Saturday, November 2, 2013

So much for 61 days of blogging (much less 31)!

Well, I failed #31Days pretty epically.  I managed to post for 17 days, then missed two when I was out of town, then wrote one more, and then...nothing else.

Lesson learned: I can't force myself to write every day and expect it to always be fun (for me) or worthwhile (for you).  I honestly think there are only about four posts of the 18 that I am remotely proud of.

So, I will NOT be doing NaBloPoMo this year.  I know...gasp!  I've attempted it every year since, like...2008 I think?  And succeeded all but once or twice. But even when I did post every day for a month, it NEVER FAILS that at least 1/3 of my posts are total crap because I just write for the sake of saying I did it.

It would be one thing if these write-every-day challenges actually served to help me write better stuff or be more inspired or something.  But if all they do is make me frustrated most of the time, or stress me out about "failure," then I think it's time to admit that they're not for me.

But I DO want to write more on this blog, and I want what I write to be worthwhile.  So I guess I need to work on that in some way other than pressure-filled challenges.

Probably it all boils down to prioritizing my time better, which seems to be the cause for a lot of my issues (messy house, rarely cooking real food, lack of sufficient sleep...).

More on that later. :-)

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

I think I grew a grey watching you procrastinate.

-Incubus (from "A Certain Shade of Green")

Well, I missed Friday and Saturday.  I was home with my family, celebrating my brother's 30th birthday, so blogging took a back seat to all that, and I am absolutely unapologetic.

We got home earlier today, and I could've spent a little time making today's post amazing to make up for missing two days, but I am the queen of procrastination, guys.  Instead of unpacking my things from the weekend or doing the laundry that has been calling my name for days, I painted my nails and watched a bunch of stuff on Hulu.

But isn't that what Sundays are for?

Anyway, I'll try to cut back on the crapitude for the next 11 days of this thing.  Surely I have at least two or three more worthwhile posts in me, right?


Thursday, October 17, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

And I say to you, My friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will show you the One to fear: Fear Him who has authority to throw people into hell after death. Yes, I say to you, this is the One to fear! Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight.

-Luke 12:4-6

Just that today. I'm visiting family this weekend, so expect some pretty short/lame posts the next couple days. :-)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.

-Mark Twain

Because it's hump day, and because I'm weird, today I give you this InstaVideo:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.

-Corrie Ten Boom

I am the girl who is quick to forget about prayer until something BIG comes up.

I am the girl who makes to-do lists and schedules, striving to make everything fit and yet rarely asking God to lead her in the small things.

I am the girl who doesn't expect God to care about whether she makes it to the gym on time or how quickly she will get over this little cold.

I am the girl who loves serving in church but sometimes says yes to too many things without seeking His will.

I am the girl who feels like she should know better than to struggle with this or that sin, so she assumes God is "over it" and doesn't want to hear about it anymore.

I am the girl who has seen first-hand that prayer is powerful, yet still has not learned how to pray without ceasing.

I am the girl who is loved beyond comprehension by an amazing Father, yet too often treats Him like a genie in a bottle or an unfeeling dictator.

I am the girl who is continually learning (and re-learning) to rely on Jesus in every little challenge and every little triumph. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising.

-Shauna Niequist

All these quotes I'm finding for my 31 Days series are basically making me want to read constantly.  Too bad they're not inspiring me to write as much as I'd hoped...but maybe having this collection of quotes will give me a place to look when I actually feel like writing but don't know where to start.

(Today's quote is from Cold Tangerines.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

A book should have an intellectual shape and a heft that comes with dealing with a primary subject.

-William Safire

This feels like a good time to tell you some of what I've been reading lately...

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

I don't even know what to say about this book, except, READ IT.  It's really fun!  Basically, it's about a guy who gets a job as a clerk at a weird bookstore that is literally open 24 hours a day.  He discovers some eerie secrets and gets all wrapped up in them and if I say more it might give something away!

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Apparently JK Rowling wanted to debut a new series under a pseudonym so people wouldn't expect the next Harry Potter, and the word got out sooner than she anticipated.  But anyway, I don't think I would've ever guessed this was written by her if I'd read it without knowing ahead of time.  It's a great story, and I hope "he" continues the series!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

I couldn't NOT read this one, what with everyone and their mother raving about it.  And there's a reason for all the hype: it's hilarious, heart-warming, ridiculous and relatable all at once. 

Burned (#12 in the Pretty Little Liars series) by Sara Shepard

Keepin' it real.  I read some pretty stupid stuff sometimes, but I got totally sucked into this series (both the books and the even more ridiculous TV show), and I can't resist seeing it through to the end.  (Dear Sara Shepard: IT BETTER END.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

I think I'm hysterical. I watch myself on tape and just roar - isn't that weird?

-Roseanne Barr

This is how I feel about all of the VEDA videos I've made in the last four years.  Not that I think anyone else will find most of my ridiculousness all that funny (I really don't), but it just makes me laugh to see what I've said and done on camera.  Some of it I'm actually kinda proud of, but tonight I just want to show you a couple from this year that really crack me up.

(FYI, VEDA is Vlog Every Day in August, and it's where a bunch of people get together and make videos based on a specified topic for each day.)

(You just got Rick Rolled.)

And here's the one I'm most proud of, in all my four years of doing VEDA.  It was quite an undertaking, but I think it was well worth the effort!  (I'll give you three guesses whose idea the sock bit was.)

The original version of this video had a different soundtrack, but it's copyrighted and therefore not playable in some countries, nor on mobile devices (lame!).  So I just re-rendered it with a royalty-free song!

Friday, October 11, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.


Apparently this quote is the moral of a lesser-known (at least to me) one of Aesop's fables - "the dog and his shadow."  In the fable, a dog gets himself a piece of meat and as he's crossing a river, he sees his reflection (or shadow) in the water.  He thinks it's another dog, with another piece of meat, and he greedily decides he wants that dog's meat, too.  So he snaps at the reflection, and as he opens his mouth the meat falls into the river.

I would expound on this with some clever or insightful story, but this has been a particularly exhausting day and I need some sleep.  Maybe I'll update this post someday soon when I have more energy or inspiration.


Thursday, October 10, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

I used to think that nails-down-a-chalkboard was the worst sound in the world. Then I moved on to people-eating-cereal-on-the-phone. But only this week did I stumble across the rightful winner: it's the sound of a baggage carousel coming to a grinding halt, having reunited every passenger on your flight with their luggage, except for you.

-Sloane Crosley

Story time!

In the summer of 2007, I went to Romania for a month-long mission trip with a group of 12 other people from APU.  When we arrived in Bucharest and got to the baggage claim area, all 13 of us stood around watching every. single. person from our flight pick up their suitcases...and eventually we began to realize that none of us had gotten ours yet.

Sure enough, there was some sort of mix-up on our layover at Heathrow, and all of our group's luggage was mis-labeled and sent who-knows-where-but-it-sure-wasn't-Bucharest.  A couple of us got a little angry, but knowing we were about to spend the first ten days of our trip at a kids' camp in the wilderness with no electricity or plumbing, I wasn't too concerned with not having clean clothes to wear.

Until, that is, we stepped outside into the open air.

See, we were all wearing shorts and T-shirts, because it was going to be summer and therefore obviously plenty warm and no one thought to pack pants or sweatshirts or socks.  So imagine our surprise when we emerged from the airport into a chilly, windy, heavily raining reality.  Anyone who wasn't showing signs of frustration at our lost luggage earlier was definitely starting to crack.  (That is, this girl.)

And then we met the lovely people from the church we'd be working with at the kids' camp, and one of them -- an unbelievably, genuinely sweet lady named Emese (pronounced EM-eh-sheh) -- literally dumped the contents of her wardrobe in front of us and told us to take whatever we needed to keep us warm and comfortable until our luggage showed up.

The most remarkable thing about this story, though, is that Emese didn't act like it was remotely inconvenient to give away all her clothes to a bunch of strangers, even though it would mean a MAJOR laundry day in her near future, and even though she didn't know how long we would be using them (which, for the record, was like four days).  Instead, she expressed with absolute glee that she was so happy to do a "small" thing for the people who were visiting her church.

I tell ya, that spirit of humility and hospitality is something I have remembered to this day.

And the next time I'm standing at baggage claim, watching the last suitcase be snatched up as the giant conveyor belt comes to a screeching halt, leaving me empty-handed and unprepared for whatever adventure I'm about to begin, I don't think I'll be too upset about it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk.

-Edward Weston

This time I'm not slacking, per se, so much as deciding to step back and let a much more eloquent writer say a few words today.

I came across this great poem by Billy Collins and it's just lovely.

You have probably come across
those scales in planetariums
that tell you how much you
would weigh on other planets.

You have noticed the fat ones
lingering on the Mars scale
and the emaciated slowing up
the line for Neptune.

As a creature of average weight,
I fail to see the attraction.

Imagine squatting in the wasteland
of Pluto, all five tons of you,
or wandering around Mercury
wondering what to do next with your ounce.

How much better to step onto
the simple bathroom scale,
a happy earthling feeling
the familiar ropes of gravity,

157 pounds standing soaking wet
a respectful distance from the sun.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

If you don't expect to like someone and then you do, that's an incredibly exciting moment.

-Steven Moffat

Well, I fully expected to have today's post written well before the Very Last Minute.  Instead, I worked all day, went to the gym, and then hung out with my awesome pal, neighbor, and soulmate Michelle until about ten minutes ago.

I'm okay with that.

As for today's quote, I like it because a) Steven Moffat is one of the writers for Doctor Who, which Joe and I totally binged on this weekend; and b) that sort of thing happens to me all too often.  Mostly I meet someone and don't expect them to like me, which results in my assuming I won't like them much anyway.  And yet, what happens more often than not is I come to learn that I am actually a person that people generally do like, and I generally like most people.  So, plenty of incredibly exciting moments in my life, I guess!

I'm not even going to try to make this post more eloquent or coherent because it's almost midnight and this is my blog and I'm allowed to be unrefined and sometimes ridiculously rambly.

In fact, you should just expect that from me most of the time, and then when I do write something profound or extremely clever and clean, you can be pleasantly surprised.

Which reminds me of the runner-up quote that I considered for today:

Expect people to be better than they are; it helps them to become better. But don't be disappointed when they are not; it  helps them to keep trying.

-Mary Browne

Which is to say, ignore what I said earlier and expect me to be the best blogger ever.  I guess that means I'll keep getting better?

Monday, October 7, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years.  To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.

-Winston Churchill

I'm a week into this thing and already losing steam.  I don't know why I expected that I would magically be able to write something creative every day for a month, but I shouldn't be surprised that it's a difficult task, especially considering how infrequently I've been writing these days.

I'm a little rusty.

But I'm not giving up.  There will be at least a few good posts among the mess of others.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

I shall need to sleep three weeks on end to get rested from the rest I've had.

-Thomas Mann

I've been ridiculously exhausted lately.  Today I came home from church and knew I needed to get the house cleaned up, but I could barely keep my eyes open.  So I took a "ten minute" nap, which turned into more of a two hour nap. 

Sometimes naps do wonders for me, and other times -- like today -- they leave me feeling even more wiped out.  What's up with that?

Luckily, Joe and I did manage to get most of the place clean.  And then I decided to bake some stuff since I have tons of canned pumpkin that needs to get used up.  Kitchen's a mess now, but it can wait till tomorrow.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure.

-Hebrews 6:19 (HCSB)

Just a song for you today, written by one of my friends from college.

Friday, October 4, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

Why hurry over beautiful things?  Why not linger and enjoy them?

-Clara Schumann

I remember when I was a kid and my mom would come to pick Josh and me up from Chris and Desiree's house after we'd stayed the night.  Mom would round us up and say, "Come on, it's time to go. Put away whatever you're playing with and say goodbye."

So we would begrudgingly part with our best friends (how cute is that? two brother-sister best friend duos!) and make our way to the front door, where we inevitably found Mom and Barbara chatting away, obviously at least ten minutes away from ending their conversation.  We'd stand there with our pillows or whatever we had brought with us, tapping our feet and wondering why we couldn't just keep playing until Mom was actually ready to leave.

It's some kind of rule about motherhood, isn't it?  There's an unwritten policy that says you are required to linger in the doorway with the other mom(s) while your kids fidget and complain about the fact that they could have kept playing for ten more minutes!

But even when Josh and I would make that very argument -- "Mom, can't we just play some more while you guys talk?" -- and our mom did let us go back to play with our friends, here's what happened: our parents would wrap up their chat, Mom would holler at us to come back out because we were "really" leaving now, and then we'd return only to find that the momversation was back in full swing!

I remember being super annoyed about this as a kid.  But now that I'm an adult, I get it.  Grown-ups are busy people, and we always have places to be and things to do.  So when we find ourselves with the fleeting opportunity to linger in a doorway for just a few more minutes with a friend, we savor it!  Even without kids, that cycle occurs where you say goodbye and then spark another topic of conversation and forget that you were about to leave a second ago. 

Every once in awhile, a mom would come to pick up her kids from our house, and she was always on a mission.  She'd knock on the door, say, "Hi, thanksforhavingthekidsover," summon her children, and they were out the door before my mom could say, "How are you today?"

I don't want to be that friend.  I don't want to be so busy that I can't spare a few minutes to catch up and connect.  Don't get me wrong; I know sometimes you can't avoid being in a rush and needing to get to the next place ASAP.  But I don't want to be characterized as a habitual hurrier

I want to be the friend who can linger.

(But not the friend who lingers to the point of awkwardness.  That's a whole other topic!)

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

Woman's influence is powerful, especially when she wants something.
-Josh Billings

You may have heard of a website called Influenster.  The basic premise is they send you a package (called a "VoxBox") with some items from a particular company, and you get to try them out!  Then you are encouraged to post photos and honest reviews all over the internet.

I got my first VoxBox recently, from Colgate!  They have a new toothbrush called SlimSoft, which has "17x slimmer bristles than your average nylon brush" -- it's supposed to provide a deeper clean between teeth and gums.  This toothbrush also has 35% MORE bristles (since they're so slim), which makes for a very different sensation than your average brush!

Here's an Instagram video I made right after I opened the box and tried out the toothbrush for the first time:

And here's a silly video of the SlimSoft in action!

Now that I've been using the SlimSoft for a couple weeks, let's talk details.

As I said in the first video, it felt pretty weird the first time I used it, but not in a bad way.  It was just extremely soft, and it kinda tickled my gums.  I thought, "How can something so soft actually get in deep to clean my mouth?"  But sure enough, my mouth felt nice and clean afterwards!  And after using it for awhile, it feels pretty much normal.  (Maybe I should use my old toothbrush again and see how different THAT feels!)

In addition to the tiny, tickly bristles, this brush also has a flexible, ergonomic handle, which is supposed to make it more comfortable to use.  Honestly, I didn't really notice a difference as far as how my hand feels using the SlimSoft versus my old toothbrush.  It's plenty comfortable, just not exceptionally MORE so than any other brush I've used.

The big question, then, is: Do I love this toothbrush enough to toss my old one and forever be a SlimSoft girl?

To be perfectly honest, I am a pretty un-fancy person when it comes to oral hygiene.  Which is to say, I generally use whatever toothbrush my dentist gives me at my six-month check-up (and I always seem to have at least a couple new ones in my bathroom, since they are a staple item in Christmas stockings).

But I like the SlimSoft enough to talk it up to my dentist and friends! And if I ever find myself needing to buy a toothbrush, I'll certainly look for this one first.

Tell me: Do you have a favorite toothbrush?

Disclosure:  I received the SlimSoft toothbrush and mini samples of toothpaste and mouthwash from Colgate complimentary for testing purposes as an Influenster member.  I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

Now...abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence....

-1 John 2:28 (NASB)

This poem came right after I finished writing yesterday's post.  (All the words in bold are words for weight or waiting.)

Waiting for something.
Some big, sweeping gesture,
And the longer I wait,
The heavier the weight of wondering -- 
Where does this road lead? --
Until I am buried beneath
The clock as it ticks away the seconds,
Minutes, hours, days.
Tarrying here, waiting for clarity,
To know the sum total of choices
That will get me wherever I'm trying to go.
And the gravity of my fear
Only makes me linger in this place even longer.
Bearing this heavy burden,
Yet knowing it isn't mine to carry.

I am not in control,
And the answer is right here
All the time:
The still, small voice
"Abide in Me."

What is the use in trying to arrange my own future just so?
When did I get it in my head
That my word holds any authority
Apart from Your will?
You are my anchor.
You are the one who lifts my self-assigned pressures
And replaces them with rest.

And so I wait;
I eagerly expect Your perfect peace to wash over me.
And I watch for Your guiding words;
I hold still, until You say go.
And in hindsight, don't I always see Your impact
On every day, hour, minute, and second?

Thank You for the magnitude of Your grace.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I'm posting every day in October for The Nester's #31Days link-up. Click here to see all of my posts in this series.

Talking is a hydrant in the yard and writing is a faucet upstairs in the house. Opening the first takes the pressure off the second.
-Robert Frost

At first, I thought this quote meant that we should talk more to inspire our writing, or something.  But no; Frost is saying (basically) that talking too much can diminish your writing.  Or maybe that the more we talk about writing, the less we might feel the need to actually write?

Open the hydrant, and the stream from the faucet dwindles to a faint drip...drip...drip.  And even if you turn the faucet on as high as possible, there's still just not enough pressure to get a steady flow.

So maybe I've been talking too much.

Maybe it's time to just sit down and write....

Monday, September 30, 2013

Get ready for (probably) 61 consecutive days of the Aisle.

Every year for the past four or five years, I've participated in NaBloPoMo -- that is, National Blog Posting Month.  It happens in November, and I've been (mostly) successful every year.  I'm likely going to do that again this year, but November is still a ways away, and this blog needs some love right now.

You may have heard about The Nester's annual link-up in October, where people post on a single topic of their choosing for 31 days.  I think I first learned about it earlier this year when I discovered Emily Freeman's blog 

And, as often occurs in my life, I decided to join up at the last minute, on a whim, despite a lack of preparation or a full realization of what I'm hoping to get out of it.  (And also despite the impending insanity of NaBloPoMo.  Because surely I can entertain you every single day for two months, right?)

It started out earlier today as I considered the sad state of my blog.  I've only written a handful of posts since May, and I know I need to be writing more.  I was scrolling through my blog feed and saw Emily's Day 1 post (I guess folks are starting a day early for some reason?), and I began to think about what sort of topic I could possibly write about for 31 straight days.

(Side note: You don't have to necessarily write something every day.  You could post a photo one day, or a quote, or a link to someone else's site that is relevant to your topic.)

Anyway, somehow as the wheels were turning and I was scribbling some random ideas, I kept seeing the word "wait" in my mind's eye.  And then I also saw "weight."  And then I thought about a book I read recently where each chapter is a series of definitions or reflections on a particular word (and the words for the chapters are ordered alphabetically).  And then I started thinking of some of the different definitions and synonyms for these two words rattling around in my head, and I thought:  

I can do this.

So during the month of October, I am going to post every single day, and each post will have something to do with "weight" or "wait" (or both), or some synonymous or slightly-related word.

Basically, I'm cheating and not picking a very specific topic.  That's okay, right?

I already have a bunch of thoughts branching off of these roots, so hopefully this will be a month full of inspiration and reflection!

Click here to view a list of all my posts for this series.  (I will update it with the latest posts at least once a week.)

Make sure you check out some of the other people writing their own 31-Day series here.  And just FYI, I put mine in the category called "Too Awesome to Categorize" because I really have no idea where this topic will take me!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Things I Learned In August

Oh, hello there.  Did you forget this blog even existed?  Cuz I kinda keep forgetting it, too.  I haven't written an actual post in two months!  Heck, I've only written about 30 posts this entire year.  That's like...less than a post a week, on average.

Anyway.  I'm here today!  And I've decided to link up with Emily of Chatting at the Sky for her monthly "What I Learned" series.  Here is a (rather long) list of things I learned in August; some of them are silly, some are serious, some are useful, some are completely pointless.  It's a smattering, really.  (And some of these items also serve as a haphazard update on my life!)

Things I Learned In August
  • I learned that there is such a thing as "violet liqueur" and it makes for a pretty, frothy, and delightful cocktail.

"Tequila Daisy" from Carthay Circle Lounge at CA Adventure!
(Joe's is some kind of fancy Manhattan.)
  • I learned that StitchFix is dangerous and amazing and clearly I need a personal shopper for the rest of my life.

Next Fix is coming in a couple weeks, and I'll do a better job
sharing ALL of the items and my thoughts on them!

  • I learned that Katy Perry's "Roar" and Sara Bareilles' "Brave" can be played simultaneously(The YouTube version of this video got taken down, AND Vimeo won't let me embed it here -- LAME.  So here's a screen cap sneak peek.)
  • I learned that telling my husband what I'm feeling/thinking, though often difficult or painful, is so worthwhile because it gives him some frame of reference for my Crazy.  (Go figure: things don't get resolved when my husband has no idea that I'm having issues because I haven't said anything about them.) 
  • I learned that I totally suck at spotting the sandwiches in Egyptian Ratscrew.  And also, I have slow reflexes in general.  (Click the image below to see an InstaVideo. I'm not actually playing in it, cuz I lost all my cards.)
A "sandwich" in Ratscrew is when the first and third most
recent cards are the same value (example: 4, K, 4 is a sandwich).

  • I learned that there is such a thing as a ONE DOLLAR BOOKSTORE.  Why is this not a part of my weekly routine?  (Oh: cuz Santa Barbara hates "cheap.")
  • I learned that sometimes Disneyland doesn't do such a great job at censoring their ride photos... (teehee)
I suppose we did the family in front of us a favor; we saved
them the temptation of spending money on a souvenir photo!

  • I learned that the gift of tongues is not dead or irrelevant, and that its primary purpose is as a private prayer language to GodHighly recommend watching the sermon by clicking the image below!   
  • I learned that certain medications can make your poop turn freakishly reddish and your pee smell like Cheerios.  (You're welcome for not including photographic evidence of this one.)
  • I (re)learned how to use an open source video editing program, and in the process learned a little bit more about patience and clicking the save button every three seconds to avoid losing work when the program inevitably bugs out.
  • I learned that you can use the drum of a washing machine as a bonfire pit.
My small group leaders are geniuses, basically.

  • I learned that Gmail's new tabbed-organization Inbox is not so pointless/annoying/unproductive after all.   (I still am nowhere NEAR being an organized or efficient email user.)

  • I learned that there is such a thing as Way Too Many Trader Joe's Powerberries.  (This is me with a terrible stomach ache the other night after I ate entire bag.)
" can something so delicious make me feel so yucky?"

  • I learned the words veracious (truthful; honest) and xerophilous (living or flourishing in a dry environment), along with some others, which I used to describe myself in this A to Z vlog:

  • I learned that shampooing carpets is Hard Work, especially when they haven't been deep-cleaned in like eight years.
So grateful that my brother-in-law let us borrow his awesome
shampooer, though!  Hooray for clean carpet.

  • I learned that it is possible to wakeboard in the desert…kinda (click photo to see the InstaVideo).  Wish I had been there in person to experience the ridiculous flash floods!
Stole this video from my friend Brittany.

  • I learned that my desire to have kids can actually be sinful when it becomes MORE important than obeying and trusting in Christ.
  • I learned that Miley Cyrus is a giraffe.  (Don't worry, that's all the commentary I will be making on this topic.)

Someone posted this on Facebook and I just about DIED laughing.

  • I learned that Santa Barbara's annual Fiesta week is actually quite enjoyable and not something I have to hide away from every year like I did the first five summers I lived here.  (Whoa, WHAT?!  This is my SIXTH SUMMER in Santa Barbara??  How is that even possible.I also learned that confetti is almost as hard to get rid of as glitter. 
Michelle, my soulmate neighbor, unknowingly ordered the
HUGEST cocktail on the menu at American Ale!

Confetti! It's hard to see, but that's what I'm excited about.
It's in my hair and all over my shirt (and all up in my bra).

Night-time walks on the beach after an amazing First Fiesta!

  • I learned that Google Plus Hangouts have fun features like facial hair and tiaras you can "wear" on the screen!
So silly, and so very entertaining.  (Try the "random" option!)

So there you have it.  Twenty things I learned in August!  Make sure you head over to Emily's post today to see the other folks linking up!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Goodbye, The Old Reader. Hello Bloglovin'. (Maybe.)

Well, my Google Reader alternative has just announced they are shutting down. I guess it's time to try out Bloglovin'.

This post has no purpose other than to put the code in it that's required to "claim" my blog...whatever that means.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Spiritual Plan for Summer

I want to focus more on Jesus here. After all, the whole point of starting this blog was to pursue a more joyful attitude, and what better way to be joyful than to talk about my Savior?

Reality is doing a summer series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We're three weeks in (out of 12), and it is already rocking my world. One thing that Britt encouraged everyone to do at the beginning of this series was to make a spiritual plan for the summer. He said, "If you don't have a spiritual plan, you can be sure you will accomplish nothing."

Ouch. But really, he's so right. After last fall's women's retreat, I was so excited about Jesus! I had just started reading Abide in Christ, and I was diligent about reading it (along with my Bible) almost daily until I finished it. I figured I would take a week or so to ruminate on what I'd learned from that book, and then start on another one I had also gotten during the retreat. Fast forward to today (eight months later) -- I never picked up that other book, and I've rarely picked up my Bible except during church or my weekly ladies' Bible study. My lack of a "spiritual plan" this year has definitely been felt.

So I know I need to be a lot more intentional about my walk with Jesus. I'm going to start by reading a book called Hearing God, which I have started and abandoned at least three times in the past several years. It's about time I finish it.

I'm also going to start working on memorizing the book of Philippians. My goal is to have at least the first chapter memorized by the end of this 12-week series at Reality. (My ultimate goal, which is on my Thirty Before 30 list, is to memorize the whole book by April 2015.)

I just really want to get back into a daily rhythm of waking up and giving my first thoughts to God. I want to grow and be fruitful, and I know that won't happen without intentional action on my part.

Another thing I'm really excited about is revamping my ladies' Bible study. Lately it's been kind of scattered and inconsistent, and the other day I felt God urging me to pursue a more structured gathering. So in the fall (probably right around the time that the summer series ends), we'll begin a study called Stuck by Jennie Allen. I'm so looking forward to this new endeavor, and I can't wait to dig into it with a few amazing women of God.

I have this wooden plaque on the wall in my bedroom with 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NLT) on it. It's something I really want to embody - a joyful spirit in Christ. But on its own, this verse sometimes feels like an impossible command. Yet when I read it along with the next three verses (in the HCSB), I get a glimpse at how I can be that joyful person:

16 Rejoice always!
17 Pray constantly.
18 Give thanks in everything,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Don’t stifle the Spirit.

It takes continual prayer and thanksgiving, and a deliberate choice to allow the Spirit to move in me. 

So in a nutshell, my spiritual plan for this summer is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19.



Give thanks. 

Don't stifle the Spirit.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fifteen Ways Joe and I Are Different

Inspired by PW, here are 15 ways Joe and I are different from each other.

  1. He likes to sleep in on our days off.
    I get up fairly early on our days off. (According to Joe, I hate sleep.)

  2. He drinks coffee, with lots of add-ins to make it taste NOT like coffee. (He prefers Starbucks.)
    I drink tea with milk and honey. (I prefer Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.)

  3. He believes dessert should have no nutritional value whatsoever. ("Fruit is not dessert!")
    I love desserts with fruit on/in them!

  4. He never dog-ears, highlights/underlines/writes in, or bends back the spine of a book.
    I do all of the above.

  5. He excels in math and computery stuff.
    I excel in English (and therefore feel justified in making up words like "computery").

  6. He loves sushi.
    I hate sushi with a fiery passion.

  7. He hates potatoes unless they are covered in ketchup (in which case he considers them merely a mode of transportation for the ketchup to get into his mouth).
    I love potatoes and almost never use ketchup.

  8. He keeps his email inbox organized and never has more than a few "unread" messages.
    My inbox is a hot mess. (No, seriously.)

  9. He farts really loudly, but usually they don't smell. (The same cannot be said of his "number twos.")
    I am queen of the SBD.

  10. He loves cold, fog, rain, and wind.
    I would rather fry in 105 degree heat.

  11. He drinks single malt whiskey.
    I drink wine, tequila, rum, beer...and single malt whiskey.

  12. He doesn't like Mexican food. (Well, mainly he doesn't like beans and rice, which come with just about anything you order at a Mexican restaurant.)
    I love Mexican food. (And beans and rice.)

  13. He grew up in a Foursquare church.
    I grew up Baptist, and later non-denominational.

  14. He hates hiking (unless we're in Scotland).
    I love hiking (especially in Scotland).

  15. He has never had a protective case for a cell phone, and has never dropped one or cracked the screen.
    I have ALWAYS had protective cases for my phones, because I drop them all the time. I've still managed to crack two screens.

And despite all these differences, we are still the best match for each other. We're better together than apart, and we have plenty of similarities, too. Life is way more interesting and exciting when you get to spend it with someone so different from yourself!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


As if I needed ANOTHER form of fitness to become obsessed with...I bought a Groupon for ten classes at a new place in town called Airobic Fitness -- that's TRAMPOLINE fitness, you guys!

This is how I felt after class. Awesome and silly!

I went to my first class this morning and have decided a few things:

  1. This is a really fun way to burn calories and even get some strength training in!
  2. The guy who taught the first class reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite -- pretty awkward, but also pretty cool in his own way.
  3. I am fairly certain that by the time I finish my ten classes, I will be able to teach this class...and I may want to!
  4. This is not going to help me sort out All The Things. But I'm feeling a little less "Ack! Help! Waaa!" about it, so...good?
I could write a lot more about this, but I've got All The Things happening today, so it's time to shower and get on with the next one!

Friday, June 7, 2013

All The Things

I have a lot of interests, hobbies, passions, activities, responsibilities, obligations, plans, dreams, aspirations, goals...let's keep it simple and just call them Things.

Like, seriously, I have a LOT. of. Things.

And I know I'm not the only person who struggles with finding a balance between all their Things. But sometimes I feel like maybe I have too many Things and I should eliminate some of them from the Things Database altogether. (Or, as I mentioned to Amy the other day, maybe I should create some sort of rotation for my Things, where I can focus on a few of them for three months, then switch it up to some others the next three months, and so on. Except obviously that's silly because Things don't just let you put them neatly in a corner to wait until you're ready for them again.)

Let me just give you an idea of how many Things I have (though I'm sure I will forget at least five Things that are equally as important or exciting or unavoidable as these):

hiking marriage book clubs
spinning work singing
group fitness social life baking
martial arts cooking wine tasting
running jewelry making movies
crocheting cleaning concerts
reading games sleeping
small group blogging exploring Santa Barbara
Bible study reading blogs learning Romanian
quiet time/devotions volunteering dancing
church teaching spin crafts/DIY projects

Lately I have been realizing that I REALLY do not have my Things prioritized very well. (For starters, I didn't even include "watching shows on Hulu" in that list, and I do an embarrassing amount of Huluing.)

But here's what happens:

  • I realize I haven't done Thing X in a long time and think, "Boy, I should get back into that soon."
  • I wonder where in my schedule I could possibly fit Thing X without either losing my mind or losing out on some other Thing I'm currently immersed in.
  • I think, "The obvious first step is to stop watching Hulu shows (duh), but somewhere in my schedule I do need some form of downtime, don't I? So what's really so wrong with keeping up with a few shows?"
  • I try in vain to squeeze Thing X in with all my other current Things.
  • Certain Things start falling to the wayside, usually starting with sleep, or devotions, or cleaning.
  • I get frustrated, and I pull back from a whole mess of Things at once and just curl up in my little shell and do stuff that takes little to no effort or interaction, like reading or watching Gilmore Girls on DVD for the umpteenth time.
  • Eventually I start adding Things back in, but I never really manage to figure out a better system, so this cycle just keeps repeating itself.

I don't want to just drop some Things all together, forever. Like, I really do want to teach spinning classes someday, despite the fact that I have only attended a few classes this year and have not made any efforts to get in some practice time as the pretend instructor. And I really do want to go to martial arts more regularly and go up a few belt levels. But can I do both of those Things, realistically? Ever? (And I don't even wanna start talking about how much money I pay for TWO gym memberships, neither of which gets used enough to justify even having ONE of them.)

Can I be passionate about hiking, spinning, martial arts, group fitness, dancing, and running all at once? I know that the most logical answer to that question is, "Of course not - you're not superhuman."

But I am passionate about all of those Things, and those are just the fitness-related ones.

I remember my college pastor once saying something about asking God for a bigger plate when you felt like you had too much on it, but what does that even mean?

All I know is, I have a lot of passions and I can't keep up with all of them. And whatever I am doing now is not really working, because there will always be a chunk of Things that I feel like I'm not doing a good enough job at maintaining. Namely, lately, I feel like I'm letting a lot of stuff take priority over me and Joe, and he should be my number one Thing!

Step Zero has already been accomplished, which was to quit the snooze button. At least now I am no longer in a habit of setting an alarm too early and wasting the first hour of my day fitfully snoozing, which inevitably would lead to lacking energy for the entire day. So, progress! I guess?

Step One is obvious: Quit Hulu or at least reduce it down to like two shows a week.

Step Two is what I haven't quite figured out yet. Should I map out my entire schedule for the week/month, allocating time to each Thing and forcing myself to stick to this rigid system until it starts to happen more naturally? I mean, to some extent I have been trying to do this. I maintain my schedule using Google calendar (which syncs with my phone), and it is WAY more organized than it ever has been before. (It's even color-coded.) But how extreme would this system need to be? And would it take the joy out of all my fun Things?


For the record, this is one of about 37 blog topics that have been floating around in my head lately.  Theoretically getting one post written may help me get on a roll with writing a lot more of the others, but we'll see. I have been having some headaches lately, and I don't know if it'll help to write more and get everything out of my brain, or if it'll hurt more because SQUINTING AT SCREENS and ANALYZING EVERYTHING TO DEATH and stuff.

Funny thing is, I remember not too long ago when I felt like I had basically no serious passions or interests in life and was all, "What is my purpose? What am I doing with my life? Why am I so lame?" And now I feel pretty awesome in a lot of ways; I'm confident in who I am (most of the time), I have some amazing friendships, and I've accomplished a few great things recently. But did the pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction? Is this a case of "Be careful what you wish for"? Or is there an answer that will let me keep doing all (or even most) of the Things?