Tuesday, September 08, 2009

28 Years and Still Tickin'

Normally I write a blog around the time of my birthday (I think), and I am a bit behind this year. Nonetheless, here goes nothin'.

I actually survived 28 years of life so far! haha. How have I managed this? Surely not alone. It's been quite a journey, especially in this last year. I keep thinking about the whole "turning 30" crunch, and I cringe just a little bit at the thought. However, several of my friends who recently turned 30 or are already over 30 reassure me that life in your 30's is so much better than in your 20's. I hope they are right.

It's funny for me because sometimes I feel this immense pressure to be someone or do something because I am already such and such age. I guess the truth of the matter is that I am not everyone else, and God has me set on a certain course so I just better be shut up and enjoy the ride.

My 28th birthday was nice. Guido woke up extra early and decorated the whole apartment, including Zacchy, and he wouldn't even let me downstairs until he was done. He and Zac came upstairs blowing horns and singing "Happy Birthday" to me. Well, Zac just barked and licked me while jumping all over our bed, which was weird for him because it is usually forbidden territory to even be upstairs. Guido had ordered me a nice book about my new digital SLR camera that we had bought a couple of months prior. It was a nice gift, and I am sure I will use it often. Later in the morning, my mother-in-law came for a cup of coffee and brought me a gift and a bouquet of flowers. That was such a nice treat as she knows how much I just love fresh flowers.

Guido had it all planned out for my birthday day. He wouldn't tell me anything, but only reassured me that I would really like it. So, with Zac, we hopped in the car and went. Along the way, I tried guessing where we were going, but nothing made sense because we couldn't bring a dog to alot of the places. So, I gave up. Well, as we got closer to Amsterdam, I actually sort of guessed what he had in mind, but he wouldn't give me 100% confirmation that I was right until we were just about there. We ended up in a nice touristy town called Volendam. It's on the water and located not too far from Amsterdam. We did things like enjoying a nice drink on a terrace, walking around, hanging out by the water, and some other things. We also had our picture taken with the traditional Dutch clothing on, which was a lot of fun. Zac is even in the picture. We went to a historic museum and also visited the island village of Marken by ferry. In the evening, we had a very nice meal along with a beer for Guido and a Strongbow for me. We enjoyed it! There was a beautiful sunset on the ride home as well. All in all, the day was fantastic. It was a great first birthday to share with my lovely husband.

On Friday, the 28th, we set out to Scheveningen in the evening in order to feast with friends and enjoy a night out on the town. We went to a fun restaurant that had great spare ribs (so I was told), which is the main reason why my husband chose this place in the first place. There's nothing like having your own stomach in mind when planning your wife's birthday dinner party! It's really SUCH a man thing to do. Ha! It was nice though. We had a fun time with friends, and I also got alot of nice gifts. I still have the bear cup that the waitress gave to me. The employees even prepared an ice cream with sparklers, put a stupid, dirty "Gefeliciteerd" hat on my head, and sang "Lang Zal Ze Leven" to me, which basically is the "Happy Birthday" song they sing in Dutch. Afterwards, we proceeded to a place called Crazy Pianos. It was fun, and the music was good as well. We danced, hung out, joked around, and just had a nice time. We didn't get to bed until about 4 am. Yep, wayyyy past my bedtime these days. Haha.

Needless to say, when we had to wake up for the family birthday picnic the next day, Saturday, I wasn't the happiest camper in the world. Well, I hate camping altogether so my previous statement doesn't say so much. We arrived a bit late, and I was a little miserable from being overtired. It was nice though. We were celebrating my and my mother-in-law's birthdays as she also has a summer birthday, but hers is in July. The food was yummy, lots of conversation, and I also got a lot of nice gifts. I still need to go shopping to use the gift cards and money that I got.

All in all, this birthday was great! The only thing missing was...well...many of you. It really sunk in a bit deeper just how homesick I really am. It's been a really long time since I've spent a birthday or any other day with many of you, and I kind of felt like a part of me was missing this year. I really love and enjoy my friends and family here, but they will never take the place of my family and friends in the states. It wasn't better or worse to be here, just...different.

Looking back on this year, I can say that it surely hasn't been easy, but God has been really good to me. That's something that will never change either because it's just His nature to be that way...even to me. I've got a great husband who makes me constantly makes me laugh, puts up with my temper, and surely makes life interesting. We'll leave it at that. Haha. I am blessed to have a doggy who is the cutest dog in the world, and I don't care what anyone else thinks. He just is. He is such a little stinker and quite dramatic at times. No tellin' where he got THAT from! Haha. God has kept true to His promises to me from several years ago to restore what the locusts have eaten, and I see it ringing so true in my life. And...it just doesn't stop. Even in the past few days, He has given me a lot of brand new things to look forward to as well, and it's only getting better.

I feel a little "shocked" to be 28 already. I think because I always pictured my life to be different than it actually is, especially at this age. It doesn't matter though. Everything happens for a reason, and nothing is a mistake. It all works out for the good. I am just happy that Jesus is with me, and the love affair grows stronger and truer everyday, despite my stubbornness, among other things. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what this next year holds for me. I can be sure of one thing though: it's full of great things...new treasures to be found, new joys to be experienced, and new surprises to come to light. Here's a toast to turning 28! Cheers!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Am I lost?

What a question. Yeah, you might be wondering why the heck I would be asking myself that, but let me clarify what I mean.

Last week, I happened to invade my brother-in-law's movie collection. I have gotten sick of my own movies so I needed to check out something fresh. He has some movies that I hadn't seen before. Well, needless to say, I have been watching more movies than normal in the past few days.

Today, I decided to watch "The Holiday." It's the film with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law. Great movie! Just watching it, the storyline, the details, even down to the careers of the characters got me to thinking. Am I lost? Have I lost my dream? Did I leave my goals and aspirations at the door somewhere and forget to pick them up? Why did I let them go in the first place?

Okay...okay...okay, maybe I am in "lala land" at the moment, but I don't know what it is. I just get so inspired by certain films I've seen, books I've read, conversations I've had. I am a dreamer. That is for sure. I just wish I did a bit better in the pursuit of those dreams a little more often. Surely, they sit in the back of my mind alot. Maybe it's a fear thing. Possibly an insecurity thing. Or...just maybe it's being hit with the reality that this is not my life. Plain and simple. But...why couldn't it be? My heart was charged up again while watching this movie. I went back to those days back in high school when I would write songs, lyricsw, poetry, even scripts and story lines. I had big dreams to become a filmmaker and screenwriter someday. I had dreams to become a musician and to inspire and influence my generation and others with my creative gifts and talents. But...for some reason, I've just let it go. Shame on me.

So now that I have unveiled a little bit of that good ol' "my life feels like a train wreck" feeling, where do I go from here? How do I get "unlost"? Is it possible? Sometimes I find myself sort of "freaking out" (okay...a little exaggeration) about the fact that I am quickly approaching 30 years old. I feel like my life is this timeline, and it has to go a certain way. I feel like I have missed the mark, and those once REAL-LIFE dreams have become just mere memories in the back of my mind.

I guess my biggest struggle is (and always has been) for someone to believe in me. But hey, then I ask myself, "How can someone believe in me when I hardly believe in myself?" Strange. Maybe I am afraid that I won't be good enough or that someone will make fun of it or I won't appease the people in my life that I have been trying to since I can't even remember. I don't know anymore. All I know is that I have big dreams, and I need to remember that it's never too late to get back in the game. Never.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Music and Lyrics

Wow, I really need to write more. Once again I find myself staring at the screen with no inspiration to write, but since I was told that I need to be blogging more often, here is a petty attempt to express myself through words.

Tonight, I watched the movie, "Music & Lyrics" which stars Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. I really liked the movie even though I don't think I would ever nominate it for an Oscar or anything. For me personally, it is a movie that inspires. Why? Well, for those of you who don't know, I write lyrics. I've been writing them for like 11 or 12 years now, but it hasn't been until the past few months in which my work has been put to music. It's actually pretty exciting.

In some ways, I could really relate to Drew's character, Sophie. Here she was, thinking that she could never write songs, but hey...she proved everyone, most importantly herself, wrong. I am beginning to experience the same in my life. I actually never thought my stuff was even worth trying to put music to it, but now several of my lyrics have evolved into actual songs. It's just amazing. I feel like I am actually walking in my destiny and following part of the calling that I believe the Lord has for my life.

I just feel so....uninspired lately. Sometimes, I get the greatest ideas...at the strangest moments. I might be in the shower or walking my dog, and suddenly a tune or a verse pops into my head, and I am able to just...run with it. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's because things seem all "up in the air" right now. I have loads of questions, and I am hoping to get some answers sometime in this century. Yeah yeah yeah...I get it. The whole "a thousand years is like a day and a day like a thousand years" blah blah blah. Oh well...moving on.

I'm very tired. It's probably one of the hottest days of the summer today. I feel sticky and warm, and we don't even have a fan to keep cool. Yucko! hehe. The house hunt is exhausting. My birthday is in 3 weeks! Flevo is in 2 weeks. We're possibly going to Hungary for 2 weeks. That's the plan, anyway. Oh, and I will have a REAL birthday party for the first time since I was like 6 years old. Amazing!

...I bought Oreos tonight and dipped them in milk while watching the movie. This was done in honor of America...my family and my dear friends...whom I miss alot. I need some Aunt Jemima's and some REAL American PB, and fast. If you would like to send me a care package, please let me know. haha.


(Maybe by the next time I blog, I will have something a bit more meaningful to say. maybe...just maybe.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Regrets and Nutshells

So I am sitting here staring at the screen trying to figure out where to begin. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times I have done that throughout the months, but have been somewhat hesitant to write. Why? I have no idea. Maybe I just didn't think I had anything good to say. This is where the "regret" comes into play.

I know that I shouldn't focus on regrets and such in life, but I will focus a little on this one because I really wish I had taken the time to keep my family and friends updated on what's been happening in my life over the past several months. Well, now I am at a point where I want to share...ha! I need to share. There are so many changes, so many things going on, and this is the perfect outlet, at least for me.

Thus, the nutshell begins...

It is now mid-June 2009, and I cannot even believe it! It's been over 6 years since I graduated from college (university for all of you international friends), and just about 10 years since I graduated from high school! I can hardly believe it. It's been really neat to re-connect with people from the past through profile websites such as Facebook. I really enjoy learning about where people have ended up, what they're doing, if they're married, how many kids they have, etc. I just remember yesterday being in high school, tranferring from Baker to CNS, adjusting to a new place, new school, new everything. I also can never and will never forget my 4 life-changing years at RWC where I have been some of my greatest friends and have undergone some of my greatest trials.

Life surely has been a whirlwind. Looking back, it's just amazing that THIS is where I am in life right now. My sister just had her first child, a beautiful baby girl named Emma. My other two sisters will be graduating from high school in the next week and a half. My brother will be turning 14 years old, and I am approaching closer and closer to 30. Yikes!

Now, I am sure many of you are maybe wondering what's been going on in my life for the past 10 years. Well, I would love to touch on those points in the future, but for now, I will disclose a bit about the past few months.

Guido and I will be married 8 months on the 28th of June! Can you believe it? I can...barely. The time has just flown by, and it's been quite the 8 months so far. Being in an intercultural relationship has been quite a challenge and learning experience for both of us, but it's also been so wonderful as we're going through this journey of discovery of self-discovery individually and together. I don't just say this to win brownie points, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart that my husband is truly a gift from God, and I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world...well, maybe sometimes. Kidding!

To celebrate our journey so far, we decided last-minute to book a trip to Mallorca, Spain. We're really looking forward to this time of rest that we so desperately need. We have decided to view this time away as a second honeymoon of sorts. As some of you know, we wed just outside of Las Vegas last October, and only had a week there, which was really too short of a time. We got married on a Tuesday, had to arrange all kinds of paperwork on 3 other days, and with all of the preparations and emotions, it was just too short of a time. Next we knew, we were on a plane back to Europe, and my life would pick up and start over yet again.

For those of you who don't know, I have not been legally been able to have a job here in the Netherlands until my visa is approved. So, for the past 8 months, I have been a housewife. Do I have regrets? No way. Has it always been easy? Nope! Through it all, I will say that I have grown alot and learned so much about myself. I have had to overcome some fears and learn to be true to myself. This is something that continues everyday. I will comment, though, that just last Friday, I went to The Hague with my sister-in-law to pick up my visa card so now I am able to legally live and work here. Praise God!

Oh yeah, back to the 8 months of hibernation. It's been unreal. I will definitely have to touch on this amazing time through a series of blogs, but just to say that God has really had me in such a season of healing and restoration. It's been so good. Difficult, but good.

I am totally at a point of transition right now. Well, not just myself, but Guido as well. We have been seeking the Lord for direction and wisdom in so many things, and we praise God that things are finally beginning to come together...with a price. I have learned a life-long lesson that breakthrough never comes without a price. People get so scared by that statement, but the price we have to pay is so so good and so worth it.

The changes have never stopped, I guess. It's like someone threw me into a dryer, and turned it on, and I am still inside. Moving to another country, being married (again), being away from family and friends, adjusting to a new culture, taking on new roles, being the proud owner of a puppy named Zaccheus, and more....it's been quite a price, but a great one. If I had to do it all over again, would I? Without question, yes.