Fiona in January

Fiona in January

Friday, April 30, 2010

What a week...

This week has been challenging for many reasons - full of ups and downs and lots of prayer. Three of my co-workers have had parents pass away this week, please join me in praying for them and their families. I can't imaging the pain and grief associated with such a loss and it's so hard to know what to say or do to comfort someone who honestly can't truly be comforted through such an awful time.

An "up" this week is that today marks mine and Aaron's 11 month anniversary...yes we're a new enough couple that we still celebrate the "month" anniversaries! I can't believe it's been almost a year already and we're getting married in just 4 and a half! I can't wait to combine our two goofball personalities and lives into one and finally live in the same place - it's been WAY too long of a wait. In the meantime, we're playing Wii and makin' waffles!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Switchfoot, Laughter and Bernt

So this morning on the way to work I randomly decided to listen to Switchfoot's "Hello Hurricaine" album and about 2 songs in, I started cracking up. See, Switchfoot always reminds me of Bernt. He was my youth pastor in high school and really was so much more than that. He's like a big brother and his wife, Ginger, was always like an extra older sister to me. Without them and their fantastic family I honestly don't know how I would have actually survived those years. I'm so thrilled he's officiating our wedding and wish I had room in the wedding party for Ginger and the girls! Somehow I think 10 bridesmaids might be a bit much...

So why laughter at Switchfoot? Well...throughout my high school and most of my college years, Bernt and I were locked in this constant "discussion" about how I refused to listen to what I would call super-lame Christian music. I constantly maintained that I would give it a shot when he could give me a band that didn't musically and lyrically suck. The ONLY one we could agree on was Switchfoot! And so what band do I still listen to? Yeah...Switchfoot.

So thanks Bernt for constantly badgering me when I was a beligerent teenager to give them a shot, they still are one of my favorite bands and I love that they're still cranking out rockin music.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just when you think it's all good....

What a week...this past week has been an exercise in self-control and faith. It is the ultimate example of just when you start to think life is progressing well, that you have the immediate future figured out and it's all good....BAM! Life turns around and bites you in the ass.

As an exercise in self-control I'm going to let that one "ass" be the only semi-profane word I use in this blog. Believe me, that in itself is exercising an extreme level of self-control under the circumstances.

This week Aaron was laid off. His fantastic full-time job with benefits at the hospital where he was finally doing what he loved to do, was trained to do and is extremely good at...they laid him and 3 other people in his department off. Thursday was his last day of work and Friday he got the official "axe". In an extreme incidence of irony (which we might laugh at in a year or five), I was interviewing for a new job across the street at the exact same time he was being let go from his.

Weeks like this one prompt me to say:



Then sigh, breathe and try to reign in the crazy, desperately clinging to those truths about Him I know so well.

#1 - He loves me and Aaron

#2 - All things work together for good for those who love Him

#3 - He is good. Always. No matter the circumstances of our lives.

That being said, it has been a rough couple of days and we are scrambling through the exhausting process of applying for jobs (both of us - as I am leaving my job to move to the Eastern Shore in a month!) and praying like crazy for God to give us guidance as we're getting married in 5 months and were planning to live in the Salisbury area due to his job!

Thank you to everyone for your prayers, please continue to lift us up as we are struggling. Keeping my attitude high, encouraging and uplifting to God is a near-hourly exercise in self-control and resolve.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Narcissit Much?

Some of my fellow bloggers are updating their “100 Things Lists” and this sounded like a great idea to me, until I realized I'd never actually gotten around to doing one before. So, this is not an update. This is the first time I’ve done anything this self-centered. Feel free to comment, mock and hopefully laugh!

1. I was born on September 29, 1983.
2. I have GREEN eyes and get irrationally annoyed when people assume they are blue. They are not!
3. I have (what some would say is an irrational) fear of vampires. They are not sexy, they are not your friends (hopefully), they are in fact scary as hell.
4. I’m the middle kid of a fantastic family of 3 sisters
5. Some days I think I am slightly psychic
6. I was raised in a suburb of Washington DC, but for some bizarre reason decided to leave and live in Podunkville, Indiana for 8 years...the insanity ebbed and I’m back now
7. I despair that my state has a horrible baseball team that hasn’t had a winning season since 1997
8. Due to the above fact I am now a Red Sox fan
9. While growing up my Mom taught us a butt-load (I’m sure she’d love the adjective) of old hymns. I still remember most of them when they occasionally pop up in church
10. I am a European mutt – parts Irish, Scottish, British, French, Welsh, etc. etc...but most days I look Irish/Scottish
12. I am easily frustrated by adults who act like children.
13. I tend to have near-infinite patience with children under the age of 12
14. I used to worry that I needed my friends more than they really needed me
15. I hate sharing
16. I love babies but don’t want my own yet
17. Compromising makes my stomach ache
18. I sometimes wonder if I’m ready to be a grown up yet and if anyone else I know is either
19. I can’t stand when others try to guilt me into an obligation
20. There are about 5 people in the known universe who could successfully guilt me into an obligation
21. I firmly believe that God is real, alive and active in my life and others here on earth
22. I am a reading addict.
23. I will read anything and plan to encourage my future offspring to do the same
24. If I said 75% of what I think in any given day I would probably be arrested/ostracized/smacked in the face
25. I am 100% convinced that cars hate me, even though I do nothing but love them

26. High schoolers give me hives
27. I miss eating oranges (they would kill me – I’m that allergic)
28. Occasionally I dream about oranges
29. I have an undergrad degree in journalism, but have done diddly squat in that field

30. Breaking my own stereotypes about my personality, likes and dislikes has been really fun lately
31. I am horrified that they now make footwear for adults that lights up when you walk
32. Dentists, no matter how friendly they seem will always be the villains in my story
33. I desperately want my name to appear in the “Authored by” context again
34. I suck at motivating myself to work on my second novel
35. I am annoyed at having to brush my teeth twice a day
36. I found the love of my life in my best friend Aaron
37. I don’t know how I could ever find a way to function without him
38. He is ever-patient and amazing, putting up with my own special brand of crazy every single day

39. Secretly I think that no other couple is as awesome at being together as we are
40. Apparently it is now no longer a secret
41. I worry about someday contracting the icky health conditions others in my family history have been afflicted with
42. Lately I find myself wondering if I should go back to being a strawberry blonde
43. The concept of a support group is encouraging, in actuality I think they would drive me nuts
44. I could never be a vegetarian
45. My brother-in-law cooks a mean steak
46. My older sister, Kate, is a chronic baker and is amazingly gifted at baking tasty things on a near-daily basis
47. If I could have dinner with an author it would be Jen Lancaster
48. I don’t care if it seems shallow, she is amazing and we would laugh so hard I would probably pee
49. Being pretentious doesn’t suit me
50. Uppity people make me want to kick them in the shins
51. Sushi is the most amazing food on the planet
52. I will pretty much try any kind of food at least once
53. This view toward food is vastly different than the one I had when I was a child
54. I once went through a phase where I refused to eat anything I hadn’t already tried
55. My mother attempted to explain that if I ate that way I would never eat anything
56. I did not waiver
57. At least for a week or two
58. I like saying the word “umami”
59. Which oddly sounds like a type of sushi or like someone is mispronouncing “edamame”
60. Fresh flowers are one of my favorite things in the world
61. I can still get a sunburn in the shade while wearing SPF 50

62. Stupid pale European genes
63. My favorite grown-up drink is Bacardi and Coke
64. How grown-up can it be if it has soda involved?

65. I could drink (and have!) fresh-squeezed lemonade by the gallon
66. I have a short attention span, so most of my obsessions/fixations are short-lived.
67. Most of my obsessions are based in pop culture, movies or tv shows
68. The first one I remember is being obsessed with Swiss Family Robinson (the lame Disney movie adaptation)
69. I insisted on watching it every day
70. I still apologize for putting my family through that horror
71. I do not like Gone With The Wind
72. It kind of rambled and in general didn’t hold my interest
73. I love to cook but wonder if I’ll still love it when I have to do it every single day
74. I am the most un-crafty person you’ll ever meet
75. I don’t mean I’m not sneaky...I am totally sneaky
76. I mean in the making things “crafty” sense of the word I am a craft loser
77. I break things and have no patience for tiny details
78. Scrapbooking gives me hives (see above #26 for something else hive-related)
79. I never take meds so I’m always freaked that I’ll get hooked on Claratin, Benadryl or Ibuprofen
80. I’m outrageously claustrophobic
81. This causes me to be terrified of elevators
82. They are like coffins
83. I decided to try to conquer my fear 2 Thanksgivings ago and took the elevator to the top of the Sears Tower

84. This was super-dumb
85. I got all light headed and tingly shrieking inside my head until I got to the top, fell out onto the floor and proceeded to gasp for air while leaning against my good friend Ruthie
86. I don’t like spinach

87. When it is fresh it squeaks against my teeth in an ungodly manner
88. When it is cooked it tastes and has the consistence of a wet gym sock
89. I have an uncanny memory for song lyrics and movie dialog
90. I am a walking wikipedia of “match that person’s face to their name and tell me what movies they’ve been in” – Aaron is always in awe of this mad skill
91. My favorite color is green. Like my eyes (see above #2)
92. I am attracted to scruffy-faced men (hence my Aaron)
93. I don't generally get along well with other women, which I attribute to wanting to leave highschool crap behind and not wanting to participate in verbal diarrhea and backstabbing
94. On the other hand I’ve found many fantastic women who have become dear friends. We verbally backstab those described in #93 so it all evens out
95. I love the taste of sage
96. I think it goes best with turkey
97. I actually love doing and folding laundry – but bottom fitted sheets are a nightmare – how do you fold those damn things?
98. I despise camping and most vigorous outdoor activities
99. This does not make me a bad person. In fact it makes me a smart person.
100. I’m pretty sure that posting this blog proclaims to the world that I am a narcissist.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Bittersweet Blessing

Today I find myself thinking about my Grandma (she passed away a little over a year ago). When she passed she was very generous with us and left each of us a sum of money that we received yesterday. It was an incredible blessing and has come at a perfect time, when so many things in my life are changing and my job future is somewhat uncertain. I thank God for this money that will allow me to breathe so much easier for the next few months as I get settled on the Eastern Shore.
Still, this gift has been bittersweet. Of course the money would not have come to us without her passing and I found myself tearing up while looking at my bank account balance this morning. She was a wonderful woman, one of the only people I have ever known who truly exhibited a kind and gentle spirit. She was frugal, but also extremely generous. She was kind and loving, but always knew how to approach you if she thought you were doing something wrong (this came into play on more than one occasion when I was a kid). I truly do not have one single bad or tainted memory of her and that is something that I will always hold close to my heart.

She will always hold a special place in my heart for many reasons, but specifically because she was truly the first "fan" of my writing. Poor woman, she put up with my rambling correspondence from the moment I first started writing her when I was about 6 years old. Bless her heart, she would always write back with comments and questions about the contents and even providing me with new topics I could respond to. It was hilarious when I stumbled upon some of the letters I had sent her and my grandfather that she had saved all these years. The gist of one was:

Dear Grandma,

I hope you are doing fine. I am fine too. Is Grandpa fine? Today I had eggs for breakfast. Molly bit me, but Mommy says not to get mad because she's too little to be good yet. I get to ride my bike with Daddy today. I hope he doesn't make me wear a helmet. I miss you and want to see you soon.


It doesn't have a date on it, but if Molly (my younger sister who is almost 23) was young enough to be in her biting phase, I think I was about 7 years old!
I hate that Grandma can't be at my wedding in October and that she never got to meet Aaron. They would have hit it off and absolutely loved each other. He would have immediately one of her "grandkids", accepted wholeheartedly.

I do love the fact that my "something blue" will be her star sapphire engagement ring, and every time I look down at my hand that day I will remember her and in a way feel her there with me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Great Afternoon...

I had a fantastic afternoon today, just spending time with two great friends. There's something so comfortable and freeing about hanging out with people who have known me since we were all in middle school/early high school. At the same time it's slightly frightening how much we all know about each other!

Anyway, we hit up Metro Diner in Annapolis, which coincidentally is right across the street from one of my favorite stores EVER....(drumroll) Anthropologie! I LOOOOVE that place and want to design my house to look like the inside of that store. It's all airy and spacious with a fantastic color palate, I love it completely. I also found the cutest little fresh herb pots, which are tugging at my heartstrings a little because they are officially the first thing I've bought for the future home Aaron and I will be moving into this fall and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

It was a great afternoon and included some much-needed downtime, friend-bonding and general's to more afternoons to come!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

oh danger...

This weekend I am facing one of my greatest fears and least-favorite shopping excursions...that's right ladies, it's even worse than bra-shopping and more embarrassing than checking out at Target, buying boxes of super plus tampons when there is a young, super-cute cashier boy on the line...

What is this horrible activity?

Bathing. Suit. Shopping.


I am rewarding myself with a pedicure when I finish, otherwise I'll never go and it'll be like last summer when I had to get a new suit and put it off til June and found NOTHING except hysterical laughter while Ruthie and pawed through 4-6 stores looking for suits. Don't get me wrong, the hysterical laughter was enjoyable, but the lack of bathing suit choices royally sucked.


Here we go again...

Hoping I look less like this:

And more like this:

But in reality, I will most likely leave the store(s) looking something akin to this:

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Update in List Form

4 Things I Have Learned in 4 Months

1. It is ok and should not be considered "weak" to ask for help and admit I really need my friends and family.

2. I can rock awesomely feminine and fantastically stylish clothes (i.e. spring dresses and my new pencil skirt!) and it is a serious boost to my confidence all the way around! *See examples below - not great quality shots, but blame my cell phone and the Kohl's dressing room lighting!

3. I can CHOOSE to be optimistic and be joyful in life's circumstances - what an amazing feeling of control over my emotions and outlook on my life!

4. God is always good! He has revealed Himself to me in so many powerful ways I tear up even trying to put them into words!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Is It August Yet?

Ok so the below photo montage of Ruthie and me is posted because...SHE IS COMING TO VISIT ME IN AUGUST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just found out the dates and I'm so excited I can hardly sit still! I honestly can't stand waiting to see her, we're both going to freak out and probably cry while jumping around and hugging each other at the airport.

Plus I'm going to be living on the Eastern Shore then so we'll get to hit the beach, eat great sushi, hang out at all my old favorite places on the OC boardwalk, cook, relax and talk, talk, talk, talk, TALK - just like we used to be able to do every other day when I was living in Indiana...I can't WAIT!

Seriously - is it August yet?!

PS - is anyone else super-annoyed at how difficult it is to post/format photos on this blog? Good LORD!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just Lunch

Some days all it takes is a great lunch with a fantastic friend to turn my entire day and mood around.

Nothing like eating good food and laughing your guts out on the way back to work...

Thank you!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'll Be

You will find Me
I'm at the point of your breaking
Behind all the noise...

When your world is darkest,
I can still see
'Cause when there's nothing left...

I'll Be.

I'll Be..

*Newsboys "I'll Be" - LOVED hearing this song in the car on the way to work this morning!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Change in Thinking

Do you think that by deciding to be an optimist, a person can become one?

Lately I've started to try to really examine what makes me worry, be anxious and overly-emotional without warning. These reactions aren't severe or paralyzing, but they definitely affect me and I'm trying to get at the root of the cause, as this hasn't been a life-long habit for me. If anything I used to never worry ENOUGH, just would coast through life making decisions that felt right and trusting that things would eventually work out.

For some reason my brain doesn't seem to be able to work that way anymore. I don't know if it's just the fact that I'm older (and some may argue, wiser) and the point of just how much I could possibly lose is being driven home to me. However, instead of empowering me to be less selfish and take the potential consequences of my actions into consideration, it has been causing this bubbling well of worry to constantly simmer somewhere in my midsection.

Part of me wonders if it's a reaction to the massive amount of change in my life over the past few months and the anticipation of even more in the months to come...yet I can't really pinpoint being anxious about anything in particular that will take place in my life in the near future (getting married, moving to the Eastern Shore, finding a new job, etc). Instead, I'm excited about those changes and am so looking forward to finally feeling "at home" and settled instead of viewing every life situation as being temporary.

So what is it?

What am I so worried about?

One of the things that has just recently been somewhat revealed to me is that I am afraid of being alone. Not actually physically being alone in a house or room, etc...but losing the people I love so much and being actually alone. Where does this worry come from? It frustrates me on a near-daily basis now because I don't understand why I've started to worry about this to such an intense level - I never did before.

It's a worry I bring before God every day, asking for His strength and help as I constantly lean on the truth that He will never leave me or forsake me. But still...I find myself affected by this anxiety over potential alone-ness almost every day.

So what to do?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Striking a Chord

Have you ever been reading the Bible, doing your daily thing...almost just as a habit when a verse or passage just jumps out at you and smacks you in the face with its power?

That really happened to me this weekend. I've started reading my way through "Becoming A Woman After God's Own Heart" and am in the chapter devoted to how important prayer is. Prayer has been a struggle for me at times, I either feel like my prayers are more of habit and not genuine or I feel like I only pray when I'm in trouble. I'm trying to develop my prayer life and relationship with God and to be honest it isn't easy.

So I was reading one of the Psalms listed and it leapt off the page at me in it's importance:

Psalm 121
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

I cried. I just let myself cry out all the tension and stress I had built up trying to over-manage and over-prepare myself for all life could possibly throw at me. I don't need to worry about it all - I need to LET GO because the Maker of the heavens and earth cares for me and watches over every aspect of my life for me. I will never be alone, He will always be with me.

What an incredible promise!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Common Ground

Ok, so I'm semi-breaking a promise I made when starting this blog and am going to blog about my awesome fiance...can't help it, so if you aren't in the mood to read about our combined fantasticness-ocity, don't scroll down...

The main reason that our relationship works so well and we have so much fun together is the common ground we share. Now don't get me wrong, we're definitely different in many ways and don't always share the same level of passion for things (i.e. Anime and cosmetic products), but the common ground we hold goes a long way into making our relationship a lot of fun. Being friends for the past 9 years helps for sure. So below is a short-ish list of fantastic things I love that we have in common:

1. Love of movies - ok, seriously if there is a movie out there's a 95% chance we'll see it together. we love so many of the same kinds of movies, it's amazing. I am addicted to action movies, he enjoys romantic comedies and both of us absolutely love watching super-inappropriate comedies (we just saw Hot Tub Time Machine this afternoon...EPICALLY inappropriate and hysterical!)

2. Love of books - if you combine our books (which we will be doing in just a few short months) we'll have over 1,000 volumes. Are we getting rid of anything? Of COURSE not! They're books for god sakes, not outgrown clothing. What's wrong with you?! Get rid of would be like selling of a member of the family!

3. Love of food - both of us like to cook...and eat...of course and between the two of us we'll try just about any kind of food, which makes it so much fun to hunt for new recipes to try. Except peas...peas are disgusting. No peas for us thanks!

4. Love of music - both of us really have a love of music and if you look at our iTunes/CD collections you'll find just about every possible genre represented.

5. Love of shopping - ok, I LOVE shopping. It seriously is one of my favorite things to do. Even if I don't really buy much, I have so much fun with it. Even grocery shopping! And who is the best shopping buddy ever? Yeah that would be Aaron...he's the best! He gets excited about great finds when I show them off, gives his honest opinion when I try on clothes and will gamely try on things I find for him too.

6. Love of video games - so I'm never going to be one of those wives who complains about her husband playing video games. Mostly because I think they are FREAKIN COOL! I love playing (some of them) and watching Aaron play, it's like a choose-your-own-adventure movie, it's fun! I love how excited he gets about some of the games and will randomly ask my opinion about what his video game alter-egos should do next. And if I'm not into the particular game, I'll just read or write or do something else and just hang with him while he plays, it's fun!

7. Love of baseball - do I really need to say more? We LOVE baseball! I'm an Angels fan first, then a Red Sox fan and he's a 100% Red Sox fan. We share a mutual hatred for the Yankee's evil empire and I could honestly go to baseball games every day and never get sick of them. Even minor league games - any kind of baseball, hook me up!

Ok, so I'll stop there before I bug too many of you - but I love the common ground we have. It's so much fun to know that I can come home and rave about a new book I found or he can text me about this incredible band he discovered and we'll be excited about it and eager to check out each other's new find. Or the fact that our first official date was a baseball game and we're going to celebrate our 1 year anniversary next month by doing the same thing!

And it all really comes down to this...I get to hang out with my best friend for the rest of our lives. Seriously. How cool is that?!