He’s no Taylor the Latte Boy…

Kristin Chenoweth – Taylor, the Latte Boy

There is this same guy that I see all the time at my second favorite coffee shop. It’s a little creepy because I NEVER. FAIL. TO. SEE. HIM. No joke whenever I go, time is not a factor, he is there. I have seen him around there for years. Like all the different ones too. I have seen him at Paris on the Platte, Stella’s, Solid Grounds, and Kaladi. It is a mystery. I see him, just standing there, by himself, with his coffee. Not with anyone, not talking, not even sitting. Just kind of staring at everybody. He wears a camo jacket sometimes, and is a little bit short. I have made up many stories about him in my head, but none of them are very interesting, or at least not as interesting as they could be. I just can’t figure it out. Thankfully, he is not here tonight (probably because I am at my third favorite coffee shop) and that is a relief. I am celebrating the unofficial first day of spring with my favorite cold coffee drink (Venetian Creme with two shots of espresso and if you are ever with me when the craving hits, I am sure I will treat you to this uber deliciousness) and finishing up the very last week of my first course at school! Could not have flown by faster. I am very pleased with how it went, and I have lofty goals and aspirations for the next few years (hopefully only two) of classes. The timing is really perfect. I totally lose my attention span in like 6-8 weeks, and the classes only last 8 weeks total. I feel myself checking out, but have an energy resurgence and the extra motivation to keep strong till the finish because it is so close! I do wonder a bit at the work load on the way. I didn’t quite lose my social life yet, but it definitely suffered, and I think it will only get worse. Oh well, the people who love me will understand. And I will just have more fun rendezvous’s with the creepy coffee shop guy!

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – O Children

The other thing on my mind: I thought I was going along quite well in my Christian life. Things were hunky dory. Victory was coming in some areas and things were starting to fall into place. My desire for God was coming back again, and that was amazing. And then, I remembered that we are fighting a battle. I totally let my guard down, I wasn’t read to defend myself. The devil is so crafty I can’t even stand it. We are in a life long battle, for sure. When people first introduced us to Jesus, they probably said to come to Him and He would take away all our worries, pain, struggles, and make our lives so much better. He can do so much for us, people said. What they forget to say, because it doesn’t sound all that attractive, is that we are really called to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. There is nothing in that statement about how he will enrich our lives, and make our lives better, and the reason we should follow him is to make our life bearable. Not that those things are wrong, and they are definitely by-products of a life that is dedicated to following Jesus, but that is not the main point. There should be nothing comfortable about Christianity. We are dying and denying our self always, and fully prepared for the devil who walks about like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour.

26 Life Lessons Learned by 26 (Part 5: Lessons 22-24)

This little guy obviously is in a wonderful world far, far away.

This little guy obviously is in a wonderful world far, far away… And I need a silly cat picture to complete my blog.

22. Don’t be afraid to dance to the most ridiculous beat you can find. I know that I have (and embrace the fact that I possess) a pretty off-beat musical sense and I hope that these selections do nothing to declare any type of musical clarity on my part. It’s so freeing to put your hands up and just be ridiculous to truly retarded and clashy beats. Thinking about this, makes me remember how I love watching my kids everyday, and seeing them come up with the strangest ideas about life and their situations. They have no idea that they should care about certain things (yesterday, the big conquest was to build a dam for a goldfish cracker). From time to time, let go a bit and enjoy silly things. I do that with music for sure. (PS, these tracks all have great beats for inspiration at the gym.)

Passion Pit – Carried AwayArchitecture In Helsinki – It’5!Pentatonix – Somebody That I Used To Know (I picked this one to link, because even though I currently like their “Starship” cover more, I can’t endorse it with a good conscious), and Phoenix – Entertainment

23. Do something to yourself before you leave the house. The whole rolling out of bed and rocking the “just rolled out of bed” look is great when you are 16, but you are 26. Seriously. I am so guilty of this for sure, but it is something I am trying to work on as a mark of maturity and respect for my jobs. I hate getting up early. And a 5AM wake up call pretty much takes the cake. BUT. As a single something you never know who you are going to run into! Looking your best is something you can definitely be in control of, and it just gives you that little extra boost of confidence to to do your best or work a bit harder, or the little edge to finish your day. I don’t think anybody ever regretted putting that extra time into yourselves. (And goodness knows that the people looking at a slightly spruced up version of you don’t regret that you did your due diligence, either.)

24. ON THE OTHER HAND, if you are too busy to pray and read your Bible, then you are busier than God ever intended you to be. I struggle super hard with balancing my supreme vanity and my relationship with God.  I have not found the right formula (except to know that there is not one). I remember as a kid at camp, preachers would sometimes ask us (usually directed toward the girls) how much time they spent in front of the mirror that morning and then chastise us for not spending at least that much time in Word. I get where they are coming from, but honestly that little bit of guidance did not do anything to temper my resentment for legalism. I know that I am a busy person, but try my best with the responsibilities that God has given me. I try to be a good steward of the two jobs He has blessed me with, my social responsibilities (church commitments are a part of that too along with “fellowship” (just for you, Erik!) with other believers)  and taking care of myself in positive ways, such as with education and my health. Short of forming more hours in the day, I have no idea what to cut out.

26 Life Lessons Learned by 26 (Part 4: Lessons 17-21)

17. Just ask. You have no idea what could happen if you just ask, but if you don’t, the answer will always be “no.” I am still getting into the habit of this, as it is kind of scary (yes, even I have things that terrify me), but the very worst that could happen is that they say no, which is already the case anyways. But I think this applies to more than just human interactions and scenarios on earth. We looked at Luke 11:9-10 Sunday night at church, and asking God without ceasing for things is something He tells us to do. I can’t believe he still wants something to do with me, and can’t believe that he wants me to “bother” and “harangue” him with requests. This opens up a whole other can of worms as to what I need to unceasingly ask him, but the point is, ASK. Ask for a raise, ask for help, ask for time off, ask for his number (!!!) ask for a discount, ask for free stuff, etc. There is something about people that makes them feel like they want to help you out, even if they have no obligation to, if you only ask.

18. Don’t regret. One of the devil’s best tricks is to bring up all the wonderful stuff you did in times past that make you bow your head in shame. And let you think that it will totally negate everything you want to accomplish in your future. There are tons of verses in the Bible about forgiveness: 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” or Psalm 103: 12 – “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” That’s pretty crazy stuff! How dare the devil bring things up from times in our life when we were obviously not doing right, and had no desire to do right, and how great and wonderful God is to forgive us and remove those sins far away from us. What a tiring trap of falling back and into a pattern of defeated thinking. Never. I have messed up royally, I know this. And I do know that some sins have lasting consequences (i.e. permanent liver damage I’m sure) BUT, in God’s eyes, it’s all good. You are going to make mistakes. Especially in your 20’s. God may let us royally mess up on our own so we see how badly we need him and savor the sweetness of communion with an Almighty Father who still loves the broken and ugly us.

19. Start now. Want to get into good shape? Start today. Tomorrow you will be one day closer if you start today. Yesterday will be your last day of doing nothing. Tackle the stuff right now that is in front of you. Don’t put it off. Deal with the stuff you have to deal with right away, and you will be one step closer already when tomorrow comes. Start with the most unpleasant things first (ergh) and feel great satisfaction as you cross it off your list today, and don’t have to worry about it tomorrow.

20. If you don’t decide what you want to do with your life, life will decide for you. This piece of advice is a bit hard to take. I want what God wants for my life, first and fore-most. I already know that his plans are pretty awesome, and much better than mine, so I am pretty OK with the stuff he has planned for me. But, I also don’t want to just sit around and wait for life to happen. For example, with going back to college, I wasn’t exactly sure what was going to happen, but instead of just sitting around and waiting for the perfect opportunity to drop into my life, I made a little call. That turned into a college career path that started just a few short weeks after, and way before I was ready. I know I would still be sitting here twiddling my thumbs instead of working on the last week of my first college course! Now, that was mostly God, but it was kind of me too. The world will quickly push you along if you don’t make some kind of decision to do something. My old youth pastor told me once that it is easier to change your path if you are already moving and redirect correctly, then to make a stagnant person being to move. Find that take charge aspect of your personality (everybody has a little red in them) and go for it.

21.  Don’t make excuses. Nobody really wants to hear them anyways. They don’t care. All they care about is that you didn’t do something they asked of you, or you didn’t follow through on a promise. Don’t try to guilt trip them into making them feel sorry for you when you are in the wrong. Man up. Promise to do better. Deliver.

26 Life Lessons Learned by 26 (Part 3: Lessons 12-16 Duck Dynasty Edition)

Duck DynastyDuck Dynasty has quickly become my (new) favorite show (of all time.) Seriously, I have no idea why this is my newest (non-guilty) guilty pleasure, but it gets me every time. I love watching it together with my family, roommate, and friends, and maybe I like to embrace that redneck side of me (has anyone of you seen some of my relatives in Kansas? haha) and have a good chortle at ridiculous, smelly, camo, epic-ally bearded men.

12. “You can’t fix stupid.” This comes courtesy of dear ‘ol Si, in reference to some crazy shenanigan with a Samurai Sword. What can you do with stupid then? Well, just avoid that whole debacle to begin with. Si and Jase snuck into Willie’s office and stole his samurai sword, which Si then broke. After trying (and failing) at various ways to fix their mistake, Si comes to the epic conclusion that “You Can’t Fix Stupid.” Just do right, be good, and then you don’t have to worry about fixing stupid, because that is not going to work.

13. “When you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s best to do it quickly.” Jase is easily my favorite brother, and he spoke this little gem when the boys were trying to get a bee hive out of a tree in the middle of a river. Why it was such a challenge to them is kind of beyond me, but he gives great advice. If you don’t know what you are doing, get in and out as quickly as possible. Pretend like you know what you are doing and nobody will really question.

14. “Work hard. Nap hard.” Si is not the hardest worker I have ever encountered, but he has definitely put in his dues as a Vietnam Vet and sure has a ton more money than I do, even if he is a bit off. The mantra stands though, although I would augment it to say: “Work hard(er than Si Robertson). Nap hard.” Make sure you take care of yourself, and don’t feel guilty about rewarding yourself after a long day of doing your best. Always have something to look forward to. I am a masochist by nature I am sure, and like to beat myself up pretty good. After that beating though, my body needs some type to recuperate and I shouldn’t feel bad about filling up the bucket. It’s when I am overflowing that I can give more to others.

15. “The more makeup a woman wears the more she’s trying to hide. Makeup can hide a lot of evil.” Good ol’ Phil remains the slightly logical patriarch of this dysfunctional dynasty. He gives great logic for what men think. I have put so much time and effort into myself, only for guys to fail to notice my $70 skirt, killer shoes, and savvy hair cut. Seriously, they all liked me better when I had a big smile and was enjoying myself doing something I loved. Be natural, and be your best natural. I’m embracing the hippie hair, athletic lifestyle, and a step-down from the fanciness I used to enjoy. Let your joy radiate from you, and clear your mind and work on your relationship with God so that can happen. Don’t hide yourself behind so many facades that men steer away because they worry what evil lurks beneath all that junk,

16. “Whether you are talking about bees, dogs, or “men,” pain can come up on you quickly.” Phil was actually speaking about woman, but I think it applies to women in regards to men, too. I never liked bees, dogs are hit or miss, and men… well. Painful. Just be aware of what could happen, and treat them carefully and respectfully. I don’t want to get bitten or stung by a man because I didn’t treat him with the respect he deserves.

26 Life Lessons Learned By 26 (Part 2: Lessons 7-11)

7. Come back to God. This may or may not be a conscious life decision that you make, but at some point in your life, especially growing like I did, you will reach a point where you either embrace what you know to be truth, or struggle to find your own way and enjoying sin’s pleasures. It’s not always easy on the sober side of things, but it is much more rewarding. Crises of faith and all, I couldn’t be more thankful that I am back in a place where God can speak to me again. Just be warned that he may not always ask for your permission to yank everything out from underneath, but it always comes out for the best.

8. Mom and Dad are always right. Even when they are not, they always are. I know nothing, less than nothing, and whatever I know they told me, or didn’t tell me. I can’t believe how many things they told me back in the day that I laughed at. I am eating all of my words. Despite a widening generational gap, my parents were pretty legit people. They had the best intentions at heart. They got old before me and graciously let me in on their wisdom. I didn’t appreciate it. I am sure this cycle will be repeated by the time I have kids.

9. Blood is thicker than water. Families are meant to stay together. Even after years, bitter feelings, and rebellions lie among family members, they always come back. There is just some kind of sense of belonging that exists beneath everything else that people crave. This somehow holds people together though every circumstance has occurred to drive them off.

10. Work hard in school. Slacking off early is a bad idea. The only way to get anywhere in this life is hard work, and school is hard work. I wish I would have realized the intense commitment it took. I wish I would have not taken my education for granted. I wish I would have realized the serious financial commitment it is. I wish I would have done a lot of things differently in school. At least, now, I am not repeating them with this second (or third?) chance at an education. Excited for the big things it will bring.

11. Don’t hide behind technology and social media. I am so thankful that when I was 16, Facebook hadn’t been invented, MySpace was for nerds, and texting had limits. I am so thankful for all the trouble I avoided by going through my teen years without the temptation of Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to express myself while hiding who I really was. Technology offers such a nice break from reality, but really is so impersonal, narcissistic, and selfish. If the only self you express is ever expressed online or behind a text message, you are in trouble.

26 Life Lessons Learned by 26 (Part 1: Lessons 1-6)

26I saw this list a little while ago online, and here is my own version (in no particular order, just what was at the forefront of my mind today):

1. Love your hair. If you want it to grow long and beautiful you have to love it now. Don’t chop it, don’t destroy it, don’t waste $200 a month dyeing it. Love the curly-ness, and let it’s freak flag fly if need be. People will just have to accept it. (And be thankful that you don’t have to look at you.)

2. Never kiss a boy on the first date. This has always been my rule, and I have broken it every time. There is no need to waste it on an unintentional boy. (“Save your kisses.” My mother always said. She was right.) Yes, he may have paid for dinner or dessert or coffee or whatever, but that is something that he should do anyway. As a gentleman. You deserve to be wined and dined. Crazy teenage hormones are over, thank goodness. You can control yourself and do just fine.

3. Never move in with your best friend. Best friends are truly wonderful people, but they really don’t make the best living partners. Roommate drama should be separate from best friend drama, and when you have two separate dramas going on with the same person, it gets to be a bit much. Maybe someone with more fortitude than me would be able to work it out, but, this was my life lesson. To me. Moving in with my best friend didn’t work. (Maybe having a best friend didn’t work. See below:)

4. Don’t label or search for that perfect person to become your best friend. I had roughly three best friends between the ages of 18 and now. I am not really on speaking terms with any of them. I don’t regret being that close to someone, but I do know that I tend to disappoint people. I need to be taken in small doses, and lumping myself all up with one person is a little much for them to take (I pity my future husband). I like to spread myself over four or five wonderful people, and develop deep, meaningful relationships with them, as opposed to being attached at the hip high school style with one other person.

5. Make crazy life changes before you feel you are ready. I moved out of my house when I was 22 with $450 in my pocket. Best decision I could have made for myself. If I would have waited until I was financially stable and secure, I would still probably be with my parents. It is never a practical time to move out. There will always be debts to be paid, unexpected bills to prepare for, etc. Those are just excuses. If you over think, you will never be ready to make any kind of drastic change in your life, so go ahead and just do it. Tomorrow you will not be any more prepared. But you will be after one day of living it out.

6. Get a strong handle on your finances. Those bill collectors that call? They will not forget about you. Or at least they won’t be forgotten about on your credit report. Unpaid or overdue bills put a serious damper on anything you want to accomplish with your future. I made the mistake of fretting away money and not having anything much to show for it. Yeah, I always had nice clothes and a fashionable hair-do, but I didn’t have a car, had no health insurance, and every transaction with my debit card was attached to a prayer. I thought I would dread having to deal with finances, but being knowledgeable about my money and knowing exactly where it is going, where it needs to go, and how to balance everything in between is very liberating. Self control must accompany this principle, as well. Little purchases add up super fast. Trying to keep up the Jones’s is the worst idea ever.

Everyone Expects More from People with Curly Hair

Super inexpensive and luxurious DIY hair mask from eggs and olive oil

Super inexpensive and luxurious DIY hair mask from eggs and olive oil

Me and Sarah have been all about growing our hair long and embracing our curlier, crazier sides. I bought a bunch of eggs at the store the other day because I had the genius idea to make these nifty egg white muffins. (I am so glad that I have an ectomorph, blue roommate who really loves to eat just about anything. She devours my failed experiments and still thinks they are delicious!) Maybe I just don’t like egg whites… or maybe it was because I used my Chipotle leftovers as the main filling. Either way, they tasted very healthy. And that’s all of that.

So we used the egg whites in our muffins, and the egg yolks for our hair. Before we started, I was less than thrilled for sure, but we mixed up the oil and eggs and water and massaged it into our heads and sat around like Arabs with our hair turbaned while we waited for it to soak. We did this Monday. Today is Thursday, and I am having the best hair day of my life! I truly believe that it is all due to the oil and egg mixture. Sarah mentioned she got a ton of compliments as well! This, I believe, might just kick start the DIY and all natural hair products for curly hair that needs to GROW.

So thankful I have Sarah with me for this: we both have very naturally curly hair that reaches a certain length and then just stops growing at this annoying little spot right around our shoulders. Usually, I just get frustrated with mine and chop it off to about chin length, because I never seem to get it past that awkward stage. I used to have really long hair. While I don’t really relish the style I was rocking with the home schooler length back in the day, I do miss how long it was. I got the brilliant idea to reinvent myself at 12 and chopped it all off. I have to say that after that experience I was so embarrassed of my short hair I was sick for three days. I only came out of hiding after convincing myself that if it grew an inch in one month everything could be somewhat salvaged. I am growing very nostalgic for some reason, and would give almost anything to have my long hair back. First off, I can promise that this time around, I will embrace long, curly hair as opposed to trying to hide it. My dear mother really had no idea of what do with crazy, curly-headed me. While I do blame her for many of my hair disasters, I also grew up in the 90’s before the invention of many curly haired basics like diffusers and spray-in gel. The styles of the day never really worked with what my head naturally gave me, but now I know that going all-natural is one of the most stylish things you can do. There is no reason to punish your hair or try to beat it into submission when it was born a certain way. (I think this is somewhat hair karmic retribution: all those years of blow drying, coloring, and flat ironing were too much and now my hair refuses to grow because it is worried of what new torture it will have to succumb to.) I am serious this time about wanting long, full, curly hair, and am willing to invest in my hair a bit. I just hope my hair picks up on my thought processes and decides to corporate.

Our next venture in DIY hair care treatments is going to be going “no ‘poo.” This Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo has been popping up on Pinterest ALOT lately, and, hey, I am all about living on the cheap. We haven’t tried it yet, but considering the success of the egg experiment (which regardless of my hair growing or not I will be doing twice a month) I think we have a much more open mind for all-natural products. I am also going back to my natural roots and not dyeing my hair any more. I have been trying to grow it out for years, but back then I straightened it two or three times a week and got it colored every other month. My new resolution is to straighten it maybe once a month. If that. And going back to my natural, light brownish hair color. Which I really don’t mind. And right now I care more about the length then the color, anyway. Our goal is six inches in a year. Hopefully by eating right, taking biotin and pre-natal vitamins, not blow-drying, and enjoying the natural, curly girls we are, we can love our hair to length of our dreams