Sunday, March 25, 2012


Dear Sunshine,

Today you are 23 years old.  Happy birthday.

Do you remember your birthday last year?  It was ABC-I, and you were at the college for that.  I had spent the whole week working on what I would do for you.  The night before, I was up ridiculously late watching movies on NetFlix while trying to perfect the mix I was making for your birthday.  The girls thought this was kinda hilarious.  I was sitting at that glass coffee table we had with the corinthian columns with my laptop starring alternately between the screen and the TV half paying attention to A Fish Called Wanda and pretending it was distracting me from my focus and worry over you.  I had already made a blueberry pie for you earlier in the evening and had actually figured out how to write your name across it in pie dough which I alternately thought was too much/too obvious and super sweet because, hello!, I could write your name on the top of that pie in piecrust.  Besides, it wasn't like I'd coated it in hearts or anything.  I had also gotten you a bottle of the world's best sparkling blueberry juice and a blueberry smoothie thing (which I love) because you love blueberry as much as I do.  The mix was my big thing though.

I still don't think you really got the mix.  You probably never fully comprehended any of them.  Most people don't, so don't feel bad.  Just try to understand that these mixes have always been/will always be a reflection of the deepest bits of my heart.  I tried to make it encouraging and prompting.  I wanted you to know that you had someone's heart inside your hand and that this same person, this same heart, believed deeply in your goodness and had a great deal of hope for the future.  It was a love letter. 

Your birthday was pretty ridiculous day.  Not at all bad, but not at all how either of us planned I think.  I gave you a bag with your gifts as soon as I saw you that morning in front of everyone.  You seemed genuinely surpised.  (I don't think you ever have or ever will know what you really meant to me or the lengths to which I would go to show it.)  You spent half your day with your ex-girlfriend who was having serious problems dealing with her father's illness, and I spent most of the day trying to help with ABC-I and spending as much time with the kids as possible.

One of the things I remember most from that day was you pulling me aside that evening and apologizing to me.  Remember how we weren't dating?  (Never, ever did...)  I remember you pulling me aside from our friends and apologizing to me for how little time we'd been together.  You said you wanted to be with me, but you felt like you had needed to help your ex, and I couldn't argue.  Her issue was far bigger than I could understand, but you had been there.  You wanted me to be happy and to know I was important to you.

I still wish I had kissed you.  Right there.  Right then.  In front of everyone.  Things might have been different.

Then again, maybe not.

All I know is that everything can change in a year.  It was less than 2 weeks later that you completely crushed my heart.  You started dating someone no one could have expected, and I still have trouble grasping that change.   

Somewhere in those two weeks apart, I lost you.  Maybe I never had you; I don't know.  I just know that it wasn't long before my best friend disappeared. 

This past year has been crazy for both of us, and I know we aren't the people we were.  I miss them, but I guess everything has to change.  I hope the changes you have made, chosen, and are heading toward make you a happier person, a better man, and draw you closer to God.  That's what really matters, what really counts.

I still miss you.  Every day. 

Happy, happy birthday, Sunshine.  I hope today finds you cheerful, full of laughter, and knowing you are so very loved.


ps.  Here's a new birthday mix for you:

He Lingers
  1. Warning Sign - Coldplay
  2. Rolling in the Deep - Adele
  3. Grenade - Bruno Mars
  4. Heart of Me - Green River Ordinance
  5. Same Changes - Weepies
  6. Split Screen Sadness - John Mayer
  7. I Won't Give Up - Jason Mraz
  8. Rumor Has It/Someone Like You - Glee Cast
  9. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
  10. Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright
  11. Getaway - Train
  12. Friends, Lovers, Or Nothing - John Mayer
  13. Summer Skin - Death Cab for Cutie
  14. How He Loves - David Crowder Band
  15. Someone that You Use to Know - Gotye
  16. Edge of Desire - John Mayer
  17. Sparks - Coldplay
  18. Mississippi - Train
  19. Call Me On Your Way Back Home - Ryan Adams

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sweet Summer (IN MARCH!)

Favorite Things of This Very Moment (or possibly today in general depending on how long this post takes me to write since I'm a little disconnected, but in a good way this time, although it makes it difficult to spell and keep track of my thoughts, 12:53 pm CST):
  • Emails from the Amazing Amy (Oh how I miss you!)
  • Huge cups of unsweetened ice tea
  • Knowing there will be fresh sun tea to look forward to at home when I'm done here at work
  • Basket Beginnings
  • Pulling out Dashboard's Dusk & Summer album so I can play it at work (still my summer cd!)
  • Sunshine, glorious, glorious gold sunshine that makes everything feel of hope and summer and causes even the breeze itself to feel like gold brushing your skin
  • Hope, hope, hope
  • Memories of all the laughter of last night's Alfano's dinner with Hilary and all the great people that came to see her while she was home
  • The incredibly bright peach/pink shirt I bought myself yesterday 
  • Getting to wear flip-flops in MARCH in ILLINOIS!!!!
God is so incredibly cool. 

Spring officially starts with week, but it has felt like late June here for the past week.  It's like God brought me a GA spring because he knew my heart was longing to be there.  I know quite a few other Northern hearts that this sunshine and warmth has brought home too. 

It has caused me to pull out summer loves in my music a bit earlier than usual, and I have enjoyed feeling the air rush through my hair as I drive with all my windows down soaking in the air and sun.  I love it even more when I can do that at night.  Last night I drove home on back roads just so I could be in the car with the windows down and the sweetness of the cool night air filling up my lungs.  It was so gorgeous.  I don't know how I forget what that feels like in the depths of winter, but I love reexperiencing the first love-like joy each year when I get to have my windows down for the first time.  I hope I never lose that joy.

Honestly, I hope you're finding the weather wherever you are as beautiful as it is here.  If you're like me, you'll be wanting to find yourself thoroughly enjoy the sunshine and warmth as much as possible.  Sit in the sunshine, open up all the widows, sing at the top of your lungs and break out the flip-flops.  It's going to be a long and luck-filled summer (and the good kind of luck, I believe it). 

With love,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Getting Back to Where I Started (Or Maybe Someplace Better)

I am having one of my classic nights where I am reading one blog, sitting on top of my Facebook page to see if anything happens at all, texting several of my closest friends (who put up with a lot of angsty whining on empty nights), and listening to my iTunes play me a zillion songs that break and rebreak my heart.

Lately I've been asking God a lot of questions.  I have been asking him to bring me my best friend.  That probably sounds a little off, but what I mean is, I've been asking him to bring me the guy that won't leave.  You see...I have this amazing ability to befriend good guys (and sometimes bad ones, I tend to see a glimmer of gold and try to bring it to the surface, even when the person containing the glimmer is trying to hide it) and build up these amazing friendships, and everything seems awesome.  They're great.  We're great.  I have someone to go to parties or movies or dinner with.  It's not a dating relationship.  They aren't physical.  I just invest my heart in this friendship because I want this guy to have the best things he can.  I want to make sure he knows that he's amazing and hilarious and beautiful and that God is going to do great things with him as long as He lets God lead.  Great things, right?  I think so.

But then something changes.  

This something is always a girl.

Now, I'm not saying that this is a bad thing.  Actually, this is usually a great thing for them.  Usually the girl they find is someone incredible who (in more cases than I could have expected) end up being the woman they chose to marry and live as happily ever after as the world will allow (as the incomparable Jean Ferris once said in Love Among the Walnuts, read it, you'll love it).

I won't deny that usually right after this happens, I am heartbroken.  The person I have come to rely on as much as I rely on my own heart leaves.  I can't blame them for this.  Most of them (let's be honest, all of them) never saw me as anything beyond one of the guys or a sister.  It is a role I am good at, but it wears down the soul after because over the years, I have begun to worry that maybe I'm not desirable at all.

To each and every sweet person and friend and sister who has tried to convince me otherwise, I love you.  Thank you.

It isn't to say that I don't know, somewhere in me, that this isn't true.  That I am desirable and worth fighting for and pursuing.  It's just that after years of rejection and being passed over...there's not much left in the bank of self-esteem and self-confidence that is left to speak of.

Worse than that, somewhere along the way, I have lost track of my purpose and forgotten how to find my value in God.  How did I stray so far from where I was as a kid?  I think I just started seeking my worth in the wrong places.  I put so much faith in the first guy I dated, and instead of remembering that God loved me completely and should be my center, I started letting my boyfriend edge in on the place that was sacred and supposed to house no one outside of God.

Honestly, how do you let one person (no matter how "amazing" you believe them to be or how amazing they really are) take the place of the LORD of the Universe?

Again, I'm not saying it was my then boyfriend's fault.  It is fully and completely mine.  I should never have let this change of command take place.  Ever since, there's always been an ache and an gap in my heart that I have been trying to fill.

I have filled it with food, with lust, my relationships, with anger...with a lot of things I am not proud of.

Tonight, I want to reclaim this place, this very center of my heart and soul, for my LORD.  

It will take a lot of time and intentional prayer and work, but I can do this.  I can do this because it will mean I am finally recognizing that only God can give me the love, validation, and worth that I seek.

If you're struggling with this, I hope you I can encourage you.  I know this is a struggle.  I have been struggling with this for years, but change has to start now.  Let's not live our whole lives only to realize we haven't actually lived or loved.  Let's let God well up from the center of who we are and overflow into our whole lives and show people what love really is.

God give us strength and joy.


ps.  I have been seriously neglecting doing this, so I apologize, and here is my List of Favorite Things at This Very Moment (12:03 am CST):

  • The Good Women Project (which is a constant source of encouragement and joy and faith being restored)
  • The Glee soundtracks (always a classy good time.  Especially if Finn or Mercedes is! Amber, thank you for this!)
  • Colorful nailpolish (reminds me of the good bits of me, and brings me a little self-confidence boost when I can wear some crazy color in public, it's a start, right?)
  • My loving and wonderful sisters who keep me accountable (you ladies are awesome ALL the time)
  • Foxtrot by Bill Amend (always a GREAT comic strip when you need a smile)
  • You.  Honestly.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Here's Looking At You

My beautiful friend, Emily sent me the above picture recently.  She said it reminder her of me.  It, naturally, appeared the exact day I needed a reminder.

As I have said before, and I shall say a million times before I die I'm sure, my best friend always told me to live life without regrets.  He was right; that's the only way to live.

The thing about this picture, this saying, is that it came, as I said, on exactly the day I needed it.  Amber has been trying to convince me that I need to recognize that the boy I am love with was brought into my life for a reason.  We were supposed to connect.  Clearly I got the wrong memo on how deeply we were supposed to connect, but clearly we were supposed to connect.  She kept saying I needed to remember to focus on the good and learn from the rest of it.  I shouldn't regret this relationship just because it feels like it's ending.  Maybe it was never meant to be a permanent thing, but good would come out of it.

Then Em sent me that.  God speaks.

He consistently amazes me.  Sometimes I ask the question so many times that I forget to listen.  And then I run face first into the answer.

For days now I have been trying to find some kind of purpose to the relationship I had with this boy, this man.... Today I realized something, he is what led me to actually start taking an interest in myself.  Sure, I still am not completely happy with myself (as anyone who has ever read anything I write might be able to tell).  Because I adored this man, I began taking some pride in myself.  I wanted to be my best because I felt that is what he deserved, and if I wanted to be loved by him, I wanted to be someone he could love.  Yeah, maybe that's a little screwy, but I think it has begun good things in me.

Because of my relationship with this man, I finally forced myself to ask God to help me figure out exactly what I should be looking for in my future spouse.  More importantly, maybe, I have been asking God to shape me into the woman He wants me to be so that I can be someone I am proud of and therefore someone my future spouse can be proud of as well: physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually.  It's been a major boost in my relationship with God.  I want God to be the center of my life.

Maybe this relationship didn't work out the way I had hoped, well, obviously it didn't, but it has done a lot of good in my life.  It has triggered major change and growth for me, and I am grateful.  Even if I never get to tell him, I hope he knows I am grateful for the friendship we had.  I hope I was something good in his life as well.

Find the good, and really, my loves, live life without the regret.

And lastly, here's looking at you,, Kid...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let Go. Let Go. And Jump In.

"If you smash into something need to hold onto it until it's time to let it go." 
-Marcello, Under the Tuscan Sun

The past few days have made me question a lot of the things I took for granted in the relationships I have: friendships, the guy I'm in love with, my family, etc., etc.  It made me start reevaluating everything.

For instance, when the man you love decides he's going to marry someone else, you cry a lot, but then you recognize that you are honorable and courageous.  You start looking at your choices and realizing that you need to guard your heart a little better and that you won't get in the way of his new life.  Perhaps this does break your heart every day, and perhaps you find yourself perpetually confused trying to figure out what to do with yourself now.

Soon though you realize that you really are something beautiful.  Maybe you will have to remind yourself of that on a regular basis, but I will remember.

Maybe the key is in that quote.  Maybe I smashed into something truly amazing, and I stuck with him as long as time will allow...  Maybe it's time to let go.