December Arrival: Birthday Post

December Arrival: Birthday Post

Good morning Once Twentied readers.

The day is Friday, the second of December in the year two thousand and sixteen. If you are living in sunny Southern California, the weather is somewhere between forty-eight and fifty-two degrees (Fahrenheit of course) with clear skies. Low winds are expected throughout the day with mild cloud coverage. If you live elsewhere, too bad. It is the perfect day to visit the sunny side of the golden state. Today is a good day. It is December.We have arrived.

Twenty-three years ago I rushed into this world with my ever signature dramatic style. I have been rolling in the mercy, grace, and glory ever since. It is my birthday and I know it is always important to celebrate because I was born with purpose. I was created to change the world. I have arrived for this appointed time to effect change in this world. Do you know what else? You are meant to change your world as well. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. If you doubt what I say, I know someone adores you. I know God does. And if you are special to Him, then you are special to me.

Today is our day, because this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice, and guess what? I sure as heck, will be glad in it. Do you want to know why I know this? The Bible told me so.

Last month I toiled my soul for new words of inspiration and found nothing. My heart was void of all things I wanted to say. I felt gray. Thanksgiving was great but today is different. Today I declare the real reason for this season (inner church kid self-five), Christmas time is here.

I listen to Christmas music from mid-September to Boxing Day. I spend those months working on Christmas plays. I am an aspiring playwright. Today my play will be produced at my local church. Someday I might hit Broadway. I dream of one of my plays being performed at  Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Christmas production someday.

The Christmas season was meant to invoke the anticipation of the Savior coming to earth. This is advent. The King of kings is coming and His party is going to be lit. The birthday boy will be the talk of the town, because when he shows up, angels will sing and wise men from the east will arrive from their long journey with gifts. I heard there might be a DJ by the name of Drummer Boy.

Jesus is so cool. He is so hipster, he was born in a manger with hay in a barn before it was popular to have an outdoor barn type of reception or event. His arrival was perfect. Jesus is perfect. He came to earth, so humble. He was born to a young girl who loved God and became a servant to Him. She carried the Son of God. She loved him like her own son, knowing He would always be God’s first.

I know this season might be a little lonely for some people. I have my moments too. You are not alone. You are never too far from love either. I encourage you to find a good advent devotional this month. Follow it everyday. Learn what it is like to anticipate something more than a gift from Santa. I promise the gifts God brings are way cooler and a lot more useful.

Good Enough

FeaturedGood Enough

Three years ago I had a very passionate roommate. She studied theology with an emphasis on missions and outreach. She had a heart for victims of human-trafficking. I found her love for Jesus contagious. I began to seek God much more than I could have ever imagined. I want to believe I did the same for her. I see her now on social media, occasionally. I know she is doing what God has planned for her, like I am where I need to be in this season. I say where God wants me to be without a doubt, but my faith is not at any great length this week. In fact, you can say it is about the size of a mustard seed.

Have you seen the size of a mustard seed? Those seeds are pretty small. These past few week have had me running circles around doubt and fear. I made the mistake in allowing those who do not believe in Jesus Christ to influence my worldview. I began to believe that there was something to fear in this season of my life. It was my mistake but after a long and early morning, I found myself once again in front of this laptop with my fingers gliding across this keyboard in order to give you the gift I always wish to give to you, my reader. The gift of joy and warmth. This is where I wish to find you. I want you and me to have this meeting as often as you want to encounter my blog.

I love to dream. I love giving myself room to ponder endless possibilities of how any special event will go. It allows me to be creative. Sometime though, my thoughts and desires overwhelm me. Sometimes I find myself waking up on a day like any other day in anxiety and grief.

Today, I do not believe I am good enough to be writing to people with words of encouragement when I have yet to be encouraged. That is the truth in how I feel, but I know I am not dictated by my feelings. Well, after a long morning of tears and sobbing I realize that I cannot be moved by how I feel.

I have been surrounded by loved ones who have reminded me that everything will work out. I guess that is true. I know I have a loving husband. I know I have an encouraging family. I know I have friends out there who genuinely pray for me and check-in on me often. I know this because I love my husband dearly, I love my family, and I do my best to keep my friends in my prayers. Every once in a while, I find myself in a good conversation with a friend or two. I am reminded that I am loved and sometimes even then I do not believe I am, once again, good enough for my life. The greatest truth in this is that I am good enough. I am so loved. I am beautiful especially when I do not see it. I am smart even when I cannot think straight. I am enough.

Why Dogs are Your Best Friend

Why Dogs are Your Best Friend

A couple weeks ago I took in this puppy for about a week and a half. She was a chihuahua-Italian greyhound mix and she was a fireball. On day one I met her and I could tell affection was her language. Some dogs prefer food, others love the words, and she loved to be scratched on her chest and her belly. I knew after day one, she had to find a new owner. I offered her to a handful of people. Some asked for her but could not take her in. Finally, she found a home. She was named after a cereal. She loves that family. 

Before this puppy, I had a dog for about eleven years. This other dog was also a chihuahua. She was my little companion. I took her everywhere she was not allowed to go and then some. She loved catching bugs and burrowing into blankets. Others, of course, called her a rat. She did bark often, very often. She knew to come with me every time I felt alone. She would find a place to sit or lay down as long as her little body was up against mine. I knew I had more than a pet. I had a friend when no one knew I needed a friend.

I talk about it all the time. I want a dog. I want a new pet. I have not worked towards getting one only because I know I am not ready for one. I feel like whatever one is out there deserves the best lifestyle as possible and I could not offer that right now. It is okay though, because I know I will have a puppy at the right time. It will the right fit for both Kalvin and I as well as for the dog.

My Five Steps of Falling in Love

My Five Steps of Falling in Love

Have you ever wondered why you all of a sudden find yourself infatuated with someone who you never before acknowledged? I remember the moments that led me to my relationship with Kalvin. The moments were not always spontaneous and magical. I was eighteen and filled with zeal when Kal caught my eye. I refused to have anything stand in my way of what God had intended for me. Unknown to me, my future was right in front of my life, waiting for me to take a leap into a pool of dense atmosphere.

When I see other young people say they love each other, I too smile like those who did so to Kal and I at our many dates before we married. Disclosure, the smiles and awes have yet to stop. He and I rarely have a time where we are not told we are adorable. It is much appreciated and well received, but it does not define who we are. It became apparent to become who I was supposed to be as a young woman when I began to let go of other people’s opinions on how I should live my life. For too long, the people I surrounded myself around were people who believed they knew best on how we were allowed to date as a young couple. A lot of those people had not even been in a relationship or a Godly one at that. It is important to know who you go to for a good counsel. I believe it is also beneficial to have friends who are dating as well. Those who have similar standards and goals are that much more appropriate for each other to stay encouraged on their journey. 

If you are reading this and have yet to find your love. I want to encourage you with my five steps of falling in love. His might sound like a checklist or a way for you to find love but really I am just letting you in on my process of realization.

1. The Let Down

When I first met Kalvin, I had this idea he was going to be as tall has another friend that I had. I had told our mutual friend at the time that this other friend was really tall and funny. She somehow omitted Kalvin’s height and really wanted me to meet him. When I met Kalvin it all became a blur because I was almost immediately lost interest in even introducing myself. 

2. Thank You Notes

About six or seven month after that moment. I had given Kalvin a book to borrow and a few weeks later he gave it back. He wrote on sticky notes how appreciative he was for borrowing the book and how he learned so much from it. I took the notes for whatever reason and stuck them to a school notebook for weeks it was the first thing I saw in each class. Somehow the more I saw the note the more I thought about him. I began to think of him as a sweet person. I did not realize my mind was changing until a classmate asked what I was smiling about when I was staring at my notebook and outlining the note that I stuck to the cover of my notebook. I tried to quickly snap out of it. 

3. Second Glance

A month after the notebook incident, I revisited Oral Roberts University as a high school visiting student. I knew Kalvin was visiting as well but he and I did not visit together. I had my friends and he was making his own. When I saw him there on campus, he had shaved his mustache that was a part of his look for years. I then did not see him as completely unattractive but still did not really have any interest in dating him. 

4. Pranks, Promposals, and Pledges 

This is the moment Kalvin and I have marked as our dating anniversary. On April fools day of 2012 I had the absolutely brilliant idea of having the one person everyone in my youth group wanted me to date to actually act like we had started seeing each other. That evening we announced it was all a joke and nothing was happening between us. No one believed us of course. Two days later Kalvin asked me to prom in this elaborate plan to hike and ask me at the top of Cowles mountain I front of my whole youth group. Knowing what happened a couple nights before, I thought and ask if this was a joke as well. It was not a joke. I then asked him to my prom through some scripture verses. [What a great idea, I know]. We then met with each other via skype to talk about dating. I told him I was not the type to just date. If we dated there was going to an end goal of eventually getting married. We both looked at each other awkwardly after that statement. I remember he said “okay” we smiled and moved on with our night. It did not mean I had to marry him. It just made my intentions of dating more focused for both of us.

5. The Pursuit 

Like I mentioned before, dating was never easy. We did not always go to people who were well suited advise us on how we were supposed to treat each other. This ultimately lead to a break from dating each other for a year. It was difficult but incredibly rewarding. We came together and immersed ourselves in doing ministry. While learning how to work as a team it became more apparent our goals individually were to become one invincibly. It took a couple of years after the break for our promise to come together but almost four months after our wedding. We are seeing the blessing and benefits of all our hard work. It does not stop at the wedding though. It is a daily process for the both of us to strive to become who we are meant to be together and as individuals. This is our pursuit. 

    Early Mornings and Late Nights

    Early Mornings and Late Nights

    Safety. For about a month now, my body has adjusted to an early morning wake up schedule. I do not have a scheduled work day like most people, although I pray I do very soon. I usually wake up before the sun rises. I do not always stay up the whole morning because the morning have been cooler which means it can be harder to get out of my warm bed. 

    This week and last week we had a few suspicious incidents where I felt my home was being compromised. For the first time in years, I felt unsafe in my own home. I think every child has their season of fear and it is always up to the parents to remind them and reassure them that everything will be okay. This week, I had my husband and God of course. I know God will always provide, project, and love me. I forget how great my life is to know that I have a home and bed to sleep at night. I am not in any danger. I thankful for it. 

    I hope my early morning become my time of dedication to worship and prayer again. I hope my late nights become more about reading listening to his word. Maybe I am just saying what I want you to hear. I hope I get the opportunity to really experience a disciplined lifestyle.

    November Hunger

    November Hunger

    One month from today I will be one year older. I know I have a limited amount of years that I will be excited to announce my birthday, so I am taking advantage of the joy I still contain for my life moving forward in the way God has guided me to live. I am one year closer to seeing my future children, wherever in time I will get the chance to meet them. I am one year closer to seeing God fulfill His plans for mine and my husbands’ life. I am excited for the opportunity to be that much closer to finishing college and paying off my college debt. I am in anticipation of Jesus’ return. I am excited.

    Last month I wrote about thirst. This month I am hungry. I am ready to have what God has promised for me today. I am ready to make today count like today is the only day I have to give. Some of you have already walked into your job and others are still sitting at home waiting for a change in your life to happen to you. I am both at home and walking into my job every time I write and every time I publish. This is not about making my voice known, because I had so many better ways to make my written work published. I chose to give God my time these last two months and it has been more than worth it. I have learned so much about others and I have learned even more about myself. 

    I intentionally write every day to keep discipline as a part of my lifestyle. I know this will lead to greater opportunities. I know there will be jobs and careers later in life that will be established from this season of growth. I am thankful, in this month of thanksgiving, for everyone of you reading this post and every one before and after. I am thankful for your feedback, for mentioning in person how you have enjoyed my writing, and I am thankful for those text messages as well. Thank you. Your love and prayers mean the world to me.

    The Coffee Shop Review

    The Coffee Shop Review

    I have a passionate interest in the English language throughout history. In my free time I write poetry. It helps to have recently come from a visually stimulating adventure when writing. Everyday, I make it a goal to discover a book store or find a cute shop. I was once a barista so I have a love for coffee and lattes. In San Diego, I have found many unique cafes and coffee shops with their own personality and ambiance. Today, I will review three spots throughout San Diego. I will try to stick to a scale of location, barista-costumer interaction, and satisfaction with my drink. I am not going to judge the drink itself because I have ordered different drinks at different places. I will be talking about how I felt after I ordered the drink whether it was underwhelming or satisfactory to what I was desiring in the moment.

    Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

    This is the place my brother, Alex, has been bragging about for at least the past three months. I finally had the opportunity to try a drink at their North Park location and it was not their coffee. It’s strange I know. I ordered an iced matcha latte with almond milk. Even though I have yet to taste the coffee, I left extremely satisfied. I am not sure if it was because I had been craving a good matcha drink or if it was because it was ten o’clock in the morning on a Sunday. It was the perfect kick-start to a busy day. The location was primarily driven by people my age or a little bit older. I see it catering to a younger demographic without losing its taste for an older crowd at about fifteen years my senior. The shop itself was small, there was a line out of the store and only a few tables but I can see the place being more of an in-and-out kind of place. I was hoping for a study-stop kind of place, but I heard their Golden Hills location was more open. Since it was busy, there was not much of a memorable interaction with them other than stating the order, but I did hear the service was probably the greatest part of the experience. I have yet to see it, but I will definitely try and make it back sometime soon to either this location or one of their better known locations.

    Heartsleeves Coffee

    If you are familiar with the Alice in Wonderland novel or have watched the movies and enjoyed them, you might enjoy Heartsleeves. This coffee place is tucked away between two lovely boutiques in Little Italy. The seating is an outdoor courtyard, which is pretty inviting. I ordered a drink that was called something like the White Rabbit it was an Italian soda with vanilla, but I opted to add an espresso shot making it a Dirty White Rabbit. I loved that drink. It was probably one of my favorite so far. I liked it because it was not a latte, but it was not just an Italian soda. The barista was helpful when I talked about what I wanted and when I asked what was popular she recommended the white rabbit drink. I would probably go back with a friend on a Saturday morning.

    Communal Coffee 

    Located on the corner of University Avenue and Texas Street, this coffee and flowers shop has more than coffee to offer. I had an iced lavender and vanilla latte and it was delicious. The barista was quick to make a conversation and was able to throw out drinks that I might like. Since it is on a busy street in San Diego and its on a corner, I’d say it is one of the most prime locations I have been to. They have a large shop so there is a lot of seating and there were people meeting there, as well as students on their computers. There are flowers and plants everywhere and most of the seating is indoors. I visited on a weekday afternoon and the environment was somewhat quiet, but I did not feel bad for laughing and enjoying myself around Kalvin. It is also a great place to take Instagram photos. If I could, I’d make this my every weekday hang out spot and constantly walk out with a few flowers and a drink.