Monday, November 19, 2012

JAM.19 - Chipped

My tooth chipped today. Might not seem like something to find joy in, but I'm thankful that it wasn't painful and it isn't terribly noticeable unless I point it out, so I can survive until I get back home and see my dentist to get it fixed.

Plus, it happened while I was out with my younger sister, so we laughed it off and kept enjoying ourselves and catching up. I am extremely blessed with three excellent, fun, silly siblings!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

JAM.18 - Home

Arrived in Indio tonight and had an excellent time catching up with my family. I'm so thankful for them.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

JAM.17 - Fun friends

We went to a sushi place tonight for our friend Travis's 30th birthday. We had a semi-private room which we filled to the max (I think there were 20 of us?) and had the low tables where you sit on chairs with no legs (or just cushions). Everyone was very happy and loud and boisterous, and there were a LOT of sake bombs consumed (none by Joe and me, since we are heading to LA tonight).

It's great having a lot of different friends to do different fun things with, and even better when you get to meet more new people through other friends' circles. Tonight I made a new friend and potential karaoke recruit!

PS: Posts may be short and sweet for the next few days since they'll mostly be from my phone. We're going to Joe's parents' tonight and then to my parents' Sunday night through Thanksgiving, and then to Costa Mesa for our yearly Black Friday madness. Whee!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

JAM.15 - Praise House

There's been some heavy stuff going on today that I will want to write about soon, but for now (for the sake of sticking to this daily blogging thing), I want to quickly share about an old tape of worship songs I finally found during my crazy house-cleaning endeavor. It's from a band that eventually became All Together Separate, but was then called Praise House. I got this tape in 1996 (I was 11!) at a winter camp with my church, and its five songs really shaped a lot of my spiritual walk as a young teen.

I'm thankful for Helly who lent me her tape player, and for Joe who transferred the songs to mp3! It's so fun to get this blast from the past, but even more than that, these songs are still blessing me today.

I wanted to share one song in particular, but I couldn't find any trace of it online so I made it up (very quickly and simply, on my phone -- sorry the song gets cut off!) into a YouTube video.

This song was on my mind and heart from the first minute of the women's retreat back in October, and I am listening to it almost daily now because it's such a simple, beautiful reminder of what I'm learning lately.

Here are the lyrics:

"Abide in Me, and My love will abide in You forever..."

Apart from You, I am nothing
Apart from You, there is no peace
But in You I've found life
In You I've found love
In You I've found everything
And I hear You saying:

 "Abide in Me, and My love will abide in You forever..."

Day fifteen of NaBloPoMo: check!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

JAM.14 - Currently...

Stealing this from Stephany!

I'm currently... 

Loving: Having a much tidier home. I'll have to share the chore list I finally got around to creating (inspired by Ashley's), but it has been such a huge help in keeping me accountable to put things away in a more timely manner, cleaning things on a schedule so it doesn't get overwhelming (or gross), etc. And I think Joe is a lot less stressed out at home lately, too.

Reading: Well, that's complicated. Technically I am in the middle of four (five?) books, but I'm mainly focused on a devotional book called Abide in Christ and just started reading a Nook book called All These Things I've Done which I think I bought for like $2.99 before our trip to Scotland. (I stocked up a lot of ebooks for that trip.) I needed an easy read. But I'm also slowly chugging along with The Brothers Karamazov. It's heavy, but I do enjoy it. I just can only take it in small chunks.

Watching: Parenthood. It's not the only show I watch, but it is definitely my favorite. I basically cry every single episode. It's just so great and heartfelt and funny and sweet and sad and brilliant!

Anticipating: Christmas! And Thanksgiving, too, but pretty much as soon as Halloween is over, my mind is in full-blown Christmas mode and all I want to do is drink peppermint hot chocolate and wear scarves and sing Christmas songs and write our yearly, cheesy Christmas poem. (Eek! I should really get started on that.)

Listening to: At this exact moment, I'm just listening to the sounds of both myself and Joe typing away on our computers.

Planning: Trying to figure out the logistics of our Thanksgiving weekend. We're spending it in the desert with my family, but waiting on a couple of things before we'll know if we can head down earlier next week than Wednesday night (I do NOT want to experience that awful traffic if I can help it)!

Working on: A really awesome crocheted blanket. I'm on my fourth color (alternating every two rows) and really loving how it's turning out so far. Don't be surprised if you see a plethora of progress photos on Instagram in the coming weeks.

Wishing: That I knew the Bible a LOT better so I can use it to navigate some of the tougher decisions and issues in life. But thankful for wise and caring friends who do know the Bible better than I do and have given some helpful advice.

Day fourteen of NaBloPoMo: check!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

JAM.13 - Fellowship

Tonight I am so very thankful for fellowship and female friendships. I host a Tuesday night Bible study with a few girls, and these last couple months have been such a great season of learning and growth. Each person who is a part of the study brings a unique gift (or gifts!) that has become an integral aspect of our meetings.

I'm just blown away by what God is doing through our little gathering. I feel like each of us is not only receiving awesome counsel and prayer from the others, but we are able to practice using our gifts and dwelling in the Lord's presence. I'm sorry if this sounds overly spiritual to some of you, but I can't say it any other way. It is an enormous blessing to have this time set aside each week to dig into the Word together, pray for one another, and share openly without fear of having our trust broken or abused.

In our meeting tonight, I was reminded of how sufficient and fulfilling God is in providing for every need. Seeking answers or worth in anything other than Jesus is always going to leave me feeling dissatisfied and lonely. Yet when I abide in Him and receive everything He would have for me, all the other aspects of life begin to function so much better. You'd think it would be easy to choose God over (insert issue here -- money, popularity, beauty, whatever), especially after seeing how much greater it is than anything I ever try to find value in!

I'm working on it, and I'm finding joy in pursuing God together with great Christian girlfriends.

Day thirteen of NaBloPoMo: check!

Monday, November 12, 2012

JAM.12 - Chilly

Turned on the heater in our bedroom tonight. It's officially the holiday season as far as I'm concerned!

Day twelve of NaBloPoMo: check!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

JAM.11 - Cuddling

It's 11:30 and I am just remembering to blog. So tonight I'm finding joy in cuddling up with my husband on a cold night!

Day eleven of NaBloPoMo: check!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

JAM.10 - Scenes from Saturday

Amy and our cool dragon/dinosaur mascot, Kindle!

Kindle the awesome race dog.

New blanket started!

Me, Taryn and Amy at Borderline for country dancing!

Joe and me at Borderline. He didn't dance,
but he was a great chauffeur! :-P

Day ten of NaBloPoMo: check!

Friday, November 9, 2012

JAM.09 - Friiiiidaaaayyy!

Today I am just doggone happy it's Friday. I'm getting up suuuuper early tomorrow to help out with the Santa Barbara Marathon, so I'm also hoping to find joy in deep, restful sleep.

Happy Friday!!

Day nine of NaBloPoMo: check!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

JAM.08 - That's entertainment?

I have realized lately that my recreational reading has dwindled down to barely anything in the last several months. I'm part of a monthly book club in Santa Barbara, and I think I have only made two or three of the meetings all year because I just haven't made time to read the chosen book.

For the last month or so, my main reading material has been my Bible and the devotional book I started during the women's retreat. Now, I definitely don't regret making those books a priority. But it's not like I'm reading my Bible as much as I used to read other, recreational books. So where is all that time I used to spend devouring books being spent now?

Well. It has dawned on me that I'm spending a lot of my free time watching TV, and that's probably a huge reason I haven't been reading much. I've known for a while now that I watch WAY too much TV (especially for someone who doesn't even own a television). I make light of it, and I sometimes tell myself I should really cut back on it, but then nothing ever really changes... except adding MORE new shows to my Hulu queue.

So it's time to cut back. I'm not going to stop watching TV all together. At least, that's not something I feel the need to do right now. But I looked through my list of subscriptions, removed most of the shows I had recently added (since I'm really not invested in them yet), and deleted like ten more shows, and it actually felt really good. (Are you thinking, "You deleted more than TEN shows and still have more TV to watch?!" Because, yeah. I wasn't kidding when I said I watch a lot of TV.) I feel like I still have a lot more shows in the queue than I probably should, but it's a start.

I think what it boils down to is: what sort of entertainment am I most interested in? What inspires me, gets me thinking, makes me laugh, prompts me to ask questions? A lot of the shows I've been watching are, to be quite honest, garbage. I would much rather let go of New Girl and its painfully awkward (albeit often funny) humor, and spend that half hour delving into a good book instead. (No offense, Zooey Deschanel.)

And, okay, I read some pretty ridiculous novels from time to time, too. I fully admit to reading the entire Pretty Little Liars series, and I haven't let go of the book-inspired TV series for that one just yet, either. Sometimes I think I enjoy those types of books because I tell myself I could write something better if I wanted to. (Not that I have tried to write a novel since I was eight years old. But I digress.)

Anyway, I want to rekindle my love of books again, because I find joy in the experience of "seeing" new worlds through the written word.

Do you watch a lot of TV? 
Got any good book recommendations for me?

Day eight of NaBloPoMo: check!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

JAM.07 - Out of my shell.

Yesterday I joined the 2013 board for a group at work that is organized to help young employees connect, network, and advance their careers. I've been serving on the board of another group (geared toward women in the workplace) for two years as their communications chair, but since two years is the max you can serve in one position (and I have no desire to fill any of the other open positions for next year), I figured I would branch out and step into a new group.

This is pretty huge for me. I've been getting a lot more confident in myself and my personality over the last couple of years, but I still tend to feel like the "uncool" kid among people my age. That's why I have never joined this group in the four years I've been at this job. I attend a lot of the events they put on, but I have always kinda kept to the sidelines.

So, not only have I taken a bold step in joining the board, but the position I volunteered for? Social planning. Meaning, all the networking events, happy hours, team-building, and the end-of-year party (which is a BIG deal). It's funny: I actually went to the info meeting expecting to sign up to be the communications lead, since that is where I'm comfortable and have pretty solid skills. But when they asked who was interested in filling that spot, I just didn't move. And then the best thing happened -- Amy raised her hand! And I'll still get to help out with communications-related stuff because each general area has a team of people working together. So I'm on Team Amy for communications, and Amy and a few other cool people are on Team Tabitha for social butterflying!

Anyway, I am concurrently nervous and ecstatic about this decision. I don't want to suck at it or drop the ball, but I also don't want to let fear get in the way of sharing my ideas and helping to grow the group next year.

Today, I'm finding joy in the fact that I am becoming the outgoing, friendly, confident person that has always been within me, but whom I had previously buried deep underneath layers upon layers of fear and anxiety. No more of that! I'm totally one of the cool kids now. (Okay, I'm still a total nerd. But nerds are the new cool!)

Side note: Another reason I was compelled to join this group is that I'm working on finding more joy in my job, rather than spending 40 hours a week wishing I was somewhere else. I think committing to a leadership role in this group will help me seek out opportunities to connect with my co-workers, and it'll give me something to look forward to even if I'm feeling apathetic toward my actual job duties. (But I'm working on enjoying those more, too. I'll save that for another post.)

Day seven of NaBloPoMo: check!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

JAM.06 - I Voted!

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but today I voted for the first time ever. I've been registered since I turned 18, but it took me nearly ten years to actually pay enough attention to what is going on in the country to be able to cast an informed vote.

And honestly? I don't know if I voted for "the right guy." But I voted prayerfully, and I voted according to my Biblical values, and I know that will bother or upset or anger some people. I think the most important thing, though, is that I finally voted. I wonder what our country would look like if every person with the ability to vote actually DID vote. It seems like too many people just don't find value in it because they're convinced that one vote isn't going to make a difference. But when thousands of people's votes aren't being cast, that makes a difference.

Anyway, I don't have the skill or desire to get any more political here. Whether Obama or Romney wins the election, I'll be praying for the President.

So today I'm finding joy in my very first "I Voted!" sticker.

Day six of NaBloPoMo: check!

Monday, November 5, 2012

JAM.05 - When creativity spews out like lava.

I posted a little sneak peek of my costume for John's superhero party the other night, but I thought I'd share some bigger pictures and details since it came out SO dang good.

Now, I can't take credit for the original idea for this costume. That came thanks to Pinterest:

All I did was spice it up a little bit... (FYI, all these photos are straight out of my phone's camera. Sorry if they're not super professional!) :-P

Here's the whole costume. I found a navy blue dictionary at a local thrift store for $3, and I already had navy leggings and some silver accessories, so it was super easy to go with a gray/silver/navy color scheme.

For the "wings" I followed the original costumer's idea of using a wire hanger to make them stay rigid (versus flapping around). But instead of gluing flat pages on the inside edges of the binding, I fan-folded some pages, stuck them together and flared them out to add more pizzazz. And, I already had wired silver ribbon (leftover from my wedding!) to use for the shoulder straps, which I tied in a bow on the back of the wings.

I made a little wand using the cardboard tube that was wrapped around the wire hanger I used for the wings. I had some blue ribbon, so I wrapped it around the wand's handle, then made a "pouf" using the same method you see all over Pinterest; I just used dictionary pages instead of tissue paper. I also threw in a little more of the silver ribbon to give it some sparkle.

I had this silver flower hair clip already, and I clipped it on after tying my remaining blue ribbon in a bow on my head.

And I made my little superhero "emblem" just with an image of a book I found in Clipart! I designed it in about 20 minutes (please note the phonetically-spelled "dik'shən fer'i" underneath -- in case you weren't yet convinced that I am a nerd). Then I printed it off and glued it to a thin piece of cardboard I had lying around, traced the outline and lettering in blue Sharpie, glittered it up a bit and pinned it to my shirt!

For the tutu, I cut an old grey T-shirt (which happened to have navy blue lettering, but it barely shows under all the tulle and paper), and I started out by tying my tulle pieces onto it and spacing them evenly around my waist. I had no idea how much tulle I'd need, so I bought two yards. I probably could've used more to make the skirt fuller, but it still came out great. Once I had all the tulle positioned, I folded my dictionary pages over the T-shirt "belt" between the tulle sections. At first I was stapling it all together (because I'm lazy and didn't want to deal with a hot glue gun), but then I ran out of staples and just used masking tape. It all stuck fine and has yet to budge at all!

Oh, and I used basically the same method as the original costumer for rolling the paper, except I angled it so there would be more of a "fairy" look to it, if that makes sense. After I placed the first layer of rolled paper around the skirt, I taped two more rolled pieces to each one of the originals, which added depth and "fluff". After it was all done, I just tied the long ends of the T-shirt in a bow and pulled the tulle out so it was laying over the top of all the paper!

Here's a zoomed-in look at my tutu, since I didn't take a better close-up of it. 

And then there's the shoes.

OH MY GOODNESS, did I get lucky with these! I was at Ross grabbing the striped shirt and a few other supplies, and as I was walking toward the checkout I spotted these glittery silver heels on the end of the shoe aisle, and without even trying them on I threw them in my cart. I actually didn't expect them to fit because I have wide feet and pointy shoes tend to be impossible. But these fit really well! And I will definitely be using them again.

 Here's another picture of the whole outfit.

 And here's me with my mother-in-law, who came to the party with my father-in-law as "the Caped Creators -- makers of Super Sons!" How cute is that? I love this photo because I knelt down (as I often do when taking pictures with people much shorter than me), and Pauli simultaneously got up on her tippy-toes. Too funny!

This was my first time really making my own costume from scratch, and I had such a fun time with it! If every creative endeavor went as smoothly as this one did, I would probably do them a lot more often. I'm just saying.

Day five of NaBloPoMo: check!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

JAM.04 - Home safe.

Well, blogging every day has already proven pretty difficult, as we've been out of town with fun events all weekend. Tonight I'm finding joy simply in getting home safely despite our lack of sleep!

Day four of NaBloPoMo: check!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

JAM.03 - Superhero Party

Been at my brother-in-law's birthday party tonight, and it's superhero-themed. I came as Diction Fairy!

Day three of NaBloPoMo: check!

Friday, November 2, 2012

JAM.02 - Games!

Tonight we had a birthday dinner for Joe with a bunch of friends, and then Joe and I came home and played his birthday gift from me: Guillotine! It's a simple, fun card game, and I won both rounds. That makes me pretty joyful. I'm just sayin'.

Day two of NaBloPoMo: check!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

JAM.01 - This guy.

I figured, what better way to start off a month of focusing on joy than by spotlighting the man who basically floods my heart with love every single day? I am ridiculously blessed to have someone so loving, attentive, handsome, funny, adventurous, supportive, forgiving, creative, and driven.

Yesterday (like most days) Joe said something silly or weird and, upon my good-natured eye roll, said, "For the rest of your life!" And I shot back, "Nah, just the rest of YOURS." (Cuz, you know, Joe is sooooo old -- he turned 35 yesterday.) I like that we can make sarcastic remarks like that toward each other and both know that there is only love behind them. (Or, on rare occasions when the sarcasm comes out a little harsh, it's as easy as, "Hey, I didn't like that one so much," and we're good to go.)

I know Joe is the person I am meant to be with for so many reasons, but the one I've been thinking about most recently is that he makes me better. Not by trying to forcefully "change" me but by inspiring me and leading by example and demonstrating amazing patience with me. For example, I am finally getting the hang of keeping a tidy home. In just a few days of being consistent with picking up after myself, I already feel less stressed, less embarrassed, more excited to go home at the end of a long work day.

Anyway, I just wanted to brag a little about my husband. He's the first thing that comes to mind when I think of things that fill me with joy.

Day one of NaBloPoMo: check!