Sunday, January 29, 2012

Things I secretly wish I could say but never could.

What I wish I could say: "I bruise really easily like a peach."
Why I wish I could say it: Because delicate girls bruise easily and since I'm the opposite of delicate it's something I'll never be able to say! I'm freaking the opposite of a peach, I'm pretty sure I could take a right hook to the jaw and manage to chew gum afterward. Pretty girly, right?! 

What I wish I could say: "This temporary wristband for the concert is WAY too big!"
Why I wish I could say it: Basically the same reason as before....DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO HAVE AVERAGE WRISTS, THOSE FREAKING PAPER WRISTBANDS HURT. 

What I wish I could say: "I told him I just want to be friends, I don't get why guys always have to ask you out, can't we just be friends?!"
Why I wish I could say it: Ummm, I'm like, an expert at just being friends with a guy so all you girls who say this need to re-evaluate the situation and maybe what you should be saying is what you're thinking, "It's just so hard being this pretty. :-/" 

What I wish I could say: "A fresh veggie smoothie after my yoga class is just the best way to start the morning!"
What I really say: "I need coffee with a lot of sugar, also why does my hair look like that and can I sleep a little longer please?!"

What I wish I could say: "Sometimes I just forget to eat, it's weird."
What I really say: "When are we eating next?"

What I wish I could say: "I need a ME day, I've been so busy and working so hard."
What I really say: "I will start working hard tomorrow I just need one more me week."

What I wish I could say: "I love Radiohead."
What I really say: "I will never understand Radiohead."

What I wish I could say: "I LOVE reading the New York Times, it's so informative."
What I really say: "Do you think Nicki Minaj does her own makeup?"

* * * 



Sunday, January 22, 2012

the lonely places

WARNING: We gon' get real deep with this post. I know I write about a lot of strange things but sometimes I have words that just need to get out.

* * * 



If there's one lie that is so easy to believe, it's that we are completely alone in this world. Since moving here I've experienced a lot of loneliness in a lot of different senses. I've experienced the literal loneliness of not knowing anyone in LA to the loneliness of just being by myself in different places, walking around from shop to shop, along streets I've never been to, driving in a car with no music, down the highway at sunset. These times are bittersweet. They always amplify the homesickness that lives somewhere deep inside of me, but they are also precious to me. I need alone time. I think everyone needs alone time. I never understood how people can hop from relationship to relationship--to me after a breakup, I need to be alone for awhile. Being alone can be healing. 

Sometimes I find myself sitting alone at a table in Starbucks, on a cushion at the mall, or walking while doing errands. I'm "alone" when I go for a run, when I drive to work, when I sit in my apartment and read. Isn't it amazing how in a city so big like LA or NYC we can feel so small and insignificant?

This loneliness can be stifling and suffocating. It can change my mood from smiling and care-free to inexplicably sad. Today as I was sitting in church I was reminded so greatly of how God never leaves me and whenever I am hit with one of these moments I just feel like crying. I am so ashamed so much of the time. I am blown away y'all. I was sitting there worshipping the Lord when it once again hit me how I don't deserve any of the blessings I have. I stepped off the airplane here in Los Angeles on August 27th. I had minimal savings. No car. No job. No apartment. No friends here. Nothing but my faith in God. And now I have a car. I have an apartment. I have friends, an amazing awesome wonderful new job. I wake up everyday with breath in my lungs and still I doubt God's plan for my life. Isn't it ridiculous? How nothing in this world will ever truly be enough to satisfy?

When I was lonely I prayed to not be lonely. When I was without a job and a car and any sort of stability, I prayed for those things. And now that I have them, I am still unsatisfied. And it's because nothing worldly will ever satisfy the thirst of my soul for something greater - my heart will always long for more. I will only be completely satisfied when I am face-to-face with my Savior in Heaven. 

But each day here I want to live with a thankful heart. When I sit in those lonely places - a crowded Starbucks, an emptying street, walking beneath the rare California gray sky - I look around at the people passing me. My mind reels knowing God loves each one of them individually and beyond all human comprehension. Pastor Tim preached about loving one another last week and I was convicted. I do not love well. My prayer is to learn to love well, to love better, to love the way Jesus loved. 

When I look back on my life, I don't think I'll care about any of the petty anxieties and worries that continually trouble me. I think I'll remember the people I loved and who loved me. The important stuff. And remembering that through it all, I was never alone. I'll never be alone. God never promises us an easy life. Actually, He promises the exact opposite of an easy life. We WILL face trial and tribulation. That is guaranteed. But you know what else is guaranteed? That Jesus will be right there with us and will never leave our side. I am so humbled by this I want to fall on my knees. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever known. 


"Christianity doesn't deny the reality of suffering and evil... Our hope... is not based on the idea that we are going to be free of pain and suffering. Rather, it is based on the conviction that we will triumph over suffering."

Brennan Manning





Monday, January 16, 2012

Size 9 feet....and HEART!

It has recently been brought to my attention that me having size 9 feet is peculiar for a girl my height. Apparently, size 9 feet means I have huge canoes attached to my ankles. It's really a pleasant thing to come to realize. But you know what? I say the bigger the better. I may not be a delicate lady, but I have a big heart okay?! OKAY?! That counts for something right?! *cries bitterly*

Anyway I put a little list together of the pros of having size 9 feet. So all you dainty-foot ladies out there just go away no one likes you. Okay, except everyone including me because I wish I was you. But anyway, size 9 feet pride! 

Why I Don't Mind Having Canoes Attached To My Ankles


Google image "Canoes attached to ankles." Does that look like me? If so I need to re-evaluate my life. 

1. Normal shoes magically transform into clown shoes

This is probably my favorite part of having canoe feet. There I am, minding my own business walking around the mall, munching on my Wetzels Pretzels pretending the calories don't exist when I spot them--wonderfully cool combat boots in the display window. My eyes feel a magnetic pull toward the window and my large feet glide me along the linoleum floor of the Westside Pavilion. It's as if a movie montage button is switched on inside my brain--I see myself absolutely rocking the hell out of those combat boots. Walking along Venice beach in them with a white tank top and cool sunglasses as if I ever wear sunglasses and ever just walk along Venice beach. There I am with a hoodie pulled over my hair all mysterious a la Lisbeth Salander with those combat boots and everyone who passes me is like, "Who's that girl?! She's so cool I bet she's going to go beat somebody up and ride a cool motorcycle." These images flash before my eyes and I know I must make those combat boots mine. The sales lady's eyes narrow as I whisper out, "Nine" when she inquires about my size. She is skeptical but I inwardly laugh - albeit a bit maniacally - because I know this girl is a mere fool. Those combat boots were made for me. 

She comes back and hands me the box and I quickly discard the ever annoying stuffed paper in the boot - my heart is beating in wreckless anticipation and I finally put the boots on and...and....


It's like I have magic powers. These sexy black combat boots in the size 6 display case have incredibly transformed into the longest and silliest clown boots in the world. I swallow my disappointment because I know secretly I probably just have magic powers that can transform cute shoes into boats. So really, who has the last laugh now sales lady?!

2. If I ever wanted to make a fortune crushing grapes I could 

Silly people with tiny feet. I feel sorry for you because I have the upper hand here! Imagine how many grapes I could crush per minute with the size of my graceful feet. I'd be a grape-crushing machine! This is my master plan. I'm going to start collecting all the grapes in the entire world, that way there is a high demand on grapes. Then, just when the world is freaking out about the lack of grapes and everyone is like, "Where's all the wine? Where's all the raisins and jelly and delicious grapes?! WE NEED GRAPES!" I'm going to sit upon my thrown made out of grapes and throw my head back and laugh....and then CRUSH! My size 9 feet will crush like they've never crushed before and little feet people will glare and cry and I'll just think, Yes. I've won.


That look of glee? That's what's going to be on my face.

3. Rose had big feet so that means I'll eventually fall in love with someone like Jack Dawson, right?

It all comes back to Titanic somehow, doesn't it? But Rose totally has big feet and girlfriend uses them to impress all the third class folk when they're at that awesome freaking party in the lower quarters of the ship. When she's all look, "You big bad boys think you're all tough? Let's see you do this!" And she puffs the cigarette and Jack is all like, "Ooooh damn girl I love ya!" and she's like BAM! I'm like, heck yes. 

Are you still with me?

Anyway Kate Winslet made big feet cool in that one moment and all I'm saying is if it was good enough for Jack Dawson it's good enough for me.

* * *


Saturday, January 14, 2012

WARMTH

Sometimes it's easy to forget that butterflies-falling-in-love feeling I had when I first met Jesus Christ. OH SNAP DID I JUST GET REAL ON THIS BLOG? Hellz yeah.

But seriously. I find my identity in the Lord. Before anything else--before making people laugh, writing, performing, being a daughter or a sister or a friend, I am a daughter of the King. That is so important to remember. I found this poem I wrote pretty early on in my relationship with the Lord. I remember how on fire I was all the time for God because His love overwhelmed me. I want that now, I pray for that everyday. This is called Warmth. 

* * * 
This pain that's resounding
In my heart it's drowning
A thorn of redemption
caught in high tension,
with the woman I am and the woman I know I should be.

Why when your love is cascading
I feel like I'm fading?
Far from the shore that I thought promised more
This seed of doubt's growing
It's knowing and blowing
but hell if I'm going
to the place I just mentioned
and despite all the failure
The part where I wail here
I'll toss it off lightly, embrace and despite me
Because I...I know the truth.

In this coldness is boldness,
a river flowing down
Feel the petals of Grace
it's more than profound.
For when I doubt you I bow to
the enemy himself
It's childish I've lied to this
broken creed of hate
Because I know you're the way
I know you're my fate

Your beauty is soothing as it wraps around my core
It's romancing I'm glancing back to that shore
Because the warmth of your light is blinding my eyes
As it severs and vanishes these cheap petty lies

But Lord catch me, Lord bet me
You'll know I'll return
Your roots make me strong
You whisper to learn

It's the crossroads I'm caught in
The enemy I've bought in
Damn his seduction, his tempting corruption
How far can I go
before I realize, before I paint skies of darkness and low
and behold your strength pouring out.
Like water, I feel taller, and down with the doubt.

Romance and entrance me
break free and perchance see
that you love me you want me
In my simplest form
you knit me with Grace yet still I'm not sure

The ground underneath me is quaking it's frail,
this rock is a pebble, this rain turned to hail

Your melodies are fluidity
The devil's just cheap humidity
but you're the summer heat serenity
with Grace you've more than lent to me

I take you for granted
I curse and despise you
but your love's firmly planted
I'm pissed, why can't mine too?

I break free from the path I know I must walk
It comes down to courage not simply cheap talk
to trust in the beauty you've painted for me
to see objectively that you really died FOR ME

So as I'm doused in cold water
the world generously supplies
as I tread into darkness and honey dipped lies

I think of your face and I can only bow
to the breathtaking light that comes to me now

So forgive me permit me to walk in that light
To plant such a firmness to take such delight
In the freedom, His kingdom
I run to your arms
Though I'm cold far from bold
I absorb all your warmth.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions That No One Ever Asks Me

F.A.Q.....T.N.O.E.A.M.

Here is where I divulge all of my best-kept secrets that no one ever wonders about. Are you ready for this juicy post?!

* * * 

You have such an average figure. What's your work-out secret?!

Well world, I drink a Starbucks latte almost everyday. I run at a slow to moderate pace for about an hour and trick myself into thinking I'm burning like 1,000 calories. Sometimes I eat til I feel sick, and don't forget the most important part! Eating at a rapid pace, it's key in keeping this average figure of mine.

How do you find time to watch Season 1 of Downton Abbey, avoid cleaning your apartment, and blog? You seem to do it all!

Don't let me fool you, I don't have it all together! The key is procrastinating. I've spent years upon years cultivating the exact level of procrastination so I can survive in the real world but manage to glide past normal adult responsibilities. Here's a little priority list if you wanna be a grade A procrastinator like myself: 
1. Always make time for period dramas. They are important to the well-being of any 22 year old single female, and they make me feel a lot better about my life when I'm watching servants pluck chickens and eat brothy soup for every meal. Suddenly my constant diet of grilled cheese doesn't seem half bad!
2. There's always another day to do laundry. This is pretty self explanatory.
3. Ask yourself the question, "Will my whole world fall a part if I don't do this right now? If the answer is anywhere from, "Ummm" to "Well, not right away" THEN YOU ARE TOTALLY GOLDEN.
4. Tweet excessively. It's obviously really important that people know my inner monologue. Duh.


You talk about cuddling and cats a lot. It's a little weird and/or disconcerting. Don't you ever feel like a freak?
If you don't like cats or cuddling or CUDDLING WITH CATS I'm pretty sure you don't have a soul.

Now that I think about it, you talk about Harry Potter a lot too. That seems unhealthy.
I thought these were questions. Also, how is this a conversation? ALSO HOW ARE YOU AN "I?"

Your pet cactus is so cute, how can you handle that responsibility?
I know, Pricky Ricky is adorable. Sometimes I just gaze lovingly at him. But sometimes he can be such a prick. I'm not trying to curse here, literally, sometimes he pricks me and it really hurts :-/ Having a pet cactus is hard work, it's not just for anyone!

If you had to choose between Justin Bieber and Zac Efron, who would you pick?
This is such a dilemma, I get this all the time and you know, I always have trouble answering! It's like, Justin Bieber is sparkly and like a cupcake, but he confuses me. I never know if I want to push him around in a stroller or take him on a date. And then I think about our wedding and I think what it'd be like to carry him down the aisle. It's just such a complicated feeling toward him. On the other hand, Zac Efron is carved out of sunshine. 

Your music taste is super cool. Where do you find your favorite bands?
A good Disney soundtrack is key to AN'Y music aficionado's playlist. Obviously I love fiddle and banjo solos. And if Justin Bieber is on the track, it's going to be 398490-382940-83290-483290-482309-84023840-92380-423 times better. I don't even know if that's a number, that looks scary.

How can someone learn to do the worm backwards like you can? It's so impressive!
You just gotta go for it! At first you might resemble a flopping, dying fish, but eventually you'll get the hang of it and wow all your friends and family at all times.

How do you get your hair to frizz at just the right moment, like when you see a cute guy or go on an important interview?
Some girls just walk in the light, ya know?! I think my hair has a mind of its own, so it knows when to betray me. We're working it out, me and my hair. I'll keep ya updated on how it goes.

Favorite comedy?
Twilight.


Favorite drama?
Twilight. Not because of the movie, but usually there is drama involved between me & a rabid fangirl & you know what I say BRING IT ON.

Favorite thing to watch or read that makes you want to stab your eyelids out?
Twilight. 

One last Frequently Asked Question from the vague demographic that asks these Frequently Asked Questions. Why do you think Rose didn't move over on the door for Jack?
This question haunts me forever, how could you ask this? YOU ARE SO INSENSITIVE. 



Sunday, January 8, 2012

Movie Trailer Fantasies

I completely lied about that last post. You'll have to wait until further notice for my parenting blog & concerns for the "Juice Fast Generation." 

On a different note, last night I had my first improv performance at the Upright Citizens Brigrade theatre here in LA! It was SO.MUCH.FUN. And pretty much confirmation that I can't see myself doing anything else with my life besides comedy. Performing, writing, breathing comedy. The adrenaline rush of being in front of an audience and making people laugh literally gets me high and was so amazing! Very grateful for my friends here who came out and supported me. Ya big lugs. (You know who you are). 


The green room before our show. I was probably close to vomiting at this point from nerves. Nothing like a little healthy pre-show-puke. 

On a DIFFERENT note, I recently finished Mindy Kaling's delightful book, "Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?" It was a quick, wonderful, amusing, inspiring, hilarious read. And it was perfect being that it was written by a woman in comedy and I am a woman pursuing a career in comedy. Anyway, Mindy has one chapter where she talks about her revenge fantasies while she jogs. I have similar fantasies, but they aren't "revenge" ones. When I run, I fantasize about future movie trailers I'll star in. So I decided to share a few of my faves with you.


^_^ Google image: blubber runner. Don't ask me why I google imaged this. I just did and yanno I'M NOT SORRY.

* * * 

Movie Trailer Fantasies While I Blubber Run

1. The Romantic Comedy Where I'm The Opposite of the Best Friend AKA I'm the STAR

This one happens when Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" comes on my running playlist, or Jason Derulo0o0o, or the Biebzmaster. Poppy songs immediately make me think of romcoms, which make me think of which one I'd love to be in. So in this movie trailer daydream, I'm opposite a cute and hilarious leading man. Think Donald Glover from Community:


or Ben Schwartz from Parks & Rec & a bunch of other stuff I love:


Ugh, the hair, just slay me now.

Anyway, in this RomCom movie called "Peep Year" I play the down-on-her-luck NYC writer whose grandmother recently passed away and in her will left me her chick farm in upstate NYC. I begrudgingly take over the farm in hopes of just selling it and making a profit. Donald or Ben or some other suave funny guy is my gmom's next door neighbor and we haven't seen each other since childhood and who loves the farm with his pure, genuine heart (bless him). Throw in a villain in the likes of Rainn Wilson who just wants to absorb the farm, a mean boyfriend of mine to add in a love triangle played by someone douchey like Chase Crawford and wahh-lahh! We got ourselves a trailer! I fall in love with the farm and see how wrong my intentions are, don't sell it, fall in love with the neighborman I haven't see in forever, and whaddya know? The chicks hatch at the end of the trailer and symbolize my cold exterior morphing into a soft, fuzzy country gal. BAM. Might as well just put up our poster (me in a business suit looking charmingly agitated with Donald or Ben behind me with one eyebrow raised holding a chick.) IT'S GOLD PEOPLE.

2. The I Kick Butt Movie Where My Legs Look Awesome And Guys Are Scared Of Me

This is one of my fave movie trailers to fantasize about when I'm running because it motivates me to keep working out. It is usually influenced by a rap song or a rock song and it makes me feel so badass. This movie is one where I'm a woman with a tortured past, probably family members killed or something totally NOT cliche like that. There's a dusty road--I wear cowboy boots but I'm NOT a cowgirl, my legs just look SICK in those boots. It's all dusty, I glare at the camera a lot and there's a lot of kicking and crouching and a half-Asian male lead who is enamored of me but we are bitter enemies. Add in a car chase, hand-to-hand combat with my father's killer, a shot of me behind a flame of fire and put my hair in a long side-braid and BAM! Move over Rooney Mara, that's all I have to say about that. 


 Okay not many people can compare to her level of fierceness. Her and Beyonce should have a fierce-off that's all I'm saying. 


3. The Indie Movie Where I Wear A Dress Over Jeans and Drive In A Car For Many Miles 

Can't even deny I love this trailer. Can you guess what kind of music influences THIS one? Dr. Dog, Frightened Rabbit, Fleet Foxes. I'm wearing a hoodie with a dress, jeans and converse the entire movie. I bite my lip often and have a back-pack. I'm opposite someone like Andrew Garfield who wants to do something low-key after Spiderman. Olivia Thirlby is my go-to quirky BFF. There's a lot of scenes of Andrew and I laughing and cuddling on a fire-escape in an unnamed urban city. There's a shot of us fighting, screaming, I'm wearing his shirt and he's painting in his studio apartment. We make up and fight again as the banjo and guitar and mandolin are playing furiously in the trailer. I wear smudged eye makeup & every guy who sees the movie and wears vans and skinny jeans falls in love with me & my deadpan humor but vulnerability. The movie will be called something like "The Shoelace Bracelets" or "Vagabond Blue" and will generally confused audiences and we'll get a screening at the Cannes film festival but won't be wide-released but ugh GROSS who wants that anyway? 

* * *

Of course I have a plethora of fake movie-trailers in my head and all of them are BRILLIANT so if there's any producers out there reading this, I really think we could make something amazing, ya know?! 


Friday, January 6, 2012

Facebook page - like it COME ON

This blog is gettin' fancy. It has its own Facebook page now! So go on and like it you wonderful blog readers you! Up there in the right-hand corner, just click that beautiful blue "F" & wahh-lahhhh..

New post to come soon, entitled "The Juice Fast Generation": A parenting how-to from a non-parent who is me. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome Home - Road Trip Journal Part 2

"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell."
Belle, Beauty and the Beast

My tale left off with us settled in a random, bump-along-the-road Texas city on New Years' Eve. I'll pick it up where I left off. 

* * *

The Texas sunrise promised adventure - I could feel it as I gazed at the changing colors in the sky. It was time to move on...because we were on a timeline, we could never stay one place too long. I liked that feeling of constant going...It sparked the excitement in this journey. As we packed up our minimal belongings and enjoyed a true Texas breakfast (and a quick wardrobe change after spilling coffee all over myself) I could feel the steady beat of my heart - it was time to head on. 

 A true Texas breakfast. 

The texas road stretched on for miles in both directions. I'd never seen anything like it. The overall emptiness of it all but also the peace in the clear blue sky, the stretches of land on either side of us. I would say this day, as we would travel through Texas, New Mexico and finally end our night in Vegas, would become my favorite day. The morning ride was smooth and simple. It proved a good time for me to do some thinking and reflecting and wrestling with thoughts. Long car rides are great for those kinds of things, aren't they? I couldn't believe we were in Texas. We'd only just left Philadelphia the day before, and only several before then decided to go on this trip. My mind was constantly reeling at the wonder of it all. 

Texas eventually turned into New Mexico and my eyes rejoiced. What beauty! I could barely contain my joy at our scenery--it was overwhelming in the best way. I kept being reminded of Narnia, in the way the hills and mountains looped about one another and the remnants of snow sparkled in the reflecting sun. The road was surrounded by beauty and I loved every minute of it. I even got to drive for a stretch...until I got a nosebleed. I am the queen of nosebleeds (this is not something I want to be queen of). 

After that little misshap we had our first stop in New Mexico at Clines Corner. Talk about sensory overload. 


I walked into the travel stop and feared my head would pop off from the sheer kitschiness of it all. But it was the good kind of kitsch, the kind that makes you stop for a moment and think "Wow. I am in someplace new." 

Not for the first time on this trip did I feel like we had gone through a wormhole to years past. I looked around at the old-fashioned candy counter, the psychic machine that gave me the creeps, the absolute mecca of moccasins and cowboy boots. I immediately decided in that moment that I loved New Mexico. It was the strangest but most wonderfully colorful, quirky place. I didn't know that with each rest stop our surroundings would get weirder and weirder. 

New Mexico beauty. 

We continued on. As the snow-scattered hills and fields drifted past us, I thought of God's love and how infinite it is. I was amazed how big the world can feel but also how small. We had woken up in Philadelphia two days before and were already in New Mexico. 

We made it to the outskirts of Albuquerque just around lunchtime. There was a weird feeling in the air--this place was odd. Of course, we weren't in the city and any place on the outskirts of a city is always kind of...different. We enjoyed a lunch of tacos and fake Coke (they actually put fake cola labeled as Coke in a bottle) and hit the road again. We needed to make it to Vegas by eleven pm and we were on a mission. When we crossed into Arizona, we knew we were definitely in a strange place. First off, Arizona was gorgeous. But most absolutely gorgeous and isolated things are usually pretty weird. It's like that ethereal, beautiful person in high school. They are almost a different species--they shouldn't be in a suburban high school. They should be in Milan or Japan. And their whole life they're treated differently because of how strangely beautiful and untouchable they are, so of course they have a little social abnormality.

That's the desert of Arizona. Beautiful and weird and wonderful. 


One of my favorite pictures I took. We were driving right next to a train as the sun was setting. It reminds me of Stand By Me, my favorite movie of all time! 

On and on we drove deeper into the land of Alien Encounters. I didn't understand, prior to our journey through New Mexico and Arizona, this preoccupation with aliens. I've heard of Roswell and all of the apparent "UFO" sightings, but I didn't realize that we'd pull into a gas station shaped like a space station, or that there'd be SO MANY ALIENS EVERYWHERE! I was amazed and oddly elated as we pulled into our first gas stop. The sun was setting and turning the sky a milky pink--it was breathtaking. The mixture of the glowing embers and the oddity of alien interest was the most peculiar, peaceful experience. 



Arizona was strange in a different way. Whereas Mclean, Texas was strange and absolutely terrifying, Arizona had a mystic quality about it. We raced against the sun toward Vegas and I felt like I was twelve years old, preoccupied with thoughts of foreign creatures and galaxies. 


We were still about two hours outside Vegas but our stomachs were growling. A specific sign caught our eye along the interstate--The Roadkill Cafe. When you've been driving for almost twelve hours, it's nighttime and you've already encountered several aliens, you need to stop at a place to eat with the word "roadkill" in it. We pulled off the exit, anticipating what in the world could be on this cafe's menu.


The town was small--smaller than Mclean, but it wasn't nearly as creepy. A little creepy, sure, but in an endearing way. And where Mclean was deserted, there were lights and cars in this little town. We pulled into the cafe parking lot which was lit with Christmas lights and no more than two seconds after we turned off the ignition we all let out a shrill scream.




 This little guy scared the hell out of us. What a friendly cat. We spent a good five minutes alternating between screaming and laughing hysterically. I feel like this was the perfect indicator of the tone of our trip: a little scary, a little weird, and mostly wonderfully hilarious. 


The diner was warm and the people had the most interesting, unique accents. Somewhere in between a midwest and southern accent. It was wonderful. 



 Oh hello deer head. 

After we feasted on "Philly" cheesesteaks and mozzarella sticks (we've been really healthy on this trip) we were off again.





 ^_^ another alien sighting just outside of Vegas via gas stop.

It was getting late - I was drifting in and out of sleep when we finally approached the bedazzled Sin City itself.

Vegas. 

I was excited in an apprehensive way. Excited because I'd never been, but apprehensive because I knew it would be dirty and greedy and I'd see things that would make me cringe. And I did. Within the first several minutes I'd seen a plethora of female parts that I'd rather care not to see. 

Vegas was overwhelming. There was so much and we only had a night. I opted to stay in our beautiful hotel room, relaxing and reading. I was exhausted. The guys went out exploring. 



 ^_^ The view from our hotel room.

I have to say I wasn't sorry to leave Vegas in the morning. It just wasn't my scene. I'm glad I got to see it, but it just felt so dirty and gross. We left around eleven after walking around for a little...Driving through the desert was pretty amazing. Just seeing nothing stretch endlessly for miles...I loved our conversation during this long trek into LA thanks to Holiday traffic. We talked about space, God, heaven - infinite moments of life and what comes after. I love strong conversations like this that get me thinking. 



 Pretty beautiful, huh? 


Out of all the sunsets I've seen, I'd have to say California is my favorite. Driving into this, just an hour outside of LA amazed me. I am so grateful and thankful to be back here, but it's also bittersweet. It never quite feels like enough time home, does it? I am blessed to have my own little world out here, my own "home"...but nothing replaces that feeling of waking up and hanging out with my sisters all afternoon. Of having coffee with my mom in the living room, visiting my grandmom around the corner. Nothing beats cuddling with my cat while Harry Potter is on the television...nothing beats reading by the heater, my feet warm. Nothing beats seeing best friends I've known for years, friends where it's so easy to simply be myself and know that's enough. 

I am so grateful for home and I am so grateful for this new chapter in my life out West. I have no idea how long I'll be out here or what God has planned for my life. If I learned anything over this trip and this week being home, it's that life can change in an instant. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing on Earth compares to the perfect joy and glory that I will experience when one day I am face to face with Jesus. One of my favorite memories from this trip home is a night where Rebecca, Christina and I laid on the floor of Rebecca's bedroom while my mom read us scripture. It was beautiful. We were mourning the loss of a person who was taken from this world too soon, and just being in one another's presence was a perfect comfort. I could feel God so present.

We need to ask ourselves the big questions in life--we are doing ourselves a disservice if we ignore death. We must ask ourselves, "What am I really living for? Why am I living?" These questions are scary. It's so much easier to ignore them and live completely in the world. I believe we shouldn't get overwhelmed or anxious, but we must know there is something else out there. We must know there is a Creator who loves us so much and who gave us the gift of hope in the form of His son - Jesus. This will radically change our lives and with this knowledge, we can radically change the world.



 "Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free."
Psalm 146:5-7

We are free.