I'm Back!, Things are good, 4th of July

So, 4 months later.... here's an update!

I am definitely back in Nashville now!!!! Back in my old house that I was in before, back with my friends, back with the boyfriend, back with my family close by, and still back to Outback (hopefully not for too much longer though!)

Things are good. There was definitely some transition time needed. I didn't realize how much time I was spending by myself in Florida... I had to get used to being intentional with my time management again with friends AND work. It's going really good though.

This past weekend felt like a mini-vacation for the 4th of July. All the Buford girls were in town for the first time since September, Brandon and I went to Sparta for a quick trip to see my family all together since I've been back, and then yesterday we had a big grill out at his parent's house with all our friends complete with bubbles, water balloon toss, and sprinkler dancing, and sparklers. It was a great 4th of July. I am blessed.

The book my sister wrote that I illustrated for her is now published and in print at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com! I also have my book "Patient As the Moonlight" on it's way to be printed very soon! AND I've also found a potential new job. It's a with a social media design firm. It seems really cool and friendly. It'd be a salary job in a creative field which would be incredible. SO! Fingers crossed and lots of prayers please! Things are happening, even when it seems like they aren't :) God is good.


Upside down Birds, Shout Out, Good Things

Sitting on the floor of my now, packed-up, Florida bedroom. I am all ready for my big move back home to Tennessee!!!

Speaking of.. yesterday was my last night at my Outback job here in Lakeland, I was telling this one lady about how I was moving back home to Tennessee and she proceeds to say.. "You know why birds fly upside down over Tennessee right?" Knowing I was being baited for something, I could only smile and ask "Why?" She responds, "Because there's nothing worth shitting on there!" Hahahaha I was too shocked to be offended! We laughed and I told her how wonderful it really was there and that's there's plenty worth "shitting on" there in my opinion! (uh you know what I mean...) THEN she said if I'm looking for a nice young man I should look up her nephew, NOT her son mind you, she said he's not very good but her nephew is very nice! haha.... oh I'm going to miss these interesting Lakeland folks. Apparently she is a truck driver and just doesn't like the Nashville traffic (who does?) and therefore dislikes all of Tennessee consequently. I had somehow forgotten about Nashville traffic :/ It's been pretty nice to zip to work in 5 minutes.... probably not going to be the case in Nashy... I'd say being back with all the people I love in exchange for bad traffic is a good trade! ;)

In other news.... I've become obsessed with a video game. This hasn't happened since Donkey Kong Country on super nintendo during snow days. But yes, I'm hooked on Just Dance 2. Don't worry, I'm still just as an atrocious dancer as I was before, but now I have even more motivation and fuel to bust some ballin' moves! HA! It's so much fun and a great little workout too! It HAS to make it's way to the Buford at some point :)

SHOUT OUT to Maggie and Eric who I got to see last week!!! It was soooo good :) I love them and am so thankful for real friendships that can pick up right where they left off! AND for real friends that actually read my blog! ha!

Well... I would say I need to go so that I can pack, but I'm basically all done! You know what that means? I ready to come home :) Before that though, I'm completely excited about this week! Good things are yet to come!

Decaf, Pouty-face, Mini-Vacay

Good morning from Lakeland, Florida!

I am partially caffeinated up right now... I say partially because lately I've been drinking DECAF! Unbelievable I know! Again, I said partially because I like to cheat and do half decaf half regular, only in the mornings! ;)

Soo.... I'm moving. Yes yes...back to Nashville :) I'm very excited about this. I feel like I was on some sort of sabbatical. But now I'm coming back!

(NOTE: Dunkin' Donuts does NOT give refills on their coffee....odd.... I guess that's what I get for sneaking that half cup of regular coffee in today!)

So, I told my work the other day that I was moving. They were actually surprisingly really bummed! I just thought no one really noticed me there, but now that I'm moving everyone is all pouty faced and telling me how much they'll miss me..... odd.... just like Dunkin' Donuts' no refills. :) ha!
I just downloaded Phoenix's "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" yesterday. They're awesome. Just my sort of music to listen to reach optimal productiveness while working on my computer! Next up....Florence + the Machine.

Tax refund dollars should come in tomorrow! That's exciting since I've never filed for taxes before! I'm a BIG girl now! I even shop with coupons now! I'm SUCH an adult ;P

I've got the next two days off from work... I'm contemplating going some where and staying the night. Maybe St. Petersburg and Clearwater? I hear they're both pretty sweet places! Just might do it! I've never taken a mini vacation by myself!

Busy, Recluse, 6 Weeks

Guess what?! I've actually been BUSY once again in my life!

It's been good to have a job again and have some sort of income :) Outback-ing has been good. I feel like a nincompoop most of the time but then there are other moments where a co-worker says I'm a rockstar and doing great! I'm definitely still learning the ropes though... I get to meet a lot of very different people each day which can be cool :)

My body is trying to figure its new schedule though. I WAS getting up at 7 before my job but now, on days like today, I slept till 11! Then I made breakfast...ate it...and took a 2 hour nap!!! I couldn't believe it! No, everyday ISN'T like that, but I sure am exhausted after every night.

I took some time today to catch up on all my best friends' blogs. I have the most amazing girls in my life :) You may know us as the Buford. It's tough not being around them, actually it's tough having hardly any friends here at all! I know that sounds pathetic... ha but I do have a great married couple for roommates and our friend Brandon and his wife that live not too far away... but other than that, it's kind of lonesome. That's kind of weird to say since I'm generally really happy as a recluse! I know this is just for a little bit longer though, and it's time that I need to be grateful for and not waste it!

So work it is! Stay productive and creative! About 6 more weeks and B is going to fly down to help me move! ALSO.... there might be plans for a day at Disney World in the works!!! :)

Valentine's, Lucky Girl, Cutest Picture

I just had the BEST weekend in Tennessee...

First off, the whole reason for me going was
so that I could attend Dad's retirement party. Which was wonderful! I'm so glad he got to have one, and am so thankful for all the firemen that threw it for him. It really meant a lot to him and it was great to see the thanks and credit given to him that he deserves.

Brandon, was able to come to Sparta for the party and then we left the next day to go hang out in Nashville for a few days. Saturday we ran some errands together which included grocery shopping for my Valentine's dinner he was planning on cooking for me the next night! :) Then we met up with his parents for some hibachi!!! Which I'm totally hooked on now... Drove back to the city and had some quality hang out time with
all our friends at the Buford! Lovely day!

Sunday I got up early so that I could go with Brandon and Allie to church at 7:00 am since they were leading worship. I loved getting to spend so much time with them both all afternoon. Then after lunch and casual window shopping in Green Hills we dropped Allie off while B and I went on to hang out at a coffee shop! Man, lots of hang out time!! But it was all so good and exactly what I wanted/needed!

THEN! We took off back to Hendersonville to B's parent's house where the Valentine's festivities began!! I'm talking.... surprise flower bouquets, pre-set dinner table, candles, wine! He made mushroom stuffed ravioli with vodka s
auce, caprese salad with homemade balsamic glaze, and of course all on plated and garnished dishes! Frank Sinatra kept us company the entire evening which might have transitioned into a little dancing :)

Yes, I had a very wonderful Valentine's Day. I am a very lucky girl.

And all I gave him was a mixed CD! HA!

I flew back on Valentine's Day. The airport was a rather sad looking place. What few people were there didn't look too pleased about it. I almost missed my flight! The schedule said it was going to be delayed, so I got starbucks and was sitting in a quieter section of the airport, far from my gate when they make an announcement that my flight was boarding even before it original time! So I'm power walking across the airport and I see my gate as they make a last call for Dorothy Kay to her flight. haha felt like Home Alone!

Now I'm back in Lakeland and had my first night of work last night at Outback! Yay for a job!

Ok... isn't this just the CUTEST PICTURE!!!!??!?!?! It makes me so happy!

FIVE, Clockwork, Focus

I just feel so happy right now.

And it's not because of Mumford & Sons currently playing, the brownie I just ate, the good conversation I just had with one of my best friends, the cozy drizzly rain outside, or the FIVE letters I just got from my special someone a few states away.

Nope. I'm just happy! I was happy before all those things just happened, because my God is in control in the good and bad.

That's been a test of mine recently: finding the peace of resting in faith even when schedules begin to pick up, stress is closing in, and things begin to feel like they used to. Peace doesn't have to only happen when schedules are calm. Peace can happen in the busiest and most hectic times in our lives. He's still just as comfortable and calm with what all is going on even if I'm not. Comforting isn't it? God doesn't get flustered when I have a busy schedule. In fact I think it amuses Him to watch me sometimes. I imagine Him watching me run all over the place trying to figure out some complicated gear mechanism LIKE A CLOCK! Yeah! Say I'm inside Big Ben trying to make all the gears turn by pulling on one for a bit, running to another gear, pulling some more, struggling and struggling to make it work, which yeah it might MOVE but it's not working.... Then God stops me... like a cartoon when the giant stops the little man from running by putting his finger on top of his head but the little cartoon man is still running in place before he realizes he's stopped? (welcome to my mind....that's what I picture) So yeah, God stops me from trying to make all the gears work... then ever so gently he taps the pendulum and it sets everything into motion. And I watch, and see how everything is in a certain place for a certain reason, and they all fit together, ticking and turning..... LIKE CLOCKWORK! haha :)
So don't focus too hard on each gear. Some are a shiny, pretty brass. Then some are big, dirty, and greasy... but they still all work together.

Well... I've got some letters to respond to ;)

Nomad, Super Bowl, Home

I went back and read some of my past blog posts this morning. Starting from when I first moved into the Buford house in Nashville. Man, a lot has changed since then. My life has been basically unsettled for the past 5 years. Went to college, transferred colleges, moved back and forth for 3 years, tornado, moved into apartment, moved to LA, Nashville, from apartment to house in Nashville, and now to Florida. It's become a little exhausting! I've learned a lot in each place though and it's all for a reason :)

ANYWAY reading through my past blogs made me realize how quickly my life changes. I'm thankful for each stage. SO! How about that Super Bowl! Looks like I'm rootin' for the Packers! Yup....I get to go home this week! This is exciting!

Well gotta go study a menu for my big test tomorrow! Wish me luck and say a little prayer for me too if you think about it!

Enjoy the game!

Happy, "Work", Professional

Can I just say how happy I am doing EXACTLY what I'm doing right now? :) It's a great feeling.

I wake up early and have my time with the Lord, a great start to any day in itself. Then I made some coffee, cleaned my bathroom, got dressed, and sat down to check my email. From there, I was able to go into "work" mode by answering freelance design emails, which is always gratifying to be able to talk in a professional lingo that I went to school for in an applicable, real-life situation. Now, I have a project I can work on for a couple hours, drink my coffee, and listen to Pandora as if I were in an office! Another great aspect of this is that my office can move anywhere, which usually results in any coffee shop within a 5 mile radius!

Yes, I'm happy doing what I do. It's important that I realize I am already doing my profession, instead of waiting for something BIG to happen. It's been very gradual, but I need to see that I've made it. I'm a professional graphic designer and illustrator. :) True, I start work at Outback this week, but my heart and therefore my gratification of what I do is in my projects. Outback will just be a job, that honestly I'm kind of excited to start and interact with more people! But it isn't going to be my life.

Off to get a refill of coffee! I hope everyone is having a great week so far.


Michelangelo, Chisel, Masterpiece

How nice it is to feel content...

It's just nice to let go and enjoy being where one is. Forgetting the past while simultaneously remembering who we are. It's like how Michelangelo chiseled away at the stone to reveal the beautiful figures he knew were hidden under the layers of rock. Thankfully I'm not the one manning the chisel. In fact my Sculptor taught Michelangelo everything he knows! :)

I guess as a rock it wouldn't be really fun to have rubble slowly chipped away from you in fact it probably hurts, but the end result is a beautiful sculpture that displays the Artist's work for everyone to admire. In fact, I'm sure the rock itself never imagined it could look that magnificent, but the Artist saw it's potential and spent hours and hours working with the rock and just chiseling away. Even the rock's imperfections and natural fault lines are worked into the overall result only to make it even more of a unique masterpiece.

Some rocks look down and see all the bits of themselves falling off to the ground and it thinks their world is literally crumbling around him/her, not stopping to think about how much lighter it already feels or to even look up into the confident eyes of the Sculptor. The process takes time though, but the end result is completely worth it and the handiwork the rock strongly displays only glorifies the Artist.

Chisel away Lord! :)

Chipper, Outback, Retirement

The results are in...... the outcome of the audition?????

It's a no go...... yup, didn't make it. But it's REALLY okay!

Kelsey (my roomie) came with me for the whole process and can testify first hand to my definite chipper-ness afterwards. Especially when we stopped at Chick Fil A on the way home :) That'll perk anyone up!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm just glad I actually followed through and went! It's something I've thought about forever and now I can say I've done it! Bravo!

Ironically, that same day I also got a call from Outback about whether or not I was still looking for a job! I got to go in the next day for a VERY thorough interview and left as a hired person! SO! I have a job!

I've got a lot of menus and drinks to memorize but I have two weeks to study until training begins. So, two weeks then I'm a working girl! I need to make the most of these two weeks. I need to wrap up the majority of my random projects I have going on because hopefully as soon as I start I'll be pretty busy!

A week after training though, I'm actually flying back to Tennessee for my Dad's retirement party. I'm really glad I get to make it back for it. It's a big deal to him, PLUS I get to see my boyfriend for at least half of Valentine's Day before I fly back to FL :)

Well, I'm going to hop off my computer now and start on some projects. Till next time!

Good Morning, Depressed, Disney Princess

Good Morning!

I'll just dive right in and say that the past week has not been an easy one for me. Just been a lot of questioning and doubting about what my purpose is here in Florida. Each day I've been trying to stay productive looking for jobs and emailing contacts about illustrating and publishing deals.

I got to meet a local illustrator who sat down with me over lunch and discussed the logistics of being a professional illustrator. It was all very informative and he gave me great constructive criticism, but in the end I felt very discouraged, because the main point I took from it all was that I can't move forward anymore with my illustrations unless I have money. Money to make prints which can go on display in galleries, money to join guilds and memberships that would get my name out to authors and publishers, basically money to do anything.

I was pretty much depressed for the rest of the day and hated that I was depressed, which made me feel even more depressed! (vicious cycle) However, after a good cry to my supportive boyfriend, an unexpected call from a best friend that knows what it is like to be in my exact same position, and numerous emails from friends back home have given me encouragement and a bit of a reality check. Most importantly, it is amazing what the wonders of solid time with God can do. Reading Hebrews and James the past couple days has been the perfect blend of conviction and encouragement. Thank you Lord for your truth and kingdom that cannot be shaken.

During this quiet time, I was replaying my original motives for coming out to Florida: Help Jeremy and Kelsey with their production company, yes, finally live in a bedroom again, yes, become a Disney Princess, yes but that was just a silly dream.... right?

Well guess what I'm doing today? Auditioning to be Disney Princess.... haha! I know I just put a lot of build up and pressure on this "dream" and that most of you reading this are probably concerned that if I don't get it my little dreaming heart will be crushed once again. But I really don't think that's going to be the case. More than anything I'm already super proud that I'm actually going! I will be able to answer people when I come home, "Yes, I did try the Disney route but it just wasn't meant to be! But at least I tried!" This way there will be no questions or What Ifs. I'm feeling good about the whole thing! :) Win OR Lose.

Now! With all that said, I am going to look up some videos on how to dance like a Disney Princess, if you'll excuse me! :)

Pitiful, Extended Holiday, Wish Lists

Pitiful... my last post was in November....

Fortunately my life hasn't been as uneventful as the activity on my blog... ha :)

So let's see...since November, I still wasn't able to get a job because no one wanted to hire somebody that was going to be gone 2 weeks of the Holiday Season (which actually turned into 3 weeks). Yes, after going home and thoroughly enjoying myself I decided to add on an extra week to my holiday! So I had nice long break and a good dose of visiting done with my friends and family. (Except for Amelia who took off to Oregon..) but everyone else I'm sure was sick of me!

Christmas was great and really really special this year. I'm going to say it was my first actual adult Christmas. This was the first year that there has been a new baby in the family, Little Emma :) It's only going to get better as she grows up too! Also, I had a special guest of my own come this year ;) which was a first for me and very fun to experience sharing Christmas with someone special. Not to mention Santa was very generous this year too! Thanks to Amazon's amazing wish list feature, Santa knew exactly what to get this picky giftee!

I think wish lists are a great idea... and not just for Christmas and birthdays either! It's good to have wishes and desires that you vocalize. When you tell people what you want, it becomes more real to you. Sort of how in high school when I had a crush on a guy I didn't like to tell anyone, not even my best friend (much to her chagrin) because then if I told someone it wasn't a nice little secret kept to myself but instead it begins a snowball effect of "ok, what is the next course of action for this, because this person I just told is going to want see progress" haha which is good for some people, but little Ellen was too nervous to ever tell a guy she liked him so she preferred her crushes kept to herself!

Anyway...back to wish lists.

It's great to know what you want and tell people. I've always wanted to work at Disney. Just about anyone who knows me well knows this, and because they know this they'll ask me about it, which encourages me to take action towards that dream so i'll actually have something to report back. SO! To all you concerned friends of mine out there... I actually applied to Walt Disney World today... haha yes, after YEARS of dreaming I've finally taken an actual step towards it. Cool huh!?

The probability of me getting hired is honestly very slim, but still I am proud that I've actually applied and we will see now how it goes! I applied for Costuming, which would be helping out with the wardrobe department and taking care of all those amazing costumes!!! We will see how it goes!

I'm tired of typing so I'll hopefully update again soon and not 2 months from now! Bye!