“God is Hilarious Like That”

As I sat with one of my girlfriends, sunbathing by the pool and having girl talk; her response to what I was saying was, “God is hilarious like that.

Have you ever thought you had everything figured out? Like you could see your future unfolding and thought that you KNEW exactly where God was taking you and WHY he was taking you there?

I was there. In fact I was just there a few months ago.

The first time I applied to jobs out of state was in November 2013 and it just so happened that exactly a year later I found myself again applying to jobs out of state in November 2014. I felt I needed to re-invent myself and experience life outside of Florida.

I had just started working at a University as an Admissions representative that August and although it wasn’t my dream job by any means; I met some amazing people. Before I felt complacent in the job, I threw some applications out here and there in states like Georgia, South Carolina & North Carolina. All bordering Florida so I wouldn’t be TOO far from home, but far enough to feel a difference.

I was doing well, had found a church that I loved with amazing pastors & people, joined the worship team, I had an awesome roommate who was like a sister to me, I wasn’t feeling lonely like I did when I lived by myself for two years, and everyone I worked with was a joy to be around. I looked forward to seeing my co-workers, and assisting students in reaching their goals or sometimes I was just an ear on the other end to listen to them. I felt I had purpose.

In December I received a phone call from ESPN telling me they wanted to set up a phone interview. It went pretty well I thought, they said they would be getting in touch after the holidays since it was really close to Christmas. Until then, I was playing the waiting game.

Later that week I received another phone call from ESPN informing me they wanted to fly me to Charlotte, NC for a personal tour and interview to work for ESPN-U and the new SEC Network. It’s so exciting when you feel like you’re going to be doing something not only related to what you have your degree in after so long, but to be living in a gorgeous state and thinking of all the cool people you’re going to meet.

After my flight & and picking up the rental car that was provided, I had lunch in a Sports Grill of all places. On all the tvs was every ESPN channel and I was so pumped to be part of something so huge.

Arriving at the studio, I was greeted by my supervisor and given a tour of the studio. Everything seemed so perfect. Even my interview didn’t feel like an interview. The question came up about re-location and adjusting and I said I would be fine. I’d have my dog with me and I was ready to get out of Florida. My flight was delayed back home so I was exhausted by the time I got back to my apartment after midnight.

I was told that I would know by the end of the week if I got the job and my supervisor called me himself that following Friday to ask me if I wanted the job. I couldn’t contain myself and silently celebrated with a few co-workers about my new position as an Associate Content Editor for ESPN.

The job I had at the University was full-time with benefits and the whole nine yards. At the new job I was getting paid five dollars more per hour, but it was part time with no benefits. Even though I was told they would schedule me as much as possible and I’d be able to pick up hours.

After being offered the job there were quite a few red flags that I saw but ignored because this was “the chance of a lifetime.” During my interview I was told I would be helped with relocation, but then learned they only assist with those who are full-time employees. When I found out, my supervisor asked if that would be a problem, and I said “no.” He told me that he would gladly help and round up some other males to help move my things into storage and then to my apartment. But on the days we needed him, he bailed and my mom and I had to do everything on our own with the help of my sweet aunt.

I was flown to CT for “rookie camp” orientation to learn about the company and go through all their policies. Got to see the home base of ESPN and all the big studios you see on TV.

My first day observing I thought was going to be so cool and exciting and I was gonna learn so much. We sat there most of the time doing nothing. And when there was something to do, it wasn’t anything exciting or challenging…at all. I thought to myself, “Well, things are bound to get better. The more experience I have I’m sure.

But they didn’t.

My first few weeks I spent in tears when I was “home”. It didn’t feel like home. And even as I unpacked the following weeks, I kept the boxes in a corner “just in case.”

The people I met were great, don’t get me wrong. A lot of older men, and the females were friendly but not willing to go out of their way to be your friend or invite you anywhere.

I won tickets to a Chicago Bulls game which I ended up attending by myself. When I was working I sat in an edit room for hours at a time, sometimes doing nothing, and not enjoying what I was doing at all. My schedule is all over the place, not consistent so it’s virtually impossible to get another job. And after I was told they were going to get me as many hours as they could I found myself with 6 days in between shifts, having only two shifts in a week. I felt stuck. I felt alone. I felt sad and like I had made a HUGE mistake in thinking this was the right thing for me. I was so SURE God wanted me here. I was so SURE this is where I was supposed to work and retire from.

But God KNEW what He was doing the whole time. And He NEVER once, let me stray.

One of my best friends from my home town texted me one day in May asking how everything was going and how I was liking the job. She works for a physical therapy and home care company. Last summer, I had started school again to pursue a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant. I asked her about the job and she was telling me if she could that she would go back to school in a heartbeat. She was telling me the PTAs that work in her company all LOVE their jobs, get paid really well and still have time for their families.

After thinking about it for a few days, I decided I was going back to school indefinitely. I don’t want to waste another minute contemplating, I know that what I love to do is work with people, helping others and I honestly think this is a career I would love and do well in.

Since I live out of state and have only been in NC for a few months, I can’t claim residency so going to school there would be outrageously expensive. On top of having a job that can’t even cover all my bills and being away from everyone I love, I decided I was moving back home to Florida.

So here I am ready to move again after being in NC for five months which have felt like five years. I’m going back home, to start school; this time with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

In a way, I took for granted all that I had, thinking I had to be in search of something more. What more could I need? Great friends, amazing family, living in paradise, finally feeling like I found the right church for me…and I moved 500 miles away for a job that looks cool on Facebook, sounds cool when you tell people what you do; but that you dread each day you have to sit in a room by yourself staring at a computer screen for eight hours.

I prayed for God’s guidance to get here, and guide me He did. I think sometimes he allows opportunities in our lives, not because they are definitely meant for us. I think he likes for us to determine what’s right for us ourselves, instead of asking Him all the time what He thinks and what he wants like he’s some magical genie. I was meant to move to NC. To get the itch out of wanting to live in another state, so I could see how much I really did love living in FL. To see that, yes, I studied and have my bachelor’s degree in film production; but at the time I had no idea what else even interested me and maybe it’s NOT the career for me. And now that I’ve grown, although going back to school is something I said I would never do, I see it as a chance for growth and to have stability. Meanwhile, I can still do what I truly love on the side which is photography.

So indeed, “God is hilarious like that”. You think you know where you’re going, but you really have no idea.

He has everything in the palm of His hand, and He can send you down paths you think are paved in gold, but He just wants you to see what’s underneath the gold. Only then, can you choose. He also likes to throw people in your path when you least expect it too 😉

Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep praying. Never cease. God loves you too much to let you get away.

In the times you think He’s abandoned you, are the times He is most near.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…” – James 4:8

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To be Flawed, is to be Human

We’re all flawed.

Whether it’s physically, emotionally, spiritually or characteristically. We’re flawed. Every single one of us. With no exceptions. I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, if you wear Loubiton’s and drive a Porsche I can tell you right now, we have at least one thing in common. We’re flawed.

Physical flaws I feel like are the most difficult. You can cope with your emotional flaws. You can go to God and have your spiritual flaws wiped clean. You can evolve in character as you mature and become more wise. But physical flaws, you have to accept. Sure, some things can be fixed, but I think the first thing that needs to be worked on is the spirit.

I was born looking like a normal little baby girl. I had 10 little fingers, 10 little toes & I could persuade anyone with my baby blues. As I grew, a bone in both feet decided not to grow like the rest of me. When I realized that my feet were not “normal”, I would try to hide them. I have a short fourth metatarsal in both feet. Meaning, my fourth toe is stunted and not normal sized. It looks funny, it’s not cute (to me), and I have a hard time finding shoes that don’t bother it.

Growing up was tough enough as I battled being overweight for most of my adolescent years. Now not only was I “fat”, I had weird toes too. I never wore flip flops, I always would either wear tennis shoes or find sandals that covered the front part of my feet. I never wanted anyone to see them.

In middle school, I had to do a project with some classmates that I had just met that year in 8th grade. We rode home with one of the kids and his mom’s rule was you weren’t allowed to wear shoes in the house. I had worn some sandals that day to school and suddenly was faced with this dilemma of having to take my shoes off and expose my feet. I did so nonchalantly and acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary. We went out on the porch to sit and discuss our project when one of the boys noticed my odd looking feet. “Oh my gosh! What happened to your feet?!” I played it off and started laughing. I took my foot and wiggled it near him. He immediately jumped up acting as if there was a snake attached to my leg. It became a joke and I literally chased him around the house with my foot. It’s astonishing how some parents can allow their children to become so ignorant.

In high school I continued to hide my feet. At that point, I had never owned one pair of flip flops. I just didn’t like how my feet looked in them. I didn’t like how my feet looked period. When I’d wear sandals that were open toed but covered the front you could only see my first three toes then dead space where my fourth toe should be. I had a guy friend at the time my freshman year point out that it looked like I had “ninja turtle feet.” Thanks dude.

I think it was finally in my senior year that I decided I was ok with showing my feet and wearing flip flops. When I was a camp counselor at a church we took the kids to a water park and one of the boys thought my feet were the coolest things in the world. Another little girl asked, “what happened to your feet?” I said, “nothing baby, God made me this way.” She said, “God did that to you?!” I laughed it off and walked away. The curiosity of small children is endearing. My youngest niece is four and when she visited over the summer she asked what was wrong with my feet and that they looked weird. I explained to her that God made me have special feet so that I could be different. After that she proclaimed that nothing was wrong with them and that I was special.

The first time I ever got a pedicure I was so nervous. I feel like they’re just staring at my feet the whole time. Most people say they’re cute, some ask what happened, and a lot of people just stare. I was leaving a restaurant earlier this year and the hostess (who was an older woman) looked down as we passed by and continued to stare as I walked away. My friend and I couldn’t help but explode into laughter at her rudeness. Just this past weekend I was trying on shoes for my pageant and a man who was at the store with his wife stared intently at my foot as I walked around with one shoe on. Take a picture, it’ll last longer.

There are times I hate them. I just wish I could wake up with normal, pretty feet. I see pictures of families with their toes in the sand, my sister-in-law has a picture of her feet and my nieces feet with the same color polish, and pictures of couples sitting on the shoreline with their feet being tickled by the water. Sometimes I think the reason I’m still single is because guys are freaked out by my feet. Although I’m more comfortable with them and honestly don’t give a crap about what anyone thinks or says about them, I’m still hesitant especially when I first meet people. I still insist on wearing close-toed shoes on a first date or a first outing. I cross my ankles a lot when I don’t have shoes on to sort of mask the fact that my feet look weird.

Last year I went to a podiatrist. The only concern my mom has is that as I grow older, my toes will keep turning. My pinkie toe is already tucked under and my third toe leans to the right to sort of fill up the gap. The podiatrist was nice, he gently touched my feet and even when he was talking to me after taking my x-rays he continued to rest his hands on my feet which was nice considering I’ve never really had anyone just touch my feet like that. Except for my parents of course. He explained the bone in my fourth toe is very thin and even if I had surgery to correct it, it still won’t look normal because they can only extend it one centimeter. Not only that, but I would probably have to do one foot at a time, and have an apparatus sticking out of my foot that I would have to turn manually to extend my bone. And the fact that my bone is already so thin, it could weaken it even more which will make it more prone to break easily. His other option was amputating it and just cutting it off. My mom was furious that he would even suggest that.

I left with my spirits down, and fought back the tears. The reality that I had to live with odd-looking feet for the rest of my life dawned upon me, but after a few days I didn’t give it any more thought. This is me. This is who I am. I’m flawed, and I’m ok with that. This defect gives me character, and I think it has in a way made me a more tolerant and accepting person of people’s differences. It’s made me want to be an advocate for girls who maybe have the same or a different defect. It’s made me want to design comfortable but stylish shoes for women like me.

Sure, sometimes I feel like my feet reflect me. I feel like I can’t compare with the “perfect” girls, or I’ll just stare at someone’s pretty feet wishing mine looked like theirs. Don’t get me wrong, my feet are clean and I keep them looking right. You will never catch me without polish on my piggies. Sometimes I worry I’ll meet the man of my dreams and then when he realizes I don’t have cute feet he’ll skedaddle as fast as he can. But I KNOW the man of my dreams will really accept me for who I am, whether I have supermodel feet or not.

We all have flaws. We all have things that make us feel insecure. My challenge is that we embrace and start accepting our defects. Your flaws are not who you are. YOU are who you are. Your heart, your character, and your spirit is what will make people want to be around you. Not whether you have a hollywood smile, the perfect tan or long thick luscious hair (which is another thing I want haha). Just accepting who God made us, and admiring his creation. It’s easy to fix a crooked tooth, a lot harder to fix a crooked heart. Be warm. Be gracious. Be humble. Be generous. Be loving. Be true. Be YOU!

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– Here they are! My flawed little piggies 🙂

Waiting For God’s Best

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It seems as I’ve gotten older, I continue to refine and be more specific as to what it is I’m looking for in a partner. If anything, a majority of my past relationships have taught me exactly what I’m NOT looking for. 

From my experience, a staggering number of men pretend to be what they are not. They want to end up with a good woman, so they play the part. But it’s all fake. They fake being cordial, they fake being a gentleman, they fake having respect for you, they fake having any sort of values and most of all they fake caring about you at all. Not just as someone they’re dating, but as a human being. If you can’t care about someone on a level of them being your brother or sister in Christ aside from being attracted to them, then there’s a problem. 

I’m holding out for someone special. Someone who will accept me for who I am, won’t judge me on past mistakes, and who has standards. Someone who challenges me to be the best version of myself (sometimes I lack motivation) and he will probably be someone just as picky as I am. I think it was Jefferson Bethke who said when he came to Christ he then started seeing all women as his sisters, even those he wanted to date he treated them as he would a sister.

Although it’s not easy waiting for someone worthy to come along, I know it will be so worth it. The time I spend in life groups, furthering my education, my career and focusing on volunteering opportunities rather than going on dates, will pay off. It seems as though when people try to “hook me up” with guys they rave about how successful he is and financially stable and whatnot. But that’s not what I’m looking for. What I’m holding out for is stability of the heart; a partner to not go through life with but enjoy life with, someone to laugh with (sometimes at), will hold me at my weakest and will be immediately calmed by the touch of my hand. Someone who doesn’t focus on material things, who looks at me as if I’m the only girl in the world, and will be ok with the fact that I MIGHT be better than them at some sports. Specifically ping pong. I realize no relationship is perfect no matter how good two people are, at the end of the day, we’re all human; but I know God’s best for me is out there somewhere. We just haven’t met yet…or it might be possible we have…