One Word (in two parts)

One Word (in two parts)

This was clearly intended for earlier in the year – oh well.

Part One -or- 2015

Embrace.

That was my word last year. I intended it to mean that I would embrace every opportunity that was presented to me in the course of the year. That made sense given the fact I was planning a cross country move – there would clearly be plenty of new things to embrace. And I feel like I embraced what life threw at me fairly well. I sat in the happiness and excitement and I sat in the sadness and loss that comes with moving 3000 miles away from your family and friends and almost everything you love. I feel like I lived my word in the best way that I could.

But there was something unexpected in that. While doing that I learned to embrace I am. I have always been too much of something and it something I have never liked about myself. I have always wanted to be that quite and soft spoken Good Christian Girl (TM). But that was never me. I often joke that my family never knew what to do with a daughter like me. But the truth is I didn’t know what to do with myself.

The last year was good and hard. Lonely and exciting. But in that transition something I never expected happened – I started to learn what to do with myself.

Part Two -or- 2016

I did something out of the ordinary  right before Thanksgiving last year. I wrote an email to a blogger who I’ve followed for years. I buy her books and occasionally will comment on a post or would like an Instagram picture but that is far as my engagement goes. But during a particularly hard time I decided to reach out in a new way to a person who had no clue I existed.

I was surprised by myself but even more surprised when less than two days later I had a response from her. Her words were much what I expected a response would be like, but I still felt heard and noticed and validated and comforted. Among all of the words I had hoped to hear there was one line that caught me off guard

And in the meantime, leave a bit of room in your story to be surprised – maybe not today, maybe not for years, but perhaps….

Room to be surprised.

It made so much sense given that I joke my life could be summed up in a simple phrase

I WAS DEFINITELY NOT EXPECTING THIS.

All the best and all the worst things that have happened in my short life have been followed by this sentiment in varying degrees of excitement, profanity, fear, anger or joy but always with utter bewilderment

As the we drew closer to the beginning of this year that word, surprise continued to be in the back of my mind and I knew it would be mine for 2016 and perhaps much longer.

As this year has continued I keep going back and in times when I don’t know what to do I have a particular friend who will remind me of my promise to myself to leave room to be surprised.

Allowing myself to not be so caught up in my plan and having things go me way has been one of the best things I could have ever done for myself and it continues to bring scary and wonderful results.

So here is to the rest of 2016 – may we all leave a little bit of room in our stories to be surprised.

 

 

PS This morning I even surprised myself by writing a thing

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Tracy’s Grand Adventure

Tracy’s Grand Adventure

Once upon there was a girl who wanted to move. Not too far away, close enough to go home for a weekend but far enough away for something new.

She went through life, grew up and then stayed and staying was hard. Staying was harder than leaving, but it’s what she did. She got a good job, had a wonderful apartment and fantastic friends.

Then – somewhat out of nowhere she decided to move after a conversation with her far-away best friend.

Seven months after that Skyped conversation with a packed car and tear-filled eyes and she finally moved – to Massachusetts; definitely not close enough to go home for a weekend but definitely somewhere new.


Now one day I will maybe blog about why I moved beyond the fact that was always my plan. I may talk about how moving without a job was never in the plan and nor was moving for the idea of something and not for a concrete plan. Maybe I’ll talk about the broken plans that led to me sitting in a Starbucks in the land of Dunkin’ Donuts and how I am living in a tiny apartment with my no long far-away best friend and how I am rather unemployed but trusting that won’t be the case for too long.

But for now – here is my cross-country move in pictures because I still refuse to get a Facebook.

Here’s to changes

Here’s to changes

Let me give you the condensed version of a conversation I had with one of my best friends in the fall.

Kaitlin: I have a thing that I want to do.

Me: That is an awesome thing that you want to do.

Kaitlin: Yeah, I’m excited

Me:

Kaitlin:

Me: I would love to help with the thing.

Kaitlin: Move out here and help with the thing.

And that kids, is how I decided to move to Massachusetts come this June.

 

Fun Sized Blogs (take three)

Fun Sized Blogs (take three)

Look! A blog full of fun sized blogs!

It’s been a while, internet. But hey, I’m a busy lady? Deal with it? I missed you?

School

I’m done. I finished my last class in December and I’m done! It hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I don’t have to be preparing for another class or that all this free time that I have is going to quickly vanish amongst night classes or homework.

I graduated with honors, getting only one B in my time at YVCC and a member of the honor society while working full-time and volunteering  (yes, I am bragging). Even though I am excited to be done (prepare for an unpopular opinion) I don’t feel a huge sense of accomplishment. I know, I know, I’m ridiculous. I think it might have to be with the high standards that I hold myself to. Or course I only got one B (curse you Plant Biology) because I get A’s and A-‘s… That’s what I do. Of course I graduated with honors and did it all while continuing my semi-normal life. That’s just what I do – If I can’t do something well and to the best of my abilities than I don’t know why I would want to spend my time doing it.

 

Food

My favorite thing that has happened since finishing school is I have time to cook again. I can only handle eating out so much and frozen and pre-made meals make eating not fun (and lets not forget generally far unhealthier than I generally like.) Now that school is over and Christmas and New Years have passed along with all the time spent with friends that goes along with it I have time to cook again! When I have time to cook my relationship with food is better, I eat better and stick

 

One Word 2015

I did this in 2013 and though I didn’t really talk or blog about it it still impacted my year. I intended to do it last year, but a word never came to me and I let it go. Because I couldn’t decide on a word last year I didn’t really plan to doing it this year. But then a while I was reading another blog (Sarah Bessy’s for anyone who cares) and a word popped into my head. It didn’t leave. I mulled it over and thought of things that may be happening and the direction I am going and figured this word was the perfect fit.

My word for two thousand fifteen is

embrace

Thankful Thursday (sixteen)

Thankful Thursday (sixteen)

hey internet. I’ve missed you?

I’ve been busy and my words have been broken. But here I am.

 

So yesterday for youth group we did a service night at the church. Pulling up carpet. It was hot and gross. But look what we found!

Service NightOn the right is the carpet that we removed. On the left is the beautiful hardwood floors.

Now, if I felt like it I could go into some Jesus-y thing about the beauty under the exterior or something-or-other (I mean, it was a church, it could be fitting). But I don’t want to (you are welcome).

Today I am thankful for something simple. Beautiful hardwood floors.

 

(oh and yes, I was totally that annoying person who stopped to take a picture while being in the way… I do what I want?)

 

Banana pecan muffins with a nutella swirl -or- I am not a food photographer

Banana pecan muffins with a nutella swirl -or- I am not a food photographer

I thought for a moment that I should become one of those super cool baking and/or cooking bloggers. You know, they take super artistic pictures of their food, have sharp step-by-step pictures and instructions, peppered with witty comments. Then eventually they publish a cookbook that I can’t afford (I’m looking at you Smitten Kitchen)

I like to cook, I find it mostly fun, occasionally frustrating. But I love to bake.

I love taking a few ingredients (or in many cases more than a few) and making something delicious. I have wanted to make these muffins for a while now. But I didn’t have any eggs. But today, I got paid, I went grocery shopping and I made these delicious Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins. And I contemplated becoming one of those cool bloggers who has neat pictures of everything they do. Then I decided making these as quickly as possible was more important. But if you use your imagination you can see it

*Picture me whisking all of my dry goods together in my vintage Pyrex mixing bowl*
*Now, I smash my bananas and mix in all the wet ingredients*
*Look at me chopping those pecans, like a pro*
*dang those muffin tins look exactly 3/4 of the way full* and why yes that is more than a mere teaspoon of Nutella swirled through*

It’s like you were here in my kitchen with me (creepy)

I then proceeded to burn my fingers and my mouth eating one less than a minute after they were taken out of the oven.

Don’t those look just lovely (a food photographer I am not, but I did use my canisters as the background, I am just so dang artsy)

There are a lot of things that make me love baking, but my most favorite is sharing the food I make. Tonight I took a plate of these muffins over to my neighbor and we had a nice chat about things while sitting on their front porch sharing food. To me making food counts as an act of service and often leads to quality time (my two love languages) and I think that’s why I love it so much.

Now excuse me while I got eat another muffin with all of its banana, Nutella, pecan goodness

 

*I am not capable of filling muffins tins evenly.

 

Get a better mirror

Get a better mirror

“If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself: get a better mirror, look a little closer, stare a little longer”

I posted this video a while ago and I still love it. But there is something about this line that stands out to me.

I feel like this is one of those topics that get talked to death so of course I am going to talk about it more (deal with it)
I’ll do my best to not ramble on (if I do, deal with it)

I pick the wrong mirrors all the time. I am a bad judge of what mirrors are accurate reflections of my life…

I chose the person that hmmmm’s in that judgmental way and looks at my stomach when I tell her I bought a bikini for the first time ever.

I chose the guy that dropped me when he stopped getting what he wanted.

I chose the friends that stopped returning text messages and decided they didn’t want me in their lives anymore.

I chose the voices that tell me that people shouldn’t take anxiety medication and “why don’t you just go on a run” (I hate hate hate running and it makes every part of me feel like crap, that’s why)

I chose the memories of weekends alone and the times of being the third, fifth, or seventh wheel.

I don’t know why I pick those mirrors, I have better ones. I have the friends that make sure to see me every time they are in town. I have the friends that loved me enough to want me in their wedding. I have the friend that would tell me if I looked bad in a bikini and would let me down gently. I have the voices telling me it is okay to quit sometimes and to not be so hard on myself. I have the person who compares me to real writers. I have my family, my wonderful family. I have those people. I know I do. But for some reason those are the mirrors that seem warped to me so I ignore them

I have these two mirrors that hang over my bed, perfectly leveled and hung with the promise they won’t fall on my in the night. I got them for a dollar apiece at an estate sale last year. I spray painted the frames purple and polished the mirrors. And after about a month I realized that one is warped. Every time I walk by it I notice how things look nice in one and in the other everything just looks slightly off, just enough to throw things off.

Sometimes when I look in them I forget that one is off and I stare at myself wondering what it wrong. Why does my forehead look so weird. Does my face really look like that? Then I’ll look in the other one really quick, but because I spent so long looking at the wrong mirror wonder what is wrong with me. It takes more than a glance into the good mirror for me to tell which one is which
(and that’s when I go look in the bathroom mirror because I really don’t have ten minutes to stare at myself when I am running late in the morning, seriously. No time.)

And that’s what I do with the people in my life. I spend so long focusing on the wrong mirrors what when I try to look at myself through the right one, everything still seems off. They can’t be right, I’ve spent too long looking at my warped self to tell which is right and which is wrong.

So I look at little closer. I stare a little longer. And I decide which mirror is true and which one I am going to believe. And I hope I pick the right one.

“I don’t know what I’m like. I get glimpses of myself in other people’s eyes. I try to be careful whom I use as a mirror. But we aren’t always careful of our mirrors. I’m not.”
–Madeleine L’Engle