Saturday, November 30, 2013


I know there is a trend taking place on Facebook with people posting on thing they are thankful for each day in the month of November.  While I think that is a great thing to do, I decided to just put all 30 things/people in list together for my blog.

I'm thankful for…

  • My parents.  They are fantastic.  But if you read my blog entry, "A Home to Return to", there will be listed many reasons as to why my parents are so great!

  • My dog, Miss Ruby Ann.  I've had her since I was about 15-years-old, and she really is a bright spot in my life.  

  • College…I'm thankful for college!  The other day, someone asked me, "How are your classes going?"  I told him, "Fantastic!"  Because he knows me so well, he looked at me surprised asking, "Are you being sarcastic right now?"  I had to insist that I wasn't.  This is the first semester I've actually fully enjoyed.  I love all my classes - and it feels REALLY good to say that.  It feels good to say that I want to go to class everyday.  

  • My two ASL Teachers, Nancy and Cindy.  I'm thankful to have the chance to get to know Cindy this semester.  It is my first semester in Cindy's class, but I am already looking forward to next semester with her as well!  I've had Nancy for three semesters now, next semester totaling in four semesters.  Both teachers have a fantastic sense of humor, are passionate about what they teach, and they geniunely care about their students.  Really, I can go on and on as to why I am thankful for both of my teachers as they have both had a huge impact in my life!!…But one of the biggest reasons I find myself to be thankful for them?  I am thankful to have two teachers who not only care about how their students are doing on their school work, but how they/we are doing in life overall.  I am thankful to have teachers who not only invest into my life inside the classroom, but also outside the classroom on a personal level.  It's such a rarity to have teachers like that at the college where I attend, and I am thankful to know them and have the ability to learn from them.

  • Rayna, my 3-year-old cousin.  Really, I can't imagine my life without her.  I love her personality, her funny jokes or made up words, and I love the contagious sound of her laughter.  It has been a joy to watch her grow into such an intelligent and entertaining child.

  • The ability to learn.  I'm glad I can continue learning - whether I am learning textbook information, learning about other people, or about myself.  I'm thankful that learning doesn't stop after high school or college.  I'm thankful that learning is a lifelong journey.

  • My Nashville mom, Lynette.  She is a blessing.  Words can't even begin to describe how thankful I am to know her and to have her in my life.  We've had so many conversations filled with laughter, prayer, and encouragement.  It is hard to believe we've only known each other for about four years.

  • Humor and laughter.

  • Having friends around the world.  Sometimes having friends who live around the world can be a little hard as there are friends I often miss - a lot!  But, I am thankful to have such a diverse friend list and the ability to know each friend.  Even when I miss a friend who lives in Japan, London, or somewhere across America...when their name comes to my mind, a smile always spreads across my face.

  • Encouragement.  I'm thankful for the encouragement that friends and family have brought to my life, and I'm thankful for oppuritinity to encourage others.  Whether it be in person, through a phone conversation, a letter, Skype, or even through Facebook…Whether it be through a compliment, prayer, through a joke, a smile, or just saying "hello"…I am thankful for encouragement.

  • The ability to travel.  The world is a big place, and I'm so glad that I've gotten to experience and see places and things outside of my California "normal" and comfort zone!

  • Books.  When I can't physically travel to another place, I know I can always open a book.

  • Photography.  You never know when a moment will become a cherished memory.

  • Skype and FaceTime.  They make the miles between my friend and I seem a lot shorter, and sometimes nonexistent. 

  • My friend Katrina.  I've known her since I was either 13 or 14 years old, and she is easily one of my all-time favorite people!  She's always honest with me, telling me what she actually thinks verses what she thinks I want to hear.  (Basically, she'll flat out tell me I'm crazy or irrational when I think I'm being perfectly sane.)  Whether I run into a problem or I'm working on a creative project, her perspective is always helpful and refreshing.  Her sarcasm is hilarious and she has a sweet, welcoming family.  Whenever I'm Tennessee, I always look forward to visiting with her as she and her husband often invite me to stay at their house.  She is one of my greatest friends!

  • My birthmark.  While I am not thankful for awkward moments and annoying stares, I am thankful for the things I have learned through having it.  I am thankful for the awkward moments that turn into humorous moments and annoying stares that turn into educational moments for the one staring.   I'm thankful to have the ability to go to different classrooms where I work to teach the children about it and to let them ask any questions they may have.

  • My job.  I work as a noontime assistant at the school I attended as a child.  I LOVE my job.  Although I've had jobs in the past, I've never enjoyed them like I enjoy this one. The people I work with are fantastic, the kids are hilarious, and I never get tired of clocking in everyday.  (And let me just add…This is the first time where I have loved my job, and have loved going to school at the same time.  It's a great feeling!)

  • My parent's new home.  We've been in it a little over a year, and it has been a HUGE blessing.  We've been able to have a lot of visitors, dessert and game nights.  These are things we couldn't do in our old home…I absolutely love being able to bake something sweet and having friends over for a visit!

  • Hugs from BreAnna and DJ whenever I see them.

  • Trying new things.  You never know what you might miss out on if you aren't willing to try something new.  In the end, it may be the best thing you've tried - or it may be the worst…But at least you've tried, and aren't left wondering what could of happened had you not tried that something new.

  • The ability to grow and change.  I'm glad that I can grow and change as a person.  My personality, ways of thinking, and flaws are not set in stone…Thank goodness!  I'm also glad that I can grow from the best of experiences, and even from the most unpleasant ones. 

  • Board Games.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE board games - and card games too!!  I've had some of my best memories circled around a good game with family and/or friends throughout the years of growing up, and throughout the recent years as well.  Anytime you want to play a game, I'm in!

  • Flexibility.  I'm thankful to be flexible - at least, mentally.  Being mentally flexible makes life so much easier when plans change and things don't go 100% according to plan.

  • Creativity.  Life would be boring without it.  

  • Pinterest.  When my own creativity fails, Pinterest is available 24/7.

  • The chance I had to visit Nashville this summer.  The trip was something I really needed.  I was able to reconnect with old friends and had the chance to deepen friendships.

  • Chocolate.  Need I say more?

  • Music.  Although I can't keep beat to save my life, I'm so happy I can enjoy the creations of those who can! 

  • My time at Free Will Baptist Bible College (FWBBC), now known as Welch College.  Sure…I attended the college back in 2009-2010…But my one year there has had a great impact in my life and was full of memories that I still love to reflect on.

  • My time in London.  I learned so much while I was in London in 2012, and made friends that I know will last a life time.  

My list could go on and on about people and things I am thankful for…But this is the shortened edition.  What are you thankful for this year??

The Travelin' Chick,

PS: After I wrote this, I remembered I wrote an entry similar in 2011.  It was fun to compare the entries to see similarities or differences.  (Thankful in 2011)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

DIY: No Man Plan

In the last two weeks or so, I've had a few female friends tell me, "I want to have a 'no man plan' like you do!"  Then, the other night, a friend specifically asked me, "How do you have a no man plan anyways?  How are you able to have one that is so successful?"  I looked at her and jokingly said, "It's easy.  Men don't hit on or flirt with me."  (I was semi joking.)

My friend wants to be in on this no man plan stuff but has no idea where to begin.  During her inquiring, I realized that my last blog entry on this topic,  "My 'No Man Plan'",  I wrote about why I have the plan, and the intentions of my plan.  I did not, however, write about how this kind of plan works.

As my friend asked me her questions, I realized...My plan isn't really about having a plan.  It's more about having a realization.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned in life is that plans...well...They don't always go according to plan.  It's good to have plans.  They give a sense of direction, they give you a goal.  However, in addition to having a plan - you also have to carry around a bit of flexibility.

Here's the thing.  Yes, I have a "no man plan"...But just because I have this plan, if a guy were to pursue me and ask me on a date, it doesn't mean I'll instantly tell him no because of this plan.  (It doesn't necessarily mean I'll tell the guy yes either...ha!)  After all, God's plans for my life are always bigger than what I can think up myself.  If a guy starts pursuing me, I have to be willing to be flexible…Otherwise I may miss out on one of God's blessings for my life.

For all I know, at the end of the five years of my "No Man Plan", I may meet a guy.  Or...God may say, "Forget five years!  There's a great guy who is going to start pursuing you next week!"  Then again, God may instead say, "You can make a bigger impact on this world for Me by staying single than if you were to get married."

No matter how my life plays out, the point of my plan isn't necessarily to cut romance out of my life completely.  Once again, if a guy pursues me sooner than later, I may say, "Ok.  Let's give this a shot." However, if no guy pursues me in the near future - then I'm okay with that too!

Having a "No Man Plan" really means that I've come to a realization.  I've realized and acknowledged that life isn't just about falling in love with Prince Charming and to marry him.  Life is about living!  I don't need to be married to live a life worth living.  I don't need to be validated by a man like many women seem to do - as my worth is not in a single male human-being.  My worth is found in Christ and who I am as a person.

Yes, I would LOVE to be married one day...I'd telling you a huge lie if I told you I wanted to be single for the rest of my life.  Having this plan doesn't make this desire disappear.  It just changes the way I look at the world, who I am as a person, and the decisions I make.  It is my way of saying, "I don't need to be married to live."

Someone recently asked me, "What are you doing to do when your 'no man plan' expires in 5 years?"  I told them, "Probably the same thing I'm doing now.  I'll live life to the fullest, whether I am single, dating, or married."  I'm not out looking for love.  If love comes and finds me, then so be it.

It often saddens me when look at some friends who are literally always searching for love (as if it's their one and only life goal) and always asking, "When is this mystery man coming my way?  When am I going to meet the one?"  It sometimes seems as though they're just sitting, waiting…and waiting…and waiting…Not doing anything else but sitting in the waiting room of the love department of life.

I always want to tell those friends, "Don't you realize there is more to life than men??"   Many of my friends who do this are unhappy in life and will tell you that they aren't happy.  When someone is constantly searching for love…searching for something they want but don't have…I think they put a lot of unnecessary pressure on themselves.  No matter how hard you search, no matter how hard you wish, dream, or pray…it won't make that perfect guy walk in front of you and have him ask you out.  Plus, if you focus on what you don't have - sometimes you can forget about what you do have.

For those of you wanting tips on having a "No Man Plan"...Here you go:

  1. Realize the beauty in marriage, but also realize the beauty in being single!
  2. Realize life isn't about meeting somebody.  Life's purpose is bigger than getting married.  
  3. Find something to do.  Get a hobby, go to school.  Set some goals.   Keep busy!   Find something you're passionate about and strive towards the passion.  If you keep busy doing the things you love, you have less time to think about what you don't have.  By being involved in what you love, it brings the feeling of natural joy and happiness.  It brings a sense of purpose.  I love the job I currently have - and I absolutely love studying ASL.  I have a goal to become an interpreter, hopefully for the medical field if I can become skilled enough.  By keeping myself busy, I don't have much time to think about my singleness.  Sometimes I find myself so busy and I struggle with the little time I have as a single gal.  Had I been dating someone during these last few months, I'm pretty sure I would have felt too stretched and my attention would have been split - not being able to give my 100% towards anything.
  4. Surround yourself with likeminded people, and people who are an encouragement.  It has been said that you become most like the 5 people you hang out with the most.  Who are you hanging out with?  People who complain about what they don't have and focus on what they wish they had?  Or do you hang out with people who are happy and content?  What kind of friend are you?  If you're in somebody's top 5 people that they hang out with the most, how are you impacting the developing character of your friends?   Find people you admire and look up to.  Find people that are encouraging and that live life to live life to it's fullest!
  5. Get to know yourself before you put yourself into a relationship.  How can you let someone else get to know you, if you don't even know who you are??  What are you passionate about?  What do you love, and what do you dislike?  What do you believe?  What is your attitude on certain topics…So many people try to be who others want them to be so that they will feel accepted…Molding themselves to other people's desires and standards.  Forget being accepted by others.  Accept yourself for the way you are and be yourself!  If you go into a relationship not knowing who you are alone, that's unfair to yourself and to the person you're trying to date.  You need to know your identity alone, and just have an identity defined by who you're dating.  If you were to date right now, and the relationship were to end in a few months…Would you still know who you are if it ended, or will you be devastated by not knowing who you are anymore?  Have have you identified yourself by your love life circumstances?  (I've heard many girls talk about not knowing who they are after their 3 or 6 month dating relationship ended.  I really find that to be incredibly sad.)
  6. Realize that if you're not happy now single, you probably won't be happy dating.  You have to learn to be happy as you are in all walks of life - single, dating, married…Be happy to just be you.  Oh - and don't expect someone else to make you happy.  That's not their job and that's not the point of dating.  Dating isn't some instant "I'm happy pill".  I mean, it's not their job to make you miserable either, and dating someone should bring you some happiness.  I've just seen many people go into relationships unhappy, stay unhappy, and for the relationship to end with the person feeling even more miserable.  Think of it this way, do you want to date an unhappy single guy (or if you're a guy reading this, then do you want to date an unhappy single girl) that expects you to make them happy?   How much pressure would that add to the relationship alone?  I just think it would be a lot more work if you go into it with someone, or both unhappy, verses if you were both content before entering into a relationship.   (And actually, I think this one is tied to all the other numbers above in a big way.  If you don't find your own identity, find something you love, surround yourself with great likeminded people…Of course you're going to be unhappy.)
  7. You have to be ready for a relationship.  Many people want a relationship - which is natural.  But you have to be ready for one.  Are you sure you're ready?  What are your current motivations for dating??  

Maybe a "No Man Plan Realization" is just what you need.  Maybe it's not.  Sadly, many women (and men) validate themselves, and wait to live depending on their relationship status - and I don't want to be a part of that trend...Do you??

The Travelin' Chick,