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I Forgot to Remember to Forget

There’s a line in my favorite Chronicles of Narnia book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, that has always stuck with me. It’s the scene when Lucy has to read the magician’s spellbook to help save the Dufflepuds become visible again. And during the list of spells she flips past through are two that I would have been very tempted to say myself: “how to remember things forgotten, how to forget things you wanted to forget.”

There’s also the memory spell from Harry Potter that I sometimes wish I could perform on myself:

For believe me there are many things that I wish I could forget in my life.

In the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the main characters have their memories erased of each other to forget the pain and hurt that happened due the breakdown of their relationship. It seems like it would be a brilliant invention. To have your mind swept free of all the negative feelings that were the result of heartbreak. Sometimes I wish that actually took place.

Of course you do grow because of the pain. You do grow from your experiences. As much as I hate what I’ve gone through, I know that because of the bad stuff, I’ve become a better person. And that part I’m ok with. I try not to dwell on the painful past though. It does no good to sit there and be reminded constantly of how much you were hurt. I just hate it when the memories sneak up when you’re not expecting it. I’m not talking about if a song comes on the radio that used to be your song. I mean like looking at patch of grass and a flood of memories comes back.

Sometimes I wonder if the other person remembers things too. Obviously what you place importance on will stand out more to one person than another. But other times it feels like the other person literally did wipe out every memory of you just like Clementine did to Joel in Eternal Sunshine. And because you don’t want to be the only one with the memories, it’s easy to just want to shut them out too. And that can hurt.

(FYI: some cursing. Also I totally forgot David Cross was in that movie)

If I had a super power it would be the ability to absorb knowledge and never forget it. I’d be able to give out information in the blink of an eye. My name would be something like The Encyclopedia or the Archivist. I remember things. I remember birthdays, important anniversaries, events. I retain information like a sponge. Now I don’t have a photographic memory. I can’t look at something and automatically remember what was there. But I do have good reading comprehension skills. And I’m good at picking up on small details.

Senior year in high school, it was a joke among my friends that if anyone needed to remember anything, they just needed to turn to me and I’d remember it in my brain or my “files”.

SAMSUNG

Sometimes I don’t let on that I remember things or people. I feel weird because I remember tiny little details that everyone else seems to have forgotten. I try not to be that person that brings up that embarrassing moment from 6th grade that you had tried to block out of your mind. If something triggers a memory in me, while it may bother me on the inside, I try to keep my mouth shut because it was only important to me.

People always say to me “I can’t believe you remember that!” Sometimes I wish I didn’t.

I’ll see people from years ago and I’ll totally recognize them but they don’t seem to recognize me. Sometimes that bothers me a little because it makes me feel like I didn’t exist or that I was so unimportant that I’ve been erased from their memory. This hurts especially when we used to be good friends.

It sucks also when I make plans with someone and I remember the plans. But then it feels like the other person doesn’t remember. And I’m never sure if I’m supposed to remind them or wait for them to remember. I don’t want to nag but at the same time I want to think that I was important enough to be remembered.

However, I totally realize that everyone is different and not everyone has a memory like mine. I’m good at remembering faces, little details, etc. I mean that’s part of the reason why I decided to study history. To me, remembering things is important and priority to me.

The hard part is just remembering (heh) that not everyone else is like this. Again you’d think I’d realize this all the time, but it’s only starting to sink in. Just because I place priority over something does not mean everyone else does. Sometimes you do have to push people to remember things and it doesn’t mean that it makes you any less of important. Other times, people just choose to forget you and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Ironically as I look at my Timehop app for today, an app that triggers a lot of memories, one of my Twitter statuses from three years ago was this

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Run Deborah RUN!

Because I’m publicly stating this on the internet, I therefore hold the internet responsible for holding me accountable to my word.

I’m going to start running.

Yes, yes. I know there’s a TON of you who do this already. Some of you are super religious about it. The USPS has nothing on you. Neither rain or snow or ANYTHING will stop you. I remember during Snowmegeddon back in 2010 when there was a white out and you could barely make out the reporter standing outside in at least 5 feet of snow. They were telling people to NOT go outside at all under any circumstances but sure enough in the background there were people outside running because they ABSOLUTELY HAD TO.

There are many benefits to running. I don’t need to go into any of them because I’m sure you’re all aware.

I’m planning on using a Couch to 5k program. While I go to the gym every now and then, it’s not enough that I feel like I could sprint a mile immediately on my first day. I’ve been asked by my friends to sign up for a 5k in September so that can be m goal but we’ll see.

Running 5ks is super trendy these days. There are so many different themes and groups that you can support while running. I’m not even going to list those because there are just SO FREAKIN MANY.

Why is it so hard to start? I can just give you a couple of excuses I’ve pulled on people. It’s hot outside. I don’t have time. I’m tired. It’s going to hurt. It’s dangerous. Blah blah blah. I could come up with excuses until I’m blue in the face. But I’m not anymore.

Because I actually want to do this. I want to be healthier and feel good about myself. And also be able to accomplish something that will benefit me in the long run.

Plus if I start training to run now, if/when the zombie apocalypse takes place, I’ll be able to at least outrun them. I mean, I can’t shoot them with a bow and arrow yet. (YET) But I’ll be able to run away from them.

So pending world disaster tomorrow, I’ll be starting my couch to 5k tomorrow. Feel free to email, tweet, Facebook, leave comments….encourage me if you want. I’ll most likely need them.

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Roll that beautiful D20

This weekend I’m about to do something for the first time ever.

I’m going to play Dungeons and Dragons.

Yes. I realize I’m about to experience a level in nerd/geekdom that even some folks won’t approach.

Growing up, we were told in church about how dangerous and satanic playing games like this and Magic:The Gathering were. Doing this would lead to Satan taking our souls and lead us towards a dark path. There’s even an Adventures in Odyssey episode that talks about the dangers about what can happen when you play the game. Which is really interesting since the group I’m playing with, all the guys are strong Christians that I met through church.

Since my interests in the geek world have expanded over the past few years, D&D is something that I’ve been curious about but never got around to actually doing. I had sort of observed a campaign but since I wasn’t really playing it was confusing. I was shown all these rules books but that was confusing. I was explained how it was played but I fell asleep during the explanation because it was confusing. Needless to say, I found all of it confusing. So I was pleasantly pleased and surprised to be included in with some friends to try out the 5th edition starter set. I was told that it wasn’t going to be hard and as long as I participate, it’ll be a lot of fun. Plus I was also bribed with bacon.

In preparation, I’ve been studying up on my character sheet and trying to figure out what my character’s name is going to be.

My character is an archer.

No. Not that kind of Archer. More like this kind of archer:

I’ve been told if I name my character after Katniss or Hawkeye, bad things will happen to me during the game. Fine fine, I can handle that. I’ve been researching names trying to find a good one. We’ll see how good it is on Saturday.

I imagine this is how it’ll all turn out:


I’ve also been reading the rules. So reading the rules is like reading a freaking book in itself. It is long and complicated. And I’m still slightly confused but from what I can tell, there’s just a lot of rolling the dice to see what happens. I hope I just don’t die right from the very beginning. Unlikely but possible.

While I’m really excited about playing for the first time, part of my fear stems that I’m the only newbie in the group. The other guys have all played at least one campaign before so they know what to expect. I’ve know all of them for a while, played tabletop games with them, and consider some of them to be my best friends. But I’ve never done something like this with them before and I know how some of them can take their role playing very seriously. Therefore I’m slightly nervous that as a newbie I will slow everyone down with all my questions and potentially annoy someone unintentionally.

Being the only girl who is playing isn’t that big of an issue to me. I know that there is a stereotype about girls playing to begin with plus this isn’t really something that most of my other girlfriends would be in interested in.

Again this is something that has always interested me and I just never thought I’d get around to playing it. This is a new adventure for me and I’m looking forward to trying it out. I have a big imagination so I think this will be a lot of fun and something that I’ll be able to cross off my bucket list.

At the very least, maybe it’ll turn out like this.

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How secure are you about your insecurity?

Have you ever read something and you felt like OMG this is totally speaking to me. That this must have been written for me. And you wonder why on earth you didn’t know about this before? And then you want to tell everyone about it even though you know it won’t have the same impact on them that it did you?

This happened to me the other night when I finally read So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore. I normally don’t read a lot of Moore’s books. I once did a Bible study of hers but it was quite long and there was a lot of “homework” involved.  It had been sitting in my library TBR pile (which seems to be never-ending) but over the weekend something happened that made me feel like God wanted me to finally read the book. And I started and finished it in one day, which is really rare for me with non fiction books. Apparently I really needed it.

While almost the majority of everyone deals with some type of insecurity (there may be a lucky few of you who don’t at all), we all don’t suffer for the same reasons. What may bother you might not bother someone else. And we may not be able to understand someone else’s issues.

Insecurity is a very ugly thing and causes us to act in ways that are not appealing. A lot of times we really try to hide the fact that we feel this way. For me, a good bit of my insecurity is coming from wanting to feel like I’m normal and not standing out, but feeling like I’m failing immensely. Part of this comes from growing up and physically standing out of the crowd when I wanted to blend in but instead got teased for it.

As an adult, I’ve learned and accepted (though you may not believe it) that I’m unique and it’s perfectly fine that I don’t share the same interests or characteristics as everyone else. As I stated last week, I’m happy with the person I’ve become and while I want to make myself a better person FOR myself, I’m cool with what I do.

It sound silly, even to me as I type this, but I struggle with wanting to just be seen as normal. I feel when I tell other people about things I like or something I’m excited about, other people don’t seem to care. I think because I care so (ok, too) much about what other people think I tend to notice facial expressions or pick up little things more than others. I notice when someone darts their eyes away, gets restless, looks bored, sighs, changes the subject, etc.

Or other people, because they aren’t as interested, tend to knock down things I talk about. This may just be their personality but to me it feels like what I am excited about isn’t worth their time. It’s one thing when I tell a random stranger and they don’t care. But when I tell someone who I do care about and their reactions seem to be bored or uninterested, I feel like I should just shut up because what I have to say isn’t interesting to them. Instead of lashing out, I tend to withdraw.

I realize my personality is different from others. I may also act in different ways than other people. If someone doesn’t like something I do, while inwardly I may think but why not?!, outwardly I’m not going to tell them they are stupid for it. If someone likes something that I don’t, while I may say I don’t like it I won’t tell them it’s stupid. I’m so worried about feeling stupid in front of other people who I would never want to make someone else feel that way because I know how horrible that feeling can be. I feel empathy towards people. I also may overly project how I feel on others.

Anyways all this can lead to some of the feelings I have about being insecure. So when I picked up the book and started reading it, it was like reading a book directly written for me. It’s good to know then that I’m not alone.

I tried not to quote the entire book but these were some of the passages that REALLY stood out to me.

Men are not our problems, it’s what we are trying to get from them that messes us up. Nothing is more baffling that our attempt to derive our womanhood from our men. We use guys like mirrors to see if we’re valuable. Beautiful. Desirable. Worthy of notice. Viable. We try to read their expressions and moods in order to determine whether it’s time act smart and hard to get or play dumb and needy. (page 7)

Are we honestly going to insist on drawing our security from people – men or women – who are oblivious to the inordinate amount of weight we give to our estimation of us? (page 9)

Insecurity refers to a profound sense of self-doubt, a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. Insecurity is associated with chronic self-consciousness, along with a chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about our relationships. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate. (page 17)

The insecure person also harbors unrealistic expectations about love and relationships. These expectations, for themselves and for others, are often unconscious. The insecure person creates a situation in which being disappointed and hurt in relationships is almost inevitable. Ironically, although insecure people are easily and frequently hurt, they are usually unaware of how they are unwitting accomplices in creating their own misery. (page 23)

We can be so blessed in certain relationships that our unrealistic expectations often seem met and, therefore, reasonable. We can get away with thinking we’re secure people because, for a time, we have the important things just like we want them. But then change happens, and suddenly we are thrown for a severe emotional loop. We realize we weren’t secure. We were spoiled. One way we can detect insecurity is by our knee-jerk reaction to any level of change in a relationship, particularly if we perceive that the focus has shifted away from us. (page 25)

Overwhelmingly, the men used one word to describe what they do when they feel insecure: withdraw. If they don’t overtly withdraw, they will probably behave in a way, whether consciously or unconsciously, that will make their love ones withdraw. One way or the other, a man who feels insecure will often force space. If quietness doesn’t work, excessive irritation, agitation, or anger will usually do the job……Generally speaking men withdraw when they feel insecure and women cling. Men give off the don’t mess with me vibe. Women give off the please mess with me vibe. (page 194-195)

Women who struggle with insecurity are particularly taken with two divine attributes: omnipotence and omniscience. (page 208) People who are chronically insecure often have an overwhelming tendency to become control freaks. We feel most secure when our environment is in control and since no one is able to control it to our satisfaction, we decide we have to do it ourselves. If someone would do it and do it right, we wouldn’t have to take over, so it’s not really our fault, we reason. It’s our responsibility. (page 209)

People do what they want to do. You can’t make them do something else. You can’t force them. You can’t change them. You can’t deliver them. Only God can…..When we try to do God’s job, we get in God’s way. (page 214)

We can’t control what we don’t know and we can’t secure what we can’t see. (page 214)

There is knowing. And there is knowing too much. (page 218)

When God initiates, He equips us to handle. Even though unsolicited information might have caused pain and great conflict, if God initiated the revelation, He had a goal in mind that was steeped in great love. Even if He used a messenger you didn’t like, HE worked through His sovereignty to open your eyes to something vital…..When we scratch and claw to dig information out of the dirt, we don’t get the same kind of grace that accompanies divine revelation. (page 219)

We pry because we are insecure and then we are more insecure because we pried. God is the only one who can know a person’s every thought, every motive, every temptation, and every flaw yet still feel good about himself. If we want to become secure women of God, we must cease asking questions we can’t handle the answer to. (page 220-221)

The goal in our female relationships should be to encourage one another’s security. Not enable one another’s insecurity. (page 289)

Any time insecurity hits you can be sure that you are afraid of something…..When we set certain conditions for trust, we offer the enemy of our souls the perfect playground for toying with our minds No, he can’t read our thoughts but he can certainly study our behaviors. Once he pinpoints our emotional Achilles’ heel, he draws back the bow and aims the poisonous dart straight at it. He figures out what we’re most afraid of, and then he taunts us unmercifully with expert marksmanship. (page 324)

So if you’re still reading down to here:

To sum it up, I really got a lot out of this book. The situation this weekend was one where my insecurities were coming at me full force. I’m the type of person that instead of lashing out towards other people when this happens, I beat up on myself even more. The whole section about “wanting to know more because you fear” really spoke to me because that’s exactly what was happening. Had I not read this book right after that happened, I would be a mess right now because I’d be dwelling on the limited information I have and would want to keep trying to find out more. But by doing so it would hurt me and I’d just keep repeating the cycle. Instead, I feel like God gave me tools to learn how to combat it and move toward a more positive way to deal with these.

I’m not perfect nor will I ever be. I know that I have many things to work out and insecurities like these are some of them. But I know that with God, he’ll help me through it all.

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. (Psalm 29:11) 

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I may not be lucky at life but I’m lucky at winning things

If you’ve hung around me long enough, then you know that I’m rather good at getting things very discounted or free. I’ve been asked a lot of how I’m able to do this, so here’s my meager attempt to try to explain.

Maybe some people have no hang ups at just paying full price for things but my background has been such where I always learned about bargaining and discounts. While I’m not a couponer and spend hours trying to get everything for pennies, I do spend some time researching on places and things I know I’m going to do. If I can get what I was going to for a steeply discounted price or free, why not?

If I find out in advance where I’m going out to eat, I go on their website and sign up for their email club. This usually means getting some sort of free thing with my meal. This takes less than a few minutes to sign up to get something for free. Because if you’re going to pay for it anyways, why not get something extra for it?

If there’s a place I frequent a lot, I sign up for their rewards program. For example, I go to movie theaters a lot. Depending on the theater I go, every time or dollar amount I spend goes towards free stuff: popcorn, drinks, movie tickets. Plus there are also special perks like prizes or special screenings. Or stores I visit frequently: spending money that I would have already spent goes towards coupons or other free gifts. A lot of these places also have members only contests where I enter and have frequently won things like shoes and other prizes.

When booking travel, you can save a lot of money by joining hotel and travel rewards programs. If your company allows you to do so, if they’re paying for your trip and let you use your rewards account, you can easily earn free trips and hotel nights. I was able to book a hotel room for a bachelorette party for free this way. Also do your research when it comes to travel. Instead of paying airfare or train fare or even gas and tolls when driving, consider the bus. If you do your research in advance, you get bus fares for as low as $1 and you get free WiFi! I’ve gone to NYC for $3 round trip by doing it this way.

As a book blogger, I used to get A LOT of books sent to me for review. Blogging about them led to me being sent other items for review. Even though I don’t do that on a frequent basis, I still have enough credibility where my reviews still matter and are influential. I didn’t start off book blogging to get free things. I just wanted to tell others about the books I read. I didn’t realize that getting things for free to review was even a thing at first. If you want to go this route, my suggestion is to just start reviewing things you already buy, own, or use. You can either start a blog or use consumer sites like Amazon. It might take a while before you get noticed but if you stick to it, it can be worth it.

I also seem to win things a lot. Now some of that is just pure dumb luck. Other times, I’m just careful about what I enter. I don’t enter huge sweepstakes things where everyone and their mother has entered as well. A lot of my wins tend to be from smaller contests where if the winner is randomly drawn, the pool is smaller. If the winner is chosen due to merit, then depending on the prize, I’ve probably put in time and effort for my entry. I’ve found that a lot of times the best way to win contests is through social media specifically Twitter, Facebook and blogs. If you like a brand or company, check out their social media pages. Depending on the audience, it may be easier for you to win that way. Also I don’t go for the huge prizes. Small things like books, movies, and gift cards are good enough wins for me.

Basically, it all comes down to spending time. Put in some effort and you will eventually reap rewards. I understand that not everyone wants to devote time to doing this and that’s ok. And like I said, there can be some luck that is a factor. You could spend hours doing all this and never get anything. I have awful luck when it comes to calling in radio stations trying to win things while I have friends who seem to always win tickets. I’ve been told that I need to play the lottery with all the luck I’ve been having lately winning things. I can’t bring myself to do this though. I’ve never paid to win something and I don’t see myself wanting to start that now.

I’ll just enjoy the small blessings that God has sent my way.

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Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

Summer is halfway over. The year is halfway over. And thus the number of movies coming out in theaters is not that many.

I’ve gone to the theater a lot less this year than previous years (for a number of reasons) but there are still a few movies that I’m planning on going to the theaters to see. Even if it means going by myself for these are such that they MUST be experienced at least the first time in the theater vs at home on my laptop.

So just in case you were wondering “What movies Deborah is looking forward to seeing in theaters the rest of the year?”

Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)

I know nothing about this comic but it’s ok because no one else does! But that doesn’t really matter because the trailer just looks like so much FUN. Also I’m going to see every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe anyways. And when did Chris Pratt get so hot?

———-

Interstellar (November 1)

It’s a Christopher Nolan movie. It’s sci fi. It has scenes filmed IN IMAX. Of course I’m going to see this.

———–

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1( November 21)

I’m not too pleased with the fact that they are splitting up this book (it wasn’t THAT long) but I’m not missing this especially since it’s Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last movie.


———–

Exodus: Gods and Kings (December 12)

I missed Noah in theaters but Bible movies are making a comeback! And it’s Ridley Scott and Christian Bale! Though who knew that Moses visited stores like “The Art of Shaving” back in those days with that neatly trimmed facial hair.


———–
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (December 17)

No poster or trailer out yet.

I actually don’t remember what happened in the last third of the book but it’s ok because anything I read is going to be a lot less interesting that what’s actually going to be in the movie. But still excited!

And that’s 2014. I realize these are all slanted in the action/adventure, bookish, fantasyish, geekish genres but then again those are my favorite genres. There’s a huge gap between Guardians and Interstellar because no movies during those three months look interesting to me at all. Any of these you’re also excited for?

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A Late Bloomer Finally Gets It

Last week I talked about wearing masks and believing the lie that God could never love us. Here’s the second part to that series.

We’re so afraid that the dream can’t come. That if someone actually knew the real us, saw behind the mask, before the makeup that they would walk away. Our fear is to be known and be rejected. And when those things that we fear keep us from being loved and they are held in front of my face, we believe every bad thing about us.

It’s really funny how there’s a fine line as to how much Christians will take when it comes to openness and authenticity. We constantly talk about how we need to be real with other believers and that it’s important to share our problems because we shouldn’t face things alone. And that it’s good to do this in a safe environment with those we trust.

But at the same time if we see someone publicly talk about their struggles, we say they are being too open, over sharing, and some things are best left private. And then we start judging them, condemn them, and even try to shame them for acting this way and sharing it with the world without offering any help at all.

Thus we then repeat the cycle of never sharing anytime we’re going through something tough in life because we need to keep it all together on the outside because as Christians we’re supposed to be able to trust God in everything and never worry.

We can’t have it both ways can we?

Are we afraid to see struggles in other people’s lives because it brings out to light the ones we have in our own? Do we see someone having struggles and feel “blessed” because we don’t have that going on in our lives? Do we just not want to deal with anyone else and their problems because we have our own mess to deal with? Do we place perfect pictures on Facebook of how great our lives are because we are genuinely happy or because we want to brag? Is the intention to make someone jealous or just to show a happy moment?

The last five pics on Facebook I posted are

  1. a screenshot of Josh Groban retweeting me
  2. Me and my friends’ adorable baby
  3. A pic of my move in a tabletop game where I die.
  4. My friend and his baby making the exact same face
  5. All the flights of beer my friends and I were about to sample.

What were the reasons for me behind posting these? Well honestly, either out of sheer excitement at the moment or the baby being so darned cute. I don’t go on trips to photographic places, I don’t have an awesome boyfriend/husband who cleans my car AND cooks me dinner, I personally don’t have a very cute baby, and I haven’t recently had a major life event that I can share with everyone. Therefore I don’t feel like my life is anything anyone would be jealous over. Even IF I wanted to impress anyone, the people I would want to see “how awesome my life is right now” don’t follow any of my social media and therefore have no idea what is going on in my life at the moment. I’m not trying to get likes on these photos to make me feel validated. And let me tell you, getting a billion notifications is not fun either. I experienced that with my Josh Groban retweet. It makes me not want to ever be a celebrity. That was not a humble brag for the record.

I think sometimes I use social media simply just to make sure I’m not alone in how I feel and to see if there is anyone else that can validate my thinking so I’m not weird. I realize that not everyone will be excited about the things I am interested in. I’m not out for universal approval. If I were I’d be failing like a champ because I’ll never get it.

“Really Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time”

And yet…

Right now I’m at a point in my life where I fully enjoy all the interests that I have. It’s taken me a while to realize and accept this. I’m a late bloomer. I know this. I’m sure there are many of you who figured this out the day you were born.

I’m going to tell you this though. It’s hard. It’s really hard when you are excited about something, either an interest that you have or something that you’ve accomplished, and NO ONE can share in your excitement with you. Either they simply don’t care or they don’t share the interest so when you try to explain it, they don’t get it or understand why you’re so excited. And then someone else will come along with something everyone else can relate to and you’re just left alone in the dust.

For example: there are many times when I like something and I’m literally the only female in the group of people I hang around with that does. There have been many times when I’ve been considered one of the guys when it comes to shared interests. It’s great fun during that specific time period because I enjoy stuff like beer, tabletop gaming, and comics. But then they go back to their significant others who are the complete 180 of me and I’m left alone. And it makes me feel like I have to be something/someone else in order to have that too. That there’s something wrong with me where I’m cool enough to do one thing but it’s not enough to have everything else.

It’s hard to watch all my female friends go through the process of being single to being a girlfriend, wife, and mother while I’m left behind. And now that I’m literally the last one of my girlfriends to be single, it’s sometimes hard to not think if I’m doing something wrong or if there’s something wrong with me. There’s also the Christian side of this that tells you you can’t pursue and you need to wait. And also the view that if a guy wants something, he’ll go after it. Well with that logic, what happens to all the women who are never asked? Does this mean they are never wanted? What’s going on here?

I believed it was my fault that no one wanted to go out with me and that the responsibility for it rested squarely on my shoulders. If I were more spiritual, or more beautiful, or less opinionated guys would be into what I was selling.

But I know that it’s not true. I know that I can never be what I’m not. God has made me into the way I am and while I can tweak and work on things, I’m ultimately the person that I am.

Something I’m trying to accept: Even if no one else I know personally likes something I do, it does not mean that I am doing something wrong or that I am so weird and must change myself.

I’ve always felt like an outsider and that something must be weird with me because no one else likes what I like.  No, I don’t think I’m some sort of special snowflake that is so incredibly unique. When I really think about it, even though I would have liked to have been part of what everyone else does, I’ve always done my own thing. I’ve always gravitated towards things that the majority doesn’t really go after – from types of food I like, to TV shows, to books I read, even down to celebrities I like. Almost everything I like, the majority of people I know won’t be into it because I discovered it on my own. It suits me fine to have my interests but it would just be awesome to be able to share in the excitement with people you actually know. There’s always the internet but when you’re with friends, it feels odd standing out.

But I’m learning to accept that it’s ok to be different. I mean I wish people wouldn’t put me down for the things I like even if they don’t like them. That’s actually something I’ve never understood. If someone is genuinely excited about something and they tell you about it (in a non bragging way, but still) why on earth would you shoot them down with a “Why do you like [certain thing]? That’s so stupid.” There are many things that many of my friends do that I have no interest in. It doesn’t lessen what they do just because I don’t.

There are hard days. Yes. I look at many Christian women who are strong believers, awesome at what they do, are gorgeous, and yet they are single. I’ve read or heard them say they struggled with it because they didn’t/don’t really want to be in that situation.I can’t figure out why in the world they are single. And it makes me wonder if THEY can’t find anyone, what makes me think that I can have any hope?

But whatever God wants to happen will happen. I don’t know His ultimate plans but right now I do know that I’ve enjoyed becoming the person that I am now. And while yes, I can always work on some things, I am happy with how I turned out. I am who I am. I come with quirks, flaws, and baggage. I think my laugh sounds too loud and my sneezes weird everyone else out. But you know what? I’m happy. I’ve reached that point in my life where I’m not going to change myself just to get someone else. I’m not going to try pretend to be someone I’m not just to keep and maintain any sort of relationship. If someone wants me to be something I cannot ever be and doesn’t allow my true self to be appreciated then you’re not meant to be in my life in that particular way.

I’m no longer hiding behind any more masks. This is me.

And me is awesome.

We have some pretty big ideas of how our lives should go. We feel pretty strongly about what we don’t want to happen, and we’re perfectly willing to spend our entire lives fretting and fussing and not trusting that—whatever it is—God is for ushttp://shereadstruth.com/2014/07/15/please-thank-2/

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Random Things That Popped in My Head During Communion

I’d like to preface this by saying, that when I take communion (or the Lord’s Supper) at church, it is usually a very serious time for me. It makes feel very close to God and gives me a time to reflect on things such as why I believe on what I believe. I’m not going to lie though, sometimes random things pop up in my head during the whole process. I’m not sure how your church does communion (crackers, bread, wafers, juice, wine? sit down, stand up, kneel?) but mine does the pass the plate method and so I’m sitting in seat with these thoughts randomly passing through my head.

  • I swear it doesn’t matter what church I go to, it seems that the section that has the fewest people gets the most ushers.
  • Why are there only two rows between those ushers and yet there’s a huge gap between the other ones?
  • Why do they always look confused about where to start? Aren’t there some guidelines for them to guesstimate?
  • What happens if someone drops the plates?
  • What happens if someone sneezes or coughs into the plate?
  • What if a plate finishes mid way through?
  • The crackers are now gluten-free!
  • Should I go for the biggest piece of cracker? I don’t want to touch everything.
  • Avoid the burnt piece!
  • Must pick a cup of juice. Inside, outside? DECISIONS.
  • IT’S STUCK!
  • Time to pray…AHHH Juice don’t fall down!
  • Man this cracker is really good. It feels like a sin to be focused on how good the cracker tastes when it’s supposed to represent the body of Jesus.
  • I don’t want to wash away the taste of the cracker with the grape juice.
  • That was good grape juice too.
  • I’m glad we were told WHEN to eat. There once was a time when we weren’t given instructions and everyone was all like…uh are we supposed to do it now? Too early? Too late?
  • Time to pray again. *spins finger on rim of cup*
  • Wait, why is nobody passing down the basket to put the empty cups in? Is it on my side and I didn’t notice? *check under chair* Nope, not there. *Awkwardly looks to the left.* Is the basket missing? Is the person at the other end a first timer and doesn’t know to check under their seat? What is going on? Ok, it looks like it’s not going to happen. Well this is awkward. Hmm, can I make it into the basket on the seat in front of me? Whew. It pays to be on the end.
  • This is the only time I ever miss having pews. Because you can’t put the cups on the back of the pew. And play with those rubber things you put the cups in.
  • What happens to all the leftover crackers and juice? Do they get thrown out? It seems weird, almost sacrilegious, to snacking on the crackers or drinking out of the cups later.

And now you know how my mind works. Yep. On a fun note, we DID find out what kind of crackers have been used lately at our church. Everyone had noticed how the taste had improved 100% from the last time we had done it. Until next month’s communion!

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Celeb Fangirling: The Joseph Gordon-Levitt edition

Growing up as a girl in the 90s, I had my fair share of celebrity crushes.

JTT, Jonathan Brandis, the guy who was Spot Conlon from Newsies, Mike Vitar from The Sandlot. Just to name a few.

Many of those guys have disappeared from public life, died, or are still cute if not in the Hollywood business gracing teen magazines anymore.

And then there are some guys who started off cute and then aged very very well. Like Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

I mean you remember Angels in the Outfield:

Bonus Matthew McConaughey in there as well.

Then he was on 3rd Rock from the Sun with his long flowing hair.

He was in one of my favorite teen movies of all time, 10 Things I Hate About You (aka the teen movie that starred The Joker and Robin).  Afterwards, he kind of disappeared for a while. Which is usually what happens when child actors start growing up. Do they want to change their public image? What happens if the fame they found as a cute kid doesn’t translate over into more adult roles? Sometimes it fails horribly.

And then there’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt who decided to go the indie route with movies that I never saw and to be honest for a while forgot that he existed. But it worked in his favor because he was able to move towards serious acting and building credibility vs just riding on his previous fame.

Reemerging with one of my favorite movies of all time (500) Days of Summer. I will admit, I sided with the Tom character because of who played him.

In 2012, he starred in four movies and I saw every single one of them in theaters: The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Looper, and Lincoln. They were all excellent movies (well, Premium Rush was ok, but JGL on a bike? Yes.) It was a very good year.

He’s done tons of other stuff including directing and starting up a production company HitRecord. He also does fantastic lip synching.

JGL is one of those celebrities that everyone can enjoy. He seems like someone who you could hang out with and grab a few beers. He’s got that boy next door appeal but with way more style.

And well. I’ll just leave this here:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt over Channing Tatum any day.

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Don’t Believe the Lie

Although I laugh and I act like a clown
Beneath this mask I am wearing a frown

This is going to be a two part series. Part 1 is from other people’s thoughts and then part 2 will be next week with my own thoughts.

Funny, I had been planning for a few weeks to write a blog post on this subject. Then we had a guest preacher on Sunday which can be hit or miss depending on the subject matter and/or style of teaching. This week it turned out to be a hit because the sermon ended up being almost exactly what I was going to write on. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE GOD.

I’ve paraphrased the sermon here, so not direct quotes but pretty much the gist of what I got out of it.

We’ve all got troubles. But we don’t like letting other people know that we do.

Ephesians 6:10-17 talks about putting on the armor of God so, among the things you will defend yourself against are flaming arrows. These arrows show us our shame, remind us of our secrets, and whispers the lie that God could never love you.

The power of this lie is that it plays on our deepest fear, which is that we want someone to KNOW us, the REAL us and not the person that we pretend to be on a job interview. We want to allow them to see the skeletons that are in the closet but also want that same person to love us.

We’re so afraid that the dream can’t come. That if someone actually knew the real us, saw behind the mask, before the makeup that they would walk away. Our fear is to be known and be rejected. And when those things that we fear keep us from being loved and they are held in front of my face, we believe every bad thing about us.

We try to defend ourselves by putting out a version of ourselves that we think is lovable. We take all the real stuff and put up yellow caution tape and say keep out. We put up the good stuff on Facebook because what will happen if others see all the other stuff? They’ll walk away.

“When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them. You’re meeting their representative”. Chris Rock

We only show the version of us that we think others might love. We only get out the stuff that we think is worthy of love.

What if someone saw behind the mask? What would someone say if they really know us?

Satan shows you your sin and tells you God doesn’t love you. God shows you His Son and says “Oh yes I do.”

A friend of mine wrote a comment in a Facebook group we’re in and gave me permission to share parts of it here. I feel like it pretty much summarizes what the message on Sunday was saying but with a personal touch.

I stopped dating when I was 19 and didn’t go on another date until I was 23 ( I think?). Guys. Never. Asked. Me. Out. I went on about it kind of ad nauseam on the blog back in the day, and everyone had a reason for it that read kind of like these articles. I was too “picky”, I was too “contentious”, I was too “masculine”, I was too chubby and didn’t care for my physical appearance enough to attract a man. All the guys I knew were *right* not to ask me out because I was, apparently, at 23, a hateful spiteful disgusting hag.

The gross thing is, I *believed* them. I believed it was my fault that no one wanted to go out with me and that the responsibility for it rested squarely on my shoulders. If I were more spiritual, or more beautiful, or less opinionated guys would be into what I was selling.

Between 23 and 25 I began to start rejecting the “theology” that had kept me single for so long. I started Online dating and saying yes to everyone, and I went on a lot of dates with a lot of disappointing men. No, not “they have a blue collar job and that’s beneath me” disappointing. “I can’t carry a conversation” disappointing, “I have no real life plans” disappointing, “I figured it was about time for me to stop being an irresponsible playboy and settle down” disappointing. I thought that these kinds of guys would be the only ones who could ever possibly like or be interested in someone like me, because the message I heard constantly and internalized was “You’re not good enough.” I was beyond settling, I thought I needed to find someone out there who was willing to settle *for* me. “You’re not good enough” resonated with me because it was something that I had internalized a LOT as a bullied child and a young adult who just never felt she could chin up on the adequacy bar. No matter what I did, I always felt like people around me were disappointed. That was baggage I carried into my relationships.

After a four month relationship with “I didn’t finish high school and am dangerously emotionally attached to my mother” disappointing, I started to suspect that there was a common denominator in the kinds of guys who asked me out. — They were guys who wanted to date the kind of woman I was trying to sell myself as. The idyllic quiet, unassuming, unquestioning sweet gentle good Christian girl I was trying to learn to be. They wanted someone who was going to mother them, care for them, make them happy and solve all their problems. The Conservative church had taught me that I was supposed to be a problem solver. My role was to be a “helpmeet” and if I couldn’t live up to whatever that entailed for whatever specific man I was supporting, then I was a failure as a woman. I finally had to come face to face with reality: I could never be that woman.

Thankfully, I had been becoming involved in a less conservative church over the years, with women who reeducated me in who I was. I was loved regardless of my doing, and that my ideas were not less worthy simply because they originated in my female mind. These strong women of faith retaught me to trust my own discernment when it came to seeking out God’s plan for my life. I came out of that season and I began to get a different perspective on dating: What if — instead of waiting on guys who didn’t ask me out to take me on a date, or accepting whatever crumbs might fall off that fundamentalist table — I began to date the kinds of guys *I* wanted to marry? Decent guys with good life plans who shared my goals and interests. So I began to consciously seek those guys out. I worked hard to surround myself not with guys who talked a good “spiritualized” game, but with guys who were engaged in their careers, who set goals for themselves, and who had hobbies and interests beyond impressing people with big talk and being seen at Church and friend events.

All this to say, sometimes we put too much emphasis on the asking. At the end of the day, in any marriage, you both have to learn to make decisions together, as a couple. If you know what you want out of a relationship and you see those qualities in another person, then run after that! There is no biblical mandate that says you can’t. Don’t internalize the story that you are only worth what washes up on the beaches of your life, or you might end up with a bunch of six pack rings and some kelp and a lot of time on your hands.

Well said. Probably better than what I’ll be saying next week, but I’ll still give it a shot.