January 1, 2016

My Life Isn't That Interesting

At the request of my persistent uncle, it is once again my undertaking to blog "more often" [than twice a year]. He asks me each Christmas Eve if I've been blogging lately, to which I usually reply, "not really, my life isn't that interesting." Or some such thing. He urges me to take it up again and I promise to do better next year. So here we are in 2016!

As I write this, I'm sitting in my messy office/room. I have already failed on my resolution to make my bed every day in 2016. Oh well, maybe next year. I just got home from getting groceries (I finally spent <$50), I'm thinking of attempting to make a quinoa crust pizza for tomorrow, I observed someone at the grocery store getting arrested, and I refrained from buying coffee or cookie dough. It's been a fairly productive day. I designed a mantra - or, not really a mantra, because I looked up the definition of "mantra" and it doesn't really fit the thing I designed. Maybe a pledge - with the intent of saying it daily this year, every morning as I prepare to face my day. It's hanging up by my mirror. I thought I would start the year by sharing it with all of you, and maybe also a few of the impending changes in my life. This is where it starts to get different!

Daily Pledge
Today is going to be a good day.
I thank God for waking me up today.
I'm going to work, so I can completely pay off my debts and begin to live a blessed life*, and so I can learn to be the leader that God has created me to be.
Today I will be empowered with the tools to be successful, within my community and throughout the country.
I apply myself daily.
I study, I complete tasks, and I ask questions when I don't understand.
I realize the importance of keeping my word.
When I'm confronted with a problem or a conflict, I think before I react.
I ignore all negative influences.
I make good choices throughout my day that promote a healthy mind and a healthy body.
Today I'm going to make steps towards completing my goals so that I'm closer than I was yesterday.
I'm extremely proud to be the next generation of Christian leaders. I accept the responsibility and I love the challenge.

So there's that! If you want to watch the video that inspired me to make this, you may do so, here. I adapted a little bit because the child in the video is six and goes to school for most of his day, and I do that almost none of my day. I also wanted to add a little bit about working out and eating/drinking well ("promote a healthy mind and a healthy body"), and paying off my debts.

So a few of the changes that have come up recently are as follows:
- I decided not to attend Bible college anymore, because I want to finish my music degree (which is what I have been using/want to use).

- plans are in the works for me to move to Seattle with my middle brother, Jonathan, and his wife, who are currently living in Atlanta. Part of my reason for doing this is to be closer to my boyfriend (who is in The Dalles, OR, but also has plans to move to Seattle), and I feel like if I'm going to move to a big city the conditions would be kind of ideal. No hunting for roommates, etc. So I will keep all of you posted on that development as it unfolds more.

- The focus of this year will be paying off debts for me, I think. As I mentioned in my not-mantra. I met with someone from my church who showed me some Dave Ramsey tricks to paying off debts, so I'll be putting those into action probably this month, all while trying to grow my Arbonne business (while carefully not going into debt to have products) and save money for the potential move. It's going to be busy.

- I'm also about to fill out an online application for MSU. This was my mom's suggestion. I'm just really really over taking classes in a classroom, so after I made my decision not to continue with Bible school, I had my heart pretty set on doing a music degree online. I've heard such things exist. However, my mom made the suggestion that since my move would happen probably after semester's end, I should try to take (at least) one class at MSU because then all my credits would be one nice, easy transcript, since I'm about 99% sure that most of what I have taken in college the last six years will transfer over to MSU. But there's no telling if a school in Seattle would arbitrarily decide that, no, doctrine classes aren't "electives" and please start all over again. I think a huge part of why I'm even writing this is procrastinating the stupid application process. Blechh. However, Boyfriend claims you only need a C overall to be accepted, and I think a C is probably the lowest grade I have gotten. So that's reassuring.

That's probably enough for now. Sorry to vomit life-changes all over you. I'm trying to start fresh or whatever. I'm raising my cup of honey chamomile tea to all the adventures 2016 will bring! #YearOfNoFear!

* I'm not implying that my life isn't blessed right NOW, because it absolutely is. I'm mostly referencing a series we did at church on financial freedom, when the point was that until you are debt free you are not truly financially blessed. Just thought I would provide a bit of context for that statement. I'll also shortly be reading The Blessed Life by Robert Morris, probably after I finish reading through the Harry Potter series, which is along those same lines. 

August 21, 2015

UNLIMITED AND FREE COFFEE. (Not meant to be false advertising)

I'm sitting at my parents' house on my parents' computer, thinking about some of the stuff I really like about being here. So I thought I would get on my neglected blog and make a list, which is one of my favorite things to do.

- Free laundry

- Free food

- Free coffee

- Air conditioning (new perk!)

- Lucy lives here, so cuddles and running buddy

- Can shower whenever I want (or not at all if I so prefer)

- Favorite church is here

- Unlimited cuddles


- Sometimes my old friends want to see me

I know that there's more, but I need to go put my free laundry into my free dryer *tears of joy*. Before I go, here are a handful of cute pictures that were taken over the last few days. School starts Monday. Not sure if I'm ready, but I'm excited.

February 5, 2015

Some Basic Do's and Don't's of How to Treat a Cashier

I've been working at Ace for, like, an eternity now, and there are just some things I want to get off my chest every once in awhile. And what better place for such an activity than the Internet?!

If you pay with a $50 or a $100, don't do it first thing in the morning unless your total is like $97.50. We have no 20's in the till yet and you're going to be embarrassed when I have to take forever to count back your change to you. Also, when I mark your bill with the pen that is supposed to tell me whether it's counterfeit or not, don't crack a joke like "just made those last night." I'm not laughing cuz it's funny or original. I'm laughing so you don't feel bad because every single person says that exact same thing.

When you walk into the store and I say "hello," greet me back. It's just my job. I realize sometimes you just plain don't hear me, but it actually hurts my feelings a little when I'm bright and cheery to you and all I get in return is a halfhearted wave or a grunt. At least smile back at me. I know you have a good smile. It would make my day.

Don't act like it's the end of the world for me to ask if you have a rewards card. Again, it's just my job. I am required to ask every single person. Even if you come to Ace every day for a lifetime and every day you tell the cashier "no", it may have been a different cashier than me. And please, don't interrupt me. That is just so freaking rude. Let me finish my question and then answer it politely, like a human being. And if you do have a rewards card, don't just rattle off your phone number to me before even saying "hi". Chances are, I'm not in the right screen yet and I will have to rush to catch up with you.

I cannot stress this enough. PLEASE do not throw tantrums about coupons. All the information you need to use a coupon is printed on it. Learn to look at more than just the dollar amount. Do your homework. Does the purchase need to be over a certain amount? Can you use the coupon on sale items? Has it expired? Can it be used alongside another coupon? Honestly, just read your coupons before you bring them into the store, and if you have questions about them, ask before you do your shopping. We are happy to answer your questions if you actually ask them before assuming. 

If you happen to have a lovely child in the store with you (and I realize this is fairly Ace-specific) and I offer them a balloon, please please please take the opportunity to teach your child some manners, even if it takes a few extra minutes. Maybe I'm even a little bit old-fashioned for my age, but I remember always being taught to say please and thank you when I was offered a treat. Maybe 1 in 5 children politely ask and thank me. Maybe less. I am always so impressed when it happens. And I know it doesn't seem like a big deal now but your little child is going to grow into an adult, so just, please. For the sake of workers everywhere. And just so you know, if your kid is screaming, or whining, or interrupting you while you are talking to me, it is YOU I am judging, and not your child. And on the other side of that, I do realize that sometimes tantrums just happen--I can tell the difference between a kid who is just throwing a tantrum for whatever reason, and a kid who consistently gets what they want. So don't think I'm just hating on all children that don't behave perfectly. I was a kid once. I know.

The cell phone thing... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, why do I even have to say this? I remember one instance where a customer came through my line, on the phone, and I rang up the entire transaction while she was on the phone, and then when I asked if she had Ace rewards she apologized to the person on the phone, spewed her phone number, and went back to talking. Are you kidding me? This is SO. RUDE. Just don't. If you must talk on the phone, at least take a second to tell the person on the line what you are doing, put the phone down, and do the transaction start to finish while treating me like a person.

And a few thank-you's to some customers I love, because not EVERY person is awful...
Thanks for letting me hold and snuggle your papillon everytime you come in. (<3 lilly="" p="">Thanks for actually asking how I'm doing and caring about it.
Thanks for bringing me coffee when my day was rough.
Thanks for listening.
Thanks for being genuine.
Thanks for thanking me and meaning it.
Thanks for asking me what I'm reading when it's closing and I'm doing homework.
Thanks for inviting me to stuff. Even though I usually don't go, I appreciate it.
Thanks for telling me I have beautiful eyes.
Thanks for hugging me everytime you come in (not you, Joe).
Thanks for making me laugh.

January 9, 2015

My Sickness

I spend much of my time lately worshipping at the altar of the bathroom scale, the number on the tag, the distance I can run.

And I count.

I count calories and burpees. I calculate how many miles I have to run to burn off a plate of nachos. How many months until I will be able to wear jeans I feel good in.

I compare. Instantly. Without even realizing it. Immediately, I size up my sisters, giving their legs, backsides and waists silent ratings before I even know it.

Even old photos. From times in my life I thought I was fat. From times in my life I was unhappy, I still wish to go back.

I recently stumbled onto a photo from the summer of 2013, when I knew darkness almost every day. I emanated dead-endness. I was stuck. I spent my time then worshipping at the same altars I do now, and I kissed the feet of a liar and I begged for his love.

But when I saw the photo, I envied the unsmiling girl with a tiny waist and an unmade bed in the background. "I wish I could go back," I sighed.

And it was like everything froze. No, I never want to go back to that. Having the best body in the universe is not worth the innocence I lost that summer. Fitting into all my skinny clothes? Not worth all the tears I shed. Not worth all the days I spent angry and worried. Not worth it.

I guess I'm just preaching this to myself, now. Just because I write something down doesn't necessarily mean I believe it, but I want to believe it because I'm surrounded by women who are perfect and beautiful and curvy and spunky and talented. Women who can write and sing. Women who can ride horses and climb mountains and swim across rivers. (Not me, obviously, but some women can do those things.) Women who can rock babies to sleep and type numbers into a computer all day long and smile even when their hearts are broken. I want to believe this because of my roommate and my mom and my sisters and my nieces and my tight circle of best, best friends.

Nicole means Victorious Heart and I will never go back.

June 11, 2014

Dear Montana Bible College

Dear Montana Bible College,

You were hard on me. You challenged me, impressed me, and thrilled me.

Because of you, I read the entire Bible in a school year, lost hours and hours of sleep, stayed up late writing papers and reading books, cut back drastically on regular showering, stopped wearing makeup, and gained almost twenty pounds.

Because of you, I made new friends I know I can count on for a lifetime.

Because of you, I love naps again.

But you taught me a lot. You put a lot of opportunities for grace, both given and received, into my life.

You showed me that I need to research things for myself, that I know next to nothing about Christianity and the Bible, and that a lot of the time my parents know what they're talking about.

You inspired me. A year ago, I would never have said "I'll probably get a degree from MBC." But look at my new plan!

I love you, Montana Bible College. Keep it real.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Belgrade, Montana