Thursday I celebrated my last day in the office. It was a great day – they had a little party for me complete with cake that I couldn't enjoy (but will freeze for post-Lent), 2 cards, and a $60 gift card to Starbucks – here I come Chai and London Fog! Perhaps the reality of it all will set in after Monday. I'm slightly nervous for Monday, because the first day of work, for me, is always the most stressful. It doesn't even matter that I know most of the people where I'm going – I'm still a little uneasy! I look forward to the day when I'm celebrating my last day at work in the DC area! Hopefully that will be someday soon!
Also, I have a special surprise at the end of this post!! I can't wait to share it!!!
Moving on – I also FINALLY finished my latest book, Become a Better You by Joel Osteen. This is the second book of Joel's I have read and it didn't disappoint. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with life, and we all are, so you should just go ahead and pick it up on your next trip to the store! For those of you who don't know, Joel is an tele-evangelist out of Houston, Texas who took over Lakewood Church after his father passed away several years ago. Joel's service airs on Sunday mornings (check local listings), and he also shares that service on Itunes (for free) as a podcast either in video or audio. Check it out sometime if you haven't already done so – they are less than 30 min long. The book highlighted 7 subject areas: Keep Pressing Forward, Be Positive Toward Yourself, Develop Better Relationships, Form Better Habits, Embrace the Place Where You Are, Develop Your Inner Life, and Stay Passionate About Life. Each of those seven sections ends with action points – ways in which to apply what you've just read.
In Keep Pressing Forward, Joel talks about stretching yourself to the next level, staying faithful to God and challenging your faith in Him to move to the next level of your life. This section also touches on generational blessings, which are blessings we receive from our ancestors (not prehistoric ones – but grandparents, etc). These blessings come to us from how they've lived their life, such as parents who were able to completely provide for their families, and instill a Godly way of life in their children, which in turn can and will be passed on from generation to generation. Likewise, those who have family members who suffered from defeat (alcoholism and other addictions) also pass that on to other generations. This doesn't mean that every descendant will be an alcoholic, but they may struggle with other addictions or feelings of defeat in their lives. Part two goes on to talk about how important it is to Be Positive Toward Yourself. We need to stop listening to people who tell us we cannot do things. We need to disassociate ourselves from those who are constantly dumping their negativity into our lives, which in turn makes us feel badly. And we need to start accepting who we are and having confidence in ourselves. Developing Better Relationships is the subject area in part three. Here, Joel addresses the need to bring out the best in people – compliment people, tell them you believe in them and that they can do whatever they set their mind to. Keep strife out of your life and take a stand for your family. If your husband, wife, son or daughter does something you don't agree with, say not replacing the toilet paper when it runs out, don't get bent out of shape – just accept it and move on. Allowing small situations such as that to seep into your lives will start to wear down your relationships. It's simply not worth it. Then, we can also stop assuming responsibility for the happiness of those around us – this is part four – Form Better Habits. While we should be kind to everyone, we should be our top priority, and then our families. Still, we cannot take on a false sense of responsibility for those around us and their feelings. Part five spoke the loudest to me, although each section really did, but Embracing the Place Where You Are really nipped me in the butt. It is no mystery that I've been unsettled with where I'm at in my life right now. While I've been trying to make it better by getting a new job, moving to a different part of the metro area, and forcing myself to take on new hobbies, I'm still not where I thought I'd be at 25! With that said, part five is self-explanatory! Developing Your Inner Life, part six, focuses on developing a tender conscience. This means that we should thank God when our conscience alerts us to things we know we shouldn't be doing – maybe unethical things in the workplace, or even to our families. Some people learn to shut off that little voice in their head telling them they're doing something wrong so much so that they don't think twice before committing un-Godly acts. There is plenty of evidence around us these days of people who have shut off their conscience entirely. And finally, part seven, Stay Passionate About Life, tells us we should always live expectantly in God's eyes. We should always wake up with excitement for the day, knowing that our God will be there with us and fulfill our needs each and every day – and we should expect this.
Those are just a few things that were touched on in the book, but I did not even do it one ounce of justice! There is plenty more of great information to absorb from Joel. If you do end up reading this book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it, and what your favorite part was!
Now, last but not least, please welcome Charles – the new addition to my family!!! He will be coming home on Friday, March 5! I can hardly wait! I've wanted a cat ever since graduating college and the time was never right until now. I cannot wait to take care of this little guy! While I love taking care of my beloved plants, they certainly are not available for cuddling, and Charles will totally fulfill that purpose! I've been searching high and low for kittens online around here, and I've had a tough time finding one that met my specifications. I wanted a long haired kitten, but all I found were a bunch of long and short haired adults. But apparently they go like hotcakes – and when we visited the animal shelter yesterday, I knew he was the one as soon as I spotted him. See, I hesitated to get another black cat (RIP Hershey!) because Joel's giant cat is a huge, black, long-haired, furry monster of a feline. I thought we should bring in some variety – say an all white cat instead? However, when I saw Charles, I could not resist. I guess he had been rescued as a stray, and had just arrived at the shelter yesterday – so my little darling didn't have to be there long before I came to his rescue. He will be off to the vet for his checkup, shots and neutering, and then I'll pick him up Friday at some point. Since he was nameless, we got to give him his name and chose Charles for the name of the county I live at in MD. I wanted to give the little man a name that somehow represented both Joel and I. YAY!