Thursday, August 29, 2013

I got me one of them JOB things.

Raise your hand if you got a job today...

It's just temporary, but hey....HEY, IT'S SOMETHING. Time will tell if the temporary job turns into a long-term gig (I know full well how fickle those contract jobs can be) or if I'll go a different direction, but for the time being...

I am once again an employed human being! I'll be doing content writing, eCommerce development and social media for an antiques furniture and decor company! WOOT!

If you know me, you know I'm passionate about all that old vintage stuff. My entire apartment is an array of carefully selected Goodwill treasures. You are also probably aware that I love social media. I LOVE IT. So combine these two areas? Yes please!

I mean, I watch Antiques Roadshow for fun...if that says anything.

I feel excited, happy, relieved and blessed. I drove home after getting the offer yesterday, blasting Katy Perry's "Roar" in my car, made a pit stop for some In 'n Out french fries and a Dr. Pepper, and danced in my car like a crazy child (a safe-driver crazy child, don't worry) all the way home.


p.s. They have a little dog in the office, named Potato. Actually his name is Tudou (too-doh), which is Chinese for potato so I feel like I can use the names interchangeably. Potato likes to bark at me and then sit by/on my feet during interviews. I think it's his way of testing my grit and comforting me all at once. I think we will be great friends. Please stay tuned for the inevitable pictures.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Time to talk about...feelings...

Hello and welcome to my therapy session.

You know in movies where the patient says, "I feel...lonely..." and the therapist is some absentminded loon doodling on a clipboard who responds, "Talk about....lonely..."? Don't worry, I have a better opinion of therapists than that. But in any case, today we're going to "talk about....feelings...."

In the interest of updating you on my little NorCal life, I feel...

...hopeful. Little lifelines keep on coming to keep me afloat financially and emotionally, and I'm confident the big guy upstairs and the good people in my life will continue to look out for me.

...curious. I can't stop thinking about outer space lately and how much I want to go there someday. I feel like I need to educate myself more on the matter. I also want to type SPACE in capital letters every time I write it, just like I always want to do with the word SCIENCE.

...nostalgic. To be honest, I haven't had too many homesick moments for Arizona. But every time someone posts on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/everywhere about monsoon season, I wish I was right there in those warm rainstorms. Some of the best memories of my whole life involve August and the smell of warm rain!

...tired. I'm training for the Napa Valley Ragnar Relay next month. I always forget how much consistent running transforms me into a hibernating bear. I want double the sleep and double the food, always. On cue, I'm currently hungry again. SNACKS! (That word follows the same rules as SPACE and SCIENCE.)

...frustrated. I cried three separate times on Sunday night and Monday morning because I just feel like I'm reaching a breaking point with job hunting. I'm working my tail off just to get noticed and make companies realize that I could be a really good thing for them. It can get demoralizing.

...intrigued. Considering some alternative writing career paths that I hadn't thought about before. Still involves writing, but maybe different than the deadline-driven frenzy of content writing that I'm accustomed to. Currently working on scheduling lunch or coffee dates with people who do what I'm interested in doing. Fingers crossed!

...swamped. Job hunting is surprisingly busy. All the job boards to check, the cover letters to write, the writing tests that every interview process wants, even just for small part-time things...I'm investing a lot of hours in all of it. It wouldn't be so different than normal work, except I don't get paid for any of then I still have to squeeze in time for freelance assignments to pay some billz. I'm creatively sapped and mentally overworked, with a dwindling bank account.

...grateful. People here are seriously so nice. I feel like I've been welcomed with open arms and had so many adventures to keep me occupied! If I didn't have that, the job hunt stress could very well do me in.

...growing pains. Sometimes I look back on phases of my life and recognize that I grew a lot, and other times I can feel the growing pains and recognize the growth in very real, current ways. I'm in one of those latter phases. I can see myself turning inside and out and stretching as every tough and amazing week goes by. I'm excited to see what/who I turn out to be.

...happy. Even amid the stress of it all, I am so happy to be on this #bravekatie adventure. I am proud of myself for taking that leap, even if I feel like I left the cliff's edge two months ago and still haven't quite found my footing yet.  I just have these little moments where I feel like happiness is coming out of my pores, and the permeating thought in my head is a simple, quiet, "Yes." And that inner voice (the same one that made me get in my car and move here in the first place) alone makes any of the other junk easier to navigate. I've learned to trust that inner voice with my life. It always knows.

And that's all. Thank you for joining me in talking about...feelings...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Star Trek, Spock & Snapchat Fails

What is Snapchat for besides Star Trek references, right?

...maybe don't answer that. But I do love a good random Snapchat sesh with my amigos. It's even better when I really fail gloriously at it. Behold...

...the condition of these Snapchats best reflects the current condition of my brain, I think. Who knew job hunting and not getting a regular paycheck could somehow be so utterly time consuming? I'm swimming in cover letters and writing assignments over here...some for freelance pay, but most for interview processes. It's insane the amount of time it all takes! But it's a means to an end, you know. A lovely "I can pay my rent without getting an ulcer about it" end. And I'm grateful there are at least jobs to apply for! We got this.

In the meantime...I work on, and Snapchat on. Small breaks and breathers are best. Over and out!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A&A: Star Wars & Strange Trucks

Dudes, we're so overdue for some of this business. On with it!

▲ Last weekend I climbed into my friend's large black truck and discovered it was not, in fact, his large black truck. The people who did, in fact, own said large black truck proceeded to stare at me in shock from the front seat. I ran away. I got out and ran right away.
▲ I'm sorry but...200 CATS?! Crazy things going on behind the scenes at Disneyland:
▲ I ran into a door at a job interview. When my contact at the company emailed me to ask how the meeting with the director went, I told him I left there "feeling sweaty and in need of a Dr. Pepper." I think I've reached a point of blunt honesty and no inhibitions with this job hunt thing.
▲ A radio station named KFOK. Why does this happen?

▲ This emotional Titanic recorder solo is all things yes.
▲ Star Wars fashion exists and I need that R2D2 swimsuit now please:
▲ I frequently (see: daily) (and nightly) overhear my upstairs neighbors bickering, the teenage son in English and the mom in an unidentified asian dialect. Today it reached new, amazing levels as the young fellow insisted on SINGING over his mother's foreign the tune of Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time." The louder she ranted, the louder he Billy Joeled. I am emotionally attached to these people.
▲ These creative bookstore ads claim to capture the magic of reading and I'd have to agree.
▲ If you have any soft spot in your heart for Arizona, you will love this website.
▲ My Kerry girl made a list toward the bottom of this post of things her Henry dog has taught her, and I feel like it's some top-notch life advice! On that note, I've been on a dog kick lately and frequently look at the local rescue listings (this is not the first phase I've been through) even though my living situation says it's a no-go. I picked out a doberman this week who weighs as much as I do, and I look at pictures of him online daily. His description says he's "initially reserved," has "beautiful house manners," and "within a day is ready to lay down his life for his family." He would be my fierce friend, protector and running buddy, I just know it! Oh look, here he is now:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Music: The Blessed Unrest

It's easy for me to label different phases of my life by the music I listened to at the time.

Sometimes I figure out what the music is after the fact -- when I hear certain songs or artists later on, and BAM I'm in a fit of nostalgia (or a fit of dread and clenched tummy) about a different time and place. Music has a funny, transportive way of making you feel old emotions like you're right back in the moment.

A few opening strains and some key lyrics and I'm easily thrown back to the anticipation and goodbye of my senior year of high school (Ben Folds Rocking the Suburbs), the general gray loneliness of the few months after I transferred colleges and landed in Provo (Patty Griffin's "Burgundy Shoes"), the calm and nausea and hope and frenzy of the first couple months back in AZ after graduation (the Weepies), a dozen sweaty concert crowds (Jimmy Eat World, the Format, Yellowcard, etc etc etc), and a half dozen sore heartaches (Radical Face, the Beatles, Rocky Votolato, Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift, etc etc etc).

And speaking of Sara Bareilles, she's the reason for this post. Because her new album is my NOW music.

I loved her new album, The Blessed Unrest, at first listen for several reasons. She's always had a way of producing lyrics that speak to me, but something about the very chords and beats of this one unsettle me in all the good ways. For example, the discordant high note on the word "sun" in the chorus of "Chasing the Sun" does something to my insides. I don't think it's the most mind-blowing music I've ever heard, but still, it's like the very unrest (aptly named album) of it all gets under my skin and matches the exact flavor of all the emotions I've had since uprooting and moving to California. It's like adventure, fear, hope, anxiety, longing and finding all at once. The visual is something like...running and cliff jumping into an ocean. (Jason Bourne? I don't know.)

Give it a listen:

Other favorite tracks include 1000 Times, Satellite Call, Brave, Manhattan, I Choose You, December,, all of them?

Anyone else rocking the Sara B lately? Or have your own "defines a specific time period of life" music?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

On Tests of Faith & the Necessity of Unanswerable Questions

I had the opportunity to share these words with my church congregation this morning, and I wanted to pass them on to my lovely readers! Whether you're religiously inclined or not, I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the topic.

I think it’s hard to admit to ourselves that our faith is being tested.

It’s human nature to want to hide our flaws and present more polished versions of ourselves to the world. One of my favorite quotes (that I discovered via Myke, who is a male blogger, you guys! A good one!) is by author John Steinbeck, who said, “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” I’m a big believer in this idea -- the power of being vulnerable and openly flawed. We all eventually reach that moment where we say “Hey, I have questions. I have flaws. I have some issues, sometimes small and sometimes serious. I mess up every day.” And when we’re finally OK admitting that, and not trying to gloss over our issues or put a bandaid over our wounds without cleaning them out first, when we reach that point of no longer being afraid of our own imperfections, is when we can really get to work on being GOOD. It goes in line with another one of my favorite quotes, this one from another author, Ray Bradbury, who said, “You’re afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be.” I’ve written that quote on more sticky notes, white boards, and pieces of scrap paper than I can count. It’s a statement that drives me forward when I’m tempted to let my questions trip me up or my trials stop my progression. “You’re afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be.”

I think our faith is sometimes tested by trials, the physical and emotional things in the moment of hard stuff we’re going through.

But I also think another big way our faith is tested is by questions.

Sometimes our questions come because of specific “why did a family member die” or “why do people get cancer” or “why did i lose my job.” Other times, the questions cut right to the core of our relationship with the gospel as we find that some of the “natural man” parts of ourselves disagree with parts of the gospel. What happens when, down deep inside ourselves, we feel fundamentally different about an issue than what the gospel teaches we are supposed to feel about it? What happens when we try to gain a testimony of a particular point of doctrine and can’t seem to resolve it, even after careful prayer and study? What happens when we do everything right and the answers don’t come? I believe our faith is most tested by the questions we cannot easily answer.

BYU professor and choir director Ronald Staheli said in a BYU devotional, “By design we are asked to live with the stress of unanswered questions, paradox, incongruity, enigma, and seeming absurdity, which will try our tenacity, patience, and faithfulness. Our thinking will be challenged, our powers of reason will be overwhelmed, leaving the heart free to wander toward an unrealistic world of self-deception.”

When it comes to troubling times and hard questions, sometimes I fall into the trap of trying to hide that part of myself from Heavenly Father.

But like any relationship, you have to be real with Him. You have to be honest. No good friendship is built with people who are bothered or angry or confused but put on a fake happy face and bottle it up inside forever. Real friends talk about the hard things, and I want my relationship with God to be real. So I have to let myself be honest with Him. I have to admit to Him what's troubling me. I have to tell him when I’m mad or frustrated or disbelieving. I came to this realization a couple years ago. I stopped always praying in a perfectly polished, pretty way and I FINALLY allowed myself to be honest with Him. I started allowing myself to express frustration and admit when I disagreed with God. I brought my questions to Him rather than tucking them away. And that's when I found Him.

I grew up with a pretty cookie cutter brand of faith. Not any less real or important, but I think immature in a lot of ways.

It was easy for me to believe, it was easy for me to never question, and that worked for me as a teenager and often throughout college. But in the years since then, as I’ve started finding myself more and figuring myself out, I realized some things that I deeply felt weren’t in line with the gospel. I found myself asking questions, uncovering sticky parts of my relationship with the gospel, and to be honest it scared me a little at first. It troubled me. Something about the idea of questioning or doubting shook me up a little. I watched friends struggle with really hard issues, and I didn’t know how to box that up and put a pretty bow on it and label it and file it away. The hard questions felt difficult for me to reconcile. I tried to seek out answers but couldn’t seem to find them, and sometimes that shook my faith because I felt ASHAMED. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t believe as easily as I did when I was younger, that every little detail and point of the gospel didn’t seem to fit in the nice little boxes I was used to.

As some of the glossier fronts and veneers of my faith fell away, I started to feel a little bit like I had lost myself, and it made me worry that maybe I had lost God.

But He was not gone. And I was not lost. My faith had CHANGED but it hadn’t LEFT. I was not ultimately the disciple of Christ I expected to be but I was still a disciple nonetheless. And maybe even a better one than I had planned. Because now that I could stop demanding perfection out of myself and my faith, without questions, in every way, right now...because I could stop demanding that impossible, immediate perfection, I could be good. When my faith is tried, I can question...and I can seek...and I can still stand with God through all of that. I’m grateful for the faith of my youth because I know I needed it and it set a wonderful foundation for me -- but it was just a starting point.

I believe God raised me to be able to easily believe...but I believe He then moved on to maturing me to be able to question.

To be able to withstand tests of faith. My faith is so much more RICH for the questions I’ve had to face, and for the questions I have yet to answer. Heavenly Father has to ask us the hard questions. His plan requires opposition in ALL things. Our very softest and most tender spots, those little corners of our hearts and our deepest, most personal struggles, those places are EXACTLY where He is going to test us. The answers we most struggle with, those are EXACTLY the specific, individualized, personal essay questions He’s going to ask us. Why? ...because He needs to know who we’re going to choose. He needs to know who we choose, what we choose, in the hard moments, because that’s when it matters. That’s when our choices count.

I’ve frequently heard it said that when you take steps into the dark, then the light comes. I disagree. 

I've heard that you take a step in faith, and then an answer appears and you see the reasons and the explanations and doors open and light floods in. I do know that happens sometimes. I’ve had it happen for me. But my experience has also been that some paths in our lives will ALWAYS be dark. I believe we will be asked to walk some paths blindly. Blindly going in, blindly going through, and blindly looking back with no clear 20/20 hindsight at all. Some questions, I don’t think we will ever have answered in this life. But Heavenly Father needs to know that WE. WILL. WALK. ANYWAY. Not seeing, not knowing, doubting, questioning, wondering, asking...with all that baggage weighing on our shoulders and settling heavy in our hearts...we still go. And we keep going. To me, THAT is my greatest test of faith. Not going and seeing and then having courage to go’s going and NOT seeing, STILL feeling blind, and still finding courage to move forward. It’s asking questions, struggling to find the answers, never quite being sure of some answers, and still choosing to believe. I think THOSE are the paths, the journeys, and the questions where REAL faith is born.

As much as I sometimes hate the hard questions that get under my skin and make my head spin a little, I’m grateful for them in kind of a “love/hate” way. I’m grateful that they’ve given me the opportunity to stand at forks in the road and decide that I STILL CHOOSE CHRIST. I choose Him IN my questions, WITH my questions, even on days when maybe I don't feel very faithful. On days when I don't feel like my best, most worthy self. I choose Him because I went to the temple and promised to ALWAYS choose Him and I do not break my promises. I choose Him because I want him, because I love Him, and because I trust Him.

Our relationship with Christ is crucial to the process of questioning, because when we walk through dark or gray areas of our lives, we don't have to go it alone.

I believe that Christ is willing to walk right there with us as we navigate the sticky parts and the shadows. Don't shut Him out. Don’t think you need to navigate that on your own. I can testify that Christ’s promise to always be with us and bear our troubles and carry us on His shoulders can be a very real power in our lives. Do not choose to face your questions and walk your hard paths alone when He is ready and willing to walk through all of it with you.

Another purpose to questioning and tests of faith, I believe, is that God needs advocates.

He needs believing, faithful, relatable people who can serve as bridges of faith for people whose questions separate them from the gospel. He needs faithful people, who have had their faith tested, who STILL CHOOSE to stay and believe. He needs firm believers to admit to and face their personal questions so they can relate to non believers who grapple with the same issues. By tasting our own doubts and concerns, we become relatable to people who are also struggling to find answers. I’m grateful I’ve been given the opportunity to question, to struggle to work out my own faith, because it has given me empathy.

Empathy is maybe the most cherished character trait I want to achieve and hone in this life, along with charity. I believe empathy and charity are very closely linked, maybe enough so that you can't really have one without the other. Charity is the pure love of Christ, and Christ's crowning glory is that He felt all of our pains, troubles, joys and hurts.

What more is the Atonement, in the end, than the grandest and most perfect embodiment of empathy?

Asking honest questions and having our faith tested makes us relatable. Being relatable teaches us empathy. And in those moments of pure empathy, when we feel the hurts and doubts and emotions of other people in our hearts as tangibly as if it is our own personal test of faith, in those sacred moments -- and I have had them -- I believe we take Christ upon ourselves and act in His name in the truest and most divine sense of the covenant to do so. Without stretching our own hearts by way of test and trial, we cannot have room for the hearts of others. And what else is a heart for than for letting people in and keeping them safe?

I thank God for making something bigger of me.

I thank Him for testing my faith, for making me face the hard questions, and for allowing my heart to relate to people when they walk their own hard paths. And I have a sure knowledge that it took some tough stuff and hard questions to do that, and that it will take more hard things and more sharp, specific tests of my faith to keep shaping me into bigger and better things. I'm a firm believer in the idea that God HAS to test our faith. He HAS to break our hearts because that's how the light gets in.

The prophet Brigham Young said: "We talk about our trials and troubles here in this life: but suppose that you could see yourselves thou­sands and millions of years after you have proved faithful to your religion during the few short years in this time, and have obtained eternal salvation and a crown of glory in the presence of God; then look back upon your lives here, and see the losses, crosses, and disappointments, the sorrows . . . , you would be constrained to exclaim, 'But what of all that? Those things were but for a moment, and we are now here.'"

I want to testify that no matter how much our faith is tested, no matter how many hard paths we are asked to walk, no matter how many difficult questions we ask and how many questions we sometimes can’t seem to answer, that God has a plan. I testify that Christ is with us for every stumbling step. I testify that, in thousands and millions of years, in worlds and heavens to come, that like Brigham Young said, we will look back on every heartache and be constrained to exclaim:

“But what of all that? Those things were but for a moment, and we are now here.”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

6 Things You Should Know About Me

So, I got tagged for a "6 things you should know about me" post.
(Thanks, Lauren from Pink on the Cheek!) (And I'm VERY pleased that she's moving to norcal and we can be real friends now please thank you that is all.)

I thought the ol' blog could use a little lighthearted fun, and what's more lighthearted and fun than a themed post that reminds me of those email forwards we used to obsessively fill out and send around to each other? I'm talking pre-Xanga, you guys. It was like a form of retro, prehistoric blogging via Juno and AOL. Anyway, on with it!

6 Things You Should Know About Me
(Also, "should" is an awfully bossy word and I'm an awfully not bossy person. But ok.)

1. Is this how you imagined your life would be?

N to the O, not at all. I remember being 19 and thinking that girls who were (gasp!) 24 and single were living in some kind of alternate reality and why didn't boys want them and sooo saaaddd for themmm. Now I'm 26 (and a half, as of Sunday) and I'm living in northern California and I have a college degree and legitimate stuff on my resume and WHOA, you know? But I was just thinking today how happy I am. Current job hunt woes aside, I am a seriously blessed girl. God had a better plan and identity for me than I had for myself, and I think there's more coming.

2. If money were no question, I would purchase...

A year of traveling in Europe. A month or two in each country. Time in the big cities, but time in the nooks and countrysides as well. I'd meet the locals and ride bicycles into the fields late at night and sleep under the stars and see the northern lights in Iceland and go dancing in Spain and pick grapes in Italy and spend hours in libraries and cathedrals and watch sunset after sunset over cityline after cityline. I'd live with only what I could carry and it would include simple shoes, several white t-shirts, a couple gray cardigans, and only the bare necessities. Be still my heart, I can't even handle this paragraph.

3. What's your drink of choice when out with girlfriends?

I need a moment of silence for the blue powerade Sonic slushie because there is no Sonic near me and my heart is broken about it. My heart is thirsty and broken.

4. What do you love about yourself?

It's easy for me to love other people. Also, turns out I'm braver than I thought. I like that I'm starting to learn that about me.

5. Name one good deed you did that went unseen.

Uhhh this makes me uncomfortable. I'm keeping the big ones to myself because it makes them less special if I share them. So I'll just say that....I once picked starfish up on the beach one by one and hurled them back into the sea. An old man stopped and told me that I couldn't possibly save them all, and I just tossed one out there and said, "I made a difference to that one." ......I might be fuzzy on the details, but I'm pretty sure that was me.

6. What hobbies do you have that you don't mention on the blog?

Daily crosswords, knitting, impatient short-lived card house building, and aspirational break dancing.

...and that's the 411, kids.

Tagging....mmmm....Jessica Nan,  SierraNadia and Jenna! And gosh, all of you, if you want to play. Tags for everyone! #tagallthereaders

She's the (job hunting) man.

Just poured my heart, soul, guts and maybe my left eye (it's fuzzy for some reason) into a cover letter and officially calling it a night on job hunting. 1:15am, we are not strangers these days.

In other news, this is what researching a company then writing a cover letter, personal emails to current employees and reaching out to people on LinkedIn for a job I really, really want (really, really late at night) makes me feel like:

Monday, August 12, 2013

All the recent haps & other nonsense.

You know that part in What About Bob when he's in the wood-paneled station wagon with Anna and he randomly starts making word associations and rhyming? "A poodle...a noodle...a DOODLE..."

That's kind of how this post is going to go. So let's have at it.

I did laundry tonight. Two loads. I bought myself sunflowers at Sprouts the other day because I needed to brighten my life. I forgot to open the blinds today and let them have sun and they are looking wilty. Wilty is now a word. I've been really into posting on the twitter lately so come find me. I still have no job even though I'm trying so hard. THE HARDEST. I'm currently eating lime chips and salsa + mashed avocado. I mashed the avocado with my hand because I couldn't find a clean spoon. I've started to think about applying for waitressing jobs, because then I'd really be that girl who moved to CA to be a writer and ended up waiting tables. I would not mash avocados with my hand if I worked at a restaurant. I've been watching Friday Night Lights and it's all mostly good except Julie is the worst and season 4 is starting to get a little old and Peter Pan McCoy is a real jerk these days. I'm going camping this weekend. I love camping. I washed my favorite plaid flannel shirt for the occasion, just so I can make it smell like smoke and then wash it again. Also, my cousin's little baby died this weekend. I know that's a big thing to squish in the middle of a rambly post, but somehow it hurts less to say if I just squish it in there. Sunday was eight years since my brother Mason died. EIGHT. What's with that weekend in August? It was also my half birthday and I felt a little homesick about not celebrating it for the first time in a long time but I'm the new kid, you know? I went running tonight. My hair is wet because I just showered and I left the window open to ventilate the bathroom afterward and now it kind of smells like skunk because wildlife.

In other news, Suzzie had me guest post an old post of mine and it's a favorite so go check it out and poke around her blog while you're at it!

In other other news, Kayla included me in her Babble post about choosing outfits inspired by favorite book characters. Go see what I chose and browse through the other outfits!

And those are all the haps. Goodnight ninos. xoxo

Sunday, August 11, 2013

On the Power of Choosing Forgiveness

Today I had a discussion about staying soft in a hard world.

Which is funny, considering that I just posted about my love for crusty people. One of the women mentioned that she doesn't feel like being tender or feminine is a beneficial trait in her career field. She asked, "How do we stay soft in a world that could easily harden us?"

My answer was swift and clear as glass: we forgive.

I think the ability to immediately forgive is something God blessed me with from a young age. If I ever got in fights with my older brother (see photo below of him in a tank top and me with my chubs) when I was little, it took all of 10 minutes before I was knocking on his door and asking if we could play again. I've just never seen any benefit or logic in staying angry. I also innately trust everyone, unless there is a very clear and valid reason (e.g. safety) to keep my distance. People are friends by default; there is nothing about my love that anyone needs to earn. It is the way of me.

Life can do a lot to damage a forgiving heart.

The older I got, the more opportunity I had to get my feelings hurt and my heart bruised and trust violated and friendships bent and relationships broken. Plenty of people play the mean, competitive game in the career world and are rewarded for it by way of salary and position. There have been so (SO) many times when I feel like trusting, being candid and seeing the best in people has only come back to kick me in the face. There are moments when it seems like the answer would be to put up walls, to shut people out, to make people carefully earn my trust and my friendship and my love. If you don't let anyone in, they don't have an opportunity to hurt you.

But I never feel more hurt and broken than when I let life tell me there's no point to an open heart.

I don't feel like myself when my heart is bristly and stony. I feel so far from me, so far from the people around me, and so far from God. I simply find no value in being a cautious lover or a hesitant friend. I made a decision, at some point, that my childlike, innately trusting heart is not something I'm going to let the devil have. Come what may by way of contention and trial -- that's one precious, soft part of me I don't plan on changing or surrendering. Yes, it opens me up to being hurt; but also to the richest, best kinds of unconditional love.

And so, I choose to keep believing in it. I believe in choosing to trust, choosing to forgive quickly, choosing to love without hesitation. I believe in being quick to apologize, in being the first one to end the conflict. I don't always practice it perfectly, but I believe in choosing to try my best at it. On that same note, I believe in looking inward with less critical eyes and learning to forgive and wholeheartedly trust myself as well.

Sometimes people ask what they'd want to be doing if the Savior were to appear, or if they were to meet God today. I think if I can be found with an olive branch in one hand and holding on to a faltering friend with the other, then I've done all I've set out to do.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

4 Reasons Why I Love Crusty People

I have a soft spot for people with hard shells.

Also, the phrase "hard shell" makes me want a taco. And, I'm not using crusty in any hygienic sense of the word -- I do prefer my friends to bathe. But back on topic...

While I tend to like all kinds of people, I find that one flavor of friend I particularly enjoy is the somewhat difficult kind of friend: the crusty people, not to be confused with rude and hateful people. Usually blunt, yes. Sometimes cranky, yes. Often introverted, on the regular. But the heart is good and the middles are secretly squishy, is what I'm saying.

Here are 4 reasons why I love crusty people:

1. Befriending them is a challenge. (And a victory.)

When it's not easy to automatically become friends with someone, it feels pretty good when you achieve that status. I would say the #1 rule to befriending a crusty person is a) no drama, b) no drama, c) don't touch their iPod, and d) no drama. Also, never point out that they are grumpy/a party pooper/raining on your parade. They probably already know it, and they probably want you to stop talking about your parade.

Some of my favorite moments, as far as friendships go, have been when that frowning, quiet guy in the corner cracks a smile at something I say. It's like a silent, small, non-shiny trophy.

2. They're extremely loyal.

Make friends with a crusty person and you've got a friend for life. They don't have dozens and dozens of friends, so the ones they keep are important to them. You can also move away and go a long time without calling (I find they usually want to avoid unnecessary phone calls anyway) or texting a crusty friend, and they'll still like you when they do see you again. (Though they might not hug you or gush about it.) No guilt trips, no silly expectations.

3. They usually tell the best jokes.

Sitting next to the quiet, ponderous type during a long boring meeting is an excellent choice. Turns out they can be talkative; they just don't talk over other people. So when you get close enough to listen...let the good times roll. And, they're not afraid to say what you're probably already thinking when something humorous or awkward happens. Bonus.

4. You can be real with them.

Having a bad day? Your crusty friend knows all about that. They won't tell you to smile and lift your chin up, or brainstorm ways to solve your problem. You can flop on their couch and watch Seinfeld for hours (I've found that crusty people tend to like Seinfeld) and you don't even have to talk about your troubles because they won't make you. Or, you can vent and say horribly honest things and they won't think you're an awful person. If you're ever feeling antisocial at a very social event, hole up in a corner with a crusty friend and some snacks. They won't tell you to get out there and mingle. You never have to be "on" for a crusty friend. They're not trying to impress anyone (another quality I admire in people), and they don't expect you to either.

Gotta love 'em!

Any other people out there who are fans of the crusty type?

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Notebook did me a solid.


I was getting tired of waiting for companies to get back to me, so I picked the one I most want to work for and sent the following picture to them and said, "You have my resume on hand. This is how I feel about wanting to work for you."

...two hours later I had an interview scheduled for next week. So, that worked. Life is good. (And, I think I have managed to shake the funk from the other day.) Fingers crossed the interview goes smashingly well!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Something about shaking the funk.

Disclaimer: I'm one of the most naturally optimistic people you'll ever meet. Cynicism and I, we are not pals. So, the first paragraph below is going to sound like nothing that I normally sound like but I can tell you that it is 100% honest, so that means it's probably something worth sharing because I just wrote that whole post about not being afraid to be flawed and heyyy you just have to get it out sometimes.

A Paragraph of Negativity

I could tell this week started out a little off when I woke up on Monday and the idea of writing yet-another-cover-letter made me stay in bed for two extra hours for no reason at all. By Wednesday, I was a mess of gray hoodies and acoustic Dashboard tracks like whoa. Job hunting is the pits. Nay, the armpits. It was hard to take a leap of faith and move to CA only to lose my contract job (aka security blanket) the very day I arrived. It's hard to apply to jobs that I know I'm qualified for (every bullet point on this list, I say!) and hear nada back. It's hard to be told by the umpteenth HR department that "we'll get back to you soon" and two weeks later I'm questioning the integrity and etymology of the word "soon." It's hard to know that I'm a writer (not a designer) and be turned down for writing (not designing) jobs because I don't know photoshop (it's for designing, not writing) very well. It's hard to know that I'm really good (I am! I'm good at this!) at what I do and not be able to figure out why no one else is seeing that right now. It's hard to write a rent check for August and feel kind of sick inside about how September and October are going to pan out. It's hard that I gambled on a potentially glutenous snack yesterday and I've had sharp pains in my stomach for the last 30 hours, because it would be really nice to just eat like a normal person now and again. OK DEEP BREATH END NEGATIVITY VOMIT. I know I'm doing everything I can, and that means the right thing will work out. I really do believe that. But I'm human, and everything lately has been enough to tip me a bit over the edge into the land of wallow. Tomorrow morning I'm getting up and going running. I'll shake this funk off (can that be a new dance craze? shake the funk?) and hopefully be back leading the hopeful chipper parade in a few days. But right now...gray hoodie and acoustic Dashboard tracks like whoa. And something about an episode of Duck Dynasty?

A Paragraph of Positivity

Let's be real. That entire paragraph above? First world problems. I know what I need to do -- I need to read the news and get my tush out into the community and do some service projects and then I know my head will be in the right place again. I need to listen to faith and not fear. I need to be patient, trust my gluten-pained gut and remember why I got in my car and dropped my whole life and moved to a new state in the first place. I need to enjoy the total awesomeness that is northern California (the trees! the cool air! the ocean! the TREES, hooverdamit!). I need to keep loving that the asian boy upstairs sings Imagine Dragons to himself in the shower in a really, truly great monotonous way. I need to remember how many people are praying for me and sending good juju into the universe while I'm on this leap-of-faith, gut-trusting ride. I'm also going to keep appreciating that this angel friend of mine is in town and somehow that makes all kinds of things right in the world:

Because what more does a girl really need than a friend, a plaid shirt, boots and the ocean?