Monday, October 31, 2011

Kick the Tires...

"Babe, let me do it"

I think Tony must have said this at least 3 times while we changed a flat tire together.

I don't know if you all know this, but I'm stubborn.  Okay, and prideful.  I believe I've mentioned this before, but it bares repeating.

I get home about an hour or so before Tony does.  He told me he would help me change my tire when he got home.  But, that flat tire needed fixin' so decided that I would just go ahead and fix it myself.   I figured that when Tony got home he would be so dazzled by my sweet tire changing skills that he would let me watch all the Twilight movies while he rubbed my feet and told me how skinny I looked.

That's not what happened, though.

No matter how hard I tugged and strained, I couldn't get the lug-nuts off.

After trying for over 40 minutes (<----stubborn) I ended up waiting for Tony to get home and he was able to change the tire without even breaking a sweat.  While he was changing the tire I kept trying to help him.  I would try and take the tire off the hub, or lift the spare tire, but I was just getting in his way.

Tony was trying to help me, but I didn't know how to let him.

I spent so much time praying for a partner in life that would be there to take care of things like this, but now that I have Tony and he is doing things for me, it's not easy to let him.

When you've done things yourself for awhile a couple of things happen. 

1) You start to take pride in all of the things you are able to do on your own.  Not that that is a bad thing.  It just makes it hard when someone else can do it for you better than you can do it for yourself. 

2) You start to feel like you are inconveniencing people when they help you, because you know that you could do it yourself if you had to. (Although, those lug nuts where pretty much glued on if you ask me).

3) You start to feel like you are weak if you let someone know you need help.

But I've realized just how important it is to learn to receive from others. 

I need help.

I need people.

I struggle sometimes.

When I am struggling with something, I don't have to exhaust myself trying to deal with it on my own.  It was so easy for Tony to change that tire and I almost gave myself an aneurysm trying to do it.  The same goes for times in my life where I feel overwhelmed, sad, depressed, exhausted, stretched too thin, etc. 

Even Jesus asked for help.

Jesus asked the disciples to pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane.  He asked the disciples to feed the 5,000 hungry people.  He asked the woman at the well to give him some water. 

Even though He was fully capable of doing everything Himself (and I'm sure do a much better job at it than them), He still asked others to help Him.  It was never just for His benefit, but for the benefit of the person He was asking.

When we ask for help, we give people the opportunity to give and grow.  If I did everything and never let Tony do anything, then he would feel like I didn't need him or trust him.  The more I tell him my struggles and trust him with that information, the more real our relationship is and the closer we grow.

I'm not suggesting that anyone be less than they are so that someone else can feel good about themselves.  Heck no!  I will never be less than who I am.  Be you, baby!  I'm just saying that we all need to realize our needs and our limits and kick pride in the teeth instead of trying to "be strong" and not "bother" anyone.

The tire story does have a happy ending.  I may not have convinced him that a Twilight marathon would be fun, but he did look mighty fine getting some grease on his hands.  And as a bonus he did tell me how beautiful I am and then went and got me my favorite meal from La Granja. 

Kick the tires and light the fires!!



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Settling Down...

I've never been a big fan of the term  "settling down".  I'm even going to put it in quotes so the phrase doesn't touch the rest of the words in the sentence. 

I know it seems pretty benign.  Maybe you've even said it yourself. 

"I can't wait to settle down one day and get a house, a car, one of those little dogs that fit in your purse, and maybe even a Wii fit!"


"When is he just going to settle down and realize that I am the future mother of his adorable children and the future back seat driver of his super sweet F150 extended cab!?"

Whatever! Like you've never said that before!

I think when most people talk about settling down they just mean that they are going to stop dancing on bars, waking up next to strangers, and eating at Taco Bell every day for lunch.  They are ready to hang up their Studio-54ian  lifestyle and get married, have the 2.5 kids (I feel certain that .5 kid is going to be in years of therapy), care about drapes, tile versus laminate flooring, the best kindergartens and other such things.  And you know what, there's nothing wrong with that at all.  I'm a married lady now myself.  I quit eating Taco Bell for lunch every day a while ago*.  I thought I didn't care about melon ballers, 300 count sheets, and non-stick cookware until I started our Bed, Bath, and Beyond registry extravaganza.  God Bless Tony.  He even let me register for a shake weight just because the thought of getting one from my grandma made me almost pee my pants in the Beyond section (said shake weight has since been removed from the registry due to the fear of actually having to use it if someone bought it for us. #lazy).  My point is this, I'm all about people giving up any lifestyle that keeps them from the promises and purposes that God has for them.   Put down the beer bong and step away slowly.  That being said, I don't ever want the waves of routine to flow over me and ebb away carrying my spontaneity, sense of adventure, and my untamed Spirit. 

I LOVE being married to Tony.  The reasons are too  many to list.  Marriage is so amazing.  Tony is so amazing. Contrary to what most people think, marriage doesn't equal "settling down". Marriage is something you need to be ready for, and isn't to be taken lightly, but it doesn't mean that you have to get a place in your life where you are ready for all the fun to end. Do people ever feel ready for that?  I think that's what a lot of people think though.  And because that's what they think they are supposed to do...that's how they act once they get married.  They put on their big girl britches and try to play the part of married adult.  Inevidablely they end up getting tired of acting their assigned role.  They have all of this pent up angst because they still want to party hardy, but they think they're supposed to be "grown ups" (another horrible phrase that shant touch my other beautiful words) so they suppress it until one day when they are about to turn 45 they explode and build a man-cave in their basement with a full bar and a secure lock on the door (it's the adult version of the "boys only" sign on treehouses).  They blame marriage.  They make fun of it.  They degrade it.  Sometimes they give up on it all-together.  But it's not marriage's fault you're so unsatisfied.

It's not's you.

Tony and I will  never be satisfied with living a "settled" life.  The Jesus we follow is good, but He's not safe.  In order to follow Him we're going to have to fight to stay on an untamed path that has twists, turns, and dropoffs.  Maybe even giant rats like in Princess Bride.  The life we've both chosen to lead by laying everything down for our God means that we will have joy, peace, and love, but we were never promised that we would ever be "settled".  We were actually promised some trouble.  It may seem that a life lived dancing on bars and waking up next to someone you barely know is adventurous because you're not "tied down" (I don't want that phrase touching anything either).  But you are.  You are tied to yourself. 

It's through intimate, meaningful relationships with others that we become untied from ourselves and open our heart to others.  It's only through intimacy with God and with others that we can escape ourselves. Relationships offer the opportunity to live the greatest love others as we love ourselves. 

The big issue here is that many of us don't love ourselves.  Back in my dancing on bars days I didn't love myself.  I didn't know who I was or Whose I was.  I was in a spiral of selfish living where everyone came second, third, or 54th to me so I know all about thinking that marriage means the end of all things fun and happy.  This may not sound like it makes sense but in order to love yourself, you have to let yourself go.  In other words, get over yourself.  Give yourself up for something greater than you.  It is when you find yourself on the path of God that you are finally able to love yourself and then love others.

Marriage isn't about sucking it up, never having fun again, joining the rest of the unhappily ever after brigade, and hoping for an awesome car and sweet career as your parting gift.  You don't have to get "tied down" or "settle down".  (There's lots of phrases associated with marriage with the word "down" in them.  Me no likey.)  Tony and I are making it our life's purpose to change people's mind about marriage.  We want our relationship to show the world that when you both chase after Jesus hand-in-hand, it is possible to have a joy-filled, adventurous, passionate, peaceful, FUN, and LOVING marriage.  We're going to have some battles to fight to be sure, but they won't be with each other...they will be with the powers and principalities that try and keep the message and love of God from His people.  Marriage isn't about obligations to societies rules and trying to keep up with the Joneses.  I don't like to do what I'm told any dag-on way; sorry society. And who are these Jones folks and why are we chasing after them instead of Jesus? <--- Jesus Juke!

In conclusion I want to say that I don't think there is anything at all wrong with routine.  Routines can be very good and necessary.  It's good to feel settled in your soul.  It's what we've done with the phrase "settle down" that I have beef with.  Feeling settled is good.  All I am saying is that we need to stay awake in life and not let our routines dictate us and strip all the feeling away from our every day lives.  When I roll over in the morning and I see Tony sleeping beside me, my heart leaps and I have to reach out and touch him just so that I can see his eyes slowly slide open and a faint smile spread across his perfect lips.  I don't want that feeling to ever be numbed by the routine of it all.  I'll be waking up next to him as long as we both shall live, but each day offers a new adventure.  The only thing that makes each day like the next is my mindset.  Tony makes my soul feel settled and at peace no matter what is going on in my life.  That's the only kind of settled I want to be.


Katie Alicea

*2 weeks after I started dating Tony.  It's a hard habit to break.  I miss you Nachos Bell Grande.  I like to think you miss me too.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Tony and I are getting married in 3 days!!!

Are you jumping up and down with excitement too!!??

I've waited a long time for Tony, and I can't tell you how excited I am to be his wife.  As I am preparing for my walk down the aisle, I have read back through our emails and blogs and I just can't believe what God has done.  He has paved the way for us the whole way.  He has opened doors and closed doors just so we could be where we are right now.  Our journey is only just beginning, and I can't wait to share with you all along the way. 

Today I am guest posting over on Tony's blog.  I am honored to post for him because I am his biggest fan.  He's kindof a big deal.  So click right here and see what I have to say about changing my last name.



Monday, October 3, 2011

Not Alone: Stories of Living with Depression...


I never know when it’s going to happen.  Sometimes it will hit me when I am in the middle of laughing at a joke.  All-of-a-sudden, I’ll feel a million miles away even though I am, physically, still in the same location.  I feel totally alone even though I am surrounded by people.   I look at the people I know and I feel like I don’t know them anymore.   The feeling of panic starts like a wave.  It grows in momentum until it finally comes crashing down on me.  I break out into a cold sweat.  My fight or flight response has been activated for no real reason.  I want to run, but I don’t want to freak everyone out or look like a crazy person.  It takes every drop of energy I have to not run.  The world seems to close in on me; wrap itself around me and squeeze so hard I can barely breathe.  I wish I could just unzip my skin and run out of the body that has me trapped inside.  The inability to calm myself down or talk myself out of this makes me feel like I am on a runaway train.  My stomach starts cramping and I get hot.  More sweating...

If you would like to read more of my story then I invite you to hop on over here to grab yourself a copy of Not Alone: Stories of Living with Depression.   My friend, Alise Write, has published this amazing book that compiles the stories of people that are dealing with depression.  Even if you've never struggled with depression or anxiety in your own life, this book can give you a better understanding of the people in your life that do or did.  No one story is the same.  There isn't a simple answer to the question, "How do I make it better?".  But there is comfort found in the fact that you or the one's you love are not alone in how they feel.  This book breaks the chains of depression by bringing the truth of the struggle into the light.  

And if that doesn't make you want to buy a one because my name's in it.  And that's super awesome.