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Monday, October 31, 2011

Being Restored to "Annie" - Part 3: Name

Love will not betray, dismay or enslave you, 
It will set you free 
Be more like the man you were made to be. 
There is a design, 
An alignment to cry, 
Of my heart to see, 
The beauty of love as it was made to be
 - "Sigh No More" by Mumford and Sons

My paternal grandmother, whom I loved immensely, was born in 1924 and was named Otilia, a beautiful Polish name.  Well, I can only assume that in the 1940s she didn't want a beautiful Polish name anymore, so after her aunt and namesake died, she changed her name to Anita when she was 18 years old.  I have no idea why she chose that name, but she did.  Her dad took her down to change it, and the rest is history.  I didn't even know that Anita wasn't her original name until my teens. She made everyone keep it a secret.  She was funny like that. 

Fast forward a while, and you get to my birth.  I was named after both of my grandmothers - Anita Marie.  My mom tells me that she could never see calling a little baby Anita, so from the day I was born I was called Annie.  I didn't know that my real name was Anita until I was 5 or 6 years old.  I could never understand why they didn't just name me Marie Anita, but I can only assume that it was because my dad didn't get along with his mother-in-law.  

In kindergarten I went by Annie because my mom told them that's what I went by, but in first grade the teacher gave me the option.  She said, "They told me you go by Annie, so do you want us to call you Annie or Anita?"  Well, being the "shy" little girl that I was, not wanting to rock the boat or cause anyone trouble, I meekly answered, "Anita."  I immediately regretted it because it didn't sound like my name at all.  I basically had a school name and a home name.  It took until the eighth grade to finally get up the courage to tell my teachers that I went by Annie.  I think some of my middle school friends are still confused as to what my name is.  

Now, I LOVED my Gramma - like really really really loved her with all my heart.  I'm pretty sure I was the closest grandchild to her, and I don't think any of my cousins would contest that.  I spent the most time with her.  I would spend hours looking at her old photo albums and asking her about the past.  I would take care of her house and her lawn.  And I still dream about her today as if she's still alive (she died the year I got married).  In my dreams she doesn't have a problem speaking as she did in real life as the result of several strokes.  I like to think about how I'm going to see her in Heaven, and she'll be totally renewed like in my dreams.  

That said, I feel like "Anita" is my lovely Gramma, but I'm "Annie".  I've always wanted to change my name legally to "Annie" just for simplicity's sake, but it's kind of a chore.  I also didn't want to disgrace my Gramma's memory.  But the more I would think about it, the more I started to think that she would give me her blessing.  If she didn't (she was stubborn as a mule), then I would just point out the hypocrisy to her, and she'd concede.  We were cool like that.  

So this year I decided to do it - I am in the process of changing my name to "Annie".  I'm really excited about it, because I feel like it coincides completely with the restoration that God has been doing in my life.  I'm running to become the athlete that He made me to be.   I'm coming into my restored personality with greater confidence and strength as the unique person that God created me to be.  I am restored to the "Annie" that I was made to be - no longer living with the consequences of two, young, broken adolescents.  God is a really good parent, and He's restoring me day by day to be the woman that He has made me to be.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Being Restored to "Annie" - Part 2: My Personality

In the first post in this series I wrote about how God has been restoring me into being who He created me to be if it weren't for being born into a broken world and how He did that physically by reigniting my passion for running. In this post I'll write about how He has been restoring my personality.  Weird, right?

Today I'm not shy about talking about how I grew up in a dysfunctional home.  It was shameful at the time, but today, as an adult, I realize that I had no control over it and that I could not have chosen my way out of that situation.  And also, as I mentioned in my last post, my parents are totally different people today and have sought recovery and healing for their lives.  I love and forgive them both and have nothing but well wishes for them.

That said, it really sucked at the time.  I mean, seriously, life sucked.  It was hard, and I didn't like it.  I was given the message that I was, in a word, worthless.  As a result, I grew up with a very low self-esteem and felt an unbearable shyness.

In high school I found that a few cheap drinks gave me all the gregariousness that I needed to talk to just about anyone.  I know this sounds bad, but I had so much fun being so uninhibited.  But why couldn't I be that way sober?!  Oh it was so frustrating.

I always thought that my personality was shy until I went to therapy a few years ago, and the therapist was like, "Uh, no, you're not shy, honey."  (I don't know if she really said "honey", but I like it better with it there.)

'Really?!' I thought.  I mean, I felt shy.  The truth was, however, that I had just been beaten down emotionally for so many years that I had not an ounce of confidence in which to approach people.  I could think of no reason at all that people should want to talk to me or get to know me.  It took immense courage to talk around people with which I was unfamiliar (let alone talk to them).  I remember being at my ex-boyfriend's house at Christmastime meeting his family, and I overheard his brother say, "Doesn't she talk?"  ACK!  I was devastated.

It pretty much took most of my twenties to overcome that personality disability.  How good of God to give me such an encouraging, patient, empathetic, and loving husband.  I mean, really, he's the perfect husband for me.  He makes me believe in myself, but he's also always very honest, so I know that he's not BS'ing me.  And that's a good thing.  :)

Funny enough, God has also used this blog to build my confidence.  Since I don't have to see people when I'm trying to get my point across, I'm able to be more me.  So the more I blog, the more I really figure out who I am.  I think that's why so many people say that blogging "keeps them sane" or "is therapeutic".  What a blessing this blog has been to me, even if I never end up getting the big numbers that I sometimes envy.  What it has done in my life is really invaluable.

So it comes full circle.  God made me to be outgoing, funny (to me), fun-loving, adventurous, and more, but life squelched that.  Now, however, He has taken the reins at being my Father, speaking words of strength, courage, love, confidence, and mercy into my life over the contradicting messages of my past, and has restored me to be more of the "Annie" that He made me to be.  What a loving Father, so perfect and merciful.

Stay tuned for the third and final post in this series.  It really comes full circle!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Being Restored to "Annie" - Part 1: Running

Excuse the lollipop; I wasn't expecting to be videoed.  I ran a tiny 5k put on by my son's school district's PTA.  It was poorly attended, making my chances of winning greater.  I won first in my age group, although the girl that won overall women was in my age group, but I got the first place medal for the age group since she got the medal for overall.  Makes total sense, right?  :-P
I can over over-spiritualize with the best of 'em, so hang on to your hats, folks; this one's a doozy!  :-P  In all seriousness, it's something that is pretty close to my heart, so especially if you're family, I hope you read with an open-mind.

This past year has been one of immense growth for me.  I really feel like God has brought me to a place where He's restoring me to be what I should have been if not for a broken world.  The more I surrender into allowing Him to father me as only a perfect Father can, the more He makes me whole and restored - not changed, just more the "Annie" I was created to be.  There have been three ways in which He's done this in my life this past year.

The first is physically.  When I was in elementary school, I had a great passion for track.  The P.E. coaches noticed a natural ability in me for sprinting, and I was awesome at the 200 meter relay.  I was the second fastest girl in my grade, and I was always striving to beat that other girl that was faster (I still remember exactly what she looks like).  We won first place in my 4th grade district wide race, and I still remember everything about that morning.  My mom and I went, and she bought me a school t-shirt to wear in the race (we never did that since we were poor).  I loved knowing that she was in the stands cheering for me.  I was on cloud nine.

So on the morning of my district wide track meet the following year in 5th grade, my parents wouldn't wake up to take me.  I kept trying to wake them up, and the coaches kept calling me to see where I was, but the race came and went without me.

My parents are totally different people today whom I love and forgive, but 22 years ago they were at the height of their irresponsibility and dysfunction, so I share the story not to make you think less of them but merely to give you an insight into me.  I realized that morning, though, that my passion for running or athletics would not be supported by my parents, so when middle school came around and we moved to the country (not within walking distance to our school), I knew I couldn't participate in track and that passion bitterly died.

Fast-forward to my adult years, and I have never been able to run.  My breath control has been the hardest thing for me, so I would always stick to elliptical or strength training and yoga.  My third and last baby was born in the beginning of January, and my body was in the worst shape of my life (probably).  I knew he was my last, so I went all out and lived it up in total gluttonous fashion - no restraint at all!

As I worked on getting my body back this past year, we decided to get a Bob Duallie Revolution jogging stroller.  So I started walking, then walking and jogging, and now just jogging.  I remember the first day that I was able to run 18 minutes straight without stopping.  That was a miracle for me.  It was so elating, and I thought, 'I got this.'

Today, my body is in the best shape of my life.  I'm thrilled, and I LOVE running!  It makes me feel like I was made to do it.  I'm not that fast right now (well, I was before I properly calibrated my Nike+ pedometer :-p), and I still can't run more than about 8 miles, but I am on my way, and it will happen.  I got this!

And the way in which God restored me physically totally corresponds to the other two ways He's restored me, but you'll have to stay tuned for that.  More to come....


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday: Simple Mom's Facial Routine

So when I read this blog post from the Simple Mom, Tsh (no, that's not a typo - there is no vowel in her name), I was at my wits' end with my skin.  I've never had really great skin except when I was on the patch birth control.  Other than that short time, it's not been great.  I'm always either too oily or too dry with those really gross breakouts that go deep into your skin and hurt.  TMI, perhaps?  Sorry.  

At any rate, I had just had Isaac, and my skin was absurdly dry.  It seriously made me look about 10 years older.  My neck was even very scaly and old looking - talk about freaking me out!  I went to the dermatologist, and she sent me to their little store area to purchase an expensive cleanser and moisturizer that actually made things worse.  (Thanks for nothing, yo.)  

My face was so dry that I started using a cotton ball soaked with baby oil to exfoliate the dead skin off, and I would follow that up by slathering vitamin E oil all over my face and neck before I went to bed.  That was actually really helpful, so when I read about the Oil Cleansing Method, I thought, 'What the heck; it can't hurt at this point.'  The basic premise is that oil dissolves oil, but you want good oil to do the job.  And lemme tell ya, IT WORKS!!!  Here's what Tsh said:
So in essence, good-quality oil is the perfect substance for cleaning sensitive skin, such as on our face, because it helps gently remove the dirty oil and replaces it with good, nourishing, healing oil.
You can read all about it on Tsh's post, but basically this is what you do.  If your skin is:

- Normal or combination, then use a mixture of
1 part Castor Oil
1 part Olive Oil

- Dry, then use a mixture of
1 part Castor Oil 
2 parts Olive Oil

- Oily, then use a mixture of
2 parts Castor Oil 
1 part Olive Oil

You know what castor oil is, right?  You buy it in the laxative section.  You can play with the amounts until you find what is right for you, but I suggest starting with 1/1 and going from there. I put it in an old bottle pump from my empty cleanser so it's easy to use. I don't recommend putting it in a jar because it makes a big mess.

You basically just slather it all over your face (no prior washing necessary), and then use a steaming hot washcloth to wipe it away.  Sometimes I'll slather it and then get in the shower and wipe it off in there after it has steamed a bit.  I've been doing this for about 2 months now, and my skin has never ever been better.  I don't look as old as I had been looking right after Isaac was born, and I have only had ONE breakout the entire time which is not usual for me at all.  And the dryness is completely gone.  No more scales!!!  

I still use vitamin E oil occasionally, too, but I don't do that every night, just when I need it.  

Has anyone else ever tried the OCM before?  If you are going to try this, then please read Tsh's whole article.  It's so helpful!  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shabby Apple

So you may or may not know, but I don't make any money off of this blog.  I do it solely as a creative outlet because it makes me feel like a normal human being in the midst of being a stay at home mom of three boys.  I have great respect for those of you that do make money on your blogs because I know that it's a LOT of hours of work for sometimes not that much pay (except for you hotshots out there - you know who you are - holla).

So when Shabby Apple contacted me to be an affiliate I thought, 'Eh, can't hurt,' (right after googling "Shabby Apple Affiliate Program Scam" just to check - they're clear - hehe).  I checked out the stuff on their website, and it is darling I tell you!

They have a couple of deals going right now, if you're interested, I'll pass them along:
Dresses from Shabby Apple
Dresses from Shabby Apple
Oh, and they even have baby stuff - TOO cute.  Unfortunately it's only little girl stuff, but I swear if I had a baby girl, her Pinterest board would look exactly like this website!
Little Girls Dresses from Shabby Apple

And maternity!!!  It's all super darling dresses - very pretty.
Maternity Dresses from Shabby Apple

Anyway, let me know if you like them or not.  If I hear an uproar of hatred toward them, then I'll take it down, but I'm pretty sure you'll dig it.  ;)

I can't wait to order from them.  So far I like these things:
Bridget Belt
Tess Skirt 
Brooklyn Cuff

Passionate Boot
Sandiegan Cuff
Honored Shoe
Pietra Swimsuit
Anyway, happy online shopping!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Can't Catch Up

I'm so behind on everything - it's frustrating.  I thought life would get simpler once school started, but it's actually more complicated since all three of my children have different schedules.  My house feels like it's in chaos - disorganization abounds.  People ask me to do favors, and I forget.  My inbox hasn't been cleared in quite a while, and I just know there are little goblins in there just waiting to pop out and say, "Aha!  You're three days late on this task!"
My counter currently looks like this, and it's kind of an improvement.  Note the second cup of coffee brewing.
Isaac was tossing and turning all night, so I just got him up at 5:00AM, and I put him in there while I made breakfast.  He fought it for a while, but then he gave in - just in time to get the day started.  We have a 5k race at 7:30 which I would do much better on a few more hours of sleep.

What I didn't photograph is the waffle that's burnt to a black crisp that was cooking as I decided to write a blog post.  Oh well.  One of the worst parts about being super busy and super sleepy is that I'm more inclined to overeat, especially while I'm training for this marathon!  I'm HUNGRY!  Don't fret - I only ate one waffle.  ;)

So the real reason I wrote this blog was to tell you that if I don't respond to your email or phone call or read your blog or whatever, it's just because I'm trying to get the bare necessities done.  Life will get easier eventually, right??  Hello?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Camping and My All or Nothing Mentality

We went camping this weekend to Tyler State Park.  Yes, it was still warm enough to swim.  Had I known that before I left, I would have packed swimwear.  They were just fine to swim in their clothes, though.  Anyway, I love taking trips like this for so many reasons but especially because being away from the hussle and bussle of everyday living allows me to think about my life from a larger perspective. 

One thing I was thinking of was how for us recovering perfectionists, the all-or-nothing mentality is so difficult to overcome.  I really wonder if I will ever get over it completely and find balance or if I'm just designed to be this way permanently.  Michael and I were laughing because just the other day my bil had said that he wasn't going to blog anymore, so I commented that it didn't need to be all or nothing.  Michael noted my hypocrisy since I even said that I was going quit once.  But that was one little battle that I won - learning that blogging didn't need to be all or nothing.  
Michael is going to be going on a business trip to Prague in January, and we were going to try to swing it to where I could go with him (on our dime, of course).  So we had talked about being gone two weeks (although he'd only be working one of those weeks), taking weekend trips to Germany and Austria, and just making a big deal out of it.  Well, it didn't work out because we couldn't find anyone to watch the kids for that long, so we just gave up on the idea.  I was sad because I've never been and because Michael and I really need some time away from the kids.

So instead of being all or nothing, we decided to lessen the scope of our trip, staying just 7 days, and only visiting Prague (I hear there's plenty to keep my occupied there while Michael's working - he's only going to be able to have fun after long work hours).  I'm super excited about that.
So that's where I'm at - noting the ways in which I'm out of balance and trying to adjust.  It takes some realigning of my mindset, but it's a good thing.  I think I'll find more happiness, contentment, and peace that way.  Are there any areas of your life that you're trying to find balance in?      

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pics of Yellow and Grey Wedding Are Here!!!

Well, I finally have the long awaited pictures of the fabulous yellow and grey wedding that I keep talking about.  See, it actually did happen!  Warning: this post is a bit picture heavy, so hang on....
I didn't do the flowers, but the lovely Sarah M. did both the flowers and the invitations.  The aisle flowers doubled as centerpieces.  She put hooks on the Mason jars and just moved them to the tables while the wedding party was getting pictures taken (a good money-saving tip!).
I didn't do the bouquet or boutonnieres, either, but aren't they gorgeous!  I did pick out the plate from a thrift store and make the wooden thing underneath the boutonnieres.  ;)  (I'll take credit where I can.)

Again, these are not my doing, but the flowers were just gorgeous.  The lady that did the bouquet did these, too, and I just love that she put these in an antique can.  It went very well with everything else.

These LOVE letters were going to be the death of me.  I had wanted to do something much heavier, but I couldn't put holes in the wall, so I had to come up with an idea that would work with Command Strips. Black foam core board did the trick.  I cut the letters out, then I printed up old sheet music pages, pasted them onto the boards, and gave them a black outline.  It was much harder than it sounds. O.M.G.  :-P

Aren't they pretty?
Can you see my grey striped straws on the very left of this?  We had lemonade in my large, glass Crate & Barrel dispenser (I always make sure to slip in that it's Crate and Barrel because it makes me it sound cooler), and it was super cute with the straws.  Plus, the reception was BYOB, which I thought was brilliant!  Alcohol is usually a huge expense at a reception, but there was plenty to go around if each couple just brought one or two bottles.  LOVED it!
Also on the beverage table was the seating chart.  I designed it with the graphics from the invitations, then hot-glued it onto two pieces of weathered wood which were hot-glued together, tied some raffia around it and called it good!  I really think it was one of my favorite things - so simple but so clever (if I do say so).

The lovely Jennie A. did the cake .  Each one was a different flavor, and they were simply decorated with lace around the bottom and brooches.  It was simple and elegant and gorgeous.

I didn't have anything to do with the food, either, it was all Jennie.  Not only was it beautiful, but it was the best wedding reception food I've ever had.  And I was thrilled that Jennie was on the same page as me with design.  Everything went together so well.  How cute are those chalkboard signs?!

The bride and I went thrifting a few months ago, and we bought little do-dads like this ceramic container, and I painted them all with the same yellow and grey paint.
This is my sign that I posted about here.  Gotta know where to go, yo!

This was a little fan that we made for each person out of card stock using the graphics from the invitation design.
Here's a nice wide shot of the pretty, little, country reception.

Do you remember me posting about the photo booth?  Well, here it is!
And 'member the candy jars?  Here's one of them!
The table numbers were sticks with painted discs and random things glued to them.  They were one of my favorite elements.  Can you also see the tealight place cards?  They brought a pretty glow to each table.  Also, we used her grandmother's doilies for the center of the tables.  I love personal touches like that.
Wanna know a secret?  The Mr. & Mrs. banner was painted denim.  I made cut-off shorts out of jeans and used the extra fabric to make the banner.  Not bad, eh?  That, of course, was adorning the wedding party table, which was the pièce de résistance.  It was really beautiful, but as the night went on it just got more and more magical looking with all of the candles and lanterns.  I made it, and it still took my breath away.  
at dusk

We found this tray (frame) while thrifting, so I painted the bottom grey and used it to put her bouquet on during the reception.  That way her bouquet did double duty as a centerpiece (more money-saving!).  
Speaking of money-saving, I had all of my friends saving jars for me.  There was always a sink full of water at my house with jars awaiting a label peel.  

I used all different sizes and put as many tealight candles as would fit in each one.  
It was really stunning once it got dark.  

Another fun idea that the bride and groom implemented was karaoke for the reception as opposed to a DJ and dancing.  It was such great fun, and everyone played along and had a blast.  It was also a great money-saving idea because they used a friend's machine and got my hubby to run it, cutting out another major expense.

A few days before the wedding I realized that there was not a plan for the grand exit.  So I saw this idea for streamers and ran with it.  I used sticks, ribbon, hot glue, and love.  (Oh, and here's where I talked about the "Just Married" sign.)

The candlelight was really amazing.  I didn't know if it would work, to be honest.  Every time I told people I needed jars to decorate a wedding with I felt like a total noob, but it was gorgeous and it totally worked!  I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out.  It was simply beautiful.

ETA: In case you want to know, I asked the bride what she ended up spending out of pocket, and this is what she said:
We spent just under $8,000. But many services were free (we tipped them though). I estimated our wedding would've cost $15,000 without our hookups.
Not bad, yo!  Just goes to show, being thrifty pays!

Congratulations, Christa and Lafe!!  Thanks for inviting me to help make this day a little more special and for trusting me and my crazy ideas.  I'm honored to have been a part of your wedding!

Linkin' Up To These Cool Parties!!!


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