That 5 Talent Life

A couple weeks ago, I heard the story of the talents, from the Bible. A story I’ve heard countless times in the past. But for some reason, this time…it hit me differently than it had before. Perhaps you’ve heard this story…

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Graphic from TremendousLifeBooks.com

A master gives each of his 3 servants a number of talents. The first man is given 5 talents. The second man is given 2 talents and the third man is given 1 talent. They each take them and later on the master comes back to get an accounting from the 3 men…he comes to settle debts. The first man returns with the 5 original talents given and has doubled his talents. He took what was given and used it to the fullest. Full stop! This is where it hit me.

Every other time I’ve heard this parable, I’ve focused on the 1 talent man who brought back only the 1 talent he was originally given. He’d buried it out of fear and therefore had nothing to show for the master’s investment, but the initial 1 talent. The parable is about faith over fear. The parable is about living out the best life you can with the talents you’ve been given! But for some reason it’s this five talent man that got me trippin’. The speaker asked if we’d ever known a 5 talent person. He asked if we felt we were a 5 talent person. And I had to answer…no. I’m not a 5 talent person. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have many talents, maybe even 5 talents to speak of. It means that I often choose to watch 3 episodes of Seinfeld over pursuing my dreams. It means that I may put something in my calendar that I really want to do, but when the day comes to do it, sometimes I chicken out.

For a very sad example: One time I went to a party in New York. There were going to be “people” there. Important “people”…”people” that I could meet and network with. That party had the potential to be a banner moment. I got dressed up…took a cab to the location…paid the cab driver…walked to the door of the restaurant…looked inside at the all the “people” and turned around and went home. Hating myself every minute I didn’t turn back around and use those talents to the fullest. This is one example, but there are countless times when I’ve buried my talents.

I want to be a 5 talent person. The speaker who was telling this whole story talked about meeting Billy Graham, a 5 talent man. No matter what you think of Billy Graham…the man used what was given to him. He spent his life using his talents. And when the speaker met Billy Graham, he knew he was in the presence of a 5 talent man. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t days when Billy Graham walked to the window of the party, looked inside and turned around. Every single one of us have days like that, no matter how many talents we have or how successful we are at using them to the fullest.

But the days you let fear win cannot outweigh the days you kick fear’s ass to the curb.

I want to be a 5 talent person. I want someone to meet me one day and say…”Damn, she’s 5 talent!”

So…how do I do that? How can I become a 5 talent person?

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Unrealistic Friendspecations

Unrealistic Expectations from Friends TV show blog nerd

As a single, 30-something who was living in New York until a short time ago, I relate to the beloved TV show, Friends, on so many levels. Too many to count. There is no show that means so much to me and has influenced my life the way Friends has (with Seinfeld coming in at a close second.)

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I didn’t watch Friends when it first aired in 1994. I was only 12 and my parents did not find it appropriate viewing material for a 12 year old girl. They were right, of course. But that didn’t keep me from wanting to watch it and it certainly didn’t keep me from tuning in the minute I was old enough and watching it till it ended in 2004, when I was a junior in college.

Looking back, I now know that it played a huge part in my eventual move to the big city. The entire first year I lived in New York felt like a dream, like I was in an episode of Friends. I’d see a street sign or a coffee shop and dream of Central Perk and the 6 most quotable characters in the history of TV. Tell me you don’t say this in Chandler’s voice when you read it “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?” Well, Joey doing Chandler’s voice, but I’ll bet you knew that too.

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As much as Friends will always have that place in my heart and that finale will continue to make me cry even after I’ve seen it dozens of times, I do think that Monica, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel created some unprecedented expectations of what friendship could look like, but usually doesn’t. Where most shows up to that point (again, besides Seinfeld) were about family units or couples getting together, Friends was something altogether different. A set of 6 inseparable Friends who created a family away from family. They did everything together and remained connected for 10+ years (we know they are still together in TV land somewhere.)

Think of all the Christmases and Thanksgivings they spent, not with their nuclear families, but with each other. Think of their trips to Vegas, Barbados and London. The jobs that were forgotten the minute something came up. The family that was forgotten in lieu of the family unit that was created in New York City. Shared life stage and values bonded them in a way that has just never been seen since Friends left the small screen. How I Met Your Mother touches on those element and at times feels similar, but it doesn’t manage to touch the level of nostalgia and love that people (and I) have for Friends.

At the same time, what was created between the 6 of them is as unattainable in real life as a Ross and Rachel friendlationship is. People don’t drop everything to go to Barbados with you, much less for a work conference they have no interest in. You’d be lucky to have one or two good friends show up at your destination wedding, much less the whole pack (minus a pregnant Phoebe.)

I can’t even get some of my friends on Skype most days, much less entice them away from their families, their jobs and their lives to come play with me at Disney. It’s less a complaint and more a realization that real life is just that much harder sometimes, than an episode of Friends (realization may be a little strong.)

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I miss what I found in New York and the brief moment that I grasped onto what it was like to have capital F, Friends. A group of people who were pursuing things the way I was. People who were bonded together in the face of a strange, transient city like New York.

Sure, we didn’t drop everything for each other, every single day. And because New York is so expensive, we all really did have to work most of the time, making it very difficult impossible to sit around in a coffee shop all day, talking about relationships and about our feelings. It just didn’t happen. That’s a beautiful dream that only can live in TV land.

But I think that’s what made Friends so popular and such a strong show with staying power. That kind of Friendship is what we all hope to find. The kind that can last 10+ years and weather being on a break and children and marriages and stuff. When you find that kind of capital F, Friend…hold onto them and never let them go!!

And now…my favorite Friend, Chandler:

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Having a Moment

I was recently described by someone as “busy…in a good way.” As in, always working, always going, always doing, always trying. I do think of that as a good thing. I like to stay busy. I like to think of new projects to try, new songs to write, new blogs to post, new Instagram challenges to complete, new workouts to do. Busy is a very good word to describe me.

Last night when I got home from my long, busy day, I looked up and the moon was so bright. The stars were so pretty. I felt compelled to lay down in my drive way and just stare up at the sky, listening to one of my Spotify playlists. I can’t tell you the last time I just looked up at the stars and thanked God that He made them for me to look up at.

There were days when I was living in New York City that I begged God for a chance to stare up at the stars. But the lights of the city blind us to how bright the stars can be. The moon isn’t quite as awe-inspiring when  you’re standing in the middle of Times Square. So after 8 years, I forgot to stop being busy and to look up.

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But last night I remembered. I couldn’t even take a good picture of what had my busy brain standing still. That gif I found is cool, but it’s not what I was looking at. My phone couldn’t accurately capture the beauty of the moment. We live in such a technologically advanced age and still, transcendental moments like that can’t truly be shared with a photograph. There’s something about the experience that just can’t be translated by pixels.

Do you know all the things you miss when you don’t stand still for a moment? Florida is hot and in May, well, it’s not the hottest it can get, but it can be pretty sweat inducing. But at 10pm  when you’re not moving a muscle and you are lying on the ground watching stars, you can feel a breeze. I actually got a little chilly on a May night in Florida. I could smell Jasmine that has overtaken the fence and I could hear planes as they flew by, taking people to destinations that I dream of seeing one day. As the people on those planes slept on their night flight, I watched them and heard them and smelled jasmine and felt the breeze.

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When I was little, I used to think the crescent moon was a completely different moon from the big round one. Of course, as I got older, I learned about lunar cycles and how the light of the moon changes with seasons and ocean tides. And how the crescent and the full moon are the same moon. They just look a little different.

I laid there contemplating how when you watch clouds, you actually have something to watch because clouds change shape as they move through the sky, but stars are constant. They sit proudly in the night sky. They don’t have anything to prove. They don’t need to entertain.

I laid there for 30+ minutes and walked away with probably as many bug bites on my arms and legs, because that’s what happens when you lie on the ground feeling breezes and smelling jasmine and watching planes and contemplating stars. You don’t even realize you’re being bitten, because the beauty of the moment outweighs the pain.You don’t care because something bigger is happening. You have become a part of something bigger. In that moment you aren’t just a girl lying on concrete, staring at the stars…you are a Queen of Narnia. You know the path is before you and the world is behind. You have transcended even just for a moment to be a part of something good and true and something you don’t even understand because you are a soda can and God is the ocean (thanks Francis Chan.)

I’m sad the moment ended, but moments have to come to an end. That’s the nature of moments. That always makes me think of the Sondheim musical “Into the Woods.” My second favorite musical of all time. The baker’s wife has a moment in the woods with Cinderella’s prince and after it’s over she wonders…”What was that?” Moments leave us wondering why we can’t have more of them. But then she sings some of my favorite lyrics in Broadway history…

“Oh, if life were made of moment,

Even now and then a bad one-!

But if life were only moments,

Then you’d never know you had one.”

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Return to Blogland

You know what’s hard to do? Write a book about boys and dating when you currently have no interest in boys or dating. I know, I know…I wrote an entire 40 episode web series on boys and dating. So…there’s that.

And I can’t really describe to you what’s changed. The fundamental paradigm shift that’s happened in my brain and body that led me from wanting love and marriage to wanting nothing to do with them. We’re definitely in uncharted territory over here.

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It’s a particularly difficult realization to come to. Finding out that a book consisting of all my funniest stories revolve around the men that I’m not with. The guys that I’ve kissed. The boys that I do not miss. Every time I sit down to write, I think to myself “Is my life all about boys? Is the sum of my life’s work, the roster of  dudes that I’ve been involved with one way or another?????” When I think about it, I make this face…

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And then this mentally happens….

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And before you know it I’m on a full-on shame spiral where I am left examining all past mistakes through a very judgmental microscope. It’s not pretty. No one wants to be around that level of Debbie Down. I don’t even want to be around me sometimes.

Here’s what I know…I left New York for a reason. It wasn’t where I needed to be anymore. And I’m the kind of person that has no problem changing my circumstance. When things go bad or are no longer healthy for me, I change them. I move or get a new job or join a gym or stop drinking soda. It’s often as simple as that. I moved because I wanted to be able to find someone and fall in love…that was the reason. That’s what I said in the last episode of my web series. Remember…

That was not the truth. I think I thought it was the truth at the time. Is truth a relative thing? It was true then, but it’s not true anymore. Does that make it a lie? Was I lying to myself when I said I just wanted to fall in love? Cause right now…I know that I don’t. It’s the last thing I want for my life. This messy existence I’m currently living, love would only make it messier, if that’s even possible. And I have plenty of tangible, understandable love from my family and my friends. But romantic love? No thanks.

No wonder I have writer’s block, since what I’ve given myself to write about are stories about something I no longer want. I still want to share my experiences with you, world. I want you to benefit from my experiences. To learn from my mistakes. To understand me better by understanding where I’ve been. But I’m having a hell of a time doing it. I’ll be lucky if I have any hair left for my picture in the book jacket…

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In the meantime, while I figure it all out, I’m going to attempt to return to the blog I love. The blog I have neglected lately. The blog I started long ago and often take for granted. This is my brain on blog so, read at your discretion. And if you choose to, thanks for coming along for the ride!!

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Modern Princess Instagram Challenge

Modern Princess Instagram Challenge Disney nerd in the sand

April is here! Spring has sprung. And when I open my window, woodland creatures come in and help me dress every morning! Life is a fairytale, dreams are rainbows and rainbows are real. Soon I’ll break into song and dance! Cause…Hey! It’s Friday. And what were Fridays made for, if not song and dance and fairytale romance.

Don’t fight that inner princess…or prince! Just embrace them! We all have a little Disney waiting inside of us. So come on over to Instagram where the magic is waiting for you!! Snap a pic using my Modern Princess prompts and enter to win a fantastical Disney prize pack. The more pictures you take, the more times you enter! Make sure to tag @NerdintheSand, use the hashtag #PrincessProblems and bring along all the plucky sidekicks and furry woodland creatures you want! There’s room for everyone in my castle!

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And all month long I’ll be talking Princes, Princesses and the wonderful world of Disney. So if you have a specific topic you want to hear about…email me: nerdinthecity01@gmail.com

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There are only 6 Mondays till Christmas. 6 Mondays! Are you kidding me? I feel like I just left New York yesterday. But no, that was back in July. And I feel like I just turned 32, but no…that was last December. Which means my birthday is fast approaching. And that also means I’ll be turning 33.
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I’m one of those weird people that likes being in her 30’s and is incredibly grateful to be rid of her 20’s. But I have to admit, when I was in college dreaming of being in my 30’s and rid of my 20’s, it looked a whole lot different than my current reality.
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Maybe I thought I’d be married by now. Maybe I’m glad I’m not! Maybe I thought I’d be debt free. Maybe I wish I was. Maybe I thought a million different possible futures, none of which matter because everything I’ve done in life has led me to where I am. Today it’s California. In 2 weeks, I’ll be back in Florida. In 2 years it could be Nashville or Ireland or Denver or back in New York or still in Florida. Who knows? (Well, obviously God knows, but He’s keep His mysteries a secret!)
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A Well Built Ship

I was watching an episode of Gilmore Girls (ok I watched 7) and I’ll admit, I had a momentary lapse. It was an episode from season 7, near the end of the show and Lorelai was married to Christopher.
I sent a hasty tweet that said:
“Ok, I l-l-love Luke and Lorelai,
but I coulda been very happy
with her and Christopher too.”

He’s always been a charming man, albeit a bit of a flake. And while I truly think he loved Lorelai and Rory, he just wasn’t good at that whole being a steady, stable family man thing. He was a hurricane. Plain and simple. And so is Lorelai, so in essence (and according to my theory) they could never have successfully and happily belonged together. Fast forward to season 7 and he is finally attempting the seeming impossible. Going house shopping, wooing the good townspeople of Star’s Hollow, playing dad to Rory and Gigi, but it never feels quite right…this domesticated version of Charming Christopher. And Lorelai isn’t happy…we know she isn’t.

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In stark contrast, you have Luke Danes. Steadfast townie. If there is a man in Star’s Hollow who understands commitment, it is Luke. He owns his own diner (in the building his father owned.) He kept his father’s boat. He commits to help Jess, his sister’s son. He even committed hard core to that blue baseball cap that Lorelai gave him in season 1. He never leaves. Never abandons his post. He’s there at the diner every morning to get the Gilmore Girls their beloved cups of coffee till the very last episode.
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*Print from LetsAllMakeBelieve Etsy shop

Is there trouble in paradise when Luke and Lorelai finally get together? You bet. It’s a good ship. And good ships are built to withstand the harsh conditions.
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*Photo from Nautical Wheeler
Luke is thrown when he discovers that he has a daughter who he knew nothing about. Sure, that’s gonna shock a guy. Like I said, Luke’s problem isn’t commitment. But a case could be made for his shortcomings in the area of communication. Years of unrequited feelings…yeah, communicating wasn’t his strong suit.

Yes, Luke and Lorelai could have had a healthy, happy, ride-into-the-sunset ship. We all would have been very ok with that. But Luke lies about April and cuts Lorelai out of decisions and Lorelai sleeps with Christopher and then marries him. They both makes huge, hurtful mistakes.
In the end, they are a stronger ship for the mistakes they make, for the struggles they face.

Now as I’ve said before (click here) I’ve watched a lot of TV. I should go ahead and capitalize that because I truly means A LOT. And I think I’m gonna go on record and say that Luke and Lorelai’s relationship is one of the very best in television history.
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They start as friends. Great friends. They are there for one another as relationship after relationship falls apart. And they get things wrong sometimes. It’s one of the most realistic television relationships of all time.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the lesson here is “love conquers all.” It doesn’t always. Sometimes it can’t. But love reminds you of the good. Love forgives the wrongs and love fights like hell to survive no matter how much we try to kill it. (Just look at the divorce rate. And even the divorces of both Luke and Lorelai.)

I only hope that they are still experiencing those highs and lows together when the Gilmore Girls revival hits Netflix next year.
And I also hope that Rory finds or found someone who can live up to the father figure she had in Luke Danes.

What I Feel vs. What I Know

I’ve been reading Jamie Tworkowski’s, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, book called If You Feel Too Much. And I’ve been taking my time with it. Every page I read, I feel like I need to savor it because there are gorgeous profound truths in the pages of this book. Things that Jamie went through that speak to my heart, especially as I go through this transition. And so it’s taking me months to read a book that would normally take days. But I don’t want to rush the words.
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And in one of the chapters Jamie pits What He Feels against What He Knows. So the title of this blog post is pilfered from his book. Borrowed, really. So, thank you Jamie! Thank you for your words. For the difficult things you experienced so God would give you the words that you are now giving to me.

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Here’s What I Feel versus What I Know at any given moment in any given day…

I feel sad. I know that it’s temporary.

I feel happy. I know that’s temporary too.

I feel like I’m bad at everything. I know that I’m not.

I feel like I don’t have a whole lot to offer this world. I know that I do.

I feel fat. I know that I’m not and that there are people who actually struggle with obesity or eating disorders and I am not one of those people. So I know that my insecurities stem from a place that is not worth validating.

I feel like I’m not enough. I know that I am just enough or else there would be a whole lot more of me to go around and there isn’t. So I must be enough.

I feel like I’ll never fall in love. Or worse…no one will ever be able to fall in love with me. I know that I am the only thing standing in the way of that happening.

I feel like God made a mistake when he mixed the ingredients that make up my brain and the very essence of who I am. I know that He didn’t, because God doesn’t make mistakes and for some beautiful, unknown reason He chose to make me.

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What we feel and what we know are constantly at war. We are not meant to move with the emotions that come and go. Ebbing and flowing like the tides on the shore. They are as inconstant as the wind. And in Florida, the only thing you can count on is that the wind is there, but never which way it will be blowing,

We are meant to move with the knowledge and discernment that only Christ can offer. Even when we don’t feel Him there…He is. Even when we don’t feel strong…we are. Even if we think we can’t carry on…we will.

If we allow what we feel to dictate our actions we will always be ruled by the flaky, unpredictable self. And God asks…no He demands more from us.

So I feel like I don’t know what’s coming next. But I know that if I’m listening, I won’t need to.
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I Pitch My Tent in the Valley

I had a revelation about dating. It’s not ground breaking information or anything. Just a thought about me. The person I know the most and spend the most time with. And maybe you’ve felt or feel like this and that is why we share. To find connection. To say, “Hey, you’re there right now? Me too.”
So…I don’t like dating. It’s no secret. And I recently went on a date with a really nice guy. He was socially well adjusted and he liked nerdy things and he loved Jesus. He was quite possibly a unicorn. But I wasn’t having any of it. I didn’t wanna go. And when he asked me out for a second date (something I’ve never been on with anyone) I dragged my feet about it. And turned into a whiner. I whined about it. “Do I have to go?” I asked my friends and family. The same friends and family who have heard me complain time and again that I don’t get asked out by decent guys and have heard me complain that I’ve never even been on a second date with anyone…ever.
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What was wrong with me? What have I been saying??? “Unicorn!” “Where are all the unicorns?” “If only I could find a unicorn then maybe my relationship stuff would be over.” But here was a unicorn sitting in front of me and I couldn’t be bothered.
It wasn’t adding up.

There’s an element that I have not shared with you beautiful nerds. I’ve kept it close. It was too private to share. But…here goes everything.
I accidentally fell in love somewhere in the 8 years I was living in New York. And yes…accidentally falling in love is as stupid as it sounds. And it doesn’t produce the happy outcome that you readers and viewers and family and friends so graciously hope for my life.

I’m only giving the highlights because of anonymity and because if he ever reads this (highly unlikely), he knows all he needs to about it and doesn’t need to know any more than what I’ve chosen to share. And because there is way more to it than this, but this is the important stuff.

The bullet points are as follows:
-He’s a boy
-I’m a girl
-We were friends
-Then we were roommates
-I moved out
-I missed him
-I started to feel more
-But knew it was not a possibility
-So I tried to get over it
-And failed miserably
-I told him I was in love with him
-But nothing happened
-Then I moved to Florida (not because of!! Important note.)

Now as I mentioned, this unicorn guy came along after the bullet points. And the bullet points, of course, have a lot to do with a lack of enthusiasm about the unicorn.

Here’s what it boils down to. I’m 32 now. I’m not getting any younger. But hey!! I am getting way…way better!!
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I’m about to be an aunt. And almost all my friends and family are married. It’s natural. It’s what happens. But maybe that’s not what “happens” to me.

See…dating comes with a price tag. The price is that there are a set of expectations in a dating situation that for a hurricane like me, are unavoidable and undesirable. Expectations like…do I like him? Would I kiss him? Do I want to have sex one day with him? Would I marry him? (I’m drastically over simplifying but you get it.) All the while society and well-meaning church folks ask the dreaded questions…”When will you be getting married?” “Should I set you up on a blind date since you’re still single?” “Don’t you want to be happy?”

So instead of turning to a unicorn who I know there is potential with, I turn to and fixate on the bullet points. Cause there is no future there. There is no expectation of more. And that is ok with me right now.

But “NO!” you say. You’re shaking your head that it isn’t better. I know what you mean and I know why you shake, but I currently disagree… because I’m not looking for ‘The One’ I’m looking for a friend. Friendship is what you hope to end up with at the end of a long married day. A friend. Who gets you and loves you and sure…wants to have some sexy time with ya. But who is ultimately…your FRIEND.

If the only expectation on a date was getting a friend out of it, maybe then it wouldn’t fill me with the crippling fear that it does now. I don’t let fear get in the way for me usually. But with this dating stuff, for some reason, I listen. I don’t want to worry about whether or not some guy is gonna hold my hand or try to kiss me and will I be too polite to tell him I’m not really feeling anything but friendship for him. And why has it become such a crime or an emotional wrecking ball to have that conversation.

I want amazing. I want exciting and I want it with some one who knows me the way the bullet points knew me. But who also loves me back.
And it’s a Catch 22 that won’t happen if I avoid dating. I know that, mom! (She’s pretty smart!) This blog has no answer. It has no solution.

But then again, this blog has never been about having it figured out. Or about teaching how life works. It’s always been about the journey and the figuring and the valley moments. Cause that’s where I find my tent pitched 89% of the time. I’ll let someone else write about the mountain top.
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