Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THIRTY | Blog-Tember Challenge You've Been Good To Me

Today's prompt: A farewell coffee date. Take some time to breath, sip a warm drink, and share with your new blogging buddies. If you'd like a prompt: how did the Blog-tember challenge go for you? Any surprises? What was your favorite prompt, or what would you like to see included next time?

I will have a nice steamy cup of peppermint tea as it is too late in the day for anymore coffee. Today I had my first shift at my new position as a counselor at a treatment center. It was pretty intense and so as i was driving home I was pondering what self-care activity I could do. I remembered blogging! I felt excited and then sad that this is the last day of the Blog Temper Challenge. 

Even though I started only half way through the challenge I benefited from it so much. I loved reading other blogs and felt such warmth and welcome. Many thanks to  Bailey Jean for putting this together and for all your creative prompts and encouragement to us every day. Sometimes I have so many thoughts I want to write down but by the time I get in front of my lap top I am too discouraged to write them down or think that they only make sense in my head and won't make any sense if I type them out. The prompts helped me to write every day. I pursued letting go of some shame and perfectionism and tried to write just for the fun of it. It was great to write as well as connect with fellow bloggers who are so kind and brave. So many fabulous bloggers with such tender and creative hearts! Thank you Elizabeth for connecting me to the challenge! 

My favorite prompt was a toss up between September 18th (Tale of Travels) or September 21st (Fall Favorites). I loved going back in my mind to strolling around Lucca, Italy's windy charming streets on my honeymoon. I also adore fall and had fun dreaming up all my favorites. I wish I would have done September 10th. It's hard for me to talk about what I like about myself. It's difficult to practice self-acceptance but I believe it's so vital to living a full and gratitude filled journey. Maybe I will do it someday :) 

Goodbye September, Hello October! I hope to see you all around for the #write31days with The Nester! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

TWENTY-NINE | Blogging Advice

Today's prompt: What are your go-to blogging resources? What would you recommend to a beginner?

Oh dear. I was kind of dreading this prompt. I only have two pieces of advice. I think I feel a little embarrassed at my lack of blogging resources. I have recently been trying to become more connected to blogging communities and have signed up for bloglovin. It has been great because it sends me all my favorite blogs daily. The blogging community has been so warm and inviting to me. 

Ever since I was in second grade or from the time I could put pencil to paper, I have. I started keeping a journal in second grade on lined notebook paper. In third grade my mom bought me my first journal filled with a serene picture of a girl my age picking yellow sun flowers. I was in love. I wrote in my journal every day. I wrote about anything and everything. In high-school, my English teacher told me that my journaling had seemed to hinder my ability to write in scholarly papers. It didn't seem to stop me.

I published some of my writing in tiny corners and itty bitty spaces of the world but it never filled me up like writing for myself did. 

I started blogging because I love writing for me. I also hope it encourages those who read it. 

Ever since I could read, I would read as much I could squeeze in a day from novels to historical fiction to thrillers to psychology to theology to comedy to self-help to faith-based to feminism to child development. As a child I loved reading all the Bernstein Bear books with my mom before bed time. (I still love reading them) In third grade I started to read the Bible starting in John. (Even though I was extremely confused) I just ordered Ann Voskamp's book, "One Thousand Gifts" thanks to fellow bloggers recommending her.  

Once bloggers bloomed and emerged, I began reading blog after blog. I wish I had some stellar piece of advice on blogging but in reality I still consider myself an amateur. I don't understand design or buttons or pins or the whole advertising thing that well. I love photography but I havn't taken a class and basically all I know is how to push the button. (And if something looks pretty I push the button)

My main blogging advice for a beginner would be a list of two items: 

1. Write constantly
2. Read all the time

Happy blogging friends! What are your blogging resources? Where do you go when you feel writers block?

TWENTY EIGHT | The Good and the Bad

I am totally dragging my feet. I don't want the Blog Temper Challenge to end! It has motivated me to write every day. It has been so life giving and fun! 

Today's prompt: What were your highs and lows for this month?

Lows For September:
  • The budget and figuring out how to decrease our spendings
  • Not working for the first few weeks of September
  • My car not starting
  • An ER visit
  • Stress about schedules and figuring out a healthy rhythm
  • The unending heat
  • Migraines

Highs For September:
  • Scott’s birthday
  • Going to Big Bear Lake with my girlfriends
  • Starting work again at the high school
  • Being offered a counselor position for a treatment center for adolescents with eating disorders
  • A fall package in the mail from my mom
  • Snail mail letters from E-beth.
  • Making pumpkin bread and fall candles with Janice
  • A crazy rain storm and walking in the weather with Scott
  • Date night picnic with Scott at a local park with a Tom Sawyer book
  • Going to an Album Leaf concert spontaneously with Scott, and our friends Andrew and Rachel
  • The Mindy Project Came back on!!!!
  • My sister sending me a card which told me to go to Dark Horse :)
  • Hearing Scott speak at a CRU gathering
  • Taking the little boy I used to nanny for to the Pumpkin Patch
  • Getting a manicure/pedicure
  • The ER visit revealed Scott and I were both healthy and we were okay!
  • The Blog Temper Challenge
  • Reading good books
  • Finding out my sister is stopping by San Diego for a visit form Oklahoma!
  • Swimming
  • My owl lamp I bought that sits in my office
What were your highs and lows this month friends?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

TWENTY-SEVEN | The Cheery Wish List

Today's prompt: What's on your wish list? Be sure to include links so we can shop, too.

1. Essential oils from Young Living. I have been wanting Thieves and Frankincense and Panaway. They are simply the best. 

2. Dark Horse Coffee: DUH. 

3. Anthropologie Candles- my favorite brand is Voluspa. They all smell amazing and last forever!

4. Gold jewelry (especially simple gold rings/necklaces )

5. "Bread and Wine" by Shauna Niequist

6. "Self Compassion" by Dr. Kristin Neff

7. A blow dryer (mine has broken)

8. Polaroid Camera

9. Kinfolk Magazine

10. Any dresses or shirts or skirts from Jcrew, Madewell, Francesca’s, Anthropologie, Target, Cotton On, and I love GAP BODY for soft cozy pajamas.

11. A new yoga mat 

12. A new bike

13. A flight to go home for Christmas

14. Anything from 31 Bits. 

What is on your wish list? 

Friday, September 26, 2014

TWENTY-SIX | Normal Change

Today’s Prompt: How have you changed in the past year?

It’s hard to really define how I changed in the past year. I think it’s hard to nail down. If I think back over the last few years it’s easier to define. The year of 2012 was thee scariest, hardest year of my small 27 years. I experienced a darkness I literally did not know was possible. The year of 2013 was stunningly bright. I experienced light in a way I didn’t know regular humans encountered. I encountered joy in a way that was miraculous. The year of 2014 has not been on either extreme. It has been more normal. I guess welcome to life right? At one time in my life I would have given anything for normal. But now that it’s here, normal seems hard. I’ve had good days and bad days. I’m not living in anxiety nor am I living in elated ecstasy. I’m not in weddings or attending funerals in this season. It’s good. It’s different. I’m not graduating. I’m not grieving. I still don’t like to get up early and I still need my coffee right away or the migraine monster will come. I still feel panic and I still feel pain and joy from time to time. I’m just living day by day, moment by moment in the here and now.

       Last year at this time I was working at the YMCA Youth and Family Services as a therapist. I felt absolutely stressed and overwhelmed at this job. I was 6 months married, living in San Diego. I was dreaming and planning of my sister’s wedding. I was making friends and enjoying our little apartment. Scott and I ate out a lot and bought coffee every day (mainly I did)

       This year I am working as a therapist at a high school and recently was hired at a treatment center as a counselor. I am still living in San Diego, hanging out with my same friends and growing in relationship to Scott. We are working harder at budgeting. We are spending less and cooking more at home. We still pray before we fall asleep. I am as always, so excited about fall and the holidays. I’m excited to see my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m looking forward to my new jobs. Scott has a new job too, he is working for CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) We are trying to become more missionally focused and invested in our community.

       I guess some consistency is really good for the soul. Normal is nurturing for the heart. This morning Scott and I got coffee at our favorite spot around the corner from our place, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters and took turns stating what we are grateful for before we both left our separate ways for work. We are grateful for so much. I don’t want to fall under the “spell” that normal is boring. I don’t want to need a crisis or a life altering moment to feel invested and engaged in my real life. I think after you’ve been through crisis though your brain can become accustomed to it and it’s hard to embrace today and tolerate normal. Good and bad news both cause anxiety and adrenaline to the brain. It can become addicting kind of like I need it.

Here is us having a normal good time in our apartment. 

       Today I am grateful for normal. I am grateful that the sun rises every day. I am grateful for our cozy+small apartment. I am grateful for our jobs and our friends and family. I am grateful for pumpkins.

       One more thing though, I really reallllyyyy am bored of my NORMAL hair. I want something new and exciting and fun and different. I can’t beat my angsty heart all the time, but I’ll take what I can get.  Normal is good.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

TWENTY-FIVE | Introducing one of my favorites

I am so excited to introduce you to my hometown gal who has been my bestie for literally decades. Wow. When we met in third grade at Awana's I know we weren't thinking, "we're gonna be friends for decades…"  That just isn't a very realistic third grader thought. I am so grateful for our friendship. I have memories ranging from us laughing so hard during prayer at youth group that Elizabeth somehow bite down on her thumb with her teeth and drew blood….to fall parties….road trips…..to sticking with each other through all the awkward school dancers and ever more awkward crushes….to Target….hot chocolate….fall parties…..and being in each other's weddings. Elizabeth is a wife, a mother of two little cuties and an educator. She loves Jesus passionately and is full of wisdom. Enjoy her and check her out here.

Today's prompt: Grab a guest post! Swap blogs with someone, and share about anything.     

          Yesterday was my 29th birthday. That is so strange and unfamiliar to write..... 29 years old. You know how some years you approach your birthday and think that it sounds so old, but once your birthday actually comes you are like, "oh, that's not so bad". Well, that hasn't happened with this one yet. I think it is the looming fact that next year begins and ends a new decade of my life. How wonderfully marvelous and terrifying. In truth, I love getting older. I do! I love looking back over the years and charting my growth of maturity emotionally, mentally, and spiritually speaking.  It is as if an imaginary yard stick has been placed against the wall and I have been able to chart my growth over the years. It's one of my absolute favorite things about growing up. Aren't you glad that we don't have to remain stagnant with no hope of change? While we do actually reach a point in our life where our physical height stops growing, our innermost beings have the opportunity to continually flourish. It's such a beautiful picture of God's grace. 

        I was wrapping up my devotions last night and I got the urge to look up a different version of the scripture on my phone. As soon as I opened the app, I knew that there was a message waiting for me. It was if the spirit was whispering to my heart, "this one is for you". The verse of the day was from Colossians 3:12-14 in the message version,

       "So chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God 
        picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. 
        Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
        Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless
        of what else you put on, wear LOVE. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never
        be without it." 

     That's my prayer, y'all! No matter what happens in this 29th year of my life or in the years to come, I pray that I would be a living, walking, and breathing example of this verse. I can think of no greater way to bring my Father glory than to live out the very qualities of who Jesus was and is. Like this verse says, we were chosen to live out a life of love. Let's dress ourselves in the splendor of what love is and exemplify it through the characteristics listed here. I can think of nothing more beautiful and God honoring than that. Now, I am not saying that it will be easy. No sirree! It will have to be a daily choice and surrendering of our very human nature (Who wants to be content with second place?) If we are really honest, so many of these qualities go against everything our culture values. It is certainly hard to look like Jesus when the world is calling for the opposite. Take a stand; be different. Clothe yourself in love and be the very definition of beauty.

      So, as I pray this verse for myself, I pray it for you who are reading too. May you find your compassion, kindness, humility, quite strength and discipline in the weeks and months ahead. May you discover what love is really made of and find the greatest blessings in forgiveness.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

TWENTY-FOUR | Fall Bucket List

I am so excited for fall and for this prompt! I am an #eagerbeaver when it comes to all things fall so I have already been working on my bucket list. The achiever in me wanted to add more but I wanted to keep it fun and motivating! I just love lists so much. 

Today's Prompt: Your fall bucket list. What do you want to do before winter rolls around?

My Autumn Bucket List:
  • Drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • Go to a Pumpkin Patch
  • Celebrate Thanksgiving with family
  • Decorate our apartment for fall
  • Spend time in nature, maybe go to a cabin
  • Wear something long sleeve without sweating
  • Celebrate my birthday
  • Try a new recipe, chicken potato chowder soup
  • Practice gratitude
  • Drink hot chocolate
  • Make homemade soap/maybe candles
  • Create a healthy rhythm and schedule for working two jobs
  • Save money every month
  • Get a pedicure/manicure with a fall color
  • Blog about fall because I love it
  • Be cozy
  • Eat pumpkin seeds
  • Go wine tasting
  • Make pumpkin bread
  • Order a yoga dvd
  • Go to a fall party
  • Have a photo shoot with leaves and scarves with film
  • Eat apples with carmel dip
  • Send out fall and Halloween cards

 There is it! What are some things you want to do this season?