Feed Your Soul

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art -write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” -Neil Gaiman

It’s been a busy past couple of days. With working with Miss J (the woman with dementia), working on my application for an internship, and getting re-acclimated to my life after vacation life has been very full.

A new project I am part of at my alum is creating a play through story circles based off the women in the Bible. I am incredibly excited because I love the Bible, I think the women of the Bible are underrepresented, and it’s really cool to know my words and insights could be a part of a story that will speak to women and men of now.

And well, it’s just incredible being around these women and already getting a deeper glimpse of who they are through these stories. Also I didn’t really think  I had much to say about women in the Bible, but I really do. I’ll be leading a story circle after reading the story of Miriam.

I’m excited because it’s a really cool way to explore the Bible, to get to know better some incredible women in this community I love, and my number one reason because it’s going to be really good to have a creative outlet these next few weeks. To do something for me that feeds my soul. I think that’s the biggest thing I can recommend to those who are in the midst of job searching, figuring out their life, deciding whether or not to go on that third date, to pray a little more because God really didn’t ask me to go to Africa (but actually he did).

So if it’s painting, dancing, good conversation, cooking, stargazing, creating a play, a story, a piece of music, find something you can do that feeds your soul, it will keep you sane and energized to work in that meanwhile on that resume, prepare for that interview, and do those other responsible things.

New Theme, New Insight, New Adulthood

There is something about traveling, about getting away from it all that helps you to see it all a little more clearly.

A couple days ago I was in Baltimore with one of my absolute best friends, we stayed at a nice hotel (with very friendly, handsome staff), had access to a free shuttle, and ate, shopped, and explored Baltimore to our hearts content.

Look at us, aren't we so cute!

Us posing in a random park in Downtown Baltimore

Whenever I go traveling I always get a fresh perspective on my life. I’m able to get some distance and able to see the good, the bad, and in this case the gap.

The gap between reality and the life I want.

Travel gives me fresh insight to pursue my goals and stop talking about the life I’ve been wanting and to go ahead and live it already. Running off to Baltimore with my best friend was no exception. Getting away I was able to share with her some of my thoughts and insecurities, and through her wise words of love and encouragement I was able to get some fresh perspective on my life.

Not to say tomorrow I’m suddenly going to move out, get married, become a published writer, and know what I’m doing for the next five years.

Please, but it has got me thinking.

The gap I think  is often strongest in our 20s because this is the time when we finally have real opportunity and power to create the life we want. We can make decisions about our jobs, education, relationships, and where we want to live. At the same time we have to deal with the problems of our generation. Which means the gap-as I have defined it-is harder to close.

Mainly I have been thinking about getting married and how that can really be a reality without too much burden, financially and emotionally.

So I was recently on my favorite website apracticalwedding.com (APW) despite the name APW is first and foremost a site about navigating growing up, with a focus on marriage and weddings, because well marriage more than most things forces you to grow up, because it’s not just about you anymore.

I was reading Millennials and Marriage and this passage stood out to me:

“Forget about homeownership, once a hallmark of stability and permanence—one in eight Millennials over age twenty-two say they’ve moved back into a parent’s home due to the recession.

In short, we’re a generation that has learned the hard way that many of the hallmarks of adulthood which previously seemed stable and secure simply don’t exist for us, and maybe never will. Having come of age at a time of such uncertainty and impermanence, is it any wonder some Millennials are wary at the prospect of yet another institution that promises stability and longevity?”

As you readers know I am not wary of marriage, in fact as the days pass I am more and more eager to be married, but I realize the friction I have had with well meaning loved ones is because of the quote above. The markers of my parents and aunts and uncles adulthood are not going to be my own, and even if they were the path to get there is so different.

My parents want me to move out on my own as do I, yet they also think my marriage should be prolonged so that I can have some time of independence (read: financial independence with a full time job). Realistically this could take years. Whereas I have a much stronger chance of actually going out and supporting myself soon, albeit with someone else if I get married. It seems especially absurd when it’s what I want. I’m educated, out of college, earning my own money. Frankly, I would like to move out and go into a great job before I get married, but again I have to face reality.

More than that S and I have been a team since day one, it may not be what my parents want for me, but we have supported each other in numerous ways, even financially.

I can do life without him, and if I wasn’t getting married, I’d be making plans to move in with some of my friends who are graduating this year. I’d still be working, I’d still be navigating being an adult with my parents, but I feel like this closing sentence really sums up my beliefs and why-while it was never my plan -getting married after college will be such a good thing:

“The Millennial generation faces a host of uncertainties and this necessarily shapes our outlook on life, as compared to other generations. But personally, this Millennial likes the certainty of knowing she’s got someone to face the uncertainty with.”

So I’m working on closing the gap. Like actually looking into prices of places I want to get married at. Declaring a wedding day. Saving up my money and creating a loan repayment plan that actually works with my life. Creating boundaries with my parents that lets all of us be adults.

My adulthood doesn’t look like everyone else’s and it for sure doesn’t look like my parents. That’s okay though.

I’m not them. That’s freeing.

Because marrying S is a good thing. It’s what I believe God wants for us. And I think in their own way my parents want us married too  just on their terms, but it’s not on their terms. That, dear reader, is what makes being an adult so awesome and sometimes scary, these are my decisions to make. I get to choose who I love, where I go, and what I do. Always tempered with wisdom, prayer, and grace of course.

Of course it’s not going to be easy there’s emotional and financial hurdles I have to overcome in the next months leading up to our marriage, but I think with a lot of conversation, prayer, and compromise it’s going to happen. Now, to tackle all the other goals and dreams I have, good thing I have S to go through things with, and I’m there for him.

Currently

Inspired by Honestly, Libby and because what’s more relatable about growing up and where you are in life then what’s currently going on so

Currently watching:

Once Upon a Time and New Girl, both on Netflix. Once Upon a Time is going more slowly because my fiance and I have to watch it together, and I don’t netflix cheat. New Girl though I try and grab an episode or 4 every day. I am nothing like Jess, but I relate to her so much.

Currently reading:

Anything about Ebola. Kind of not kidding actually. Also this really good novel: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio. June is Ruby’s great niece and her life is making her unhappy. She finds out Ruby died and left her children’s bookstore to her. She figures out life and it turns out Ruby had a deep friendship with Margaret Wise Brown of Good Night Moon fame. Really enjoying it and curious to see how it ends. Also really makes me want to read Good Night Moon.

Currently Listening:

Nothing much honestly, I hardly turn on my Pandora lately for whatever reason. I would love to get some more music in my life. I love Britt Nicole, Justin Timberlake, most Beyonce, girl bands, pop, hip hop, and heartfelt guitars. What should I listen to next?

Currently making:

This blog into something beautiful I hope. I’m also working on short stories, sort of. And always a life that is full of love and people and good food.

Currently feeling:

Stuck and restless, I’m hoping this trip with my bestie will knock me out of my rut and give me some much needed energy and inspiration and gratitude. I always seem focused on the next instead of enjoying the now!

Currently planning:

To visit my brother, to write more, and our wedding (aka actually doing things like choosing a date and having uncomfortable conversations with my family, it’s really great)

Currently loving:

Blogging, it’s giving me such a joy in ways I never expected especially because I rarely get the feedback I desire, but just knowing my words are out there and resonating with another soul or two is more than enough for me. I love it, I’m glad I finally tried it out.

What’s your currently? What’s going on in your neck of the great glittery world?

Always glittering,

Juanita

glitter

4 Reasons Your Life is WAY Better than a Romance, Seriously

So many of us in our early twenties are starting to think about the big things in life, our career, our calling, what God put us on this big grand earth to do, and true love.

And sometimes we fantasize that romance or something like it will make everything better, but have you ever looked at a romance novel/movie and all the yucky things they have to go through to get there?

Instead of dreaming of living out a romance, maybe you should be grateful you’re just a normal girl and not a romantic heroine

Because if you are,

1. You’re a bit of a mess

Like Shopaholic‘s Becky Bloomwood, something in your life is just a mess. Whether it’s your finances, your distrust for men, or your inability to get through the wedding ceremony, you just have some issue that makes it impossible to attain true love. Until everything falls together and you meet your man, but until then:

2. You date a string of losers

Take it from Jess from New Girl (no spoilers I just started the second season) she’s on the road to true love, and it’s good she’s not afraid to kiss a lot of frogs, because she’s kissed a lot of them. Thank goodness that doesn’t have to be the case. You can learn from relationships, but you really don’t have to go through heartbreak after heartbreak to get the good stuff.

3. You date the wrong, but good guy for a really long time

Again New Girl always knows where it’s at when it comes to relationships. So many times in romances the girl is with a guy who is so wrong for her, or just not quite enough so she spends eons on a guy who’s not the best for her, until she eventually meets Mr. Right where it all works out, but not before…

4. You almost lose him

Isn’t it ridiculous, you go through all that effort, dating the losers, hideous debt, and you finally think you’ve found who you’re meant to be with and it falls apart. Of course this is a romance, there will be a happy ending invariably, but let’s hope in the process of losing him, you don’t end up like Romeo and Juliet.

So you might be dreaming of romance, go for it. Love is a wonderful thing, but be grateful you are not actually living a romance, they’re really not that fun.

Glitter on!

Coincidence? I think not!

So as you all know I have been furiously job searching. Well, today I got news that I have been hired! My new position is as a elder companion for a woman with dementia. It’s in the same area as my college town and the family is paying me well and the woman as well as her family are all very kind. So it’s wonderful news all around and I’m glad I will be able to provide for myself more with my two jobs.

What makes this job so amazing though is that God is so obviously the one orchestrating it.

You see, I was looking through the campus job listings, as I normally do, looking at everything and there was a need for a companion for an elderly woman. Honestly, I’m not sure why I was interested. I’ve never worked with older people. I’m not really interested in pursuing that kind of work, but I felt compelled to call up the woman who had posted the listing.

So I did.

It was great, we had a lovely conversation and it just seemed like it could be a really great fit, I had the patience, time, and flexibility the job required and a great respect and compassion for those who are older, at least I think so. We sent some emails and then she asked me if I knew two people she had known years ago who had lived in the same town I currently live.

Boy, did I know them. They were my parents!

Turns out she and my mom had been roommates at one time and it has been quite a while since they’ve talked.

So I met the mother and the brother (who takes care of the mother most of the time) and it was perfect, we basically had a long tea and talked about what I would do, but mostly we got to know each other and found even more connections. Their daughter went to the camp I worked at these past 2 summers. They were good friends with my favorite professors. It was just wild.

I am so excited the sister has decided to hire me, I am still in awe how this has all fallen into place. God is providing. Not in the way I foresaw, I’m still wondering how writing and journalism are going to fit into the picture. But when you see God working, you have to go. So I’m going, into a new job and new responsibilities and I’m excited for whatever is next. And well, if it means I don’t have to job search for at least the next six weeks, that alone is enough reason to be grateful.

Cedar Chest Dreams

The other day I was talking with my fiance. He told me that something he wants for us when we get married is a cedar chest, at the foot of our bed. Like this beauty:

It will give off that rich wood smell and hold our blankets, quilts, and mementos. Something of our own. These are the little things my love says that remind me why I love him. He dreams of cedar chests, going to church, holding babies, long meals, and moment by moment us creating a life together. Sometimes I feel very distanced from that reality. It feels more like a dream than I would care to admit.

Yet, wildly life has been coming together more sharply in just these six and a half weeks since camp ended.

  • I am becoming a more permanent fixture in the city I went to school in.
  •  I go to church there (while still attending and participating in church in my hometown) and have been asked to participate more in the church through their worship teams.
  • I have a part time job and it looks like another part time job, (will update you when and if that happens).
  • I have friends there and a rich community of people who care about me and are looking out for me.
  • I have more consistency in my relationship with my fiance who lives and works in my college town
  • I recently joined a writing group in my hometown.                                                                                                           While I still have down days because of frustration and confusion, a month into things I think I have a handle on how life is looking at least for the next few weeks.

So what’s the problem?

I didn’t realize that when things started to feel a little more grounded I’d feel a pull.

I wonder why I’m being pulled into my college community when I’m dreaming of other things. I wonder why I keep getting rejection after rejection, yet this new job feels extraordinarily right doing something I’ve never done before in my life. I wonder why it’s so hard for me to step outside my family even though I really am excited and desire to make my own life. And I wonder why even though my fiance, my work, and my community are in my college town, I’m resisting.

Because as usual, things are happening, but not how I expected, so I’m cautious. Too cautious.

Everyday I make progress, sometimes it’s internally (okay so most of the time it’s internally), but sometimes I have those markers. I’m immersed in community. I have routines. I pay most of my bills. I have a job I can count on (even if it doesn’t bring in that much money) I make consistent plans with my fiance.

So you know I become more adult every day. Some days more than others I have to tell myself: it’s good, I can handle it, and it’s these little steps every day that will bring me to the future I envision. God’s planted these Cedar Chest Dreams in me, in us. So while the reality of living with my family and not always having enough money to get the things I need feels very distant from a life with my love  filling up a cedar chest with blankets, warmth and memories-I hold on, because God gave us those dreams for a reason and there is no doubt they’re coming true. Well, at least that’s what I’m telling myself.