Thursday, June 7, 2012

Counting Joys

Contrary to what it may look like, I have, in fact, written things on this blog lately. However, I haven't been brave enough to press the 'publish' button at the bottom of the entry. Each entry has been a little too personal and raw to toss out into the world wide web. To quote my mother, "These last six months have been a lot." And each time I hear her say that I let out a sigh of relief because I'm comforted that I'm not alone in feeling like this past season has indeed been a beating. Tonight on the phone my mom challenged me to write up a blog entry that counts the many joys in my life. So here is a list:

- Hunter & Kendall, my sweet niece and nephew and the ultimate Honey Boo Boo Children
- My sister and brother-in-law that regularly let me be an observer in their living room via Facetime
- Brinkley Boo (aka Sugar Pup!), the bravest Boxer dog in all the land
- Co-workers that make me laugh so hard I cry
- Roomies that love to share stories and life over lots of queso...and group texts at night
- My sister graduating high school and a fun time of being with all family
- Way too many sporting events on the tele: NBA Playoffs, French Open, US Golf Open
- A family friend that works near me who has given me great advice and encouragement in the last few months
- Monday Bachelorette nights with friends and food
- Tia & Tamara's reality TV show hitting the airwaves again next week (Why is it so good?!)
- Really amazing interns in our office the last two years (I know this seems odd but I have been really blessed by them)
- My great friend Kathryn marrying an amazing man -- and getting to be with her for a few days leading up to the big day and criss-crossing Dallas with her in the Blaze (may it rest in peace)
- My same friend Kathryn completing a FULL IRONMAN on my 27th birthday and being able to watch her cross the finish line on the internet --- thank you technology!
- Jim Gaffigan's latest stand up. See here:

I'll end with a great verse about another thing to count all joy even in hard seasons:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. - James 1:2-4

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Sissy is SO. SWEET."

A(nother) tribute.

My older sister recently had her second baby in June.  Her name is Kendall Jane and she has red hair just like her big brother. See here. My sister, brother-in-law and Hunter call her, "Sissy." She is precious. When my sister was pregnant with Kendall my roommate would often ask (in complete seriousness), "Do you think you will love Kendall as much as you love Hunter?" Now I know that this sounds like a dark question but my roommate has seen me talk about, blog about, email and skype with Hunter often. There is not a night in my house that goes by where I don't take out my phone and eagerly say, "Oh my goodness - look at this precious/ridiculous picture of Hunter." He still is one of my greatest delights.

But then came Sissy. I didn't think that a baby girl would behave much differently than a baby boy. But they really do. Sweet baby girls want two things: food and attention...and preferably in that order...which is exactly what adult girls want too but that is neither here nor there. Anyways - as I have spent time with Sissy I have learned one thing, "Sissy is SO. SWEET." (I regularly hear my sister say this to her while I am on the phone.)

So here is another tribute -- to Kendall Jane -- sweet Sissy -- you have stolen my heart!!!

"Oh, and FYI, it's going down this Thursday night."

(I wrote this in late August but didn't post it that night. I forgot that I wrote it until now. While everything below is still true a lot of the sadness has turned into excitement/joy! So lucky to call Kathryn one of my best friends.)

A celebration.

Tonight one of my best friends got engaged to an amazing man. I have been lucky enough to share a room with her the last 3 months as she transitioned from her lease ending on her apartment in Austin in May to moving to Dallas this past weekend. About a week ago I got a text message from her boyfriend that said, "Colleen - call me when Kathryn is not around. Don't tell her I asked you to call me." Every girl knows what this means. I gladly called him immediately, as she was not home, and he told me I needed to find out her ring size. Two things were happening in my head at that point: 1) Part of me was jumping up and down screaming like a 12 year old girl, 2) the other part of me was yelling at him to never call back and throwing the phone across the room. I know some of you are shocked by that -- but it's both exciting and sad at the same time to have one of your best friends move. I've been blessed to have her near for the last 3 years and by my side for the past 3 months. I was sad to lose her to distance but more overjoyed to get to help in the process of her being engaged to a man of great character. This is just a snapshot of things going on in life. There are changes happening all around. Really exciting things coupled with hard things....while engagement is happy, the loss of her here is sad. This same example has transitioned into all areas of my life right now: work, family, church, etc.

Through it all I have been reminded of one thing: Everything has its time. Night after night I keep coming back to Ecclesiastes 3 and reading it over and over. I hope this brings truth and encouragement to you all as well.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven: 
A time to be born, 
And a time to die; 
A time to plant, 
And a time to pluck what is planted; 
A time to kill, 
And a time to heal; 
A time to break down, 
And a time to build up; 
A time to weep, 
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, 
And a time to dance; 
A time to cast away stones, 
And a time to gather stones; 
A time to embrace, 
And a time to refrain from embracing; 
A time to gain, 
And a time to lose; 
A time to keep, 
And a time to throw away; 
A time to tear, 
And a time to sew; 
A time to keep silence, 
And a time to speak; 
A time to love, 
And a time to hate; 
A time of war, 
And a time of peace.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Oh yeah - the Berenstain Bears taught me to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom"

Recently our grocery store, H-E-B, has been promoting children's books. When I was standing in the checkout line I saw one of my favorites from growing up and naturally I had to buy it for my niece and nephew. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food:
I re-read it just now as an adult and realized there was a lot of things I missed as a child. Turns out the point of the book is that Papa, Brother and Sister are eating too much junk food - so Mama takes them to Dr. Grizzly and they realize their body has all of these systems and they have to eat good foods in order to help their bodies grow...they go on to run a 5k together with killer matching jumpsuits then go back to the treehouse to snack on more raisins, carrot sticks and nuts.

Yeaaaaah.....didn't get that as a child. The reason that I HAD TO BUY it for my niece and nephew is that because when I was a child I LOVED to look at what kind of candy/junk food bears ate. I remember staring at this picture a lot....

And I would try to think about what kind of junk food that was equivalent too in what I liked to eat. And I just loved the colors and the idea that bears also liked to binge on junk food as well.

Alas, now that you know all about that you can imagine my delight the next day at work when I turned the corner from the hall to the kitchen and saw THIS:

You GUESSED it. Someone placed in the free-for-all area in our kitchen at work a GIANT BAG OF PEANUT M&M's!!!! (who is crazy enough to do that?!?!). Did I literally scream out loud in excitement possibly interrupting a meeting that was going on in the conference room next to me? You betcha. (In my defense I didn't know there was a meeting and it was just with two people.)

Call it unprofessional. Call it unreasonable. I call it ..... CAAAAAAAAANDY!!!!!!!!!!!!

p.s. I discussed this with my coworker on the way back from lunch one I just like to look at the Berenstain Bears candy choices and she said, "Oh yeah - the Berenstain Bears taught me to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom."...Then she went on a rant about how when she has guests she just DOESNT UNDERSTAND why they squeeze it from the middle. And then I got scared....haha not really. Then I understood why we get along so well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"That is an awesome quote - I think it should be plastered on every girls' wall!"


So lately I joined this site called Pinterest. And it has changed my life. I've become a better woman. Ask people.  One thing I love is that people post funny quotes on the site.  Below are some pictures that have left me laughing.

This picture below explains life well right now. For all of us. My friend forwarded me this picture.

Oh man. I laughed audibly just posting that pic...Ok this next one I found on Pinterest and it PERFECTLY describes my life right now. I will be upset about something or really stewing over it....then I'll go to bed - take a nap, whatever - wake up in the morning and there will be a total difference in me. Someone will ask me how I feel about the situation and I'll be like, "oh, yeah - that's over - I'm good now."
This next image is a bumper sticker I saw when driving down the road. And again, I laughed audibly. And every now and then I'll think of it and laugh out loud again. It just never fails to crack me up.

Mom - if you are reading this - I apologize for the swear word in the next picture. I found this on Pinterest and I LOVE IT because it is SO TRUE. I spent a large part of college and a year in highschool weighing much more than I do now and I feel this next image deep. When I was a counselor for 15 year old girls at camp we told them that whenever they said something negative about their body we, as counselors, would drop and do 10 pushups with the hope that they would realize how often they spoke negatively about their bodies and also that their words affect others. But also this picture is hilarious - because we all relate:

Final picture of the day, I ran across this image on Pinterest and I immediately stopped and just had to think about it. SUCH TRUTH. I immediately sent it to my friend/co-worker telling her that I wanted to put it up on my wall at home and she said, "That is an awesome quote - I think it should be plastered on every girls' wall!" 

I hope you have all laughed audibly multiple times reading this!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"I know what you never forget it."

A tribute.

So three years ago today I broke my leg. I didn't just break it...I broke it reaaaal good. Rod in tibia - 4 screws in leg.  A book that I love, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, talks about living a good story and also centers around the parts that make up a good story. One central part he defines is the inciting incident and how that forever changes a person's story. Here is one of my favorite passages of the book, page 104:

"Robert McKee says humans naturally seek comfort and stability. Without an inciting incident that disrupts their comfort they won't enter into a story. They have to get fired from their job or be forced to sign up for a marathon. A ring has to be purchased. A home has to be sold. The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will never happen."

When I read this part of the book I knew my inciting incident was my broken leg. Because really my leg shouldn't have broken...I was on a skateboard going REALLY slowly on a carpeted floor. It didn't make sense to anyone...but yet I had a lot of time to think about it...months on the couch. It is a big reason why I am in Austin - I had planned to head up to Dallas after camp to live with a girl and find a non-profit to work for...but as I lied on the couch for 3 months slowly the dream came back...what about political science? What about government?  What about trying that field again - one that had been marked with every rejection possible when it came to applying for jobs/internships/etc.

My broken leg has also taught me how to run. I never was a runner before. During the months after I broke my leg if I didn't spend time every day strengthening my leg it would hurt worse the next day. I would have a more pronounced limp, etc. So I cycled with a resistance of 1 for a month after my surgery -- then up to 3 -- then 9....then the elliptical for a year....then --- I could RUN. Wind passing by my face running. And at first it was a glorified walk, a 12 minute mile, an 11 minute mile, etc.  Which, when I look back on how I have had to pay attention to my leg everyday I see the bigger picture of how we address broken places in our lives.

I met a girl yesterday and mentioned in passing that tomorrow would be the 3 year mark of my broken leg...she had a similar experience and said, "I know what you never forget it."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Now that's an understatement."

And now: a rant.
Lately I have been flying a lot. When I was younger I used to LOVE to would get us some bubblegum (the good kind - Bubblicious) to chew whenever we took off and were up in the air so that our ears wouldn't clog...I loved every part of it....I loved putting my backpack through the "xray machine"..which you probably could have put a bike through back then and nothing would beep. I loved walking to the terminal with my family...getting on the plane. I loved turbulence and I REALLY loved (and still do) a bumpy landing.
This all changed for me sometime in my middle school years. I think the TWA flight 800 scared me a bit.  Not to mention once on a flight BACK in the day I was sitting next to a woman IN THE AIR reading the bios of every person that died in the crash. YOU CAN'T READ THAT STUFF ON A PLANE!!! And then maybe it got a little worse after 9/11. I remember one flight I was on a few months after 9/11 and there was some 40 year old muscle man in army pants doing lunges and punches into the air in the back of the plane...a girl about my age in the row over was staring at him and he would just tilt his neck and stare back at her...all creepy-scary like...and I thought to myself, "Oh yeah...this guy is charging the cockpit and we are done." The plane landed. No issue.
Flash forward to two years ago. I was on a smaller plane from Wisconsin to Texas and there was a bad storm over the St. Louis area and things out the window were getting bleak. I was watching our flight attendant like a hawk...he kept getting on the phone to talk to the pilots and when he put a seat belt on I knew we were in for it. Lets just say I SAW OUR PLANE GET HIT BY LIGHTNING!!!...then our plane started making a weird revving noise and going up and down (to the point you couldn't really feel how much or little the plane was going up and down). People were screaming, etc. It was traumatic...but clearly I lived.  Now to those of you out there thinking, "Well I read an article about how planes are engineered to have lightning hit them and they get hit all the time." Ok - do me a favor - get in a plane, get to 30,000 feet and see a horizontal streak of lightning touching the wing of your plane going back to where the engine is. And read the article again.
So anyways...I flew around the 4th of July this year and my plane that was supposed to take off at 9:00AM from Dallas didn't end up taking off until 2:45PM because they had to fly in a new plane as the one we were supposed to be on had unfixable mechanical issues....yessssss that is right...long. fun. layover. So when I finally got to my grandparents that night I was telling everyone the story of how I had a 7+ hour layover and how I wasn't the calmest flyer in the world to begin with. And my Grandpa goes, "Now that's an understatement." Niiiiiice.  So anyways, as I have been flying this summer I have had some ideas.
Ok - so you know that point in flying when you are throwing everything you own in bins and shoving them down long metal tables...taking off your shoes, undoing your belt, removing all the jewelry you didn't know you had on, trying to take any liquids out of your luggage (pending on which airport you're at), all the while making sure that your boarding pass stays somewhere you remember through the entire process of people yelling at you??? It looks something like this:

Yes yes. That is the moment I'm talking about. I think there should be photographers in that moment....kind of like when you walk into a theme park and someone comes up and says, "Can we take a picture of you and your group?" Ok - well this person would take a picture of you as you look RIDICULOUS and then maybe again on the flip side when you're walking to the nearest bench with your shoes in your hand..trailing your belt and purse/suitcase awkwardly and looking dejected and then they could send this picture to your loved ones and EVERYONE could get a good laugh. I think it would bank. I mean $$$$$$ BANK.
One final thought from my flight yesterday: Why would you bring tuna on a plane? Now I know I'm not reinventing the wheel with this happening to me because once on an episode of The Office, Oscar brought a tuna sandwich on the plane. But someone did it to me yesterday. And it took all I had not to stand up and turn around in my seat and yell, "OK SERIOUSLY --  WHO BROUGHT THE TUNA??? AND WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM!?" 

I have a few more stories...but I don't want to speak of them here. Ask me in person. I'll tell you. Say these three words: Emergency. Exit. Row.