Sunday, December 18, 2005


I just wanted to briefly write and say that I will be starting again on my thankfulness trek! I want to start blogging one thing I am thankful for each day! I think that will help me to keep my head out of my problems. Have a great day ya'll and here is today's thankfulness!

December 18, 2005: I am thankful that I was not injured badly in my car accident yesterday. I am thankful that Cavie was also not injured beyond working condition. I am thankful that I have car insurance and that Cavie will be able to get fixed. I am thankful for my boy who calmed me after the car accident. I am thankful for a great meal out with my boy where I enjoyed a great glass of wine and good seafood. I am thankful for cuddle time and Napolean Dynamite too. I am thankful mostly that I am heading home in 4 days.


Another date and still liking it

Some of you know that I have been interested in a certain boy for some time. It's been a hard road for us because of some past issues for him but overall, it's been so much fun. Last night we went on another date and it went so well. We had such a good time together just eating dinner and watching Napolean Dynamite. I hardly ever have as good of a time with anyone else besides him. I am hoping I will get to see him one more time before I head to Indiana for 12 days.

Speaking of that, I am so stoked to head to Indiana this coming week. I am looking forward to seeing my friends and family again. I am a little under the weather right now with a cold or sinus problems and yesterday I got into a car accident so I am just ready to pack up my gear and head east. Just so you aren't alarmed, my car accident was just a fender bender but if any of you know know that is so sad to me.

I am also looking forward to the new year and making new resolutions. I know I didn't meet all 50 of my resolutions this year but I worked hard and got a few of them taken care of. I am excited to make new and more reasonable ones. I hope you are all doing ok. Have a great Holiday season and I love you all!


Monday, December 12, 2005

Theres no place like home for the holidays

Hi everyone. I am sorry it's been so long since I have blogged. My life has been extremely stressful for the last month or so. Last week I was given the biggest blessing ever by a very precious family that I love. Heather's family (The Short Family) paid for my ticket home to Indiana. I can't even fathom the kindness and love they showed me by providing me a ticket to be with my family for the holidays. I am so excited about going home and I owe this family all of my excitment and happiness. :)

I just wanted to write really quickly and update everyone on my holiday plans. I am hitting the rolling hills of Indiana from Dec. 22-Jan 3

If I don't write soon..Happy Holidays!


Monday, November 28, 2005

Home for Christmas

I am sitting writing my post today singing "I'll be home for Christmas" at the top of my voice. I am so longing for home. I haven't seen my mom and older sister for 7 months and my little sister for almost 5 months. I haven't seen my dad, step mom, or other little sister for almost a year. It's really hard to be so far from your family and have the fear that you might not get home for Christmas. Money is very scarce right now and with the holidays approaching is not going to get easier. I looked at plane tickets today and even this early, they are already 400 dollars each. That scares me for sure.

I always love Christmas in Indiana. I love the way that Indiana looks with freshly fallen snow on the ground and how it smells like fireplaces and cooking food and people are rushing around all bundled up to get their Christmas shopping done. I love seeing my friends and family and sharing with them and getting to see them unwrap my gifts and know that I love them so much.

I love visiting my favorite people and getting to catch up on old times with them. I love going to the grocery store with my mom to get all of my favorite foods because she cooks them all while I am home. I love the smell of my mom's cooking in our house and going into the kitchen and seeing pans and pans of fudge and seeing some crazy concoction that Hillliary found in a magazine that she created as a masterpiece. (last year was the stocking cake)

I love Christmas Eve with my Grandfather's family where I get to see just a glimpse of him again through his brothers. We all get together and do a gift exchange, potluck, and play cards and just catch up on family news. Then we go home and start to prepare Christmas dinner (me and my mama) and open one gift each. We then watch White Christmas and stay up and then the next day..the magic happens. I love Indiana at the Holiday Season. Gosh, I want to go home NOW!



Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Enjoying the first stage of attraction.

Don't you love those first few dates of a new relationship? I sure do. I am seeing someone new and it's really a fun time. We have been getting to know each other for a few weeks and I have found out wonderful things in this short time. We had our first date on Saturday (Nov 19th) and have our second one tonight. I am looking forward to it since we have decided to go bowling. I have a good time doing whatever with whomever but he makes things even better.

Life is going alright for me. I leave tomorrow morning to head up to Nor Cal with Heather to spend Thanksgiving with her family. I am looking forward to seeing her family and also just spending a few days supporting Heather through a rough time. I am also just looking forward to getting away from work and responsibilities to enjoy myself. I know that money will be scarce with the holidays approaching but sometimes, just have to enjoy your friends and family. Money is not going to matter when it's all over!

Well please pray for my new relationship that has just started and also for safety while we travel tomorrow. I will update everything when I am back. I am also going to be downloading pictures onto my web-site soon of Disneyland and me and my new favorite boy, Aaron!

Have a great day Ya'll


Monday, November 14, 2005


Hello everyone. Lately life has been interesting and a learning experience to say the very least. I would really like all of you to pray who know my friend Heather Short. Heather was my college roommate and is one of my dearest friends now. Her mom has been battling cancer for some time and has had reoccurences including seizures and tumors. Just one week ago today, her mom was given 2 months to live. We know that God is God and He decides all of our fate but there is a fear that plagues Heather.

Please keep my dear friend in your prayers. This also is leading me to go up North with her for Thanksgiving and not return to Indiana until December. Please pray for her family and for Heather's heart. I love you all and I'll call you all soon!


Saturday, November 05, 2005

The sky is falling

Hey everyone. I hope you are all doing much better than myself. Life has just been an interesting ride lately. Interesting this time is not a positive word either. I updated a few days ago about all that is going on in my life and as I read it today, it's amazing the changes a week can bring. Personally, I have gone through some of the hardest feelings in my life and outside of myself, people I love have been suffering and struggling as well. It's just a hard time I think.

I am going through a lot of things right now that don't make a lot of sense and I could really use all of your prayers for peace.

I can't write a lot today, I am exhausted. Love to you all


Friday, October 28, 2005 day at a time

Hello everyone. For the past almost 3 months I have been going through painful pruning. I have not written in my blog nearly as much because I have been so busy and kind of going through things alone. I wanted to write today about the growth experiences that have been happening through this time and how amazing God is through it. I thought I would update just every facet of my life at once so that you can read the portions you are wondering about. Here goes...

Counseling: I am currently seeing a therapist and it's going wonderfully. We have been working together for about 2-3 months and it has been a very interesting experience. We are currently working through the fears of applying and going to grad school, weight loss, and family stuff.

Work: I am currently working 3 jobs and applying for a 4th. My first job and most important to me is being Chris' nanny. I have been with he and Richard for a year and almost 4 months. I have really enjoyed it with the exception of a few small details. There are always opportunities for me to exercise boundaries in that I am practically raising Chris. There is also the issue of Chris being 12 years old and going through a very rebellious stage. He is still way better, in my opinion, than most kids though.
I also am working at Rock Harbor (one of my churches) in the Nurture ministry. This is a child-care/teaching position where I teach and watch 3-5 year olds on Tuesday mornings during the mother's nurture meeting. This is one of my favorite days of the week because the kids are so adorable, fun, and they teach me more than I ever expected to learn.
My 3rd job is Vanguard's library again. Elizabeth (Circulation Supervisor) recently had a baby (Rand) and they needed me to come in to cover their short-handedness. I am basically just doing periodicals and covering where they need me.
The 4th job is a job that would be more permanent because I really love the idea of it. I am interviewing on November 8th if you would like to pray for me. It's a position at Newport Mesa (my other church) and the actual title is "Elementary Director." There is a lot to that job title but it seems very good for me and would really allow me to be involved with ministry in a real and tangible way.

Grad School: I am not that far into the application process. I have gotten a few tasks completed and currently am feeling overwhelmed. I wrote my personal statement a few weeks ago and it is in the editing process. I am working this weekend on my resume/curriculm vitae. That should be one of the easier tasks but I always make things harder than they need to be. I also will be working on the actual filling out applications process because that is something I have put off because it is so monotonous. Anyway, all of my applications should be submitted by January 1st and I should make a decision by April. Please continue praying over this step in my life.

Small Group: I am currently attending a small group on Friday nights and we are doing a book on the spiritual disciplines. I am learning that these things are crucial to my walk with the Lord. My small group is great because the people that make it up are amazing people who I bond with individually in different ways. I am so excited to see them on Fridays!

Church: I am currently still attending both Rock Harbor and Newport Mesa and loving both. I am involved with ministry, serving, classes, and various other things at both. I am loving that each new day brings a new opportunity to grow, change, and be molded at these great churches. I love the people at both churches and find myself growing in female relationships like I never have.

Romance: hmmmm...this one is always an interesting topic, isn't it? Well, I have been out of the dating game for 2 and 1/2 months now and it's powerful to see how my heart has changed. I have started really putting only good and holy things in my mind so that I don't have disrespect for men and/or myself. I only watch movies that are above rated R, same with TV, and no music that glorifies premarital sex, degradation of women, etc... I am really picky about what goes in right now. Also, I am getting to know a young man whom I am very interested in but allowing God to do all the foot work. If this is the man I am supposed to be with for my entire life, he will feel the same way I do and he will pursue me as well. I am not going to put my hands in things any further but rather hold on very tight to God's hand and know He has His best for me at heart. This man is a very nice, sweet, caring man and I am hoping to get to know him further in the coming days, weeks, months, etc... and God will do the rest! Please pray for me and said man! :)

Friends: My friends seem to all be doing rather well. I think they are all growing by leaps and bounds in their spiritual lives and those that are a constant in my life right now are people I can trust and respect. I am growing deeply in one of my female friendships and it's really helping me to become a better person. I am loving that I feel I can trust a girl more than my guy-friends now and I am growing in faith in God bringing the RIGHT females into my life. I am lucky to have a lot of women who really love me and support me!

Family: I really don't know much about what's going on with my family, other than they are all still in Indiana and doing the same things. Britt is working on finishing her first semester in college and she is not having that great of a time. I think that she eventually will find her niche in life and be fine, but until then, she is discouraged. I am trying to head home for the holidays but money is tight so I am hoping that will pan out.

Overall, this is my life. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the fall months. Since this will probably be the last time I write before ...Happy Halloween! I am not really doing anything special for Halloween except enjoying the night of cute little people dressed up in cute little costumes. Have a great one and I love you all dearly! Give me a call if we haven't talked.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

The questions before I speak....

So I was watching an episode of my favorite day-time reality series, "Staring Over" and there is a girl named TJ on there who says things a lot of times that are inappropriate and in turn, creates chaos in her world as well as not connecting with others. This led her life coach, Rhonda Britten to give her an assignment that before she speaks AT ALL...she must ask herself the following questions...

1. Is what I am about to say NECESSARY?

2. Is what I am about to say TRUE?

3. Is what I am about to say HELPFUL?

4. Is what I am about to say KIND?

This led to think about my own speaking behaviors. I am not really the person who says mean things or abrasive things to people but I am the person who says inappropriate things. I am going to start practicing this exercise of asking myself that until I become more conscious of my mouth and the damage it does. I have been reading a lot about being a godly person and godly people are never those that speak out of turn. I am really hurting this week about a million things and I really think one thing that would help is for me to clean up my speech. I want so bad to stop being a big mouth!

Help me Lord!


Friday, October 14, 2005

Rejection and other sore subjects.

I have decided today (not that I didn't know before) that rejection is literally my biggest fear. I think it's the fear of most people and moreso women. I have been experiencing it a lot lately and it hurts so badly. Some of it is due to my life changes I have made but more often than not, it's due to my appearance. I think that's really horrible that we are so judgmental as a culture and we cannot accept someone because of their size, shape, looks, or personality. Just saddens me. I am not saying that I have been pursuing a bunch of people and they have said "No Erica, you are fat and ugly, we can't go out or be friends." That isn't exactly how I mean rejection. I am not being quite that literal. I am just noticing how often it is that someone "loses interest" in me or something when something better comes along.

I should note as I write this, I am not depressed or upset today but rather realizing something about God's love. Isn't it great that he doesn't reject us at all. He doesn't care if we have blonde, brown, red, or green hair. He doesn't care if we have blue, green, brown, or red eyes. He could care less what we weigh, how tall we are, or what brand of clothing we wear. He just loves us so much ...unconditionally. I am so happy to know in this world of rejection and pain, I have a God that loves me and you do too.

Now that I have preached a bit, a quick update. I have been super busy lately and really had no time to blog and I have missed you my blogger public. It's Sunday now and I am completely tired from my weekend. I think the weekend is supposed to be about rest but mine for the next few months are going to be hectic. It's ok though because it really is a blessing to be able to take on some new responsibilities.

All is well with me as I work hard to get into Grad School, lose weight, and most of all further my relationship with my Heavenly Father. God and I are doing excellent. I am feeling closer and closer to Him daily and I am pumped about all of the things He is doing in my life. Please keep praying because your prayers are working! Grad School is going ok. I have one giant step out of the way and working on a second one. I have an information meeting this coming week for one of my schools so it might change or make up my mind. I could really use your prayers for time management to be able to get everything in by January.

Weight loss is going awesome as well. This week I lost 3 lbs to take me back down to 247 lbs now. I had to kind of start over last week due to my excessive binging and laziness for a few months that made me gain quite a bit of weight back. I am excited now that I am back "on the wagon" and working hard. I owe a lot of that to my friend Heather who is encouraging me in my weight loss battle.

Friendships are hurting me lately and I am trying very hard to understand what is happening and what God is doing in each of them. I have one friendship that has REALLY grown though and that's a blessing for sure. No romance news because I am still on dating break and will be for at least 1 more month. I have no desire to get involved with anything right now but growth so I am doing well.

I wish I had more time to write but I must get to the grocery store so we won't starve this week! Have a great week ya'll and keep in touch!


Monday, October 10, 2005

Winston, you'll be missed

Some of you that read my blog might remember a post I did in July that had a dog on it that said "I love Erica" in a thought bubble. Well, that was Winston, Josh's dog. Winston had to be put to sleep on Monday of last week and I am just devestated with that. I am sad that it had to come to that. The little guy was ill and had a torn ACL as well so it makes sense but he will be sadly missed. I felt like I had to blog about how sad it is for me to lose any animal, even if it isn't mine.

Winston: It was good to know you buddy and times were fun! R.I.P little guy

Yes, I seriously just did a pet memorial. Live with it or don't log on! :)

I love you Josh and sorry that your doggy is gone!


Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Hello lovely blogging public. Today is a great day..not because I have had some enormous financial blessing, not because of some great thing I have received but something even bigger to me. There is peace that passes my understanding today regarding my life and future. I am happy to be alive and even happier to know my Lord and Savior. I realized today that my first instinct has become to seek His face on matters that confuse me. My first instinct is to ask Him to remove confusion, anxiety, worry, and bad thoughts. I am growing more in Him and that excites me.

I also have great news regarding Christopher. His blood work came back today and he is NOT diabetic. I couldn't be happier for him, his parents, and myself. Now, you will find out that this was a learning experience for me...which I will talk about a little later! Christopher was very scared that he would be told he had diabetes and for that matter, so was I. I prayed about it of course asking God to make the verdict No but I also prayed that Chris' heart would be prepared either way. I remember when I was diagnosed and how difficult that process was and is still today.

You may ask what I learned through this, and I'll tell you and be completely honest. When I became diabetic (or at least found out), I was only 16 years old. I was very rebellious in nature and continued to be until ...well..let's be honest, TODAY! Yesterday when Chris came home from school we still didn't know if he was diabetic or not. He then told me that he had eaten pizza at school and SODA. That is a big diabetic no-no. I was livid. I began to explain to him the severity of putting sugary soda into your body IF you are diabetic. He was stunned at my great concern and completely apologized about it and I quickly forget his disobedience and began to think of my own.

For the last 9 years of knowing I am a diabetic, I have been the worst diabetic anyone has ever seen. I have continued eating whatever I want most times. I did give up soda immediately and never went back but that is the only area of diabetes I have been completely obedient in. I am ashamed to say this as my body is the temple of the H0ly Spirit and me hurting myself is hurting God and those that love me. I was really mad at myself for not understanding the magnitude of this disease and how badly I treat my body. I am hoping that this was the wake-up call I need to start ACTING like...not just being..a diabetic.

Thank you all for your prayers for Chistopher. We are surely turning this blessing back to PRAISE! Things are good and I continue to seek God on the many things I find confusion in. I am working this week on Grad School, weight loss, and mostly finding how to get closer to my Father in Heaven! I hope you are all well and please contact me if we haven't talked recently. I love you all to pieces!


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Happy Birthday to my Toots and other matters...

19 years ago, God blessed me beyond measure. He brought a little girl into my life who was to forever be my best friend. She was not my best friend at first but the dreaded little sister who took my spot as baby! I had been the baby for 6 whole years and I wasn't giving up without a fight. We had many years of being distant to say the least. Then, one awful July day I learned that I would never again take her for granted. She was there for me in one of my darkest moments and was my confidant for days and weeks after and eventually became my best friend today and forever. Today is my little sister Britt's 19th birthday and I am so happy that I was blessed to be able to have HER as a sister! Happy Birthday Toots!

Last night, one of my favorite boys in the world had a great victory for himself and I wanted to acknowledge that too. Josh McCall, one of the best men to ever walk this planet (Hambone) scored his first college goal in soccer! WOW! I am so proud of you Josh and I am amazed at the man that you are and continue to be! It's great being triplets with you and toots!

I wanted to also ask for prayer for Christopher today. We had some blood work done on Friday of last week and today it came back that he had a high blood sugar and this creates room to believe he might be a diabetic. To all of you who just gasped, I know! We are going tomorrow morning to get him tested with a fasting blood sugar in order to determine whether he is or not. Please pray he isn't. From someone who understands, I would hate that for Christopher.

In other news, my friend Heather B. is getting married this saturday! I am so excited for her and I can't imagine how her last week of being single is affecting her. It must be crazy! My friend Jarrid got married this past Saturday and since he is on his honeymoon, I haven't heard from him but I am sure it went wonderfully!

Life with me is going well. My therapist and I have decided that it's time to get back in the ring and start fighting for what I want again. This means continued closeness to God, weight loss, and a career in psychology. Weight loss and Psychology have recently taken a back seat to a greater battle but I think it's time to get back in the game and really work hard. I would appreciate your prayers for strength, endurance, and time management.

My jobs are going wonderfully, spiritual life is growing, friends are great, and family is getting better. Please pray for Britt as she has decided she wants to make Vanguard her home next year! WOO HOO..GO LIONS!

Anyway, have a great week and thank you for stopping in and caring about my life. If you have anything I could pray about, email me at anytime!

God bless you all!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The journey is long and hard but so rewarding.

Hello everyone. I haven't written for a while so I thought today would be a great day to do an update. Life has been interesting for the last couple of weeks. First of all, I would really appreciate your prayers for two families. The first family are my neighbors and their names are the Chaumburgs. One of the family members (Gary) actually took his own life on Thursday of last week and I really would just like to continue praying for the family in this devestating time. Also if you could all lift up a family from back home (Indiana) that would be great also. Their names are the Ozechowski's. This is a family I have known since I was about 12 years old. They actually attend my church back home. Michele (the wife) passed away on Tuesday of this week. I am not sure the facts yet so I don't know what kind of situation we are looking at but it doesn't look good as she was facing some serious problems. Mostly lift up her husband John and her daughter (3 years old) Autumn to the Lord and just pray that they are taken care of right now.

Things in my life are a bit mixed and complicated but I am pushing through. Overall it's been a month since I decided to rededicate my life to the Lord and get serious about obedience. I put one huge sin to the front of my mind and started fighting it the way I had never tried before. That is complete dependence upon God. I have since learned amazing lessons about really depending on God and the peace that it brings. When I was trying to fight this sin on my own, I was exhausted and completely unable. Since I took my hands off of it, it hasn't been easy but it has been peaceful as I wait on the Lord for my strength.

Things are going pretty well and I am working hard on some things while taking a distinct break from others. I have been exhausted with a few tasks in my life for some time and haven't allowed myself adequate rest. Now is the time to focus on the important tasks and leave the others to the Lord while doing as He pleases. Below are updates on all of the facets of my life and I hope you use my stories to help you get closer to your Father in Heaven.

Spiritually: I am still going strong in my spiritual disciplines by attending both Rock Harbor and Newport Mesa weekly. I am involved in children's ministries at both churches. I do Rock Harbor on Tuesday mornings for the Nurture ministry and then Newport Mesa on Sunday mornings during the 11:00 service. I have joined a small group in Huntington Beach and starting this Friday we will be meeting every week to discuss spiritual disciplines. I will write more about this once it actually starts up tomorrow. I am also starting a class at Newport Mesa on Sunday nights starting in October. It is a class called "Change Your Life" and is geared toward a book by Becky Tirabassi. I am also meeting with a friend every Tuesday night for accountability time. That has proven to be a very growing time for me. Overall, I am learning that intimacy with my father happens in all of these situations; my alone time with Him, my ministry opportunities, and where I am being discipled as well. My battle against my major sin that I have been writing about has been going great. I have had a few setbacks but overall I am really coming against it. Please continue to pray for my spiritual growth.

Health: I would love to report that things have changed drastically in this area but they just haven't. I haven't lost any more weight and really haven't been great with eating and/or exercise. I have worked out here and there and certainly don't binge eat anymore but I am still running to food in emotional highs and lows as well as with boredom. Diabetes seems to be doing well. I haven't had any kidney problems since May so that is a very positive thing. I just recently got over a cold and I have been just exhausted since that. I am really hoping it's not mono or something so please keep me in prayer for a complete healing. I would also appreciate prayers for strength so I can get back on my weight loss plan. I have rested from this facet of my life for a bit to give myself some time to get used to my new life with God. It's time to get back to work.

Job/Career: My job with Christopher is going well. Chris seems to be doing a lot better in school except for a few disciplinary problems here and there. We are trying to get a perfect dose down for his medication and really learn organization skills. I have been really enforcing organization because that is the key to Christopher being successful. He is working hard at Karate and Piano. He really enjoys both and excels at them. He should be testing for his Blue belt soon in Karate so keep him in your prayers. Miss Hannah does a great job with him in piano and he nevers gives me any problems with practicing. My main focus right now is giving 110% of me into this job so that I am impacting Christopher in every way and also impacting Richard at the same time.

My new job at Rock Harbor is really cool. I haven't had time to really write about it but I work for the Nurture Ministry on Tuesday mornings. I basically maintain the "big kids" classroom while the women are in the nurture meeting. Nurture is a place for moms to get together and encourage one another and just be renewed every week. I have the privelage of keeping their children (ages 3-5) and teaching them about Jesus, playing with them, etc.. and it's blessing my heart. I have learned so much just in the two weeks of doing this awesome job.

My upcoming job at Vanguard is getting exciting for me. I am returning to my beloved O. Cope Budge Library just temporarily from the months of October--December (possibly January) and will be working in the department of circulation. All of you probably know that I spent my two years at Vanguard working there and loved it and all of the people involved. It will be good to be back in that environment just for a bit. I start on Oct 8th so please keep praying for me.

My plans to attend Grad School are still really a big goal for me. I would really like to be in Grad School by Fall 2006. I have to be honest, I have taken a break from this preparation as well. I am nervous about it and really feel led to take breaks here and there and just trust God. I am applying to several schools and also having to take the GRE and all of these things are supremely expensive and overwhelming. I would appreciate all prayers that you could direct my way for these awesome challenges.

Friends: My friends are all doing great and it's great to see them growing and changing into the men and women that they need to be. I don't share anything personal on here about them but defintely want to share in their celebrations and prayer requests if possible....

Josh: Has a game tonight for the Vanguard Lions Soccer team and another one on Saturday at home. Please call me if you want to go on Saturday and watch my boy play some serious defense! Josh is in his senior year at Vanguard and seeking God's direction in every area of his life. Please keep him in your prayers and also pray for the soccer team as there are many on there who don't know the Lord.

Joel: Joel is seeking the right job schedule and working on Grad School as well. Seems to be doing great and is totally being shaped and molded. It's great to see this! Just pray for direction for him through Grad School and getting the right jobs going.

Heather: Heather was baptized two weeks ago at Corona Del Mar and rededicated her life the week prior to that. Please continue to pray for Heather as she starts her life over for God and seeks direction and wisdom through it. Also, keep her family in prayer as they have had a few battles lately to and finances.

Hannah: Doing great and is growing by leaps and bounds. Keep her and Aaron in your prayers for direction (Aaron is her boyfriend)

Carrie: Please pray for Carrie and her family (Paul, Hailey, and Riley) as they face a potential danger in their environment. Also, please pray for her family as they have recently gone through a death and several of them need God in a real way. Also Hailey has started preschool (awwwww...) and she needs your prayers for continued growth and love of school. Riley is getting so big and eating everything in sight (ha ha)

Jarrid: Jarrid gets married to Sarah this weekend. I am so freaked out that he will be married. Please pray for provision and health in the marriage as well as a great wedding day.

Heather B.: Will be getting married next weekend to Jason. Pray that all things come together and for their peace and joy on their wedding day. Also, obviously...just a healthy happy marriage.

Pam: Received her Masters in Library Science and is currently seeking a librarian position. Keep praying that one opens up for her!

Nick: My friend Nick just got home from serving in the U.S. Marines in Iraq a few weeks ago. He has a new baby, Calvin Michael Pridemore, and is able to spend time with his family...(Merry his wife and Calvin). Please just praise God for his safe return and pray for little Calvin as he starts his life.

Romance: HA HA HA ...maybe I shouldn't laugh but this is an area that God will have to own because I want no part of it anymore. I am doing fine and growing content with being alone and it's really great. I am to the point where if the man isn't God's best for me...I would prefer not to know him. I know that sounds harsh but after a few heartbreaks ...I am over it!

Family: My family are doing ok. My mom and dad seem to be doing alright but could use your prayers in their jobs and satisfaction in them. My sisters (Hilliary and Tasha) I have no clue but Britt is in her freshman year of college and is planning to transfer after this year. She is considering Vanguard so please pray because I want her to do what's great for her but I am pretty happy with the idea of her being close to me! She is thinking of a career in music education, ministry, etc... She basically isn't happy unless music is in her life is some way. She also has been leading worship at her church youth group so pray for her in that area.

Well, I guess that's the update for now. Sorry it's been a while but things have been busy and hectic. I appreciate your reading today and I am so happy you stopped in. Much love to all of you and please let me know how I can pray!


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Growing so much.

Well, I am just stopping in to do a little update for those of you who keep track of me via blog. I started a new job today at Rock Harbor where I am teaching little ones about Jesus while their mommys are in a Nurture meeting. I am excited that I got hired to do this and it was such an amazing blessing. It is precious to have those little ones around so much. They are ages cute! Anyway, God is really opening up doors for growth for me and teaching me new skills, ideas, and really pushing me to the next level. Keep praying if you don't mind...I still have a little cold and really could use some healing in my body and heart.

I hope you are all well and God is moving in your lives.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Grrrrr say the lions!

I just wanted to stop in and post tonight and say Congratulations to my Vanguard Lions! Josh McCall (my best guy-friend) and the rest of the men's soccer team defeated Chapman tonight at home! It was great and Josh had a few nice saves! It is always good to see a victory for the Lions. GRRRRR Hambone (my affectionate nickname for Josh)


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Really Trusting God

Trust is a tricky word. It is used so often that I think we often lose sight of it's meaning. One of Webster's definitions of trust is "Total confidence in the integrity, ability, and good character of another." All of the definitions after that one basically play on the same ideas. Today I was considering trust in God. I am going through a situation in my life where trust is so important. I have to trust that God is going to provide the things that I need and comfort and protect my heart through this. I can't go into great detail but just know that when you pray for God to help you trust him, he's going to give you ways to see his follow-through.

I was thinking about this today. If I ask God to help me trust him with my whole life, he is going to have to show me things that look hopeless and then come through with a vengence. Yes, I think that is God's character. I have been through enough hopeless situations in my life to know by now that God is trustworthy, yet it is still a hard area for me. The situation I am facing right now is a situation of the heart. I feel like I am in for a huge heart-break really soon and I have to trust that God knows what He is doing and has my best interest at heart.

As I think about this today, I realize that this is the closest I have ever been to my God. I have never been able to really ride out a storm with him but only pretend to. I am in a place of complete surrender to Him and I know that He is with me and for me. I am trusting Him, for the first time.

Today I could use your prayers for my heart and my strength. I am very weary from a rough battle and I could use some rest. I also am beginning to get sick with a sore throat and possibly a cold so if you could just pray for healing, I would appreciate that. I wanted to take a moment to thank a friend too, Heather, you have been really changing lately and I am happy to see God's work in you. Thank you for allowing Him to work towards the healing of me through you! I am grateful!

Well everyone, have a great day and trust Him, because we can stand confident in his integrity, ability, and good character! God bless you all!


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Waves of Mercy

Have you ever felt like you are literally swimming in God's mercy? I sure do today. I have been completely helped and blessed for two whole weeks today. I gave up a huge sin in my life 2 weeks ago and it has changed me seriously. I feel waves of God's mercy and grace and forgiveness. It is truly amazing and I am excited.

Last night I did the unthinkable. Many of you know that I have serious difficulties in developing strong healthy female relationships. Most of my dear friends over the years have been male. In saying that, I decided to step out in faith and attend a "girls night out" at my church last night. It was very good for me and completely faced several of my fears head on. I was able to connect with a few women and get their information in order to "hang out" sometime. I also felt led to ask one of the older women than myself to pray for me and with me about my sin life.

I confessed my sin to her and just allowed her to speak into my life in every way possible. I was open to hear and knew God was there with us. I was truly blessed by the prayer and felt God's provision in it. This event strengthened my heart and life and completely brought me to a new place of femininity.

Many prayers lately have also been answered which is great and I can see God working in my friends, family, and others. Tomorrow is my first day in Children's ministry and I am very excited to see where God takes that. I am also getting excited for my small group game night on Friday, my women's luncheon on Saturday, and my accountability dinner with a GIRL friend on Tuesday. I have many growing opportunities coming up and I would encourage you to stop in and see where God is taking me.

I wanted to take a moment and congratulate Vanguard University Men's Soccer Team for a win last night at Biola! Great job guys! My favorite boy...Josh...plays on the team so I am very happy about this. Also if you could say a prayer..they play again tonight! Also, please be in prayer for my little sister's step-mom Cathy. She has been very ill and needs healing! Thanks everyone and hope that your weekend is blessed


Thursday, September 01, 2005

It is getting harder.

Hello everyone. I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Things here are going pretty well. My sin-issue is getting harder as the days progress but I am learning to stand on scripture, prayer, and the help and support of my team of great people. I write emails, make calls, and pray all day in support of me getting through this and becoming the woman I need to be. I guess I will start by giving you a quick update on me.

Things are about the same in my life. I am working on preparing for Grad School and getting applications filled out. I have just started the research portion of this and am setting up appointments with directors, campus tours, and class visits. That should be interesting as God makes it clear where I will be going. I am also preparing for the GRE still and need prayers for the actual testing and financial part of that.

Health wise I am not doing so well. I have not been very faithful in my eating or exercise plan. It's so hard to fix these old habits for me and I am seriously frustrated with it. I would also appreciate prayers in this area of my life as I really want to lose these excess pounds. I long for the desire to come back to work out and eat well. I am so focused right now on my more serious problems that I am weary and it's hard to work on a million things at once.

My social calendar is filling up with church activities and ways to meet great new people. This Friday I am going to a girls night out event and Saturday and Sunday are filled with church activities and renewing experiences. I am excited because my small group starts soon and so do the classes for women at my church. There are so many great things to look forward to. I also started (this week) an accountability dinner every tuesday night with a friend. It was great and I can see us both growing through it.

The title today is "It is getting harder" because my sin life is getting harder. It has been almost 2 weeks since I have been involved in this sin life at all or even close and it's so hard for me. I am to the point where it's rearing its ugly head and asking me to come back. Please pray with me that I will stay grounded in the Word and prayer so that I can withstand the pressure.

I love you all and thank you for reading and for your prayers


Monday, August 29, 2005

Come to me..all who are weary

For some time I have been completely weary. I have been tired of trying to change myself, work on things, fight broken relationships, health, etc... I have just been WEARY. Well, I came to the point where I could no longer handle my own life and decided to take God's advice and come to him..since I was weary.

I have started relying on His power, His strength, and His virtue..since mine always fall short. I am excited about the new developments in my life and I am looking forward to all that God has for me to be.

Updates: I joined a small group today and I am very excited about that. I am getting involved in children's ministries, women's ministries, and serving opportunities. I have a new counselor that I am starting with soon and that should be good. I also am trying to plan for the upcoming holidays and work on finances. Mainly life is good because I am taking it one breath at a time.

Have a great day and I am praying for you all!


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Children and what I can learn from them.

Today I had a meeting with Gabe, the man at my church that heads up children's ministries. It was a very nice meeting and I found out that the church (one of them) that I have been attending is very good about leading children to the right place. Upon that acknowledgment, I have decided to give of my time on Sunday mornings to serve the children at the church. I am going to be working within the 1st grade class (this is my favorite age).

This is a project that has many facets that will really lead me to where I need to be. First of all, I will be learning with them since I didn't grow up in a Christian home. I think a lot of these lessons are things that people assume that I know since I am 25 years old but I just don't know the character of God the way it is taught in Sunday School. I wasn't raised in that environment at all. As a matter of fact, my mom was a practicing Satanist for 10 full years of my life. She isn't now and is actually a believer and that is a good thing.

The second reason for Children's ministries is that I have a pull on my heart for children. I have recently realized that one of my largest dreams is to be a mama. I of course want to be a mom when I am love with a man who will be the father. I want to be a mom when I can properly care for a child (financially and emotionally). I am not in any rush but it is one of my nearest and dearest dreams. This means that I get to invest in the life of children and speak truth to them that will literally revolutionize their lives.

The third reason I want to do Children's ministries is quite simple really. I need to keep my head out of my sin life. I have a very real and pervasive sin life. I have a hard time keeping away from it unless I am otherwise occupied in things that cannot co-exist with it. I can't tell children on Sunday morning to honor God, respect Him, obey Him, and treat themselves with respect if I don't do it Monday through Saturday. I AM NOT a hypocrite so therefore..I must change my tune to do this ministry.

I am getting very excited about the many areas that God is taking me into and how much I am growing into the woman I SO want to be. I appreciate your prayers and continually pray for all of you. Please continue to pray about this sin area as well as the new places God is taking me. If you could also lift my friend Jarrid up in prayer that would be great...he is getting married in about a month and needs some things to fall into place. Also my friend Heather is getting married in October and also needs some details to fall into place, please lift she and Jason up in prayer. Also, congratulations to Nick and Merry Pridemore (dear friends) as they just welcomed their first child into the world. Welcome Little Calvin!

Have a great day everyone and thanks for stopping in!


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I never even noticed...

I never even noticed how bombarded we are by immoral behavior everywhere we turn. I am talking about billboards, tv, movies, music, and even today as I drove my car by the back bay...a woman almost completely naked..running. Now I know it's hot here in Southern Cali but come on people...wear some clothes. I am not saying that tv, movies, or music are immoral in and of themselves but some of the things we watch and listen to..oh my gosh. I am guilty of this as well. I have been known to purchase quite a bit of music that I would NEVER let my children listen to.

I was thinking about my sin life and how much of a struggle it is and what kinds of things I might be doing to "feed" it. My music, movies, and tv came immediately to my head. I put so much junk into my head...what else could possibly come out of me?! I have decided to only put in, what I wish to come out of me. I think that is a great way to live in general. I am only holding myself to this so no worries that I am watching what you are doing all the time...just me!

I need prayer people...please pray!


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I need to talk.

So my title tonight is "I need to talk" because I really do need to. There is something in my life that has literally shook me to the core. Everyone that ventures onto my blog probably has a sin in their life (if you are Christian, you acknowledge these as such) that really permeates your being. Everyone probably finds their sin life rather embarassing, private, and completely sacred to you. You might step out in faith and confess to some people in your life but my guess is..they get a censored version. I am not going to get on the internet and post my deepest, darkest sin life and expect it to be some clarifying, wonderful experience. I think that would not only be really awful for me, but rather unsafe as well. I am going to write about this sin life though and how it has ransacked me and left me stranded.

There is a moment in time where you realize that something is not right. There is a line in (lyrical genius) John Mayer's "Why Georgia" that says "Am I living it right?" That is a question that I had to come to on Saturday of this past week. I am going to mark that day as a transforming day. Something horrific went down in my sin life and I learned quite possibly the largest lesson that I have ever learned while here on planet Earth. My sin life actually came out to the surface and showed its despicable face. I was tormented by it and completely taunted as it ran circles around me and had a sing-song voice saying "we finally have you for good" over and over. It's not a funny scene although it may sound like it.

For years (11 + to be exact) I have danced with this sin, romanced it, honored it, justified it, and married it. It is now time for a divorce. I am claiming irreconciliable differences. My God (Jesus Christ) lives inside of me and so does this sin. They are having a hard time living in the same house and the stronger tenant (J.C.) has started working on evicting the other one. Someone is getting voted off of this island and it certainly won't be the God of the universe. It's time for me to live for one God and one God only.

It's always easier to get a clear picture when you aren't in the middle of the painting yourself. I took a moment on Sunday (the day of reckoning) to really step outside of myself and hear my friend confront my sin. Because the sin had become evident in me on Saturday, I had to be honest and forthright and completely vulnerable to someone I think is the most godly man I know. I heard him loud and clear and chose that day..whom I would serve!

Today is Tuesday and it's not easy to start your week thinking about the radical changes that have to take place in a life of disease and destitution in order to find health. Sunday was easy to play because I felt so horrible, it wasn't even an option to delve into this sin. Monday was about the same because guilt and shame have a long shelf life. Today is a new day and my sin is rearing its ugly head again and seeing if I will pay attention to it. Well, I am not. I have decided to make steps to beat this sin with God's help and support and well...let's be honest...He'll have to do it!

I have started by writing up a contract with me and God and a friend. It's a list of guidelines that will help keep me on the path to healing. I have also chosen to start working with memory verses so that I am armed in this battle. I have went to this battle not only weaponless but completely naked! (I am not even kidding) It's time to take my weapons and walk on. I am not going to go to the enemy's camp however and dance in front of the door and say "You can't get me!" That's ignorance so this plan is going to make sure that I am as far away from this sin as I can get!

In saying all of this, I hope that you all take a step back today and confront that monster that is stealing from you, changing you, and deciding your fate. Take your power back through the big J.C. Below is my weekly memory verse..which I already memorized! :)

1 Cor. 10:13

No Temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with that temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

I will find victory in this through HIM! Please be praying and again, call me if you feel led to discuss this further. I could use all of the support I can get. Have a great day!


Cleaning up

Doesn't it feel great to have a clean house? I love walking into my room and seeing my bed made, every picture frame in place, no stacks of things around, and the vacuum marks still in place on the carpet. Yes, I am a little bit of a neat freak so you would think my life would be cleaned up as well. Well, that's a no. For a while now, approximately 11 years, I have been carrying around this sin life that some people in my life know about and others just assume I have it under control. That is not true. It's pervasive and it seriously stunts every bit of growth in my life. It is ugly and dirty! There is nothing about this that is in order.

I am using this forum to confess my sin (sort of) and tell you that I have made a decision to clean up my life in this area and do anything to get away from this sin. I long to be whole again and stop giving my heart and soul away to it. Please pray with me about this and if you would like to pray with me personally, give me a call. I love you all dearly and hope you are all well.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Creating a new family

Yesterday morning I had a talk with an old friend from Vanguard and really started to speak some things into existence that I hadn't fully realized until that moment. She and I were talking about the loss of family and how it takes more than blood and DNA to make people family. I started to think about what family means to me, what it means in general, and what it looks like. I have been, for some time, searching out a family and a home out of people who do not share my blood or DNA. I have since found that group of people and it continues to grow even today.

When I started this quest of bettering myself and getting to be a healthy woman, I knew I would need help on the journey and be obligated to build a support team. When I chose to do this, I just figured I could go with the support team I already had in motion and be successful. I found out that if you are unhealthy, there is a great chance that the people you are around, are unhealthy as well. The people that were in my life at the beginning of this quest are not here now for the most part. I have an entirely different group of friends and mentors in my life starting in 2001. I made new decisions and stopped allowing people to seek me out, I started to seek them out. I found out that the friends I had in the past were people who needed me and thrived on my unhealthiness as well as I did theirs. It was a world of gossip, drama, confrontation, and pain.

I let go of that world in 2001 by making a huge step to admit to my wrongs, deal with anger appropriately, and start to forgive. Those were the three things that I view as essential to my starting over point. It was hard at first to actually admit to my failures and shortcomings because I was (and am) a very prideful person. I am working on this aspect of myself daily by allowing myself to NOT be perfect. I have found that I need to give myself and others more of a grace period in life. It was also very difficult to let go of my normal response to anger. I used to blow up every time something made me the slightest bit upset. I am now a very controlled and calm person when dealing with frustration, shame, embarassment, hurt etc. I learned that anger was a secondary emotion and often times I just needed to figure out what the real emotion I was feeling was.

Family is something I have never really had but have come to understand just recently. This is not to say I was an orphan or anything like that. I have two parents and three sisters. I had all 4 of my grandparents growing up as well. The thing I didn't have was unconditional acceptance, support, and love. In my family's defense, they didn't learn how to love, support, or nurture anyone before this so they only did what they knew. I know that my family did the best that they knew how to do and since then have come to the realization of how messed up our outlook is.

I completely forgive my parents for the things that they chose in my childhood. I forgive my grandparents for raising my parents to be the way they were. I accept that my family is what it is and it won't change. What I wouldn't accept is that I can't have a family at all. I can have a family but it will not consist of actual relatives in my case. It consists of great female mentors that I have met along my path, amazing men of faith that have been great friends to me, and beautiful women who show me everyday what friendship really is. I am lucky enough to have one sister that really is my sister and friend. Britt is the best and I have really been able to hold on to that relationship no matter what.

I just wanted to take some time today to thank all of you who have become my family in some way. Thanks to Pam,Steve, Heather, Markita, Mel, Mary, Alison, Martha, Randy, Jake, Claudia, Doug, Shirley, Carrie, Paul, Riley, Hailey, Jarrid, Josh, Randy, Sheryl, Sherry, Sarah, Joel, Grandma, Gavin, Hannah, Aaron, Caleb, Nathan, Richard, Chris, Sandra, Kevin, Kahlil, Terrence, Steven, and the list goes on. You have all become my mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and mostly friends. I appreciate the family I never had. It's a great family indeed.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Erica's Apologies

First of all, my apologies for being MIA for so long. My little sister got here on August 4th and left last night to go home so I have been super busy and not really accessible. Let me take a few moments to recap her visit, news on me, and then move on with the journey.

Britt's visit was great. It was good to have her around and see her meet my nearest and dearest Cali buddies. She was able to spend a lot of time with Joel and Josh which was my heart's desire. She met a lot of my friends and loved ones and was able to get to know Chris and Richard since she stayed at our house for the full 11 days. We took a ton of pictures and experienced a lot of California things together including but not limited to Hollywood, In-N-Out burger, Downtown Disney, Knotts Berry Farms, etc... I will be posting pictures on my web-site soon. We were able to celebrate my birthday together which was amazing and yes that means I turned 25 while she was here!

Things with me are going well. I feel out of the loop since I have been away from the computer, not doing my normal routine, and haven't really had a moment to record thoughts, feelings, or insights. I did indeed celebrate my 25th birthday on August 9th. I had a little get together at Dave and Busters and then ended the night bowling with my lil' sister and Joel. It was a magical evening and ended up way better than it started. I really felt loved and supported and totally know that my family is not of flesh and blood but rather the ties of friendship!

My weight loss goal has been put on the back burner until now. I am back in the saddle today and hopefully will be on new footing tomorrow morning with my walks. My grad school preparation was also ignored for 11 days so I am back on that today. My goals were basically ignored as I was experiencing a vacation from life. I am now ready and willing to get back in the game. I am a little concerned about a few situations in my life right now and could really use your prayers. My family and I are not doing well (doesn't surprise you huh?) and I really need prayers for the right steps to take. I also have some financial concerns happenings and mostly just really would like to be secure right now. My therapist is also moving away and I am getting transferred from her so that is really sad since there was a real connection between her and I and we were doing good work. I am just needing prayers for the right therapist to come along.

I guess that's all to get you all caught up. I will be posting soon with the next step in my life and how things are going on those steps. I am always working to achieve more and knowing that you all are reading..helps! Have a great day everyone and God bless you!


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

We teach people how to treat us

Here is a life law that everyone needs to recognize. We teach people how to treat us every single day. If we allow people to treat us with disrespect, we are literally teaching them that lesson. This life law became really important about a week ago. I was very unhappy in a relationship in my life and how things were going. I felt I was being treated poorly but for some reason, couldn't get that person to stop doing it. I could cry all night, pray about it, and perhaps even show my discontent but nothing was changing. I was reading Dr. Phil's book last Monday when it dawned on me that this life law was at work.

I was teaching this person in my life how to treat me. I was teaching them to hurt and neglect me. After talking with this person about the problem and apologizing for my anger and bitterness, I decided to start teaching them how to treat me. Since then, I have learned that it's imperative that you communicate things to people because they love you and want the best for you and wouldn't want to hurt you. Since this talk and my new way of being, I am completely happy in the relationshp and feel very loved. I was just teaching how to treat me. I have to teach new things now!

I would recommend each of you focusing on the relationships today that you aren't happy in and ask yourself if you are teaching that person how to treat you! I love you all very much and keep on keeping on! My birthday is a week from today and I am so excited to have you all in my life this 25th year! Stay tuned for Erica's Birthday quiz...coming up!


Monday, August 01, 2005

Life is Managed, It is Not Cured

Wow, this is one of those life laws that sounds harsh and does not look like good news but I assure you it's imperative to accept. There are times in our life that we just wish we could fix things and not have to deal with them in such a harsh way. Well, I am here to tell doesn't get fixed, just managed. Dr. Phil defintely had his head on when he came up with this one. There is no doubt after all the work I have done over the last 4 years that I am in NO way cured...simply managing my life better.

I think when I first started working on myself that somehow I would wake up one day and not be an overeater, not lie to make myself feel better, not need so much attention, feel good about me, and fully accept my dysfunctional family. Guess what, if I waited for that day, I would be waiting long into my fiber-needing days. I have since learned that anything that is worth changing in your life, takes time and more importantly practice.

I am going to use a great example here that I just talked to one of my mentors about. Take the example of sports. Let's imagine for a second that I want to learn the sport of tennis. (Which I plan on taking lessons for soon) The first thing I would need to do is learn the fundamentals of the sport. Then I would have to practice, practice, practice before I would get good at it. Then after I have practiced and gotten good, I would have to continue practicing for the rest of my life to keep this up. (Note: Dr. Phil is an excellent Tennis player)

This is the same way things go with life. I'll use the example of not having angry outbursts. I know it's hard to believe but this used to be a problem of mine. (ha ha) Well, what I had to do first was learn how to have a proper response to my anger. After that I had to practice using that response as much as possible and I continued to practice until I became good at having positive responses to anger. Now, I still have to PRACTICE it or I will slip right back into angry outbursts. See how this works? I believe that everything in life that you don't know naturally like swallowing or breathing..takes practice. This goes along with Dr. Phil's idea that life is managed, not cured.

I hope you all had some thoughts about this and thought about how you could practice or manage things better. I certainly did! Have a great day and God bless you!


Sunday, July 31, 2005

There Is No Reality, Only Perception

Hi there. I hope your weekend has been going well and that you are enjoying learning Dr. Phil's 10 life laws. Today's life law is really important because I think all of us tend to believe that our personal experience is reality. We really believe everything we see, hear, and feel as gospel truth. I am here to tell you that Dr. Phil is right on in saying that there is no reality, only perception. I have learned this the hard way.

I have had to go through the school of hard knocks to know that what I think is real or true, most of the time is just a product of my very distorted thought life. This is especially true when dealing with my friends. A great example is my friend Yogi. Yogi is a fictitious name to protect the innocent. My friend Yogi has a very busy life. He is always working, working out, doing favors, or basically doing anything that doesn't involve me! That sounds harsh, but to me..true. Yogi, I believe, cares very much for our friendship but something always gets in the way of a phone call, text, or friend date between the two of us.

As this is true to me, I always sit and cry about it and feel very neglected. I feel like Yogi doesn't care, avoids me, and possibly doesn't wish to continue a friendship with me. I have learned that this is my perception and I must take steps to find truth, not just Erica's perceptions. I have to go to Yogi and explain my feelings and hear his perceptions or else I could lose Yogi over what might not be reality.

Now, I know that this was hard to follow as you picture me hanging out with a bear and his picnic basket but I assure you that if you think on it, you can attach my example to something in your life. Take the time to realize today that whatever it is that you see, hear, smell, touch, or taste...might just be your perception, not reality!

Have a great rest of the weekend and I love you all dearly!


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Life Rewards Actions

The most important part of any goal is not our intention, our strategy, or our is always our action. If I woke up one day and realized that I was severely overweight and started to think about things my intention would be to lose weight and get healthy. My strategy would be to learn how to eat healthy, exercise, and treat my body well. My focus would be on maintaining health. None of those fluffy words makes me lose weight. What makes me either lose or gain weight is my action or lack thereof.

I found this to be true many years ago when starting on my life changing journey. I made a choice to get out of bed each day and work out. I made a choice to eat 3 meals a day that were healthier. I made a choice to stop drinking sugared soda and the list continues. The choices where made and then I acted on them. I did get out of bed and walk 2 miles a day and do 45 minutes of aerobics a day. I did not drink any sugared soda. I did eat 3 healthy meals a day. These ACTIONS made my life change and I eventually lost over 100 lbs. I would not have if all I had done was make choices...I had to ACT on them.

Today I am choosing to act on another choice. I am currently working on preparing for the GRE in order to get into Grad School. I also have 7 applications to fill out for the different grad schools I would like to attend. I also have several essays to write, a resume to create, and several recommendations to ask for in this mess. I have done NONE of this. I have studied at length for 2 weeks but somehow let that go and lost my steam. Today, I am making a decision to stop procrastinating and realize how essential these steps are to my success. I am going to act on these things today by packing them into a backpack and heading to the library for a minimum of 2 hours. I am going to take my applications, my study materials, and will have many resources at my fingertips for writing essays and doing a resume. I am going to ACT on these thoughts, decisions, and choices!

Today, I encourage you to take a good look at what you want, think of a strategy, focus on it, and more than anything DO IT! It's time to act and be successful. People that dream about success continue to dream about it. People who take steps to get there, actually arrive at the scene.

Have a great Saturday everyone and ACT like you want to get things done!


Friday, July 29, 2005

You Can Not Change What You Do Not Acknowledge

Today's life law is so essential to everything I am that it's embarassing. For many years (22 to be exact) I lived my life in a complete state of ignorance. I had no idea that the behaviors and attitudes I held were horrible. I had to have things brought to my attention and truly acknowledge them in order to start changing. For the many years that I have been overweight, most of them were spent in denial. I would just go about my life at 350 lbs and act like I was happy and joyful. I had a boyfriend, friends, good grades, etc...what more did I need? Well, I needed my life back!

The day that I realized that I was in serious trouble health wise (July 27, 2001) I was shocked at the number that was displayed on my bathroom scales. I immediately blamed the number for all of my problems in life and began to lose weight. I acknowledged that day that I was severely morbidly obese and needed to do something about it. That was only a physical realization, the mental/emotional realization came later and I had to acknowledge more things and begin to change those.

In my life of change (4 years now) I have acknowledged a lot of things about myself and only when I acknowledged them, could I change them. Today, I encourage each of you to do an exercise of acknowledgement. Be truthful with yourself about who you are and don't be afraid to realize it. That is when true change begins. Today, I acknowledge that I live in a world of black and white with no room for gray. Since I acknowledge that, I have to take steps more often to try to see the middle ground in things.

I hope that today made you realize things about yourself. Have a great day and even better weekend!


Thursday, July 28, 2005

People Do What Works

Today's life law was really hard for me to accept. I really didn't think there was any payoff for some of the things I did since I so badly did not want to do them. A great example of this is overeating. It seemed that all it brought was misery coupled with more weight to lose on my walk to Italy ( Dr. Phil's point in this is that EVERYTHING that you do provides a payoff or you wouldn't be doing it. My payoff for overeating is calmed emotions and easing of boredom. These things are very powerful and have taught me that no matter what I am doing, there IS a reason.

What you do in this life law is write down the top 5 behaviors that you would really like to NOT do. Two of mine were

  • Overeating
  • Be dishonest to earn people's love

I realize that the second one is kind of deep and for that, I apologize. I will break these down so you can see what I mean by payoff.


My feelings: I hate overeating. It makes me so mad at myself after I do it. I know that I don't need that amount of food but I eat and eat anyway. I always feel sick after I eat too much and it makes me feel guilty inside. I know that when I get on the scales on Saturday I am going to pay for that entire cheesecake but it doesn't stop me. I know that I will have to work extra hard on exercise in order to burn those calories but I ate the entire box of cookies anyway. Why do I do this?

Payoffs: I do this because it makes me feel better. I feel sad at times and it takes me away from my saddness. When I am really lonely, it is a good friend to me. It watches tv with me when I really need a pal. It makes my emptiness feel full at least for a minute. I don't ever feel hungry even if I feel something else emotionally. I am bored so I will go to the kitchen and get something to eat and that will make me entertained.

Being dishonest to earn people's love:

My feelings: Why did I lie to Sally today? I mean, she can either like me or else leave me alone. Why did I tell her that I ALWAYS exercise. She obviously knows I don't or I wouldn't be 100 lbs overweight. Why can't I admit my weakness to her? I don't want to lie to my friends anymore. They should love me because they love me, not because I am flawless. I mean, who is flawless anyway? I don't want to hide anything anymore but something is keeping me from being completely truthful. Why can't I just tell the story I actually live?

Payoffs: I told Sally that I always exercise because it made her proud of me. It made her like me a little more because I am diligent. She realized how seriously I work on myself and admired me. She probably thinks better of me than if I told her that I have to force myself some days to exercise. I feel better knowing that Sally thinks good of me! Whew, it's a good thing I lied to her.

Now, as you can see, these things are disturbing. I do things in my life that I wish I didn't all the time. I never quite understand why I do them at the time but lately I have been breaking them down into payoffs and I assure you, there always is one. I encourage you to take the time to break your life down into 5 behaviors you don't like and find the payoff. Only when you find the payoff can you truly break that cycle because after all, people do what works!

I hope you all have a lovely day and please check out "Erica's Walk to Italy" and help me reach my goal and pray, support, invest, whatever! Thanks my people!


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

You Create Your Own Experience

Today's life law is so profound yet exactly what I believe to be true about life. The life law is (as stated above) "You create your own experience." This life law is something I lived with far before I ever delved into Dr. Phil's book. I believe that children in abusive homes learn this far earlier than any other person. You have the choice with what to do with your life. You can run from your troubles and drown them in some addiction. You can be a hermit and completely alienate yourself from the real world. You can be bitter and completely stop being functional as a nice person. My personal favorite is that you can kick that abuse's butt and be everything that you dream to be! That is the path I have chosen.

This has not been an easy path for me to take. Somedays I really want to be the recluse, the bitter one, or the addict. I choose to be that person some days. Most days though, I create my own experience and choose to be someone who is in love with their chosen career and focuses on bettering herself every single day. I choose to allow people to speak into my life with truth and fight hard to stay alive beneath the grueling schedule of being a healing person.

I challenge all of you reading this today to really look at how you choose to create your experience. If you tend to give up and cry when things go wrong and just sit and created that. If you tend to run from your problems and drown them in a pint of Cherry are not only just like are also creating that yourself. If you choose to get up, brush yourself off and take another step knowing it could hurt you, you are creating that beautiful experience too. I have chosen to start creating my own experience knowingly and create the best one! I am totally in love with this life law!

I hope you are all doing well and have decided to read Dr. Phil's book. It's amazing. I have made some changes to the web-site if you want to check them out. Have a great day and God Bless you!


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You Either Get It, or You Don't

Well as I told you, I am going to be writing about Dr. Phil's book "Life Strategies" for a bit since it is changing a lot of my thinking and I make it a point to share everything with my blog. In this book, there are ten life laws and the first one is, "You Either Get It, or You Don't." This is just a simple fact but one people don't realize. There is nothing you can do if you don't know why you do the things you do or why other people do what they do. You always want to operate with the necessary information in your life. There are many people who don't get it, and they are the ones sitting around crying about their life and doing nothing to better themselves. Resolve today that you will be one who will get it.

There is much that I have learned about my life even in the last 4 years. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day that my life changed. I chose on July 27, 2001 to be a better person because I finally got it. My life was nothing that I wanted it to be and certainly had no silver lining on the dark rain clouds overhead. I learned that day that I needed to live differently. That is the day that I chose to "Get it." My change began that day and has continued for that last 4 years. It has been a huge battle and has sometimes left me laying on the floor wishing I was relieved of the pain but other days the sheer joy of knowing I am not that same enough to push me to tomorrow.

I would encourage each of you that read the blog to really take a look and decide to "get it" today. This doesn't mean that you can see all of your flaws, change everything, and move on today. What it means is that you are open to the possiblity of taking a gander inside and learning about you and trying to do everything in your ability to create the life that you want. Dr. Phil has a quote on the beginning of his show that says "I want you to get excited about your life." That is what I want for all of my friends, family, and blog-readers. I want each of you to look at your life and get excited about the possiblities.

I want to be honest with you and say that I am not always excited about all of the things that I have to do to be the person I need to be. It's exhausting and continually discouraging to beat one small battle just to see a new platoon headed toward me in the morning. I know that it can really get you down to take a good look and "get it," but it is far more excruciating to be 10 years down the road regretting the last 520 weeks of your life. Take a moment today to really "get it" and strive to understand yourself, know yourself, and better yourself. The next 9 life laws will be a better ride if you are ready to "get it!"

Today, I get it. I know who I am, why I do what I do, and striving to become all that I need to be. I have decided that the one thing that I am working on right now is honesty/authenticity. I believe that these qualities are crucial to living a fulfilled, happy life. I don't think I will ever have true friends, good relationships, or a good walk with God unless I get honest and authentic with God, myself, and others. I encourage everyone to pick a step to start working on and begin the reformation.

Have a great day everyone and today, choose to get it!


Monday, July 25, 2005

Life Laws in Action

Today is going to start a series of posts where I will be reviewing the book by Dr. Phil called "Life Strategies" in my own way. I am currently reading this book and it's amazing and has already shaped some of my life and behaviors so I thought I would share it with my blog in the hopes that someone who would not normally pick up a Dr. Phil read...might get the lessons out of it. It's amazing how this book is good for all people. I support Dr. Phil in every possible way as I tape his show daily, read his books, and abide by his weight loss plan. Dr. Phil is my hero!

In saying that, you probably realize that this blog series could be exceptionally biased. I am currently on the latter part of the book so a lot of this I have had time to read, study, and journal about so don't assume that I read this and totally got it the first time. I took time and energy to try to apply these things to my life. In this book, there are 10 life laws. Each one is essential on your path to health and wellness in your life. I like that it reads like the commandmants so I can apply it as such.

Today I am not going to write about any of the life laws but ask you to evaluate whether you are happy in your life. Do you wish you could get out of negative patterns and behaviors? If this is you, I encourage you to stop in to the blog for the next 10-12 days as I seek to apply this book to my life and help you apply it to yours. Again, I didn't write these life laws...the beautifully bald and talented Mr. Phil McGraw did and you can purchase "Life Strategies" at any bookstore and PLEASE DO!

I would appreciate your continued prayers as my life is constantly under the microscope and trying to get better. I appreciate your hearts, friendship, and support through one of the roughest periods of my life. Thank you so much for being here!


Sunday, July 24, 2005

The newest quest

I really want to know myself! I have no other desire but to truly know myself and fix the things that I don't like. It's such a frustrating journey of trying to turn around several years of bad thought processes and bad behavior. My newest quest is getting to know me and accepting the things that I am and can't change and starting to work on the things that I can. It's like the serenity prayer (God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference) That prayer is very popular in the AA program among the other programs that are for addictions. That is for a reason...there are so many people out there who confuse the two (changeable and unchangeable) and then get frustrated as they try to better themselves. I am one of those people.

I have a new project going and you might have gotten an email or call from me asking you for your help. I am gathering data from a number of people in my life so that I can see myself more realistically. Often times I either look fondly upon myself in areas I don't deserve or can not accept the things that are really great about me. I have asked several people in my life (still haven't asked everyone yet) to jot down 5 pieces of constructive criticism for me and 5 things that they admire or like about me. This is going to be an exercise of learning how to take constructive criticism as well as learning to take a compliment and realize things that are good.

I really believe that seeing myself is going to require me to be introspective, opening myself up to other people's wisdom, and really praying about seeing myself. I want to work on things that matter and that are really problems to my well-being and other's well-being. I don't want to worry about things that are an intricate part of my personality and make me Erica. I want to allow myself to be Erica and be comfortable in my own skin.

So far, I have only gotten one person's half answer back so I have several other people to contact for their answers. I appreciate everyone who is helping me or would like to contribute to me working on myself. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I hope you are all doing well and I am sorry if I have been out of the loop, trying hard to get me together. Have a great day and God bless you all!


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Indiana Erica vs. California Erica..It's on!

Have you ever felt like you have waged war against yourself? I have for a long time now. Three years ago (almost exactly) I moved to southern California. I was moving out here for a mixture of reasons including that Adolfo was here, Vanguard was here, and a new fresh start was here. I had grown up in the southern portion of Indiana where my whole life had begun and continued until the day I got in my cavie and headed west. I never knew that the move would make such an impact on me. Almost immediately I realized that there was a difference between me and everyone else. I had a very different personality, different accent, and different morals. I find out today, that I was only 1/4 of the person I would soon become.

This blog is in no way trying to degrade Indiana or the people that choose to live there. My entire family is there plus many of my friends and loved ones. I have no problem with the actual state...I just have a problem with the person I was in that state. Today, I went back to therapy after 3 weeks out of it due to my therapist being on vacation and then myself being on vacation. It was great to see her and get to talk about my issues that have been developing or continuing since we last met. Today, my main point was about consistency. I am having a hard time making changes in my life. I have progressed so much in the last 4 years total that I can barely recognize myself ...but for some reason, I am not very consistent with advances.

Lately I have been working on a lot of really hard things in my life including personality flaws, sins, and past hurts. The main four things that are encompassing my life are preparation for Grad School, losing weight, my need for attention, and a major sin that I am not willing to share on my blog just yet. I promise I will share it when I feel comfortable though in order to help you in case you also struggle with this sin. I truly believe that when there is growth, we should share in order to help others around us get out of that place.

My therapist gave me an exercise this week to work on where I compare Indiana Erica and California Erica. This means that I make a page of things that Indiana Erica was like and then write all of the things that California Erica is like so I can see the progress I have made. An example of this would be that Indiana Erica weighed 350 lbs and California Erica weighs 220 lbs now. That is just a small example. Another exercise that she gave me to do was to write all of the things that I don't like about Indiana Erica in order to start working on destroying her. There is nothing wrong with where that Erica came from...just what she was with the tools God gave her!

In doing these exercises, I am hoping to gain some perspective on how hard this journey has been and give myself some grace to continue changing and growing. This growing experience is very frustrating and painful. I slip up quite a bit but I am trying to realize that now that I am knowledgable about where I responsibility is to continue to move. I have no problem with the fact that this part of my journey is going to be difficult..but I am scared that the other side of it isn't easier or happier but rather...more struggle. I would really appreciate your prayers as I continue to become the woman that God wants me to be. I really want so much out of my life yet I am not sure the steps to take. I am so appreciative that I have a support team and a therapist to help me grasp a lot of these changes.

If you are reading this today and you know both Ericas (Indiana and California), I would appreciate your input on this matter. Please tell me how I have changed since you have known me and what things I should be looking out for in Indiana Erica! Thank you all so much and I love you all to pieces!

Much luv,


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Actions and their consequences

Lately there has been an underlying theme in my life of learning about actions and their consequences so I thought maybe God was leading me to write about it. Today the main thing is that Christopher was kicked out of school for a day because he chose to fight with a kid. The story goes like this... This kid (we'll call him Bobby) started to push Chris early in the morning and Chris continued to tell him to stop all throughout the day. This came to a climax in the parking lot after school when Chris chose to unleash the "gun-show" on Bobby and bust his mouth. Chris notably is told everyday by Richard and myself that noone has the right to harm him and he should always defend himself. Richard and I also really push for him to take every option available before hitting someone. Chris has the option of speaking with a teacher, principal, whatever before going crazy on the kid. Chris chose to allow his anger to boil over and cause a major problem..which as now led him to be kicked out of school and will affect his grades. (I also want to note that Bobby was kicked out as justice was served)

Anyway, I felt like this was just another example of actions and their consequences in our lives. I see consequences for my actions every single day. Each of us choose our payoff when we make a decision in our life. I will use the example of overeating and exercising, a good action and a bad action. We'll start with the bad action in order to end on a good note. Overeating feels good at the time by allowing us to feel full, experience emotional satisfaction, and possibly to help us socialize. There is a distinct pay-off of overeating. There are also consequences from doing that. There is the sick feeling that you get after eating too much, the weight you might gain, and the damage you might do to organs depending on what you are eating.

Exercise works the opposite way. It gives us hard consequences at first like exhaustion, sore muscles, and might make us extremely hungry or thirsty. The consequences for this action are very different however...they are good consequences. They include a good euphoric feeling from the endorphins that are going through your body, a strong and fit body, and good health throughout your life. It is a harder decision to make first but pays off way better. My premise is that we need to begin to look at the consequences instead of the immediate gratification or punishment of a situation.

In writing this post, I have been dealing with much different aspect of consequences that are more inside and emotional by dating the wrong types of men, getting into the wrong friendships, taking improper action etc... I am learning to take a moment and really think through what these actions might bring about. I wish I was 12 again so that I had someone to explain these things to me now and how to control my impulses in order to protect myself. I am learning this at 24 and it's exciting and new and maybe I can live the rest of my life making better choices.

It's interesting to see God drive a point home through your own authority. I think God was speaking to me through Chris today and really wanted me to share this with you as well. Have a great day and God bless you all!


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Home Sweet Home

It's odd when you move away from your first home, it takes so long to really get to where somewhere else is home. It has taken me almost 3 complete years before coming back to California is coming home. Yesterday I walked off of the plane and felt a sudden breeze of cool ocean air and breathed a sigh of relief. It used to be the way I felt about seeing Indianapolis International Airport, so it's happened, I am finally...HOME! In saying that, I should note that Colorado makes me feel the same way. Maybe there are several places that you can feel at home.

I had such a great time on my vacation to Colorado to see Josh. We spent good time together and it was amazing to see him after 7 months. We did a lot of fun things and ate more food than any human really should consume. I have to get back on my plan now that I am back. I am grateful to his parents, Randy and Sheryl, for always making me feel extremely welcome and providing me a great place to vacation. I adore them and enjoy every minute that I get there. I also always feel really welcome with Josh's friends and so thanks to Dan and Hannah for your company.

I really wanted to gain some perspective upon visiting Josh and hanging out and I got that. He and I had a heart to heart and I really learned quite a bit. It was extremely fruitful to go and visit him and learn more about him every single day I was there. This is a friendship that I value so much. I think that my guy friends give me a glimpse of some of the things I would want in a husband without being all of those things. Either way, my report is that Josh and I had a great time and the vacation was marvelous.

I was also able to see Martha Fellure while I was home. (Some of you know her) She is a great mentor to me and a personal friend. She and I went to church together when we lived in a Indiana and she went on to design my wedding dress and also counsel me through an anger problem and we have been friends since. Obviously I didn't use that wedding dress but we have talked about it and one day she will redesign for the man I actually marry. It has been a great relief to know she is where I can visit and know she is out there pulling for me. I caught up with her regarding her family and career and always look forward to seeing where God takes her.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that everything was great and I'll get back on my writing schedule tomorrow! Thanks again Josh, Randy, Sheryl, Sherry, Dan, Hannah, and Martha for a great trip!


Friday, July 15, 2005

Winston and other great thinkers

Today when you logged on, you probably thought, oh Erica is going to talk about Winston Churchill. I am sorry to disappoint you but today I am going to talk briefly about Winston McCall. He is a simple being with few needs. You see, he's a beagle. Josh's dog Winston is literally my favorite dog that ever was. He is so chill and laid back. Yesterday while I spent my day soaking up relaxation, I spent the entire day with Winston. He really is a great example of how vacation should be. Everywhere in the house that I ventured, you would find him laying there just to be in my presence. Winston mostly spends his afternoons alone since everyone in the McCall household works. This week, he is enjoying my company as I am his. Its teaching me how to truly relax.

Yesterday was a lot of fun. I went in the afternoon and watched Josh play indoor soccer with Hannah which was really nice. I love to watch Josh play and Hannah is good company. We talked while he played and had a good time. Later in the evening we met up with Dan and we went to Downtown Denver. We stopped in a few places like Coyote Ugly and Lucky Strike before heading to Hard Rock Cafe for some grub. It was a good night overall and I am learning things which I plan to share with the blog when I get back to Cali. I hope you all are well and I love you tons!

Here is a great picture of Winston by the way! Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Kingpin Strikes Again

Good morning everyone from the lovely McCall household in Denver. I am on vacation this week in Denver, Colorado seeing my Josh. Yesterday I left California at about 9:45 in the morning and I had a small layover in Phoenix, AZ. I got to Denver at 4:00 in the afternoon where the handsome Mr. Randy McCall picked me up. I came back to Josh's house and saw him and I was so happy. There is nothing like a Josh hug. It was so good just to be in one of my best guy-friend's presence again. Josh is still Josh and even better than I recall. Randy made his signature steaks and dinner was awesome. Josh and I went and met up with one of his friends, Hannah, and played 3 games of bowling. My bowling name was Kingpin so therefore the title of today's blog. Many of you know that I love bowling. This was my first time meeting Hannah and she is really great! We had a great time and we all bowled decent. I am very out of practice right now. I think I am going to get back in the game though and get good so I can beat Josh!

I am not sure what's on tap for this evening but I am sure if I am spending time with my favorite boy, it's a good thing. Josh is at work right now and I am going to work out, eat lunch, shower, and read/journal while he is working. I am trying to soak up my vacation. Last night I realized that only a true friend can enjoy laughing with you over NOTHING and totally get why you are laughing! Josh is such a treasure and it's amazing how God has blessed me through him. Thanks are priceless!

Here are some random pictures of Josh and I wearing some Aviators...enjoy!

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Well, I should get off here but hoping to take pictures through the trip so that you all can view the fun that Josh and I have. Have a great day everyone as I know I will!!!!!


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The right questions...and the answer key

I have been thinking a lot lately of important questions. Part of this is due to me getting to know new people and wanting to get the information that is important at the beginning. Another part of this is realizing that you will never know someone unless you ask the right questions. The third part to this is that it is almost my birthday and that means that questions are coming on my annual birthday quiz! So, today, I decided to write about questions and answers. My life is full of questions in a lot of ways. I have a lot of questions for God, my family, my friends, and new love interests. I have questions coming at me from all angles from these people because I tend to be the advice girl. I read thousands of questions a day as I prepare for my GRE. Questions are just invading my life at every turn and I thought it deserved its own post. Another reason I chose questions as a topic today is that tomorrow I get on a plane early in the morning and head to see my friend Josh in Colorado! Now, you may be asking..what does that have to do with questions...EVERYTHING!

Josh, if you know him, can look complex. He seems like he's hard to figure out or perhaps even doesn't really care about much. I am here to tell you's all about questions. He is one of those people that you have to pull things out of. Actually now that I think about it..all of my guy friends are. This isn't case specific to Josh but I notice that in my life I am always the person who asks just the right question to be allowed into someones holy of to speak. I should note that it probably has something to do with my calling to psychology. I should also take this time to note that I am human and I have messed up at times when being allowed into someones secrets and I fall's one of the perks of humanity I guess. Back to questions...

So, questions are such an intricate part of any friendship. You have to know how to really listen and ask the right questions at the right moment. I am not the best listener and I am not the best friend. I simply try to take the time to ask questions. I ask things that matter in life even if they don't seem to matter. An example of a great conversation of questions goes like this.. (abbreviated for blog obviously)

Erica: Hey Jay, what's going on?

Jay: Not much Erica, kinda tired lately

Erica: Oh yeah, what's making you so tired?

Jay: I don't know...I mean I work a lot

Erica: Really, how much are you working lately?

Jay: Probably around 15 hour days and it seems like I never stop.

Erica: Well maybe you need a day off?

Jay: I can't really take a day off...I need the money

Erica: Oh, well you know what,...let me take you out to lunch and we can talk some more about life.

At this point, I have just stepped in and asked some basic questions that led me to realize that Jay was struggling with money. This opens up my ability to pray for Jay, help him out with some ways to relax, and perhaps even help him financially (first by providing him some lunch.) This may seem simple and obvious but I have been in situations lately where someone really did stop asking questions and just simply loved my part in their life and never got to know ME! Now, because of that, the friendship really isn't strong and it's almost like I am not someone in it..but rather a therapist. I also have friendships where I feel like I am always talking and never listening and I am trying to stop doing that. I apologize if I have ever made you feel like I don't want to know you.

My point today is that we will never truly know anyone without the right questions. That really requires listening with our whole selves. I learned something in my training in psychology that has served me well..when I use it. I admit that I don't always use it and when I don't...I end up hurting people with my bad listening skills. We are not good listeners as a society simply because we are so centered on ourselves and how we feel that we forget that we have an audience to think about and they need to talk too. Ok, so today I am going to try to help you to understand how important questions and answers are...and how to properly listen. Now, as they say..those who can't...teach! Today, I am telling you..I am not perfect at this but very aware of my weakness!

I am going to set up a mock conversation and two seperate ways to handle it. Again, the characters are myself and Jay. (Jay is a ficitious person and I thought I would use Jay because all of my guy friend's names start with J)

Ok, here is the normal conversation that happens between two friends...

Erica: Hey Jay, it's good to see you buddy. How are you?

Jay: Good to see you too Erica, I am good are you?

Erica: I am alright. I am staying busy. I have to work all the stinkin time. Did I tell you what happened the other day? (Erica proceeds to tell an hour long story) *I know..I know..I am Erica for a reason*

Jay: Sits and thinks about dinner and other such things while realizing that Erica NEVER listens to him speak. It's a good thing she's hot! :) (cracking up)

Ok, here is a more ideal way for ERICA to handle herself (Yes, I represent myself here)

Erica: Hey Jay, it's good to see you buddy. How are you?

Jay: Good to see you too Erica, I am are you?

Erica: Can't complain. How's work going?

Jay: Oh it's pretty good, busy, but good. And you?

Erica: Pretty busy as well. Things are always a little stressful but what do you do?

Jay: Yeah, want to get some dinner and just catch up?

Erica: Sure.

Erica and Jay continue to talk equally answering proper questions where they come up and never monopolizing the conversation. They are truly good friends to each other.

Ok, well now that I have not only helped you to see good questions and answers but also made myself feel like a horrible friend...I am done! To my most special boy..I am so sorry..I am such a jerk! Jay that is! :) He knows who he is! I love you all today and I am going to be working on my listening skills. I can't know you without them and that's not your fault. Have a great day ya'll and God bless you!