You want to hear another of the items on my bucket list? Being able to cook a dish for Chef Gordon Ramsay and having him critique it and give me pointers on how to be able to make it better. I would create the most delectable, flavorful dish that I could for him, and I would ask for honest feedback on the dish and would hopefully even get a cooking lesson or two for him. Alas, unless I go on Hell’s Kitchen, or something of the like, I really doubt that I will ever even be able to meet the man. But maybe the day will come and I will get lucky, who knows.
As you probably know by now from reading my various other posts, I’m interesting, but in a very peculiar sort of way. I have been perfectly aware of this for years, and I am ok with it. It’s part of what makes me, me. 🙂 So here’s a few ways that you can enjoy my peculiarity:
1. I Like Things Done A Certain Way:
If I’m going to explain a process to you, it’s easier for me to show you or to even just sit down and do it myself. This isn’t because of my lack of patience, but rather, it’s usually because the way that I understand the process is too complicated to explain. I am a visual and auditory learner, so I have to see it and hear it, so it’s easier if I can just do it. If you deviate from that way, it confuses me, even if your way is simpler than mine.
2. I Have to Read Out Loud to Comprehend:
Although I am a very good reader and writer, I need to read out loud in order to fully comprehend exactly what it is I am reading. If I can’t, I may end up having to read the same thing over and over again a few times until I understand what I am reading. Things tend to go more slowly if I read silently, whereas if I read out loud, my comprehension is a lot better, and as a result, I can read far more quickly. This is also why if I need to memorize something, I need to read it out loud and then try repeating it over and over again to myself before I can be “off-book,” “off-text” or whatever else I may need to stop relying on to learn the information.
3. I Am A Walking Encyclopedia of Random Information:
Ever have one of those friends who’s good at trivia nights? That’s me, at least, for the most part. I am a walking encyclopedia of random information that no one really cares about, but it may very well come in handy one day. I love knowledge, I love absorbing information and learning new things, even if they’re not necessarily things that I would want to know. I read the bottom of Snapple lids, I retain certain information from commercials, TV shows, etc.
4. I Have Weird Habits
I just have weird habits, like checking to make sure I’ve turned off (or on) everything, even if I already checked it. For example, I may have checked to see if my alarm is on for the next day when I need to get up for work, but then I’ll check again to make sure that I didn’t accidentally turn it off while I was double-checking. Lol. I’m so weird.
So I guess you could say that I’m essentially the perfect combination of two memes: Socially-Awkward Penguin and Anxiety Cat. But yet, I’m ok with that. I love my strange, peculiar nature, and frankly, I wouldn’t have my personality any other way.
Thanks to my INFJ personality type, I am constantly wanting to learn, grow, and change–to better myself in some capacity. I also believe that you should never stop learning until the end of your life. With that said, here’s a list of a few things that I would like to learn within the next ten years:
1. American Sign Language
I love learning languages, and American Sign Language (ASL) has always been one of the most intriguing languages that I would want to learn. Besides that, there’s a real need for it all across the country, and if I can help someone else by utilizing skills in this area, then I think that would be a really great thing. I imagine it would take a year or so to learn, but I think getting the practice would be hard, as I don’t really know anyone who is deaf that I could practice signing with. Maybe a Skype session would work.
I’ve always had a real interest in learning how to play the guitar. I’ve tried throughout the years with moderate success, but I’ve almost always lost the ability in some capacity. However, I think it would be kind of cool to start up a Christian band or something of the like, and I would like to sing and play guitar. I really want to learn on the electric guitar, but I think that the acoustic electric would be a better place to start. And since I have a Macbook, I have GarageBand, so I can start recording demos. You know, I just have to get a USB microphone and pop filter first.
3. A Wide Array of Recipes
I love cooking, and while I consider myself a pretty good cook, I’d say that I definitely need to learn a few more recipes. If I could memorize at least 20 to 30 recipes, I would say that would be sufficient. Ideally, I’d like to have a few different recipes committed to memory that I could easily pop out and cook for a large group of people. Something that I could do for each season, especially around Christmastime (my favorite time of year).
These are just a few of the things that I would like to learn within the next few years, but I don’t think they’ll take all that long. Just some practice, determination, and some good people to help me.
Remember when we were children and there were things that we absolutely loved doing, songs that we loved singing, or games that we enjoyed participating in? Perhaps there was a certain candy or TV show that you really enjoyed from “back in the day.” Whatever the case may be, I think that many of us would say that those were the “good old days.” The days when we could just do those things with reckless abandon and not have to worry about spending too much time on the TV while shirking other responsibilities, etc. We could just be kids.
Here are a few of my favorite “good old days” things that I miss, and that I wish would make a comeback. See if you agree with me.
Kim Possible was easily one of my favorite Disney Shows, as it was so much fun to get lost in the adventures with her. It was a popular show for a few years, but then it sort of went by the wayside after a while. Shame, it was fun to watch. I’d definitely watch it again if they released it on Netflix or something.
Sitting at Home, Listening to My Parents’ Favorite Music
I grew up listening to a pretty interesting mix of music. My dad always liked to put on Kenny Rogers’ song: The Gambler, while my mom liked to listen to some of the more classic Christian songs of her time, like Mary Did You Know, and Household of Faith. Of course, there was also whatever was on the radio at the time as a 90s kid. Usually that consisted of something along the lines of Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden, From This Moment On, or something to that effect. I truly believe that the 90s had some of the best love songs out there.
Drake & Josh
Of course, who could forget the dynamic duo that was Drake & Josh? Starring Drake Bell and Josh Peck as two boys who become stepbrothers, this show follows their lives and crazy interactions with each other on a daily basis. I really enjoyed watching that show, and wish that they would put the entire series on Netflix.
In general, I really just miss how simple life was back then. As Andy Bernard said in The Office, “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you left them” But life is still good, and God is still great, and I know that he has amazing, wonderful things planned for me. So, I’ll stay tuned and see exactly who he created me to be, and what he has in store for me.
I have decided that I want to be a beacon of hope to all that I encounter. For me, personally, this means doing quite a number of things. The first is getting my tattoo next year, which is both a combination of my personal story and also my testimony that I want to share with the world.
I’ve also started a small way of being a beacon of hope at work. I bought a small, dry-erase white board, and various colored dry-erase markers to go along with it. Then, each day, I write a funny or inspirational quote on it. Some of my coworkers see it and love it. Others don’t see it, but they will in time.
Finally, I just try to act as Jesus would in any situation. It can be tricky sometimes, but he gives us grace each and every time. And that’s what I love. He continues to transform me from the inside out, and for that reason, I’m very grateful.
There comes a time in everyone’s life where they experience a brief, fleeting moment that is extremely impactful; it affects them in some way, and they never want it to end. When those moments come, it’s best to savor them, and to process everything that you’re thinking and feeling in the moment. Then, once that moment becomes a distant memory, you can still hold onto it and remember what it felt like a long time ago. Here’s one of the best moments that I’ve savored, and that I hope to remember forever:
The Moment When I Finally Met Jesus on a Personal Level, and the Moment when He Finally Showed Me My Identity
This is a two-fold memory that actually spans two different events, but I’m grouping it into one category because it’s perhaps the biggest thing that I don’t ever want to forget. I had grown up in a Christian home always hearing about Christ. I prayed to Jesus, I asked for forgiveness when I sinned or felt guilty about something, I prayed that people would be healed of their afflictions, and I had even asked him into my heart in fifth grade. I read my Bible as often as I could (though probably not as often as I should have) and was heavily involved in youth group all throughout my life. And yet, despite all that, I never really knew Jesus personally, the way that he desires to know us. I worshiped him blindly, without ever really discovering his truth for myself. I followed him because…it was all I had ever known. I’d never known anything different, having been born and raised into this way of life. So of course, it was only logical that I would follow him. However, I needed to truly experience his grace for myself before I could take it personally (in a good way).
In my freshman year of high school, I began being plagued by these terrible thoughts of: “Oh my goodness, what if God isn’t real?” Sometimes, they’d affect my waking consciousness, whereas other times, I would wake up in the middle of the night absolutely terrified that there was a possibility that I might be living a lie. The idea of not having anywhere to go when I died scared me more than anything else. But deep down, I was scared of God not existing, because what did that mean for me? Eventually, the thoughts subsided, and I convinced myself that of course God is real. There’s no reason for him not to be. Still, I never really experienced him on a personal level….that is, not until one night on a youth group trip in San Diego, which was the first time I ever heard him speaking to me.
I was now seventeen-years-old, having just completed my junior year of high school. At the time, I was struggling with feelings of self-doubt, and wondering what my purpose in life was (if I even had one). I felt guilty all the time about a sin that I kept hidden from others because I was afraid of being judged, even though it wasn’t really anything “major.” I went to this youth event, and we were singing “Revelation Song” by Kari Jobe. As we got to the part that goes: “holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” I started thinking of how beautiful it will be when we get to be in heaven and sing that directly to God. And then, that was when I truly heard him for the first time. In my heart and in my mind, I could feel him saying, “You have no idea how much I love you.” He began working in me to give me peace and joy that day, and it lasted for a while, but this had just been me dipping my toes in the water. I was to have another experience later on.
In 2013, I was 20-years-old, and felt lost and hopeless. Over the course of the past two years, I had continued to struggle with my sense of self-worth. I had asked God to forgive me for the sin that I mentioned earlier. Several times, in fact, but Satan kept making me feel guilty. His classic lie was: “You’re not really forgiven,” or “did God really say…?” I got into this spiral of sadness, and entered a really dark period of my life. I never self-harmed or anything like that, but I just wasn’t in a good place spiritually or emotionally. I was a volunteer youth leader at my church at the time, and while I could preach about Christ’s unconditional love for everyone, secretly, I believed that it applied to everybody but me. In the depths of my soul, I believed that due to my past, God hated me. In fact, I was convinced that he hated me, and that despite my best efforts at serving him, I would come up short and go to hell. So I was constantly in a state of spiritual torment. I remember one day actually asking God, “what’s the point of serving you if I’m just going to end up in hell anyway?” Like I said, it was a very dark place that I was in, and one that I hope to never go back to. I went to a leadership summit with my church, in the hope to hone my leadership skills and reach the high school and junior high kids that I was ministering to. Little did I know, God had a message for me on that trip. I’ve often noticed that God speaks to me through music when he has something to tell me, and this time was no exception. We were singing Matt Redman’s: 10,000 Reasons, and during part of the song, God spoke to me clearly. He gave me my identity. His words to me were: “I don’t care about what you’ve done in your past. What’s important is the here and now, and who I’m creating you to be.” I felt so relieved, because in that moment, I knew that he didn’t hate me. He loved me, just as I was, no matter how much I felt like the prodigal daughter. However, there was also a part of me that was a little upset and angry, because I had struggled for two years with thinking God hated me, and I was frustrated that he had allowed me to believe that lie. So I asked him, “then why did you wait two years to tell me this? Why did you let me struggle with hating myself and wondering if you hated me, too?” And he gently replied, “the why is not important. It’s how I’m working in you and transforming you that’s important.” And suddenly, I knew that he was right. The reasoning behind my struggle didn’t matter. The point was that God was using my struggle to point me back to him. All along, even when I doubted him and wondered where he was, he was right there, pointing me back to him.
Since then, I have had a few moments of questioning, and of being slightly afraid that I’m not good enough. I know that I don’t measure up to God’s standards, and that I can’t ever truly measure up until I get to heaven. But then, when I start to doubt and question, I go back to this moment, and I think about what God told me. I am reminded of who I am and whose I am. I know where I’ve been, and where I’m going, and I can’t wait to see who I turn out to be when God is finished with me. I believe that I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. I can’t give up or give in, I’ve got to stay strong and fight against everything that tries to bring me down. But I’m not alone. God is always by my side. And even on the darkest of days sometimes, when it’s hard to find God in all the chaos, or when I’m not feeling very valuable, I think of these two songs, and they make me happy, and draw me closer to Christ:
I hope this post has inspired you. Don’t forget, don’t ever give up. God loves you more than you can ever know or fathom. And he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
Well, it finally happened. The one thing that I fear the most about doing my business in a public bathroom or the bathroom at work…clogging the toilet. I’ve been known to clog a few toilets in my day. Ironically, the day that my husband and I first moved into our old apartment was also the first (and only) day that I clogged the toilet there and flooded the bathroom, much to the dismay of our downstairs neighbors, as there was an unknown hole in our floor and their ceiling. And well, things got..wet…fast. Fortunately, no damage was done, the hole was eventually caulked, and we moved out of that place and somehow got our deposit back. We’re in a much nicer, newer apartment now and, thankfully, I haven’t clogged the toilet here yet, though I’m sure that “yet” is the key word.
Anyway, it finally happened at work yesterday, and I was so embarrassed. Our bathroom isn’t public, thank goodness, and it has a cipher lock on the door so that only employees can go in, so that saved me some embarrassment, at least. Imagine my horror when I discovered the toilet was clogged at work. I’m not the best at plunging toilets, and I certainly didn’t want to go have someone help me because well, then they would have known that I was the one who clogged it, and then everyone would have heard about it. Office gossip travels fast, no matter what sort of office you work in.
Not wanting to embarrass myself any further than I already had (at least mentally, since no one knows about it except for just now), I grabbed the toilet plunger and said to myself, “ok, we’re going to do this! I don’t need help, we’re just going to try our best and do this!” I was so grateful that the plunger was inside the stall next to the toilet and not in a supply closet somewhere. That’s the last thing I want to be seen toting into the bathroom…especially since I’m still “the new girl,” as I’ve really only been with this company for a little over a month.
So I faced the toilet and somewhat confidently (but with mounting doubts) attempted to plunge the toilet. Thankfully, the clog came loose on my first try, I didn’t make a mess on the floor, I didn’t overflow the toilet, and it flush on my first attempt. That never happens. I was so happy. I immediately put the plunger back in its spot next to the toilet, washed my hands, and scurried out of the bathroom. I didn’t want anyone to know what had happened. Ironic, right? Especially given that I’m telling you, now. Oh well, all’s well that ends well. In reality, I guess it wasn’t as embarrassing as I’m making it out to be, mostly because I was by myself when it all happened, but it could have been so much worse. Thankfully, it wasn’t. Hopefully, I don’t ever have to worry about that again. But now you know why I really don’t like doing number two in bathrooms that aren’t at my home.
Whatever. C’est la vie, que sera sera. Moving on, and hoping that I never experience that again, at least not until I have my own house. 🙂
This post might be a bit odd, but that’s okay, because I am odd. I was inspired by this daily prompt that was posted a few days ago, as it reminded me of my days working retail. I don’t generally carry cash, and when I do, it seems like I either get crisp bills that stick together and are hard to tell apart (in terms of how many I have) or I get severely crumpled ones that look like they’ll disintegrate if you even touch them. However, it’s the crisp bills that I really can’t stand. Here’s why:
Due to the “sticky” nature of crisp bills, it’s hard to tell how many someone has given you at one time. Not only that, but they also feel a lot thicker, so it’s harder to tell if a bill is real or not. When I worked retail, that of course meant that I had to bust out the counterfeit detection marker and mark all the bills, which typically elicited either outrage at my having the audacity to verify the authenticity of the bill, confusion as to what the marker was for, or a stupid joke about the authenticity of the bills. Either way, they just aren’t my favorite. Even when I’m paying with them, I feel weird, because I have to make sure that I have the right amount, so it often takes time to separate them at the checkstand, and I really try my best not to be that customer.
That being said, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting a crisp, new bill in your hand. They look nice, they smell nice (yes, I have a thing for smelling paper, I don’t know why), and they’re just fun to look at and use. But they’re frustrating at the same time, so it really is a love-hate relationship.
I don’t know, that’s all I’ve got. This word was weird, as I was originally going to write a post about autumn, but it’s not even summer yet, so….I didn’t want to get too crazy.
Alright, folks, have fun. Stay cool!
You never realize how good it feels to be free from the horrid uniforms that you have to wear in retail (or most corporate, customer-facing companies, for that matter), until you finally are free. For years, I hated wearing my various companies’ uniforms. It didn’t make me feel like part of the team at all, it just made me feel frumpy and unnoticed, if anything else. I looked just like everyone else, so there was nothing unique or individual about me. Fortunately, when I started my job at this new company a few weeks ago, one of the many blessings that came with it is that, while I still have to wear professional clothing, it can still be business casual. And, even more importantly, every Friday is casual Friday. We’re talking jeans and t-shirts or hoodies! Yay!
Now, I never really realized how badly uniforms affected me emotionally until my last few months at my former company. I was craving some sort of self-expression, and I finally found a shrug that the company had created for us to wear, and since I could wear solid-colored shirts underneath it (gray, blue, black, white, etc.) I felt semi-empowered. I finally had a choice in regard to what I wore! And it finally gave me an excuse to wear jewelry! Normally, I only wear my wedding ring and that’s it, because there haven’t really been many opportunities for me to express myself in the workplace. Now, however, that has all changed. At my new company, I can wear a nice sweater, a dress, pretty much whatever I want as long as it meets the business-casual criteria, which really isn’t all that hard to fulfill at all.
There are many reasons why my depression has lifted, and most of them are job-related, but I think my clothing is honestly the biggest reasons. Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that we have casual Fridays. I love wearing some of my favorite t-shirts with various sayings on them to work, to see who gets the reference. So far, this is the only one that I have worn on a casual Friday, and no one really noticed it, but I’m hoping they eventually will.
I also found out that we have a Christmas party every year at my company, and do Secret Santa. We had that at my last company, but it was a holiday party, and Secret Santa had to be called “Secret Friend.” However, this company is so laid-back that I don’t think most people mind calling it Christmas or Secret Santa. Anyway, I’m going to find out if the party happens during the workday, or after-hours. If it is hosted after-hours, and if we don’t have to dress professionally for it, or if we have an ugly sweater contest, then I am totally going to wear this. I bought it specifically for use around the holidays for two reasons. First, I love the Lion King. It is absolutely my favorite Disney movie ever. Second, who doesn’t want an ugly Christmas sweater?
Finally, being able to dress the way that I want to opens up more doors for me in terms of conversation, which means that I can spark more friendships, find common interests, get recommendations on where to shop for certain items, etc. There’s just so much freedom in wearing what you want. I fully believe that we wear that which we want to define us, because we like it, and our likes and dislikes are part of who we are. Therefore, when I can wear what I want, part of my true identity comes out. I don’t feel like I have to hide in my shell anymore, I can just be myself. And what a beautiful feeling it is to simply be oneself.
We all have had imaginary friends in life, and as we have gone about our life journey, there have been imaginary characters that we have related to in one way or another. Perhaps that character is from a cartoon, a movie, a video game, or something else entirely. Whatever the case may be, that particular character inspires us for one reason or another, and as a result, we end up liking that character for the rest of our lives. I personally don’t see anything wrong with that, but maybe that’s just because I’m the sort of person who finds beauty in the small, everyday things, and sees a deeper meaning behind everything (but you already knew that from my various INFJ posts. ) Here are some of the imaginary characters that I can related to, and the reasons that I have for being inspired by them. See if you agree with my picks:
1. The Original Cheshire Cat
The original Cheshire cat from the 1950s version of Alice in Wonderland has always inspired me. Ever since I was a kid (90s baby), this beloved, kooky cat has stuck with me, and as I have gotten older and appreciated the finer things in life, some of his quotes have really stuck with me. For instance, the GIF that I just posted has one of his classic quotes. Ironically, I actually have this image posted in my cubicle at work, that’s how much I like it. You see, I know that I’m “not all there.” I can be a bit eccentric at times, I get some strange ideas, and sometimes I say and do just plain goofy things with no rhyme or reason. It’s just who I am. And people have taken notice in these instances, and often remarked on my odd behavior. However, I don’t let it get to me. Rather, I embrace it. I acknowledge that I am a bit “mad,” as Alice and the Cheshire cat would say. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes me unique. And surrounding myself with others who are equally odd often makes life fun.
2. Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Okazaki (Furukawa)
This is a story that speaks to my heart. The anime is called Clannad, and the continuation of the series occurs in Clannad: After Story. This is the first anime love story I ever watched, and it was the first anime that I actually liked and got me hooked on anime in general. My husband recommended it to me when we were dating. Folks, if you want a tear-fest, then boy oh boy is this the anime for you. It will tug on your heartstrings in more ways than one. Now, the reason that I relate to these two characters is because of many of the challenges that both of them face. Tomoya Okazaki has good friends, but is never really happy until he meets Nagisa, due to various circumstances in his life, some of which I can relate to, and soem which I cannot. Then there’s Nagisa. She always is trying to do the right thing, to be “good enough,” and to keep the peace at all times. She’s everything I want to be. PLUS, the love that they have for each other is amazing. You can tell they were made for each other. My husband and I have that same kind of relationship. We are soulmates. As long as we’ve been together, I knew he was the one. And we are committed to being by each other’s sides forever, just like Tomoya and Nagisa. Truly a match made in heaven.
3. Jonas from The Giver
I have read The Giver several times in life, and each time, it has utterly captivated me and rocked me to my core. I first read it in 8th grade, then again in 9th grade. All throughout high school, I would read it on my own, because I liked it that much. Then, finally, I was able to purchase the entire quartet (yes, there are ultimately four books that make up the complete series, and what a series it is!). I enjoy reading it because it helps me see things differently. I suppose that I most relate to Jonas because he doesn’t take the world at face value, but questions everything. He wants to see the world at it’s full potential, and he understands the true essence of right and wrong. Ultimately, he wants to unlock the door to whatever it is that he’s missing in life so that he can share it with others and bring them to a place of unrivaled love and happiness. What an amazing endgame to have! He inspires me nearly to tears in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. The movie was excellent, but the book is utterly AMAZING! If you’re even remotely interested in this series, I highly recommend you read at least the main book, The Giver, first, then watch the movie, then read the remaining books in the series to put the pieces together. Trust me, it’s well worth it.
4. Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars
This has got to be one of the most inspirational characters of our day. Augustus Waters never lets anything get him down, even on his bad days. He’s always finding something to smile about. Not to mention, he speaks like a poet. I mean, just look at the quote above. Hazel wants nothing to do with love, because she knows that it will ultimately end one day, and she wants him to be spared from that, and for herself to be spared as well. However, Augustus doesn’t care. Rather, he decides to spend forever with her, and to help her make the most of her life, while he simultaneously makes the most out of his. He helps her to see life in a positive way, and he helps infuse a little bit of life and happiness into the world, just by being himself. I tend to be a bit of a pessimist, but his personality is one that I aspire to have, or at least to work on having some day soon.
These are just a few of the imaginary characters that I can relate to. I can’t think of any more off the top of my head, at the moment, but I know that there are plenty more. So, what do you all think of my choices? Can you relate to any of these characters, too? Also, what are your choices for the most relatable and inspirational imaginary characters?