happy new decade. :)

    happynewyear2.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat
There's something nostaligically beautiful about the closing of a year, like the feeling of reading the last few pages of a book you love. Savoring the last few moments of a little journey you've come to know. It's nearly impossible for me to avoid looking back to the girl I was just 365 days ago, to marvel at how very much she had to learn about life, others, God, herself and love.

It seems that for me 2009 was a year of learning lessons of the heart. Here are just two lessons that 2009 taught me:

Always say what’s in your heart…even if it might mean an uncomfortable moment, some tears shed or the risk of sounding cliche.

I learned this in 2009 by not saying what was in my heart soon enough to a former teacher. In high school he was my theater teacher, but beyond that was someone who had always taken time to offer creative encouragement, offer a smile and very wise words. Even when he had so many important things awaiting his attention, when I'd drop by his office he'd set aside his work to ask me about what I felt inspired to do in life and we'd chat at length about musicals, plays and productions that we so loved. Several months ago, he was in his last few days of a battle with cancer. One night I, misty-eyed, sat down and wrote him a heartfelt letter telling how blessed I, and others, felt to have had his guidance and creative encouragement for so many years. Being busy with life, I set the card aside for a week until I could find an address, or a time to stop and see him. Within those few days, he passed away. Confidently I know my words don't matter now, as I'm certain he is in a heavenly place...boisterously singing in the skies (those who know him will smile at that sentiment), but I still feel sadness that I never told him how very much his creative encouragement meant to me. The card still sits on my desk at home, and at times I gingerly open it, reread it and tearfully wish with all my heart that I’d said those words sooner. Telling someone how very much they are loved, appreciated, cared for should never wait…no matter how busy life is, or how unnatural expressing that sentiment might feel.

Always do what is in your heart, and never doubt it…because life will suddenly mean so much more.

Even if it means rising before the sun several days a week, living on an (at times) shoestring budget to pay for tuition, nearly forgoing groceries for a week to buy bigger, better art supplies or majoring in a field in which the career outlook looks dim. Life comes alive when you’re chasing what you feel in your heart…and in the last few months of 2009 I’ve felt this fully.

Here’s a hope that 2010 brings you a year full of heart…and a heartfelt wish that you have someone to kiss, hold close, high five or toast with at midnight…for auld lang syne, my dear.


an epic moment (for me).

Something amazing and unexpected happened today.

After being told by several friends that my pants were too loose (true friends tell you these things) and by another friend that there was a sale on jeans at the mall (even truer friends tell you those things), I decided to spend my lunch break shooting for single-digit land. Planning to be disappointed at the tightness of the epic single digit pants, I stripped down to my unmentionables...meanwhile giving myself a pep talk so as not to be disappointed when buttoning the size 8's proved to be laughably impossible. I slithered into the size 8, shielding my eyes from mirror in fear of what I might see. Although a smidge more snug than usual, surprisingly, they buttoned without much hesitation. Preparing for the worst I slowly turned around and laid eyes on the mirror. Amazingly enough: they fit!

eightaroo.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat
(Thank you, 4" heels for your assistance. You are sooo painful, but so fantastic.)

A number is just a number, but this for me it marks a place I've not been in so very long. Truly, I don't remember my last "eights". My little weight loss journey doesn't stop here, because there is more to be lost and a healthier Bethany still waiting to be uncovered. However, moments like this are incredible reminders, affirmations that being healthy, and increasingly comfortable in my own skin, is better than any cheeseburger (wait, I'm a vegetarian) cheesecake I've ever eaten. And although I still plan to have a very close relationship with cheesecake, (hellloooo, cheesecake, do drop by on the weekends, love) I will not allow my body to become 85% cheesecake.

But beyond numbers and sizes, today I felt so fully the commitment I need to make to no longer waste time being dissatisfied with aspects of my body that are unable to be changed. No longer will I curse my light skin, freckled, broad shoulders, short legs or full face. Those little unchangeable pieces of me were put there by Someone for some reason. He formed me, and saw fit for my cheeks to always be childishly chubby, and for my legs to fall short of glamazon length. And if that's the worst lot I've been dealt? I guess I'm doing okay. So, thanks God. :)

And so tonight I celebrate quietly in my toasty little upper one-bedroom apartment, snuggled up in my thinking spot with a frosty Diet Dr. Pepper and a raspberry yogurt. It's no cheesecake, but at least I won't regret it in the morning...


...should have been left on the cutting room floor.

robotnecklace_picnik.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat
(For the very first time in months, this is not my photo. Apologies, but the Anthro I visited this weekend did not have this beast in stock.)

Dear Anthro,

I love you sooo much, but what happened here? I thought you knew women better than this. We love the frivolous, and although the frivolous can sometimes be one wobbly side-step away from ridiculous, this has seriously crossed that border in a wildly heinous way. Was this just an intoxicated mistake made by your jewelry design team after last year's drunken Christmas party? Waist-length robot necklace? Four hundred dollar price tag? I cannot think of a single woman I know who would consider this a fantastic piece of frivolity.

Get it together...sober up and return to the drawing board. (I say that with love.) You have much to make up for here.


P.S. Maybe you can make up for this nearly unforgivable sin by knocking a couple bucks off of this blouse or this sweater? Just sayin'...I'm willing to make a deal.



christmas.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat

This is my second Christmas in Blogland, and marks the second year in which I promised myself to regularly post photos and words which would be positively sparkling with glittery Christmas creativity. (Cue a crooning Bing Crosby, fantastic gift lists and genius do-it-yourself-ornament ideas.) Hmm...fail. Fail of epic proportions. Can I play the "college student" card again? I only have a few uses left on that one...

So, I come baring nothing Christmas-themed in 2009 other than this little photo of my tree and and a truly heartfelt holiday sentiment:

Beyond brown paper packages, sugary sweet holiday treats and cups of Christmas cheer, I so pray that you're showered with real, true love this Christmas. No matter where you find yourself, I hope you take time to let those you love know how very much they warm your life. If we all did that on a regular basis, not just at Christmas, wouldn't life be so much more livable?

Sending oodles of holiday cheer,


cleaning house.

goodbyeclothes.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat

(Just some of the clothing that is permanently leaving my life!)

Recently I marked a little goal: I've lost thirty pounds since last fall. Thirty isn't a jaw-dropping number, but to me it feels so significant. There is some more to be lost, but right now it feels amazing to be in a new, favorite pair jeans...just one size away from Single-Digit-Land. (Sometimes two...curse you, stores that run small.)

I imagine Single-Digit-Land is a magical place in which one feels no insecurities, eats bon bons nearly all day while looking fantastically sexy, and elicits uncontrollable whistles from the men around them. I realize this is neither realistic, nor the latter particularly desirable (have you seen the men in this town?) ...but I'm sure you're picking up what I'm putting down. Confidence is found in neither a size nor a number, however sometimes a number marks a small stop on one's journey to find confidence.

When I began sifting through the massive pile of "too big" cast-off clothing that has slowly grown for the last year, I was astonished at how very much I had. Suddenly it was so obvious that at my most weighty, I'd sought meaning, beauty and happiness in my wardrobe, spending $20 here or there in hopes that one silly item would somehow fulfill the "me" with whom I was terribly dissatisfied...thinking that a skirt, blouse or sweater could make me FEEL more attractive, intelligent or creative when deep inside I didn't much feel any of those things. And in honesty, I cannot say that I even liked half of what was lurking in that pile. It seems purchases of desperation rarely prove to be intelligent investments.

A small handful of the leftovers could have been managably tailored, or shrunk using the hot-hot-hot cycle in the washer, but the truth is that they represent something that I don't want cluttering my life and mind anymore: a period in time in which I was carrying not just extra physical weight but a significant amount of emotional weight and unhappiness with myself. And who wants that lurking in her closet every morning? Not this gal. So to the fated Goodwill stack these items went, while I made a mental note to adjust my budget to include a few more responsible clothing purchases each month. (That didn't take much convincing...)

So good riddance, old threads. I cannot wait to fill your space with new, increasingly smaller items which I now know will never fulfill or define me, but will certainly make life more flirtatious and fun. :)


from where i sit.

wintersunshine.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat

(Me, in my very favorite spot in the entire world, peering out of the second-story window in my apartment.)

Sometimes life takes you for a whirl, and sometimes you just simply feel the impending whirl brewing. Currently I'm experiencing the latter. I love the fact that my life story is still unwritten, that there are pages and pages I have yet to fill, but sometimes I am easily overwhelmed thinking of all the decisions, the exhaustion and struggles that will fill each page. Isn't that amazing, though? Our God gives us this blank journal, a lovingly stitched together world, but then selflessly hands us the pen. With that, each of us receive the freedom to write the story. He allows us to move the setting, to change the characters, manage the conflicts, the romances, the development within those pages. But ultimately He's sitting right beside us as we pen, working steadfastly behind the scenes, there when we seek Him, always present within our hearts and woven so very intricately into our stories.

Lord, You are an truly artist, my most awesome creative Father. You simply overwhelm me. :)


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