Dec 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Reflecting on 2010
Looking forward to 2011!

"To me, "FEARLESS" is not the absence of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, FEARLESS is having fears. FEARLESS is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, FEARLESS is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. FEARLESS is falling madly in love again, even though you've been hurt before. FEARLESS is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again... even though every time you've tried before, you've lost. It's FEARLESS to have faith that someday things will change. FEARLESS is having the courage to say goodbye to someone who only hurts you, even if you can't breathe without them. I think loving someone despite what people think is FEARLESS. Letting go is FEARLESS. Then, moving on and being alright...That's FEARLESS too. But no matter what Love throws at you, you have to believe in it."

- Taylor Swift

"We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

- Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Happy New Year!

Dec 29, 2010

Reverb10 Write Out

This post is all about Reverb10. 
Since I've been blogging about the holidays and
posting a lot of fun pictures, 
I haven't really made time to dig deep, reflect, 
and remember 2010. 

I'm ready to do just that. 
I want to be real, passionate, and bare my soul.
Ready. Set. Let's Reflect.

Going backwards...

December 19 - Healing
What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

I was healed and am still in a process of healing in so many ways this year. I hinted at but have not gone into details about what I went through physically and emotionally on my blog, mainly to maintain privacy and because a variety of people in my personal life sometimes read my blog as well. However, I will divulge that not only did I go through a sudden health scare, the outcome is that I came out of it not only healed, but stronger, braver, and with a stronger faith in God that I only imagined having. Through this journey I have begun to realize who I am even more and continue my quest through life with perseverance and hope.
At the same time I also struggled from friendships lost, not being comfortable in my own skin, comparing myself to others, and not creating boundaries, which led to what I thought was going to wreak serious havoc in my life. A lot of it happened over time, and some of it happened quickly, while I slowly let select friends and circumstances chip away at my self esteem. I did not always create internal boundaries, instead I let what they thought of me (or what I thought they thought about me) and actions of others become my reality, when in fact it was not my reality. My reality is that I am worthy to be loved, deserve to have friends who love me for me, and find a job that I adore. I am on this quest for self love, maintaining thankfulness, contentment, and fulfillment in 2011 and beyond.
December 20 - Beyond Avoidance
What should you have done this year but didn't because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy, or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

This sounds odd, but I should have spoken up more. I should have not select people walk all over me just because I tried to be nice, caring, and sympathetic. I should have created more boundaries and knew when to say no. Saying no is so hard for me to do, but there is only so much of me to give away. You cannot give if you aren't taking care of yourself. I really should have let so many things go to God, instead of letting it build inside of me and letting a dam burst. I will learn how to let go more often, let God, and not be afraid to speak up in a firm, yet kind way about how I really feel about uncomfortable and thought provoking situations that may present themselves to me.
December 21 - Future Self
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? 

Dear Sierra, 

Remember when you went through  one of the hardest times in your life when you were 26 in 2010? You woke up with fear, wondering where your joy went, and when you could get it back. You didn't know which direction to turn; you were searching, and wondering.

Well, you now realize that life is an unending cycle of self discovery. It's okay to change your mind, and it's okay to figure out where your passion lies. You are now thriving in your life, have a wonderful husband who supports you, and are living your dreams. 

Leading up to where you are now, don't sweat the small stuff. Don't worry about the things and people you cannot change. Instead - focus on what truly matters, loving yourself so that others can truly love you in return. Remember to read more books, gain more knowledge, and take more classes so you can develop your gifts and talents. Don't be hard on yourself if you don't exactly know which direction to turn towards, God will show you the way. 

Remember to laugh more. Don't take everything so seriously. Also, remember that failure leads to opportunity, perfection does not exist, and you can't put everyone's problems on your shoulders. When someone rejects you and you have done your hardest to love them, don't let it tear you a part. It's mostly likely the other person's problem and it has nothing to do with you. Life is too short for petty insecurities and letting someone else's opinion take you over.  

With each passing day, remember to pray, have hope, and to never let go of your faith in God. He will continue to nurture you, love you, and be there for you if you want to give up or can't stop smiling from the contagious joy that you have. Remember to be real, and to love.
December 22 - Travel
How did you travel in 2010? How and when would you like to travel next year?

I would say my favorite trip was going to Vegas with BK in January this year. I'm not a huge fan of the drinking/party scene there, but I love the hotels, shops, and shows! Seeing The Blue Men Group, and a few other shows was a blast. Plus, I always have fun with BK so just spending time with him was amazing. We wanted to go back there this month but the plane tickets are too expensive! Better luck next year!

A dream vacation would be to go to Ireland, however BK and I have been wanting to go to the Caribbean for a while. Hopefully we will be able to go in the upcoming year, he keeps telling me that the ocean is a shade of turquoise and it is perfect for an ocean dreamer like me! ;)
December 23 - New Name
New name - let's meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name just for one day, what would it be and why?

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I've always loved the names Constance, Agusta, and Michaela, all from western romances that I have read or watched, set in the 1800s. So I would love to be a southern gal, named Constance, with a sweet southern accent and gorgeous hair. I'm SO there.
 December 24 - Everything's Okay
What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the new year ahead?

There have been a few moments in particular that have given me peace, calm, and clarity after I have prayed and truly surrendered. These moments have definitely brought me closer to the heart of God, knowing without doubt that He is there in the heavens overlooking me and giving me strength. I need only to call on Him and He will rescue me.
December 25 - Photo
Sift through all of the photos of you from last year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words.

I just posted this picture, but I really think it is the best picture that depicts me, a person full of joy, emotion, love of nature, and ready to take on life's challenges.
 December 26 - Soul Food
What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth and touched your soul?

This year I found a new church in CA with BK that we like to call "happy church," because I've never entered a church where I've felt such joy, peace, and happiness from everyone around us. You can't leave the church without a kind welcome, great conversation, or a great message. We always feel God's presence in this place; I'm sad that I can only go to church here when I visit BK in California. I can't wait to move back so I can continue to grow with such an amazing community of loving people.
 December 27 - Ordinary Joy
Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

I love sitting by the ocean, watching the waves, picking up sea shells, and just being thankful for nature. Near the ocean is when I most feel alive, and even though it's a simply moment of ordinary bliss, it is my place of comfort and solace.
December 28 - Achieve
What's the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you'll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Blissful? Complete? Write that feeling down.

I would love to find a job that fulfills me, drives me, and energizes me. How will I feel? Motivated.
 December 29 - Defining Moment
Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. 
Well, when I had issues with my health and landed in the hospital a few times, I was afraid and discouraged. As well as having issues with my health, at the same time, I moved out on my own, lost a few of what I thought were great friendships, moved on from a toxic group of friends with a lot of drama that I no longer wished to be a part of, and experienced a lot of pain and loss in the process. Then I moved home, quit my job, and am now on my way back up to a place of fulfillment and self love. I can't wait to see what 2011 and beyond brings. I have no doubt that it is going to be bigger and better than I expected.

Whew! If you read all of that bravo!
Thanks for listening to my heart felt thoughts...

Dec 26, 2010

Christmas Cupcakes, Magic, and Sand Dunes

How was everyone's Christmas?
Mine was simply magical, I had an amazing
time with BK and his family, 
began an addiction to cupcakes,
and ate my heart out.
I'm pretty sure (actually I know) that I gained
five pounds from all of the fabulous food I ate. Oops.
To celebrate the food fest and love, I'm going
to bombard you with pictures...
You'll be noticing a lot of Photoshop techniques,
I had a little bit of fun yesterday on Christmas while
BK and I relaxed. Above are two amazing cupcakes
that we ate - cheesecake and strawberry with vanilla.
This is my first official cupcake that I ate
from an actual cupcake shop. It was super good
but BK had to finish it off because I didn't know
the yummy frosting had cream cheese in it -
oops, I'm a lactard (aka allergic to dairy).
Isn't the tree decoration pretty?!
On Christmas Eve BK and I went and got each other
last minute gifts, this is a photo I snapped at
the shopping mall that we were at. 

Now for some pictures of 
presents and Christmas decor...
My mom got BK and I fun gift cards and she got
me a Juicy Couture stocking, score!
 My favorite gift from BK?
These fun and fuzzy polka dot pajamas.
They feel like a super soft bathrobe, love it!
Last year I got him pj bottoms too, so naturally
I made him take a picture of the pj pants together. ;)
He also got me some flip flops and more chocolate. Yum.
I only had room in my suitcase for a tiny tree 
that I bought, hence the small Christmas tree.
My real tree is in storage 
but I forgot my storage key - oops!  
This was our Christmas set up.
Christmas Eve church service outfits...

Christmas day I begged BK to take me to the ocean.
He did, and I got out of the car and ran to some
far away sand dunes where I had my moments
of bliss looking at the ocean and climbing the dunes.
Looooved my ocean dreaming.
 Behold two pics combined, on top
is a picture of me on the actual sand dune,
on bottom is a picture of the sand dune.
So. Much. Fun.
And now for our Christmas dinner...
where we braved the rain in Beverly Hills...
Italian food at E baldi was SO good.
Now I am officially hungry. Again.

My best memories of Christmas?
*Reconnecting with BK's family again. I enjoy spending time with them so much. They are easy to talk to, warm, friendly, and so joyful. 
*My quick stop at the beach. I didn't expect a sand dune and it was so much fun climbing it and gazing at the ocean. 
*Celebrating my Lord's birth. I went through a lot this year and He has been so faithful, enduring, loving, and will never abandon me. I'm forever thankful. 
*Spending time with BK. I love snuggling with him, having great convos, watching movies, driving in the car, having fantastic meals, and the list goes on and on...
*Eating, eating, and well, eating...My appetite is going strong these days. I better stay far far away from cupcakes or I am going to be in BIG trouble.

What are some of your  
memories of Christmas this year?
Please share, I would love to hear!

Dec 23, 2010

Christmas Memories

Merry Christmas Ocean Dreamers!
I can't believe tomorrow is already Christmas Eve.
Today BK and I went out and enjoyed the sun 
(finally after 7 days!)
and got some last minute shopping in.
It was really sweet, he kept on disappearing from me
and then emerging with another gift.
I can't wait to see what he got me,
and even more spending more time with him!

We also went and saw the film The Fighter,
which I thought was pretty good, 
but not a film I intend to go out and buy.
I however thought that Christian Bale was amazing!
He is such a talented actor, 
his acting always blows me away. 

Tomorrow BK and I are getting together with
his family and then going to a 
Christmas Eve church service.
I'm looking forward to it! 
I do miss my family though,
this will be my first Christmas ever not spending
it with them - hard to believe!
I am thankful to spend this holiday with my love,
every year I've been away from him in Utah thinking
about Mariah Carey's song 
All I Want For Christmas Is You!
So this year my Christmas wish has definitely come true.

Since I'm missing snow, family, and home,
I wanted to post some of my
favorite photos from Christmas' past.
I know - I always miss CA when I'm in UT and
when I'm in CA I miss UT!
Funny how that works...
 This pictures is from way back in 2004, 
taken right out of High School after a snow fall!
The lovely Christmas tree in 2007
Christmas day, 2008
Christmas decor by one of my baby pictures, 2009
 More home decor pictures, 2009
I'm thankful to celebrate the birth of our Lord!

2010 Christmas pictures are to come!

I'll leave you with this lovely Bible verse:
The angel said to [Mary], "Do not be afraid, 
you have found favor with God. 
You will be with child and
give birth to a son, and
you are to give him the name Jesus. 
He will be great and will be
called the Son of the Most High. 
The Lord God will give him the
throne of his father David, 
and he will reign over the house of
Jacob forever."
   -- Luke 1:30-33

Oh, I forgot to mention that I just finished reading
the book called Christmas Jars.
Have you read it?!
It is a must read!
It is so touching and it's all about giving.

Also, please enjoy this Christmas video, which I thought
was dreamy and delightful, by Katharine McPhee.
{Be sure to push the pause button on the right
to my MixPod so it doesn't interfere with your sound.}
Merry Christmas!
Any new Christmas memories for you this year?

Dec 21, 2010

Grown-Up Christmas List

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you 
With childhood fantasies
Well I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow (can you still help somehow)
I'm not a child but my heart still can dream
 So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need
No more lives torn a part
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
 And everyone would have a friend
 And right would always win
 And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list
As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree
Well heaven surely knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul
This is my grown-up Christmas list...
What is this illusion called the innocence of youth?
Maybe in our blind belief can we ever find the truth...

Hi Ocean Dreamers,
Can you believe that Christmas 
is only 4 days away?!
I'm excited and am looking forward 
to spending even more
time with my Big Kiddo and his family.

I had a hard year with a lot of hurt,
so this song is really close to my heart.
If I could take away the pain from others
who are hurting, I would.
If I could rescue someone from an
abusive relationship, bad job,
their house foreclosing, or
give the unemployed jobs, I would.
It's hard hurting, feeling pain, and see
others go through the same pain.

But for now all I can do is love
and inspire hope.
I can trust in a God who is hope & love.
I hope you do too.
This is my grown-up Christmas list.