Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Ode to Friends

I'm feeling inspired today to write about a few people who inspire me.  I have many amazing friends - in fact, if you are my friend consider yourself to be a uniquely incredible person, because you surely are!  But today I want to talk about three people in particular that I admire and hope to emulate in certain ways.  Each possesses a quality that I feel that I lack that completely amazes me.

First up will be Monica.  Monica is an only child, and had, what I consider, a pretty radical upbringing.  She was raised on an ostrich ranch (um hello, how cool is that?) and her parents later opened their own drive-through coffee company (anyone in the Sonora area should go by Day-O Espresso & Smoothies because it's delish!).  Now, I think if my parents owned a coffee company, I'd be even more addicted than I already am, so perhaps it's for the best they didn't. :)  But back to Monica...she's awesome.  I think the only-child scenario really helped her become someone who is not afraid to put herself out there and can take care of herself.  She just tried out for the show Wipe-Out, and she's applying to work on a riverboat doing mystery dinner theater!  Both of those sound awesome to me...and even though I think I could do those things, I rarely put myself out there in such a way.

Monica is younger than I am, but in many ways far more mature.  She can parallel park (a skill I lost when I moved away from Long Beach) and just seems to be able to handle things well on her own, without much help.  I blame my position of being the youngest for my apparent inability to help myself.  I do think I can help myself when absolutely necessary (my proudest moment was when I fixed the credit card machine at Gilead all on my own without asking for help from our tech guy), but if I can get someone to figure something out for me, I'll usually take that route.  It is not a trait I admire in myself, and I would definitely love to be more like Monica in taking initiative and taking care of things.  I'd probably even be surprised by what I can do without help!  Her confidence in herself and her abilities is really inspiring to me, and I think she's awesome. :)

Next up will be Marci.  Marci and I have known each other since kindergarten, though we really became close in seventh grade in Mr. Greene's class.  Marci is another confident woman who goes after what she wants (and often gets it).  I admire a ton of things about Marc, but the one in particular today is her ability to communicate her desires.  If someone asks me what I want, I usually say, "whatever," because I want to be agreeable and easy-going.  Marci specifically says her preference, and does it in a way that sounds neither rude nor demanding.  I find that amazing!

I asked her once how she does it, and she said that she won't always get her way, but if she doesn't get her way because she didn't communicate it, that's silly.  She said it doesn't hurt to just say what she wants.  If she gets it, great!  If not, that's okay, because at least she communicated it.  I find myself keeping my mouth shut about what I'd really like and what I need, and then pout when I don't get my way because whoever I'm with didn't read my mind.  (Anyone care to find out more about this, ask my poor, patient husband.)  I don't know where I got the idea that being upfront and honest about things is pushy or demanding, but Marci proves that this notion is incorrect.  She does it all with gentleness and grace.

Last, but certainly not least, is JulieAnn.  I had the pleasure of meeting JulieAnn in high school and will always force her to be my friend.  She's the kind of person you want to be around because you leave her feeling better about yourself and life in general.  She is the eternal optimist, always encouraging, and always honest.  She asked me recently what she should say is her passion on an essay, and I immediately replied, "Life!  Your passion is life and helping the people you love get the most out of life!"  It's true.  She lives life to the fullest.  She is constantly wanting to learn new things.  She has been an exercise instructor (just for fun) and has talked about all the classes she wants to take and the things she wants to learn (from cake decorating to the stock market).

Just as an example, I was gchatting with JulieAnn whilst writing this, and was telling her that it's hard for me to figure out a major when there are so many different things I want to do.  (English, accounting, nutrition, etc.)  And her response was that the sky is the limit and I don't need to worry about doing only one thing because I have forty more years to work and accomplish all the things I want to do.  She truly believes you can do everything you want to do, so long as you put in the time and effort (which she does).  She is not limited by time, resources, or circumstances.  She makes life work for her, and never admits defeat or gives up.

Now, can we all see a pattern in what traits I'm particularly jealous of today?  Perhaps Kimberly is going through a bit of a struggle in going after what she wants and putting herself out there...I do see all the wonderful things in life and all that I can accomplish.  And I just wish I didn't give up so easily when circumstances aren't just right.  I'm far more capable than I give myself credit for (I think) and would probably greatly benefit from pushing myself just a bit more.  Sort of reminds me of one of my favorite verses: "Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds.  Those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops."  Time to start just doing.

So, I think I've decided to start writing about one friend a week - because I have lots of amazing friends with wonderful traits!  Stay tuned to hear about more people I'm blessed to know...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Hey people...haven't written in a little while because we have no internet at our house I walk to Starbucks to come get online.  And the connection isn't great and the people watching is too tempting, so I get distracted.  I am still trying to find a place for everything in our home, so it's still not quite yet "photo ready".  I do plan to put up some pictures for you who are curious as soon as possible!  (Though we'd rather have you all come visit in person.)

Anyway, apparently the downtown Starbucks is the place for moms with young children to come congregate after their mornings at the gym.  It's pretty hilarious to watch all the small children interact.  And shoot, if all that moms do is go to the gym then sit at Starbucks with their friends, maybe I could do that whole mom thing!  (Kidding....please don't take offense, moms!  I know you work hard...harder than I care to work right now.)

Seriously though...has anyone discovered the perfect job?  As I job search, I find that I'm quickly turned off to lots of things...for example, I do not want to work nights or weekends.  I don't want to do any type of sales, because I happen to hate it when salespeople try to coerce me into buying things I don't need, so I think it would be hypocritical to do that to others.  I want to set my own schedule and have all the time off I want on holidays.  And I want to have all the time and energy I need to learn how to be an amazing cook, keep a clean house, and learn how to sew.

Yes...I'm feeling lazy today.  Really I'd just be happy with a job where I don't have to clean hot dog bins, wear a hair net, and work nights.  And where I can sit and write all day and read wonderful books.  OH!!!  I could be a publisher!  If anyone hears of any publishing companies hiring people with no degrees who want to work from home, let me know. ;)

Very much looking forward to the holidays.  We've had one of our three "Friendsgivings" so far...looking forward to the other two.  Looking forward to seeing family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I always wish I could stop time during the holidays and just stay hanging out with family and not working and drinking hot chocolate and eating cinnamon rolls.

Ok, the kids running around are getting loud and I think it's about time I move along to more unpacking.  Everyone have a great Tuesday, because God has blessed us with one more day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Moving Day!!!!

Sam and I got to Porterville around midnight last night so we could sleep in a super comfy bed as opposed to an air mattress.  We also wanted to break up the trip a little bit.  So I've already had the most wonderful start to our move! It began with an ice cream cake from Cold Stone that a friend at work got me!  It was perfect - cake batter ice cream with red velvet cake - mine and Sam's favorite!  The cake said, "We'll miss you," on it, and there are definitely people I will miss at work.  I'm hoping they'll all come visit up north, though. :)

This morning I got to have this:

my mom's homemade banana bread and coffee in a season-appropriate mug.  It's just fun to drink out of a pumpkin mug.

Also, this:

I didn't get to paint my nails at Costco.  Normally I wouldn't mind so much...but when someone tells me something is forbidden, it just makes me want to do it all the more.  So I painted my nails first thing this morning after my bubble bath. :) 

And this:

Can't go wrong with a super sweet niece.  So far, so good!

Ok, so I wrote the above yesterday, when it was actually moving day, and never got around to actually posting it.  Sam and I got to Petaluma around 6pm and were greeted by 9 of our friends who helped us unload everything.  With all the help it went pretty fast!  We are so close to downtown and I love that aspect of it!  I walked to Starbucks this morning to use the internet since ours isn't set up yet.

I also completely adore our home!  It's an older place so it has so many fun charming things about it, like random shelving, a claw foot bathtub/shower, and a slanted roof.  It's definitely small, so we're going to have fun finding a place for everything.  But it's perfect!  Also, something that I think is just so cute (and it's from Friends) is that there are curtains on the cupboards instead of doors!  Love that!  Ok, as soon as we get somewhat unpacked and settled I'll put up pictures.  Just so excited to be here!  And happy to be celebrating our 3 month anniversary here today. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Howdy friends.  Tonight Sam and I are enjoying a night at home.  By enjoying I mean we have both been sick, so he's playing video games and I'm ordering our thank yous for the wedding.

We're basically all packed and ready to leave on Saturday!  Grandma Oda and Sharon came by to help me box up our kitchen stuff today, which was so helpful!  It's so funny how much time and effort I put into setting up everything...and then all the effort it took to take it down.  It makes me realize how silly all the "stuff" is that we pile up in our lives.  Don't get me wrong - I want to create a nice atmosphere for my husband so that he has a cozy home to return to.  But knowing Sam, I doubt he cares if it's set up perfectly to look like a Martha Stewart magazine.

Our new place is much smaller than this place, which I'm grateful for.  It forces us to really figure out what we need and eliminate all that extra junk.  I tend to be a "don't-throw-it-away-what-if-I-need-it-tomorrow-even-though-I-haven't-used-it-in-five-years" type of person, so it is difficult for me.  I just never want to be wasteful, so I don't want to throw out something I might one day need.  But...I also don't want to end up a hoarder, so it's good when life forces us to clean out the crap.

I want to do that with everything else in my life, too.  What do I need to simplify?  What am I making too complicated?  I know one thing - I'm giving up on trying to fit some image of a perfect homemaker.  I don't know what it is about getting married, but it suddenly made me worry about that stuff, which I never did before.  I was always more of a "Mary" than a "Martha" (look up Luke 10:28-32 if you don't understand the reference) and suddenly I've switched.  It's a change I am not proud of.  I used to be more concerned with seeing friends and cultivating relationships, and suddenly I find myself worried with what people will think when they come over.  Is my house clean enough?  Is it decorated cute?  Um...who cares?

I want to blame society for it.  First they convinced me I needed to have a perfect wedding and stressed me out with it.  Now I feel like they've convinced me that if I'm not sewing homemade curtains while my homemade bread is baking in my spotless oven, I'm a failed wife.  I don't like that.  Here's the real story.  I love to bake, but Sam and I are trying to be healthy, so I don't do it often.  Cooking is not nearly my strong point, but Sam is thrilled if I put together a simple meal of cous cous and chicken.  I would love to learn to sew to make my own clothes, but I've had a sewing machine sitting in my closet for almost 2 years...and still haven't learned.  I love to knit but haven't done it in forever.  So there you have it.  My name is not Martha...neither Stewart, nor the one from the Bible.

So...sorry my blog is not full of ideas for centerpieces for Thanksgiving, or recipes for homemade pumpkin muffins.  Maybe some day that stuff will have more of a place in my life...(like if I ever become a mom, which is another foreign idea to me).  But for now?  I'm going to keep it simple.
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