Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reading Habits

I was tagged by my lovely friend, Helen at her I Will Bloom blog to answer a couple questions about my reading habits. How fun is that?! Reading is one of my very favorite subjects so I was excited to be tagged! 

Our neighborhood used-bookstore Scott and I frequent :)

The tag questions:

Do you have a certain place at home to read?
I will read almost anywhere in our home. I read on the couch, our very old and comfy stuffed chair in our living room or in our cozy bed before I turn the lights out. Now that we've moved into a bit of bigger place and have a guest room I plan on making this the official "reading room" as we have already put two book shelves in there and an old rocking chair from my great aunt? (is that who your uncle's mother is?). So far it's been a room for storage and boxes! The only place I really don't want to read is at the table because then I feel like I need to be eating dinner. 

Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Oh gosh. I have so many adorable and cute bookmarks. But do I use them? Of course not! I never seem to know where they are. I usually little scraps of paper. Anything I can get my hands on such as a piece of magazine, part of a reciept or a colorful sticky note folded in half. 

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or number of pages?
I really REALLY like to finish my chapters. In school, that sometimes too much to ask for when it's come to text books. But when it comes to reading for pleasure, I finish the chapter. 

Do you eat or drink while reading?
I don't ususally eat while reading because that gets to be a little too much multi-tasking for me. However I LOVE something to drink. I love strong coffee with a good book in the morning. In the evening, a glass of wine or hot tea with a book hits the spot. 

Do you watch TV or listen to music while reading?
No way! Reading IS THE EVENT. I have no need for TV or music when I'm enveloped in a good book. That would (and does) drive me nuts! However I've learned to adapt as most coffee shops play music. Sometimes the music genre DOES not fit my book genre at all and it makes me feel very conflicted emotions, but I guess coffee shops don't generally offer music to fit your book plot. #firstworldproblems

One book at a time or several at once?
I FOR SURE, read mulitple books at a time. However, I have learned over the years that I need a limit or the decison of what to read takes over the actually reading time. For me, about 3-4-5 books is the max. I generally have a book I'm reading for my book club, a fiction book or a comic-relief book, some kind of "self-growth" book, an education type book for my field, and then a "spiritual-growth" book. Right now I'm currently reading:
-Persuasion by Jane Austen
-Rising Strong by Brene Brown
-Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist (reading for the 3rd time as it is #thanksgivingtradition)
-Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman

Reading at home or everywhere?
I will read anywhere, at home, at the park, in the car (as a passenger only, don't worry!) or at a coffee shop. I like to go to bookstores and libraries to read as well. I definately have preferences for where I read, but I can do it anywhere. It helps me get through a lot of less-than-fun situations such as waiting rooms, and flying. Ugh, I hate flying. But If I have a good book I can manage. If I have an amazing book it works like xanax in keeping me calm and preoccupied. 

Reading aloud or silently in your head?
Silently. But I read aloud to my younger clients! I love children's books so much. 

Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
If I'm at a bookstore and debating about a fiction book I read the last page. I KNOW!!!! I committ the worst of reader crimes. But heres the thing, I don't want to buy the book if it's going to have a DUD ending. That's a waste of my time and there are so many good books and not nearly enough time for them all. So yes I read the last page. With, non-fiction books I do skim if it's 1) something I already know or have been previously educated about or 2) it's being redundant and I want to get to the "meat and potatoes" of the book. I generally don't ever skip pages!

Do you ever write in books?
That depends. I do underline. I don't write in my classics, or in my fiction. But I do write in my other books especially if I think I have a good point. I actually tend to write more in the margins if I disagree with the author!

Thanks so much Helen for tagging me! This was really fun!!!

So now I shall tag my fellow blogger friends to participate! (once tagged, feel no pressure, it took me months before I was able to complete. Also I will not be offended if you never complete! Much love to you(s) and happy reading

Monday, November 23, 2015

30 by 30

As most of you know (because I am very mild loud about my birthday month) I turned 30 recently. I know many who have done "30 by 30" lists. I find them so fun and inspiring. Since I didn't do that I thought I would create a list of 30 things I did in my 20's. It's certainly a decade to reflect upon. My 20's brought so much to be grateful for. I often create mental lists in my head when I can't fall asleep at night. The list can be about literally anything and it usually helps calm my brain. So last night, I started creating my "30 by 30" list.

Here's a peek into my decade with the lovely 20's including highlights, lowlights, losses, discoveries, and firsts. Enjoy!

  1. I learned how to make candles
  2. I graduated with my bachelors in Interpersonal Communition with a minor in Christian Studies
  3. I started this blog and developed a little blog community I simply adore.
  4. Wrote my first screen play in film school
  5. Started seeing a therapist for the first time
  6. I experienced the wonder of self-care through art, writing, yoga, massage, essential oils and books. Started my first book club. 
  7. I went to Morocco on a missions trip with my church and rode a camel!
  8. Ran Cross Country and ran my first half marathon
  9. I moved from Minnesota to San Diego
  10. I graduated with my masters in Marriage and Family Therapy
  11. I went to Finland and Italy with Scotty! And to Hawaii with girlfriends for the first time!
  12. I went to Yosemite and saw the Redwoods for the first time!
  13. I lost my lovely Grandma Moot who was generous and kind and the best Moot a girl could ask for.
  14. Became a therapist and saw my first client ever. 
  15. I was a maid of honor/bridesmaid in 7 weddings
  16. I recovered from an eating disorder after years of hard work, support and courage and now love holding workshops or presenting on body image education and prevention.
  17. Went to my first orphanage and fell in love with working with kids/youth who are vulnerable, feel lost and displaced. Love to advocate for these gems.
  18. Lost my good friend from college, Derek, tragically and suddenly
  19. Discovered my love for authentic Thai food (give me all the curry and pad thai please!!!)
  20. Lived on a roller coaster of dating and breaking up for far too long
  21. I got off the roller coaster and overcame my life long fear of committment and marriage and married my best friend. BEST DECISION EVER. 
  22. Worked 17 different jobs (including being a therapist at 6 schools, being an RA, working at library, being an admission counselor, receptionist, a nanny, an assitant director for children's ministry, a counselor at a treatment center, a writer for the examiner, an editor for the newspaper, and most random award goes to: being a cookbook binder at a factory one summer) #also #becameacoffeeaddict #duringthistime
  23. Learned more about what it means for me to be a feminist in marriage and how to integrate it with my faith.
  24. Met the lovely Baps and Mimi (Scott's grandparents) and lost sweet Baps this fall. 
  25. Learned about shame resiliance, courage, whole-hearted living and vulnerability thanks to Brene Brown's amazing research. I found my tribe. 
  26. Spent time with old family and friends and new family and friends (this is one of the most valuable and important ones and one I plan on prioritizing every decade) We are hard-wired for connection!
  27. Have finally accepted the fact that I'm obsessed with comedy in books and movies and that my entertainment preferences are slightly narrow. #parksandrecreation #mindykaling #tinafey #unbreakable 
  28. Dyed my hair dark brown and red (which turned pink) and pierced my cartiledge and got bangs! 
  29. Worked hard to stop being a hoarder by regularly giving away excess (especially in the closet region of our home)
  30. Discovered that rock bottom does not have the last word. I now believe wholeheartedly what Bob Goff says in his book Love Does," I used to think there were some prisons you couldn't escape but now I know there's no place I can go where God can't rescue us" I believe Love wins. Love will always win. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What I'm Celebrating and What I'm Mourning

It’s been said that in life you need to mourn well so you can celebrate well.
Mourning and celebrating is such a dichotomy. It’s a tension we all have to hold in life and one I’m really not all the excited about.
Of course I would like to celebrate…constantly that is, but mourning? Do I have to make time for this one?
I’m guessing Paul understood something about this when he talked about this in Romans 12.
Rejoice with those who rejoice
Mourn with those who mourn
Life is truly brutiful. It’s beautiful and brutal says one of my favorite authors who wrote Carry On Warrior.
I’ve been in the blur of mourning and celebrating for awhile now. 
I guess when I’m going through both I feel internally conflicted. Maybe that’s why I’ve struggled to write recently.
I’m celebrating because Scott and I have finally moved into a mold-free (more importantly: mushroom free) apartment. Twice the space and double the windows. I’m celebrating because in the morning the light streams in so brightly and warmly. I’m celebrating because finally I’d like to be at home on a Saturday rather than out because I’m not trying to avoid a leak in my closet or little mushrooms growing silently and steadily.
I’m mourning a little because moving is hard and unpacking is difficult. When I want to be home relaxing after work, I am unpacking and organizing.
I’m mourning because my bike was stolen. And to be honest, my bike was for sale so I’m not very sad about the loss, I’m just more creeped out thinking about someone stealing a bike. I would have given it to them if they had asked. But remembering I live in a world where people feel so desperate that they have to steal makes me feel sad and unsafe.
I’m celebrating because this week I turned 30. I entered a brand new decade. I’m so grateful for my 20’s. I grew so much. I worked so hard. I leaned into the pain and embraced love. I encountered courage and vulnerability and shame. But I also found gratitude. I found space. I found calm. I’m madly happy for my tribe and for all their thoughtfulness and words and kindness and gifts as I turned 30.
I’m mourning because sweet little Baps passed away this week. Baps is my husband’s grandpa. But I consider him one of my grandpas too. From just about the moment Scott declared he liked me, Scott’s grandparents adopted me into their world. They invited me to their Thanksgiving family reunion in Yosemite they hold every two years when I was just a girlfriend. They treated me like family before I even was family.
I was completely petrified the first night in Yosemite as a huge mob of family members I had never met infiltrated the tiny cabin that night. Baps made me my very first Old Fashioned, a cocktail made with bourbon, orange and cherry. Baps’ way of inviting you in is always asking what you want to drink. Baps must have known I was incredibly nervous for he made the drink so strong I had to hide my shocked face as he asked how it was. That night Baps told me about his favorite trip he ever went on with Mimi. It wasn’t to Italy or Hawaii and it wasn’t a classy cruise. It was just a very long road trip across the states. He recalled it with so much fondness. Just him and Mimi exploring the world together by car. I'll never forget my first Thanksgiving with him.

I’m celebrating because witnessing a marriage that lasted 60+ is very very novel and rare today. I feel lucky to have experienced their love. I feel grateful to have known Baps. I feel thankful to see how much love and generosity this sweet Grandpa has lavished on his family.
I’m celebrating because today my voice is back from having a terribly long cold. I am an external processor and not having a voice made me feel very isolated inside my head.
I’m celebrating this time of year. Thanksgiving is coming. It is 46 degrees at night. I’m celebrating with candles and hot tea from Trader Joes. I’m celebrating Christmas shopping and my endless love of wrapping paper and gift tags. I'm listening to Michael Buble's Christmas album on my iphone complete with a fake image of a fireplace crackling. 
I’m mourning for Beirut and Paris and for Baghdad and for some many tragedies that are beyond my comprehension and understanding.   I’m mourning for schools that no longer feel safety because of violence entering a place that is supposed to be about life and education and growth, not death and a brutal ending.
It’s really hard to do both. It’s a tricky tension this rejoicing and weeping. Both are weighty and demand my attention. 

Both need to be heard and acknowledged to live well. 

I want to live abundantly. I won’t numb the light or dark. I won’t only  give in to negativity. But I won’t dissociate into only the positive.  
I will be here for both.
Today I’m celebrating and mourning.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Encountering Truth

For our honeymoon, Scott and I traveled to Italy. It was Spring, 2013 and we celebrated Easter there. At this time, Pope Francis has just been elected and there was pictures of him everywhere. There was a certain energy in the air of it being Easter and it's hard to describe. I found out later that Pope Francis washed the feet of prisoners at a youth detention center in Rome for Holy Thursday Mass just before Easter. This completely endeared me to the Pope. I had never encountered the beautiful architecture of the cathedrals I saw around every corner and it was my first time going to the Vatican. Everything was covered in history and tradition and a sense of sacred faith.

Ever since my experience there I have been drawn to learn more about the Catholic faith and draw insight from Pope Francis. I decided to read Encountering Truth* a few months ago and have really enjoyed it. The book is a collection of Pope Francis's morning homilies he gives from St. Martha's Chapel. A little after seven in the morning, Pope Francis gives short little devotionals to a small audience of offices workers, priests, nuns and some journalists as well as gardeners. 

There are a total of 186 homilies in the book each with a date and a couple of Scripture references. The last one I read was spoked on November 7th and was about God's "weakness of love and joy of mercy". I have loved reading Pope Francis's inclusive language as he reminds everyone that we all belong and that we are all loved. He said, "He is a God who seeks, he seeks all those who are far from him. Like the shepherd, who goes to look for the lost sheep. The work of God is to go and seek, to invite all to the feast, good and bad. He does not tolerate losing one of his own" It gives me such great security knowing that we have a Shepherd who seeks and save and rescues the lost. And we are all lost from time to time. 

I like the rhythem of reading a homilie once a day or once a week. Each one is spoken with such warmth and kindness. It gives me a nugget of truth to ponder all day long. If you are looking for a different kind of devotional to read daily that refreshes the spirit, I would really recommend this one. 

*I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for this review