Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016/Hello 2017


A lot of people have been saying bad things about you 2016, and it’s true that not all of you was great.

But a lot happened this year and now is the time to reflect upon it.
The end of 2015, I had finished the first semester of my Senior year at a new college. Some of my friends weren’t coming back the following semester and I knew I only had one semester left until I was supposed to figure out something else to do and hopefully get a job in my major. So, 2016 seemed like a mystery to me. I knew it was full of possibility but I wasn’t sure how everything was going to unfold.

Well, let’s start with my last semester of college. I had some really neat things happen and really cool opportunities in my last semester. One of the major things in my life was getting to deepen in friendships made at the end of 2015 and make new friendships too. Of course, I never have forgotten the friendships made in the Fall semester of 2015 that I didn’t get to see as often, but it was nice to make more and grow with them too. There were a lot of Disney movie nights, coffee, and taco bell runs. But on the academic side, I also got the very wonderful opportunity of being a media intern for a couple of days at SUN’NFUN in Lakeland where I got an article published in their newspaper. I also got featured and had a newspaper article written about my friend and I in a newspaper as well. It was a lot of firsts and it really did grow me. I also got to be apart of my very first improve show put on by the drama club. It may have been a seemingly small thing, but I feel like it improved my acting skills and was something I’ll always treasure.

Now, let’s talk graduation. Graduation came and flew with bittersweet emotions. I was leaving something so very comfortable to me and something I liked. I liked learning and I liked being a student. It was something I have been for most of my life and I was leaving school behind. Thankfully, I got to graduate with a myriad of my friends and I had a great graduation really. But I knew the lingering question of “what’s next” wouldn’t leave me alone until I found out the answer to it. So came Summer.

Summer. It was a long Summer. But Summer taught me a lesson I already knew but to a different degree. I learned to wait. The previous Summer when my college “Clearwater Christian College” closed and I had to find a new one to go to for the Fall semester, I learned to wait and be patient. Here I was again with a different situation but the same problem. I learned to pray more fervently again. I applied like crazy, submitted online articles to online magazines, and even went to a couple of interviews. I thought it’d be easy to get a job for the Summer. It wasn’t. Nothing worked and nothing happened and a few times I felt like a failure. I had neglected to reach out to the preschool I used to work at because I thought God might have been calling me to a different workplace to get other experience.

However, as the Summer went on and I wasn’t getting anywhere, I finally reached out to the preschool and the very same day that school started back up again for my younger sister and my older sister Gracie started up her new job as a teacher, I got a call back from that preschool asking me to start as soon as possible. I knew there was a purpose and it was a blessing that God gave me a job that day. I also learned that I was wrong and I was needed back at the preschool. I also was reminded how much I love working with kids. I also, looking back, got to see the little blessings I received in not having a job for the summer. I got to go on a wonderful trip to GA where I went blackberry picking and made blackberry pie and went to a drive-in movie theater all for my first time. I got to help out with my church’s VBS which I am unsure if I will be able to do this Summer. I got to spend quality time with my El Salvadorian friend Claudia who was able to spend a week here in FL. I got to spend a lot f time with my friend Heidi before she got a job as a nurse at Tampa General. There were so many little blessings that I didn’t see right away but I see now.

The last part of the year has been spent working at the preschool which I am still currently working at for now. This year my goal and aim is to get my license and maybe then try to reach out and find a job in my major or seek an internship in journalism. I don’t really know what 2017 will hold because I have learned to wait and seek God and to not expect anything. I had plans, but they fell through because it wasn’t where God wanted me at that point in time in life. I don’t know how long God wants me to be at the preschool but I am content being where He wants me to be for now. I am waiting, and I am listening. I do not mind waiting anymore. There is no hurry. I don’t need a grand job right this instant. I will stay where He wants me and I will love these children while I am here and I can.

That being said, I don’t think 2016 was too bad for me. It was a year of change but I think changes happen every new season. There are many chapters in a year I have learned and a year holds a book. So, a new book awaits me. It’s entitled; “2017”. I am ready to see what it holds for me and hopefully I will hold on to this lesson of waiting and the beauty within the wait. I know I stressed and worried way too much that Summer of 2016 and though I am glad I learned from it, I don’t want to repeat it. I don’t want to have to re-learn it this year.

So, 2017, what do I hope for? I hope to continue working with the Rainbow Village ministry I am apart of and to continue to love the kids there and get to know them more. I hope to deepen my prayer life and pray radical prayers. I pray for patience at the preschool and to continue to love the children with God’s love. I pray that I learn to rest in God during the moments of waiting in my life. I hope to learn from my mistakes. I hope to go with God’s plan and to stop trying to figure out my own plans. I hope to invest in God’s word more so I may be ready to give answers when asked questions about God and His word.

2017, I am ready.

So, as the clock ticks away closer and closer to midnight, I wish you all a Happy New Year’s Eve and a Happy New Year.

I am ready for more memories, changes and moments.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

NC and Christmas pictures

Downtown Charlotte Ornament Sculpture

 Billy Graham Library

 Hammock Outside Cabin


Rainy Forest City

Backyard View

Christmas Tree in the Cabin

  Statue in Spartanburg

 My dog getting into the Christmas spirit.

  Santa's Letter

 Frosty's Christmas bow collection.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas and North Carolina and Hi!

Hello, friends.
So, let's talk about Christmas and mountains, shall we?

My week in the mountains was still, calming, and Christmas filled.
It started off with me doing a morning shift at my work where I got up before the sun, sipped coffee and got to wish kids a merry Christmas. Then we drove on into NC reaching our cabin at 2 am.
The cabin was cozy with a fireplace, Christmas tree, Christmas coffee mugs, and an outdoor deck with a hammock and a stunning view of the mountains. Now, the only downside to this trip was that where we were located was pretty far from cities and towns and things to do during our stay. Everything we went to was anywhere from an hour to 2 hour drive away. However, we got to catch up on Christmas movie watching usually partnered with tea, hot cocoa or coffee and we did a lot of Christmas light looking.

The first day we drove into this place called Forest City where we checked out small shops, ate an early dinner at a cute café, and drank lattes (mine was gingerbread) as we walked and checked out the lights in the foggy and wet air.

The second day we went to downtown Spartanburg where we took picture with many art creations and statues, found a cute ice cream shop where I had the best green tea ice cream ever, spot and explored a cute hiking store and then from there drove into Hollywild which was a Christmas light drive through exhibit where cows, deer, goats, zebras, donkeys and zedonks came up to your car door to eat crackers. Not every animal came up but you could at least see them all. Then there was a zoo part of it in which I got to pet a zebra and a camel for my first time. It was definitely an adventure.

The third day was thai food ( a family favorite), visiting and strolling down Mcadenville (also nicknamed Christmas town due to it's amazing and elaborate Christmas decorations), brisk weather with friendly people, buckeye brownies and warm caramel apple cider.

The fourth was probably my favorite day which consisted of a drive to downtown Charlotte, the eating at King's Kitchen which was a cute restaurant that made the best fried chicken that I ate with sweet tea and cornbread and got to live that southern life, a small german village in which we got some jam from, a huge ornament statue, then a drive to the Billy Graham library which was a huge museum about Billy Graham but also had caroling, a live nativity scene, and carriage rides. It was the coldest night and the line was about an hour for the carriage ride but we waited and it was worth the wait because the ride was beautiful going through a street decorated with luminaries and the driver was a friendly old soul.

To send us off, we strolled through Forest City once again, watched my favorite Christmas movie; "It's a Wonderful Life" as well as "Elf", found a cute coffee shop where I got a Winter Maple Latte and an espresso muffin, and made it to the cabin in time to see a gorgeous sun set upon the mountains turning the sky yellow to orange to pink to black where the city lights came out and pretended to my stars fallen to the bottom of the mountains.

Then we came home and it was soon to be Christmas! Christmas Eve my family and I went to and called up about 8 different stores to find an ingredient we needed for our Christmas roast which we did finally find (thank goodness). Each story was busy, yes, but surprisingly friendly! Plus, it was an adventure and most stores also had samples. :D Then we opened our one Christmas present (which is always a book) before going out to eat at a lovely, quaint place called Cristinos. After eating, we went to a close by neighborhood that also gets pretty decked out for Christmas and enjoyed different decorations and some of our old favorites. Following that was Christmas Eve service which never disappoints. Always a beautiful and still candlelit service and a sermon that makes you reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas and what a big deal it was for Christ to come down to earth as a baby. Following that was the getting of pie and coffee at Village Inn where laughter was shared and hyperness and joy started running through our veins. We returned to our neighborhood also lit up with luminaries and we wrote our pretend Santa letter and read a couple of Christmas stories before sleeping the night away.

Night faded into day which turned into Christmas, Christmas present opening, dunkin donut munchkins for breakfast, church service, a starbucks run (with a grande latte given to me for the price of a tall), opening of stockings, the watching of "The Santa Claus", a roast beef feast, a large group of friends coming over and people who now are our friends ( but we previously hadn't met before), game playing, coffee, desserts, and a champagne toast to send Christmas a farewell.

It may have been one of the most unique Christmas's we've ever had, but it was one of the bests.
That's how December has been for me and I'm sad that it will be soon gone but ready for a new year with new memories to be made.

But anyways, hi!
Enough about me.
How was your Christmas?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Anxiety; Let's Talk About It

Something you might not know about me;
I have anxiety at times.

It's not an everyday struggle in my life,
so it's not something I really talk about.

I guess I've also never really felt like I needed to talk about it all that much.

Because there's not a whole lot to do when you get anxiety.

Because what anxiety is, is feeling anxious when you have no reason to.
It pops out of nowhere.
You feel your heart pounding like it's going to come out of your chest
and breathing feels so much harder than it really is.

At least, that's how it is for me.

Today, I was watching "It's Christmas Charlie Brown" with my family and drinking hot cocoa and all the sudden it happened.

I felt anxious.

I wasn't stressed about Christmas or felt like I needed to get something done or worried about the future or anything.

It just happened.

I don't know why it does when it does, but I got to say something.

Now, I don't wish for or am necessarily glad I get anxiety sometimes but I do have to say that I am thankful in a weird sorta way.
Every time I get anxiety, my instinct and want is to go dive into the scriptures and pray.
That's where I know I'll find comfort and rest.
Sometimes it still takes me awhile to feel at peace, but the Bible is what calms me down ultimately.

Some days I know I really need the Bible and yet I still ignore it.

However, when anxiety comes my way, I can't ignore my need for the Bible.
I don't know if that's why I get it, but it definitely reminds me of what an idiot I am for the days when I forgo the peace, wisdom, and nourishment I get from the Bible.
He's always there for me on the days I choose not to come to Him and the days I choose to come to Him.
He is faithful.

I am a human.
And I am an idiot sometimes.

I need Him everyday but I tend to forget that sometimes until reminders like anxiety attacks bring me back to Him.

So, I'm not saying there is a magic cure to anxiety.
But I am saying that there is a reason for me to be thankful for my anxiety.
And I am saying that my burdens are set free when I take them to the one who died for me.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace." -- Colossians 3:15

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts today.

I was going to make a post about Christmas and about my trip to the mountains but God had different plans for my post today.

I will write about both of those, but I'm not sure when that will be.
So, for now,
Merry Christmas!

I hope it's merry and bright and full of the joy that only comes through Christ Jesus.

The one who humbled Himself and came down to earth as a baby lying in a manger full of farm animals although He is a King and the Son of God and deserves the Highest of Praise.

May we humble ourselves this Christmas and give Him the praise He deserves and worship Him.
Pride on the floor.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sweeeet sweet Carolina

Three more days until I get to visit quite possibly my favorite state in America,
get to breathe some cold and mountainy air,
live that cozy cabin life,
visit Christmas town,
ride in a horse drawn carriage,
and just enjoy the Christmas season all the more.

North Carolina, I love thee.
Take me deeper into December and closer to Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Merry Souls

This weekend has been;

 antlered and red nosed preschool children,
some shopping and Christmas cheer,
colder weather paired with Christmas light looking and chocolate coffee,
Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas watching with the younger sis by the Christmas tree,
A Christmas Parade where I got to throw beads and candy from a decked out parade float and wish tons of children and adults a Merry Christmas,
Michael Buble's rendition of Jingle Bells that I may never get out of my head,
A late night breakfast dinner at Perkins with friends and fam,
Some more Christmas present wrapping,
Botanical Gardens Lights,
How The Grinch Stole Christmas,
Pie and Cocoa,

merry souls/warm hearts/ soft snuggles with my Frosty dog that children think is made out of snow/

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmasy but not Christmas Movies

This post is to appreciate the movies that I dearly love that are not "technically" Christmas movies but have Christmas featured in their movies and make me want to watch them when Christmastime comes around.

There is "Little Women" featuring my favorite literary character "Jo March" portrayed by Winona Ryder. This movie features some Christmas singing ("Here We Come A Caroling"), some ice skating, and a house decorated for Christmas complete with a tree and all. Oh, and we can't forget the snow.

This movie features a Christmas spent in a cold basement where snowballs are thrown and a snowman is made and Christmas music is played on an accordion. There are also multiple scenes featuring snow. In the book it covers multiple years and Christmas is mentioned throughout the years as well, but this movie only contains one Christmas scene but it is quite a heartwarming Christmas scene. A book is made and given as a present, and cigars are exchanged for books, and it's a good and merry Christmas. The rest of the movie isn't really that merry, but this scene sure is.

Now, this movie is one of my favorite movies of all time and is completely underrated. You probably haven't heard of it, but it's called "The Mighty." It's another heartwarming and sad movie but it's so, so beautiful. I couldn't find the Christmas scene in pictures but this scene takes place after Christmas. Unfortunately, something bad happens on Christmas ( but I won't give any spoilers because I want YOU to go and watch it for yourself) and due to the bad occurrence, they aren't able to celebrate Christmas ON Christmas. However, snow is seen here annnd you do get to witness their post-Christmas celebration which still contains Christmas music, Christmas cheer, a Christmas tree, a big Christmas dinner and just the celebration of friendship in this scene. A present is also given as well as a challenge.

I know there are plenty of Christmas movie classics out there, and they are all great and watch-worthy. I watch several of them every year as a tradition. However, I challenge you this year dear readers to step outside the box and watch one of these movies. Add to the Christmas spirit in a sort of abstract way. Get to experience different kinds of Christmas's. Let your hearts melt and be moved with these movies. They truly are beautiful.

Have you seen any of these before?
If so, what are your opinions?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Deck them Halls, Folks!

This weekend was a very Christmasy weekend.
It smelled of pine and sounded like laughter and felt like warm beating hearts.

Friday was Polar Express Day at the preschool meaning we got to come to work in pajamas, eat popcorn and the kids watched Polar Express. Right after work my fam and I ate at Bonefish Grill and then went to a "Christmas play" that wasn't very good or very Christmasy. We left at intermission and instead drove down neighborhoods to look for Christmas lights. It wasn't the best experience in the world but we Andos made the best of it because that's what we do.

Saturday was the watching of a lame movie entitled; "The Christmas Bunny", a friend coming over, the decorating of a trailer to ride in a Christmas parade next weekend and test rides in it around the neighborhood as Michael Buble's rendition of "Jingle Bells" played loudly, a drive-thru live Nativity scene, Downtown St. Pete adventures consisting of gelato, fluffy dogs, Christmas lights, horse carriages, a tour through the Vinoy hotel, and the such.

Sunday was church, subway, Starbucks, guests over for dinner and desserts, and laughter and talks on our back porch.

It was just a good weekend.
And now it's over.
But I'm not too sad, you know.
Because more Christmas days are upon us.
I can't help but be excited.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December brings adventures

Such as ice cream and boardwalks with Christmas decorated shops and having shoes stolen.
It also was deep conversations and Starbucks and drawings from kids as well as classic Christmas music and the wrapping of Christmas presents and taking small children to walk in a Christmas tree lot.
The smell of pine lingering on clothes and residing in nostrils.
I'm definitely in the Christmas spirit.
I am just wishing for a little bit cooler weather.
However, if Florida does not provide, North Carolina surely will and my trip up there is roughly two weeks away.

I'm holding on, holding on, holding on.

Hello, lovely December.