“Lucky for me, I have you to tie my shoes”

(My Big Fat Greek Wedding for the win!)

Thus was my sentiment to Harli earlier in the week, with bathroom habits referenced rather than shoe-tying. I’m not helpless, or a child, right? I could reeeeealllly go for a 64 pack of Crayola, along with one of those “Jumbo” activity books that my mom used to buy at Wal Mart for $2.97 in the hopes of keeping me occupied for more than 15 minutes, but I am most certainly an adult. An adult who drinks hot chocolate in the afternoon at around two, and occasionally enjoys single serve macaroni and cheese (from the BLUE BOX) for lunch, but an adult just the same.

Looking for proof, you skeptical sort? Well, I’m married- only adults do that! And I can drive, though I probably shouldn’t over here, as I’m my spacial relations are still a bit scary when I’m driving the wrong side of the car. Have a look at my house sometime, and you’ll find it spotless, aside from the almost constant presence of clumps of white fur on the floor, courtesy of my Chinchilla-cross-Persian cat who desperately needs to be groomed, but has parents who are too poor to afford the vet visit required to prove that he isn’t going to harm other cats at the grooming centre in Pet Barn, and is instead molting. He has the decency to walk around while self-grooming, and therefore spreads his fluffy deposits in every room of our townhouse. Loki even shuts the door of Harli’s “study” (it’s a bedroom devoted to his “collectibles” [TOYS] and RPG books, but it has a desk in it, so let’s pretend) behind him, so the floor looks as though a winter frost has hit if I’m not diligent in checking every day or two. No joke, before we got Loki Lou, I had to vacuum the downstairs of our place every three or four days, and the upstairs portion maybe every three weeks. Now, the entire place has to be tackled every other day, which is fine at the moment, given that I’m still home all day, but still annoying. I might just be developing better homemaking tendencies, and care a little more about how clean our house looks and smells. Anyway, point is: the house looks decent, so I am an adult, yes?

On point Panda. Things feel better than they have in months. Nothing has changed, circumstantially at least, but my days are happier and much more peaceful. I’m actually heading toward feeling pretty amazing, again. It has most certainly been an answered prayer, and I’m so so thankful. I know that there are a number of people/families who send up a word for Harli and I, and it means the world. It’s so corny, but I know when we’re being prayed for.

Practical speak: I’ve lost a little bit of weight- woohoo! Not much- like six pounds, but still. :) Better eating habits (the hot chocolate and Easy Mac are pretty rare, truth be told) and exercise, who would have thought? I have the time, so devoting 20-30 minutes each morning to a dvd or YouTube workout isn’t exactly a sacrifice. Financially, we’re still ok, but our debt is the same as it was two years ago, so increasing our income remains a requirement if we ever want to be in able to afford to have children. Yes, I know that if I wait for “the right time,” it will never come and then I’ll be old and crusty and lonely. But really, we can’t afford it right now, and that’s just the honest truth. If God moves otherwise, then we won’t be upset, but it definitely isn’t our plan to add to the family before the end of next year.

On the subject of additional income, an idea of sorts has sprung up recently, and I’m praying for wisdom before we leap into anything. Don’t panic; we’re not going to flip houses, become Tupperware demonstrators, or work in the adult film industry. ;) It’s only a small thought today, but any extra intercession would be most appreciated. I know- gimme, gimme, gimme, but I’m wicked like that.

Smile, Panda still loves you! xx


Life From the Passenger Seat

No need to brace yourself; I’m not going to have a proper whinge in your direction. However, I feel the need to document a bit of where life is moving, and that isn’t always a cheerful affair. Let’s be honest, kids: I’M not a cheerful affair. I’m not an affair, at all. Not even an event, and certainly not a spectacle. I’m just a panda whose life is still whizzing by, and I’m trying to find the good in it without ignoring the flaws. 

As of today, I’ve been without a job for five months. This is distressing, disheartening, frustrating, and a myriad of other adverbs with mopey connotations. When I quit my job in November, I didn’t anticipate still being out of work in mid-April. At most, I expected to have a new role by sometime in January, seeing as no one hires in December due to the holiday season. It seems that God’s still refining me, and my pride. I’ve had several interviews, and nothing has fallen into place. In some cases, the potential employer doesn’t have the courtesy to even ring to say I haven’t been successful after the interview.

Incidental to the above, I won’t be able to go home to Iowa next month for my best friend’s wedding. We were waiting to find out if some alternative funding would come through, but no. The dread I feel in breaking this news to her is palpable. What if I can’t get back before she moves away? What if I never see her again? It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve realised that my “goodbye” in 2010 is the final one I’ll share with someone, but it’s almost too much to contemplate in this case. We’ve been friends since 4th Grade Orchestra, shared an apartment for two years, and she did my make-up for my wedding to Harli nearly four years ago. To miss her big day feels much bigger than I anticipated. Everything about life “here,” instead of “there,” has been more difficult than anticipated.

In incredible news, Harli and I are in no way struggling, financially, on one income. Wait, not true! My student loans are currently in deferment, but other than that, we’re doing just fine. There aren’t words enough to express my gratitude for God’s provision in this situation. Bills are paid, and there’s still enough left over for a date night to the cinema every now and then.

I’m still struggling with some emotional baggage, particularly in relation to feeling “forgotten.” For all my claims of leading a life full of friends, and an amazing church family, in Iowa, only a few people have made an effort to keep in touch. I know that’s just what happens when geography gets in the way, but sometimes it’s biting to feel insignificant to people I thought were precious.

Six weeks ago, we added a fluffy member to the family in the form of a Chinchilla-cross-Persian named Loki. His full name is Loki Lou Laufeyson, because we’re Marvel geeks and “Lou” just sounds so sweet when I’m scolding him. He has the sweetest little voice, super soft paws, and a delightful attitude in the mornings. I just love my Loki boy. :) Even sweeter: we only paid $100 for him from the previous owner. He came with his litter box, three scratching posts, some food, up to date vaccinations, and desexed, so he was quite the steal. Harli’s family are all very fond of him, and he’s just fine with that. He loves Harli best, but is content to be my cat during the day. And, that’s enough chatter for you to see I’m obsessed with my pet, so we’ll stop there.

H and I celebrated the wedding of my closest friend in Australia, last month, and it was incredible. No exaggeration, drama, or fibbing, it was the most beautiful celebration I can imagine, and a perfect representation of her relationship with her husband, family, and friends. As her brother-in-law was giving a toast, praising the Lord for His provision, and speaking honestly about faith in this world, I nearly wept for my dear friend. The time I’ve spent with Mia and her entourage has been so good for my panda soul. I know where I belong in those moments, and that is an answered prayer.

Familial issues and drama are still there. You know.

Harli and I started a “Bible in 90 Days” reading plan a little over a month ago, and are progressing nicely. It’s really fascinating to discuss stories and teachings that have been part of my consciousness since childhood, with an adult man who is reading them for the first time. He’s wowed in ways I’ve ceased to be, and the opportunity to re-read the OT is so precious right now. Love, love this part of our married life :) Fingers crossed it continues.

Lots of “lifestyle” changes are starting to come about, and should anything stick, I’ll doodle back and report. Let’s not celebrate before the table has been laid, kk?

Overall, I don’t feel terribly in control these days. I’m sort of just along for the ride, and miss being the one behind the wheel, so to speak. I suppose life is sweet enough from the passenger seat, at least for this season. I’m not in a valley, or belting a tune a la Maria in The Sound of Music, and that’s perfectly fine. My Lord is amazing, even in the quiet.


Um, yuck?

Image

I’m not sure if I should be completely disgusted, or just thankful that my feet are so coarse that they keep my floor clean.


Six Months Later

Still angry. Heart is still broken. Still fat. Still lonely. Still wishing for the ability to change the last decade of my life. There are little glimmers of sunlight, but most of the time I’m just distracting myself into ignoring the darkness that crashes around.

And yes, I have made an effort to change all this. I’m just not worth saving, at the moment.


Here you go

“Maybe I’m just angry and bitter, and can’t be fucked to move in a better direction. Yes, I just said “fucked.” Cover up your horror, and tell me that God’s left me because I’m lazy and the thought of going to church makes me tear up as I write this. By all means, connect my health with the state of my relationship with Christ. Or, just continue in your world where being employed or pregnant means you can’t answer the phone, and the only conversations worth having with me are the ones where I don’t share that I cry most days. Yea, I chose to live in Australia, and that means I don’t get to be lonely or lost. I apparently forfeited the right to beg for one little corner of my life to go unchanged when I made the decision to immigrate. I’m 26, childless, nearly friendless, and I lost almost all belief in the God I thought I knew. Apparently, this lack of offspring means I have more than enough time to cater to people who give exactly two shits and three giggles about me, and that I can’t possibly have a full life without being a mother. I won’t arrive, or have a valid word to say, until then, right? I do work 50 hours a week, though that doesn’t really count, does it? Maybe I look at who I was at 18 and know that she’d be ashamed of me. And maybe I just eat to keep myself from screaming sometimes. Or, maybe, I’m too busy making sure no one sees how “less than” I really am to find the time for the treadmill.”

The above was written approximately five months ago. Much as I hate to admit this, it pretty much sums up how I’m still feeling. I don’t go to church; facing the loss of my old life seems to happen most during worship, and my husband is super awkward and makes the whole experience really uncomfortable, so I just stay home. Community has always been really important, vital even, to my life, but I suppose I need to give up that, too. I don’t believe in substitutionary atonement/penal substitution (Wiki it) anymore, and that’s pretty much killed my relationship with God. Woo. I really want to still believe, but I’m just not strong enough right now. I fill the hole with furniture, food, and anger toward my family and husband. I’d love to go back and know the love of God, again, but He seems to have given me all that I ask for and then walked away. “Here you go. Stop your bitching. You blew your chance, and I can’t handle your bullshit excuses, so call me when you’re not a mess” or something to that effect. The only time I’m genuinely happy these days is when I let myself rest in memories of days that will never be repeated, when I had friends who loved and supported me, a church family that wrapped itself around my tears, and a fiance who would never let me talk to him the way my husband does. I don’t tweet, or update my Facebook status very often, because I have nothing of value to share. The JEL girl died, the 20 year old with wanderlust is no more, and the hope I used to so honestly trust is a shadow. No one cares. I put on my happy voice for my weekly calls to my mother and sister, and that’s good enough. My (family member) shredded me into little pieces, and no one seems to understand that they just won’t go back together. I tried, honest I did. No matter. By the time Harli is home from work in an hour, every trace of my tears will be gone, because he can’t do anything to stop them. Lovely.


Buenos Dias, me llamo “Panda”

There exists a moment, at least twice a week in fact, in which my darling husband asks me how to say something in Spanish. What he’s after varies from, “how do you say ‘my second cousin smells like cheese,’” to ‘what is the name of this episode of ‘Breaking Bad’ in English?” and I can almost never answer his question. The other day, I translated “Caballo sin nombre” to “House without numbers,” instead of “Horse with no name.” Senora Cermak would be ashamed.

Here I sit at my pretty desk, “working”, and bored out of my gourd. If I were Australian, that sentence would probably have something to do with religion, seeing as “gourd” is how many pronounce “God.” The same people pronounce “gosh” as “goursh,” and don’t find it funny when I tell them they sound like Goofy. On days like today, I occupy my nine hour work day by listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter books, and picking out furniture for our impending move in September. No more Shoebox. Hellooooooo duplex! At least that’s the hope. Much as I love being in such close quarters with Harli, I’m a wee bit over this chapter of our life.

By the end of the week, I’ll have sent off the supporting evidence for the latest visa decision. The wait time is supposedly three to eight months, but I’m praying to hear back before then. If the answer is “yes,” then I’ll be a Permanent Resident of Oz. If not, then I have to either apply for a Work Visa, or return to my horrendous credit rating in America, sans my husband. I really miss life where groceries aren’t akin to highway robbery, and Christmas is cold, but my life is now in Australia. I drive on the left side of the road, refer to bell peppers as “capsicum,” think of $300,000 houses as “cheap,” and enjoy more public holidays than you can shake a stick at. For real: Good Friday, Easter Monday, Australia Day, the Queen’s birthday, “Gold Coast Show” day (remind me to tell you about the Show in September), National Labor Day, Queensland Labor Day, Brisbane Show Day, and Boxing Day (December 26th), are all public holidays I get to enjoy. Oh, and if any of those days happens to fall on a Saturday or Sunday, they’re gazetted to the closest weekday. Australia loves a long weekend. As we speak, I’m trying to convince Harli to get his boss to give him Easter Saturday off so we can go visit his sisters in NSW. Nothing screams “He is Risen!” like spending the holiday with atheists, right?

We’re heading to Iowa in August for our annual, oh so exciting, visit with my family. We were going to be there in late April, but decided against it for a myriad of reasons, most of which were financial. By going in August, we’ll be able to easily afford the trip, I’ll have enough annual leave to accomodate the time off, and Harli will have the blessing of spending his birthday at the Iowa State Fair. The man wants to spend at least one birthday in his life enjoying various foods on sticks, apparently.


Plus Size Barbie, Here

Afternoon, all. :) Hope you’re peachy, and January brought all the good things you were after. Let me tell you, February is going to be ah-mazing! Why? Because it has no choice, that’s why. Ha! I have some pretty high expectations for this oh-so-short month. There are 26 more days until March 1st, and I’m very excited to live every one of the like the gift it is.

Ask me why I’m so excited. Go on. Answer: no clue. I’m just chipper, and so thrilled to walk in faith and love the people the Lord puts in my path. Need to be loved? Waddle on over to my corner of the globe. This is what my former roommate, and intellectual comrade, Ashley calls my “Plus Size Barbie” mentality. Brilliant, brilliant.

Practically speaking, there are plenty of things to accomplish this month, and you know how I love my lists, so here you go.

- Five cardio workouts, including one core-specific session, each week.

- Continue Bible reading plan, days 33-59

- Cook all of our meals at home, save our anniversary dinner on the 20th

-  Finish reading The Borribles. Read Everything Must Change, and Mennonite In A Little Black Dress

- Pay off 1/2 of our largest credit card balance

- Take up my bookstore buddy’s invite to her church on Sunday morning

- Make a Hungry Caterpillar-themed blanket for my nephew, Adam. That boy’s momma loves her some HC, and threw what must have been the most extravagant HC party for Adam’s first birthday. Maybe the blanket is more for her than him? Boy can’t have too many blankets, I reckon. Forts have to be made from something!

I also just started a 30 day weight loss-related devotional,  but finishing it isn’t a goal so much as a pleasure. The last few weeks have seen a pretty big transformation in my view of food, and its purpose. Ever heard a big girl say she’s “in bondage to food?” Now you have. Peanut butter, chocolate, pizza, and soft drinks are like mean, but delicious, puppeteers whose primary joy is sucking mine away. Being healthier, and better able to serve my mission, is what I’m after. I don’t actually know what my mission is, but God is pretty cool with timing so I’m not concerned; I just know that being lethargic and bitter isn’t doing much to move me in His direction. Changing my eating habits and activity level are worship for me, right now.

Now, my lovelies, what are *you* doing in February? Hmmm?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.