Friday, November 25, 2016

Go for Broke...I mean Boots

I went for the boots.

I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday… which is now technically Thanksgiving Thursday night.  I’ve gone for the people watching which lasted maybe 30 minutes one time and even then, I hated every second of it.

Shopping isn’t my thing.

Crowds aren’t my thing.

Cranky people aren’t my thing.

But Kohl’s and their marketing team are brilliant and sent me a flier in the mail, showing me all of their amazing Black Friday deals.  The $20 boots made me change my mind about going shopping on a holiday, let alone, the biggest shopping day of the year.

And so, towards the end of Thanksgiving evening, I found myself heading into Kohl’s in hopes of getting some awesome boots.  I didn’t rush to be one of the first people there because I wear a size 10.... which means it’s above the average size of shoe and less people will be looking for that size.  

However, it also means there are less in stock because that size isn’t as high in demand.

The parking lot was filled with cars.  Not one space was empty.  All I could think about was ALL those PEOPLE inside the store.  But, I mustered up the courage and desire for boots, and went in anyway. 

The checkout line went all the way to the very back of the store.  I headed to the boot section and saw the most amazing pair of boots for $20.  And no size 10.  I even asked one of the lovely employees if there was any in my size in stock but the answer was no.  So, I moved on to another pair which had a size 10 and was on sale, so I scooped them up.  None of the other boots I liked were on sale, so I moved on to the next section.

I would have loved to thrown them into a cart or bag, but there were none available, so everything I picked up, I had to carry, which wasn’t going to be easy because I also wanted to get a few kitchen appliances which had some really awesome prices.  Within 20 minutes of my shopping venture, I was trying to balance 4 boxes in my hands. 



They also had pillows and towels on sale, which are items I really need, but I had no idea how I was going to balance everything.  My trusty Black Friday shopping companion helped me as much as possible but soon we were getting clumsy, knocking over display items and dropping something every few minutes.   Finally, I volunteered to keep all of our possessions in the corner and take turns shopping.  It seemed to work out in our favor, even though all it did was make me realize how done I was with shopping and we still had a really long line to stand in.

I picked up a winter coat which has been something on my list to purchase for a few years, but I’ve always gotten by layering and sweatshirts.  By the time we made it to the line, it was even further wrapping around the store.   We dropped our things and I headed off to the bathroom.  By the time I got back, my shopping partner was really struggling to move everything down the line.  I hopped back in line and instantly knocked over my box of boots and struggled to flip them over.  After a few minutes of laughing out loud at myself and making light of the situation, the lady behind me asked if she could help me.

“Well, if you’re not going anywhere or doing anything, I’d love your help.” 

She laughed and quickly helped me get on my way.  “Why not?  It’s not like my hands are filled like yours.”

“Right, wouldn’t it have been nice if they had extra carts?”

We continued to make small talk about taking turns napping, escaping to the massage chairs, yet we kept to ourselves.  I would sometimes detour from the line and look at a few other things but it wasn’t until we got to a display of boots that really made me change my tune of being tired, to being excited to be a did-it-for-the-deals shopper.  As much as I love boots, I have a really hard time finding boots that fit my massive calves!  Not only do I work out on a regular basis but I also stand on my feet most of the time, so my calves make shopping for boots a struggle!  However this pair had laces up the back so it seemed like it would be a good pair of boots for someone with big calves.  Since we still had at least a half an hour left in line before even seeing the checkout counters, I decided to look for my size.  And there it was, on the very bottom of the display.

I set down all the things I had been carrying and started to pull out the box.  The whole pile started to tilt and I went to catch it but I was a little too slow and the top box toppled off the display on to the floor on the other side.  The ladies behind me were laughing and one went to get the box that had fallen over.  A few minutes later, my shoe was off and I was working on shoving my foot in the boot.  And that’s when I realized I was trying to put the boot on the wrong foot.   The ladies behind me laughed as I kicked off my other boot and started putting on the other foot, when I realized, I was actually right the first time!  However, I still needed to unlace the boot so I could get my foot all the way in.

One of the ladies had mentioned something about wanting to be more comfortable while standing in line and I jokingly told her to take off her shoes and feel at home!  After all, I had my shoes off!  I was standing in line in my socks. They went with it and we continued to joke about how I was keeping them entertained while in line vs. someone with a bad attitude and making the wait unpleasant!   While we were having a good time and while I was still continuing to try and put on this boot (which had now caused me to break a sweat) the people beyond us weren’t quiet as amused with my entertainment and kept giving me glaring looks. 

Now, I don’t know if you know this about me or not, but the more unhappy you look around me, the more I try to make you smile.  I mean, we were all in line, we weren’t going anywhere, why not have a little fun?!?! 

After 15 minutes, many attempts, several jokes, sweat forming on my forehead, and a lot of laughter, I finally got one boot on.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, mostly because I was exhausted from putting the boot on.  I got a thumbs up from the ladies behind me, and my shopping buddy.  Plus, they were on sale for $30.  “When you get all the laces where you want them, it won’t take you 20 minutes to put one boot on, either.”  One of the ladies reminded me as I was trying to decide whether or not I liked how they looked on me.  I was concerned about the fact that so much leg would be showing between the laces and I didn’t want the back of my leg to look….lumpy.

I thought she was going to wet herself when I described the possibility of my leg looking lumpy.  We were loud, laughing, and having a good time, while the people behind us still gave us grumpy looks. 

Taking the boot off was just as exhausting as putting it on, and almost as entertaining!  However once I got the boot off, that extra long box made us scooting our purchases along the floor of the store so much easier.   When we finally got to the register, I told the ladies behind me to have a happy thanksgiving and that I was so pleased they put up with me without getting grumpy and made our experience in line a pleasure.   We parted ways and I gave Kohl’s more money that I had intended.


I made it home two hours later, which isn’t bad considering one hour was in line.  Even though I got 2 pairs of boots, a winter coat, 3 different kitchen appliances, 2 pillows, and 2 towels for $140, I don’t know if I will make Black Friday shopping a tradition.  The experience wasn’t horrible but exhausting!   I still much prefer the luxury of shopping online….and boots are one thing I refuse to purchase online because of my calves.  

But missing this chance to get amazing boots for $30?!?!? I might be back at Kohl's a year from now.


Monday, October 31, 2016

That Time I went to a Nigerian Wedding... Hallelujah Amen!

It's been a while since I've experienced jet lag but I seem to have a case of it after this weekend....and even though I didn't technically fly to Africa for a wedding...it feels like I crossed time zones and spent the weekend in a completely different country with a completely different culture.

I did travel though, to Detroit, Michigan...which is still in the same time zone...so I have no idea why I am having issues with this "what day is it?  where am I?  what time zone am I in?" feeling.  However, I think it might have something to do with driving to Detroit and back to Wooster in the same day.

Going to this wedding was a last minute choice.  I say choice loosely because it was more of an obligation.  I have been spending some time with a guy and he asked me a while back to go with him to this wedding.  I told him I didn't think we were there yet and we could see where we were when the wedding got closer.  He took that to mean he should check yes, and RSVP for two.

A few days ago he said, "we need to leave around 10 to get to the wedding on time."

"It's this weekend?  I have plans, and we were supposed to discuss this."  I said.

"I already told them you were coming, they rearranged the seating to make a plate for you, and it is a fancy wedding."  He reminds me.  "Plus, I need you to be my date, either you go with me or I don't go to the wedding."

I'm not always covered in sweat.
I can clean up.
Dang it.  It is one of his good friends and I knew he wanted to go to the wedding, so I cancelled my plans and got all fancied up and headed to Detroit to attend a wedding for people I'd never met before in my life.  The only thing I knew about this couple was the groom was from Nigeria, and the bride was a doctor.

What I didn't know is the bride's family was also from Nigeria which meant I got to experience a Nigerian wedding which has kinda been on my bucket list.  Technically, I just wanted to go to an African wedding, I didn't really care which country in Africa, just a total cultural experience kind of wedding.  (And Indian and Romanian weddings are also on the list... and a Royal wedding but Prince William didn't get the memo that I was supposed to be his bride and be a PART of that wedding.  It's cool, I've forgiven him and I really think Kate is a perfect choice for him.)   I've always been fascinated with different cultures which is probably why I enjoy traveling so much...and have no problems dating difference ethnic groups.
                                                 
I sat and watched women walk in with colorful dresses and  gele headtie styles, and men in their yoruba dress and aso oke.  (I got the names from google... hopefully I got them right!)  And suddenly I was feeling rather dull since I was in a solid blue dress.  I desperately wanted to be dressed as a Nigerian in a bright dress!  As soon as one lady sat down beside me, I oozed out my love for her dress and how beautiful she looked.  I couldn't help myself!  My date, on the other hand, was probably wishing I would chill out!


*While we were waiting for the reception to begin,
I almost go the opportunity to learn how to
make a headtie...but it turned out to be too
short!

The music started and by that I mean, two mean started singing from deep within them.  I had no idea what they were saying but it was beautiful and powerful!  I found myself moving to the music.  Soon, a loud drum beat joined in.  I don't know if you've ever been able to feel power, or spirit, or love, or any other type of positive vibes from music, but this is what it felt like.  Magnified.

Everyone was shouting hallelujah, amen!  Praise be to God the Father.  Over and over.  It was a total spiritual experience.  I imagine this is what the big tent revivals felt like back in the day.  The wedding continued but it was mostly just one long powerful prayer!  Hallelujah amen.  When it was time for the family blessing, the parents walked up and the new husband and wife greeted their in-laws by bending low and touching their feet.  I imagine this is to show respect.  Then, the family surrounded them and the rest of those attending the wedding were asked to place our hands in front of us as if we were putting our hands on the new couple while they prayed over them.

Let me tell you, I had tingles in my arm... and they weren't the kind of tingles you get when your arms fall asleep.  I leaned over to my date and said, wow, this is powerful, and spiritual, and beautiful, thank you for inviting me to experience this.

It wasn't too much longer that we got the opportunity to go greet the new couple.  The singer went back on stage, the tribal music started playing again, and we danced down the aisle to greet the bride and groom, to give them a hug, and then go back to our seats.  Nigerian dancing is hard to explain but it's mostly like a really slow walk.  You step, and shake, step the other foot, and shake.  This is one step.  And they are baby steps.  I'm sure you can imagine this was a very slow process to greet and congratulate the couple.  It was around this time that I learned Nigerians have absolutely NO sense of time.

The ceremony ended after 2 hours and that was only because the wedding planner was in the back motioning to the watch on her hand.  There was a reception to go to and pictures needed done and all that exhausting wedding behind the scene stuff.  The ceremony ended and we headed over to the reception.  It was around this time my date said the most ridiculous sentence I'd ever heard him say....  "we were like the only white people there."

I looked at him with a very confused look on my face.  "Um, you know you're not white, don't you?"  I picked up his arm and put it beside my arm.  Pointing my my arm, I said, "This is white skin.  And you are not white."

"Well, I'm not black.  And I've lost a lot of my coloring since living in the United States. What color would you call me?"  He asks in an innocent way which is equally hilarious and sweet.

"Tan... brown...dark...dusky... even when you are pale, you aren't white!"

"Maybe if you spend a little more time in the sun, you'll be tan like me."  He said, but I remind him that this IS my skin with a tan and winter is coming....my shade of pale will only get stronger.


We headed to the reception and watched everyone make their grand entrance with more dancing!  Only, it was like the entire family coming in instead of just the mom and dad.  They would dance and dance, and then people would surround them and start throwing dollar bills on the father of the bride, the mother of the groom, and when the bride came out, she got showered in cash.  I kept thinking... this means something much different here in America.

I was also seating at the international table.  I was hoping for fascinating discussions of culture but everyone at the table was my date's coworkers, so they talked about work and the groom.  I was seated at the same table with someone from Iraq, Turkey, Taiwan, Iran and China.  I felt so American!  I was the only person at the table who wasn't bilingual.  *Note to self, must learn another language.

We kept waiting for "real" dance music to come on so we could join in on the dancing but they seemed pretty content with their tribal stomping, and knowing we had to drive home and it was already late, we decided to call it a day and head back to Wooster, Ohio.... with headaches from the drumbeats, bellies filled with Nigerian food, gifts from parents of the bride and groom, and blessings and prayers from everyone we talked to.

It was an amazing experience, and I'm really glad I cancelled my plans and went to experience it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Trying to Love When Grumpy...

Is there anything worse than going through a phase when you just don't sleep good?  It's taking me a little bit longer to fall asleep at night but I'm still sleeping, however, I wake up completely exhausted from not sleeping very well for 5-8 hours prior!  This has been going on for about four days now and I'm simply done.

I don't want to think.  I don't want to work.  I don't want to do anything but sleep.

However, tired or not, life still goes on, and I had a project with a deadline that needed done or else I wouldn't get paid for it.  Since I like having extra money in my pocket, I decided to go ahead and complete the project with bags under my eyes.

I needed pink tape to finish my project.  I didn't think it would be too difficult to find pink tape since it decorative tape became trendy a few years ago.   I went to the store after a long day at work only to find they didn't have anything but regular, clear, boring tape.

Frustrated and desperately wanting a nap, I ventured off to another store.  It's a store I don't particularly like going to because every time I go there I have horrible service but I didn't want to drive across town and go to the craft store or Walmart, so off I went.

I found the tape in a few minutes and somehow managed to pick up a few planters pots because they were 75% off and pretty!  From there, I decided it was time to leave the store while I still had money in my pocket.  

Now, why exactly do stores have 20 or so check out registers and only one or two are open?!?!  This drives me crazy.  However, I went to the shorter line and waited.... and waited...and waited.  I don't know what was taking so long.  When I picked the line, the customer was literally swiping her credit card in the machine.  This NORMALLY means the transaction has occurred and they would be picking up their bags shortly.  Several minutes later, I finally set my plant pots and tape on the counter so I can check out and head home.

The first item the cashier picked up was the tape.  Somehow on my journey across the store, the cardboard with the price tag fell off.  This series of events made the cashier very distraught!  She had no idea what to do in this situation.  She looked at me, she looked at the tape, she looked at the other cashier, and then she did a shoulder scrunch.  "I don't know what to do.  Did you still want to buy it?"  She asks.

I'm not going to lie, I'd lost my patience several minutes ago and so I wasn't exactly all rainbows and butterflies when I said, "yes, it's why I came to the store."

She paused, still clearly trying to access the situation.  Finally she said, "do you know how much it was?"

"I don't know, 3 something, maybe $3.19 or $3.99"  I respond.

"Well which one was it because I'd hate to charge you $3.99 if it's $3.19."  Her pace was as slow as her speech which irritated my tired self even more.

"I have no idea.  Charge me $3.99, I'm okay with that."  I respond.

She looks at her screen, she looks at the tape, she looks back to her screen.  "I don't know how I'm supposed to override this.  Hold on."  She leans over to the lady at the next register.  "There's nothing on this for me to scan.  What should I do?"

The lady gave her a wow, really smile and said, "why don't you call the stationary department?  You can't sell it to her if you don't know the price."

She looked back at me, completely oblivious to the two other people who have gotten in line behind me.  I only had three items, it shouldn't take me very long to check out, right?   Finally she said, "do you want to go back and pick up a new roll of tape?"

"No, you can call them."  I responded and watched her cluelessly try to call the stationary department.  I realized a minute into her starring at the phone that I should have walked back across the store to pick up a new roll of tape. I kept telling myself she is a moron, idiot, GOD'S child and He loves her though He might be the only one and she makes someone smile but not me.  I radiate love okay, I'm trying to anyway and there is nothing about this situation that should frustrate me other than the fact that she is horrible at her job! 

She makes the call and they have to call her back.  Now, she can't find pen and paper to write down the SKU number.  The two people behind me have moved over to the other cashier and have checked out and gone on their merry way while my cashier still hasn't rung in 1 of the 3 items I decided to purchase.  I almost suggest that she can scan my pots and wrap them in bags while we waited but then the phone rang.  She finally found a pen and paper and by the third ring, she answered the phone, slowly jotting down the SKU number.  She walks over to her register and types them in, one index finger tap at a time while triple checking each number before moving on.

"Oh, look, it was $3.99!"  She exclaims with pure joy.  You are God's child and He created you out of love.  Someone loves you. You make someone very happy.  Just smile at her and be nice. 

"Yay!"  I unenthusiastically reply.  She scans my pots and doesn't put any of my purchased items in a bag.  I stack the pots and throw the tape inside and FINALLY walk out the door of the store.  

This trip took me 20 minutes. TWENTY FREAKIN' MINUTES!

Talk about being grumpy.  I tried so hard to change my mood, to shake it off, to remind myself of every positive mantra I'd repeated over the last few years but it wasn't working.  She simply set off my grumpy mood  and negative thought alarm and as much as I tried to ignore it, the meaner the talk got inside of my head.
.
So, here's the truth.  Sometimes it is really hard to love people when you are grumpy.  Like, really hard.  Sometimes hating people is easier.  Sometimes I take the easy route even when I know it is wrong.

I made a commitment to myself after this frustrating moment, and that is, I will never go to that store again.  I have never had a good experience there.  I will simply run to the other side of town to avoid a store with slow and not so great service.

And, I'll try to love people even when I'm grumpy.

Monday, October 3, 2016

That Time I Thought I was Going to Die

The first time I went to Cedar Point, I wasn't very old.... or very tall.  In fact, I was about an inch too short to go on any of the REAL rides which completely devastated me!  I was an adventure-chasing-thrill-seeking kid who desperately wanted to be tall enough to ride the Mean Streak.

My brothers were tall enough to ride though.  And they went on the ride while I balled my eyes out.  When they returned, their faces were as white as could be, and my brother B's glasses were still crooked.  Apparently he still couldn't use his arms to adjust his glasses.  He was frozen with fear while riding the Mean Streak.

They hated the roller coaster ride and NEVER wanted to ride it again.

By the time I was tall enough to go on the rides, I was unstoppable.  It didn't matter how big, how fast, or how scary the ride was, I was on it.   The first time I went on the Millennium Force, I laughed the whole entire ride.  I wasn't one of those people who screamed on rides.  Rides were just a fun rush!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when my brother asked me if I wanted to go with him to Cedar Point.  The company he works for was declaring it their company picnic and picking up the bill.  If there is one thing I like more than roller coasters, it's free tickets to go on them!

Yesterday was the big day.  We got there before the park even opened but there were rides going already.  And that's when I decided to watch the newest ride.  Valravn.  It didn't look too incredibly tall but it was the drop off that was making me weak in the knees.  I've never liked rides with straight drops.  I will take loops until I'm queasy over a straight drop.

Only this ride didn't just let you drop straight down, oh no.  This ride stops you at the very top of the drop and lets you dangle before dropping.  I would watch and count the seconds of the carts hanging, then listen to the screams come from every single rider.

I looked over at my brother and told him, "I don't think I want to do that one."

"But it's the new one, we have to do it...don't we?"  He suggested.

I told him I needed some warm up rides before going on Valravn, and so we started small with rides we'd done many times, and because it was early in the morning, and late in the season, we had very little wait time.  We knocked out the Iron Dragon and Rougarou in our first hour.

After lunch we did my favorite ride, the Raptor, and then we headed to a ride with a straight drop but not nearly as high as Valravn's, the Maverick.  The drop on the Maverick was only 100 feet while the drop on the Valravn was 214 feet.

By the time we finished those two rides and walking around, it was time to eat again.  Knowing we probably only had enough time for one more ride, my brother convinced me to go on the new one.  I agreed on one condition... we sit in the last row.  I did not want to hang 214 feet in the air for 6 seconds while looking straight down.

We got buckled in and the ride started moving up hill... the higher we got, the more I was regretting my decision to go on this ride.   And then we were at the top hanging over....stopped....

My brother was curing like a sailor.  I was trying to but all that came out was sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-oh-oh-oh-sh-sh-sh.... and then we dropped and I screamed louder than I had ever screamed in my entire life! We looped, we went upside down, and sideways... and then we came to the top of another straight drop, though this one didn't stop, it went slow enough for me too know it was coming.  I was in complete panic mode and I looked at my brother and nearly crying, I said, "please don't make me do another DROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP OOHHHH SHSHSHSSHSHSH AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"  Again, my scream probably could have been heard across the park.

A few seconds later and the ride is over.  My brother tries to give me a high five to congratulate me for surviving the scariest ride I've ever been on in my life.  However, my hands are still gripped to the ride, so he literally has to pick up my hand and slap it to his.  We unbuckled and my legs were shaking but I was so happy to be on the ground again.

"That was scary as hell but it was fun, wasn't it?"  B asks me but I give him the look of death.

"I. I. I. I. am still trying to process everything."  I finally get out.  "I will never EVER go on that ride again."

We have to stop at the nearest bench so I can sit down and calm my nerves... which takes almost an hour.  My brother asks me how many times we went upside down on the ride and I answer him honestly, "Other than the drops, I have no memory of that ride, I'm starting to think I blacked out!"  We laugh but it's true, I didn't block out but my mind was completely paralyzed by fear and that's a feeling I don't get very often.  I couldn't even function enough to swear!

For the record, my brother agrees that it is the scariest ride he has ever been on, and I'm not sure how quick he will be at doing it again, either.  But me, that was the LAST time I will ever ride  Valravn.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Loser in Aisle 11

I recently binged watched Stranger Things on Netflix.  It was wonderful and the boy who plays Dustin is the CUTEST kid ever.  One of my friend,s who also got hooked on Stranger Things is convinced that if I were ever to have a son, he would look like Dustin.   I'm pretty sure she is right. 

 (Let's refer back to this post someday when I have a son and we will compare photos.)

Anyway, once I finished the season, I remembered I needed some almond milk from the store.  Even though this is my month of making everything from scratch, I haven't gotten everything from the store that I need to make almond milk, and it has to sit over night.  So, as you can see, I made the exception.  I do intended to make it sometime this month.  

I jotted down a few other things I needed from the store before I made my way out for the day.  As I was filling my cart, I took a moment to look down at my cart and that's when it hit me.  I was a total loser.  Like double L7 weenie kind of loser.

In my cart, I had....
almond milk
cat litter
a grow light
bird feed
and
spoons

Could we stamp single loser on my forehead and call it a day?

The thing is, I only let this sad, woe is me, moment last for a moment.  Instead of feeling bad about being a loser, I embraced it.  I like almond milk. I like when my apartment doesn't smell like cat poo. I want my avocado tree to make it thru the winter,. I like watching Prim watch the birds, and lastly. my spoons grew legs and walked away and I literally don't have one spoon in my silverware drawer.

I've been a loser for a while now and I'm finally okay with it. 

This morning at work, one of my coworkers was going on and on about how she loves Australian men.  She said if she were single she would be there trying to find a man, after all, she "would make a horrible single person."

My other coworker chimed in sharing that she would also be a horrible single person.

Wanting to feel included in the conversation, I said, "and apparently I am really good at being single."

A quick, "yeah you are" was said before the awkward hush filled the room.   After the long, awkward moment, another stab was made, "you know, that isn't something you want to be good at."

I nodded.

The thing is, I would rather be good at being single than be a desperate and clingy woman who would settle for anyone just so they don't have to be single.  I know too many women who settle for being a Mrs. instead of chasing happily ever after.  They stay in empty and unhappy marriages fantasizing about men in Australia.

It didn't stop there.  Next, they talked about how I have to use online dating and end up dating men who might be terrorists.  (Yes, I dated a guy from the Middle East for a while.  No, he isn't a terrorist.)

I may not have dates very often, and I might spend too much money on my plants and cat, but to be honest, I would rather be a loser than be someone who isn't true to who they are deep down inside.

I am a loser and really good at being single.

This is me owning it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My Body is Physical and Spiritual... What about Everything Else?

I grew up in a Christian household.  I was raised to believe that premarital sex is bad.  Tattoos are bad.   Alcohol is bad.  Drugs are bad.  I was taught these things were bad because my body is a temple and God resides in the temple.  Therefore, sins like sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll were not allowed.  (Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

I was taught that taking time for yourself and self-care was selfish and narcissistic. I was taught to be a people pleaser and to go out of my way to help others, even if it went unnoticed.  In fact, if it went unnoticed, it was a greater blessing to God because if it had been noticed, the praise would go to me and my head and not to God. (Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. - Philippians 2-2-5)

I'm not saying any of these things are wrong but I was never taught in order to fully serve people, you have to take care of yourself too.  While my body is a temple and I am to honor God with how I live my life in the physical world, I was never taught to properly take care of myself because spending too much time taking care of myself was a sign of vanity.  Because I never learned this lesson, I struggle with the people pleasing side effects of trying to pour from an empty cup.  I give until I run on empty and then have to find ways to fill the void.

This is where I lack in my Christian faith because I've always been taught that God is the answer to my empty cup and if I would just spend more time with Him and His Word, I would never feel moments of loneliness, emptiness, and feeling lost. My faith knows where I will spend eternity, my faith knows that I am loved unconditionally by my Creator, my faith knows God is in control... so to me, an empty cup is not a sign that I need to focus on my faith.  An empty cup is a sign that I need to properly fill my body.

My body is a temple.

My HUMAN body.  My body is both physical and spiritual.  This body needs rest, food, and physical touch.  This body needs love, kindness, and compassion... from others and myself.   This body needs to heal.  This body needs so much in order to be a temple for God.

When I first started doing yoga, people thought I had abandoned my faith and that I had gone off the crazy end because I was meditating.  Ironically, yoga has helped me keep my faith instead of abandoning it when I started questioning my existence and purpose behind it.  It was during my yoga journey that I discovered how important self-care and self-love are in life.

I couldn't be a temple for God to reside in if I didn't love myself.  And I didn't want God in a body as unhealthy as mine.  He didn't deserve to be in that mess of self-hatred, anger, and hurt.  I didn't treat my body like a temple.  I treated it like a death trap.

I was never taught to eat like my body was a temple.  The more I learn about all the chemicals in and on our foods, the less I want to put them in my physical body because of health reasons, but looking at it in a spiritual light (thanks to profound incite from Joel Salatin and his book, The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs), I wouldn't bring anything but the best food to God's temple, so why do I put harmful foods in my body because it costs a few dollars less?  I'm starting to look at food as a moral issue.  Is food as much of a spiritual issue as abstaining from premarital sex or getting a tattoo?  I think it is up there.

In Genesis, we learn that whatever God created was good.  He created food and in the beginning it was pure.  Now, what we eat in this day and age is hardly classified as food.  To get back to God and his creation in the physical world would mean eating purer and cleaner foods.

I believe it was C.S. Lewis (not positive) who said "we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience."  The more I live and grow, through yoga, through clean eating, through self-love.,.. the more I realize EVERYTHING is spiritual, and we are lucky enough to be a part of it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Perfect Match

I've analyzed many things in my head but the one I probably obsess over the most is how and why I am single.

And then I realized the answer as I was getting ready to meet a guy from match.com on Saturday night.

Dating gives me anxiety.   It used to be about whether or not I was good enough or attractive enough because I was stuck in a world ruled by societies view of me.  And then it was about what everyone else would think about me being in a relationship and if my friends and family would approve of the person I was dating (which they never have so I've gotten over that anxiety).

Then, as I was standing in my kitchen, falling back into bad habits of emotional eating as a way to fix my anxiety, I realized that it's never the actual date itself that gives me anxiety.  It's all the possibilities that come along with a date.

Like, was the guy I was about to meet going to be the freaking love of my life?  Would I immediately fall head over heels in love with him?  Would we run off and get married and have children?  Would we grow old together?  Would we pick out plots side by side in the grave yard?  Or, would he be a dud?  Would it be another long evening filled with disappointments?  Would it be so bad that I start to question why I'm even looking for love to begin with?  Did I even want marriage and children after being alone for so long?  What was I even doing?

These were just a few of the thoughts running through my head as I was making another microwaved smore which is not on my current eating plan.  Don't worry, I got a few veggies with my salsa that I had a little bit later.

Even after all the progress I've made in overcoming my emotional eating, binge snacking, and many other unhealthy ways, I found myself throwing it all out the window because of a date.  Did I want to make myself less desirable because if I felt bad on the inside then I wouldn't look as good on the outside?  Was it because deep down I don't think I'm good enough to be desired for longer than a few months, that I'd become a bore after a while?  Or is it just the fear of the unknown future that cripples me?

By the end of my date on Saturday night, I knew my previous emotional eating was added calories that'll I'll have to work even harder to get off.   The date was a dud.  Well, actually, I had a lot of fun at the Ashland Balloonfest but he was a dud.  He was a complete bore.  He was a home body who'd never taken a single risk in his life.  He was so dull he didn't even have any hobbies or interests.




A few days prior to this date, I let my 10-year-old niece play on my phone.  She likes using all the snapchat filters.  Especially the one that makes her look like a cute little puppy.  She saw that I had the match app on my phone.  "Aunt Jennee!  WHAT is THAT doing on YOUR phone?!?!!?"

I coolly responded, "Aunt Jennee is looking for a boyfriend so she can someday get married and have little cousins for you to play with."  This answer put a smile on her face.

"Can I help you look?"

"GLADLY!"  I responded immediately, though her dad was not too keen on the idea of her looking at older men, even if it was to help her aunt find true love.

"That one is too old, he has too many tattoos, and he looks scary...."  We quickly went through all the matches of the day.  Whenever she would come across one that she wasn't sure about if I would be interested in him or not, I would say, can you see me hanging out with this guy? This pattern repeated every day I saw her and while she was scanning the searches, her dad was giving me the evil eye.

One day, she looked up from my phone....
"Aunt Jennee, I found someone for you.  I think he is your perfect match!"

My ears perked up.  "Oh really?!?!"

She pulled up his profile.  "Look, he's 6'0" tall, he's a Christian, he loves hiking and going to the gym, and he's looking for someone JUST LIKE YOU!"  She excitedly tells me as she points out his preferences of a woman 25-35 within 50 miles of Mansfield.  "He wants someone who has dark brown hair!  You have dark brown hair!  And look, he was in the military.  I think you should wink at him.  Can you wink at him pllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssseeeeeeeeeee?"

Her eyes sparkled as she hit the wink button for me.  We set the phone aside and went back to whatever we were doing prior to the quest for my true love.  A few minutes later, my niece summons me into the other room.  In a voice just a hint louder than a whisper, she said, "Aunt Jennee, I really think the military guy is your perfect match.  Do you think he will email you?"  She was as serious as a 10 year-old can get. "He's a Christian too.  You guys would be so perfect together!"

We both blush at the thought and get back to playing.

Though I haven't received any new messages from anyone on match, I find myself calm and ready for love it were to come my way.  I just hope I can find ways to calm the anxiety of the actual dating part so I can someday make it that far.

But at least I have my niece keeping her eyes open for me.  (Seriously, every time she takes my phone I have to check and see how many guys she "winked" at on match for me!  I do have to say, she seems to know my type because everyone she's picked for me does seem like a pretty good match.)


Monday, February 29, 2016

Online Dating is Just Like Online Business

The two of you who read this blog already know that I have an online health and fitness business, which has been growing enough for me to give my team a little pep talk.  I thought this pep talk was too good not to share, so enjoy!


So, I kinda had a moment today when I was thinking about whether or not I should get back into online dating or not.  Let’s compare online dating to our online business.

When it comes to online dating, you really have to put yourself out there.  Like really…. Because everyone on the other side of the screen is completely judging you by your profile picture…and if they even read your profile, it better be convincing.  If it isn’t… you deal with a lot of rejection and shut doors… even if you really are a great catch. 

And then you see someone who really catches your eye and you send a little hello…conversation is flowing and you can’t wait to meet so you say “let’s meet up for coffee” but then the messages slow down and instead of acting like you would in real life and just take it one day at a time… online it’s different… time is ticking, you could be missing another minute with your soul mate…and so you lose patience and become that whiny, “why don’t you like me, are you not interested in me, are you talking to someone else…” Suddenly you have a complex and you decide dating really isn’t for you anyway, even though there is that slight hope that…if only someone would give you a chance…..nudging in the back of your mind.

But let’s say you do meet someone for coffee, and it turns into date number 2, date number 3…oh man, things are starting to get serious… like announce your relationship status to facebook… all you do is post pictures about how in love you are and how happy you are….but again, on the other side of the screen people are wondering….are they a good match, are they really that happy or are they just putting on a show?  Then heartbreak….delete profile, delete pictures, block number…solitude.  You decide you are better off as an old spinster and never give love a chance again…because why bother when it’s always going to end?  Yet that little spark of HOPE never leaves you…because maybe someday, it’ll happen…if you just keep being you.  You don’t when it will happen, so you put yourself out there again, hoping you have found the one.

So, online business…. We have to put ourselves out there.  And even though we might be feeling a little desperate, you can never show that desperation because it’s a big turn off.  You deal with a lot of rejection.  Sometimes people are immediately turned off because they think all you want to do is make a sale, and…some might just not be that in to you…so you put on your adult underwear and you take on the day.  You post your progress pictures, you show the world you are making a difference…and then you hit a wall.  You didn’t reach your goals.  You didn’t advance in rank.  You rushed into it based on a feeling and ignored logic.  So, you think about quitting….but you KNOW you can do this deep down inside of you, and so you post a CTA and you plant another seed because you know you’ll be a great leader as soon as someone gives you the chance.

All this to say…believe in yourself because any moment, you could turn someone’s life around and live happily ever after.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

It's Probably for the Best

I've been talking to a guy off and on for probably four years.  We've never met in person.  We chatted through an online dating site for a while but he was always too slow and I'd meet someone else before we'd even discuss meeting.  I'd delete my profile and move on.  Six months later, I'd sign up again, and say hello to my trusty old friend online.

A few weeks ago, I decided to get on this website just to say hello to him.  He was still there and so I sent him a message before he sent me his typical, "well, hello again" message.  I sent him a fiesty, "what, you are still here?" first.

We caught up, reminded each other a few things about each other that we'd forgotten.  He told me that he thought of me one time when he passed by a roller skating rink.  I took this as a good sign, considering I hadn't thought of him until I considered doing online dating again.

I lasted on the site for 3 days before inappropriate messages started talking over. (I get it, it's a free dating website but come on people, have a little decency and respect.  I would never walk up to the stranger and ask to see them naked...)  So I sent him a message including my phone number and wished him the best, if I never heard from him again.

I had hope for one day but my phone never beeped.

Three days later, I looked at my phone with amazement.  He texted me.  And we talked via text all night, and then the next night, and then the next night.  He suggested coffee, and maybe a movie, and I found myself getting more and more giddy with every text.

I was being patient, waiting for him to tell me when he would be free for this coffee meet up or possible movie.  We became facebook friends.  We sent each other stupid pictures. Two weeks went by.  Some days we would talk, other days we wouldn't, but when we did, it would be for hours.

The other night, in the midst of our lovely evening of texting, I told him I wanted to take him up on his coffee offer this weekend.

He responded with... "I don't think I'm ready for a relationship.  You seem like a really, really nice girl but it's me."

WTF?

I reminded him that meeting for coffee was not establishing a relationship.  It was meeting for coffee, and that I just wanted to meet him in person.  There was no pressure of anything beyond a first in person meet up.

He told me there was too much wrong with him for him to be in a relationship.

Naturally, I was intrigued.

I tried to get him to open up but he shut me out.  So, I suggested he try to fix what was so wrong with him and I'd still like to get coffee sometime.

A few days went by and he didn't message me.  So yesterday, I sent him a message to see if he wanted to get that coffee sometime.

No response.  24 hours later...still no response.

I was disappointed....I am disappointed.  I told a few of my friends about this situation and most of them replied, "it's probably for the best.."  after all, he did say he wasn't ready for a relationship....

So yes, it's probably for the best I don't meet someone I'm actually interested in getting to know.
It's probably for the best I don't meet someone I'm attracted to.
It's probably for the best I stop talking to someone I've really enjoyed talking to the past few weeks.
It's probably for the best I don't meet someone with similar interests and beliefs.
It's probably for the best I don't put myself out there.
It's probably for the best I remain single.
It's probably for the best.

The thing is, all this time, I actually thought I was single because it was me and I went about furiously trying to "fix" myself so I'd be more dateable and desirable to the opposite sex.

What I'm starting to realize is the people around me keep discouraging me from meeting someone or giving it a shot.

They think it's for the best I don't get my heart involved, it's for the best I play it safe, it's for the best....

I understand they are trying to protect me from heartache and pain.

Is that probably for the best?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Random Act of Kindness Fail

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know I'm currently doing a yoga challenge mixed with a kindness challenge.  It's the #KarmaCyclesKindess challenge there.  Every day, along with a yoga pose, we also suggest an act of kindness.  It's ranged from mailing out a card for someone to letting the person go in front of you in life to sending a text to a friend letting them know you are thinking of them.  Fairly simple kindness stuff that we should probably always do, but often forget to.

Since kindness as been on my mind a little more than normal, I saw a moment where I could really help someone out.  Let me set the scene.

I just pulled in my car to the parking lot of my apartment complex.  As I was getting out of my car, I noticed a young woman getting out of hers.  She had groceries in one hand, a baby in a carrier in the other, and was trying to figure out how to grab the door gate sitting on the trunk of her car.  I rushed over, and said, "Please let me help you!  You have so much stuff in your hands already."

"Really?" She hesitated, but then agreed and I grabbed the baby gate...which wasn't locked and swung open to full size.

"Whoa, wasn't expecting it to do that..." I said, laughing it off.  "Do you want me to carry some of your groceries?  I still have a free hand."

She declined.  I'm sure she was thinking I'd probably accidentally drop them since my first move was rather klutzy.  We made small talk as we walked up the sidewalk.  Her son was 9 months old and she'd just moved in the building in November.

The complex requires a key to get into the building.   It's a bit of a hassle and I often complain that if the landlord would just give us decent locks on our apartment doors, there would be no need for this extra security locked door entrance.  She agreed with my statement and added that it's impossible to open when you have your hands full.  She asked how I managed to carry in groceries, open the door and make it upstairs?  I admitted, I do it as fast as possible and I'm often out of breath by the time I get to my door.

I told her I would unlock the door since my hands were free.  I grabbed my keys and immediately dropped them.  I'm normally not this dropsy but for some reason, I really was this particular day!  Not only did I drop my keys, but the key to the main door somehow jammed up inside of the key ring.   I shook it but it didn't budge.  I shifted the other keys.  It wasn't coming out.

"Gosh, I'm sorry, I've been trying to be helpful but it's been nothing but a disaster."  I apologized.

"Here... just take my keys."  She said with a bit of frustration.  I opened the door and walked with her to her door, dropping the gate off and wishing her a good day.  She thanked me for my efforts and I headed on my way, somewhat wondering why karma wasn't making my act of kindness easy!

I had to take all my keys off the key chain in order to fix the key jam I'd managed to do earlier by dropping my keys, just so I could get in the door.  Once I made it in side, I sat down on my futon and thought... kindness is so much harder than it seems!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fixed

Do you know what is really frustrating? When someone tells you that you can do better, or you need a better job, or you would look better if….etc. I understand people might be concerned about your well-being when they tell you these things but at the same time, all they are saying is, “you’re not good enough where you are at right now.” Yet, they never seem to care if you are actually happy where you are at the moment.

We live in a society where everyone has a quick fix. A society where there are constant updates and upgrades for newer and better. We are very materialistic society who brag about fancy cars and new phones, and get into relationships for a status title.

This isn’t helping how we treat other people.


People are not things, yet we treat them as if they are fixable and replaceable. If we are constantly trying to fix someone, we miss a pretty big part in the relationship with someone, and that is LOVING them for WHO they ARE, right now.

Whether we have it all together or are falling apart, no one can fix anyone else. Fixing is a one person and inside job, and it’s a journey to become satisfied with who you are in every stage of this crazy life. There is a fine line between encouraging someone to live at their full potential and telling them what they need to change to fit how you see them living their life.

I dated a guy once who told me he only dated women who needed to be fixed. I told him "he can’t fix people, especially if they don’t think they are broken. I used to want to fix people but then I saw it was more about how I wanted them to act than letting them be who they are."

Any time someone tries to help me “better” myself, I just want to scream out… “I don’t want to be fixed. I want to be loved.”

The next time you find yourself offering advice on how to get someone out of their messy situation, think about loving them instead. A hug will go a lot further than harsh words, love with go further than lashing out solutions, and understanding and respecting where they are in life will make a bigger difference than burdening them with how they can be good enough in society's standards. The only fix you can offer someone is love.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Selfie Stick

I'm not going to lie... I feel a lot of pressure to write this story because I know when I write it, it has to be perfect!  However, if I don't write it now, it may never get written and that would be an even bigger disappointment than writing it poorly.  Gulp, so here it goes.

As most of you know, I love hiking and chasing waterfalls.  About two years ago, I realized there are waterfalls all over Ohio even though cities with names like Cuyahoga FALLS, Chagrin FALLS, Newton FALLS...etc never helped me to make this connection until I started looking for waterfalls.  Ever since then, I've made it my mission to see as many waterfalls in Ohio...and I think I'm doing a pretty fine job.

The final day of January, the weather in Ohio was spectacular.  Mid fifties with a little bit of wind.  Not normal temperatures for this time of year.  And when there is nice weather, you better believe that me and SJ are on some sort of outdoor adventure.  We ventured to the Wilmont area to see Dundee Falls.  I'd seen this one before however, after I went, I learned there was another one in the same area...unfortunately, I couldn't find anything via internet research, so I headed to Dundee Falls.

We went prepared for muddy ground, and I even grabbed the hiking stick which as been residing in my trunk for the last year.  I never use hiking sticks, and the only reason why I have this hiking stick is because a friend I used to go hiking with a lot, preferred hiking with sticks, and I kept it in my trunk since I usually drove to the place we'd hike.

I prefer to have free hands when I walk, however, I knew it was going to be super muddy, so I grabbed the stick.  About 1/8 of a mile in, I started regretting the hiking stick.  I needed free hands!  I needed to be able to grab branches while I climbed instead of holding on to a stick.  Stick or not, we made it safely to Dundee Falls.



We ventured down the stream for a while but decided we would go back and drive to the other parking spot to find the other waterfall.  According to SJ, if it took her friend Shawn 6 months to find it, there was no way we were going to find it on our first attempt.  Instead, we climbed up the side of the ledge and admired the view.  

I didn't take my "real" camera with me for this hiking adventure which turned out to be a major bummer.  However, I did take my tripod claw thingy...as I like to call it.  I don't really know what it's called, but it's an tripod for an iphone with gripper legs.
 I found it useful to wrap it around branches and take yoga selfies on my last hike, so I brought it along for this adventure.  SJ and I found a really pretty spot to do a random photo shoot and I pulled out my tripod claw thingy.  I looked around for a branch to hook it on, but there was nothing near where we were...however, I did have my hiking stick!

"Perfect, this will work!'  I twisted the claw on the stick and was ready to go, but SJ was in tears from laughing.

"You just made a selfie stick!!!!!"

And then we laughed for the next ten minutes.



We're pretty sure this is what actually happened when someone invented the selfie stick.  The hiking stick was no longer used for hiking, just for photos.  

And it worked great!


We ventured back to the car and took a left, and then another left, as Shawn had told SJ.  These were our directions to get to the other parking lot...only we quickly discovered, this wasn't accurate.  We drove around trying to figure out where to go next.  We knew nothing would be marked because nothing about this place is marked.  No trails, no parking signs, nothing.  It really is one of those, if you don't know where you are going, you'll never find it places.

Yet, somehow we found it.  (For the record, Shawn would have been right if SJ would have told him how we got to the first one....because from where we were at the second spot, it was a left and then another left to get back to where we started...)  

And boy, we were glad we did.

Talk about breathtaking!




We climbed back behind the frozen waterfall and felt the ice cold water that was melting drip over our hands.  It was magical!

And then, we pulled out the selfie stick and took some more pictures...of us laughing... because it's still funny.








Friday, January 22, 2016

My Co-Worker...Dorie.

Things in the shop are picking up.  In fact, they've gotten so busy that TWO part time people have been hired.  I was really excited about this for the mere fact the pressure of completing the entire orders on my own was gone!

The one lady is older and she is hilarious.  In fact, she might be the funniest person I've ever met.  (Sorry SJ, you are hilarious and still in the top 5)  When I first met her though, she told me she wasn't very smart and almost flunked kindergarten.

I thought she was joking.

The more I tried to train her, the more I realized she just didn't get it.  Nothing was "hitting home" yet, I persisted on teaching her the same thing in a variety of ways.  I even asked her if she was an audio learner, visual learner, hands on learner....etc....I just needed something to go by to help her understand.

She's been working two days a week and when she came in yesterday, she looked defeated.   She had taken her normal work day off because her cousin passed away so I thought maybe she was feeling down about that, and so I asked.  "Is everything okay?"

"You know, I just don't think I can do this anymore.  I don't know if it's my age or how physically hard this job is but I feel like rice krispies...all I do is snap, crackle and pop.  I really don't know how you do this every day.  I heard she was hiring someone else so I'm just gonna let her know that I'm the weakest link and I really did try.  You are a great teacher."

I give her a smile because I know how hard this job is however, I also know how much work we have to do and how desperate we are for any help, whether they can move fast or slow.  "When she said she was hiring, that didn't mean she was replacing you, I promise, when we went over the tasks for this week, your name was on a lot of them.  Maybe you can request some of the easier jobs or only one day a week?"   I offer the suggestion because I know my boss is going to panic when she gives her notice.

As I left work that day, I gave my coworker a wave goodbye and asked if I'd see her tomorrow, since she was on the schedule.  She shrugged and told me she'd call me and let me know.

This morning, I pulled into work and my coworker was waiting in her car.  I opened up the door and gave her a smile.  Without missing a beat, she said, "I'm sorry to disappoint you but I'm still here."  She fills me in on the talk and it went similar to our talk.  My boss told her we'd give her all the easy jobs....however, we still had the weeks plan of her tasks, which weren't so easy.  I did my best to alter the plans but we still had to get it done for the shipment.

It was in the mist of all this, this coworker decided to give out nicknames....my boss is Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke.  And I am Rose the Riveter.    (It's not so random... we have the picture hanging up in the shop)

But this is when I made the connection my coworker is Dorie.  Seriously.  She has no memory.  She's easily distracted.  She's always cracking jokes.  She is Dorie but in person!  I came to this conclusion because I just finished showing her how to do a new job, and this Miss Kitty asked her to help her a second by holding the trash can down so she could pull out the trash.  Dorie happily helped, and then emptied all the trash cans.  She finally came back to her original task and said, "Ok, I don't remember what I was doing.  First day on the job..."


Dorie did however tell Miss Kitty a few days ago that I needed a raise for putting up with her and training her and retraining her, and double checking everything.  It worked!  I was super excited about a well needed raise.

Anyway, we had a good laugh about calling her Dorie, then she asked us to never tell anyone her new nickname along with her real name because if anyone found out about it, they'd all agree 100% with me and call her Dorie for the rest of her life.

Later, I asked her why she didn't do stand up comedy because her comments are always so perfectly timed, and naturally, she answered with a comical response, without missing a beat.... "I'm too tired to stand up so I'd have to do it lying down."

Dorie.  

She keeps us laughing.  I really hope we can find some "easy" jobs for her because I really enjoy her humor.  However, after today and her "easy" jobs, she's still considering surrendering to old age, even though she knows we desperately need her help!