Thursday, January 31, 2013

I LOVE this Microphone...

I love my mom.  She's taught me all sorts of good things-- its easier to ask forgiveness than permission, how to walk into a room and find the one "lost" item a family member has "looked for" for 30 minutes (if it was a snake, it woulda bit 'em), the best cornbread recipe ever, you should never leave the house without earrings, that decorations and fun little gifts make all occassions more fun, how to survive with two bad knees.  But the most useful thing she has taught me was how important hand-written notes are.  My mom has beautiful handwriting (as does my Aunt Jane), and she has always written me lots of sweet notes-- notes in my lunchbox at school, letters while I was away for a week at camp (I mean, she's on top of things-- half of those letters were written and sent before I ever left so they'd be there right after I got there.  I think she thought I might be homesick.  With two younger siblings at home, I was usually ecstatic and trying to bribe the busdriver to drive slowly on the way home.), letters while I was away at college, cards for nearly every occassion imaginable.  I love getting letters from my mom. 

Meghann and I are poor mail checkers.  I used to be really good at checking my mail-- I love getting mail and there were always magazines and fun stuff like that (also there were these letters stamped "collections" but those are just junk mail letters regarding collecting coins and stuff like that, right?).  In previous homes, I've had to walk Parker several times a day, a walk that usually allowed us to sashay right past the mail box.  Now we have a fancy fenced-in backyard, and between that and Mommy's knees, Parker hasn't hardly been in the front yard since we moved.  So mail often goes unchecked. 

Meghann must have checked it Tuesday because when I got home Tuesday night, there was a stack of mail for me.  A couple magazines (Elle and Southern Living), a church bulletin, a couple bills, and a letter from my mom.  I put it in my purse to read the next morning at work. 

And I took a picture for you guys:

As you can see, apparently Mom has gotten a new toy- a label maker.  And she is using the US Postal Service to terrorize me into being jealous of her as she knows I happen to love label makers.  Years ago when I lived at home after law school, I bought a label maker to get organized.  It totally didn't really help, but I spent many fun hours making labels for everything in the house.   I labeled files and boxes and pictures and the designated place for certain things, including the label maker, and extra labels for the label maker.  I'm pretty sure my dad kept moving the label marker away from its specific spot to harrass me, but I cannot prove this. 

Well, apparently Deborah has gotten a label maker at work.  As you can see, she's finally learned how to use it.  Not only did she learn how to use it to make the address labels (in different fonts), but she also made a label for the back (in a third font) that says "I love my labelmaker".  And then, using yet another font, she's made another label about her sick obsession with this tool on the first page of her letter. 

Now that she's made my cry over my missed label maker (which has somehow gotten lost in the zillion times I've moved since then), she goes on to write a letter on her USA Olympic notepad.  Which she's gotten free, in the mail I'm sure.  I've never seen anyone with so many free notepads and pre-printed address labels in my life.  She gets them all the time.  I've never seen her donate to anything and yet those things come in all the time.  Half of her letters have the return address label with a "Save the Oceans" picture on it or "Hoot if you love Hoot Owls" in the corner. 

Mom then proceeds to send a very nice little letter where she, inexplicably realizes, in the middle of writing this letter, that she will be 60 next year, and writes the stream of consciousness thoughts about this in the letter.  She "loves [me] bunches" as you can see, but then goes back to her favorite theme of how much she loves her new labelmaker.  As an afterthought, she decides to check on my knees and Parker.  And she encloses a $1 dollar bill.  It was very straight. 

I called her later that morning and said thank you for the letter and she reminded me that she loved her new labelmaker (written in all caps to stand out and differentiate from the half a dozen other times those words were on the page).  Its as if she felt her letter didn't get that point across strong enough.  I thanked her for that money and promised to use it to pay down my student loans and not use it in some frivolous way, like buying a pack of gum. 

"Oh you are so welcome, honey, I'm sorry I couldn't send more, but 1. I was afraid to send any more money through the mail cause you know the letter might get lost, 2. Its all the cash I had on me and, 3. Thats all you are really worth anyway... you're my third favorite.  But you know what?  I love this label maker?  Did you see all my labels?"

Blogger's Note: The title of this blog will only be understood by a couple of my college friends, and well, even they might not get it. 

Blogger's Second Note:  Before you feel bad after reading this blog, please note that A. I'm fairly sure my mom was just kidding.  I know I'm worth at least a fiver in her book, and B. She has declared herself entirely fair game for ridicule, and knew this conversation would find its way on this blog.  She does all this stuff for attention, I think. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My two front teeth...

I didn't get my two front teeth for Christmas, but that's ok, cause that wasn't on my list anyway. Christmas was kinda crazy at the Carr house. This was Betsy Carr's last Christmas-- next year she will be Betsy Carr Smith. So we decided to make in a Christmas for the record books. And between the plumbing issues, and the heating issues and my knee surgery, we did a great job. It was far from Normal Rockwell, but I'm glad I got to spend it with four of my most favorite humans in the world and my favorite dog ever. Here are some pictures:

Parker's stocking is on the left, mine is on the right. I LOVE my stocking-- my Mamaw Carr made it for me years ago and I love it. Its falling apart, but I don't care- its one of the most important things for me at Christmas. I'm bad to misplace it occassionally, so its missed a couple Christmases but it always turns up! I bought Parker's stocking several years ago at Mistletoe Marketplace and spent a small fortune finding someone to monogram her name on it. Totally worth it!!

Here is Nicholas turning his hands up in mock anger that Parker is taking up all the room on the chaise lounge.  I don't get what his problem here is.  First off, he got to sit on the chaise lounge, which is the best seat in the house, and one we all fight over when we are home.  Its not surprising that Santa left Nicholas's gifts there, since he's the Favorite.  Second, she doesn't take up that much room.  Third, Nick didn't even get her anything for Christmas, so he's lucky she is even willing to be close to him.  Fourth, I know he really loves her and his fussing at her is all for show.  

Don't you love his turtleneck and sweater vest?  A lot of people saw my Christmas pictures and thought it was nice that our family does an Ugly Chrismtas Sweater theme every year.  I'm not sure what they meant by that- this is Nick's actual outfit for Christmas and he got his money's worth from that holly turtleneck this year.  I thought we were going to have to hold an intervention.  You should see his Easter outfit. 

This is Betsy also wearing one of her favorite sweaters, handing out gifts.  She did a lovely job of wrapping most of them in those Wal-Mart bags.  I'm not complaining though- my present was actually wrapped and I got some lip gloss from Sephora that I've been wanting.  Thanks, Future Mrs. Smith!  Hopefully, you registered for wrapping paper and tape. 

Here I am showing Parker the new toy Santa brought.  She liked it much better than the peanut cookie treats He put in her stocking.  I'm pretty sure that treat still sitting on the floor where it fell.  As you can see, my crutches were never very far from me and my knee brace was super stylish. 

All in all, Christmas was pretty good.  It was actually very good.  I didn't get to see a lot of my other family members this year, it was just the five basic Carr's.  And between my knee and the spotty plumbing at the house, it almost didn't seem like Christmas.  When I was younger, a Christmas like this, where everything wasn't perfect, would have stressed me out to no end.  I'd have spent forever bugging everyone in my family about how to make things be just right on Christmas.  I'd have a sick feeling in my stomach the entire time, worrying that a fuss would break out, or the food wouldn't be ready when everyone wanted to eat, or that something else would go wrong.  But this year, I kinda knew it was going to be a crazy Christmas.  I was barely out from the anesthesia, hobbling along.  Any gifts that weren't bought and wrapped by the Wednesday before Christmas were going to stay at the store.  I didn't send out Christmas cards.  I didn't do my normal baking for everyone I know and love.  I didn't even watch Love Actually.  Its been so long now, I cannot remember what we ate for Christmas dinner.  And thanks to some plumbing issues, showers were few and far between and Christmas Eve was spent at the newly remodeled Mexican place in Newton.  By Pinterest standards, it was a disaster. 

But, by Carr Family standards, it was pretty great.  Obviously, we have much lower standards in our family.  I ate plenty of food.  I got some great, thoughtful gifts (I'm looking at you, Mom- thanks for the blinged out calculator so I can calculate child support in style).  We laughed.  We goofed off.  There were a few minor fusses, but we got over those in typical Carr Family style- qucikly.  We took naps and watched Duck Dynasty (or maybe that was Thanksgiving, who knows.  All these knees surgeries and holidays and time spent in Laurel and plumbing problems run together.)  We didn't even eat turkey or other holiday-type foods, most of which I dislike.  Half the decorations weren't up.  Martha Stewart would have fainted into her cranberry and artichoke stuffed organic turkey.  But it was just perfect for me.  I got to spend time with my five  favoritest people in the world.  And Nick.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shaking my fist...

I've got lots of fun blog posts planned, but life keeps getting in my way.  See, I no longer have a computer to use.  I'm in the market for a new laptop, and people in my family (ahem, Nick), keep promising to help me get a new computer, but, alas, I sit, laptop-less and unhappy still. 

I've been using my work computer at times to post blogs, but a couple weeks ago, that computer's internet cord stopped working, and, in a stunning bureaucratic let down, it still hasn't been fixed.  To be fair someone will have to replace the cord coming from the ceiling, so its a tiny bit complicated, but for now, and the foreseeable future, I'll be plugging away in a back office, using this little terminal that can only connect to the work database.  No more goofing off and reading blogs for you, J. Dawn.  Get back to work.  And no blogging. 

Today I grabbed the opportunity to use the one computer in this office that can actually get on the internet with no problems.  I decided to do a bit of blogging (Blogger's note: I had to re-type that word three times, as I kept typing "clogging".  Subconscious desire?), but this computer won't let me upload pictures.  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, or rather, a picture makes a boring blog better, then I feel like I'm hindered.  I'm typing with one hand behind my back, here.  Nevertheless, my blogs will have to wait for a while till I can get access to a computer with the ability to upload some pictures. 

I've tried to download an app for my phone that will let me do it, but I cannot quite figure out how to do more than one picture per blog on that app, so its still a work in progress. 

In other, unexciting news, this weekend was really fun.  Friday night I went to eat dinner with some friends for our friend Marshall's birthday.  His birthday was Friday and he decided for his birthday, he wanted to eat at the Desert Inn and go bowling.  My Cleveland group (lovingly dubbed "the Gang") celebrates birthdays almost as awesomely as my law school group (loving dubbed "my law school group"-- we need to come up with a better name).  Now in law school, we had amazing, fun birthdays.  It was our "stress relief"-- Big Leobwski birthday party for PJ? Treasure Hunt Birthday party for Jessica?  Shannon's Karaoke Singing Party? Katherine's Wild and Wet (Toilet-Breaking) Weekend in Memphis?  Yep, all these things happened.  Another blog for another day.... once the statute of limitations runs out on that toilet incident. 

Anyway, the birthdays here in Cleveland, while not quite so creative (or law-breaking), are still fun.  The birthday person gets to choose where they want to go and what they want to do.  Last year, for me, it was Dinner at Doe's and the Hunger Games movie.  So, Marshall decided this year the Desert Inn and Bowling.  The Desert Inn is this little resturant in front of Wal-Mart.  Its not really noticeable.  In fact, the only reason I noticed it was when I first moved here, I was driving to Wal-Mart one day.  It was fairly bad weather-- you know, when its not really raining yet, but its about to be and the wind is going crazy (also, I believe with all my soul that the wind here in the Delta is worse than anywhere else.  I've told this theory to people here who have laughed and dismissed me, but I believe its true.  Perhaps the Spring of 2011 was the windiest yet or something, but its all I noticed when I moved here- the wind would knock you down.  Cause there are no hills to slow it down.  That's my theory.)

So, I drive by this building in front of Wal-Mart and I see this sign that  sayd "Desert Inn- Serving Breakfast Saturday and Sunday".  If you know me, you'll know I LOVE breakfast.  Love it.  Love a good breakfast place.  Immediately, I decided this might be a place to check out.  Since Cleveland doesn't have a Waffle House.  Thirty minutes later, one trip to Wal-Mart down, and my wallet significantly lighter, I drive back by the sign.  And its down.  Hanging down-- the wind has literally knocked it over and its barely hanging.  It was sorta creepy to me, and its something I have NEVER forgotten, everytime I drive by.  They eventually fixed it, but I will always remember that about the Desert Inn. 

The Desert Inn is your standard, small-town Friday night steak house.  It sort of reminded me of the Boro or the Bayless, but it was bit fancier.  (I know, hard for y'all lucky suckers who've been to the Boro to imagine something fancier!)  There were about 12 of us and they were smart enough to recognize how obnoxious we could be and sat us in the back, alone.  We had a really good time and then we headed over to the bowling alley.  Which I'm sure has a real name, but I don't know it, just like I've never known the names to the other bowling alleys I've frequented- Laurel, Meridian, Jackson.  Who knows.  Something or Other Lanes, probably. 

Luckily for Marshall and my other friends, I'm still on the Disabled List, so I didn't get a chance to embarass the Birthday Boy in bowling.  Instead, I was in charge of the camera.  My friend Jennifer got a fancy new camera for Christmas and has decided to start taking a zillion photos.  Since I no longer photograph well, the only way to avoid her is to be in charge of the camera.  I was allowed to be in charge of the camera for about 30 minutes.  Until someone realized that, in fact, none of the pictures I was taking were actually saving for some reason.  I got the camera taken away from me then.  I decided to focus my energy on air hockey.  I used to be really good at air hockey.  Unless I got tickled.  Once you get me laughing, I can barely function. 

I am no longr good at air hockey.  In fact, I'm terrible now.  I will blame it on my knees.  After losing two games and realizing it was nearly 10:30, I decided it was time for this old lady to head home and get in the bed. 

Saturday I eschewed the invitations of friends to go shooting, to eat dinner with them and to hang out over the fire pit because 1. I had to clean my room or I was in danger of losing Parker in the mess, 2. I had to wash clothes or I was in danger of having to pull out the only clean thing in my closet- an old bridesmaid's dress to wear to court this week, and 3. I didn't really want to shower and I felt like, while I like the Gang, and I believe they like me, they probably weren't really ready for stinky, dirty Jessica to show up (one bonus of my law school group- that's pretty much me everyday during finals, so they know how it is!)

Sunday, after showering and brushing my hair, I went to church at First Baptist and then over to Cliff and Jennifer's house for some deer meat burgers!  I only intended to stay for lunch (I had every intention of coming to the office to use the good computer and blog for you people) but lunch morphed into an epic game of Phase Ten for part of the group, and a terrible game of Mario Brother's for me.  More on that later.  But it was a totally unplanned fun day with my friends-- there was lots of laughing, lots of harsh comments about my lack of hand-eye coordination, good food, good sweet tea (which I rarely drink), and an unexpected good weekend filled with fun memories of my friends. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

My new chlorine perfume...

Today I went to the Delta State Aquatics Center to do some water aerobics.  As you all know, my knees have been nothing short of worthless these past few months, so walking is pretty much out of the picture.  I've made a plan to do some water aerobics a couple times a week to get some exercise and give my knees a super low-impact workout.  The flaw in the plan is that the DSU pool is only open super strange hours (to accommodate the other, actual swim teams that practice daily).  So today was my first day to be able to do this since school started back this week. 

I hobbled in on my crutch (I'm such a renegade that in public, I only go with one crutch! Yeah, you heard me.) and the first thing I noticed was the extreme heat.  It was like a sauna in there.  I mean, hot.  Later I would want that heat to be turned up even higher when I was in the cold water and was freezing.  Trying to make small talk, I asked the lady with the young child beside me if they were cold.  "No, its not really cold if you are constantly moving around."  Wow, way to hate on me in the middle of the natatorium, lady.  If I want to stand in the water occasionally moving my leg around and be cold, then I can.  No judgment.  I'm not judging you on the fact that your young child beat you (twice) in a race across the pool, so don't judge me for being cold and apparently lazy. 

But the real water aerobics gangsters were the gaggle of older ladies in their 70's who were in an actual water aerobics class.  These ladies don't play.  They got there the same time I did and one of them passed me on the steps getting into the pool.  She sucked me up like a vacuum zooming past me as I waded into the water, one knee at a time. 

I'm really not exaggerating when I say this picture about sums it up.  At first, they were all excited that someone was joining their class and asked me lots of questions about my knee and myself.  Then, when I realized this was an actual class and I'd have to pay actual money to join, I excused myself and went to the other end to do the exercises my doctor had suggested.  This didn't set well with this group of snobby senior citizens and they stopped talking to me.  They moved closer and closer to where I'd gone and every time I got near them, they'd give me a dirty look, turn their backs and spread out even further, thus giving me less room.  They didn't have those weights like in the picture above, but they seemed really coordinated when they were making fists in the air and shaking from side to side.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I walked past them on my way out of the pool, until their leader, "Betty", hollered after me that they meet every Monday and Wednesday at noon.  She didn't invite me back or anything.  But there was something in her voice that was unsettling.  Perhaps this was a warning? 

In other, less geriatric ganster news, I was very inspired by the lady in the lane next to me.  I watched her as I did my special leg kicks and arm squeezes (the arm sqeezes were like hugs, mostly designed to keep my arms warm).  She was in the pool when I got in and left a couple minutes before I did.  She never stopped.  She swam and kicked and used these fancy little fin things.  I was impressed with her stamina.  Mostly because those old ladies were lapping me already. She made eye contact with me a couple times and gave me a huge smile both times.  I love that about people. 

But, then, I didn't notice when she got out of the pool, and when she came out of the locker room, I saw that she was in a wheelchair.  A super cool, sleek looking black and neon green wheelchair.  She had one leg amputated.  It was a very sweet moment for me-- to look at this wonderful, tough, cool lady and see how she wasn't letting anything in her life get in her way.  (To be clear, I don't know this lady- she might be a serial killer or hate Bill Cosby, or be related to some of the old bittys doing the hip circles in the pool beside me. But she seemed nice.)  It made me send up a quick prayer for my two half-way good knees. 

So, if anyone wants to join me, I'll be at the pool a couple times a week.  Except maybe not Monday or Wednesdays at noon.  Cause those old ladies could totally take me down. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My testimony...

In my spirit of new beginnings, I'm going to share my testimony.  I didn't have one for a long time.  I mean, I was "saved" when I was younger, I honestly don't even remember when this happened.  I remember meeting with the preacher in the Ladies Lounge at my church, and thinking this was a big scandal since this was the "Ladies Lounge" where the Ladies Lounged, I don't know, prior to Sunday School or whatever.  It was, and still is, my favorite part of FBC, Laurel.  I also remember asking the preacher how did he know God wasn't a woman.  I remember this and remember my mom being embarassed, but I'm not sure this actually happened.  I could have made it up in my mind.  Wouldn't be the first time.  Or the last. 

I remember being baptised. I remember my GA teacher Ms. Susie being upstairs with me, helping me get ready after the baptism took place.  I remember being very concerned that it would hurt my mom's feelings that I chose Ms. Susie and not her, to help me get ready.  I remember trying to turn on the heair dryer, being concerned it would be audible to the congregation, and then ultimately waiting until Ms. Jan sang a solo before we felt safe enough to turn it on.  I'm not sure why my hair being dryed at that time mattered so much, but I remember that feeling every time I see a baptism. 

I remember being a really good kid and a really good teenager, with only a few exceptions.  I was perfect.  I really was.  Perfectionism starts young, people, and my issues started very young.  I was the perfect child, the perfect grandchild, the smart one, the Most Likely to Succeed.  And I thrived on this.  I pushed myself way harder than necessary.  Yes, I was the one who beat herself up about getting a 94 on a test.  I was that girl.

And college was just as great.  I loved BSU and I love, love, loved my friends.  Still do!  I felt very perfect.  I didn't get into trouble much, if at all.  I didn't obsess over every little issue because I felt like my life was on track.  I was also, in retrospect, a bit haughty.  A lot judgmental probably.  I didn't understand how people weren't as together as me.  I struggled to understand people who had actual "testimonies"- people who'd made mistakes, and lots of them.  I didn't get it.  My friends and I didn't make a whole lot of mistakes.  We didn't party, we didn't do drugs or run wild.  Our idea of a fun weekend was renting old movies from the dorm video area downstairs, staying in our pajamas all weekend and ordering food in the entire weekend.  I still think of these times every time I see "Liar, Liar" or "Hope Floats".  I had lots of fun, but I didn't understand people who were out making obviously poor decisions left and right.  However, I kinda envied them.  To hear someone speak about how God changed their life when they were hooked on drugs, or got pregnant at 16, is, in my opinion, much more moving that to hear me talk about how I was seven and I realized my biggest sin was being mean to my sister (sorry about that, Betsy).  Not quite the emotional kick that that some people get when they get close to God. 

Be careful what you wish for.  After college, I started making decisions about my life-- moving to DC to work, moving home, making new friends, starting law school, etc.  Most of my college friends moved on, got married and had kids.  I didn't.  I felt awkward, left out, frustrated.  My perfect life wasn't really going perfect at all.  I didn't have goals.  I went from one job to another, more and more frustrated that I wasn't very good at any one thing.  I had a political science degree.  I loved polisci, but its not very marketable.  That and a music degree will let you sing the National Anthem.  And have you heard my singing voice? 

I look back now and see how far I got away from a relationship with God during these past few years.  I felt like my college friends were so far away from me- we stopped having anything in common and it was a struggle for me not to feel sad and bitter that they had a life I really wanted.  And I was wondering around, trying to figure out what my problem was.  Obviously, my problem was getting away from God.  But I didn't know that then.  I was still a "good" person.  No murders or racketeering charges or anything remotely exciting.  But I wasn't living the way God wanted me too.  I was searching, hoping to find something to fill the hole in my heart.  And my decisions kept coming, each one worse than the next.  I invested in people who weren't positive for me, I searched for meaning in all the wrong places.  I was so afraid of messing up at work that my life became paralyzed with fear.  I didn't know what I was doing, where I was going, so it was easier to just stay in bed and watch Angel reruns.  I was miserable and was pretty miserable to everyone in my life.  I stopped wanting to see my friends and quit returning their calls.  Things I once loved because struggles-- it was a struggle to pretend I was holding it all together.  I didn't have a life I loved and I felt lonely.  Not able to reach my potential.  Scared of making a mistake.  Which, ironically, led to tons of mistakes.  I'd feel so guilty about not calling a friend on their birthday that I'd decide never to call them again.  I'd be so afraid, that, as a lawyer, I wasn't doing a good job with a case that I'd avoid a client's phone calls (again, no malpractice or anything, but not living up to my idea of perfection.)

I once went to the beach with my sister and we were in the ocean swimming.  She was got out of the water and headed to the sand, and I started to follow her.  But the waves kept knocking me down.  And I'd almost be able to get up, but then another wave would come along, and down I'd go again.  At first it was fun, I was laughing.  I mean, I was only a couple feet deep in the water- this wasn't a panic time or anything.  And Betsy was laughing at me, and it was fun and she turned to go on back to our stuff.  And I kept trying to get myself balanced and stand up on my own two feet, but ever few seconds, another wave would come.  This went on for several minutes.  Sometimes I was still submerged from a previous wave when the next one came.  Other times, I was almost standing up. balanced, and walking out of the water when I'd get knocked down again.  I was still laughing and being silly about the entire situation- a grown woman getting pushed about in shallow water. 

But then, it stopped being funny and it stopped being fun.  It became concerning.  As wave after wave hit me, I began to worry I wasn't going to be able to find the bottom.  And then, as the waves kept coming, and I couldn't get up on my own and stay up, I nearly began to panic.  Here I was, just inches from the sand and my sweet sister (who, obviously didn't even know this was going on and has probably never heard this story, so don't judge her for not jumping in and saving me!) and I couldn't get it together enough to get myself balanced.  I was flailing about miserably, and I was doing it while laughing and pretending it was funny, all the while, panic was creeping up in my head.  What a picture I probably was at that time! Eventually, as you can guess by the mere fact that I'm here writing this blog, the waves subsided and I was able to get up and get onto dry land.  I fell onto the sand, exhausted physically and mentally by the ordeal.  It took me a while to shake it off and get back to where my sister was. 

This is kinda the story of my testimony.  In a nutshell.  Or rather, in a big ocean shell.  I kept getting knocked over by life.  Some of the waves were just life.  Life's hard sometimes, right?  Some of the waves were self-induced by me trying to ignore the issues and pretend everything was all right.  Some of the waves were pitfalls I willingly jumped into-- decisions I knew were bad at the time and I went ahead with them.  But the waves kept coming and as soon as I thought I'd conquered one wave and was about to get back up and keep going, the next one would knock me down.  I was ready to just stay down. 

Over the last couple years, I've struggled with depression and sometimes, I just wanted to give it all up.  Not like tie a noose give up, but just give up trying.  Just quit searching.  Luckily, God never gave up on me.  He found me when I couldn't go any further and reminded me that he's my lifeboat.  Even in 2 foot water.  He's got all this, and he changed me life.  Significantly.  I've not wanted to talk about it really, because its very personal.  It's no fun to admit to all the mistakes I've made, all the frustrations I've felt, the ways I've felt I didn't measure up.  And I wasn't a lot of fun to my family and friends during a lot of those times either.  I know they've not found my miserableness to be much of a picnic!  And yet, over time, God has changed me.  Changed my life.  Made my life a testimony.  I still struggle with depression, and I can take a good situation and wreck it with my own agenda in 5 minutes flat.  So, I'm still a work in progress, which is just fine with God. 

I always felt I wasn't enough-- popular enough, fun enough, pretty enough, smart enough, together enough, certainly not rich enough.  And I'm not.  I'm none of those things, really.  I'm not enough... but in God, I'm so much more.  I am deeply loved, despite my horrible decision making skills (seriously, some of my decisions were laughable they were so bad!), despite my inability to figure out what my talents and skills are, and my ability to mess up a situation in a blink of an eye.  I am a daughter of a King.  And right now, thats all that matters.  I'm sure that in a week or two, I'll make another one of my famous dumb decisions, but God will be right there, waiting to catch me.  And that's pretty awesome.  Its my testimony. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

There is always a silver lining...

Last weekend I got a wild hair, packed up Parker and my crutches and headed to New Orleans for the weekend to visit my friend Penny.  We had a great time hanging out at a couple of our favorite places and basically being bums and watching tv every night.  Its nice to have this double knee surgery thing to use as an excuse for when I'm tired and don't want to do anything! 

But the best part of the weekend, hands down, was when we went to Canal Place to watch a movie in their fancy smancy theater. 

A blurry picture of what could be any movie theater in the world, but in fact, is the Theater at Canal Place, the topic of this blog.  I promise.  Trust me, people. 

Canal Place is one very familiar place to me (and my wallet) in NOLA.  Penny works in the adjacent office buildings and we often use the parking pass to park there and walk somewhere else.  But I've never been to a movie there before. 

We decided to go see Silver Linings Playbook with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.  Being a Hunger Games fan, I love Jennifer Lawrence and she can do no wrong in my eyes.  And Bradley Cooper can do no wrong by being seen by my eyes, so it seemed like a good fit.  I'd actually wanted to see the Hobbit but Penny nixed that idea, and I wasn't into seeing Les Miserables, for reasons too complicated and unimportant to go into here.  So Silver Linings Playbook it was. 

I'd seen lots of press for SLP and, of course, its getting a lot of Oscar talk, but I didn't really know what it was about other than Bradley Cooper's character just got out of a mental hospital and Jennifer Lawrence is the woman he meets and she's got her own issues.  I wasn't sure if it was a indie-type dark movie, a romantic comedy, or just a sad movie.  I don't really care to see romantic comedies-- its been a long time since I've enjoyed one and I generally avoid them like the plague.  And, as I've gotten older, I am much more selective about movies that I see in the theater since its never very comfortable anymore. 

But that was because I've never gone to see a movie at Canal Place!  These are awesome!  The theaters are much smaller than normal, and have large, recliner-like seats.  Each chair has a cupholder on each side and between two chairs is a small swivel table.  There was plenty of room between each aisle for even crippled old me and my crutch to walk. 

Best of all, the menu ROCKED!  It was awesome!  They have a full menu, and a full bar, so there isn't anything you can possibly want that you couldn't get.  The waiters lead you to your seat and take your order.  If, during the movie, you need something, you can push a button and they will come sneaking in to get you anything you need!

I ordered a big Diet Coke and Penny and I split an appetizer plate of olives, pita bread, hummus, dips, crackers, etc.  We also got some truffle oil popcorn (one of their speciality flavored popcorns) which was DELICIOUS.  I nearly made myself sick on that stuff.  I'm not sure Penny even got to each much of it, but I kept warning her if she didn't eat it, I was going to eat it all!

In addition to the theater being super fun and awesome, the movie was GREAT.  I mean, really great.  Probably the best movie I've seen this year.  I loved it.  Its kind of a darm comedy and there is romance and its sad and the characters are crazy and nutty and everything but I loved it.  I laughed the entire movie and then, at the end, when I was crying, I was considering pushing the red button to get someone to bring me a clean napkin since the only napkin I had was covered in truffle oil popcorn crumbs and they kept getting into my face when I wiped my tears.  Yeah, I have weird problems sometimes. 

I'd totally recommend this movie to just about anyone.  Its basic premise is that Bradley Cooper's character Pat, gets out of a mental hospital after seeing his wife cheat on him and beating the guy half to death.  He thinks his life is about to go back to normal, if he can just get everything together.   Obviously, everyone else realizes that his wife, Nikki, isn't quite as excited to see him as he is to see her.  His parents (his dad is placed by Robert DeNiro) are really good about trying to protect their son and trying to get him to see that maybe he's not really living in reality.  He meets Jennifer Lawrence's character, Tiffany, a young widow with her own social problems.  I'm not going to spoil how it ends for you, but its a quirky enough movie to not follow typical rom-com rules, so you never really know whats going to happen.  I thought Robert DeNiro was awesome, and Pat's mother did a great job of a sweet woman with an OCD husband and a nutty son who's just trying to love them as much as she can. 

As someone who has often felt broken and confused and half nutty, I thought this movie was fantastic.  It showed that even broken people try to get their lives back together (sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn't!).  The picture above is great to me because it shows Tiffany's sister's (played by Julia Stiles) family in their dorky white turtlenecks.  This is the reason I love this movie.  I know people who take these type of pictures and put them up all over their houses.  And I feel like a total reject weirdo, sometimes, around these type people.  I've tried to get Parker to take pictures with me but she thinks turtlenecks make her face look puffy.  I loved seeing these two self-proclaimed "broken people" interacting with people who seemed a lot more perfect than they were.  Its a hilarious movie.  I could be all deep and intellectual and try to write a really smart sounding review, but I'm not.  Its a funny movie and it made me laugh, made me cry, and made me have a really big smile on my face when I was walking out.  The truffle oil popcorn didn't hurt either. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's a Perfect Day...

Its 2013!  Yay!  I'm so glad 2013 is here.  2012 has not been as good to me as I'd hoped last year about this time.  In fact, the last couple years have been tough on me, or rather, I've not handled them as well as I'd hoped.  But isn't New Years all about hope?  We are hopeful things will get better, or hopeful that our happiness will continue.  We make new resolutions, hopeful they will change our life for the better, or hopeful we will stick to them (this time!). 

This blog has been a bit of a letdown for me this year.  I've not had much computer access for large portions of the year (including now).  I hope to have this remedied soon, but you never know.  Also, I find it really hard sometimes to get on here and act happy, or find something funny or interesting to share when I just plain old don't feel like it.  Last night was New Years Eve, and, much like 2012 in its entirety, it did not go as I'd hoped.  It went spectacularly bad.  I'm not going to get into it (otherwise this blog could be used against me in a court of law.  Just kidding, nothing that major!)  But, when I got home, and climbed into bed with my fancy new heated mattress pad (Thanks, Santa!), I got to thinking about the changes I wanted to make this year. 

Changes have been on my mind a lot lately.  I have had a lot of changes in the past couple years- new city, new job, new job location, new roommate, family changes, personal changes, health changes, friend changes.  A whole lot of my life is significantly different that it was last year.  Or the year before that.  Or the year before that.  I could go on, but I won't bore you (although, if you are bored, then why are you reading this anyway?  Go pick up a real book!).  Some of these changes are simply life; others have been brought on by my decisions (some good decisions, some bad, some ill-informed, some with good intentions).  Blame it on the double knee surgeries with weeks of bed rest and nothing good on tv, but I've done a lot of thinking lately about how I want my life to go from now on.  And one thing I've decided to do is to be honest on this blog.  Use it as a diary of sorts.  Nothing major or even particularly interesting, but I don't always find myself being honest on here.  I skip over things and I ignore things (I'm excellent at avoidance!), to make myself seem more fun, more cool, more normal, more together. 

But here's the thing, readers.  I'm SO not together.  I'm a basketcase.  A lot of the time.  And its something I struggle with a lot-- seems like many other people have it together a lot more than I do, and even faking it till I make it doesn't work for me anymore. 

In the book, You're Already Amazing, by Holley Gerth, she says "When parts of my heart or life don't measure up to my expectations, I tend to hide them.  But what if someone would be blessed by what I have to share and they miss out because I hide it?"

Now I'm certainly not crazy enough to think that anyone's life will be changed by something I write on this blog, but this quote really got me to thinking- I'm not perfect.  So incredibly far from it that its ridiculous.  And I try so hard to hide that from the world.  I've often had a thought about writing different things on this blog but was too afraid of what someone might think if I did.  Not in a hateful way, but more in an intimate way- if I open myself up on this blog, other people can get inside.  And thats terrifying in so many ways!  I mean, what if they don't like me?  Or think I'm weird?  To a people-pleaser like me, there is nothing worse!

Well guess what, I AM weird.  I like to watch Star Trek.  All of them.  I have a co-dependent relationship with my dog.  I stress about work-related relationships and issues that I cannot change to the point it makes my physically sick sometimes.  When I have a bad day, or bad days, you can read it all over my face.  I still beat myself up over decisions I made years ago that I don't think were the right ones.  I often think I could have handled situations much better than I did, and I obsess over those things as well.  I don't like mayonaise, cream cheese or sour cream in their purest forms.  I withdraw from my friends and the people who love me when I'm down.  I struggle with depression a lot.  I have seriously bad road rage.  I have two bad knees and it scares me to think how bad they will get as I get older.  I don't think I've set a goal for years, for fear of not reaching that goal.  I'm scared to walk into church alone sometimes.  I'm afraid to tell people about how awesome my God is and the awesome things He has done in my life because I think people will think I'm weird. 

All of these things make me super weird.  And I've admitted them to you in this very public forum.  Its time I embrace my weirdness.  I'm not perfect in anyway.  But the Bible says "By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy."  Hebrews 10:14.  The Message version is good too-- " It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people."  So, hold on, what?  I'm already perfect?  Y'all, God has made me perfect already!  So I don't have to worry about being perfect anymore.  I don't have to beat myself up about bad decisions (or even just not great decisions) in the past.  I don't have to front like I'm super cool and awesome (though notice my use of the cool "fronting" lingo.  I really am pretty cool and awesome.  But only cause God made me like this!).  I'm an imperfect person who was made perfect by Him.  Christ is the only one who is truly perfect.  But, Galations 2:20 says "I have been crucified in Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." So God's got this all worked out for me.  He's perfect in me, and as long as I let Him lead, I'm good to go! 

So, the point of this super long blog is to get it all out there.  I'm making some changes and one of those things will be this blog.  I hope to be more consistent, but I might not be.  But I will be more honest and more filled with Christ's love and unafraid to say so.  Hope you guys will stay tuned!