Thursday, March 22, 2012

Everything happens for a reason.

I can’t say I am much of a religious person but I use the phrase ‘everything happens for a reason’ at every opportunity. I don’t believe in fate or karma, but I do believe that being disgustingly optimistic about life is the best possible way to live. That’s why I take every downturn, every trodden moment in my life with a ‘everything happens for a reason’ approach. I don’t believe there is some cosmic force out there guiding my path, throwing my obstacles my way, but I do believe in purpose and providing meaning into your own life. I use ‘everything happens for a reason’ as a way to be stronger, to stay optimistic, to keep going. If something doesn’t go as planned or if I’m thrown an unexpected curve ball you’ll find me spitting out my ‘everything happens for a reason’ mantra like it’s going out of style. And it does happen for a reason. It happens because it’s an opportunity, to get stronger, to be braver, to gain perspective. It happens because life happens, and believe it or not, there is no controlling that.

I’ve always been a planner, a list maker, a dreamer, but I’m learning more and more that my sense of control is merely an illusion. Accepting the fact that I have no control over what happens in my life has been humbling to say the least. I can work towards a career that I have planned and dreamed of, but unexpected turns can bring me to a hold. I can budget for a lofty savings account or a nice vacation, but I can’t control whether or not I get sick, or how terrible the weather ends up being. We have no control. None. Zilch. Nada. What we describe as control is just the slight influence we put on the direction we are heading. Giving up the idea for control has been difficult, but once I got past it, once I walked through the door to the unknowing, I felt…free. It’s amazing how embracing the fact that you have no control over what comes your way can make you feel more in charge than ever, because the one thing you can control, is how you react to those constant changes. You can be strong, you can be brave, you can be daring.



There are things going on in my life right now that are unexpected, but are making me stronger, wiser, and making me realize more and more who I am and what my purpose I will have in this one wild life I am blessed to live. I’m struggling, I’m learning, I’m growing, and I’ll come out of this a different person, a better person, a new me.

You have to keep moving. If I’ve learned anything it’s that life is going to keep shuffling along whether you move with it or not so you better keep moving. When big things happen to you, unexpected things, you can let it control you, let it hurt you and damage who you are, or you can face the new occurrence with all the might you’ve got and show that change that you can handle the big bad world and all it’s got stacked against you.

I stood on the dock at Sea World on New Years Eve this year with the love of my life’s arms wrapped around me, with a courage in my heart, and a new anticipation that this year held big things for me. I watched the fireworks, and I felt a stir in my soul that this would be my year, this would be the year I’d make a difference. It’s a ‘do big things’ kind of year.



And I was right, boy was I right. 2012 is going to be a big year and whether I am ready for it or not, I am positive that this one will go down in the record books as a year that changed my life.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Chase.

There are times in my life where I feel like every little moment I have ever had is slipping from my memory. At twenty-four years of age, I find it difficult, even now, to remember things. I wish my memory was like a library, with a fool-proof catalog that could be sifted through at my pleasing. I guess it is why I take so many pictures. There are so many moments in my life that I wish I could hold on to for longer, could relish in their sweet simpleness and relive the moments again and again. Those moments involving people that are now gone from my life are even harder to hold on to, those are the moments I wish I had more than anything.

The news that we were officially going to be moving into this new home has me reeling with ideas for new decor. There is a project I have been wanting to tackle for a while that I call our 'favorite things project'. I want to take or track down photographs that exemplify our collective five favorite things or places so that when times get rough, arguments get started, or life seems to be bullying us from every direction we can be reminded of why we keep going, why we keep trying, why those tough times make those 'favorite thing moments' so very special in our hearts. I sat down to work on this list today and found myself at a memory loss. What would I include? What memories were buried in the back of my mind that begged to be framed and displayed in our home? I thought of vacations, and old snapshots. I thought of field trips from when I was young, and from the first trips Aaron and I took together. It surprised me how quickly the memories came back to me, but it surprised me even more to realize how long it had been since I had thought of those things.



One memory I wanted to showcase was the summer my Nonnie and Papa took my sister and I out west. We rented a motorhome and spent a month traveling through the states. We visited New Mexico where we saw the Carlsbad Caverns, through Arizona where I fell in love for the first time with those beautiful Arizona sunsets, and through Texas where I got a taste of history as we walked through the Alamo. Since my Papa passed away a few years ago, I find that those memories are so much more important than they were only years before. So tonight I plan to sit down, comb my mind through the moments from that trip, and pick out a single thing to frame that I think will showcase that whole trip the most. It might end up being a photograph from our trip to the No Whiner Diner in Carlsbad, or maybe a souveiner from riding the boat on the River Walk in San Antonio. Whatever it ends up being, it will be enough the remind me what an amazing summer that was and how much I miss his presence in my life everyday. It will feel nice to have a piece of him in our new nest.


I'm interested to see what Aaron comes up with. We talk a lot about our childhoods, and memories we have, so it will be interesting to see if he comes up with something that he hasn't shared with me before. I'm hoping to combine two memories from each of our own pasts, and one memory that we shared together. I like things in my home to have meaning, that tell a story, that have a reason to be shared with guests. I believe your home is a reflection of who you are to the core, and you can tell all about a person from how they decorate their home. My Nana's home is spotless. It's filled with neutral colors, and adorned with gold accents. Like her it is calm, orderly, and cherished. My sister's bedroom is an explosion of everything she is. It's full of her artwork, strange thrift store finds, and candles of every color. Like her it is unique, vibrant, interesting, and takes risks. How a home is decorated is significant to how we archive memories. I can search back through my past and my congitions are often categorized by which home they occured in, and what my surroundings looked like. I remember endless weekends listening to the Casey Kasem top 40 countdown while I read books and bounced in my purple inflatable chair. My bed had a Precious Moments comforter and my walls had posters of Backstreet Boys and Nsync. It's obvious now that I was floating in the limbo of being a sweet young girl who loved horses and a pain in the ass teenager who made a hobby out of pissing off her mother. But those things about my room stick with me. I can distinctly remember the way the rubber skin was peeling off the buttons of my yellow jukebox. It's those little things that embed themselves in your mind when other things, big things, are long forgotten. The human mind is a powerful machine, and I am amazed constantly how I can remember the lyrics to a song I used to sing 15 years ago, but I can't remeber what I had for breakfast.



I want to remember everything, the littles and the bigs. I want to remember how Aaron smiles, even though I am reminded everyday. I want to remember the way my sister talks without taking a single breath. I want to remember the way my Nana smells from that perfect perfume that has now become one of her personality traits. I want to remember it all And I know there is a lifetime of memories to take in ahead of me. I want to know everything there is to ever know about my children one day in the archive that is my mind. I don't want to forget a thing. Because at the end of the day, after you have clocked out of work, and the bills are paid, and the car is washed, all that is left is those memories, and without them what is the point of living? So I'll keep taking too many pictures even when Aaron gets annoyoyed, and I'll keep writing and documenting my life, and one day I will be 'that mom' who embarresses her children because damnit it's my right to see to it that their friends think I'm crazy. But I won't regret it. I won't ever regret living too much, and feeling too much, and chasing the memories. I won't even stop embracing life, and keeping in my heart and in my mind every instant that I participated in the chase.

Excuse me while I freak out a little!

Just wanted to interrupt this beautiful Wednesday morning by saying.....

WE GOT THE HOUSE!

Aaron and I have been house hunting for a new rental since early January, and we finally signed a lease on a home yesterday. It's in the historic district, built in 1928, and has all that shabby-chic charm that I melt my heart over.

No more apartment living for us. It feels so exciting to have a real 'home' to nest in. I'm clicking my ruby red slippers.

I am probably driving Aaron crazy with the amount of excitement that is spewing from my veins. What he doesn't know is that I have an on-going list of DIY decor projects I have accumulating in my head that will more than likely require his assistance. Poor, poor man.

We tentatively move in on April 15th, and expect lots of pictures after that point.

Now go enjoy your Wedneday!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Picture Overload.

I accumulate a massive amount of pictues in my smartphone and need a place to 'drop them off'. Since sharing pictures everyday would be too overwhelming, I am initiating Fridays as Friday Picture Overload day, and will share with you all the fun and akwardness from the week.

So in honor of it being Friday....

I found a double rainbow reference on Target.com
If you don't know what double rainbow is, get on Youtube.com right now and search 'double rainbow'.
You're welcome.



We made a late night dessert run to Bob Evans that ended up being a very good decision.



I searched the Google Archives and found a cute picture of little Aaron from an old local newspaper. Isn't he just darling? :)



In some kind of Dunkin Donuts fluke I got two free coupons in the mail. That means double the free Coffee Coolatta for this girl. Apparently my birthday came twice this year.



I made a very awesome purchase at a thrift store for a whopping 75 cents. Best 75 cents spent EVER. Who remembers this movie?? Now to find a VCR. Do those still exist?




We made another late night food run to a buffet. Who does that???? Aaron at about 3,000 calories worth of whipped cream and I put pot roast and brownies on the same plate. Don't judge me.




I found a perfect local all organic hair salon and will definately be returning! Total reasonable prices too. I got a shampoo and condition, cut, and style for $35. Best haircut ever!




I found an Android. Do you really need any more explanation?



And another awesome possum purchase of the week for a grand $5.00. I think I watched this movie 8 million times as a kid. Little sister and I had a sister date last night and brought out this bad boy. Sister date consisted of Steak & Shake (which ended up being free compliments of my complaining about poor service) and movie time in pajamas. I actually made it half way through this movie before I passed out. Big accomplishment.


And I got a pretty rad cup for the office. A little motivation if you will for Future Teacher Britt! :)






Enjoy your weekend my loves! Tomorrow is dress shopping with the mini-me, and a little arts & crafts festival on Sunday with that dear sweet man of mine.

Ready, set, go!

A date with a dress.

Tomorrow is going to be another one of those days that reaches a 9.9 on the emotional scale. There may be tears, and there will definitaley be a fair shair of smiles. Tomorrow my baby sister will try on more fabric than she can probably handle all in the pursuit of finding the perfect Senior Prom dress. This is one of two times in my life where I will watch my sister try on a dress of significance. This one will be to a color of her choosing, but the next dress I watch her try on will be white. Just typing that makes me feel a little teary eyed.




I was 5 years old when my mother told me I was soon going to be a big sister. I had spent 5 years being the only female grandchild, and was used to the spoils that came with that title, so my only concern over my new baby sister was how many of my toys I would need to share and how much of the spotlight I would need to begrudgingly relinquish. But as time went on, having a sister became so much more than just slobbered on toys, and stolen scrunchies. Having a sister meant someone else to talk to, another face to put play make-up on, and one more person to share chores with. From what my mother will tell you we barely fought, and for the most part, even now, we still see eye to eye on most things.




If there is any one thing I felt most grateful for growing up, it would be to have a sister like mine. She is fiercly independent, but mirrors in me the thin exterior that gets her feelings easily hurt when someone has mis-judged her. She is beautiful, in my eyes the prettier of us two, but her kindness would never lead you to believe that she agrees with me. She's intelligent, witty, and always seems to say the right thing when I am sitting silent because no one thought my joke was funny. I always thought having a sister mean't she would look up to me for everything, and she might in some ways, but more than anything I admire the incredible person she is.




Having a sister has given me a preview of what I will be like as a mother. I try and be patient with her, and understanding, and I worry over her when I feel she isn't being treated the way she deserves. I am protective of her, would kill for her, and take her side even if she may be wrong. I try to always be in her corner, to listen, to be there when she wants advice, and silent when she doesn't. I hope she can see but a small glimpse of the love I have for her.





Tomorrow is a prom dress, in a few months a cap and gown, and months after that an empty room filled with boxes of her things ready to go away to school. I know to follow that will be one day an engagament ring, that white dress that I mentioned, and a perfectly round bump to complete the circle. I feel so honored and blessed to get to experience those things with her, to watch her become greater than she is even now. And I hope one day we are gray-haired together, laughing about the past, and enjoying our ever present ending futures. There isn't really anything better my parents could have given me, no greater gift, than that of a sister. Because having a baby sister is a gift that never ends. It's a partner that will always be there to experience the good and the bad, the times worth celebrating, and the moments that need comforting. Having a sister knows that no matter how life may change, I will never be alone.  I can't control the tears much now thinking of this, but it just shows me much impact she has had on my life that I may have never expressed to her.





So tomorrow I will keep my composure. I will give opinions and advice when she asks for it. And I will do my best to not lose my cool taking in how absolutely beautiful I know she is going to be.

Tomorrow isn't just about a dress. Tomorrow is another moment, another memory, another story to add to the chapters in the life of a sisterhood.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

I guess I should explain.

This blog has become my sanctuary, my warm slice of heaven in which I can divulge my hopes and dreams, my darkest secrets, and all the fluff and filler in between. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am for this space, for my own little piece of blank canvas begging to be filled with the creative moments that pass my mind throughout the day. I needed this. I needed you little blog, because life is such a wonderful opportunity and not taking moments to document each little bit of joy is the biggest travesty of all.

Yesterday I told you about how I deleted Facebook, but I neglected to tell you the biggest reason. It didn't feel real. I am not the person my profile portrayed. That girl is too put together, has her hair done, and lives a stress free, happy, go-lucky kind of life. That girl bakes cakes, and makes headbands, and has a put-together appearance that only an hour of hair and makeup could provide. I am not that girl. I spend most of my time at home, and most of that time in plaid pajamas, more times than not sans makeup. My hair is most often in a pony tail, and that cake baking has left my kitchen a complete disaster, which I will get to tomorrow, maybe. My home is decorated with beautiful craft projects that add a shabby chic and vintage flair to our little nest, but for every successful project there are 10 glue covered mounds of fabric failures that didn't turn out to be anything I had envisioned. You see, Facebook didn't feel like the venue to be real, to be raw, to let the honesty just drip from my fingertips. But this feels like the place. This feels like home. This feels like the venue to give you all of me, the pretty make-up smiles and the kitchen counters covered in spilt flour. I promise to always give you as my reader the most pure form of me possible, even when it is heartbreakingly bland.



Balance. It's the word  that inspired this blog. It's the word that I hear the most floating through my consciousness, and it's the idea that keeps me on rhythm when times get tough. Keeping balance is essential for being able to appreciate all the beauty that surrounds us. People go through life constantly transforming, but some of us are a little more in tuned with those simple changes happening within us. I am one of those people. I am emotional. I feel everything. I take things too personally. And I get dissapointed. But among the dissapointment and the thin exterior is a person who looks for the little things in life and celebrates them as if they were the most glorious things of all. I get excited about weather changes, good movies on tv, and little pieces of funnel cake as if they were Christmas Day. But with the joy and celebration is a balance of sheer terror. I worry more than most. I terrify myself of the possibilities of things not going the way I envision. What happens if I can't have a baby? What happens if I change my mind again about school and no one respects my decision? What if I look like a fool for following a dream that no one understands? I think my fear of rejection and dissapointment is my biggest reason for the fact that I isolate myself so often. But I have to keep pursuing balance. I have to test the cold waters, but continue to relish in the luke warm moments. I have to ride the roller coaster even when I am afraid, but I have to be thankful for the moments that Aaron lets me pose with lifesize theme park characters in utter comforting bliss. I have to be a teacher and stop letting people tell me not to be, but I have to accept that the choice to become a teacher will come with a salary that won't live up to what it should be. I have to be brave. I have to be daring. I have to find balance, because that is most important of all.

And I have to keep writing, because without the writing, without this little place to call home, I will get lost in the balancing act and lose sight of what is really important, my own happiness.