Wednesday, November 25, 2015


The first day at my new job was the scariest day of my life. I wanted to quit. Yet, after bawling my eyes out and threatening my parents that I was giving up, I realized I was being a child about the whole situation. A little girl who just needed her Daddy to tell her that he believed in her and that she could do it. She could do it because she knew he would be right there with her throughout the whole training process.
Starting a new job for anyone can be scary because no one wants to be the new guy but there is something about knowing you aren’t the only newbie in the group that instantly connects you and calms every fear you are facing head on. See? That first day was just one attack after another from the enemy himself because in case you didn’t know, the enemy of our faith aka the Devil hates progress of any kind. And being that this was my first day in the adult workforce, he wanted to convince me that I could not grow as a person, overcome my fears, and silence the doubters.
Yet, once I focused on God and his grace, I knew I could not fail and even if I did fail, no one would blame me because failing only signifies that I tried a method that did not succeed but in no one does it mean that I do not have the ability through Christ to complete the job and to find a wiser, more efficient method to do the job I’ve been assigned to do.
Another thing I learned in my first four days of work in my new job was that because I was new, I would be given small responsibilities before the major ones. I wouldn’t be asked to drive Big Joe on my first day, my second day, my third day, or my fourth day. I may never have to drive Big Joe only because as long as someone working on our team is certified to drive Big Joe, then we know that specific person can handle it, and do the tasks that come with it with both ease and determination. And if an error occurs or Big Joe decides to have a technical glitch (machines have bad days, too), someone will come assist them in whatever way is necessary.
In the same way, God promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He promises that through our weaknesses his strength will manifest itself (2 Corinthians 12:9). And most importantly, he promises to never leave us with more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). He wants to see us succeed as much as we want and hope to succeed.
Now I know that my job is something to be incredibly thankful for instead of something to dread or fear. And when I feel as though my abilities are not enough, God will step in and help me with whatever task I need to do by his grace.
All I needed to do that first day was be still and know that he is God (Psalm 46:10), and trust in his grace.
 You can read my newest guest blog on Nick J Roy's site here along with all my other stuff. 

Without further ado, I'm thankful for:
1. My family (even though they can be pains in my rear at times. God knows I can be too).
2. My new job
3. That I made an honest effort toward #NaNoWriMo and started a project I wasn't confident would get off the ground
4. the few friends who always check in with me to make sure that I'm both alive...and well.
5. My dogs (OMG, my dogs are two of the greatest people to ever live...I love them so, so much!)
6. Graduating college and realizing what adulthood really means:

7. Finding a way to get paid to write aka my freelance work
8. Finding a way to keep on living without my best friend and still honor her life and her person
9. Finishing my memoir, and feeling confident with it
10. For God's grace, faithfulness, mercy, and love because I don't know where I would be without Jesus

Until next time, remember:

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#BookReview: #NeverHaveIEver by @KTHeaney #WriterWednesday

 So I was intrigued to read this book for two reasons: one being that I also was writing a memoir, and in order to find the niche for my memoir, I've spent the past three years reading a lot of memoirs.
For all the memoirs I have read, please see my goodreads page.

   The other gaping reason I decided to pick up this book is because like Katie, I have spent (24 years) without one single date. No boyfriend whatsoever. And I can see the expression you are giving the computer screen: either one of pure (possibly faned) shock or one of pity.

And I'm about to smack that look right off your face if you don't stop right there.

This is why I related to Katie's book so much. And her very honest lack of a love life/ almost love life story gripped me from the first to the last word.

My favorite parts of the book were when she starts out talking about her first celebrity crush on JTT and how she wrote in her Lisa Frank diary to commemorate all her new grade school crushes.

Or maybe my favorite parts of the book were when she talks about how when she got to college, and couldn't pursue a social life right away because, ""My hyper-sensitive need to be a functional human being during the day always got in the way of my nights."

The following are some of my favorite quotes from the book and stood out to me as profound truths when I read Katie's memoir:

Honestly if slut shaming is not okay, why is virgin shaming okay?

Then when she talked about a guy she almost dated but nothing ever really became official so she got over him the way most girls do: moped around, watched Sex and the City, and slept it off. Until one day her best friend Rylee suggested they get high and play Dream Phone aka one of my favorite games as a kid growing up:

Her prose about this game and how strange of a concept it really is had me laughing so hysterically. Most of the book had me laughing hysterically so much so that my family thought I officially cracked mentally. Oh well, as if the pistachio doesn't fall far from the nut family tree. 

  Anyway, let me tell you this: I highly recommend this book because not only is it relatable in its awkward first person prose and voice about a young girl trying and failing at finding love throughout her first 25 years of life. I also want to let you know that if (like me) you have yet to find love. Don't even sweat it. What I loved most about Katie's memoir was that she made it a point to point out how the sad fact that we are still single is only because others around us feel the need to compete about it, and pressure us, and point out how sad that is. Not yet finding love is not sad. I believe it just means that no one has met your standards yet and in today's fast and loose society having standards makes you like a shiny new never used Iphone 6. No gunk, no glitches, and all yours for the experiencing. Tweet This And ask anyone who's ever held a brand new Iphone what that moment (thought fleeting) is like. The heavenly choirs sing and the lights get brighter. 

   I believe that thought I have yet to find love, God can make a way when there appears to be none. He's done that in other areas of my life so I know for a fact it isn't just words but manifested faith in God's faithfulness and goodness can cause it to happen to any of us. Do you believe it? 

   Recently, I made a Tinder which is somewhat not my style but my sister offered to help me and so I said why not? Even though I have yet to message all my matches back since I made the profile due to the fact that I have no smartphone of my own nor tablet, it was thrilling to see how quickly guys messaged me. They probably wonder what happened to me. (Or not). But hey, you can't say I don't try or put myself out there. 

The main reason I know that I haven't found love yet is because I'm not looking or worried about it right now. My career is my boyfriend, and Jesus is my husband. And I know you just side-eyed the computer right there (I will SMACK you) but I'm serious. If I'm not worried about it, why should you?

Until next time, remember: 
Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#WriterWednesday: The Book Courtship Book Tag

One of my writer friends did this on her blog and although she didn't tag me, I wanted to do it because there is nothing I love more than books. Scratch that, I love dogs and God almost equally as books but basically books are high on my favorite things list.

Phase One: Initial Attraction: A book that you bought because of the cover?

This book was given to me as a Christmas gift but as far as the cover, I automatically fell in love with it because of the cover and wanted to read it because there was both a cup of coffee on the cover, and a heart shape in the coffee. These were visual signs that wooed me as a reader and made me fall in love with this book. As far as the book goes, it's one of the most compelling YA books I've read by someone other than my three favorite YA authors: Janette Rallison, Susane Colasanti, and Kieran Scott. It's perfectly about a skatergirl who works at a coffee shop. Writing this now makes me want to re-read this book.

Phase 2 – First Impressions: A book that you got because of the summary?

Just when Kelsey is finally fitting into her new California life, C. J. Logan comes along. He's hot, popular, and revered as the best skateboarder around. Girls want to be with him, and boys want to be him. And Kelsey is lucky enough to be his girlfriend. But when she decides that their relationship is over, she could not have imagined what would happen next. With rumors flying, she is forced to figure out who her true friends are and, more importantly, who her true self really is.
This book courted me both by its title and its summary because I found it around the time I realized my obsessive crush on professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler although full of  good intentions was not going to benefit me in the long-term so I stopped writing him fan letters on a monthly basis because I realized I should crush on someone in my local area. Therefore, I related to the gist of the story because skater boys are irresistible but not always good for your overall emotional well-being.

Phase 3 – Sweet Talk: A book with great writing?

I don't typically read books just because everyone else has read them because I don't really follow the crowd at all in any aspect of life but I can say with this one, everyone I knew was reading it because the movie was about to come out so I said, "why not?" And I did not regret it one bit. The book kept me hooked from page one and the writing just tore me up in the best way. It's John Green's best work. I've read his other books Paper Towns  and Looking For Alaska and I didn't enjoy them as much I enjoyed this book. Can I please find my own Augustus Waters? He's like the perfectly imperfect dream guy. I mean, Zac Efron actually has some tough competition there for my heart....

Phase 4 – First Date: A first book of a series which made you want to pick up the rest of the series?

I have yet to read Susane Colasanti's City Love series but for this, I would have to say this is what happened when I read the 50 shades of grey series. Again, everyone was making a fuss and I was like, do I take a swig out of this elixir or do I not? And once again, I tried it. And once I started reading them, I realized they weren't sex books like everyone was calling them. They were romance novels hidden underneath very explicit sexual prose here and there. Basically, they appeal to everyone's interests. 

Phase 5 – Late Night Phone Calls: A book that kept you up all night?

With this book, I actually stayed up late to read the last 100 pages because I just had to know what was going to happen. It's still my favorite book in the series because of the plot line when Bella had to choose between Edward and Jacob. 

Phase 6 – Always On My Mind: A book you could not stop thinking about?

This book after I read it changed my whole view of life as I knew it. It reminded me what truly mattered by cleverly telling a love story about how you can chase the guy who appears perfect but really isn't perfect for you or you can allow yourself to fall for the guy right in front of you. This is still my favorite book I've ever read.

Phase 7 – Getting Physical: A book which you love the way it feels?
This is pretty broad and a hard one for me because I don't really remember owning any of those books with the special sensory pages so I would say any book I've ever read because I've never read any book that wasn't physically in front of me. I actually prefer regular books in print to electronic books because I struggle to read books from a computer or tablet screen but that's just me.

Phase 8 – Meeting the Parents: A book which you would recommend to your family and friends?
For this, I would recommend anything by Susane Colasanti, Janette Rallison, or Kieran Scott. They are my favorite YA authors and everything they write is just great and I imitate their style of writing when I write my own fiction.

Phase 9 – Thinking About the Future: A book or series you know you will reread many times in the future?
I've already re-read Waiting For You multiple times and Janette Rallison's books as well. And I'm planning on re-reading Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty now because why not? Isn't that why books are written so that they can be read and re-read over and over. I would hope when I write a novel worth reading that my readers read it over and over and share it with their friends, blog about it, and tweet about it that it becomes as big a phenomenon as Harry Potter or Twilight. 

Phase 10- What are you reading right now?

For this step, you are really supposed to tag other people to do this blog as well but since that went so well for the 777 challenge, I'm not going there again.

Instead I'll share the books I'm currently reading: 

So far, this book is extremely relatable and scary true that I'm wondering if Katie actually used my love life as her muse for this book. For all of my other #foreversingle friends, this one is a must read! Check it out. 

This book I picked up when looking for writing books at my local library. It's basically telling me a lot of what I already know but after each subject's chapter it recommends other books to read. It's like a writer's bible of sorts.

What I plan to read: 
The other three books pictured here are other books I picked up at my local library in order to help me find ways to help me get my fiction writing love back. After working on a memoir for three years, I'm struggling with both a YA project I started prior to November and my #NaNoWriMo novel but I'm hoping these books will help me get my overall passion for the craft of fiction writing back. 

Speaking of #NaNoWriMo, I started my novel and have written a total of 472 words so far out of the goal of 50,000. I'm not too sure I will make the goal (especially with having two freelance jobs, one part-time job, and two internships) but I'm going to make progress when I can. Here is the book cover I created to sign up on you want to join the crazy crusade, please go there to sign up and for a bunch of other fun clickable links to writing goodies and swag for writers:

Until next time, remember: "I'm not happy when I'm writing but I'm more unhappy when I'm not. -Fannie Hurst Click To Tweet This

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming!~

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

#WriterWednesday: How Life without Sugar can Still Be Sweet

    At the end of September, I saw myself in a new way. I felt that I had hit rock bottom and decided I needed to do something about it. What I decided was that as of October 1 until Oct. 30, I would give up sugary treats (all candy, cookies, cakes, and ice cream), alcohol, and fast food. I would just substitute said sugary treats with healthy options such as yogurt or pudding. And I would workout (five to six days a week). And for the first seven days I did amazing and I felt amazing! I wasn't doing this experiment to lose weight but if I  did happen to lose weight, awesome. Yet, I just wanted to see what it felt like to go without those three major and wasteful food groups.

    The funny thing was I felt great without sugar. I slept better (mostly because I didn't have to get up to pee four and five times a night). I was happier. My mood was better possibly because my brain was actually getting the nutrients it needed to stay happy and sane. I had more energy even without three cups of coffee. Plus, it was actually easier to reach for a yogurt or a pudding when I wanted something sweet knowing that I wouldn't regret the calories the next day.

Then, on October 7, my dad bought my mom and I a mini cannoli at the grocery store. And he practically forced it down my throat. It was only 140 calories but still, I felt like I should have been stronger in my refusal to eat it. Then, on October 9, my sister  bought a box of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins. She said I could have a couple but I ended up eating a family of munchkins, an extended family. And when I wrote down my calories for the day, I saw how I had wasted 300 calories on munchkins and regretted it well, because despite the taste being heavenly, they left me hungrier than I was before I ate them.

From this day forward until October 22, I stuck to my no sugar, no alcohol, no fast food plan. Yet, once I came off of it, I realized that I started once again to struggle with sleep, to struggle with anger that I believe was produced by my failed sense of accomplishment, anxiety and symptoms of depression. I'm not saying these medical issues all have to do with what you eat but they say you are what you eat, right?

Thankfully, this sugar cleanse taught me a lot about the uselessness of sugar (even in my coffee) and a lot about myself.

Yet, life has turned around for me, since I last wrote a #WriterWednesday post. I got another freelance job, and as of yesterday (11/03/15), I got hired as a merchandising specialist at Best Buy. Plus, over the weekend, I visited the new Tampa Premium Outlets and got to meet TV personality, Skinny Girl Founder, and NYT Best-selling author, Bethenny Frankel. Needless to say, my Halloween was more fabulous than spooky:

 All in all, the greatest thing I learned that life without sugar can still be sweet when you learn to just let go and trust God. I am definitely going to commit to a sugar and junk free lifestyle after the Holidays are over. And for all my writer friends who are bravely blazing the long month long trail that is National Novel Writing Month, I salute you and hope next year, I can fully commit to the treacherous but fulfilling task of writing 50,000 words in a month. (This year, it just didn't work out for me.)

Until next time, remember: For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day. -Habakkuk 2:3

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~