Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey Girl. Feel Good About Today.

If you had told me twelve years ago that the actor who played Alan in Remember the Titans would end up starring in the dreams of women all over the world, I might have laughed a little at the thought. Although at twelve years old, I thought Ryan Gosling was cute, it was more in a goofy sort of way. (Think cruel and unusual punishment!) Somewhere in-between watching Ryan dance to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and seeing him wear those suits in Crazy Stupid Love, I melted away with the rest of the "I Heart Ryan Gosling Club."

About a year ago, I was searching for something on google, and I came across a teacher's blog. She had posted all of these "Hey Girl" memes of Ryan Gosling. I have to admit that I had never seen one of those before. I started cracking up reading the funny but ridiculous things Ryan was "saying." If I was having an "off" day, I would google those memes to cheer myself up. Apparently, there is a "Hey Girl" meme for everyone. Feminists, teachers, artists, and even Christians. That last category is truly outrageous (and does not just feature Ryan Gosling)!
Since then, I will sometimes see a statement and automatically attach "Hey Girl" to it. For example, last week I was given a piece of Dove chocolate. The Dove "promise" said, "Feel good about today." But I read, "Hey Girl. Feel good about today" as if Ryan were encouraging me. Silly? Perhaps. I don't mind though. Sometimes, you just need the affirmation.

After reading that Dove promise, if I am stressed or having a less than perfect day, I will think to myself (or look in the front of my planner where I attached that Dove wrapper), "Hey Girl, Feel good about today." 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Finding the Happy in Disappointment

Finding the happy in disappointment. That doesn't sound like a fun activity. It seems more like a task if anything. Most people, including myself, do not wish to focus on something that has brought disappointment to our lives. I, for one, would rather ignore it and try to move past whatever it was that disappointed me. What I am finding instead is that I can really only do just that - try - without ever really getting anywhere.

If I don't ignore it, then I easily dwell on my disappointment, the things I was hopeful of, expected out of life, only to be let down. Dwelling on it pulls on emotion and a vicious cycle ensues, filled with anger, hurt, justification, sadness, and overall pain. If this is my only other option besides ignoring it, then I would rather never look at the disappointment again.

Recently, I was dealt a series of disappointments in my own life. I immediately vacillated between my two usual options of ignoring it or dwelling on it. After doing a little of both and still feeling no satisfaction, I was at a loss. I didn't know what to do, but I did know that neither of these things worked, and it was slowly choking the life out of my, well, life.
My cousin, Bella, on her first birthday- definitely found her happy!

I was talking to a close friend of mine, one who has had her own series of disappointments in life yet finds a way to make peace with it and move on. I hadn't had a particularly trying day, but I was still feeling the weight of dissatisfaction. She sent me a text, and it said, "Find the happy in your life. Go for a drive in your car (I do have a fun car), get a drink (Vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic), or splurge on a movie you've been wanting."

Of course, we both know happiness isn't found just in the things of this world. However, we do have what I like to call "the small things in life," those things which lift our spirits enough to see the positive in what has discouraged us. And from there we can hopefully begin to see "the happy" in our disappointment, the things that are worth living for.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

She's Having a Baby

I recently traveled back to Missouri to be in a friend's wedding. I was there over Mother's Day weekend, and on the day of the rehearsal dinner, my sister was insistent that my entire family be present when she and her husband gave Mom her gift. I was rushing to get everything done and kept saying I did not need to be there but Katie would not let me out of it.

Finally, she came to my room and said they were going to give Mom her present. Noticing a onesie on my bed that I had bought for someone, Katie oohed and aahed over it, asking me if she could have it. I told her jokingly, "If you give me a niece or nephew right now, it's all yours!"Laughing, we left my room and joined the rest of the family. 

We were all seated in the living room in our normal any-holiday-that-includes-gifts fashion. You know, where everyone is sitting waiting for the recipient of the gift to open it and making small talk in the meantime. At least that's how our gift-giving usually goes!  Katie and AJ handed Mom her gift. Mom pulled away the paper and there it was. The evidence that all of our lives were about to change forever. In the form of a book.

We all sat in silence for a second before the meaning behind the book registered in my mind. I jumped up and squealed, "Are you serious?!" and burst into the happiest tears I've ever felt in my life thus far. Dad and my brother, Zack, had not seen the cover yet and were a little confused until Mom let out her own squeal of "She's pregnant!" 

I can tell you that I have thought of that moment many times over the years, what it would be like when Katie makes the announcement that little ones are going to join our family soon, or even if Zack or myself would be the first to introduce our family to the wonder that is grandparenthood/aunthood and unclehood. When I laid eyes on that book cover, however, and then looked at my sister who had this joy and even slightly nervous look on her face, all of the ways I played that moment in my mind before vanished. In its place was an inexplicable happiness that I am going to be an aunt.

A few weeks ago, my brother-in-law sent me a picture of the ultrasound. When it downloaded to my phone and I opened it, I just stared at the little baby taking shape in my sister. My heart swelled with love for that baby, and I honestly felt emotions at such a level I did not know existed. My love for him/her is already overwhelming, and I can't imagine what it will be like to meet that precious little baby. I do know that I will be one of the best aunts that baby could ever hope for, with lots of spoiling, I'm sure!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Constant Change is Here to Stay

Change is not something that I welcome with open arms. It's not that I hate change. In some ways, I look forward to new things. Adventures and starting a new chapter. Starting fresh. However, I have found in examining my own life thus far that when things do change, it is never minor. It is not something that can go unnoticed nor is it gradual. In my experience, a tidal wave of change hits my life leaving no area untouched.

When I was younger, there was a phrase that was constantly said in my church. "Constant change is here to stay." If something new happened in my family or at church that affected my life, Mom would listen to my complaints for about five minutes before reminding me of this phrase. It almost became a mantra that everyone repeated. "We are moving out of town? Constant change is here to stay." "The church is headed in this direction now? Constant change is here to stay." As a person who was uncomfortable with change and had strong attachments to the familiar, I seriously came to despise "constant change" and all that it stood for. I just rolled my eyes and mentally gagged as those words swirled around me, wreaking havoc in my life.

As I grew older, it became more clear to me why I detested change so much. I like consistency in my life. Surprises and spontaneity are good, but not if it knocks me off my feet in the process. I'm a planner who likes to prepare for what's coming. With new seasons looming before me, however, there is no way to know when it will happen and where I will end up. 

In August, I moved to California, and I thought that was my "big" change for the next year at least. Now, I have been here almost seven months, and I see more change in the near future. Perhaps it is not as grand as packing my bags and moving across the country. Still I see it, looking right at me, waiting to see if I will jump into the waves. I feel the nervous anticipation and excitement as I wait. I've realized that for the first time, I am glad constant change is here to stay. It means starting a new chapter in life and growing into a better person. My stomach is filled with thousands of tiny butterflies and my heart is starting to beat a tiny bit faster, but I'm ready for that wave to sweep me away. I'm letting go of all my own ideas about what life should be and where I should be going to start a fresh chapter in the life of Nikki.