Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yay for Me...

I have a second date tonight with one of the speed dater boys! I'm so excited!

Sunday I met up with the one guy that I really wanted to talk to in the first place at the speed dating thingy and we had a blast. We attended a jazz festival in Old Sacramento and went out to eat beforehand on the river. It was so cool and he seemed really down to earth - genuine, you might say.

(And FYI, I kept my Jazz Hands to myself while listening to the music... remember "JACK, 2000"?!)

Tonight we're going to check out an Italian place for dinner and hopefully have some good conversation over a fat dish of pasta.

Now why am I so excited? Because I hate dating, I'm worse at flirting, and find staring at a person for long periods of time uncomfortable. Plus, I'm scared that I might start to actually like him and then get burned (again). Did I mention that I hate dating?

With all that being said, I'm glad I stuck my neck out on the line last week and am giving this whole thing a try. So yay for me!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Speed Dater

Last night I tried my hand at speed dating and it was, by far, the most fun night I've had since I've been here!

For those of you who aren't familiar with speed dating because you've been married so long and don't remember what it was like to 'date' in general, or if you've never heard of this concept, it was my 'ideal' night of meeting some new people! No commitment, no akwardness when saying goodbye, and nobody knows your name :)

There were 12 guys and 12 girls (well, 3 girls bailed) that met at a local restaraunt and spent six minutes with each other asking questions, making chit chat, laughing, and in some cases, cringing.

After six minutes, the hostess would ring a bell and the guys would get up and move to the next table where a girl was waiting. Between 'dates', we would write a little something about the previous person in order to remember who was who and if we liked them or not. I met some super cool people, a couple guys who were kind of shy, one who completely scared the begeezus out of me, and one that I had to put in his place after the first two minutes (go figure) because he was so rude and cocky. For him, I wish I had my own little bell to ring in his face - DING DING DING!!!

It was so much fun seeing the different personalities in one room, who had an easy time talking to strangers, who was genuine, and who was just there for a player's sake. All in all, it was a ton of fun and I'm so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone (yet again) to try something new!

For my single friends, give this a shot some time if it's offered because it makes for good stories, the ability to meet some new people, and hopefully a date or two!

Go Speed Dater, Go!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Holy Homesick

I haven't felt like writing much since Mother's Day. I've been too busy pouting and feeling homesick to keep up on a blog.

After I wrote about my mom, missing her, and all of that other fluffy stuff, I started to second guess what in the world I'm doing out here. I miss my family, friends, familiarity, and normality of where I was comfortable. I stepped out on a huge leap of faith because I really felt God leading me this way...has anybody seen Him? He seems to have dropped me off in Sacramento and left. I feel like He has slipped away quietly in the dark of night - not like my parents did when they dumped me off at college, honking the horn and mom yelling, ''Oh boy, she's GONE! Wee Hoo! She's finally out of the house! YAAAY!'' honk, honk (true story).

Ever felt like the outcast somewhere? Like nobody notices you're around? I feel that way now and I don't like it. I want to throw my hands up in the air and say, "Look, I'm new here. Will somebody pleeeease be my friend? I will buy you an ice cream cone as long as you sit and talk to me." It's not that I haven't made friends because I have - they're at work though. I love the people that I work with and find myself really looking forward to spending 8 hours in the same building as them, but once time is up and everybody goes home for the night, they have families and a life they've been living for years. I have a room with the same four white walls that have been here for the last two months. This feels like a long, drawn out vacation and I'm just ready to come home so somebody will hug me and tell me that they're glad to see me.

However, this is what I 'signed up' for months ago and knew that I would go through some rough patches, squirting eyes, and an aching heart. Check - right on schedule.

I started feeling this way one week ago on Saturday for no apparent reason... I went to church to enjoy my little bag of popcorn, listen to a jam out session by Lincoln Brewster, and to hear to Pastor Johnston's sermon. He's been doing a series called The 7 Best Decisions You'll Ever Make and we were in week three. Coincidence that I was in attendance? I think not. I've learned a lot from the last few talks he's done and last weekend was a bit of a turning point in my sadness, you could say.

REFUSE TO SETTLE FOR LESS THAN GOD'S BEST...this was the title in my pamphlet and Pr. Johnston talked about David facing Goliath. (There was no visual with Fritz on stilts this time around, though). In order for us to experience God's best for your life, he talked about focusing not on our problems (like me being homesick), but to focus on our future rewards and God's past faithfulness. So I figured that if He was able to get me out here safely, find a place to live, and get a job, all within 6 days of each other, He will be able to provide me some sort of assurance that things will be ok here before long.

Looking back to David, his commitment to God's cause was greater than his commitment to his personal comfort. So even though I am a bit out of my comfort zone right now, I am trying my hardest to focus on my future rewards. Instead of running away from the problem, God advises us to run toward our destiny. Pretty powerful stuff to hear in a 50 minute sermon, but it was what I needed to hear, for sure.

When the words of 'I'm all alone' come into my mind, I have to remind myself that "The Lord will never leave you nor forsake you." -Hebrews 13:5. Even though I feel like He's out taking joy rides on the trollies over in The City, I need to take comfort in the fact that He has not left me alone.

For those of you that I have talked to on the phone and emailed this past week, thank you so much for your words of encouragement, prayers, and thoughtfulness. I knew this wasn't going to be easy and though I've wanted to throw in the towel, I'll be sticking it out - at least until the next pity party!

There is a reason that I'm here and I'm excited to find out what it is - just wish it would hurry up and come :)

(Hey, patience has never been one of my virtues).

** You will never possess what you are unwilling to pursue **

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I love my mom.

Over the years, I have learned to appreciate this beautiful woman more and more because of her loving nature, the way she empathizes with me, the soothing sound of her voice, and her utmost commitment to her family. In my eyes, she is such a blessing to our family and an angel sent to this earth by the grace of God...and we're the lucky ones who get to celebrate her life with us!

My mom is the glue that holds our family together. She is a mediator, a confidant, and my best friend. This woman knows me inside and out and I have pretty much told her everything there is to know (and sometimes TMI) about my thoughts, feelings, opinions, and ideas. She has this mom-way of knowing when something is wrong just by the sound of my voice on the phone. We have an uncanny sixth sense with one another, too....she will email me when I'm emailing her or we'll be ready to call each other at the same time because we're thinking of the other. I think this is so cool knowing that somebody else is thinking of ME at the same exact time!

I can't remember a time where I haven't been able to be at home celebrating Mother's Day with my family, but I'm sure there has been one or two in years past. I'm going to miss showering mom with love, hugs, and gifts letting her know that she is remembered on such a great day. I wish I could celebrate my mom with the enthusiasm that I have done in the past, but I guess memories, emails, and phone calls will have to suffice. It just isn't the same, though.

Thinking back through the years past brings a smile to my face when I think of all we've done together - the good and the bad. The good being celebrations, childhood birthday parties, and hanging out together. The bad being prom dress shopping three years in a row, the Vacation from Hell, and purse shopping for her on any given day. The good news is that we can look back on these 'bad' moments and laugh - and boy do we!

My mom is very funny (just ask).

There was a time when my brother and I were young and we were in trouble with her for who knows what. She asked a very simple question - "Do you want a knuckle sandwich?" We laughed. She was serious. We laughed harder. Dad thought it was funny, too. Now does a knuckle sandwich come with jelly? Nobody can take a mom serious when she can't yell and for some reason, her voice would go up about 8 octaves when she was mad. I remember another high octave day when I got to go to work with her one afternoon and decided to type all sorts of naughty words on their brand new computer (that I thought was turned off). Come to find out, only the monitor was off, so everything that I had typed, came up right in front of her eyes. Mom didn't know that I knew (or had heard) so many things about her boss at the time. I had to go home and tell dad what I had done (again, he laughed). Funny stuff...

Mom taught me a new found way of ordering chicken fajitas through the McDonald's drive thru - ask her about it sometime because I'm sure she'd love to divulge the story.

I remember the first time I heard my mom drop the f-bomb...she was walking our blind, deaf dog and it slipped out like Ralphie trying to help his dad change a tire on 'A Christmas Story' - I had no idea that she even had this word stored up in her mom vocabulary. I should have made her sit with Ivory liquid dish soap in her mouth to see how unpleasant it was (I know from experience that it's a foul taste). I remember playing P-I-G many evenings during summer and the sure fire way to make mom miss a shot was to make a fart noise. I remember playing bad mitton over the clothes line when I was younger and mom and I were always on a team - girls against boys. The same pertained to Trivial Pursuit and the one time we played Monopoly with dad - FYI, don't ever play Monopoly with dad.

Mom and I had a special spider that we named Mr. Spidey - he was a small plastic spider that we would hide from each other. Let me preface this by saying that my mom is scared of spiders, which in turn made me petrified of them. I remember once when she tried to kill a wolf spider and she ran away - it chased her. Mr. Spidey scared the bejeezus out of each of us on many occasion. We would randomly hide this thing around the house - under pillows, in the utensil drawer, in my cheese and broccoli soup, and even in a box when I moved to college. The mother of all Mr. Spidey jokes was when I had been out drinking with some friends when I was home from college. When I got home and reached in to the medicine cabinet to get my toothbrush, Mr. Spidey flew out at me - he was attached to a piece of dental floss that she had strategically placed at eye level. I screamed, she laughed uncontrollably. The last I saw of him was when I scared her for the last time - what did you do with him?

I have learned so many things about my mother in the last 32 years and I can only hope that I will be half the woman that she is today. She is supportive, caring, and loving... she is the best cook that I know and makes a mean chocolate pie from scratch (and the best peanut butter balls)... she smells good and she has soft hands.... she has a beautiful smile and gives the best hugs ever... she has so many years worth of experience, trials, tribulations, success, and nurturing under her belt. I watch her with her grand kids and smile because she truly enjoys spending time with them. I see her playing the same games that she played with us when we were young and I know what an impact it made on me - to know that she is shining her light on a whole new generation is amazing and a blessing. I love my mom.

Even though we're not going to be able to spend time together on Mother's Day, I want you to know how much you mean to me, mom. I love you with all of my heart. You have been such a positive influence in my life and always will be. I'm glad I had you to take care of me when I have been sick, after the numerous surgeries on my hands and feet when I was little, and for letting me crawl in to bed on 'your side' when there was a thunderstorm and I was scared.

Thank you for the pep talks when I've been down, for your shoulder to cry on when things didn't go my way, and understanding every drawn out detail when I changed best friends four times a week. Thank you for our many days of shopping, eating country fried chicken salads, and splitting dessert at Applebees. Thank you for helping me move from place to place the last couple of years and never complaining about it or making me feel like I was a burden for asking.. you are always there for me and it never goes unnoticed or under appreciated. Thank you for supporting this move to CA that has enabled me to pursue a dream - if it weren't for you backing me up 100%, I may still be picking my lip over such a huge decision! Thank you for always letting me know how much you love me, for being open and honest, and for caring about me as a person. You are my best friend and I love you, mom.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Update for GC Louie

Obviously, I am slacking on my blogging duties and thought I'd take a study break to do an update :)

First of all, I can't believe the devastation that has happened in Kansas with the F5 tornado that ripped through the small would be like my hometown being wiped off of a map in a matter of seconds. Please pray for the survivors, the people who are still unaccounted for, and for the rebuilding of a community in the months and years to come.

Second, my weekend was made tonight in a 20 minute phone conversation with my niece and nephew who took turns to tell me about what's going on back home! My nephew has a couple loose teeth now and let me know that one might have gotten a little looser when his sister punched him in the mouth while they were fighting. Ahh, brotherly love... my niece informed me that she is too little to break bricks and she's still too scared to put her head under water. (Kat/Linds, I still can't break bricks with my head).

I love listening to their tiny voices say my name and to know that my niece had a dream about me living in Cali made me tear up - I'm just glad that they haven't forgotten about me...What I wouldn't give to have a hug from both of them right now...

Third, I heard a great sermon last night at church by a guy named Miles McPherson. He used to play football for the San Diego Chargers and while doing cocaine and smoking pot, he had a teammate ask him if he knew where he was going to go when he died...he said he didn't. At that moment, he turned his life over to Christ and began his service as a youth pastor. He was phenominal to listen to and if you have a chance, check this out:

Fourth, I'm grateful every day for your continued prayers while I'm out here. They are definitely felt and I'm so blessed to have you in my life and be so supportive. I miss you all so much - visitors welcome :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

It's Official...

Today I am a Californian.

New license plate is in hand, registration card is signed, ID picture is taken, smog test passed, Voter Registration card - check.

It's hard for me to part with 'old' things and I didn't want to give up my home state plates when the lady asked me if I wanted to take them off.... (she said she understood)... so for the time being, I will keep them with me for a while longer - like an old picture I can look at every now and again to remind me of where I came from.

For celebration of a new beginning, my friend and I split a Pizookie (a pizza/cookie) for lunch. And to justify the pizookie, we had a salad to make the caloric intake not seem so 'bad' for us. (Kind of like Tuesday Pie Night at Perkins with Funny... ah, old times...)

I got to thinking on the way home from the DMV about life in general and the 'old things' that we want to get rid of, but just can't shake. It may be different for everybody - a bad habit, clothes that you don't wear and hope to fit in again some day, letters and pictures from an old boyfriend or girlfriend (thanks to a friend of mine, those have been burned to ashes :P), old memories that you have a hard time letting go of for whatever reason.

God reminds us that thinking about the past, especially the not so good things, isn't good for us... that's hard to swallow for me because it seems like I have a lot of free time (driving) and I begin to wonder if I would be more fun again if I would act a certain way or do things that I used to do in order to gain friends out here. Or when I have dreams about past people that it isn't because I'm supposed to get in touch with them, but it's a way of trying to dredge up an old thought or behavior pattern that has been laid to rest a long time ago...

Then this popped into my head:

"Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." - Matthew 9:17

I am reminded that people like me for me - not because I put on a show or act when we're together, but because I truly care about people and now so more than ever... I want to keep these new friends close to me because it's all I have right now. I will always have my 'old' friends but will never have to reconsider giving them up like an old license plate :)

And for the record, I'm tired of people making fun of me for saying 'pop' and 'supper'. I can't help it - it's a dialect - when I think of 'soda', I think of baking soda and how gross it would be to drink it. Pop if fizzy and fun on the palate.