Friday, November 28, 2014

Ten years

I moved to Knoxville exactly 10 years ago.

Ten years. It's staggering to me that I've been in Knoxville for that long, especially since I never had any intention of being here at all. In May 2004, ten days before I was to graduate from Auburn, my post-grad plans fell through unexpectedly. Fantastic timing, right? I was working at a summer camp that summer, which is not conducive to job searching. So in August I moved back home.

There is nothing more frustrating, I think, that being forced to move back home in your tee tiny town after graduation, when all you wanted four years prior was to get the hell out of there. I had no idea what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to go. I was exploring every option. I didn't care what state I ended up in, or what job I had...I just wanted something.

And nothing happened.

Fast forward 3-4 months. My brother had just built his first house. And he is his wife graciously offered to give me cheap rent in their place. Knoxville was a big city. It wasn't home with Mom and Dad. At that time, it was the best option I had. So ten years ago I loaded up my car with clothes and a few things, and moved to Knoxville. 

I had grand dreams of the single life. A good job, a modest living but one that would provide me a little bit of fun. I would pay off my student loans, have a cute apartment, maybe meet someone. 

None of this happened.

I worked 2-3 jobs for eight years. I didn't start dating my husband until I'd been here for six. For the first 2-3 years in Knoxville, my life, quite frankly, really sucked. The loneliness was indescribable. I didn't have people here. I didn't have a cell phone or internet for about the first six months or more. So while all my good friends from Auburn were keeping in touch and getting together, I was stuck here. With no one. It was so, so hard. 

My 20's were not fun. There was a lot of dark times. Dealing with depression, constant resurgence of an eating disorder that I could not get over. Lots of sin. Lots of pain. Lots of yearning for love that I was not getting. And through it the Lord was scratching at wounds so old they had already scarred over. I will say through that time that God was so, so faithful. You can know His love in good times, but until you've experienced it in the darkness of a pit and the bleakness of no future, I'm not sure you can say that you know it. He was gracious enough to show Himself to me in those ways, He picked at wounds so that He could heal them. It's funny that as Christians we talk about wanting healing and to be made new, without really thinking about how painful a process that is. How long it takes. How agonizing it can be.

It's worth it.

So worth it. The ten years I've been here I've lived three different places. Was blessed to find a church and the most amazing community in the Gathering that I will probably ever experience this side of heaven. I've had multiple jobs:
-First Baptist Concord
-Weedman
-Lane Bryant
-FEFC 
-KidTime
-ESK aftercare
-Panera
-Nannying for Jack 
-Nannying for Lyla
-Nannying Isaac and Bella
-Nannying Landry, Presley, and Knox
-CBC

I lost two of those jobs. Went through unemployment. I had a terrible fall apart with my family during these ten years, and that brother who let me live with him no longer even 'considers me a human, more less his sister' as his last hate mail said. I nearly dated one guy who was great, should have stayed farther away from another who was an a#*, and finally God gave me one that was a keeper. 

My best friend stopped talking to me. Abruptly, and two weeks after she served as my Maid of Honor.

We bought a house. And paid off my student loans. A new (to us) car sits in our driveway, and two little fur babies are curled up close to my feet right now.

I started drinking coffee (and am now addicted), learned to love lifting weights (and dropped 40 pounds because of it), and started writing (and now have four books to my credit). My husband and I thank God often for His grace, and for how good our marriage is. I have fewer excuses for not doing what God says, because His voice is clearer. I know it like I know my husband's. 

I could say that the past ten years have been great, but I would be lying. They all haven't been. I could tell you that the past ten years have been a testament to God and His grace and His glory, and that would be true. He has held me through everything, pouring His love over me when His love was the only thing that I had. 

I love knowing that no matter what happens, Jesus has me. And loves me. He knows me - oh how he knows me -  every freckle, every birthmark. He hears my heart murmur, and defines the irregular rhythm of my irregular heartbeat. He knows ever sin, every dark corner that longs for a place apart from Him, And He will expose it because of His great love for me. 

That's what these past ten years have been...God showing His love for me through the best and worst of circumstances. Him being Him through all the mess of life. 

Whatever the next ten years hold for me, my biggest desire is that Christ be there, over and through it all Glorified through it all. Whatever happens, I know He loves me still.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Best thing for adult acne

Ya'll, I ain't gonna lie. I miss being 16. I had flawless skin. FLAWLESS! It was like porcelain. I also had no cellulite at that point in my life. (Bless you thighs, I really do love you despite your bumpiness.)

Anywho, enter a lot of hormonal issues starting in my twenties, and I got gifted with a huge dose of adult acne. That has not gone away. In over ten years.

I've tried all sorts of things to help, all to no avail. I eat better, take supplements, try different skincare products, etc etc. I've just about done it all. Was considering doing R&F, which works, but which I would need a second job to be able to afford.

Then I stumbled across this lovely blog (which is great for millions of reasons), and read a post Lauren did about rosehip seed oil. It was cheap and all natural (two things I love), so I figured, why not give it a try? I bought a bottle. I used it twice a day for a month, and had approximately two blemishes pop up that month.

Two.

TWO!

I normally get two a day, and got two that month. I was sold. I'm into my second month and have had 0 breakouts.  I have chronic dry skin and this has helped with that. It's helped with eczema on my face. My acne scars are fading.

(via)


Did you hear me say this stuff is all natural, and cheap?? $11 for a bottle that lasts me about 6 weeks (again, that's using twice, sometimes more, a day). Glory, glory, hallelujah! All the girls with PCOS rejoiced! Run ladies to the amazon website and get some of this. The fountain of youth evidently comes in a bottle from amazon!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Painful grace

(via)

So last Thursday was a busy day.  I was going out of town Friday morning and had a ton to do: laundry, packing, errands, etc etc. I got up early and skipped the gym so that I could get some things knocked out before work. After work I stopped to get dog food for our dogs. We weren't in dire need but it was the last day the kind we buy was going to be on sale so I wanted to stock up. I fought afternoon traffic, got to the store, and grabbed my purse. Only to discover that my wallet wasn't in there.

*curses!*

I knew where my wallet was. On Wednesdays I go to Starbucks to write and my wallet was no doubt in my computer bag where it had been since Wednesday morning. I had forgotten to put it back in my purse.

I was tired, and hungry (a bad combination for me; I am like a toddler in my ability to melt down in those circumstances). Anger started to roar to life inside of me, but then I stopped. Here's why: 

I normally don't check my purse for my wallet. Wallet normally stays in the purse (I normally put it right back on Wed mornings), purse stays in my car. If it weren't for stopping for pet food and discovering the missing wallet, I would have driven off Friday without it. I would have made it miles into Ohio when I stopped for gas and only then discovered I didn't have it. No credit cards, no cash, no gas. Nothing. Who knows how I would have gotten out of that pickle.

I was frustrated at first over not being able to do that errand. Then I realized what a huge grace that inconvenience was. It saved me from a much bigger problem.

Amazing that sometimes grace is painful. That frustration and annoyance was a blessing. Isn't it just like God to use everything in our lives, and to give us mercies both big and small that we absolutely do not deserve?