I don’t dance. My dancing repertoire includes the Cotton Eyed Joe and the Cha-cha Slide. And that’s it. In the eighth grade, I went to a school dance, fell UP the bleachers, tore my incredibly cool (not) camo pants, and bruised my shin and my pride all at once. When I went to 4-H dances, I’d lurk in the corner hoping that a cute boy would come ask me to slow dance. On the rare occasion that a cute boy DID ask me to dance, we’d awkwardly sway to the music while standing ridiculously far apart. I didn’t go to prom because why pay to go look like a fancy-dressed idiot? Somewhere in the world, there are videos of me doing Zumba at home where I thought I was safe to dance horribly. If ever my sister has reason to blackmail me, those videos are her leverage. There are a few good memories of dancing in my past: Learning how to two-step from a cute friend at a national 4-H competition. Dancing with a guy with a sweet southern accent that I’d developed a crush on while at the same competition. My fondest dancing memories all have something in common though. They took place in our kitchen. When my sister was younger, we would dance back and forth across the kitchen while mom fixed supper in the evenings. When Kyle was small enough that I could pick him up, I’d hold him while I dance-bounced all over the kitchen. It always made him giggle in that cute way that only babies can accomplish. The most recent kitchen dancing memory, the one that I love the most, happened the Friday after Christmas. Keith and I had just returned home after a dinner and movie date and were just hanging around the house not doing anything. The rest of my family was all in the den, watching the news and visiting before they got around for bed. Keith and I were in the kitchen, laughing and being silly like we do. I gave him a big hug and held him close, soaking up the moment. The hug tuned into swaying which turned into dancing, a simple, slow two step. As we turned circles there on the wood floor, Clint came into the living room and started playing the guitar and singing, providing the soundtrack to our little moment without even realizing it. The moment soon ended with my grandma somewhat awkwardly breaking it up, but I can’t help but smile to myself when I think back on those few minutes of quiet sweetness. When I look into the future, I can see myself with a handsome husband and a couple of cute kids. And any time we dance together, we dance in the kitchen.
First off, I want to start by saying that I am not writing this post because I’m looking for pity or because I want people to feel sorry for me. I just felt like sharing this story and to fully relay it involves disclosing a little bit of personal information. I am an extremely anxious and nervous person by nature. Over the past year, I’ve spent many days suffering with what I’m going to call panic attacks. I can’t sleep well, my heart races in a very unpleasant manner, I lose my appetite, feel sick to my stomach, and my mind is overcome many days with thoughts that cause me a lot of distress.Towards the beginning of 2013, I was plagued with thoughts of losing my soul. I’d sit at my desk at work in fear that at any moment the adversary was going to overtake me and I would no longer have hope. I’d lay in bed at night tossing and turning with my mind full of troubling thoughts, begging God to allow me to sleep. Thankfully, God helped me to overcome that. Later on in the year, a series of events took place that shook me up so bad that I’m still trying to recover completely. I don’t feel like it would be expedient to go into a lot of details here, but the gist of it is that I spend many many days doubting whether I was doing the right thing when it came to my relationship with Keith. Most people know that he’s been my best friend since he moved to Oklahoma and a few close friends can tell you that waaay before Keith and I started dating again that I said I would marry him someday. We’d prayed a lot about whether we should date or not because we both understood that our friendship was at stake if it didn’t work out. Even though he wasn’t in the faith yet, we both felt pretty confident that it was okay for us to start dating. Never once did I have a bit of doubt that Keith was the person I was supposed to be with. After almost a year of being so happy and content and thankful to have Keith as my boyfriend, I suddenly had to come to terms with the fact that that might not be what I was supposed to be doing after all. I cried. A lot. I yelled and screamed at God, asking Him why He’d let me stay with Keith for so long, asking Him why He allowed us both to feel like we were in the right place, asking HIm why He’d worked so many things out for us if we were just going to have to break up. The panic attacks came back. I fidgeted constantly because the physical movements kept me from really letting my mind have control. I spent my nights sobbing and praying to God. I’d wake up with my mind instantly going on the defensive and my heart pounding out of my chest. It was absolutely horrible and it seriously affected my relationship. How could it not? I was constantly depending on Keith to comfort me and talk me through things when I was having an extra rough day. And the fact that we might have to break up was always lingering in the back of our minds. Keith has always been the strong one and this was no exception. Even though he was worried, his feelings about us were unwavering. He was always there with sweet words for me, he was always there to remind me of things that God had done for us, and he was always, always praying for me. And that’s where the whole point of this post comes in. Prayer. When I first started having these panic attacks, I started praying a lot more. I’d go to the bathroom at work and pray any time I started to feel scared and worried. I also started asking for prayer more often. It’s hard to admit that you need prayer sometimes, even to your family and friends. It’s been especially hard for me to ask them to pray about this trial because it’s not a physical problem. I don’t have a headache, my body isn’t suffering in any way, it’s my mind. It’s hard to admit that. It makes me feel like I’m mentally unstable and that scares me to death. When I started worrying about my relationship with Keith, I prayed about it constantly. I asked my parents to pray, I asked Keith to ask his parents to pray. It seemed like my life was just one big prayer for a while. Gradually, I’ve been able to feel better. I still have rough days. I still have to go to my mom and pray that God will give her words to speak to me because I’ve had a really hard day. I still struggle with sleeping at night. But for the most part, I feel better. Keith and I have spent a lot of time examining ourselves and our relationship and we feel pretty confident that we’re in the right place. Through this trial I’ve seen just how important prayer is. I’ve learned that it’s such a powerful tool to combat the devil. Through this trial I’ve been able to come to a point in my life where I love to pray and where I rely so heavily on prayer to help me make it through the day. And maybe that’s been the point all along. Maybe God saw that I wasn’t relying on Him enough and allowed these things to come my way so that I’d learn to have a more prayerful mind and if that’s the case, then I thank God for this trial.
Four years ago today, I was a high school senior who desperately wanted a job. I was also a high school senior who desperately did NOT want to work for her dad. My dad has worked at Greenleaf Nursery since he was fresh out of high school at 19 years old. 31 years. I grew up loving to visit Dad at the office, to sneak candy from the candy jar on his secretary’s desk, to be complimented left and right by his coworkers. At 17 however, working at Greenleaf was not my dream job, candy jar and compliments or not. I felt like I could do better than working for Dad, that people would just think I was a daddy’s girl who could only get a job that he gave her. I needed to do something though or I’d have to start taking blow off classes at the high school to fill the space that I’d intended to fill with a job. So on February 25, 2010, I started what I thought was a part time job until they laid me off in the summer and I started college. I still remember what I wore that first day. I still cringe at what I wore that first day. Who wears pink pants and sparkly Converse to their first day of work in an office? *facepalm* It was a busy time, learning the ropes, making mistakes, and working late. I also had high school and college homework to work in from time to time. But I loved it. I loved how grown up I felt working in an office, I loved calling customers, I loved having a desk with my own computer. I loved going out to eat with my dad for lunch and not having to pay for it. From the very beginning I’d been warned that when the busy season was over, I wouldn’t have a job anymore and that was okay. I was enrolled in college and didn’t need to worry about working. I’d figure something out. As summer approached and I graduated high school, my thoughts about the future started to shift. I decided that I didn’t want to go to college anymore. And God worked something out for me: I kept my job. Sure, I had to spend the summer filing paperwork for a department that I didn’t actually work in, sure it was the most boring and tedious thing I’ve ever had to do to date. But I was getting paid for it and I didn’t have to go job hunting. Four years later, I am still so thankful that God worked it out for me to keep working here. When I was younger, I always hated spring shipping because I never saw my dad. Since I’ve been working here, I get to see him all the time. I can take off work whenever I want to, no questions asked. I’ve been able to go on trips with my friends and family and that’s such a blessing to me. I love being able to leave work on Thursday so I can go to church at Parkland and have extra time at Keith’s. When the weather is bad, I can tag along with Dad in the 4×4 so I don’t have to drive on slick roads. I have three very funny, overly protective coworkers who treat me like their own kid (sometimes that’s not so good- it’s like I have four dads working here). I don’t make a whole lot of money, but I make enough that I can pay the bills and buy gas for my Jeep-which I bought and paid off with my Greenleaf salary. It’s not perfect here by any means. Our computers are slow, a lot of the truck drivers cuss a lot, and 75% of the work is done in 25% of the year. But the positives far outweigh the negatives and I know that God’s hand was in it when I started working here.
This would be the appropriate time to say, “Here’s to another four years,” but… I kind of hope to be married by then. So I’ll just say thanks God for providing me this job and thanks Greenleaf for being beautiful and a great place to work.
Now how about that raise?
“If you have a bad thought about yourself, tell it to go to hell because that is exactly where it came from.” Bringham Young
I know that I’m not the only person in the world who has bad thoughts about myself. From silly little things like wishing I was more toned or wishing my hair was naturally straight or curly instead of naturally frizzy to bigger things like thinking I’m not a good enough girlfriend to Keith and that I don’t deserve him and that I’m not a good enough servant to God. It’s so easy to get caught up in putting ourselves down and comparing ourselves to others that we ruin whole days of our lives because we aren’t happy with the person that we are. I could come up with a list a mile long of things that I don’t like about myself. So many days lately I’ve felt like the absolute worst person in the world. I’ve hated my bad attitude and the stress and panic I feel over nothing. I’ve looked at myself and thought, your hair is a wreck and everyone likes your new coworker better because she has green eyes and is super friendly and brought them super amazing cupcakes just because. I’ve felt like I have nothing I could do for God that someone else couldn’t do better. I felt like starting a song in church the other day that a dear friend sings a lot and she sings it beautifully. I didn’t sing it beautifully. It was hard enough for me to start it at all because I knew I couldn’t do it justice and when I finally finished singing I was so mad at myself. “Why’d you even start that song? You knew you couldn’t sing it as well as Heidi.” But after church… Something happened. A friend came up and told me he was glad I’d started that song. He hadn’t heard it in a while and he really enjoyed it. He didn’t care that I didn’t sing it as well as someone else could have. That got me to thinking. We are our own worst enemies. We can compare ourselves to others all day long and we can beat ourselves up so bad that we never heal from it. Or… We can see that we are who we are for a reason. God made us the way we are because somehow those things that make us different will be used to give glory to Him. I’m not outgoing and I’ve never liked that about myself. But I am a good listener. I’m overly sensitive and cry a lot, but I’m compassionate and sympathetic. I’m tall and lanky and kind of awkward, but I can use my ridiculously long arms to help little old ladies get things off the top shelf at Walmart. So here’s a challenge for you. The next time you have a bad thought about yourself, turn it into something good. Don’t let the devil make you feel like you’re anything less than the beautiful and wonderful person that you are. The world we live in is cruel and mean and unforgiving. Let’s not make it worse by treating ourselves that way.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t wake up today thinking I would start a blog. I had every intention of creating a profile here and following a friend’s blog, that’s it. When I saw that I was actually creating a brand new, baby blog, I stopped for a minute. I wondered if I really wanted to go through with it this time. I’ve toyed with the idea, but I’ve always decided against it. Today though, I took the leap. I’ve recently realized how much words can affect people, how things that other people have written have touched my heart. I’ve decided that I want to use this little piece of the internet that is MINE to share my thoughts with others, so that maybe I can touch their hearts in some way or at least make them laugh a little. I have no idea how often I’ll post. I have no idea what I’ll post about. But when I do, I’ll be doing so with the purpose of keeping it positive and happy and making people smile.
I didn’t exactly pick the best time to start this endeavor. Spring is upon us and with spring comes long work hours and a lot of stress. But really, there is never a good or a perfect time to start something new. If you wait around for a good and perfect time to arrive, you’ll spend your life waiting and never doing. If people always waited for the perfect time, we wouldn’t have… Well, we wouldn’t have a lot of good things.
I feel like a first post should be awkward and all over the place, so now that I’ve got that out of the way, we can move on to bigger and better things! It can only go up from here. I hope. Going further down would be kind of a bummer.