Monday, September 2, 2013

2939: 13 Months Later

So this post is a little over a month late, but I strongly hold to the "better late than never" mentality. How I thought I was going to be able to knock this out in the midst of back-to-school I have no idea.

Regardless, I have loved the challenge of making this house a home over the past 13 months. And I am far from finished.

Now for a tour of the house as it stands today, room by room. Two disclaimers:

  1. Every one of these pictures was taken with my iPhone. Obviously, my life is glamorous.
  2. These are all "keeping it real" photos. Contrary to popular belief, my house is far from Pintrest photoshoot ready most of the time.
The Front Yard & Porch

This area got a little more attention this year (when I moved in, I was so focused on the inside that I did virtually nothing other than mow the grass outside). It still needs a lot of work, but it's getting there.

The Things I've Done:
  • Mowed the grass. Which is a great workout thanks to the extreme slope of the front yard. This project is slightly easier thanks to the gift of an electric mower from Dad.
  • Cleaned up the landscaping just a little bit. Put down a little mulch and weeded out a little bit of the flower beds.
  • Purchased super cute chairs for the porch. They are surprisingly comfortable even though they are plastic.
  • Repainted the front door and the table between the chairs a fun, sunshiney yellow
  • Put Papaw's spiral planter to use after a coat of black paint and some newly painted pots
  • Made a house number sign (the actual house numbers are on the awning over the garage, but they are the same color as the awning, so you can't see them)
  • Replaced the garage (thanks to a plumbing issue one month after I moved in where we discovered that the old garage door not only didn't function, but didn't lock)
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • Work some more on the landscaping on the front of the house, including fully mulching all of the flower beds (I didn't buy nearly enough mulch)
  • Do some repairs on the awning over the garage
  • Clean up the planters on the right side of the house (I was too embarrassed to even take a picture)
  • Move the hook for the house numbers away from the door (I need a masonry bit for my drill and I don't think I own one. I certainly don't know how to use it if I do).

 The Living Room

Luckily, I walked into an incredible color palette in this room. I love the gray walls with the contrasting white trim and fire place. I also lucked into some great furniture, including some awesome family pieces.

I am thankful for little pieces of history in this room. The chiffarobe by the entrance to the dining room and the cedar chest by the door belonged to my great-grandma. Above the shelf next to the white chair is an original deed for the house that was left for me by the previous owners.

I am also so thankful that the previous owners left some of the little architectural features when the redid the house, like the arched awnings to the dining room and hallway.

The Things I've Done:
  • Purchased my first ever flat screen TV. The layout of the living room makes the only real place to put the TV above the fireplace.
  • Hung new curtains that Mom made on the windows. I love the lightweight gauzy fabric that provides privacy but lets the light through.
  • Purchased a rug to put down on the floor to warm the space up slightly.
  • Pulled various pieces from my artwork stash, including the large scripture painting over the cedar chest and the wood palette in front of the fireplace.
  • Snagged a leftover window pane from the basement, a cool marble and spindle three tiered table from a coworker and a chair that was no longer needed from work (the gold one by the fireplace) to fill a few empty spots.
  • Made a cushion for the top of the cedar chest by the door to protect the top.
  • Recovered the ottoman in front of the couch, which was an extra one from my parents house.
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • Purchase a larger rug for the floor that fills the space a little more. 
  • Redo the artwork over the couch. I like these shelves in general, but haven't really liked them here since I put them up.
  • Do a little repair work on the wall over the door.
  • Repaint the inside of the front door white. (Right now it is a very dingy grayish color).
  • Make a quilt to go in this room.

The Dining Room

This might be one of my favorite rooms in the house that I never use. When you live by yourself, most meals are eaten on the couch, not at the table.

This table is one of my favorite things though. It belonged to my grandma on my Dad's side, and I have fond memories of it from family gatherings. The shelves behind the table, which I moved over from my apartment, are full of fun little treasures that I've gathered over the years or from family.

Again, I walked into a great color palette on this one. No painting necessary.

The Things I've Done:
  • Used a stained glass window cling to cover the high window between the shelves. This window looks straight into an apartment building next to the house, so I wanted a little privacy. And it is the perfect thing to see right when you walk in the front door.
  • Recovered the cushions on the dining room chairs. They used to be a lovely gold pleather, which was extremely functional when this table was full of grandchildren, but not exactly the look I was going for. Now they are a fun medium gray with small squares of golden yellow.
  • Took an old beat-up dresser from my brother and sister-in-law and repainted it yellow to use as a dining room buffet. This bad boy stores all of my tablecloths, paper plates and plastic cutlery, and some china in the bottom drawer.
  • Pulled together an old tredal sewing machine from a family friend, train pictures that belonged to my grandpa in frames made by my dad, an old bathroom door from a train station (my grandpa was a conductor) and a few small nicknacks centered around a picture of my grandparents from my brother's wedding.
  • Grabbed a mosaic I made out of paint samples several years ago for over the buffet.
  • Hung a matching curtain on the window to the ones in the living room.
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • Buy a run for under the table to define that space
  • Find a way to make the train station door look a little more substantial. It's a smaller door, so it looks a little dinky here to me.

The Kitchen

This is another favorite room in the house that I don't use often. My crazy schedule and occupancy of one in the house makes cooking less than desirable. (In staying with the keeping it real theme).

I am still in love with all of these counters. In my apartment, I had approximately 12" of counter space (that isn't really an exaggeration). When I moved in, I vowed I could take a nap on those counters.

And those gray cabinets. Let's just say I'm a little obsessed with them.

The Things I've Done:
  • Painted. FINALLY. I bought the paint when I moved into the house, and it took me just shy of one year to actually paint.
  • Sewed curtains for the windows. The window over the sink faces the neighbor's house and the one to the left of the cabinets looks straight into the back yard. Let's just say I felt a little exposed.
  • Found an old feed sack at a quilt shop that I framed in an oversized embroidery hoop
  • Created a sweet little display on the open shelving next to the fridge.
  • Snagged a few free printables online that I framed and put on the top of the hanging cabinets.
  • Hung a sweet little apron Mom made me in a serger class she took.
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • Finish the curtains. Because I don't know how to make a buttonhole on my sewing machine, the curtains are currently pinned on to the rods. 
  • Potentially tile under the upper cabinets.
  • Fix the ice maker in the fridge. It worked fine until I moved the fridge to paint. And it hasn't worked since. And I'm too stubborn to get someone to come over to fix it.

The Master Bedroom

This is one room in the house I definitely use. And I love. And is never totally clean. As seen in these pictures.

The Things I've Done:
  • Painted. This room was originally painted a dark gray, which I liked, but it didn't match my stuff. So I went with this brown paper bag brown that is a delightful neutral.
  • Bought new bedding. This just happened a week ago, and I've loved it since I put it on. It's bright. It's happy. It's comfortable. And it's a winner.
  • Made the book cover artwork over the dresser. No decent books were harmed in the making of this art piece. All of the books came from CCU's Library Book Sale. And when CCU gives away books, that is a good sign that they are not the most important.
  • Brought two of the original wooden doors from the house up from the basement and put them on either side of the bed. (This is the exact reason I cannot get on Pintrest. Five minutes and I am dragging heavy wooden doors up from the basement by myself).
  • Created the paper flower over the bed from pages of an old book and the other artwork to fill the space between the two doors.
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • Buy some sort of shoe rack to get all of my shoes behind closed doors (there are shoes lined up under the windows and under the bed in addition to a back of the door shoe rack in the closet).
  • Switch out the fabric on the jewelry holders to something that matches the room better (these were originally made for my apartment bedroom).
  • Recover a few of the pillows on the bed and add a few more. A bed can never have too many pillows.

The Bathroom

This was one of my "step outside my decorating comfort zone" rooms of the house. But I am delighted with how it turned out.

The Things I've Done:
  • Painted. This room was originally painted with a color I can only compare to mustard. And, while it was an attempt to match the original yellow and orange tile on the floor, it was more than I could handle.
  • Picked out the fabric for this absolutely amazing shower curtain that Mom made me. Seriously, my Mom is wonderful.
  • Painted the white cabinet across from the sink to stash my getting ready stuff using paint I found in the basement.
  • Created a piece of artwork that serves as the perfect reminder every day when I get ready.
  • Gathered up some fantastic little decor for the window sill, including some bathroom signs from the Crouch building at CCU.
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • Repair the walls and touch up paint where I attempted (and failed miserably) at hanging a towel rack under the window.
  • Replace the wall hand towel holder (that is literally falling out of the wall) with a table top on that involves absolutely no power tools.
  • Retile the floor. While the tile is original, the floor is not completely covered where the original fixtures were replaced by the previous owners.

The Guest Room

This room spends a significant amount of time with the door shut. Mainly because a) Mom has claimed this as "her room" and is sensitive to the cats, so it keeps them out and b) there are still a significant amount of boxes shoved in areas of this room that still need to be unpacked. I do love this purple color that I walked into, even though its a color I would have never picked myself.

This room does house one of my favorite pieces of family furniture, an old hoop skirt chair that belonged to my grandma.

The Things I've Done:
  • Put some of the original furniture from my bedroom at the apartment and some bedding that Mom gifted as an excuse to buy new bedding in the guest room at their house.
  • Made some bird artwork for over the bed.
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • Make a palette headboard for the bed. It's half of a set of bunkbeds that has been flipped upside down to add additional storage space underneath, but the bed just kind of feels like it is there.
  • Switch out the bird artwork over the bed for a couple of canvases that my nieces painted for me before I moved in. I haven't really liked the artwork since I put it up.

The Hallway

This little space, through the small arched doorway in the living room, leads you to the upstairs loft, guest bedroom, bathroom, and my bedroom (in that order).

But, it's still a sweet little space

The Things I've Done:
  • Added a floor runner from my old apartment. 
  • Pulled in some artwork I made several years ago out of scarves and costume jewelry from my grandma. This is one of my favorite things.
  • Made a sweet little picture symbolizing the two places I call home: Crestwood (outside of Louisville) where I grew up and my parents still live in the same house as when they got married and Cincinnati where I've lived for 12 years and feels just as much like home.
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • The wall heading up the stairs to the loft (which I consider to be an extension of the hallway) will get a collage of various treasures that I've collected or gathered from a little store I call My Parents' House.

The Loft

The entire upstairs of the house is one large room. (When I purchased the house, it was listed as a third bedroom. Which is crazy.)

Right when you walk up the stairs there is a small nook I've turned into a guest room. In the next week or so, it will become a bedroom for a friend from work. Around the corner is a small living room, mostly with the furniture from my old apartment as well as a foxy boxy TV. That's how I roll.

My absolute favorite part of this entire space is the Craft & Sewing Room that takes one entire end. Please pause to catch your breath. This is a big deal. This has always been a dream of mine and is now a reality. This allows me to keep my entire workspace set up at all times so I don't have to waste time setting up or tearing down. I smile every time that I walk in here.

I also turned the closet in this space into storage for all of my craft and sewing stuff, including cubicles where I can organize my fabric by color. It's like real life Tetris.

The Things I've Done:
  • Made a duvet cover for the bed (which is the second half of the set of bunkbeds that originally belonged to my younger brother).
  • Grabbed some big work tables from work that they were looking to get rid of to create the space for my sewing machines and craft area. These big IKEA tables are perfect to have plenty of space to work and maneuver projects.
  • Added rolling plastic drawers under each table with the items needed for that specific sewing machine (pedals, needles, thread, etc).
  • Created the piece of artwork hanging from the ceiling out of straws thanks to a tutorial found online.
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • Make throw pillows for the couch out of the same material as the duvet.
  • Make covers for the sewing machines out of the same fabric (I bought a sheet set to have the maximum amount of fabric for these pieces at minimal cost)

The Backyard

The backyard isn't big, but it's a yard.

The Things I've Done:
  • Mowed the grass. But even that has only been about once every 2-3 weeks. It's pathetic.
Things I Still Want/Need to Do:
  • Maybe add a fire pit? But I would likely be too scared to light it. I'm a wuss.

There you have it folks. I live here. And I kind of like it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Confessions of a 30-Year-Old Single Lady

Now that I'm almost 30 years 1 month old, I think I can officially be considered an expert on life in the post-20's. (24 days is all it takes to be an expert, right?)

So far, 30 isn't too bad. But I'm not going to lie. The thought, "What if I'm single forever?" has crossed my mind more often lately than usual. It's probably a combination of turning 30, and entering into full on wedding and baby growing season.

So, in the last 24 days, I've decided I need to avoid being described with the following titles:

A spinster is described by the Googles this way: "If someone is a spinster, by implication she is not eligible to marry; she has had her chance, and been passed by." Now, in reality, this describes someone who has far surpassed marrying age which, for the record, is 30 + a very large number. But, it's hard not to feel like I've missed my chance and there will be no other suitors headed my way.

The feeling of being "passed by" is one that I absolutely resonate with. I've never been one who dated often. Of the three of us kids, my brothers always had a waiting list of ladies trying to take on the Rogers last name. Me? I was always the "great friend." Which then leads to the typical crazy lady thinking, "Am I not pretty enough? Skinny enough? Nice enough? Homemaker-y enough? Damsel in distress enough?" And on and on and on.

Thanks to social media, we live in a world where everyone knows every second of everyone's business at any given moment. In a lot of ways, this is fantastic. We can celebrate with the newly involved. Newly engaged. Newly married. New dog owners. New house owners. Newly pregnant. New parents. And we can suffer with those who are hurting. Who have lost loved ones. Those who have lost jobs. Those who are struggling.

Whether we like it or not, we have others' lives shoved down or throats. And, when you are a little sensitive to a situation, like being a single fish in a pond full of couples, it makes things a little interesting.

Step One to Avoid Being Called a Cat Lady: Do Not Get Cats. WHOOPS. Step Two: Do not get more than one cat. DOUBLE WHOOPS. 

Back to the Googles for a definition: "A stereotypical cat lady, or cat woman, is a single woman who dotes upon her cat or cats. . . Women who own cats have long been associated with the concept of spinsterhood. In more recent decades, the concept of a cat lady has been associated with 'romance-challenged' (often career-oriented) women who can't find a man."

Basically, my two fears collide: Spinsterhood and owner of a cat museum. I'm often worried for people to even find out that I have cats for fear of immediately being labeled with this stigma. And the fact that I not only like to work, but have no plans to be a stay-at-home cat sitter? That's the icing on the cake.

Let me tell you every single lady's worst nightmare: Attending a wedding. Want to up the nightmare anty? Attending a wedding with your entire family and every childhood friend (and their 13 kids) single and without a date.

I will be the first to admit that I have skipped my fair share of weddings because the thought of sitting through another couple's nuptials was more than my sensitive little heart could take at the time. Or that I have had to scroll past a friend's 47th picture in 90 minutes of their new baby on Facebook for the day. But I have also met my fair share of unhappy single women and I don't want a lack of a significant other to be my excuse to be a Grumpy Gus.

The natural inclination of one who has been single for longer than they care or are willing to admit is to cling to the first opportunity that comes along just in case it is the only option that will ever come along. This, single ladies, is a terrible excuse to stick with a fella. 

I am a firm believer in When You Know, You'll Know. You'll know when this guy is worth keeping around. But you'll also know when this guy needs to hit the road.  I look at it this way: I didn't wait for 30 years to take the first guy who comes along without assessing if he is the right one. Because while I think that women can be too specific looking for Mr. Right, there is absolutely such a thing as Mr. Wrong.

Let's be honest. Most days I am probably some conglomeration of all of these things rolled up into one neatly decoupaged ball. Let's be honest. I could very well meet my future Prince Charming at the UDF on Warsaw when I swing by to get my reasonably sized 44oz Diet Coke with a shot of Cherry Coke for flavor. And let's be honest. If Prince Charming at all resembled Prince Charming from ABC's "Once Upon a Time," you will hear no complaints from this little lady.

But, let's be honest. No matter what happens, I'm still going to be a-okay.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

30 Years, 5 Days

Sure sign that I have now reached "real adulthood" as I call it: I am currently sitting here at 7:15 in the morning with a cup of coffee and two slices of peanut butter and banana toast, with hair color on my hair because the thought of going through one more day with those gray hairs staring me right in the face was more than I could handle. Baby face or not, this little lady has been covering up those grays for many moons now. So, when faced with 30 minutes to kill that can't be spent laying back down in bed for just a few more minutes of sleep, I decided I might as well write this post I've been meaning to write for the last 5 days.

It happened. My birthday. I turned 30. In all of it's unfinished list glory, it happened. And you know what? I lived. I honestly think I was more upset about the fact that I have so much more to do on this list than I was about the fact that there are no longer any 2's in my age.

I've never been one to freak out on milestone birthdays, going on and on about how fast time flies, and how old I feel, and how "back in my day we had to walk to school with no shoes, uphill both ways." I've also never been one to want a big to-do on my birthday. In our family, we really celebrate birthdays until you turn 18 and become an adult. After that, we all try to get together for a birthday dinner and there is usually a small gift. Birthdays are just one of many examples of the laid back nature of the family. (That Larry Rogers certainly rubs off on us with his simple ways sometimes).

So, leading up to my birthday, I had a lot of conversations that sounded a bit like this:
Other Person: What big plans do you have for your birthday?
Me: Nothing really.
Other Person: But you have to do something BIG! It's a big birthday!
Me: Nah. It's just a birthday. No big deal.
Other Person: But you're turning 30!
Me: Yep.
Other Person: (looks confused at my lack of excitement)

I'm a big bundle of excitement, huh? The way I look at it, it's my birthday and I can celebrate it any way that I want. For some, they love big, extravagant celebrations with lots of fanfare of cake and people and etc, etc. For me, I despise being the center of attention and prefer a quiet deal, very laid back and stress free and all that goodness. This year was no exception. In fact, my idea of a perfect night was a quiet one, just doing a few things I wanted to do. 

And that's exactly what I did. I left work and drove home to quickly change into non-work clothes. I drove to the Levee and had a salad at Deweys. Because their ranch dressing is one of the best birthday gifts a girl can give herself. While eating, I caught up on my blog reader that had been sadly neglected during an insanely crazy week. And then I went to see the Great Gatsby (not because I was dying to see it, but because it was the best option available). And I got a Diet Coke and a pathetic excuse for a soft pretzel. And all of this was done with "Rogers, Party of One."

And you know what? It was perfect. After the last few months of craziness and so much of my life taking care of other people (which I absolutely love, but sometimes you just need to be a little selfish), I decided to spend the evening taking care of me. And that's okay.

A few other birthday observations:

1. I have the world's greatest friends. My Echo Church ladies know how much I adore sending cards to people, so they showered me with a mailbox full of them for my birthday. And it was awesome. And they have no idea how much that meant.
That Jazzercise inspired card front and center is compliments of the First Lady of Echo Church, Kelly Carr. That picture could honestly have been taken from a "Beth Rogers Goes to Middle School" album. Cheesy glasses and mall bangs were the look. Jazz hands were to come later in life.
2. CONFESSION: As I read their messages about how great 30 is going to be and how their thirties have been their favorite decade so far, I had to keep stopping myself from thinking But your life at 30 doesn't look like mine. Because if there was one thing I wasn't getting for my birthday, it was a pity party.

3. I had to renew my license (and finally change my address from my move almost a year ago) and my first thought when I looked at the picture was Hey. I finally look like I'm at least 25. (pause) Wow, I look older. But at least this picture isn't embarrassing.

4. 30 isn't so bad. I kicked my 20's in the rear end. My 30's better watch themselves.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

#13--Just Call Me Fake AD

Disclaimer: These types of posts make me feel all kinds of uncomfortable. I in no way, shape or form enjoy  or am okay with tooting my own horn. I was raised by parents who taught us that we help people when they need it, no questions asked, expecting nothing in return. I still hold true to that mentality.

My official job title is Director of Campus Services. Basically, I do a little bit of everything. But, because no one knows what that title means, I get asked the following question at least a few times a week:

It cracks me up. How people don't understand that my major job functions are Bookstore oversight, campus-wide purchasing, off-campus housing, Athletic marketing and event management, I will never know.

One additional responsibility I have had for the last 8 months has been to help cover the position of Athletic Director. Our previous AD took on a new position at CCU in October and our new AD starts in mid-June. Because that gap covers a large span of our Athletic year, leaving the position vacant for that amount of time doesn't exactly fly so well. Insert my assistance here.

Despite my 8 years working at CCU full-time (anniversary date on May 16th Whoop Whoop) and the fact that I have helped the department out all 8 years in some capacity (through 5 Athletic Directors I believe), let me tell you what actual Athletic Director experience I have: NONE. Let me tell you what I know overall about sports:
  1. I enjoy watching them.
  2. I should never, ever try to play any of them.
  3. Winning is good.
AKA--I'm totally qualified.

But, I am always up for a challenge and willing to help out where a need arises. So, I've done what I can. And, as we are finishing up the school year and all of our 2012-2013 Athletic seasons have come to a close, I am happy to say that we made it. Believe me, I have made plenty of mistakes along the way and I have learned so many lessons, but we did it. Thankfully, our Athletic staff is amazing, they have stepped up to help in every way they possibly could, and they put up with my mistakes.

Having the opportunity to be a part of this department is amazing. And I am so thankful that I get the opportunity to continue working with them in a marketing role.

Here's what I've learned in my stint as Fake AD:
  • Taking care of 80 student-athletes, 7 coaching staffs, endless eligibility forms, post-game statistics, athletic facilties, and a wide variety of other responsibilities is a lot of work. (FYI--Even writing that sentence makes this feel much more simple than it actually was)
  • This felt like a very long and a very short 8 months all at one time.
  • Our athletic staff and student-athletes are absolutely incredible.
  • Every bit of extra work was absolutely worth it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

#10--A Picture of Myself that Doesn't Make Me Want to Barf

I am always the person who says, "Here.. Let me take that picture for you guys." Translation: If I am behind the camera, I don't have to be in front of it.

I am not what they cal. "A dummy."

So, learning to be okay with a picture of myself was an important challenge.

First step to complete this: You have to actually allow your picture to be taken. Yeah, about that.

I've been putting this one off on purpose. Because when I see pictures of myself, there are rarely nice thoughts going through my head.

Geez my face looks chubby.

Gosh my hair looks bad.

Why does my smile look so weird?

What? Couldn't suck that tummy in a little more there Beth?

Please tell me that's not actually what people see when they look at me.

Those are the thoughts going through my head.

And then the other day on Facebook I read this blog post that someone had linked:

And I remembered that capturing memories is more important than feeling like a supermodel in pictures.

And then I got to see some far away friends unexpectedly. And the normally dreaded question was asked: "Can I take your picture?"

And for the first time in a long time I was less worried about how terrible I would look in the picture and more excited to capture the memory of meeting sweet little Matteo and getting to see his wonderful momma.

And when I look at this picture, I see a memory. Not my face.

#1--Are Those Heels You're Wearing Ma'am?

The very first challenge I put on my list had to do with footwear. How typical of a lady, right?

This little challenge of mine was a roughy though: not only buying a pair of heels, but actually wearing them.

I love heels. The look of them that is. But, they never seem to find a way into my wardrobe because they often don't feel like the practical choice. Why? First of all, they are harder to walk in. And what if I need to actually run somewhere really quick? Because obviously, that is the most practical of thoughts. And second, you can wear flats with every outfit. Heels, more limited. And the cheap, Westside part of me goes practical every time. (For the same reason I default to brown or black shoes rather than a spunky little red or leopard skin pair).

So, on a whim (when I make my least practical decisions) I went to the shoe section at Target. And, after looking at all of my options, I settled in on a cute little pair of wedges. They had a heel, but it wasn't too tall (flats to shoes with any sort of heel is a dramatic change) and they were in my price range (on sale of course).

And, I am happy to report that I not only bought them, but I've worn them. FOUR TIMES. In one week. Three of which were to work, including the day of an event.

The best part: I didn't die. I didn't fall over. And, I can still walk..

Why did I wait so long to do this?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Progress Update

I've been on this "30 Before 30" mission for a little over a year. It's been fun. It's forced me to stretch and challenge myself. And it's been hard. Good hard, but hard nonetheless.

When I created this list, I had grand intentions. And, I really am trying to complete all 30 of these items. But, if we're going to be honest, I had no idea about some of the things that would have happened in the last year.

  1. I wasn't planning on buying a house. In February 2012, I changed up my list and took moving off the list. (See post about that here.) Then, at the beginning of May 2012, on the day of the Flying Pig, I  stopped by a friend's newly on the market house to take a look at it for the first time. (Please note, I was not planning on buying a house). Then, in July 2012, I closed on said house. To call this a distraction from my list feels like the understatement of the millennium. 
  2. I wasn't planning on my job being crazier. My job has always been busy. But, in the past school year, it has ramped up a notch. Love my job. But it makes getting a few of these items on the list a little tricky.
  3. I wasn't planning to still be in a state of constant transition at the age of 30. Things are constantly still changing in my life. And yet so many things are staying the same. And sometimes, it makes moving forward in some areas a little difficult. 
So, I've made a decision. 

I'm extending my "30 Before 30" completion deadline to December 31, 2013.

I'll be honest. This was a hard decision for me. My initial response was, "I failed." But then, I had to have a little reality check. I put this list together for more than just giving myself something to do. I did this to make myself better and to challenge myself to do things I wouldn't otherwise. Who cares if I do it by my 30th birthday or shortly after? In reality, all that matters is that I finish what I set out to do. And that is a-okay.

So, to the rest of 2013, WATCH OUT. I'm coming for you full force.

Within this, I am trying to factor in as many ways as I can to push myself to be better. Sometimes this is making myself do something I normally wouldn't. Sometimes it is being a little selfish and taking time for just me. And sometimes it is surrounding myself with uplifting messages, often in the form of blogs.

Today, while reading on the Living Proof Blog (home of my girlfriend Beth Moore), I read this prayer as part of her message. And it hit close to home. And I saved it because this is a prayer that I need to pray for myself over and over. So I leave you with this:

My faithful, most holy Father and my God, 

With tremendous love I lift my sister to you. You know what stirs in her heart, what awakens her at night, what causes her to shudder, and what seeks to devour her. You have seen her in the secret place and you know her longings and her questions and her dreams and her hopes. You know the very place that doubt seeks to swallow her and deceit desires to seed in her. Spring her eyes open to cleansing, delivering Truth. Minister to her in such a personal way throughout the coming days that she is floored once again by Your all-knowingness and complete attentiveness. Sprout signs of harvest in a field where she has sown so faithfully and seen so little. Help her to see that her labor is not in vain. Soak the fleece in such a way that she'll know You are with her. Send someone to encourage her in such a specific area that she'll know You alone could have prompted it.

Grant her a heart to love You with an abounding affection that could only be supernatural and cause her to feel her heart teeming with love toward someone who is loveless toward her. Protect her heart and heal her mind where it may be bent or twisted. Take all shame off of her and cast out her self-loathing once and for all and lift her chin to see her redemption drawing near. Give her faith enough to believe that she has truly been forgiven and that You who began a good work in her will most assuredly complete it. Put a new relationship in her life that brings much joy to her in You and revives her faith-walk and makes her laugh. Healthy friendships, Lord! Help her to finally release a relationship that You have clearly brought to an end and to do so without resentment or bitterness, trusting You entirely with the future. Be radiant upon her face. Tell her forthrightly how lovely she is to You and how significant. Quiet that part of her that seeks to perform for acceptance. Give her joy in a more honest version of herself. Reveal Your gorgeous self to her, Lord Jesus. Let every false Christ in her life bow to the One and Only True so that she can see it is You. Make every competing voice hush to Yours.

In Your beautiful, saving, redeeming Name, Jesus, I bring these earnest requests.