to be aware of them and their needs, or to be able to serve them. It felt good to care about others, and not stay so wrapped up in my own problems.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just another wisher


Yesterday I drove my mother up to Dulles airport and said goodbye to her. A year ago I would have laughed in your face if you had told me my mother would be willingly flying Turkish Airlines to Saudi Arabia with a layover in Istanbul. Oh so many things have changed in the past year!
As I made the drive alone back to Roanoke in the dark (with my trusty sidekick Kaya dog) I had beautiful, star-filled skies above me. I loved every minute of my drive, with time to think and reflect.  Suddenly my drive became the things dreams are made of. As I drove along, head full of thoughts of love, whimsy, importance, and life, the sky filled with shooting stars!
I saw so many I lost count! It felt like my own private showing of the heavens. I made wishes and said prayers of thanks as the white lights streaked across the sky. There is nothing that makes me feel more like a daughter of God than celestial displays.

Brownie points to the first person to know which movie I quoted in the subject line!

Monday, December 13, 2010

remember that one time when we had to duck tape a diaper to the dog?

Poor dog is on antibiotics that are causing some pee incidents! this was the result!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Sunday, December 12, 2010

11 Things

REVERB10 -- December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1. Unemployment. I could gladly live without unemployment for a very, very long time. How will it change my life to feel useful, productive, and capable of providing for myself again? WONDERFUL.
2. Waste- My year of unemployment has lead me to really appreciate and understand what I must have to survive, and what I really don't need. I would like to eliminate the waste (and wasteful spending) from my life, and just focus on appreciating the substantive parts.
3. TV- I have not had a TV in my house for the bulk of the past year. I still watch plenty of television by way of Hulu, online, and at my sister's house. I have found that I really enjoy the activities that have filled the TV's place. I hope to decrease my TV habits even more soon.
4. Negativity- I have slowly but surely eradicated the negative people from my life. This past year has been difficult enough without carrying their doom and gloom as well. I intend to continue avoiding the negative!
5. Gluten- I am on a quest to better health by eliminating gluten from my diet.
6. Diet- speaking of diets, I intend to eliminate a lot more body fat in 2011.
7. The Past- I tend not to hold on to too many feelings or problems from the past. But there are a few leeches that I just can't seem to shake off. I'd love to have the emotional time and energy available to resolving and changing that.
8. Lack of Art- Being unemployed and broke has meant a lack of beauty in many ways. I haven't been able to do many of the more cultural things that I love and enjoy. I want that to change!
9. Mental waste- I don't want to waste mental time and space on things that do not matter. I want to focus on a more fulfilling and purposeful life by replacing waste with more becoming thoughts.
10. Time wasters- Again, I'd rather spend my time being useful to others, than wasting it online, with magazines, tv, etc.
11. I really cannot think up an 11th item!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Best Christmas Humor Song Ever

In our house it just isn't Christmas until I have annoyed everyone by singing (or playing) this song over and over and over and over again!

Justice will be served (we hope)

Prepare yourself for a totally cryptic post. I wish I could be more explanatory and verbose, but it wouldn't be wise to reveal all the details at this time. And yet, I can't keep myself from talking about it.

If you have been reading this blog for a long time, (well, more than 2.5 years anyway) you may recall that a few years ago I was seriously hurt and ripped off by someone. It involved bounced checks and payments I never received. And in the end, I was not only hurt, but I was financially devastated. My ability to trust was absolutely destroyed, and I was seriously depressed for a very long time.

I have long since come to grips with what happened and have moved on. I have long since accepted that I would never get my money back. The anger is gone. The hurt is mostly repaired. And my ability to trust is slowly rebuilding itself. And well, the financial situation took about 6 months to really rebound from, but I did finally get out of that massive hole. (Just to lose my job again 6 months later, and to stay unemployed for nearly 1 year.)

So why bring this all up now? Out of the blue this week, the situation resurfaced. Along with a few other unsuspecting individuals, I am suddenly faced with reliving the situation in a legal battle. (But at least this time I'm not the plaintiff. I'll just be a testimony.) But most of all, I am possibly, finally, going to get my money!

I'm not counting my chicks before they hatch. I know better than that. I have been seriously wounded by the parties involved before. I know better than to get my hopes up, or even get slightly excited that this whole situation is about to really be addressed. But I have to tell you, after nearly a year of unemployment, and of really having no funds at all, this is very exciting. You have no idea how grateful I would be right now to get that money back. To be able to actually thrive for a month (or two or three), instead of just barely survive.

So in your prayers this week, will you do me a little favor? Pray for justice. Pray that those of us who were wronged will finally get what we earned and deserved. I won't ask you to pray for vindication or revenge. I don't believe in that. But you have no idea what it would mean to those of us who were so badly hurt in that situation to finally get what is ours.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wisdom


REVERB10 -- December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
Going to Haiti.
I made the decision to go to Haiti in an instant. As soon as I heard about the earthquake I started looking for ways I could help. I was unemployed with very tight funds, so financial assistance was out of the question. And yet, when presented with the chance to go to Haiti just after the earthquake, I did everything I possibly could to get myself on the team. It was one of the best choices I have ever made.
It was a life-changing experience. I would do it again in a heart beat!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Party Prompt

#REVERB10 -- December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.
I only attended one party this year, and thankfully that party didn't disappoint! And that party was my 35th birthday! (coming up again in just a few short weeks!)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Beautifully Different

#REVERB10 -- December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.
 This is a really hard question for me! Wow. What makes me different? Well, part of me thinks everything about me is different. And yet, at the same time, I think I am just like anyone else.
I think what makes me different from some others is that I am working to find my way of being alone (or single), and yet integral and needed by the world around me. And I do that by serving others. A lack of a family or children doesn't stop me from caring for others. It is the freedom of being a solo act that gives me the freedom to choose to be a part of something bigger than me.

Dusty gets a family!!

A beautiful family has committed to adopt Dusty!! Donating to Reece's Rainbow works!!
So now let's get Katie a family!

This little doll is HIV+ and in an orphanage in Russia. If she is not adopted within the next 1-2 years she will be turned out to live on the streets. Because she is an orphan and HIV+, no one will give her a job or assistance once she is turned out. She will have no future.
Donating to her fund will help a family be able to afford to adopt her. In the US (or another Western country) she would live a very full life with decent medical care and a family to love her!
And you never know just who might be the family that is lucky enough to adopt this little darling!! It may just be someone you know! (Dusty's family is from my hometown!!)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Reverb 10 (better late than never)

Inspired by the awesome posts by Steph at Life After Single this week, I've decided to join #Reverb10 for blogging this month.  I may even try to go back in time and do a few of the past posts and thoughts.

Today's prompt: December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
This year I discovered the world of giving. I found that there are others out there like me that would much rather spend their lives giving, than spend it needing and wanting. From serving in Haiti to going through the foster care application process to joining the Peace Corps, it was inspiring to find and meet so many people who want to GIVE and not just take. 
Having found them, I want to continue to find them and connect with them. I want to be counted among them, and be more like them.

Musings

There comes a time in a girl's life where she has to admit she just can't share every single thought inside her head with the blogosphere. Especially when she's silly enough to have her blog fed directly to Facebook, where her 600 closest friends can be informed of her ridiculous thoughts.
There are so many things I'd like to talk about right now- WikiLeaks, morons who can't see past their own opinions and biases, heartbreak, adoption (no, I'm not adopting), Christmas, lessons in patience, stress, good things, great things, answers to prayers, and the wonderful feeling of blessed assurance that everything will be okay. But unfortunately, I just can't talk about most of that publicly right now.
So for now I will just say this. I may get high strung at times, and worked up over important things. But I am grateful for the confidence and faith to accept things as they come and to believe in divine destinations.
Today as I listened to different conversations, and to someone complaining that "$140K just isn't enough to live off of," and to political discussions that convinced me more and more of selfishness and greed, I realized just how very badly I want to serve in the Peace Corps. I realized how much I don't care about the petty politics of this, or any country. What I care about is helping others receive the essential basics. I hate to live in a place where people care so much about having things the way they want it that gay marriage is even an issue. How can we be wasting so much time and energy on something so frivolous when so many others don't have access to clean drinking water, and there are children dying in orphanages? I find myself more and more turned off by the American fixation on "social" issues, when there are essential, basic, human needs not being met in so many places, both domestic and abroad.
Peace Corps take me away!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Feeling alive

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors)


I was standing in the infants hospital tent in Haiti. It was blistering hot inside, and crowded beyond belief. The tent took up half the road, and was snugged up against the curb. We were walking on broken brick road, with cribs and children's beds up against the tent walls. Beside each bed was one small chair with a mother in it. Each mother carefully protected her little child and begged for the needed medical care. But in one little crib at the end of the hot, smelly tent, was a little girl with no mother beside her. I fell in love with her at first sight. She only wore a diaper, and lied on her back, mindlessly staring at the ceiling, while the incessant flies buzzed about and landed on her. She was just a tiny thing, maybe 9 lbs at the most. I asked around trying to find her mother, but no one knew where she was, "she gone," was the only answer I could find. So I picked up the little girl's chart and tried to make sense of it. She had a fever and a disease. That was all I knew. I took the little frail thing from her crib. And as soon as I snuggled her up against me she looked right up into my eyes and smiled. We were instant friends. She cooed and laughed at me. I cooed and laughed right back. She wrapped her little hand around my finger and just smiled at me. What can I say? I was in love! My companion for the day pulled out the camera and documented the moment. I couldn't put my little angel girl down. She was just too perfect in my arms.
She was the moment I realized I would never be the same. I would never take my life, no matter how difficult or easy it is, for granted again. I was suddenly alive and my life was filled with purpose.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Any day/minute/second now I just might be getting some huge news. Or I may find out all my waiting has been for nothing, and life will continue on as usual. Hope for good news!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Reece's Rainbow and Dusty

Thoughts of adoption and loving little children are never far from my heart. Two of my heroes and inspirations are my friends Richard and Valerie Rieben, who have adopted 4.75 special needs children (#5 joins the family in January, and #6 comes in 2011), and have triplet homemade darlings.
Richard and Valerie have introduced me to Reece's Rainbow. RR is wonderful organization that raises funds for the adoptions of special needs children in international orphanages. Many families would love to adopt these special children, but just can't find the $19,000-$30,000 it can take to adopt! Reece's Rainbow allows individuals like you and me donate money to help bring these beautiful children and families together.
The Riebens have chosen Dusty as their Christmas project. They will not be adopting Dusty. They are raising funds to help someone else be able to afford to adopt Dusty. I have decided to assist and support them in these efforts.

Dusty is 5 years old. He was born with Down Syndrome and other challenges. Birth trauma affecting multiple internal organs/systems. Multiple instances of CNS damage. Ischemic cardiopathy, Anemic stage 3, prematurity stage 1. His orphanage has a history of medicating the children, so many of them look sleepy and zoned out in their photos. (How sick is that?!)
Somewhere there is a family out there that could love this little man. With proper Western medical care he could thrive and live a healthier, longer life. If he is not adopted soon, he will be sent from the orphanage to a mental institution (where all children go when not adopted), where he will likely die from lack of care and provisions for his needs. 
I hope you will consider donating a few dollars to Dusty's fund. How about skipping Starbucks this week? Or buying a few less iTunes? Or telling your Secret Santa at work that instead of a new stapler, you would appreciate a donation to Dusty and/or Reece's Rainbow? Or spending $10 less on a frivolous gift, and instead, send it to Dusty?
For the month of December there will be a link of the side of my blog reminding you about Dusty. Please join me and the Riebens in giving Dusty the chance to have a family!
To donate just click Dusty's name, and then the DONATE button on his page. If you would like to participate in the Rieben's quilt and fundraiser for Dusty visit their blog!


I have to also mention this beautiful little girl- Katie. Isn't she just darling? Oh how I wish my circumstances were different right now. I'd take her home in a heartbeat!

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