I unexpectedly (and reluctantly) moved back to my hometown. I unexpectedly fell for an old high school classmate, and he unexpectedly proposed to me. We unexpectedly found out I was pregnant, and we got married sooner than expected. Now, we're experiencing the unexpected daily...the good, the bad, the funny, the frustrating. Read all about it...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More of What I Don't Think I Deserve

One morning a few weeks ago, I was walking into work when it was super freezing. A woman noticed all I had on was a pea coat. Given the horrific winter weather the East Coast's been enduring, she felt bad that I didn't have a scarf, hat, or gloves to keep me warmer. The lady promised that the next time I saw her, she would have a heavier coat, boots, and gloves to give me. I didn't think anything of it because we hardly know each other...we pass each other and say hello on occasion, probably only really see each other while we enter the building in the morning.

This morning, I saw a bag on my desk and thought someone had left their stuff in my cubicle. Then, I found a Post-It in the bag that said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry I didn't get this to you sooner," and at the bottom was the woman's name. Inside the bag was a coat much longer and heavier than mine. I immediately e-mailed her, thanking her for such a thoughtful act. She e-mailed me back just as quickly, offering even more clothing she wanted to give me. 

I definitely sound like a downer right now...but have you ever felt like you've been blessed with so many things that you just feel like you don't deserve?

I don't want to come across ungrateful, but what have I done to be blessed with everything I have, to be treated so kindly by friends, family, even strangers? It's kinda like Lil Wayne's line: "What the hell am I doin right?"

The wonderful woman who God placed in my life taught me a valuable lesson today: Stop being so self-consumed, take a second to think of others, and figure out a way to brighten their day. By self-consumed, I don't mean self-absorbed...I mean, do something for someone other than yourself. In the midst of preparing breakfast, driving to work, actually doing work, going home to do laundry and clean...stop and realize there is so much more to do, like empty your closet of things you don't need and give it to someone who could use those items. Or find some spare office supplies and bring them in for someone at work who seems to always lose his or her pens or paper clips. Put others first, or at least find a kind yet simple way to include them in your daily grind.

I don't know what I'm doing right to deserve anything from anyone, let alone someone I don't know on a personal level at all. But, perhaps God put her in my world to remind me that I'm not the only one I need to be thinking about. Through her, God definitely helped me realize that, even though we don't think we deserve to be treated kindly...we do. Because it helps us think a lot more positively, and it reminds us that overall, life, this world, and God is good...all the time...no matter what.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review: The Power-Based Life by Mike Flynt

Author Mike Flynt is inspiration himself. At 59 years old, he became the oldest member of any US college football team, never allowing anyone to use his age as an excuse to treat him differently on the field.

In The Power-Based Life, Flynt challenges readers to answer the question: Who do you think you are? He teaches 12 power bases that could help readers fully succeed in whatever they choose to do with their lives. Flynt’s personal experiences, sports-related anecdotes, and biblical references prove how his power bases could strengthen anyone’s body, mind, and spirit if they are applied. The idea behind The Power Based Life is to help people focus on what they believe they were born to do -- to utilize their God-given talent to their maximum ability.

It could not have been better timing for me to read this book. I honestly believe that I was meant to read this book for a reason. I highly recommend it for people like me -- those who are at a crossroads in life, those who are just setting out into the real world, those who are trying to figure out their life purpose. This is also a great book for those who feel like they have more to contribute to their career, their family, and their community.

Although Flynt references the Bible quite often, the stories he shares relate to Christians and non-believers alike. If you are struggling to find your place in this world and your reason for living in it, read this book regardless of your religious background, or lack thereof. The Power-Based Life is full of highlighter-worthy, thought-provoking, inspirational ideas that move readers to do more with their lives.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Don't Doubt Me

I copied this from my old blog because it is relevant to how I am feeling now.

I've been beaten, scraped, thrown around. I've failed miserably and committed costly mistakes. I've triumphed and succeeded, been the one who did the beatings. I have been on my knees more than I've been held up on a giant's shoulders. I have cried and frowned as equally as I have laughed and smiled. But don't dare doubt me. Life is trials and tribulations, but it isn't worth a damn thing if you don't fulfill your dreams despite all of the failure and filth.

When I say I can handle it, don't tell me I can't. And if you're right and I'm wrong, don't sweat it. I'll let it go.

When I say I want to go for it, don't tell me it's out of my reach. If you're right and I'm wrong, don't sweat it. I'll step back on my own accord.

If there was something that I could not do or would not be good for me, I wouldn't even try. So don't tell me what I can and cannot handle. And if I happen to be wrong, and you happen to be right, I'll deal with it. Move on with your life.

I would never refuse your advice. I will never disregard your opinion. I will, however, always stand by what I think is right, what I think would make my life worth living, and what I believe would do me good. I will always appreciate your care, love, support, faith, worries, criticism, and fears.

If I fail more than I succeed (and I know I will because that's life), and if the same mistake happens twice, put it all on me. There is nobody else who could be at fault for the things of which I try and fail. I'll take the blame, I'll own up, be responsible for my actions, and I'll still be living happily ever after. I'd hope you would do the same. After all, everything I do for myself and to myself affects me more than it could ever affect you.

In addition to what I've copied...

Life is about taking risks, otherwise we would never know what our true abilities are, or what is our maximum potential!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pregnancy Round Two!!

What if you have a child less than a year old, and then find out that a pregnancy test has a plus sign yet again?!

I think having an unplanned second child is bittersweet, specifically when you're not yet financially sound and just got the gist of taking care of one baby.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not pregnant again. However, I know a lot of people who are pregnant for a second time, whether unplanned or not, and pretty much all of their firstborns are two years old or younger. All I can say is: God bless them!

My husband and I really need to get back on our own before we can have another mouth to feed. If our situation is better in three to four years than it is now, we'll discuss having a second baby then. That way, we have time to really decide on having a second child, and to be more prepared financially and mentally if we do choose to go for round two. That's the glory of being young...we've got time!

Another big reason is because we cannot fathom the idea of having an infant or toddler plus a newborn! I admire everyone who has kids less than two years apart in age. It's double the energy, double the sleep deprivation, double the diapers...possibly double the breastfeeding? Spending is doubled, especially as they get older when cars and college come into play.

It is also divided care and divided attention. By having two kids, one naturally feels less loved, and it's often the older child. How do parents of two very young kids deal with jealousy? How do they make sure that both of the children feel equal in their parents' eyes? 

On the brighter side...

It's double the love, double the laughter, double the memories. You have a second chance at caring for a newborn, and you get to experience the feelings of being like a new parent all over again. Your firstborn has the opportunity to be a big brother or sister, which could make them feel special and important. You would have two kids who could grow up to potentially be best friends, or at least value the importance of family and relying on each other through thick and thin.

You can see how I am on the fence about having another kid. It is mainly because at this moment, I am not at all ready to be pregnant again. I am still fighting to shake off this baby weight; I don't need to add on any more pounds! I am enjoying being a mother to one adorable infant and spoiling him (in a healthy way) with all of my love and attention without having to worry about another baby feeling deprived. Oh yeah, and our parents would definitely kill us.

Not everyone plans to have a child, let alone more than one. I cannot imagine being ill-prepared a second time. If it is God's plan for us to have another child, we can only hope that we are in a better place than where we are now.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Year of Pleasant Surprises!!

2010 exceeded my expectations!

It actually all started on October 23, 2009, when my live-in boyfriend became my fiance after he proposed during my birthday celebration in Atlantic City.

The proposal was too good to be true, and completely threw me off. I knew we were eventually going to be engaged, but not that soon; we had only been together seven months! I had to call his mother immediately after he had asked me to find out if this was really happening.

About a month after that, right before we moved to our new apartment, I missed my period. I was experiencing the typical symptoms of pregnancy...and three home tests and one visit to Planned Parenthood later, I was finally convinced that I was expecting! I was in denial for a long time, and I did not tell my parents until I was almost two months pregnant in mid-January. I told them over the phone, and this is how the conversation went:

"We have to move up the wedding."
"To when?"
"No, this year."
"Why do you want it so soon?"
"Because I'm pregnant."

Much to my surprise, they were more concerned with how they were going to plan a wedding in three and a half short months. Somehow, we pulled it off. It was a dream come true. I ordered my dress online from David's Bridal, but since I was pregnant, I was unsure of how big my belly was going to be by April 24th. I guessed on the size, and when it was delivered,  I felt like Cinderella because it was a perfect fit!

Four months later, this happened:

We officially became a family on August 8, 2010!

A lot of negative things happened during and after these events, but now is not the time to dwell on the bad part of life. New Year's is about thinking positively, moving forward, and making the new year better than the old one. 

The positive definitely outweighed the negative, and life's (un)expectations stormed through in the most exciting way this past year. I can only look ahead and pray that 2011 brings more fortune, more pleasant surprises, and a deeper purpose for living.

God (or whoever/whatever you believe) has granted us with another year to affect others and improve ourselves. I don't know how much better my life could possibly get, but I cannot wait to find out what it has in store for me!