Monday, August 31, 2015

School Days

I've been back to school for one week now and it's been going pretty well. I like the majority of my classes which is a huge blessing. I have a good deal of work to get to get done (including my first workshop story) so I'm slightly stressed but I have something hopefully good in the works.

That's pretty much all I've got! Ha. I had a great weekend though!! On Saturday I got to work out and then I babysat MFF that night. On Sunday we had church and then a Sunday school meeting. Later on we had a worship night at a family from churchs' house.

Let me tell you, these worship nights are such a blessing to me. Pretty much, we eat and fellowship and then sing for about half an hour, have a devotional and then an extended time of prayer. It's really an awesome time that has really helped me to grow.

Happy Monday all!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer Goals Revisited

How is it already that time again??? Summer went fast and slow at the same time but here I am on the eve of my first day of school. So, it's time to evaluate who I fared this year with my goals. 
Summer Goals 2015
Accomplish at Least Half
1. Read at least 7 books (X)
I'm so happy to have accomplished this since I've been only doing five the past few summers. This year, I read some good ones!
           1. What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
           2. A Wrinkle in Time
           3. Cutting for Stone
           4. A Wind in the Door
           5. A Swiftly Tilting Planet
           6. The History of Love
           7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  

2. Run/Bike/Swim as much as possible (X)
I didn't run much after May so i didn't completely accomplish this goal but two thirds works right? I biked to Bible Study each week as well as to VBS practice and it was so enjoyable. I also swam pretty much whenever the weather permitted. 

3. Run a race (X)
I did it! I ran a 5K earlier this month. The experience was great and I can't wait to do more next year. 

4. Develop a healthy eating plan ()
Nope. I ate SO BAD this summer. I mean just terribly. I ate good wholesome meals but I had so much desert and just felt the need to always have something sweet. I also had many days where I would skip meals entirely and just have junk. It's so bad but it's been fun haha. Now that school is starting, I'm saying adios to that way of eating and really buckling down. 

5. Eat one meal outside each day if weather permits ()
The weather never permitted the whole month of June so I sort of gave up. 

6. Organize my bedroom ()
I SHOULD have done this during those rainy June days but I didn't and once the weather turned nicer I never wanted to spend much time indoors. I will do this soon though. 

7. Finish writing my book series ()After writing so much for school this year I sort of had a lackluster approach to it this summer despite how awesome I was about it last year. I only made a bit of progress on my 3rd book sadly. Of course, I know I will finish them, it's just a little slower going. 

8. Make dinner for my family once a week ()
I started out strong but only did this about 4-5 times so I can't take credit.

9. Get closer to buying a car (X)
I spent more money than I would have liked to but I did pack a bit away in savings so that I can hopefully buy a car by the end of the year.

10. Develop a new friendship/relationship (X)
Happy to report that I have done this through my Bible Study! It's been such a blessing to get to know people who love the Lord.

11. Do one thing crazy (X)
I did a lot of crazy this year! I went up 107 stories on the Skydeck in Chicago's Willis tower, I drudged through a big mud pit, I jumped off a rope into a large body of water among other things! I'm actually really glad I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone.

12. Have a perfect day (X)
I had one lovely day of swimming that was quite near perfect and I also just spent part of my weekend on an island that was just beautiful and amazing.

13. Start doing art again ()
I wish I had but I didn't make the effort, hopefully soon.

14. Be better each day and enjoy every moment! (X)
I really did make an effort to savor and enjoy every bit of this summer and I tried to be better each day even if I didn't always succeed.

Goals Accomplished: 8/14

You know what's funny? That's the least amount that I've done in a long time and yet this has been one of the best summer's of my life! I did so many fun things and just enjoyed myself so much. I love you Summer 2015 and I'm sad to say goodbye!
Here's to a great semester! 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Letting Go is the Hardest Part

My aunt's family owns an island. I know, right??

And her and my uncle have been asking and inviting us to go out there for a weekend for practically my whole life. For whatever reason, my parents weren't super into it so we never went until this weekend.

M had been wanting to go for awhile so she finally convinced the to set a date. It was hard finding a time with all of the end of summer events and we only got to stay one night but we made it out at last!

And it was grand.

Picture a lovely little island, with lush grass and shady trees and calm waters and golf carts to ride around even though you can actually walk very easily.

There was an actual cove as well with a rope to swing off of high rocks and into the water. At first I was super intimidated by the height and not going to do it. But then I saw E do it and it seemed like so much fun and I'm a all about trying new things. So I strapped on a kids life jacket (I'm a very weak swimmer) and started toward the edge. M had gone before me and failed to get onto the rope correctly and ended up skidding on the water.  I wanted to do it right.

My aunt coached me on how to get the best thrill and then I was just standing there, holding the rope and sweating with nervousness. They urged me to go for it but it was hard making my feet let go of that solid rock and plunge into the unknown. I finally psyched myself up and jumped.

And I ended up just like M, scared to put my whole body onto the rope and just swing. I knew I had to go again. It was just the slightest bit easier jumping off that time but I managed to sit right on top of the big knot on the rope and swing way out there. Then I heard my aunt's command to "JUMP!"  and I let go.

There was a long free fall, so long that I was surprised when I finally hit the water that I didn't plug my nose and water jetting so far I thought my brain would be damaged. I coughed and spluttered on my way to the shore but I'd done it!

I messed up one other time, swinging all the way back and nearly giving my mom a heart attach that I'd hit the rocks (I didn't even come close :) after that I told myself I had to make the jump more times than I missed it. So I succeeded three more times!

It was triumphant. And all I had to do was let go.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I've had the book on my shelf for almost two years, having "borrowed" it from my cousin :). M actually read it during that time and urged me to do the same, for whatever reason, it took me until just last week.

I picked it up and immediately became engrossed. Francie's world was so beautifully crafted and written. Simple daily happenings gave me feeling of wonderment, I lived in that world for the four days it took me to read it. Each character was so real, their gestures, their dialogue and the descriptions were just lovely.

I cried more during this book than I ever have in any book before. I cried for Johny, for Francie, for Katie and Neeley and Laurie and all of them. The feelings from the book were so real, not contrived or brought on by cheap tricks that authors rely so heavily on these days.

Betty Smith is a true literary genius, this book is my favorite of all time. The careful writing and poetic language and the coming of age story is something I can only dream to produce someday. This is writing in it's purest form.

Reading that last page, the last two lines...I honestly just dissolved in tears. Tears because I didn't want it to be over, tears because it was breathtakingly beautiful and tears because I knew these characters and what they were feeling.

Please, if you have not read this book-do! It's a treasure.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Beach

There is a beach about 30 minutes from my house that my family and I have frequented ever since I was a little girl. Once, M and I tried to meet up with some friends there and my parents had given us faulty directions so we got lost. Since then, I've been weary to venture there alone again.

But today, Claire and her sister were home from school together for a total of 3 days this whole summer and they asked to meet up at the beach. Our parents were at work so it was just M and I to go. I began feeling nervous right away.

You need to understand that I have a terrible fear of being lost, especially while driving and navigating freeways where it can be so easy to fall off track. M is a great driver though and she goes all over the place so my fears were actually very irrational.

As it neared time for us to leave, I was feeling greatly fearful. I pushed myself to go, directions in hand. And guess what? We made it all in one piece, no problems, no fuss. We walked together though the sand dune path, marveling at how this was the first time we'd made the trek alone. We do so many things by ourselves but the beach hadn't been one of them. When we reached the water, I felt so free and relaxed and happy. We'd made it!

For a little while we sat on a long piece of driftwood and waited for our friends. It was so peaceful.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Diary of a Fit Girl: August-My First Race!

Above is my elbow, sporting a painful scrape. How did I get that scrape you ask? Answer: THE DAILY DOUBLE. Just kidding, I am not and will never be Alex Trebec. But I digress...

I had my first race! My mom, dad, sister, and Aunt C and myself all ran a race with obstacles and a lot of mud on Saturday. To say I "ran it" would be a big fat lie because I only jogged for about a third of the time. Since my dad and M and I stuck together, we couldn't really run much because my dad's knee kept messing up on him. I would have preferred to run the whole darn thing but I'm not sure I would have been able to so I'm sort of glad I had an excuse not to.

The obstacles were my favorite part, they were like adult playground. Climbing, crawling, hanging, jumping-it was such a blast and I love that kind of stuff. I sped through all of it, not even afraid of the great 12 foot wall I had to climb! Heck, if I can't be a good runner at least this girl can climb with the best of them.

At the end of the race (after jumping over some fire...) there was a big giant slide that threw you into a giant water pit. Sliding down was so fast and I got bucked off at the end! I went under water a bit and then my eyes got wet and I was afraid to open them because I didn't want my contacts to get dried out and gross so I called for M and she led me in.

The actual last obstacle was a long trench of straight up mucky mud that you had to crawl through. You could chose to walk around it and at first we did. But then my mom (who'd finished long ago, bless her), encouraged us to go for it. M refused because she hates mud but my dad and I went back in and got it done! It was gross and sloppy and I ended up getting coated in mud so that I actually looked nude but then I hosed off so all was well.

Overall, it was a lot of fun and a goal of mine so I'm really glad I went for it and it can only go up from here as I build endurance and strength. I can't wait to "run" it next year!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Great Summer Book Swap of 2015

M and I both love to read and usually, our interests in books heavily overlap. Most of the books I've read and loved, she's read and loved and vise verses. Still, there are a few books and series that are our own personal favorites that the other had no interest in. But in order to share our love of them and see if the other agrees, decided to have a book swap.

I was to read the Wrinkle in Time books, M was to read The Sisterhood of the Traveling pants. We each only had to read three books out of each quartet because M had already read the first Sisterhood and she advised that I didn't need to read the fourth Wrinkle because it wasn't very good.

And so, on the first of June we embarked. I really only wanted it to take a month but because I had a hard time getting into the books and had other things to read, it took two. I ended up enjoying the first book, hating the second and enjoying the third. Overall, I'm just not a science fiction fan and I really have a hard time appreciating that genre. For the most part, I think (with the exception of the third book), I failed to find the same magic in the books that M had.

On the flip side, M did seem to enjoy the Sisterhood books and even decided to go right into ready the fifth and final epilogue book Sisterhood Everlasting. She definitely didn't love them as much as me and hates one of the major characters but I do think she had fun reading them.

To conclude, I'm glad that I was pushed out of my book comfort zone and read something I normally wouldn't have and I'm glad that M will finally understand my many references to Ann Brashares masterpieces.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

4 Year Blogiversary!

Wow! Four years, that's pretty crazy. Four years ago I was sitting at my dining room table with my trusty laptop Lars and the idea popped into my head that I should start a blog. I was so excited as I wrote my first post (and then as I wrote it all over again after accidentally deleting it) and my bio and designed the layout. I was just 17 then and about to begin my senior year, so much has changed since that day but I feel much like the same person, older and wiser sure but my sense of self has stayed much the same.

I think my purpose for writing this blog has changed slightly since then. At first I think I wanted to take each post to tackle a subject and give my thoughts and opinions, after awhile it became a place for me to document my life. My struggles, my triumphs and the everyday. I have never been able to keep a written journal for more than a week so I wasn't sure how long I'd keep with it but it has stuck! I love having this blog as a record of my life, I'm so happy I've kept it up.

I was considering doing a "Blog Awards" for different posts I've written but I think I'll wait until the big 5 year anniversary next year. Who knows what will happen between now and then!

Monday, August 3, 2015

On Comparison

Yesterday I went to a party at my mom's best friend's house. My mom has three girls, she has three boys. They are all incredibly attractive, one of them, insanely so.

Every time I'm around them or other people who I think are quite blessed in the looks department, I start to wonder how I measure up. I don't think I'm ugly but I also don't think that people go home after hanging out with me and marvel at my beauty.

There are those girls with perfect hair, perfect makeup and perfect clothes. I'm not one of them. My hair will never be pin straight or without a hint of frizz. My skin, though much improved, is not completely clear and without imperfection. I'm short, I don't have a desired hour glass figure. I don't have patience or desire to cover myself in makeup other than cover up because, yeah the skin issues. And honestly, I feel like I could really go out of my way to try and look like those "perfect girls" and still not achieve that look. It's just not me.

And then I get to thinking, if there are so many prettier, more put together girls than me, why would a guy ever chose me as a girlfriend or wife? I struggle a lot with that insecurity. I really don't see why anyone would desire to be with me because well, there are a lot of more attractive options. I know this is a terrible thing to say or think. I've been told I'm being insecure and ridiculous. And I know it's not all about looks. But hey, they are the first thing someone notices, right?

I do console myself with the fact that pretty people aren't the only ones who get married. I know that you don't have to be a super model to be datable but I guess i still have this issue where I feel like no one would ever want to be with me over someone else.

I do pray about it but mostly I just pray that someone would love me, that I'm ready for that commitment. Perhaps I should start with my own issues and then work my way up. Maybe I need to fix my self image before I worry about my image to others. But gosh, don't they go hand in hand? Isn't self image, let's be honest, heavily based on what others think of you? But I guess it doesn't have to be.

My self image, as a Christian, should be based on what God thinks of me. Frankly, I know he doesn't give much care to what I look like but that he wouldn't want me putting myself down because I am created by Him. It must be insulting for God to have all of these humans hating the way they look and thinking that other people are more beautiful. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, we are all beautiful in His eyes.

I should focus on that, and let the rest fall into place.