Thursday, October 12, 2017

June 1, 2017

Sometimes you just need a reset. Maybe you've been going a mile a minute. Maybe you've been feeling super unproductive and you've allowed yourself to procrastinate far too long. Maybe you're just getting over a cold or through some commitment that took more out of you than you expected it would. Maybe things have just caught up with you and you barely feel like you're holding your head above the surface. That's when you need a reset.

A reset, allows you to clear your mind and some space around you. It allows you to get down to business, so that you can keep taking care of said business. Resets can look like a lot of different things. I've done some serious resetting lately and thought it would be nice to share some of my favorite resets with you here.

So, here they are...10 of my favorites in the order that they popped into my brain. And one bonus activity to do that doubles as a reset and reward all at the same time.

Clutter bust around your house. You can pick a room or a floor or whatever. The key is to be quick and to put whatever you pick up all the way away. Don't get distracted with cleaning or rearranging, just bust the clutter.

Clean out your fridge. Again, this isn't a total overhaul. Go through the containers. Put things back in their rightful places. If you spot empty shelf, wipe it down. Go through that produce drawer.

Spend waiting time tidying up your car. If you arrive somewhere early, have an extra long wait at a stop light or a drive thru, or even pulled into your garage, take a few minutes to tidy up every space you can reach from the driver's seat. If you have a wipe handy, wipe down any surface you can reach while you're at it. Take the trash out and take any stray items into the house to put away.

Make a favorite meal or five. If you find yourself in a cooking rut, cook one meal that you love. It doesn't matter if you just made it last week. Just cook. Enjoy it. It can be as simple as chili cheese dogs or meatloaf and mashed potatoes or as complicated as chicken and dumplings or that soup that takes all day. Once you've made and enjoyed one, you might just be surprised at how easy it is to do it again the next day. That favorite meal might be just the jump start you need to get cooking again!

Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write it all out. This is HUGE. I usually do this right before or directly after a round of clutter busting. There's something about clearing the clutter in my brain. Getting tasks down where I can see them helps me to make a game plan that is doable.

Sort the laundry and do one load all the way. Pretty simple. Wherever laundry hides from waits for you, round it up, sort it, and get started. Pick one load. Wash it. Dry it. Fold it. Put it away. You're done!

Make a list of or gather up the books you hope to read next. This is especially helpful if reading is how you relax OR something you've just been meaning to do more of. Write them down, share them on your blog, or stack the actual books up some place that you'll be sure to reach for them.

Go for a walk with nothing playing in your ears. Getting outside can do so much for a lot of us. You pick the pace that's best for you. The key is to focus on what's around you. Smile and wave at people you pass. Stop and chat if it seems like a good idea. It's not about exercise, it's about clearing your mind, stretching your legs, standing tall, and getting some fresh air.

Call one person you've been meaning to call for too long. Believe it or not, making that phone call is A LOT easier than putting it off another day. That's all I have to say about this one. You know who you need to call. So, do it.

Wash your bedding. Sheets, comforter, blankets, and even the pillows. There isn't ANYTHING like clean sheet day. If you can manage a nice hot shower an hour or so before bed, that makes this one that much more magical! Just saying.

You ready for that bonus activity? Celebrate a clean house (or ROOM) and light a candle.  If you curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee or tea at the same time you'll get even more out of this one! Enjoy your hard work by grabbing one of those books you've been wanting to read and putting your feet up. It doesn't matter if it's three o'clock in the afternoon or thirty minutes before it's time to get supper started...These minutes are time well spent.

What are some of YOUR favorite resets?

When do you know that it's "time" for reset?

No Better Way

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 11, 2017

My Aunt Linda turns 60 today and her oldest son also turns 26. In a few short weeks, my brother will be turning 25. friend Amber is STILL in labor. Or her phone died and no one has thought to send me the latest. Technology is weird and wonderful all at the same time. 

I spent all of Sunday afternoon on the phone. I called my Grandma because I hadn't talked to her in way too long. It was a Sunday afternoon and one of my second cousins was home on leave from the Marines, so her house was buzzing with people. I said hello to just about everyone and finished up with a conversation with my Grandpa. He didn't know it, but he brought up a theme that's been on my mind lately. HOPE. I can't even remember exactly what he said. My Grandpa doesn't tend toward hope. He's more like me...He worries about everything and does everything that he can possibly think of to be prepared for WHATEVER may come his way. So, hearing him talk about hope in the way that he did was really something. 

The very next night, as I sat curled up in my reading chair, I came across hope once again. I was reading "The Death Cure" by James Dashner, which happens to be the kind of story that knocks the feet of hope right out from under you. You can't figure out who is good and who is bad. You can't figure out who you're supposed to trust or who you even WANT to trust. All of a sudden, Dashner got all deep on me...You ready for it?

"Fear of the unknown no longer controlled him. Hope had found its way in and taken hold."
-James Dashner

God means for hope to take hold in the hearts of His people. Which was exactly what Andre preached about Sunday when he was unexpectedly invited to be the guest preacher after our pastor's mom passed away. I'm telling you, hope is front and center right now. Which is a really good thing. 

It's so easy to put our hope in things that will disappoint or to think that things are too far gone. That there is no hope to have. That we're just moments away from the thing that will most certainly wreck us for good. 

It's not about being happy or safe or comfortable. It's not about nothing bad ever happening again. It's not about hanging on tight to the way things are or the way we HOPE things will be. 

Hope is rooted in the character and nature and promises of God. Hope is the thing that fills us up and gives us every reason to be GLAD in Him. We run into songs and books and movies and posts on social media that tempt us to rest in other things. We cling to memories of days gone by and think that if we can just get back to the way things were then, it'll be better. We turn things over and over in our minds believing we just need to figure things out. 

All the while, God is there reminding us that He is I AM. I AM God. I AM working for my glory and your good. I AM holy and just and righteous and true and faithful and full of steadfast love. Hope in Me. 

Hoping in God drives out everything else. It's like bumpers on a bowling alley. When your hope is in Him, there's only one way you can carry on. 

There really is no better way. 

The Thing Is

Monday, October 09, 2017

September 12, 2017
I've been getting daily updates from my sister on just how many days it's been since I've blogged. As of this morning, it's almost been an entire month. That's far too long. The thing is (and she doesn't know this), towards the end of September I was thinking about challenging myself to a few objectives for October. I wanted to post one fresh picture (hopefully taken THAT day) along with whatever was on my mind at least 4 days each week.   

If I'm honest, I wanted it to be EVERYDAY, but I knew that might be pushing it. For me. And for you. I thought it would be fun to sit down each evening and let the words flow. Needless to say, THAT hasn't been happening.

But I'm here tonight. Giving the idea a shot for THIS day. I'm going to give myself 30 minutes and just write about whatever comes to mind. The first things that came to mind as I was getting my computer out to begin this task have since completely floated away. I know one of them had something to do with the fact that Shania Twain is blonde now. Apparently. I'm not really sure how I feel about that. 

Let's move on, shall we? 

As a former barista, I kind of have a certain standard when it comes to coffee. It better not be too sweet, but it better be strong. I'm not a snob about it, though. My daily brew involves Folgers Colombian Roast and the tiniest countertop coffee pot you've ever seen. I consider Don Francisco's Colombian Roast "fancy" coffee and only pull it out when it's been a while. That said, I'm a little disappointed in my ability to turn out a consistent pot of coffee. Do you have any tips? Thanks to a lightning round of research, it sounds like the answer is starting with HOT water because rinky-dink machines don't do the best job of getting the water hot enough and keeping it there throughout the brew time. Help me out! 

I've had some really fantastic grocery store experiences lately. People have been exceptionally patient and nice. And it's not even Christmastime yet!!! I had a chat with a lady in the nail polish aisle just because. An older woman totally waited on me to scope out the coffee aisle and I didn't notice her until I was heading away from there. I apologized and she smiled and said she was happy to let me take my time. And she meant it. There was a man who really wanted me to go ahead of him because he wasn't in a hurry and only went on ahead of me when I assured him that I wasn't either. Last Friday, there was a boy hopping ALL over the store on one foot without a care in the world. He made my entire weekend with his antics. A good attitude is so contagious. 

September 12, 2017
I've been reading The Maze Runner series. At first, I wasn't sure what I was doing. Then Book 2 got me excited to keep reading. Now I'm on Book 3 and the jury is still out. I'm pretty sure these are the first dystopian novels I've ever read. Pacing seems to be EVERYTHING for me. There aren't a lot of details, the conversations drag on and on, action sequences kind of bore me, so...I just need the story to keep moving. I'm excited to see all the threads come together as the back story is fully (HOPEFULLY) revealed and then...I'm having a movie marathon! Have you read these books? Are you a fan of dystopian anything?

It's full on fall around here. I'm hoping we get a nice long fall and I'm trying to make the most of it. I've been eating my lunch outside at work as often as I can. Even if I do look like a crazy woman with my glass containers and actual fork. Madeleine L'Engle says the older you get, the less you care. I'm pretty sure she's right. I've come a long way in the being by myself and doing what's important to me department. There's nothing ridiculous about this next one, but I've also been taking as many long walks as I can lately. It's my favorite way to clear my head, stretch my legs, and get some fresh air. What are some things you've been working to get better at or enjoy more of lately?

October 7, 2017
One morning in July, the 9th if I remember correctly, a woman popped into my mind as I sat at the counter eating my morning bagel covered in enough cream cheese to...well...make me happy. She came out of nowhere and I stopped eating said bagel to get a rough sketch of everything about her written down in my purple notebook. She kept stopping by to bug me and by the end of July, I had the basis of a novel ready to get going. Then, things got crazy and I decided to leave it for later. Well, that woman just wouldn't leave me alone. I thought about her all the time and found myself being really curious about what made her tick. Over the last few weeks I've started getting serious about the project. I've worked on a few key chapters, brought other characters into the mix, made a playlist inspired by the original character who started coming to life back in July, made an outline of where I think the book will go, and...started research! Since it involves the Fitzgeralds, it's a project I'm excited to stick with. If I'm diligent, this could honestly be the kind of story where the first draft takes like three months to crank out. We'll see. 

I've lost track of the time I've spent writing this post. My friend Amber is currently in the process of birthing a baby. We talked last night for a long time and I realized that it's the last uninterrupted conversation we'll have for a good long while. I'm not sad about it. It truly is beautiful watching my friends become mothers. Amber and I have never lived in the same town, but we've maintained a friendship for so long. She's the friend I can call whenever, wherever and chat as long as we both have time. She always used to call me when she was driving and I'd often call her when I was doing housework. We can talk for hours at a time. I'll miss those chats, but I'm so happy that this thing she has waited on for so long is happening as I type these very words. What's something you've waited on (or are waiting on)? 

Well, I think I've typed enough words for now. Maybe I'll be back before another almost month goes by! See you then. 

Beyond Because

Monday, September 11, 2017

April 21, 2017

I've been kicking the phrase "beyond because" around since the end of June.

It comes from a little poem by E.E. Cummings, that I mentioned before.

The poem has to do with doing what you do beyond because. It makes me think of carrying on without any particular reason. No matter what. It makes me think of being who you are and putting one foot in front of the other even when you're not sure what you're actually doing or even why you're doing it.

It's living life without having to explain things every step of the way. The because is implied in the doing and because of that it stretches beyond it. It's a given.

One thing I want to be a given about me is my faith in God. I want my walk with Him to be THE thing that IS the because. THE thing that stretches beyond it. Every now and then I meet people like that. It's an admirable quality and seeing it expressed in another person is always a gift.

Like the lark who wings his why beyond because, these people know what it is to do what we were created to do and to keep doing it.

The lark of this poem won't let me be. I'm a person that is obsessed with whys and becauses and yet longs for diligence to carry on. The lark doesn't worry about those things. He flaps and flies and carries on because that's what he was made to do. The because is implied and the why is lived.

God intends for His people to be such larks. Winging our why beyond because by His strength and for His glory, now and forever. We see His grace in one another and the why is beautiful and the because is understood.

Here's to winging our why beyond because...Whatever it may be!

Currently: September 2017

Friday, September 08, 2017

September 8, 2017
September is the perfect month. Summer isn't quite over and yet the back to school season has
everyone feeling as though they've been granted a fresh start. I've been thinking about all of my favorite fall things lately as I do my best to soak up every bit of summer that we have left.

This summer went by at a slow and steady rate. It was FULL. It didn't seem like it flashed by and yet I'm definitely not ready to bid it farewell just yet. I traveled and we had a part to play in a handful of productions. There was plenty of time for beach days and hiking and somehow I spent less time with my friends than ever, but it didn't bother me too much.

A new month is here and I'm currently...

Celebrating: The pieces of summer that are hanging on, my birthday, and this new season of life that we've entered into.

Watching: We finally finished up Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. We've also watched Compete to Eat, The Help, Monk, and a little Sue Thomas. I've been in the mood for Downton Abbey, but haven't actually turned it on yet.

Welcoming: Change. For the first time in my life...I'm not completely sold on the idea, but I'm doing my best and trusting God with the rest.

Preparing: My fall resolves. I've had some specific themes on my mind and I'm doing my best to zero in on the tone I want this fall to have.

Photographing: Hardly anything. I haven't used my camera camera in MONTHS. I've been itching to get back into it.

Linking up with Anne and Lowanda!

What makes your currently list?