I’ve always had a child-like heart, a natural attraction toward the simple things and stories of make-believe and whimsy and wonder. I’ve held on to my inner ten year old for close to thirteen years, as I debated on how to nourish her while still allowing myself to grow and mature at the same time. But this past year has made me realize how important that is, regardless if people think I’m crazy, or need to “grow up” in order to be taken seriously.
What were the quirky/peculiar things that you noticed about yourself this year? In honor of the approaching 2015, name the top fifteen ones.
Yes, I am a quirky person. Some would take it a step further and call me a total dork, but I’m no longer bothered by it. It makes me feel light-hearted and a much more fun person to be around, and that’s what matters.
1. I have days where I literally forget to eat either breakfast or lunch. It might be stress or having a busy day, but all the sudden I hear my stomach growling and go “wait a minute….that’s why.”
2. I typically have nicknames for my closest friends and cousins; most of the time they’ve never heard me call them that, but I have them listed as that in my phone. And if somebody doesn’t have a nickname, I’ve picked out their celebrity look-alike: I have one friend that looks like Kenny Chesney and another who’s a cross between Bradley Cooper and John Krasinski.
3. The song “Let It Go” (from Frozen) makes me cry a little bit. I have my days where I feel like Elsa….
4. I prefer FaceTime over talking on the phone with someone because it helps me to stay focused on the conversation. But if I absolutely have to, I will make an exception for the phone call.
5. I can no longer sleep in past eight o’clock in the morning; my body won’t let me do it anymore.
6. My friend made me an Iowa tie-blanket before I went to college, and most of the time I couldn’t fall asleep without it because it kept me from getting home sick. Now a days it helps me when I start to really miss Iowa.
7. There are times where if I can’t give a person a hug, the least I will do is send them a nice little quote from Pinterest or one of those e-cards. I’m especially getting a kick out of those “daily odd compliments.”
8. Speaking of closeness, if I’m sitting next to you and begin to gradually scoot next to you, don’t take it personally. Though normally if I don’t know you that well I’ll be fully aware of not to do it.
9. I’ve slowed down when it comes to reading books; not because I’ve lost interest, but because there are some books that are so good and I just don’t want them to end.
10. I still dance around the kitchen when no one else is home. And I still have specific music stations for certain things that I do (i.e. cleaning, cooking, working out, and getting dressed up).
11. My go-to drinks usually involve flavored vodka and lemonade, Red’s Apple Ale (Angry Orchard is a good substitute), or Moscato.
12. I wake up to “Sunny and 75” almost every morning. That song just instantly makes me happy, especially when I don’t want to get up.
13. Watching sports is actually nerve-wracking, especially football!
14. I tend to get up super early in the morning when I have to go somewhere; these days it’s still pretty dark by then, so I have this habit of turning a lot of lights on so I’m not too skittish when I’m getting ready.
15. I’m typically always the one that’s early for things; it gives me time to relax (or prepare) if needed.
Do we have any in common?
photo credit: Rachel.Adams via photopin cc
In honor of having just celebrated my twenty-second birthday, I thought I would hold off on a reflective post for a bit and just talk about the small things that I’ve learned about myself over the years. They range from cute to roll-your-eyes type stuff. But I can’t say that I really apologize for any of it. It’s part of my personality!
1. I have quite a few coffee mugs, two of which are designated for Saturday and Sunday. They’re both huge, but one is cherry red and the other has a Minnie Mouse design on it. I can’t drink out of any other coffee cups on those days unless I’m out of town. If I do, I feel extremely weird.
2. My choice of Pandora stations depends on my mood or what I’m doing. I like easy listening for when I’m cooking, Billy Joel or Classic Rock for when I’m cleaning, and anything from 90’s boy-bands to Country to Disney songs when I’m getting ready to go somewhere.
3. Ask me when, where, and how we met and I’m sure I can give you a pretty accurate description.
4. I’ve been somewhat crazy about having a fully charged phone and enough money in my bank account at all times. The idea of having a dead phone battery when possibly needing to get a hold of somebody makes me cringe.
5. I enjoy taking my time when getting ready in the morning or going out at night. It’s sad that as a culture, people always feel so rushed.
6. I get really excited/anxious/angry when I watch sports (mostly football and basketball). Some say I just follow the reactions of others, but I have a pretty good idea as far as what’s going on.
7. Touching dirty dishes (or washing by hand) is gross. On the other side of the coin, doing laundry is kind of fun.
8. Whenever I go out, I’m always dancing; whether it’s mild like bobbing my head or my knees while at a table, or letting loose on an actual dance floor, I just move. And I love it.
9. Speaking of dancing, I absolutely have to whenever Justin Timberlake, Luke Bryan, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, and others come on a set of speakers. Luke Bryan in particular has been on my college bucket list (because they hardly play country music in the downtown bars or nightclubs), and I finally crossed that off a couple of weeks ago.
10. I’m not a fan of beards; a little scruff is OK, but anything else is not attractive, nor does it feel good against my face. I may be touch-oriented, but I’m also touch sensitive.
11. Pizza rolls and Oreo cookies (with milk) have been my go-to snacks since childhood.
12. The temperature in my apartment (or bedroom) has to be insanely warm, otherwise I can’t sleep or even relax.
13. I have three distinct giggles: one for when I’m really happy, one for when I think something is hysterical, and one when it’s not funny but I’m just trying to humor the other person.
14. Naturally, I’m just not a big eater, meaning I can’t sit and gorge on a bag of chips all the day.
15. The concept of sleeping in is almost non-existent for me, unless I’m down right exhausted.
16. I have a lot of habits that involve my hands when I’m nervous.
17. If people come over to my apartment and for whatever reason it’s not clean, I automatically apologize for it.
18. My neighbors made me a Hawkeye-themed tie blanket before I left for college. Since then I’ve kept it with me every night (that’s the long-hand version for “yep, I have a ‘blanky’ “).
19. I have a hard time remembering names but I can easily recognize faces; that’s actually how I met one of my closest friends.
20. When I’m sitting on a couch or next to a person, it’s somewhat second nature to scoot just a little too close next to them. So if I do that to you, don’t take it personally. But that being said, I also love cuddling or leaning up against somebody, even if it’s just platonic.
21.If you see me walking around campus with a HUGE smile on my face, I’m either day-dreaming or just really happy!
22. I’m better at being sarcastic in my head than I am out loud. I do enjoy teasing people in the nicest way possible, depending on who it is.
There are many more, but that’s enough for now!
The way we nourish ourselves determines our ability to shine a light in the world; And nourishment doesn’t just come in the form of food and drink and sunshine. It’s equally important to nourish your spirit. What made you feel nourished this year? (Prompt credit: Kat McNally)
2013 was definitely a year of being spiritually thirsty; I was still struggling over the concept of faith and having God in my life, and what that meant. For anyone that has ever questioned their beliefs, living in the age of technology can make the journey even more perplexing. Instead of just books or sermons, there are now tweets, personal blogs, and podcasts dissecting every Biblical or spiritual topic imaginable. The constant what-if scenarios can drive any person crazy. And I realized that maybe that was the problem; I needed to stop enveloping myself in all the fluff and get back to the basics, specifically with prayer and having quiet time again.
When my friend passed away earlier this summer, I was in agony. I felt like I didn’t have very many people to lean on at the time because it seemed like hardly anyone around me wanted to acknowledge the situation, let alone talk about it. I was never taught how to deal with death as a child/teenager, particularly when it’s sudden and unexpected. Subconsciously, I understood that my faith (however much or little) was the only substantial thing I had to cope. While it might have seemed typical that I was only turning to God when life became nearly impossible, it was also the beginning of an understanding and a sense of peace that I’d been longing to feel for several years.
It didn’t happen right away; in the days following the accident, I was numb and kept thinking that this all was just a nightmare. How do I pray? What do I even pray about? Memorizing Bible verses and relying on cliche Christian phrases felt like using band-aids and Neosporin. I needed to grieve. I needed to allow myself to hurt. But there was little to no room for that in the time that I was at home, at least that’s how I interpreted what I was being told.
Going back to my apartment was like army-crawling out of a minefield, but slowly I got a grip and began to develop a routine. Mornings were spent writing in my journal or reading a passage in my Bible. Sometimes I played meditation music in the background. Sometimes I prayed out loud. And other times I simply wept and could only ask God to hear what was on my heart because I couldn’t articulate my thoughts. I went to church every so often, but there are some things about church that still make me anxious and fidgety, but that is for another time.
Despite the frustration and uncertainty of that time (my writing gig and main reason I had stayed at school for the summer was constantly up in the air) I appreciated being able to meet with God wherever I felt safe and comfortable. It did not make the pain go away, but gave me a way to process it. It did not make everything better, but it did give me some clarity. For once, I was not measuring my faith based on a sermon or whatever was going on around me; I was looking inward.
And as scary as it is, nourishment has also come from being vulnerable; there are quite a few people that I’ve become incredibly close to this year because I was willing to be open with them about a lot of things. It was hard because I hadn’t done it in such a long time, at least without feeling rushed, like I had to put it all out there in a month of meeting them. I took my time and was careful that I letting them in for the right reasons, which is where I learned a lot about connection versus attachment. Attachment is where two people become close rather quickly, and more so that they do so in hopes that the relationship will be the solution to either one or both persons’ problems. Connection takes its time; it can be instant, sure, but you don’t truly get to know a person within a day or so. I’m fascinated by people and think it’s great when you can still learn about them, even after you’ve known each other for a while.
Not only has it helped me deepen relationships, but it’s opened my eyes to one of my biggest struggles: the struggle of being able to say “I need you.” However, that is also for another post down the road.
But that’s how nourishment works; you keep watering/feeding yourself, and hopefully it becomes second nature. When your nurture yourself (and allow others to nurture you) you begin to no longer make decisions out of fear, but of love and faith.
Was there something new that you tried in 2013? What was it? How did it make you feel? (prompt credit: Paper Relics)
In all my years I never predicted that I would come to love cooking as much as I have. Aside from baking, it didn’t seem like my parents or family members really enjoyed it, like it was more a necessity rather than something fun. The fact that it was always done against a clock (meaning there were times were there was a lot of rushing around) made me dread it for a couple of years. I didn’t start seriously getting into it until I moved into an apartment on my own junior year, where I had my own space and it was much bigger. I think the first meal I ever made in it was sauted fajita meat, (microwaved) mashed potatoes, and a side of vegetables. It wasn’t huge, but it was a start.
Though a lot of what I make for dinner or lunch is already pre-made (I love those frozen Bertoli skillets; they take all of ten minutes and I usually have enough for a second meal), I love the creativity that goes into it. And the more I do it, the more confident I become in my abilities. It’s definitely more enjoyable when I put music on in the background; right now my go-to playlists on Pandora are the easy-listening and George Strait stations. Depending on what song is on, cooking can turn into a spiritual, almost romantic experience. Again, it’s in the beauty of creation, which is more true when I’m cooking for other people. There’s nothing like sharing a meal over a glass of wine with your closest friends, even if it isn’t from scratch.
That’s not to say that I haven’t or don’t want to attempt at personal creations. A couple of months back I (tried) making chicken prosciutto pasta; it was a lot of fun, but the sauce came out a little gooey so I’m wondering if I should try substituting heavy whipping cream for something else, or use a different brand of cheese. I would love to learn how to make my Dad’s chili or get the recipes for my paternal grandmother’s chicken and noodles and beef stew. Those aside, I love coming up with my own stuff; I just have to remember to actually write it down!
One of the best things is that there is always something new to learn; sometimes it’s as simple as heating sauce on the stove as opposed to a microwave, or using different pans or seasonings or in order to give meat a little more flavor. I’m still not the best at making rice or grilled cheese, admittedly.
Despite past associations, I hope that cooking is something that I will continue to love and get better at as time goes on. I don’t buy the whole “women belong in the kitchen” garbage (or whatever variation people use) and would like it to be something that my significant other and I can do together when that time comes. On a practical note, I do tend to need help with taking things out of the oven, lifting heavy pots/pans, and even chopping. So if the guy doesn’t want to eat burnt pizza and before eight o’clock at night, he’s going to have to lend a hand! And I say that with love and humor, if nothing else.
What about you? Do you have any off-the-wall tips for cooking? What are your favorite recipes?
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It’s no secret that over the last couple of years, fall/autumn has become one of my favorite times of the year. While nature begins to slowly change and the air starts to chill, it’s also a time where I feel incredibly close to the people around me. I’ve taken to calling in the “wrapped in a warm blanket” type feeling. Everything is just warm and cozy and comfortable.
These special (and somewhat sentimental) occasions are what keep me sane when the homework load gets heavy, or I experience a bout of senioritis like an overnight flu bug. My friends and I have celebrated a plethora of birthdays, went to an orchard/pumpkin farm and indulged in everything relating to pumpkins and apples (with a semi-photo shoot to boot), cried over the Cory Montieth tribute while watching Glee, and other memories that seem insignificant to the rest of the world. However, they mean the world to me.
As I look back on the fall season as a whole, I’ve noticed that it’s when a lot of wonderful, crazy, and even life changing events have taken place. In the span of four or five years, I’ve met and found many of my closest friends, grew deeper in my faith, and learned how to deal with painful aspects of my history. And it suddenly occured to me that while some seasons are better than others, life truly does happen in seasons of love.
It’s not always deep conversations over wine or hot chocolate. Schedules are hectic, and there are weeks and days where prayer requests and “thinking of you” via text takes the place of bear hugs and face-to-face interaction. While I do believe in not letting to-do list’s and school work dominate quality time, I’m beginning to understand the other side of the coin: it’s not a matter of whether or not you want to, but whether or not you can without reaching the point of exhaustion. Right now I’m walking a thin line of packing so much in all at once. It’s frustrating because on one hand I feel like I’m on a race against time, trying to make the most of every moment before it all runs out. On the other, that’s all you really can do; appreciate the time you do get with people, even if it’s small and insignificant when it’s happening.
That’s where I’ve learned to appreciate random run-in’s, where all you can do is exchange a hug and “how are you?” that lasts all of five minutes before you have to go to class or run to catch up with whomever. That’s where I’ve not learned not to focus on what place somebody has in my life or try to be best friends when every person that I know. I’m not going to obsess over who has treated me right and who hasn’t. It’s just not worth the energy, especially now.
Leaves turn. Things happen. Don’t just measure good by what you have or what you can give, but how you grow.
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It’s amazing how much my mood changes when the sun is out, when I’m not all bundled up to the point where I’m fogging up my glasses. It’s not just baseball season, it’s walking season.
What were some of your favorite songs to listen to?
I’m a big fan of music, and this year provided a lot of great artists to be interested in. However, the one genre I felt drawn to the most was country music. A part of me has always loved it; I grew up dabbling into Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, and Faith Hill as a child. I drifted away from it for a while, but in recent years have grown tired of the typical “get drunk and get laid” party anthem motif that is frequently attached to most pop/rap music these days.
And while country has its share of partying and beer drinking, it’s more often then not the less obvious message that the singer or band is trying to present. It has a story.More so, it touches on the simple and important things, such as faith and family.
It comes across as unpopular among a lot of people that I know. Then again, if it was as bad as some make it out to be, I don’t think it would have multiple separate award shows.
I listened to a lot of it this year, and wanted to share a few of my favorites. Not everything is recent, a few artists/songs go back a few decades.
Country Girl (Shake it for me)—> I put this on my top five favorite songs of all time!
Drunk on You
I Don’t Want This Night To End
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
Making Memories Of Us
Someone Like You
You’re Gonna Fly
Kiss A Girl
Days Go By
….and a lot more!
Wanted (currently my favorite!)
Love Makes Me
God Gave Me You
All About Tonight
My Kinda Party
Don’t You Wanna Stay (with Kelly Clarkson)
The Only Way I Know
Dirt Road Anthem
Own The Night
Need You Now
Our Kind of Love
I Run To You
Dancing Away With My Heart
Rockstar (with Tim McGraw)
Beer In Mexico
Somewhere With You
You and Tequila
When The Sun Goes Down
This Is Country Music
Southern Comfort Zone
Little Big Town
Time Is Love
Why Don’t We Just Dance
Come A Little Closer
What was I Thinkin’
All American Girl
Jesus Take The Wheel
Live Like You Were Dying
When The Stars Go Blue
It’s Your Love
I Like it, I Love it
And you can’t forget the classics….
I Walk The Line
Ring Of Fire
There are so many more I could name! But instead of going on endlessly, I say go over to I-tunes and do a little listening for yourself. Maybe your parents or grandparents have old CD’s or records collecting dust and could be put to good use.
For those that already love country music, what are some of your favorites? For those that are perhaps just discovering it, what have you been listening to so far?
This poem was inspired a by a conversation that I had with a relative a while back; we have very different personalities, and nine times out of ten don’t agree on the same things. But lately, it has made me think about the concept of wanting something, or multiple things. This is my response to that conversation.