Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween! Everyone at the office dressed up today, so I did too. I was a gypsy. I had these bangle bracelets on that made a lot of noise and every time little miss spy heard them she thought I was laughing. It was pretty funny, so I took a photo of them. :)


I love fall, the holidays and holiday traditions! There's just something about this time of year that makes me so happy: the leaves changing colors, the smell of chimney smoke, snow, Christmas lights, spending time with family, all of it!

Apple picking is one of my favorite fall traditions. We pick way too many apples and then make: apple sauce, apple brownies, ozark pudding, apple name it! It makes the house smell great and tastes even better!

This year was even more special because my sister, husband and I took my cousin's 10 month old daughter with us to the orchard last weekend, to start the apple picking tradition with her! It was cold and she wasn't really into it at first, but once my hubby picked her up (she loves him!) she was sooo cute and I like to think she had fun!

Enjoy the photos :)

What are your favorite traditions??

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What if a career isn't my passion?

I have quite a few blogs that I enjoy reading. In fact, the list is growing so quickly, that I'm having trouble keeping up with them! At random points during the day, I'll think to myself, "Did I read that one this morning?" Anyway, I try to keep this little notebook with me where I write down quotes and ideas that are interesting to me or that resonate with me because of the things happening in my life. A lot of them come from these blogs I read, but they also come from conversations I've had or even overheard.

One I have been thinking about lately is:

I think sometimes we try too hard to fit our lives
into the shapes of the stories we know.

(This came from one of my new favorite blogs, Flotsam. Though I am not experiencing anything like this woman, her life, words and little girl are inspirational to me.)

I touched on this subject a little bit in my first post, but I think about this a lot. Somehow, in my mind, being successful has always been connected with a career. But this does not apply to just any career. Somehow there is this arbitrary scale in my mind of which careers or jobs are worthy of respect and which are not. I don't consider this scale fair by any means, but it is a judgment I hold none-the-less.

Lately, I have been trying very hard to let go of these judgments. I don't "fit" into the "shape" of this "story," so why am I trying so hard to make myself? Why does my "passion" have to be a career? If I don't have a career that I consider worthy of respect on this scale, does that mean that I am not "living up to my potential?" Why can't I be considered successful for the whole shape of my life, and not just a career?

Recently I have discovered that, for me, my passion does not have to be a career or job and I can still be living up to my potential. Yet I still judge myself by these arbitrary standards. I guess old habits, thoughts and ideals are hard to break and I'll just have to keep working on it. As my Dad always says, "You have to do the best you can with what you've got, every day."

One thing I am sure of is that my family & the people I love, and being there for & taking care of them are my passion. Unfortunately, this passion doesn't pay the rent, student loans, utility bills etc. I haven't had a paying job yet where I have actually used the degree I worked so hard for. Sometimes that irritates me because I worked so hard and because I'll being paying those student loan bills for a long time to come, but at the same time it doesn't bother me at all. The sacrifices I made that affected any potential career I might have had in that field were more than worth it in my mind.

I am 25 years old and closely approaching 26. At times I think I'm so young! I have so much time to figure out all of this stuff. But at the same time there is so much pressure to know what you want to do and start doing it right out of college. Everyone hiring wants experience and this is completely understandable. But if all your experience is in something you're very good at, but don't enjoy or want to continue doing, what do you do then?

I guess the best I can do is stop trying to live up to standards that just don't fit for me, try to replace those judgments with standards that apply to my life and make me happy, and like my Dad says, "Do the best with what I've got, every day."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Best Friends

While I was writing my first post about the conversation that led to the name Why rinse chicken?, I started thinking about the term "best friend." Most people I know seem to have one. Others may not have one at all or may even have a few.

There are 3 people in my life I have used the term "best friend" for: my sister, my husband and (for lack of any other term) my best friend (she's a blogger too, so from now on I'll refer to her with her blogging name, little miss spy). I love these 3 people more than I could ever describe in words. I would do anything for them and I cannot imagine my life without any one of them. But if you think about the term "best friend," the word "best" suggests there is only one and that one is better than the rest.

My little sister's determination and heart are a constant inspiration to me and the bond between sisters is like nothing else. However, the fact remains that she is my sister. Nothing will ever change the fact that we share a bloodline, a history, a childhood. We are forever connected.

My husband is my high school sweetheart, my strength and my true love (I'm pretty corny and sentimental so get used to it!) I often refer to him as my best friend, but he is my husband. We made a legal commitment to each other, as well as a commitment in front of God and all our family and friends. As I often tell him, he's "stuck with me!"

Little miss spy is different. We have no common bloodline or a piece of paper legally binding us. We have known each other since 6th grade. I don't know what it is about her, but she just gets me. We can see each other everyday or go 6 months without seeing each other and it is always the same. I can trust her not to patronize me and always tell me the truth. Her youthful attitude always makes me smile. Really, I could go on forever about her, she holds a very special place in my heart and I think I would be a very different person without her in my life.

I think we all need a friend like little miss spy. I know I do anyway! Does that mean I don't consider my sister and husband my "best friends" also? No, not at all. I would be a very different person without them in my life as well. But I think it's a really great feeling to have someone like little miss spy who will always listen and always be there and there is nothing "making" them. She is a great balance for me and an inspiration in my life. When my thinking or reactions become very one-sided, she knows just how to put things into perspective without preaching. I truly hope I am as good a friend to her as she has been and is to me.

I think "best friend" is more of a term than 2 words that should be taken literally. What do you think? Do you have a best friend like little miss spy? If so, do you think they're as important as I think she is in my life? If not, tell me why you don't need or want that in your life. Or would you like like it if you could find someone you related to like we do?

Why rinse chicken?

I know what you're thinking, "'Why rinse chicken?' What kind of name is that for a blog about this girl's life???"

Over the past few years, I've learned a lot about myself and a lot about life (more specifically my life and my views on life). My journal is a great way to document all of it, but for awhile I've wanted to share it. There are so many things that I have thought about and experienced that I just KNOW other people must be thinking about and experiencing too. I know I'd feel a lot better if I knew other people felt this way and I'm sure they'd like that reassurance too.

For a few days, I had been trying to come up with a name for this blog that I wanted to start. Then yesterday, my best friend and I got in a completely unrelated conversation. She asked me, "Why do people rinse chicken?" She had been reading some recipes that told her to rinse the chicken first. Coincidentally, I had seen a cooking show just last week where the host asked the same thing, and I always wonder to myself why my husband rinses chicken before he cuts it up to cook it. Seems to me you are just creating more opportunities to touch things in your kitchen with contaminated chicken hands. Do you rinse a steak or a pork chop? You're going to cook it! There's no reason to rinse it first (unless, of course, you dropped it on the floor or something)!

But as usual, I thought more about this question. Why do people rinse chicken? They must have learned it from somewhere, never questioned it themselves, and it just became a habit.

Why don't we question things more in our life? Lately, my thoughts are often preoccupied with the topic of happiness. All my life I've thought that I have to have a certain job (or a career in general), have a certain amount of money in the bank or live a certain way to be happy. Where did I learn this? TV, society in general, teachers? I never questioned it. But what if those things aren't making me happy? Isn't everyone unique? And shouldn't we, therefore, have different paths to happiness?

For me, it's hard to get over the hurdle that people will judge me if choices I make stray from this standard. Intellectually, I know I shouldn't care what other people think, but when you've held certain things as a standard your whole life, it's hard to let go of them just like that.

Why rinse chicken? See where that took my brain!! I'm sure a lot of my posts will come out of simple questions like this that get me thinking about other things going on in my life. So it just seemed to fit for me and my blog!

This will be a blog about my life: the good and the bad, and my thoughts on things I'm experiencing and on ideas & topics that stem from those experiences. I'll try to include photos as often as possible, as photography is one of my favorite hobbies and is one thing I know makes me happy, despite the fact that I'm an amateur at best. And of course, I'll probably write about normal everyday things that are happening in my life too. I hope you all enjoy reading about my life, can relate to some of the things I am going through, and will engage in conversations with me and other readers through comments. I'd love to hear about your similar (or different) experiences and your thoughts on my reflections. Please be honest but kind! This blog is a part of my growth process more than anything and is not intended as advice of any kind. If you can relate to it or are inspired by it, that's just a bonus!