Andi in L.A. L.A. Land

I packed all of my belongings in the trunk of my compact car, said goodbye to my home town in Texas, and headed out to the west coast in order to pursue the life I was called to live in Los Angeles! I have created this blog in order to keep my concerned family and friends back home informed about my life. I plan to elaborate about my experiences to the ones I love back home by sharing about all of the opportunities, adventures, struggles, and joys I encounter here in "The City of Angels!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fat Love

   Living in Los Angeles, I have seen more people crammed in to one spot than any other place I have ever been throughout my entire life. I am constantly meeting and being introduced to new faces, which can be challenging considering the fact that I have a very difficult time remembering names. In a world that moves so quickly and where figures are so fleeting, you can easily be swallowed up. Since I came back from holiday in Texas, I have been feeling this emptiness and loneliness that I didn't feel here before I left. It crept in like the raccoons at camp grounds, undetected and intelligently. Undetected because I had no idea that this was what I was even feeling until it kind of blurted out of my mouth during girls circle at my community group on Wednesday night. Intelligently because it occurred at the most opportune moment to weaken me. Satan does that, that dirty devil. Getting to see and interact with my friends and family back in Texas reminded me of how much I have at home, and it was hard to come back here and miss that. The constant love, support, and security. No other place on this planet can beat that. Also, the open space in Texas is quite nice, and I do miss clean air.

   There is a song entitled "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver, and I have been listening to this song over and over again. Despite its somber melody, it is very poetic and musically/emotionally beautiful. I was using this song to dwell in my pit of pity though. I was blaming God for a certain situation I was put in, and I was confused and angry with where I was. I expected to be somewhere else at this point. I predicted that I would have accomplished more and done more and been more by now. I figured that something great was supposed to occur already since God had called me out here 6 months ago. Well, needless to say, I bet you can predict what happened... I was humbled.

   I have spent the past week receiving an infinite amount of love without acknowledging it. At my nanny job, Coen the toddler and Oscar the kindergardener are always pouring their sweet, innocent love into my life. The bright smiles and excitement that I receive from them everyday as I walk through the door could melt any grinch's heart. Too bad I was busy being self absorbed with my own over exaggerated drama. Linda, who has graciously welcomed me into her home and shares whatever she has with me continuously gives and gives and gives. We eat and chat together about our day and what's going on, but I should devote more time in trying to give back to her! My classmates in my new class have been really supportive and active in participation, which is a huge blessing. Though the class is difficult, it is nice to have dependable peers who are actually interested in you and your success.

   I think what finally slapped me across the face and woke me up from this somber slumber was today. Today I just chilled with friends. I drove down to La Mirada and saw all of my friends who live down there, and it was awesome. I had such a good time hanging out, and I decided that I am definitely going to take trips down there more often because they are just solid people. I listened to some of The Kilns music (my friends band) and it was really rad. They are killer, and you should check them out here: Talking music and planning future projects today totally lifted my spirit and got me all giddy. A lot of those friends are from Kingwood as well, so being with them gave me the warm feeling of home. It was nice. After dinner, where we played the best prank I have ever been apart of, I headed back to Sherman Oaks and hung out with two of my pals. I made them burnt cinnamon rolls, and despite the weird orange icing, they ate them gladly. We talked, fiddled around with the guitar, watched SNL, and then I ptfo'd on the couch. I woke up to my dear friend Adam covering me with a blanket and trying to take my shoes off. He was helping me get comfy so I could crash on the couch and avoid having to drive 25 mins home whilst half asleep. I was so out of it and groggy, but it felt so nice having someone taking care of me. I asked him to brush my hair, and despite the odd request, he did. That was the moment I realized that I have been giving anorexic love to others and myself. I realized that  I have received an abundance of love, support, and security just in this one day alone, yet I had not been accepting it for all that it is. I am ashamed to look back on the weeks I have lived here and just now notice that the love, support, and security has been here all along.

   I wasn't receiving Skinny Love, I was giving it. I had friends today who sacrificed time and money (my friend Paul covered my dinner, thanks Paul!). They helped me out and included me. They made me laugh and feel happy. Best of all, they loved me. I was an idiot for feeling the way I have been. The love that has been sent my way is the opposite of skinny, it is fat and obese. I realize that God probably didn't call me out here to have some other massive thing happen in my life. He called me out here to live and to love. To love people, this city, and Him above all else. Though I don't know what is around the corner, I am really optimistic and excited to continue growing. I am so blessed to have these awesome friends and to be able to develop such amazing relationships with others here. From now on, my love will be fat, you can count on that!

   Just a quick summary of other things: I am currently reading two books for pleasure, which are titled "Same Kind of Different as Me," and "Changes That Heal." Both are tremendous so far, and I am really learning a lot from them! I got my first paycheck from my new job on Friday, WOO! It felt good, and it's nice to not be completely broke anymore. I am really pumped for Toluca Lake ladies fellowship night this coming Monday, it should be gnarly! I am also really excited to keep writing music with my friend Clay, we are putting together some awesome pieces and I can't wait to share them with ya'll! I have an essay to write that is due monday, and I haven't started yet... so I better stop wasting time writing this post.

Matthew 22:37-40
   Self-explanatory, and relevant! :)

Skinny Love - Bon Iver


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

   I don't know if this a feeling experienced by a lot of people, but new years just always seems so anti-climatic to me. There's that moment when you are shouting the count down with every one around you, following along with a watch, clock, or the ball dropping on MTV. It always pumps you up and makes you antsy, like you are about to come in contact with a rock star or something. Once the clock strikes midnight though, everyone goes ballistic and starts cheering, blowing noise makers, kissing, etc. You'd think we had just won a war when really all that has happened was a time change. I wish we could have a celebration like this for every time change, like daylight savings. That would be fun, and not really out of the ordinary since Americans tend to make up holidays just for poops and giggles anyways. After all the shouting and the hoopla-ing is done though, there is a moment where there isn't much to do. Typically, you might take some pictures for Facebook evidence that shows you celebrated and it was rad, sit down and finish your drink, or just gaze around the room awkwardly until someone starts asking everyone about their new years resolutions. I tend to be the person that asks about new years resolutions, not going to lie. In the midst of the lull, everyone looks as if they are kissing the past goodbye, lost deep in thought, and probably pondering how they are going to be different this coming year. Truthfully, I kind of mourned the ending of 2010. So much has happened and changed in 2010 that it felt more like a decade than a year. In the midst of my thought process, I thought about the regrets I had in the year, the wrongs I did, the wrongs that were done to me, the challenges and struggles. I kind of got depressed there for a minute, and then I realized I was spoiling a perfect holiday moment for myself. I said a quick prayer, thanking God for Jesus and the forgiveness of sins, and also to help me let go of all the instances and moments in the past that I tend to dwell in/all of the worries and anxieties I have for the future (totes Matthew 6:34 moment). If New Years is good for anything, I would say it helps people take a good look at themselves. During that night, most people at least self-analyze for a second, looking for improvements, looking for lessons learned, looking for meaning and purpose. I am just fortunate and humbled to know that I can find improvement, learn lessons, have meaning and purpose through Jesus Christ. I'm letting go of all the blahness in the past year and now just recounting and enjoying the blessings that I have received. It's quite refreshing, and I thought I should share.

   I also thought it would be appropriate to have 11 resolutions this year on account of it's 2011, cheeky right? I was really excited to come up with them and share them on this blog, but regardless of my main excuse, I was honestly too lazy to really follow through with it. My main excuse for not sharing them though was that I kinda wanted to view it as I view fasting. I decided that my resolutions are something that I should keep to myself. If I were to tell everyone what I was doing (which I already shared one of them with a couple of friends, but that one doesn't count) I feel like I would only be keeping to my resolutions just to get a congratulations and pat on the back for accomplishing them by the next year. I will be blunt and say that was what I sought every time I told someone I couldn't drink sodas (besides sprite) in 2010 because I gave it up for new years resolution. I don't want it to be about that though, I am truly seeking self-improvement by making better habits and sticking to promises I have made to myself and to my community, friends, family, etc. I guess it will be more of a challenge because I don't have people keeping me accountable, but that's okay, I always dig a challenge. I hope by next year, I will be able to look back and see that I did a decent job sticking to them.

   I spent the New Years at the Lynch House with my dear friends Kayla, Herndy, and Kellie. Though it was (as kayla calls it) Dramatic Friday, the holiday still turned out to be quaint and sweet. I would honestly rather spend New Years with a few people I am close with than at a huge celebration or party with a bunch of people I don't know well or at all. The sparkling cider exploded in the fridge, which made for some excitement, and we also rushed 30 seconds before the ball dropped to get our glasses filled to toast to a new year. We did a lot of impressions from the SNL sketch "Surprise Party" and properly documented it by taking pictures behind the sofa. Kayla and I wrapped up the night by watching Pirate Radio, which brought great memories of us driving all the way out to Jackson just to see it in theaters when it came out. Before I went to sleep, I picked up kayla's copy of my favorite book, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and read the first chapter. I thought it might be a cool tradition to read a chapter of it every new years. So, chapter 2 is my assigned reading for 2012, and 3 for 2013, and 4 for 2014, etc. I will probably read the whole book in between the new years, but it will still be something fun and quirky I can do to celebrate.

   Today, my family is packing up the ornaments and taking down the decorations. It's probably one of the worst feelings I experience during the holiday season. It flew by so freakin' fast, and it really bums me out that I won't see the tree lit up in all its splendor until next Christmas. Ugh. I hated packing away all of my frog, Irish, and angel ornaments (the three main subjects of my ornament collection). I am also not looking forward to packing for my flight back to L.A. on Monday. It feels like I just got home yesterday, and though I am excited to get back to California, I will definitely miss the heck out of my friends and family. I start another class on the 4th, and start my job on 5th, so things are going to get busy again, and I am really delighted about it. I seem to function much better and am healthier when I have a lot on my plate. Bring it on 2011, Bring. It. ON.

1 Peter 2:16
 Live like this in 2011!

Psalm 65:11
And stole this one from a @HerndyPants tweet :)

And this --->

The New Year  - Death Cab For Cutie
Listen Here

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Home for the Holidays

    I created this blog right before I headed home for Christmas/New Years, and I haven't written anything during the two weeks I have been on break. Sorry. I will say that being able to see all of my friends and family has truly been a blessing, and I only wish I had more time to see all of them! Here is a recap on all that has been going on the past two weeks:

   I flew back to Texas and was able to have a couple of glorious days to just hang out and chill at home/friends homes. I then went drove up north with all the family to partake in my cousins Alice in Wonderland themed bachelorette party, wedding, and the Annual Hold Family Ornament Exchange.

   The party was a blast, and it was so fun seeing everyone decked out in character costumes (I was the Mad Hatter, which was quite fitting since the Johnny Depp version has crazy frizzy red hair, like muah).

   The next morning, once the whole gang was awake (me being the last one, no surprise there), the Annual Holt Family Ornament Exchange began. It is actually my favorite tradition of all time! It started several years back, and it's where everyone in the family buys ornaments for each other instead of presents. It's a smart way to save money and still give very sentimental and meaningful gifts. For the first time ever, I purchased ornaments on my own for all of my family members, and it was such a fun experience! The hunt is always entertaining, and as a plus it really boosted my confidence when I felt like I found a solid ornament for someone. I love this tradition because with each ornament, there is a back story or personality trait that goes along with it. I now have a life time supply of ornaments, and it's going to continue to grow, so the only thing I don't look forward to is having to pick and choose which ornaments will eventually end up on my tree.

    Funny story: every year I always get a frog ornament or gift of some sort. I don't know where the notion began that I was frog-obsessed, but I think someone may have started a rumor that I was nuts for them, or people just assumed that I must have a massive love for frogs because my favorite color happens to be green. Whatever the case may be, I always tend to get frog ornaments at the exchange, it never fails. This year I finally admitted to my mother and sister that I unfortunately have never had a thing for frogs, and they found this mishap to be hysterical. I too found it quite funny, and though I don't necessarily dig frogs, I did always appreciate and enjoy the quirky frog ornaments I received! Maybe my reaction is what kept those unique amphibious ornaments coming my way each year, or maybe I just give off a frogy-person vibe. After this year (I received two frog ornaments and a frog hat) I think it is safe to say that though it was originally against my will, I cannot fight it any longer. I now have a thing for frogs. So in conclusion, if any of you ornament exchangers are reading this post, feel free fly that frog flag and exchange that green for some green next Christmas. I will gladly take em' on as tradition, and I look forward to my own tree someday being covered from trunk to tip in those jolly green hoppers!

   Later that day, my cousin was married right in the living room, which was a very special experience. It was totally small and intimate, just perfect for our family! I am very much looking forward to the celebration/ceremony in may!

  While I am on the topic of weddings, helping with the plans for my sisters wedding this june has kept me quite preoccupied here at home. As the maid of honor, it's my duty to help with the majority of these wedding planning things, and my mother, sister, and I have been trying to get it all done while I am here with them. I am happy to say that we have so far been successful, and all I need to do is plan her family party that I am throwing for her and then I am done! I bought my bridesmaid dress today, and I am hoping that when I fly back two weeks ahead of the wedding that I will have time to get it altered and ready for the big day (prayers please!). I also bought toms for the reception today off of eBay which I am super excited about because I bought them for $14 cheaper than the original price and they will get here by friday! That last part might actually be a bad thing because if I have them with me, I might be tempted to wear them... a lot. I will do my best to resist though!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Official first Post

    So I actually made this blog a while ago, and I'm just now sitting down at my computer to write a Post. This can be an example of how things are going out here: I am moving a mile a minute, still adjusting to the hustle and bustle of the city, but enjoying every second of it. I have lived here for a little over two months and already I have changed immensely. Before I came to California, I was at a place in my life where I had to get away from everything I was used to. This can be interpreted as running away, but the truth is I felt called to leave. Honestly the details aren't important, I just knew I was supposed to be here, in Los Angeles. The "for what" wasn't necessarily specified for me, and I just kind of filled that part in. When I pitched the idea to all of the people I loved and respected, I had done a lot of research on the kind of trouble I could get myself into out here and opted that acting must be what I needed to do since I had been doing it pretty much my whole life. The more I have been out here though, the more I realized that I have a lot of desires on my heart, and maybe my direction is going to change, maybe I am going to discover that I am really passionate about something else, who knows. All I know is that I am excited to see what God has in store for me.

    I got plugged in to an amazing church out here, RealityLA, and through it I have made so many friends! You could definitely say that I have formed my own family out here, and I seriously consider many of them to be very dear brothers and sisters in Christ. It's so helpful to have a group of people to keep you accountable and centered on what is most important, Jesus. I have been a regular at a small group in Toluca Lake, where most of my friends go, but I think I am also going to start attending the Pasadena small group because it is closer and I just love community group.. so sue me. I have signed up to serve as an usher at RealityLA, and started last week. I can already tell I am going to love serving for this church body, and I really look forward to becoming more invested in the congregation. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am exponentially growing and maturing in my faith, and that in itself is a good enough reason to pick up and move across the country.

   My God Mother has so graciously allowed me to stay with her until I get a job and can support myself. I have been working three to four babysitting jobs in order to make some chum change, but recently I was hired on a permanent position. I will be a nanny on the weekdays, and hopefully get some other babysitting in on the weekends with the families that I have already established relationships with. God has completely blessed me by providing these opportunities, and now that I will have a steady income, I plan to move out as soon as I find roommates and a place to live. My budget will be tight, and I will pretty much be living on rice and beans, and despite the all of the hard times ahead, I am super excited. There is something thrilling about struggling to make it on your own. This might sound like the dumbest thing you have ever heard, but I have always been into the idea of living the "starving artist" lifestyle. Not only that, but I know living like this will also make me appreciate all the little things I take for granted so often, like eating out, going to see movies in the theater, shopping, etc. I look forward to being more cognizant of my blessings and constantly relying and depending on God to get me by.

  In my free time, I plan to do a lot. There is so much to do in this City, and I am going to do my best to experience it all (except for the sketchy/raunchy stuff!). I have been writing a lot of music lately, and I am also putting together an album with a friend here, which I am super excited about. We are well on our way, and hopefully after a few more weeks of tuesday night practices, we'll have something to show for it. After I come back from Christmas break, I have a musical genius friend who asked me to join him on a little project, for which I am also extremely pumped about. Since I have been here, I have gone on a few acting auditions, and have thoroughly enjoyed the experiences. If more of those come my way, by all means I will go for it, and if they don't, it's whatever. I am basically just going where the wind blows me, and I have a real peace about the uncertainty. Amongst making music, doing church things, hanging out with all my buds, I am also taking college courses online. I am majoring in business and communications. I don't know where that degree will take me, but I definitely see some possibilities in the future of perhaps starting my own business, or with my aggressive nature and competitive spirit, taking on the corporate world. Even though I have a lot of thoughts about what I might do in the future, none of it is really solid yet. I am just living right here right now, and that is perfectly fine with me.

  A few things that I might be looking to do in the near future are:
- Getting a Bike (to ride to work and save gas!).
- Scavenging for free concerts.
- Knitting a blanket.
- Buying furniture.
- Moving into a new place.
- Grocery shopping with a budget of $36 a month (I am really looking forward to the challenge).
- Finding a charity or organization to volunteer through.
- Writing more music/auditioning/any other creative outlets I can squeeze in.

Those are just a few interests. I am excited to see what will change on this list. I am sure things will be deleted and new things will be added, but I am really looking forward to the progress of life.

For future reference, I am going to end each post with a bible verse or passage, a photo or image I like, and a song title/artist that you should most definitely check out. Thanks for reading, have a blessed day!

2 Corinthians 5:17-19
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."

Awake My Soul - Mumford and Sons