Friday, December 31, 2010

Bring It On 2011!

December 28: Achieve.
What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

The thing I most want to achieve next year is to get my own apartment, furnish it, set it up, and create a home.  I think once this achievement is made I will feel free and it will allow me an opportunity to have people over to share in conversations with.  Perhaps, at some point, maybe start a small group or just cook for people on a regular basis.  I hope that having an apartment will allow me a space to truly live and love my hobby of scrapbooking.  I think I will finally feel, again, like a “real adult.”  I want to feel settled, and living at home right now has sort of made me feel unsettled.  Like I haven’t quite gotten there yet.  This way, also, my friends who live far away can come visit.  And I will feel at ease being on my own and I will finally get that peace and quiet I have so longed for. 

It’s hard to think of things I can do to feel like I have my own space because right now I have to share everything.  My bathroom, my classroom, my office, my kitchen, my living room, my cell phone bill…I mean everything is shared.  It’s hard to think of where I can get that feeling of my own space when I am so far from having it.  I am just grateful I can live at home right now and save up some money and not be super stressed out.

December 29:  Defining Moment.
Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

Like I’ve kind of felt throughout answering all these prompts, there wasn’t really “one moment.”  Since 2010 was so much about transition it’s hard to point to just one moment.  I guess one moment that probably changed my life forever was the moment I got the phone call from my principal telling me that I got the job to be a teacher.  That moment has been something I have been waiting for since the second grade and just the start of fully living into my dream.  (See next prompt for more)

December 30: Gift.
This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?

The best gift I was given this year was the chance to be a teacher.  I am so grateful, every single day, to have my job.  I love all of my students and I love the day-to-day things I get to experience.  I may joke with everyone that the kids are crazy (which they are) but my heart swells and loves them so much.  They are each a blessing in their own way and I love having the chance to work with them.  Some things about my job are not ideal, but at the end of the day I would have it no other way.  I wish I could take each and every one of my kids home and hang out with them and help them with their homework and feed them a nice meal and just get to know them better because they are all so special.  I wish I could get them all to see that and I wish I could somehow let them know how truly important it is to be an educated individual and how they have to find their passion and source of joy for them to be successful grown adults.  I want them to know that no matter what happens, I will always be there to support them and help them and that things might seem super confusing at this age but that it gets better.  I wish there was some way for them to know that I think about them constantly and I only want good things for them and that even if I get frustrated at them talking, that it’s only because I wish they knew how important all of these things were and are to learn. 

Being a teacher, will always be the greatest gift of all.

December 31: Core Story.
What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?

The core story for me is about learning.  It’s about learning about other peoples lives, it’s about learning more about myself, it’s about learning how to be the best version of myself so that I might be a light for others.  Life is about learning how to adapt, how to learn to say no, and how to live in a world that is constantly changing.

Whenever I do not know something, I ask because I am given a chance to learn something new.  Whenever I know something, or have a tool in my toolbelt, I always share it with others in the hopes that I will have taught them something.  The core of life is about constantly learning everything.  There is never a day that will go by that there wont be a million chances to learn something new.  If I didn’t believe in the fundamentals of learning, there is no way I would be able to be a teacher.  But I want to show my students that by reading, being open minded, asking questions, contemplating, understanding, knowing, and continuing to live a life that is filled with exploration is a life that will be full, and blessed, and lived.  The central story at the core of me is that there is always something to learn. 

I also believe the Heart of life is good. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 23-27: Getting Closer

December 23: New Name.
Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?
I really don't know what I would want my new name to be.  For a long time I wanted to be a Tiffany or an Amber because it seemed like all the rich girls were named that.  But for the most part I like my name.  Most people don't call me by my first name, they call me by my last name.  Just easier I guess.  But, at the end of the day, I think it suits me. 

December 24: Everything's OK.
What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? 
This is kind of a hard one to pin-point.  I always know that things will end up okay, and I have always had that belief.  I guess I believe that they will end up as they should, whatever way that is, and I trust in the process.  It’s being stuck in something that’s crappy and hard to deal with when it’s hard to live by the faith that it will turn out okay.  

I guess my biggest “everything’s okay” moment was when I moved back home and started my teaching program.  I had basically spent the last year of my life living in a terrible situation and working at a job that was, for the most part, terrible.  I had no friends.  No life.  No family.  No money.  And nothing that really brought me joy.  I didn’t know why I had ever left California, what I was supposed to be doing in Chicago, and I wasn’t sure if I was moving back because I was scared of the unknown, or if it really was the best thing for me.  When I started that teaching program I knew that everything was okay, and in the end, I had made the right choice for my life and that things were going to be hard, and require dedication and work and commitment but that I would be okay in doing and dealing with those things because it was what was right for my life.

December 25: Photo.
Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.


I captured this photo at my twin nieces 5th birthday party.  My sister has this really nice camera so I was just messing around with it and taking pictures of the kids.  My sister had hired a “Bubble Lady” to come do a bubble show with the kids and they had buckets and buckets of bubbles to play with, and all sorts of cool toys.  The kids loved it.  They spent hours with their hands immersed in bubbles and bubble goop.

This one photo is one of two that are my favorite from that day.  But this one especially captures something unique.  To me it symbolizes the sweet innocence of childhood.  The park.  The bubbles.  The sweet little hands.  But on another level this picture tells a far greater story.  No matter age, or date, or place, or occasion or time in our life…we are always reaching for something.  And at the same time, it seems that no matter what we reach for, it is just out of our reach.  We have to stretch high and high onto our tippy toes to get it, and even then, sometimes it disappears.  The fragile nature of the bubbles represents to me that even when we do get the thing we are reaching for, sometimes, as soon as we get it, it disappears.  Instantly.  Then we are on for the next thing.  The next dream.  Hope.  Goal.  

I can only imagine that once the little boy reached and caught the bubble that it popped, and almost instantly did he turn around looking for the next one to chase.  But for just one moment maybe the little boy (Alex) reached the bubble and his whole world was set right.  He did it…Or, perhaps, it got away and he had to give up on it, and move on to the next one.

December 26: Soul Food.
What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

I will never forget the Chicken Romano  I had at the Chart House.  It was pan-seared with a blend of Romano cheese & panko breadcrumbs, with lemon shallot butter, tomatoes, asparagus & Yukon gold mashed potatoes.  It was undoubtedly the most moist and flavorful chicken I have ever eaten.  I still drool thinking about it.  The location was beautiful.  We were on the ocean front in Monterrey, my boyfriend at the time and I.  It wasn’t really a beautiful evening, in fact the topic of conversation was heartbreaking.  But…the food…that was a whole other ordeal.  That chicken, was delicious and I would gladly go back for it again and again.  

December 27: Ordinary Joy.
Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

I remember a lot of events this summer vividly.  I had the freedom to go on lunch dates and hang out at the pool with friends and get coffee with friends in the mornings.  It was joyful because for the most part I was free during the day and going to school at night.  It was nice to have so much freedom, and I am really looking forward to that same freedom again this summer.  Regardless, a moment that truly sticks out is when I was sitting poolside with my old roommate Julie.  We were eating salad from my favorite salad place Buckhorn Grill.  We were just sitting there in our bathing suits, soaking up the summer sun, enjoying a fresh salad, and talking about life.  I felt overwhelmed with happiness to have such a good friend that I could be open and honest with, to be able to enjoy the summer sun in ways I hadn’t in many years, and just so glad that I had come back to California.  And I was reminded that my friendships and community that I had in California were the exact reason that I knew I needed to come back to begin with and I was so grateful that I hadn’t missed this moment. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

December 12-22: More Reflection

December 12. Body Integration.
This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

It is hard to think about a moment like this because this last year has been so transitional for me.  Most of the year was spent deciding what to do next, where to go, what path to start walking down, and where to even start.  It’s hard to think of being whole mind and body because this year was more about getting connected than actually being connected.  I guess I could say that the moment I felt most integrated with my body was the day I started teaching.  I was finally living out my dream, doing what I know I was created for.  I finally believed that I was being the best me that I could possibly be.  I knew that no matter what happened I was going to be okay because I was a teacher and I was living through my gifts.  I have been continued to be blessed as a teacher and love every minute that I get to spend with my students.  They are a blessing (and sometimes a curse) but I love them all for who they are. 

December 13. Action.
When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

I am living in my “next step.”  I am working on getting my teaching credential while I teach.  My first day of classes is in about two weeks, thus far I have sort of been flying by the seat of my pants and learning as I go.  But now I will start doing homework and classwork.  My aspiration is to be the best teacher I can be and hope that I help at least one kid become something by something I taught them or showed them.  My aspiration in life is to be an inspiring cheerleader for my kids to be the best versions of themselves as they travel through this life.

December 14Appreciate.
What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

The thing I have come to appreciate more than ever are friends.  I have seen a lot of people come and go throughout my life.  I have seen a lot of people who I thought would be at my side through anything, betray me to the bitter end and rip apart my life with their bare hands.  I have seen my friends swear they would be there for me, and at the sign of something hard they turned a blind eye.  I have sadly been let down many of times by friends.  This past year my true friends have shown their true colors.   Sticking by my side and believing in me, even when I wasn’t sure I believed in myself.  My friends have been my cheerleaders, my shoulders to cry on, my sounding boards, and the people who have seriously questioned my intentions.  They have made me examine what I really want from life and given me the strength to believe that I can and will achieve it, and more importantly: that I deserve it!  I maybe don’t show gratitude enough to them, but every day I am thankful for them and I feel overwhelmed with blessings to have the people I have in my life. 

Jeff:  Thank you for unfailing to brighten my day.  There has never been a moment in time when you haven’t made me laugh so hard I am nearly crying.  Thank you for sitting and listening to my troubles and offering me sound wisdom and helping me see the truth whether I want to believe it or not.  Thank you for always being there for me.  Thank you for putting up with my incessant bullshit.  You are a wonderful person and I don’t know what I did before you.  Mostly, thank you for being my best friend.  I know I can count on you to be there for me through thick and thin, and it means more to me than I think you will ever know. 

Hillary:  This year has seen its ups and downs for both of us.  I have hardly seen you, and we haven’t talked much.  Our lives are full of opposite schedules, busy days and nights, and for some reason both of us are petrified of talking on the telephone.  Regardless, when I really really needed you this summer you were there for me.  It was wonderful to hear your voice when I was so confused and unsure of what I was doing.  And you gave me the best advice anyone has ever given me and I will NEVER ever forget it.  *(And I am not just saying that because it’s the cliché, “normal thing” to say in times like these), it really is advice that will reverberate through my ears for the rest of my life.  I was talking to you about a boyfriend problem I was having.  (Mostly, my boyfriend wasn’t willing to move to California and I wasn’t willing to wait), and I said to you, “I am tired of waiting for him to come here so I can start my life.  I feel like until he gets here my life won’t really start.”  And you said to me, “Your life is ALREADY STARTED.  You are a teacher, and you are living in California, and you have tons of friends.  Your life has totally started.  You are doing everything you want.  Stop waiting for your life to start, because it already has.  Enjoy the life you have, the life you are living, and stop waiting for something else.”  After you said that, things started to make sense in ways they never had before.  And I love you for that.  I love you because we are alike in so many ways, and I love you because you don’t give a shit what anyone thinks about you, and you are brutally honest, and you are just you.  I hope some day we can live near each other so we can do dumb shit like make dinner and watch Jeff’s stand up comedy videos together. 

Alecia:  Although I don’t see you very often, and we don’t get to talk very often: I think of you frequently.   You push me to be a better version of myself.  You always question what I am doing with my life, in the most gentle of ways.  You make me wonder why I really am doing what I am doing, what I am hoping to get out of it, and if it really is what I need to be doing.  You make me want to have a stronger faith in God and Jesus and in the beauty of life.  You make me want to love people that I would normally hate.  You make me want to be a better me.  And for that, I can never thank you enough.  I just hope we are friends for a long long time because you make me laugh, you are honest, and your faith is inspiring.  You are going to make a wonderful nurse, and a teacher, and one day you are going to find a man who will love you for all of the great things you are.  

December 15.  5 Minutes.
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. 

There are sadly not that many things I want to remember about 2010.  A lot of it was hard and confusing and most of it was built on the uncertain ground of tomorrow.  I spent most of the time trying to make decisions.

Regardless, there were some moments that stand out.  The night ended poorly, it was my “last night out in Chicago/birthday bash” and we went to some dive bar in Chicago where they had Karaoke.  My friends and I sang Spice Girls, and the boys sang something terrible, but it was fun and I drank too much (which is rare for me), and everyone laughed and we played board games and I was so happy to see everyone.  It was nice.  To feel a part of something in Chicago.  It was sad that it happened to be my last night there.  Another time I don’t want to forget is a night at Standford’s with Heff (that’s Jeff in Spanish).  I had a terrrribly long week at work, I was feeling really terrible and down in the dumps.  I texted Jeff on a Wednesday I think to meet me for Happy Hour (half off food), and just hang out.  I remember laughing so hard I was crying, and just having great conversation with him.  We talked, about real and honest things, and we laughed about dumb and stupid things.  We really just had an amazing time and it was exactly what I needed after the week/month I had.  He reminded me of what a blessing he is to have in my life.

(and there are more things but my 5 minutes are up)

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?

A friend that has changed me this year is for sure Alecia.  She has been subtly pushing me closer to God, whether intentional or not, she has been.  And that is a gift that I can not thank her enough for.  It has been a gradual thing, but she has reminded me how important it is to be surrounded by people of faith and people that believe the same things as you or you will get sucked into the things of this world and not be involved in Godly living.  She has reminded  me that I have to be intentional with my actions, with my thoughts, and with my friendships and love relationships.  She also has reminded me that at some point you really have to give all of yourself to God, even if it wears you down, because at the end of the day you will know that you did all you could do for Him.  And that is the best way to pay gratitude to God, is by living through and with and using all of the gifts you have in every way possible.  Thank you A.

December 17. Lesson Learned.
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

This is a tough one and an easy one.  I could say one thing I learned about myself is that I cannot live in a cold place because it makes me cold.  But that would be the easy answer.  The hard answer would be that I learned I have to trust in God more, and be more faithful and honest with myself and the people around me.  I can’t keep going to church and saying that I am a Christian and living like I am a non-believer.  The things of this world, and the people who live only for things of this world are not going to make me content.  I am always going to be wanting more and never going to be satisfied.  BUT, if I start living as though all things are blessings and nothing is really in my control and that I have been given enough, I feel I will be truly shown a different life.  I believe that through prayer, the right people, and a love for God and not for guys, is really what will fill my life completely.  I previously lived as though a love relationship would make me complete (mind you I was looking for love through sex), but I am going to move forward knowing that the only true and full satisfaction can come from the grace and love of God.  I know that puts a label on me, and in some ways makes me lose some of my edge that I worked so hard to get…and maybe some people won’t like me any more because of it, and some people won’t understand it.  But, I would much rather not live the way I have been.  Which is pretending to be close to God, when really all I was doing was living in sin.  I would much rather live what I believe on a daily basis.  God is real.  He is good.  He is faithful.  He is abundant in his blessings.  He is the way, the truth, and the light. 

December 18. Try.
What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

Next year I want to try to get out of the country (or at least NYC).  I keep talking about traveling and getting somewhere I have never been but I have not been able to do it.  I didn’t do it in 2010 because I was hardly working, and wasn’t sure if I would get a teaching job, and I was traveling from Chicago to California, and moving across the country.  It was kind of a busy, and expensive,  year.  I am hoping that this summer I can travel somewhere.  Either to Italy, Paris, London, or NYC.  Really, I would be content with any of them.
December 19.  Healing.
What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

I would say I am in the process of healing right now.  I think I need to heal from a lot of old wounds, and a lot of things that were hard for me last year, and hard for me in past years.  My “Best friend” sleeping with my boyfriend of four years.  A different “best friend” sleeping with my first love.  And yet another “best friend” being mean and harsh and playing with my mind and heart.  I was just in a relationship that was exactly what I thought I needed, or I made myself believe it was exactly what I needed but didn’t want to admit the things it was lacking.  The healing of things that have gone on in my family, and healing from past crap I just haven’t dealt with.  I just feel raw and open and like a lot of things are being healed now because they have just been brushed under the rug until now. 

In 2011 I would like to be able to find the power to believe that God, friends, community, and faith will heal me from all of the things that have been weighing on me, or have hurt me in my life.  I don’t want to carry around this extra weight anymore.  I want to be rid of it, or at least at peace with it. 


December 20.  Beyond Avoidance.
What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing?

Simple: I should have broken up with my boyfriend in May when I wanted to, but was too scared to. 

December 21.  Future Self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

Dear 2011 Self,
I know things seem hard and confusing right now, but trust me, you will get through it.  You can see the light at the end of the tunnel but you know that it’s a long hard journey to the end.  Keep pushing through even when it’s hard and uncomfortable and you feel like running in the complete opposite direction back to what is familiar.  In the end, it will be worth it.  Your life will be more fulfilled, more successful, and most importantly: more peaceful.  When you are wanting to be alone and tired and stressed and sad, push yourself to call a friend and get out there.  Push yourself to be open with people, and to tell them how you are feeling in a gentle and kind way.  Be more patient with your students: it is not their fault that your life is not perfect.  I know you wanted everything to be easy for you at age 25, but trust me, by 30 you will have forgotten this hard time even happened.  You will have all the things you imagined for your life. They may take longer than you thought or wanted them to but you will have them.  Make time for the things that really matter to you and that bring you peace and joy, and it will be okay. 

Also, stop comparing yourself to others.  You know you have never been one to blend in with a crowd, you have always preferred to stand out.  Keep that up.  In the end, it’s much better to be a shooting star than twinkling night star.  A shooting star may fly by quickly, but people never forget them.  And remember that shooting stars used to bring you love.  Things may come slower to you, and you may not feel like anyone understands you, but remember you have all those wonderful friends who have stood by your side, and who have always been a part of your life no matter how far away you lived.  Be thankful for them.   Also, open up your arms for new friends.  Your life will change in ways you cannot understand once you find a church community to be an integral part of.  Like I said earlier, you know the journey is not easy.  You are on the road less traveled, the road where wounds get opened up, and life gets honest and dirty and hard, but at the end is grace and love and acceptance.  Believe in that, and keep pressing onward.   Most importantly, don’t give anyone the power to drag you down. 

2016 Self


December 22Travel.
How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

This was sort of already answered in a previous post, but I didn’t do much traveling in 2010.  I would love to do more in 2011.  Hopefully I will be able to.  FINGERS CROSSED! :)


Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 5-11: More Catching Up

December 5: Let Go.
What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

There are several things that I let go of this year.  Several things I cut out of my life that I realized just shouldn’t be in there. They came in a variety of forms, bad habits, people, starbucks, and other things here and there.  I think most recently the biggest thing I had to let go of this year wasn’t a person, or a bad habit, but I realized I had to let go of the false reality that there is a perfect life waiting for me if I could just “get there.”  I realized that there is seemingly always going to be something I’m waiting for or something that I don’t think I have or something that is hard to deal with.  There is not an alternate universe where my spotless life exists.  Life, friendships, relationships, jobs, living situations, money, family, and all of the other things in life require work and dedication and commitment on a daily and continual basis.  There is never going to be a time where I wake up and everything from that point forward will be magical and flawless, and involve no risks or heartbreak or pain.  There will always be something to work on, something to better, something to challenge me and something that requires sacrifice.  I used to believe that once I got to a certain age, or had reached certain dreams that everything else would be just perfect.  The truth and the reality is that life is a joyful and wonderful thing every single day, but it is not promised to be perfect.  It is promised that in the end there will be perfection, but life on earth is traitorous and gut-wrenching and messy.  I have come to peace with the fact that sometimes things will be better than others but there is never going to be a time when my whole life is flawless.

December 6: Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

The last thing I made was goody bags of candy for the office staff at my middle school.  If I had more money I would have made one for everyone at my school but I felt the office staff really deserved it.  I am constantly asking them questions or bugging them for favors, and they continue to do their jobs and work hard for me.  They are also very helpful and kind and they also have a lot to do for the school.  I know what it’s like to have an admin job and I know the stresses of it, so I wanted to do something to wish them a Merry Christmas and let them know they are appreciated.  I used little cellophane bags, sparkly ribbons, my Rudolph stamp, glitter (stickles), green and brown ink, little red jewels for Rudolph’s nose, and M&M’s.  It was fun to make and hopefully they enjoy them. 

As for the things that I want to make, there are a million things.  But that is generally typical for me.  I always have a project in mind or something that I want to do for someone else or some scrapbook page I am working on.  I will always have projects to make and I will always find time for them.  I just wish I had a room for creation so that I could have a designated space for my creative side.  Hopefully I can have that soon.  

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?

Community is a tough one for me this year because I felt for most of the year last year that I lacked community.  I was in a new city trying to make friends, meet people like me, and connect with people that I knew through friends and my boyfriend (at the time).  But, for some reason, it never worked out.  I longed for close relationships; a real community but it didn’t come.  So, I moved back home where I knew I had a community. I had a community at my church, I had a solid group of friends, and I had my family.  Once I came back home in May I realized what I was missing for the year I lived in Chicago.  I marveled in the simplest thing, like sitting poolside with a friend eating a salad and chatting.  I went to lunch with friends from high school as often as I could.  I would go to dinner, and get drinks, and hang out with and sleepover with and go out with and socialize with anyone and everyone as much as I could.  I wanted to drown myself in community because I hadn’t had it in so long.  My community consisted of three core-groups.  One was a group of friends from high school, another was a group of friends I started hanging out with three years ago, and the other was my church community.  For the most part they stayed separated, but I spent as much time in each community as I could.  Once school started in August things changed because all my energy was focused in the community I wanted to create in my classroom and the community I wanted to be a part of with the staff at my school.  While I absolutely love my students and the staff that I work with, I realize that I have neglected the other communities that have been a part of my life for so long.  In the coming year I am hoping to find a better balance of all of the important people in my life.

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.

When I think about what makes me different, I think it’s hard to really pin-point it.  I tend to surround myself with people who are like me so that I don’t feel different.  A lot of times different has a bad association and tends to make you feel alone or weird or unlovable.  The things that make me who I am and fill me up with life don’t necessarily make me different, they just make me into me. 

Here are the things that make me into the person I am:

  • I love to scrapbook
  • I love to love people and hear their stories
  • The taste of sweet tea calms all my nerves
  • Good music soothes my soul
  • I am always thinking of things to write
  • I cry every single time I watch Made on MTV
  • I don’t like wine or beer or alcohol
  • I much prefer one-on-one time than group time

December 9: Party.
What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

In all honesty, I can’t think of a really great party that I went to in 2010.  I will have to get back to this one…

December 10: Wisdom.
What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

The wisest decision I made this year was to move back to California.  I am finally a teacher, the thing I have longed for since I was 9 years-old.  I am finally achieving the one and only true goal I have had my whole life.  I am also discovering so much about myself, about my faith, about my friends, and about what is really important.  Moving back has taught me so much.  It has taught me what is really important in life: surrounding myself with like-minded people, being so thankful for what you have even if you feel you have nothing, keeping your family close because you never know when they will be taken from you, looking at each person as an individual and recognizing that they are special and unique, and devoting time and love to real and true friendships and cutting out people that are clearly not worth it.   Moving back has not always been easy for me.  I have lost a lot on the way back to living in California.  But the insight, the knowledge, and the awareness I have gained by being back here has really opened me up for something that I know has not yet come.

December 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.  Sex
2.  Boys
3.  Junk Food
4.  Soda
5.  Self-doubt
6.  Events or Outings I have no interest in attending
7 through 11: I will think about those some more.  The first 6 are quite a lot of things to get rid of.

Getting rid of sex and boys will free up a lot of my time, and my heart, for other things to come into my life.  When I spend all my energy worrying about a relationship or about sex or about being sexy or about who wants me or doesn’t want me, my mind can tend to get consumed.  If I take that time and energy and put it into something good.  Like volunteering or writing or more importantly PRAYING, then my life will manifest itself into something beautiful.  Also, the guys have kind of been crappy and I deserve better than that.   The boys and the sex are kind of like the junk-food and soda, no nutritional value and in no way help me become better or healthier.  I just need to cut out things that do not help me become healthier, happier, or more complete.  I need to focus on praying and building a relationship with God and Godly people and getting really invested in that lifestyle.  I think over time if I cut out all of those bad things my self-doubt of me not being good enough or me feeling like I have to be something different or better will slowly begin to fade away.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 2, 3, & 4…Trying to Catch Up

December 2: Writing
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

I have been meditating on this one a lot because I really don’t know.  I guess the thing that doesn’t contribute to my writing is my laziness.  I come home, tired from my job, and I really just get lazy because my day took so much energy and life out of me.  I am alive 100% of every minute that I am at my job working with my students.  I do not slack off or shut down or rest.  I am on, all the time for them so I come home and shut down.  Which in turn, makes me lazy, which therefore makes me not want to do anything productive. like say…write.  So, I am going to try to be LESS lazy.  :)

December 3: Moment
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail.

This is semi-cheating because it’s a moment from 2009 but I remember it like yesterday.  A moment where I felt truly alive is when I went to Chicago for the first time in May 2009, to  move there.  It was a complete and utter leap of faith.  I knew one person, had never even visited, and hoped on a plane.  I quit my job at a law firm to take a job as the Arts and Crafts coordinator for the YMCA, and I packed my bags and just went for it.  I remember seeing the city for the first time and being amazed at the immensity of Lake Michigan.  Seeing the Sears (now Willis) tower from afar.  I remember looking down at all the houses and thinking how large their yards were and I was thinking of how cute and quaint all the towns near the city must be.  I remember looking at the city and thinking this is it.  this is me living my life.  this is me experience everything I can experience.  At the time of my flight it was almost sunset so the sun wasn’t really out much anymore and the sky was a greyish blue.  I remember the feeling in my stomach of pure and complete joy that I was about to engage in something so unknown and unset that I didn’t know what to do, cry or laugh.  I also remember knowing that I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

It turned out to be one of the best and worst decisions of my life but I will never forget the moment I first saw the city and the feeling I got looking out the plane window.


December 4: Wonder
How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

This year I cultivated wonder by spending most of the year exploring an unknown territory.  By wondering what it would mean if I actually took the time to pursue my dream of teaching.  I wondered where I would teach, explored what it meant to be a teacher, and wondered how to be the best teacher I knew how to be.  I spent my time over the summer in class, reading books, creating projects, conversating with other soon-to-be teachers.  I have now spent my first couple months as a teacher wondering and exploring all the different aspects of learning disabilities and students that are 13 and seemingly crazy. 

I have also spent this year wondering about myself.  Exploring what I need to do for me and wondering how to manifest that into every day living. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dec 1: reflect on this year & manifest what's next

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

2010: Experience.  I am choosing this word because everything I did last year was an experience.  I learned so many new things, about people, about myself, about being a teacher, about being a real grown up.  Last year was all about experience. 

2011: Growth.  I think last year gave me a lot of experiences, but I want this next year to be about growth.  About growing into my potential.  About taking those experiences and learning something from them and about growing into my full potential.

Finally Feel Like Living…or Quitting, I Can’t Decide

To be honest, a girl I hate with every ounce of my being just go engaged.  Now, I know there are a few things wrong with that sentence.  A) I should not hate anyone, because hating someone does nothing to them and only ruins my spirit.  B)  I should be happy when someone gets engaged because it means a joyous beginning and a union of two people.  C)  The reasons I hate this girl are completely ridiculous.

Right now, though, I really don’t think I want to pay any attention to the “right” thing.  This girl is just someone who I never though would ever be engaged, let alone, BEFORE ME!   Not that I want to be engaged, and not that I really am in the place to be engaged.  But it just makes me think: If someone like THAT can get engaged, what the hell is wrong with me?

I could give you epic long lists about what is wrong with this girl.  I mean lists at length of how shallow and horrible and bitchy and completely self-centered she is.  But I will spare you the details.  Let me just say that the girl has a furry face.  Yes, you read that right- A FURRY FACE.  I know, I know.  You’re thinking – How in the world can a furry faced spoiled girl be engaged?…My point exactly.

I found out this information the day after I decided to transform my life.  On Sunday I decided that it was time for me to get a life make-over.  I was going to start going reading daily, I was going to start a gratitude journal, I was going to start getting up at 5 a.m. every day to go to the gym, and I was going to revamp my love life and how I spent my free time.  I bought books.  I set my alarm.  I started writing, watching Oprah and thinking this moment and these decisions were going to change my life and I was going to be happier. 

I ate a salad on Sunday.  I went to church on Sunday.  I even heard a song at church called “Finally Feel Like Living”  which totally described my life.  I was at a point where I realized all these things I am and I am so afraid of letting them go because they have been defining of my image.  I realize that it’s time to change these things because they aren’t good qualities and I need to be a “new me” by working on the not so good parts.  The lyrics said “If I want to fly, I am going to have to say goodbye, and start a brand new way of life that finally feels like living.  And I’ve got to try, stop holding onto all these lies.  I’m tired of wasting all this time.  I finally feel like living.  I can wait until I know just what to do and where to go.  But i might be here forever.  I could surrender to my fears, like I've done for all these years.  And never know if it gets better. ”

It was perfect.  Everything that Elizabeth Hunnicut sang resonated with me.

When I got home I dusted off my books about daily devotionals, I downloaded some apps for my phone that would help with my goals.  Then set my alarm for 5 a.m…and believe it or not I got up.  I was onto my new beginning.  Monday was joyous.  My classroom was alive with joy, my students were on their best behavior, and I got a  lot accomplished.

Then I saw the news.  Damn Facebook.

I started to feel like no matter what I did, or who I vowed to become that someone was always going to be “ahead” of me.  I thought I was in a place to be engaged and married and starting the rest of my life a few months back but taking a look at myself I realized that there is SO much work yet to be done which has led me to this revamping of my life and who I am on a daily basis.

I guess I can’t really let the news get me down.  I should take my friends advice and remember that “you can’t compare your life to other peoples, and who knows, people get desperate, sometimes furry faces are what people are after.  It’ll happen for you, but it won’t if that’s all you concern yourself with.”

So…instead of sitting on my butt and eating a gallon of cookie dough (which is quite possible because I bought cookie dough from a fundraiser at school and have a gallon sitting on my freezer), I am going to get out there and keep making these changes in my own life.  I am  not going to make them so that I get engaged or become “madly in love.”  I am going to make them because I want to have a better relationship with God.  Because I want to be a happy and fulfilled person no matter what may seemingly be “missing” from my life.  I want to be healthy and feel good about how I look (for my OWN self image).  I want to be the healthiest, happiest, most loving person I can be to EVERYONE I meet (even if they have furry faces).  I want to remember every single day how blessed I am for so many wonderful things I have.  I finally feel like living.  Living to my full potential and engaging in relationships that are healthy and worthwhile and committing to God, love, gratitude, grace, giving, and being in good health so I can continue to do all of those things, every single day.

I found this quote that will hopefully get me back on track and forget about some furry face bump in the road:

“Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give.”