Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thankful Thursdays {The Mid-Move Edition}.

  • Boys and parents who volunteer to help you move...seriously, you guys are amazingly helpful.
  • Waking up to the smell of coffee.
  • Not needing the caffeine fix but drinking it because you like it.
  • Neon pink.
  • Girl Scout Cookies.
  • Assurance through abiding.
  • The end of a saga.
  • The next chapter starting right around the corner.
  • Walkie Talkies.
  • Down Comforters.
  • The removal of all 20 of my staples. TWENTY.  That felt SO good.  I felt like a voodoo doll actually, and I hope I never have to do that again.
  •  Having my daddio there while the staples were getting removed because I looked at them and almost passed out/had a panic attack/had to find a paper bag to breathe in/started crying. Almost.
  • Childhood.  And really the fact that I'm still a kid at heart.  So much for being a grown up...
  • Lucky Charms...but not the cereal part....just the marshmallows...
  • My Pinterest addiction.  Okay, so maybe I'm not thankful for the addiction part but for the fact that by the time I get this cast off I will have re-decorated my whole house with DIY crafts, planned meals for the next 672 days, found my next puppy, planned my wedding, re-organized my closet, and found 8394789123 different ways to paint my nails.
  • Ice Cream Delivery Trucks.
  • The realization that a regret wasn't actually a regret...this week I almost regretted not going to med school to become a surgeon, but then I realized that no.  Probably not a good idea.  *Refer to the story about the staples*.
  • Nostalgia.
  • Good advice where warranted.
  • Overcoming the urge to order a pizza at 11:30 p.m.  Yes, that 13 year old boy appetite is back in full force.
  • BIRTHDAY WEEKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, yes I do get a full week for the 3rd anniversary of my 21st birthday.  Thank you for asking.  And on that note...
  • Ice Cream Makers (just a birthday idea for any of you out there still trying to find my present...just wanted to give you plenty of time to ship it to me because I'd be so embarrassed for you if it was late :)).
  • This way of life:     

  • This co-worker and all of our interactions, as well as, THE SOLVING OF THIS PROBLEM. Alicia, you are seriously the nicest person on the planet:

  • And a little bit of ISU for good measure because even when you disappoint me 78934783924329 times, how can you stay mad at these faces??  


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Things I've learned while getting hardware implemented into my ankle.

1.  Don't cry over spilled milk. Literally. So what crutches are hard. So what getting your cereal over the table to eat it may cause some spillage. So what I'm 8782348374293 X slower than I used to be.  SO WHAT. The little things do not matter. Do not. 27 more days of a cast, but I still get to keep my leg and I even get to run again? Yup. Can't be mad. Life is short and your patience shouldn't be.

2. Cherish your free time. It's like a vacation from work where people wait on you hand and foot.  I mean okay.  Just throw a little sand and some good tan lines in there pleaseandthankyou.

3. Get lost in a good TV series.  There's nothing like getting lost in the drama of the characters' lives while forgetting your own.

4. Learn  new habits. I've got PLENTY of spare time to fix my priorities and implement new habits into my routine. One habit I probably should drop?  Eating chocolate like it's my job. Glad that appetite is back in full force... 

5. "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear."  Okay, not Christmas cheer, but cheer in general.  And not really singing but just keeping perspective. Being joyful and happy in a time of learning can not only make the experience more bearable on the daily but it makes being around you more enjoyable, as well. Because good thing I've got plenty of time to foster relationships now.  And add new apps to my phone...what? They make communicating easier...and help pass the time :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Some days.

Some days you don't have all of the answers. You don't even have all of the right questions.  Some days the sunshine just doesn't come your way.  You don't even get a dose of vitamin D.  Some days everything seems hard.  You can't even tie your own shoe.  Some days your battles seem impossible.  You don't even get a chance to tackle the war.  Some days are just some days and there's always another some day around the corner.

"From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I." -Psalm 61:2.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thankful Thursdays {the casted up edition}.

  • The feeling after a hot shower.  That feeling is also called "socially acceptable".
  • New cell phones that don't die in the middle of every 2 minute conversation ever.
  • A change in the routine.
  • Being at complete peace with a situation.
  • Not working out for 7 weeks and not even being mad about it.
  • QT with The Darbster.
  • Snow storms when you don't even have to leave your house because you can't even drive anywhere so where would you even go?  Yup.  Right back to the couch.
  • Netflix.  I don't even have to wait another week to find out what's going to happen in these characters' dramatic lives because let's be honest, the suspense of waiting 8 days for a new episode of Parenthood?  Would kill me.
  • Learning to pray unselfishly.
  • Not wearing makeup or even caring about what you look like for 6 weeks straight.  Okay, so maybe I care a little because let's be real: I look like death, and there's really no fixing that.
  • On that note- having a family, friends, and co-workers who love me regardless of what I look like. Or if I'm clean.
  • Black clothes. No, I am not gothic, but while you are on crutches: Always wear black. Always. Black does not show stains. So, when you spill whichever food you have chosen to eat (type doesn't even matter because it will take you at least 12 minutes to get it from the kitchen to the table and they all have the capabilities of staining), it will at least be less noticeable on the outfit that took
    you 17 whole minutes and a strained hamstring to put on so you don't even have to change.
  • A full night of sleep.  Not saying I got one, just saying I will no longer take those for granted.
  • My Florida Georgia Line Pandora station.  So. Ready. For Summer.
  • On that note- the fact that it's not summer yet.  Because I would be A LITTLE UPSET if I had to miss out on my 2nd favorite season and the lake and wearing a swimsuit and skiing and boarding and tubing and bonfires and the smell of sunscreen and the driving range and sand volleyball and soccer and ultimate frisbee and early morning runs on the trails and playing outside with Darbs and sleeping with my window open and laying by the pool and the sound of crickets and bomb pops and driving with my windows down and DRIVING and getting tan lines and falling in love with summer sunsets.  I guess God knew what He was doing with this whole timing thing? Weird.
  • The pattern on my parents ceiling.
  • Ibuprofen.
  • Home cooked meals.
  • Having an appetite back.
  • Anticipation.
  • Getting smart.  Not in a weird, stuffy, cubicle, jeopardy watching way, but just realizing: you are not invincible.  You are not.  Not even if you put on a red cape.  And in order to avoid expensive doctor or casket bills, it's probably a good idea to start making mature decisions.  Like using a treadmill or taking your cell phone on every run ever or not eating like a 13 year old boy or slowing down and enjoying the scenery or not trying to fill your every second of every day or not being a workout freak (NEWSFLASH: the world will not end if you go a day or two a week without running) or making the decision to rest and not kill yourself by trying to go to work or realizing that as tight as money is- IT DOES NOT MATTER.  God will provide so, take a breather for goodness sake.  
  • Loving your life.  Every minute of it.  Even when you're learning a lesson.
  • Job.  And its 42 chapters.  The exact number of days I'm going to be in a cast.  Probably not a coincidence.  Probably not just probably.  Also- if you ever need to feel like your life is pretty awesome, check that book out.  I'm 11 chapters deep, and I already feel like I won the lottery compared to the anguish with which he writes.  PERSPECTIVE CHANGER.  Challenge accepted.
  • Psalms.  I had 42 chapters left in my reading of Psalms.  42 days in a cast.  You get the picture.  
  • Green Bean Casserole.
  • Podcasts.
  • Iowa State winning on the road. GO STATE!
  • Waking up to texts.
  • Co-worker love.
  • Strawberry lemonade.
  • Lunch hour with the parental units.
  • God-ordained situations.  Okay, so really that's every situation, but the ones that kind of take your breath away.
  • Being hooked on a really good book.
  • Learning a lesson the first time around.
  • Hearing the words, "I love you."
  • The fact that even in David's deepest lament, God can still draw a Hallelujah from his lips.
  • This verse, "It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone."- Ephesians 1:11-12
  • And some Fred for good measure:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Neon green casts and ADHD minus the HD.

And on this week's episode of Grey's Anatomy, a 23 year old firecracker goes under the knife for the addition of some new hardware.  8 neon green and pink screws and a plate later, she wakes up with a blood pressure of 162/102, a loudly beeping monitor, and nurses surrounding her bed telling her to take deep breaths from the oxygen mask while they administer some pain meds to her convulsing body.  Her first thought, "Why have those not been in my IV for about an hour and counting? Is this your first day on the job?"  Stay tuned for scenes from next week's dramatic episode where she learns to become graceful on crutches in order to avoid further injury. 

Alright.  So, my life is not that exciting right now.  It's definitely not reality-TV-worthy, but with God's sense of humor I'd say I've got a pretty good shot at reeling in a sitcom.  My life for the next six weeks will include learning to sit still and be 100% okay with it.  Actually better than okay, happy with it.  This is definitely one of the most expensive, challenging, and painful lessons I've had to learn, but with God by my side I'm ready to tackle it (my co-worker made this joke to me the other day...I did not find it as hilarious as he obviously did because he spent the next 3 minutes chuckling to himself and repeating it).  I'm still in awe on the daily at how fitting my devotions are and how perfect God's timing can be.  Here is today's passage: 

"Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still.  Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again.  Some of the greatest works in My kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells.  Instead of resenting the limitations of the weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances.  Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me.
   Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My Presence with you.  Do not despise these simple ways of serving Me.  Although you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms.  My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness."

2 Corinthians 12:10 {The Message}- "I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size - abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.  I just let Christ take over!  And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."
Isaiah 30:15 {The Message}- "Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.  Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on Me- the very thing you've been unwilling to do."

Ummmm yup.  I'd say that about sums it up with a necessary slap in the face.  God knows our weaknesses and begs us to lean on Him in not only these times but the times where we feel strong, as well.  We need to stay 100% dependent on God, which is not an easy task, I know.  So, resist the urge to hit the ground running as soon as your alarm goes off.  Make a little extra time in the morning to start your day with The One who made you who you are.  Sit still and listen.  Just listen.  Ask Him to show you His ways and rid you of yourself.  And take a few deep breaths as you find your focus for the day.  I now have plenty of time to start building these habits since I will not be setting my alarm before the rooster crows to lace up my Nikes and start pounding the pavement.  Instead, this season of my life will include plenty of quietness, even more stillness, and hopefully an eternal change my priorities.  So, try your best not to get caught up in the everyday things.  The receipts, what you eat for dinner, the time spent watching TV, the bills you pay, the taxes you have to pay back (Neat.  Thanks, Obama.), the doctor appointments, the price of gas, the trips to the dentist...none of these things will matter in the long run.  Find an eternal focus, try your best to extend heavenly real estate with your words and actions each day, and get caught up in the very act of living life the way God intended you to.  Each day, each breath, each journey is a gift.  A gift designed to make us mature and complete, not lacking in anything.  And that goes back to the very root of it: "Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on Me." Amen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thankful Thursdays on Tuesday because this week has gone entirely too slow to not already be THURSDAY. That is all.

  • The Big Man Upstairs- His grace on the daily, His mercy on the secondly, and His timing on the earthly.
  • My co-workers.
  • Leftovers.
  • Gladiator.
  • Curiosity.
  • Elevators.
  • Get well cards.
  • The kindness of others (thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ALL. Seriously.).
  • Kodak moments.
  • Spiral staircases.
  • Burnt marshmallows.
  • The shower that I will be taking in 7 weeks...probably not any of them up until that point.
  • A good night's sleep, which is feeling far and few between these days.
  • Modern medicine a.k.a. a good old morphine drip.
  • Trust.
  • Jersey day at work.
  • Late-night-uncontrollable-goofiness.
  • Waking up before my alarm and feeling rested.
  • The honesty of 11 year olds.
  • Typewriter font.
  • Driving.
  • March Madness on the horizon.
  • Answered prayer.
  • Smoothly shaven legs...also few and far between for the next 7's the little things.
  • Ice cream sundaes with homemade brownies.
  • Naps on the couch.
  • Driving.
  • Sermons that hit the spot.
  • The adventures to come.
  • Weekends.
  • Mumford and Sons on repeat.
  • Driving. Have I mentioned driving? No? Okay. Driving.
  • Underdog stories.
  • Summer dresses.
  • Re-prioritizing.
  • Completed hail mary's.
  • Girl talk.
  • Smiles exchanged with strangers.
  • Big League Chew.
  • Mike Housholder...if that's his real name...ironic to me.
  • The Darbster's disposition. MAN, I MISS THAT PUP.
  • The giggles.
  • Puppy Chow.
  • Short car rides that lead to good conversations.
  • Deep breaths.
  • Quality prayer time.
  • The changing of seasons.
  • Top knots.
  • Being hooked on a new book.
  • Reassurance.
  • Late lunches.
  • Game changers.
  • This verse, "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man." Proverbs 3:3-4.
Knowing ^ I will get there...

You bet.
And finally this quote, “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” — G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Breakingly Beautiful.

So, life. Yeah, that happened.  In the midst of running and paying bills (okay, mostly running), chasing Darby and making workouts, cooking dinner and watching basketball, apartment shopping and coaching soccer, mentoring and grabbing coffee, reading and catching up on life happenings- I snapped back to reality, oh, there goes gravity...anyone name that song? Anyone?  Bueller?  Anyway...running broke my heart and my first bone.  My first thought?  Umm ouch.  My second thought?  Umm oops.  My third thought?  Where is the Darbster?!  As soon as I fell and felt it snap, I immediately knew my ankle was broken, but surprisingly did not have the feeling of dread that my life was broken like I thought I would.  Not only did God send 2 angels in the form of 2 60 year old ladies out running errands, but He also made the place and the timing absolutely 100% perfect, per usual.  

The things that cause the whirlwind life of Janel to slow down for a brief second: deaths, others needing help, a hot date with ice cream, and anything involving my family, co-workers, or The Darbster.  That's really about it.  The things that cause Janel to refocus as proven by history: deaths, motivational stories, break-ups, and heart-wrenching situations.  Yeah, I know it.  I've got problems.  Just writing that out makes me sound super selfish.  Why does it always take something life-changing to get my attention?  Two words: routine freak.  Running used to be the one thing I would do every single day aside from prayer.  Would not even consider missing a day.  I would get up at 4 am to fit one in or skip lunch to grab a quick session pounding the pavement.  Running is not a bad thing.  I will say this again for all of you who do not believe me or have said post-fibular-and-tibia-break "This is why I don't run" (Yes, you. Those snarky know who I'm talking about... :))- RUNNING IS NOT A BAD THING.  BUT when running can become a bad thing is when running takes the precedence over everything else in my life and becomes an obsession.   Before this incident, I would have told you the following, "Running is my de-stress time. It's my time where I can get away, zone out to music, and pray.  It sets the precedence for my day.   It helps me focus and get my mind right."  And while all of these things are true, here are the things that I would not have said, "Yes, I will skip my run to help you with something you need.  Yes, I can easily not run today and be okay with it. Yes, running every day regardless of the circumstances or my health is fine.  Yes, running is an idol.  Yes, running sometimes does take precedence over God or other things that it shouldn't."  OKAY. I get it, God.  I get it.  This was for sure a necessary incident.  And do you know my first feeling when this break happened (welllll minus the initial pain, howamigonnagettothehospital, howamigonnastillwork, whydidinotwearmyyaktracks, whatintheworldiswrongwithme, whendiditgetsoicy, whyamianidiot, thankyoudearGodforsendingtheseladies, Ishouldhavebeenrunningwithmyphone, I'vegottaletthedarbsterout, ijustwantmydadormom), okay after I was hopped up on morphine laying in the hospital bed?  Relief.  Yup.  I said it.  100% relief.  The stress of fitting in a run each and every day just to say that I ran that day was something that had gone undetected on my radar until this incident.  But there can be beauty in the breakdown and that is something that I have learned pretty quickly this time around.  That and I'm an idiot.  But mostly that God always has a lesson to teach me.  Each and every day.  And when I'm too busy trying to fit a workout in or obsessing over a run to serve others or share my apple with a homeless guy or see the beauty in the world around me or try to brighten someone else's day or to focus on seeing God's fingerprint in the details or to sit back and just LISTEN for once in my life (my family and friends will attest to the fact that sometimes this is not my strong point...I'm a serial skimmer when it comes to reading directions and listening to them) then I'm missing out on the point of life itself- BRINGING GLORY TO GOD.  Yes, I am yelling this so the all caps were necessary.  

 So, I'm not saying running was an idol...okay, yes that is what I'm saying.  And what I'm also saying is when you realize that you have an idol (doesn't have to be a golden statue or trophy although those are kind of neat) and you still refuse to give it up, God WILL break you.  This is not a joke.  It may not be a literal break like mine, but His will shall be done. Forever and always. Wow, that sounded super ominous, and it is.  And you will be a better, more-rounded individual by letting Him take that from you while helping you to choose to put Him back at numero uno.  In other news: there are things you can start doing today to make sure that He is priority number one...PRAY.  Kind of a big deal.  But an even bigger deal is step two: LISTEN.  I know these sound simple, but do you know how many sermons I heard on idols and how many times I prayed for God to release me of these idols and allow me to solely follow Him?  78772374893207432974782478435923489013489023 times probably.  Do you know how many times I didn't listen? 78772374893207432974782478435923489013489022.  Yes, listening is key.  It took a painful break and 7 weeks of inactivity for me to shut my mouth and let God do His thing.  Why?  Because I am stubborn and often bad at prioritizing and living in the here and now (yes, this was one of my resolutions...well, goals.  I don't actually believe in resolutions). 

 Also- before you get to your breaking point there will be clues and hints along the way so, PAY ATTENTION.  Yup, that means you.  Open your eyes and be aware of your surroundings.  They will start out as gentle nudges...a sermon here, a comment from a wise mentor there.  Then they will become a little less gentle...Achilles tendonitis, a crazy busy day where it almost kills you to fit in a run but you're going to do it regardless. Then when you're still living with ear plugs in your ears and blinders on your face, God will completely throw gentle out the window and rock your world.  I am not joking.  This is real life.  And sometimes that's exactly what it takes.  That's what it took in my position because I am s-t-u-b-b-o-r-n to the max sometimes.  Yes, I know this, parentalunitswhohaveputupwithmefor23yearsandcounting.  And I've learned my lesson this time around, but here's the deal.  There will always be lessons to learn.  This will not be the last one.  Because I am not dead.  Nope, not even a little bit. BUT here's the positive thing: I get a chance to respond to the gentle nudges next time.  I get a chance to learn a lesson before it escalates to WWIII inside my head.  I get a chance to give it all up to God, raising my hands in surrender and learning exactly what He wants to teach me on the road map that He's fashioned while living in His will and enjoying His blessings.  Just. For. Me.  

I know this has been kind of long, but everyone who I've talked to since Christmas should know how much I'm in love with this devotional I've been reading each day: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  If you haven't seen it I AM TELLING YOU TO GET ON IT RIGHT NOW.  This book has been so perfect for me.  Each day has literally resonated with exactly how I'm feeling.  I know.  God's pretty awesome and pretty much in every detail ever.  I just want to share a part of each of these passages with you:
  • The day of the break, "Come to me and rest.  I am all about you, to bless and restore.  Breathe Me in with each breath.  The way just ahead of you is very steep.  Slow down and cling tightly to My hand (probably to avoid slipping on ice is what He meant ;)). I am teaching you a difficult lesson, learned only by hardship."  Yup, should have listened on this day probably.
  • Day 1 after the break, "Come to me for rest and refreshment.  The journey has been too much for you, and you are BONE-WEARY (yeah, a break in the fibula and tibia?  A tad bit bone weary).  Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion (this is a big one for me. I tend to think I'm invincible and will keep going like the energizer bunny until I'm completely worn out.).  Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life (Carrie Underwood said it best..."Jesus take the wheel!")".  Seriously. How fitting.
  • Day 2 after the break, "I am above all things: your problems, your pain, and the swirling events in this ever-changing world.  When you behold My face, you rise above circumstances and rest with Me in heavenly realms,  This is the way of Peace, living in the Light of My Presence.  I guarantee you will always have problems in this life, but they must not become your focus."        Along with this passage, I was reminded of the verses in Matthew 14: 28-32  "Peter suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water."  He said, "Come ahead."  Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus.  But when he looked at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.  He cried, "Master, save me."  JESUS DID NOT HESITATE."  Nor will He ever.  Whether that's a broken bone that's going to heal, a broken heart that may take longer, or a broken life that feels like it will take an eternity.  He'll be there through thick and thin and will get you to listen regardless of the circumstance or lesson He has in mind.
My suggestion?  Open up those ears and keep a positive attitude before you're rocking some surgical scars and a lime green cast for a month and a half having to rely on others for help (this is also a big lesson for me).  Although, a month and a half without running and extra time to sleep; put clothes on because let's be honest, that takes about 17 minutes I turning into a real girl?? Whaaaat?; help others as much as I can; focus and rely on God solely; listen...there's that word again; keep a positive attitude and be a witness; and serve others as much as I possibly can?  Can't say I'm mad about this relaxing, priority-changing phase in my life to come...anddd hereeee we goooo (said in The Joker's tone of voice)!