Highlights from My 2016


I did a lot of growing up this year. I experienced different reality checks, forced to grow, to change habits. However, I accomplished a lot in 2016 personally, when I look back because of them. I’ve been in a stand still for a long time (when trauma happens, “fight or flight” is not the only survival instinct. There is also “freeze”. That’s where I’ve been after the last few emotionally traumatic years.) But I’m unfreezing, and I can see that with each passing year; especially in 2016.

I moved forward. These are some of those highlights. ❤

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Self Public Transportation For A Semester.

I wasn’t driving when I took a math course at my community college; so I used the bus and my bike for transportation. It was a first big step I took to leave the house alone and get myself somewhere like that! It wasn’t a huge commute (would generally take a good half hour if the bus wasn’t late and I pedaled steadily) but it still meant a lot to me. I was not used to biking or the bus, so in that first week, it felt like the most difficult trip in the world. But each week it got easier. I got physically stronger from biking and mentally empowered. My MP3 player was a life saver. I even lost some weight riding that bike. The worst thing that happened? I almost got flipping RUN OVER at a big intersection (legit; in the cross walk, I got knocked to my knees in the street and the car was bearing down on top of me) and that was slightly traumatic. I won’t forget some of the most peculiar people I met waiting for my bus after class (a talkative ex-con, a friendly teenager with a Batman shirt, a drunk woman who was so proud of her daughter, a bus driver who told me I had beautiful eyes.) People told me their life stories in moments at that bus stop. It was a crazy experience for me but I’m happy I persevered through it. And with an A in math too.

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Flew the Country Twice Alone

At the end of that semester, I flew to Georgia to meet James for the first time! And just wow, flying is just an incredible experience! It was empowering to get myself through those airports on my own some, especially after all my biking practice. I flew the first time in May, the second time in December, and both were overall very smooth! I remember everyone I sat next to on each plane well, at least for both flights to GA, as they were so sweet and kind. I’ll never forget the butterflies in the pit of my stomach when I first saw all the green trees around the landing strip from the plane window and realized “I’m here. He’s here.” But now the sight of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport runway is one of my favorite sights! Outside of a few common silly fears, I actually really enjoy flying and I look forward to all the future flights ahead of me.

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I Got Myself a Job

I began paying rent this year to stay home, but my savings were very limited at the start, so a job I needed. A job I got, one that worked best for me due to location. Boy, it has been a mad adventure since getting that job: racing in when others didn’t show, learning curves one after the other, adjusting to a boss’s needs, staying out of coworker drama while still being the ear everyone wants to talk to about it, haha. But now I have my very own source of income and I’m saving up for my car. I have grown a lot as a person by learning to persevere throughout the unforeseen trials of that job. I have learned so much about life in general there. I have also built some incredible friendships with several coworkers there, and I go on late night adventures with a couple of them even! I also enjoy my repeat costumers who get so excited when they see me. I’m thankful for the consistent pay and am happy to work with so many nice people.

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I Learned to Drive

I’ve been very scared of driving for a long time. Partly because I didn’t have a longing for it like many kids. But I was also seriously terrified of the being in control of such a powerful vehicle while being among thousands of other drivers more stupid and incompetent than myself. I live in Phoenix, it’s a big city with lots of crappy drivers ok? But I studied the rules hard and took a lot of time to really practice throughout late summer and fall. Now I can say I’m fairly comfortable with driving! I’ve driven to a lot of different places in my state for practice and all of those trips were great fun! I’m a more cautious driver, but I do enjoy flying at high speeds on the freeway. The only thing I still struggle with is parking, but I’m getting better. XD It was a big deal for me to learn how to drive, but I’m glad that I’ve learned!

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I Successfully Began Long-Distance Dating My Best Friend

This took the most time, the most energy, most of the year to do, but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done! I couldn’t be more grateful for where we are now compared to a year ago. I remember seeing him for the first time, running to hug him and not wanting to let go the entire trip. I’m glad I choose to take my time before committing to “boyfriend/girlfriend” titles until later in the year; we were just “us” and we are still “us” even now because of it! I’m happy that I decided to be honest about myself with him, about what I felt and needed. It was amazing that at the end of the year, we could announce we were happily dating long distance, fully secure in each other and our feelings. He is my first real love, my first date, my first kiss, and I hope my first for many, many, many more things! He enriches and blesses my life so abundantly; I’m so happy that God has brought us into the security we have now, in His plan, our friendship and love for each other. ❤

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2016:

was the year I painted big parts of the house and reorganized the attic by myself. The year I really dug temporary tattoos. The year I started a music blog. The year I started Breaking Bad but didn’t get around to finishing it. The year I flew 2000 miles for my first date. The year I learned new crochet patterns (and crocheted my biggest blanket ever.) The year I got to eat Captain D’s again. The year I biked through the park at night to breathe music better. The year my kitty disappeared and never came home. 😦 The year I stopped walking the dogs. The year I choose to have my first kiss. ❤ The year I worked double-shifts. The year I bought 5 anime posters at comic-con. The year I found Home far away, then had to leave him behind twice drenched in my tears. The year Chris Pratt tweeted emojis at me for loving “Passengers”. The year I finally found Father Goose at the thrift store. The year I lost 25 pounds. The year I watched 73 anime shows beginning to end. The year I started buying dream catchers.  The year I said, “I love you”.

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2016 was a good year for me, despite all the election drama and the different trials I did experience. I learned I could overcome obstacles if I tried, that I was loved for exactly who I was, and that God was bigger than my fears. It was a good year. ❤

~Jamie

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My Favorites from 2016


I did this last year and I really wanna do it for last year too, even though it’s already mid-Feb. XD What were your favorites this year? These are mine!

Favorite Movie

My favorite movie from the whole year was Captain America: Civil War. It’s probably been the biggest payoff movie to a film franchise that I’ve followed or watched in my life. All those superheroes all coming together like that, for one of biggest most enjoyable fight scenes ever…plus all the emotional punches and clashes…it was perfect. As a Marvel fan who’s invested money and time to follow this series, I felt very much rewarded!

Runners Up: Deadpool, Passengers, Finding Dory, Arrival, Doctor Strange, Zootopia.

Favorite Music

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Susumu Hirasawa, Sia, Lindsey Stirling, Odesza just scratch the surface of all the music that became my new favorite this year; I introduced myself to Madonna too, and select pop songs throughout the year.

In the playlist below, I compiled 30 songs that I keenly remember listening to this past year,or that remind me of something that was going on when I discovered it. There’s a strong memory imprinted on each of them. You can read about them on the playlist on YouTube if you’d like. Feel free to scroll through it and help yourself to maybe some new music (there’s soundtracks and all sorts of songs sprinkled in there!)

Favorite Anime

I began watching JoJo way back at the beginning of the year. I watched three full seasons by April to watch the new season weekly with James (it was one of his favorite stories and I said as a Christmas present I would catch up and watch with him.) Wow, was it worth it. I watched this show weekly from April alllllll the way to December and it was flipping awesome. Brilliant genre twists, creativity out of this world, with truly lovable, quirky characters who sneaked into my heart: it was anime of the year for me and James for sure!

Runners Up: Mob Psycho 100, KonoSuba, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, The Diasterous Life of Saiki K., Flip Flappers, Sweetness and Lightning, Orange, ReLife.

FAVORITES FROM MY SOCIAL MEDIA:

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And the countdown continues!!! ✈️🕓 AM DYING TO MEET MY BEST FRIEND ALREADY: HURRY UP, MAY! ❤️😱

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Got two paint coats done in my bathroom today! It will be Star Wars themed when completed!! 👍🏻😱🎉

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Tink's surgery went well. Praying the tumor doesn't return. 💞🐾

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Dramatic black lighting made this photo actually awesome. XD #nofilter

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Last night's finale!

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Finding Dory = basic perfection. I cried and laughed and loved it. Best birthday movie ever. 🐳🐠🐬

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Cozy cozy.

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Fastest blanket I've ever crocheted. 😊👍🏻💞

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Bought myself an after work treat; candy cane Oreo blizzards are actually really awesome. 👌🏻

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Thank goodness I instagramed my shopping list, because I forgot it at home. 😁😂

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And that awful space on my wall is filled!! WITH JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE AWESOMENESS. #jojosbizarreadventure

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ITS RAINING AND I MADE HIM WALK OUT IN IT WITH ME BECAUSE I GOT EXCITED!!!! ☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️

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These are some of my favorite Instagram posts; they capture some big moments, as well as some small ones that I’d nearly forgotten!

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I love my “Me” Pinterest board; I’ve been art, quotes, and images that I feel truly capture an esences of who I am. It’s been wonderful for self-exploration and identifying with my core personality and how I process or think of things! ❤

I made this to collect all the reasons why distance doesn’t matter when it comes to love. ❤

This is of a story I want to write one day; scraps of the plot are scrapping together, and I have magazine clippings from ages ago that have the same vibe for the same story. I decided to make a board for it. ❤

Final Thoughts

This year I did so much! I’ll be recapping some of the things I accomplished in an upcoming post soon in that regard. But looking back over this post, I already really appreciate all the little memories social media saved for me. Plus, I discovered some of the best music ever this past year, and CIVIL WAR WAS JUST AMAZING. xD So, what were your favorite things this year?

~Jamie

Best of Friends || My First Valentine


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This year, for the first time in my life, I have a real Valentine. And I never thought it would be me. You know that feeling? Everyone else experiences wonderful things, but it feels like it might never be your reality? Maybe that’s just me: I’ve always felt that way about most things. I think because for most of my life I’ve watched my peers experience things I was always left out on. So I still sometimes have those expectations of being left out, you know? But somehow, my reality this year is that I have a boyfriend I love deeply, and he’s my Valentine.

What happened? XD That sounds dumb to ask, but looking back: what was it that I did?

The thing is, I never really pursued romance as a teenager and young adult. I actually purposefully tried to avoid pitfalls I saw other Christian young women fall into because I saw how unhealthy it was. I didn’t pine for the love of my life so much that I became obsessed with the idea. I didn’t watch a lot of romance films, hardly at all (except some 80’s classics. “Say Anything” amirite?) I didn’t write a thousand “Dear Future Husband” letters. I didn’t make a list of attributes I wanted to find in a partner (“He must be taller than me, he must have blue eyes, he must have a six-pack, ect.”)

Somehow, I knew that a romantic relationship, a real one with depth and meaning, would be a lot of work with someone who I would love despite their outward appearance. That reading 200 different “dating/courtship opinion” books wasn’t going to set me up for the perfect path for marriage. That anything I could learn from sappy romance movies would be foolish and just a lot of false advertising of what real emotional intimacy was like (it really all is, fake. Even the kissing!!! The mad frantic Hollywood kissing you see IS NOT REAL LIFE, PEOPLE. IT’S NOT. XD)

I didn’t “do” a lot of things like that as a single woman.

What I did do was be someone’s friend.

James and I were just friends for many years, and that was all…but being friends is why I love James like I do today. We liked the same kind of movies; we were raised with very similar beliefs, had similar childhood upbringings, shared enough common tastes to keep talking. And that’s all we did; we just kept talking, more and more and more. He was there when things kept falling apart for me and when things were good. I was there for those same similar moments in his life. During that period of time, we learned one thing we both knew: We liked talking. Spending time together. Laughing together. We genuinely liked each other as people, as friends.

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I remember about six months before we became a thing; I realized I had feelings for him. I didn’t want to just say it outright, so I attempted my idea of flirting during our skype chats. Which was to ask things like, “If the zombie apocalypse happened, would you come rescue me?” XD He didn’t let on at all that he was understanding my hidden intentions (he did, mostly XD ) and I began to legit think he really wasn’t interested in me that way. But why would he be. I was a woman from a dysfunctional family allllll the way in the desert of Arizona about five states away from him. Surely I was just too much to pursue outside of being just friends.

Of course, I later came to find out later that he’d really liked me for a long time and had been waiting for the right time to tell me. (So yeah, now I know what it feels like to be the girl in the high school movies who’s completely ignorant that the hero of the movie is in love with her from across the cafeteria for most of the movie. XD)

But in his ways, he had shown it all along: he always made time for us to talk weekly. He bent over backward to help me rescue my computer multiple times. Always kindly let me be myself and express what I wanted or needed. Just, before we started talking about my first visit, the idea of having a long distance relationship felt impossible (for me before we met in person, it still felt seemingly too difficult and I refused to commit too quickly before I knew I was ready.) And the timing wouldn’t have been right if we hadn’t happened exactly when we had. That was God’s incredible life planning. We’re so thankful that we’re now already over a year from our anniversary of “when we realized we like-liked each other”.

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I’m sitting here writing like I’ve always done on Valentine’s Day, writing the thoughts I have on this particular day. I have a big one I want to share, to document, from this past year. It’s my biggest takeaway from this first beautiful relationship I’ve had the honor of being a part of. ❤ It’s something I believe with my whole heart about relationships and making them work.

Be the best of friends first.

And yes, while I know every relationship is going to be different and sometimes things can fall apart because of circumstances out of your control, I truly do believe this is a key ingredient to surviving the bumpy waves of forging and maintaining a romantic relationship with someone. I truly do!

We have to be friends, the best of friends, first. Because we already love our best friends, don’t we? Everyone needs best friends, for they are dependable. They are the ones who are tried and true, the ones who get you for you! One has to know a person well to feel at all safe and trusting in the formation of a romantic relationship, and the only way to know that about someone is to get to know that person as a good friend!

Making friends takes time…but take that time. Don’t muddy who you are together by dating only because they’re cute and you feel a “spark” or because they have money or because your church friends think you two are a good match. No! Forge friendships out of shared common ground and start building them. Spend time together because, hey: you just really like hanging out with this person! They make you laugh and smile, you can talk for hours and it feel like 30 minutes, you can tease and be respectful at the same time, you celebrate your little life victories together, and you empathize, cry, and are there when the dark times come, when the bad news hits, when one more thing happens. James and I did that for several years as just friends and it was wonderful and a comfort to have.

Relationships… and ultimately MARRIAGES… will actually last when you both genuinely like each other and can fight for each other one day at a time. Chemistry, physical attraction; they’re all well and good and have their place, but they are not what you want to pursue as a basis for “I want to be in a relationship with them.” Those things can (and generally are) temporary. Genuinely liking someone because you truly know them and enjoy them, on a mental and emotional level, is so much deeper!

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If your relationship is already full of respect, trust, friendship, honesty, and laughter before you decide to start engaging romanticly, having the really hard conversation, getting closer on physical and emotional and mental levels, it will be SO. MUCH. EASIER. (Especially in my own personal case, in which we’re a long distance couple and have to be extra thoughtful and purposeful in our communication.) 

If you’ve been honest about yourself and your needs and desires in life, and communicate clearly, it will be easier. When you have that history together, that time under your belt as “best friends”, if you’ve seen their actions line up with the words…becoming romantically involved will give all the fear and insecurity bigger stronger rewards. It will make riding the ocean of emotion and communication so very worth it. This is the biggest thing I’ve learned and am so grateful for taking this route for my relationship.

And don’t worry; honestly, physical attraction comes very naturally when someone wins your heart, at least in my experience. ^_^

So, today is Valentine’s Day and I actually have someone this time!

James sent me 22 ounces of chocolate and a stuffed tiger this week, and two cards in envelopes that I’m dying to open and read (haven’t yet at the writing of this, but I will during out skype call today.) ❤ For the first time here on my blog, I actually have a Valentine this year, one I’m so so blessed to have as my best friend and boyfriend.

And since today is the only acceptable day that I could do this, I now must take a moment to sing some of his praises. He is so much more than I thought I deserved or would ever get to have in a boyfriend or future “Someone”, ever. And he is a very humble guy, so all this praise below will fluster him greatly (he doesn’t flipping know how to take a compliment ROFL) but I told him I just had to write how much he’s blessed and changed my life by being himself. I don’t know why God was so gracious to let me wind up with someone I think is so wonderful but I’m glad He was.

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James has never failed me when it matters most. He forgives me every time I fail. He gives me as much attention and affection he possibly can every day, from the sweetest daily goodnight messages to telling me he’s praying for me when I leave for work each day.

I have never felt safer in a man’s presence in my life, from when he walks into a room that I’m sitting in or when he smiles at me from the screen. He’s given me the warmest hugs and kisses. There is a genuine gentleness and peace about him that’s lacked from my life for many years that I can’t believe I get to feel from him. His spirit feels like Home to me.

James is also one of the funniest people I know; he makes me laugh all the time between his array of expressions and voices to his quick wit and teasing humor. I DID always want to be with “the funny guy” and he’s definitely the funny guy for me. XD He’s always eager to lift my spirits when I’m low and will do anything to make me smile, which I love! He truly makes my spirit happy!

James also harbors qualities I really wanted in a boyfriend (qualities I think most should look for in their partners but don’t often think about): humility, a willingness to listen and learn, gentleness, and the ability to apologize without feeling defensive. He is all those things and more, in ways I sometimes kinda thought guys couldn’t be (simply from my own life experience.) He is quick to ask for forgiveness, which really really speaks to his maturity. He is sensitive to my feelings and is gentle with me, especially when I’m in distress or having a bad day. He has been quick, ever since when we were simply friends, to listen to me and learn what I like or dislike (vice-versa, that’s why we watched each other’s movie recommendations five years ago. XD)

He tells me I’m beautiful every day, that I’m worth all the distance, that he’s so lucky to have me. I’ve never felt more loved in my life. He honestly changed how I saw myself as a person. I see myself differently in the mirror now; I was even able to lose weight when he helped me love myself at the weight I was. He has changed me for the better in so many ways like that! In just over a year, I’ve changed so much for the better for being with him, in my levels of self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-worth. Not because he gave me self-worth, but he helped me see that I was already worth millions. ❤

I think the biggest thing James has done for me is show a true representation of God’s love for me through his own love. He is very slow to anger; he is incredibly patient with me, more patient than I sometimes deserve, I think. He always loves me even when I make mistakes. That no matter where I am, even when we can’t see each other, touch each other, hear each other, he still loves me.  I have seen better representation for God’s great love for me through James than I have ever seen anywhere else. ❤

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I thank God so often that somehow, through all the chaos in my life, I was allowed to have the comfort of friendship from him for so long, and now the comfort of his love that distance can’t stop. I feel so happy to have gotten to experience just the beginning of what they call “love.” To have had my first kiss with the most precious person on earth to me, to hold the heart of someone so eager to love me wholeheartedly, and let him see me, warts and all, and still feel accepted and loved. To have someone to call Home. ❤ It just blows me away. ❤

So, Happy Valentine’s Day, my Darling James! This year I can actually write to you instead of an idea of my future someone in my head; that feels wonderful! Thank you for being my best friend and loving me even when I become emotional wrecks and live with this crazy dysfunctional family, and live so far away. Thank you for always having the best fun with me, for letting me be my spontaneous silly self, for helping me feel truly beautiful, for trying to love me like God loves me. You’ve changed me for the better! ❤ I can’t wait to keep changing and growing with you; we have so far to go and so much still to learn, but I’m excited for it all.

I love you. ❤ We’re the best of friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way. ❤

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~Jamie