August 26, 2010

rising up.

i often feel that people limit themselves to the expectations of others. the idea of "taking the high road" or "being the better man" are good cliches, but not values that really strike a chord anymore. though they are easier said than done, as i was reminded by a friend last night, they are not impossible. that much i know for sure. as i've become a part of people's lives, of their stories, i've noticed a running theme: as much as people deny it, the expectations and approval of others drives each and every person's life. i know it's true for me, i know it's true for others. but that truth presents a choice: we can rise above those expectations, or we can hinder ourselves and settle into the person others believe us to be. therein lies the other truth: oftentimes others have given up on us, or have become so used to the person we are, that we are no longer self-motivated to become a "better man." we shortchange ourselves. we conform to the norm. we are who others dictate us to be. i've heard it often, time and time again..."well, that's what they expect." or we use it as an excuse...a thought process something like this, "well if that's who they believe i am, that's exactly who i'll be." if you've disappointed people enough, so much that they have almost zero expectations, then there's really no point in trying to be anything better is there?

yes. there is. that is a lame excuse, but one that society uses and abuses. since when do we let our shortcomings become us? since when do we allow others to hinder us, to tramp us down and limit everything we could become? and what does that say of you?

of course, as my mom always says, "we can't do it ourselves," and that's why we have One who can do it for us. i know, from experience (many experiences) that every time i try to "be a better person" in my own strength, i fail -- miserably. but when i let go, and when i surrender to His expectations instead of the hopeless eyes of others, and maybe even my own despair, i have placed myself in the best possible situation. honestly, i get so irritated when people gripe and complain, when people see themselves as a failure, and when they've given up because others have given up on them as well. it becomes a lame excuse to be the worst version of ourselves.

what happened to proving people wrong? where's that strength? that personal dignity? and since when do we sell ourselves to the opinion of others? what kind of person does that really make you?

"therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
1 cor 5:17

August 22, 2010

...oh what a summer it's been.

as i was driving home from work today, i started reminiscing about my summer, and what an incredible summer it's are just some of the things (good & bad) that made it absolutely unforgettable :

- a trip up to washington with laura j.
- getting to meet my first celebrity ever...and one of my favorites at that: haley james scott from one tree hill!!!
- taking pictures in a photobooth...for the first time!
- lady antebellum & tim mcgraw live in concert with some awesome girls.
- picnics at the lake.
- hiking along the american river.
- watching the little siblings wrap up their school years : concerts, awards, plays...
- a phenomenal photoshoot day with the bestie.
- a rivercats game.
- watching jody compete at a dance competition.
- exploring sacramento.
- a beautiful bike ride with mom & josh.
- challenging myself to a new song on the piano.
- playing the flute for the first time in 2 years.
- getting into sunday night impact...& all the fun that followed those nights.
- riding in a convertible for the first time...ever?
- having the privilege of working as the backstage manager of a fantastic recital.
- teaching a few dance classes...and my first baby class!
- taking ballet.
- some sweetie pies lovin...of course.
- exposing myself to rockin' frog yogurt...which is by far not as good as yogurtland...but will have to do for norcal!
- making dream posters...& dreamin.
- watching josh get baptized.
- taking some fantastic pictures of kim bim...she's beautiful!
- sitting awestruck at the 4th of july fireworks.
- working at the snack shack at the lake...way less romantic than my imagination thought it would be.
- watching all 6 seasons of one tree hill again (which may seem petty to you, but please...)
- celebrating my 19th birthday =]
- going to six flags...for the first time...twice! (and killin it on medusa...mmhmm.)
- watching the world cup...and finally rooting for spain...
- riding the horse again...finally!
- picking up jody from sugarloaf...and wishing i had gone.
- faithfully watching the bachelorette (again petty...but such a guilty pleasure...forgive me.)
- diving into a great bible study with mom, the bestie, and bestie's mom.
- camping.
- getting up on the wakeboard...finally!
- eating some chipotle...for the first time...crazy, i know.
- parcheesy.
- a spontaneous, but unforgettable, trip to dillon beach.
- san francisco lovin.
- riding on a motorcycle again...after almost 10 years.
- a visit from laura j.
- keeping in touch with friends...reconnecting with old ones...
- skype.
- hitting up an incredible sale at old navy...which after a long sabbatical of no shopping was pure bliss.
- singing.
- celebrating my brother's engagement <3
- falling in love with nature...and the beauty of this area.
- terrifying experiences at the dentist.
- being sick for almost a month...which is also a first.
- taking pictures...TONS of pictures.
- realizing that my car was about to blow up....and being so thankful for God's timing.
- finally getting those chips in my windshield fixed!
- realizing that a giant bucket of paint has spilled inside your car...oops.
- getting my first pedicure...ever!
- saying good-bye to the bestie as she goes off on her own adventure.
- personally witnessing the magic of those vacuum bag storage things...SO cool.
- ordering my first actual coffee drink at opposed to hot chocolate.
- making new friends....saying good-bye to others.
- watching kim start her senior typical senior fashion =]
- hilarious adventures with the dance girls...
- lit girl nights...pasta, dessert, girl talk & all.

...and a myriad of other things that constantly remind me how blessed i's only when you start to count your blessings that you realize how immensely God loves...and how he always looks out.

August 21, 2010

one week. one week left of summer. and one week until i finally get to see my long beach family again. it's crazy how time flies...and how it drags. 14 weeks is a long summer. a long time to be away from friends who have become family to you. a long time to be away from a place that's quickly becoming a second home. and yet, 14 weeks is not quite long enough to accomplish everything on the "let's make this summer fantastic - list." looking back on it though, i would have to say this summer was a smashing success. God orchestrated the unexpected...some things which of course were once again a challenge, and some things that i have been so blessed by. whether it was reconnecting with friends from elementary school, or pursuing and strengthening friendships as recent as high school, people from near and far blessed me tremendously. whether a walk down memory line or a conversation that i like to call the "girls. guys. god talk," there is such beauty in sharing your heart with another person. i'd say that more than anything, God opened doors to new relationships this summer (something that was not on the summer list, but something i am SO thankful for...). i'm baffled by how God always delivers in the most unexpected ways. i'm a planner, an organizer, and sometimes a control-freak i'll admit...but then God says, "hey debbie, sorry, but i have new things in store for good-bye lists!" and i love it.

so i guess you could say that the theme for my summer was this : friendship.

you know how in high school, when it's time to sign yearbooks and say good-byes, almost everyone says "keep in touch!" "call me!" and then you never do...and before you know it the summer is over and your moving on...well this summer that was different. keep in touch literally meant work. whether it was writing e-mails, phone calls, texts, or quick messages on facebook, it was the effort my friends and i put forth that not only strengthened friendships, but matured them and made them last...and now that we only have a week left, it'll be as if we were never apart. and then there are those friendships that have dwindled, faded. or those friendships that you never even knew existed. but our history with others, our willingness to be vulnerable, to let others in, are all aspects of our innate need to be in relation with those around us, and that ability to let others in, that desire to love and be loved fills that void in our hearts that God specifically created for us to experience His immeasurable love through others.

i don't know if this all makes sense...but the point is that God has a way of placing people in our lives, through doors & windows we didn't even know existed or have long been closed, and blessing us immensely through those people. for that i am eternally grateful and will always be amazed.