Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday ~ My Terrestrial Masquerade Ball

After reading "The Prodigal God," by Timothy Keller, (which had a tremendous impact on me), I was recommended "Grace for the Good Girl," by Emily P. Freeman. I immediately bought it from Amazon, and began reading it yesterday. And I'm so glad I did. **Thanks, Michelle!**

The book is all about the masks we wear, that "good girl" mask. Not the good-girl mask that hides secret sins, but rather the good-girl masks that hide our insecurities, our pretenses at perfection, and the try-hard-ness to do everything right. The past year, the Lord has been gradually revealing this to me - that I am the "elder brother" in the Prodigal Son parable (read the first book I mentioned!); I am determined to do the God-thing right, but not because I'm passionate about God and living free, but because I'm stubborn and want to look good. I'm dedicated to God, but not delighting in God. It makes me look good on the outside, but I frantically hide what's on the inside. 

Now, it some defense for myself, I've come along way the past few years. You've read my blog, you know where I've been spiritually. And I can honestly tell you that I don't pretend as much as I used to. As a teenager and in my early-20's, I DID pretend though. A lot. I wanted to be the good-girl that everyone wanted to be like.  I wanted to be the wise one, the strong one, the one that everyone went to for help. And people did. And I liked it. And so, I thought that by pretending to be the someone that I wanted to be, that I would naturally be that person. But beginning the summer of 2009, all that got completely stripped away, and I found myself a broken, bleeding mass whimpering under a bench in King's Cross Station (figuratively, of course ;). In the three years since then, I've come to know who I am. I've come to love the life God has given me; to love the physiognomy God has given me ; I've come to know what I'm made of and be confident in being exactly who Kellie is. I've become okay with not being the perpetually strong one. I'm stronger today because I know that I'm still weak.

But...of course, I still have insecurities yet to be dealt with. And I still try to hide them; keep them hidden so that you won't see that I've not reached perfection yet, despite all the growth I have gained. So, here's my confession.

Who I Want You to See All The Time:

                    a creative, artistic, ingenuous minded girl
                    content living at home
                    talented at photography
                    a calm, collected independent working woman
                    always smiling
                    a vivacious, active relationship with Christ
                    a working prayer life
                    calmly content with being single. All the time.
                    unshakable faith in God's timing
                    doesn't cry over stupid things.
                    never get jealous of married, pregnant, or in-a-relationship people.
                    confident with exactly who I am
                    a pure, held-captive thought-life
_          self-controlled in eating and actively exercises regularly
                    never struggle with depression, discouragement, or disillusionment
                    always has the right words to say
                    fluent in the Scriptures
                    joyfully obeys the Lord in whatever He asks
                    the kind of girl you admire and want to be like.

Who I DON'T Want You To See. But Who Often I Really Am:

                    an artist by accident. Mostly because of Pinterest.
                    I love my family and home, but I want my own place so badly I can barely breath.
                    I tell you I shoot in manual like I'm a pro and hope you think I have a long accomplished history in photography. When in truth, I only took a summer class.
                    I hate working. I never thought I'd have to work a job because I was supposed to get married out of high school. I sometimes cry on my way to work. I just want to live at and care for a home.
                    My no-ones-watching face is usually a blank face.
                    I have a good relationship with God, but it's usually only about a fourth of the time that I'd say I walk in any victory.
                    My prayer life often consists of asking God “why?”
                    I'm usually happy with where I am today, but tomorrow's bareness is suffocating. I want to get married. Very much. I know God doesn't forget us, but I still feel forgotten and overlooked a lot of the time. I know God doesn't love other girls more than me, but often I feel like He does.
                    I question “God's perfect timing” all the time.
                    I cry over stupid things. A lot.
                    I get so jealous of married people, especially those younger than me. I blocked some married people from my FB news feed because I can't bear to always be reminded of their marital bliss as they begin "multiplying and replenishing the earth."
                    I am often insecure and unsure of myself. If I don't know, I pretend that I do. I often wear my hair down so I can hide my face behind it. Really.
                    I struggle a lot with keeping my thoughts pure.
_          I've gained about 20 pounds in the last two years. Because I can't stop eating. And the only time I run is when I hear my phone ringing in my room.
                    Fighting depression, discouragement and disillusionment is a daily battle.
                    I usually have no idea how to encourage or give advice.
                    I have a hard time remembering Scripture verses. I barely even try.
                    I fight God on most everything He asks me to do. He usually wins, but only because I know it's the only “good girl” option, not because I'm that crazy about God.
                    I'm really not the kind of girl you admire and want to be like. Really.

This doesn't describe me all the time. But unfortunately, it has this past week. I put up my Penelope-mask (because that's who Max/Jonny/James MacCavoy liked!) and tried to fake you out. But I'm turning myself in and I'm here for the interrogation. Don't think I'm perfect. You probably didn't, haha. But I was still pretending with myself that maybe you've think that, and so I lived under a darkened, airless mask instead of twirling on a hilltop in Austria singing like the hills were alive. And not even noticing the movie-camera zooming in.

Seriously. Go read that book. =)

Trivia: can you spot the three different movie references in this post?!? =)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday ~ I live. I love. I like...

Falling asleep in the middle of the warm afternoon to the tune of Norah Jones.

A cute little nephie who grabs onto my legs and imploringly looks up at me to pick him up. And not being able to resist.

A pretty new summer scarf for only $3.75.

An interesting new discovery.

Being one of the first people through the doors at my favorite thrift store in the early morning.

Seeing a sad black and white sight on the side of the road by my house and rushing home to find my sweet furry-friend still alive asleep under her favorite tree. I love you, Jonesie!

A new British tv series that has me hooked.

Sitting cross-legged in my office chair.

Scheming as to what is the quickest and most efficient way of lubricating my insides with some form of ice cream product…

Oh, and Pandora Disney radio stations!! Keeps me smilin' and hummin' all day long! =D

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday ~ Starbucks Tuesday

Last night I went to bed discouraged, upset, disappointed, overwhelmed, disenchanted. I'd been letting my feelings take control of my life again, and as any rational person will acknowledge, feelings only lead you into trouble. I walked right into it. My fault. But knowing where the blame lay didn't alleviate the overwhelming pain of it all. I wanted to punish myself. I wanted to punish someone else. I want to punish God. So, I staid up past midnight on a work night eating warmed up left-over Panda Express. Yah, I know. Really pushing it. Ok, so maybe it wasn't the most mature or "impressive" way of getting revenge, but it's not really about what I did, when what I did was a mere reflection of a bitter, disillusion heart. I went to bed with my stink-face still on. Not the kind of girl God would look at and go "Oh, poor thing. She's suffered enough. Eating that Panda Express at 11:45pm really showed Me her feelings," and definitely not the kind of girl who deserved a God-given attitude adjustment.

But He did it on the attitude adjustment. I woke up at 6:30 with my alarm singing Tangled's"At last I see the light, and it's like the fog has lifted! And at last I see the light and it's like the sky is new!" And all my anger, discouragement, and all-around un-beautiful resentments were gone, and I saw that God was still good. My disappointment and sense of loss still remain today, but I've got my game-face on and I'm ready to grab hands with God and face it like a woman of character should. I'm not taking the defense today. Baby, I'm on the offense.

And I'm taking it on with some pep-talk from my buddy Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte.

 Little bit o' coffee, little bit o' Word...

 Be scared. =)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday ~ Christmas in July

Saturday night was the celebration of our 2nd Annual Christmas in July! I'd always thought that "Christmas in July" was a neat thing to celebrate, plus we should be thankful for Jesus' birth year round, right? So, me being the family celebration/tradition lover that I am, last year I called a new tradition! 

For one day in July, we put up a few of our decorations, play Christmas music, and wish each other a Merry Christmas. Instead of presents, everyone is charged to pick out some kind of baked good to make.The weeks leading up to our "CiJ" celebration finds each of us pouring over cookbooks and to find the perfect dessert. Once everyone picks their poison, they give me the list of ingredients and I purchase it.

And then, everyone secretly quarantine's off the kitchen and gets down to baking! It would not be out of the ordinary to find sheets hung around the kitchen to ward off any chance discoveries of our carefully guarded baked-good secrets. Once the baking is over, I then take it all and wrap it in such a way that even I don't know what's in each package. We then have a white elephant gift exchange. It's simple, but oh so fun!

Everyone was in rare form this year!!

Sugar rush! =)

Stuart made pretzel bites: pretzels with Reeses or Rolo's melted on top, with an M&M to crown it.

Karis made mini raspberry cheesecakes.

Scott made...not sure what they are called, haha! But it's chocolate chip cookie dough lined in a muffin tin, with a Reese's in the middle, covered with brownie dough. Not pictures is two kinds of danish, Magic bars, Chocolate/Butterscotch Rice Crispie Treats, and Carmel brownies.

I have come to firmly believe that it's traditions, even the simple ones, are the things that knit a family together. It builds a bond between family members, a bond of doing something together and making a special memory together. Traditions give us a reason to always want to come home again. 

Go make a tradition in your family.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday ~ Church Family Camp!

Here's some pictures from church family camp this past weekend! I went up with my two friends L & C to bach' it together.

Our pad.

 Me, C, & L

There's no place like bed.

L, C, Me, & Mrs. R 

Apples to Apples' description of me. =P 

Little B

Little B's cousin.

Mr. & Mrs. R

The family who made the weekend possible!

Sister K, Bro-in-Law M, and the kiddo's.

My amazing second family! 

All the single girls! 

The creek right next to our tent.

It was a pretty amazing weekend!! Can't wait 'til next year!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday ~ Emergency Starbucks Monday

It's not Tuesday. Or Thursday. But this morning would not have been pretty without some awakener in my system! It was a fantastic weekend, and I'm stiff and sore as....well, as someone REALLY out of shape who's tent is at the bottom of a big hill and every other desired location is somewhere UP the hill. And, of course, I'm completely exhausted. So, out of shear necessity, I called an Emergency Starbucks Monday.

Conscientious of too much fattening foods lately, I ordered a no-fat White Chocolate Mocha, no whipped cream....HOT this time. It's been cool in the early mornings, despite it being the peak of summer. I also ordered a cream cheese danish (I can't drink coffee on an empty stomach, and there's usually nothing to grab for breakfast, so that's why I usually have some kind of pastry)...but since the cream cheese danish is rapidly being donated to my digestive system, we'll forgo that picture. =P

Camping pictures up next!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday ~ This and That

It's with the energizing encouragement of the Jurassic Park soundtrack that I bring you this post today. I haven't been wielding the camera much lately, as I've been pretty busy. Actually...busy isn't right. Rather, occupied with other things. I've had this past week off and let me tell you, God always gives me an unexpected vacation from work right when He has a work He wants to do in me. This week was one of them.

I'll give you four pictures to illustrate what else is going on in my life right now...

Katheryn and I went on a no eating out/nothing but water to drink "restraint" for two weeks. Today it ended. I was prepared. =)

I've been sewing more lately, mostly because of a babyshower that I'm hosting (yay!!) and I'm making yards and yards of fun bunting to hang across the yard we're doing it in. This pattern has nothing to do with the babyshower, haha. But check out the stinkin' cute comfy pants I'm making!

Remember that babyshower I just mentioned? By theme is Bunting and Vintage Bicycles. I shouldn't have made this picture black and white, since you can't see the cute color of the lace I'm using for on the table. But isn't this little trike so cute??

And this is my baby flashlight lantern I just bough for my camping trip (if one night in a tent can count as "camping") this weekend.

That's it. =)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wednesday ~ A Bit of 4th

So far, July 4th 2012 is getting a 5-star rating from me. In honor of the occasion (and to bring to work's office bbq) I wielded my cheesecake making skills. With fear and trembling, I picked a cheesecake recipe hereto untried. A strawberry white chocolate cheesecak.


After!! If I might breath a sigh of relief and tasted a-mazing! Like a proffessional store-bought one. =)

In a bit of pre-4th fun, we went swimming last night with my sister's family. As a 25 year old, plain swimming around a pool has lost it's savor, but helping little nieces and nephies to "swim" brings back the fun!

We're begun having our own little spontaneous flag raising ceremonies on patriotic holidays. Sometimes Scott and Stu will grab their airsofts guns and give us a one or two gun salute! Here we are pre-raising.

Here we are after Stuart's mad skills at flag-raising and a rousing chorus of The National Anthem as we put our hands to heart in a circle around the flag. I love home made celebrations.

Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday ~ My Deep Thoughts for Today...

Let's play 'Who Can Spot My Spelling Mistakes."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday #2 ~ Perfect

Here's a candid glimpse into my heart, written over the past few days. No pictures. No glam. Just me.

Sometimes I get possessed with an overwhelming desire to write down my thoughts. This urge used to come to me on nearly a daily basis in years gone by, but the busier I've gotten with less time to actually  write, the urges have dissipated. But release of thoughts still comes to me through writing.

This might be long. I don't expect anyone to read it, since I usually find reading long blog posts of just cramped text to be something beyond my patience or even interest. Pictures are my captivation. But sometimes my thoughts just have to get out, out beyond the confines of my own mind, broadened out into a large scope.

Ideals. I'm a believer in fairy-tales, magic wardrobes, and sunset endings. No, not literally, but in truth, I'm a hopeless romantic at heart. I look for the fairy-tales around me. I expect to find them. Not fairy-tales with princesses, evil witches, and prince charmings. But rather, fairy-tales of perfection. Because perfection is indeed just a fairy-tale.

When I ended my second relationship, in obedience to God and defiance of my own feelings, I thought that I'd given up on fairy-tales. For a long time I stopped believing in happily ever after, since my knights in shining armor had all been sent away to ride off into the sunset without me. I became a cynic. A doubter. A disbeliever. It took a long time for be to even want a happy ever after. To even want  a relationship or marriage. During that time, a necessary mindset change took place. I began to see that fairy-tales, indeed, aren't realistic. Even the best of marriages has problems. Life really doesn't end in a happily ever after, amen. It was a healthy mental change for me. Yes, love stories do take place and relationships really can end happy, but none of them are a fairy-tale ending.

But incidentally...I didn't stop believing in “Prince Charming.” I still had a long list of must-haves, must-does, must-be-likes to which I held up every man I met. Each and every one of my ideas were good, godly, right ideals. I held high standards. He must think this certain way about God. He must not struggle in this area. He must be never-failing to have a daily quiet time. He must always be spiritually leading. He must be the godliest of godly men. He must have this view on child-raising and schooling. He must. He must never. He must always. My ideals were high ideals of simple, basic....perfection. If he didn't match my expectations, then I looked down on him. He wasn't good enough.

As I began to be open to relationships again, I naturally began looking at the men around me. And nowhere did I find any man anywhere any how who came near meeting my standards. And truthfully, I held fast to my standards. People have always told me to never settle for lest than best. Don't compromise. Wait for that perfect guy. Wait for your true love. Don't give up. Don't settle. And with all the conviction my perfection-seeking, idealistic heart, I held on to that Prince Charming idea. And thus, as I never found this paragon of perfection, I grew hopelessly despairing of ever getting married.

I'm not perfect. I don't always respond to situations right. I don't always spend time with God every day. In fact, I'm a pretty lousy Christ-follower! I'm the rebel-child in God's family, often deliberately doing my own thing, even when I knew it was contrary to God's will for me. All the while, still in my pride, patting myself on the back for being a good Christian girls, for having such high standards for a husband. I looked at the guys around me and felt than none of them were spiritually up to par with me. None of them loved God as much as me or in the same way that I do. I still expected a perfect man to be my husband. That right there is a prime example of hypocrisy! But as I wanted God's best, I self-righteously stuck to expecting much out of men, while cutting myself slack when I didn't always keep the faith.

A few month ago, doubts into the rightness of my high ideals began to creep into my mind. Somethings began to just not sit right with me, particularly the hypocrisy of my double standards. Was I right to expect Mr. Super-Christian for a husband? And to expect him to overlook my own obvious faults? Was I right to hold guys up to a standard that I myself didn't and couldn't live up to? And the other big there really such thing as the perfect husband? Is there such thing as a man who is ALWAYS gentle, loving, caring, leading, guiding, praying, patient, mature, without blame, forgiving, forbearing? Despite how good my standards were, was there really any human hope of anyone ever meeting ALL those standards ALL the time?

I began peppering my best friend, who is newly married, with all my doubts, questions and confusions. She shared candidly with me about her marriage, including her and her husband's struggles through expectations and leadership, etc. She told me something profound:

We measure others by their actions, but we measure ourselves by our intentions.

For the sake of simplicity, I'll bullet-point what I got from that:

  • I have looked at myself and indeed have always measured myself by what I wanted to do and what I intended to do. Thinking about spending time with God was somehow misconstrued in my mind as being equal to actually doing it. I have a hundred and one good, godly, spiritual intentions...but probably only a dozen or less of them actually take place. But I've still be measuring myself up to the hundred and one.
  • I can't see the intentions of a man's heart. A guy I see every day may truly be desiring after God, desiring His will above all else, wanting to spend some time with God in prayer...but not having the time, not making the time or for whatever reason, it just not happening as often as he desires. His heart is to DO right. But as I would only see his action, I would most likely totally miss out on his heart to do it.
  • I need to cut people some slack. Stop being so judgmental. Stop being so selfrighteous about my walk with God. See my lack of follow-through for what it is, and see their desire to follow-through for what it is. Neither of those being perfect, but rather, merely human.

She also told me, through her new first-hand experience, that no husband will ever perform perfectly all the time. He will fail to spiritually lead. He will be the one to crumble and walk away from the Cross. He will be the one to stubbornly refuse to see truth. He will be the one to not be upholding his part of the marriage. Her husband, as much as she loves him and knows he's God's best for her, even he fails his wife. And she fails him.

Hearing it so personal like that really began driving it home for me. I've begun to actively examine my heart, deliberately taking myself down from my lofty pedestal, and evaluating what are priorities and what are, truly, only preferences. What are reasonable standards to look for and what is simply a too-high expectation. And it's felt sooo good! There's nothing like knowing you're believing the wrong way, but unable to strike that blow against it. That's how I'd begun to feel about my husband expectations. Realizing my future marriage didn't have a chance as long as I had a death grip on Perfect Pete. My expectations themselves where destroying any potential marriage before I even had a boyfriend. Yah. Crazy.

The final blow to my ideals is probably too hard a one for me to write. Maybe because it's not my story, but someone else's story. A stranger to me, actually, but someone I have come to respect IMMENSELY on the blog world. You can go to to see her blog, and go to her archived posts back to February 2011 to read the 12-part series on her love story. Really. Whether you're single or married, go read it. I linked it to my above mentioned married friend last week and she herself was impacted by it tremendously.

So, this total stranger totally impacted my life. After reading the last part of this lady's story...I felt like an ocean of tears were spilling out of me. I was gripped by emotions so strong that I felt totally incapable of any more than putting my face in my hands and weeping. Strange that it effected me that way. But I think I was so moved for two reasons:

2) Because in the final breaking down of my life-long perfect ideals, I realized the lies I had been believing...and that the man I'd imagined all my life, the man I'd watched for, held-out for, waited for, imagined so clearly.....had never even existed. He was a phantom. I would never meet him. I grieved.

2) But because as that phantom had dissolved into ashes, I saw that I was set free from a big righteous-looking lie that Satan had been feeding me about husbands, marriage and myself. False expectations become heavy burdens to carry and I had been buried under this one for so long. To be set free from it was like seeing hope again. I was no longer holding myself up to a false expectation. Neither was I holding a fallible human guy up to a false expectations. Inhibitions were were gone.

As I heard somewhere recently....let God be God and man be man. So strange that something seemingly so small could have changed my life so much. Because I believe that my foundation has shifted, the core has been taken out and replaced with something more solid. Expectations are being kicked out and Christ replaced instead.

Congratulations on reaching the end of this post! Of course, what I've written doesn't even half describe this journey. But I guess the whole point of writing it was more for my own mental logging anyway. =)

Monday ~ Being

I've been doing more thinking than actual picture taking lately. A lot on my mind. A lot of prayer. Nothing wrong, just searching out the depths (or shallowness) of my heart. Shifting my mindset. Developing my own convictions. Finding out what the Word really says or doesn't say about different topics and ideas. Going back to square one to find answers, or maybe to see if a question really needed to even be asked in the first place. Simplifying. Being honest. Being open. Being real. Being ready. Being different. Being the one to break the mold. Being the one to stay. Being brave. Being Jesus's.

Being beyond I've ever been.

Phone picture.