This photo was taken on June 19, 2010 at Sullivan's Steakhouse in downtown Raleigh. (It was taken on a cell phone so that's why the quality isn't all that good.)
This photo was taken on June 18, 2011 in Highpoint, NC at Laura and Kevin's wedding reception.
(From left to right: Nathan, Rob, Thomas, ME :), Terri (Rob and Allyson's mom), Allyson and hubby Chris)
Well first I have to say that I'm happy I was able to post two pictures that are nearly 1 year apart. :) It took some searching to find a picture a year old. I go through phases where I will take pictures all the time and then other times months will go by before I snap a photo. This time last year is I was in the "months without a photo" phase.
I have to say that I have changed a great deal in the past year. In the picture above of me at Sullivan's I was dating Jeff. I had taken him there for his birthday dinner. He and I have since broken up and I have my new (AMAZING) boyfriend, Guillermo. :) :) :) A year ago I really spent almost of my time with Jeff. I was almost always at his house, and we spent all of our time together. I rarely spent time with my friends, and bible study was hit or miss for me. It actually wasn't a very good time for me because the relationship wasn't really what I wanted deep down, and I was lonely and wanted more.
Fast forward a year later and I don't feel lonely at all. I have built great relationships with my sweet friends in my bible study and I spend a lot of time with them. I love these girls and I know God put them in my life for an important reason. All my life I tended to "cling" to the wrong crowd. I can honestly now say that I have true friends with good intentions. It's nice to know that they care about me and I can count on them for support, encouragement, laughter, or whatever may pop up. :)
In a year's time I have realized how much more positive I have become. I think it's because I've learned to love myself and who I am more. In the past, I would have most likely pointed out a negative in someone before a positive and I suspect this was because it made me feel better about myself. I don't do this all too often anymore. But, I do slip at times. Just the other night I was talking to Guillermo and I shared a negative thing about a person with him. His reaction was so eye opening. Instead of encouraging what I was doing, he asked me why I would want to share something negative about someone. It was kind of a WOW moment for me because he was so right. It wasn't necessary to do. I'm happy he said that to me because I don't want to think ugly things or share them with people. There are so many other good qualities and characteristics to share about people, so why even bother focusing on the negative?
Over the past year my relationship with Christ has really flourished. I have learned a great deal about the bible and I am so much more interested in learning about it than I have been in the past. I have felt driven to serve (volunteer) at church, and more than ever I feel drawn to do more with the girls I spend time with at the House of Hope. I've realized that I don't want everything to be about me, but I want to reach out and do more for others. Not because I have to, but because I want to. I know that God is working in my life and everyday he is helping me to become a better Christian.
Looking back on where I was a year ago at this time, I realize that I was in a "life funk." I was kind of just going through the motions of everyday life and not really enjoying a whole lot around me, including myself. I had really lost sight of who I was. I love how much I have changed in just a short year. I was so down on myself and now I'm not. I talked to my brother-in-law, Jim on the phone this evening and he said the sweetest thing to me. He was talking about how far I've come since he first met me (when I was 17 and a HOT MESS!!) and how I really have so many wonderful things going on in my life. It felt so great hearing that, not just because it came from him, but because people see good things in me. :) As we get older we don't hear all the positive things about us like we do when we're younger. I think of all the praise I give my students, or the positive feedback I would receive from my cooperating teacher after teaching a lesson when I was student teaching. We crave praise and I think it's important to give that to people. Like I have said in past blogs, I like to be encouraging to others and make them feel good about who they are.
I have changed a lot in a year. I'm going to do this same blog again next June to see how I have changed from where I am in my life now. :)