July 31, 2014

Life Lately: Between a Rock & a Hard Place

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So, this month has been pretty busy and I haven't had much time to sit down and write for this blog. But I could not let the month pass without submitting at least one post, so here goes...

 June was a very eventful month. It included my mom and Beau's birthdays, a well-needed staycation from work, a wedding, and a kayaking day trip. It was a month of renewed friendship and increased joy between Beau and I. 

 Most of our activities occurred during the week of my staycation and it. was. lovely. The week off from work was well needed, as I have been working there for 8 months now and haven't taken any time off. Also, the company that I work for has rolled out a new system that claims to make work 'more efficient', but has only caused more stress on our end. I mean serious hair-pulling, weight-losing stress! I pull through, though. Knowing that it's only for a couple of hours every day and when I leave to go home, I am able to take a break from it all. 

 I submitted my 500th job application not too long ago and it really got me thinking: What am I REALLY doing wrong?! 500 applications submitted since March 2012 (2 months before completing graduate school)! What is really going on?! I started thinking that the academic and personal skills that I have gained two years ago are kind of stale now (especially since I am not using them in my current position) and this huge gap makes me more and more unmarketable by the day. This led me to consider continuing my studies -- either a doctorate or a certificate degree program. Fun fact: I applied for a 12-week certificate program in Ireland in early April and got accepted not long after. I was elated because for the first time in a long time, I was not rejected for something I went after. I discussed it with Beau and he was willing to part-ways with me for the 3 months if it meant increasing my chances of employment in my field. I also sought opinion from other trusted individuals and they all said go for it as the benefits outweighed the risks. Days later after applying for a small loan, I was rejected... Once more, something I pursued wholeheartedly was shot down. Disappointed and discouraged don't even begin to explain how I felt. I literally feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place with this thing. I just don't understand it. Why me? Why am I stuck here? What is really going on?! But I continue pushing with the hopes that one day, it will all work out. 

 After facing that last rejection, I really started to question my life and my purpose here on this earth because I literally feel like a waste of breath and life: unable to accomplish anything. Stuck and useless.. I remembered listening to an interview with Misty Edwards where she spoke about her battle with illness and her struggle in determining the purpose of life. She wrote a book all about her findings called "What Is the Point?: Discovering Life's Deeper Meaning and Purpose". It is an easy read and has been helping me thus far. We spend so much of our lives focused on obtaining this great thing, but as Misty Edwards wrote
"Everything in life is on a quick fade... Men love you one minute and ridicule you the next. One year you're cool, and the next you're outdated and old. One season you are successful, and the next you are a failure. This is true in finances, relationships, ministry, impact influence... We cannot anchor our desire for meaning in these things, because it would be like chasing the wind..."
Boy, did I need that reminder! I feel a little better now knowing this, but I still feel unsuccessful at times. I am currently praying for strength and added faith.  




June 15, 2014

Baby Robins

I was walking into our garage several weeks ago and found myself ducking from a string of twigs. I thought it odd that this white ribbon entwined with twigs was hanging from the door, so I looked up. Much to my surprise, I saw even more twigs stuffed in between the lights above the garage door. I instantly thought "those kids have stooped to a new low. Why on earth would they waste times stuffing our backyard lights with dirt and twigs?! Isn't stealing our recycling bin enough?!" (We have a middle school at a block away from where we live and those school kids are wild- to say the least.)

I grabbed a step-stool and my camera to get a closer look at the mess. I was shocked to see it wasn't a mess at all, but a neatly crafted nest. There were no eggs in it at the time. Beau wanted to take it down. The thought of an angry mama bird trying to keep her babies safe was not something he wanted to encounter. I pleaded with him that we keep it there. Afterall, she put such care into building it-- although it looked pretty rough on the outside, the inside was quite neat and smooth. Besides, we didn't know if she would actually lay her eggs there. She could have found a better location and decided to abandon that nest. That was my argument anyway, in an effort to have Beau agree to keeping the nest up (just in case). 


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About a week or so later, Beau mentioned seeing a bird fly away when he went out to the back yard. I thought he was just paranoid, but then I saw the same thing when I was leaving for work one morning. So after work that day, I grabbed a chair and a camera and blindly (the chair/step-stool wasn't tall enough for me to look in) snapped a photo of the inside of the nest. When I viewed the photo, I was so excited to see four blue eggs laid side by side in the nest. They were so beautiful. I instantly fell in love and needless to say, Beau got even more nervous.

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One week later, I decided to check on the eggs. My neighbors kids had a field day throwing balls around the day before and it made me a little anxious that they could have hurt the eggs. I snapped a couple photos and when I reviewed them, I saw two naked baby robins lying face down in the nest. I was even more in love.

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Every few days after that, I would snap photos of the baby birds. Not every day, as to give mama and babies some time away from this crazy camera lady. Each time I shot photos of them, they got bigger and bigger and more feathered. Sometimes the sound of the camera shutter made them think I was mama bringing food, so they stretched their necks up and opened their mouths really wide. It was quite funny and a little mean.

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One day, I went out to take a pic of them and they were fully feathered and practically bursting out of the nest. They were also less sleepy and more alert. That was my last photo of them. I went back just two days later and they were no longer there. To be honest, I felt a little sad. They were kind of like my non-human babies although I had no part in rearing or feeding them. I loved them nonetheless, and I am so happy that mama bird chose the lights above our garage door to build her nest and raise her babies.

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Side notes:
** There were four eggs in the nest, but only 3 birds seemed to have survived. I'm not sure what happened to the other egg/chick, but I'm sure mama bird took care of it. She cleared the nest of all egg shells after each chick was fully hatched.
** You may be wondering how I was able to get such detailed photos of the baby birds--here's how...Each time I opened our back door, mama bird would be startled and fly away. She always perched herself on a tree limb close by, however, which allowed to her keep a watch of her babes. She never showed any signs of aggression... only on those few days after the chicks hatched. I couldn't get any good shots because the camera wouldn't focus (I think the chicks were moving around a lot) so I was out there taking photos longer than anticipated. Mama AND papa bird got a little antsy and would fly up to the door of my neighbor's house, flap their wings really hard, and then fly back to the tree limb. That was my cue to get the heck outta there. Other than that, I respected them and their babies, and they didn't try to peck me to death.

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June 1, 2014

Rainfall

You know what's a little disheartening?

... Putting complete trust in God for something and not getting it. Not only that, but seeing that people who don't believe in or trust in God at all can go after almost anything they want and get it. Or, people who choose to believe in God at their time of distress or in a time of need will get results or be granted some kind of favor in regards to what they were seeking. Yet, I am still stuck in my same position.

rainfallMaybe it's this attitude that still has me here. Maybe it's just a personal/individual thing and more is just required of me from the Lord. Maybe I'm just over-thinking this too much. But this is truly how I feel... especially recently.

This feeling does not alter my complete trust in God, but it does make me feel unimportant sometimes... And this is just how I HONESTLY FEEL.

However, Beau reminded me of the scripture in Matthew 5:45 that states: "...for He (God) causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

Also, Psalm 145:9: "The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all his works."

Hardships and disappointments can often lead to loss of faith, especially in the case of unanswered prayers. Unanswered prayers can seem like you're praying to a dead God. It truly can. But the Lord has proven Himself to me too many times for me to straight-up denounce my faith and His existence. So, I continue to trust. I continue to wait. And when that day of answered prayers comes, this blog will be one of the first means of sharing the news. Why? Because I know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 4:17). My blog readership is very small, but I do get visitors from all over the world on a day-to-day basis. I want to be an oracle-- a testament of sorts that as a Christian, we have our share of ups and downs. We are by no means perfect and sometimes when things don't go our way (and there will always be a time in our life when things don't go as we wish), if we continue to hope in the Lord, He will smile upon us and bless our faithfulness. So, that is my prayer right now-- more than finally getting a job in my field... more than furnishing our home... more than not having to worry about finances. I pray that I will continue to remain faithful and that my journey may be an encouragement to someone else out there.

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