Monthly Archives: February 2012

“I’m ready now I’m not waiting for the afterlife”

I recently listened to Switchfoot’s new CD “Vice Verses” and there were so many songs on there that I immediately related to and wanted to share with you. I really appreciate deep and meaningful lyrics, so I wanted to reflect on these and share my own thoughts and opinions on their songs. This first song is called “Afterlife.”

I’ve tasted fire I’m ready to come alive
I can’t just shut it up and fake that I’m alright
I’m ready now
I’m not waiting for the afterlife

I’ll Let it burn the way the sunlight burns my skin
The way I feel inside, the way the day begins
I’m ready now
I’m not waiting for the other side
I’m ready now, I’m ready now

afterlifeCause everyday the world is made
A chance to change But I feel the same
And I wonder
Why would I wait till I die to come alive?
I’m ready now
I’m not waiting for the afterlife

I still believe we could live forever
You and I we begin forever now
Forever now
Forever

“I wonder why would I wait till I die to come alive.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel as if I will only truly feel alive when I’m in heaven. As a result, I am subconsciously going through my life not living to my fullest extent, thinking that it will only come when I leave this world. I think that only when I am in heaven can I do all the things I’ve always dreamed of doing. Sometimes I think that the world isn’t good enough for me. This world is filled with pain, disappointment, sorrow, evil, greed, sometimes mediocrity. I loved reading adventure romance novels and watching movies all my life because it took me to another world that would always involve some kind of adventure, a dashing man to share that with me, some huge challenge we would need to overcome, and then marriage of course. But then the story ends. What happens after marriage? Most of the books and movies end once the couple decides to be together forever. Are they telling us that life is over once you get married? I never got to experience my storybook adventure romance novel and now I am married. So…now what? Is that the end for me? Did I really think that this story would happen to me in real life? No, not really. Maybe a little piece of me thought that one day I could finally have the story I always dreamed about, but I knew the chances of that happening are slim to none. How much of this though, is my own fault? How could I have been living my life now had I made different decisions? Perhaps take more risks, meet more people, live in a different country, etc.? How many opportunities did I miss out on because I have this thought in the back of my mind that my life CAN’T be lived to the fullest because my perfect story could only happen in a perfect place like heaven? Now, I’m not saying that all Christians are like me. Most of you know how to live life. You go on adventures, travel across the world, live in other countries, meet the craziest kinds of people, whatever. Good for you. I just hope that after you do all those things, you don’t feel an emptiness inside. Because we weren’t made to live life to the fullest in just the physical sense. If you do, you are just going through the motions trying to satiate the hunger inside begging for satisfaction. It is only by having satisfaction in Him first that you can fully enjoy other aspects of life.

The more I am learning God’s word, the more I am realizing how much God wants us to be fully alive in this world. Check out what Jesus says about His reason for coming to the world, “”I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 This verse is talking about living life to the fullest, not just in the physical world but spiritually as well. It is only when we can combine these two with God’s will that we can experience an abundant life. He did not put us on this world to just “work for the weekend,” come home every night to watch TV and browse the internet, and to wonder when will be the next time you go on vacation.

Cause everyday the world is made
A chance to change But I feel the same

Everyday we are choosing our fate with every decision we make. That, I believe, is the hardest part. Making that change. We say that we want to change. People can give eloquent speeches on how much change should be made, but it all starts inside. With our hearts, souls, minds.

Are you ready now? I am. I am so sick of the same old thing everyday. I don’t want to live my whole week excited for my weekend. My story isn’t over. I believe that I first need to change my outlook on life, realize that I was put on this earth for a purpose, to glorify God through the talents He has given me, and to finally take action. I’m ready now, I’m not waiting for the afterlife.

 

 

How NOT to Apologize

apologizeLet me first say that I am writing this post with plenty of experience on apologizing, or rather, the lack thereof. I did not realize until I was in my first serious relationship how extremely difficult it was for me to apologize. Why? Well, think about it. By apologizing, you are admitting that you are WRONG. Admitting that you are wrong is probably the hardest thing in the world to do, for anyone. It does not feel like rainbows and butterflies when you are admitting that you are wrong either because A) you were wrong B) because you don’t feel that you were really wrong but know that is the only way to make the situation better, or C) you know you were wrong but you don’t want to give that other person any satisfaction of hearing your apology. I am going to give you some examples of how not to apologize to your spouse, co-worker, family, friend, basically anyone you are in a relationship with. But since most of my apologizing has been to my husband, I will use him as an example.

Here is the scenario:

When throwing away Xander’s old pair of shoes, Xander comes home to find them missing, and naturally, starts crying.

Bad apology #1 – The Attack Apology (It looks like an apology because there is an “I’m sorry” in there, but that sorry is for the other person and how wrong they are.)

“I’m sorry that you are sad I threw away your shoes, Xander. But really, what is wrong with you? The shoes are 10 years old, you never wear them, they are ugly as sin, and you have 20 other pairs of shoes you could wear. I mean, seriously? Are you really crying about one pair of shoes right now?”

With this apology, notice how I don’t really seem sorry at all, and the only thing I am truly sorry about is how dumb my husband is being. I am saying, I’m sorry that you are sad about this, because obviously, I am right and you are wrong. Then the rest is a full-on attack. What reaction could I expect from this? Not a good one. Most likely when you use an attack apology, the other person is thinking of their own attacks they are going to say about you.

Bad apology #2 The Excuses Apology

“I do realize that I threw away your shoes and that made you upset. But Xander, I only did this because I noticed that you never wear them, like ever. I was only looking out for you and your closet, because I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but it’s overfilling with all your other 100 pairs of shoes.”

It kind of sounds like an apology, doesn’t it? But notice that it’s mostly a sonnet to how right I was in my actions, and therefore completely justified. It’s the excuses apology, where you go on and on defending why you did the things that you did. But is that really what the other person who has been hurt wants to hear right now? No. They have been hurt, and you need to make sure you have properly apologized. Notice as well that no “I’m sorry” was actually said. The apology sounds like one, and it is assumed that you are sorry, but you never get to actually say it (it’s called pride my friends.)

Bad Apology # 3 “The Other People Agree with Me” Apology

“I’m sorry I threw away your shoes Xander, but honestly everyone else agrees that you own way too many pairs of shoes. They wonder how I put up with it at all. You should be glad that I’m not like other wives who constantly throw away their husband’s gross things all the time. You should consider yourself lucky to have me!”

Now, do you think Alexander really cares at this very moment how many other people agree with me? Hells to the no. All he sees is the action that I have done. I betrayed his trust. I was the one who threw away the nasty caca shoes. By me telling him how much other people agree with me, that will only fuel the fire more and make him angry or self-conscious around my friends/family.

As you could probably guess, all three of these apologies have not really worked out so well for me. I know my husband now better than ever, and I know exactly how my words can hurt. How I began mastering the science of apologies is by putting myself in his shoes and realizing how much it hurt when people treated me the same way. It was kind of like a light bulb moment for me. “Hey, this ISN’T the best way to go about this. I could be MUCH nicer. I think I’m going to work on that.”

How to apologize: The Golden Apology

“I understand that it hurt you when I threw away your shoes without asking. I am truly sorry for any pain I caused you, I know how much those shoes meant to you. I realize that I may have ruined your trust in me, which I value greatly, and I promise you I will never do this again.”

Now isn’t that the perfect apology? Easier said than done right? Could you imagine how much healthier relationships would be if everyone could apologize like that? I’m not saying that I am the queen apologizer and you should learn from how awesome I am. Not at all. It took a lot for me to realize how to apologize (to this day I still suck at it, trust me.) It definitely does not come natural to me. Maybe you grew up in a home where your parents were perfect apologizers and you learned well. Good for you. For the rest of us, it is damn hard to apologize. And not to just “apologize” but doing it the right way. Swallowing your pride, killing that burning desire to be right 100% of the time, and not going into full attack mode is not easy. But trust me, if I could slowly learn to do it, you can too! I suggest trying to put yourself into their shoes, understand their needs, and do your best to make sure that any feelings that were hurt have now been rectified.

Happy Apologizing!

P.S. No shoes were harmed or thrown away in the writing of this blog post.

 

The Transformation of Natalie Rickadori

When they say that you will become one with your husband in marriage, they weren’t kidding. Lately I feel as if I am morphing into a girl version of Alexander. The more I am introduced to his world, his passions & his hobbies, the more concerned I am of losing my identity of Natalie Bahadori –girl before Alexander Ricker. The girl who lived her life not taking very many risks, who loved divulging into novels to escape her mundane life, who lived her life primarily with only women (which meant no sports, no football, etc). Seeing myself freakishly begin to look a lot like my husband, I have begun questioning my own identity. When you get married, you are no longer you. You are you + husband. So then you ask yourself, where does he start and I begin? At least that’s what it’s like for me. Here are some ways that I see myself morphing into Alexander.

Spliced21) UFC – When I first started watching this, I was like, ‘Seriously, what is the big deal? The guys do a little dance and then 5 minutes later decide to actually start throwing some punches. And then one minute later they are on the floor cuddling each other and throwing some girl punches here and there. But then the more I watched it, the more exciting it became. The best part was having Alexander watch it with me and explaining to me what all the fighting techniques meant. Seeing his passion for which fighters he wanted to win was contagious, and eventually I got more and more into it. (Go GSP!) I can honestly say now that this is one of the funnest things I get to do with Xander, and I can tell it also makes him happy.

2) Cigars – I would have never in a million years thought I would like smoking cigars, but I do (only flavored ones). I smoked my first one when we were at his old house in Hacienda Heights, and all his guy roommates were outside smoking. I remember that I had colitis at the time, and they were telling me that smoking actually helped it. So I was like, ‘Why not?’ So I smoked one and thought it wasn’t so bad. It was actually fun just talking with the guys and smoking. Very relaxing. This is another activity that I love doing with Xander, that also gives him that look in his eyes that say, “That’s my girl!”

3) Sushi – I never touched Sushi until after I met Alexander. I never had the desire to. When he took me to restaurants I would rebel and eat the chicken teriyaki. My teriyaki came with a crunchy shrimp roll once and it was pretty tasty. So I told Xander, “Ok Xander, I like the crunchy shrimp roll, and that’s the only one I’ll probably ever like.” Now, I can do all you can eat sushi (only at Maru Sushi of course), which also makes Alexander very happy.

4) Beer – My favorite alcohol was always rum. I loved rum and pineapple juice and mai tais and all those other girly fruity drinks. Beer was not my favorite. I always thought it tasted like popcorn. It actually wasn’t until I was introduced to Land Shark that I was like hmm, I can actually stand this beer. So now, I drink that and Blue Moon, and anything that’s similar.

5) Snowboard – By far, this has been the hardest hobby of Alexander’s that I had to get into. If you didn’t know, my husband is obsessed with snowboarding. Not only with the actual sport but with the gear, the lifestyle, EVERYTHING. We have closets full of jackets, gloves, beanies, pants and boots to prove it. I had never attempted any kind of snow sport before I had met him. And of course, Xander was all about me trying it (but he did wait until after we had dated 3 years). The first time I tried, it sucked. I fell down the whole way down the mountain. After we were married, we got some lift tickets as a wedding gift, so we went to Snow Valley. It was also very difficult the second time around, but I couldn’t help but notice how happy it made my husband to just see me dressed in the snowboard attire and going down the bunny slopes. I have now gone around 5-6 times, and I can finally go down the mountain fast without falling (still need to learn how to toe carve!) And now it’s finally becoming fun!

Is this really a bad thing? Am I changing who I am to appease my husband? I don’t think so. I am still the nerdy girl who he fell in love with, the girl who made him laugh and made him see why he shouldn’t love every single movie that ever came out. But I do realize that by at least trying out the same kinds of things that our significant others love to do, it doesn’t hurt (except for snowboarding). The only thing that can come from this is you making your hubby really happy. And isn’t that the whole purpose of marriage? Trying to do anything in your power to make each other happy? Yes, I am looking more and more like Alexander, but I am having fun doing it. I never grew up with a guy in the house, so this whole thing is very new to me. At first, you’re like “Omigosh this is so stupid, why does he love this so much?” But then you try, (and maybe try a couple more times) and you begin to see. His happiness will make you happy. What’s so bad about that? He hasn’t completely taken over my identity (I will not become a gear whore like he wants me to be), but I don’t mind it. Not at all.

me_becoming_xander

Rescuing my Family in a Grocery Store…and from ROUS’s

me_grocery2This dream begins with me at a grocery store. I am walking around, shopping, and minding my own business when I get a phone call. As I pick up the phone, I realize it’s my cousin Justin. In a menacing voice, he says, “Get me some paper towels and some fruit, and I will tell you where your family is.” So, naturally of course I freak out and run to some stranger and tell them the situation. In a calm voice she tells me, “Hey, it’s your cousin right? See if you can reason with him.” Then I am like, “Oh yeah, I could do that.” But now, of course, my phone is nowhere to be found. I begin frantically running around the grocery store, paper towels in hand, trying to find my family. As I begin to lose all hope I collapse on the floor, all defeated, when out of nowhere, my cousin Tatiana (who looks like she is 14 years old) comes and helps me up. In a reassuring and sweet voice, she says, “Hey Nati, let’s check up here” and points to the ceiling. I look up and find a vent that is slightly open. I look back down and Tatiana has disappeared. I climb up there and find myself in what looks like an underground basement/sewer. There are some fire pits here and there and blankets on the ground.  I start walking though this underground hobo place, when all of a sudden these really creepy creatures start running throughout the whole place, trying to eat my feet. These creatures look like a cross between the Wizard of Oz monkeys and the animals (ROUS’s) from the Princess Bride. So there is a good five minutes of me jumping over these creatures (sometimes I am in midair for a good 5 seconds). Finally these huge rat/possums finally start going away, and instead I hear a dog barking. The creatures have now turned into my favorite family dog Pia. Pia leads me to my aunts, who are huddled around one of the fire pits. I go up to them and say, “Hey, what’s going on guys?” They told me that one of my aunts, my Tia Digna, was going to have major surgery. Apparently, the basement/sewer was the place where we needed to discuss this.

rousNext dream sequence:

My little cousin Victoria is at my Tia Elman’s house, asking to watch a a show called “Sins” with my sister Francheska. Cheska comes out of one of the bedrooms, looking all tired, and says “Victoria, it’s too early. It’s only 1 (in the afternoon)…maybe later..” She goes back into her bedroom and shuts the door. So Victoria looks at me all sad cause she can’t watch her favorite show “Sins” with Francheska.

Last dream:

I am at a farm/ranch with Sandra Bullock. She looks scared and I am trying to help her escape from a bad guy (who we know is my cousin Justin). We go from room to room then eventually walk out the front driveway, where we run into my cousin Pete (who apparently has been the real bad guy this whole time). He has a big smile on his face and tells us that Twitter is very impressed with all of his sport tweets, and now some sport team is going to hire him just for his tweet skills. After he told us this, Sandra and I were very excited for him.

Dream I had a while ago that I have to share with you:

In this dream I am dressed like a prostitute. I’m wearing a tiny short black skirt and black top. Apparently I am being sold in the sex slave business. Some guy is walking with me on these docks and makes a bargain with Xander. In order to transfer me to wherever we need to go, we have to go river rafting, which apparently turns out to be THE FUNNEST THING IN MY LIFE. Seriously, in my dream, I am wearing my hoochie mamma outfit, but I have the biggest smile on my face cause the rafting is so fun.

(….you can’t make this sh^*$ up)

 

 

 

The Fairy Tale Version of How I Met Xander

cropped-medieval_romance_pic.jpgThis fairy tale story was written by me when I was bored and trying to get Xander’s attention in Facebook chat. You can actually see him trying to tell me to stop telling the story (good thing I didn’t cause a masterpiece was born!). So forgive the informal writing, but it is shown pretty much exactly the way I wrote it in 2009 on chat. This will probably be the fairy tale I tell my kids ( I refuse to tell them we simply met in college–boring!!)

Enjoy!

I think I should tell myself a story

once upon a time

9:43pmAlexander

stop

9:43pmNatalie

there was a beautiful princess

and her name was Natalina

now Natalina was the fairest maiden of them all

but she was under an evil spell

her mother was holding her captive

no one could have her

and so Natalina too thought that she was doomed to live in the dungeons of her mothers heart forever

until…

one day

there was one man

who decided to fight

he knew it would be difficult

everyone told him to let it go

there were other maidens he could have

but he said no

he had to have Natalina

so he left his castle in the snowy mountains of Switzerland

to pursue this maiden

and so he raced through jungles

battled with lions

and a monkey

and finally got to the place he needed to be

the place of no return

no one dared to venture this fiery and evil dwelling place
many had died in their pursuits

and so the prince…Gerard Butler

decided to take out his sword…

ah hah! YOUR NOT paying attention!

anyways

the real prince was devastingly handsome

he had a fierce look about him

He had scruffy features

great eyebrows

and deep green eyes

His arms were beautifully sculpted

his chest broad

and legs like iron

every woman wanted him

every woman in the snowy mountains wanted him, for he showed great skill in the snow

But alas

he had his heart set on the princess whom he had heard so much about

all he had heard was that she was exotic looking, and this frightened off many men

but not this one

he was tired of all the golden haired lasses

he wanted someone who would take his breath away

and so with this in mind

he trespassed through the fiery pits of Victorialand

he heard a noise

he looked around him

and saw nothing

he kept walking until he heard it again

all of a sudden, the fires of the volcanoes turned off

it was pitch black

“Who turned the fire off?” His unbelievably deep voice asked

“No need for the light be on. Like I said, I have no income!” a voice shouted out

it was a woman’s voice

“Who are you?” He asked

“It is I, Victorias sister. They call me Dollyia”

“Well Dollyia, how can I make it so I can see to get to my beloved who is waiting to be rescued?”

“Hmmm”

she answered

“I shall tell you, if you answer correctly this one question”

“Agreed”, he said

“Do you agree with the policies of our current king, Rackobam?”

“That is an assured no.” He stated

“You may pass, but turn off the fire on your way out!!”

“Alright ma’m” (she is crazy! he thinks to himself)

And so the fire turns back on

he jumps over the lava

with one giant leap

(he is genetically enhanced)

and so

on he trails

until he comes to the castle

He decides to ring the bell

The door opens after 5 minutes

slowly

but no one is there

A woman appears

“Hark!” he says

“Who goes there?” A beautiful voice asked.

She is standing in the shadows, a veil over her head

“Are you the one they call Natalina?”

Silence

“Answer me princess! I am here to rescue you!”

She slowly turns around, and unveils her face.

“Who are you?” Her gentle voice asks

“I am Alexander the great. Are you Natalina?”

“I am not. I am called Cheskalina.”

“Cheskalina, what an unusual name!” He remarks

“Tis.” She replies

“Your beauty surpasses most in this land.” He said

“I am aware.” She said. “No one comes though. It is too much work to get to Victorialand. I fear I am not worth it.”

“Never think that, fair maiden! One will come! For you are definitely worth it! Not only for your beauty but for the kindess and peaceful spirit I see in you.”

“I thank you fine gentleman. You seek Natalina, my sister?”

He nodded. “I do, my heart will be complete once I am with her.”

“Ay.” She said

“How can I get to her?

“You can find her sleeping. I am out doing errands while she sleeps. This is common for most days. Her room is past my mothers. My mother is in there right now.”

She put her hand on his shoulder

“Good luck, sir. I do hope you can get to her. I see greatness in you.”

“Do not worry, fair maiden. I shall get to her, no problem!”

And so Alexander the Great went down the hall

and knocked on the door.

“Come in.”

A tired voice called out

Suddenly Alexander hesitated

maybe this wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought it would be

“Ma’am?”

“Yes? What do you want? Why are you screaming at me?”

“I’m sorry ma’m this is just how my voice is” He replied.

“Oh”. Was all she said

She was in her closet cleaning

“Who are you?”

“I am called Alexander the Great, and I am here to marry your daughter Natalina.”

“Why?”

She asked.

“Why? My heart longs for her, and only her and I will cherish her until the moment I die.”

“Hmmm. How do I know you’re a good guy?”

“You will have to trust me ma’am. I was raised in a great home and I am a man of many useful talents.”

“I see,” She said looking him up and down

“You’re not what I had pictured for my daughter, young man.”

It felt like a knife had went through his heart

“But if you will treat her well, then you can ask her yourself, if she’ll have you. Her door is over there.”

She pointed to a door that was down another hallway

“Thank you ma’am.”

He approached the door and stopped, trying to think if he really knew what he was getting into.

With a deep breath, he opened the door, and found stairs that led to a dark tunnel

He fumbled through cobwebs as he walked down the stairs

Till finally he saw lights through the hall way.

he walked in to the room and held his breath

There she was, standing in the sunlight, more beautiful then he could ever imagine. She looked just like the woman of his dreams. Long flowing black hair and piercing green eyes under luscious long lashes

She was in a word…stunning to him

He was speechless

“Natalina?”

He asked

She looked at him strangely.

“Who are you?” She asked

“It is I. The man who has come to rescue you from this evil place.”

“Rescue? Who needs rescuing? Not I!”She said, arms folded firmly together

“But…” He looked around “You are Natalina right, fairest maiden of them all, lives in the dungeon of Victorialand?”

“Yes, yes and yes,” she said. “But I do not to be rescued. You see this window here?” She showed him the window

“There are no locks sir. I can leave whenever I want. My mother cannot hold me down. I have no chains”

“Why won’t you let me take you out of here?” He asked

“I have to say, I am impressed that you have made it here, it’s been so long since a man has tried. I am flattered good sir, that you have heard about my beauty and wished to see it for yourself. Well, you have seen it, and now you know that I do not need to be rescued. What do you wish to do now?”

She asked

“I have a snowy castle, I can teach all sorts of pleasurable activities on the snow.” He said

“I do not know the snow. ” She replied.

“What do you know?” He asked “What do you like?”

And so they spent the next 4 hours talking about their lives, her likes and dislikes and his likes and dislikes.

She finally stood up

“Because sir, you have cared to pursue my heart, I shall leave with you at once.”

His heart leaped. “I have loved our conversation, and am further convinced of our destiny to be together,” he said.

“I feel now as if you love me for more than my beauty.” She said

“I do. I love your laugh, your smile, your sarcasm, your humor, everything about you! And I do not think that I can live without you for another moment!”

“What is today?” She asked

“I believe today is the 6th day of February.”

“What a wonderful day! We shall be married at once!” She exclaimed

And so they went upstairs and told her mother who cried and held on tight

but finally let go

“I love you mother, and always will!” Natalina said as she left, hand in hand with Alexander the Great

They both hugged her sister and they were off

They lunged through the fiery pits and waved to Dollyia who was scrubbing a burn stain on the ground

And so they both rode on his strong stallion until they hit the snow

and then they both jumped on a long board that slid them through the snow

They stopped and did a backside 360 then kept going down the hill until they went to his castle

and on that day they were married

and lived happily ever after

the end!!!neuschwanstein-castle-lancastria-004