Thursday, September 29, 2011

let it out

I've burst into tears sporadically more times in the last week than in the entirety of my 22 years. It's really embarrassing and really true. This move to LA has been so much harder than I ever expected. I'm just being honest. And I made a pact to myself to continue blogging even when I'm not feeling too great. It's so easy and tempting to want to have a brag blog. But that's not cool and I want to continue to write through the rough patches because I feel like one day I'll look back on this and be glad I stayed truthful.

This week has been extremely stressful. Emotionally draining. Spiritually draining. I've been an emtional trainwreck, which is saying something coming from a girl who's Puerto Rican and Italian. Already I feel normal emotions at a rapid and slightly scary speed, so you can only imagine how cray-cray I am right now. 

I'll just state the facts. 
1. I need a second job and I need it soon and I am trying, praying, praying, praying to not be stressed about it but it comes down to I am pretty dang stressed about it. 
2. I've been sleeping on an air mattress for the last month and my back is starting to yell at me everyday. Isn't it crazy how spoiled my body is? I really feel like a spoiled brat because I groan knowing I have to use an air mattress, but there are people in the world who don't even have a roof over their head. Who am I to complain? That brings me to point 3.
3. Chanelle and I need to be out of Malibu by Saturday, but can't move into our apartment until Wednesday. We are technically going to be homeless for 4 days. I'll keep you posted (if I have internet) about the adventure of that in and of itself. I suggested just hanging out in a diner all night but I'm not sure that will work for 4 nights. I'm sure God won't leave us hanging...I just don't know where exactly we'll be. Ya know what, I'm not even going to worry about it. Is that a bad thing?
4. I got a ticket today. I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE BEEN PULLED OVER BY A COP. And the one day when things are already not going my way, I get pulled over. I was at a stoplight and looked at my phone and the cop said I was texting and driving. I am grateful that California is so strict about texting and driving, but I couldn't help but burst into tears (which did nothing to soften the cop's blow to my wallet). I got a ticket. It's not even that I was upset at the fact I got pulled over--it's the fact that every single penny I have is so precious and there I go, being stupid and not careful and get a ticket. 

I hate stressing about money, but everyday I wake up with this heavy burden on my heart. Maybe I shouldn't blog at night after work, I feel like I'm more vulnerable. But maybe that's a good thing. Anyway, every morning I wake up feeling so....heavy. I hate it guys. I have never craved for financial security as much as I have this last month. I also have never felt so weighed down before. I nearly had another outburst of crying tonight at work. For one, I'm still the new girl and still more in the way than helpful. It's so awkard starting a new job. But at work my mind began to wander and I felt like crying AGAIN. I'm such a freaking baby, it's embarrassing. I kept thinking of everything I have to do tomorrow, and what Chanelle and I are gonna do after Saturday, and kept calculating my expenses and freaking out and oh my goodness I have never wanted to open a closet door to Narnia more in my life.

I don't wanna throw myself a pity-party. So I'm gonna shut this one down. I'm not pitying myself! I have to remember all the ways God has blessed me.

1. I have a job. Even though it's not enough, it's something. 
2. I have food in my belly.
3. We found an amazing church.
4. I have a family that loves and supports me.
5. We have an apartment. So, so grateful. Cannot wait to move in. 
6. I'm in California. Such a beautiful state.

So there are so many joys in my life right now. And I have to remain focused on those. You guys ever get so easily caught up in the stresses of life that you continually overlook the amazing things? I struggle with this all the time and I hate it. I wish I was a person who could just take every day one at a time and be thankful in that moment. I am trying to so badly. I want to be like that. 

I know I have to enjoy this time. I have to believe that one day I will tell my children about this crazy month, this crazy transition of life that I'm in. I know it's not going to be like this forever. And sometimes I crave stability so badly. A peaceful and cozy home, a relationshp, an amazing job....but you know what? Those things will come in time. And I HAVE to trust in God's plan for me. Sometimes it feels like complete blind trust. But I guess that's what faith is. 

This post was definitely more of a way to process my own thoughts...sorry if it was boring and long. Thank you to anyone who read this...I seriously can't believe I have 67 followers. That's 66 more than I could have ever hoped for. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

dinner for one

I've been hostessing at a restaurant on the weekends as a way to make some extra cash money here in LA. I like it because it's easy and I get to people watch which is basically one of my favorite things to do ever. So far I've noticed a lot of people dining alone. And it's not like it's lunchtime which is more common for people to eat by themselves--it's nighttime, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and they come in, ask for a table for one, and enjoy their meal. 

It gets me thinking. I'm not one of those people who looks at someone eating alone and thinks, "Aww! That sucks, I feel sooooo bad for them." I actually enjoy spending time by myself...I think it's important. I love going into a bookstore, Starbucks, taking a walk, running, driving and blaring my music--all of these things alone are so wonderful. But I've never gone to a restaurant alone, especially on a weekend when it's super busy and nights that are generally spent with other people. Tonight it got me thinking as I watched a man eating his chicken alfredo by himself. Loneliness vs Solitude.

It'll be a month here in LA in two days and I can't believe it. This month has absolutely flown by. There's still many things to worry about, but overall I am at peace. And God has totally been blessing Chanelle and I and everyday I just want to grow closer to Him. I've really been experiencing a lot of loneliness here. You really learn how important it is to have community and friendships when you suddenly don't have them anymore. It is hard having all my friends so far away and starting over completely from scratch. I am learning to find joy in the moments I spend alone. I am so grateful to have Chanelle and we spend a lot of time together, but I also spend a lot of time by myself. I've taken to running by the beach which is AMAZING. I am so thankful I get to do this. It is great to go for a run and by the water, the air is just amazing. It is clear and powerful and the salty sea-air makes my head feel good. 

I also spend a lot of time alone before work. I usually get to work about an hour early because of wanting to avoid traffic. I like this time to spend at Starbucks or Barnes & Noble. The first time I walked into Barnes & Noble before work I nearly started crying. How silly is that!? It was just the strangest, most wonderful sensation of familiarity. The smell of a Barnes & Noble brought me all the way back home and I just had this overwhelming sense of love. I also LOVE bookstores. I love the quirky little independent ones but I also love Borders and Barnes & Noble. I can't wait until I finally have my own apartment and can decorate it and make it so cozy. Right now it's weird because we're only staying somewhere temporarily, so it doesn't feel like home. LA in general doesn't feel like home. I just feel it in my heart--that want and yearning for a place to call home. 

Anyway, in these moments alone I start to ask myself tough questions. I start to think about things that I normally avoid with the buzz and hum of life. I spend these times with the Lord. Gosh, I can't tell you how much that helps me. When I'm feeling lonely or scared I just remind myself Jesus is right there with me and my heart soars. The fact that the God of the Universe knows my name and knows the inner longings of my heart amazes and comforts me beyond anything else. Henri Nouwen says this about's one of my favorite quotes and I've probably used it before:

“As soon as we are alone,...inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we immediatel;y shut out all our inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important.” 

Oh Henri how I love your wise, perceptive words!! So often I am afraid to be alone and to experience this 'inner chaos.' But don't we learn the most when we finally face what we are afraid to acknowledge? I am trying to be thankful for this time in my life where I don't have so many tangible relationships. I miss my friends--they are all over!! And I miss my family so much. And I love meeting new people here, especially those in the community group Chanelle and I have joined. It is nice to meet new people but it is also hard when every single friend you have you literally can't physically spend time with. 

I guess when I look at these people eating alone, I wonder if they choose it or if it is by default. Either way I love it. Because they are out there, in the midst of life, enjoying a warm meal. I have no idea about their story. I love the mystery around them. I wonder if people look at me when they see me alone and wonder about my story. Probably not, but I like to think other people love imagining and wondering as much as I do. Anyway. I guess I just want to write to anyone who is feeling lonely. I know it's so cheesy and cliche to say "You really aren't alone" but seriously YOU REALLY AREN'T ALONE. For one, God is right there with you whether you believe in Him or not. Two, you can always just think "Well, I know Nina is probably sitting somewhere alone right now, so that makes me feel better." That last one is not meant to be sad at all, I mean I'm just being honest. I don't know many people here yet so I actually am probably alone. But know that loneliness is different than solitude. Just because I am alone does not necessarily mean I am lonely. 

Anyway, these words were in me and needed to get out. I'm sorry about the scattered feel to the post, sometimes my thoughts just don't come out as eloquently as I want them to. Thanks for reading guys. I really can't express to you how much it means to me that people actually read my blog!! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

an open letter to fanfiction and why we are soulmates

Dear FanFiction,

I am in love with you and it's not that fake kind of middle school love that dissipates after 72 hours. Oh no. This is the real thing. This love has been going on since I was thirteen and it continues to grow each and every year. Can I say it again just to get it out there? I LOVE YOU.

I know people frown upon you. I know some people don't consider you to be legitimate and just a means for little girls to take out their inner twisted fantasies about fictional characters. But what do those haters know? They don't know anything!! Nothing, I say! Yes, there are parts of you that are rather....terrible. And poorly written and scary (you just learn to avoid these stories). But I can look past your flaws to see you for what you really are:


For years you have given me a creative outlet unlike any other. A means to continue living on in books that I hold so dear to my heart; movies I wish wouldn't end. You have saved me in boring classes when I would hide your printed pages in my binder, eagerly ingesting each word with gusto: Who would Peter Pevensie have married had he lived past 22? What if Fred Weasley had lived after all? Would a girl really hang out with Gordie LaChance and Chris Chambers? Would Spot Conlon ever leave his Newsie glory days?!!!!! What if a blind girl went to Camp Green Lake instead of Stanley Yelnats!? (That is a real story I wrote and I promise you it was better than it sounds...ummm)

You even helped me learn what it means to have a backbone. To stand strong in the face of haters who thought my writing was terrible. You taught me the validity of proper research in writing. Like how I really, really shouldn't have written a "Lord of the Rings" fanfiction if I'd only ever seen the movies. And how not to cry when the passionate Tolkien fan by the penname of Kyuubi no Kitsune9 would read my story and tear me to pieces with her words that pierced my 13 year old being:

"How small do you think Middle-Earth is? It took Boromir months to get to Rivendell, And you have Elrond out of character, he is one of the carriers of the Three, he is not a nasty father who compares his children to Orcs, on the subect of children, Arwen does not have a sister, she has two brothers, NO MODERN LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN IN ARDA!"

But it was through those kinds of reviews, or "flames" as we fanfictioners refer to them, that helped shape my writing for the better. You stuck with me, fanfiction, throughout my terrible stories, and continued on with me when I would write stories that people actually liked. You brought a strange little gem of a community into my life. You gave me an email penpal from Canada with whom I traded writing back and forth, critiquing one another's work and talking about life. A penpal with whom I would never meet but shared so many of the same interests...a person I could vent to that none of my friends knew. A person who wasn't a total creep but just a girl my age who loved writing as much as I did.

Fanfiction I will always love you. You have brought amazing stories into my life, real writers with real talent who sometimes just want to write about characters that aren't theirs, or introduce their own characters to already beloved ones. You were a friend to me in so many ways and I am so grateful I have met you. Thank you.


embracing your inner sassy Latina woman........and Zach Galifiankis


So Chanelle took my headshots last week and I realized that my inner self is a mix between a sassy Latina woman and.....Zach Galifianakis. I don't know what this says about me but I think it's pretty accurate. And it also got me thinking. I was talking to my sister Rebecca on the phone the other day and expressing to her my nerves/insecurities about not really looking like an actress. You know, the "look." Of course Rebecca was like "Nina, you just have to ROCK how you look, it's you!" And then when Chanelle was taking my pictures for headshots the weirdest thing happened. My inner voice started sounding like Sofia Vergara. You know, heavily accented and confident and I was all like OH HECK YES I AM A STRONG WOMAN WHO IS POSING RIGHT NOW! 

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is YOU'RE THE ONLY YOU AND REJOICE IN THAT. Don't let other people make you feel inferior dammit! I am kind of writing this as advice to myself. Because I'm going to walk into auditions and look around and think "Crap. I'm totally not good enough for this." But that's where my sassy Latina comes in, where I'm all like snapping in a Z-motion and tossing my hair and stuff. You may be thinking, "Nina! Stereotype alert! HELLO!" Chill guys, I'm Puerto Rican so it's totally cool.


But really. You think Sofia Vergara lets anyone take down her confidence? I don't think so! Then again, she IS Sofia Vergara but whatever! You don't have to look like a model to feel like a model. Look at Zach Galifiankis in the Hangover. Homeboy was confident as hell and was part of the freaking WOLF PACK. Marching to the beat of his own drum. I think if I can somehow morph the two together--Sofia and Zach--then I have found my happy medium of inner muses. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

LISTS: they're kind of like, my thing.

I enjoy making lists. Following them? That's the hard part. This week I realized that there are certain things that make me feel bad and certain things that truly nourish my soul and spirit. So today I decided to write a list down in my journal of things that make me feel blue so I can avoid them, and a list of things that make my heart full so I can work harder to stick to that list as well. It feels good to see it written down. 

What do you guys do to pull you out of a funk/make your spirit happy? Please share!! :)

things that make me feel bad about myself
-celebrity gossip sites 
-sitting on my computer
-watching TV for too long

things that nourish my soul
-going to a coffee shop 
-reading (anything. fiction, nonfiction, essays, poetry, fanfiction)
-connecting to people i love (skype, texting, phonecalls, hanging out although since moving that is hard to do)
-good music (banjo solos make me giddy)
-silly music (i LOVE kreayshawn)
-Jane Austen-esque movies

I just want to say thank you to everyone who comments. I'm trying to get better at responding. Each time I get an email saying someone commented on a post I feel so blessed that anyone reads this thing at all! so thank you.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

denying myself is FREAKING HARD.

today at church the pastor, Tim, taught on Luke 14: 25-33. it was so powerful. it's weird, i feel like every week chanelle and i go to church the message is exactly what i need to hear in that moment. 

i don't know why it is so hard for me to truly lay everything down at the feet of Jesus. why do i keep some things for myself? why do i try and control certain aspects of my life? it's so easy to say "Jesus, I surrender all to You" but the practice and doing part is really hard.

my moods here have been up and down. some days i am so happy and some days i am so homesick and just sad. it's weird, i don't like being sad. i would say i am usually an upbeat person. i love laughing, love making people love--i truly believe laughter is so, so important. but lately i've been dealing with moments of sadness. it comes and goes in waves--one minute i'm laughing with chanelle and the next i just miss my bed so badly and i just want to curl up into it and go back to when i was little.

what i love the most about being here, right now where i am in life, is the complete and utter reliance i have on God. i like it because i know that later, when i am more settled and secure, i will know that it doesn't matter. if that makes sense. 

i really need to lay my career at Jesus' feet. i am so scared guys. it is hard for me to have faith right now that everything will work out. i'm just being honest. i'd love to sit here and say i feel so great and confident and i know things will work out, but i don't know. i don't know anything. i am so scared, but also there is peace in not knowing because i really am asking God everyday, "what now?"

or am i? why is it hard for me to ask that question? why do i feel so stressed when i wake up, feel like i'm not doing enough? today at church i kneeled before the Lord and gave everything to Him. my fear, my anxiety, my loneliness. and i felt God literally take it all and i knew in that moment i was putting my faith in my dreams for success when really, i need to die to myself. NOTHING and i mean NOTHING is above Jesus Christ and my relationship with Him. i have that. that is beautiful. i don't need to worry about finances or a car or a job. because i am already rich. i have Jesus. wow. that's....overwhelming. i am so not deserving of this. 

what i feel tonight is still that peace from my earlier post...and it's good. i am trusting guys. i am trusting that God will guide me. as long as i am running toward Him, He'll guide me. that is all the reassurance i need. mmm. it's good.

i ran tonight at sunset along the beach and that in itself was such a huge blessing. the ocean is so big and so beautiful and i felt so small and i loved it. it really is amazing. i sound so sappy and so much like a girl but whatever. the wind was blowing and it was literally GORGEOUS. i am thankful thankful thankful.

this was such a rambling of thoughts. but it feels good to get them out.

a pic from the photoshoot. 

in other news, chanelle took my headshots/pictures for my acting website (check it out-- isn't she so talented?? we found the most beautiful place. that picture i used for my header is from the photoshoot. it was beautiful. i am so grateful chanelle took my pictures. it was fun...usually it's super awkward trying to be all model-y but we were just silly. and i got some good headshots, all tricks of the light and awesome photographer! so thanks chanelle (:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

elegy to umbrellas

I just found this silly poem I wrote my last semester at NYU. Dedicated to all the lost, broken umbrellas who are victims of New York City rain and wind. 

You with your abandoned silver leggy spokes
twisted broken warped to some demented form of neglect, diseased.
drip drips in God’s puddles, where are your hands?
Where is your owner, the one who spent 15.99 in a squeaky shiny linoleum
Duane Reade
Your owner who coveted such breath under a palpitating storm,
befriended and mended your crooked little spokes when you were still new,
where are they now?
Feet pitter patter away into sidewalk caves
because you are no match for New York City wind and it’s kind of like seventh grade friendships
It’s quantity over quality, baby.
We had our secret glances and two-cent penny lint pocket grins,
we had our moment and we let it go.
I let you go on Third Avenue because at least there’s more traffic there and perhaps you’ll get some sympathy.
I let you go just as I entered Silver because buildings and suffocating atmospheres are no place for you my little bent backwards time-to-improve friend.
I let you go,
hovering on my Welcome/Goodbye doormat saying we’d maybe meet again another day but really I knew all along this was just step 1 in abandoning you.
I see your friends,
limp legs peeking ‘Hello!’ out of pedestrian waste,
I see your friends hugging the bricks,
I see your friends and feel your friends I won’t heal your friends as my feet crunch crunch lifeless cousins of yours, blue green black polka dot
Poor thing,
you weren’t really even worth 15.99.
I want my money back Duane.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

i got peace, yo.

I can't really describe how full of joy and peace I am right now. It's crazy. Guys, God is SO good. I can't say that enough!! Last night Chanelle and I went to our very first small group meeting through Reality LA. Oh my goodness, my heart is so full. You never really realize how badly you need community and fellowship until you've gone a bit without it and then it just hits you like BAM. It is literally nourishing to the soul. One of the many things I was sad to leave from home was the BRV small group I went to over the summer. It was just so nice to have that community every week, to pray and to worship the Lord. I was worried I wouldn't find it out here. But I am looking forward to getting plugged into church and I am hopeful for a community. 

On that note, small group last night was amazing. I literally felt like I was floating when we left. And it was all to do with the greatness of God. Just being in the presence of people who are just in love with the Lord and living their life to get closer to God--it's contagious. You can see it pouring out of people--you can see the thirst for knowledge, the challenge. You can feel it in the conversation. It's amazing. It's weird and freaking awesome all at the same time. Chanelle and I met these two girls and it was scary how much we all related--scary in that really amazing way, you know? Only God could have brought us together. Ah. I'm just in love with life right now. 

I also realize this feeling is fleeting and that is why I am so grateful for the deep joy that is inside my heart. It is more than just a feeling. Some days here I feel great, some days I feel like a straight up loser. But throughout all those petty "feelings" God is my constant and THAT gives me deep joy. So I will celebrate this feeling of peace and happiness right now because I know not everyday will be like this but that's okay. It's more than that.

Last night small group was a sermon discussion. We are going through Ecclesiastes at church and it is absolutely fascinating. Solomon is one intriguing dude. And in talking about Ecclesiastes we looked at Genesis and our small group leader pointed out something in Genesis that I had never noticed before. After Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the Tree of Life and God calls them out on it and we read about what is known as the Fall, God does something AMAZING. 

"The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. he must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
Genesis 3:22

Our small group leader pointed out that most people take this verse as God being angry and punishing us. But what God was actually doing was showing us love beyond our comprehension. See, if we had been able to continue eating from the tree of life, we would forever be living in our sin. We would be immortal but forever chained to that sin, the fall that happened the minute Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and ate the fruit. God loves us so much he FREES us from that. He makes it so we can't eat from the tree of life and in that, there is hope. Redemption that later comes in Jesus Christ. 

Of course, I'm not as eloquent as our small group leader was but this sent my mind REELING. I don't know about anyone else, but sometimes I doubt God's love for me. I think, "God, if you REALLY loved me, you wouldn't have let this happen or that or you would have given me this job, or this person in my life." But the world is fallen, it's messed up, it's not the way God intended it to be. Life. Isn't. Fair. But God still LOVES me....He gave me the chance to have eternal life. The most precious gift of all.

I'm just in awe. And I feel so foolish at the same time--how often do I let my relationship with Christ slip to the bottom of my priority list? How often do I turn to other things for comfort, for feelings of love? Everyday guys. And everyday God shows me incredible mercy. Grace. 

It's powerful stuff. My mind is still reeling and I am just so excited to learn more about God, to read scripture with a new thirst and excitement. Anyway, that's where I am right now. 

Today I started work. It is chaotic and crazy but it is what it is. That's restaurant business for you. I am just so thankful to be working and even more excited to start auditioning!!! And working on projects with Chanelle. Have you checked out Redeeming Sexuality yet? Hit up the facebook page we made! It's basically something we're starting as a means of encouraging those out there who are waiting until marriage to have sex, but also just a place where anyone can contribute ideas, conversation, challenges....just thoughts on today's view of sexuality and what the Bible says. It's really in the early stages but we're excited about it. All are welcome to contribute to the conversation, you don't have to be Christian or waiting to have sex or anything. It's basically an open forum but also definitely a place of encouragement for those of us who are waiting.

At the end of each blog post I am going to start listing things I am thankful for each day. Here we go.

Today I am thankful for:

Selfless and patient friends. Saw this exemplified in Chanelle today and pretty much every single day we've been here. I don't have a car yet and Chanelle willingly drives me to wherever I need to be, never complains about it and never throws it in my face. She also took my headshots tonight and was extremely patient when I decided to dance like Beyonce and didn't even make fun of me. I am so thankful for her!!!! I can only hope to be that good of a friend back, not only to her but to everyone I'm friends with.

Best. Thing. EVER! Don't know what I'd do without you babe. Yeah, I just called coffee babe. Don't hate! 

Anyways, thanks to whoever is reading this. Love each and every one of you. Is that weird? I don't care! 

Also thankful for this view from our room/apartment. Don't mind my mess in the corner. I'm planning on cleaning it up tonight. But seriously--look at that hill!! Gorgeous. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

my heart will sing no other Name

I have so much to be thankful for and yet I look back at my posts on this blog and I feel convicted. My words are useless. They, essentially, mean nothing. Right now I just have this overwhelming feeling of the greatness of God. I am SO excited. After every church service I feel rejuvenated, but something feels different today. I feel on fire. There was a question posed in church today about what we do with our time. And it got me thinking...what AM I doing with my time?

To be honest, sometimes I feel like not much. I spend countless hours invested in meaningless things. The internet....television shows....dreaming. Now there is nothing wrong with dreaming, I know, but there's also something truly amazing about just going for it. And I am ready for that. Wow, that was allusive and kind of vague. But I just feel....ready.

On a different note, I got a job as a hostess in a restaurant. I really can't seem to escape food service. But I'm excited because it's something with income and is more flexible then say, a 9-5 job. I am looking forward to working, making money, and getting into somewhat of a routine as well as buying a car! I need prayer for that one. I know nothing about cars, have driven on a highway a grand total of 3 times, and can't parallel park to save my life. I'm going to have to get over that stuff reaaaalll fast here with LA's 5-lane highways. Oh gosh. I'm already nervous. I'm also really excited to start going on auditions and whatnot. Chanelle and I have a few projects we're working on and THAT is thrilling too. Because it comes back to what I was talking about with what I am doing with my time. It just feels good to be proactive. To know that okay, we don't have the best resources but we are trusting in the Lord to provide. We are just running full force toward something. I like that. 

I'm also dealing with homesickness. UGH. I hate being homesick, but I really am. Which is normal. I was never the girl who liked sleeping over a friend's house. I always woke up in the middle of the night missing my own bed. I still don't like sleepovers. There is something very comforting about my own space, my own room. Besides, when I was living at home I could never quite get over the guilt of leaving Gizmo. He is the best cat in the whole wide world and slept cuddled next to me every night and oh come on, how could I leave him alone?!!! I have a heart, people! Don't even get me started on how much I miss him right now. It's actually really painful.

I'm finding it's really hard to keep in touch with people, especially with the 3 hour time difference from the East Coast. I am praying to be a better friend, daughter, granddaughter and sister. Sometimes I feel like a flake, sometimes I feel like I'm not loving people as best I can. I can't lose sight of what is important. Community and friendships and relationships. That's definitely something I'm working on. 

This post came out nothing like I wanted it to--has that ever happened to you? You set out to write something and it comes out completely different? I really wanted it to be an update post but I'm not good at those. I like idea posts or silly posts and creative writing posts. It's hard for me to be straight-forward about updates. 

I guess what I want to say with this post is that I just feel strangely peaceful right now. It's so bizarre. God is teaching me a lot. I am learning to let go of my identity in other things that aren't Christ. I love finding my worth in a label, if that makes sense. Like, when I was in college I loved being a student. I loved saying that I was a student, loved being in school. When I have an internship, I love saying I'm an intern. I genuinely love having a role. And right now, I don't have one besides being a daughter of the King. And let's be honest, that's the best role ever. But it's hard. The world constantly tells me I need to be something. But right now I am rejoicing in being a woman who loves God with all her heart. And that is enough. 

I also have a pounding headache right now so I'm going to cut this off. But I'll leave you with this beautiful worship song we sang in church today:

It's so powerful. Love it. Sorry for the lackluster post. I promise the next one will be more eloquent. Just one of those emotionally good days where I can't even put words together to describe it. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

friday night thoughts aka we don't have any friends yet in California (and/or money)

-I think my calling is to become a Boston colonial tour guide. Do you think a guy would ever date me if I did that? Well, guess what! I don't care! I'm not living my life for a man. If my one heart's desire is to dress up in a bonnet and freaking petticoat and walk around historic Boston, well gosh darn I'm going to do it! I really think it's what I'm meant to do with my life. I don't know, I'll keep you updated.

-I'm really confused about my feelings toward Matt Damon. I need to sort them out. On the one hand, he's such a great father figure. On the other, I really want him to be my husband. It's weird and I'm confused. Does Matt Damon know that he confuses young women? UGH.

-I really really really really really really really want a baby pig. :-/

-Following Judd Apatow's daughter, Maude, on twitter was one of the better decisions I've made lately. What does that say about me? 

-I need a new book to read but I have no money or library card. Feel free to send me books! I really want to read 'Girl With  A Dragon Tattoo' & that whole series. But there's also a few Young Adult books out there that I've yet to jump on the bandwagon with. I will take this time to say if you love the HUNGER GAMES as much as I do, PLEASE read 'Blood Red Road' by Moira Young. It's so boss. And no one I know/talk to has read it and I need someone to fawn over it with. :(

-I am now taking donations toward the Starbucks fund. All proceeds go to me, drinking Starbucks.

-I miss Demetri Martin.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

happy birthday mom!

She is the most selfless person I know. Since I was little I have seen my mother work harder than any person I know to make sure we were taken care of. Whether that was spending time with us each day as babies and toddlers, or working up to two jobs at a time--my mother is the definition of hardwork. She loves with a heart so big it's almost ridiculous--she literally feels for other people in a way I could only hope to. 

Mom, I love you so much. God's love shines through you so much even if you can't see it. You are strong. I can't say that enough. You are a fighter, a soldier, and it is so amazing for me to have a woman like you to look up to my whole life. I know I am made of strength and I see that in you. You have taught me to never question my dreams and never give up. Your unconditional love and support flows from somewhere almost unhuman, and that's exactly how I know it's from God. The way you love Rebecca, Christina and myself is beyond my comprehension. With you I always feel safe and protected. 

You are funny. That's one of my favorite things about you! You are the most hilarious person I know. I see where Christina gets it from. I remember sitting with you, just me and you, right before I went into my audition for NYU. I remember how you cried and how I saw how proud you were. You never, ever made fun of who I was and for that I am so, so grateful. You have taught me what it means to run full-force for what is in my heart. You stand up for what is right! THAT is something that I look up to most. It is so rare in this world to find someone, especially a woman, who is not afraid to use the voice God gave them. To question, to learn, to challenge, to grow. I wish I was braver like you. You are BRAVE. 

I miss you so much. Thank you for letting me come out here, thank you for supporting me.  It is so hard to be away from you, especially on your birthday. I wish you have the most amazing day because I can't think of anyone who deserves it more. 

Happy birthday Mom! I love and love and love you!

You are gorgeous! And so stylish.

Thank you for loving me! (ahaha i have limited picture resources...but i like this one)

sometimes i wish i could go back to being little! just jump right in this photograph.

so much laughter.

 happy birthday mom!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ways to deal with a super bad, really awful day

some days just suck, people. that's just how it is in life, i guess. and because this day wasn't really all that great, i'm going to abandon capitalizing letters! to heck with it! see how wild i am!!!

for those of you out there who have crummy days where even though the sun might be shining but inside your little bubble of personal space it is raining, i put together a little list of things that make me feel better. so far it's working, but that might be because most of the stuff i'm just making up on the spot. (ugh, my secret's out)

1. reminding yourself that you are not responsible for the Twilight franchise
this should automatically make you feel better. while i could really use all that money stephanie meyer made to pay back my student loans, i look at it as blood money anyway. dirty money. i don't want that! i would hate to know i have polluted the minds of young girls everywhere as i drove my fancy car to work or whatever. anyway. when i am sad or feeling down, i think i am so glad i didn't write those books! so think this and you should be smiling by the end of that thought. 

2. cooking a home cooked meal whilst listening to good music
ugh, i kind of cringe at this one. because i am not the kind of girl who enjoys domestic things, like cooking and cleaning and crafting. i always enjoy the end result but never the process. but today i was stressed and feeling down and i was also really, really hungry. have you ever had days where you wake up just RAVENOUS?! i felt like i could eat an entire cow and i would! i would people! no matter how cute cows are today i just wanted to sautee one or something. (.............) 
anyway. i decided to cook myself dinner and i put on some music. for me, to give me peace, i put on some jj heller. 
such a good song. the girl just sings from the heart & her words are so honest and beautiful. it definitely reminded me of how God is always with me through my ups and downs as i try to figure out 'how to walk this weary land.' music is always a good way to ease a troubled heart.

3. reading the bible
i'll be the first one to admit that sometimes it is really hard for me to open my bible. i'll listen to worship music, i'll pray, i'll do an interpretive dance in front of a high school football team before i'll open my bible. which is stupid. because everytime i open it and read my soul is quenched. today i read the end of romans 8 and jeremiah 29:11
also chanelle had this as her facebook status earlier and it's perfect

"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
romans 5:3-5

why is it hard for me to read scripture sometimes when i love it so much? silly me. i'm lame. but it's okay because jesus is so much cooler than i could ever be and i am very grateful for that. 

4. reading fanfiction
if you guys don't know what fanfiction is i kinda feel sorry for you :-/ but seriously. it's so nerdy and delicious. when you find good stories, of course. beware of the scary preteen writers. *cries* anyway. okay take your favorite movie or book? we'll use a totally random, completely unbiased example: harry potter. you love harry potter soooooo much. well now you are sad because it's all over. LIES! it's not all over. it's actually really great, there's this thing called fanfiction where you can post stories you write in the world of harry potter. like, what was hermione and ron's wedding day like? what if luna married george weasley? what if harry was actually a girl? okay the last one is totally dumb and i would NEVER read a fanfiction about that but seriously. fanfiction--it's a great cure for a lousy day. 

5. running
i love running. i haven't been able to do much of it here because i don't have means of transportation and i have yet to find a good spot to really run. well, i've run by the beach a few times. that's amazing. i love it. there is something so exhilerating about running. i love feeling the sweat drip down my back, love feeling my muscles work so hard, love the wind whipping my face. it relieves so much tension and is good exercise. WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE? 

well that's it for tonight guys. i love every single person that reads this. like, I REALLY LOVE YOU. is that weird? it just means  so much that someone would read my words. i don't understand it but i lovelovelove it. good night and i hope you all have beautiful days tomorrow! 

i miss them so much it physically hurts. but looking at this old picture (seriously, we all look so different!!) cures a little bit of my homesickness. or maybe it just makes it worse. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

how great thou art

I have been so blessed by being able to attend two amazing church services here in LA. Both are at Reality LA, a church Chanelle and I are trying out. The pastor's sermons are absolutely amazing, and you can feel the Holy Spirit moving so much during prayer and worship. I really, really like it.

In today's sermon, Tim, the pastor, briefly used James 3:14-15, and oh my gossshhhhh did this hit me HARD. 

14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

What really got me so much about this was the end--that when we have bitter jealousy in our hearts and selfish ambition, those things do NOT come from the Lord...they are from Satan. And I know a lot of people start to think a lot of things when Christians start talking about spiritual warfare and the enemy, but I'm gonna talk about it anyway. 

The thing is--even just one week in Los Angeles has brought out so many weaknesses in myself that I thought I had gotten over. A lot of people--not just girls--have self-image issues, myself included. It was really bad toward the end of high school, but I thought I had gotten "over it" so to speak. It comes back here and there, but it's not something I would say I seriously struggle with anymore. But this past week has been brutal guys! From the minute  I got here one thing was very clear:

And not just the people, but specifically the girls. And it's not just that they're pretty, it's that they are so...freaking....trendyyy. And are have super nice clothes. And I don't know...I went to NYU, where lots of girls have money and dress nice, but at NYU, in a city so big and diverse it just never really hit me like it did one week into living in California. I don't know what happened, but within two days I was feeling so bad about myself. Suddenly when we were out wherever we were, a list of things to change about myself would flood my mind.

-Must lose weight
-Must wear more makeup
-How does she get her hair to do that?
-I came here to act and I can't look like this and expect to get work
-I'm ugly
-I'm fat

Okay, it's really hard for me to write this. I don't want to admit that those thoughts were in my brain because 1. they are so shallow 2. they are ugly thoughts. And it's only been a WEEK!!!!! WHAT?

What's so bizarre is that since I moved home after NYU and this whole sumer, I really felt good about myself. I didn't think about my weight, or what I looked like as much as I usually did. I was finally at peace with truly finding my identity in Christ. And then I come here and POOF!!! Deflated. And it's not like I was just jealous over these women. It's that I felt inadequate. Chanelle and I were actually talking about this to someone this week--about how there is this feeling here that everyone is part of this "cool club" and you don't know what the club is or how to get in it, but you want to soooo bad. And I definitely feel that. I feel so much on the outside, so out of my element. 

How crazy is that? That I actually convinced myself in my brain that I am less than others because I don't have as nice of clothes, or I'm not shaped like them, or anything. Why do our brains do this to ourselves? WHY do we have bitter jealousy that lives inside of us? And okay, not EVERYONE here is wealthy and has expensive clothes, but isn't it crazy how quickly we look over everything else but the pretty, shiny stuff? It's like I'm a little bug and my eyes just see the glittery thing and I just say "oooooh shinnyyyyyy"... nah mean?! 

Another thing about that verse....the selfish ambition. DANG! It was hard hearing that. Because I have sooo many dreams for success in my life, I really had to re-examine that. What exactly do I want my life to say on this earth? Will, in the end, it matter if I become an actress or people know my name? Or am I truly here on earth to bring glory to the One who saved me?

I'm not writing all this hoping that someone will comment and reaffirm me by saying "Nina, don't be stupid, you're great, pretty blah blah blah." Nooo. I'm writing this because waaay too often we aren't honest with other people, let alone ourselves. And the pastor today was sooo honest and I loved that. It was refreshing.

You know what's weird? Even though I've been struggling a lot this past week with that one area of my life, I feel closer to God than I have in a long time. It's something about just having total dependency on Him. I feel so....SURE of the faithfulness of God. 

Sometimes I feel like a broken record in this blog...sometimes I get worried that someone will read it and roll their eyes and think "That girl is crazy and has too many emotions." But then I realize I don't care, and I think in the future when I look back on this blog I'll be glad I wrote down the things of my heart.

I think it's really important to remember know what? Okay, maybe we ARE inadequate. We're humans. But through Jesus Christ we are COURAGEOUS and victorious over the enemy. We cannot forget this!!!!!!

I can't do this on my own. And I don't WANT to do this on my own. 

We must remember how truly great God is. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

an ode to sometimes wishing i was from the south, the "south" being what movies and books have told me so beware of stereotypes you real life southerners.

On occasion I wish I was a Southern Belle,
whatever that means.

I want to come home from college which is an hour or two away
And I want all my neighbors to open their windows and of course they will all have the old fashioned windows and their eyes will POP
and they'll all smile and shout to one another
"She's home! Nina's home from school everybody!" And I'll just laugh and I'm probably wearing a cardigan.

And I imagine pie
Lots of pies just resting on windowsills, pecan pie because I once stopped in a pecan store in Alabama and I just think the South I think PECAN
The pies are cooling and no one is stealing them
It’s not like in New York City where the pigeons would get it, or that fat rat that waddled across my foot once and I didn’t even scream because, well I’m not a Southern Belle. That fat rat wouldn’t be anywhere near my pecan pie.

I'll be best friends with the boy next door obviously who drives a pick-up truck and even though we don't date he doesn't like any other girl but me and then when we're in like, our mid twenties we decide yes, we love each other and we'll have a backyard wedding.

I'd probably have a rope swing in my backyard which happens to be next to a lake. I would love that.

And I'd actually like Sweet Tea instead of just being indifferent to it,
and when I come up North everyone will be like "Awwwww that accent, you are so darling."
Because nobody says that about a girl from a suburb of Philadelphia,
I don't say things darling I just say "wooder" instead of water and everyone looks at me weird when I swoon over Wawa.

If you don't love Wawa you are missing parts of your soul.