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Monday, October 7, 2013

Like Waves Upon the Sand

So I was listening to the Pocahontas soundtrack today (because I am a grown-ass adult and that score is fantastic), and this line really stuck out to me. It's such a beautiful image.

I've lived my whole life near the ocean. The ocean is giant and powerful. It is, at the same time, beautiful and overwhelming. 

When I was small, my cousins and I used to dive into the waves as they crashed over us. Usually, we would pop up like seals on the other side. Sometimes, the wave would be too strong and somersault you. There's nothing scarier than being stuck under the surface, when you can't tell which way is up and which way is down, and all you can feel is the rush of all that water pushing you away from where you need to be.

They say if you ever get caught in a rip current, you should go with it. If you try to fight it, you will only waste your energy and put yourself at greater risk for drowning. 

We spend so much of our lives looking for answers and solutions. I know I personally have always struggled with this. I hate not knowing what the outcome will be. But I've come to realize that answers are not always achievable, and not always necessary. Instead of exhausting yourself searching for an answer, just let it happen to you. Let it break upon you. Yes, there is power in controlling your situation, but there is a strong inner power that comes from being able to say, "I don't know what will happen next, but I know that it is meant for me, and that I can handle it." Another word for it is fortitude. A ship that sails on through the storm, a barrier that stands tall through times of war.

The next line in the song is, "Listen with your heart; you will understand." Yes, it's a typical cheesy Disney song. And yet, there's a huge kernel of truth there. There are so many circumstances and changes that don't make any logical sense. Even though we've advanced scientifically and otherwise as a society, we still want things that, from the outside, look crazy. Sometimes, we can't understand why we lose our job, why we aren't succeeding in an area that we thought we were supposed to pursue, but if you take the time to listen rather than rushing to complete the race, you can find the answers to those questions. Sometimes the answers will be scary, incomplete, or frustrating. Sometimes they will seem like nonsense. Sometimes the answer will be no answer at all.

I truly think that one of the best things we can do when we feel overwhelmed or confused is to take a step back and stop fighting. Let it break upon you, and you will understand. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Right Place at the Right Time

Every once in awhile, you read, hear, or see something that really changes your perspective. This post by The Bitchy Waiter did that for me. To sum it up, it tells the story of a woman who came and sat in a restaurant by herself with her laptop for a few hours. As someone who works in a restaurant, I can see how this could be frustrating for the waitress -- this woman only ordered a bottle of wine and an appetizer, took up a table that could have been turned multiple times while she was there, and she was on her laptop, which could be perceived as pretty rude. However, the waitress chose to be kind to this woman and let her enjoy the space mostly uninterrupted and well taken care of. After the woman left, the waitress found a $20 tip and a letter which explained that the woman had just been diagnosed with cancer, and needed a place to sit and think in peace for awhile. The letter Ithanked the waitress for her service, and for letting her sit for an uninterrupted afternoon. The waitress had unknowingly provided exactly what that woman needed, when she just as easily could have been rude and possibly pushed her mood in the other direction.

Later on that same day that I read that post, I was at the grocery store picking up a bottle of wine that I had been wanting. I pulled my choice off the shelf, and then an older gentleman who was looking for a bottle asked me, "Is that a good Pinot?" I replied, "Yes, it's very good!" He then told me that it wasn't for him, it was for his niece. "In fact, I don't know why I'm telling you this, but I'm 25 years sober this Wednesday!" I congratulated him on his huge accomplishment -- 25 years is a long time! He seemed so happy and thanked me for my opinion on the wine. I told him that we serve it at the restaurant where I work, and we had a quick chat about the restaurant and I told him he should come check it out sometime. I left the store with such a warm feeling in my heart. 

Then, today, I watched a movie called Jeff, Who Lives at Home. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it! Jason Segel plays a thirty-year-old man, Jeff, who lives in his mother's basement. He doesn't seem to have a direction in his life, but he believes in signs, and that things happen for a reason. When he gets a wrong number phone call for a person named Kevin, it begins a chain of events that lead him on a bit of a strange journey. He ends up running into his brother, played by Ed Helms, who is experiencing some troubles in his marriage. The movie basically culminates in one gratifying moment, with each of the family members finding something they were looking for. It really centers on the idea that there are no coincidences, which is funny considering the things that I've been thinking about this week, and my seemingly random decision to watch this movie on Netflix.

All of these things put together really make me think about my role in the universe. It's pretty small, but I think it's important to remember the impact small events and encounters can have. We should be aware that at any given moment, we could unknowingly be providing someone with whatever it is they need: comfort, encouragement, guidance. Just knowing that makes it feel good to be alive. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Baked Lemon Chicken Spaghetti Primavera

I used a recipe from Recipe Girl's blog for dinner tonight. It's a baked pasta dish with lots of vegetables and a lemon-y cheese sauce... all things I like! \

Plus, look how pretty it is! We awarded it 4 out of 5 stars... next time we want to add mushrooms! What did you have for dinner?

Grumpy Glasses

It's one of those days where I just want to run away from everything!!! I drove out to Camarillo to work at my office job only to find that I had forgotten the office keys, and no one was in. My boss lives down the street, but she is out of town. So, I drove all the way back to Ventura to get my keys, then back to Camarillo AGAIN to work, for just over two hours. Don't you hate it when you do something stupid and you can't even blame anyone else? 

Of course, when things start going badly, then my thoughts just start spiraling out of control. I put on my grumpy glasses and I can only see the negative things. That's when it's time to listen to some good music, get work done, and remember that there are plenty of good things to look forward to.

"Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise." 

I'm cooking dinner for my family tonight, so I'll report on that later. Have a wonderful, non-grumpy day!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Weekend in Review

What a wonderful weekend it was! I took Friday off work at the restaurant to have a date night with Marshall. We ended up going to "Bring Your Own Chicken Night" at my aunt and uncle's house. It's become kind of a tradition that my aunt will randomly text my cousins and me to come over for dinner and we all bring our own prepared chicken and my uncle will barbecue all of it. It's basically just another excuse for my family to get together, and that is never a bad thing.

Me with the actor who played Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
After that, we went to a midnight production and showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Ventura Theater! It was one of the classic shows where they had live actors acting the movie out while the film played on a big screen. People were dressed up, and everyone was singing along and throwing props and reciting lines. We love the movie, but it was our first time attending a live show. It definitely won't be our last though! It was a fun night of drunken debauchery... couldn't have been better!

Saturday I worked at the restaurant from 2pm-10pm. We were finally busy again! January has been a slow month, so it was nice to be running around instead of standing around like I have been for the past couple weeks.

   Today, I led worship at church in the morning, then Marshall and I went to the Santa Barbara Zoo! My cousin and her husband, Kaity and James, got me a membership for my graduation that allows me to go as many times as I want for free for a year, and I can also bring a guest for free. It was one of the best gifts I've ever received... I love the zoo! I seriously turn into a five-year-old every time I enter the gates. The aforementioned James works at the zoo, in the animal kitchen, so he met up with us and gave us a tour of the kitchens, and took us to the giraffe deck to feed the giraffes! It was so fun and amazing! The weather here continues to be amazing, so it was a perfect and beautiful day at the zoo.



All in all, an idyllic weekend. I am so blessed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

 Yesterday, we woke up to find that it was a breezy, sunny, 70 degree day in Ventura. What a pleasant surprise! Isabel, a dear friend of our family, is in town from Iowa, so I took her and my sister out on the town. They let me take some pictures of them, and it was so nice to flex my shutter finger again! Now that school is over, I'm hoping to get back into photography and photo-editing.  We had lunch at a small local pizza place, bought candy at Rocket Fizz, and made a small trip to the beach, since Isabel doesn't get to see much coastline in Iowa! The end results were lovely, in my opinion. These girls are naturals in front of the camera, and I love how much the photos exude joy and sunlight. There really is no relationship quite like that of a girl and her best friend.


My name is Claire, and this is my blog.

 I'm hoping that keeping a blog will inspire me to do more things worth sharing, and will help me flex my creative (and physical!) muscles. I enjoy photography, crafting, sewing, music, and exploring the outdoors. I am 21 years old, and I recently graduated university with a Bachelor's degree in psychology. I also recently became engaged to Marshall, my boyfriend of almost four years and the love of my life. 

I would describe myself as an old soul, a bookworm, and a bit of an introvert with a strong love for family and friends. My goal is what is stated in my blog description: "Live a quiet life, and work with your hands." This blog will be all about my work, my dreams, and all the little things that make up my life. Welcome!

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