Chinese Lanterns, Sharks and Quirks

If anyone needed to learn step by step how to kill a conversation, look no further than yours truly as a professional. Last night, I went to a White Party or a Midsummer’s Night Dream Party. I’m not sure what was supposed to be dreamier, the boys, the twinkle lights, the Chinese lanterns strewn about the backyard or the drinks, but I never quite figured it out. Even though I bought a fabulous H&M dress, the fit and flare type, I still felt like all the awkward vibes in the world crammed into this swanky Arlington bachelor pad. After a few minutes of striking up short lived conversations where I related my experiences of random jobs and tried to ask questions which quickly sizzled and fizzed out like my Coke, I joined a group of girls on the back porch and admired the gazebo and such, we noticed a wooden shark pinned against the fence, facing the party-goers. As our host waltzed over, he wove his story of how he was cleaning up his backyard when he found it amidst the shrubbery, so he decided to display it for us. Let me tell you, it definitely helped with the awkward for a few minutes. THEN, i got to have some real fun. People started asking me about my career. Which is nothing short of a roller-coaster, and is nothing if not unconventional, chaotic, busy and overwhelming if you think about it too much. I related how doors have been slammed in my face, I confronted crazy dogs, my car breaking down and people bemoaning their broken storm drains and trees crashing into their neighbors’ homes all in the name of local county government. Oh my goodness. Then, after my tirade, of course the guy I talked with had some white collar government contracting IT type job. Of course, right? The biggest thing I learned from last night was that although I have a crazy life at the moment, the humility lessons I have learned have been priceless and I have learned to laugh at myself way more than I ever did growing up. I’ve also learned confidence and refusing to give in to comparison despite setbacks that are no less intimidating than driving into a brick wall.

Regardless, I’m so thankful for life’s quirks. Do you have any quirks you want to share (you or a friend)? Share in the comments!

Monarchs, Fireworks and Folk Music

I swallowed my laughter as I read another blurb about Donald Trump. Still, the truth sometimes has to smack us upside the head before we can really accept the problems that Americans have come to accept as normal, acceptable, status quo. It’s refreshing to see someone stand up against both establishments and express his opinions, even if they come across as crazy hate speech. What honestly has happened to freedom of speech?(See: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/donald-trump-meet-ted-cruz-2016-120138.html)

On a lighter note, though, I took a walk through my neighborhood and stumbled upon a monarch flitting around along the street. First, it danced in a spiral around me, then darted back to the sidewalk. I wonder why it flitted around me, away from flowers and its usual habitat. Was it as curious about me as I was about it? In the middle of everyday life, a mom tickles her daughter’s chin and she giggles, birds chatter outside my window, people zip by in their Prius’s and Minis, people run stop signs, spit out water and choke on hot dogs, marvel at fireworks sparking through the sky and butterflies dance around people on sidewalks. I can’t help but wonder if it’s God reminding me of Him in the crazy mess of life that I experience every day, He uses traffic jams and awkward silences to fulfill His purposes in our lives. I’m reminded to depend on Him when I can’t depend on anyone else. I have a choice to believe that He will provide or that He won’t, and it’s so freeing, like jumping in the dark, hoping that the rope won’t break, praying that you’ll spring back from whatever crushed you to the ground and mocked at your determination to not give up.

Folk music always plays in bookstores. Is it inspiring and whimsical? Not exactly to me, but now as it goes on around me the words scatter on the keyboard, I keep finding new phrases, and what I thought I never could express somehow formulates into complete thought.

More on weddings later, I just needed a writing hiatus from this. What music sets the mood for your creativity? Indie? Folk? Ingrid Michaelson’s Through is one of my favorites. I feel like I’m immersed in a sad love story, watching a girl sift through the regrets of her last relationship. It’s worth a listen! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPtXBu_4pNU

We’ll talk soon! 😉

Nothing Like Weddings

The rain splattering across my windshield, zipping around the city in my Toyota I merge across busy streets and manage (whew!) to not get side-swiped by cars as I merge onto another road packed with more cars practicing their own maneuvering stunts, even before 9am! City drivers turn four short miles into a chaotic trip across town. You just never know who might blare their horn on you as you ease out into the left lane to turn, or when you wait 15 minutes to go 15 feet during rush hour.

Regardless, I’ve survived this city life so far. And I have to say, its been such an exhilarating season. However, the wedding I’m in coming up in August looms in my thoughts. I purse my lips and hold my breath as I imagine the straps of the bridesmaid dress choking my throat in my waltz down the aisle. But more important, I’ve been thinking of the pettiness of weddings. Don’t get me wrong, wedding season is the most fabulous time. Nothing can measure up to the thrill of seeing your best friend in her wedding gown to be, twirling in front of the mirror, her eyes dazzle and plead with you in the mirror. Is this the one? What will he think? These moments suspend in time.

Nothing can match the cartwheels in your stomach as you fumble with the buttons on her dress, as you giggle with the other bridesmaids, the tension builds as you weave down the aisle and grip the bouquet, holding your breath as they exchange vows. The joy is palpable and love is the backdrop to a new life. And you realize that her life is changing and you are changing too. Change can be so painful, but in that moment all of those late night DIY projects, rude remarks from the bride about your real life schedule conflicts, and stifling the screams building up after each time the bride unloads her drama filled life with you: Bridesmaid #3 went on a weekend vacation when I had a wedding thing planned that weekend. What is this? Is she that selfish? Does she think I labored over cleaning up her wedding venue for nothing? Anyways, my hopes are up that this wedding season will be a learning season (what wedding doesn’t teach you something new about yourself – I can’t believe I have that kind of stamina to stay up past midnight and paint crates, my toenails and paste flowers to center piece vases!), and a fabulous one too.

From One Girl to Another

Its funny how when you have a lot of time on your hands you tend to think about your life. Compare and contrast goes on a ton and while I try to make light of it, I can’t argue away a dozen bug bites, doors slammed (literally) in my face and gripping my car wheel as I try to “drive” it in neutral so my boss can jump my car. To be honest I never realized that living on my own would be so challenging. From paying rent and gas, stressing over money and my Mac that crashes every other minute, to freaking out and making last minute swerves on the highway, I am definitely learning a lot. But the biggest lesson has been that these trials  God has allowed in my life make me desperate for Him. As I sit for countless hours in front of a computer screen, applying to jobs that I don’t hear back from, as I network and knock doors for this campaign, I find how little strength I have on my own. God gives me strength for every step. Each hour he gives me life is my opportunity to be his girl and live a life for Him. And when I mess up He is still there drawing me back to Him. What I find most baffling is His mercy and grace towards me even after my rudeness, even when I get too distracted and too caught up in this world. This season hasn’t been perfect but I’m so thankful it hasn’t been. I’m so thankful for the awkward small talk and for finding who my friends truly are when I’m not successful or popular. It’s a humbling experience but maybe that is exactly where God wants me, where He wants his kids. It’s so tough and such a long journey but tonight I know I am in the arms of the One who knows me and loves me and has died for me so I can live with Him forever. I hope you think a little of Him tonight and when you do, be overwhelmed that His mercy and grace have led you to a hard time of your life. Maybe it’s not supposed to be a place where you mope and eat Ben and Jerrys. Maybe it’s a place of growing- a humbling place of learning and drawing closer to the one who loves us all and calls us by name.

Wedding/Life Balance

IMG_2304 Last month, I snapped a picture of my close friend’s bridal shower room, pre-shower. The day consisted of awkward small talk, delicious brunch fare: quiche, blueberry muffins, french toast casserole, fruit, and bagels, and the ever present behind the scenes drama (let’s be honest – it’s not a REAL bridal shower without this.) Despite this, as every bridesmaid (or most every bridesmaid) can attest, the happiness of the bride at the end of the day was worth the sweating over the stove for hours in the early morning, Target runs for mini muffin tins and a scramble in Victorias Secret to find a fabulous gift.

A month out, I am still dashing glances at my refrigerator at the wedding invite, grimacing at the awkward small talk that will most definitely take place and cringing when the ill fated questions pop up into conversation. The positive part about not having a full time job/ full time boyfriend out of college is you become creative in phrasing what you’re doing with yourself. I’ve made job searching sound like a full time career (which it is), I’ve stressed over the crazy mess of dates I’ve turned down and then belted “The More Boys I Meet” as I cruised down the interstate with my sister and friend. This is truly a season like none other.

On the drama side of things, it’s important to point out that when you meet a fellow bridesmaid with a super successful career, it’s important to keep said relationship as polite as possible. This will happen. When it does, please laugh, I need to take my own advice. Just laugh at yourself when you find yourself comparing your own career with other 20 somethings. Yes, you WILL meet a girl your age with the husband, career, child, home that you want ASAP and you will meet someone else in a not so ideal career, with a not so ideal part time job working not so glamorous hours. The important part is your reaction and treating everybody you meet (NOT just at weddings) with respect and kindness.

On another note, I just moved and I am ACHING to write about my experiences in my new place and this new area.

My last words of advice are this: don’t let people’s opinions of you or your unsuccessful seeming career weigh you down or discourage you from going to weddings. Go to them anyway. Embrace the awkward.