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Bunnies in Sweaters (Like Bananas in Pajamas)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Before you ask, no, I did not dress Snickers up in a costume tonight. Frankly I just don't see any way that rabbit could be cuter than he already is.

In the event you must see Snicks wearing something, here he is wearing a sweater in Christmas 2010 when he was but a wee bun of not-yet-one.


Doesn't he look thrilled.

Hope you had a very happy Halloween, indeed!

That En Vogue Song "Don't Let Go"

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nothing is better than hearing a song you like and just jamming out. (Or, if you're me, car dancing.) Often you can't explain why you like a song, you just do. If I hate a song, I just hate it and if I love it... well for a time it's my jam. Like my JAM.

One of my jams of the moment is that song Royals by Lorde. You know the one I mean. Don't act like you don't. I love it when she says "You can call me Queen Bee" because it reminds me of this fabulous picture right here:


That's me and my sister Erin in New York City. Erin got got us headbands before the trip so we could go sit on the Met steps like Blair on Gossip Girl. And Erin let me sit up higher than her so I could be Queen Bee. :)

In other news I've recently gotten into yoga. I have taken yoga classes in the past, but, frankly, never liked it because I felt like you had to be quiet and not move a whole lot and I'm a dancer for the love of Baryshnikov. But my hips and knees (really everything) have been hurting lately due to, you guessed it, dancing, so my mom thought maybe yoga would help. So I went to a class with my friend Sarah about two months ago and really had a great time.

One of my favorite parts of yoga is Shavasana. I mean, isn't that everyone's favorite part? Because I usually have a hard time falling asleep at night because of extreme stress or whatever reason (like stress) but during Shavasana I really do feel quiet. Like I wish I could sleep there.

Except there is one problem sometimes, and that is I cannot find the switch that turns off  my brain. How do other people do this? It goes something like this:

What will I eat for dinner when I get home? I'm really glad I picked up those beers at Bottle and Wedge before class. It's hot in here, is anyone else hot? Man my shirt is soaked. I'll have to do laundry. But can I wash and dry this shirt since I wonder-undered the front of it? And I already did a load today and this shirt would have gone in that load. If I can wash it, which I still don't know if I can. Anna you have got to free your mind for this Shavasana. Free your mind... didn't En Vogue sing that? Oh, remember that one En Vogue song Don't Let Go? That was good. I seem to remember a video of the four of them standing in a room singing and they were wearing leather or something dark and there were other people there. Wow that was a long time ago. I wonder if I have Don't Let Go on my iPod. Where is my iPod? Oh right, it's in my iPod dock, which I can't use since Snicks chewed the cord. Remember you ordered like three new ones but none of them were the right size or voltage even though you could have sworn by the third order you knew what to get? Where are those three other ones? Maybe dad could use them for something. I should look when I get home...

You get the picture.

Don't Let Go though, that really was my jam for a while in 8th grade or whenever that was.

For your viewing pleasure:




Conversations with Erin

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I truly love  having conversations with my sister Erin. She recently moved to Morgantown (our mom's family is there) and is now three hours away. We talk via Facebook messenger almost every evening. She is the funniest person I know, and often I go back and wonder -- how the hell did we end up talking about this? An example:

Erin and me. Keeping it real in NYC.
Anna: My dream is to eat donuts all day at the beach. Also, apparently, to be an Oscar Mayer wiener.
Erin: I just want to watch TV then talk about watching TV.
Anna: That sounds nice. I could also watch Once Upon a Time all day and talk to Story all day about Once Upon a Time. While eating donuts at the beach.
Erin: Why don't we have more money, that's the real problem.
Anna: Mo' money, mo' problems. Incidentally, what happened to Mase?
Erin: Is Mase a person?
Anna: .................................................... Erin. Seriously.
Anna: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUhRKVIjJtw
Erin: No.
Anna: You remember this video.
Erin: Yes.
Anna: OMG I'm rocking out. It's like 8th grade. Also, Mase returned a few years ago on a track called "Welcome Back" that sampled the Welcome Back, Kotter theme song. Then he disappeared again. I don't know how I know these things.
Erin: You shouldn't know them.

But really -- what happened to Mase? And I dare you to watch the video below. I dare you. Because I did... and I couldn't stop listening.

B-I-G P-O-P-P-A

Just sayin'.



Seven Quick Takes -- With the Clan

Friday, October 25, 2013

Joining Jen's linkup at Clan Donaldson today!

1. I really love dinosaurs. REALLY. I have something like six dinosaur tee-shirts. In a related matter, my internet has been intermittently not working lately. It will just go in and out and in and out again. I have no idea what the deal is, but I do know that if I turn my router off and turn it on again it fixes it for a while. What does that have to do with dinosaurs you ask? Because anytime I'd try to refresh a page when my internet was shutting down, I'd get this message:




I have no idea what that t-rex has to do with my internet not connecting, but I'm for it. In fact, I feel like Apple/Comcast read my mind and knew that the only thing that would talk me off the ledge of internet going in and out hate is a picture of a dinosaur to bring me the bad news.

2. A few Saturdays ago my friend Sarah and I had to go to Lowe's to pick up landscaping supplies for a volunteer project we were coordinating. In the course of getting the plants and such, Sarah and I stumbled upon some really pretty mums on sale. Sarah decided to get some for her house. She told me I should get some too. And I was like -- Oh Sarah, where would I put these mums and what would I do with them? Sarah says, "You'll take them home and put them on your table and then when they die because you never watered them you'll throw them away." Touche, Sarah. So I did. That was... two Saturdays ago now? Something like that. At any rate, I watered them for the first time this evening.



3. I went to Hobby Lobby after work today because I needed to get a picture frame. Now, I get off work at 4 p.m., which is about an hour earlier than most people. I got to Hobby Lobby around 4:20/4:30 and can I just say I had NO IDEA Hobby Lobby was the place to be at 4:26 p.m. on a Friday. I could not believe how many people were there! It was nuts.

4. So there is something I've been doing for a while, and I'd like to see if anyone else does it too. From time to time when I'm doing work errands during the day, I'll drive by the alley where I live. And I can assure you that I NEVER drive by my alley without looking down at my apartment, fearing every time that my house is on fire. For one second I honestly believe that my house is on fire and baby Snicks is burning up. Because, of course, no one would call and let me know my house is on fire. Every time. Without fail.

5. I got a text message from Verizon the other day letting me know I can get $100 off a Samsung GS4 for a limited time! !!! It told me to reply 'x' to stop messages. So I did. And then I got another one and it told me to reply q. I can't make this stuff up:


Wow. It really reminded me of this (which cracks me up):




6. There are so many things I love about Once Upon a Time (newsflash, I know) but I realized today that out of all the wonderful messages that show gives -- like love is the most powerful magic of all, have hope, etc. -- there is one I may love more than all the rest.

If you love them and they love you, they will always find you.  

They will always find you. That's so nice to hear if you're waiting to be found.



7. Melissa and I are taking our dancers to a dance weekend at Jackson's Mill this weekend. Even though I will be FREEZING COLD, I am happy to do something that makes them so happy. I have packed three sweatshirts, two long sleeve shirts, three pairs of socks, a scarf and a hat... for two days.


126

Thursday, October 24, 2013

So... it's THURSDAY night! Woot woot! Although, believe it or not, this week I've been trying to make dinners at home thanks to a very much needed trip to the grocery this past weekend, tonight I fell off the wagon. Hi my name is Anna and I just polished off a container of Sheetz nachos. Apparently making rice and stir fry vegetables, gnocchi and chili in one week was too much for this girl. That is honestly more meals than I've made total in the past few months. (Incidentally I just Facebook messaged Erin and said "I fell of the wagon." She replied, "You.......... bought fast food didn't you?" She knows my soul.)

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

At any rate, I drove to the Sheetz after teaching ballet, around 6:45, and went in to MTO my nachos. To be honest, I was fairly appalled at the sheer number of people MTOing at that time. I mean, this is not the first time I've been to Sheetz for dinner around this time, and I don't recall there ever being this many people. As I waited on my nachos, even more people piled in the store. I honestly started wondering if they were running some kind of major deal or something I was unaware of.

Finally they called number 126 (me) and I grabbed my nachos and headed for the door. The second I pulled open the doors to head outside all my questions were answered.

It was the unmistakable scent of marijuana. (Or mariwhhhhana as Stewie Griffin would say. Can't find a link. Take my word for it.)

Based on what I smelled, the west end Sheetz did a helluva lot of business tonight. Stay classy west Huntington.

Aspirations

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Last night after substitute teaching a ballet class, I headed up to the Huntington Museum of Art for the Fourth Tuesday Tour. Every fourth Tuesday of the month the Museum hosts a themed tour for adults. This month it was a Harry Potter-themed Halloween tour, which was very cool. My friend, Cindy, coordinates the tours at the Museum, and three years ago, when I still worked at HMA, Cindy and I developed the Harry Potter tour together.









One of the docents is someone I know from church and I used to babysit her kids as well. My mom recently told me Linda had gotten a job with the Museum, going around to first grade classrooms in the area and teaching art lessons. This is a perfect job for Linda. Mom told me she is so excited -- SO EXCITED -- to get this job. I mentioned it to her and we talked for a bit about how happy she is to have this job, and I could really tell she is just loving it.

I got home that evening, and, I usually do, found Snicks under the bed so I laid there on the floor and gave him a little pet. And as I petted him I thought about Linda and how much she loves her job and how she thinks it's perfect for her. I thought about what my perfect job would be, if I could do anything. What would make me the happiest; what would I truly like to be.

And do you know what immediately came to mind?

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener. That is what I'd truly like to be.

Seriously. Anything in the world. An Oscar Mayer wiener. First thing I think of.

On Monotony

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On my way to work this morning, I started wondering out of the blue what is the point to days where nothing seems to really happen? (What can I say... it was raining and cold, perfect for introspection.) You know the days I mean... days that just seem to go by where you don't have an important conversation with a friend or you don't feel the light of God's presence in some significant way or you don't accomplish something important at work. I really wondered what the point of days like that are. In the grand story of my life or the grand story of God's plan for the world, what are the point of 24 hours that go by where things just seem... monotonous.

I suppose it should come as no surprise to me that I saw this on Facebook today:




This would absolutely not be the first time that Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen has spoken to me directly. I smiled to myself when I saw this post because I thought -- he's still watching. For whatever reason God is allowing him to watch over me. I really believe that one day, God willing, I will make it to Heaven and there he'll be, Archbishop (Saint) Sheen. And I will hug him and tell him thank you and I love you. And he'll say you're welcome and I love you too.


St. John tells us that if he recorded all the miracles Our Blessed Lord had worked, the world would not be large enough to contain the books thereof.  There was only one time in His life that He ever cursed a thing, and that was the day He saw the barren fig-tree which was not producing its fruit in due season, and therefore was not enjoying the thrill of monotony.  There is necessarily bound to be a thrill in working toward any goal or fixed purpose, and therein is the final reason for the romance of repetition.  There, too, is the line of division between genuine Christianity and modern paganism.  The Christian finds a thrill in repetition because he has a fixed goal; the modern pagan finds repetition monotonous because he never decided for himself the purpose of living.  Instead of passing the test, the modern mind changes the test;  instead of working toward an ideal, it changes the ideal;  it is not marvel that existence is drab, if one has never discussed the reason for existence.    How dull, for example, golf would be if there were never a green; how monotonous would be a sea voyage, if there were never a port; or a journey if there were never a destination.  Since the modern mind has never decided the goal of life, nor the purpose of living, nor the reason of existing, but like a weathercock has changed with every wind of doctrine and suggestion, it is necessarily bound to find life dull, drab, and monotonous.” 


Just Me?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Does anyone else read Mary Higgins Clark's books? Just me? No way. Lots of people have to. She's written like 864 books over the past 30 years or something nuts like that. I got into them because my mom and grandma love them. How it usually works is that my grandma gets her newest book and reads it, passes it to my mom who reads it, who then passes it to me and I get to keep it. My grandmother decided many years ago that I should have a complete MHC collection so she scoured used book sales and library giveaways and now I have two complete sets: paperback and hardback.

Anyways, I say all of that to say, many Mary Higgins Clark books have a similar theme in that they always feature a strong woman, she's always Catholic and goes to mass and she frequently finds love by the end of the book. (This is after one or more people are murdered of course, but who's counting.) At any rate, in many of her books, the main character always makes a plate of pasta. Either for herself or herself and someone else. So tonight, when I decided to make gnocchi for dinner (out of a box, but that's neither here nor there) I felt like a character in a Mary Higgins Clark novel.

Also, that may not sound like a big deal, but if you know me (or if you read #1 here) you'd wonder if I was okay. Especially since I sauteed (is that the right word?) some peppers and onions and ate it for dinner with rice yesterday. Point being this is two days in a row now that I've made dinner and not purchased it from a fine dining establishment such as El Taco Bella. Truth be told, I have had a bit of a stomachache after dinner both last night and tonight. I can't tell if that's because my stomach is only used to processing Sheetz nachos or if it's because the sun dried tomato pesto I used on my gnocchi tonight expired in May. I did see recently on the Today Show that food expiration dates aren't really realistic or something we have to follow, so...

Anyways, how cute is Snicks?

Very.

AM 800

Sunday, October 20, 2013

You know how certain smells or songs can transport you back to another time and place or remind you of someone or a certain situation? I have several of these triggers, but one huge one for me is Mountaineer football on the radio.

I was returning home from the grocery store yesterday when WVU kicked off at noon. I turned on AM 800, the Mountaineer Sports Network, to listen to the beginning of the game. While the voice is now Tony Caridi's and not Jack Fleming's, when I hear Mountaineer football on the radio, suddenly it's 1994 again. I'm 10 years old and wearing my old light blue jacket. I'm standing out in the yard of our old house on Young Court "helping" my dad with whatever project he was doing that Saturday. The air smells crisp and crunchy... it smells like fall and college football. And we are listening to the Mountaineers on the radio. Me and my dad.

THAT is fall. And I hope everyone has some memories like that.


Some of my family circa 2013 enjoying the first WVU game of the season.

Seven Quick Takes: Fast Food Connoisseur and Other Tales

Friday, October 18, 2013


Linking up again with Jen and friends today!

1. I think it is safe to say that my commitment to crappy eating is unparalleled. The meals I've eaten today have come from Starbucks and Honeybaked Ham. If you look at my checking account, the list of recent debits reads like a fast food convention/heart attack waiting to happen: Sheetz, Taco Bell, Jimmy Johns, Chick-Fil-A, Steak Escape, Wendy's, Gino's Pizza. There's just a sampling of my menu in the past TWELVE DAYS. There really is absolutely no point to this other than to say, when I commit, I COMMIT.

2. I am going to the super coolest thing tonight. The Huntington Museum of Art, where I used to work, is hosting an exhibition called "Population" by artist Ray Turner. Basically the artist goes into a community, photographs 15-20 people in that community that have been identified as having "interesting" faces; he photographs them, then goes home and paints their portraits based on the photographs. In the exhibit, he shows the people he painted in that specific community, plus about 80 people from past communities. At each place he exhibits the oldest 20 paintings are dropped off to make room for the 20 new ones. I hope that makes sense! At any rate, he photographed me back in the spring and the opening of the exhibit is tonight! I am so excited to go. I haven't seen my painting in person yet, but I saw it online. I think it's really fun! The only "negative" thing I've heard about it is a friend of mine said he thinks of me as a smiley person, and I'm not smiling in it. (The artist wouldn't let us.) But I think it's just fun to say a famous artist painted me and I'll be hanging in some Museums!

My hair doesn't look this good in real life. Photo courtesy of The Herald-Dispatch.

3. Post-opening I think my friend Sarah and I are going to Sip, which is this wine bar in Huntington. We haven't been in a while, and I just love it so I'm so excited to go! They have these wine flights you can try, and I know that's underwhelming to people who live in bigger cities, but it was kind of a new thing in Huntington!

4. Story asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her for a scholarship she's applying for. It has to be between 300 and 500 words. Really? I could write 500 words about something Story did/said yesterday that impacted my life. How do you say in 300 words "Story altered the course of my life." Maybe I'll just say that:

To whomever it may concern:

Story Moosa altered the course of my life. Give her the money. Call if you need more details.

Sincerely,

Anna

5. A friend on Facebook posted this the other day it's a really interesting read. I can't quite figure out how I feel about it. I have two full-time jobs (one is full-time volunteer work) as well as countless other volunteer commitments, and, to be honest, I've been thinking a LOT lately about whether or not I am actually busier than I should be. I rarely have any downtime to rest or pray. I understand that our lives aren't always going to be cushy and easy, but I also wonder if God intends us to work 24/7 with no breaks or rest. Jen has written a lot about that, and I appreciate it. (Here is just one good example of what I'm talking about.) I honestly don't know the answer to this.

6. I looooooooooove finding new blogs to read and am always looking for recommendations. (My Feedly is currently populated by Jen, Grace, Sarah, Dweeja, Miranda, Jenny, Ashley and some others.)

7. Sadly I will not be going to Morgantown to watch the Mountaineers take on Texas Tech this weekend. Let's Go Mountaineers!

Go visit Jen for some more takes!


SSB

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Can I tell you a secret? I LOVE Thursday nights.

I love Thursday nights like some people love Saturday nights. To me, Thursday signifies the end of a week. Although there's still work on Friday, something about work on Fridays doesn't seem as terrible as work on Wednesdays. By the time Thursday night rolls around I have done, talked to, taken care of, thought about, worried about all the things I'm responsible for in a week. Even though I'll still be responsible for things tomorrow, tonight is the sign I've made it through the week.

On Thursdays after work at the magazine, I head to the dance studio and arrive there around 4:20 to open up. I clean up and do some small tasks before I teach class from 5:30 - 6:30. I love teaching my kids, but when that class is over I get irrationally excited for the evening to come.

I leave the studio and get in my car and go to pick up dinner or head home to make somethi -- I go to pick up dinner. I get home around 7 or so and I settle in for a night of watching TV and reading blogs. And it feels GREAT. I watch E! News from 7-8 and then I switch to ABC for a three-hour block of great television where the Lord is so good I don't even have to exert the effort to change the channel. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (sidenote: the Good Lord knew that life has been such lately that we require more than one Once Upon a Time in a week) followed by Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. I read all my favorite blogs on feedly and tool around on Facebook. I believe this is what Carrie Bradshaw called "SSB" -- secret single behaviour.

Tonight I drove 16 blocks out of my way to go get nachos at Sheetz and I got some wine too because I wanted it and, again, it's so weird, but this feels GREAT. Like it is an absolutely indescribable feeling how good Thursday night feels. I also have an obsession with Friday night, but that's for another day. Also, the likelihood Friday night will get interrupted is WAY higher than Thursday night being interrupted.

Sometimes I get lonely or I think about how much I'd like to be married and have a baby, but I can tell you something for sure -- I NEVER get sad about those things on Thursday nights. On Thursday night singledom and loneliness is so worth it... no kids to finish up homework or get to bed, no one fighting me for the remote.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this yet, but it feels GREAT.

Thank you, ABC, for making my Thursday nights worth living.
.

Is that Cary Grant Across the Room?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This evening Melissa and I were at the dance studio for several hours, working on choreography we need to teach this weekend. While we were in the middle of Fight Scene (it hit me earlier that I spend a good majority of my life saying things like "when the Rat King grabs Clara maybe it can be like a hostage situation" but I digress) we heard the WEIRDEST noises at the studio. As a point of reference, our studio is super huge and there are parts of the upstairs that are super creepy. Like so creepy that ain't no one going up there at night, even if you are two people. So we just didn't. On the way home from the studio, I was stopped at a red light and I looked over and was like -- is that a... hearse? Yeahhhhh. Yeah it was. I got stopped at a red light beside it TWO TIMES. I should also add it's a dark and rainy night.

I came home and texted my brother Thomas who is the person I know most likely to appreciate a story such as this. I told him after all that had happened I felt like I was in a Hitchcock movie or the Twilight Zone. Thomas's reply?

"Makes you wanna wear high heels I bet. That's scary but elegant."

Pretty much the best thing ever. Made my day.

I was like -- I really like the way I look in my head. It's my face but like in a 1947 suit and heels and am I wrong or is that Cary Grant across the room?

So, to recap: Rat King --> Hearse --> Cary Grant

That's my life.
Don't I look classy? Murder is no excuse for dressing poorly.

Drinking Pink Champagne on a Cruise Ship

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Long before bucket lists were cool (thank YOU Morgan Freeman), I started a list I called "Things I Want To Do Before I Die." I started it back in high school and it's up to 60 things now. The only reason I know how many is because I just pulled the book out... for the first time in months and months. I thought about it last night, how very long it had been since I looked at my list, let alone crossed something off. There are so many things on this list and they vary so widely, but all make me smile. These are things like See a live moose, Drink pink champagne on a cruise ship like in "An Affair to Remember," Ride in a convertible with the top down with a scarf like Grace Kelly, Put a hammock in my yard, Go fishing, Go to mass in Latin. Clearly some of these are things I can't randomly do on a Tuesday evening. :) But it hurts my heart that I haven't crossed anything off in a while. But I think it hurts my heart even worse to know I haven't added to the list in a while. Oh Anna.

I keep my list in the back of a book that in the front pages holds quotes I love. Some I've written out, some are taped in from magazines or books. I also have a few mementos of nice things people have said about me. I looked at the most recent quote added to the book, and I'm sorry to say I don't remember when I put it in there. That breaks my heart too.

This is a book full of hope and happy things. So today, today I'm brushing the dust off of it and putting it in a place of honor, not the lowest book under the lamp on the beside table. I have a lot to do, and I need to get started.


It looks like nothing, but it holds everything.

Something Wonderful Will Happen

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sometimes it's so easy for me to love my life and be happy with who and where I am and not be lonely. And then sometimes there are Saturday nights. Saturday nights where everyone I know is at dinner with their boyfriend or at home with their husband and children. Like last night. I had had a great day with my friend Sarah going to breakfast and then shopping for and helping our new Junior League members complete their volunteer project. It really was a great day. But when it was over -- around 4 p.m. -- I was home by myself for the evening to eat takeout on my couch. And you know what? Sometimes that is AWESOME because I am queen of needing introvert time on the couch not talking to anyone. But other times it's so much fun to go to the wine bar or dinner with someone and just be out and alive.

I was struggling a bit with this last night, I'm sure mainly due to the circumstances of this week. But after I got my dinner, I was flipping channels and saw that movie "Enchanted" was on. What a great save, God. :) I love that movie because it is so, so hopeful, and I don't love anything like I love hope. And maybe some people prefer depressing movies when they're not feeling so hopeful (misery loves company, I know), but not me. I like hopeful things when I'm not-so-hopeful because it makes me smile to see love and hope and feel my heart move as I remember I still believe those things. Even if it is just in the movies. 

And, I always stay absolutely silent for my favorite line in Enchanted -- "But dreams do come true. And maybe something wonderful will happen." 

Something wonderful sounds nice. 

Seven Quick Takes: Pancakes and Nuns

Friday, October 11, 2013

Linking up with Jen and friends!

1. My friend Sarah and I are co-chairs of Membership for the Junior League of Huntington this year, which means we're in charge of securing and training new members. Part of their membership requirement to join is to do a service project. This fall, their project is landscaping the Junior League Community Center, which is used by many local organizations at low or no cost for meetings and events. The new members' responsibility was to plan it all and give us a shopping list. Sarah and my responsibility is to buy the stuff on the list. We are landscaping tomorrow at noon. Do you think Sarah and I have purchased the stuff yet? No we have not. Which means we get to make a trip to Lowe's at 8 a.m. tomorrow. I don't know if you've ever visited Lowe's at 8 a.m. on a Saturday but it is populated by my parents and other 50-somethings. And me and Sarah. We're hoping to squeeze in a trip to iHop for cheap, delicious breakfast to make getting up at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday worthwhile.

2. If you do not think this is absolutely making my life worth living right now, you don't know me at all.

3. I don't feel deeper disappointment in my life, I don't think, than when I get on Feedly and my favorite bloggers have no new posts. I went out of town for a few days in August and didn't keep up with blog reading, and I was SO EXCITED when I got back to so many posts to read. I LOVE IT.

4. Is it spelled iHop or am I getting that confused with iPhone, iPod, iPad?

5. Just looked it up. It is, in fact, IHOP.

6. I'm going to a surprise party tonight for two of my dearest friends who are both turning 30. They are married; Ryan's 30th was yesterday and Jana's is next week. I honestly cannot  believe it's time for my friends with whom I graduated to turn 30. My birthday is in July... it was crappy when everyone turned 21 before me, but not so bad when it's 30! Although I'm weirdly looking forward to 30. Being a 20-something has been hard.

7. My friend Marissa entered the convent in mid-August; the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia in Nashville. Before she left, I let her know that the weekend of Oct. 5-6 I had a wedding to attend in Nashville and that I'd love to go to Sunday mass at her convent and catch a glimpse of her. I knew we wouldn't be able to talk, but I thought it'd be awesome to see her face and know she was there and doing well. When we got to the chapel we were WAYYYY in the back. I prayed and prayed all through mass that God just let me get a quick look at her face. As I was walking back to my pew from communion, I spotted her at the last possible moment. She didn't see me, but I was so grateful to God for answering my prayer. After mass, my mom, sister and I stayed seated just in case Marissa might walk by on her way out. Then, the best thing happened. Marissa walked near me and motioned for me to leave the pew; she took my hand and led me down a hallway where we got to TALK FOR 10 MINUTES!!! It was so awesome. She told me she's doing so well and that Jesus loves me so much! She also told me that she's been learning lately how God loves us because we're his daughters, not because of the things we do or what we accomplish. He just loves us because we are his daughters and he made us. It was so wonderful to hear! I honestly have never in my life been around someone who radiated so much joy. I really don't have words for it. Joy was just flowing out of her and I wanted to soak it up. I think it must be the kind of joy you can only attain when you are so right with God you could not be more right, fully living in his will for your life.

It was wonderful to see her, but I realized later the whole thing actually served an even bigger purpose. I had prayed to God so hard to please just let me glimpse her face, thinking that that was the absolute biggest and best thing that could happen. He responded by letting me talk to her and hug her instead. Which means God is prepared to give us abundantly more than we could ever think to ask for.

Now, go see Jen for way more fun!

Me and Marissa.

When Your Brain Needs to Catch Up With Your Heart

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I wrote a letter to Story this afternoon. I had been wanting to for a while, but for whatever reason I wasn't able to write it till today. I started it at work this afternoon, then took it with me to the dance studio to finish before I taught ballet. I hoped to sneak it in her dance bag while she wasn't looking for her to find after her class. Which I did. :)

I wrote Story thanking her for what she does for my life, which is pretty much ensure it moves forward. There were things I needed to say a long time ago that I just really needed her to know. I wrote and wrote, and at the end of the first page, I wrote something before I even thought it. I think it came out of my heart because, in order for my brain to understand what it said I had to go back and reread it. And what I read was this:

Once upon a time always ends with happily ever after.

Wow. I read that and couldn't help but smile. Widely.

And who would believe it, as, on paper, I should be very sad right now. But once upon a time always ends with happily ever after.

In case you are really scared I have completely left reality, I do know that life isn't perfect and things don't always work out the way you want them to. Trust me, I know. There are things in the middle of those two things that aren't so pleasant like eating a poisoned apple or cleaning up after wicked stepsisters or being chased by the Queen of Hearts. But at the end of all those pesky middles comes happily ever after.

At least, that's what I hope for. And what my heart, apparently, believes.

The Lord Gives and the Lord Takes Away

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

There are many sad things in the world that cause pain and suffering, but I think one of the worst is a broken heart. Heartbreak pain is really indescribable pain... it's the kind that makes you think you can't sleep (and you can't), you can't eat (you really can't), you can't get off the couch, you can't go to work, you can barely move because every bit of your energy is going in to just taking your next breath. Just keeping yourself alive for one more moment. 

Heartbreak is something that most people have experienced. Some of us more than one time. And, the thing is, it never gets easier the more times it happens. In fact, I feel like the older you get the harder heartbreak is. The harder you fall. But with age I think also comes a sense of perspective, so even if it hurts more, hurts so badly you don't know what you're going to do with yourself, maybe one day you'll be able to process the pain in a way you couldn't do when you were younger. Or at least know that when you're hurting so badly now, even if you can't see the end of it or when it'll be over, you know that one day you will wake up and it will all be okay. It just will. 

Obviously I'm feeling a bit of broken heart right now. And by "a bit" I mean I am feeling the pain of a broken heart right now. It's pretty fresh. And I thought yesterday that most people, when they think of meeting God and asking Him a question, they want to ask him what is the meaning of life? But me? I'd ask him... where were you? Where were you God? Where were you when I was crying and in pain and praying to you for help? Where were you when I was praying before to please only let me feel this way if it came from You. WHERE WERE YOU? 

Fortunately I read the writing of a lot of people smarter than me, and I read something last night that really helped me. You can read the whole thing here (and you should), but it all boils down to this:

Each time I am tempted to scream, Where is our God when we suffer?!, the crucifix provides its own, wordless response: He is right here, suffering with us.

He's here. Suffering with us. I'm God's daughter. When I hurt, He hurts. He feels the pain I'm in. Even though He has the ability to take it away in a second, for whatever reason He's decided that this is something I need to feel and experience and suffer through. But He feels it too. I'm not here feeling this pain alone. He's beside me feeling it too. So thanks, Jen, for helping ease the heartache of someone you don't know and have never met.

One thing I asked my best friend Melissa last night was why? Why did this have to happen? In the grand scheme of life and God's world and His plan, was it really so important to God that I go through this? Could he not have just prevented it from happening or taken the feelings from my heart? The answer is, of course he could. And I don't know why I had to feel pain or why He didn't take it away. But I'm trying to be okay with the fact he didn't. And, at the very least, this is just another situation that reminds me the kind of friends He has blessed me with: friends like Melissa who have two small kids and a husband and a job but talked to me for an hour on my drive home from heartbreak central last night. I couldn't have made it home without her voice on the other end of the phone. Friends like Story who found me at 7:30 this morning on her way to school to bring me muffins and a note and a hug. Friends like Sarah who texted me all morning from work and then told me to meet her in her backyard after work for wine and talking because our trip to the store for Saturday's volunteer supplies could so wait for something like this. 

And like I told Melissa this morning via email: I got a little sleep, and I just took my medicine and brushed my teeth. I'm about to shower and clean up some things. I haven't cried today since I hugged Story this morning. I feel okay. I really do. :) It hurts, it does, but Mel, I choose to believe I am magic and that life is magic and that God has blessed me beyond measure with all the many people and things I have to be grateful for. As I told you last night, I have a list of things in my life that will never change, no matter how old I get or how heartbroken I am or anything. There are friends that will come and go and I know that, but there are things I know that will never change. Story won't. You and your kids won't. My parents won't. Sarah even won't. I choose to believe I'm special, that God made me just the way He wanted me, and although I might get angry with Him because I don't understand why he lets me hurt so badly sometimes, perhaps it's not for me to know now. As my mom told me this past weekend when we were talking Fulton Sheen saved my life so I could LIVE my life not so I could be scared of it. 

Who knows why heartbreak happens and why some people (ahem, myself) seem to experience it more than others.  But I guess the real question is -- why NOT me. But it's not the pain that's the important part, the important part is getting up and still believing in your own magic. Believe that hope is the most powerful magic of all. 

The note Story brought me this morning with my muffins. Love that kid.

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