Heartbeats

I am close to God when I feel my heart beat.

The constant rhythm keeps me awake at night, but it reminds me that I’m so lucky to be alive. Sometimes I rest my phone on my chest and watch it roll gently up and down. Even when I close my eyes again I can feel the beautiful tempo singing to me, strong and steady.

I am close to God when I see my heart beat.

I watch it work in all of its beautiful glory when I get my echocardiogram done for the fiftieth time. My heart is reliable despite all the wear and tear it has experienced. Even when nothing else in my body seems to be working properly, my heart is going overtime pumping blood — however little — to my brain and through my veins to keep me alive.

I am close to God when I rest my head on my puppy’s tummy.

I hear her tiny heart racing at a pace much faster than my own, and her itty-bitty tummy digesting kibble. She doesn’t do anything to keep herself alive and healthy; she just lives.

I think of how incredible it is that every living thing has so many intricate organs that each serve their own purpose. Even with a broken body I can recognize how absolutely incredible the human anatomy is. I am broken, but I’m still here. I still have a beautiful mind, I still have a chance to make a difference in the world, and I can still love. There is absolutely no way there isn’t a God. We are far too complicated for me to believe that.

My faith is a roller coaster ride, but I have it — When I feel my heart beat.

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My little baby was created with love and care, just for me.

Email: Under 300 Days To Go

Dear Robert,

Today I am writing your daily email on my blog. I figured since you’ve become quite the topic of conversation on here, why not make one of our interactions public?

We’ve done just over a week of long distance now, and I keep thinking back to the first two weeks we were apart just over a month from Texas to Virginia. I think I’ll have adjusted again after the first few weeks are over and am looking forward to the many letters, care packages, and Skype dates to come, as they’re all just leading up to your grand arrival back to the states. I can’t wait.

One thing I think is really cool about us is that we are so alike. I thought it was such a crazy coincidence that literally the morning I had snapchatted you a picture of an Army shirt I was thinking about getting that a package came in the mail with an Army t-shirt you had designed for me. You literally read my mind all the time and I absolutely love it.

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My “thank you” Snapchat right after receiving the package

Quick! What am I thinking right now?

The answer is always about chocolate. I bet you knew that.

I know we’re only at the beginning of all of this (We are 1/36th of the way there, in case you were wondering), but I can already tell long distance is going to be as easy as it possibly could be with you. There are fun little adventures and surprises I always thought would be fun in a LDR, but my ex wasn’t really into the cutesy stuff… Am I allowed to say that I think you might be really good at that kind of thing on here? I know some of your friends read this and probably don’t think of you as being “cute.” I also know, though, that you knew what you were getting into with me, and that you aren’t really afraid of what people think about you.

I love you, am praying for you, and can’t wait to see you soon. Stay safe.

Love,
Krista

Adventures With The Army: Part 3

Here is the final part of my incredibly long date! I’ll kind of start where I left off:

As I sat in my car with my dad, I felt at peace. Somehow it didn’t really feel real. It didn’t feel like he was leaving, and  I didn’t think about the 9 months that separated us from being together.

My phone buzzed gently in the seat, and my hand grazed over the screen to see who was summoning me. I squealed in excitement when I read the text. It was from my guy, saying that his flight was canceled and inviting me to stay with him one more precious day.

Then I realized my dad had just driven well over an hour to get me. I grinned sheepishly as I read the message aloud. Dad was surprised, but just happens to be the best, so he took the Snickers bar I had been snacking on and told me we were even. I hugged him as I said thank you, and hurried back inside to find my date.

We looked at each other in excitement, as we realized we were lucky enough to tell each other “goodbye” one last time before he departed. We just didn’t have to say it yet.

After gathering some important military documents and reporting back to his team, we headed back to the hotel that would be our home for the night. We ordered pizza and stayed up far too late talking and watching reruns of Seinfeld. It was the perfect evening.

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I scored a pretty sweet PT shirt.

The next morning we overslept. It was fine, though, because we had all day to spend together. This was such a blessing.

We packed our things (Or rather he did, as I did not have anything but the clothes on my back from the day before — I borrowed an Army t-shirt and basketball shorts for the night. I kept the shirt.) and headed off for our next adventure.

The mall was our spot.

That day, though, we decided we wanted to take it easy and just chat as much as we could. One thing I really love about our relationship is that we never run out of things to talk about. I’ve never had quite the same dynamic with another guy, as I genuinely feel like Robert is one of my very best friends. I always thought being chatty was solely a girl thing, because my last relationship was full of me talking and my boyfriend listening. I like this back-and-forth a lot.

We circled around the shops a few times, holding hands while people-watching and dodging oncoming mall traffic. After realizing it was way past lunchtime, we popped into one of our favorite restaurants, (Or mine at least — I am starting to think we go to The Cheesecake Factory so much because Robert knows I really like it. What’s not to love at a place where it’s mandatory to get dessert?!) which just happened to be in the middle of the casino. It was fun watching people sit at slot machines and pull the levers like zombies. My favorite part about the lunch, though, was just that we were still together.

Our day was coming to a close, so we decided to end our adventure by going into the Bass Pro Shop. It was a very strange place, especially for a girl who knows absolutely nothing about fishing. I did like seeing the aquarium of giant fish, though, and insisted on getting a picture with the cute, large, and slightly derpy one.

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I was an un-hot mess at this point. Sadly Robert does not own a hairbrush, and I desperately needed one.

As we headed back to the airport I felt a wave of sadness come on. My eyes began to fill with tears, so I stared through the car window as I kept them to myself. My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think. I tried to focus on the music playing in the background; I hate that song, but enjoyed listening to Terese, our Uber driver, sing along and bob her head to the music.

Once we arrived, we were able to sit and chat for about an hour before I noticed a change in the scenery. The airport had a new gloomy feel to it. How did it develop this trait overnight? Yesterday was so happy and I felt excited to be in this very spot, but at the exact same time the very next day the place had done a complete 180. Or maybe it was just my perception.

Remember how I wrote a post a little over a month ago about how he was my hardest goodbye? He beat his own record — the same rang true this time around.

The tears came rushing back when we said goodbye because unlike the second time, leaving felt real. The hug and kiss hello had been beautifully warm, but there is something different about hugging someone you know you won’t see for a long time. It was as if my arms hoped they could somehow become strong enough to hold him there and keep him in Virginia. My brain told me to let go, but my heart wouldn’t let me. After a minute of this, though, it was time to part ways.

He turned and gave me his cute half-smile I love so much, and walked down the hall until I couldn’t see him anymore. I sat on the bench by the baggage claim where we had first met, as the tears I had been struggling to hold in rolled down my cheeks. I hadn’t felt sad like this in a long time, and I tried to come to terms with the fact I wouldn’t get to see him for 9 long months — until I realized I didn’t have to. I could take on this beast the same way I have so many other things, and take our relationship day by day. This might just be a cool little story we’ll have, along with our saved letters and emails as badges of strength and love.

Adventures With The Army: Part 2

Now that you have the background, let’s get into the really fun details of this date.

After I stopped giggling from excitement, we grabbed a cab to the closest shopping mall, which happened to be a kind of fantastic one called Arundel Mills. This mall was not only equipped with dozens of great restaurants and shops, but it also had a movie theater, Medieval Times, and even a Casino right in the middle of everything.

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Cute seatbelt, Rob.

We started our day at Dave and Busters.

I honestly don’t remember the last time I laughed so much. We raced in Mario Kart (Typical Robert and Krista fun), played Wheel of Fortune, and I watched as he threw baseballs at scary looking clowns to win a prize. He ended up winning the game, but I wonder if my laughter ruined his focus at all — my abs were sore for two days after that workout!

He won two hilarious bears after I informed him that the claw games were “impossible,” and gave me the card filled with tickets to go back again with my best friend. I don’t know why, but he seems to be the one who is “always right.” This doesn’t seem fair, as I’m the girl — aren’t we supposed to have that privilege? Thankfully he understands his duty and we both pretend that I am.

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After working up an appetite, we headed to a Mexican restaurant to eat and visit more. I still couldn’t stop smiling.

Towards the end of the meal I felt a little twinge of sadness, as I realized we only had a few hours left with one another. We decided to move the party to the movie theater so we could snuggle a little and steal a kiss or two. The Jungle Book just happened to match up with our schedule, so we grabbed our 3D glasses and got cozy in the large leather seats.

I felt so happy and at peace all snuggled up to my guy. Sometimes you have those moments in life where you are truly living in the present and don’t have a care in the world — this was one of those times. Nothing else mattered, I was just happy to be with him and grateful for our day together.

The magic was coming to an end, though, and we took a cab back to the airport so we could visit a little longer until it was time for him to board his plane to the Middle East.

Sadly, that time was short-lived when some of his team members (squad? fraternity? I don’t ever seem to ever get the military lingo right…) were stopped before boarding. Somehow this was a problem only Robert could solve, so he gazed at me apologetically as he made phone calls and talked to people at the airport about how they weren’t going to stay in Western Europe — they just needed to change planes there in order to get to their final destination.

Time flew, and before we knew it we had to say goodbye. This was the second time we parted ways before he went overseas, since I wasn’t supposed to see him again after our trip to Richmond. I left feeling strangely happy, and was shocked I didn’t cry this time. It must have been because I felt so blessed to have a few hours together and about 4 dates in one that day.

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#airportselfie

My dad pulled up to the front of the airport and I hopped into the car, ready to begin the journey home. I felt at peace. Somehow it didn’t really feel real — it didn’t feel like he was leaving, and  I didn’t think about the 9 months that separated us from being together.

I stared out the window, absentmindedly counting the gates as we rolled by. My phone buzzed gently in my lap, and my hand grazed over the screen to see who was summoning me. I squealed in excitement when I read the text.

to be continued…

Adventures With The Army Part 1

I just had the craziest week.

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog or my Instagram, you surely know all about my crush on the Army man I’ve been seeing. I just happen to think he’s the best, and super-awesome, and am probably making you gag reading this.

I went to his departure ceremony just over a month ago, and we had been chatting long distance for about 5 weeks while he was at Fort Hood (Texas) doing last-minute prep work until it was time for him to head overseas. We said our goodbyes over the phone, and promised to email each other until we could figure out when a good time for both of us to Skype is.

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Our first goodbye at the departure ceremony.

My heart sunk a little as we said goodnight, realizing this was likely the last time I’d hear his voice for awhile.

Then fate intervened.

His plane was crazily delayed due to inclement weather, and he texted me at midnight that he was stuck at BWI airport — their flight’s last stop in the US before going overseas.

That’s right down the road from me, I thought.

My wheels started turning immediately, trying to figure out how I could see him — even just for a few minutes to see him and say goodbye in person. After all, we couldn’t be in the same area and not meet up!

There was a lot of back-and-forth, as his itinerary kept changing.

The next morning I found out that I could see him until the early evening. My only problem was that I was stranded at home without a car. I quickly texted my best friend, and since the word “best” is in her title for a reason, she immediately asked her boss to leave and took a long lunch break to make the hour-and-a-half drive to the airport.

We chatted and had a nice little road trip, and by the time we arrived to the airport my hands were sweaty from excitement. I hopped out of the car, excitedly turned and thanked her profusely, as she told me to have a great day.

I walked through the automatic doors, straight to the gate he had given me, but realized it didn’t exist. I quickly found out that we had just miscommunicated a bit, did a 180, and saw him walking toward me. I don’t remember the last time I felt so excited.

We hurried to each other and embraced in one of the best hugs I have ever had. I think hugs can sometimes be a really intimate form of love — welcome home hugs when you’re in a long distance relationship are one of the warmest feelings in the world.

He smiled at me, and I got lost in his hazel eyes as he asked if I would like to get out of the airport and go out to eat.

That is where our adventure began.

This will be a 3 part post. Come back on Sunday if you’d like to hear about the craziest and most exciting date of my life.

GF’s Got Me Hangry

Salads are making me go crazy.

I recently started a gluten-free diet to try and reduce some inflammation for one of my chronic illnesses. A catch-22, though, is that I also recently found out I am allergic to tomatoes and potatoes — foods that seem to be staples in a gluten-free diet — along with a small array of other fruits and veggies.

I did this as I do many things and just went cold turkey. I didn’t try to ease into it, and frankly didn’t do any sort of research whatsoever before making this big change in my diet. I’m all about carbs, and actually need a lot of them to function with POTS.

Anyway since I’m so clueless, I’ve basically been eating a diet solely consisting of Greek yogurt, eggs, and salads. Throw in a lot of dark chocolate and that’s my day.

I’m beginning to get really frustrated, as I have lost some weight that I would have liked to keep, and feel tired and dizzy without my pretzels and crackers.

The other day I realized how grumpy going gluten-free has made me after I ordered a salad at the Nordstrom cafe and moved toward the checkout. My mom casually said, “Do you want dessert? Those cupcakes are beautiful!”

To which I replied with a loud and flustered, “Mom, I can’t eat that; it’s not gluten-free!”

I immediately realized how bratty I had been and felt my face turn red from embarrassment. I mumbled an apology to my mom as the pastry chef glared at me from behind the counter.

Now that I’ve gotten through a few weeks of this I am realizing I need help. What kind of GF items do you like? What websites might help me find new meals to cook? I cannot keep living off of salads!

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Sums up how I feel about my new diet.

So Casually Cruel

“All Too Well” is one of my favorite Taylor songs. When I was preparing for a bad breakup I listened to this song on repeat. There are so many lines I could dissect that reminded me of my relationship with my ex. We had been through so much together and I felt like he was getting ready to throw all of that away.

“Back before you lost the one real thing you’ve ever known” is a line that spoke to me. A guy I dated once told me all of his secrets and said I was the closest person in his life. I played the role of a lover and a best friend for him, as he did for me. He told me I was his forever and always and that I was his rock.

Then he broke up with me.

He hadn’t found someone else or fallen out of love with me. He just realized I was no longer a priority in his life. Love was no longer a priority. He now lived for a career and a newfound dream for status.

My heart broke. First for myself, but when the dust finally cleared I realized it was broken for him. What kind of life is it to have your heart beat only for yourself? To not have relationships that move you to your core?

I realized I would have those — I already had them with my close friends and family — and prayed for his sake that he would realize what would truly make him happy in life. I still hope he’s happy, it’s just not my job to help him along that journey anymore.

Today’s lesson: Everyone has different priorities in life. One thing isn’t necessarily better than another, but you should find someone who is on the same page as you in that regard.

 

New Music Monday

In my adventures with Audrey* yesterday she introduced me to a new song that she said seemed like perfect lyrics for me — and they sure were! I’ve looked at more of her music and am kind of obsessed with Alessia Cara now. This music video is kind of goofy, but just listen to the lyrics. So. Darn. Catchy!

This is what loving someone after your heart has been broken feels like.

*I have two best friends named Audrey! This time my post is all about my beautiful photographer/blogger/ex pageant queen, but current badass friend.

Leaving On A Beautiful Note

Sometimes dating is just about collecting moments with people who won’t last.

One of the most romantic things a date has done for me was learning how to play one of my favorite songs for me on the guitar. He knew I am kind of obsessed with Taylor, and took the time to learn how to play Wildest Dreams for me. I was really touched when he broke out the guitar and serenaded me with a beautiful acoustic version of the song, and slightly off key vocals to accompany it.

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In the next few weeks of dating he learned All Too Well and Style, as those are two of my other favorites. He later told me he learned Thomas Rhett’s Die A Happy Man for me, as that was one of the only artists we both enjoyed.

I’m not going to lie, serenading a girl is one of the most attractive things a guy can do. Part of it is just knowing they took the time to learn something new for you, but something is also beautiful about someone letting you into the world of what they are passionate about. Whether or not you play the guitar you should totally learn one song to play for your bae.

This particular gentleman ended up being very different than the person I had him pegged for, so we broke it off a few weeks into dating, but this is a fond memory I will keep of the time we spent together.

Today’s lesson: Use your unique talents to show people you care about them! Whether it’s through singing and music, cooking, or — if you’re like me — writing, time is a special present you can give someone.

We’re Not Really Gilmore Girls

This past weekend I threw my best friend a surprise birthday for her 25th. It’s a really special birthday, so we decided to have a crazy night of dining and dancing our hearts out.

She finished grad school recently, so I added a “Grad Princess” sash to compliment her birthday tiara.

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We are both the exact same when we go out — we enjoy dancing, good music, and girl time. We don’t go out to meet guys and always dance with each other or in little groups with friends –old and new– instead of going solo with a stranger.

Anyway, I believe I’ve mentioned before that Audrey and I enjoy playing pranks on people. While we were eating dinner we decided it would be hilarious to tell everyone we met that I was her mom and that she had just graduated from high school. She and I both get a lot of crap for looking young, so the only hard part would be convincing people I was older than I actually am. Our plan was to tell everyone that Audrey had just turned 18 and that I was 33. I “gave birth to Audrey” when I was 15, and had been a teen mom.

There was one particular fellow who really believed us. Granted, he seemed kind of drunk, but said it was really cool that a mother-daughter duo had such a great relationship. He also ruined one of our selfies together:

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Audrey still somehow managed to get her sash in the pic.

Most of the guys we told this story to were skeptical, but ended up falling for it. Or so we thought! When I recounted this story to the guy I am dating he informed me that everyone definitely knew we were trying to fool them and that they were just being nice.

Educate me, please! Why wouldn’t guys have called us out if they didn’t believe our story? I would never go along with something the way they did and would’ve totally called their bluff!