Monday, April 30, 2012

Krispy Kremes and Kittens, In That Order

I'm having a day. A "stopping at Krispy Kreme for donuts and eating two of them in the car on the way home, is an absolute necessity" and an "I need to look at something cute and cuddly to make me feel better" kind of day.

Just in case you're feeling the same, here's a little something to cheer you up :).

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Confessions of a Deactivated Facebooker: Instant Feedback and Other Random Realizations

Since deactivating from my personal Facebook page over a month ago, I have had no interaction with people on Facebook other than cutting/pasting the website to my blog on my writing, or "business" page (which does not allow me to view anyone's personal profile, the "likes" simply mean my updates show up in their feed). If you don't manage a "fan" or business page, you may not know there is a huge difference between that and a personal profile. There is potential for interaction on the "wall" but I have held strong to my pact with myself to not do that (at least for now), and just post the links to my blogs for people to follow. As I said in a recent blog post, I have perused Casey's newsfeed on a few occasions for a few minutes at a time, which has effectively caused my total boredom with Facebook in a social way (his page is kind of a social desert, because he is never on it!). This is what I have learned about why this total and utter boredom has happened (along some other random realizations about my journey being unplugged):

  • Casey and I have just a few friends in common on Facebook, who I see regularly anyway and get their news that way. Therefore, seeing their posts come through the feed occasionally is not nearly as useful anymore, obviously, as I get the same information now in a more personal way (and vice versa). 
  • My withdrawals (which were very real, and quite fascinating really) from FB were from the sudden drop of the sheer number of lack of online onversations and comment threads, not from perusing people's pages. It is much more interesting for me to TALK with people online as opposed to looking at their every thought. Delightfully, I have retained many of these conversations and switched them over to 3-D, real life, face to face hang out sessions with many people. The number of conversations has dropped dramatically but the quality is through the roof. These friends are amazing and I love them!
  • I have successfully weaned myself totally from wanting to post every little (or even big) thing that happens to me, in order to get instant reactions from people. I have realized that this is one of the main things on FB I was addicted to: Immediate feedback/reactions from friends about what I was doing or thinking.
I had no idea how much I depended upon what people thought of my posts. I have had quite a few comments here in reaction to my blog posts, which I love, but are in no way equal in number to the reactions I got to 1-2 line status updates on FB. For me, this was a hard transition. Why did I care so much about what people think of my thoughts, my activities, my accomplishments? Why did I feel I needed instant feedback from people? It is fascinating.

I don't know the answer to that, but I am going to stay off FB for a little while longer to find out.

What do you think about the "instant feedback" phenomenon that Facebook has provided? Do you think this is a healthy thing?  A harmful thing? Somewhere in between?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Birthday Thoughts.

First off, isn't the below cake the most amazing thing you've ever seen? I totally want it!

^^Awesomeness ^^

 Too bad it's probably one of those thousand dollar cakes you see on "Ace of Cakes" or some other pastry reality show... Oh well. I can dream right? Especially since it's my birthday tomorrow. Something about having a birthday coming up soon gives me a little excited smile deep inside, even though I crested the big 30 year mark a few years ago and birthdays shouldn't be a big deal anymore. I think it's because, growing up, I had the privilege of being celebrated every year on the day I was born. And for that I am grateful. I am so grateful I have parents that made me feel like I was a special little girl, and deserved a celebration just because I came into this world.

A two year old Gina Rose looking at her birthday roses.

When my birthday comes around, I always get this excited feeling even if I'm not getting a big party or cake or a bunch of presents. This year I got to see an incredible musical at the Arvada Center (Chess) with a best friend and Casey, and also am planning to celebrate with some close friends at an Irish pub in town. These two things define me as the things I love most in this world: Friends and anything to do with dance/theater. I am blessed.

How do you prefer to celebrate your birthdays?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Confessions of a Deactivated Facebooker: Bored, with a Frog.

It has almost been a full month since I first deactivated my Facebook account. And I think I've finally gotten to the point (or very soon I will one hundred percent be there) where I am bored enough of Facebook to reactivate my account, and not get sucked in again. Confession: Occasionally I have perused Casey's newsfeed for a few minutes-- but because we only have a couple friends in common, I would get bored pretty quickly, typically under two minutes. Then I sign off and come here to blog. Many thanks to Casey who is NEVER EVER on Facebook because he has little to no interaction with anyone over the cyber world, which makes for a pretty boring profile. Sorry Casey. :) I can say this because he has said it himself.
  I do have a point. And that point is this: I think I would be able to go back now and not become addicted again. But... I am not sure I want to. I have gotten used to being without it and it isn't half bad. This is very strange for me. I miss the online interaction, but I have also enjoyed being unplugged because it has allowed me to:
  • Be more reflective of my own thoughts and heart instead of just looking at what other people are saying. 
  • Enjoy actually doing my laundry and dishes and other sundry chores more often. Yes, you aren't seeing things, I said enjoy. It's a mild enjoyment... But still.
  • Write. I love writing on this blog, more specifically.
  • Spend more face to face time with all of you. I know I can continue all this if I do reactivate... I just have to watch that I don't fall into old habits. Hmmmm....
  • Go live with my SugarPlum Ltd. website! I've been trying to get my social media marketing business site up and running for a long time, and I finally found time to do it! Woop woop!
What do YOU think I should do?

While you mull this extremely important issue over, here is a frog video to entertain you:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Take Nothing Personally

I love, love, LOVE this:

Freedom is good.

On a different note, I've been a bit quiet in the last couple days because (see below post) one of my parakeets, Lane Meyer, passed away and is now flying around perfectly healthy in Birdie Heaven. Yes, that is a place. It's amazing how something, someone so little can make such a huge impression in your heart. He was the sweetest bird alive, he loved everyone with such an open heart (even our other bird who tended to be a bully to him). I want to be more like Lane. I want to love everyone no matter how they treat me.

And yes! I somehow related that to the picture I posted.

Have you ever lost a pet? How was that for you?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

RIP Little Lane.

RIP, my sweet love Lane. We will miss you every single day.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cinderella Performance Shots!

I finally updated my Cinderella photo album! Here are a few in performance shots, and there are a lot more inside the album "Cinderella with Ballet Ariel." The album is under my Summer Fairy photo on the right column of the blog. Enjoy the ridiculousness.

Doris (my stepsister character) tormenting the poor Dance Master

Showing off

Doris thinks she's sexy, but she's really just kind of awkward.

Fighting with Peony over a scarf.

AAAANNNDDDD.... My personal favorite:

Pretty sure the Dance Master will never, ever come back to this house after this episode of ridiculousness. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

I'm an owl... Hoooo... Hoooo...

WHY is it so hard to go to sleep sometimes? I have gotten in the habit of going to bed very late. Maybe I've turned into a night owl. I think I have a lot on my mind so the down/quiet time provided late at night is very needed. But oy! Getting up in the morning has gotten harder and harder.
Anybody with me? I can't be the only one. Any tips on how to motivate myself to get to bed earlier?

Man Period

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Confessions of a Deactivated Facebooker: A Little Closer

Today I am feeling more free than I ever have from Facebook. I am feeling the ground under my feet as I take  small steps toward being able to reactivate my account, and the ability to interact with FB in a healthier manner.

Not sure when this will happen, but it's closer today than it was yesterday.

I'm Letting Someone Else Write My Blog Today

Hope: Sometimes you just need some.

I love Tenth Avenue North for speaking truth. Here's a song that has made me tear up more than once in the past-- because sometimes I need to hear that I am "more than the sum of my past mistakes," that there is a refresh button on my life.

There's a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she's wandered
And the shame she can't hide

She says, "How did I get here?
I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear
That I've fallen too far to love"

But don't you know who you are, 
What's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You've been remade. 

Well she tries to believe it
That she's been given new life
But she can't shake the feeling
That it's not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she's rehearsed all the lines
And so she'll try to do better
But then she's too weak to try

But don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made, 

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You are more than the choices that you've made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You've been remade. 

'Cause this is not about what you've done, 
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been, 
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel, 
But what He felt to forgive you, 
And what He felt to make you loved. 

You are more than the choices that you've made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You've been remade. 

You are more than the choices that you've made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You've been remade. 

You've been remade
You've been remade. 
You've been remade.
You've been remade.

("You Are More", Tenth Avenue North)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In the Army Now

My friend is about to depart for basic training in the Army.

I have many, many thoughts about this fact.

First off, let's establish the amount of time it would take for me, personally, to break down in tears during the first day of basic training: 5 minutes.

I'd also like to establish strongly that I believe ballet is as difficult, or more difficult, than any sport on the face of the earth. But I still stand by the five minutes. Why? It's not because I'm an artistic gal. I met this particular friend (who is about to leave for the army) in the ballet company I currently dance with, and she is an extremely talented and artistically gifted woman. And yet, she doesn't want to run screaming and crying at the thought of joining the military.

When I was just a mere teenager and thinking about my future, my mom hilariously suggested (just once, maybe twice at most) that I consider a career in the military. Mind you, this is not because she saw me as the type of person that would do, um, WELL in this environment. This woman raised me after all, and witnessed my many emotional moments. I think she liked the benefits given to those who have a career in the military and thought, "Awesome... I wouldn't have to financially support her forever." Understandable. What I don't get is how she could, for a millisecond, let my extreme emotional side and need to be "ok" with everyone slip her mind as she suggested, "Maybe you should consider joining the military." Hilarious, Mom.
***side note: I'm not saying my Mom, even for a second, was throwing me to "the wolves." I really believe she had my best interest in mind as far as education and long term benefits... Just sayin.

And I have arrived at my point: My need to be "ok," meaning relationally "clear" with my friends and others in my life, is paramount to me. Being screamed at for being a half inch out of line (although I've definitely experienced this in some ballet companies), or anything concerning having to face off against an "enemy" (unless we are talking about bugs) would pretty much give me an ulcer within the aforementioned five minutes. I will say this is a strength AND weakness of mine. I am constantly trying to find the happy balance between having a healthy peace between myself and everyone else, yet not constantly people pleasing.

That's all I have to say about this. Nothing deep today, just an admiration and deep appreciation for the diversity of people on God's green earth, and for my friend who is about to embark on this great adventure. I am sure she will last far longer than my measly five minutes and I can't wait to hear all about it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Love Me When I Least Deserve It...

Thoughts? (I love this.)

Confessions of a Deactivated Facebooker: More.

Confession: Today I am missing Facebook more than usual.

Specifically I am missing the conversations that happened directly underneath my status updates. I am missing the instant gratification of hearing what my friends think about something funny or touching or mundane that just happened in my life.

But I'm holding strong: I am looking for more. More of my real world conversations, more of my silent reflections with God, more of digging deeper inside of myself and hearing my heart's reactions regarding my life circumstances lately. This is the reason I took a break and I am not going to give in to the temporary urges to reactivate today.

Question of the day for you: What do you want more of today?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Click In.

Today I clicked in. 

Have you ever had the experience of "clicking in" with someone(s) else? For example: You are in a conversation with someone you barely know, and happen to be completely on the same page on a certain thing-- and it's like your brains are gelling together? Or maybe you have a running buddy, and you have a run where you are pacing each other exactly. It's almost like you become one mind and one thought for a short period of time.

Clair de Lune with Delusions of Grandeur 2011 (I am fourth in from the L)
I love clicking in with people. I have had the enormous privilege of experiencing this a fair amount in my artistic life. In the studio or onstage, it's often required for dancers to do exactly the same steps to exactly the same counts. There's sometimes a magical moment where you feel, as a group or maybe just with another dancer, you are completely in sync and feel as if you become one unit. There's a feeling of connection and creating something bigger than yourself. This picture is an example of where I felt that clicking in with five other dancers in performance ("Clair de Lune," performed with Delusions of Grandeur Productions last summer).

Lately I have felt this clicking in while singing on the worship band at church. Most of you know that I have had much more experience dancing than singing, so when this happens for me vocally I get really excited. The last couple weeks, including some moments today, have been very inspiring and moving for me. During certain moments and certain songs, I feel almost as if I become one with the entire band and especially the other vocalists. It lifts me up out of my earthly experience and becomes an otherworldly moment. These beautiful moments are the cherries on top of the ice cream sundae of my life.

Does this ever happen to you? When do you feel you click in with other people?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blue Like Jazz, Forgiveness, and Doubt

Casey and I saw Blue Like Jazz (a movie based on the book by Donald Miller) last night. I will be completely blunt and say I liked The Hunger Games far better. It's hard to beat that one. However, I read Blue Like Jazz a while ago and was really looking forward to seeing what they did with the movie. I was super curious to see how they'd form this very contemplative book into a typical movie plotline.

a scene from the end of Blue Like Jazz

In my opinion, they really didn't follow the "story" of the book at all (which happens with so many movies based on books) and there were a lot of obvious changes to the plot. It was entertaining though, and did use some themes from the book. I could definitely relate to some of his spiritual questions, as I'm sure many others will as well. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we all struggle at times with questions such as "does God exist" and "if he does, what sort of God is he." I also don't think I'll be giving anything away by revealing there is a definite theme of forgiveness, especially toward the end of the movie. The writers used some very interesting and engaging circumstances in the main character, Don's, life to present this struggle.

I deeply appreciated the writers presenting Don's questions about God and Christianity. I fully believe even the people who seem most sure of their faith have doubts as they walk their spiritual journey. Donald Miller's book is one of my absolute favorites, because he was so incredibly and beautifully honest about his struggles with his faith. It made me relax a bit in my heart because I have been there, and I fully expect myself to be there again. I am so grateful for people who share their journeys and invite others to struggle through their own questions to arrive at the truth.

It is one of my most favorite things to discuss spiritual issues and how people struggle and journey through their questions about God. What about you? Have you read/seen Blue Like Jazz? What did you think about Don's spiritual journey?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Good Advice

My Latest Project

Another sneak peek, as I haven't had time to upload many of the new Cinderella performance shots. Photo by the very talented Todd Strong. This is my other role in Cinderella, the Summer Fairy, and the antithesis of Doris. Doris is crazy and physically spastic like a bee on crack, and Summer Fairy is sane and grounded and (hopefully) graceful.

Me as the Summer Fairy in Ballet Ariel's Cinderella (March 2012)
Stay tuned in the next few days for more of Todd's beautiful shots to be uploaded to the Cinderella album.

Confessions of a Deactivated Facebooker: Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

Deactivating my personal FB account has definitely been the right decision for me, even though it has not been easy. I have been tempted many times to reactivate with just a few clicks of my mouse. It would be so easy! I'd have all my "friends" back, I'd know everything about what is going on in their lives, and I could share to my hearts content about what I was doing, what I was eating, what I was thinking when I got cut off in traffic. But after reading this article "Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?" ( I have to wonder if I even want to enter back into the Facebook world.

The reason I left for a bit is simply this: I was spending too much time on it, and the more time I spent the more isolated I began to feel. I had begun to replace face to face interaction with online interaction. I was neglecting my true heart and what it needed more.

I'm not saying all FB or online interaction is false or fake or useless, please don't hear that.  I believe it is highly valuable, especially being a word person. I have many friends with whom I've interacted with on different levels on FB (from deep conversations to silly comment wars), and these interactions have definitely translated to our real world friendships.  However, I became more dependent on the online interactions than the face to face, which is why I relate to this article so much.

I am so lucky to have wonderful friends that support me and hang out with me offline, and this deactivation period has really made me realize how much I need and love my face time with them.  I highly, HIGHLY recommend reading this article, especially if you log onto FB even semi-daily. A few really great paragraphs I  completely agreed with are below. I'd love to hear your take on this as well, please utilize the comment option here on the blog. Or wait... Give me a call and we can talk about it. Better yet, let's do a face to face coffee! Let's turn this lonely trend around, starting in our little corner of the world.

"Our  omnipresent new technologies lure us toward increasingly superficial connections at exactly the same moment that they make avoiding the mess of human interaction easy. The beauty of Facebook, the source of its power, is that it enables us to be social while sparing us the embarrassing reality of society—the accidental revelations we make at parties, the awkward pauses, the farting and the spilled drinks and the general gaucherie of face-to-face contact. Instead, we have the lovely smoothness of a seemingly social machine. Everything’s so simple: status updates, pictures, your wall.
But the price of this smooth sociability is a constant compulsion to assert one’s own happiness, one’s own fulfillment. Not only must we contend with the social bounty of others; we must foster the appearance of our own social bounty. Being happy all the time, pretending to be happy, actually attempting to be happy—it’s exhausting."

"Sherry Turkle, a professor of computer culture at MIT who in 1995 published the digital-positive analysis Life on the Screen, is much more skeptical about the effects of online society in her 2011 book, Alone Together: “These days, insecure in our relationships and anxious about intimacy, we look to technology for ways to be in relationships and protect ourselves from them at the same time.” The problem with digital intimacy is that it is ultimately incomplete: “The ties we form through the Internet are not, in the end, the ties that bind. But they are the ties that preoccupy,” she writes. “We don’t want to intrude on each other, so instead we constantly intrude on each other, but not in ‘real time.’”"

"A considerable part of Facebook’s appeal stems from its miraculous fusion of distance with intimacy, or the illusion of distance with the illusion of intimacy. Our online communities become engines of self-image, and self-image becomes the engine of community. The real danger with Facebook is not that it allows us to isolate ourselves, but that by mixing our appetite for isolation with our vanity, it threatens to alter the very nature of solitude. The new isolation is not of the kind that Americans once idealized, the lonesomeness of the proudly nonconformist, independent-minded, solitary stoic, or that of the astronaut who blasts into new worlds. Facebook’s isolation is a grind. What’s truly staggering about Facebook usage is not its volume—750 million photographs uploaded over a single weekend—but the constancy of the performance it demands. More than half its users—and one of every 13 people on Earth is a Facebook user—log on every day. Among 18-to-34-year-olds, nearly half check Facebook minutes after waking up, and 28 percent do so before getting out of bed. The relentlessness is what is so new, so potentially transformative. Facebook never takes a break. We never take a break. Human beings have always created elaborate acts of self-presentation. But not all the time, not every morning, before we even pour a cup of coffee. "

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

If You Are Truly My Friend, You Will Not Be Shocked or Surprised By This Picture.

This is my favorite shot I've seen thus far from Ballet Ariel's production of Cinderella... Maybe of all time.

Peony (Peter Strand), Dance Master (Ryan Rose) and Doris (me) (photo by Todd Strong)
I am (or should I say Doris is) the one on the right, in the process of harassing the poor Dance Master (click on the photo to see an enlarged version). This is a teaser shot, as I am in the process of adding a bunch more pictures to the Cinderella photo album (you can find it on the right hand side of the blog). Much more silliness to come, as well as a couple shots of me as a Fairy.

Did you ever think I could be this ridiculous?

...Don't answer that.

Do You Need to Hear This?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Staying the Change

Apparently, I suck at change. 

Life changes. Period. It changes constantly whether those changes happen to be good or bad. Here's Gina's latest issue: Every time a ballet season comes to an end, my brain can't seem to wrap itself around the fact that no longer is my life centered around  class, rehearsal, and performance three-plus days a week. At least for a time.

Ballet Ariel is on lay off right now (or "on break," which is normal after a run of performances) and therefore my schedule is all jacked up. I don't have that baseline of regular "forced" dancing and artistic outlet. It becomes ten times harder to get out of bed, put on a leotard and tights, and drag myself to a class I'm not, by signed contract, required to be at. I pretty much always enjoy myself once there, and especially afterwards when those amazing endorphins kick in. I love dancing, I love that I can be artistic and exercise my heart and soul and body at the same time. It's just getting to class is the problem.

I get the feeling I am not alone in this struggle with change. Why does my brain get confused when this happens every year around exactly the same time? Some patterns repeat themselves so many times in my life you'd think I'd have it down. 

I don't have a deep "ah-ha" way to end this blog post. All I can say is I have learned how much of a creature of habit I am and how I am not good at "staying the change." Yes, I just made up that phrase. I have a few friends who are really, really good at dealing with change and get excited about it. I suspect they are "P's" on the Myers-Briggs Personality spectrum (more spontaneous than structured). I am the opposite of P apparently.

How do you deal with change? Do you get excited about it, or do you sometimes struggle with it like I do?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Only Thought

It's almost Easter Sunday. And I have a song in my head: "On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand." (The Solid Rock)

Happy Easter my loves!

My Alter Ego: Doris

I redesigned my blog! The crazy girl in my new background is Doris, my stepsister character from my latest show (Cinderella with Ballet Ariel). In the ballroom scene, Doris gets a chance to choose an orange for her very own, then proceeds to dance around and tease her sister Peony (played by Peter Strand) with it. The tennis ball I have in the background picture was the orange "stand in" before we had the real prop orange. I found the "stand in" orange to be quite professional and took its job very seriously even though it was going to be replaced soon. What a peach... I mean, orange.

Doris and her "stand in" orange

I found that I had so much fun being Doris that I'd like to keep her (and her Brooklyn accent) around for a while. Good thing, because Ballet Ariel is touring to Caspar, Wyoming in May and Leadville in June. Plus we get to perform excerpts of the ballet at the Arvada Center outdoor ampitheater on June 7th.

Needless to say, Doris is pretty psyched about that. And this time, she's determined to get herself a Prince.

Seeing, Hearing, and Feeling

Yesterday was a harder day withdrawal-wise regarding my FB deactivation. I just felt that empty space  pretty strongly and clearly. Ironically it happened to be Good Friday as well, which has a lot of personal and spiritual meaning to me. Our church hosts a service every year where there are several "stations" set up in the sanctuary that are designed to help you hear, see, and feel aspects of the historical Good Friday. It kind of reminds me of the tradition of the "Stations of the Cross."  I luckily got to experience this tradition at a monastery while living in Florence, Italy.

A sign outside the door requested we enter in silence. The sanctuary was fairly dark and there were candles on many of the stations, giving the room a kind of glow. Soft music was playing, and the projections at the front instructed us to sit and prepare ourselves spiritually to meet with Jesus in His Good Friday experience. We were to then visit the stations at our own pace. Apparently there wasn't going to be a sermon or any kind of "traditional" corporate singing or worship. Yes. This is exactly what I needed, a quiet space to reflect.

It took a while to center myself. Then I began visiting the stations one at a time. Below are the ones I visited in my own order, and my thoughts on them:

  • Communion Station: Grape juice and pieces of matza crackers were layed out on cards, the cards reading, "This is my body, given for you. This is my blood, poured out for you." I did this station first. I've "practiced" communion since I was eight when I got my first communion in the Catholic Church, and it's always a pretty powerful experience for me.
  • Vinegar Station: Right before Jesus died, he was handed a piece of cloth with vinegar wine on it to drink. At this station we dipped cotton balls in a bowl of vinegar and smelled it and touched it to our lips to experience the bitterness of taste, and the bitterness of his last human experience before he died. It was, in fact, very bitter and I could taste the vinegar the rest of the evening. 
  • Mourning/Tearing of the Clothes Station: In Jesus' time, when people mourned they would sometimes tear their clothing in representation of their grief. At this station small pieces of  cloth were provided you could tear, hear the sound of the tearing and remember what people must have felt as they saw Jesus die. We were allowed to keep the cloth and I took it with me to the next station.
  •  Pillow/Cross Station: Cushions were provided to sit on and spend some time in front of the cross, contemplating or praying. This one was especially powerful for me as I thought about what it might have been like to know Jesus back then, to love and follow him, and then see him die in front of you. Tragic.

  •  Prayer Station (or as I would have called it, the "Vulnerability Station," haha): We wrote out a prayer request on a card, something we've been struggling with, and handed it to another person closeby and let them pray for you silently. This was one of my favorites. I got to pray for/be prayed for by a friend who is also on the worship team at church. Very healing.
  • Sin Shredding Station: Here we wrote down things we've done we aren't proud of or things we regret. We were then instructed to place the card in the shredder and consider that God has forgiven us of those sins because of the cross. I chose to rip up my card by hand first then shred it, because I wanted to feel the destroying of my sin more personally.
  • Nail and Cross Station: I did not want to visit this station. It reminds me of the action of Jesus' physical body being nailed to the cross (of course) and I don't like being the one holding the hammer. But, as it holds great spiritual significance for me, I did it despite of that. There were nails already in the cross and we were told to hammer one further in. Again, tragic. The thought of someone going through so much pain so they could be with me is overwhelming.
  • Crown of Thorns Station: Real thorns were scattered on table for us to feel and touch to our skin to experience the pain of the crown of thorns he wore. Very sharp and painful. I'd never seen those sort of long thorns before and it was a really great visual and physical experience for me.
  • Art Station: Paint, markers, and paper were set up to express individually what the crucifixion means to you. This was awesome. I basically drew a kind of Valentine from God. I wanted to remember what I was hearing from Jesus at that moment-- which was that he'd do anything for me, because that's how much he loves me. It looks like something a first grader would draw, but that's ok because I spend a lot of my time feeling like a first grader :).
I am so glad I went. God has a way of reminding me of what's important and where my heart needs to head, and back into his arms was exactly where I needed to go. I'm excited for Sunday when we celebrate the fact he is alive.

What are your thoughts on Good Friday?

Friday, April 6, 2012

I May Haz Broken Jesus

In my personal experiences with Jesus, I am convinced that He has a friggin' great sense of humor. I see it (loudly) when my life occasionally takes a turn in a very ironic way. Even more so, I sometimes feel him poking me in the ribs with little situations/songs/people/etc that come out of nowhere, proving He is right there winking at me and saying, "Yep. That was me."

Which is why I'm pretty sure He might think the above image (stolen from is pretty funny. I do too.

Where have you experienced God's sense of humor?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Christmas in April?

For Christmas 2011 Casey and I got to see my California side of the family... Thanks Freddie for the beautiful shots!

My younger and older brother, and mom (photo by Freddie Marsh-Lott)

Top row: Sis in law, Mom, and older brother; Bottom: Younger brother, nephew, Sis in law,  Casey, and Gina (photo by Freddie Marsh-Lott)

Grams, Mom, and Gina (photo by Freddie Marsh-Lott)

Cousin, Auntie, Gina, Mom, and Casey (photo by Freddie Marsh-Lott)

Confessions of a Deactivated Facebooker: Withdrawals

At first glance, the above image is kind of amusing-- yet there is a small grain of truth to it. Do you find yourself consistently going to FB when you are stressed, tired, grumpy, or just wanting to tune out?

Confession time: I did. This whole process has gotten me thinking about dependence on things. And yes, I do realize that there are far, far worse things out there compared to FB. Ones that will literally end your life if you don't get them taken care of. Additionally, I won't go as far as to say FB was a full blown addiction like it would be with alcohol or another substance to me, but it was getting there. It had become such a distraction in my life that it was affecting other things in my life, other relationships, and taking up entirely too much time. Loved ones, including my most loved one Casey, would comment on how much time I was spending on it. After my deactivation, I started feeling some strange things. I began some research on withdrawal symptoms from various substances, and it kind of shocked me when I learned I have been experiencing some very mild forms of a few of the symptoms of alcohol detox withdrawal:

Casey and I in Oregon around 2007, pre-engagement 

I want to be vulnerable about all this, because I feel like I'm not alone. I wonder how many other people are in my boat, or would be if they disconnected from FB for a while. I also want to share that this last week and a half has amazed me. It's been such a time of self reflection and discovery figuring out what I tend to do when my security blanket is taken away. Luckily I have gotten to connect (face to face!) with people offline more than before and it's been simply wonderful. I shared more about that here: ( I feel my heart has been far more present for everything, especially people. And it's only been just over a week and a half.

One of my best friends and I, who live in separate states but keep in touch by phone

I'll end this post by saying: My deactivation is not permanent. I am considering this time a period to disconnect from the way I've depended on FB in the past, and once I feel I can go back in a healthier way I will. I just don't know when that will be. In the meantime I'll be blogging about it.

Please share! Have you ever felt withdrawals from anything? What was that like? Do tell.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Miss Baby Universe?

We crown babies now? (See lower right hand corner of this hilariously horrific image).
What you probably can't read in the ad because the type is too small: "Fun & Exciting for Girls Just Like You! 8 Age Categories- Girls 0-24 Years."

What are the categories for the 0 year olds, might I ask? Best Spit Up, or Least Amount of Cowlicks? Sexiest Onesie? Least Ear Splitting Shrieks While Wearing a Baby Sized Evening Gown Onstage Under Blazingly Hot Lights?

Oh, America. Really?

Stuart and the Tooth Fairy

If you don't know Stuart... You must get to know him. Go.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rock Bottom.

Have you ever hit rock bottom? You have?... Several times? Wow. Come over here for a hug.

I feel you, friend. I feel you.

Here's the thing. Not many people ever share when they are at rock bottom, or even on their way down to it. I understand the positive sentiment of not spewing a bunch of negative garbage out there, but why do so many of us have the urge to present ourselves in the best light possible?

We don't post the unattractive pictures of us without makeup or with messy hair. We don't talk about the enormous and heart breaking fights with our husband/wife/best friend over something stupid. We certainly don't share about when we are feeling anxious/depressed/whatever. We don't share our weaknesses, because want to appear perfect.

Do you think this makes anyone involved feel better? I'm not suggesting we hang all our dirty laundry out for everyone to see. But would it be a bad thing to let people know we are human? That we have really bad days sometimes? For me personally, when someone shares that they don't have it all figured out, not even close, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I love it when people share their struggles with me, because it proves that they struggle too. It helps me know that I'm not such a mess after all. They are just like me.

I'll go first: Today was a bad day-- a really, really bad day. A rock bottom kind of day, for several different reasons. A day where you just want to scream "ENOUGH!!!" over and over, and even when you do, it doesn't help. There are SO many things I don't have "figured out." I am not going to share the gory details (because this is a public forum, after all) but let's just say I HAVE had enough. At least for today.

But tomorrow is a new day.  And it might be just as sucky as today was. However. I am grateful for my friends, my husband, and for God's unending faithfulness to me. I know I'm going to be ok. I hope this post helps you know that not everyone, especially me, has it all (or even anything) figured out. And we are breakable, but fixable at the same time. My friends, may you be surrounded with people who can help pick up your pieces and hug you back together.

Maybe Colorado needs some Zoloft.

I am a big fan of Colorado. But it can be a bit moody sometimes... Not enough to make me want to leave, but really? Really? Eighty degrees one day then snow the next? BRRRRRRRRRRR. I'm cold. And, a bit confused.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why Facebook is like a donut hole.

Several people have asked me, "Why are you blogging about your deactivation from Facebook? Isn't that just exchanging one social media for another?" Yes, at first glance it would seem that way.

But in my case it's not. For me writing is a form of artistic and emotional expression, much like dance and theater. I love words, and I love creating something tangible that communicates exactly what I'm thinking, feeling, or seeing. Some people paint, some people form things out of clay, but words are often my chosen medium when I need to vent or articulate anything.

FB statuses are like donut holes. They are cute, delicious, and give you just a taste of that delightful sugar and pastry. They are just fun to eat. But I have to ask the question: Why not just have a whole donut? Do you know anyone that can stop at just one donut hole? I can't, and I dare you to try.

Don't get me wrong-- donut holes have their place. In my opinion, Twitter is the epitome of donut hole communication. I have an account myself and love using it. It is really fun to think of one line zingers that make people laugh or think. But I would never just tweet, and here's why: Most days, I want the whole donut instead of a thousand donut holes. I am a writer at heart. I love writing long emails, journalling, and having long face to face conversations. I love using my words, and using them well.  This isn't the main reason I have taken a break from FB (for the reasons I've temporarily deactivated, see some of my previous posts below). But now that I am off of FB I am forced to hone my craft, to articulate in a way that goes deeper into the heart of what I'm trying to say. To have the whole donut instead of just a donut hole. And I love that.

Great. Now I am hungry for a maple bar...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 5 of Deactivation: ALIVE.

Day 5 of deactivation from FB included the reactivation of my account. Wait, wait, wait-- hear me out-- I have not "returned" to FB. I realized there were many, many friends who had no idea where I went last Tuesday. So, I put myself on a very short Facebook leash, willingly handed it to Casey, logged back into my account, and posted about my deactivation (so everyone knows I didn't unfriend them). I provided a link to this blog and my email address. And in less than 48 hours, I will deactivate again. Oh yes, Casey will make sure of that (hence the afore-mentioned "leash").
So. Like I said, today is Day 5. I feel pretty good. I definitely have had some urges to peruse around (especially when I posted the blog info on my page). Facebook is a tricksy little thing. I had no idea how used to checking up on, well, EVERYTHING I was.
You know what helps? Singing. I have to say I love singing on the worship team at church. It just floats my boat. It makes me feel ALIVE.

No, that is not my wrist although I would love to get a tattoo exactly like it.

What floats your boat? What helps you when you are trying to get away from doing something you don't want to do? Inquiring minds would like to know!