Monday, March 25, 2013

I never expected to see your face

"And Israel said to Joseph, 'I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also." - Genesis 48:11

I should be asleep. After a tiring weekend including an invigorating Bikrim Yoga session, a 5-year-old birthday party (with an intoxicated juggler), paper writing, and an excursion with my Graffiti kids, I ventured straight into a Monday that started with teaching "Test Prep Camp"(NOT camp, FYI, mandatory three hours of school for third and fourth grade girls), going to Graffiti for "Teen Week!" (yay!), scanning textbooks in Bobst, reading (which is something I have a whole separate blog post to write about), and attending two classes... Got home at 9, showered, and had a WEE bit of time for the word (I overslept again this morning and missed out on my morning Jesus time - which I prefer). 

Anyway, so to say the least, I am tired, and I should be asleep, because tomorrow is not much different. BUT I decided to write a bit about what's going on in my head and heart, and what God has been teaching me. 

I've alluded to this before, but I haven't talked about it much - as it's something I'm only recently feeling comfortable discussing with more than a select few people - but my deepest struggle spiritually is the fact that I'm almost 27 (eek!) and I've still never had a boyfriend (and typing that still feels incredibly awkward).  Why is it a spiritual struggle? Because it's become an idol. This idea of wanting to get married but not really seeing it happening anytime soon, if at all, it can be distracting... 

I am legitimately praying the same prayers I've been praying since I was like, twelve, and everyone else started "going out" with boys and I still wasn't on that boat. Each passing year I thought "maybe THIS year," but so many years later, it still hasn't happened. 

I won't detail all of the thoughts I have on this topic tonight, because they are varied and I actually feel as though I could write a book on it - and frankly, I don't have the time or energy to write a whole bok tonight, BUT I will discuss a little bit about my current struggle and what God's trying to show me through it. 

The truth is, I am so jaded by the process of developing feelings for some guy and having him have absolutely NO interest whatsoever, or having plenty of guy friends I'd date if they ever asked - but none of them do, or getting asked out by the most awkward of awkward guys if ever I DO get asked out, that I legitimately feel as though this is never going to happen.  We like to throw the word "never" around as an exaggeration, but actually cannot picture it ever happening at this point. Ever. and just typing that makes me want to throw my computer against the wall. 

I cannot for the life of me pinpoint just what it is that I'm doing wrong here. I sometimes feel as though there's a secret code word no one is telling me about that lets you enter the dating/romance world. Like it's the exclusive club everyone else gets to join an I just have to look in from the outside while eating pint after pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. 

One of my favorite move lines comes from Sleepless in Seattle. When Annie (Meg Ryan) is discussing her search for real love in relation to An Affair to Remember, her best friend (Rosie O'Donnell) steps in and says" That's your problem! You don't want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie!"  

Maybe that's MY problem. Maybe I've seen When Harry Met Sally too many times. But the truth is, the idea of having an idealistic Norah Ephron-esque love story seems no less impossible to me than having a legitimate one. It really has become that far-fetched of an idea for me, and that's scary.  

I had a moment the other day where I ACTUALLY gave up hope. I was all "hey God, I know you're bigger than everything, but at this point I feel like this is it. I have no hope, and I just need you to make me comfortable with being alone forever." 

Seriously. I prayed that. I can't even let myself think about it anymore.  I felt like at this point I'm starting to get too used to it just being me, and even if I don't WANT it to just be me, maybe I'll be totally unable to cope with the change if it were to come, so God's just not going to send anyone my way. I think crazy stuff like this. 

I was reading tonight in Genesis, where Joseph brings his sons to Israel and Israel is all "I NEVER thought I'd see your face and now I see your offspring" (I quoted it correctly at the intro...) and I resonated with him in a really strange way. He had that legitimate hopeless feeling, and God blessed him with what he desired anyway, even though he'd pretty much given up.

I don't know if God has plans to bless me with the answer I want to this prayer, and I am also continuing to pray that if he doesn't give me what my Earthly self desires, that he'll help this hard-headed romantic to be comfortable with his plan without it, but reading that reminded me just how big he is - and that even when we've given up hope. He always comes through. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Coffee and Career

Working with kids who come from ridiculously awful backgrounds and who currently live in a detention center because they've made mistakes, well, it can make you think if you let it.

I'm thankful for my life 99.9% of the time, because its awesome, for real.  My current life situation, though accompanied with a little bit of stress and a LOT of debt (or as I like to refer to it, future stress), is a pretty fabulous reminder of just how incredibly privileged I am - and not just because I took a class last semester on privilege.

I get to go to grad school in an AMAZING city full of incredible opportunity. I currently have a field placement that's so fitting I could not write the job description more perfectly myself. The two weekdays I'm not interning I work for the same company I've been working for since I moved to New York - and it allows me to see different schools in different random corners of the city, full of kids from opposite socioeconomic backgrounds (we work with both charter schools and high-end ridiculously expensive private schools attended by Vanderbilts and celebrity children). I feel like I'm drinking in unique experience day in and day out.

Today I was offered a summer internship. My program does not require us to take a summer internship, but I had been looking for something to do here in the city and came across it, and after a few emails, a phone interview, and an in-person interview today, this amazing opportunity was extended to me. This opportunity is INCREDIBLE, if I take it (which I'm almost positive I'll do - just working on the not-having-a-paying-job aspect), I'll be working for the Kings County District Attorney's Office Victims Unit. I'd spend my summer being trained in domestic violence from the legal end and how to navigate that as a social worker.  I'd get to counsel victims of domestic violence while connecting them to services that can help them as they make decisions about their next steps. I'll also be mediating between victims and lawyers, trying to form common goals. Cool huh (plus, ya'll think there might be any adorable single boy interns on the legal side?)

This opportunity is HUGE, and it reminded me that I am SO thankful for the education I've been allowed, solely by grace, to receive  - and I'm thankful God has allowed me to use those skills to help others. I cannot believe the amazing ways he lets me be a part of his plan, and I hope I never lose sight of that. In the end, it's all for him, and without him, I would not be able to have these chances in the first place.

I am also thankful for free coffee. This morning I got an email from Starbucks for a free macchiatto - hazelnut or caramel - to promote their new hazelnut macchiatos.  I stopped to enjoy on my way out of my interview, and it was yummy :) My stomach problems have made me limit my coffee lately, so it had been a while since I'd had some good sweet coffee. Worth the wait.

And they spelled my name right!!! 

Loved and Lovely

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring has [almost] sprung: My favorite things

Today is technically the first day of spring. I wish someone would tell the NYC weather that.  It is supposed to snow AGAIN tomorrow. I'm over it. That said, I'm headed home to New Orleans next week for a few days, where it's already been springy for a bit, and I expect to return to a full-on flowery April in the Big Apple. This cold misery is ALMOST over (what was I thinking moving north of the Mason-Dixon line again?)

In honor of the first day of the season in which I was born, I am linking up with a group of ladies who have decided to celebrate by listing their favorite Spring things. Joyeux Printemps, mes amis!

The first few items are, naturally, Louisiana items - because they hold the most nostalgia to my spring-loving soul. 

My most favorite of all favorite spring things is most definitely snoballs. And not snow cones or any of that other junk everyone who doesn't live in South Louisiana eats, I mean a legit SNOBALL, preferably strawberry with condensed milk, but I also have others I rotate in. I consider myself to be a bit of a snoball connoisseur, and am quite snobby about it. it's one of my things. First place I ever rode my bike when my parents told me I was allowed to venture out of our neighborhood?  Snoball stand. First place I drove when I got my license? Snoball stand. I sincerely hope to open one someday as a job-training program for teenagers. I'm hoping to get my fix of snoball awesome in the four days I'm home next week - it may be my only chance for a while :( 


The following picture explains itself. 

LSU NYC Annual Alumni Crawfish Boil in Riverside Park

What goes best with crawfish? 
For realz.

Speaking of strawberries..... 
Roadside fruit stands, anyone? 

(Last year on a trip home Wal Mart was out of strawberries... but they had stocked the strawberry area in the produce section with Abita Strawbery to replace it. South Louisiana, ya'll). 


The rest are things I typically love no matter where I am:


NY Botanical Garden Orchid Show 

Tulips in Tompkins Square

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Cherry Blossom Festival


Me and Heaven with Andy Pettit in the Yankee Clubhouse

Me and Caleb at Citi Field - my preferred NY Stadium

Outside Fenway - one of my happy places :) - I try to go at least once/year

Easter Candy!! 

I raided the Economy Candy Store for this.
Flower Dresses and Floppy Hats!!
Gracie and I at Sunday Lunch.

NYC Street Festivals!
Graffit at Loisida Fest on Avenue C

And Of course, My Birthday!! 
Daniel brougth me a cupcake for my birthday last year! I have good kids. 

Elephant and Piggy - one of my fave gifts ever from my Jersey Brother :)
Purple and Gold Birthday Flowers from my pastor and his wife.
Looking forward to seeing all of the adventures Spring 2013 has in store!!

Mrs. Monologues

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Liebster Award Post

This week I got nominated for my first ever blog award :)  My friend Ashley has been nominated for the Liebster Award twice, and part of getting nominated is nominating others, so this time she included me. Fun Times.  Essentially the rules are that I'm supposed to write 11 random facts about me, answer the 11 questions asked by Ashley, and then nominate 11 other bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers. Well, since I don't know that many bloggers right now, that part might be difficult because I'm going to have to find some folks to follow - so I'll get back to you later on that one.  But I can most definitely comply with the first part for now. So here goes.

Eleven Random Facts about Me:

1. I am interning in a school as a social worker in training, but it's not a normal school, it's a school housed within a juvenile detention facility where kids are held while they are court-involved for criminal charges. I asked for field placement with youth who have prior disciplinary issues - and I got it - and I love it... as much as I thought I would.

2. I have seen every episode of Friends more times than you, I can pretty much guarantee that.

3. I used to teach U.S. History and my absolute favorite time period is Cold War America. I'm convinced I was supposed to be born somewhere around 1948 and God somehow left me off the assembly line for another 38 years.

4. I've loved Tom Hanks since I was three and had an imaginary friend named Josh who looked like him (thanks to Big). I often attribute my love of Cold War America with his roles in so many movies set during that time period. Last night I finally got to see him up close and personal, as my best friend and I went to see Lucky Guy, a play written by the tragically late great Nora Ephron - and also his Broadway debut. 

Tom Hanks outside of Lucky Guy
5. As an undergrad I double majored in History and Political Science with a concentration in Secondary Ed, so I basically had three majors. I am in grad school for Social Work and am already looking into my next degree (either an MPA, an MPH, or an MA in Christian counseling). I really like school... 

6. I've never had a boyfriend, and that's probably because I'm totally creeped out by the idea of going out with someone I'm not already friends with, so then I end up stuck in the "friend zone" 100% of the time - but I think God can work through that somehow (PRAY FOR ME!)

7. My favorite NYC museums are the NYC Transit Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. 

8. Despite living in NY, I have been to more Red Sox games than Yankee or Mets games - I really love the culture at Fenway. 
Road trip fun times!

9. I attended all fourteen home and road games in the 2007 National Championship LSU football season, including the BCS game. It was the best time and money I've ever spent. Travelling the region with your closest friends for five months creates a lifetime of great memories and inside jokes. I went to many more away games over the years, but that's the only year I didn't miss a single game all season. 

10. If you are ever unsure of a gift to get me, go for either a blanket or a bag of some sort - I'm convinced you can never have enough of either of those.

11. I love cities. Everything about cities. I cannot imagine living anywhere that isn't a city for a significant period of time, and I want to raise my kids in a city not a suburb or rural area. I never want to have grass to cut - but I'd be fine with a little flower bed to tend to :) 

My college football travel buddies - eternal friends :) 

The Answer to Ashley's Questions:

1. My favorite Bible verse is hard to choose, but I'd have to say it's a close tie between the one in my header, and Proverb 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."  I've thought of getting the words "lean not" tattooed on my inner wrist - I can never be reminded enough of that. 

2. I've had a celebrity crush on Tom Hanks since I was three (see above) and even as he gets older I dream of having someone as cool as him in my life. I had a crush on both Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon (an obsession, to be honest) when I was twelve and it resurfaced when The Departed came out. For the above reasons, both The Departed and Catch Me if You Can are among my top five favorite movies. Crime drama + Boston accents + these men = swoon. Also: Joseph Gordon Levitt

3. So many dream vacations! Cross country road trip with my (hopefully) someday husband. I think thats pretty far up there. I want to travel the world, but I really just want to get in a car with someone I love and visit all the quirky places in America. 

4. I want to be EVERYTHING which is why at almost 27 I'm still figuring it all out. My dream job would be part time mommy, part time adolescent social worker and/or youth minister. I'd also love to be a singer. 

5. I started blogging when I was  summer missionary here in NY in college as a way for my family and supporters to keep up with what I was doing all summer. I'm now trying to use my blog as a way to encourage folks in any way I can by sharing things God is doing in my life and teaching me at any moment. 

6. Best gifts: 

Birthday 22
  • A teddy bear I still sleep with that a friend from church gave me when I had shingles in 3rd grade. 
  • A friend bought me a children's book by one of my favorite authors for my birthday last year, and it was super special because it was the kind of thing I always want to buy for myself but never have a reason to, and it was something that only a good friend would know to buy for me
  • For my 22nd birthday I planned dinner at my favorite restaurant but my friends went all out and made it an event including an ice cream cake, a special table with a river view, and they paid for everything. It was the best birthday ever. 
  • Another friend bought me an expensive purse made by women who are in a job skills and women's empowerment program in Uganda - it included a video about the life of the woman who hand-crafted my bag. I had wanted to buy one to support the program but didn't have enough money to buy it - she had the money to buy it but knew I had wanted one - so she donated the money and gave me the goods.
My college BFF and the amazing cake

 7. Favorite TV Shows: Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Duck Dynasty
     Favorite Movies: Big, When Harry Met Sally, The Departed, Catch me if You Can, and       Sleepless in Seattle.

8. I read Ashley's blog every time she posts, I'm still acquiring others and am coming across some good ones. 

9. My Paw Paw always called me "Scooter" so my Maw Maw does too. He had a nickname for each of us, and when my mom complained that she didn't have a nickname, he started calling her "Grumpy." 

10. My favorite food is king cake, followed shortly by my grandma's jambalaya.  My least favorite food is eggs, and avocados (which actually make me incredibly crampy and nauseous)

11.According to iTunes it's "Hope for me Yet" by Marc Broussard. Not surprising. THAT. MAN'S. VOICE. AHHH....swoon. - and the lyrics, though they are about a woman loving him, remind me of how we should feel about the kind of love we are shown by Christ, so I like to remind myself every now and then of that "I could write a million verses of words you've heard before, steal some of Dylan's best but it'd leave me wanting to say more, cuz there's so much more.  If you could love someone like me, there's no end to the possibilities, hopes and dreams push away the pain and regret, and loving you just lets me know - there might be hope for me yet" 


Monday, March 18, 2013


So for the last few days I've been extra busy.  My best friend Jessica is in town, and between working, then going to Long Island, then hanging out with her, I've been on the go, which has been FABULOUS.  I've gotten to see so many of my favorite people and do so many of my favorite things, and it's been a great relief from the dreary winter boredom I've been experiencing lately (though I am SO over this cold weather!).

Saturday I celebrated a friend who survived a rough couple of years of single-momhood and divorce byt soaring into a new life and going to TRAPEZE SCHOOL with her.  I think I'm hooked!

I was also nominated by Ashley  for a Liebster Award, and I don't have anyone to pass the nomination on to yet, as I'm new to the blogging community, but I'll answer the questions she was posted as soon as things settle down and I'm no longer hosting a housegues

Friday, March 15, 2013

Reaching out

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I'm joining the world of blogging community as opposed to just therapeutically writing for my own sake :) enjoy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Inconvenient Thanks

This is the first time I've ever tried "linking up" with other blogs, but since I'm in the process of repurposing my writing, I thought this would be a good start.

I live thankful (see here), but it's always nice to take a day to recognize something, or things, specific.

My Injured Foot :( 
I recently went through a lull in which I lost my ability to recognize all of my blessings, and God used this time to mold me a LOT, and he's still working out some kinks that got built up during that time, so today, I'm thankful for inconveniences.

From having my car broken into in Oklahoma City early in the year, to cutting my foot on a stray floorboard nail, I feel as though each day I'm waking up to many unusual inconveniences.  I was getting pretty bitter about it, and I was letting that steal away my joy.  I've been coming out of this funk despite no change in the pattern, but today God really used this to speak to me.

Last night my hot water went out (again) which meant it needed several hours to reboot, so I had to rearrange my morning schedule so I could get up early and shower, then I ended up sleeping fifteen minutes LATER than usual. Not exactly how I thought I'd start my day.

Then, after having to chase a bus an entire avenue block because it had left my stop a minute ahead of schedule, I began to reflect on the JOY that is inconvenience. I couldn't help but laugh through my annoyances.  I challenged myself to note one small blessing for each inconvenience - for each time I lose my umbrella on a rainy day I want to recognize the kindness of the hospital receptionist who gave me a napkin to dry my face.

I feel like God wanted to show me that love does not come easy, and though his love for me is unconditional, I have to be equally willing to put effort into that relationship. I may be showered with blessings, and I may be immensely thankful for them, but maybe he's trying to help me recognize that real-life love doesn't always work that way. When we love people, we can't only love them when the do great things for us, we also need to love them when we're drained. God never stops loving me and blessing me, and I was allowing myself to just let the blessings pour out while I went about my every-day life, but never STOPPING to take a breath and just enjoy it. These minor challenges are forcing me to step back and just praise God for how the good in my life far outweighs the bad, and for that, I am incredibly thankful.

Loved and Lovely

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Other People's Children

Sweet Baby Price
Lately I've had a LOT on my mind. Hitting your late twenties comes with a ton of "what am I doing with my life" moments.

One thing I've really felt God encouraging me to do lately is to be more transparent. Now, as someone who considers herself to be a bit of an open book, I was taken aback by this call, but the truth is, while I'm EXTREMELY transparent in most ways, there are a few things I keep inside that are in fact incredibly deep struggles.  I then complain that no one is writing or speaking about these struggles in a way I can relate to.... but I realized that if people are experiencing this, they are also probably experiencing the same reluctance to share, which is precisely why there is no writing on this topic out there.

So I'm taking baby steps to do this, and my first baby step is talking about BABIES.

When I was growing up, I was SURROUNDED by babies. I have many many many cousins. I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know how to change a diaper. When I talk to people who've never done this my mind is blown. When I meet people in their twenties who tell me they don't really know how to hold babies I cannot wrap my head around it. I had a friend in college who said she'd never held a baby and thought it'd be nice at this point if the first baby she ever held was her own. I promptly shared my opinion with her that she was missing out on one of life's greatest joys.

Because of my upbringing around kids, and the rate at which people in my family had kids, I always assumed I'd be DONE having kids by  my 27th birthday. It never even crossed my mind that this would not happen. It was the plan. It was the way it would be. I'd get married at 21/22ish, start having babies at 23/24, and have three, maybe four (because I just KNEW I'd have a set of multiples somewhere in there), and so by 27, I'd either be done or close to done. And having kids after thirty, NOT an option. No way. That was such a foreign concept to me. I legitimately felt sorry for people who had kids after thirty. They were going to be "old parents." What about seeing their grand kids grow up? You mean you're going to be in your FIFTIES when your kids get out of high school?  My mom was 25 when I was born, her mom was only 43 when I came along (and 37 when my brother was born - yes a 37 year old grandma). I had 8 great grand parents alive when I was born. We were a family of young parents and grandparents.

But here I am, 27, no husband, no babies, no sign of either of these things changing any time soon. While I've THOROUGHLY enjoyed the last 8 years of my life, and absolutely would not have been able to do many of the things I have done had I had children, getting over my thoughts on this topic and trying to see things from a new perspective has been incredibly difficult for me. I was on the train the other day and I pictured myself being pregnant as early as 31 (which at this point is probably the EARLIEST I will be having any babies), and I cried. The reality of being someone I never wanted to be really hit me, hard.

I won't address my feelings on the lack of husband issue - I'll save that for later, though that in itself is an even deeper struggle. But the lack of baby thing definitely stems from that.

I recently told a friend as a joke that I had to start having kids soon before people I was close to started using all of the names I'd wanted to use for my kids - all of which have really special meanings to me. While I was half-joking, I recently had someone I was close to tell me she was naming her new baby one of these names, and while she had no idea that it was a name I loved, it really hit me in a surprising way. I was hurt, not by her, but by the idea that people all around me are having kids when I thought I would be. I tried to mask it by saying in a joking way the same thing I'd told my friend, and her response was "Well then, start having kids."  Not intending to hurt me, it hit a nerve.

As this week I got the news that yet another good friend of mine is currently expecting her first baby, I've had to really dig deep to not let me joy for her turn into a "woe is me" situation. I was surprised at my reaction, being that I was absolutely thrilled to hear the news - as I always am - but I caught myself crying just a few minutes after I got off the phone with her, as I came to the realization that our kids will not be the same age, or even close, which is yet another thing I'd always expected to happen.

My fears lately have not just been about how LATE in life I'm going to have kids, it's come from the idea that I may never get to have kids at all if things don't change, and that thought is just too much for me to handle on my own. My reliance on God has really had to be strengthened tremendously to deal with this concept. I don't know what his plan for me is, but being almost 27 and still having never had a boyfriend, much less a guy who would think of marrying me and raising a family, it starts to hit really hard.

I know God has a plan for me, and I know I have to have faith in that, but I really have to pray all the time about why it is he's making me wait so long for the things I desire most. I have felt like a mother since I was a small child, always playing house, having little imaginary families  etc. I've had baby names picked out for years, and backup names, and clothes, and nursery decorations. Yet here I am, not having babies, maybe never at this rate.

My current phone background - look at that cheese!
One of the things God has really been showing me through this is that maybe he gave me these gifts so I can bless OTHER people's kids. Instead of feeling resentful over it, I need to simply step back and ENJOY being able to share my gifts with mothers who are in need of some help. I do so love helping my friends and family out with their babies, and I really have to swallow my pride so I stop asking God "When's it my turn??"

It is absolutely one of my deepest struggles, and I'm not exactly sure why God's making me wait it out, but I pray that in the meantime, I can bless people and be a help to those who need extra hands. I pray that he'll comfort me and let me know that this is all what's best for me - because right now that's not how it feels (of course, at 22 that's not how it felt either, and obviously now I am glad things didn't turn out that way).

The biggest difference is when you're 22, you still see your late twenties as this far-off distant thing and you have plenty of time to get there, but considering just how fast they snuck up on me, I'm no longer able to see my future as this far off thing. I see my future as immediate and scary and it's impossible to imagine just how much could change in what appears to be such a short amount of time from this vantage point. I know that's silly, and that LOTS has changed in the last five years of my life, but it doesn't seem like enough, nonetheless.

I'm hoping that I can continue making baby steps to share what I am struggling with so that perhaps it can help someone who might be struggling with the same things.  One of my biggest complaints about being in the state I'm in is that I feel so alone because NO ONE is talking about it. There are no other people out there affirming these feelings, and I've realized it's because people who struggle with this are UNABLE to talk about it openly. We're embarrassed. We feel like we should have it together. Because of this, we don't share, and I think it's time people started sharing. My hope is that being transparent will encourage someone who feels alone in her feelings as well, and perhaps she might be willing to open up, and so on, until we have an actual community of believers out there who are willing to talk about these things.